B-LEAGUERS – Death Of A Western Heart (interview)

Sweet Sweet Music talked to B-LEAGUERS’ frontman James Styring about Death Of A Western Heart, the new album.

PowerPop/PunkRock magic.

“Ignited by both attitude and awareness, Death of a Western Heart will have you pogoing around the room the minute the on button is activated. There’s nothing b-league about B-Leaguers, as these guys belong in the major leagues!”, writes BEVERLY PATERSON (for SomethingElseReviews). But I guess you hope some will listen to the lyrics too?

 

Yeah, I would hope that people pick up on the words. Especially if they’re going to sing along! But you can take our songs on face value and pogo around the room, as you mention, and that’s fine. And if you wanted to look a little deeper, there’s meaning in there, too. But I never like to make things too obvious – it’s far more important what the listener thinks, than what the writer had in mind. All of them are based on real life and experience, so hopefully they’ll resonate with people.

 

 

Death of a Western Heart sounds big and very ambitious. What are your goals for this band? What do you think is possible with all these great songs, great hooks, great singing?

 

I think initially, you get together to write a bunch of songs, and see where it goes. But we knew from very early on that it was coming together fast – the songs were really taking shape. We were lucky in that respect. And we’re fortunate to be on such a prestigious label (Kool Kat Musik), who have helped get the album out there and heard. But I don’t think it pays to set yourself unrealistic goals – you can set yourself up for a fall. We’re all very ambitious and committed to making something happen, but we are also very aware of how difficult and competitive it is out there. We just do what we do. If folks come along with us, great!

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The thought of your band being as big as “Green Day” comes back to me a lot. But I think it is almost impossible for a band nowadays to grow that big. (Where do you begin if you are songwriter, singer, head of marketing etc all by yourself). What do you think?

 

I agree. The very nature of the music industry has changed. Very few bands are making it on such a huge scale. But that’s ok. The internet has allowed musicians to do it for themselves – it’s what punk rock has always been about anyway. Don’t wait around for something to happen, get out there and make it happen! Bands now have that instant connection online – fans can decide for themselves if they like something, or not, without a multi-million pound record company promoting the life out of the latest ‘next big thing’. People like to find something new for themselves. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be tempting to sign on the dotted line, should the opportunity ever come our way, but we’re realistic. It’s not going to happen anytime soon. If you’re in a band for the right reasons, you’re passionate, driven, love what you do, that becomes it’s own reward.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

 

Like I say, the internet has changed everything. Gone are the days of a record company A+R guy being at a gig and offering you a huge recording contract. It just doesn’t happen. It’s almost unrecognizable as an industry. But that’s not all bad. Bands can now cut out the ‘middle man,’ who always took a big cut of the band’s money, and get their music out directly to the fans. It’s all more DIY now, you’re not answering to anyone. But a great band is a great band, and will continue to write and record great music, regardless if they’re on a label or not. Go out and discover them.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

Now there’s a question! Think I would need at least 10 songs, but here goes..

1. Ramones, Judy Is A Punk Rocker

2. Buzzcocks, What Do I Get

3. Jimmy Eat World, Salt Sweat Sugar

4. Frank Turner, Recovery

5. The Promise Ring, Happiness Is All The Rage

What’s up for the next couple of months?

 

We recently played The Cavern Club, Liverpool, as part of the International Pop Overthrow Festival. We filmed in and around Liverpool, so there will be a video out sometime soon. We’re also in talks with management and promoters and play our home city of Lincoln, on 2nd July. It’s an all-dayer, with a load of other great bands, so it’ll be messy! We’re also busy writing for our next record. Sounding great so far – can’t wait to get back in the studio!

Buy the album here
Check the website for updates

 

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THE LASH OUTS – Validation Song (interview)

Sweet Sweet Music talked with Joey Holbrook and Ralph Thompson about The Lash Outs’ new release Validation Song.

“These songs merely express a common dude’s observations on consumerism and spoiled young people combined with the familiar themes of fear, anxiety, and social ineptitude.”

Find out what else they have to say about this Punk-Power Pop – Rock gem.

 


What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
 

 
Joey:  We drove to Oklahoma to record with Stephen Egerton again.  He’s very detail-oriented which is one of the main reasons why we keep going back to him.  The fact that he’s an extremely gifted songwriter doesn’t hurt either.  We always have a good time when we go up to visit him.
We also spent a lot of time in the hotel room watching Mr. Show on DVD.  That was fun.

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

 

 

Joey:  I’m more of an “album guy” than a “song guy”.  If I had to pick just one song then I would say “State of Excess” (the title track) because it exemplifies the general theme of the album, or at least the second half of the album.

 

Ralph:  I’d say check out “Don’t Know Why” as it demonstrates the progression of the band wrapped up in a tight, two and a half minute nugget.  Who doesn’t have two minutes to spare?

 

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

 

 
Joey:  As a music fan, the Internet has not only given me access to new music but some amazing old music as well.  I’m in my late twenties now so I’ve been using the Internet as a resource since I was a little kid.  It takes very little effort to get your music online and available to the public and I’d much rather e-mail a link to a publication, radio station, etc. than mail a tangible product and press kit.  From a financial standpoint, it costs us virtually nothing to take the digital route.
I’m pretty introverted and I can be shy when meeting new people.  The Internet allows me to network without having to leave the house or make an awkward phone call.  It’s great.

We don’t make much money from digital sales and streaming music, but we’re just glad that people are listening to our songs.  If we were “in it for the money” then we wouldn’t be playing rock music.  We would have implemented a drum machine or a ukulele by now. Gotta stay current, you know?

 

Ralph:  The model for “local” bands now allows a little band from Dallas, Texas to reach folks all over the globe, yourself included.  We’re grateful it allows us to connect with bloggers, podcasters and fans who enjoy similar music.  There’s nothing not to like about this model – like Joey said, we aren’t focused on making money.  We’re more interested in reaching people who enjoy our stuff.

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Who is the best musician in the world nobody has heard of yet? And why will this change very soon?

 

Joey:  We played a gig with Mugen Hoso a few months ago and they put on one of the best live shows that I’ve ever witnessed.
I don’t listen to a lot of modern music these days, which is unfortunate because I’m sure that I am missing out on a lot of good stuff.  For the past ten years or so, I’ve been habitually revisiting old music maybe every six months; but in the last year I’ve pretty much immersed myself in old blues.  If deceased musicians are allowed then I would have to namedrop guys like Mississippi John Hurt, Henry Thomas, Blind Boy Fuller, Sleepy John Estes . . . the list goes on and on.  These players directly or indirectly influenced every style of western music that came after them, but to this day their contributions are still being overlooked.
It’s some of the best music ever recorded and a lot of these dudes (and ladies) incorporated some pretty dark or risque themes into their songs.  When I listen to a standard pop-rock love song now, there’s a part of me that sort of resents the person who is singing the song.  After hearing someone like Charley Patton sing about spending time in jail or surviving the worst flood in American history, the whole “Oh, baby / You broke my heart / Please don’t leave me” thing just seems trivial.

I digress.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

Joey:  I’m married now and have been with the same girl for eight years, but I’ll try to pretend that I’m making a mix for a friend in need.  This ultimatum is pretty out of line though.  Honestly, I’d probably just tell my friend to forget about this girl.  Go play video games or read a book instead.

1.  The Toms – Better Than Anyone Else
2.  The Descendents – Cheer
3.  The Gants – I Wonder
4.  Dolly Mixture – Will He Kiss Me Tonight

5.  The Ramones – I Want You Around

Ralph:  To answer this question correctly I’m going to have to take myself back to college….

1. The Promise Ring – Happiness Is All The Rage
2. Weezer – Devotion
3. Paul McCartney – Every Night
4. The Mr. T Experience – I Just Wanna Do It With You

5. Weston – New Shirt / Heather Lewis

 
 

What’s up for the next couple of months?

 

 

Joey:  Hopefully, more writing and home demoing.  I’ve heard musicians say that they try to write a song every day.  That’s unfathomable to me, but I wish that I could do that.  It takes me about a month to write a song and demo it before presenting it to the rest of the band.  We’ve got a few new tunes in the bag though.

Check the website for updates or buy here

BRIDPORT DAGGER – Knife through Water (interview)

Sweet Sweet Music searched the “noir” corners of the garage and found Bridport Dagger. They just released Knife Through Water, a 4 song EP.

Singer/frontman Jason Idnani-Powdrill shares his thoughts about the songs, the recording process and Harry Dean Stanton.

 

The 4 songs on Knife Through Water sound so intense. Did that sound come naturally?

 

 

We did try and write some sunny-sounding pop songs but we only know how to play minor chords and there’s no windows in the studio. Also, we always play like we’re about to die, whether it be to two people and a dog or a crowd of 500 (although I can’t say we’ve ever played to that many people, we certainly have played to two people and a dog).

Harry Dean Stanton is more than just an actor, is he? You must have known that you had something when you finished that song?

 

We did, and it’s really caught on with people. It actually started off being a very slow song, but then took on a life of its own and blossomed into this beautiful, great big bird.

It’s not particularly about Harry Dean Stanton, but it needed a great title and he’s an awesome human being so it somehow fit perfectly. He’s also a connection to many of our cinematic tastes, so it’s us paying tribute to him in a way.

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

 

All of them. The songs are made of our blood, sweat and beer. We feel that the music is just as important as the words, rather than it just being a vehicle for telling a story, or a stylistic choice. Our lyrics tend to unveil themselves over time rather than being straightforward, and I’d also say that’s an apt description of us as people.

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The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

 

It brought us the realisation that it’s now much harder to make any kind of living from music, and also that we’re never going to be part of any trend (thank goodness) or part of the hype machine. Whilst the Internet does prove useful in getting your music out to people quickly, there’s just so much stuff swirling around online that there’s still very much a need for word of mouth unless you have a massive promotional force behind you.

Thankfully, the word of mouth is starting to kick in and it’s here that the Internet comes in useful regarding direct communication, so it’s all relative, I guess.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

As I’m married, I decided instead to imagine a young fella wooing a girl he’s met with the following late-night selection:
Townes Van Zandt – Kathleen
Roy Orbison – In Dreams
Tindersticks – A Night in
Gallon Drunk – In the Long Still Night

The Flaming Stars – London After Midnight

When she agrees on the second date, he’ll take her to one of our gigs.

What’s up for the next couple of months?

 

We’re planning on doing a very limited run of the EP on CD (how quaint), and are also planning to record a double A side for release either later this year or early next year.

We’ve just started working with an independent theatre company – Crooked Tree – on providing the music for an immersive performance that’ll be happening in October at the Brunel Chamber in Rotherhithe (Docklands area of London).

 It’s all very arty, but it’s good to approach making music in a different way than just playing gigs and slinging out records. It’s also a great way to reach a different audience that might not particularly have encountered you at a standard gig too.

We’d like to play some European dates (here’s hoping England comes to it’s senses and votes to stay in the European Union), and we’ve got plenty of new material to work on, so keep your ears open and if anybody has a spare £50,000 available we could certainly put that to good use.”

Check FB for updates
Buy here
Watch here

DAVID BROOKINGS and the Average Lookings (interview)

He is getting the best reviews ever for his latest release. Sweet Sweet Music talked with David Brookings about David Brookings and the Average Lookings. This one is from Power Pop heaven.

 

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

The fun thing about this album was the crew we worked with. Our engineer / producer really got the retro vibe I was going for with the sound, and he liked a lot of the same bands I like (Oasis, Badfinger, Fountains of Wayne, etc.)

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

On the new album I would say ‘The Optimist’ or ‘Time to Go’. But this is my 7th album, so for overall I would say to listen to ‘Sand in the Hourglass’, from the 2nd album. It’s about not giving up, and that’s my whole thing .

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?  

Tough question. Well, it brought me a great job working as a tour guide at Sun Studio in Memphis, TN. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Howlin’ Wolf all started their careers in that legendary place, and it was an honor to work there>

The outro on Don’t Stop to Doubt Yourself comes from soft rock heaven. Or is that a stupid thing to say?

Ah Thanks. That is a fairly simple 3 chords played over and over again, and then my brother-in-law played the guitar solo on it. He’s such a good player. He just went in and nailed it

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Were you expecting all those great review when you finished the album? Did you knew you had something?!

The reaction and response has been tremendous. It just came out a week ago, and I was hoping people would like it. Yes, I’m very proud of this one. But I’m a little surprised at all the new friends and people I’ve met because of it. I just keep writing songs and putting out music, because that’s what I know and love. I’ll always keep at it .

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

OK, if I were picking 5 songs. This could change on any given day, but here goes…(1) Hold on Tight by ELO (2) I Love LA by Randy Newman (3) Jumpin Jack Flash by the Rolling Stones (4) Someday by the Strokes (5) Sadness is a Blessing by Lykke Li.

What’s up for the next couple of months?

We just got a great gig opening for Bryan Adams in a few weeks. So we’re excited about that. Other than that, hopefully will keep having things happen with the new album, and start writing new songs.

Check the website for updates

VISTA BLUE – Baseball Collection Vol 1 (interview)

Sweet Sweet Music talked with Mike Patton of Vista Blue, a power pop band from Nashville. They just released a 20 songs baseball-themed album. To know Vista Blue is to love them, so check this out

How does a Vista Blue- day in the studio look like? Your songs sounds like you are having fun. But I am sure it is not all that?

It’s definitely all fun! That’s the only reason to still be doing this. I thought I would’ve stopped a long time ago, but for whatever reason, these catchy songs keep popping in my head. So we keep going.

These days, we do most recording over the internet actually. The technology has finally brought us to where we can make really fun music in totally separate locations.

So typically I’ll have a bunch of songs ready, and I’ll start with some basic demos. I’ll send these to Todd or Mark or whoever might be helping on the tracks. But it also helps me work on vocal arrangements for a few days. Then I’ll usually come back and re-record all of my vocals.

From there, if someone else is jumping in, they might e-mail me files, or I’ll go to Mark’s house or something and record his parts there.

But again, this whole process is fun. In addition to making these recordings, it also sometimes helps me stay in touch with people I don’t get to see every day. There are phone calls and emails discussing parts, chords, arrangements, etc. Of course, the other side is that it is often just me in a room by myself for hours!

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

I don’t know that it could be summed up in one song, but I guess a great start would be something like Pulp’s “Mis-shapes.” – “Oh we weren’t supposed to be/We learnt too much at school now we can’t help but see/That the future that you’ve got mapped out/Is nothing much to shout about…”

I guess my main thing is to never do something only because other people think you “should” do it. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone, do what you want.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?  

Honestly, I know a lot of indie people do not like the current state of the industry, particularly those who were managing to actually scratch out a living 10-15 years ago by touring nonstop and selling merch. And I definitely appreciate that lifestyle and that commitment. But yeah, things have changed. And for us, it’s now easier to record, easier to share our music, and in many ways, easier to get people to listen.

There are so many blogs, podcasts, and indie radio shows now that we’re getting support from people who never would’ve heard of us back when we were playing shows every week.

I know overall we have access to so much good music, so it can be a lot to get through and a lot of links to click on. But I’m finding great new bands every day, and fortunately people are finding US every day!

How competitive is Nashville? Mostly we only hear the stories about mainstream country and I know about East Nashville being (or at least was) alt.country heaven. But what is it like being independent in a city like Nashville? 

Yeah, Nashville is not really the place for a band like us. When I first moved here in 2008, we started The Loblaws, did a record for Mutant Pop, and had a lot of fun with that band for a couple of years. But we had more people at every show outside of Nashville than we did at any of our local shows, which is kind of telling.

It isn’t really even “competition.” I think it’s more that everyone here plays or has played music. A lot of people move here for that reason. There are 100 shows every night. It’s just tough to stand out, I guess.

Of course last weekend’s CMA Fest had country fans waiting in line for 12 hours before concerts, and our interstates were all clogged up, so obviously it’s working for that side of music.

For punk music, there does seem to be a growing scene here with more and more houses doing shows. If that had been going on when The Loblaws were around, that would’ve been great. But now that our music is more on the “power pop” side of things, we don’t really play live shows here very often. We did play the International Pop Overthrow here last month, and that was a blast.

What about baseball? 

Ha, well baseball is fun! To me, it’s just one of the purest games, at least from a strategy standpoint. It’s like chess, except when the managers make their moves on the chess board, the pieces still need to execute.

And I find it’s just a lot of fun to write and sing about. Baseball can be used as a metaphor in almost any way. Having a coach who won’t put you in the game is no different from having a boss who just doesn’t understand what you’re capable of. A bad teammate is the same as a bad co-worker. We all work with a guy who is a jerk but gets all of the credit. Or a guy who will screw up and hit into a double play, no matter how many chances he’s given. But also, when you hit a home run, it helps people forget about the four prior at-bats when you struck out.

Before we started Vista Blue in 2014, I was writing a few baseball songs for my friends in The Ueckers. But before I knew it, I had like 15 songs. Those guys write a ton of songs too and didn’t really need mine. So when we started this band, I had all of those ideas, and it was an easy first release for us. From there the ideas just kept flowing, so we’ve now done a total of four baseball releases. And it’s hard to stop because now all of our friends keep giving me baseball song ideas.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

This is another really tough one. Assuming I didn’t want to go ALL Beach Boys on her so soon, I guess it’d be something like…

Beach Boys – “I’m Waiting For the Day”
Weezer – “Falling For You”
Beatles – “Here, There and Everywhere”
Belle & Sebastian – “Another Sunny Day”

Mamas and Papas – “I Saw Her Again”

This is just some of the greatest music ever released. But hopefully on the second date she’d ask for the rest of the mixtape because there is a lot left out here!

What’s up for the next couple of months?

We are not stopping. We’ve released eight EPs since April 2015, and we’re planning on four more this year!

First we’re taking the sports idea in a new direction and are recording an Olympics-themed EP to celebrate the Rio games in August. Then we’re doing an EP in September that actually may not have a theme. That’s kind of undecided, and we have a lot of song ideas to pick from.

Then later this year we’ll do a horror-themed EP in October and a Christmas EP in December.

I’d also like to say that my band Sally Stitches, a New Orleans power pop band from 2002-2005, will be releasing a reunion EP this month through Radiant Radish and Ice Cream Man. And that one is a lot of fun as well.

So we’re very busy right now! Which is great.

If you want to hear more, go here or check the FB website for updates.

EYTAN MIRSKY – Funny Money (interview)

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Sweet Sweet Music talked with Eytan Mirsky about funny songs on his new album, Funny Money. Eytan also shares his thoughts about the current state of the music industry and the thin line between ‘humor’ and ‘pathos’.  If you don’t know Eytan’s music but you like, for example, Peter Wolf’s solo albums, you should start listening to Funny Money.

 

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

The most fun thing about making “Funny Money” was probably bringing in some of the “extra” musicians we needed to expand the arrangements beyond the usual guitar, bass drums.  For example, we had Arno Hecht come in and play sax on “It’s a Jungle Out There.” Arno is legendary for his work with the Uptown Horns, and he’s played with Peter Wolf and Keith Richards, among others.  We also had Robbie Kondor, who’s played keyboards with just about everyone, come in and play accordion on “My Dog Likes Your Dog.”

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

It’s hard to say that one song would be enough, but maybe “The Weed in Your Garden” from my album “The Year of the Mouse.” It walks the line between humor and pathos pretty well.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

At my highest point, the music industry brought me the opportunity to do theme songs for a number of successful films. Or maybe that wasn’t the music industry – it was the film industry! Really, the music industry hasn’t brought me anything, when I think about it.  I’m in the same situation everyone else is in: the internet makes it easy to reach people, but fewer people buy music.

It must be very hard to write a funny song that stays funny for a long while. At least … That’s what I have heard. You have a couple that are very funny! What’s the trick? Shel Silverstein comes to my mind, is he an inspiration?

I do like some of Shel Silverstein’s songs, particularly some of the songs he wrote for Dr. Hook, but I wouldn’t say he was an inspiration.  The funny songs I’ve written are just a reflection of my personality. I don’t think you can sit down and write funny songs if you aren’t naturally a funny person. But beyond that, I think it’s important to write good songs that happen to be funny as opposed to songs that are just jokes. If a song is good all around and it’s based on something everyone can relate to, the humor won’t grow old.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

Oh God, if only I knew what the secret to this was! I’ll just go with my first instincts here:
“Maybe Tomorrow” by Mink Deville
“All the Way” by Frank Sinatra
“Play Me” by Neil Diamond
“The Vulture of Love” by Eytan Mirsky
“Kiss Me Baby” by the Beach Boys

What’s up for the next couple of months?

I’m doing a show in Madrid on Friday June 24 at a club called Wharf 73. I’m also finishing up a new song called “Me in My Natural State.”  It’s a long story, but the title was suggested by someone unknown to me. When I unveil the song I’ll find out who gave me the title.

Check the website for updates

 

RYAN HAMILTON – Hell of a Day (interview)

We talked to Ryan Hamilton about his latest album Hell of a Day, a power pop and “sunny singer songwriter” gem. Let’s hear what he has to say about covering REO Speedwagon, working with Linus of Hollywood,  greedy assholes and touring with Ginger Wildheart.

 

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What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

 

The whole thing was such a fun experience, it’s hard to pick one particular moment. But I recorded the album in California with my friend Linus Of Hollywood. I think that’s my favorite thing about the making of the album.

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

 

I would have to say Freak Flag. It’s got a cool mix of pop, singer songwriter, and rock n roll. Plus, the subject matter is very close to my heart. We should all be free to enjoy being ourselves. Even if we are weird, or “nerds” etc… Unfortunately, we live in a society dominated by the internet… and bullies can hide behind computer screens.

I don’t mention REO Speedwagon as one of my favorite bands on a daily basis? What about you? Actually I like them a lot. What about the cover?

 

They seem to be one of those bands that people never take too seriously. But they have so many great songs! I think “Take It On The Run” is one of the all time great love songs. I had wanted to cover it for a long time… and this solo album gave me the opportunity. I really like the chilled out, darker direction we took it.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

 

The music industry is full of greedy assholes. I got burned REALLY bad by some people who were supposed to be my “friends”. People who I thought I could trust. People who were supposed to be looking out for me and helping me build and nurture my career. But really, they were just interested in themselves. If it didn’t benefit THEM they didn’t care what I had to say. Even went out of their way to talk shit and try to make things more difficult for me. It was terrible.

So, what did the changes in the music industry bring me? It brought me my freedom. Things like Kickstarter and/or PledgeMusic give artists like me the opportunity to break out on my own and leave those greedy assholes behind. I LOVE IT!

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

The Black Crowes – Twice As Hard
Tom Petty – Free Fallin’
The Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Women
Paolo Nutini – Coming Up Easy
David Bowie – Rebel Rebel

If she doesn’t go or it after THAT, she wasn’t worth dating anyway. Haha!

What’s up for the next couple of months?

 

Going on tour in the UK, supporting Ginger Wildheart. Then off to Scotland to record a new album!

Check Ryan’s website for updates
Buy Hell of a Day here or buy a vinyl copy here

Check out the videos

 

THE TOP BOOST (interview)

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Sweet Sweet Music talked with Hunter Gogo about the release of the new ep, Turn Around.

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last ep?

The most exciting part about making the Turn Around EP was how it constantly evolved. Almost everything ended up different than we thought it would. We used instruments we never planned to use; we would come into the studio thinking we were going to record a guitar track but end up recording a minimoog synthesizer line. The spontaneity of the recording sessions shaped this record. It was exciting to see how we changed and grew as a band while recording the EP.

If we want to know you, what song do we have to listen to? And why?

The title track, Turn Around, would have to be the standout song for the band. Particularly in regards to production and arrangement. At one point we didn’t even want to record it, but when we rewrote the lyrics it was the start of an amazing process in the studio. The track has the dreamy, psychedelic jangle we wanted, but managed to bring an unforeseen dark, swirling depth to the record. We knew we had made something unusual, and that we must treat each song with the same care. The sessions afterwards were produced with Turn Around in mind, and that’s when the record really came together.

What’s the story behind the band name?

We spent a long time thinking of several different names.  Some were already taken, and some just didn’t suit what we were going for. We needed something that we could identify our sound with. One summer night on the roof of the studio, we stumbled upon a great idea. Our favourite guitar amp ,the Vox AC30 had all along been holding the proper name for the band. A special input on the AC30 called “Top Boost” essentially allows more tone control for your guitar, and specifically an increase in brilliance. It seemed like the perfect idea. “The Top Boost” just popped into our heads. We felt it related to our love of jangly guitars, old gear, and way of recording. It had to be the name!

Turn Around has been described as perfect power pop, as if it were made in the 80s. Was that the sound you were looking for?

We are massively influenced by 1960’s pop music. It naturally comes out that way while composing. What we went for was just what we thought sounded right. To build each song properly we put together a sound collage filled with our favourite instruments. We carefully placed everything in the appropriate spots. The Rickenbacker 12 string became a big part of our sound very quickly. The original idea we had was to make a shimmering, psychedelic record. It ended up even more dreamy than we had hoped.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

We feel like we haven’t seen much of any music industry yet. It hasn’t really affected us. We mainly use the internet to get ourselves across to people. That is a big help for sure.

She tells you to decide on a 5-song mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on.

The Rain, The Park and Other Things – The Cowsills

Hello It’s Me – Todd Rundgren

She’s American – The 1975

Time Of The Season – The Zombies

Never My Love – The Association

What’s up for the next couple of months?

We plan on playing shows, while at the same time working on our next record. There are tons of new ideas and tricks we have planned. We really want to make the most of our live show to give people a different experience than they get from listening to our record. It’s all going to be very exciting. We promise!

Check FB for updates

ELVYN – Valley of the Kilowatt Hour (interview)

ELVYN’s Everybody is Calling My Name is one of my favorite songs of the last couple of months.

“… the vibe was right and of course the guitar assault at the end was executed flawlessly.  Reminiscent of a 70’s Eagles vibe.”

Check out what else  Joel (Drums, Vocals) and Ryan Beerman (Lead guitar, Lead Vocals) have to say about this song  and Elvyn’s last album, Valley of the Kilowatt Hour, a power pop gem.

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What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album? 

 

Ryan – The real fun came in creating the over dub tracks after the bed tracks were laid down,  the lead parts and vocal harmonies are what we really focused on and we spent a lot of time making sure each song had something special in it for the listener.

 

Joel – It was a long process recording “Valley of the kilowatt hour”, each song was recorded several times, different ways, faster, slower…. But it was fun to hear the songs grow and take shape with each take.  We really wanted each song to stand on it’s own. We purposely kept most of the songs under or around the 3 minute mark.  The idea was that once the album was over, the listener would want to immediately play it again… leaving you wanting more.

 

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

 

Ryan – A.M….. it’s about a realization that no matter what sound your trying to capture, it’s always going to have to live up to the original great rock bands that started it all from the early 50s-mid 70s. It’s really out of the love for the song writing and the tones of that era, that we keep chasing the sounds we can’t replace.

 

What’s the story behind the band name?

 

Ryan- It was the name of the evil mad man character “Elvin Atombender” on the 1980s video game “Impossible Mission”. We just swapped out the “I” for a “Y” and the rest is history.

 

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not? 

 

Ryan – We’ve avoided trying to seek out a record deal that can force you to “sell your soul”, we are a very independent band. We are in charge of every aspect from the production and recording right down to the mixing of the music. I think the industry has had a bit of a melt down because artists are becoming more and more able to hold onto the ownership of their music and have a say in how their music is used. Being independent hasn’t brought fame but it’s given us a boat load of pride.

 

Joel – It is easier than ever to record a great album in a home studio.  The need to have “Big Label” push is not as attractive as it once was. If a band is willing to put in some hard work and willing to self promote themselves, you’d be surprised at the success you can achieve.

Everyone is calling my name …. That is a killer song between a lot of other killer songs. What’s the story behind it? And why do I want to hear that guitar part again and again and again :-)?

 

Ryan – “Everyone is calling my name” is a personal song about the pressures that come from being self- employed and the inability to ever just turn work off, and have a moment to yourself. It’s about sleepless nights and a realization that you only have one life to live and you’ve already lived it.

 

Joel – We recorded that one several times, in different keys and slightly different tempos.  In the end, the album version is the take we settled on, the vibe was right and of course the guitar assault at the end was executed flawlessly.  Reminiscent of a 70’s Eagles vibe.

 

Who is the best musician in the world nobody has heard of yet?

 

Ryan – I love the song writing style of the band “The Sadies”, fantastic guitar playing and music that can be extremely emotional at times. They are a fairly well known band in Ontario, but deserve worldwide recognition in my honest opinion.

 

 

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

The Shirelles – Will you love me tomorrow

Santo and Johnny- Sleep walk

Everly Brothers – Oh so many years

Neil young- Only love can break your heart

Willie Nelson- Always on my mind

 

She’d probably have a wedding planned by the 3rd date.

 

What’s up for the next couple of months?

 

Ryan – Hopefully record sales 🙂

 

Joel – We will be further promoting the new album with some live dates.  We also have our latest single “Ellie” featured in an upcoming episode of “Private Eyes” starring Jason Priestley.  That song has done well for us.

Check ELVYN’s website for updates

EASY ROSCOE – PIÑATA (interview)

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PARTY ROCK & POWER POP (from Nashville). Very very good PARTY ROCK & POWER POP!

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

This time around in the studio we had much more confidence in ourselves as a band and playing as a single unit. Because of that we are excited about the sound we got out of these songs which to us sound more cohesive than our last album.

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

We have so many different sounds depending on who wrote the song that it’s impossible to nail one song down. I think Roll Baby Roll and Green Leather jacket are a good glimpse in to our “fun” rock side, but we also have more emotionally charged songs like Never Lie to You and sing alongs like By the Water and We Cry. So basically listen to the entire new EP lol!

What’s the story behind the band name?

A few of the band members were watching a true crime documentary and heard the term roscoe being used as a reference to a gun which they thought was a cool term. We started out more acoustic based so we put easy in front of roscoe to chill things out and ever since we’ve been Easy Roscoe.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

We do everything in house and on our own so we don’t have a great view in to the actual music industry such as record labels, but I think the social media aspect of music now allows every artist direct access to their fans and music lovers in general. With the internet, everyone has access to 3 billion possible consumers so it’s a great platform to display your music.

Somebody must have decided to turn Never Lie To You into an epic? How special is it to write such a exceptional good song?

Nice of you to say that! That particular song started out just like all our other songs in that someone brought the chords, lyrics, and melody to the band and everyone wrote their own part from there. We never set out to write an epic song, but glad it sounds that way!

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

If we’re talking about any 5 songs ever made, that’s really tough! Everyone in the band has very different taste in music so it would change depending on who you ask, but I think we would all agree that any Beatles song is fine by us.

What’s up for the next couple of months?

We are doing a few weekend runs to Alabama, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. Our next show in Nashville is in July and other than that we’ll continue to write new songs and keep grinding away!

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