EVERET ALMOND – S/T (Q&A)

‘I’m never really fully satisfied with anything that I do, but this record was extremely personal to me and when I was finished with it, I was actually really happy with it.’, says Everet Almond.

He has just released a new EP, called ‘Ten Days’ but we spoke about the record he released earlier this year, titled ‘Everet Almond’.

 

 

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What was the most fun you had during the making of the last album?

 

This is the first album I recorded completely by myself – the writing, playing (almost) all the instruments, producing, recording, mixing, and mastering.  But my favorite part of the recording process (and my favorite parts to listen to) were the few parts that I didn’t play – which were the drums on ‘Thought This Through’, the snare drum/military cadence on ‘Beautiful Neighbor’, and drums on the little jam at the end of ‘Black Car’, which were all played by my son Waylon, who was 6 years old at the time.  My daughter Nelle (3 years old at the time) does some singing on that ‘Black Car’ jam and she starts the record with some illegible interjection as well.

 

But the fact that Waylon could make those parts happen really impressed me and I was incredibly proud of him.  Watching him with the headphones on and the click track metronome in his ears as he pretty much nailed it on the 2nd or 3rd take is something that will always be etched in my mind.

 

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

 

I’m never really fully satisfied with anything that I do, but this record was extremely personal to me and when I was finished with it, I was actually really happy with it. I set up a studio in my attic and it was me myself and I for 2 months just grinding it out. Track by track.  It’s pretty much my memoirs of the last 15 years, from high school to the present day. All the right and wrong choices I’ve made in life are all there in the lyrics.

I guess I knew I was on to something during the writing process. I wrote 90% of the record before I ever recorded one note and I was really excited about the whole biography/concept record thing.  I basically taught myself how to engineer, mix and master while recording this album and was surprised when I would finish a song and it didn’t sound like garbage!

 

 

 

 

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

 

Freedom. Not being tied to a label or taking anyone else’s money to record means that I didn’t have to listen to anyone else’s ideas and opinions while doing it. Everything on the record sounds like I wanted it to sound. That was incredibly liberating.

 

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

 

To me, every time someone listens to it and tells me how much they loved it and which parts and songs and lyrics they specifically liked on it are so satisfying.  But true success to me is when my peers – fellow musicians and songwriters – tell me how much they like it.  Two weeks ago I received some very kind words from my idol and absolute favorite songwriter of all time, Sir Paul McCartney, about this record – that’s more success than I could have ever hoped for!!!

Can you still recall the moment music became important to you? What happened?

 

My Dad is a great drummer and introduced me to music at a very early age.  I’m a drummer first and was actually only a drummer til my 13th birthday when my parents bought me an Epiphone acoustic guitar – which is the acoustic guitar that I used on this album.  From that day forward, music was the most important thing in my life.  I wrote my first proper song about 2 weeks later, and from then til now music was all I ever thought about.

 


 

Don’t forget to check the new EP as well.

 

 

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GENTLE HEN – Be Nice To Everyone (Q&A)

‘What I mean is, we were able to capture the mood, expression, and intention of the songs in a way that feels honest and sincere. The goofy ones are goofy, the clever ones are clever, and the moving ones are moving.’, says Henning Ohlenbusch about the new Gentle Hen release ‘Be Nice To Everyone’.

I couldn’t agree more. What a gem!

 

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

 

In general, I write the songs in solitude while sitting on the sofa with my red acoustic guitar or while I’m walking through my little New England town, arranging and rearranging words in my head. One of the great pleasures of my life is the first time that I present a song to the band. We’ll be sitting around in the studio with our instruments and I’ll start to play the song. By the time I’m done: Brian, Max, and Ken are generally already playing along working out parts, jumping in with inspired suggestions. It’s an incredible moment to hear one of my songs take on this new life and to watch those guys work their magic in that little-carpeted room.

 

 

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you know you were on to something special?

 

I was pretty sure that we had a good collection of songs. Some of them, we’d been playing live already and they felt really nice. I also thought that the arrangements and performances in the recordings were just right for the songs. While recording, we generally kept things simple and fast and inspired, struggling to not to over-think and over-work everything.

 

But it was when I first got the preliminary mixes from Justin Pizzoferrato that I truly heard the album as a listener rather than a creator. I knew I’d like his approach since I already was familiar with much of his work with Body/Head, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Lou Barlow, Suitcase Junket, Speedy Ortiz, J Mascis, Sonic Youth, and And the Kids, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the powerful, natural, and full sound he was able to achieve. I had already attempted to mix the album myself, having done all the recording, but he was able to make us sound more like us than I was. Hearing his mixes for the first time was a great moment, the music worked as a movie soundtrack in the car while driving through the small winding roads of the Berkshires in the early autumn.

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The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

 

There is an artistic success and public success. I think the record is artistically successful. That’s not to imply it belongs in a museum or that it’s a national treasure or anything. What I mean is, we were able to capture the mood, expression, and intention of the songs in a way that feels honest and sincere. The goofy ones are goofy, the clever ones are clever, and the moving ones are moving. Of course, this is purely subjective. But to me, artistic success simply means that the creator was able to express what they sought out to express.

 

I set the bar pretty low for public success. If one person is moved by the music, well, then that’s a success. I’ve received enough comments now in which people expressed how the songs have helped them or moved them or amused them that I feel satiated. Anything more is just more and I’ll lap it up like a kid eating too much ice cream. There’s no greater feeling than learning that someone is listening to your music. (Note to everyone: let the artists know when you are interacting with their stuff. It feeds them.)

 

 

Do you feel part of a community?

 

Yes, this little town of Northampton, MA is, for whatever reason, an incredible mecca for songwriters and performers. There’s wonderful, creative music coming out at all levels in underground house concerts, at multiple small venues, and in large concert halls. Besides those at the various area colleges, we’ve got two incredible radio stations (WRSI and WXOJ) that support local independent music. We have international heroes like Frank Black and J Mascis and tiny never heard-of-them bands and it’s not terribly unusual for them to cross paths and share stages. I’m not sure what it is about this and the neighboring towns but there’s a real community of support and collaboration and I’m so pleased to have found it.

 

Lately, I’ve found another community online on Twitter. It sounds silly and superficial but it’s been so great to find all these people around the world that share a love for music. I’m pretty sure we’re not all bots.

 

Magic can happen when you are playing in front of a crowd. Can you recall such a moment?

 

I experienced one of these moments just last week at our album release concert. We’re playing in this beautiful cozy listening venue called the Parlor Room in Northampton, MA. The audience sat at tables with flickering candles and bottles of BYO-wine. We invited a couple of guests up on stage, Lesa Bezo from the Fawns (on guitar and vocals) and Andrew Goulet of Night School )on pedal steel guitar) and we kicked into our last song, the gentle atmospheric ballad Rock and Roll Camper.

 

I wrote the song years ago in the basement of my parents’ house and somehow it has followed me through all my bands through the years. We recorded it when we were called School for the Dead on our first full length The New You. During the show, as the song ambled along, I suddenly really tuned in to the sound of the music. This band of incredible players was creating the nicest lush warm embrace. It was so lovely and pure sounding and the crowd has fully tuned in, and it kind of just turned my brain on its side. I was so taken aback by the mood in the room that I completely skipped a section of singing. I forgot where I was and the band, of course, didn’t miss a beat and followed right along. The song took over and we floated atop of it. The cold cruel autumn wind outside was forgotten. Time stopped and sped by simultaneously.

 

These are moments that you dig for as a performer and when you stumble across one, there’s nothing like it.

 

LAST GREAT DREAMERS – 13th Floor Renegades (Q&A)

‘I knew we had created something special and our finest work to date.’, says Slyder about Last Great Dreamers’ latest release 13th Floor Renegades.

‘Intelligent Power Pop from former Glam Punkers’, writes Vive Le Rock! magazine.

Go check it out, you will find yourself singing along very easily after the first listen.

 

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At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

 

I think throughout the process right from the first writing session we were aware we had some gems of songs in the making. As we arranged the songs with the full band it was exciting to see the songs develop and take shape, so from then into the recording studio was all a special time. For me personally, I got a huge buzz out of adding my lead guitar parts and harmony vocals as a lot of those bits were written and developed at the time, but I guess the ultimate moment was after we had mixed everything and we had a bit of a listening party with a few close friends of the band; that was very emotional for me, I knew we had created something special and our finest work to date.

 

 

 

Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why? 

 

I am a huge music fan and of the emotions music and songs can provoke. With artists I love like Manic Street Preachers and Morrissey, they are both very passionate in their writing. I find it easy to get inside the lyrics and mold them to what could be my situation or emotions at the time. One song that means a lot to me that kind of sums up the whole reason why we do this is ‘Ballad of Mott the Hoople’ by Mott The Hoople. There are a few lines that in particular that I love…

 

I changed my name in search of fame
To find the Midas touch
Oh I wish I’d never wanted then
What I want now twice as much

So rock’n’roll’s a loser’s game
It mesmerizes and I can’t explain
The reasons for the sights and for the sounds
The greasepaint still sticks to my face
So what the hell, I can’t erase
The rock’n’roll feeling from my mind

 

Magic can happen when you are playing in front of a crowd. Can you recall such a moment?

 

Yes, I can, it was very vivid and a real moment. LGD was on UK tour with The Quireboys and playing at Holmfirth Picturedrome which is a lovely old theatre in the north of England. We were playing ‘White Light, Black Heart’ from our last album and during an audience participation bit, the lighting engineer put the spotlight on a huge glitterball. The stage was an old-fashioned built-in wooden one and the fantastic crowd was illuminated by the stars from the glitterball. It’s hard to explain the feeling but at that moment I was transported back in time to when I was a young teenager at gigs, at the front looking up at my idols. I think it was a combination of the old theatre, wooden stage, the lighting, but I suddenly had a realization of what I was doing but from the teenage me as if I was looking up at myself from the audience. I guess you could say it was an out of body experience.

 

 

 

 


What would change if Disney would call and tell you they are going to use your song in their next movie?

 

Income! The biggest drawback of being in an independent band is the restrictions on budget, so more time for recording, bigger budget for PR and marketing, the budget for touring and ultimately more time to spend being a musician for 100% of the time rather than having to find additional sources of income.

 

What’s up for the rest of the year?

We have some shows in December, first, we are playing at Planet Rock Radio’s Planet Rockstock Festival in Wales on the 2nd followed by 5 UK headline dates, 7th Birmingham, 8th Glasgow, 9th Sheffield, 15th  London & 16th Southampton.

 


 

Last Great Dreamers with their distinctly British take on power-pop are probably the UK rock scene’s best kept secret. They built a formidable live reputation in the mid 90’s with their shimmering glam style. Their debut album Retrosexual, a love letter to the early ’70s glam scene, caught the attention of Kerrang! magazine, resulting in an awards nomination for ‘best new band’ before tragedy and disillusionment forced the band to call it a day.

In 2014 they staged a fabulous comeback releasing an album of rarities, the critically acclaimed ‘Crash Landing In Teenage Heaven’ and have since in 2015 toured with Runaway’s singer Cherie Currie & in 2016 opened for bands such as the Darkness, Terrorvision, Hey Hello & Tigertailz and released 2 brand new singles ‘Dope School’, & ‘Glitterball Apocalypse’ both achieving no.1 status on the TBFM/HRH radio network charts.

Promoting their 3rd album Transmission From Oblivion, which received rave reviews in both Classic Rock & Vive Le Rock magazines to name a few, in 2017 LGD took to the road on a hugely successful 20 date UK tour as special guests to The Quireboys firmly cementing their reputation as a class live act full of energy, emotion, grit & glamour! Also that year they played the main stages at Cambridge Rock Festival & HRHAOR Festivals in UK & Ibiza!

In 2018 LGD released their 4th album ’13th Floor Renegades’ to wide critical acclaim being described as “possibly the band’s finest hour”. They have relentlessly toured including their 1st trips to Spain & Norway as well as a spring UK tour & numerous festivals & support slots with the likes of The Alarm & Dan Baird.

 

 

 

SCOTT GAGNER – Pins & Needles (Q&A)

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‘I’ve been listening to lots of Guided By Voices and remembering that things don’t need to be so slick.’, says Scott Gagner about the new record he is working on.

But we need to talk about his 2017 release Pins & Needles first. So we did.

 

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

 

That’s easy: tracking seven songs live with a killer band in seven hours. The drums were being handled by the legendary Pete Thomas, of Elvis Costello and The Attractions fame. He was friendly with an acquaintance of mine, Jason Weinheimer, who introduced us. Pete seemed to like my demos, and agreed to fly up from LA for the one-day session. Once that was set, Jason and his friend Chris Michaels decided to fly out from Arkansas to play guitar and bass, respectively. Add to that my guitarist friend, Arnie Kim, and I had somehow assembled a world-class band, virtually overnight. I sang live vocals with the band, often playing rhythm guitar as well. The whole day had a very fun, loose vibe. We didn’t have time to get precious. Still, Pete was often the one encouraging us to “try one more.” He was by far the biggest name in the room, but was easily the most prepared, and always listened to playbacks with his eyes closed, in total concentration. He even indulged us with old “war stories” from his 70’s touring days. I’ve been obsessed with his drumming since I was a kid, so, in all honesty, this ended up being one of the biggest days of my life thus far.

 

 

 

Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?

 

I have thousands, but let’s go with two. First, “Something so Right” by Paul Simon (off the fabulous LP “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon”, 1973). This song contains one of my favorite lyrical passages of all time:

 

They’ve got a wall in China,

It’s a thousand miles long,

To keep out the foreigners,

They made it strong,

And I’ve got a wall around me,

That you can’t even see,

It took a little time,

To get next to me

 

It’s relatable, funny, macro, micro, external, internal, wry, vulnerable, and incredibly clever. Paul has an uncanny ability to take a well known cultural phenomenon and use it as a vehicle to dissect some internal emotional truth. The song “Graceland” is another great example of this.

 

The other song I wish I had written is “Solar Sister” by The Posies (“Frosting on the Beater” LP, 1993). Melody is extremely important to me, and this song has one of the best verse melodies ever written, fabs included. It’s fairly straightforward if you try to analyze it (a little 3-note ascending melody that repeats, slightly higher, harmonized), but there’s something magical going on that defies analyzation. I’ve been lucky enough to work with the song’s author Ken Stringfellow for a few years, and I asked him about writing it. He just shrugged and said it sort of tumbled out of him in 30 minutes. Then I quit music.

 

 

Magic can happen when you are playing in front of a crowd. Can you recall such a moment?

 

My last show in San Francisco (as part of the 13th Annual “International Pop Overthrow” Festival) was very special. I’ve started experimenting with going off-microphone for small portions of the show to help draw people in by singing softer. I did so for a song called “I’ve Taken a Shine To You,” standing right on the edge of the stage, barely strumming my guitar. Luckily, the approach worked, and you could hear a pin drop. The song was written for my daughter, so it’s already fairly emotional for me to sing it. I got to the third verse which goes “Like the seasick to the land / Like the fallen to the helping hand / Like the broken heart to the blues / I’ve taken a shine to you”, made eye contact with a few members of the audience, and nearly fell apart. In that moment, I was connecting the lyric to each person I scanned in the crowd — how every one of us needs a helping hand from time to time. I pulled it together and finished the song, but it was a very intense, very real moment of connection to the crowd. The applause at the end seemed to indicate that they felt something too.

 

 

So what about putting your ultimate band together? No restrictions. No limitations. If you want David Bowie on backing vocals and Prince on guitar, go ahead. What would the band look like? And what is the song you will start jamming on. To find out it if this really works?

 

Pete Thomas, Drums (Elvis Costello, Ron Sexsmith, everybody)

Gerard Love, Bass, Backing Vocals (Teenage Fanclub)

Ken Stringfellow, Keys, Guitars, Backing Vocals (The Posies, Big Star, REM)

Doug Gillard, Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals (Nada Surf, Guided By Voices)

 

We’d probably start with “Rain” by The Beatles. The fact that I’ve played/recorded with two of these people is still staggering to me.

 

 

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

 

Not a Second Time (The Beatles)

The Second Time Around (Frank Sinatra)

I Second That Emotion (Smokey Robinson)

Second Hand News (Fleetwood Mac)

 

and:

 

Don’t You Want Me (The Human League)

 

 

What’s up for the rest of the year?

 

I’m 75% done with the follow-up to 2017’s “Pins & Needles.” Most of the basic tracking is done. I just need to rewrite a few lyrics, sing, and fix up a few instrumental parts. I’m doing things a little differently on this LP, playing all the drums and most of the instruments myself — not because I think I play better than anyone, but because I think my particular approach to playing will give it more of a distinctive stamp. I’ve been listening to lots of Guided By Voices and remembering that things don’t need to be so slick. Anyway, the LP should be out mid-next year, 2019.

 

The Rubs – Impossible Dream (Q&A)

‘Working on the next LP at the moment. Hoping to get it released in a year. It’s gonna be all over the place with a loose space/future theme a la Electric Light Orchestra’s ‘Time’.’, says J. Montanaro (Joey Rubbish).

Well, I just found out about ‘Impossible Dream’, brand new to me (Thanks to The Power Pop Show).

Recommended If You Like: The Nerves, Donny Denim, The Jeanies, The Toms, Plimsouls, Nick Lowe, Real Kids, The Fevers, Dutchess & Duke, Nobunny, Rockpile, Wreckless Eric

 

 

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If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join?

I’d ask my other band, The Whiffs and maybe we both could open for Nick Lowe…that would be tite.

Magic can happen when you are playing in front of a crowd. Can you recall such a moment?

I wouldn’t describe it as magic, but I’ve always enjoyed it when some sort of technical difficulty or mistake happens on stage and the band just keeps plowing through it. For me, it’s like a little-unplanned challenge to overcome and laugh at and the audience always appreciates it when they know something’s fucked up and they see it doesn’t bother you. I used to play drums in a band called Uh Bones from Chicago and my drum set would inevitably fall apart every show and I would have to finish a song with a collapsed floor tom leg or a busted kick pedal. That’s fun for me- something different to mix it up.

 

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If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?

Hire Todd Rundgren to produce it and let him decide the rest.

What would change if Disney would call and tell you they are going to use your song in their next movie?

I’d actually make some money for once.

What’s up for the rest of the year?

Working on the next LP at the moment. Hoping to get it released in a year. It’s gonna be all over the place with a loose space/future theme a la Electric Light Orchestra’s ‘Time’. Lots of different synths and keyboards, mellotron, sound clips. I think we’re gonna call it ‘Dust’.

 


 

Joey Rubbish must be stopped, but it’s too late for that. As the architect of every note on this immaculate new LP, he joins the ranks of other groundbreaking modern home-recording luminaries such as Jay Reatard, Nobunny, Mikey Hyde of Medication, and Rich Crook of Lost Sounds/Lover!, all able to cover every instrumental note recorded, as well as the vocals & recording. Not a small feat and worth noting since it’s such a rare thing to pull off, especially when it’s this nuanced and complex, even by power pop standards. And with that, The Rubs second offering is finally here with Impossible Dream, a full spectrum of songs so tightly-knit, so cleverly-written, and so impossibly dreamy, you won’t be able to pull them out of your skull for eternity. Agonizingly articulate pop that can barely contain its own excitement, these songs just keep hitting you, one after another, each better than the last, just continuously pounding their unwavering contagiousness into your brazen heart.

It’s not like The Rubs are reinventing the guitar with Impossible Dream, but this LP has something brilliant humming at its core, something stark, genuine, and extremely vulnerable. And yet so charming and confident, it’s almost dizzying in its bravado. From the instant “Wrong Right Girl” kicks off, it’s a tense and tender tear through the highs and lows of girls, summer, breakups, and tight jeans, drizzled with a reduction of those irresistible vocal hooks. With a run through a series of songs all named after individual heart-breakers (Judy, Amy, Ruby, & Emily), from slow-burners to hyper-charged rockers, there’s such a great variety of styles and deliveries you just don’t see very often in modern power pop. And let’s not forget, the attention to detail, as well as the overall production control, is top-notch, which really adds depth to these incredible songs. Timeless stuff that avoids any & all modern pitfalls, Impossible Dream is a new high watermark in Chicago pop lineage you really need in your life.

CAR CITY (Q&A)

‘There was really no expectation for an LP when we started. We just wanted to try a couple songs and see how it went. We were all into the songs and we seemed to have good chemistry together and we were having fun so we kept going. After getting several songs down it felt right to try and make an LP.’, says Jason Lemke.

With that attitude, Lemke wrote at least one song that hasn’t left my mind now for a couple of weeks. Check out ‘(Don’t) Give Up on Love’ and then check out the rest of this self-titled debut.

 

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

 

the best part was recording the basic tracks: bass, drums, guitars. The basic tracks we did live together and I think it comes through the live feel. It was so fun to bring these song ideas into the studio and hear them come alive. The basic song was there but the arrangement was all done in the studio with everyone contributing.

 

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

 

I think really after the first couple recording sessions we knew it could be more. There was really no expectation for an LP when we started. We just wanted to try a couple songs and see how it went. We were all into the songs and we seemed to have good chemistry together and we were having fun so we kept going. After getting several songs down it felt right to try and make an LP.

 

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

 

With the way, music is so accessible these days it is very difficult to get your songs heard. Social media has changed the way people experience art and you have to try and find a way to stand out. You have to capture their interest very quickly. Touring is so critical to bring the music to the people directly. Car City is not a touring band so we will have to utilize the social media outlet and slowly keep trying to create a buzz that way.

 

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

 

Oh man …Just off the top of my head-

1 Sam Cooke -Bring it on home to me

2 Little River Band -Cool Change

3 Fleetwood Mac – Go your own way

4 Superdrag – Sold you an alibi

5 Weezer – December

 

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The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

 

When we sell out the first pressing

 

Can you still recall the moment music became important to you? What happened?

 

Yes at a very young age I recall my dad playing records and I would jump around and dance. It was a lot of Beatles and other British Invasion type stuff and it fascinated me and I was so happy when these songs were playing. I wanted to keep feeling that way and began listening to everything I could find. Later it became a way to escape but at a young age I just loved how it made me feel and I wanted to keep discovering new music.

Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?

 

So many, let me think…how about “Hot child in the city” by Nick Gilder Its got that great build up to one of the catchiest choruses with that cool guitar hook love it

 

If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?

 

I wouldn’t change a thing. We recorded Car City at Crutch of Memory in Appleton Wisconsin which is full of all these vintage amps and instruments and just has a really great feel. I’d want to be back there. What would change if Disney would call and tell you they are going to use your song in their next movie? I’d be wanting to go back in the studio a lot quicker. I just want to keep creating. Having some extra money would allow me to have the time to focus on the music.

SUPER 8 – HI LO

Robert Pollard and R. Stevie Moore. Eat your heart out! There is a new kid in town! Paul Ryan is about to release his third record this year (end of October on Futureman Records). That, on itself, is enough to talk about, so we did.

 

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Three albums in one year, that was not your goal for 2018, was it?

No, it’s just how it panned out really! “T-T-T-Technicolour Melodies!” was the first album of 2018 to get released (through US label ‘Futureman Records’) but, on the run-up to its release, I’d put out a cover of the BMX Bandits classic ‘Serious Drugs’ song. When the first album came out I think some folks were disappointed that ‘Serious Drugs’ didn’t feature on it so, around this time, I started thinking about maybe putting together another album.

I had a few songs kicking about and this BMX Bandits cover at this point. Once I had got it into my head to perhaps make another SUPER 8 album the songs started flowing and it all just came together really quickly. I think the thing that took the longest time was coming up with an idea for the cover. Once I’d decided on that (ie: me dressed up as a Mexican Bandito filming a giant octopus with a Super 8 camera – and why not, eh?) I had the album ‘in the can’ as they say.

That was Album No.2 ‘Turn Around Or …’ and it got a June release (again through FMR). I don’t know how I ended up doing Album No.3, to be honest, it just sort of happened! I have a vague recollection around about the time of the ‘Turn Around Or …’ release of someone laying down the sonic gauntlet as it were and saying: “I bet you can’t release three albums in one year”. It’s all a bit hazy really but, never one to turn down a musical challenge that’s what I ended up doing. Literally, right off the back of the second album’s release, I started penning what became this third album namely: ‘HI LO’.

 

What overarching theme will we discover in 5 years time? Or is the theme already there?

That’s a hard question! 2018 has been a bit of a musical whirlwind for me really! I’ve stumbled from one album into the next without looking (nor listening!) back. I haven’t really had an opportunity to digest what I’ve put out this year, to be honest, I’m too close to it all to be subjective. There hasn’t really been any master plan, it just sort of happened!

If there is some theme or thread running through this hat trick of albums then I guess it’s just trying to stay true to myself as a writer of songs and try not to let the quality control slip. To just keep striving to release good songs to the best of my abilities. As things stand I feel pretty confident that I’ve put out three strong albums this year but only time will tell really I guess. Like I say, I’m still too close to them right now. Ask me next year!

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What was the biggest change since the last one?

I guess it was the realization (finally!) that: “Yeah, I can do this!” That, as a person, it is music that pretty much defines both who & what I am – it’s my voice! This I reckon has been the biggest change for me. To at last have the confidence to actually believe myself when someone asks me what it is I do and I reply: “I’m a Songwriter”. For such ‘a simple thing’ it’s taken me a long time to discover and accept this and this personal discovery sort of clicked into place somewhere between the making of the second and third album. Prior to that, I felt I’d just been winging it (‘Imposter Syndrome’ I think they call it!)

You lost your faith in social media and found it back again. What happened?

Oh that, yeah! Ha! Ha! Let’s just say I have a bit of a like/hate relationship with Facebook. I signed up to Facebook because I was told that, as a musician in the modern age, you HAD to have an online presence and that Facebook being the biggest social media platform in the world would perhaps be a good place to start. I was totally rubbish at it when I started but I’ve gotten somewhat better at it as time’s gone by … I think! That said, I still see social media as very much of a time suck and much prefer to spend my time making rather than trying to promote music! Anyway, being more of ‘a studio musician’ these days, I see Facebook (et al) very much as a necessary evil to be honest. Without it I wouldn’t be doing this interview for example!

The thing is, for all the time I spent updating stuff and trying to build a fan base for this music I make I sort of hit a virtual brick wall with it all a while back there. In hindsight, I think it’s because I was feeling a little burnt out. On the musical front, I write, perform, record and produce everything myself these days. It can be very rewarding but conversely, it can be very tiring too! I’m also prone to bouts of insomnia and, truth be told, I’m also a bit of a perfectionist on the quiet too! This can be a somewhat heady concoction at times and it has been known for me to work on a piece of music until it’s done (is it ever ‘done’ though?!) … sometimes for days without sleep! It was after one of these music marathons where I almost pulled the plug on the whole social media thing.

I remember thinking at the time that I’d had enough of trying to promote what I do online and that I’d just concentrate my efforts on the music making. I’d had enough of looking at cute cat pics (LOL!) and I’d decided that my time would be better spent just doing what I felt I did best. I didn’t really need social media, did I? It was making me miserable so, really, why bother? No one was listening anyway! Or so I thought … I switched the laptop off and battened down the studio hatches as it were. The thing is, a few days later when I next switched my laptop on, I was inundated with messages from folk all saying pretty much the same thing as in: “Don’t give up!” “Stay with us!” “We dig what you’re doing!” etc. It was a nice feeling and helped changed my mind somewhat. As such I’ve realized that social media does indeed have its place (even for Luddites like me!)

 

 

 

 

Proud?

That’s a short question there Patrick! Proud of what exactly?? Of myself? Of releasing three albums in a one year period? Hmm … no, not really! We’re all just on a journey really aren’t we? There are a hundred different paths to the top of the mountain, you’ve gotta find your own way. CHEERS!
😉

The Foreign Films/ Bill Majoros interview

‘Personally, this album is a defining artistic statement, that was one of the main goals. It’s a personal high water mark, I consider it a success as of now. I set out to create my own musical world, a triple vinyl album with creative artwork and a short story. It was a creative marathon but we crossed the finish line.’, says Bill Majoros about The Record Collector, a labor of love and a tour de force, his pièce de résistance.

foreignfilms

 

 

 

 

 

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

I loved the moments of magical, spontaneous collaboration!

I played many of the instruments on the album but the true joy was when musicians I love made brilliant contributions.

It’s like telepathy; the chemistry between people can create wonderful, unexpected results.

That’s when a song comes to life;

the second the music transforms from black-and-white into technicolor!

Everyone’s heart and soul illuminated the songs.

Lovely moments of joy frozen in time.

Carl Jennings would always come up with mind-blowing bass lines and brilliant recording sonics. Kori Pop, Wim Oudijk, Rebecca Everett and Steve Eggers would create imaginative and beautifully soulful parts.

There was a magical, creative flow to every song on the 3LP set.

Recording can often be a very difficult process, this was the complete opposite..this was highly inspired.

It was amazing fun to work with great visual artists/friends as well. The album has elaborate artwork and a short story included, I truly enjoyed working with everybody. Brilliant people like Greg Vickers, Jenna Gregory, Madoka Kumagai, Brian Hetherman, and Bob Rich.

It was a fantastic day when we finally picked up the finished records from the pressing plant.

It was a wonderful feeling to put the needle on the vinyl and spin the album for the first time!

A dream come true..pure fun.

It was a long, challenging creative and highly emotional process.

There were also moments of deep heartache; ultimately making the LP was a joyous and adventurous journey.

I’ll always remember the small pleasant details and funny,  conversations about everything under the sun!

I even recall a couple of spontaneous “dance parties”!

 

 

 

The meaning of “success” has changed over the years. When will the new album be a success?

To me, success is living a creative, compassionate and loving life.

It’s about pursuing dreams and enjoying each day. It’s about lifelong friends. My definition of success has little to do with economics.

Personally, this album is a defining artistic statement, that was one of the main goals. It’s a personal high water mark, I consider it a success as of now.

I set out to create my own musical world, a triple vinyl album with creative artwork and a short story.

It was a creative marathon but we crossed the finish line.

The ending is now the starting point for the next album because I love the process; it gives me hope for the future.

As I was saying, my idea of success is based on striving for creative goals and day to day happiness & the happiness of those around me.

It’s the pursuit of artistic excellence and the grand unknown. In other words..the song I may write tomorrow.

It’s also about the artistic adventure and following creative bliss.

Success is continuing to grow as an artist and contributing something positive to grand tapestry of music, no matter how obscure.

Commercial success and personal success are different animals.

The two can co-exist but that’s not necessarily the case.

One of my favorite movies “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a commercial and critical flop at the time of release, decades later it’s considered a masterpiece.

Artists such as Nick Drake and Big Star were considered failures initially but are now very highly regarded. Everything is relative.

I always hope that my music reaches a wider audience but that’s not how I define success.

It’s a deeply personal concept.

Being successful is interwoven into positivity, kindness, enjoying life and doing what you love.

Shining a little bit of light in a dark world.

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Do you feel part of a Community, The power pop community?

I think so…Yes!

I’m from Hamilton Ontario which has a fantastic musical community in general.

Ever since I began playing music artistic friends have always been there to help each other.

It’s a diverse, incredibly creative town.

Local luminary Daniel Lanois (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, U2) was very helpful in my early days of recording and writing for example.

Dave Rave from preeminent Canadian bands Teenage Head and The Shakers is always a highly inspirational and supportive friend.

The international “power pop” community is supportive and vibrant. Record labels like Kool Kat Musik and festivals such as the IPO

(International Pop Overthrow) have been very good to me.

Psychedelic/power pop radio has been kind as well.

I’ve very lucky to receive thoughtful, articulate and very enthusiastic press operating on the fringes various genres.

 

 

Can you still remember the moment when music became important to you? What happened to you?

When I was very young I’d run home from school and watch The Monkees on TV! I was also hypnotized by rock & roll magazines and record stores.

I clearly remember the first time I listened to The Beatles Revolver.

That was the moment, it sent a lightning bolt of emotion through my heart!

Around the same time I had 45’s such as Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys, I listened to it a million times.

The local AM radio station was very eclectic. It had a major impact.

I’d stay up late at night and listen to mysterious music I’ve never heard before;

David Bowie to Stevie Wonder.

Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, and Led Zeppelin to The Cars and XTC. Kate Bush and Neil Young to Blondie.

To this day when I’m writing an album, I think of it my imagination’s radio station or jukebox.

All of this music was incredibly exciting. I was inspired to learn drums and guitar. My parents were wonderful and supportive.

Life in a band seemed like so much fun! Right out of high school, I went out on the road playing across Canada. All of this wonderful music gave my life direction.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did and didn’t it bring you?

It’s always been a challenging labor of love.

It’s a mixed blessing.

When I first started playing live there was more money for new and mid-level bands.

A band/artist would work hard to get a local or national following then save money to make a record and try to sign a deal.

You could make decent money as a young, relatively unknown musician 5-6 nights a week.

Now it’s almost the opposite, the floodgates have opened.

The middle-class musician is disappearing, all the money has gone to the very top.

Having said that, home recording equipment is much more affordable and Everyone has access to a platform.

I think that’s a good thing but there’s also information overload and a devaluation of music.

It’s a fractured mirror.

I’ve personally been honored and humbled to receive wonderful feedback from all over the world.

Without a major label record company this would not have been possible years back.

I truly believe if you make good art people will discover it…

Eventually.

When things change there’s always room for new ideas and creative opportunity. I’m a very nostalgic person yet change is elemental in life. It’s likely best to embrace it.

Hopefully, artists of the future will take things to a higher level.

Magic can happen when you’re playing in front of a crowd. Can you recall such a moment?

When the chemistry is right between the band members and the audience it’s definitely magical!

I’ve been lucky to play some legendary venues such as The Cavern Club in Liverpool, CBGB’s in NYC, Prince’s club in Minneapolis, The Stone Pony in Asbury Park NJ etc. These places all had an incredible vibe and enthusiastic reaction!

Sometimes a show in the middle of nowhere with a small audience can be just as exciting.

The stars can align when you least expect it!

Which is the song you wish you had written? Why?

Wow, it’s hard to pick one.

Pretty much any Beatles song, because I love them all!

Other than that maybe a standard like Moon River, What a Wonderful World or Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

The other songs that come to mind are The Things We Do For Love by 10cc, Good Vibrations or Waterloo Sunset. Perfect, lovely songs that feel like musical sunshine!

Now that I think about it more I’d pick Happy Birthday Lol!

It’s a pure and simple song with a truly beautiful wish and sentiment.

If the budget was unlimited how would how to record the next album?

Imagination is more important than a big budget, limitations often create the best art.

Having said that I’m sure we could have a good time with an unlimited budget!

I’d artistically approach it in a similar way, using many of the same people and pay them incredibly well lol

It would be an amazing adventure to record in exotic locations and try out a few legendary studios.

Various cities/countries would have a truly interesting creative impact.

I’d definitely bring my talented musical friends along for the ride…

In the private jet lol

It would be fantastic to have unlimited time with total focus.

Having said that I wouldn’t change anything about my 3LP set.

Musical creativity, tasteful sonics, good songs, and playing don’t require a big budget.

You can’t buy heart and soul.

Every family birthday same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you’re in. What’s the story this time for Aunt Jenny and Uncle Clive.

I’m very lucky to have a wonderful and supportive family! I truly love them for the support and encouragement.

When describing my music I’ll say

something general “It sounds like 1960’s and 70’s pop/rock”

I’ll name a few influential artists they may know-

Beatles, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, ELO.

I won’t mention really obscure influences. That gives people a general picture.

I think many creative people have an odd relationship between the art they create and relatives/friends.

I think I’m a mild curiosity who makes slightly strange music and doesn’t have a “real job” lol

My family and true friends are absolutely wonderful, I’m forever grateful and thankful.

Kai Danzberg – Pop-Up Radio (Q&A)

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‘Sometimes it’s very hard to compose great harmonies but I love layering my vocals on about 6-10 tracks. Sometimes I even get addicted to it, so I need to find the point where it’s sufficient.’, says German Power Popper Kai Danzberg.

 


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


When I have all the instrumentation of a song finished, the most fun to me is to find out what vocal-harmonies I can come up with.


Sometimes it’s very hard to compose great harmonies but I love layering my vocals on about 6-10 tracks. Sometimes I even get addicted to it, so I need to find the point where it’s sufficient.


But it’s a difficult question as I do love everything about making music.


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

01. Oh! Darling – The Beatles
02. The Diary of Horace Wimp – ELO
03. Baby Be Mine – Michael Jackson
04. Give Me Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart – Chris Rainbow
05. Physical – Olivia Newton-John 😉 

Do you feel part of a community, the power pop community?


Definitely of the power pop community. Over the last years, I have got to know so many great people and artists. With some of them, I am currently working on music.
I am a big fan of Jellyfish, which are the power pop-pioneers to me. When I heard their record „Spilt Milk“ it changed my life in a way. And now I definitely know what kind of music I want to do!

It all started for me when I found out about Jellyfish. Now I am part of the power-pop community as a fan and as an artist, and it feels great.

If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?

Oh, that’s easy. I’d take my whole family to England. The record would, of course, be recorded at the Abbey Road Studios.

I’d choose Roger Joseph Manning Jr from Jellyfish to produce the new songs with me. I’d also definitely take my friend

Dana Countryman with me, I’d definitely want to have him on that record. Everything would be produced without any digital instruments. I would take my time finishing it so I could get as close as I can to it being perfect… Well, let me dream 😉


What would change if Disney would call and tell you they are going to use your song in their next movie?


Well, actually I had an offer to sing a song for a movie (i guess it was from Disney) a few years ago. I didn’t do it…  Don’t ask me why! I can’t remember anymore. I guess I was an idiot back then.

Anyway, in the English version of the film Bruno Mars sang the song in the end. If I’d get such an offer again I’d definitely do it. But first I’d freak out. 

What’s up for the rest of the year?

Only great things: hopefully in November my next single will be released. The song is more of a rock song and it’s a duet with Lisa Mychols, which I love! She released some great records in the past!

But that’s not everything:  since finishing my latest record „Pop-Up Radio“, I have been working on the next record and it’s almost finished. It will be released in January 2019 and aside from Lisa Mychols, it will have many guests on it. I really can’t wait to release those songs. The title of the new album will be „Not Only Sunshine“! 🙂