THE MAUREENS – Something in the Air (Q&A)

‘It all sounds a little more ” to the point” than earlier recordings (there are fewer instruments/ layers), but the Maureens-sound (especially in the harmonies) is still there!’, says Hendrik-Jan Wolff about Something in the Air, the new record by Dutch band The Maureens, out February 2nd on Meritorio records.

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But you can already check the new single!

 

 

 

How did Something in the Air come together?

 

After the release and tour of “Bang the Drum” 3 members left the Maureens: Bas van de Looy (guitar/vocals) and Randy Linskens (bass/vocals) were busy with their own songs/ band and Bas van de Waterbeemd chooses to have more time with his family. In the summer 2016, Wouter Zijlstra (bass/vocals) joined the Maureens, which is a 4 member band since then.

In the last two years, several songs have been written. In March 2017 and in March 2018 the Maureens recorded songs in the studio (Mailmen, with engineer Martijn Groeneveld who also mixed the songs). The new record (” Something in the air”) contains 14 songs from these sessions and all songs will be played during live gigs.

 

 

On Bang the Drum, the last record, the sound changed ‘a bit’ from Power Pop to Westcoast/Americana. What can we expect this time?

 

I think the album has both vibes: powerpop songs with a lot of harmonies like the first album, but also more introspective, Americana-ish songs. It all sounds a little more ” to the point” than earlier recordings (there are fewer instruments/ layers), but the Maureens-sound (especially in the harmonies) is still there!

 

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

The positive part is that the world is small nowadays: platforms like Facebook, Instagram etc. give us the opportunity to reach people in, for example, Spain and Brazil. There are small music-loving communities everywhere and those are the places we want to be heard. We’re not very comfortable with MTV and big radio stations, that’s not where we should be or want to be. Besides that: the Looks and the stories seem more important than the music itself.. the Maureens try to be authentic and ” real”, that’s when we feel comfortable.

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?

 

– Teenage Fanclub- Ain’t that enough

– Wilco- Via Chicago

– the Chills- Pink Frost

– Posies- Solar Sister

– REM- Man on the Moon

… and tomorrow it will be 5 other songs.

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

 

If we succeed in reaching more “new” people, make new friends in Spain (our new album ” Something in the Air” will be released by Meritorio records from Madrid), see old friends again at our shows and if we enjoy listeners and ourselves during hopefully a lot of gigs!

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

 

Ballad of El Goodoo/ Big Star. The melody, the shivers, the harmonies. The song brings back memories I didn’t even remember. Unbelievable chorus.

What’s up for the rest of the year?

 

We’re rehearsing our new live set. In the next few months, we do a few try-outs in Holland. On February 2nd our album will be released. After our release show, we’d like to play a lot of shows in Holland and Spain. We’re already writing new songs too, so we hope the release of our next record won’t take too long.

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MOONER – Satisfaction​-​promise (Q&A)

‘When the world ends and God comes to judge the living and the dead, he will find the music industry of the20th century to be the most baffling sin man ever committed.’, says Lee Ketch.

His band Mooner just released ‘Satisfaction​-​promise’.

 

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

As we were recording it! The band played the songs amazingly. They are very talented musicians and patient, thoughtful people. We all endured a lot of preparation and that really paid off when we went to record. Most of what you hear on the album was captured live in a few takes.

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

I’m not professional, but from my perspective, the music industry is the healthiest it’s ever been in history. Bandcamp is the only essential industry tool. Everything else from copyright to payola has been mercifully dismantled. When the world ends and God comes to judge the living and the dead, he will find the music industry of the20th century to be the most baffling sin man ever committed.

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

Definitely. The chorus of “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. A very important activity in my childhood was sitting on the piano bench next to my dad as he played and sang from a big Disney songbook. My eyes were level with the keyboard and I loved watching him hit all the keys. My earliest musical memory is the part of the song where it goes “up where they walk / up where they run…” with all that building tension in the chord progression. It left quite an impression watching this giant person with a booming voice play these big dramatic chords and then slow down for the big release of “up where they stay all day in the sun.” I probably thought “Wow, my Legos can’t do this.”

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

In high school, my band played the Battle of the Bands. I found in a closet an old wireless mic rig and adapted it to my guitar so I could run all around the stage. The other guitarist in the band bought one too and for our performance, our plan was to jump off the stage right as we hit my big guitar solo. When the time came, we both hopped off the stage which was a three or four-foot drop into complete darkness. I sort of crumpled to the ground and the shock of the landing caused the batteries in my wireless transponder to spring from their place. When I was supposed to be playing this screaming solo, my guitar was completely silent. There was a single spotlight on me as I scrambled around for the batteries on the floor of the auditorium. I somehow got them back just in time to run up on stage and play a single lick. It was the biggest adrenaline rush of my life followed by the biggest anxiety attack of my life.

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

“Hello, Hooray” by Alice Cooper. It’s a song about the power of music and it expresses through music how playing music makes me feel. If I could write something that moves, I’d die happy.

 

 

 

 

 


 

released August 4, 2018

Produced by Mooner and Kit Shields
Recorded and mixed by Dorian Gehring at Fox Hall, Chicago, IL
Mastered by Mike Hagler at King Size Sound Labs, Chicago, IL
Additional recording by Mark Greenberg and Lee Ketch.

Nick Harris – Bass, vocals
Andy Ketch – Drums, vocals
Lee Ketch – Guitar, synth, vocals
Joe Pruitt – Guitar, vocals
Steve Slagg – piano, synth, vibraphone, vocals

Kit Shields – Vocals
Sydney Shields – Vocals
Allison Van Liere – Vocals

Mike Pace and the Child Actors – “Smooth Sailing” (Q&A)

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‘I’ve always been “too heavy for the pop crowd, too pop for the heavy crowd,” that sort of thing.’, says Mike Pace.

I really like those ‘in between’ records. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

Real Gone wrote a great review. Detailed and written with so much care. What’s it like for you to read such reviews?


I appreciate a thoughtful, well-written review as much as the next person, as I’m not above reading criticism of my work.  Sometimes it provides momentary validation and a slight ego boost (when it’s positive) and it’s satisfying when someone else “gets” what’s you’re trying to do, or interprets it in a meaningful way.  Ultimately it’s one person’s opinion about a very subjective art form, so I try not to get hung up on reviews one way or the other.

There is a layer of ‘chaos’ on top of these beautiful melodies. Does that make sense? Makes me like the record a lot! And couldn’t that be the definition of good music anyway :-)?
Yeah!  I’ve always been interested in well-constructed music, and lately, that’s taken the form of denser songs that have a lot going on, but hopefully not at the expense of the song itself!  I think it’s also a result of the older, messier DIY punk in me meeting the newer, more progressive-rock inclined version of me.  Trying to come up with new and interesting ways to present melodies sometimes leads me to mash a bunch of things together, and occasionally they wind up sounding pretty good!


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


It’s now easier than ever to make a record outside the trappings of the old “record label/expensive studio” paradigm.  I was fortunate enough to have a very fulfilling experience year ago playing in a band on a big label and making records the “traditional way.”  While I miss spending time in studios, I love making records with like-minded individuals on our own time, in our houses and without the constraints of expectations and budgets.  That’s just a more realistic way to work these days.  The flipside to the democratization of music is that there’s just so much of it out there, and while getting records out there isn’t a problem, getting people’s attention (especially if you’re not touring regularly, like me) is always a challenge.

 

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


Not really.  I’ve always been “too heavy for the pop crowd, too pop for the heavy crowd,” that sort of thing.  In my band days, there was a kinship with other bands we toured or people in the scene since we were always out and about.  Now that’s I’m a married dad with a job who’s making music in my basement (essentially), there’s a lot less camaraderie.  I will say that folks in the power-pop community have been very receptive about Smooth Sailing, which is really nice to hear.  You guys are a supportive group!


Every family birthday, same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you are in. What’s the story this time for aunt Jenny and uncle Clive?


Usually, the answer is some variation on “it’s a rock n’ roll band” or “it’s alternative rock.”  The question that inevitably follows is always, “covers or originals?” which is just the worst.

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


Recalibrating your expectations when you’re making music on your own terms is a must.  To me, the new record’s already a success because I’ve been able to make the album I wanted to make the way I wanted to make it. Everything that follows is gravy!

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


First, I’d want to double-check and make sure no one over at the Mouse House had lost their mind.  Second, I’d go buy some Disney stock because it’s about to go through the roof, baby!  Most likely nothing would really change, but maybe it would pay for a trip to Disney World.

THE DAVENPORTS – Don’t Be Mad at Me

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‘There’s a lot of great music that’s qualified as power pop, and a lot of great people who love it. But sometimes I think there’s just as much that’s kind of boring because it just tries to hard to play to that formula. I’d rather just consider myself part of a community of people who like melodic pop music.’, says Scott Klass.

Check out the Don’t Be Mad at Me, the new record by The Davenports.

 

 

 

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

Probably in all the cameos. Other people were involved in a way that we hadn’t done before. Like having Shirley Simms from Magnetic Fields take lead vocal on “Miranda in Her Room.” I get a little tired of hearing my own voice all the time, so this was sort of a breath of fresh air. Originally I wrote that to be 2 part harmony the whole way through, but we really loved what she brought to it so we dropped me out in a bunch of parts. Shirley’s an incredible vocalist.

I also did my first co-write – with that guy David Myhr, a Swedish popster who did a ‘songwriting tour’ of the states, meeting with a lot of like-minded folks. Our song “I Don’t Know What to Do” was output from that. He also did vocal parts from Sweden, which cost a lot to bring over to America because, you know, plane fare. On that same song, my daughter added a line to the chorus. Then she got mad because I wouldn’t pay her.

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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?

– song for the dumped (ben folds five)
– soho square (kirsty maccoll)
– lonely boy (Andrew gold)
– have you never been mellow (ONJ)
– supper’s ready (genesis)
I never liked that girl anyway.

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

When more than 26 people listen to it.

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

That’s kind of a tricky one. There’s a lot of great music that’s qualified as power pop, and a lot of great people who love it. But sometimes I think there’s just as much that’s kind of boring because it just tries to hard to play to that formula. I’d rather just consider myself part of a community of people who like melodic pop music.

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

Maybe ‘Valley Winter Song,’ because it’s fucking perfect in every way—simple sentiment, the poetry, the melody you feel like you’ve been hearing your whole life. I also think I dream about having written God Only Knows on a weekly basis.

Well-known for “Five Steps,” the theme song to A&E’s Emmy-nominated Intervention, Klass has licensed numerous songs to TV in addition to putting out three critically acclaimed records—Speaking of The Davenports, Hi-tech Lowlife and Why the Great Gallop—which set tales of love, lust, mean, money-dangling mothers, superstitious panic attacks and the like to a torrent of melodic rock. 

The Davenports’ latest release, Don’t Be Mad at Me, marks a series of firsts for Klass. Shirley Simms of The Magnetic Fields takes lead vocal on “Miranda in Her Room”–the first Davenports song to ever feature a lead vocalist other than Klass. While the duet comes across as seamless, Klass and Simms recorded their vocals in different cities (New York and Boston, respectively), and they didn’t actually meet in person until the following year at a Magnetic Fields show. 

Another song–”I Don’t Know What to Do”–marks Klass’s first co-write. He penned the tune with Swedish popster David Myhr (The Merrymakers) while he was doing a “co-writing tour” of the U.S. last year. As with “Miranda in Her Room,” the recording of “I Don’t Know What to Do” was a long-distance collaboration (in this case, international). 

In addition to his own output, Klass/The Davenports are regular contributors to a popular series of cover projects. They recently contributed renditions of Wham! and Randy Van Warmer songs to the compilation series’ Drink a Toast to Innocence (covering the ’70′s) and Here Comes the Reign Again (covering the ’80s)–records which also featured Mike Viola, Freedy Johnston and Rachel Yamagata. 

Klass is also a member of Look Park, the new project from Fountains of Wayne frontman Chris Collingwood which also includes Philip Price of Winterpills. Last year, the trio played Japan’s Fuji Rock festival and opened for Britpop legends Squeeze on their west coast tour. This past April, Klass and Collingwood opened for British invasion staple Dave Davies of the Kinks. 

THE 1984 DRAFT – Makes Good Choices (Q&A)

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‘I listen to a lot of the Menzingers and The Hold Steady, so it only fits that we could be grouped into that.  Throw in my obsession with Bob Mould, John K. Samson, and the Replacements and it is easy to see how we got here.  I take it as an honor to be compared to those bands.’. It is Joe Anderl speaking about his band The 1984 Draft.

But there is a lot more to it, check it out!

‘Wedding’ is such a beautiful song. How did that one come together?

‘Wedding’  was written the night before my wedding.  We had just finished the rehearsal dinner and I headed home to get ready to go meet two college friends for a beer.  Amanda came by the house to pick up a few things before she headed to the hotel with her parents.  We sat and talked for a little bit and she left.
I immediately picked up the guitar and that song came out.  I had never played with the chord progression or the lyrics for that song.  It literally just came spilling out.  Probably the fastest song I’ve ever written.

I just remember feeling so grateful and fortunate that I was about to marry such a cool, sweet, and giving woman.  I’m lucky that I have that moment captured in a song.  Every time I hear it, I can completely picture that moment she left.  Lucky for me she showed up the next day and said yes.

Midwestern Melodic Punk. That does make sense, doesn’t it? But somewhere between The Menzingers and The Hold Steady makes even more sense to me. Hope you take that as a compliment!?

 

I do.  I think there is a definitive midwestern sound.  You can’t quite explain it but when you hear a band you can tell if they’ve ever spent a long time in the Midwest.  It has a sort of dark grit to it.  It might feel a little sloppy, but you know it is honest.

I listen to a lot of the Menzingers and The Hold Steady, so it only fits that we could be grouped into that.  Throw in my obsession with Bob Mould, John K. Samson, and the Replacements and it is easy to see how we got here.  I take it as an honor to be compared to those bands.

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And the please pick 5 of the question you like best, from this list. Have fun!

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?

 

I look at this two ways.  I could put the five songs on there that I know she would like to get to date two or I could put my top 5 on there and if she didn’t like them I would know it wouldn’t be right.  It would have to be a 10-song compilation of both.  I know some of my choices will sound weird, but I also know the songs that might get me to a second date with the only person in the world I would want a second date with (my wife).

1. Sugar – Hoover Damn
2. The Lassie Foundation – Blow It (Away)
3. Chamberlain – Go Down Believing
4. Pomegranates – In The Kitchen
5. The Smoking Popes – I Know You Love Me
6.  Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
7. Kris N – First and 10
8. Mike Adams at His Honest Weight – I’m Worried
9.  Jawbreaker – Accident Prone

10.  Blame it on the rain – Milli Vanilli

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

 

This is hard for me because I have a little bit of a problem accepting success in my own mind.  I would like to say and would probably tell my children that you reached success when you were able to write, record, and put out into the world a group of songs that you got the chance to play with your best friends.  There is something to that.  I got to spend 100’s of hours with my 3 best friends in a basement, bashing out songs that we enjoyed.  We got to hone our craft, get better, share jokes, have a few beers and escape for a couple hours each week.  I think the moment we all said together this is good enough to put out is when we reached success with this.

The icing on the cake is that we get to play these songs for people and they pay us for it.

The dream level stuff came when a label wanted to work with us and put our record out on vinyl.

The never in my wildest imagination stuff is playing with bands you idolized, being filmed for an NFL films documentary, and being included in so many awesome publications, getting to do interviews and receiving positive reviews.

I guess I achieved success 20 something years ago and everything since has been the stuff dreams are made of.  I told my older brother last week that my 20-year-old self would be totally jealous of my 40-year self.  I truly believe that.  I wish I was better at sitting back and just taking in how lucky I have been to do this so long.  The opportunity isn’t lost on me.  I am extremely grateful.   I also don’t know how to stop.

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

 

It’s always been there for me since I was a kid but I can 100% tell you the moment I wanted to be in a band.  The 90’s in Dayton were a special time.  The bands coming out were awesome.  You could go to a different show every weekend and we did.  I was seeing kids my own age or a little older destroy small rooms with a musical power that still makes my heart pump.

The moment for me was Brainiac at The Lithuanian Club in Dayton, OH.  My older brother and his friends took me to the show.  This band walked on stage.  They had keyboards and weird guitars.  They were all dressed like what I would have called at the time fashion models from New York.  They were larger than life visually.  They then spent the next 19 minutes destroying every sort of expectation I have ever had from a band.  They were spastic and engaging.  They were all over the stage.  The drummer was destroying his kit with his power.  They were loud, cool, and weird and in 19 minutes left me with a performance that has gone unparalleled in my entire life.  That is when I wanted to be in a band.  I wanted to make people feel that way.  That was the night I realized how powerful of weapon music was.  It COULD completely change your life.  One show could do that.

Ever since I have been chasing that.  I want to leave people every show with that feeling that they just saw something special.  That is what we work week in and out for.

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

Sugar – Hoover Dam.  Every time I hear that song I am transported to the basement of my friend Paul’s house in Athens, OH circa 1997 / 1998.  There is the warmth of the opening and then it just kicks in…” Standing on the edge of the hoover dam”.  It has such a sense of urgency.  I hang on every single one of Bob Mould’s words.  Then you get to the instrumental breakdown.  It sounds like Rush or Yes became a 1990’s indie rock band and builds and builds and then you are hit with the outro.  Still to this day, my ears perk anytime I hear that intro.  Someday I hope to write a song that nails you so hard off the bat you spend the rest of our song still catching your breath.  When that happens, you are just forced to listen to it over and over.  That to me is what makes a good song.  I find something different every time I list to that song.

A close second would be “Accident Prone” by Jawbreaker.  It’s just heartbreaking in the best way.

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

 

My kids would think I am cool.  I’m not sure what they think of their Dad playing music.  They know it’s something I do.  They come sometimes.  I can never really tell if they think it is good or not.  Maybe that would finally give me validation from them.  They would at least have something to tell their friends.

In all seriousness, I used to work in a movie theater from 15-21 years old so I had the chance to hear every Disney soundtrack during that period.  I am huge Elton John fan so when he did Lion King I was stoked.  That is until I had to listen to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” four times a day, 7 days in a row for 2 months.  That’s a little much.

Phil Collins did some good song work as well.  I think for me, it would be an honor to be asked and to be in that company.

Personally, I would like to be included in a Pixar film.  I know that’s Randy Newman’s territory but to ever be uttered with him in the same sentence that would be awesome.
As for what would change, I’m not sure much.  I would make sure everyone in the band got paid.  Then I would put some money savings, do something special for the kids, and maybe go on a cool vacation.  I’m a pretty simple guy.  As long as I have my wife and family I am content.

The 1984 Draft is –

Passionate, Dayton, Ohio-based indie quartet The 1984 Draft, who channels alt-folk sensibilities through a ’90s emo and indie lens, is recommended for fans of The Replacements, Beach Slang, The Smoking Popes, Sugar and Cheap Girls.

Eli Alban
Joe Anderl
Justin Satinover
Chip Heck

THE GLAD MACHINE (Q&A)

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Formed in the fall of 2012, The Glad Machine set out to write some of the catchiest rock songs on the vibrant Western Massachusetts music scene. Drawing influence from Cheap Trick, The Posies, Jellyfish, The Beach Boys, and Superdrag. The Glad Machine has honed their sound into a power-pop vessel to be reckoned with.

The sing-along choruses, the fist-pumping guitar riffs and cutting leads and, the nuanced but rock-steady rhythm section.

The Glad Machine is drummer Mike Franklin, bassist Neal Robinson, vocalist Brad Thayer and guitarist Greg Saulmon.

 

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

Mike: There are a lot of those. Brad’s written a few actually. The bastard. Ha! The first
one that comes to mind is New Mistake by Jellyfish. More hooks than a bait shop. The
bass line in that one (I believe that was “T-Bone” Wolk) is so amazing too. It’s like a
counter melody for the song. I love kitchen sink production and this one has so many
wonderful things going on throughout the track. The outro kills me. The song works well
acoustically, but the phenomenal engineering and production just take it to another
level.

 

 

Do you feel part of a community, the Power Pop community?

Brad: The Glad Machine owes a lot to the international Power Pop community. We are
based in Northampton, Mass, and while we have lots of friends in the music scene
here, other than a couple amazing DJ’s by the name of David Sokol, and Jim Neil, We
have had a hard time garnering support locally. The Power Pop community, on the
other hand has been crazy supportive, and embraced our music globally, giving us
way more exposure than we could have dreamed of.

 

 

Every family birthday, same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you
are in. What’s the story this time for aunt Jenny and uncle Clive?

It really depends on the person I’m speaking with and what I can perceive of
their musical vocabulary. For “Jenny” and “Clive” I would reference The Beatles and The
Beach Boys as an influence on the music. That’s pretty broad and I imagine nearly
everyone is aware of those artists. Cheap Trick is usually a good reference point too for
the “we kinda sound like” answer.

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

Neal: I would love to see this bill, Cheap Trick, The Glad Machine, and Potty Mouth.
Kind of like a 3 generations of power pop thing. Plus I would get to tour with 3 of my
favorite drummers. So someone gets on that.

 

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

Mike: I can usually tell in rehearsal when we have something that the band is really
digging. The song or songs in question are typically the first requested when we
practice. Everyone’s body language is a good giveaway. I can tell that they’re enjoying
the music and having fun. I know I am. And we go back to the song(s) a few times in the
same session

CADDY – Ten Times Four (Q&A)

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Ten Times Four is an album dedicated to my love of power pop and harmonic rock which was a lot of fun to do!’, says Tomas Dahl.

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

I really love the part where I’ve started to record my songs and I hear my ideas coming out of the speaker. It’s always a rush. I write songs all the time and not all of the songs end up in Caddy. I have a bunch of demos lying around from 10 years back and suddenly parts of these old demos can end up in a new song. But it somehow comes together once I start to record and it will sound like a Caddy record.

There is also a lot of art by accidents whenever I record. I’m really a mediocre guitar player, I’m no expert on the other instruments as well. But usually, there are these small details that suddenly happens while recording and the song can suddenly change shape. I’ve always loved harmonies and sometimes there are these magical moments, only a couple of seconds where the harmonies of the vocals suddenly blend perfectly with a guitar tone. Those are probably the best moments for me.

 

 

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

This time I really didn’t plan to write an album. I was so happy and pleased by the support from my previous album “The Better End” so I kinda needed a break after that. It’s a lot of work being a one-man band and recording everything myself. I could never imagine getting the feedback I got from the Norwegian press and around the world on that record. It wasn’t really a full on power pop album, it was more of a mix between power pop, dreamy pop, some indie pop/rock etc. It had a real summer feel to it. I love writing and recording the dreamy songs, there are so many different forms of dynamics on those tracks than recording a full-on power pop song.

 

But the following year after The Better End I got these huge projects in my job where I didn’t have the time to write any music at all or work with other musical projects. That lasted pretty much that whole year and I kinda got depressed about not making music or anything else at the time. I knew these projects would take up most of my time that year, but I really missed the writing part. After that, some personal stuff happened and once I got around to finally sit down and write again, my head was really far away from writing a follow-up to The Better End and all those dreamy sounds. So the first songs I wrote were fast and catchy punk songs, which I hopefully will be able to record this year. I also made a lot of electronic music, not the EDM top 10 commercial shit but deeper sounds and much more underground.

So I did a lot of that to kinda get it out of my system. As I got my frustration got out I had some songs lying around which I thought would fit my Caddy project. Still more uptempo and guitar driven than my previous stuff but I felt it still had a Caddy feel to it.

 

 

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

 

I’ve never really felt that I’ve been part of the music industry. I’ve just been doing my own thing throughout the years. I’ve never gone down that path where I think my music is gonna be the next big thing or wanted to be a part of a big agency or whatever. I’m sure it could help in some cases to get some more promotion or maybe to get your name out there. I’ve always made music that will stay underground and probably never will hit it big. But I’m really happy with that I would be really uncomfortable if it did.

Many people ask me why I don’t tour or why I don’t do this and that because that’s what bands do. Well, I’m not a band and I have no need to be in the spotlight or on a stage. I feel really awkward on a stage and it’s nothing I want to do just because that’s what everyone else is doing. I really love making music and there has never been any money involved in what I’m doing. I’ve been approached a few times from other bands that like my sound and they’ve asked me if I wanted to produce them and so on. I rarely say yes to this but I have been working with a few bands lately.

These days I feel like many bands or artists care more about their posts and likes on Instagram or other social media instead of actually spending more time to write better music. I just want to make music as good as I can so I’ll leave the fame and fortune to other artists. I won’t be in their way haha.

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

One of my first big musical memories as a kid, was when I discovered my Dads collection of 7-inches in our basement.

 

Until then I’d basically listen to whatever my sister had in her room next to me, which was a lot of 80s music. She is 7 years older than me so I’d borrow cassettes from her. I still like a lot of the music from the 80s but once I discovered those 7-inches from the 60s my whole world changed.

 

Our record player wasn’t working so we bought a new needle and I started to go through them one by one. There was a lot of horrible music as well, like Swedish and Norwegian dance acts with accordion and funny haircuts. But then I discovered The Shadows and The Beach Boys and I couldn’t stop listening to them. I was so fascinated with The Shadows having no vocals but could still tell a story by playing only instruments. And those harmonies from The Beach Boys. Both bands still inspire me today!

 

What’s up for the rest of the year?

 

I will probably record a song or two with Caddy but right now I need a break from it. The album is out so I just need to something else. I really want to record some heavier songs, I kinda miss the time when I played in punk rock bands. Not necessarily the band itself but the music.

I’m also producing an indie-pop band called Family Values from Oslo, we are in the final stages of releasing what could become an album. I’m also working with some other bands in the studio now and then. I also want to pick up my electronica project. I need to do a totally different music genre once I’ve spent so much time working on pop productions. I get really easily bored and I need to have that balance to keep things interesting.

(Thanks Don) Read the I Don’t Hear A Single review here

EXTRA ARMS – Headacher (Q&A)

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‘If people don’t get stoked when you mention the Replacements, Husker Du, Superchunk and Teenage Fanclub, then I guess they wouldn’t like our band. 🙂’, says Ryan Allen.

And he has a whole lot more to say.

And, man, did he write another killer tune

 

 

(Pre)Order here

How did the new record come together?

 

 

Pretty organically, honestly. After I released my last album, “Basement Punk” (which I played all the instruments on) I put a band together to help me play the songs live. Once we had a few shows under our belts, I brought a new song to the table that I didn’t demo or really “finish” completely – which is different for me, as I normally demo everything out to completion.

Long story short, we learned the song, thought it kicked ass and decided to keep writing as a four-piece, instead of just me doing it all on my own. As we kept working on material, we began to function as a full-fledged band and not just one dude’s solo project. I began writing songs to suit the tastes/style of Michael, Ryan, and Sean (the members of Extra Arms, respectively) and out of that process we produced the 10 super rocking jams, and the one sensitive acoustic number that makes up “Headacher.”

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What can we expect?

 

I’d say this is the most high-energy, “aggressive” Extra Arms album yet. But at the same time, the songs are super catchy, the lyrics are meaningful, and the playing is very much on point. If you’re familiar with my other records, this isn’t some crazy departure, but it’s also a new beginning of sorts. I feel like we all really came together and made something great as a collective. I’m super proud of it.

And what do you expect?

 

I think when it was decided that we were going to make a record as a four-piece band, I expected to create something that exemplified the tastes and playing style of everybody in the band. Michael is a killer guitar player, Sean is a bombastic drummer and Ryan is a super-fluid bassist. And I think their playing on this record totally nails what they are all really great at. Furthermore, I knew that this record would probably lean heavily on the more “rocking” songs I was working on. I actually ended up writing about 25 songs since “Basement Punk” came out, and they were all over the map.

It was helpful to have a pool of songs to pull from, but knowing that we all collectively gravitate to louder, crunchier music, I knew that we would end up picking the songs that fit that description. And honestly, I’m glad we did. I wanted to try and bottle that political and personal rage I was feeling at the time, and the high-energy, aggressive songs seemed to get that point across the best.

You produced some high high quality records the last couple of years and received praise for them. Any pressure when you start a new record?

 

Thanks! I’d say yes and no to this. It’s not like we have millions of fans who are waiting with baited breath for a new Extra Arms record to come out. That said, there are people who are nice enough to give a shit about our music, and I never want to let them down. I, and we, also put personal pressure on ourselves to create a quality record. Luckily, I think we really nailed it this time. It helps when you work with awesome people, too. Geoff Michael did a great job engineering the album and Paul Miner absolutely killed it in the mixing/mastering department. We did what we do, but those guys pulled out the best in us for sure.

The record slams with the ‘Mats honesty, Husker’s abandon, Superchunk-y energy, and the Fannies melodicism, all played by a band firing on all cylinders. 

WTF?

 

I mean, that’s what it sounds like to me…wouldn’t you agree? If people don’t get stoked when you mention the Replacements, Husker Du, Superchunk and Teenage Fanclub, then I guess they wouldn’t like our band. 🙂

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

 

Listening to my brother, who played keys on the album, make weird-ass sounds on his synthesizer. We kept most of it in there for the pure comedy of it.

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

 

I think when we wrote, “Done to Death.” It was one of the earlier songs in the writing process, and we all kind of rallied around that one. It was maybe the second or third song we wrote together, and when it clicked, it REALLY clicked. Everybody was smiling and was just generally stoked on the song. So, I’d say it was at that moment that we knew we were on to something awesome.

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

 

I feel really lucky that the music I’ve made as Extra Arms has been embraced by fans of this little sub-genre of rock known as power pop. I don’t particularly identify with the overt 60s, jingle-jangle throwback vibe that some of the bands put out there, but I definitely appreciate being included in the same conversation of great bands and artists like Chris Richards and the Subtractions, Nick Piunti, Caddy, Ruler, and more. I am super stoked that there are people out there, such as yourself, that truly love the music and want to help bring it to more people via blogs, podcasts, and radio shows.

I get really excited when a new review is posted, especially when the person writing it really gets it. Some of the more popular mainstream indie blogs will likely ignore what we do – mostly because the music world is just so saturated with content – but I’m always confident that the power pop peeps will have our back. It’s a nice feeling, for sure.

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

 

Man, this is a really tough one. I can think of a ton: “True Believer” by Superdrag, “Glad Girls” by Guided by Voices, “Father’s Name is Dad” by Fire, “Dig a Pony” by the Beatles, “Nearly Lost You” by Screaming Trees, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” by the Smiths, “Waiting for Somebody” by Paul Westerberg… I’ll stop now as the entire article could be just this list. The thing that ties them all together is that they have great hooks, great chords, and great lyrics. That’s what I strive for when I’m working on my own tunes.

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

 

“In the Valley of Dying Stars”-era Superdrag and “Here’s Where the Strings Come In”-era Superchunk. We’d have to add “Super” to our name to complete the trifecta.

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?

 

I’m super happy with the band members I’m playing with now, but if forced I’d say Johnny Marr on guitar, Bruce Thomas on bass and Dave Grohl on drums. It’d be weird for sure. We’d have to jam on a Beatles song or something…that’s the only way you would know if it worked or not.

What’s up for the rest of the year?

 

We’re playing some regional shows in Canada, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois. Trying to get out there as much as we can and play these songs for as many people as will listen. Wish us luck!

THE GREAT AFFAIRS – Ten & 2 (Q&A)

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The Great Affairs is a rock ‘n’ roll band.

 

And they made a rock ‘n’ roll record.

 

You get it all: classic rock, power pop, roots rock, Southern Rock…

 

When you think you are hearing Cheap Trick, The J. Geils Band, The Bottle Rockets and Bad Company at the same time, you are probably a good listener.

 

More important, if you are looking for a Saturday-Night-Record, I have found you one.

 

Enjoy!

 

Denny Smith explains.

 

 

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

 

Well, I’ve seen the better part of the Continental United States, made a ridiculous amount of great friends I wouldn’t have otherwise ever even met, and gotten to share all of the above with a bunch of guys that I now consider family…those are all wins in my book that have  been brought to me. It has also laid at my feet a few truly heartbreaking disappointments and close-calls, but I could be mopping a hospital floor or working in a machine shop instead of sitting here answering these questions for you, so I like to believe it’s all worked out as planned, because I’m generally a pretty happy guy.

 

I think as I really got into the guts of the machine, that I kinda knew it wasn’t going to be the dream I had as a kid. I just periodically remind myself to stop before I fall out of love with it, so it hasn’t managed to bring me to my knees yet I guess.

 

 

 

 

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

 

I have a very vivid memory of being at my grandparents’ house and finding a little metal 45RPM carrying case that had belonged to my mom when she was a kid. I looted all the CCR and Beatles singles I could get my hands on and dragged them home to my portable record-player, which up until that point had been used to play nothing but Planet Of The Apes, GI Joe, and Space: 1999 book & record sets. I wore out a 7” of  “Can’t Buy Me Love”… I just couldn’t get enough of it. From there, I dove into my parent’s VERY limited LP collection and spent entirely too many hours in from the of their old console stereo system with those giant headphones pressed to my ears. It was right around that time when I started begging for a guitar, a plea my grandmother kindly obliged by giving me an old acoustic that I could barely wrangle sound out of because my hands weren’t strong enough to press the strings to the fretboard. Sadly I don’t have that guitar anymore…but I still have those book & record sets.

 

 

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

 

 

There are so many of these but the obvious ones that spring to mind are Elvis Costello’s “Man Out Of Time”, and I can’t even tell you why…there’s just something in that tune that nails me to the floor when it comes on. Maybe it’s that bizarre, frantic intro, and the sudden shift into the song proper that catches me off guard…whatever it is, I’m hooked and in for the full 5 minutes and 29 seconds(I had to look that up) whenever it hits my ear.

 

Two “Honorable Mentions” that occasionally slip into the #1 spot are “Crazy” from The Afghan Whigs, simply because it gets under my skin, and maybe because I’ve seen the story he’s telling play out in real time, so it hits home. It doesn’t hurt that that arrangement and groove are so hypnotic either.

 

Lastly, even though you only asked for one(sorry) would be Del Amitri’s “Driving With The Brakes On”, just because it breaks my heart each and every time I hear it. Justin Currie can do no wrong in my book.

 

 

 

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

 

Any time I hear a group of folks I’ve never met before that night singing along to something I wrote on an acoustic guitar in my spare bedroom, I chalk it up to magic. That happening every now and then can make up for so many disappointments, flat tires, crappy hotel rooms, empty clubs, warm beers, and long miles on no sleep, that it might be the only thing keeping me going sometimes. Thankfully, I can recall several of these moments. It always makes me smile when I see it happen for another artist too because you can feel that connection, like the whole room, finds a mystery frequency that we can all operate on in complete bliss for a few fleeting seconds. I wish the world felt like that all the time.

 

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

 

My address, because I could finally afford to buy a few acres in the country, and I wouldn’t have to mow the hill behind my current house that is almost surely going to kill me one day. Seriously.

 

 

What’s up for the rest of the year?

 

Our #1 order of business is to stay out promoting ‘Ten & 2’ for a good, long while. Kenny is close to wrapping up a solo EP, and I’ve got another batch of tunes kicking around that might turn into a new solo record for me too, but they’re going to be more in the Pop/Singer-Songwriter vein… still plenty of guitars, of course, but less of the riff-y Blues-based stuff that we sometimes do with the band. I’m sure we’ll start throwing around new ideas soon though and look towards another TGA record down the road a bit.

 

EX NORWEGIAN – No Sleep (Q&A)

An arcane indie rock band with psych and powerpop overtones from Miami Beach are an unlikely bunch to be named after a Monty Python sketch, yet the musical collective Ex Norwegian indeed are.

‘No Sleep’, the ninth album arguably takes the band back to the beginning, crafting straightforward pop/rock songs with effective arrangements and quirky lyrics with strong melodies. The main trio of Roger Houdaille, Michelle Grand, and Giuseppe Rodriguez will be touring later this year to support the release.

BabySue writes: If you like pop songs that stick in your head like glue and never go away, you’re gonna totally dig this album. No Sleep features eleven super smart guitar-driven pop tracks that are sinfully addictive. A few of the band’s more recent albums have featured a more raw basic sound. On Sleep, they return to the more produced and polished sound they had when they were just getting started. 

 

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Sweet Sweet Music talked to Roger Houdaille.

 

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

It was fun to realize we even had an album to work on! Originally the plan was to compile a sort of “best of” collection and do heavy promo and tour behind it. But once we started fleshing out the project and working with the PR / MGMT people, it became clear that it made more sense to do something totally new and “No Sleep” was born. I didn’t have any songs ready but in a week or two, there were enough to start rehearsing them, which was something we hadn’t done in a while…rehearse the songs a bit before actually going to track them! Although it was a very quick process, we had a good time recording backing tracks at our friends’ studio and eventually putting all the bells and whistles on it.

 

 

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

 

I remember introducing the song “Triggered Weeknd” at rehearsal and first run thru it just came together effortlessly and sounded great. That was interesting for me because I didn’t think too much of the song at that point so the band really made it something special and it sort of became our lead single. Overall, there was a good energy and because of the spontaneity of it all, there was also a good level of excitement which I hope transfers itself onto the record.

 

 

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

 

Ex Norwegian started 10 years ago and it was a little fun to think back on how we did things with the first album versus the ninth! Social media seems to be more and more important. While it’s easier to reach more people it’s also a lot harder than it was. Stuff like college radio or even traditional PR we don’t do anymore. So it brings us a lot more work as artists! Companies we used to work with now train the bands to do their own work. But at the end of the day, truth be told without the internet, we wouldn’t have released any albums or have any listeners, so there comes a gratitude with the modern music industry for allowing independent artists to even exist.

 

 

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

 

It probably won’t! At least not in traditional sense. We actually did try to do something bigger than before with “No Sleep” but it backfired bigly when the company in charge went out of business right around the release date. We had to cancel our US tour and everything. But for my meaning of ‘success’, the fact that it exists is enough. I do think Ex Norwegian is a band with a wealth of catalog that will survive as long as interest in this kind of music exists.

 

 

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

 

Yes, I think the band fits in well. We get most of our sales and reviews from the power pop community and done the International Pop Overthrow and all that. And although we do get labeled often a power pop group, I think we merely flirt around with the genre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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