PACIFIC RADIO – Pretty, but killing me

‘Pretty, but killing me’ is one of my favorite records of last year. Released in December, so still as fresh as fresh can be. Pacific Radio combines all there is to like: Power Pop, Garage – and Indy rock. Catchy as hell, all songs. I mean ALL SONGS.



Joe Robinson:  Guitar and Lead Vocal
Joe Stiteler:  Bass
Kyle Biane:  Guitar
Hyke Shirinian:  Drums


What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
JR: The first day we recorded at Conway Studios it felt real.  Tracking in a place with that unique vibe and history really reinforces the fact that it isn’t amateur anymore.


JS:  We recorded three songs in Austin in the middle of March and SXSW, that had to be the most fun.


KB:  I think the biggest fun for me is tweaking the arrangements. We typically play the songs live for quite a while before we take them to the studio. When we finally get to record them it is fun to invent new things to make them come alive on the album.


HS:  Tough question for me.. The recording process is always a blast. Though so is touring it!



At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?
JR:  I got Pro Tools and started “idea recording” songs. People kind of flipped out. That sparked the confidence I needed. They continued to get better and better as the band put their footprints on them, and here we are.


JS:  When we showed up to Conway Studios and started tracking drums.  It’s a special place and we were honored to be there.


KB:  When JR played me a demo of the song “Katie” I remember thinking we were onto something.


HS:  The whole process just feels special.  The way it has all come together, you know?


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

JR:  It has brought anxiety. It hasn’t brought a Lamborghini.


JS:  We’re adapting to the new process of cyber interaction.  A long way from the times of handing out flyers in person or spray painting our logo onto a sidewalk.


KB:  I think it always has been a non-traditional industry, and with the internet’s role becoming such a large factor, the “changes in the music business” are just coming faster and faster. I don’t think that we have missed or gained anything, I can say however, we go into work everyday not knowing what to expect. And that can be kind of exciting.
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?

JR:  “Skyway” The Replacements
      “Rave On” M. Ward
      “I Only Want You” Eagles of Death Metal
      “Peg” Steely Dan
      “Roadrunner” Modern Lovers


JS:  “Every Breath You Take” The Police
      “Tyler” The Toadies
      “Keep On Loving You” REO Speedwagon
      “Walk” Pantera
      “This Love” Pantera


KB:  “Across the Sea” Weezer
      “Overcaffeinated” Yellowbirddd
      “I Only Have Eyes for You” The Flamingos
      “Caroline No” The Beach Boys
      “Debra” Beck


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

JR:  Pacific Radio is a “success”, but there is plenty of room in my bank account for more “success”


JS:  Success is the journey, not the destination.


HS:  To me… It already is. It was a huge endeavor and we’re all proud of it

KB:  I am with Hyke, this whole adventure is a blast, and we are constantly setting new high water marks for ourselves. I am just glad we get to keep doing it.



KING MIXER – Hang On (interview)

Please meet Eric Howell . As King Mixer he just released Hang On: 11 songs, 11 different styles, one specific sound. NICE!! Being a creative, being independent, being Eric Howell … Read the interview you will learn a thing or 2 (or 3 … or 4 …) … about what that is like.

If you want listen or buy first, go here

Hang on is also available on iTunes, Amazon en Spotify.



You wrote a very nice article about ideas that change while/during recording, writing, mixing the album (read). Can you give an example? Did you enjoy the “making” of Hang on?

This record, Hang On, is my second album.  For the first record I more or less did all the heavy lifting. That is to say, writing the songs, producing and mixing it myself, arranging all the parts, over many many years, and I also made a feature length documentary about the process, particularly focusing on my life in music and the fifteen year journey
that became that record (“Eric Howell’s Greatest Hitch! Vol One). That record was about closure, and making room for new sounds, new attitudes and ideas.

Flash forward a few years and suddenly I realize how time has once again gotten away from me and I hadn’t recorded any new songs in a while. I had been playing lots of “survival gigs”, corporate wedding band type stuff, bread n butter gigs to pay the bills, and I was not very pleased with myself artistically. I was sort of in a creative funk.

However through playing in the wedding band I met some of Chicago’s best musicians, guys who can really play their instruments (certainly a lot better than I can) and as I began to dream up a new game plan for a new studio recording, several of the players from the wedding band wound up in a rehearsal studio working on King Mixer songs with me. And I wasn’t going to tell musicians who were really such solid players HOW to play their
parts.  It was more a matter of suggestions from me and letting them
create on top of my ideas.

So from the dead end corporate gigs came these relationships with great musicians who became my friends and we made this record. A lot of the songs on Hang On were incomplete upon heading into the studio, which is something I almost never do.  Even though I’ve only got two records out, I’ve been in and out of various recording studios
since I was nineteen years old, and by and large I’ve always seen the
recording studio as a place to really have your shit together before going
in.  Always watching the studio clock, etc.  I’ve gotten terrific results that way, but with this album, I decided to crowd fund it via, and through that platform I raised what I felt was enough money to be able to leave the songs unfinished, take some musically creative chances and leave the door open for more spontaneous creativity
while the clock was running.

This led to a sound and attitude on this latest record which I never would’ve achieved had I gone my tried and true traditional route of having the band well rehearsed before going into the studio. Plus I had an excellent Producer in Christian Cullen, and he
offered me two options when working with him:  1) he would produce the
record from a technical standpoint but not offer up any arrangement
suggestions on the songs themselves or 2) he would make his opinions known
about where he saw the songs heading, editing decisions, additional vocal
lines as well as entire beds of music etc and basically become an integral
part of the creative process.

Christian is very very good, and we’re old pals and I’d never worked with him before on a record and I wanted the full Monty out of this crowd funded record, so I chose option 2, without hesitation. The record would’ve sounded entirely different had I chose the
first option. I find people are reacting positively to a lot of the spontaneity we allowed to come through.

So that happens when you set out to make a record. Particularly in my case
I didn’t have a band in which I’d been playing live with for months if not
years, so a lot of the way this album came together (or not) had very
little to do with musical ability and more to do with scheduling.
Scheduling was a bit of a challenge on this record.

Songs which were begun with a certain set of players might take months to complete because I had to wait until the other guys were back from being on the road with their
main band, or whatever. I left a lot of space for the other guys to come
back and finish their parts, or in some cases I wanted them to come back
for another session and create brand new ideas on top of what me and
Christian had dreamed up.  I didn’t want to finish the songs in a flurry
of overdubs between myself and Christian in the studio, so I’d wait on
other players…and wait some more…and more waiting until eventually it
was like, “fuck it, I’m playing guitar on this album!”

But it wasn’t my intention to do so.  It was just the tricky bit about scheduling the
players.  But it all works out. People have said that one of the main
differences in this record over my first album is the guitar playing, that
my playing has really developed and so on. Little do they know I had an
absolute killer guitar player named Grant Tye tapped to play on the entire
album but Grant was on tour with Robbie Fulks during much of my studio
sessions and consequently he only ended up playing guitar on four songs,
and I had to play lead guitar on the others.

This dynamic forced me to clean up my chops a bit because I didn’t want people to hear the finished record and say, “Wow, great guitar playing on THOSE FOUR SONGS! Not so
much on the others”  LOL  So I was forced to step it up a bit, in a way
thanks to Grant NOT being available!”

I enjoyed making this record immensely with an incredible team of
musicians and recording engineers in top flight studios.  But when you’re
spending gobs of money making what essentially is an indie record to be
played live in small clubs there’s a bell curve, a period where trying to
make it sound as if you’re signed to Warner Brothers makes no sense. It’s
easy for the project budget to spin out of control and the next thing you
thinking is, “well, the album artwork should look as good as this is

So budget for the artwork started skyrocketing.  Had to bring
that under control. Then of course the record has to be mastered properly.
This proved a major challenge. I’m pretty sure the album was mastered five
times in an attempt to ‘get it right’. There goes a lot of money as well.
Then there was some sort of technical snafu in the actual CD duplication
process, wherein I got all excited when the UPS delivery truck dropped off
a thousand copies of the album…and I put it on and it was all sped up,
like “we represent the Lollypop Guild” in The Wizard Of Oz! All one
thousand copies were useless. The manufacturing company ate the cost and
promised to issue another run of thousand copies once I sent them a new
master. So I decided this was an opportunity to fix all the little things
that still bugged me about a few of the mixes.  So I remixed the entire
record, secretly, and sent THAT master to be duplicated, which is now how
the record sounds today. But these were all costly learning experiences
and it takes a toll on your psyche and your will to get the record “out

I’m super happy with Hang On and the early reviews have been solid and I
learned a lot from the experience and wouldn’t change a thing. But my next
record is going to be a folk album, recorded for $500 bucks with one set
of musicians over one long weekend!!! Enough of this “two years to make a
record” crap.

Hang On contains a lot of different styles, all combined in a very specific King Mixer-sound. It’s one of the reasons why I like the album so much. What do you think?

I appreciate you saying, “specific King Mixer sound”, Patrick. Because
it IS specific, but I suppose it’s because it’s coming from one central
songwriter. That’s the only specific thing about what I’m doing. I wrote
all the songs. The rest of my approach is basically to ‘throw the
spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks” as far as the SOUND of the
record. So it’s deliberately all over the map, sonically. And you know
what? People advise you in the music business to be “one thing” or “one
sound” so that the public can decide if they like you or not. But none of
us are just “one thing” or “one sound” anyway. No true artists are,

People will either like you for having a certain sound or dislike
you for having that same sound. And everyone just grabs and shares files
these days anyway. Its very hard to get people into the cult of
personality, anymore. So why not make your sound a LOT of sounds? Why not
make The White album your mission statement? So in the case of King Mixer,
yes. I deliberately mix it up, running a variety of styles up the musical
flagpole, for a specific result. And that result is to create music from
one central creative force that sounds like several bands for the price of
one! It’s like those old five CD players’ member those? With King Mixer,
everything’s on shuffle. On this latest album you get power pop, a bit of
ska, a bit of Americana, some guitar rock, some brit pop, some solid gold
70s’ type stuff, a ballad, then it gets damn near “jam bandy” and also
some soul horns combined with a bit of EDM are happening at one point. All
on one record, folks! This may not end up being the case with every album,
but so far, with my first two records, “The White Album variety” has been
the goal. And I believe that goal has been achieved to astonishing
results, he says, immodestly! But don’t take my word for it, have a listen
for yourself, people.
If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

Well,, that’s hard to say, since I wrote all the songs it seems the only
answer is: If you want to know “me”, listen to all of ’em! But who listens
to music to get to know an artist who’s music they’ve scarcely, if ever,
heard before? I certainly don’t. The idea is, “which songs of mine most
remind you of YOU? Or someone you know?” That is the question. It’s only
about me when I’m writing the song in my little room with a guitar. It
should cease being about myself after that, and if the songs are well
written they should connect with YOU, on a level that doesn’t require
knowing or caring much about me, personally. I don’t always write about
myself, a lot of it can be snippets of conversations and one liners that
other people say which sound like good song titles and I’ll run with that.
And it can certainly go a lot deeper as we get older.  I’m listening to
what a lot of friends are going through with regard to their families and
trying to  put food on the table while holding down questionable jobs in
an unsteady market these days.

This record seems to have more than a few songs that address the passing of time, and perhaps being on the losing side of Father Time’s agenda but not giving up without a fight. Songs like “One Too Many” and “Days That Used To Be” address these issues, for sure.
We did a single, which is not on the album, called “45”.  Someday I’ll put
it out as a 7″inch but for now it’s only available digitally on bandcamp,
and maybe itunes, I think. It’s got a Cheap Trick meets Foo Fighters vibe
about it but it’s also a bit throwback with a psychedelic 60’s element to
it. And lyrically I’m singing at the top of my range about aging!
Hahahaha! and it’s a jam! We will not go quietly into the long goodnight!
So, yeah, I suppose the song that is most relevant and autobiographical on
the record is one that’s NOT on the record but is definitely, at the
moment, most like myself, and probably like you, too.  “45”. Sometimes I
can’t believe I’m still alive.
The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring
you? And what not?



I found an old copy of Rolling Stone a few weeks ago. On the cover it
said, “Why The Music Industry Is Over!” or some such drivel. This
particular issue of Rolling Stone was from 1998 or something. So they’ve
been selling us this perpetual lie that “the music industry is in trouble”
for 20 years. Clearly we’re still here and major industry is still putting
together major tours and people are still paying absurd prices to see
their glory days bands in stadiums or at festivals. It didn’t die, it’ll
never go away.

I think what’s happened in the sea change of technology is
that the music industry has been humbled, but it”s not “in trouble” and
it’ll never be over. Adjustments have to be made.  But on a very personal,
attainable level the advances in technology and internet platforms are
what’s allowed me to crowdfund my latest effort, it’s what allows artists
to reach their audience and build upon that audience, hitting everyone
with the same message at the same time, instantly from wherever an artist
happens to be when they hit “send”, without any number of record company
middle men to muck it up, or save your ass.  That is cool.  The fact that
everyone and their grandmother is doing the same thing, people who are not
artistically minded posting to Instagram and calling whatever they had for
lunch an “Event” worthy of the same kind of attention I want you to give
my music….not so cool. Let’s move on…

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


If they have to be my own songs, I’d be sure to give her:

1) Zookeepers

2) Gravity

3) Somethin’ Else (people have been known to weep openly upon hearing it so I’ll score some emo points on this one, maybe)

4) Days That Used To Be (cuz it sounds fun…but there’s a message that all women of conscience will pick up on!)

and finally…

5) And That’s All  (because we always close with it at club shows and it’s good to go out with a bang and not a whimper!).

If they don’t have to be King Mixer songs, it will be

1) She’s The One (Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, from Born To Run.  If she doesn’t like Springsteen, I will eventually kick her to the curb before the third date anyway)
2) Tom Petty –  Even The Losers (ditto to the above criteria)
3) New Radicals – You Only Get What You Give (a spectacular “feel good” song which features the greatest drum ‘flam’ in the history of recorded music. And if she catches that without any prompting from me, I will propose to her, on the second date, instantly).
4) The Revivalists – Wish I Knew You (let’s assume she’s significantly younger than me on this date in question. This song adroitly handles a potential deal breaking dynamic)
5) Badfinger – Day After Day (If she doesn’t dig this melancholy gem, she’s got no heart)

What’s up for the next couple of months?


I’m actually starting to sift through my considerable barrage of demo
recordings, seeing what grabs me and what might have the makings of the
next record for King Mixer. There’s all kinds of crap on literally fifty
to sixty tapes and gobs of song farts of files, all just rough ideas,
sputtered drunkenly into a recording device. That’s how I typically start
my process.

By the time Thanksgiving rolls around I hope to be back in
the studio, working with an entirely new set of talent in an entirely new
way, to make entirely new King Mixer music. Oh and I’m heading to Newport
Beach, California on a gig in a couple weeks, and then to Hollywood. I do
get inspired when I’m out west.  It’s ridiculously beautiful there from
the weather to the ocean to the people. I totally get Brian Wilson’s sense
of melancholy mixed with hope and adventure in all those Beach Boys songs.
Last time I was in Newport I must’ve come up with eight to ten song ideas
just staring out at the waterline, strumming my guitar from a window view.
And they were all crazy good pop songs, baby!

THE BOSS – No School Blazers (interview)

Thirty years in the making, No School Blazers, a punky power pop gem.  Sweet Sweet Music talked to Danny McAllister about being back! 

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

It was great to be back in the studio recording again after many years with the original 80s Boss lineup.

There can be a tendancy to go over the top in the studio so we play live to get the feel and sound right.

I always enjoy getting the guitar sounds and blending the vocals.We are very happy with the album.

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

I like all the tracks.The newer songs for me standout because they are a bit different from the older tracks

So Butterfly, Magic Carpet, Seashell. It’s still the old Boss though, punky power pop.

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

We were never darlings of the music companies. Our timing was out. We were too late.

There were a couple of record companies in 87-88 that looked like they might sign us but it never materialised and here we are.

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

Best musician the worlds never heard of…dunno

I’m the best songwriter I know lol.

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

Bit old for dating mate… 

I have been married for years.

I’d just put on what I felt like … if she didn’t like it … too bad.

My tastes vary a lot…if I’m getting ready for a gig I like to get in the mood … something loud and stomping

That could be Slade..Little Richard..Sex Pistols..The Beatles..The kinks..The Who..Dr Fellgood..Tamla.

What’s up for the next couple of months?

Upcoming gigs 2016

Sept 2nd…100 Club The Boss with The Chords uk

Sept 17..Bassment Club, Chelmsford Essex..The Boss with Small World

Nov 19..Essex Arms ,Brentwood,Essex ..The Boss with Class of 76..(ex members of Eddie  and The Hotrods and The Members).

Listen, read bio and buy here

THE LOVED – The Loved (interview)

I also have this quote I picked up somewhere, sometime…I put it on a note that hangs on my wall: “Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” Both of these lines mean something, form a bit of the base of how my songwriting should work.


Sweet Sweet Music talked to Lael Alderman about The Loved and their wonderful new EP.

Three cords and the truth – as you describe your music on FB – is often used to describe country music. Are you a country band that rocks or a rock band …. Or a pop band that ….?

Three cords & the truth… I know it is the old country adage but, for me, it comes from watching U2 take on All Along the Watchtower in Rattle & Hum. I must have snuck into the theater to watch that movie 3 times in the one week it was playing in my hometown. Twelve years old? Bono is really feeling it, breathing heavy straight into the microphone, and he vamps out: “All I got is this red guitar, three chords and truth / All I got is a red guitar, the rest is up to you.” Something in there hit me, something stuck with me. Keep it simple, keep it honest.


I also have this quote I picked up somewhere, sometime…I put it on a note that hangs on my wall: “Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” Both of these lines mean something, form a bit of the base of how my songwriting should work.


To answer your question, though…the Loved, we are a rock band. We do have the very slightest of brushes with country in some songs, though I don’t think anybody would ever mistake us for a country band. I love the song structure and melodies of old country music. They find their way into our tunes sometimes.



Mothers & Fathers is the biggest truth of them all. Is that the reason for the mantra-like outro?

I think you got it. The words in that outro seem to wrap around each other. Things do get mantra-like in there, for sure. I am a father now, and that experience has made me view my own father differently. And now I look at my kids, and that makes me think a bit differently on my own youth. In my mind, it all turned into this circle of mothers & fathers with their sons & daughters who will one day be mothers & fathers, too.


I always make a point to look into the audience when we are playing. I like to enjoy that part of playing. For years, I never did that for one reason or another. I think most performers would say the same. When we do this song, I look out into the crowd, look to see if we are connecting. On this song, more than any other, folks key in on it. The mantra of the chorus connects, the rhythm section is locked in, a momentum build. More than most of our songs, you can feel a moment happening during the show.


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

Making this last album was a great time. We recorded all the tracks live, in a single six or seven-hour session…vocals, drums, guitars, bass. A few little dustings of studio magic followed during the two-day mix session. We could all see each other in the tracking room, lock in visually, me in an isolation booth to sing and play guitar, Daven & Jake staring each other down in a larger room. It was hot in the summer with no air conditioning. We drank a bunch of iced coffee, my wife brought us dinner. We would say it even while we were tracking the album: “It feels like a bit of magic is happening here.” We weren’t booking weeks of time on end, having to slog it out. We came into the studio with our songs, intending to do three, walked out with five. A pretty great day!


All of us in the band are so close…Daven was the best man in my wedding & we played in a band when we were younger for six years; after that, Daven & Jake have played in a band called Oh, Darling for another four years or more; all of our wives are the best of friends. Even our producer/engineer, he played lead guitar in a band he & I had together for a couple years. Making music with your best friends is about as good as it can get.




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

I think Sun/Moon/Stars does the job of letting you know what we are about. It was one of the first songs we all worked on together, as well; the first song that let us know we were, perhaps, on to something unique & special as a band. That song will let you know I wear my heart on my sleeve. The melody & dynamics in the vocals of this song are right in our wheelhouse, and the music has some good twists & turns in it. It’s a sometimes-soft song that sometimes rocks you.


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

Well, we have all been around playing music for a while. I put my first record out in 1998, and it went on to be the little album that could. Within six months of my friends’ label independently releasing it, I had a recording deal with Geffen Records & a publishing deal with Sony. That was a lot for a 23-year old to figure out. And those things just don’t happen anymore in the music industry. The music industry has changed a lot, and the end of the ‘90s was the greatest change in the shortest amount of time that I have seen. In classic style, my deal was done, over and dissolved before I was even able to record an album. The experience of it all, though, is something I will always have with me, and it gave me the absolute confidence to move forward with my music on my own terms with my own style.


I know Daven & Jake have been putting out records for as long as I have, and we have all had our brushes with the musical industrial complex. For each one of us, every not-so-good story is balanced by another handful of great opportunities. That being said, hindsight has a way of pointing out lessons learned and not making you too upset about any potentially missed chances. It’s why we write & play music now for the love of it; no concerns about finding a spot anywhere in the larger music industry.


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

Is this purely for getting the girl? Man, it has been a long time since making a mix tape for that! Let’s try this out:


  1. Ask – the Smiths
  2. Sexy Back – Justin Timberlake
  3. Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
  4. Lover, You Should’ve Come Over – Jeff Buckley
  5. Don’t Disturb This Groove – the System



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I came in the first day and he asked me what I wanted the album to sound like. I told him “Everything recorded at Fort Apache Studios in Boston in 1995.”

Basement Punk, the new Ryan Allen and his Extra Arms album, will be released September 30th. Great songs, great lyrics, great hooks. Sweet Sweet Music talked to Ryan. I mean: Sweet Sweet Music TALKED to Ryan. Read the interview and pre order the album (here) or vice versa!



Punk Rock, College Rock, Alternative Rock, Power Pop …. A lot of different styles. Is that who you are?

It’s important for me to be true to myself at all times, so I don’t really think about songwriting in terms of genre. I just want to write good songs, no matter what. A lot of my favorite records have a diversity to it; songs ebb and flow and have a dynamic element that makes me want to keep coming back over and over again. I want my records to have that same kind of dimension; I don’t want things to be flat or one note. I want ups and downs, twists and turns. Obviously I’m not going to rap on a song (maybe I should though) and on the surface my tunes could be classified as “melodic rock” or whatever, but I don’t want my music to be put in one single box. I love Minor Threat and Black Flag just as much as I love the Posies and Big Star. I’ll put on Harry Nilsson one second and then Jawbox the next. Something dreamy like Slowdive could be followed by something super aggressive like Refused. I’d like to think my diverse tastes help inform my songwriting style and yeah, kind of make me, well, me.

Alex Whiz is fun because we probably all know a kid like Alex. Was that one easy to write? Or is it hard to find the right details?

That song started with that sort of woozy guitar riff that kicks off the song and then comes back in the choruses; I had that kicking around for awhile, but was having trouble attaching it to any other parts. I kept workshopping it with different verse chords, and at one point I pretty much finished the song with completely different lyrics. One day the name “Alex Whiz” just popped in my head, kind of out of nowhere. Alex is a real person and he grew up next-door to my best friend.

I started wondering about what happened to him and even tried looking him up on Facebook at some point (couldn’t find him, though). Then I started to build this narrative in my head about how despite Alex being perceived as sort of odd when we were young, he’s probably some kind of successful genius now.

All of sudden I thought, “Whoa, I have a song here.” I went back to what I had originally written, changed all of the lyrics to fit my sort of half-true half-made up story about Alex and that was that.

I was (and still am) kind of nervous about writing something about a real person and naming the song after him and all of that, but I think the overall message is positive and something he would like if he heard it. It’s really a “the meek will inherit the earth” type of story, almost speaking as Alex saying “All you fuckers who made fun of me, well guess what, the joke is on you now because I’m awesome and all of you are a bunch of losers.” Or something like that. Ha ha.

How did you record Basement Punk?

I played all of the instruments myself, so the process is pretty different than doing a record with a whole band playing together. First I demoed everything at my house using my pretty simple set up. I just have a few mics and basically record everything straight into Garageband.

The demos don’t sound very good, but it’s kind of my way of workshopping the songs and practicing them enough so when it’s time to go into the studio I know exactly what I want to do and don’t waste any time. I wrote almost 17 songs for this record, and they were all over the place. Some were fast and punky, some more chimey and Big Star-esq. There was a hardcore song where I was basically screaming. There were shoegazy things. There was a stripped down acoustic song. There was even an instrumental jam.

My goal was to just keep writing and whatever came out came out, which I haven’t really done before. I usually just cut everything I’ve written and call it a day. Once I kind of decided on the songs that I thought I would want to record for the album, I booked some time at a studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan called Big Sky. It’s run by the amazing Geoff Michael, and he gets really amazing guitar and drum sounds. He’s also super laid back and just a really great guy to work with. I came in the first day and he asked me what I wanted the album to sound like. I told him “Everything recorded at Fort Apache Studios in Boston in 1995.” He knew exactly what I was talking about, and we got to work. In terms of tracking, I recorded scratch/throwaway guitar tracks to a click  (usually in blocks of 3 or 4 at a time) and would then go and sit down at the drums and play over them. I spent most of day 1 doing that until I got the basic foundation of the songs down. I went back a second day and cut most of the real guitars and some vocals. A third day was spent finishing up the main vocals (as well as adding some stuff to Nick Piunti’s record, who was working on his new one at the same time as me).

Then I took all of those tracks over to my parents’ house where my dad has a studio. I worked with him to lay down the rest of the pieces, including bass, keys, percussion, more guitar and more vocals. I love working with my dad and we ripped through the songs in a couple of sessions.

Before I knew it, we were done tracking and it was time to mix. I sent everything over to Andy Reed (of the Legal Matters and Reed Recording Studio fame) and he put the finishing touches on it, mixing and mastering it to perfection. Honestly, I love the way it turned out – it’s exactly the kind of record I wanted to make and sounds exactly how I imagined it would in my head. Dirty and loud in places, nice and clean in others.

Big ups to Geoff, my dad and Andy for helping me out along the way.


Gorgeous w/ Guitars. What is the story behind that song?

That song is basically about being true to yourself and continuing to keep making music no matter what. A little bit of it is about me, but it’s also sort of about my dad and my friend Nick Piunti.

It’s really about the idea that you don’t have to stop making music (and it doesn’t have to suck) the older you get. I love that my dad goes down in the basement every Friday night with his buddies and jams and records stuff. I love that he still wants to help me make records and always has good ideas to help me figure things out if I’m stuck. In terms of Nick, he’s written three amazing records in his early 50s while most people his age do nothing creative.

Really, the song is saying don’t stop, whatever you do. Do. Not. Stop. Keep creating. Keep making music. Keep striving to be better, and don’t let age or whatever get in your way. You can still be viable and do great things well after you turn 21, or 31 or even 61. It doesn’t matter, as long as you have the passion to do it, do it.

Ryan, I really like this one! So many catchy songs. Great lyrics. What are your expectations?

Thank you! I never really have any expectations. I think it’s part of what keeps me pleasantly surprised if anybody listens to my music, writes about it, buys it, whatever. I would love it if people give the record a shot and take some time to really get to know the songs. I think music these days is just content to people sometimes. Hearing a song is no different than reading a Tweet. It sort of exists for a second and then it’s gone. I really like to spend time with records and get to know them inside and out. I really hope there are people out there that feel like they want to spend some time with my record, too. But whether a ton of people write about it, or it gets completely ignored, it almost doesn’t matter to me, because I’m super proud of it.


WESLEY FULLER – Melvista (interview)

Q magazine and Shindig wrote some very nice words about Wesley Fuller’s  music. Sweet Sweet Music talked to the man himself.

How did you record Melvista? 
It was recorded over a period of a few months from my home studio in a Fitzroy sharehouse. Just something I’d chip away at during my spare time. Louder things like drums I recorded at a rehearsal room where I could make all the noise I wanted to. I mixed it myself and it was mastered by Steve Smart at Studios 301.
Melvista has this jangly, melodic, light psych and hooky pop sound. Does that sound come naturally to you?
I think so, not in a conscious kind of way but certainly in terms of influences, I’ve always had an appreciation of pop music and I’m fascinated by what makes it work. That probably lends itself to some of the stuff that I write.
Q magazine and Shindig wrote some very nice words about your music. What do you think?
It’s always nice to be complimented with a favorable review for sure.
I was stoked that the Shindig crew were into it. I love that mag and really admire and appreciate the passion that drives it.
If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why? 
Gosh that is a difficult question to answer!
I’m going to go with “I Guess I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” by The Beach Boys.
The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?
Well I was signed to 1965 Records as well as my management team through the power of the internet. Streaming sites allow your music to be picked up by fans of similar style artists so that’s handy. But I don’t think anyone really knows where the industry is going at the moment. You’ve got to put a lot of time, money and creative energy into social media and marketing to reach people these days which can be counter-intuitive to some, whereas others take to it like a duck to water. Another positive is the decline in the importance of expensive music videos, due advancements in affordable software. As long as you’ve got a vision, you can create something cool on a low budget.
She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on? 
1. You Make Me Feel Good – The Zombies
2. James – The Bangles
3. Soldier of Love – Arthur Alexander
4. The Dance Master – Willie Henderson
5. Get On The Line – The Sweet
What’s up for the next couple of months?
I’ll be adding final overdubs and mixing my debut album from my home studio as well as playing some good supports around town. The album is due for release early next year so I’ve got lots of work to do!


WATCH here


THE FORTY NINETEENS – Rebooted (interview)

Getting a “Coolest Song in the World this Week” title from Little Steven’s Underground Garage has meant the world  to us. 

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Nick Z about Rebooted.

Listen to Rebooted

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

I and the others in the band will concur that, once we have the basic tracks down, then the fun really starts.
We woodshed the tunes before going in, but once the basic tracks are committed to tape, we sit down, take our time, and listen to to them all over again. It’s as if the songs take on a whole new life once we come up with extra ideas. It’s a fun way for us to create.

How did you record Rebooted?

We recorded at David Newtons Rollercoaster Recording in Burbank Calif. 
The band comes in on a weekend and records basic tracks, scratch vocals, and essentially lays down the framework for the tunes.
Prior to taping, David listens to us run the songs and comes up with suggestions that help or enhance the progressions. We adjust what needs to be done, then roll tape. 
With basic tracks completed we take the roughs home and make sure the ideas we have all fit with the basic tracks. 
Then we return on separate days and put down the guitars: solo, rhythm, then percussion, vocals, and finally keys. 
We take our time, and record over two to three months, and in that time we enjoy how the songs constantly take new directions.
David really pushes the ‘anything goes’ attitude in the studio. Our main influences are in the Garage Rock genre, but otherwise they are all over the map, Rock n Roll, big band, jazz, any era, we like it all, and we feel it sounds it has a fresh sound that pays homage to those that paved the way.  

Which other music/artists do inspire you?

We all like 60’s Garage Rock
John is a fan of bands like The Romantics, Graham Parker, The Beatles, The Kinks
Chuck likes The Ramones, Social Distortion, and other SoCal punk bands.
I enjoy The Who, The Doors, late 70s punk, various non rock n roll acts from Sinatra to Aker Bilk.  

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

I would suggest “I’m Free” 

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

The most important thing we’ve received is the kudos from fans, artists, DJ’s, and writers. This band is a second creative wave for singer John and I, we go back many years, and are having the time of our lives. Getting a “Coolest Song in the World this Week” title from Little Steven’s Underground Garage has meant the world to us. Little Steven, Genya Ravan, Kid Leo, Mighty Manfred, Michael Des Barres, Handsome Dick Manitoba and all the other DJ’s have been really supportive of us. We dig their credo “Be prepared to relinquish your self imposed limitations, and comfort with the status quo. All that is over baby, you’re not alone no more.”

When we got involved with the industry, I don’t think we expected much from it. The band believes that when opportunity comes, you have to be ready. But in most cases you have to manufacture opportunity, rarely does it come your way. Airplay, and press are things we really value, and don’t take for granted. 

Your songs sound like hits but nowadays it is almost impossible to reach a big audience …. On the other hand it’s very easy to create a new Dutch fan, like me. Does that make sense? How do you cope with this situation? 

Thanks Patrick, we appreciate your friendship! It makes total sense to us. Thanks to the advent of the internet, we now are able to reach the world, and also instantly thank radio stations, blogs, and newspapers for mentions. It means a lot to us. 

We are happy to hear from people take the time to write to us, and if they don’t write, we hope that they are experiencing happy times listening to the band. Either way, its great to bring positive energy to people. 

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

I hope she likes fun music!!

Elvis Presley / Such a Night

C’mon and Swim / Bobby Freeman

Rock Lobster / B 52’s

Chuck Berry / Johnny B Goode

Bobby Darin / Splish Splash

What’s up for the next couple of months?

The band opens for Berlin w/Terri Nunn on Sept 30 in Temecula wine country. 

Other gigs can be found at
We’ll be back in the studio recording the follow up disc, and hopefully heading to NYC to play for the east coast fans that heard us on Little Steven’s Underground Garage.

We are looking to get distribution in Europe. We are at all Disc Union locations in Japan, and if anyone in Europe would like a physical copy, please visit Kool Kat Muzik 

What about the I Walk with the Zombie cover?
John and I were introduced to Roky Erickson from his work in The 13th Floor Elevators, and this track was just a fun song that we performed during a show with Johnny Vatos’ Oingo Boing. It went over well, and we decided to record. What a fun song!!