Music Festivals

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB IS THE SHAMROCK MUSIC KING
September 29, 2016 5:27 pm

Two Door Cinema Club are an Irish indie rock trio that seemingly just want to dance. Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday, and Kevin Baird make music that instantly plug ear-worms to your cerebellum with instant infection. Their music videos are also as infectious, showcasing the band’s quirky, yet honest, sense of humor. Forming in 2007, while the lads were still in school, they have since released two full-length albums, with one on the way in October, and a handful of EP’s. They have gained a substantial following in their home country of Ireland, and are doing the same in the US with incessant touring and festival appearances.

Prior to forming Two Door Cinema Club, the trio performed as a band in their teenage years dubbed “Life Without Rory”. The band, released 3 demos,  finished dead last in local competitions, and decided to move on to greener pastures. The trio came back together to form another band without a full-time drummer and settled on the name Two Door Cinema Club after Sam Halliday’s mispronunciation of the local movie theater the Tudor Cinema.

Two Door Cinema Club released an EP in 2009 titled Four Words to Stand On that gained a little interest. Their first full-length record, Tourist History, was released in 2010 with the band finding their niche. Tourist History went on to be selected for the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year. Follow-up album Beacon was released 3 years later to similar reaction pushing the band to release a four-part tour documentary entitled What We See. An EP, Changing of the Seasons, came in 2013 coupled with a jump to Parlophone Records in 2015. Their third proper album, Gameshowand first for Parlophone, is slated for release in October, 2016.

Two Door Cinema Club will be featured at the Austin City Limits Festival on October 1st, and will continue touring North America through November 2016.

THIS MONDO THING
September 26, 2016 9:59 am

At  the Mondo NYC music conference earlier this month, every conversation began the same way: “Sucks about CMJ, doesn’t it?” “Yeah, what do you think of this Mondo thing?”

hannah_scott

To be honest, I went into Mondo disappointed for various reasons; one, because it was not a rebirth of my favorite dance party, and two, because I was very much looking forward to (the currently defunct) CMJ. Though Mondo was created by Bobby Haber and Joanne Abbot Green, the pair sold the conference in 2012. Could Mondo hold a candle to CMJ, my favorite local music conference? And could it ever grow to compete with the behemoth that is SXSW?

ATYPICAL SOUNDS was lucky to grab a few minutes with Austin natives Kelly Barnes and Brian Cole of the band Darkbird (who put on an absolutely incredible Saturday-night show at Pianos), and get their opinion on Mondo vs potential-future-competitor SXSW:

Kelly: My feelings about SXSW from years ago were great, because it was aimed at getting newer artists like ourselves up and running, getting seen by people that can actually take bands to the next level, and now it’s Kanye West performing or Bruce Springsteen. And there’s thousands and thousands of people coming to see that.

It’s just becoming this huge shit show, [which] is probably the best way to put it. And it’s just over-saturated. So it kind of lost its focus. I think if Mondo were to grow into what SXSW was…[SXSW] did have a time, and it peaked, and it was something really great and useful.

Brian: SXSW has turned into a monster that can barely contain itself. It’s having issues keeping itself together because it’s so big now. There’s lots of corporations involved now, like it’s “Lady Gaga on the Doritos stage”, and it’s not really about getting bands exposure, getting them in contact. It’s about the industry and the bands, giving them a place to meet, and that’s what I would like to see Mondo do. And I think they’re starting on the right foot. I went to a couple panels yesterday, and it was inspiring.

royal_teeth

Kelly: The business has changed so much. It’s not like someone sees your show and is like, “Come on, baby. Let’s make you a star!” Everyone’s kind of throwing their hands up in the air like “How does this work?”.

When [music] is something you do to try to make a living, it’s really frustrating – you’ve got the talent, you have all these things you want to do. But how do you do it? How do you get there? How do you get your music in the right hands? How do you get someone to listen to it? And maybe these conferences give you some tools and ideas that maybe you haven’t thought about. And you feel like you’re learning something very valuable. There’s so many question marks about how to do it anymore. It’s frustrating.

Brian: One aspect that I like about Mondo is they’re bringing in new technology, as well. The music industry is changing because of new technologies. Nobody buys CDs anymore. Nobody has the attention span to listen to a full album.

Kelly: Record deals from big labels aren’t worth anything anymore. Now it’s independent labels, or people are DIY-ing everything. But it’s possible that way. Here, you’re learning about how to utilize technology.

dirty_dishesa_valley_soniris_lune

The utilization of technology was an important topic throughout panel discussions at Mondo, which included talks called Why Can’t Music Apps Get Funding? and Digital Entertainment and Content. The honesty of many of the panelists was refreshing and informative. However, it was jarring to watch these presenters, some of whom with 20+ years of experience in the music industry, insinuating they don’t really know what’s going to happen with the music industry since file sharing essentially wiped them out. Then again, no one should have had to pay $20 for a CD in the first place, so they kind of had it coming. And there seems to be a lot of freedom right now to figure out what the “next big thing” in the music industry will be, so that’s at least one positive to come out of the Wild West the industry has become.

Mondo featured 3 days of panel talks, with 5 days of music showcases happening at venues throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. The showcases were not all day and night (as in CMJ), but happened only at night after the panel talks. While conferences like CMJ and SXSW thrive on their ability to offer band exposure from constant showcases throughout, Mondo limited this time by keeping the showcases nightly. Spreading the showcases out between Manhattan and Brooklyn also limited the number of showcases that could be seen in one night, with attendees being forced to choose one borough over another.

Ultimately, for their first year, Mondo made a pretty decent go of things. Having corresponded with the organizers, it’s clear they’re looking to grow and improve, and are doing so through open communication with attendees. Because of their willingness to “give the people what they want”, Mondo could grow into a strong contender in music conferences in the coming years. I’m looking forward to seeing that happen.

echoic

CLEVELAND: ROCK AND ROLL CITY AND ITS RUST BELT REVIVAL
July 7, 2016 7:34 pm

Henri K. Rapp, Jeanette Sangston and Chayla Hope are constantly knee deep in the rock & roll scene of Cleveland, OH. I had the opportunity to talk to the artists about their relationship with this beautiful city and how its music scene has contributed to what they have now.

Who are you and what do you do?

rapp

Henri K. Rapp – Photo by Evan Prunty

“I’m Henri K. W. Rapp, a Cleveland based Music Producer and Location Sound Mixer for TV/Film. I help run Bad Racket Recording Studio, where a lot of what I record is bands. We are fortunate enough to live in a city with some truly phenomenal artists, and I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to record some of them. At Bad Racket, we produce a music video series called ‘Live From Bad Racket.’ In the last year I have had the opportunity to work on a more diverse selection of projects than ever before; An 18-Piece orchestra in The Cleveland Art Museum, Strings for Cleveland Playhouse, Sound for TV Shows, as well as record with some great bands like Worship This!, Clementine, The Village Bicycle, Signals Midwest, and A Work Of Fiction.” -Henri K. Rapp

“My name is Jeanette Sangston. I am the Director of Sofar Sounds Cleveland. We curate secret, intimate shows once a month in unique spaces around the city, highlighting emerging talent.” -Jeanette Sangston

“I am a press operator at Gotta Groove Records and the lead singer of Seafair and Glitter Biscuit” -Chayla Hope

For the past 8 years that I’ve lived in Cleveland, Ohio, I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions. First off, I came from Anchorage Alaska, which made me a snobby brat. I held my head high thinking nothing could top the plethora of fresh fish, tourist attractions and the small, hometown feel that the tiny city offered. I was vastly wrong. This city has grown on me like ivy on an antique brick house, pulling relentlessly at my heartstrings.

For those who’ve never been here, you probably know it from the vast majority of terrible jokes against it like ‘Mistake on the Lake,’ ‘Cuyahoga River catching on fire’ and the “At Least We’re Not Detroit” fad to name a few. Cleveland is a small city, vibrant within the community with an ever blossoming and thriving music, food, and start up scene.

Cleveland is about to host the Republican National Convention. I’m a little worried as I work downtown as most friends and family do. That being said, I do know that we had 1.3 million people crowding the downtown area at the Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade, it being the biggest championship celebration in NBA history with little to no damage to the city. Are you listening, America?

What have you noticed lately in the music scene?

“One thing that’s stood out to me in recent times is up and coming labels from Cleveland, like Quality Time Records, Jurassic Pop Records, and Escapist Records who’ve been putting out some truly killer records. A lot of these releases have been cut to cassette tapes, or pressed to vinyl at Gotta Groove Records. They are a Cleveland based record plant that is one of the biggest in the country. We have a lot of friends who work over there. It’s also awesome to see cassette tapes make such a remarkable comeback as well.” -Rapp

photo (2)

Chayla Hope at Jeanette Sangston’s Sofar Sounds – Photo By Ernie Joy

“Cleveland has always had a strong music scene, but it seems like there is definitely a new vibrancy. An injection of new energy. There seems to be a desire to shine the spotlight on our talent so that we can launch our artists to that next level…perhaps a national level. The realization that success for anyone in Cleveland means success for everyone; that the stronger our scene is, the stronger that spotlight is. There are so many people in Cleveland that value music…on every level…and work EXTREMELY hard to promote that value throughout the city. It’s really an awesome time to be involved in the Cleveland music scene. We have amazing talent and passion here.” -Sangston

“Its becoming more of a community. More people are supporting each other and collaborating. It’s a wonderful thing.” -Hope

On the west side, you can find a bustling downtown, the original Melt Bar and Grilled and Tremont, where you can dine at Michael Symons Lolita among other home grown eateries. Don’t worry, Trump likely won’t enter Symon’s, so if you’re looking for a safe haven during the convention you have Lola, Lolita and any of the B spot locations. But on the sprawling streets of the East Side harbor has Little Italy, a handful of art museums, University Circle at Case Western as well as some of the best hospitals (hopefully you won’t need those).

The historic Euclid Tavern is an old music venue, now home to the Happy Dog, where you can get Fruit Loops or almost any other unique topping for your hotdogs. Also if you’re looking to see national or even local acts in a small intimate atmosphere, you can hit up the Grog Shop where I’ve personally seen the likes of Saintseneca, Lucero and Nick 13. Further north in Collinwood you have the Beachland Ballroom/tavern. I recently saw Brian Fallon there and The Ohsees. The Beachland also has killer food. No kidding, you’ll cry while eating it.

How has the music scene changes effected your business and projects?

“This time of year is not only the busy season, but with an active music scene, all the film production and the RNC coming to town, I stay quite booked up at Bad Racket, doing location sound for TV shows, and mixing concerts at Mahall’s. We also have been shooting new ‘Live From Bad Racket’ videos faster then we can do the post production, so we are starting to have a nice cache of videos that we will be premiering soon.” -Rapp

“Well, there certainly seems to be no limit to the pool of talented emerging artists in Cleveland. Equally, there seems to be no limit to the amount of people willing to support and help out Sofar Sounds as well. I’m truly amazed at how generous people are when they are passionate about something. The music community is like no other. It binds strangers into family. As we grow our support, we’re able to amplify our voice throughout Cleveland and beyond.” -Sangston

What does Cleveland mean to you?

“Cleveland is a city of opportunity for people interested in creating something awesome. It’s a place where the cost of living is low, while still big enough of a city to be a cultural hub. This kind of environment is the perfect incubator for artists, musicians, writers, actors, or anyone who wants to pursue a creative career path. With more films and TV being shot here, and a surplus of great bands, it’s a great city to work in doing audio.” -Rapp

“Cleveland is home. I’ve lived here my entire life. It is the confluence of grit and culture; it is steeped in the past yet has the palpable energy of new growth. We can talk all day about all of the new construction, Public Square renovation, the revival of the Flats; but ultimately, the heartbeat of Cleveland is the people. And the energy, pride, and camaraderie was never more apparent than at the Cavs parade. THAT is Cleveland.’ -Sangston

“It’s home. Cleveland is growing exponentially. I’ve always found beauty in it, but now so many people are flocking here due to the Cavs, the food, the sights, and the booze (chuckles). Public square is helping immensely as well!” -Hope

Cleveland is a major believer in bringing new to live alongside the old, a lot of our old buildings are intact and are being reused by new up-and-coming businesses. As a transplant, coming from a relatively new state, I never had the luxury to witness much history, but it’s a wild dream imagining all those who have stepped through the same streets I currently walk through.

I work in downtown Cleveland at a market, but this place previously was a hardware store. With majestic lofts above the store, exposed ceilings and sprawling wood work, it’s a wonder this wasn’t built to be exactly what it is now: a trendy downtown market and grocery store.

What are some important aspects you think all outsiders should know before stepping into our world?

“I think people are surprised at generally how nice Clevelanders are. There may be some pre-conceived notions about us, but Cleveland is world class in every way. Food, sport, art, and music…we are the epitome of Rust Belt Revival. I would encourage any outsider to really dig in and sample the best the city has to offer. They surely won’t leave disappointed.” -Sangston

I believe Jeannette said it best. Cleveland has finished its rehab and it is completely clean now, including the brand new square which had its grand opening only about a week ago. We are a proud city, reeking of admiration for the skyline we see every time we drive up the Shoreway or fight our way through east side traffic to see the Key Tower, Terminal Tower, Justice center or the Guardians of Transportation and we know we are home.

BEST OF BONNAROO 2016
June 17, 2016 5:41 pm

So Bonnaroo is over and we’ve returned to our normal lives (sad). We’ve showered in private bathrooms, slept in real beds for more than 4 hours at a time, and we finally feel like real human beings again (happy). We never want to see drugs or alcohol of any kind ever again (joking), and we’re so damn excited to tell you and everyone we know about our experiences (serious). Here are our eleven favorite acts at Bonnaroo 2016 (because ten just isn’t enough):

pearl-jam-at-2016-bonnaroo-arts-and-music-festival-day-3

Pearl Jam at Bonnaroo Photo Cred: Jeff Kravitz

11: Death Cab for Cutie played an afternoon show on the last day of the festival, in 90° heat on the largest and hottest stage, yet they still had the entire audience hanging on every note, word, and emotion. Several people around me were crying unapologetically (not that they needed to apologize, crying is cool and all, but… well, it was unsettling at the time). The Seattle rockers proved that over a decade of mainstream success has not hampered their drive for a killer show, and the group’s sizable catalog had the tens of thousands of audience members clamoring for more. If your biggest problem is that your set is too short to fit all your good songs, you’re doing alright. -IA

fidlar

Fidlar at Bonnaroo Photo cred: FilmMagic

10:Band of Horses used this opportunity to showcase their new album Why Are You Ok?, released just a few days earlier. Consistently excellent performers, the band struck a careful balance between this new material and the earlier hits so beloved by the scorched Saturday afternoon crowd. Their anticipation was palpable, as it was clear many in the audience considered Band of Horses the main draw of the festival. Perhaps rightly so, since “Is There A Ghost” and “The Funeral” are two of the most epic live numbers around, screaming with an intensity impossible to replicate in a recording. If you haven’t yet seen Band of Horses live, you should. -IA 

9: Kurt Vile was obviously drunk on stage, drinking and spilling from several cans of Modelo throughout the show, yet he pulled off one of the most casually transcendent performances I’d ever seen. This guy is a seriously awesome guitarist, able to riff passionate, musically-relevant licks without seeming to think too hard. His irreverent stage banter paired well with his loose and mumbly singing, emphasizing his unique take-it-or-leave-it style of not giving a fuck. Before his last song he told everybody he’d be in the pit at the Ween show later, if anyone wanted to say hi. So he was having a pretty good time, it seemed, and it came through in the music. Neat! -IA/AS

8: Third Eye Blind has been doing this for a long time. Their thoroughly-attended tent show was basically a giant sing-along party/crowd-surfing exhibition. Seriously, there was almost too much crowd-surfing, to the point that Stephen Jenkins got involved and jumped into the crowd himself (which was totally awesome but also pretty dangerous for the 51 year-old star). There was one guy in particular who crowd surfed for about 20 minutes straight. We were quite jealous of the look on his face as he floated atop our heads, pumping his fists in the air along to the chorus of “Semi-Charmed Life.” The band that helped define snake person adolescence knew their audience and performed their classics diligently, even going out of their way to change plans and play “Motorcycle Drive By” because some fans they met on the way in (“dressed only in flowers and body paint”) complained that they don’t play enough old stuff. The San Francisco natives excel at developing this sort of audience camaraderie, reminding us frequently that love conquers hate and that we’re all in this together. Fuckin’ hippies, gotta love ’em. – IA/AS

7: Big Grams is half Big Boi (from Outkast) and half Phantogram (whose new album is released today). They played to a packed tent starting around 2AM, and people were pretty much losing their shit. It was awesome. Their “Ms Jackson/Mouthful of Diamonds” mashup was especially mind-blowing, with the entire crowd getting in on every single”I am for reeeal.” Unfortunately, their “The Way You Move” fell flat when mashed with “Don’t Move,” as the crowd expected Outkast’s chorus instead of Phantogram’s and was audibly crestfallen. So the collaboration still needs some tinkering, but both artists’ electric stage-presences combined into a whirlwind of manic energy, fueled by the late night party and contagious beats. Let’s hope for a lasting partnership between these disparate groups. – IA/AS

haim5 1/2: HAIM was unreal. Their catchy tunes have always tickled my ickle, but I DRASTICALLY underestimated how good their live show would be. Este, Danielle and Alana Haim are nothing short of Rock Stars. There is no one of the three carrying the other two, nor is there one that is holding the others back. Add their frenetic, happy energy, and even an impending thunderstorm couldn’t bring the show down. The fact that those three women came from the same vagina is fucking bonkers. – AS

-TIE-

51/2: FIDLAR can’t be placed above or below Haim, as they are completely different things. But they were equally awesome. The So-Cal surf punks delivered exactly what fans were expecting – a super-high energy show filled with screaming, jumping, and shredding. The only song they didn’t play that I wanted to hear was “Awkward,” but they more than made up for it by cramming basically every other jam they have into their set. -AS

misterwives

Misterwives at Bonnaroo 2016 Photo Cred: Jeff Kravitz

4: MisterWives basically held a three ring circus on the main stage, with the bassist and guitarist doing cartwheels and comedy between (and sometimes during) songs, and singer Mandy Lee running around stage stealing everybody’s heart. Many, many people shouted offerings of love and/or marriage to her or her smiling jumbotron projection. Combine that with their anthemic synth-pop and I couldn’t keep my jaw off the floor. The performance was simply on another level, which was both unexpected incredibly inspiring. Leaving the show, I couldn’t help but notice a similar expression on a lot of people’s faces: the excited look of someone who just discovered their new favorite band. -IA

pearljam

Pearl Jam at Bonnaroo Photo Cred: Jeff Kravitz

3:Pearl Jam was fucking unbelievable. There’s just no other way to say it. Eddie Vedder has a very real physical and spiritual likeness to Jesus Christ, with his grungy hippie energy and otherworldly, almost godly control over the crowd. After the first song, all of Pearl Jam’s legendary success made complete sense. They played everything a little bit up-tempo, which was totally awesome on energetic hits like “Evenflow” and “Betterman.” Highlights include a political statement about transgender bathrooms in Tennessee (looking at you TN Rep. Susan Lynn), a heart-wrenching rendition of Pink Floyd‘s “Comfortably Numb” (with fireworks!), and every single one of Mike McCready’s insane guitar solos. Watching him perform (and he really sells it), it’s as if his epic shredding already exists out in the world and McCready is just plucking it out of thin air, jamming it through his fingers lickety-split and into his guitar for us all to hear. After executing perhaps the fastest, most intricate guitar performance at the festival (perhaps), McCready fell to the floor in a heap of emotion, relinquishing control back to Vedder’s drastic wailing. Not bad for a pair of 50 year olds. –IA

I’m just stepping in to wholeheartedly agree with Ian here. A lot people were skeptical about Pearl Jam’s place as a headliner, but I think anyone with a remote appreciation for rock n’ roll would have changed their mind at that show. They are simply the best straight-ahead rock band I’ve ever seen. -AS

2: Tame Impala is today’s Pink Floyd. The Australian superstars took their unique brand of washy, psychedelic arena-rock to Friday’s much anticipated 1-3 AM time slot, and holy shit was it incredible. The lawn was stuffed with neon glow-sticks and anthropomorphic totems as far as the eye could see. The audio quality was remarkable, as the band sounded almost exactly as they do in recordings, and the technical staff was on point, with lighting and confetti blowing minds for days. The only draw-back of the transcendent performance was its length; many fans hoped the band might play til sunrise, or at least the set’s full two-hours, but Kevin Parker politely thanked the audience and left the stage about a half an hour before scheduled. So their timing might have disappointed some, but the experience remains worthy of our #2 slot. The fact that it directly followed our #1 band was just gravy, and the one-two punch of seeing them back to back was nothing short of remarkable. – IA/AS

lcd

LCD Soundsystem at Bonnaroo 2016 Photo Cred: Tim Mosenfelder

1: LCD Soundsystem is probably my favorite band of all time. When they announced their reunion in December, my brain said “They are going to play at Roo and I. WILL. NOT. MISS. IT.” My only hesitation was that I was afraid I would cry to death upon seeing them. My expectations were met. Although I’m still alive, they delivered absolutely stellar renditions of James Murphy’s creations, and looked damn good doing it. Murphy did not come across as the eccentric that he is often made out to be. Rather he seemed damn cool, delivering his wry lyrics with passion. The band seemed happy to be back, and I could have stood and watched them play for years. – AS

Other notable activity: BØRNS headlined Thursday night to a tremendous crowd, highlighted by back-to-back covers of Arcade Fire (“Rebellion”) and David Bowie (“Heroes”). Chvrches seemed unused to such a huge (main) stage, but a guest appearance from Haley Williams of Paramore more than made up for it. John Mayer led The Dead (as in ‘Grateful’) on a four-hour Sunday night set, and holy shit is he still the best guitarist alive today. M83 and Two Door Cinema Club both played solid shows on the Which Stage. Several up-and-coming artists gave excellent performances as well, especially Waxahatchee, Jarryd James, Hundred Waters, and Rayland Baxter. Baxter frisbeed a red felt peace sign into the crowd and Ian caught it with his very own hand, which was incredible. Macklemore’s set was interrupted for about an hour by a righteous thunderstorm, during which time Bonnaroo officials ordered fans into their cars for safety. Our friend Molly Rocket brought us some sandwiches while we were waiting.

photo (4)

Written by Ian Anderson and Atticus Swartwood

SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE MUSIC SCENE
June 6, 2016 6:03 pm

As if being a woman in the regular world isn’t scary enough, trying to be a respectable woman in the music industry, particularly the indie scene, is exponentially more terrifying. This is not to say men don’t also deal with this same behavior. I’ve watched Lucero’s front man Ben Nichols be assaulted when a fan literally jumped on stage at the Magic Stick/Majestic in Detroit Michigan and tried to kiss him. He politely declined and pushed her away and she clung to him for a good 30 seconds to a minute while other members of the band tried to reason with her to get off the stage. She was clearly inebriated but what difference should that make?

The problem is so consistent it is constantly a trending topic. Women and men who are trying to play their hearts out or just soak in the mystical ache of their favorite artists are usually put in very uncomfortable, if not extremely hostile situations. It is the opposite of what you’d want to hear when you realize your favorite artist is involved.

It is odd to me that so many sexual assaults are musically charged. We all know that there are people of all kinds that use their talents to benefit them in many toxic ways, but the music scene has a way of allowing this to happen far too often. The indie band Speedy Ortiz took safety into their own hands and whipped up a safety text hotline for anyone afraid for their safety. 574-404-SAFE

For fans to use if they found themselves experiencing discrimination or abuse at their shows in a number of ways.

Lead lady: Sadie also states in an Alternative Press interview,

As a musician hired to play these events, I have some amount of privilege: a day-of-show contact; a backstage to retreat to after a frustrating encounter; the ear of security if someone is encroaching upon my safety. But I know what it’s like to be devoid of those resources.

Most women have reported being groped, knocked down, shirts ripped down, hands up their skirts, and cat called just to name a few. Women on stage have even reported fans trying to finger them. That is pretty extreme and quite frankly terrifying to think about. As a woman who both plays music and frequents shows, I’m no stranger to awkward circumstances however these cross a line that I thought, once upon a time, barely existed.

As musicians we put ourselves out there, we bare part of our souls, and the industry tends to sour that for some people because of those who do not respect the scene or their musical peers. These things need to be addressed, and I’m hoping that recent cases are making the conversation more common.

We as Beasts believe that we must all respect each other’s consent and space and sexual assault is never okay. As a feminist crew here we understand that the safety of women in the music scene is vital and something needs to be fought for. We will do anything we can to assure our artists and fans the utmost safety at all of our events.

LITZ: WASHINGTON DC’S LEGEND FROM BIRTH
June 1, 2016 1:25 pm

For somebody hearing your band for the first time, what would you want to tell them?

“We are a band focused on metaphysical ascension, our music is literally a sacred practice to enlighten, open the mind of the world and to evolve the collective consciousness.” -Austin Litz

The band LITZ is a spiritual tsunami of energy and talent that creates a beautiful vista of sound at every concert. We had the chance to talk with the face of the band Austin Litz about his family’s store, Victor Litz Music Store, and his journey to local fame and amazing connection with music.

To get started, could you introduce yourself and tell us about the store?

I’m Austin Litz and I’m a third generation musician. But we are the first generation that is trying to do live music and shows on a regular basis, not just make money from the music industry background. My grandfather started the store and played live for a bit, but kept going with the store and teaching lessons for the most part. My dad doesn’t really teach lessons, but he oversees all the departments and stuff. I was fortunate enough to grow up here with the store and take lessons on anything I chose.

What are some of your definitive points as a musician?

Life is like a sound wave. Here are a few of what I would call my defining moments: I have a brief memory of playing a 2 minute solo at a bluegrass festival when I was 7 because my father’s friend pushed me on stage between performers to fill the time. Playing the Saxophone was the biggest defining moment though, something just clicked, it was the first time I wanted to dive in and play music constantly, teaching music, seeing that I am a professional and was confident in instructing people. Lastly, selling out the show of our record release. It wasn’t just random people, we had roughly 350 people come and pay to see us. This was the moment where we thought, “Wow, we can be live performers and have a real career here.” So, I guess those three things, finding a new instrument, being a teacher, and being a successful performer.

After seeing you play and talking here, can you list off all the instruments you play?

(Chuckles)

Woodwinds – All the saxophones, flute and clarinet

Piano – Synthesizers, organs and keyboards of sorts

Strings – Bass, Classical guitar

Vocals – It counts as an instrument

Brass – Trumpet, Trombone and French Horn

Just about everything?

Basically everything but the drums set itself, but I do use a few other percussion instruments. Also the didgeridoo, pan flute and ocarina. We actually just covered the “Temple of Time” from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and put it at the very end of the last song of the new album.

Let’s talk about the album, was there anything in particular that helped create Illusion of Time?

All of it comes from personal experiences. The whole concept for the album didn’t come until after we recorded all the music. So the album is actually a double album and the second half of it was already recorded 6 months ago and both of them are that same concept of time. The second part of the double album will come out in October. We wrote all the material and recorded it and during post production, we took a step back and realized that a lot of it is about travel, time and circular patterns in life. A lot of these songs really relate to aging and growing. We have been playing music our whole lives and yet this feels like the first thing we really truly made. Like a paradox, releasing our album felt like our birth, and yet music has been alive in us for years.

What were some of the bands and people who really influenced you?

A college friend Chris Martin helped me to not fear being outlandish and the social parts of music. Even though I don’t listen to The Motet much, the idea for LITZ was literally an instantaneous moment at a music festival in a quasi religious experience where I was watching them, feeling the energy, realizing that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. We also all grew up on ska and go-go music which was a huge influence (Fishbone, The Pietasters, Rare Essence Chuck Brown).

303345_143979772441727_886127356_nHow did you come up with the sound for LITZ?

We knew the venues, the crowds and we knew what we liked. We took our preferences and filtered them through what people enjoy and make our music. It’s a very conscious creation of music while being true to ourselves.

How do you deal with “writer’s block”?

Jam sessions. We might get stuck playing the same key or tempo at times, which isn’t bad, but jamming out helps creativity flow.

Thanks so much Austin, we are super excited for your next album in October. Anything you would want to tell your listeners about the band?

Thank you and you’re welcome! I would just say that we are very spiritual in our music. We want people to be able to come and enjoy our music and turn around with the motivation and dedication to achieve their own dreams.

Austin Litz, LITZ the band and Victor Litz Music Store are based in Washington D.C. Check out their music here and if there is a show near by you, nothing in the world should stop you from going.

ANDY FRASCO IS ROCK & ROLL
April 7, 2016 12:00 pm

Andy Frasco is living proof that if you really, really want to be something, you should just go out and be it. Live it, create it, experience it—whatever it is just go do it, and do it right goddamn now. Put enough of your life into something and it will return the favor. Inspiring? Certainly. Intimidating? Probably. Difficult? I asked him myself, and he told me what it takes:

“Yeah, I do two hundred and fifty shows a year. For the last ten years.”

No one said this would be easy.

“I’ve lived in a van like ten fucking years. I started when I was 18 and I’m 28 now. I was my own booking agent for five years, cold-calling venues, bullshitting my ass off.”

Frasco started his touring career by hiring new musicians in each new city he played. He’d find them on craigslist, rehearse a bit (maybe), and then just go for it.

“It taught me how to be a frontman, to conduct a band, learn how to write solid three/four-chord songs that anyone can hang with. Throw a party. Tell the drummer four-on-the-floor, gimme a one-two on the bass, and I’ll entertain these fucking people. I’ll crowd surf, whatever. I look up to the Frank Sinatras of the world, the James Browns; it’s all about the live show. You can have listeners by getting a song on the radio, but if you want fans you gotta make sure your live show is the shit and that they come back every year. A lot of these bands are so into their hair or their fucking flannel, super pretentious. No, music is
supposed to be here for fun. You gotta live in the moment. We’re trying to bring rock & roll back. People are scared to crowd surf, do drugs on stage, get kicked out of bars and stuff. But that just raises your rep.”
Andy-Frasco-and-the-UN-photo-by-Morgan-Demeter-Now, remember that he does this for ten months out of the year, every single year, for ten years and counting. One recent flier dubbed him “Mr. Human Cocaine” (which I admit is rough, but fair). Over time he has assembled a huge network of musicians and related personnel throughout the country, the best of which he hand picked for his now-permanent band, The U.N.

“Me and my eight piece band, we live in a van down by the river. Everybody’s from a different city. My goal was to get the alpha-males, the fucking rock star of each town, and then we all join a band.”

The approach seems to have paid off. Andy Frasco and the U.N. have a great understanding and appreciation for the live-show experience. They exude an outrageous energy and have earned a solid following because of it.

“We played with this hippie band The String Cheese Incident, and also Umphrey’s McGee. We’re in the jam scene, like four hour sets and stuff. That’s one thing about the jam scene, they really appreciate music and they’ll stick with you. If you give them energy, they will fucking stay.”

This flexibility—playing an epic, four-hour jam as naturally as a tight, forty-minute set—is uncommonly awesome, and it reflects Frasco’s varied experiences and continuing ambition. When I asked what’s next for the band, he laid out an elaborate, month-long European tour, to be followed immediately by three additional months of touring the U.S. (beginning at NYC’s Rockwood on May 11th and continuing through the end of July). I defy you to identify a harder working band than Andy Frasco and the U.N. They hail from all over the country and travel all over the world. Their music is a vehicle for their insane energy, and it bleeds through no matter what they play or where they play it. But through this rock & roll chaos, a consistent theme shines through: it’s all about the music.

How does he keep this going year after year after year?

“I mean, how badly do you want something?”

SHOOT THE SHIT AT SXSW WITH NIKKI’S WIVES
April 2, 2016 11:00 am

Toronto’s own Nikki’s Wives came to SXSW this year, taking time out of a busy schedule to talk with us about their meteoric rise, Shaq’s security team, and a useless hypothetical question.


So you just released your first EP? How long did that take?

Nate: Very quick, very quick.

Dylan: We met this dude who was a big fan and had some big connections, and he loved what we did live so he asked us “why don’t you do a new record? We’d like to work with you on it.” So we said sure we’ll book this studio, but what we didn’t tell him is we didn’t have any songs for it yet, and we booked it in thirty days. So we took time off work, took ten days of pure writing and we wrote the whole EP. But it’s Canada, it’s minus 40 and my heater dies in my apartment, literally. So we did it with no heat and ten days for the whole record.

Nikki: We were just writing so fast, trying to get out of there.

Dylan: It’s cool to be under the gun sometimes, you know?

Nikki: I think that’s when you get the best stuff. That’s when we’re all the most creative is when there’s that kind of pressure.

Either this is gonna happen at this time or it’s not gonna happen at all.

Dylan: Yeah we like the pressure.

How do you start writing? Like ‘okay, I’m here, day one.’ Who starts?

Nate: I mean that week it was just, like, whatever. However we can get it done we got it done. Like, ‘okay I got this beat, Nikki’s got this melody…’ We just start with whatever pieces we have and then add and add and add.

Dylan: At first we could dig from our wells of whatever we had in the past, but by the end of the week it was like ‘okay, we’re sitting down at the keyboard and hopefully we hit something cool and take it from there.’

Nikki: Some days, inspiration doesn’t come until five o’clock, and then we’re there ’till like 1 am writing.

In the freezing cold midnight Canadian winter.

Dylan: An interesting story from the process was with “Forever,” the title track. We were having nothing creatively, just sitting. And my grandma, when she passed, left me this 1940s car with shot glasses, and when you take off the carafe it plays this really creepy melody.

Nate: Like a music box.

But a novelty toy?

Dylan: We recorded it and then we sat down in ProTools and cut all the notes and made a new chord progression out of it. So I mean, anything to get the song done. We pumped all the sound into a sampler and just made up a melody out of the sounds. It sounded really cool.

sxsw

So you’re Nikki, and… what are these, your husbands?

Nikki: These are my wives.

I guess I should have known.

Nikki: See, they’re dressed in white.

Yeah, I couldn’t help but notice the white outfits.

Nikki: We kinda figured that this band would be the closest thing that any of us were gonna get to a real relationship, or actually being married, so it was just fitting.

Welcome to 2016.

Nikki: It’s 2016, I can have two wives and it’s totally fine.

And they can be guys.

Nikki: Exactly.

So you guys tour a lot?

Nate: Well we’re just starting to pick up our touring, so we’re gonna be out in the US all around in the late spring/early summer. We got some things, we got some early festivals coming up.

This is the beginning of a bigger thing.

Nikki: Yeah we’ve only been together for, like… it was a year a couple weeks ago.

Dylan: We’re kinda focused on one-offs. We did that San Francisco thing, called Leather and Laces, hosted by like all the cast of Entourage and some Victoria’s Secret models.

Nate: Shaq and Kobe were there.

Together?!

Nikki: We were like, ‘holy fuck is that Shaq right there?’ We walked by like ‘wow he’s so tall.’

Dylan: He’s got all these, like, security guards but they look like children you know? All these hard little kids.

They’re huge, but … they could stop you and me but…

Nikki: They’re just meant to stop regular sized people.

If another Shaq went in there… [laughter]

Do you have a favorite American city, you Canadians you?

Nikki: My favorite was San Francisco, I just thought it reminded me a lot of Toronto but if Toronto was warm. So I liked it. What about you guys?

Nate: I gotta go with New York, I think. It’s just where everything happens.

Dylan: I was gonna say the same thing.

Nate: We were gonna say Vegas because we were there a little while ago, but…

Yeah can’t say like “well I really love Las Vegas.” I mean you can love Vegas but you can’t say it’s your favorite, can’t really rep it that hard.

Dylan: Exactly.

Do you have a specific stage persona or personality that you’re going for?

Nikki: I don’t know, we’re just on stage. It’s very much just the three of us, we have a lot of fun, we have a really great energy, so I think it kinda looks like we’re all married on stage.

Nate: We interact a lot, we feed off each other a lot. It’s a lot of communication, honestly.

Dylan: Yeah and actually doesn’t change too much if theres ten people there or if, like in San Francisco, there are three thousand people there.

Nate: We’re playing for ourselves out there.

You played for three thousand people in SF?

Dylan: Yeah it was that party, it was crazy. It was like a thousand bucks a ticket.

And you just started a year ago.

All: Yeah

Fuck you guys! [laughter]

Nikki: Yeah, it was pretty crazy.

Dylan: Fun time, the Victoria’s Secret Super Bowl party. Pretty lucky.

Nikki: I think we were all in awe.

Who’s the best dancer on stage?

Nikki: I would say Nate.

Nate: Yeah, I kinda sit down…

Well if you’re seated, that’s not really…

Dylan: It’s hard to explain.

Nate: I do a little bounce, a little shuffle.

Nikki: Nate’s the dancer.

Nate: Yeah, it’s fun.

What else are you gonna do, you know? But you’re in the back, right?

Nikki: Yeah, yeah. We get comments on it all the time, like ‘your drummer’s fucking crazy.’

Nate: It’s a weird thing, I stand up and play sometimes, just kinda move around a lot.

It’ s a physical instrument, you gotta kick the shit out of it. Do you guys have previous iterations of the band?

Nikki: We’ve all been in various bands but I used to be a solo project, then Dylan and I started writing together, and then we were playing some shows and we needed a drummer, and Dylan and Nate went to University together, so he was like ‘oh I’ll just ask my friend Nate.’

And then you got married.

Nate: Yep. That night!

You went to Vegas and had a three person wedding! 

Nikkis-Wives

Who would you say are your biggest influences? Or just is it just you in a cold room with a deadline?

Dylan: I don’t think you can really hear it in our music, but we were talking about this this morning for another thing: David Lynch.

Really?!

Dylan: We find ourselves always talking about him and how stark and kind of unsettling all his visual stuff is, and we’re trying to kinda get that going a little bit.

Translate it to music?

Dylan: Yeah, and I don’t know if it translates but it still influences our decisions even if we don’t sound like what he looks like.

That’s a great answer to… kind of a bad question. [laughter]

Nate: Musically… I mean, I like Peter Gabriel a lot, I like a lot of prog-rock bands, so like King Crimson and stuff. We listen to a lot of hip hop, Kendrick and Skepta recently.

What do you listen to in the van?

Nikki: There’s so much time that we have to pass that it goes like all over the place. Every single Kanye West record, this band Snarky Puppy which is like instrumental, I don’t even know.

Dylan: If you wanna listen to a crazy jazz fusion band from New York at south by, go see Snarky Puppy on Saturday. They’re crazy.

Nikki: It’s just kinda everything.

Dylan: Mastodon, metal, rock, like even some punk records, like FIDLAR or whatever, lots of hip hop, all over the map, jazz, Britney Spears–we love Britney. Backstreet Boys

Nikki: Get it all in there.

Do you have any one song that you think encapsulates your sound?

Nikki: I would say our debut song, the title track “Forever.”

That’s why it became the title track.

Nate: It’s kind of our attitude more than any other song. I think lyrically it really pins us down.

How would you describe that attitude?

Nikki: Um, like kind of a bad bitch vibe. Like up in Miami in a suit, briefcases of money…

Nate: Like a faded kind of vibe, an after-party vibe.

Nikki: It’s like you went to a really dope party and then you wake up the next morning and you’re still wearing what you were wearing and you pick up your cigarette that was burning…

Still burning ‘cuz you fell asleep with it in your mouth, totally get it. What’s your favorite part of your lives right now?

Dylan: This, here right here! [laughter]

Nate: This very instant.

This moment. You’ve never been more thrilled than right now, talking to me, getting this interview out on the internet. It’s gonna be sick.

Dylan: And if this is coming out during south by…

Oh no, there’s no way.

Nate: Oh. Well then I’m sorry you missed our gigs at south by! [laughter]

I have one more question. I promised my friend I would ask you this hypothetical question: would you rather be born with only one leg, or with three legs? Those are the only two choices.

[a moment of thoughtful consideration]

Nate: Ah, okay, so… when we’re talking three legs, do we have equal movement in each?

Yes, but they’re three across, not like a tripod.

Nate: So I couldn’t have three and have one amputated?

Dylan: They already call me the tripod…

[to Dylan] Yeah that’s what I figured. I set you up for that. [to Nate] Yeah you could, but then you’d have to get a leg amputated and you’d have a stump where one of your legs began.

Nate: I would go with three because I play drums and it’d be hard to drum with one leg.

Oooo and it’d be sweet too, you could play the double petal and the high hat.

Nate: Exactly.

Dylan: I’m gonna say one for sympathy girls. I’d stay real fit, hop around.

Nate: Maybe I could donate you my leg.

Do a leg transplant.

Nikki: I’m gonna go with three because I’m very uncoordinated, and I feel like one leg would just…

Dylan: Three would probably be an improvement to your life.

Nikki: Probably! I mean if someone could hook me up with a third leg…

Nate: You’d have to get extra shoes every time and throw one away. Is it two left feet and one right?

One symmetrical middle foot.

Nikki: But it would give me an excuse to buy more shoes!

Welcome to south by, where everything’s ridiculous.

BASSH INTO SXSW
March 31, 2016 9:30 am

Though the name Bassh may be new to you, it’s members shouldn’t be; the band is comprised of CJ Hardee and Jimmy Brown of Matrimony. Though they have only released one single so far, Bassh has already managed to catch some buzz from sites like NPR and Perez Hilton.

We caught up with CJ and Jimmy in Austin to talk shop about SXSW and what it’s like being a new band working towards their own sound.

How did SXSW go for you guys?

CH: It was exhausting, but fun.

You did four shows?

CH: We had four shows, plus a couple of other things, we were running around nonstop, basically.

JB: We had a lot of fun, though. It was really awesome.

What sort of things did you do for fun?

CH: We went to a castle. We finished a show and met a photographer, and she invited us to this castle. It was literally a castle.

Was it nearby?

CH: It’s in Austin, somewhere. There was a pool-moat, it was literally a castle. I’m talking spiral staircases, the whole nine yards. And they had a full bar, they had a bass rig, a guitar rig. We just hung out and played as a band all night. So that’s what we did for fun.

How did your shows go?

JB: They were really good. There were lots of different venues, we really had a good time. We saw some new bands, and we were all just kind of exploring and figuring out how to do live shows in the best way. All of us have been in different bands before, so I really value that opportunity to acknowledge the fact that [Bassh] is a new thing and it’s raw and we’re still figuring it out. I think for me, to put it in layman’s terms, when something is happening to you it’s a lot more exciting but a lot of the time you don’t realize it in the moment. And then you look back and think, “That was a really good time.” We try to keep up with how fresh it is, and really enjoy it, not put too many expectations on it, and just let it happen.

Was there anything you learned in your past bands, that you carried over to Bassh?

JB: You learn a lot of stuff along the way. You learn how to play better, you learn how to sing better, how to deal with things going on better, how to cope with being really tired better.

How do you cope with that?

JB: You just have to get over it. Sarah, our PR girl, she brings us water and stuff to rehydrate us.

Have you been to Austin before?

JB: I’d been there a few times to play shows with other bands, Austin’s a great place.

Do you have any pointers for bands going to their first SXSW?

JB: Don’t expect to get a soundcheck. For someone that’s never done SXSW before, they might freak out that they might not get that. You get there, you have five seconds to set up, and they feel like “This is South By, I thought I was going to make it this year.” You never know who you’re going to meet, or who you’re going to see. You just got to kill it.

You’re based in Nashville now, right?

JB: I’ve been there 10 months or a year, something like that.

How do you like it so far?

JB: Well I’m still there. It’s one of those things where you move somewhere and you learn a lot because your environment changes. You get to enjoy the new things, and also the pros and cons. I think for Bassh and for the music side of things, I think Nashville is a good place.

Are there certain things in Nashville you feel you can benefit from, versus being based in a place like New York or Los Angeles?

JB: Probably, it depends on what your goals are. If you want to write with other people, and perform with other people, than those are all good places. Some people don’t want to do that, a lot of people realize that’s not for them and they just don’t want to do that. It just depends. It’s a good experience and it’s good to feel it out, and you’ll definitely learn something from it.

You released “Body”, your first single, recently. Is there an album coming?

JB: We’re going to do another single pretty soon, and we’ll put out an EP or an album. We’ve got a plan. Once you put an album out, it’s out, so it’s like the way the music industry is, everything is very instantaneous. So once you make an album, then you have to make another album. I think for us, we’re a band still defining what our sound is. I think doing it this way allows us to be more creative.

ROLLIN’ WITH BANDITS AT SXSW
March 30, 2016 11:11 am

We sat down with Denver’s very own BANDITS at SXSW, discussing their influences, their destructive stage antics, and their van.

So, how long have you guys been here at SXSW?

Lulu: This is our second… third day.

Andrew: Third day.

And you tour a lot too, right?

John: Yep

L: Yeah, we’re pretty… we’re on the road a lot.

A: We’ve been on the road for about… in the last month we’ve been home for about five days. We went from Denver all the way out to New York City and back–in like a two-and-a-half week tour–then had a couple days off and then toured our way down here.

What’s the longest tour you’ve ever done?

J: I think that one actually. Like two weeks.

L: Yeah we like to keep them sporadic. Go home for a couple days in between, regroup.

A: This way we can do them a lot.

Do you like touring?

L: Oh yeah.

J: I love touring. Being on the road is the best part. You just get to see a new city every night, and you get to experience the culture everywhere. You get to play in front of new people all the time.

A: It’s great when all you have to do is focus on just going and playing music every night. You just kinda get into that zone, and that’s where you wanna be as a musician.

What’s your least favorite part of touring?

J: Well, loading in and out kinda sucks, but it’s mostly fun.

L: I would say my least favorite part is driving for so long. I get sore from sitting in the van for like nine and a half hours at a time. But it’s not that bad.

A: I think the hardest part is trying to stay healthy and sleep well and eat well and not get sick. It’s definitely a physical struggle.

banditYou’re up late every night?

J: Oh yeah, up ’til like three, four in the morning.

And then you gotta hop in the van next day?

L: For like nine hours, yeah.

Shit. Do you have a name for the van?

L: Not really.

J: We had a few of them, one of them was “Nelson Vandela.”

A: Yeah that’s a good one

J: We made a Facebook post of what to name it, and that’s what we got.

L: We’ve never been like “everyone to the… whatever.”

“To the mystery machine!”

L: It’s just our van.

So you guys do a lot of social media outreach or crowdsourcing and shit?

J: Yeah, I mean we post every day on Facebook.

You got to, right? Welcome to 2016.

L: And then Twitter and Instagram. I mean we do it, we do a good job staying in touch with our fans. That’s the easiest way to talk to them and know what they’re thinking or feeling about everything.

Do you find it difficult to stay active, stay relevant, stay involved with the fans to have that kind of relationship?

J: Yeah, sometimes. I think also when you’re absent on Facebook for a few days it really helps people stay interested in what you’re doing. Not posting all the time…just exclusive stuff.

That’s cool. So, you guys play pretty heavy rock. You remind me of the classics, some Sabbath, some classic rock type situations. Do you have modern influences as well?

L: I would say we have a lot of modern influences. We listen to so much when we’re sitting in the van for nine hours that we take in a lot and are always bringing it back to rehearsal. Like, ‘how can we use this, how can we use that.’ But I would say Queens of the Stone Age are a big influence, The Kills, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Tame Impala, we listen to a lot of hip hop that also comes into play.

Really? How do you find that the hip hop effects your music? 

A: I think more than anything… well, definitely the groove and the beat because hip hop drums comes from the same place as rock drums, and the rhythms are the same. But I think also the attitude, a lot of the time. You could say that about any music though.

J: Yeah definitely the attitude.

What would you say is your biggest influence that I wouldn’t expect? bandit2

L: I’d say Biggie. We loves Biggie.

J: Just the whole attitude thing there.

How far is it from here to Denver?

L: Like a sixteen hour drive. It’s not great.

Who drives the most?

L: John.

J: I’m kind of a control freak, I like to drive a lot.

L: John likes to drive.

Would you say you’re the best driver?

J: Well, I don’t know.

L: No. [laughter]

J: I’d say Lulu’s the best.

L: I’m the most cautious driver.

A: I’m the best with the trailer. If you gotta back a trailer into something, I got it.

J: But if you wanna get there in maybe eight hours less, let me drive.

A: If you want somebody to drive a hundred miles an hour the whole time, not give a shit…

Law be damned, just go for it.

J: We listen to a lot of Motörhead when we drive that fast.

Yeah, that’s good for driving. Anything else? Any other music in the van?

A: Oh man, there are so many. We’re all over the place. We’ve been listening to a lot of Dr John

J: Lot of Iggy, his new album

A: And his old albums…

L: I love to listen to Portishead and nobody else ever wants to listen to it.

When you’re driving though that’s up to you.

L: Yeah. The Roots, listened to them on the way down here. Tame Impala’s new album

J: Humble Pie.

A: The Arcs, all that new Dan Auerbach stuff, that’s really good stuff. We listen to that a lot.

Do you guys write songs in the car? 

L: I don’t think we’ve ever done that. It’s not the most inspirational place to be.

J: I’ve thought about words and stuff, but…

Who writes most of the lyrics?

J: We split it up usually, and then we’ll bring it into practice.

How do you start a song?

J: Well usually it’s a riff or something. I usually just sit down with the guitar and noodle.

Have fun until something materializes?

J: Yeah and then we put words to that, bring the song to practice, and then kind of develop it from there.

So you start with it and then the group kinda builds off of it?

J: Yeah either me or Lulu will start, and then we’ll bring it to Andrew and all converge.

L: Yeah, we’ll keep developing ideas.

Which of your songs would you say best encapsulates your sound?

J: That’s a hard question to answer because a lot of our songs have different vibes.

L: I would say our band has kind of a dual personality, because John and I split up being lead singers, and I think that’s why our new 7″ is so good. We’re gonna be releasing a vinyl in a couple weeks, and it has my single where I’m the singer and it’s a different vibe.

J: Yeah there’s two different vibes going on, which is kinda cool.

What’s your favorite song to play on stage?

A: I mean we always… The closer song of our set usually has a big, like, jam section at the end where we get really quiet and then build it up really big. It’s a little more psychedelic and gets really heavy at the end, and that one’s always really fun because it’s the end of the set.

L: That one’s always really fun.

J: Yeah I think I’d say that one.

Do you guys try to give off a certain vibe on stage? A personality?

J: Definitely. I mean, we’re just a very, very high-energy band. We kinda have to be because our music is so aggressive…

L: We want our crowd to know that it’s okay to dance around.

J: And that we enjoy the music. I don’t like going to see bands and then they just stand there. Especially for a rock and roll, you know.

L: We wanna go crazy, we wanna get rowdy.

Do you get the crowds to mosh or anything?

J: We’ve had a few moshes…

I mean, they happen on their own. You don’t have to be like ‘hey excuse me’…

L: ‘Hey excuse me, can you start moshing down there? Thank you.’

J: There was one show we played in Lincoln, Nebraska that was the last day of our tour and we weren’t expecting anybody to be there, and then it was a packed room of 300 people, going fucking crazy.

L: Crazy, stage diving and stuff. We were like, what? What is Nebraska?

Yeah, I wouldn’t have expected that.

A: We were moshing ourselves the other night. The first night we were here we went and saw the OCs and few other bands, we played some shows with them back in Denver so we know them, and we were just moshing in the front. I got hit in the head. It was awesome.

What’s your craziest partying on stage, head-banging, ‘oh I hit my head’ kind of story?

J: Oh, I mean we always knock–I knock over everything.

L: John, yeah, he knocks everything over. But I think injury-wise, John has hit both Andrew and I with his head stock so many times. It’s the worst.

That’s dangerous.

J: There was one show I remember, I don’t know what I was doing, we were obviously all drinking quite a bit. I was down on the ground and I got up and just fell into the drumset, passed out almost. I didn’t really realize what had happened.

A: There was one show where you just kept knocking over a drum of mine, like in the middle of a set, kept knocking it over, and so I ended up playing the rest of the set with just a kick and a snare and a high hat because everything else was all over the place.

You’re not gonna change in the middle of a song, not gonna try to fix it. 

A: Yeah I was like ‘just go with it.’ There was another show where John had his amps stacked up on each other, and at the end of the night he knocked both of them over and then chucked his guitar at the wall. He almost hit me in the head, like, the guitar was this far from my face.

L: Literally going straight for his head.

Did you break it? You break your guitar?

J: No it was completely fine! It was a hollow body too, I was expecting it to be, like, snapped in half, but…

A: And the amps were both fine.

L: Lucky.

You guys go through instruments or equipment?

J: Not at all.

L: I mean, you would think that we would. I definitely get nervous about it. John knocks over so much stuff, like my keyboard–the volume knob doesn’t work anymore because John’s knocked it over so many times.

A: Every single show John knocks that thing over. He has a vendetta against it, I think he just hates it.

L: One of these days we’re gonna be out on tour and my keyboard’s gonna break for real and then I won’t have one.

And then that’s it.

L: And then that’s it, and then our band is done and we’ll quit forever.

Hopefully you don’t do that. One last question–what’s next? You guys on tour still?

J: So after SXSW we’re gonna go home, we’re gonna go into the studio and just record everything we got, and we’ll kinda just see what happens from there. Then we got a lot of shows coming up in April, and then May we’re gonna be releasing our 7″, so lots of stuff.

L: Hopefully we tour some more. We’re gonna be doing a lot of touring over the summer and the fall.

Well good luck with that, looking forward to it.

L: Thanks so much.

Thanks for the interview, do you mind if we take a quick selfie?

photo (3)