concert

VR ROLLER COASTER: NEW WAYS TO FLY
October 26, 2016 12:11 pm

We have covered Virtual Reality a handful of times here at Atypical Sounds, talking about its innovations and abilities, but people are already finding new and amazing ways to use these headsets, I’m pretty impressed.

A Virtual Reality Roller Coaster sounds like a vomit inducing headache. For those who get easy motion sickness with either roller coasters or VR probably shouldn’t go anywhere near these rides. But for those who love both of them and want to see something truly spectacular, this is the newest thing for you.

Here is the rundown, you hop onto a roller coaster, like the Superman: Ride of Steel from Six Flags, strap on a headset and that’s it! The display will move according to the coaster pretty smoothly and you look around like any other VR experience and enjoy the ride. Check out the video below and to see people ride it and see what it’ll look like compared a normal ride. I would highly recommend anyone that has a Six Flags near them to check out this incredible experience. VR has been pretty fun and amazing experience, but it is still pretty limited. This and other innovations are what we need to make VR an actual worth while investment for our culture, otherwise it will be like HD DVDs or 3D TVs, which died after a few years of being on the market.

The experience isn’t everywhere or on every ride, it is just in the starting phases. But you can be sure to see in the next 5 years the huge increase in VR roller coasters in places like Disney, Universal Studios, and Kings Dominion. Check out more about Six Flags VR and the upcoming Sea World VR.

THE BLACK PARADE IS BACK IN A NEW WAY
October 19, 2016 11:23 am

“When I was a young boy, my father took me to the city, to see a marching band…”

This line of lyric is so universally known by the rock world that no one can hear this song and not feel some strong attachment to it. My Chemical Romance‘s immersive album The Black Parade was part epic, part tragedy filled with soaring highs and wallowing lows. Rock Sound magazine is celebrating the 10th anniversary of this legendary album with the story of the creation and life of The Black Parade and an incredible amount of content.

9390352-368-k802450A decade is a long time, in 2006, the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii came out, Casino Royal and Cars debuted, Justin Timberlake was bringing “Sexyback, Shakira’s hips didn’t lie and Daniel Powter was still having his bad days. This was a year of strong movement in pop culture and punk rock was being redefined. My Chemical Romance way making one of the biggest movements because of their raw style of music, fashion and tone in their genre defining The Black Parade.

Rock Sound’s October edition is an essential for any punk, emo, rock or ska fan. There is a beautifully told story of MCR’s creative process of The Black Parade and its life and impact it had on the band. It is filled with a lot of funny small stories and interesting insights on why the band took a break and how they dealt with all of these changes.

However, the part of this edition that seems more interesting and gripping is the cover album that accompanies the issue. Rock Sound gathered a grand collection of artists deep in the indie rock world to cover each song on The Black Parade giving each track new life while saluting them with praise and honor at the same time. From Escape the Fate‘s similar and powerful rendition of “Dead!” to Twenty One Pilot‘s heart breaking performance of Cancer and Against the Current‘s different take on Teenagers, this album brings new life to The Black Parade while reminding you how truly amazing this album was and still is.

I would recommend anyone and everyone who is a fan of MCR, The Black Parade, punk, rock, indie, ska, heavy metal or good music in general to pick up this epic issue of Rock Sound with the additional tribute album. MCR is also celebrating this 10th anniversary with a special deluxe edition that any fan NEEDS to get, you can’t miss this. The Black Parade is amazing in both forms and may their music and memory carry on.

JULIEN BAKER TURNS PHILLY INTO THE QUIETEST CITY
September 21, 2016 11:09 am

It’s no secret that ATYPICAL SOUNDS loves Julien Baker. She was our November Artist of the Month last year, so when I found out she was playing at Underground Arts in Philly I knew I had to be there.

The two show line-up was Tennessee-based Baker and Philly’s Grayling. As much as I don’t want to admit it for the sake of losing “punk cred,” two show lineups are sick. You get to go see some bands, feel some feels and still not be too tired for the next morning (I was still late for class but that’s just because of who I am as a person).

Grayling came on around 8:30 and played about a 7 song set that shows me that this band is here to stay. They are pretty badass and if you haven’t checked them out you need to do so ASAP. They will make you feel badass too.

Julien Baker started playing around 9:30 and while her set was only about an hour, for that one hour the small venue on 1200 Callowhill, was the quietest place in all of the city. Baker played songs of her record Sprained Ankle, which is a powerful testament to love, heartbreak and realization. It was just Baker and her guitar on the stage with one spotlight that made the singer look like an angel. Just like on her record, her voice quieted down and then tore through the quiet, each time taking the crowd with it.

There was not a dry eye in Underground Arts, I can guarantee it.

POP ETC GETS DOWN IN TOKYO
August 29, 2016 11:13 am

As  summertime rolls around, artists travel around the globe to perform at the biggest music festival. It’s about time a New York native band come perform in Tokyo, and POP ETC finally made their way halfway across the world to bring their American indie-rock vibes. They were actually in Japan not even a year ago, but who cares? They’re rad, and they deserve to be back as many times they want.

Some of you may know POP ETC from the The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2 soundtrack (ha!). Some others may have seen them supporting big time indie musicians like The Black Keys, Death Cab for Cutie and The Kooks. Either way their music blurs the lines between indie pop and indie rock, sitting just in between those two genres. They create music that makes you want to chill with a beer in hand, but also wave your hands in the air and dance at the same time.

Their show in Tokyo was surprisingly filled with an unusual mix of fans ranging from young females in late teens to middle aged business men. And like any other show in Japan, people watched them quietly, showing major respect to the band and their music. I was surprised with front man Chris’ fluency of Japanese – who knew! Because of that, the band members were able to connect with the audience on a whole other level. I was amazed to see the lack of phones in the crowd, trying to record precious videos of the show on their iPhones so they can upload it on their social media. Literally nobody. Nobody had their phones or selfie sticks (thank goodness) out which made this show an even more superb experience. We’re hoping they’ll be back again sometime soon, but if you’re in the big apple, don’t miss their next gig!

Want to know more about POP ETC? Click here to check out our exclusive interview with them.

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FEED THE BEAT
July 28, 2016 12:15 pm

Going on tour is an integral part of being in a band. Traveling all day and playing music all night in different places all over is the dream. However being in a band is less glamorous as most people picture it and unfortunately not many bands make a lot of money from shows. Usually money made from shows goes to gas and eating, so most bands come home just breaking even.

Thankfully, the Taco Gods have you covered. Taco Bell, beloved by stoners and broke kids alike have a campaign called Feed The Beat, which offers touring bands free food (suddenly I wish my mom pushed guitar lessons on me instead of soccer).

According to their site:

Since 2006, Taco Bell and its Feed The Beat program has helped support more than 900 artists/bands. Along the way, we have helped fans discover new bands, and bands discover new fans. Feed the Beat support starts in the form of feeding touring musicians with $500 in Taco Bell gift cards – no strings attached.

Some artists that have been featured on the campaign include: Allison Weiss, Chris Farren, DREAMERS, Robert Delong, Superheaven, The So So Glos, The 1975, The Front Bottoms, Best Coast, Title Fight, Wavves and many more names.

The program is a great way to give back to people who give their all for their art. As someone who has toured with bands before, I’ve witnessed the hardships that bands can face while on the road.

Shout out to Taco Bell, your dedication to the arts doesn’t go unnoticed — I’ll forgive you for putting cheese on my bean burrito.

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.

THE KILLS: WHEN DOING IT TO DEATH IS A GOOD THING
April 13, 2016 11:04 am

The Kills came out with their first new single in 4 years last month.

It’s about damn time.

And the good news is “Doing it to Death” is sick. The new album Ash & Ice is slotted for a June 3rd release, and if their single is anything to base it off, we should be in for a treat.

Furthermore, their live show is straight bitchin.

Alison Mosshart (who you may know through her work with Jack White & The Dead Weather) and Jamie Hince have been working together since 2001 and it shows. They share an onstage chemistry that is truly infectious. These two clearly enjoy not just performing, but performing together. While Mosshart puts on a clinic of “How to Behave as a Lead Singer When Not Singing,” Hince plays the part of “the Rest of the Band.” Yes, The Kills do perform with a backing bassist and drummer, but the songs are still built around Hince’s ability to blend tones and textures into exciting songs. Mosshart brought a fiendish energy to the room with her vocals, and the two stomped all over the stage of Exit/In in Nashville.

Possibly the most refreshing aspect of the show was that it dispelled a slight worry about the new album. It’s evident that The Kills have moved a little out of the punk world and more into the indie one throughout their career. This is not an inherently bad thing, and frequently a band’s best work can occur at some point along this sliding scale, rather than at one end of it (see: Blood Sugar Sex Magik). But “Doing It To Death” could give some Kills fans pause. Simply put, it’s catchier than some of their older stuff. Emphasis on some. The Kills are no stranger to electronics – they started their career accompanied only by a drum machine. While some of the synth work may be a bit more forward in the mix, the effect is no different from that of the guitars on “Future Starts Slow,” the most successful song off their last record, Blood Pressures. And if you don’t think The Kills make catchy danceable songs, then you haven’t listened to “Getting Down” off 2008’s Midnight Bloom. Put it on now and thank me later.

The point here is not “The Kills make great catchy danceable tunes so why are you worried about them just doing that?” The point is that The Kills have always made great catchy danceable tunes in addition to the bluesy punky guitar and vocal centric tunes that they do SO well. They have no plans to let go of this side of their music, which they showed by performing songs like “Kissy Kissy” off their first album, 2003’s Keep On Your Mean Side. As much of their set was dedicated to getting the crowd moving, probably more was dedicated to getting the crowd feeling.

The Kills have been writing and performing together for 15 years. They are not getting worse at either of those things. They may continue to embrace a more centric style and production, but better that than forcing an aesthetic that is played out. The Kills continue to grow and evolve as a rock band, and we should all be excited for their next step.

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TO ERR IS HUMAN; TO YAK, DIVINE
April 4, 2016 2:23 pm

Yak is a difficult band to describe faithfully. Their performances, and even conversations with the band, are kind of like watching the big bang happen—a tiny, tense mass of energy that begins to explode, and then grows exponentially. I still have glass in the treads of my shoes from their Wednesday show at Berlin NYC.

Earlier that night, ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down with Oli Burslem (vocals/guitar), Leo Kurunis (bass), and Elliot Rawson (drums) to talk sense and nonsense.

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Photo by Sasha Maese

You played last night at Saint Vitus, the metal bar.

OB: It was greeeat.

LK: I liked it. It was a bit of a scuzzy rock venue.

Is this your first time in New York?

ER: We came over last year, we did CMJ. We did Mercury Lounge and Elvis Guesthouse. Elvis Guesthouse was cool, it felt like we were in a sauna.

You just came from SXSW, as well. How many shows did you do?

ER: Six, I think. Six in two days?

OB: I would say “half a baker’s dozen”.

Six? Seven? Six-and-a-half?

OB: You know what? Six-and-a-half, that’s good, because one of them wasn’t at a venue. Cause we did one on a balcony.

LK: Or, we did one song on one stage and then moved our gear to another stage and did a set. So I think it’s definitely half a gig on that one.

OB: Lots of people said it was going to be really hard or whatever, but it was such a great, carnal, atmosphere. And we don’t have much gear, keyboard went out the window…

Literally?

OB: Yeah, sure. It was clammy, it was sweaty. It was so good, it was hot. It was saucy.

Also, a concentrated area of people, I’m not a big fan of musicians to be honest with you, or people in the music business, so you think it was going to be a horrible time. But everyone behaved themselves.

Outside of the industry people, who probably don’t want to be there anyway, it’s people who love music.

OB: I don’t dislike them, but it’s a different vibe. If you get a load of industry people, it’s like “Ok, let’s check these guys out,” and you’ve got a lot of chin-stroking. When I started playing music, it was down at a pub on a Monday night. And that’s the kind of music I like playing. It’s just like people and low-grade budget entertainment. But I really enjoyed it, and Austin was great.

Did you see any bands there you liked?

OB: Thee Oh Sees I’ve wanted to check out for a long time. So that was good, and we wanted to go see stuff, but we hit a bar afterwards, and you meet some guys, locals. And we were just having a good time. So we probably could’ve seen Iggy and everyone we wanted to see, but I was talking to a guy, and he said he had a gun, so I was trying to get him to shoot. I said “Can you shoot me?” but he didn’t have the gun.

You just released your video for “Harbour The Feeling” as well. Was it your idea to do a music video?

OB: Everyone was on a hiatus, and I was the only one left in London. And we released some live videos, but we got bored of that. So we sat around at a pub with my mate who shot it, Ben [Crook], who’s a wicked guy, and we were there for like three hours. And we got to the part where we went “Oh, we could drive a car through a desert”. So we got all these things, and we got to the end and it was like, “We shouldn’t do a video”, it’s a waste of money, and we don’t have an idea, and no band members.

And then a few days later, we were like “Bucking yak! That’s hilarious.” And then we built the Yak [sign]. We got up at five in the morning, drove to south London to find the bulbs, and then I couldn’t find the thing, so I went to north London. I spent the whole day driving around, I was like “Wow, this is being in a band. Finding bulbs.” And then we spent a whole day wiring it up with our friend Levi who built all the pedals. And it took a day to do it all. But it was like the best feeling ever. We just plugged in and turned on, and it was like “Ahh.” This is what it feels like to be a functioning human being. Being in a band is like…sometimes it’s great, I’m not complaining, but you’re not directly helping anyone.

You are, though.

OB: You maybe are, it’s just like…

ER: He wants to be a nurse.

OB: I want to be a nurse, yeah. Just something that makes me feel good.

You go to a town, you get pissed, you feel guilty about it, you go to a museum, you relieve the guilt, you go to a bar. You go to the bar, you wake up feeling really bad, you go see the Statue of Liberty, you go to a museum, you feel better. That’s why in Amsterdam, that’s why the Van Gogh museum is always packed, full of like people eating mushrooms.

Is it a lot of tourists?

OB: It’s people with a lot of guilt inside them. They need to relieve it and then get back to the bar.

So art is something you do to relieve guilt?

OB: Yep. And being generous as well. I’m only being facetious. I don’t really believe that.

I’ve read two of you were selling curiosities before you were in the band [Oli gestures to himself and Leo]. Where were you finding that stuff?

[A/N: I realized after this interview that it was actually Oli and original bassist Andy Jones who were the curiosities dealers. So Oli and Leo could’ve been fucking with me.]

OB: That would be giving away trade secrets.

LK: We’re not really allowed to say.

Are you going through the garbage at weird, old mansions?

OB: Anywhere you feel, really.

LK: My mother does it for a living, and she has her own shop. You had your own shop as well, didn’t you?

OB: Not technically.

LK: You didn’t, did you?

ER: You don’t know who’s listening.

OB: Basically, I had loads of jobs, then I was lucky enough to get a van. So I started going to auctions and buying stuff, and then selling it. A glorified van man. But I enjoyed it, I like that.

LK: There’s a good buzz to it.

OB: It’s not even a money thing sometimes. It’s just like, I had a space and every week I’d change it into something else. And I liked that. It’s just like music. If you walk down the street, and you see people walking slightly different, it’s the same with this kind of stuff. You can dress it differently.

We went to a museum yesterday in Philadelphia.

The Mütter Museum?

OB: Yeah, and everyone’s body language was like this [he mimes someone looking guarded, hands folded over his chest]. Cause everyone was so uncomfortable. I was more interested in the people that were alive, to be honest, than the ones who were dead.

If you’re working in antiques, some of that stuff is probably really dirty.

LK: It’s a nice trade, it’s a good trade to be in, and how many people you meet in it as well. There’s some really funny characters, they’re so far out of society, some of them. Lots of funny people with lots of different histories.

OB: There could be a man and his wife, and they could be millionaires, but they’d also be homeless. It’s a big hustle. I like the sales that aren’t on the internet. Like someone would be deceased, and all of their belongings would be at an estate sale. So you’d be looking through loads of books and then you get a book and you go “Ah, hang on, that’s an interesting book to have”, and then I’d go to the auctioneer and ask which furniture the [deceased] guy had. And then I’d buy like books, and books, and books, and everything I was obsessed with if the guy seemed cool. So I’d just buy all of it, and I’d sit until four in the morning, just going through it all. Just going, “Oh wow, he was Jewish, he was a doctor, and he was into industrial furniture.” And in my head I was picturing this guy. I don’t know it sounds mental.

Do you prefer photo albums over other kinds of books?

OB: I’m pretty illiterate, so…well I’m not illiterate, but…I, uh, yeah.

You’re doing four dates with The Last Shadow Puppets in April. Were you freaking out when you got the gig? Are you big Arctic Monkeys fans?

ER: It’s just another gig, really.

OB: [Speaking in a robotic voice] It’s a great gig, and we’re really honored, and pleasured, and in such awe to be able to have the opportunity, and we’re really happy to do that.To be in front of all the people who have gone to see a great band as The Last Shadow Puppets.

Is there a band you dream about being able to tour with?

OB: Well, if it isn’t The Last Shadow Puppets, it would probably be the Arctic Monkeys.

Did you have a falling out with Alex [Turner]?

OB: I actually had a nice night with Alex, and he was a gentleman. He invited us around to his house, and he was a pleasure, he gave me a drink, and we had a good chat. And he’s a talented man. There’s not that many rock stars that can exist anymore, people come and they go, and there’s this level at the top, and he’s managed to secure himself there. And rightly so, I think. His lyrics are good, and he’s got money and he’s doing it and doing the rock star thing. And why not?

And I can’t wait to get out there and play some shows, and I hope we do them proud.

Your first album is coming out in May as well. Is there anything you’d like people to know before they listen to it?

OB: It’s probably the most important album of the last ten years, guitar-music wise, from England. It’s the most important album to come out of the suburbs of Wolverhampton for the last five years.

What other bands are from Wolverhampton?

OB: Slade, Babylon Zoo, Robert Plant, Killing Joke‘s bass player [Paul] Raven. There’s quite a lot. I feel quite proud of being from the Midlands. I mean, I was born in Wolverhampton, and have family from there, but I lived in the suburbs seven miles out. There’s something quite nice about being from there, I’m quite proud of it. But I don’t really belong anywhere, really. Like everyone else.

I’m from the suburbs of New York, but I couldn’t wait to get out. I found it suffocating.

OB: I think it’s just a part of growing up.

ER: When you’re growing up in New York City, you’re just thinking you want to get out of New York City. I’m the same, from New Zealand. Everyone’s like “Oh, New Zealand’s beautiful.” Yeah, fucking beautiful, but look at me. Look at me. Have you seen me play? Look at me. LOOK AT ME.

[Everyone laughs]

Sorry, I’m losing the plot here. [Pause] Imagine if I had no face.

That would be scary. Like that woman that got her face ripped off by a chimp.

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Photo by Sasha Maese

You’re all based in London now, right?

OB: It’s great. It’s great for modeling.

Do you model?

OB: Yeah, I can’t wait to do more. I know Elliot’s really keen on me doing it. You know what, what’s the point? What’s the fucking point?

Of modeling? Of anything?

OB: There’s no romance, we are shit, and it’s all a fucking joke. [He giggles]

You’re doing pretty well.

OB: It’s bullshit, and we won’t be long in this house. I cannot stand being in a band with him [gestures towards Leo] and him [gestures towards Elliot].

How long have you been on the road so far?

OB: Two weeks [they all laugh uproariously]. I just wanna get naked. Not physically. Mentally. You know what? I don’t even know why we are doing this. We’re not getting paid.

I’m not getting paid.

OB: And I don’t love it [they continue to laugh]. Nah, I do. I don’t know. I think I’m just tired.

A friend and I are going to be in London in July. What should we do while we’re there?

OB: Come visit us.

LK: We’re going to interview you.

I’m not that interesting.

LK: You are, Sasha. Everybody’s interesting. Everyone’s got something to say.

Actually, after this, I want to go talk to that other Sasha I met earlier. I don’t meet other Sashas too often.

ER: He’s a nice guy. I’ve known him from New Zealand for 15 years.

He’s from New Zealand too?

ER: Yeah, he’s a good dude.

Did you hear Flight of the Conchords are coming here? They’re doing two dates. The first one sold out as soon as the tickets went on sale.

ER: Americans love Flight of the Conchords. It was always on American TV, wasn’t it?

It was.

ER: They were a proper band, like a comedy band, for years before their TV show.

And Bret was in that ukulele orchestra, as well.

ER: They’re both really good musicians. They really cashed in on the TV thing.

Do you guys have any songs you look forward to performing the most?

OB: The idea of the set is pretty loose, so we kind of do a different version of a song every night. I look forward to playing them all, and sometimes we’ll do something we haven’t done before, and that’s the bits where it really gets me excited about wanting to do music.

LK: Making it changeable.

OB: That’s probably the reason why we do it.

You must need to work pretty closely to improvise like that.

OB: It’s quite a boring genre, rock and roll is not complicated. No one can really explain it, because it’s so simple.

What is your average number of chords used per song?

OB: More than three. I like it simple, but there’s a thing about guitar, bass, drums, and we’ve been on all the records. Disregarded all of them, disregarded the drum kit on the recording, just played the shells, disregarded the bass in one song and just did feedback, disregarded the guitar and just hit it. It’s about energy, I think. All these things we can flip so it’ll be a new song.

Does that go along with your feeling that art produces relief?

OB: I don’t think our band has anything to do with art. I think music is quite low-grade, it’s like beans.

You’d be amazed at what passes for art.

OB: I know, but when bands get into that territory, it makes me feel…I like the bands that are like, “Let’s get the denim on. Let’s get out there and play some gigs.” And it’s just entertainment. People go to the cinema, the casino, the pub, or they could see a band. And that’s the level we’re working at. I don’t think there will ever be a band again that will work like the Beatles, changing society. It’s like a carwash, cleans your car; a band should make you feel excited and on edge.

When you first got into playing music, was there a musician or band you really wanted to be like?

OB: Start at the top. And I thought when I was six, I would be like Elvis but bigger. And then I thought the Beatles. And then it just goes down and down, and you end up at the bottom. And then you work yourself back up. “I’m just gonna be a cool band in London.” I’m not even that cool. And then you drop. And you put Fun House by The Stooges on and you go “Well that’s just fucking good, isn’t it? Why don’t I just do that?”. I listened to that when I was 14 and then you go up. I don’t know where I’m at now.

I think it’s also hard to be creative in London because it’s such an expensive city to be in.

OB: I got there when I was 17, so that’s quite a long time ago. And I was doing loads of jobs, but it’s character building and I couldn’t write the songs I did then, now. I was just hungry to be in a band, I didn’t know why. But now, it feels like an expression of that struggle. And we’ve had a lot of help along the way from people in bands. We’ve had a lot of help, and this hasn’t just come about by us being a good band.

Is there anything you do to prepare for life on the road? Is touring hard for you?

ER: It’s fucking easy. Not easy, but we’ve all worked jobs that sucked.

LK: I’m sick of working jobs for people that I hate.

ER: But we’ve all had shit jobs.

LK: We absolutely love this. I don’t care about sleepless nights, we’d still get up and do it and play.

ER: It’s not going to last forever. When the wheels fall off, they fall off, and we’ll go back to doing other jobs.

OB: The only thing we could do with our skillset would be coffin bearers. We could carry stuff, and we’re emotionally discharged. So we could be hauling out corpses.

LK: I bet you can’t name a good, simple, rock and roll band that’s not outstayed their welcome. It’s the careerists that get it wrong. My idea is that we go hit it hard as we can, and then retire and be happy people and not have anything to do with this. I don’t want to be famous or anything like that. And all the bands that we like, I think, have a good period of intensity. And that feeling, I think, bands miss it.

What if you get to the point where you are famous and you try to go somewhere and people are freaking out?

OB: It doesn’t happen. See this is a myth that everyone always talks about. The bands will never be like that again.

The 1975 has kind of turned into that.

OB: Yeah, but he has to look himself in the mirror every day. He’s gonna have depression. I hope he’s got a lot of money, because he’ll need a lot of counseling.

Do you guys have any last words before you perform tonight?

[Their tour manager walks over]

Tour Manager: Hey, sorry, it’s time.

ER: America’s been great, we’re really happy to be here, we want to come back.

LK: We love it, and we love you, and…

OB: It’s been brilliant. It’s…just music.

It’s everything.

SXSW SPOTLIGHT ON: RONY’S INSOMNIA
March 17, 2016 11:17 am

Rony’s Insomnia is the female fronted and hybridized alternative rock project of local New Yorker and native Israeli Rony Corcos and company. Rony’s Insomnia, who will take to stage at 11:30 a.m. this Friday at the Beasts’ SXSW showcase in Austin, is a powerful symbol of feminine might and creative expression. With their cerebral blend of modern technology, intelligently employed effects, and traditional jazz-rock core, Rony’s insomnia creates a wall of sound that is sure to please both the punk-alternative enthusiast and the more refined musical tastes.

Rony’s knowledgeable production background is evident in their highly sophisticated set, while her Mediterranean Middle-Eastern roots can be heard in an almost ancient background whisper. Be prepared for lots of pedals and an impressive display of female vocals. The talented display can be heard on 2014’s well received Count to Ten EP.

With a new and improved line-up featuring Ben Fitterman on Bass and Colin Taylor on drums, Rony’s Insomnia is set to make their unique presence felt at this years Southby celebration. If you can’t make it down this year, be sure to see them at their upcoming New York dates, or catch them on the road this spring.

TAKE A TRIP WITH JACK GARRATT’S PHASE
March 10, 2016 2:48 pm

Singer. Songwriter. Guitarist. Pianist. Percussionist. Producer. Performer. How many threats is that? You could try to break the UK’s Jack Garratt down into his constituent parts, or you could describe him like Aussie R&B singer Jarryd James did last fall – “He’s a freak.” Don’t you worry about it though, Jack. Jarryd meant it in the best possible way.

But this is all stuff we already knew. We talked to Jack Garratt after his show in Nashville back in August, so we already had high expectations for his new album Phase.

He did not disappoint.

Phase is a 19 song double-debut record. Six or seven of these had been released previously, either on old EP’s or as singles. While a 10 song record with six or seven “old” songs on it might seem a bit frustrating, a 19 song record still brings plenty of new material to the table. And if you haven’t been wearing out everything you’ve been able to get your ears on for the past nine months like I have, then this is probably not an issue at all. If you’ve never heard Jack Garratt before, then rejoice. You get to listen to “Weathered” for the first time. I’m Jealous.

I’d love to take you through every song, but I figure you have shit to do so I’ll try to get to the important points. I won’t talk about Garratt’s stellar vocal performance throughout the record. and how he utilizes his crazy range bringing emotion and grit. I won’t talk about his guitar playing, or his broad use of synth sounds. I won’t talk about this groovy thing he does throughout the record where he layers half-time feel and double-time feel over one another, switching between the two at will. I won’t talk about how crazy stupid awesome his new video “Chemical” is.

Instead I’m going to talk about the two things that really set this record apart. The first thing is micro: something present in all his songs. Jack Garratt is a superb arranger. His songs are paced immaculately. One of the biggest challenges with really any music, but especially electronic music, is getting a song to go somewhere. To not sound the same way the whole time. Jack Garratt’s songs are little journeys. His combination of different electronic sounds and styles gives him a broader scope than a lot of other artists. Elements of Hip Hop, R&B, Drum & Bass, Blues, Gospel, EDM, and dubstep give Garratt plenty of tools in his kit. His trick is that he’s constantly using all of them, pulling little things from each to combine into his own unique sound. Where another artist may come into the second verse with a little more going on, Garratt comes in with a totally different feel, and totally different synths, or guitar instead of piano. Combine this with Garratt’s ability to sing his absolute ass off, and his songs turn into those said journeys. You’re not sure where they’re going to go next, but you’re excited because you know they can go anywhere.

The second thing that stands Phase apart is macro: apparent when looking at it as a whole. Phase really is an album. While 18 Months by Calvin Harris is one of the best collections of pop songs ever created (I challenge anyone to debate that), that’s exactly what it is – a collection of songs. Phase is cohesive. Phase listens like a Jack Garratt song does. There’s change and excitement. It’s dynamic. But it’s also thematic. Love and loneliness. Worry. Hope. In a world of electronic music dominated by collaborations and remixes, Garratt brings something that is truly original, and quite personal. He took a huge amount of music, probably written over years, and blended it into a whole. There is a defined sound to the album, but the songs still stand apart from one another, and fill different roles. And coming out of it, I feel like I know something about Garratt.

Something other than the fact that he likes to make music that gets your booty movin’.