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THE FUNDAMENTAL DIANE COFFEE
November 14, 2016 9:00 am

Guys. Me and Shaun Fleming of Diane Coffee have the same silver eyeshadow. And now that that’s out of my system, I can tell you that we were able to grab some quality time with the shiny bombshell himself Thursday night before his show with St. Paul and The Broken Bones at Terminal 5. Keep reading to get the essentials on how Shaun feels about touring, turning the big 3-0, and what it’s like to sing opera at Macaroni Grill.

It’s been a really weird week, with the election happening two days ago. Did you perform last night?
We did. I needed that more than anything else I’ve ever needed, ever. I look to music and to artists to get me though everything from cracked a toenail, or this. [The band] were talking about it, and none of us had slept the night before, and we were just…I’m sure a lot of people were stressed on both sides. It was really close for a long time. So we were feeling pretty down, plus sick all over from the outcome. [Drummer] Kate was throwing up before she went onstage. Everyone was feeling really dumpy and awful. We were in Philadelphia last night, and the crowd was so positive and so energetic, and it was really awesome to be someone’s relief.

How is your tour going otherwise?
It’s really great, we sold out tonight. It’s been one of my favorite tours. I feel like [St. Paul and The Broken Bones] and I are cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways, but we’re different enough where I think it’s a nice blend. We’re playing to a lot of people who have never heard us before, and they’re walking away really enjoying what they heard, so we couldn’t have asked for a better pairing. Crowds have been awesome, they’re here to dance, they’re here to have fun, and the few headlining shows we had done were great. I got sick early on; right when we hit the road, it became fall all of a sudden. I had to cancel a show, which was a bummer, but other than that I think it’s been awesome.
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Is it hard for you to sit in a van with a group of people for the entire length of a tour?
I’ve been playing with Foxygen as well, so I feel like I’ve been on the road for like five years straight. [Diane Coffee has] been touring this record since September of 2015, almost nonstop. It’s funny; I get home and I feel like I need to go to the gas station just to go to the bathroom to feel any sort of normalcy. It’s been awesome and very tiring. You get used to it, and I’m traveling with great people who are my closest friends, kind of the only friends I have now with being on the road.

The lineup for this tour is new; I was playing with a separate band for everything prior to this for the Good Dog tour. And this tour kind of came up last minute and the other band couldn’t commit. It’s fun for me, because everyone brings their own personality to it, so everything feels very fresh and very new and very exciting again.

Will you be playing with Foxygen when they perform in New York?
No, I’ve stepped away from Foxygen. I’ve got so much to do with this project now, kind of focusing on my baby. They’ve got a whole new lineup though, and it’s amazing. They just played their first show that I haven’t played with them, ever. It was kind of surreal to see the tweets and stuff, “Excited to see Foxygen!”, and I’d have a little panic attack like “I’m supposed to be onstage!”. It’s like that dream where you forget your clothes and you’re at school. It was that feeling. I’m excited to see my first Foxygen show.

I have to ask, what brand is your silver eyeshadow and is there a method to the madness in its application?
There is, I got way better at it. It’s been about 2 or 3 years in the making now. I started doing it with Foxygen and it developed in that world and spilled over into this one. I’m using Maybelline Color Tattoo. Once it dries, it doesn’t come off. And just a basic eyeliner. And I use that Maybelline silver eyeshadow for my lipstick too, which I don’t think you’re supposed to do. I got this stuff by L’Oreal, Liquid Diamond powder, and I was thinking of doing gold, but it kind of looks like you have jaundice. But if you mix it with a silver powder, it’s kind of a weird halfway point between silver and gold.

Guitarist Matt Kronish walks in.

Me and Matt grew up together in L.A.

Matt: I feel like we’re still growing up together.

What was he like as a teenager?

Shaun: Matt had shorter hair.

Matt: He was just as much of a dynamo when we were 15.

Shaun: We were just talking makeup. Matt wore makeup for the first time the other day.

I’m a serious journalist, and we’re talking about makeup.

Matt: Getting to the hard issues.

Shaun: How do you feel about the election? What brand [of eyeshadow] do you use? Actually, that’s actually exactly where it went.

Matt leaves.
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You’ve mentioned in interviews that you embody a female role for your Diane Coffee persona.
Not necessarily a female role. I embody the feminine archetype, which is sort of that performer. Everything gets lost in translation with interviews, especially stuff like that. Diane Coffee is that feeling that you get when you’re a shy, reserved person, but maybe you go to a concert and the energy surrounds you and because of that community, you’re singing at the top of your lungs, and you’re dancing and then you’re back home and you’re quiet and reserved again. It’s the same thing when you go onstage; that thing that kind of takes over.

You hear a lot of artists that say they don’t remember what they do onstage. I remember what I do onstage to an extent, but that part of me takes over completely. That’s what I call Diane Coffee. When I’m performing, I’m Diane Coffee. If the band feels it, they’re Diane Coffee. If the audience feels it, they’re all Diane Coffee. I definitely wanted a more feminine name, but I don’t think it’s a character I’m playing onstage. It’s a piece of me that’s amplified greatly.

You used to live in New York and L.A., and now you’re in Bloomington. Do you feel like a big fish in a small pond when you’re at home?
I really love Bloomington. When I grew up in L.A., I wasn’t in L.A. proper; I was in a small place called Agoura. New York is kind of scary; I lived on the Lower East Side, which was a lot. Everyone was like “You should’ve moved to Brooklyn”, and they’re probably right. Bloomington felt to me like going back to business as usual. I don’t feel like a big fish or anything like that. A lot of my band members come from Bloomington, and there’s a sea of talented people there. There’s the Secretly Canadian label, Jagjaguwar, all that stuff, so they’re there. It feels like an artistic community in the middle of Indiana. It’s like this cultural oasis in the middle of corn. It doesn’t feel like a lot of other midwest towns; it’s a college town.

I’m far enough away that I do kind of become a little bit of a shut-in. Me and my girl have a house out in the woodsy area and it’s great. When you tour, it’s like city, city, city, city, all the time. And when I get home, I don’t want to be in a city, I want to be somewhere where I can have a fire and kind of just unwind and get creative again.

You’re turning 30 in the coming year.
Yes, I am. I’m trying not to think about it though. I feel like 29 was freaking me out more than I think 30 will be. My then-girlfriend in high school, me and her made this pact: she made me promise that if nothing starts happening with music by the time I’m 28, I had to get out of music and get a job or something like that. When I was 25, 26, I was like “Fuck that, I’m gonna keep doing what I’m gonna do”, and I started playing with Foxygen and things were taking off and it was going well. But still, in the back of my mind I was like “Oh man, 28 is coming up. How am I going to feel about it when I hit that point?”. And then my birthday was during the Primavera festival in Spain, and I think that was the biggest crowd I had ever played to, like 20,000 people or something like that. And I remember just thinking “This is cool, I think this counts as ‘I can keep doing this.’” But I mean, I know a lot of cool 30-year-olds. You seem cool. The world’s not going to come to an end. At least not because I’m turning 30.

Have you ever had a “real” job?
I did acting and stuff as a kid, and then no one really taught me about saving any of it. And one day it was like “Ok, this is over now. I have no more money.” My first job was at Cold Stone Creamery.
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Did you have to sing when they put money in the tip jar?
We’d holler for a dollar. Everyone had to sing. I was not getting into it. I had a job at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and I was a host/opera singer. Every hour on the hour, I had to go into the middle of the restaurant, pull out a chair, take out a fork and a cup and sing some opera standard.

Our Macaroni Grill never did that.
I don’t know if it was just this one, or if they knew I could sing and were like “This is what you do, this is part of the job.” And I would have to go around to the tables and ask if people wanted a song and they would maybe tip me a dollar or something. It was so brutal. I hated everything about that job. That was, like, my darkest hour, I think. I was living in Reseda, in this little cramped apartment by myself. I was trying to play music and write, but I couldn’t get a band together. And L.A. just sucks for trying to put a band together.

That sounds like the theme of a Tom Petty song.
I tried everywhere – Ventura sucked, Reseda sucked. I ended up moving to Boston for six or eight months, crashed on couches. Tried to be in a pop band, that didn’t work out. I did a lot of teaching; I taught voice and guitar and a lot of stuff like that. Things were getting super dark and I didn’t know what to do anymore. So I was thinking about going back to school and trying to get into music business, which I’ve never really wanted to do. Anything to keep me in the world. That’s when Rado [of Foxygen] hit me up, and was like “Hey, we got a show, do you want to play some drums?”. That’s when one show became two, and two became more.

When you were a voice actor on the Disney cartoon “Kim Possible”, were you held to a strong code of ethics like many of the actresses on Disney’s live-action shows?
No, no one knows who the hell we are. It’s great, my dad would just pull me out of school, drive down and we’d sit in a booth and do the thing and get out. No one really knows who you are. Especially pre-internet, no one knew who the hell any of these vocal actors were.

Do you look forward to coming back to New York at all? Is there a pizzeria that you like?
I was living right across the street from Lombardi’s, so I was right in the thick of it. I look forward to the dumpling houses. I was right near Chinatown and I was broke as all hell, so dumplings.

I love being in New York and playing in New York, but I hate living in New York. I hate driving in New York. I hate parking. I always end up getting a parking ticket.

Do you have any last words before you go on tonight?
I think this is going to be the last show in New York for a while. I’m going to be doing the new record soon. I’m sure this will be one of the first stops. Don’t forget me, New York.

ZIPPER CLUB GOES THE DISTANCE
August 11, 2016 11:49 am

If you haven’t heard “Going the Distance” by Zipper Club yet, get ready because it’s going to be stuck in your head pretty much forever. The band, comprised of Mason James of Cerebral Ballzy and Lissy Trullie, have recently been working with James Iha (of The Smashing Pumpkins fame) to produce their debut album. If it’s anything like this single, I can’t wait to hear it.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS spoke with Mason about new wave, new music, and new experiences:

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Your press release describes Zipper Club as being a “new wave-inspired” band. Are there any new wave albums that inspired you as musicians, or any that you’d recommend in general for your fans to listen to?

Stand And Deliver by Adam Ant, Big Country by Big Country is kind of a jam. The Bangles.

What bands from LA do you feel deserve more attention?

Every band in LA gets plenty of attention.

Has your producer James Iha given you any advice that’s resonated with you?

He has a real mastery of how to craft a song. He imparted little bits of his wisdom while working together. Subtle changes made a world of difference.

Did you squeal and freak out directly before/after meeting him?

I just got off tour. I met him in a dingy basement in Brooklyn to work on a Record Store Day single. I was so hung over that I wasn’t squealing much.

You just released a video for your song “Going the Distance”. What can you tell us about the production of it?

We wanted to make a non-literal adventure video that visually represented the music. We went out to the desert with some friends…and it turned out rad.

Did you help with the video’s concept or direction?

Jason Forrest Hogg and I had been messing around with ideas for a while and decided to direct this one together. Lissy and I worked as a band to conceive the storyline. We hit up some of our friends, bought a Cadillac, broke down four times on the way to the desert and then made a video.

What can we expect from your upcoming album?

Spacey synths and big hooks.

Zipper Club has a very different sound than your previous band Cerebral Ballzy. Is there anything in particular you were looking to do with Zipper Club that you felt you couldn’t do with Cerebral Ballzy?

I conceived this band out of frustration with punk. Punk can be pigeonholing in terms of musical creativity. This is a way for me to do something I wanted. It’s catchy and still cool. Once Lissy came into the fold, the remaining songs were greatly influenced by her presence and the collaboration built something great.

What advice can you give a band who is new to the music industry? Is there anything you were particularly surprised by when you were first starting out?

Get ready to sleep on a lot of floors.

Will you be touring soon or doing any live performances?

We play LA every Monday night in August at the Satellite. Then we’ll be on the road for the next year and a half.

Check out more Zipper Club with their tour, on Youtube, their site and here with the new single, “Going The Distance”.

GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE: RAW FABRICS
July 22, 2016 9:46 am

Jack B. (Jack Bruno) has been through the ringer and then some.

Jump back 12 months and he’s on the brink of self-destruction. Okay, so you’re not the first chip off the block to embrace the rock and roll lifestyle only to find yourself completely in over your head. Rebel without a cause. His creative outlet, Raw Fabrics, abruptly goes up in smoke. His band mates leaving him in the dust. His girlfriend calls it quits. Bridges are burned, relationships tarnished. Jack B. checks himself into rehab.

But this isn’t just some sob piece. Put your tissue box down. It’s cliché, it’s trite, but it often holds true: sometimes you need to reach rock bottom before you can claw your way to a higher place. Raw Fabrics has done just that, albeit as a revitalized solo band, Jack B. hasn’t looked back.  In fact, he’s turned the page in dramatic fashion.

The LA native’s been on the road for the last 3 months straight, sucking in fresh summer air, playing shows, writing new songs, meeting new friends and finding himself.  Raw Fabrics was asked to open for She Wants Revenge, the mid-ought’s electro-punk band celebrating 10 years since the release of their eponymous self-titled debut. I got to catch their Philadelphia stop at the Theater of the Living Arts.

The two bands emerged from two very different eras of indie rock, but they have their comparisons. Both might loosely qualify as dance punk–Although Raw Fabrics blend is much more hook-centric, accessible pop sensibilities with an LA hipster cool edge.  Jack B. is full of energy and charisma on stage—he ended his set by jumping out into the audience smashing a floor tom before breaking into one last tune.

She Wants Revenge music hinges on grooves and gloomy minimalists.  Their closest contemporaries were The Faint or The Kills—they’ve stated their admiration for early goth bands such as Bauhaus and The Cure.  As such, SWR music is likewise abound with horror tropes, such as their album cover depicting a scantly-clad girl clutching a kitchen knife. Fun for the whole family! It was great to see them back at it.

With this level of activity, it feels likely Raw Fabrics will have some new material on the way soon. In the meantime, he did manage to squeeze in time recently to film his last single “Get Me The Hell Out of Here”, check it out below.  He also recently teased a remix  by Lil Texas.

CHASING THE HIGHLAND KITES
June 30, 2016 12:27 pm

Highland Kites is Marissa Lamar and Neil Briggs. Together they are a slow burning, melodic duo rife with dark themes and sweet sounds.

Lamar, the mastermind behind the project, began using music as her catharsis for overcoming a near fatal and prolonged bout with Lyme disease early in her life. Teaming up with Briggs in 2014 along with producer Raymond Richards, the band debuted to solid local fame. Originally from the Los Angeles area, Highland Kites has steadily built up a devoted purist fan base. They offer the soundscape a genuine and pure look at how you can transform your pain into beauty.

Their new EP, Let Me Run, is due out on July 23rd. A small work of five songs, I got an early look at the ethereally beautiful album. With a simple sound, the duo come together easily. Lamar fronts the band, clocking in as singer-songwriter plus keys and guitar, with Briggs hunkering down on drums.

Their LA-origin is apparent right off the bat with “Plastic Towns,” the first track. Lamar plays a mean slide guitar, harkening summer days at the beach under the sun. A common motif throughout Highland Kites’ works is the use of twisted lyrics over seemingly playful riffs and rhythms. Lamar uses her struggle to provide a mad decent canvas upon which the band paints their sound. As Lamar professes: “Stop pouring your heart out, you’re bleeding inside.” A message to all those bleeding hearts out there dying to be heard, take note.

In “Freckles,” Lamar shows off her folk chops, soothing the listener with a mellow vibe. When Briggs tunes in on background harmonies, the band feels much bigger than they actually are. The end result is a gorgeous melody that is entirely entrancing.

“This War Inside” features a fascinating journey through Lamar’s troubles and laments. Following Briggs’ hypnotizing drum beat, the listener is pulled into the quirky darkness that Lamar is trying to purge from herself.

The last two tracks, “Humiliated” and “Let Me Run” both feature energetic, melancholy melodies full of apt guitar and drums. Not eloquent but better: honest. Highland Kites is not a band that is pretending to be anything other than themselves. Taking a full year after their previous EP All We Left Behind, Highland Kites is finally ready to take the stage again.

When Highland Kites decide they want to do something, they take their time and do it well. I encourage anyone inspired by this article to check out and purchase their EP for $5 when it drops on 7/23. They are performing a show in LA after the EP’s release in order to fund their next tour, so if you want to catch them on the road, put your money where your mouth is.

HUXLEE: ALTERNATIVE POP FOLK MAGIC
June 23, 2016 5:13 pm

Caitlin Notey is a LA native, 23 and the lead singer of alternative/folk band Huxlee. She describes Huxlee’s sound saying, “If Alabama Shakes, Bonnie Raitt and Fiona Apple had a little sister with an undying love of N*SYNC.” Yes, the description is accurate and Huxlee’s sound sends shivers down the spine.

Huxlee consists of Caitlin and her five best friends: Carey Singer (guitar), Mac Sinise (drumers), Nick Chuba (programming/banjo), Joe Scolari (bass) and AJ Novak (percussion). The band met while pursuing USC’s Popular Music program. Caitlin says her band, “Masterfully interprets my jumbled artistic impulses and help to create an expanded and fuller sound than what I could ever imagine.”

They released their first EP Bloom in 2013 containing hits Olivia, Crooked Tree, Isn’t/Anything and more. In July of 2015 they released their second EP Teammate. This EP, just as the last, does not disappoint. Aftertaste, 22,Teammate and If I Don’t Get on TV are a compilation of gritty, pop folk magic!

It’s safe to say they are going to be around for awhile and will only be getting bigger and bigger. For tour dates and to hear their most recent EP, click here.

LESS IS MORE: INTREPID BY AO’C
June 1, 2016 12:00 pm

Actress, Producer, Humanitarian, and Fashion Designer.  Is there anything Aerin O’Connell can’t do?

I have been following O’Connell since her line appeared in a Nolcha Fashion Week show in 2015.  Her sleek designs are classic enough to feed my inner debutante and edgy enough to appease the hipster desperately trying to escape.

ATYPICALSOUNDS had the opportunity to chat with Aerin about her Autumn/Winter collection of Intrepid by A’OC at the launch party for the line’s new video. The line goes on sale this month and I will definitely be snagging the tuxedo jumpsuit and the little red dress.

INTREPID by AO’C from Gerry Sievers on Vimeo.

What made you decide to be a designer?

To be completely honest, it was a very gradual process.  It’s not one thing, I had been working in film, and kind of creative across the board but it wasn’t a conscious choice to seek out being a fashion designer.  I love designing in general, whether its jewelry, furniture, clothing.

Do you still design furniture?

Well I’ve been busy doing this, so at the moment no. But it’s something I’d like to explore in the future.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 12.02.48 PMI heard that you got started with fashion on set. How did you start leading wardrobe teams on set?

My ex-husband had a lot of faith in me to pursue that sort of aspect of film. I had produced, but wardrobe and costumes were something that he and I felt could merge as far as my love for fashion and my love for period pieces. I had gone to the School of Style in Los Angeles, because a stylist isn’t just a personal shopper. I haven’t done much more than shorts and independent films but they were featured.

You based your designs on Edward Hopper. What elements from his paintings did you incorporate into your designs?

I’m obsessed with space, and when you over-complicate scenery, [it over-complicates the] depiction of anything really.  I think this goes back to the synonymous tagline of Intrepid, that less is more. Negative space can speak volumes more than too many objects.  So I’ve always kind of related to that.  You’d look at something like Chicago and a bar, and there’s one guy at the bar, one bartender, and this perspective from across the street. Not many things are in the imagery and that’s more impactful and intense for me. Less is more is something I strive for in my everyday life within fashion, within my apartment, within furniture. It just kind of reigns through in paintings like that. It leaves room for the imagination, for perspective, for interpretation, leaving a lot of it up to the individual. I think that is far more powerful than creating it for them.

Any film plans on the table?

Yes. An old friend/producing partner and I worked on the short film “Woke Up Crying.” The director was John Ibsen, known for international trailers like “The Dark Knight.” Him and I have been working on agreeing on a project. He’s been working on “The Avengers” right now, but it’s going to be a feature. As far as documentaries go, I’m still in post production on my documentary about Liberia, and human rights, mainly women and health issues.

How do you want people to feel when they wear your designs?

Confident.

Did you grow up with an interest in fashion?

I think I always had an addiction for fashion. I loved shopping, it’s how my mother and I would bond, My interest dove deeper when my sister-in-law took me to the Lower East Side or East Village to an antique boutique to find a vintage leather bomber jacket and she sparked that interest for me. But I’ve always been into clothes.

Tell me about your biggest supporters. 

My brother, family in general, special friends in Los Angeles and CJ who has taken over and Kevin Nolan. He’s the reason why I started custom making furniture and jewelry. He also has a flair for design, and an amazing eye for aesthetics, so we’ve teamed up for renovations and other design aspects.

Where do you find inspiration when you’re stuck?

I never seek out inspiration. Inspiration finds you. I really believe in that. You can hide and run but walking out of your door every morning, things will cross your path and will stun you or spark some sort of inspiration. You just have to be willing to receive it.

What are you most proud of with this line?

The fact that I have kept going and I didn’t give up when things got discouraging and that I had the courage to move back to New York and continue what the dream really entails.

What do you have in store for the future?

Stick around and find out.

Do you have plans to head back to LA or are you staying put in New York?

I’d like to be bi-coastal, but I knew that if I wanted to continue this venture it requires my undivided attention, concentration, and seriousness so I’m here until we can get this off the ground.

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Interview has been condensed for publishing.

BORNS: RADIATING EPICNESS AT TERMINAL 5
May 27, 2016 2:23 pm

BORNS. FUCKING EPIC. That’s all we have to say here at ATYPICAL SOUNDS after attending their show Wednesday night.

Terminal 5 was filled down to every last crevice at the sold out show. Fans were constantly cheers-ing beers, dawning  electric smiles and radiating good vibes all night long.

Opening acts BEAU and Coast Modern were the opening entertainment for the night. BEAU shook up the house with her strong textured vocals and bodacious dance moves while Coast Modern brought some California sunshine to the stage with their fun Cali dance tunes. Two amazing opening acts later, just when you thought the energy of the room couldn’t raise anymore, then the main course took the stage. Illuminated blue silhouettes began to play the first fun notes of Seeing Stars as Garrett BORNS effortlessly dances in twirling circles up to the mic with a beer in hand. For the rest of the night, it didn’t matter where you were in that packed venue. Close to stage or tucked in a corner, it didn’t matter because you couldn’t help but feel like you were just lucky to be there.

Going to this show was particularly special because for every song it seemed the audience was singing the song back. It’s expected that everyone would know the words to hits such as 10,000 Emerald PoolsElectric Love, Dopamine and American Money  but the whole concert virtually felt like a sing a long and that says something about the quality and greatness of BORNS sound.

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Dopamine is a record that makes your ears crave every track and lyric. What a truly unique artist with the talent and finesse of Freddy Mercury and an incredibly talented ensemble backing him. BORNS is a must see show!

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To see if BORNS is coming to a town near you? Click here.

Photos Courtesy of Mina J 

 

 

LANY: THE MAKEOUT TOUR ENCHANTS WEBSTER HALL
May 24, 2016 5:20 pm

Friday night we got rowdy with LANY at Webster Hall and watched them work their magic. Fans ranging from late teens to 30-somethings covered every inch of the Marlin Room as they awaited the California trio to come on stage. Odessa was the opening act who not only looked like some sort of ethereal goddess but whose voice was so beautiful it made you feel that her music is probably what’s on replay in heaven. (Seriously though). Her effortless folky charm was just right for setting the tone of the night.

LANY took the stage shortly after and gave their heart and soul to the crowd for the hour. Opening with their newest hit “Where The Hell Are My Friends,” the room roared. Next to me I heard an older woman gush to her friend over lead singer Paul Klein, “I can’t even believe he’s real. He’s so perfect.” Home girl is right. Paul, Les Priest (keyboard/guitar/vocals) and Jake Goss (drummer) are not just there as prime eye candy. It’s a real experience to watch them perform. A pure honest energy comes on stage with these boys, not to mention the true nature of their friendship, their vocals and their music. They performed all of their greatest songs including “Made In Hollywood,” “ILYSB,” “You Are Fire” and ended the night with an energetic encore performance of “Hot Lights.”

If you are a LANY fan, getting tickets to a show in your city should probably be added to your to do list right now! If you haven’t listened to them, check out their albums Make Out and I Loved You. For tour dates and more information about the band click here.

CHATTING WITH BUTTERFLIES: JESSICA ROTTER
May 4, 2016 12:42 pm

Jessica Rotter is hitting the music scene ever so eloquently while rattling every listener’s ear with her debut album Plains. Atypical Sounds got to attend Rotter’s release party and it was an evening to remember. Rotter took the stage on the rooftop of the W hotel with beautiful views of downtown Los Angeles shining through every window. Dressed in a beautiful old school Hollywood dress she expelled soul shaking vocals from Plains such as “Aflame,” “Stars,” “Flowers In My Head and “Let Me Go.” Rotter combined with an amazing entourage of band members and back up singers made for an exceptional Friday night.

We got one on one time with Jessica recently and talked Plains, love, freedom, motherhood and everything in between! See below for the full interview. 

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When did you realize that music was a career path for you?

I think I realized it multiple times. When I was very young I was always singing. I would day dream about going on stage. Every stage I could ever go on I would start singing. It was kind of just part of me. When I graduated college I was kind of pursuing directing for music videos and then I ended up just getting a lot more work singing just because I’ve been singing my whole life. It made me realize I should just embrace singing. I had been writing music but I wasn’t sharing it actively, and then when I started sharing it I was like wait a second this is amazing and so much fun. What am I denying? I was like stop lying to yourself go be a musician.

Is there anyone that you saw yourself performing with when you were younger (elementary/junior high days)?

Yeah. Are you kidding me? Everyday I would dream about *NSYNC bringing me up on stage. I just imagined going to one of their concerts and Justin Timberlake would see me singing along and he would be like ‘I can tell she has a great voice she should come on stage.’

Has your family influenced your music at all?

Yeah definitely. I think that growing up in a classical-ish family influenced me as a musician. Listening to a bunch of amazing film scores and classical music growing up really influenced me but directly my dad did help me with a lot in the early stages of the album. He arranged all of the big string parts that you hear on the album like “Last Sound” and “Hit The Ground.” My dad actually wrote those string parts. He was a composer first and now he’s a contractor so he hires musicians for orchestras. He helped me coordinate and put this huge session together with all these amazing L.A musicians. There are like twenty-five string players. It was a big session. It was amazing. I felt really fortunate.

What does this record represent to you?

I wrote it in a very transitional period of my life. I was kind of searching for freedom a lot of the time and trying to find myself. What I realized is that even in love there are times of loneliness and even with this illusion of freedom there’s the other side of it which is that you are alone. So it’s like what about being tied to another person creates a struggle and what about not being tied to another person creates a struggle? How do we find peace in either situation? It’s really just me wrestling with loneliness and love. As I said at my show, I got pregnant unexpectedly. Honestly, I think I realized that if I was going to be having a child and I didn’t pull myself together I maybe never would do this. I felt that there was a real need to expedite this journey and really create something and put it out there. Some of the songs I wrote before I got pregnant but they all kind of fit into the same world of when you’re free who are you and when you’re not free who are you? What is freedom and what’s more rewarding? And at the end of the day, I think that being in relationships that are real and rewarding is more important than this illusion of freedom that everyone is chasing all the time.

What inspired the album title?

Really it’s a metaphor for that open space and how when you’re in a huge open space you can feel completely alone or you can feel completely free. It kind of metaphorically explains that feeling in a lot of the songs.

How did you find your peace?

Honestly, I think that sometimes you just have to make a choice and I think that I just made the choice that I had things pretty good. I was never concerned with becoming a mom, I think that was always magical to me especially as a creator. It’s like hello this is the coolest creative project ever. My son is the most amazing child. Obviously, every mom is kind of biased about that but he really is. He’ll walk outside and put his arms out and talk about how beautiful the trees are. He’s also super musical. He’s a drummer. He’s only two and a half. He’s so cool so none of that has ever been a problem. Really I don’t think I would be pursuing my career in such an intentional way if I hadn’t had him and had such a strong reason for making my life happen.

At your show you said you wrote a certain song when you were going through your pregnancy. Which song was that again?

Stars. I wrote it before I found out that I was pregnant but I sang it throughout my entire pregnancy. It was always playing in my head. I wrote Stars right when I had just gotten into my first relationship with the same person who is now my fiancé and the father of my child. I had been in love with other people but this was my first true relationship. So this song for some reason just kind of came out of me and I sang it all the time. And it did, it really carried me through my album, it carried me through my pregnancy. A lot of people have reached out to me about Stars saying that it’s really helped them through hard days.

What’s an activity that helps rejuvenate your creativity and music?

I love going out into nature. I actually just moved right outside of L.A and there are a lot of hiking trails so I spend a lot of time outside. I like meditating, I go to the beach a lot and (laughs) I’ve discovered gardening which is like, I don’t know—something about putting a plant in dirt is very therapeutic for me. (Laughs) I feel like a mom to the plants when I’m gardening. It’s just nice to get hands on with the earth.

Have you ever had a song, lyric or melody come into your head while you’re meditating?

Yes. My favorite though is when I will wake up from a dream and record a song. That’s how “Flowers In My Head” happened. I woke up one morning and sang this guitar line and then turned my phone off and went back to sleep.

How would you say you defy what’s expected of the modern female musician?

I guess first we need to decide what’s expected of the modern female musician. I definitely think that I’m not an obedient person so by nature I am defiant. I think that nothing should be expected of a modern female musician and I definitely don’t think that I ever got into music to be a sex symbol. I think that female musicians and male musicians should just be looked at as artists which is what we are and not to be exploited. I know a lot of female musicians are exploited for multiple reasons. Especially with this Kesha thing coming to light—it’s brought up this whole thing where you realize how many women in this industry are not being treated as people and are being treated as objects. I’m going to be myself and I’m not trying to cater to someone’s image or stereotype.

What would you say your spirit animal is and why?

I think I’m a butterfly. I think in my heart that’s why this album is about freedom because I like flying and I like movements and I like growth. I love the caterpillar symbolism.

LANY: WE LOVE THEM SO BAD
March 7, 2016 2:40 pm

Wednesday night I was one of the lucky many that got to see LANY perform. They opened for Troye Sivan and the crowd went crazy. Most people were pretty well-versed in LANY and Sivan’s music- a note I made during the audience accompaniment. And if you hadn’t heard of them you before, well that’s what we here at ATYPICALSOUNDS are for! Constantly contributing to the ever growing “need-to-listen” playlist you have saved on your Spotify/Soundcloud/etc.

There were so many factors that made this show awesome; Jake Goss’s impeccable drumming, Les Priest’s heartfelt keyboard playing and harmonious back up vocals, Paul Klein’s sultry voice combined with his James Dean look and Jim Morrison spirit that radiated off the stage. It’d be a gamble to try to resist the “Damn, this is really good” reflex.

Thursday morning, I caught up with LANY over an entertaining and hilarious brunch in the East Village.

Lany2

How did the band come together?

PK: Jake kind of had a pretty great reputation in Nashville as an incredible studio musician drummer and he had been out on the road with a lot of people in Nashville. And when I lived in Nashville I was pretty intimidated by all the success everyone else was having and I wasn’t. So, I never ever thought to approach Jake and be like, ‘Hey… should we play some music together?’ Because it just felt like a way different caliber. But we became friends (they met at the YMCA) and he lived in a house with four other guys (one of them being Les) so there were five guys in that house and it was fun to go over there and hangout. Or just run around Nashville, go get dinner and whatever. So, I think for the longest time it was just about being friends. It still is just about being friends but one day I found the balls to ask him if I could be in a band.

And what did you say?

JG: Oh, a thousand percent, yes.

What inspired the album? And the album title?

PK: Most of those songs were written and were on like previous releases. Basically, we started growing as a band and realized that, wow, we have like ten different releases on our Spotify and its kind of confusing. For a long time we were just putting out a song at a time. So, we decided to compile everything that we have into two EP’s. One was already existing called I Loved You and then the new EP which is called Make Out. It was a bunch of songs we had already written and recorded and released. We added one track called “Kiss” that serves as almost a hidden track. And we did a version of “ILYSB” stripped down. I just remember somebody saying to me, ‘You guys make make-out music.’  I thought that was the best thing ever. We had a few ideas for this but we settled on Make Out.

What has the been the biggest challenge for you guys as a band?

PK:  Just a lot to do. We are very hands on. So as things continue to take off and grow there’s more responsibility and there’s more things to do. We make all of our own graphics, we make all of our own music, write our songs, mix them, produce them. We do our best to write all the treatments for our music videos. We don’t outsource anything.

Are you going to continue to work out of a bedroom/home studio?

PK:  We moved to a little house out in Malibu for the time being to work on this record. We were living in a one bedroom apartment just the three of us. Obviously there’s no room for real drums or anything like that. So we got into a little house and Jake’s drums have been in the kitchen for about four months. We are expanding but just recently we did try to go to a little studio and it just didn’t work. We just have our system. We have the way we know how to make music.

lany3What is a hobby outside of music that rejuvenates your creativity and music?

JG: Movies. We love going to the movies together. We’re really inspired by that. We talk a lot about the movie ‘Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ just because, visually, the cinematography and the soundtrack are beautiful. Just really inspiring. I love going to the movies and taking away from movies.

Anything else?

PK: I like taking showers.

JG: I like to exercise and sometimes I get to run on the beach when we’re out in Malibu. That kind of stuff.

How did you end up doing shows with Troye Sivan?

PK: We are on the same management team but I don’t know when that happened. He came to our first show in Hollywood. He was there and we’ve just always stayed in touch. He even came to our apartment one afternoon and wrote a song with us. We love him so much. All of these shows with him have really been incredible.

How did you end up with Polydor Records?

PK: Polydor, it’s funny because when we put our first two songs on the internet, we did that in April 2014, within six days we got a first email from a record company and it was Polydor. However, they weren’t in the picture until later. There was a time when we were really trying to decide between a few different labels and at the very last second they came in and it just felt like the right fit. We flew over to London and we met this guy named Ferdy who runs everything over at Polydor. It just felt like where we should be. We love our entire team, they work incredibly hard for us. We’re super thankful.

Do you have any preshow rituals?

PK: We just say a little prayer before we go out. Team huddle.

Les, last night I saw after the very last song you closed your eyes and it seemed like you were kind of just meditating.

LP: I was probably just soaking in Paul’s awesome vocals.

JG: Yeah, it’s a heavy moment where he’s singing there at the end by himself.

LP: That’s cool because I didn’t even realize that. I was just feeling it I guess.

Can you each tell me three facts about yourselves that you feel the world should know?

PK: 1) I have a hard time going to sleep. 2) I love very sugary, girly coffee drinks. (Laughs) 3) Just got my third tattoo four days ago. It’s my handwriting. It says thanks in cursive—THX! We actually all got our own version of thanks. To remember to always be thankful and never become jaded and burnt out. You know what I mean? Just always approaching things with gratitude.

LP: 1) I’m left handed. 2) I’m from Missouri 3) I have five tattoos. Boom.

JG: 1) When I was born my name was Scott. So now it’s Jake. My parents changed their minds when I was 6 months old and decided to change it to Jake. 2) I’ve been married just over a month. 3) I did a marimba solo at church my senior year of high school and my fly was unzipped…and they had two screens. Whaddup.

lanyWhat would each of you say your spirit animal is and why?

PK: Can you define spirit animal?

What animal do you feel really resonates with your soul?

PK: Yeah! Maybe a black panther. Because they’re kind of rare I feel and they look great. I love that black fur.

LP: I’m going to go with the wolf just because you always think of the lone wolf, you know, kind of solitary. That’s kind of me.

JG: Oh gosh. Uh…um…I’m going to go with….this is tough man. I’m trying to think of an animal that is just tender and cozy. (Everyone laughs) I had a dog like that. A German shepherd. Her name was Amber, which, was hilarious. I’ll go with a German shepherd.

What is one of the funniest things that has happened to LANY thus far?

PK: Well Jake is really funny. So anything he does is really funny but… *pause for giggles* He did trip on stage a couple shows ago. I saw it and I acted like it wasn’t happening and I think we forgot to address it until like two days later.

JG: Yeah like right center stage I was the first one who was walking out. Tripped over a hard cord and just almost fell.

Did the crowd notice?

JG: Oh yeah. But I had my ears in and I didn’t look at anyone for the first thirty seconds. Because if I would have turned around Paul would have been dying and then I would have tripped into the crowd because I would have been crying laughing.

PK: Another story is, from still very early on I think we had played honestly less than 20 shows and we had this opportunity to play The Mayan in L.A. with a band called Milky Chance. It was sold out and they were going to let us open up for them and you know there were fourteen hundred people in that room, I mean we were stoked. But something happened with the sound board during sound check so we didn’t get a sound check. I think someone spilled ice on the main board. Milky Chance is German so their in-ear monitor guy is running sound for us like way behind us. So he’s running sound for a room and he can’t even – he can’t speak English. Nothing was working. It was hilarious. It was basically me singing a vocal solo for thirty minutes while Jake also had a drum solo. It was the worst night ever but now it’s funny. It was probably the most hilarious show we’ve ever played.

JG: On our first tour, you know some bands go out and they have crazy road stories because they’re just young and doing dumb stuff. It was our first tour together and I remember we were at a hotel and I think we turned into the wrong lot for a different hotel. And instead of going out into the road Paul was like, ‘Guys, let’s go over this curb.’ He was like ‘come on we got to make some memories!’ So, we drove over a curb ’cause we’re hard.

What’s up next for you guys? What’s your dream for LANY?

PK: We’re going on a.. *His eyes intently focus on a delicious plate of eggs* I’m going to go ahead and order that too. Scambled eggs and bacon. *He points to the salad portion of the plate* but I don’t need any of that green stuff. *Chuckles. Paul gets back to the interview* Sorry about that intermission.

We are going to do our first headline tour which is exciting. For the last year we’ve just been out supporting people. Which is awesome. We’ve loved it. It’s gotten us in front of a lot of really cool and different people. But yeah, we’re going on our first headline run in May and it’s exciting because things are selling out. LA sold out in three minutes which is nuts. I just think we have the best fans in the world. We used to go on tour and I would be like man, Halsey has the craziest fans ever! And look at Troy’s fans and they really do but a lot of them have become ours as well. I think that’s really been past down to us. We’ve always dreamt really big. I mean I say that I didn’t know if anyone would listen to us in the beginning but deep down in my heart I was hoping that we would one day sell out arenas. You know? So I think we really want to be a household name and we’re not interested in being indie or artsy or too cool for school. We want to make music that feels really, really good and resonates with a lot of people while staying true to our artistic convictions.

It’s safe to say that LANY is going nowhere but up and will be around for awhile. Make sure to check their site HERE to find out when they’re coming to a city near you. If you haven’t heard them yet, do your ears and soul a serious favor and check out their E.P’s Make Out and I Loved You below.