Category Archives: Artist Interviews

Pop Artist Brynn Elliott Helps Us Kick off Boston Breakthrough Exclusive

We definitely like her

Be on the lookout for this Boston Breakthrough queen! That’s right! We’re kicking off our annual BBT event again this semester, and we couldn’t be more excited, but what’s even more exciting are the artists we have in store for you all! First on our list is the incredibly talented pop songstress Brynn Elliott, who is #OnTheVerge of Being in Love with Boston.

Brynn is the cool girl you wish to be and want to be friends with.

A girl with a head on her shoulders and a big heart, she puts her heart into the music and exhibits genuineness in her sound.  A little more on the vocalist? She is currently a senior at Harvard University, but how she got her start in the music industry was when the renown executive producer, Nathan Chapman, found her and asked to work with her.

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Elliott has already accumulated 1.23M plays on Spotify and has toured with notable acts such as: Lifehouse, Switchfoot, Alanis Morisette, Grace Potter, Brandi Carlile, Allen Stone, Parachute, and OAR. She has been recognized by large publications in the past as well and continues to place herself in the forefront of minds as a power woman to watch. Featured in the Billboard Dance Chart Upstarts, her single “California” has peaked at No. 39!

With 3 well-constructed singles currently available on Spotify “Might Not Like Me”, “Psycho Stupid Crazy”, and “California”, Elliott continues to ride on her journey to stardom.

Many of her inspirations, influences, and favorite artists include figures like Bono, Adele, Sia, and Lorde. As she sets to embark on the next 5 years of her career, she hopes to have achieved releasing an album, touring that album, and getting a graduate degree.

We wanted to know more why she decided to choose the path of pop music with a voice as versatile as hers, to which she replied “because it was a genre that helped me best communicate the universal truths we all feel postbreak up, in friendships and in life.”

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What she loves about being a musician? “How music can constantly surprise you. You can never use the term “bored” in being a musician. The opportunities and experiences are limitless.”

If you want to see her before you see her perform at our event, she will be performing at the Brighton Music Hall on Monday, October 23rd, in partnership with the local Boston charity Y2Y. So be sure to go out and see her! AND to enter into a ticket giveaway for that show, email us your name at vergecampusbu@gmail.com with the subject “BRYNN ELLIOTT SHOW”.

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[Exclusive]: Interview with Tyler Bates – Where Music & Film Combine

When one thing leads to the next

This man is extremely busy, on the go, constantly working, and is following his passions. This is Tyler Bates. I had the pleasure of chatting with the extremely successful film scorer and guitarist about his worlds and got to see behind the eye of the artist at work.

With my colleague, TuQuyen, who is a film student, and myself a marketing student looking to enter into the realms of the music industry, we had one of the best conversations we could with someone so experienced and so in love with what he does for a living.

Bates has currently hit the road with his good friend and fellow artist Marilyn Manson in support of the forthcoming album, Heaven Upside Down. Their friendship goes way back to when they met on the set of Californication and then the next thing you know, Bates produced and co-wrote Manson’s critically acclaimed 2015 album, The Pale Emperor. Soon after, Bates was brought onto the Manson team fulfilling the position as lead guitarist for the band.

But Bates’ success does not stop there! As a renown film composer, he has composed and produced for such big-hit films and TV series (that you probably know) as Atomic Blonde, 300, Guardians of the Galaxy, John Wick, Dawn of the Dead, and many more! His creations for 300 is still known as one of the biggest selling score albums to date! How did this musical genius come about?

“I don’t think I ever chose music, I think I was just in music, and one thing led to the next. My career right now doesn’t look like a by-product of a plan I had when I was 15 or 20 years old, it just formed over the years and just continued dedication, curiosity, music, and always being open-minded. I’ve been eager to take on new challenges and discover new aspects of what excites me and what I can learn. It obviously comes from being very opened minded of styles and forms of different music” says the  master of sonic creations.

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As the man who quite literally instills the sound and emotion that goes into a film, he works very closely with the director to find the instrumentation that will compliment the film that he is working on.

“The larger the movie, seems to me a less intimate process, because there are so many voices involved in these movies. Obviously you’re investing time, but part of my job as a composer is to create a process and make everyone feel comfortable that is involved with music, whether they’re the director or the executive, to create an experience for them that’s not only positive but is easy for them to engage in…”

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Bates is a man who trusts his gut, especially since this whole musical journey came as a wonderful and satisfying surprise that triggered all of his best talents, which includes understanding the concept of the film he is working with or the pith of the music he is forming. “I’m obviously trying to tap into the nature of the story itself, ’cause the genre obviously has an impact on my approach… at the core, anything I work on I want to be soulful.”

He goes on to tell TuQuyen and I how even horror films such as The Devil’s Rejects (2005) was a culmination of something soulful though the essence of the film itself may seem disturbing. In truth, the soul is the liveliness that comes from the music itself. Bates attempts to immerse you enough in the music that you suddenly become a part of the moment being depicted on the silver screens. For every genre, there is an individual process of composing a soundtrack, but similarly, Bates explains how there are parallels between horror and comedy at times, just as there is when you are setting up a joke or setting up a scare. “The language might be different, but the purpose of the music might be similar.”

He continues to explain the songwriting process to us: “Often times, directors…will tap into a very unique style of film making and their sensibilities, how they personally relate to their emotions in the context of their stories.” Bates then takes a step in the next direction to discuss the same matter in terms of his writing with Manson. “You know it’s all about storytelling and emotion, and with Manson that’s exactly what we’re doing. In his case, part of his sense of humor is to sort of uncover those things people are hiding in the beneath the file cabinet in the corner of their psyche… The music is written on the spot together, generally based on some story thats happened in his life that day. That’s really the beginning of how we write music together.”

With a life exposed to a myriad of experiences and opportunities in entertainment, there’s a lot to look forward to, but for Bates “its just playing guitar and being completely inspired by guitar players, that perhaps may have helped me shape my style as a young guitarist.” He also mentions how many films and film composers such as  Thomas Newman “definitely made an impact on me– made me think film and music is something I’m interested in. It definitely wasn’t a plan of mine, just one thing led to the next.”

He hesitates for moment to chuckle and reflect back on the roller coaster he has been on and then returns to finish his answer about his love of music and film as one, “it somehow seemed  tangible to me emotionally, I related to it on a more human level. From television to film and making records to playing guitar and performing live, Bates has touched areas of the industry that means the most to him, “and now all of these mediums for me are intersecting and that’s really cool,” he says contently.

As mentioned before, Bates is currently on tour with Manson and a new record is to come out soon! Bates mentioned how Manson and him have a great time together and push each other to do better. “You know when you’re in the moment of doing that [writing and performing music] it makes you feel good, it makes you feel young and alive,” Bates says with zeal. Though this is a massive tour on top of his many other tasks, he won’t stop there.

“I need to balance my life with experience, one experience forms the next.”

So be sure to look out for this accomplished producer as he has more to come for us in the world of entertainment! And to see him live alongside Marilyn Manson, here are the tour dates below!

Marilyn Manson 2017 US Tour Dates: 

Wed. Sept. 27 - Silver Spring, MD - The Fillmore Silver Spring 

Fri. Sept. 29 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE 

Sat. Sept. 30 - New York, NY - Hammerstein Ballroom 

Mon. Oct. 2 - Boston, MA - House of Blues 

Tues. Oct. 3 - Huntington, NY - The Paramount 

Thurs. Oct. 5 - Toronto, ON - Rebel 

Sat. Oct. 7 - Camden, NJ - Rock Allegiance 

Sun. Oct. 8 - Columbus, OH - Express Live! 

Tues. Oct. 10 - Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre 

Wed. Oct. 11 - Milwaukee, WI - Eagles Ballroom 

Sat. Oct. 14 - The Woodlands, TX - Houston Open Air 

Tues. Oct. 17 - Tulsa, OK - Brady Theater 

Thurs. Oct .19 - Denver, CO - Fillmore Auditorium

 Fri. Oct. 20 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex 

Sun. Oct. 22 - Sacramento, CA - Aftershock Festival 

Mon. Oct. 23 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater 

Fri. Oct. 27 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues 

Sat. Oct. 28 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues 

Sun. Nov. 5 - Devore, CA - Ozzfest

[Exclusive]: Behind the Scenes with Jaymes Young at House of Blues Boston

*Video Credits to Brittany Chang*

 

Press play while you read this article:

“My name is Jaymes Young, I’m originally from Seattle, Washington, and I make music.” Meet the mastermind behind one of the most beautiful album’s of the summer, Jaymes Young (also James McFarland). Though a man from Seattle, he moved to Los Angeles in 2012 to continue doing just what he said he does, to make music.

“When I grew up, there was a lot of music in the house, my parents played all kinds of music. I mean I was just inspired by the variety and they listened to music while they cooked, while they cleaned, every time we were in the car. So, I think that was the first catalyst.

Today, Young is a  Please Rewind/Atlantic Records recording artist with a full-length album on his list of completed achievements. The album is titled Feel Something (released June 23, 2017), and it’s an alluring rendezvous to the erotic desires and haunting dark corners in love. The album is now available on Spotify and the album has thus far accumulated over 30 million streams since its release!

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So, we had the chance to catch up with Young before his opening act for the pop-duo phenomenon Oh Wonder, at the House of Blues in Boston, MA. This sensual songster, caught us by surprise because we knew his emphatic and vivid lyrics from his music, but instead we were introduced to a very soft-spoken, down-to-earth man.

A man who has had recognition from sources in the industry such as EARMILK stating, “The release of Feel Something will no doubt solidify him as a major player in the pop market in years to come”, and Ones To Watch claiming that “The album name and title track, Feel Something, fully encapsulates the core essence of his music–raw and honest interpretations of life and love bundled in a quality alt-pop sound.”

We wanted to learn more from the strikingly stunning voice behind the music. “I think, I had been living in this house for almost 2 years, during part of the writing process, and I was sort just striving for different sounds than the sound that I previously reached out for. It wasn’t necessarily one artist or one experience, it was kind of a myriad of experiences and kind of looking for styles and sounds that I hadn’t really done before”, admits Young.

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Neelu Mohaghegh

So, from the curation of this project, curiosity built as to which song was the one that resonated with the artist himself. “That’s hard, the title track was literally just the most explanatory for the whole album… It set the stage, and it explained everything I wanted to say during that whole writing process.”

With his live show only a couple hours away, we wanted to hear what exciting novel concepts and plans Young and his team had planned for his adoring fans. “I mean we’re doing a shorter set than usual (35 minutes), we’re changing it up a little bit. The songs are not exactly as they are on the album and same with previous releases. Some of them are, pretty close, but we’re kind of taking a different approach, we kind of wanted to make the music feel really organic and be perceived differently live.”

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Brittany Chang

And those were exactly the emotions we experienced during his set. His music captured an aura of its own, commanding the full-packed crowd (it was a sold-out show that night!) and making heads sway side to side and bob front to back. The music wasn’t exactly the way it sounded off the studio productions, but it was exquisitely redefined  and revamped for the sake of truly immersing oneself in the music. It was as if the whole room was cast under his spell and were really experiencing the performance with him. It was mystifying to say the least.

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Neelu Mohaghegh
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Neelu Mohaghegh

“I’m doing what I love for a living so that’s the best part for me, but of course there’s its pros and cons. I don’t think I could do anything else”, confesses Young on the topic of what is the best part of being in the music industry.

I then asked him what one word would be to describe him, and he told me very honestly, “Hungry”. #Tourlifestruggles.

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Brittany Chang
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Brittany Chang

We followed with what would be one thing he would want to do, that he has not done yet or where would be a place that he wishes he could perform that he has not yet? “Oh Wonder is doing a show in Israel, and we’re not on that, but that has always been on the bucket list.”

So, to be a little more spontaneous and in the moment, I asked him “If you had to write a song, right now off the top of your head, what would it be called?” He replied, “Fuck Traffic”.

We ended the interview with our favorite wrap-up question… of course. Jaymes Young is “#OntheVerge of … writing a lot of new music”!

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Neelu Mohaghegh

Oh Wonder soon followed after the amazing performance by Young, and the crowd was most certainly well-prepared for a night filled with more music to come. Young has much more in store though, so that being said, stay tuned for more this year from the alt-pop creative. Thank you, James, for a wonderful time.

 

 

 

Listen to him now on Spotify and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, Website, and Twitter.

[Exclusive]: Getting To Know The Band Nightly One-On-One

Somewhere between borders

Though on the road, I had the chance to catch up with the alternative/pop sensation from Nashville, Tennessee, Nightly. Nightly is made up of cousins Jonathan Capeci and Joey Beretta, and the two of them have been making this music career a success. Formerly known as Dinner And A Suit, the band didn’t begin this fantastic Nightly journey until they met some of their other bandmates and signed to Interscope Records. Soon after the decision, they released what would become their debut EP, Honest, in 2016. The project included 4 of their best songs “XO”, “No Vacancy”, “Honest”, and “Talk to Me”.

Check out the music video for “XO” below:

Their hit single, “XO”, is what got them noticed by publications and sites, with over 6 million streams on Spotify. The band has attracted the heart and minds of many with their melodic lullabies and have labeled themselves a dreamy and hauntingly loving band to look out for as they continue to explore the music scene. The band had the chance to tour extensively at the end of 2016 to the beginning of 2017, serving as the opening act for shows like Ke$ha, The All-American Rejects, Zella Day, and K.Flay! As if their resume was not thorough enough the band featured at the We Found New Music showcase at SXSW and after this sprung their headlining tour come April of 2017.

So, if I haven’t convinced you how talented this band is, how incredible they are, and how worthy of your listening time they are, then check out their music at the end of this article,  because I’m sure your mind will change. Their music is intoxicating in the most euphoric way as it takes you on a ride on nostalgia express. With a kind of musical patience, the duo and their band are able to recreate this string of storytelling that dances perfectly to the sonic productions we hear.

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Their music reminds you of The Neighborhood meets The Mowglis, utilizing both dark and light tones and meanings and also heartbreaking and hopeful motifs. The satin-like-angsty vocals put against the smoky, fragmented, 80’s vibes echo against each other in whatever space and medium you are listening to it in or on.

Capeci is the singer and Beretta is the guitarist, and as mentioned before, the two are cousins. “We grew up just outside of Philadelphia, we always wanted to be in a band together since we were 12 years old. But we didn’t do it until later”, remarks Capeci. The two  have been in a few bands before the genesis of Nightly, and only until a year and a half ago from now, did the two actually found this stunning success collective.

“It was nothing that we ever expected, you know, like we’re still on the tour, and have been on this tour to cities we have never been to, and it’s always, without fail, people that show up and know the songs,” Capeci explains as his exasperation with how incredible the process of this journey has been for him and Beretta.

“It’s just a cool, crazy feeling to have people know your music in these places we’ve never been.”

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The band hasn’t had the chance to put out any new material since they have been on the road for sometime now and it causes the writing and recording process to be very chopped up, but Capeci explains to me how they never want to go out for too long without putting out new music for their fans. To them, it’s already been longer than they would like, and so it’s time to start getting back to the studio, and bringing to us some fresh new sounds.

He mentioned how there were 8-10 songs they had actually formally written, but how only 4 made the cut for their recent EP, and so I asked what was his favorite track off the project, to which he replied, “I think I like “Honest”, which is probably like, I don’t know, I don’t wanna say the least popular, but like people would usually say “XO” or “No Vacancy”, I don’t know. I just like the way that it makes me feel when I sing it, I think it’s like the most different from the other 3.”

I mention how it’s also my favorite song, because it’s somewhat of a darker incantation than the others, and it makes it seem more mysterious amongst the other upbeat tunes. He agreed, saying “ya, I think that’s why I like it too, like the beat, it feels good to sing.”

He also gave hints as to how much work the band put into their live performances, and how it’s probably their most important and favorite aspect of being an artist. “That’s the most amazing part, I think, of the whole thing, is being able to perform live, it’s definitely a good chemistry between the two of us and the rest of the band as well, and something that like, even now we just wrapped up the tour and we’re like already talking about what things we want to change for the next one and make better, so that’s kind of the fun of it, it will always be evolving a little bit.”

joining our boys @thestruts for a few shows this fall! tix on sale now at nightloveyou.com ❤

A post shared by nightly (@nightly) on

With so many acts out there, I was curious to know what the songster would find to be the most beneficial aspect of being in a band, rather than going solo. “I think the idea of being a solo artist is better than the appeal to me. Out here doing it by yourself”, he takes a moment to envision that and then continues, “and I know some people like that, but I wouldn’t want to be. I mean I get to be out here with my best friend. Joe is my best friend, so I can’t imagine experiencing all these things by myself or with guys that I just hired or something like that. So, that’s probably the best part I think.”

With thoughtfulness in his voice, Capeci answers what him and Beretta would want to do that they haven’t done yet; “I think playing shows in other continents would be nice, that’s something for sure that we would love to try.”

How would Capeci’s most ideal chill-day play out? It would start by getting up and walking his dog in the park and then going golfing with his friends.

Like any artist experience, there are highs and there are lows. “We’ve had several experiences that we’ve been to cities that we’ve never been to before. I remember on the last tour we went to Columbus, Ohio, and honestly, we were headlinging and we didn’t know if any body was going to show up, but there were kids lined up, and they knew every word to all the songs and they were screaming at the top of their lungs! That was honestly the craziest feeling, because there could have been 5 people there, and that would have been totally reasonable based on the  fact that we had never been there before, but it just, they made us feel like the thing expanded a little. That was just a cool feeling. We’re lucky to have had a few shows like that before, so I think that’s my favorite moment so far.” That intense sensation of feeling when you know that others are aware of your work, and enjoy your art and share it with you, that would be the ultimate feeling of self-recognition and self-assertion, and these guys have done just that with their undoubtedly passionate and beautiful music.

thx for all the love so far on the east coast/mid west shows. west coast starts in a few days ❤

A post shared by nightly (@nightly) on

Their music in and of itself is already a multitude of sounds and genres, and you can hear the influences in bits and pieces of their unique sound. “I really like the killers, U2, coldplay. I really like bands. Those are my top 3”, claims Capeci.

So, as a pair, I had to ask Capeci what one word he would use to describe his partner Beretta; “I’d say this will sound kind of corny, but he’s one of the funniest dudes that you’ll talk to, and he’s also one of the most loyal dudes. Like he’ll take a bullet for his homies, he’s just super loyal and he’s super funny, like he’s always the one making the band laugh.”

So, as we mentioned above was one of the highs of being a band, Capeci also delved into what some of the lows are. “I think one of the challenges is like learning to enjoy where you are right now, ’cause you’re always looking towards the next thing in the future, like the next tour or the next single or the next whatever and trying to just like take that in. You know, you’re playing at a club with 250 people and then you’re thinking about playing at the club that has 500 or 1000 and so forth, and it’s just like trying to focus on enjoying the fact that you’re playing for 250 people, you know what I mean? It’s a tough balance, I think there’s a lot of people that don’t enjoy where they are and always are looking ahead too much that they are never going to arrive somewhere or are satisfied, so that’s probably the hardest part.” Capeci also spoke on behalf of his counterpart, and how difficult it has been to balance work and life at times.

This led us to segue to how even with all the hardships, what are they most excited for and what should we be expecting to come from our favorite duo Nightly? “We’re constantly evolving. I think that’s one thing about us. We’re very critical of ourselves in every aspect just because we grew up listening to bands that meant a lot to us and going to shows and that’s what we wanted to do. So, we take the responsibility seriously that if somebody paid to be in the room, we are putting the best show on. We’re going to be playing songs that haven’t been heard before, we have a whole new set, those are a few things to expect.”

So with much anticipation, we wait to hear the compositions that Nightly will bring us in the coming year, and hope to be serenaded by their illustrious creations soon! So stay tuned, and…

Be sure to check out the upcoming tour dates below:

OCT 12
 Austin, TX, USA
 Stubb's Indoors
 RSVP
 Tickets

OCT 13
 Austin, TX, USA
 Austin City Limits
 RSVP
 Tickets

OCT 31
 Louisville, KY, USA
 Mercury Ballroom
 RSVP
 Tickets

NOV 3
 Columbus, OH, USA
 Express Live! Indoor Pavilion
 RSVP
 Tickets

NOV 4
 Millvale, PA, USA
 Mr. Smalls Theatre
 RSVP
 Tickets

NOV 5
 Indianapolis, IN, USA
 The Vogue Theatre

 

AND follow the band on Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their Website.

 

[Exclusive]: Interview with Hip Hop #AskJezDior

 

He’s got 2 birds and an album in a row

Jez Dior is an emerging hip hop artist signed to Epic Records, and is currently on the path of releasing what is his solo album.  Jez took the time to let me ask him questions about his musical endeavors and how it all started for the 25-year old man.

The artist began making music when he was 13, but this came from the inspiration of having a father around who was a rock musician. It wasn’t until he was 13, however, when Jez heard hip hop for the first time, and fell instantly in love with it.

“My first Eminem stuff is when I really fell in love with hip hop, [and] it led me to rap. I just really related to it.”

The rapper has now released plenty of content and has been climbing the Spotify streams ladder with each release. “It was just a hobby at first, but then I put out my first song “Candles”, probably 5 years ago, it went straight to number one on this thing called HypeMachine, and … that’s sort of when everything started. I was in Atlantic records two days later, and from there I put out a couple EPs and projects and now I’m working on my first solo album”.

He laughs because he definitely told this story many times before, but the confidence in his voice expresses a feeling of settlement and excitement on how his life took its course .

“It’s definitely been difficult. I’ve definitely gone through my ups and downs, especially in my career. There’s for sure been times when I’ve wanted to quit, and was just not into it anymore, but I always pushed through it. It’s always been a dream of mine, and I love doing it [music].” He sounds contemplative and reflective as he recalls moments of dark honesty.

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With weather of 117 degrees Fahrenheit and a big ‘ol truck in the middle of a desert, Jez’s team took off to create the visual for “Sober”. (Read about and watch the music video HERE.) The epic cinematic experience of this single is raw, intense, and chaotic. “The song is about  the first year that I moved out to Hollywood, and my life was sort of spiraling out of control. And when I say ‘you got me off track’ we kind of wanted to create a visual that portrayed the way that I felt. So we all got together and came up with the idea for that.”

Following the desert escape, Jez released “2 Birds”. ‘”2 Birds” is sort of a party song. It’s funny I didn’t ever think that song was gonna come out, especially when we were first making it.” The rapper explains how the genesis of the song came about, as he sat on the couch in the studio and heard the composition play through the speakers. It was then that in his mind he could picture the melody and the rest flowed with it.

Jez has a lot planned, and a lot to share, and with this new project on the way, he deems we’ll get a better understanding for him in a snapshot of tracks. “There’s definitely something for everybody on there and for most situations. There’s definitely the darker songs that tell my story, and more upbeat songs; it’s very eclectic,” he confesses. “I got songs on there that I think are going to be very important to a lot of the kids who listen to me. In particular, there’s this one song that I released a little snippet of on Twitter like almost a year ago, not thinking anything of it, and kids will still tweet me everyday about it. I think that’s going to be a special one.”

Devoted to and very much appreciative of his fans, he admits, “it’s just a special thing when I get messages from them from Instagram DMs or Twitter messages me, and it happens very frequently when a kid will just say ‘Jez, you saved me life’. It’s the craziest thing… it means so much!”

Our conversation took a diversion from the topic of his music and fans, and we discussed more of his interests. If the artist could collaborate with anyone, he said he would want it to be Leon Gallagher, Oasis’s lead singer. On another note, his social platform of choice used to be Twitter, but recently, he has made the switch over to Instagram more.

As an avid soccer fan, I had to ask him what would be his dream day agenda would look like, to which he replied, “probably to play soccer on Inter Milan’s field in Italy and then get in the studio with Eminem. Then get drunk on a beach in Brazil.”

Jez and I talked more about what fans should be looking for on this upcoming piece, or if there is anything in particular that he is feeling fans should know about him that they don’t already know. “I want to save a lot of that for the album, like I think they’re going to be very surprised in a  good way about what is on the record. I have a plethora of music that they haven’t heard yet and I’m really really excited about it.”

“I think it’s going to translate really well live.” Jez expresses his excitement to be finally playing some of these new tracks live, and thinks fans will be surprised to hear how much of his singing has gone into the project. So, stay tuned for when the album drops!

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, Vevo

Allowed to Dream: Exclusive with LÉON [Cover Story 2017]

Something made of dreams…

… is what people tend to relate this stunning songstress’s music to. I had the chance to ask the influential contemporary pop singer/songwriter LÉON about her music and herself to give a face to the music. Who is this vibrant voice behind the music? Her name is Lotta Lindgren,  who was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden.

The vocalist is best known for her melodic voice that also contains a hint of melancholy, though she sings these upbeat and bright songs. Her hit single “Tired of Talking” from her debut EP of 2015 Treasure, has hit over 53 million streams on Spotify only demonstrating that though she is a small act, she makes a large impact on the listener.

She recently released a new single titled “Body“, which is a 60’s pop-esque song about living forever young and questioning love.

How the artist got engaged with music to begin with was from her already heavily-music involved family who were all musicians. “…so it was pretty natural to me to start playing instruments and sing very early on”, says the pop star. “I just never thought of doing anything else than do music, so I always attended schools where I could meet other people who wanted to be creative too.”

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The creative herself has big dreams, and those dreams take her to hoping to one day perform at Madison Square Garden- a truly magical experience for any artist.

I wanted to learn more about the artist and so I decided, with songs as passionate and moving as hers, what would possibly be the most relatable song she has written in her career? “At the moment, I’d say it’s the next song I’m releasing. It’s called ‘I Believe in Us’ and is about something I went through very recently.” A very exciting confirmation from the LÉON herself that good things are to come.

If there was anyway to describe the sound of this talented young artist, it would be that she calls to mind the voice of the legendary  Stevie Nicks. It’s almost as if she re-incarnates her sound and brings it new life and meaning in our day and age. The indie-soul-pop composer is able to portray her deepest and most personal thoughts in her writing, making the music something worthwhile to the beholder of the song.

LÉON went on to tell me how her most favorite part of her musical journey has been touring and how it’s the moments she gets to meet the people who listen to her music, “and that’s when all the songs really come to life. And I get to travel with friends and see places I’ve never seen before.” However, the best part are seeing her fans, singing new music, and going to new places.

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On tour with her is her opener, the wonderful indie-pop artist Wrabel. “Wrabel is incredible. I got butterflies in my stomach when I found out that he’d join me on this tour. We wrote one of my songs together, “Surround Me”, and hit it off in the studio. His energy is so positive, I’m very lucky to have him on this tour.”

Speaking of traveling on tour, the artist being from Stockholm, Sweden, was an intriguing factor to see what her take on its music scene is like. Most especially because so many great artists come from there! “There are so many amazing songwriters, producers and artists over here. It’s a big community of us, but in a very small country. Everybody knows about each other and there’s  lot of creativity going on here which is really inspiring”, she explains.

If she could collaborate with anyone, who would it be? She admits, “there are so many I’d love to work with. Daft Punk would have been incredible, I grew up listening to them. Sing a duet with Adele? Haha I’m allowed to dream!”

LÉON will be hitting Boston, MA as one of her tour date stops and will be performing at the Paradise Rock Club on October 25th! The last time I had seen her live was The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA and the show had blown my mind and carried my heart. “Boston is one of those shows I’ll always remember. The crowd was crazy and so fun to sing with, and this lady was standing on the balcony doing weird things during the entire show…. But I’m planning to see a little more of Boston when I go there this time.”

The artist is extremely rooted to her fans. I had noticed that the star has a Tumblr account that engages a lot of her fans, and so I wanted to know more about that and what drew her to the platform. “I have a strange relationship with social media. I’m not a huge fan of how exploited people are today. When it comes to Tumblr I’m still not really 100% sure of how it works haha, but I like that you can post photos and share music and quotes that you love.”

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The Columbia Records signee would consider her music to be the color “red” and her life mantra would go along the lines of trying to “be present.”  She is trying to live the music life she loves and has built for herself and turn it into a life lesson to “take in certain moments in life, and not just quickly let them pass me by.”

Now, if our girl wonder was given a chance to make her own dream day and live it up in the present moment as she so wishes, she said she would be most likely “Snorkling in Thailand or somewhere in the Caribbean and float around in the water. Get a sun tan, drink beer on a beach. Totally carefree!” Sounds heavenly.

So what’s to expect from LÉON? “More music.” The artist has been hard at work all year long in the studio and music and is excited to share what is to come.

“Very excited to release my next single, and hopefully you’ll like it a much as I do!”

Be sure to see her while she’s on tour, you won’t regret it! Tour Dates Below:

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Follow LÉON on social media to keep up with her musical journey:
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Waffles & The Good Nights Tour: Exclusive with Whethan [Cover Story 2017]

 

Good Nights and Lots of Waffles for this Tour

Beginning his music career at the age of 16, The young DJ has collaborated with many artists such as Elohim, Ashe, MAX, Flux Pavilion, Mascolo, Charli XCX, and more!

Ethan Snoreck, also known as his moniker Whethan, has become one of the most talked about electronic producers today, hitting the New Music Friday ranks a few times already with some of his recent releases, and really making some great tracks that last in your mind and heart with their eccentric and satisfying vibe .

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Whethan hails from a suburb just outside Chicago, IL called “Orland Park”, where he would listen to artists like Skrillex, who seemed to have a sound completely of their own that he never witnessed before. As a result, that then inspired him to try and make his own music and his own sound.

“Music is a weird thing, kinda other worldy, and most of the time, I feel like I have no idea how I got into it, feels like it just chose me. Been obsessed ever since” says the two-time ranking New Music Friday champion.

The artist is now on his big Good Nights headlining tour around the states! He’ll be making a stop with us in Boston, MA on October 27th at the reputable venue, The Sinclair (Cambridge), and we’re excited to see what experiences he’ll bring to the city with his music. Excited by the energy his fans have been emitting thus far, he lets us in on some of the things to look forward to on the tour. “I’m the most amped for this tour. Super excited to put on the show and create the world I want on this tour. The visuals and the music will hopefully put you into the world I’m creating through the music. The fans should expect all my music with a ton of other super hype moments and a lot of new music as well.”

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As you can see in the tour video above, his description is not wrong. The screaming fans, the lights, the moody visuals, and the smiles take over the aura of the venues he plays for, igniting the night and controlling the dance floor.

The artist who has been known for defining his own craft explains how his favorite vibes come most from the alternative and more unexpected sounds that give off a familiar experience while also offering a catchy and novel encounter for the listener. “Definitely love to work on whatever the vibe of that session/day is.” His signature move is  adding a synth-filled drop to a clear and mellow track with an upbeat tune.

The song that made a ruckus for the young artist, making it on the New Music Friday playlist first, was his single “Good Nights”. “‘Good Nights’ was inspired by the idea of wanting to just let everything go and having a great time. Not worry about what will happen later but just enjoy the moment and find time to make these moments.”

The 17-year old’s second single to make the list however, “‘Sleepy Eyes’” on the other hand, while they both are uplifting songs, is more about the love and feeling that someone has for their partner. It’s a dreamy single that pleases both my fanbase and Elohim’s fanbase respectively.”

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Now, I had to get into the nitty gritty about Whethan himself, or I guess Ethan in this situation, so why not? I asked…

“My favorite food like most of my fans will know is waffles. Eat them probably every day or at least 5 times a week.” It’s true. Take a look at the young man’s cover image of himself on Spotify. He really loves his waffles and breakfast foods. He also admitted that his diet is a bit strange and that he’s a picky eater, eating more so waffles, chicken tenders, and burgers, on a usual basis. When I asked him who was an artist that he thinks his fans would not expect him to be listening to, he replied, “Someone I listen to who people might not think of me listening to is Mac Demarco. I’m a huge Mac fan and really love all the albums he’s put out. We have very different styles but I love finding influence in all styles.” It is a very strange and yet understandable connection for the artist to be fond of Demarco because both have that feel-good factor in their music.

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So how does the young curator of joyful, electronic, indie-pop dance music get prepared for shows like these? “It’s funny with me I have so many power songs that depends on the moment. I’m always onto the next thing. It’s so hard for me to pick one song. My tour manager has a song that always pumps him up in times of stress and that song is Sade – Smooth Operator. He puts it on and it always soothes the vibe.”

So, now that you know the talented producer a little bit more, go take a chance and dance into his wonderland of exhilarating music while he’s still touring! Touring dates are below!

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Be sure to follow him on his socials to keep up with new music and the tour!

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The Sexistentialists: Exclusive with RKCB [Cover Story 2017]

Let’s Get Sexistential

I had the chance to speak with the magical and mysterious indie-electronic duo, RKCB, or also known as Riley Knapp and Casey Barth, to hear beyond the music that they put out. Our conversations trekked various topics that provided a crazy and fun momentum for the interview. Whether discussing their music and recent releases, or their favorite songs, spirit animals, ideal days, and hidden talents, the guys had plenty to share.

If you want an act that can do it all, then here they are. This is a band built from scratch, all home-made, and based on the most organic and raw ingredients to create the soundscapes that penetrates through our bodies and electrifies our nerves leading to the most stunning sensations. Mixing their talents of sound and voice, this rhythmic production duo is the whole package.

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For those who are not familiar with their music, there’s something in the way they comfort and arouse all in one riff and are able to compose a beat in an array of chaotic instrumentals, that are just remarkable. They’re the perfect example of over the top without being obnoxious. They’re overwhelming in the most exciting way, and their music manages to send chills down your spine. They posses  an energy that ebbs & flows to the progression of their hypnotic music.

What is RKCB music, you ask? It’s music that actually permeates through the speakers and physically touches you.

The guys started off letting me know where they originated from. Knapp is from Phoenix, Arizona and Barth from Boston, Massachusetts. As I spoke with them, I got to know a little more about the genesis of this pairing, which Knapp explained had happened as kind of an accident. “RKCB kind of happened with us meeting in school, writing one song, which was “Comatose”, deciding to put it up online, and it built some heat from there…” Both coming from thoughtful, experienced musical backgrounds, this enabled the guys to better understand each other. With Knapp in a few bands and Barth working on solo projects, the two came to a collision that burst into something larger than life.

When I asked them where they got the notion for their sound, Barth went into this profound dialogue of how their inspirations stemmed from having a fond connection to the music of artists like James Blake and Rhye, and other “emotionally potent and visceral music and electronic sounds”. But he also then realized that the last decade has consisted of some major EDM/Pop, high energy movements as well and saw it more as an opportunity to bring those worlds together and make something entirely new. “We thought about what’s going to compliment the song, the lyrics, and what sounds are going to put the listener into this world that we want to create.”

Barth continues on with this kind of knowledgeable acceptance of what they have defined their music as, and with a settled mind explains “we’re both trained on multiple instruments- we’re both drummers first- and finding some really unique sounds is something we love to do all the time. Take natural sounds of piano, drums, guitars, anything that sounds like the instrument, whatever, and then take that instrument and manipulate it and turn this into something almost unrecognizable, so that can turn the mystery into almost something like this world that then when you write a song it can be a really visceral experience.”

The hot rhythmic-exotic sounds that RKCB produces are riveting compositions made to move the body. In that same vein, the guys noticed that as a result of their music, a whole dance community was in fact in motion from their songs, and so it only seemed right to dedicate a piece to all the choreographers and dancers who felt their records. As a result, the three-part epic visual ‘Alone, With You’ was designed. How the whole video concept for the three songs in this visual escapade came about was from the collaboration with the creative directing and production duo called Cue the Bird, and it stemmed from this place of the dance collective’s inspiration. (You can read more about the video HERE, and watch it below.)

“It’s pretty crazy how the dance community reacts to our music and puts out videos all the time and we’re blown away by that whole thing…So, Cue the Bird came up with this whole crazy fucking thing, and it was this gorgeous narrative idea, that went along with those three songs, and it was kind of everything we were hoping and envisioning for”, Knapp adds on.

Just the fabrication of this whole concept is majestic af, and these sexistentialists were able to bring these three songs (“Vice”, “Bloom”, and “Naive”) of erotic beauty to life. What is sexistentialism you ask? Allow the guys to explain their philosophy…

“It’s funny, Riley actually came up with it. We were trying to come up with what was a single word or phrase that would capture the mood of our sound and our songs”, and at first Barth wasn’t too sure of the term, in fact “I [Barth] really didn’t like it, and I was  just like ‘ah, let’s think on it,’ and it was just one of those things that stuck with me for the next couple days, and I honestly actually totally forgot about it, and then I had thought that I had come up with it at some point, so I came back to him and was like ‘dude, what about sexistential?’ and he was like ‘I just pitched that like two days ago’, so that’s when we knew, oh ok cool we’re both coming from the same place, it just felt right… It’s something that can grow too, it doesn’t just mean one thing to us and it can be many different moods.”

Knapp then chimed in, “ya, the whole point of our music is basically we want to be different in the writing and we want to feel different and sound different and we want to be just overall a completely unique experience to what listeners are used to. And I think we’re trying to do that by adding a little bit more depth and a little bit more, not vagueness, but hide a little bit more normal and natural feeling behind these more complex and abstract things, so that you kind of have to dig deeper, but once you get there it’s worth it, for this whole unique experience, and it means whatever it means to you.”

At the end of the day, the guys want to be able to connect with people, and more importantly, connect worlds and people that would normally not meet nor would go out of their way to communicate. They want to build the conversations. “The reality is  we’re all going through generally similar stuff, we can really feel pretty similar things at the heart of it, and all we want to do is make the bridge to connect those feelings, connect those dots, because what we found is that we want to bring a certain amount of emotional intelligence to our listeners through our songs, so people feel safe listening to our songs and can bring themselves to say, ‘you know, that is actually how it’s feeling, and I’m wanna stick by that.’ And maybe it’s not a hashtag and maybe it’s not a fucking social media post, but it’s something deeper and something we can all actually have a discussion about.”

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On that same level of respect and understanding, the guys delineated what the best aspects of being a duo truly is to them. At the start of it all, Knapp and Barth were a songwriting-production duo, and so that meant meeting a lot of people, or as Knapp put it “blind-dating”, and having that person by your side through the process was the best part for them. “Just being able to go through that with someone is super valuable. We both write and we both produce, so we kind of tag team it, and there’s not as much fatigue, and there’s a little bit more energy, and a little bit more camaraderie as opposed to just going to a creative situation, you know kind of risking that.”

Barth further explains Knapp’s last point, “You definitely get to take more risks because you’re bouncing ideas off the wall and if something doesn’t work for that particular session or the vibe is just different, depending on who’s doing what, you can always switch it off.” With the amount the two have done together already, it is not surprising that they understand when it is the right direction they are hoping to pursue and when it just isn’t and that things need to change. RKCB consider themselves completely self-sufficient in terms of writing, producing, performing, mixing and mastering. “It both helps and hurts us because we get a little bit in our heads sometimes.” Barth chuckles and then the two laugh, as if they are reflecting back on these instances.

Throughout the conversations between the three of us, you can’t help but notice the joy and synchronization between the two, who seem to affirmatively recognize that they are two individuals, bound by one passion. Being so fervent about their music, there can be moments when they reach an intensity of making sure that what they hear individually and collectively, is what they want the product to be. “I think there’s this third brain between us that we both understand what that is”.

I challenged the producers to then describe each other using one word, which caused quite a hysterical uproar. The two thought hard, laughing and cursing as they were searching for the perfect adjectives. Knapp then came to the conclusion, deeming Barth as “deliberate”. Following that, Barth distinguished Knapp as a combination of two words “active” and “passionate”.

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Casey Barth (Left), Riley Knapp (Right)

The guys have recently released a single with the former Disney channel star, and the now budding alt-pop artist, Bridgit Mendler, on a track titled “Diving“. The song actually landed a spot in the ever-so-popular Spotify New Music Friday playlist, and they explained that it was one of the most fluid, fastest experience with a song. Another shocking note about the track was that the vocals in the finished product are just the demo vocals that they had originally received from Bridgit’s team! No alterations!

“We find that often too that there’s sometimes a magic in that room, in that moment, at that time, when we’re writing a song that it’s so fresh that you haven’t been able to overthink it and sometimes you just write the song and cue the vocals and there’s a magic in that room… ‘Naive’ was like that too”.

They then mentioned the benefits of being an independent artist.

“At a label there’s so many different people so many opinions and you have to get it this way, and a lot of the time a demo or a demo vocal might be the right move and it’s whatever the right emotions and stuff are then.”

The band has worked with other great artists on some amazing collaborations, such as Opia, Steve James, and Ariana and the Rose.

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I always love asking weird questions for their artists to describe their music by, and so I had to ask the question of what spirit animal would their music be if they could define it as such, to which Knapp seemed to be pretty confident about a Centaur. ha!

Next came the question of from all of these incredible singles they have released, which would be their favorite? It seemed as though the boys knew the answer to this one already.

“Mine is definitely ‘Elision’” says Barth calmly and thoughtfully. “‘Elision’ I like ultimately because that was the third song we ever wrote together; it was the first song we wrote together that I was just like ‘alright, fuck it, I’m gonna take a lot of risks and see what happens and see if it’s cool’ and just pushed my writing boundaries as much as possible.” You can really hear that in the single. “It was definitely kind of like an experiment for me, and then it turned into kind of this thing that we really fell in love with, and then it got brought to life when we started playing it live. Like it was kind of like a ‘sleeper track’ in terms of people listening to it, but it had a cult following of its own. For a small group of people, that was a favorite song of theirs but it definitely wasn’t the song that people know us for…then once we started playing it live and it became this like funk jam in the middle of our set and it just lit the whole place up and I kind of just fell in love with that moment”.

Knapp then expresses the love for his song choice. “Of our release songs, mine is “Baptize”. We have one coming up that’s been my personal favorite for a while, so that’s going to change my answer, but for now it’s “Baptize”. I remember it was so different from “Comatose”. I remember sending it to my mom and totally thinking she was going to shit on it” he chuckles a bit and jumps back in “and then she responded ‘this is amazing!’ and I was like ‘wait, you like it?!’

His voice begins to fill with an air of excitement, like a kid in a candy shop, “I really liked it and I remember think like ‘how did this happen? How did me and Casey make this song?”

The guys who are in synch with each other for almost every tune, to create these stunning tracks that fill the spaces and voids with sound, admitted that much of their success comes from the loyalty and trust between each other and their bandmates. “We have an amazing band, there’s this level of trust that no matter what happens, we’re going to be good. Ya it helps, I’ve actually known our drummer since we were in high school. There’s this total, trust total respect and then there’s just this raw passion that comes out in all of us and you know we all have different projects going on, but then we get on stage it’s really a unique experience.”

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Aside from the fact that RKCB is always surprising us with their music, we find even more fun facts about Barth’s hidden talent! “haha, they [fans] might already know this, but when people ask me ‘what would you be if you couldn’t play music or if I were to be something else?’ I’d be a bartender. I love making craft cocktails.” He bashfully starts to laugh at himself and his other art, but you can totally tell he really does love it. “Some people are worried how passionate I am about it.” RKCB even prepared drinks for their Spotify session show in Boston a few months back, sad I missed out on that!

So, I had to know, how would the perfect days for the guys go?

“I would wake up, drink coffee (it just immediately appears in my hand), and I’m actually staying in an AirBnB that’s on top of a mountain, and I walk out and there’s a paragliding instructor there. He’s like ‘hey man, we’re gonna go down to the beach’, and then we paraglide down to the beach, and then we drink on the beach and grill… and that actually sounds really nice right now, I’m getting lost in it.”

He sighs with longing.

“Paragliding onto a beach grilling.”

Barth then jumps in, painting the pictures of his own getaway day. “I’d wake up”, he takes a moment to ponder where he will be and then says, “actually, probably at my house, where I am right now. I actually like where I am, I like my house. I’d come out, and put on some music, some ambient electronic music to help wake me up in the morning, and then pour myself some homemade cold brew, and walk out to my lemon tree, pick out some lemons, line up some cocktails for the day, and maybe go out to some local spot and have brunch or something. Then I’d come back and…” he thinks more and then comments “and maybe grill, grilling sounds really nice and making cocktails. Ya, hang outside, in the garden, taking care of my plants.”

Pretty idealistic, huh? They know how to chill; they’d be pretty fun to hang with.

With excitement, the guys were happy to relay the information that their upcoming single is part of a bigger sort of project that they are going to be talking about in the coming weeks, but it’s going to be a twist on their old stuff that will garner a fresh, unique EP for listeners to explore. So far, they have hinted to us that it should be releasing in a month. So, that is something to look forward to!

To listen to their music, check it out below:

Haven’t followed them yet? Do it now at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Official Site, SoundCloud, and Spotify!17814472_723645164484117_5684102707638705189_o.jpg