Tag Archives: Alternative

[Exclusive Interview] with Billy Raffoul an Artist Determined To Grow

Billy Raffoul is an artist determined to share with the world his music that breaks hearts and helps feed the soul. His raspy and melodic voice will carry you away and will have you wanting more of his music.

That’s the only way you can describe the voice of the 23-year old singer/songwriter, Billy Raffoul. I had a chance to chat with him as he is on tour with ZZ Ward. Raffoul has accomplished a lot and is excited to keep continuing this path of creativity with each day that comes. The artist from Ontario, Canada, spent most of his youth with his professional musician father Jody Raffoul and his painter, writer, and teacher mother. With a steady background in the arts, there was no doubt that this young man was destined to find his way into the scene himself.

It was a pleasure to hear what Raffoul had to say. Soft-spoken and kind-hearted, Raffoul gave honest answers with pauses for thought, chuckles, and assertion. With his few releases out, we will be expecting a project out soon.

As young as he is, he has never let that phase him, especially since being surrounded by a musical and artistic family who have always been supportive of Raffoul’s endeavors as well.

#bonobospartner @bonobos

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He recently released his acoustic rendition of his single “You Be Love”, which you can watch below. There’s something to be said when a voice can make you feel both safe and protected while also make you feel strong and forceful. His voice is corse, broken, yet strong all at once. It makes a perfect combination of something between a modern-day Bruce Springsteen and Jeff Buckley along with a bit of Hozier.

Raffoul had also released his new single “DarkFourDoor” which you can listen to now below.

The touring artist explains, “I spent all of January in the studio, in Los Angeles, so we really didn’t have any time for rehearsals. So we kinda just jumped into it after having 6 weeks off of each other. This tour started on the 30th, Salt Lake City, and it’s been amazing…it’s all very natural getting back to our first stretch after being away from each other.” He mentions happily how he has been able to get a lot of exploring out of this.

On tour Raffoul’s favorite snack aired towards the healthy side. “I love apples. My grandparents owned a fruit stand that they would sell during the summers in my hometown…so, I love like fuji apples. And for junk food, it would be peanut M&M’s, that’s my go-to. Today, we found a Tim Horton’s. Whenever we find one we always feel pretty happy.”

Of course, I wanted to ask how this mysterious, edgy character would describe himself, or I guess how his friends would describe him, to which he replied, “I guess it depends on the friend”. He then continues “I definitely have some sort of OCD”, chuckling. “Speaking for myself, I’m definitely determined, definitely very determined.”

The popular singer/songwriter of the track “Issues”, Julia Michaels, often writes with Raffoul. “We started writing 3 years ago, we’ve done so many songs together and in January we were writing together again. She’s great to work with, it’s kind of anything goes…I think it’s a really great dynamic…She was one of the first people I co-wrote with” comments the guitarist.

I then asked him of all the songs he has ever written, which would best describe him. “Ummm, I don’t know which one best describes me.” He pauses for a moment, laughs and you can feel how he thinks to himself about some of the songs he has written. “I have a couple favorites off the new album, but there’s one in particular called “1975” that is one of the oldest tracks off the album that I really like”.

The artist tells us that there’s a lot to be excited about including “a lot of new songs, lot of new stories”. He’s looking forward to showing people how he likes to write and the sound he likes to share.

I had to ask about how Raffoul is able to keep that majestic mane of his so in tact, to which he laughed and replied “I need to wash my hair right now.. it’s always ‘where do I buy your music and then followed by what kind of conditioner do you use?’ haha, it’s never really one kind of conditioner, I always say it’s whatever the hotel has.” He laughs again at his honesty.

What was great about this whole conversation was how real and authentic it felt. Raffoul has nothing to hide and is true to himself and his fans, and we can appreciate the authenticity he exudes.

“I’m excited to really grow this thing in music and I can’t wait to explore more of the world and meet more people and play my music. I feel like we started with a very solid base especially at the last show with the songs … and we’re all, me and my crew are very happy. The goal is to do it on a larger scale, so hopefully, maybe in the future, we’re getting to perform in bigger venues and climbing higher and having our own headlining shows” he says with enthusiasm.

There is no doubt that this will happen as the cards have already been placed in Raffoul’s favor. There is never a question of success when there is true talent behind the music.

Be sure to be on the lookout for the upcoming album and check him out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


A Man of Empathy: Exclusive with R.LUM.R (2017 Cover Story)


Somewhere between growing and trying, there is a man not so frustrated by his gradual success into the world of alternative R&B, down-tempo production vibes. In fact, he’s doing it all with his own mastery of the air waves.

He’s letting you interpret his tracks the way you want, but to him, each one is a snapshot, an after image, of the feeling he is experiencing in that present situation. I had the chance to catch up with this up-and-coming singer/songwriter who is on the path of coloring his own career with his emotions and intertwined with the force of his music.


July 17, 2017. It’s a Monday night. I get out of my Uber and step onto the street that would lead me to the Bardot and to meet this talented individual, where he would be headlining the well-adored School Night music event. I finally get to meet him, wearing sweats, moccasins, and his black “Dream” T-shirt (very fitting for a man who dreams big). We enter the venue together laughing along to jokes we are cracking and take a seat on one of the levels of stadium chairs in the theater. The entire aura of the encounter is extremely casual, yet it also carries an air of sophisticated conversation and banter. We finally settle in and begin our discussion.

“I am R.LUM.R, I’m from Bradenton, Florida, but I call Nashville home now. I’m a songwriter, I play guitar, and I sing, so ya, I’m a big ol’ music fan, know what I’m sayin?” he jests at his final sentence.

Born as Reginald Lamar Williams, called Reggie, and known as the artist R.LUM.R (are-lum-are), the young man was raised by his mother alone in his small town of Florida. His voice is quick, light and airy as he explains to me the story of R.LUM.R’s genesis. The young man went to college with a scholarship to Florida State where he studied classical guitar and then commercial music. He would learn how to use such equipment as studio software and other technical music hardware which he then followed with a minor in business. After a bit of convincing from his manager, he dropped out to pursue his music 100%, moved to Orlando, and the rest is history.

“I think [the classes] helped give me a lot interest and patience with technology, because there’s a lot of cool things you can do. You’ll see with the set, like the vocal manipulations that I use, there’s a lot of programming and getting used to the devices in the backend that take a lot of time, but if you don’t have the patience or the vision for that stuff it can be overwhelming or just sound bad or just be out of your control. But I think it gave me a lot of insight of what I do and don’t want to do.”

His face becomes a more inquisitive look as you can hear the thoughtfulness in his tone. For a man who followed his passion, you can see the curiosity that he developed and groomed during his years of schooling to better his understanding of the field. He remains an enigma to his fans and to himself, but he’s just learning and being bold, and is hungry for more. This guitarist turned producer made me want to ask what influenced the diverse palette of neo-R&B and soul vibes that he writes and produces.


“First, I only grew up with my mother, so she only let us listen to the soul R&B and jazz that she was listening to. So around the house, there was a lot of Anita Baker, she loved Anita Baker, Sade, Erykah Badu, Kool and the Gang, Earth, Wind & Fire, two-steppin’-like older people kind of stuff which is still good. I got to middle school and was introduced to rock and music like that and kind of dove into that progressive stuff. Like Mars Volta and King Crimson were a big thing for me, loved Dream Theater, Rush, lots of core guitar, and I don’t know, it just sort of evolved. I think it’s kind of tough because there’s a lot of good music and there’s a lot of cool stuff you can pull from kind of everywhere.”

He pauses to think for a moment of what he’s exactly trying to tell me and then he continues, “There’s this cool John Legend quote, ‘cause there’s sort of this battle about music theory on whether or not you should learn music theory, some say music theory will quote ‘kill your creativity’, and for me, having studied it in school and everything, I’m not a music theory whiz, but it definitely helps and it gives you options and it helps you figure out what you do and do not like. Like John Legend was saying, the reason he found it important to learn that was because it helps me identify specifically why I don’t like things, so I can then exclude and figure out what I do like and then focus on that, so it becomes like a road map.”

He’s gesticulating here and there now try to relay the message he is offering to me, “So in all of these different things that I’ve been listening to, it has kind of helped me curate my own kind of sound and writing style and what not. In that same sense, you listen to enough stuff and you say ‘ooo that sounds awful, why do I dislike that?’ and you get to a point where you like what you like and you’re making whatever you’re making, and feel comfortable in that.”

If you were to hear R.LUM.R’s music, you would realize that there are hints and elements of a multitude of genres. You would hear the coarse rock, the eclectic alternative R&B, the dreamy and electric soul, and the rhythmic Hip hop. They all come together in this perfectly blended concoction of sound that goes down the throat softly but kicks at the end to give that final factor to create an addictive flavor in your mouth, making you beg for more. His music is exotic and riveting yet so familiar to the mind and heart that it makes it almost difficult to define what genre it fits within.

“That’s a hard question, I hate answering it.  I still think of it as singer-songwriter music to be honest, because I go through that same process, either it’s just me and the guitar or one friend and me, but other people have told me it’s R&B and alternative and what not and so we call it alternative R&B”.


The composer of rhythms and designer of beats looks around the dim theater. The room is getting darker as it becomes night. He looks up and then looks back at me, takes a swig from the water bottle in his hand, and prepares himself for my next question.

So, what aspect of music, as a singer/songwriter, do you then find maybe the most important element of producing a good song?

“Having something to say. A teacher in high school once told me, like a performance note thing, shout out to my old piano teacher, he was like, ‘if you’re on stage and you’re thinking about the story and why you’re singing the thing you’re singing, then the story is going to translate or at least that’s you trying to do your absolute best to be honest with the story. Whenever I’m singing, for instance, in “Frustrated”, there’s that line ‘I’m screaming underwater” and for me that’s very visual.  I see the same image every time I sing that if I’m like thinking about that. Sometimes, I’m like someone did something in the crowd and it distracts you for a second, but whenever I’m like ok to get back to that performance center those images you keep attached to those lyrics, for me at least, my personal interaction with the song, that kind of stuff keeps me going… I think lyric is pretty important.”


With all of these influences, it can become overwhelming where he has to place his best sound, but by re-centering himself and really redefining where his music transcends to, he is able to determine what he tries to get across to his devoted listeners. As a talented producer, the artist has been able to fabricate incredible instrumentals for himself that stick in the mind and enrapture your body. The music is like hypnotic, motivational, sexy, sad electronic soul music, to be honest.

If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

“Yo there’s too many. This is hard. Dead or alive? Sorry. I got two alive, big Kimbre fan. Big, huge fan. And Sampha I think writes beautiful and delicate work.” He snow searching in his mind for someone dead that he would love to collaborate with, but struggles to do so. “I mean I feel like a bunch of guitar players, but I feel like if I were to say Jimi Hendrix or something like that I feel like I would just sit there and watch him play guitar and be like ‘do your thing I’m just a scrub’!”

He throws his hands in the air for emphasis of the magnitude of his guitarist idol, Hendrix, just to prove the point that he is nowhere close to his legendary name. However, what he feels he lacks, R.LUM.R certainly makes up for with the incredibly catchy, fresh new sounds that he constructs which anyone would be happy to listen to. Smooth and profound in every strum and every tone, the falsettos become the waves as the rest of the song are the vibes. His songs are power ballads that send chills up your spine and electricity through your veins, consuming your will,  moving your hips, and calming your mind.


R.LUM.R has had some incredible opportunities on this endeavor of music. He played at SXSW, was noted and recognized by NPR and Rolling Stone and VEVO Dscvr Artist, and will be playing at the Austin City Limits festival this fall! His single “Frustrated” has received over 20 million streams on Spotify, and that is well deserved! So many achievements in such little time, that it only seems reasonable to see that this artist is on his way to innumerable successes.

Now, I could hear “Frustrated” circling around my head, literally exposing our inner confusions with ourselves and this music industry. We then dive into a conversation of values and desires that R.LUM.R has perhaps obtained from his experiences on this music journey.

“I think I’m really trying to spend some intentional time learning about empathy.” His voice becomes more solemn, somber, and self-reflective. “And thinking about other people’s experiences and something like that. Because this whole experience has been….. Wild.” His eyes grow larger to the word as he elongates the “i” in wild. “Like people pulling up Rolling Stone articles, my hospital tweeted about me, and we’re doing Kimmel soon, and I grew up watching that stuff like I used to watch Conan O’Brien every night, like for real. And discovering new bands and being on the flip side of that is really interesting because I have those bands and musicians that for me their songs really meant a lot for me and I have these connections with these people like deeply and really personally but I will never get to tell them. Like I will never get to tell Cedric from Mars Volta what those songs mean to me and it’s interesting to be the same person that feels that but to be on the other side of it. Like I met a young man in Phoenix, Arizona who said he was in the army in Africa and he said that “Frustrated” was the only thing, like the beat in “Frustrated”, was the only thing that kept him focused from losing his mind, like from being on his stomach in the jungle.”

He chuckles for a moment and then pulls back with comic exasperation, “He says ‘I don’t wanna talk about what we were doing there’, but I’m like ‘I’m not asking, you do you’, his tone changes as he speaks the voices of a past moment and then returns to us again sitting here, “but just having people come up to you and tell these stories and share that, to be the recipient of that, is like a very weird being of both sides of that, being that fan, but also being that thing that is the subject of that fandom, and I think that’s a responsibility in a sense, but I think you have to really try to understand where the other person is coming from, that’s just one instance that lets me understand and prioritize that empathy is pretty important. And also being a brown person in America is pretty not fun right now for like, oh, 40 years.  Ha! But just on a topical level, I think empathy is super important.”


If you had one word to describe yourself by, what would be that one word?

Searching in his mind, I see a hint of recognition as to what that word might be, “Uhhh, ‘growing.’ The first word that popped in my mind was trying. I’m not sure if that’s more like honesty. My head said ‘trying’ but my mouth said ‘growing’, so somewhere in between those two.”

In the theme of growing, I wanted to follow up this character’s last answer with a question of challenge, where there has been most difficulty as an emerging artist and as someone with a lot to say via his music.

“Perspective, I think, particularly during some of the shows, like three days ago we played in Sacramento and we played for an audience of like 6,500 people and these people were like they think you’re like this thing.  Again I remember like being on the other side, I went to Bonnaroo last year and we saw Haim, I was a wrap, I was a school girl”, he starts singing in falsetto to “If I Can Change Your Mind”, and then continues to say in fast-paced excitement, reminiscing on that day, “it was a wrap, but then again being on the other side of that  was wild, but the next day we played for like 40 people. So just like scaling and perspective and shifting and really trying to be able to serve that audience, you really got to play a different way for them. I think that’s just one aspect of the perspective thing. Like you get in big articles and people from home thing you’re like a massive celebrity but in my day-to-day life, I’m sitting in front of my computer all day, but yeah perspective has been different…”


For this creation of your project AFTERIMAGE, what was the inspiration behind a lot of it, like the message you were talking about earlier, what is the message?

“It’s still that empathy, it’s still trying to understand yourself and trying to understand yourself in context of other people.”

Like a self reflection?

“Sort of, and that’s a good read definitely, and if that’s what it means to you, then that’s totally valid. But I see it as every album, every body of work in that way, is a portrait is a snapshot of whoever you are at that time.  And each of these songs were written a certain amount of time ago, so they were definitely after images of who I am as a person going through this process, that’s why each piece of it is the color of the CMYK series. CMY, when you put them together, they become black, that’s why the front [of the EP] is black. Because these are all things that make up me, this black person. These are all pieces that make me, so I think it was just me trying to talk through these pieces and try not to shy away from the anger in “Suddenly”, or the *ha ha* frustration in “Frustrated”, or that kinda confusion in “Love Less” when you think you’re saving the other person but you’re not.”

The artist will be preparing himself for his great headlining tour on June 23rd, which he could not be more happy to say. With a glowing smile on his face, the shine from the corner of his glasses only seems to get brighter. I ask what he does pre-show in terms of rituals or traditions in preparation of performing and getting in the zone.

“I like to hang, I just like to hang out and kick it and just be chill. I try to watch the other bands. Again, I just like going to shows and I like music and stuff and like there’s nothing that inspires me more than watching people play music. Recently, I’ve had to definitely be quiet. And be still for a bit, because there is a lot of motion and again talking about perspective there’s not better way to contain and refocus, then to just slow down for a bit and be like ok what is happening to me inside of me around me, and a good way to do that and has been healthy for me is that I found this like steam inhaler and like it’s really good for vocal health and relaxing. It’s like a sauna for your throat, beautiful, it’s like a hot shower thing, but just for your throat and it takes like 20 minutes, so it’s like you have to sit stationary at the thing for like 20 mins. So that’s become a part of the ritual that has been a god sent.”

In the spirit of performance, I wanted to get the point of view of an emerging artist and their endeavors at bigger festivals.

You performed at SXSW, correct?

“I did”.

How was that experience?

“It was wild,  because it was a crazy come up. Because the first two years, me and Chris [my manager] were volunteering because nobody gave a shit about my shit at that point and the next year I came back as a performer which was last year and just did one show and this year I did 10 shows, 9 of my own and 1 feature with Sweater Beats. So it was wild, you know what it’s like, bang bang bang boom boom boom.” He gestures everywhere to emphasize the chaotic fiasco that is the festival. “It was one of those things where I just said it, I’ve rehearsed, I know these songs, I feel good, I’m taking care of my health, let’s just do it, just put your head down and just do it.”


Was there anyone cool there that you met there that kind of shook your world?

“Uh ya, in the beginning of it, we did a songwriting camp and this was the first time I had ever done that and the dude who produced Zara Larsson’s “Never Forget You”,  I’m a big Zara Larsson fan, and like I sat and talked to him and it was awesome. It was really cool, really relaxed, and also I saw Kučka, the young woman from Australia  who was on “Smoke and Retribution” on the Flume record.” He starts singing the chorus in the high pitched octave and in the perfect wavery flare that the song goes like then continues, “that girl, she was there she was around and I was like ‘yoo, this is tight as fuck’. It’s just cool to be rubbing shoulders with those people, to be asked to be in those rooms is cool.”

What do you want fans to know that they don’t know about you right now?

“That’s interesting; I don’t think I really think about that. I don’t have a problem answering just about any question, but you have to ask the questions I think, I can’t implant them in people. There’s probably things I want to talk about but I think I do that in writing and in music, right now I don’t think there’s anything that I feel really frustrated about *haha- hayoooo,  score 1 for dad*, but I don’t think there’s anything that I feel hyper-frustrated about that I’m like ‘YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS ABOUT ME ehhhh’. Nothing like that really keeps me up at night. I think I’m just trying to learn who they are and they’re trying to learn who I am.” (He’s too funny.)

With this allusion to self-identification through the eyes of his fans and through his own understandings of himself, R.LUM.R exposed to me the fact that everything is left out there for his fans. Nothing is hidden nor unseen, and there’s nothing to hide from his fans. For example, each song is an aspect of him, and so every lyric is written as a poetic justice to his existence and emotions. When asking what his identity lyric would be among all of the words he has written, he replied,

“I’m having trouble pulling one because I feel like they’re all different facets of yourself, “Learn” is playing in my head right now, “Tell Me” is playing in my head right now. The first actual lyric that came to my mind was “somehow every wall inside this place, finds a way to look just like your face” from “Tell Me”, but I don’t know. I guess that’s kind of hard, “Frustrated” took a couple months actually to get to where I was pretty happy with it. “Learn” took two sessions, but like “Tell Me” literally was like I took a walk that night and wrote all those lyrics and went and recorded them next day. So sometimes, it’s like that it’s a total two hour snapshot of where I was like “Tell Me” and then “Frustrated” was this long gestation period. So, I don’t know, I’m sorry”. His voice was light, slow, and relaxed, as if he had no care in the world, that nothing would phase him, and as if he was not just about to be performing in front of a large crowd.

I wanted to turn the conversation to a topic less traveled by to get his mindset on an idea that I would be using for a final project, but would also pertain to him. It is about the genre of production music and how it is an ever-evolving “anti-genre” that only today became so commonly known, like artist including KAYTRANADA, Cashmere Cat, Mura Masa, Lido, and more. I asked how he perceived that type of music, as a producer himself, and where it stands in the grand scheme of the music scene today.

“I think it’s thriving, I think it’s always been thriving. Like if you go back to the beginning of hip hop it wasn’t about the rappers, it was about this. It was about the people who were cutting the tracks together, and once they figured out you could cross fade and all that shit, like DJ Kool Herc and all those cats, figuring out that you could like ‘oh shit, we could get these like break dancers poppin’  … it’s a DJ [who does that], not a rapper. It is interesting that those guys were the stars for like a minute. I haven’t done my history deep enough to know when that switched, but it probably was around like when NWA, Ice Cube, and all these things were like causing this crazy ruckus and all that stuff so you got to focus on the person.”

“But I guess when I’m thinking about the producers, I’m thinking strictly of hip hop to make this conversation more succinct, because if you get into people like George Michael, the Beatles, in terms of producers that’s a whole different thing, like they write the songs are in the band, blah blah blah, but to give you an answer that isn’t a term paper,  this is like a dissertation… I think the producer world is really thriving and it’s really tight because there are people, like those guys you named that have put out their own albums, and there is room, and there is a bit of a democratic acceptance of music through like SoundCloud and Spotify and all that stuff. Bro, Odd Future, that was the big one for me, they changed it, and they gave these kids this bravery to just be yourself to do your own thing. Without them Frank, Domo, Tyler, Earl, (Earl is my favorite rapper personally), without them you have no Kevin Abstract, you’d have no Daniel Caesar, I probably wouldn’t be the same person I was if I wasn’t indebted to them. That recognition that they can do it themselves and they encourage you to just do your thing. Create your wave, like you were saying, it [the production genre] is very adaptable.”

“Create your wave don’t ride the wave. It seems like it’s new because it’s so much in you’re face because everything is delocalized, decentralized because of the internet, but I think it’s been around for a long time, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere. And especially with the internet the way it is, I  think the one thing we are seeing a lot more is homogeny, you’re hearing a lot of dudes from Toronto using trap songs from Atlanta. That west coast lead was like a thing, like first coming out of that was snoop Dogg and those guys, that Long Beach sound was just them, and then Nas and all those guys were other coasts and they had their own boom bop thing going on and nobody was crossing. But now you got cats like Lido, who’s basically playing Chicago church chords and he’s like Norwegian or something, he’s Nordic and he kills it, he’s amazing.”


With so many ideas, thoughts, opinions, creations, ambitions, wins, and adventures, R.LUM.R still has many goals on the horizon.

“Definitely want to do more touring, meet more people, meet more family members, but writing the record, writing something I think is really really honest and like I really want to stand by, touring more for sure, I don’t know growing. Hoping that they’re down for the new weird shit that is going to come, ‘cause it’s gonna be different, so different I don’t even know what it is yet. Haha.”

The sonic curator has a lot to look forward to including his debut EP, AFTERIMAGE, which is releasing on August 11th through PRMD, his tour which just kicked off on June 23rd in Utah, and his performance on Jimmy Kimmel on August 2nd!

After our conversation, he gets up, tells me thank you and appreciates the time we have had, and heads outside into the darkness to welcome his friends who have come to watch and support him. I follow him out and into the venue where I will be watching the performances for the night.


Of course he goes later…11 pm, for an event that started at 6:30 PM, but that didn’t ward people away from the long night. In fact, what amazed me was that over the course of the event, I never even noticed how the room slowly became more densely packed in and then the next moment I knew, I wasn’t even able to move for a better camera angle, shoulder to shoulder with the crowd of RLUMRers, eager to here is acoustics.

Barefoot whilst performing, you see the smiles on R.LUM.R ‘s face as he notices fans in the crowd singing along to his music, getting down and dancing their hearts out, and wearing his merch proudly. He hits each note precisely on beat and perfectly on the pitch, and as his voice riffs down perpetual chords and cycles of words and poetry, the crowd gains a new perspective of sonic creation while also growing that night along side R.LUM.R. The fans recognize each one: “Frustrated”, “Tell Me”, “Be Honest”, “Suddenly”, his recent release “Close Enough”. Every single record is stunning in it’s own way. As I took my last snapshot of the night, I was able to capture this particular after image of him, one that would perfectly summarize the emotions of this night. Happiness. Growth. & Empathy.


This cover story was a project I really wanted to devote time and effort to, to an artist, a person, whose music inspires and serenades me on so many levels, and someone I can see gaining so much more attention and love in the coming years.

Thank you, Reggie, for your time, and hope to see you again soon!

Be sure to stay tuned with him on social media and listen to his music!

Instagram –  Facebook – Twitter –  Site  –  iTunes  –  Spotify

[Exclusive] Interview with Coast Modern on New Album & Fav LA Tacos

Take a dive into their chill, tropical sound waves

This dynamic duo, made up of Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp, is up to something and that something is their forthcoming debut album which is to become the perfect set list of jams for you this summer! The expected release is to be July 28th, so be sure to mark your calendars for when this special day arrives.

A new track we have gotten a taste of is their recent release “Dive”, which is a single off the upcoming compilation. Billboard said “Here’s another certified jam to add to your summertime playlist, courtesy of Coast Modern.”

The best way to describe their music? I’d say it’s the sound of Weezer’s Island in the Sun meets the Beach Boys in a wistful indie dreamland of sorrow and bliss. When you hear their music, you are transported to a sort of middle world of dimensions where  you really have no cares at all and just let the music take you away in this endless stream of consciousness. I decided to take a dive with the guys and learn more about the makings of their sound and little more about them in general.

The guys are always known to be fun and cheeky, and so I thought it would be fun to ask a few unconventional interview questions to set the right scene.

#tbt 💪pumped to do this stuff again next month. 👀 u soon‼️

A post shared by Coast Modern (@coastmodernmusic) on

When I asked 1/2 of Coast Modern about their sound and the genre he perceived themselves as, he replied “It’s funny that before we signed our publishing deal our record deal, I didn’t even know that alternative was a genre, and that kind of surprised me when that was a thing.” He continued to explain the concept behind their recently released track: “when we wrote ‘Dive’ we were kind of trying to capture that nostalgic, youthful excitement. Maybe it’s like fresh love, maybe it’s like exploration. It’s also just very tropical vibes.”

Coast Modern quite literally tries to aim for their namesake, “modern”, in the sense that they are pushing the boundaries of their alternative pop peers and hoping to create a genre where they lead the way all the way through. In other words, their genre could be considered a misfit of alternative rock bands as their pop/electronic influences seep into their old school, beach house aura.


Similarly, these boys are masterminds behind their brand, utilizing bold, colorful graphics behind their cover art and marketing to match their eclectic sound. Trapp, who writes and produces everything with Atlas as well as sings when they perform live, explained that “early on we knew we wanted something that was bold and had lots of colors. We dug through some artists that were great at that, and luckily the first choice we had, Dai Ruiz, knew exactly what we wanted. She was awesome and we’re glad that we’re still working with her up to this point.”

He stammered for a bit when I asked who were his favorite artists, and justifiably so. “Like I have a thousand answers,” he laughed in exasperation. “Like when I was younger discovering music, it was of course like Led Zeppelin, but I’ve been so inspired in the past couple years by so many artists. Errrr, I don’t even know where to begin. I’d say Dessert, they put out a single last year called “Eyes Wide Shut”, and it comes to my mind because of how fun it was. The most ill party vibes, and I call it “ill” because they played a 90’s hip-hop sample with this very underwhelming melody over it, and the juxtaposition is just very inspiring. There’s also a band called Mini Mansions that I liked and then this collaboration project called Soft Hair that did a song “Lying has to Stop”, and it’s like butter to your ears”, he says excitedly. You could just hear the passion in his voice as he named these artists.

Trapp went on to tell me that his soul song would have to be the classic “Sitting On the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. Why you ask? “Because I got this feeling when I was younger that there is something much deeper than what is sitting on the surface of the lyrics, and  it was the first time I ever got that feeling, so it really stuck with me. Like instead of talking about sitting  on a dock talking about watching time pass, when I heard it, I got this really deep sensation that it’s actually about like going through different lives and eternity, so it gave me this weird out of body experience and it stuck with me.”

I had to ask where their dream place would be if they could perform anywhere, to which he replied jokingly (but pretty seriously) “In space”. LOL. Then he followed that response by saying that he would also like to perform somewhere in Asia, like Japan.

The boys’ history goes way back, but for Colemann specifically, it started back when he was 18 producing for all kinds of rappers and singers, then inspiring to pursue his own music career. The LA scene was a great stepping stone for the boys to get their music out there.


I asked him what would be his favorite taco place in LA if he had to give us advice. “I really like janky places, not trendy ones, so I would have to say King Taco, Taco King, …” If you couldn’t tell, he likes his regal tacos. “Really the jankier the place, the better it is haha!”

One thing Trapp can’t leave without is his spare guitar, which sits in the back of his truck for whenever inspiration strikes. The guys plan on having more releases and projects coming out down the line in the next 5-10 years, so fans will be on the look out.

After releasing their hit single, “Hollow Life”, the LA-based act has released numerous tracks to keep their musical mojo momentum going. And it only proved to be true as their were garnering air time from notable organizations like SiriusXM Alt Nation and KCRW. They received set time to perform  live at SXSW, and they were able to open on tour with BORNS, The Wombats, and Temper Trap! Quite the resume they have here. Blogs and fashion press would find them and only help build their name and publicity, and they continue to grow and become more well known as people begin to recognize their powerful and well-crafted sound.

I asked Trapp what they are on the verge of, to which he replied, “being a ‘meme’– we want to be a part of the internet. But as much as we want to be a meme, we’re also doing everything we can to like like make life more physical and to make our brand really something that you can touch…”

It was a pleasure speaking with Coast Modern and I look forward to hearing the full-length album!

Find Coast Modern on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify, Instagram


[On The Verge] Episode 9: Just College Things & Interview With Alt-Band Ocean Park Standoff

“You’re either Teen Nick or Disney, you’re either in or you’re out,”

shouted DJ A-Rad as DJ Theater Thug mistakingly mentioned a Teen Nick movie during our entire Disney Channel-dedicated show! THE NERVE!

Today’s show of On The Verge was one for the books, filled with light heartedness and enthusiasm, as we transitioned from segment to segment with a lot of great material and whole lot to say!

We began with our Headlines & Hashtags where we spoke about pressing topics like Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Chad Michael Murray becoming a novelist, HBO releasing a Slender Man documentary trailer, Cavs and FLOTUS, and the recent discovery that Shia LeBouf can rap?  You can read all about this and more from our very own online collegiate  lifestyle magazine, Verge Campus. Check it out HERE for some of the latest updates in the things you care about!


Nonetheless, the most exciting and best part of today’s episode was absolutely our Just College Things piece where all we brought to you was nostalgia, joy, and embarrassment from what was our childhood, Disney Channel. We talked about all of the classics from Even Stevens to Lizzie McGuire, to Proud Family, to That’s So Raven, to Phil of the Future, to The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, to High School Musical, to Cheetah Girls, to Smart House, to Pixel Perfect, to so much more! Oh, what a time to have been alive! We went into a full-fledged conversation about how we learned so much from them, the social messages they gave, and how weird kids are today. You can check out some of the fun facts of those Disney Channel favorites we discussed on air HERE.

Of course, we followed all of this excitement with a sound block, so be sure to listen to the playlist below from some of the recent findings and reviews from GoodMusicAllDay!

AND FINALLY, we got to my personal favorite part of the show, the Featured Artist Interviews. We had the honor to interview an incredible emerging act of the L.A. scene, alt-band Ocean Park Standoff . The band, hailing from Santa Monica, CA, consists of lead singer Ethan Thompson, who we spoke with today, and band members Pete Nappi and Samantha Ronson. This dynamic trio of sound formed together to become an incredibly talented and eccentric group. We had a chance to ask Thompson about the formation of their group, their songwriting process, their experiences in the music industry and what is to come for them!

When looking at the Ocean Park Standoff crew, your first impression would be that they are more a rock or indie styled clan, but when you give their two standing tracks a listen, you find that there is so much more to them. They are a curiosity, if we are putting it simply. They are strange and unique, but perfectly catchy for any ear. Their music is contagious, versatile, and charismatic.

And their prowess is demonstrated by the numbers; in just a month of the release of their only two tracks, they have 448, 475 listeners on Spotify! That’s incredible! They were even shocked to find that they reached the No. 1 and 2 spots on the Spotify Viral 50 for the Czech and Zimbabwe playlists! Their two singles are “Good News” and “Photos & Liquor,” both which are beautifully constructed songs with their own personalities and finesse showcasing the band’s capabilities and range. They can go from a typical pop sound, like the of DNCE or Walk The Moon to more of a sultry alternative-R&B vibe like that of The Neighbourhood. With Thompson’s silky vocals and Nappi and Ronson’s musicalities, we are delivered the songs we hope to hear serenade us each and everyday. Their music will fit any mood, and if they keep continuing on this path of fun and innovative music, I have a feeling we’ll be hearing much more of them soon.


These Hollywood Records signees took to their own sound, built it, and it got it to be something incredible. All thanks to the Bulldogs and toothpicks– what are we saying? Guess you’ll just have to listen to the interview HERE to find out 😉


Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and their Official Site, and be sure to check them out on Spotify!


Listen to On The Verge on air every Sunday from 10 AM – 12 PM for your weekly refreshing dose of cool new music and amazing news coverage of the topics you truly care about! Find us at 89.3 FM / 640 AM or on BU Cable Channel 6 or at www.wtburadio.org or our mobile friendly app, the WTBU Radio App.

Australian Contemporary Indie Artist Yates Debuts New Single “It’s Over Now”

Arousing & Awakening

Last Friday, Australian contemporary singer-songwriter Yateshas released his new single and re-creation of a classic 90’s song titled “It’s Over Now,” turning it into a free-flowing, emotional journey built on complex, ominous tunes, and an impressive vocal range. Recently having signed to SweatItOut, the artist who goes by his stage name Yates, has been making bigger and better marks in his musical career. His debut single “virtue” reached high recognition by Triple J and was voted as its Hottest 100 Nominee for 2015!

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The international artist just returned from his Tora tour which was performed globally, and when he came back, he inspired a new sound into his music. He has now further developed and transformed his sound from the acoustic indie-folk we are familiar with to a diversified and mixed tune of electric and ambient-indie melodies. His debut EP came out this year, and his single ‘Mercury’ off of the compilation gained large attention from Triple J, Australia, and the US! It even reached 2 million streams on Spotify! Yates is now preparing himself for a sophomore EP, and ready to delve into the new sound he has been playing around with and fabricating. With his recent single, we get a taste of the new approach he is taking, and since its release the track has featured and premiered in Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist all over the world.

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In “It’s Over Now,” we get a healthy dose of a light hip hop beat coated by the electric/alternative-indie sounds of Yates. There is an erotic simplicity about his voice. The single is dark and slow, yet provocative and forceful. Like most artists these days, he blends elements of electronic synths and vibes into his indie vocals, but he does masterfully, running chills up your spine and splashing across your face like a wave. His voice illuminates parts of the song when he slides to the higher notes and then blankets the composition as his voice dips into deeper, lower octave territory. He’s a poignant tide that moves in and out, caressing your ears and mind. A song about broken, lost love and confusion, Yates perfectly defines the inner emotions of intensity one endures after a heartbreak.


His voice is like a deeper, slower sound of Brandon Urie’s (of Panic! at the Disco) vocals, but a more airy, optimistic version of lead singer of The Irrepressibles, Jamie McDermott. A sultry, ominous, mysterious, and sweet tone, Yates is the intonation that you wish to hear when you desire to drift away or want someone to lull you away from the world. Picturing yourself late nights at the bar or on an island’s beach or walking the city streets, his music travels with you as you explore the world and yourself. His music is the kind of music we wish to hear if the apocalypse were to ever occur, these sounds would be what we desire to hear at the brink of the world’s culmination.

Like what you heard? Then be sure to check Yates out on Facebook, SoundCloud, Twitter,  and Instagram.

Banks Is Kinky & Ferocious In New Single “F*ck With Myself”

This is freaky, but fantastic.

Jillian Banks, more officially known by her stage name Banks, premiered her latest single release “F*ck With Myself” on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 Radio show last Tuesday, and it wasn’t as much the music that shocked people as it was the music video that accompanied it.

This hypnotic and enchanting song pulls you into what is the Donnie Darko meets Alice In Wonderland world of Banks’ mind. Don’t get too uncomfortable.


People were very wary of UK-based songstress Banks at first, but maybe now is the time that we let her have a chance in our hearts as she makes this song with a lot of heart. This song is a song about self-worth and love. It’s about the judgement and negative self-talk that we inflict on ourselves, and how we must empower and be stronger than that. Anyone who has been self-conscious before can understand. She gets erotic, creepy, and creative in this piece. The song is retro in its atmosphere, but as eerie and ominous as a pop song done by Lana Del Ray & and an R&B tune by Miguel put together.

In the music video though (that you can watch above), we see all of the messages she is trying to portray through the clothed masochistic, sensual visuals and movements she displays next to a mannequin of herself. Backed up by 3 dancers wearing masks of her own face and who shape shift and contort their bodies into irregular positions, the singer-songwriter, well f*cks with herself, both mentally and physically. In her Matrix ensemble, and V for Vendetta lit dungeon of a room, she sits before a shattered mirror, all naked, staring hopelessly at herself, she caresses, kisses, hits, messily makes-up, and licks her life-like dummy of herself. And in the end, she sets it on fire.

Banks told Lowe in their talk on air that “there’s so many meanings to it,” the song that is. “It could be like, ‘I fuck with myself,’ like, ‘I mess with myself more than anybody else.’ It could be, ‘I fuck with myself,’ kind of like, ‘I’m feeling myself.’ It means a lot of different things that I think a lot of people can relate to.”


Banks is in the works of what will be her second album, following her first full-length studio 2014 album Goddess. It is set to drop this fall on September 30th.

What do you think of the the music video and song?

Miley Cyrus Joins Lolawolf On Her New Track “Teardrop”


We haven’t heard much from the “Wrecking Ball” artist, Miley Cyrus, in almost a year, but she is taking on a new sonic approach by joining indie band, Lolawolf, on their new track “Teardrop.”

The song was recently premiered on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show. It’s sweet, yet edgy. It croons indie vibes, but alien, weirdness that Cyrus has always inserted herself in. In this Lolawolf piece, we join her on an eerie indie journey, from minor key melodies and major harmonies and chord progressions, chants, echoes, and loops.



Half way through, the song gets a little louder and stronger as the vocalist of the band, Zoë Kravitz, takes on more force. There a multitude of layers of voice patterns and beats and rhythms. Cyrus particularly adds a very significant piece to the puzzle when she starts kind of rapping/speaking in the song. It makes the record trippy and elusive. The two singers compliment one another very well as these mystics of sound. It’s actually quite impressive. I like the fact that Cyrus has ventured into territory she hasn’t ever really messed with before, because it was a pleasant surprise to hear it work out so well for her.
Starting the recording process for their debut album in the Bahamas and officially recorded in LA, Lolawolf, which consists of Kravitz and Jimmy Giannopolous, are now back in the East Coast, New York, to present more of their music as well as perform at a lot of festivals.


Lowe asks them, after playing the song, about the new album that they are working on and what the record means to them and what is its inspiration. The band responds, “we’re trying to be as melodic as we can be, and then keep it as hard, you know as far as what we think is hard, you know to make this feel good.” 

You can listen to the track above now on Apple Music.

In addition, Cyrus and Lolawolf have worked together in the past on music such as the music video for “B*ch.” Lolawolf also appeared on Cyrus’ Bangerz tour at one point.

Tove Lo Instagram Hints To New Music

The famous Swedish singer, Tove Lo, has been keeping things on the DL, but only until recently when she posted a few Instagram pics hinting to the possibility of new music.

As we all recall, Tove Lo has appeared in some major track collaborations with big artists. The alternative/electro-pop musician has featured in singles like “Say It” with Flume, “Desire” by Years & Years, and “Close” by Nick Jonas, and this is to only name a few. Back in 2014, she released both her EP Truth Serum and her debut album Queen of the Clouds. Some of her hits from those two included “Habits (Stay High)” and “Talking Body.” Her music is best described as seductive, erotic, fun, and unique.


Now, it’s been a while since we’ve heard the artist go solo, but she is cluing us into a little secret perhaps, that there is new music of her own on the way! On Instagram the other day, Tove Lo teased a few pictures of her in very intensive frames, possibly coming from a music-video and captioned by hopefully what are lyrics to new songs. In the first image that she posted about a week ago, she writes “‘you can run free, I won’t hold it against ya’ 👸🏽➕🌲 #soon” Is it now Queen of the Forest, instead of clouds? Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful scene and the #soon gives us the idea that this must be something of hers that she will be sharing in the near future. As for the second post, this was posted a day ago, and is a sinister shot of the Lo beauty that shows off the more cynical, edgy side of this artist with the line “‘you do your thing, never wanted a future’ 🔥💔.”

By the number of likes and comments the images received, it definitely seems like Lo fans are ready for new music from the songstress. No date or even confirmation has been mentioned, but hopefully we’ll get more of these enigmatic posts that solve the puzzle!

You can see the Instagram shots below:


"you can run free, I won't hold it against ya" 👸🏽➕🌲 #soon

A post shared by Tove Lo (@tovelo) on

"you do your thing, never wanted a future" 🔥💔

A post shared by Tove Lo (@tovelo) on