Interviews

An Interview With UK Singer-Songwriter, SOHAM DE!

Posted On 15 Dec 2018

On October 12th, the twenty-one year old UK native, Soham De released his debut, The Next Nowhere. Atwood Magazine premiered the first video, “Confession” and raved, “Soham De has been going on a purely upward path with each piece of music blowing expectations out of the water. His music and vocal performances provide a wave of inventiveness that so many artists strive for, and De nails it with songs like “’Confession.’ De has a promising path ahead of him, and with the release of his EP, us at Atwood Magazine will be ardently awaiting the gorgeous performance that he is sure to deliver.”

The songsmith began writing at the tender age of ten years old and honed his craft regularly performing for close friends and family. Of his debut, Soham says, “it’s been (it still is) a process of trying to find what I want from music and what kind of music makes me happy, in terms of writing and performing.”

Learn more about Soham De in the following All Access interview:

Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background? 

No, thank you for having me! And yes haha!

Now that we are on the back end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?

I think it’s been a good year and just lots of progression, bother career wise and just in life in general! I’m really happy to have started releasing music and I’m so proud of what we’ve put out, I think just as a goal of releasing music I’m proud of, we’ve definitely succeeded in that.

Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?  

Music was very important and I loved humming a tune and just making up whatever to sing or to write. I loved that as a child because of how personal and unique to you it was.

I wanted to become a musician probably around when I was 13, that was when I started singing and playing to friends – that feeling of playing to other people and connecting with people even if it was just a friend sitting across from me through a song I’d written was so special I wanted to take that further and start doing gigs. I was really unconfident growing up so it was a while before I started gigging properly but every time I performed the feeling was second to none.

What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?

I can be a really impatient person and this process in music require the opposite of that – you’ve got to be patient and confident if what you can do and you’ve got to be willing to learn and grow as a musician as well. I’ve really grown and developed my songwriting each year and regardless of how impatient I can be, I’ve always been patient with music and my confidence keeps improving as well. There’s so much good music out there which is a great thing and you just want to share that piece of you as well and let it be heard. This is a welcome challenge because it means I constantly try to make the best music I can.

How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?

I’m not too sure there’s any specific hometown influences but where I live currently is very quiet and peaceful which clears my mind and gives me space to breathe and develop my songs. I love cities but there’s can be too many things going on or too many people talking and it’s great to get away from that and just develop on what you have with your full attention.

Generally how do you go about writing all of your music? Do you follow the same process for all of your songs?

I don’t think there’s a set process for songwriting and you should just do what comes naturally to you each time and as you write more songs you’ll find what works for you and what you can do to improve and break habits that you’ll undoubtedly get yourself into. If I’ve got a tune or words in my head I’ll just take it from there, or if I’m messing around on guitar/piano and something sticks out, I just follow that and see what happens.

What was it like putting your debut EP together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?

I loved putting it together and I was surprised how quickly we got it all done! It was amazing to work in an environment where you could throw around ideas and try out new routes as well as use production to let the song breathe and grow – I’m so used to just hearing the barebones version of my songs to it was such a treat to take these ones and give them more of a character.

How was it making the video for your track “Confession”? How creatively involved were you with the process of making it? Why did you decide to shoot videos for all of the EPs four songs?

It was such a fun time! Before shooting you always discuss ideas and use references and this one was just quite a simple ‘this works great’ sort of thing – a long take video that keeps you immersed into the songs and the songs are quite intimate so it works really well I think. Shot by Raja Virdi who’s excellent.

While it’s difficult to pick, can you choose a few of your favorite tracks on the EP?

I love Forest and Confession – they just really hit me and connect with me right now, though my favourite songs always change for the EP I’m sure they’ll fluctuate around.

Why did you decide to film a documentary to go along with your EP?

I thought for the first EP it’d be a really good thing to document it as a sort of insight into parts of the creative process and something I can look back on in the future just to see how I’ve developed and and to see how things are in future recording processes as well. It’s always a strange feeling when you see something you did years ago and look at where you are now.

Since you began writing music at just 10-years-old, I am curious what those songs were about? Have you been able to use any of those earliest songs as an adult? 

There were kind of nonsense and me beginning that step into the world of songwriting. With that came insecurities and confidence issues in both performing and the thing I was writing about. Regardless I loved the process of creating something and of performing something I’d made, though I was really nervous when I performed. I’m not really sure what the songs were about, I think i used to write stories or some weird sorts of love songs but I can’t quite remember. Haha absolutely not! I can’ still remember some of the tunes and well…let’s just say I’m happier with my writing now!

Since the beginning of music, people have turned to it for support and as an escape from their realities. How do you want your music received and appreciated?

I think escapism is very important and you absolutely should have a way to get out of reality and immerse yourself in something else, it’s something I’ve been doing a lot if books, movies, TV seres and video games, just seeing the creative process in different forms and trying to appreciate the work that goes into it. I think for my music, it’s really about a connection whether that’s grounded in reality with past experiences or if it comes from an intense emotion or if it’s a form of escape that immerses and resonates with people. I think for me it’s the power of connecting with people through a mutual feeling or sound or story that you can do with performing something you’ve written.

What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?

I try to post when I can and keep everyone updated but I get wary about being on my phone or laptop too much – it can happen and it’s not good. It’s really good to live in the moment where you are and move forward that way and I think social media’s quite a toxic environment. So I post and keep people updated but try not to stay online for hours and hours. I love posting a video of a song I’m writing/have written though – love sharing new material when I can!

Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?

For me, I love an artist with a distinct, human voice and quality in their music. Currently Hozier’s really someone I’ve been listening to but I just tend to listen to artists who hit me right through the chest you know? I usually try to stay away from mentioning things like influences because once you do, people tend to pigeon hole you into that ‘type’ of musician and I’d rather prefer just listening with a blank slate and if you like it then great! But I’m the type of person that if I like an artist, I love that artist, if that makes sense?

If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why? 

Probably this album of pan pipe music I had a kid, just very nostalgic and beautiful.

If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?

If my music featured in Peaky Blinders that would be amazing – love that show!! If it was still on, Hannibal would be top of the list, that show is a masterpiece I think.

Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your winter?

I’m playing the Boileroom in Guildford and at Little buildings in Newcastle for Independent Venue week and I’m also doing a headline show in London at Paper Dress Vintage on February 28th, can’t wait! Working on new music this winter and just getting immersed in creative things.

At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?

I think a connection is key in music, connecting to other people through sharing the same emotion or experience and making music that cuts through someone. I love it when a voice or a song or even a word just hits me and it’s all I can think about because the message and meaning just resonates with me. I’d love for people to feel that with my music. I think timeless music is music that stands on its own, in its core, that when you strip it down to just what it is as words and melody, it’s so powerful.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?

It’s not directly about me and my music but writing and performing music is such a special experience and I’d encourage anyone to just sit down and write a song, I think there’s just someone unique in every person’s approach to writing a song and what it means to them. Songwriting’s really helped me as a person and I think everyone should try to write a song at some point in their lives.

About the Author

Leah Brungardt (recently married) joined All Access Music Group in August 2011 and has been enjoying getting to know a new side of the music industry ever since. Having worked to promote radio stations in the past, seeing what makes a successful radio hit has been a thrill. As a lover of all genres of music, working at All Access Music Group is a perfect fit for Leah, and she loves learning about up and coming musicians as well. Most of her friends have come to rely on her for new music. Leah grew up overseas attending American international schools and attended The University of Arizona, where she earned a BA in Music Management. She roots for the Wildcats every chance she gets. Leah has been able to work at a variety of music-related jobs including several internships at small independent labels, ClearChannel Radio and Journal Broadcasting Group. She also spent time working retail at a store that specializes in vinyl, which was a lot of fun for her. Her favorite movie is Empire Records, so that makes perfect sense.

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BEARD BATES Opens Up About His Latest Collection, ‘The World Is Blown’ and More!

Posted On 14 Dec 2018

Get to know the multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter/producer Beard Bates! On November 9th, this established musician and abstract artist released his new album “The World Is Blown.”

Beard Bates is a wearer of many hats. Throughout his illustrious career he has had the title of singer, songwriter, producer, abstract painter, designer and much more. Musically, he leaves no genre untouched with elements of rock, roots, EDM, pop and experimental in his catalog.  Born in Virginia, now residing in LA, Beard Bates begin writing songs around age nine when he learned basic guitar chords on a tiny guitar his grandfather, a consummate craftsman, made for him. Since high school he has played with various bands (JilFlirter, The Virginia City Revival), released dozens of albums and made a name for himself as a producer – in addition to studying literature, writing novels and training to be an art curator at The London Consortium. Over the past few years, Beard has not been playing or putting out much “popular” music, mainly because he has been focusing on ambient recordings, nature field recording, and creating much abstract art.

Connect With Beard Bates Here:

http://www.beardbates.com/

Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Learn more about Beard Bates in the following All Access interview:

1.) Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?

Sure, thanks for the opportunity! This interview finds me starring at a computer; I’m editing a record of white noise with forest sounds. So that’s what is playing in the background.

2.) Now that 2018 is wrapping up, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?

2018 has been a good year. I released lots of singles and videos from my recent album that came out earlier in November, and the response has been really great….I’m thrilled, and I’ve had fun along the way. One goal I’ve had for this particular record was to land Spotify-branded Indie playlist spots.This hasn’t happened yet, but that’s what the future is for I reckon.

3.) Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?  

I was always surrounded by music. My dad forever had music playing, whether in the house, car, or on the boomboxes he always had around. I remember early on–like pre-kindergarten–I momentarily thought it was a stupid idea to be a rockstar or musician, despite that I had earlier asked my grandad to build me a guitar when I was about 4. But then things changed; a friend of my dad’s was a guitarist, and I was mesmerized by his electric guitars. I told my parents I wanted to play and they bought me a really cheap junior acoustic and then I began lessons when I was in second grade. When I was in about 8th grade I essentially saw the light and realized I’d be doing this for a long time–there was no way for me not to follow the music/art. My guitar teacher taught out of the office area of a small recording studio, and one day he was running late and I snuck into the empty recording studio. There as I looked around the control room I got the strangest and most powerful deja vu / haunting feeling I’ve probably ever had–it was as if I had suddenly come face to face with my fate. So no, it was not a difficult decision to make. I just continued on.

4.) What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?

Well the biggest surprise I guess has been the supernatural component that surrounds the creation and performance of music. This may sound strange, but when I would write songs late at night at my parent’s house in Virginia, it was common that all of the sudden I had to stop playing because I’d realize there was something in the room, that I had essentially called something to me, as if my act of creating was a beakon or lighthouse for the unseen. This supernatural component has manifested itself in many other ways, like out of body travel etc…but I won’t go into that. Music is magic, or at least it can be, and you have to be cognisant of that power.

5.) How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?

My hometown of Williamsburg, Virginia really had no music scene and few places to play; it affected my music mostly insofar as it forced my brother Carter and myself to really just trust our instincts and create what came to us naturally as kids. So I guess it helped us be unique. Living in Los Angeles has affected my music as well; yet I will say since my form of songwriting is mostly a stream of consciousness poetic-type of writing, I think I’d write the same no matter the locale. Though, then again, you cannot help but be affected by your surroundings. Hmm…it looks like I need to investigate this more:).

6.) Generally how do you go about writing all your music? Do you follow the same process for all of your songs?

As I mentioned above: my form of songwriting is really a stream of consciousness / psuedo-channelling endeavor. I sit down and start playing and singing without thinking about much. If everything is working then a song or two will pop out. I’m a real “one-take” kind of guy. I believe that the spontaneous moments of creation hold the most power, and anytime I have to work on anything too long I never end up liking it. I like to keep things raw and a bit rough around the edges, like life. Even when I’m producing intricate electronic music, I prefer the lyrics and vocals to be spontaneous and unrehearsed.

7.) What did it feel like recently putting out your newest album, “The World Is Blown”? How did you celebrate the release? How would you describe the approach the process you took to make this album? How was it different then the making of your previous ones?

It was great releasing “The World is Blown.” This record is a collection of various tracks from a large span of years. These were all tracks I liked but had never released: some of the songs are from collaborations I did with different bands/acts, and genre-wise the record is very divergent, as I move in and out of being interested and experimenting with styles. I really trust the creative process and whatever comes out, no matter the genre. I celebrated this release by staying in bed–honestly, I don’t like putting out records that much…and releasing this one hit me like I was giving birth, and frankly I also don’t like attention all that much. I like creating and I cannot help but create, but I loathe self-promoting and also the idea of selling myself as an artist has always been a semi-cheesy one. However, all this moping aside, I will be “celebrating” the record when we begin playing / touring to support it in 2019.

8.) While it’s difficult, can you pick out a few of your faves on this album? How did they come to be on this collection? What was the inspiration for them?

I guess if I had to choose my favorite track would be “Lions, Sheep, Birds,” as it is a song I recorded last year after almost falling off of a cliff…the song also deals with the death of my mother and so it’s close to my heart. I move through phases where I like different tracks, but at the moment I’m liking “Weasel Sleeping,” which was recorded with The Real Spooky Wilson and is a song that uses lots of old western slang to tell a western fable of sorts. “The World is Blown” is a favorite: it was a collaboration with artist Jonny Polonsky and it ruminates on 1.) the difficulties of being in a world that will not live up to the expectations of one’s dreams, yet 2.) the reality that the world is meant to be blown like a flute…i.e. in order to get music out of it life needs to be played. “Rodeo Man” is another favorite at the moment; it’s sort of a glitch reggae track that tells the story of a prophet who was hanged and burned but wouldn’t die, and in that moment of realization the ravenous crowd all psychically disintegrates and reality is recomposed for the better…it’s really a song about good winning over, and that in the End you can’t win via evil means.

9.) I’d love to know more about learning to be an art curator at the London Consortium. How would you say that this role has influenced your music?

Well I was nominated for the Rhodes Scholarship out of college, and so I was planning on going to Oxford for graduate studies. However, in researching I learned of a contemporary-art focused interdisciplinary program in London that I was much more into (as I am also a visual artist)–they wanted me and when the Rhodes committee gave me the boot, I happily joined The London Consortium. It was a very unique and prestigious program: we were taught at TATE Modern, The British Film Institute, ICA, Architectural Association, and it was all under the umbrella of the University of London. If I would have stayed in London I most likely would have remained in the contemporary art world, yet I moved back to the US and got back into music. I’d say my history of having a background in critical theory, philosophy, and an understanding of the intricacies of aesthetics and art definitely gave my creative engine more breadth…it also helped me feel more at home with myself as an artist. I would classify myself as an abstract artist across the board, and my schooling has enabled me to be at home with being me, defending my position(s) if need be, and being a curator of my own work.

10.) What has it been like working on your ambient recordings, nature field recording and creative abstract art? What made you decide to branch out and record “The World is Blown”?

I have gotten into making ambient music over the past handful of years–it just has seemed to resonate with me. I founded a record label that puts out such music, and it’s been a very zen and ascetic kind of space to be in. Also I have been painting a good deal for a body of abstract paintings I’ve been working on–that show will take place in Spring 2019. However, I’m still foremost a songwriter and singer, and I put out “The World is Blown” because I’ve been meaning to get back to me as an artist…..I also have so many songs I plan to record for the next record, which will be more band-focused. I’m excited.

11.) Since the beginning of music, people have turned to it for support and as an escape from their realities. How do you want your music received and appreciated?

Music is certainly cathartic and can help and provide people with emotional support in so many areas of life; sometimes you feel great and you find a happy song resonates just right, and other times you’re down, or at a difficult juncture, and find listening to a sad or introspective track makes you feel that you are not alone in your feelings. Life is a roller coaster of emotions and music is representative of that. I present my music, but I would not want to specify how the art is meant to affect someone…I would rather my work be tiny unique mirrors for one to approach singularly so he or she can see elements of themselves in the reflection; in essence, art is in the eye of the beholder, and the effect of art is particular to he or she beholding the art. I’d love for my music to be appreciated for its poetic elements, its mysterious and enigmatic components, and for certain its ability to serve as something personally-meaningful for the listener.

12.) What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?

It is difficult to keep all your social accounts in sync and updated. You have to for sure keep up on it, and I try to post every review and feature…so that can be quite time consuming. But I enjoy connecting with fans where ever, but I’d say Instagram is my favorite at the moment, as it feels the most personal.

13.) Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?

My inspiration comes from so many places, as I’m always being impressed and influenced by different artists. I’ve always been a real fan of those who blaze their own trails with little respect to or worry about the confines of the industry, genre, etc. I’ve also always been a big fan of technical virtuosos and musicians with great technique. Sometimes these two traits coincide and other times they don’t, but regardless I’m a fan of both. Some of my favorite musicians are Mozart, The Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen, Sly and The Family Stone, Soundgarden, Animal Collective, Brian Eno, Waylon Jennings, MGMT, John Cage, Herbie Hancock, David Bowie, The Stooges, Johnny Cash, Peter Tosh, Parliament, Led Zeppelin, DIO, Mark Lanegan, and the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack. Who would I love to work with: a Bob Dylan, Brian Eno and Beard Bates collaboration produced by David Lynch….that’s got a good ring to it.

14.) If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?

I would take my old classical guitar: it’s my baby, and I also wouldn’t be able to make it. But I would try to carve a 6 hole native flute from driftwood–I love native flute.

15.) If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?

I have had music previously in some pretty bad movies…there was some recent slasher-nun horror film I had a track in–I can’t even remember the name. But I’d love to step up my licensing game. You know, there’s some amazing scripted TV out there now, but I don’t watch any of it. Please send me recommendations of what to watch and then I’ll get back to you!….Movie wise: I’d love to have some music in a David Lynch film.

16.) Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your winter?

I’m currently putting a band together and tour-dates for 2019 are being sorted. First I will be playing around Los Angeles however in order to dust the cobwebs off. This winter: I’m working on my record label work, getting the live show together, and going camping in between.

17.) At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?

Ideally I’d like for fans to find an uncommon and deep inspiration in my music/art. If fans are mildly confused please embrace any confusion and try to experience the inspiration that created the work. To me my creative process is a mystical one and I believe much of my music can be mystically powerful. I’d like for people to feel something possibly transcendent, for that is what I feel.

18.) Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?

I’d like to thank whoever might be reading this! Thank you All Access as well for the opportunity!

About the Author

Leah Brungardt (recently married) joined All Access Music Group in August 2011 and has been enjoying getting to know a new side of the music industry ever since. Having worked to promote radio stations in the past, seeing what makes a successful radio hit has been a thrill. As a lover of all genres of music, working at All Access Music Group is a perfect fit for Leah, and she loves learning about up and coming musicians as well. Most of her friends have come to rely on her for new music. Leah grew up overseas attending American international schools and attended The University of Arizona, where she earned a BA in Music Management. She roots for the Wildcats every chance she gets. Leah has been able to work at a variety of music-related jobs including several internships at small independent labels, ClearChannel Radio and Journal Broadcasting Group. She also spent time working retail at a store that specializes in vinyl, which was a lot of fun for her. Her favorite movie is Empire Records, so that makes perfect sense.

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An Interview With Dryjacket Bassist, IAN FOLEY All About His New Solo Project, TONKS!

Posted On 14 Dec 2018

Photo Credit- David Garren

TONKS is the name of Dryjacket bassist, Ian Foley’s new solo project. On November 16th, he released his debut album as part of this new project. Entitled “Windows Down & Dying,” it’s like something out of a Wes Anderson film – beautiful, slightly quirky, and aesthetically pleasing. This is an introspective collection of songs set to brightly shimmering melodies.

Foley shares: “This record is about aging out of ‘live fast, die young,’ and prioritizing a happiness that is simple and consistent.

Learn more about TONKS in the following All Access interview:

Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?

As I am answering these questions it is actually later in the evening and I just got in from Dryjacket practice.  After this I’ll be headed to sleep.

Since we are now at the back-end of 2018, how has this year treated you? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year? How close are you to reaching it?

My goal was to put out a solo record, and it happened! Windows Down & Dying is finally out.

Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on?

This is a solo project so it was more of just me deciding whether or not I was capable of putting out music on my own and playing live without a band.

How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?

I think the Philly Jersey hub had a big influence on my writing.  I went to Settlement Music School in Philadelphia at a young age which is where I got a lot of my classical influence.  I was also surrounded by a lot of local bands growing up, and the band I was in while in middleschool/ high school always had handful of venues in the area to play in.  I’m not sure I would have even become interested in music if I had grown up somewhere else.

How has your various musical backgrounds helped shape the sound of this band?

I think it just gives the record some diversity and even though the songs blend well together, there are aspects of each song that make them stand apart.  Some of the songs may sound more folky, while others will be very simple with almost poppy choruses.

What was the inspiration for your newest single, “Giles Corey”?

This song is about when I lost someone close to me in a tragic event, and how it affected my everyday life.  It’s a tribute to people dealing with loss, but more specifically it talks about how you want to vent to the people around you without feeling like you are dropping your burden on them.  You might carry the loss for years even after its past the appropriate to break down in front of your peers.

How do you think this song prepared listeners for your just released debut album, “Windows Down & Dying”?

It has a good combination of the things you’ll hear on the record.  It has the finger picking and it has some string parts, which occurs pretty frequently. Giles Corey has a mellow tone, but is also hopeful, which I think is the overall vibe of the record.

What made you decide to break away from Dryjacket and put out your first solo project? Was there any fear or trepidation that came along with this decision?

I have always wanted to put out a record like this even before Dryjacket formed.  Dryjacket will always be my number one priority.  All of us have invested so much into it and I’m so fortunate to write with them.  But I knew at some point I had to put something out on my own, and the band had to take some time off, so everything lined up.  I haven’t been too worried about being on my own.  Once I got the first few shows out of the way, I’m a little more confident that I can play a show with just an acoustic guitar and vocals and keep it interesting.

Your music is described as something out of a Wes Anderson film. What does that description mean to you? Is this something you ever thought about when making music?

I actually have not heard that before but I take it as a compliment!  I love Wes Anderson films and always enjoy the soundtracks.  I think that must come from the classical kind of sound some of the songs have.  String sections can be kind of cinematic, and I hope that’s the case with these songs.

Generally, how do you all go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?

Tonks is a solo project so I was the only writer on the songs so far.

While it’s difficult to pick, can you choose a few of your favorites on this collection? How did they come to be on this album and what was the inspiration for them?

I think Giles Corey and St. Charles Place are my favorite.  Giles Corey is about coping with loss and deciding internally how much you are able to talk about it to other people without bringing them down.  I had the main riff and first verse of this song for six years and decided I felt comfortable finishing it for Windows Down & Dying.

St. Charles Place is about maintaining friendships.  Life will definitely pull people in different directions but if you want to make it work, sometimes a phone call, or meeting up for an hour to get coffee is enough.  I wrote the main riff for this song in an Airbnb while on the road with Dryjacket.

Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?

This is a hard one because I love both.  In the past I’ve said that performing is my favorite part.  Being on stage is definitely more exciting but there are always bad shows.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad day in the studio, so on average recording new music probably makes me happier.

Do you find that all of social media and keeping up with your fans has gotten so overwhelming? Or do you rely heavily on others to take care of that for the band? Which platform would you say that you enjoy engaging with the most?

I’d say for Tonks, twitter is my favorite social media to use just because it’s so interactive, and I get to talk with people about the record.  It’s a way to promote the music while still allowing my personality to show through.

We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?

Music will always be the best part of my life no matter what happens.  If I’m home relaxing, most of time that means I’m sitting in my living room either playing piano, or acoustic guitar.  It’s a good way to zone out and break away from everything.

What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?

I love Sufjan Stevens, so if I ever got to play a show or festival with him that would be a dream come true.

What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?

I just hope that the songs will help people feel calm.  I love going on long drives and listening to acoustic music, so I hope Windows Down & Dying makes it onto some peoples driving playlists.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?

I’ll be doing a North American tour from March 15th- April 10th.

About the Author

Leah Brungardt (recently married) joined All Access Music Group in August 2011 and has been enjoying getting to know a new side of the music industry ever since. Having worked to promote radio stations in the past, seeing what makes a successful radio hit has been a thrill. As a lover of all genres of music, working at All Access Music Group is a perfect fit for Leah, and she loves learning about up and coming musicians as well. Most of her friends have come to rely on her for new music. Leah grew up overseas attending American international schools and attended The University of Arizona, where she earned a BA in Music Management. She roots for the Wildcats every chance she gets. Leah has been able to work at a variety of music-related jobs including several internships at small independent labels, ClearChannel Radio and Journal Broadcasting Group. She also spent time working retail at a store that specializes in vinyl, which was a lot of fun for her. Her favorite movie is Empire Records, so that makes perfect sense.

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An Interview With THE PENNY SERFS About New Music, Favorite Artists and More!

Posted On 13 Dec 2018

Meet The Penny Serfs! Founded sometime in late 2012, The Penny Serfs are back with the emotionally charged LP Politics in the Time of Heroin, the follow up to Like Eating GlassPolitics in the Time of Heroin was released on January 26th, 2018, and can be found on Spotify and Apple Music.

After five years of cultivating the lean energy necessary for the stage, members Mikey Loy, Stu Tenold, Kyle Lewis, and Aiden Landman faced the ultimate fight: singer Mikey received life threatening injuries that jeopardized the bands very existence. After a long recovery, Mikey and the band is back stronger than ever.

Facing mortality, the band has chosen to push through the struggle and create what makes them complete: music. Music that sings of pain with loud guitars. Music that brings catharsis. The future is bright for The Penny Serfs as they stare into the darkness.

Connect With The Penny Serfs Here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ThePennySerfs
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ThePennySerfs
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ThePennySerfs

Learn more about The Penny Serfs in the following All Access interview:

Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?

KYLE- Hey not a problem! Well right now 3/4 of us are together in NYC for some work related projects. We are packed in a Chrysler mini van rental full of another band’s gear heading out of town for a show. Mikey is pretty intense behind the wheel so I’m white knuckling my cell phone currently

Since we are at the end of 2018, how has this year treated this band? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year? How close are you to reaching it?

KYLE- Honestly its been a really good year for us all things considered. It was a rough start though with Mikey’s fall. Thankfully he has made a full recovery and we were able to continue this band and meet a lot of the goals we had set for ourselves. Mikey’s accident took place just a couple weeks after we had released Politics which put a hold on a lot of our plans rightfully so. We had been sitting on this record for almost a year at this point and 2018 was planned for “go time” to push it. Obviously once he fell all of our focus and attention was on Mikey’s recovery. Once he was all healed up we got right back to playing shows and are now back to focusing on Politics.

A major goal we’ve set to wrap up 18’ is to have another EP’s worth of songs written and ready to push for 19’. I’m happy to say we have already reached our goal and ready for next year

Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on?

STU: There was a definite moment for me. Mikey and Kyle had already been playing together for a bit and had invited me to come out and play a couple shows with them. We rehearsed for a couple of days and it became clear we had something. We played our first show together, they asked me to be in the band, and the rest is history. The name was all Mikey, but it speaks to all of our experience so there was no debate.

How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?

Mikey: growing up Midwest for aiden kyle and I has given us an interesting take on life and music in general. I grew up in rural Illinois in the 90s and it was a different time. I thought of myself as punk rock. It wasn’t until I moved west with starry eyes I realized I didn’t know anything.  It really made us strive and try to be the best we can be.

How has your various musical backgrounds helped shape the sound of this band?

KYLE- I think one cool thing is that we all come from the same generation and have relatively the same musical taste from our youth. 90’s rock and grunge and hip hop. I may be a millennial (the only one in this band depending on who you ask) but I grew up listening to Nirvana, Green Day, Dr Dre. Our common taste in music has a major impact on our sound today in my opinion. So you take that and mix in the fact that we have all been working for indie rock bands for the last 8 years, we have a wide range of influences. Basically if you could take The Beatles and Nirvana and smash them together, that’s where we would like to land musically and strive for.

How do you think that you have grown as a band since forming in 2012? What has remained the same?

STU: Musically, I feel like we’ve really found our footing. We all have a lot of different influences, but now, more than ever, we are combining those cohesively into something more than just the sum of it’s parts. As people, we’re all still mentally 15 year olds, but maybe with a little more perspective.

What was it like creating your new album, “Politics in The Time Of Heroin”? How will you celebrate the release?

STU: Politics has been a long project for us. The songwriting was a combination of organic evolution from jamming and playing together and  the realization of songs that were living in our heads. Most of the recording was done over 10 cold days in Atlanta in the winter at Rick Beatos studio. We have a very collaborative process that I think accentuates all of our influences. We’ll celebrate this release just like anything else… We’ll get hammered.

What do you think was the biggest lesson you learned from the life-threatening injuries you (Mikey) faced? What’s different about your live stage shows now?

Mikey: obviously the biggest one would be to not take life for granted. I personally have really taken advantage of my body and life choices and now that I’m lucky enough to still be breathing and healed. All of my healing has been a blessing in disguise pushing me to try new things.  My right wrist and hand is now permanently a little “off” and sometimes it’s hard to play guitar. Sometimes I just throw the guitar down and start dancing and I grew to really enjoy that. It’s becoming a thing I like to do even when my hand is pain free and mobile

While it’s difficult, can you pick a few of your favorite tracks on the new album and talk about how they came to be on this collection? What inspired them?

Mikey-

Don’t hug me I’m scared-

I wrote this while on tour working in a hotel in Brooklyn. Growing up in a rural setting I’ve been called a ton of slurs and have felt self conscious for years, and this was me firing back. I want to dance.  I want to party. And I don’t care what other people have to say about me if they’re judging. Fuck em.

Religious Republicans- This song is me dealing with depression, my adolescent experience growing up and trying to understand who I am as an adult. My mother absolutely loves country music and I wanted to show her that I could jam a few Americana chords 🙂

Generally, how do you all go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?

KYLE- It’s a pretty good mixture of both. A lot of it depends on our availability to actually get together and have writing sessions. As of lately we have made it more of a point to have writing sessions in the same room. In the past we’ve had to get creative with our writing and recording sessions. Luckily technology helps with this. Basically when Mikey is feeling inspired he will stay up late in his kitchen with a guitar and use his iPhone to roughly record some guitar licks, melodies, and get basic song structures together. From there he well send them to the rest of us so that we can get a feel and try to map out what we want to do with our instruments once we are able to get together and have a proper writing/recording session. Sometimes songs are formed right in the studio somewhat on the fly. When each member of this band lives in completely different states, we try to make the most of the time we actual do spend together.

Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?

KYLE- I feel we all reach different kind of excitement in each place but there’s no better feeling than playing a good show in front of a good crowd. Honestly even if no one is at the show but we fucking nailed our set, all 4 of us are high with excitement and positivity. Playing a great show gives a rush of accomplishment and reminds us why we are in a band. Pre show we are all usually pacing backstage trying not to puke. That being said, ending a show and feeling like it was a complete bomb really sucks. Personally for me at that point I start to question my parts and playing ability. I start picking apart the songs thinking of ways we can play it differently. It’s an endless rabbit hole that is so unnecessary and hard to get out of. Either way, we feel most like a band when we are playing a show. I love every part of it.

Can you talk about your wildly theatrical live performances? What inspires these shows and the way that you entertain crowds?

Mikey-We like to party. We like to be emotional. Depending on the day we may sit there and pout and get really inside ourselves and jam. Other days it’s a break guitar punk rock night. I think one of the most enjoyable parts of our show is that you don’t know what’s going to happen.  Will I melt down? Will I be sad? Hopefully I’ll be happy dancing like I’m in the Pointer Sisters.

Do you find that all of social media and keeping up with your fans has gotten so overwhelming? Or do you rely heavily on others to take care of that for the band? Which platform would you say that you enjoy engaging with the most?

KYLE- Our band may just be the worst band at social media haha I wouldn’t say that social media is overwhelming. It’s more the fact that it’s a MUST if your in a band. I completely understand that it’s a very useful tool and a great way to connect with fans and for that I can appreciate it. It’s more the constant need for content. Half of the year we are at our own homes in different states so trying to come up with band content can get a little difficult if we’re on long stints away from each other.

Instagram would be my personal favorite. I’m not a photographer by any means but I like to think I at least have somewhat of an eye for photos. The editing process is something I enjoy as well. It seems to be the best way for us to connect with fans right now. We really try to be on top of our replies back to comments and questions.

We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?

  1. STU: Music has always been an escape, and a coping method. Listening to it and playing it allows you to be in another place and feel differently. Writing and playing music is a huge release… It kind of lets you just spew out of all of the frustration and disappointment that the world is currently piling on and put it into something productive. Catharsis and self introspection.

What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?

I would love to work with Migos, Pharrel, Sufjan Stevens and Thomas Bartlett.  Each record we make I want to challenge our sound and expectations.  I believe that any of these wonderful people could push us to something magical.

What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?

STU: Honestly, we say a lot of things. We hide some of it in metaphor and satire, and some of it we state explicitly. But none of what we say matters. We hope that our listeners will inform themselves about what is going on, not only in our own country, but around the world. We hope that our listeners will educate themselves. We hope that our listeners will not sit quietly, but will speak up when they see inequality and injustice. And we hope our listeners will listen. Right now it seems like everyone has their own platform on social media, but no was is listening to each other, just shouting into the void of the internet.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?

Reach out to us on Instagram and Facebook and let us know what city you are in and we will come play there. We are now releasing a numbered 12” of this record and will be touring extensively in 2019 to share our songs.  And always remember to dance!!

About the Author

Leah Brungardt (recently married) joined All Access Music Group in August 2011 and has been enjoying getting to know a new side of the music industry ever since. Having worked to promote radio stations in the past, seeing what makes a successful radio hit has been a thrill. As a lover of all genres of music, working at All Access Music Group is a perfect fit for Leah, and she loves learning about up and coming musicians as well. Most of her friends have come to rely on her for new music. Leah grew up overseas attending American international schools and attended The University of Arizona, where she earned a BA in Music Management. She roots for the Wildcats every chance she gets. Leah has been able to work at a variety of music-related jobs including several internships at small independent labels, ClearChannel Radio and Journal Broadcasting Group. She also spent time working retail at a store that specializes in vinyl, which was a lot of fun for her. Her favorite movie is Empire Records, so that makes perfect sense.

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An Interview With The Singer-Songwriter DEANNA DEVORE!

Posted On 12 Dec 2018

“Seven Eight,” is the latest release from the Chicago/Toronto-based singer-songwriter, Deanna Devore. On this song, Devore explains that “the title, ‘Seven Eight,’ refers to the song’s time signature. There’s a beat missing which matches with the lyrics, about a relationship that can’t quite get off the ground.” 

Learn more about Deanna Devore in the following All Access interview:

Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?

I’m in Toronto – went home for the US Thanksgiving holiday. No music playing in the background but there’s always music playing in my head 🙂 

Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?

2018 has been a busy year. There were months of planning that went into both the release of the new album and booking the tour. Both were definitely goals I had for the year and I just came back from the tour so I would say that the goals were reached. Next will be a new set of goals. You have to keep the momentum going. 

Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience? Can you see yourself ever doing anything else?

Music has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid. I definitely can recall getting my first ukulele which I learned to play. I also remember the first song my dad taught me to play drums to when I was little – “House of the Rising Sun”. I really can’t imagine doing anything else – writing music has become such an integral part of my life. 

What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?

I would say the biggest surprise has been how much the music business has changed over the years. Mostly because of social media and the importance of it.

How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?

I love both cities but feel I would be writing the same material no matter where I was living. 

What was the inspiration for your newest EP “half and half”? Do you think it’s different or similar to anything else that you have put out before? 

“half and half” went through many transformations, because originally I was planning on recording an all acoustic album. But then I started writing new songs that had more of a downtempo RnB/jazz feel so I decided to do a mix of the two. 

It’s called “half and half” because the album is half electronic and half acoustic (some songs are in between – picture a spectrum of sound)

I would say it sounds like the same artist as my previous releases with more of a RnB/jazz influence. I think it fits well with the times for contemporary music. 

When do you hope to release more new music? Are you currently working in the studio and in a period of creative inspiration?

I hope to release a new single in the new year. It’s a song I’m very excited about. I’ve already started recording it in the studio and have also been doing some compositions – writing music for a web series and podcast. 

We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period or is your music an escape from all that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?

I definitely think other musicians are making music influenced by this climate and it’s important that art reflect the times. In my case, I write for the love of writing.

What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?

Social media is a great platform to connect with people, I try to stay up to date on it all. My favourite way is to connect with the audience when I’m playing live and then meeting them after the show. It’s a great feeling to watch them groove to the music. 

Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?

I love a lot of British artists. Tom Misch to name one. I would love to work with him!

If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?

My guitar – hands down. It’s my main instrument and I play most days. 

If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?

There are so many shows I’d love to be on that have really good music. Insecure and Big Little Lies to name a few. That’s one of the things that I’d like to get more involved in – having my music licensed for film and tv.

Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? What’s next on your agenda?

Just got back from a US (and Canada) east coast tour. Next is recording this new single.

At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?

I would hope that the music and lyrics can resonate for them. And that they dig the mix of genres. 

About the Author

Leah Brungardt (recently married) joined All Access Music Group in August 2011 and has been enjoying getting to know a new side of the music industry ever since. Having worked to promote radio stations in the past, seeing what makes a successful radio hit has been a thrill. As a lover of all genres of music, working at All Access Music Group is a perfect fit for Leah, and she loves learning about up and coming musicians as well. Most of her friends have come to rely on her for new music. Leah grew up overseas attending American international schools and attended The University of Arizona, where she earned a BA in Music Management. She roots for the Wildcats every chance she gets. Leah has been able to work at a variety of music-related jobs including several internships at small independent labels, ClearChannel Radio and Journal Broadcasting Group. She also spent time working retail at a store that specializes in vinyl, which was a lot of fun for her. Her favorite movie is Empire Records, so that makes perfect sense.

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JENNIFER PORTER Opens Up About Writing Her Newest 7th Album and More!

Posted On 11 Dec 2018

Meet Jennifer Porter! She is an award-winning musician, actress and screenwriter. She has performed with Classical and Jazz orchestras, including the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra as well as smaller combos, such as her own quintet.

She is an accomplished Blues pianist, and has played with C.J. ChenierNathan & The Zydeco Cha-Chas, and Buckwheat Zydeco’s band, Ils Sont Partis. Her musical repertoire spans from Jazz to Blues to Country to Opera. She is a prodigious vocal arranger, stellar music director, and accomplished choreographer, having performed those duties in over 20 musicals.

She has recorded seven albums to date and this fall she released her newest one, These Years. It was recorded with legendary producer and 12-time Grammy Award winner Jay Newland, best known for his work with Norah Jones on her 32x worldwide platinum debut Come Away with Me.

Her album Easy Living, with Grammy-winning producer Lawrence Manchester, was nominated for a 2015 Independent Music Award in the Jazz With Vocals category and received airplay throughout the country including support at KJazz Los AngelesWWOZ New Orleans and Public Radio International’s Jazz After Hours.

Connect With Jennifer Porter Here: http://www.jennifernicholeporter.com/

Learn more about Jennifer Porter in the following All Access interview:

Thanks for your time today!

My pleasure! Thank you!

Where does this interview find you now?

I am in my room. My husband and I each have a room in our house that is ours alone. I have all my instruments here, some comfy chairs to sit and think, and a desk for writing.

Is there music playing in the background? 

No. Music draws all my attention.  I mostly have it in the background when I am doing mindless tasks.  But earlier, I was listening to Billie Holiday and Nina Simone.

Now that we are on the back end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career?

It’s been a year mostly of exciting, if sometimes seemingly endless work on THESE YEARS, with a few stage-acting roles tossed in.  One of those roles was quite challenging. I played Rita in EDUCATING RITA, and, though it was demanding, I felt rewarded playing such a beautifully written role, opposite my favorite actor in the world.  Overall, my experience of this year has been working, for the most part, in relative solitude.  On the CD project, it was often just one of several wonderful engineers or musicians and me alone in the studio.  On the plays, just one or two fantastic actors and me creating our world alone on stage.  As the months progressed, I became more and more impatient to share THESE YEARS with the world, and now that it’s ready to share, I feel (as I usually do when I release a project) both excited and anxious!  I have met and worked with some really terrific people this year!

What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?

My goal was to get myself a good manager, and I now have a great one in Europe, and am  still working on finding one in the U.S.

Growing up, how important was music to you?

It was everything to me.  I was painfully shy, and was an easy target for the neighborhood bullies. Making music helped alleviate the loneliness.

Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician?

Yes. I was 4 years old, and I was watching a pianist named Maxine entertain everyone at one of my grandparents notorious cocktail parties. She played boogie-woogie, blues and jazz standards. I was fascinated by the movement of her fingers across the keyboard! It amazed me that she could take something sitting mute in the corner and make all of these fantastic sounds come from it. The chords, the harmony, the melody, the rhythm, all coming together.  The sounds singing and dancing at the same time.  I was hooked!  I sat down the next day, when I was alone, and began to pick out, by ear, what she had played the night before, never thinking that I wouldn’t be able to (I guess I was lucky that I could, or I would have been in for a sad realization!).  I continued playing by ear for four more years, until my parents got me a teacher, who insisted I learn to read music. I avoided her wishes at first, by asking her to play the song I was supposed to learn before I left the lesson. I would listen to what she played, then figure it out by ear at home. This went on for two years, until one day, her phone rang at the end of the lesson, and I had to leave without her playing the song. I was terrified all week! At the next lesson, I had to fess up. After that she never played a song for me again. I’m glad she forced me to read. It opened up other doors. I realized that it allowed me to “hear” another musician without their having to be in the room, or for that matter, even alive!

Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?  

It probably sounds cliché, but I felt like I never made the choice to be a musician. It never felt like a choice! Though I did plan to be a musician, and an international spy on the side. So far, the international spy part has yet to pan out.

What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career?

No surprises yet!

What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?

I didn’t expect that the business side of things could sometimes become so all consuming, that the actual playing of the music would take a backseat! I’m not very happy about that!

How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?

I’m not really sure it has influenced my music. I grew up in Maine, but I was always drawn to Memphis and New Orleans styles of music.

Let’s talk about your soon-to-be released collection, “These Years.” What was it like creating this album and writing these songs?

Creating the album was both euphoric and agonizing! This is partly because most of the songs that I wrote for this album came during one particularly prolific week. When writing them, I felt like I was tapped into some universal well of creativity.  They practically erupted onto the page and out of my fingers. They are some of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. Because of this, I felt a lot of pressure to do them justice.  It was a beautiful thing hearing the songs come to life in the hands of the other wonderful musicians who played on the album, and there were sublime moments, that resembled the writing process, particularly in the recording of the title track, THESE YEARS.

Did anything surprise you about the overall process?

As I just alluded to, when recording the title track, something very special happened. Jay, the producer, decided to record a different version of the song than I had planned on. I told him I needed five minutes at the piano to write out a fresh chart for the band, and when we recorded the first take, it was magic. After the sound of the final notes had trailed off into silence, no one spoke for a long time.  Then Tony Mason, the drummer, uttered a hushed “Whoa”, after which we all started talking at once. My partner, Dana was in the control room with Jay, who said to him: “This is when you say to them, let’s record one now.” Of course he had caught the take, and was just kidding, and luckily he didn’t have the heart to scare us all!

Since it is your 7th album, did you approach the recording of it any differently then your previous ones?

I didn’t really.  As I said, I felt a bit more pressure on this one, as I wanted to do the songs justice. But I really did approach it the same. Two of my albums are different from the others, as they are soundtracks that I composed and performed for the two movies, MR. BARRINGTON and 40 WEST, which Dana and I made with our film company, Honey Tree Films.

How do you think that you have grown as artist over the years?

This might sound a bit self-indulgent, but I’ve learned to trust my gut instincts; that they, the majority of the time, will lead me in the right direction.  This feels nice!

How does “These Years” show the growth or does it not?

I’m not really sure!

What was it like working with the Grammy-award winning producer Jay Newland on this album? 

He is a master of his craft. He pulled together an amazing band for this album, and helped shape the album thematically. He opened many doors for me, and I will always be grateful to him for believing in my music and me!

While it’s difficult to pick, can you choose a few of your favorite songs off “These Years” and talk about how they were written and came to be on this album?

It is difficult to pick! ROAD TO REDEMPTION is a favorite of mine, as are THESE YEARS, and FOR YOU.  They were included in a demo of 7 songs from which Jay chose his favorites (MY SECRET DESIRE was on that demo as well).  As I mentioned before, these songs almost felt as if they wrote themselves.  The lyrics for all three come from my belief that traveling, even if you have no idea where you are headed, has the potential to bring you somewhere wonderful. That even if you don’t know what you should be doing, just doing anything will eventually help you figure it out!  As Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  I have this quote posted on my refrigerator.

Typically, how do you go about writing your music?

I write the music first. I keep a small recorder on my piano, and if a melody or interesting chord progression comes to my mind, I will hum or play it into the recorder, and then add words, as a rhythmic or lyrical pattern begins to develop within the music. For the most part, I let a song build up inside my head, both lyric and music-wise, until it’s ready to tumble out, fully formed. There are exceptions to this.  Some songs are very stubborn about being born!

I would love to know what it was like performing with the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra?

Surreal! I know the recordings of the Glenn Miller Orchestra back and forth, inside and out, and to hear those same arrangements live, was thrilling.  When I was a kid, I would put on Big Band records, including the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and sing along with them, pretending I was on stage, wearing a gown that sparkled in the spotlight, with the whole band playing behind me, and here I was living out my childhood fantasy!

What other performance of yours stands out to you?

Hmm… It’s a three way tie between being the soprano soloist for Schubert’s Mass in G with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra when I was 18, playing Patsy Cline on three separate occasions, which involved singing 32 of her greatest hits night after night to huge Patsy fans, who expected each turn of phrase to sound exactly like her (one fan even asked me to autograph her program as Patsy. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that!) and playing piano with Zydeco great, C.J. Chenier, who was a guest artist on THESE YEARS.

Since the beginning of music, people have turned to it for support and as an escape from their realities. How do you want your music received and appreciated?

For people who need it, I would want it to give them hope. To help them feel that they aren’t alone. For those who mostly listen to the music, I would want it to groove them!

What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms?

Until recently, I’ve only used Facebook. I’ve just begun to engage on Instagram with the help of my tech-savvy niece. In truth, I am uncomfortable with social media.   I am still a very shy person.  I love the interactions I have with fans who reach out to me on Facebook though, and for that reason, I will, of course, continue to use it!

Is it hard to stay up to date on it all?

Yes!

What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?

Face to face!

Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?

I would say The Neville Brothers, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, John Hiatt, Sam Cooke, and Billie Holiday.

Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future? 

Those listed above (who are still alive!), Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt and Kris Kristofferson.

If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why? 

My piano. It contains the whole band – the bass in the bottom, the rhythm in the middle, and the melody in the top.

If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?

My favorite movie of all time is STRICTLY BALLROOM, but I don’t think any of these songs would work there!  As I said before, two of my seven CDs contain the soundtracks I wrote for our movies, so the question is a bit hard to answer, as my music has been in movies. I wrote the song SKIN AND BONE, which is on THESE YEARS, for our movie 40 WEST.  I know this is not what you asked, but my favorite movie score of all time is Quincy Jones’ for THE COLOR PURPLE, followed by Alan Silvestri’s for FORREST GUMP, and Rachel Portman’s for THE CIDER HOUSE RULES.

Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about?

I will be touring in Northern Europe next fall. Dates will be forthcoming!

How will you be spending your winter?

I’ve been writing new songs that I hope to record soon. I will be doing some performing, and, living in Maine, I will be shoveling a lot of snow!

At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?

I hope they find the strength to keep the faith. I also hope the music grooves and moves them.

 

I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?

Well, when I was younger, I was always worried because I didn’t sound, as a singer, like anyone I heard on the radio. I’ve since embraced the fact that I don’t and own it. The same is true for the music that I write. I am influenced by and have performed many styles of music, which makes my music difficult to categorize.  I used to feel that this too, was a fault, but now I see it as a strength.  As my music falls outside of trends and era-defining sounds, it can’t be tied sonically to specific time periods. I hope that this will help it to sound fresh in 20 years. I hope those things I once considered weaknesses will come to make my music stand the test of time, but we’ll see!

Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?

Just that I am deeply grateful to my fans and followers, and that I appreciate your interviewing me. It’s been an honor!

About the Author

Leah Brungardt (recently married) joined All Access Music Group in August 2011 and has been enjoying getting to know a new side of the music industry ever since. Having worked to promote radio stations in the past, seeing what makes a successful radio hit has been a thrill. As a lover of all genres of music, working at All Access Music Group is a perfect fit for Leah, and she loves learning about up and coming musicians as well. Most of her friends have come to rely on her for new music. Leah grew up overseas attending American international schools and attended The University of Arizona, where she earned a BA in Music Management. She roots for the Wildcats every chance she gets. Leah has been able to work at a variety of music-related jobs including several internships at small independent labels, ClearChannel Radio and Journal Broadcasting Group. She also spent time working retail at a store that specializes in vinyl, which was a lot of fun for her. Her favorite movie is Empire Records, so that makes perfect sense.

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An Interview With The Canadian Rockers, THE DIRTY NIL!

Posted On 07 Dec 2018

The Canadian rock band The Dirty Nil were awarded the 2017 “Breakthrough of the Year” Juno Award. Since then, singer and guitarist Luke Bentham, bassist Ross Miller and drummer Kyle Fisher have played their glammed-up, maxed-out blitzkrieg bops with the likes of The Who, Against Me! and more.

Their latest album, “Master Volume” brings an ’00s post-punk sensibility to ticking-time-bomb, acutely 2018 lyrical anxieties. They worked with the Seattle producer John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, Wu-Tang Clan) to get a bigger, groovier and still raw sound on this collection. “Master Volume’s” a deeply sardonic album- though singer Luke Bentham admits this is very “Van Halen” of him, as many of the songs have to do with fast cars, and the fallout of their crashing.

 Check out their single “That’s What Heaven Feels Like” here:

Watch them play a house show HERE and see a fierce SXSW performance HERE

Connect With The Dirty Nil Here- WEBSITE

Learn more about The Dirty Nil in the following All Access interview:

Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?

Kyle Fisher: We are driving 8 hours from Nashville to Chapel Hill. Then we are going to rock the shit out of that place.

Since we are quickly wrapping up 2018, how has this year treated this band? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year?

K: This year has been absolutely phenomenal. We recorded and released the greatest record ever. What else could we ask for?

Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Has anything surprised you about this ride so far?

K: Luke and I made a blood contract when we formed this band. I don’t know if it’s kicking around but that was the definitive beginning. There’s too many surprises to name a particular thing. Opening for The Who was probably the biggest surprise of them all though.

How did you come up with your band name? Was it hard to agree on something that you felt was right? What other names were you considering?

K: The Dirty Nil is the only name we ever had and we’ve stuck with it since we picked it. We stole a couple other band names and smashed them together.

How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?

K: Considering there wasn’t a lot to do in Dundas except get stoned and blow shit up in the woods we killed time playing music. I think that the solitude of our hometown allowed us to focus on putting our destructive energy into two places. We were very good at both. Luke and I have set a lot of stuff on fire.

What did it feel like recently releasing your album, “Master Volume”? Can you recall what you all felt the first time you heard it all the way through? How did you celebrate the release of it?

K: Have you seen Pumping Iron? We all felt like Arnold at the end of that movie when he wins the contest. We celebrated with a massive hometown show that had pyro and fireworks in the sky. A big peanut butter ice cream cake and a shit load of booze. It was one for the books.

Did anything surprise you about the overall process of putting it together in the studio? How long did it take? Longer or shorter than expected?

K: There weren’t many surprises making this one. We knew what we wanted to do and accomplished exactly that. We recorded it over 3 weeks and we had a fucking great time doing it.

How do you all go about writing music? Is it something that you do altogether or separately?

K: Luke will come in with the main idea and then Ross and I work around it. We finish the arrangement all together after hours of practice. Some songs take longer than other than others but when its all said and done we are on the moon.

If time and money were not an issue, what would your dream music video look like?

K: We all have jet packs and fly around shooting popcorn and candy at people in the streets with a squad of dogs also in jet packs flying with us.

Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere? Do you have any upcoming tour dates this fall in support of your album?

K: There is no better feeling than playing to a crowd who are singing all the words to your songs. That’s definitely our happy place. We are currently on a 5 week tour right now across North America. There’s 11 shows left. Its been the absolute best tour we’ve ever done.

What was it like winning 2017’s Juno “Breakthough of the Year” award?  

K: It felt like being covered in gasoline and then being set ablaze.

I would love to know more about the video of you guys drawing yourselves as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Where did the idea to do this come from exactly? Are you guys fans of them?

K: I am a huge fan of the TMNT. I’ve had a blanket that is TMNT themed since I was a very little kid. I will never let it go. Also, TMNT: Turtles in Time is one of my favourite video games of all time. Fuck that Michael Bay shit.

How do you think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? What would you say is the most challenging part about it?

K: We get to travel the world and play music to people in all these different countries and cities, and that’s one of the most amazing feelings in the world. The dreams of our youth in full realization. We will do this shit for as long as we can because it is so damn fun. The only hard part is spending countless hours trapped in a van but you get used to it.

What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?

K: DMX, Limp Bizkit, Darude, Shaggy, etc.

What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?

K: The best part about art is that it leaves the person consuming it to have their own interpretation of it. That’s the way we like it so people can take whatever they want from it. If a song of ours connects with you then that’s all we hope for.

Where can our readers connect with you today?

We are everywhere. Global Nil takeover. Find us wherever you dare.

About the Author

Leah Brungardt (recently married) joined All Access Music Group in August 2011 and has been enjoying getting to know a new side of the music industry ever since. Having worked to promote radio stations in the past, seeing what makes a successful radio hit has been a thrill. As a lover of all genres of music, working at All Access Music Group is a perfect fit for Leah, and she loves learning about up and coming musicians as well. Most of her friends have come to rely on her for new music. Leah grew up overseas attending American international schools and attended The University of Arizona, where she earned a BA in Music Management. She roots for the Wildcats every chance she gets. Leah has been able to work at a variety of music-related jobs including several internships at small independent labels, ClearChannel Radio and Journal Broadcasting Group. She also spent time working retail at a store that specializes in vinyl, which was a lot of fun for her. Her favorite movie is Empire Records, so that makes perfect sense.

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Singer-Songwriter MALYNDA HALE Opens Up About Her Newest Music, How 2018 Turned Out and More!

Posted On 07 Dec 2018

Malynda Hale authentically gives herself and her heart on and off stage through her music, melodies and movement. The African American singer-songwriter uses both her music and social stature to bring to light new perspectives on important issues including female empowerment and the Black Lives Matter movement. Malynda’s latest single “Something Worth Fighting For,” serves up a perfect combo of an upbeat melody and inspirational lyrics. The single was in anticipation of her full  EP “The One” which released on June 22nd. 

Listen to “Something Worth Fighting For” on: Spotify |iTunes/Apple Music

Hale was born and raised in sunny Santa Barbara, California where she began singing at just five years old. At the age of seven she was learning to play the piano, and by the age of nine she started writing her own music. Malynda has since gone on to lead a successful, long-lasting music career. Just last year, Malynda won “Best Female Vocalist” at the Hollywood Music In Media Awards, was the headliner of the 2017 NAMM show, and has opened for artists such as Tyrone Wells, Ernie Halter and Levi Kreis.

With a mic constantly in the palm of her hand and a vast audience at her fingertips, Malynda has been able to utilize her voice to elicit change on multiple platforms – social justice, female empowerment, LGBTQ+ rights, veganism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Noting reactions are best responded to by taking action, Malynda has managed to dip her hands into several projects to support these causes. She hosts the femme-empowerment “Boss, Please” podcast, which shines a light on female execs and all-around girl bosses. She’s also the face of Valana Minerals, one of very few brands that have cruelty freebeauty products for women of color. Malynda has often spoken out regarding the importance of beauty brands being more inclusive and having products that represent different skin tones.

 Listen to the “Boss, Please” podcast here

Watch Malynda Hale’s “We Run” music video here

Additionally, Malynda’s recently released single “We Run” was written in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, depicting her experience as a black woman in America. The track, which is included in her upcoming EP, is meant to start a conversation by shedding a new light on the issue.

Connect with Malynda Hale Here:

Instagram | 17K Followers

Twitter | 16K Followers

Facebook

Music: YouTube Spotify | iTunes/Apple Music

Official Site: www.malyndahale.com

Learn more about Malynda Hale in the following All Access interview:

Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background? 

Thank you so much! I’m currently catching up on my favorite shows! So “Shondaland” is playing in the background!

How was your recent vacation with your husband to Fiji?!

It was truly an incredible experience. I can’t wait to go back. Everyone was so kind, and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. We had a blast.

Now that the year is almost over, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?

I think this year has been a true blessing. I think when I look back, I realize I have accomplished a lot. I can be extremely hard on myself when it comes to accomplishing goals, but I really think I did well this year. My main goal this year was to tour, I successfully did that for the majority of the summer, and I did it on my own! I was very proud of myself once I finished touring!

Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?  

I grew up singing in church and my dad was a musician so music was always a part of my life. To this day, when I saw Whitney Houston sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?

What a great question! I think the biggest surprise is that people are more willing to help than you think. Los Angeles can really have a negative reputation, but I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with people that are willing to uplift others, share resources and want the other person to succeed. I’ve always been that type of person so I’m really glad to have those people in my life as well.

How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?

Honestly, I think my music has been influenced by my living in different areas and being exposed to different parts of the country. A lot of my music is about my life experiences, but also what I’ve seen others experience as well. Now that I’m permanently in Los Angeles, I am definitely influenced by this city and the people around me.

Let’s talk about your empowering singles “Something Worth Fighting For” and “We Run.” What was the inspiration for these tracks? How do you think they compare to the rest of your newest EP “The One”? How did you go about writing these two songs in particular?

“Something worth Fighting For” was really meant to be an empowerment song. We are all fighting for something and we often need the encouragement to believe that we are strong enough to fight. I really wanted it to be a wake up in the morning and get you going type of song.  “We Run” is my most personable and vulnerable song to date. It means so much to me and even though the message behind it is very heavy and difficult, it was a fairly easy song to write. I honestly just allowed myself to not think and just simply say what I was feeling in the moment. Both songs are a huge representation of who I am, and I think they fit really well on the EP.

Do you plan to make music videos for any of the songs on “The One”?

That definitely was the plan, but time and schedules didn’t allow it this time! However, we did create a fun lyric video for “Something Worth Fighting For” that you can see on my YouTube channel!

Are you currently working on more new music?

I took a little break after my last EP and once I finished touring, but now I’m back and starting to work on new music to release and tour with next year. I’ll be doing a few singles at a time rather than a full project.

What has it been like co-hosting the femme-empowerment “Boss, Please” podcast? Why is this role so important to you? How do you think it has impacted your music?

It’s really been a great experience. A lot goes into making a podcast happen, but we all work so well together and have our individual duties. The best part of the podcast has been hearing all of these powerful women’s stories and learning how they got to be where they are in life. We’ve met some pretty inspiring people and it’s been a true blessing.

What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?

It’s honestly exhausting!  I feel like sometimes I’m kind of a boring person, especially when I see the great lengths that people go to in order to create such amazing content and instagram stories! However, I do think I keep people engaged with positive quotes and pictures, but I won’t lie and say it’s not difficult sometimes! Each social media platform serves a different purpose and they all have their own rules for audience engagement. It’s a constant learning process.

Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?

Anyone who knows me or has followed me and my career knows my first answer is always Gavin Degraw. He’s just the epitome of the type of artist I aspire to me. Other artists that I love and would love to work with are Sara Bareilles, India Arie and Audra McDonald. All huge inspirations in my music, how I sing, how I write and how I perform.

If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why? 

I would take my acoustic guitar because I still haven’t learned how to play it!

If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?

I have dreamed for years for one of my songs to be on “Grey’s Anatomy”. Songs placed on that show have launched massive careers for a lot of artists and I really want to be thrown into that pool.

Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your fall and winter?

I’m working on tour dates for next year, but right now I’m happy being at home with my hubby and my dog! I’ve barely been home this year so it’s nice to be settled for awhile.

At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?

I want people to feel empowered and lost in thought after they listen to my music. I want them to feel good and feel like they also went through a lot of emotions and feelings. It’s important for me to create music with a message. I want all of my songs to leave a lasting impact.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself and your music?

Just make sure to follow me on Spotify, Instagram and Twitter for current updates!

About the Author

Leah Brungardt (recently married) joined All Access Music Group in August 2011 and has been enjoying getting to know a new side of the music industry ever since. Having worked to promote radio stations in the past, seeing what makes a successful radio hit has been a thrill. As a lover of all genres of music, working at All Access Music Group is a perfect fit for Leah, and she loves learning about up and coming musicians as well. Most of her friends have come to rely on her for new music. Leah grew up overseas attending American international schools and attended The University of Arizona, where she earned a BA in Music Management. She roots for the Wildcats every chance she gets. Leah has been able to work at a variety of music-related jobs including several internships at small independent labels, ClearChannel Radio and Journal Broadcasting Group. She also spent time working retail at a store that specializes in vinyl, which was a lot of fun for her. Her favorite movie is Empire Records, so that makes perfect sense.

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An Interview With The 15-Year-Old Twins MAX + HARVEY On Their Latest Single ‘Trade Hearts’ and Much More!

Photo Credit- Chad Brady

RMI/Hollywood recording artists Max & Harvey recently released their new song “Trade Hearts.” Listen to it HERE. The song marks the 15-year-old twins’ first release since being signed to RMI records. The catchy new electro-pop track uses captivating vocals to explore a painful heartbreak. Backed by sleek, modern beats, Max & Harvey’s emotional single is their most mature yet.

Stream the song on all platforms HERE: http://hollywoodrecs.co/TradeHeartsSingle

On their new song, Max & Harvey said “”Trade Hearts” is unlike any of the other songs we’ve released so far, and we couldn’t be more excited that it’s our first song we’re releasing with Hollywood/RMI. It perfectly captures that painful moment in a relationship that so many people have experienced. We’re really happy with how it turned out, and hope our fans love it too.”

Max & Harvey took home the 2018 Radio Disney Music Award for “Favorite Social Music Artist” and they were nominated for “Social Star” at the iHeartRadio Awards.

From day one, Max & Harvey’s refreshingly fun and authentic sound has connected with fans across the globe. The 15-year-old Berkshire based twin brothers have been singing and playing instruments from an early age. They came to prominence two years ago, posting covers of their favorite songs, as well as their own original songs, on their social media platforms. Now with almost 6M followers on TikTok and over 1M followers on Instagram, the boys, who are signed to RMI Recordings in partnership with Disney Music Group/Hollywood Records and Polydor in the UK, are focusing on their music. Max & Harvey boast over 20M views on their YouTube channel, and release videos weekly giving their fans an inside look at their daily adventures! The boys released their first book “MAX AND HARVEY (IN A BOOK),” and a BBC documentary “MAX AND HARVEY (IN A SHOW)” in conjunction with their book, both are out now. They also host a weekly CBBC show called “FOMO.”

Connect With Max & Harvey Here:

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Learn more about Max & Harvey in the following All Access interview here:

How has 2018 been treating you guys? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year and how close are you to reaching it?

In 2018, we really wanted to drop an original song that we think best represents our sound and the direction we’re headed in and we got to do that with “Trade Hearts.”

Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this duo together? Has anything surprised you about this ride so far?

Harvey: I think the moment we decided we were going to be a duo together was when Max began to learn to play the guitar. He would play and we would both sing and we were about 8 or 9 years old.

Max: I’ve been surprised by how many amazing people we have met on our journey. I never thought we’d ever have this kind of opportunity to meet so many talented and knowledgeable people.

How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you both carry yourselves in this band?

I think being British definitely influences our sound. We try our best to maintain our accents through singing, which can be quite challenging seeing as most mainstream pop is American.

What did it feel like signing with RMI Records and then releasing your first single, “Trade Hearts,” with them?

It’s been amazing! Signing to RMI Records / Hollywood was really a dream come true for us and to be able to share “Trade Hearts” with our fans and seeing their reactions has been really awesome.

What was the inspiration for “Trade Hearts”? How would you say that it is different or similar to anything else that you have put out?

“Trade Hearts” is unlike any of the other songs we’ve released so far. We’ve always loved EDM so to be able to incorporate elements of that genre into our pop sound with our new music has been really exciting.

When do you hope to release more new music and a full collection of new songs?

We’re looking forward to releasing more music in 2019 🙂

Why did you decide to release a book and BBC documentary on top of everything else you two do?

We hadn’t even thought of releasing a book and a BBC documentary until we were approached by them. They pitched us the idea that they were basically just going to follow us for a few months and we loved the idea because people would be able to see every single crazy thing we do that they wouldn’t normally get to see.

What did it mean to you two to win the 2018 Radio Disney Music Award for “Favorite Social Music Artist”?

It meant the world to us and was one of the highlights of our year! Our fans are the BEST fans on the planet and we’re so thankful for all of the support they give us.

How was your headlining UK and Ireland tour? What were some favorite venues and crowds?

Our headlining tour was incredible! Being able to meet our fans and see their reaction to our music was really cool.

Where do you think you are both happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?

We are both 100% happiest performing on stage. We’ve been doing it for as long as we can remember and it’s pretty much the whole reason that this is the profession we want to have in the future.

How do you think being musicians and in this duo gives you all the most joy in life today?

Releasing and performing our music has always been a dream of ours so to be able to do this everyday brings us a lot of joy.

Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this duo?

Some of our favorite artists are Twenty One Pilots, Marshmello, and AJR because they all put on incredible, high-energy shows and we love how creative and unique their music is.

If you guys were all going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you want to take with you and why?

Definitely a ukulele because it’s a calming and easy to play instrument that you can sing loads of songs to!

What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?

We just want our music to be something to take people away from the real world and have fun listening to. If we can distract people from their busy lives with our music, or videos, just to make their day a little bit better, then that’s what makes us happy doing what we do.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your music?

We’re so excited for all our new music. It shows our growth and how far our music has come since we first started releasing music.

MIKE LLERENA + THE NERVE Discuss New Music, Biggest Inspirations and More!

Posted On 06 Dec 2018

Mike Llerena and his four-piece The Nerve come from the iconic music Mecca, Gainesville, FL. Their sound is uniquely reminiscent of all the legends that came from it — Tom Petty, Against Me!, Hundred Waters, Less Thank Jake, + some Ramones, Green Day.

Their newest album, Old Haunts & New Horizons is a coming of age record packed with equal chunks of grit & wit.

Learn more about Mike Llerena in the following All Access interview:

Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?

Thanks for having me! It’s a Sunday morning, so I’ll be taking it easy for today. Some errands, routine stuff around the apartment, working on new songs, nothing too crazy.

Since 2018 is about over, how has this year treated this band? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year?

This has been a great year for the band. We released our first full length album Old Haunts & New Horizons together, released a music video and are currently playing fall tour dates around Florida and Georgia. 

Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Has anything surprised you about this ride so far?

The band came together pretty organically during the making of our current album Old Haunts & New Horizons in the summer of 2017, which was originally just going to be my fourth solo album. It’s been a great ride so far and I’m just excited for us to keep playing shows in new cities and record another album together. 

How did you come up with your band name? Was it hard to agree on something that you felt was right? What other names were you considering?

We definitely thought of some terrible band name ideas, but “The Nerve” actually came out of a conversation I had with a close friend of mine that I was talking to about naming the band. I don’t actually remember which one of us said it first, but when I heard it said out loud, I knew it had my vote for the band name. I brought it to the rest of the band and it stuck. 

How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? I often wonder if artists feel any pressure when they are from the same place as other great artists like with you guys and Tom Petty and so many others?

While we all certainly have a lot of influences that aren’t specific to Gainesville, living and playing music here certainly played a role in me discovering and embracing certain bands. If I hadn’t moved to Gainesville and played music here for years, I would probably still like Against Me!, Hot Water Music and Tom Petty, but living here definitely makes you feel more of a kinship with those bands and artists.

Can you talk about what it like putting together your latest collection, “Old Haunts & New Horizons”? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?

We spent about a year recording the album. During that time, we formed the band, played shows in and out of Gainesville, kept recording in the studio, and lived our day to day lives outside of the band. Our engineer Jared Pennock (Z-Chord Studios) co-produced the album with me. He also co-produced and engineered my last two solo EPs as well. Working with him a third time was great because we have a sort of established shorthand with each other after recording together for so long. A lot of cool things can come out of working with someone you’re comfortable with in the studio: the spoken word intro on “Last Words”, the tape machine intro on “The Catharsis”, ideas like that are facilitated in that type of environment and it makes for great moments on the record. 

While it’s hard to pick favorites, can you pick out a few songs on this album and talk about how they came to be on the album and what was the inspiration behind them?

Our single “Crossfire” had actually started off as a slower, acoustic song (with harmonica parts on it nonetheless) before I adapted it to the faster, louder full band version that we play now. The lyrics of the song deal with the anxiety of feeling caught between two opposing sides in an argument, going through various stages of identifying with one side’s argument over another and trying to find your own place in that conversation. Whether you’re dealing with this on a more personal level or observing it in the current state of political discourse in the U.S., the lyrics of the song can apply to different situations.

The first and last songs on the album (“Last Words” and “The Catharsis”) serve as bookends of the loose narrative within the album, so I definitely spent a lot of time fine-tuning lyrics and adding subtle production touches to make the songs as fully realized as possible.

How do you go about writing music? Is it something that you do altogether or separately?

On our most recent album, I wrote and co-produced everything, but was fortunate enough to have our bassist Brian and our old drummer Scott add their creative input on their parts that helped make the album what it is. While I’ll still be the driving force behind the songwriting, we’re hoping to take that collaborative spirit with Brian and our new drummer Taylor a bit further on the next album. 

If time and money were not an issue, what would your dream music video look like?

Great question! It would probably still be something pretty simple and grounded in everyday stories that people can relate to, just like the approach I use when writing songs. 

Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere? Do you have any upcoming tour dates this fall in support of your album?

In the studio, playing live, we love it all! And yes, we’re currently playing a series of fall tour dates in Florida and Georgia in support of the new album and will most likely be adding a couple more dates in the near future (stay tuned!)

How do you think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? What would you say is the most challenging part about it?

We all love recording music and playing shows. There are obviously other parts of being in a band that go along with those things that aren’t always as fun, but we try not to let that stuff inhibit our love for playing music with each other. 

We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? Or do you think it doesn’t? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?

We certainly see bands making music now that is reflective of the current sociopolitical climate. The songwriting on our most recent album encompassed several years and isn’t necessarily a commentary on current events, but the great thing about music is that every listener can listen to a song and get a different meaning from it. 

With that said, some of the songs that I write are more indicative of things that I see in the world around me, rather than a strictly autobiographical story, so that stuff does make its way in there in subtle ways.

What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?

Between the three of us, that list has too many people to name. With that said, it would be pretty cool to work with Laura Jane Grace from Against Me! or Brian Fallon from The Gaslight Anthem.

What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?

Ultimately, I just hope that these are songs that people can listen and relate to, whether the stories relate to something going in your life or the lives of those around you.

Where can our readers connect with you today?

We’re on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Follow us for updates on new music, upcoming shows and other cool stuff!

About the Author

Leah Brungardt (recently married) joined All Access Music Group in August 2011 and has been enjoying getting to know a new side of the music industry ever since. Having worked to promote radio stations in the past, seeing what makes a successful radio hit has been a thrill. As a lover of all genres of music, working at All Access Music Group is a perfect fit for Leah, and she loves learning about up and coming musicians as well. Most of her friends have come to rely on her for new music. Leah grew up overseas attending American international schools and attended The University of Arizona, where she earned a BA in Music Management. She roots for the Wildcats every chance she gets. Leah has been able to work at a variety of music-related jobs including several internships at small independent labels, ClearChannel Radio and Journal Broadcasting Group. She also spent time working retail at a store that specializes in vinyl, which was a lot of fun for her. Her favorite movie is Empire Records, so that makes perfect sense.

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