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RED HEAT : Band : Steak & Cake Records

Red Heat is a relatively obscure “buddy-cop” action movie starring Arnold Schwartzenegger and the lame Belushi brother dating back to 1988. Worth a watch if you’re stuck in traction. Red Heat is also a Buffalo, New York based indie rock outfit that is forging new and unique sonic territory with their most recent album Animals.

Evensound was lucky enough to catch Red Heat live in the midst of their most recent north-east mini-tour on their stop in Batavia, New York. Having been described as “Doomy-Funk-Punk” and then hearing them describe themselves as “post-punk-political-indie” we didn’t know what to expect really.

What we got was an incredibly entertaining and top notch performance of some very unique and meticulously crafted rock songs. Go ahead and hyphenate as many sub-genres as you want, Red Heat are just a really fantastic rock and roll band. Musicianship and originality bursting out their seems.

To be fair, the description of “Doomy-Funk-Punk” is as close as you’re going to get, but it doesn’t seem to really capture the imagination and fun resonating within Red Heat. They have such a wonderful combination of musical whimsy and political intellect that it’s almost as if the lyrical vibe of Rage Against the Machine had a baby with the musical soul of Cake… or if the Ren & Stimpy soundtrack had a baby with Noam Chomsky.

Challenging the status quo and arriving at something new and uniquely their own, the deep grooves laid down by the rhythm section are taken to incredibly interesting new heights with the unbelievably imaginative and innovative guitar work of Nick Randall.

The creative center and heart of Red Heat is singer/bassist/drummer/songwriter/label-operator/audio-engineer/political-activist/all-around-awesome-dude, Brandon Schlia. His digital indie label, Steak&Cake Records, just celebrated it’s 5 year anniversary and features some amazing other acts.

Red Heat’s featured song “Dread” , a song about dealing with a feeling we all run from, bounces back and forth between a funky dark half-time beat and uptempo surf-rock chorus. The track garnered some pretty interesting comments in their Audiokite report –

“I thought this song was nice and upbeat–it reminds me of summer-it’s a nice song to listen to while riding in the car with the windows down!”

“The song was really cool, I like the introduction the best. Good band”

“This is a really fun song. Reminds me of XTC! Great sound!”

“I liked the contrast between the verse and the chorus.”

Brandon was able to fit in a quick Q&A with Evensound while still on tour and we’re happy to share that conversation with you here.

How did Red Heat start ? – is the name inspired by the 80’s cop movie?

Yes! Well, that movie isn’t remembered well so its nice to know someone else remembers. But, thematically, no its wasn’t the inspiration. The movie is bad, its opening scene especially, and the original drummer and I joked around about it a lot so when we started practicing, it was easy to agree on that for a name. The music and lyrics are inspired by social issues and written in language a 5 year could read which might come off as ironic to some people, but its just hyper-literal.

Writing such unique songs, what is the song writing process like? What are your influences?

Well at this point in the band I write the bass parts and play the drums. Mostly that comes together through the magic of computers. For drums: Mark Guliana, Damon Atkinson, Pete Metzler. For bass: Nikolai Fraiture, Rob Pope, Eric Roberts. Nick likes Tom Verlaine, David Tronzo, and Marc Ribot. We don’t have a songwriting formula anymore, the only unwritten rule is that it has to have dynamics and syncopation.

Tell us about Steak & Cake records?

It’s the name of a digital only label that I started in 2011 that mostly includes music I wrote, recorded or performed along with many other musicians in the Buffalo community. It’s like the thrift store of recording; you can walk in with very little money but leave with something you’d wear on a date.

How would you describe your local scene?

At the national level Buffalo seems to get the blue collar vibes although working class isn’t really anything anyone directly identifies with, in my circles at least. The News covers dad-bands mostly and the blogs cover EDM, but at the underground level there are people doing good work. Some parts are more disconnected than others, but there are so many people dedicated to supporting.

How have new digital steaming services affected the DIY approach to releasing music?

No one I know ever really talks about streaming and local acts or unknown touring bands in the same sentence. If you want to hear the new Coldplay album, Spotify has it. But at my shows I haven’t ever heard someone say check us out on Spotify! on the mic. Those sites don’t seem to be a major part of my community. But free downloads, cassettes, vinyl and some cds are still in play.

What advice would you give to bands just starting out?

You will never make it so stop thinking you will and just shut up and play your damn music. and practice.

What are listening to at the moment?

Parquet Courts, Pinesheets, Chet Baker, Brad Mehldau, EMEFE, Pierre Cavalli, RH Factor, William Onyeabor, Aerosmith, Tom Waits, Nirvana, Thelonious Monk, John Cage, Bela Bartok.

How was your Audiokite experience?

interesting.

Any final thoughts?

Just thanks so much for helping us to share our music with a wider audience.

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Band: Dead Stars

This month Evensound is thrilled to be able to feature Brooklyn’s own, soon to be indie-rock-legends, Dead Stars. Gearing up for the release of their second full length record Bright Colors they’ve recently released a video for the single “Calm Punk” and have been playing a handful of shows around NYC.

Dead Stars have been a staple Brooklyn band for years and have truly earned their stripes in the indie rock world. Although, AV Club recently made the stretch of a comparison to The Lemonheads, this Evensound writer remembers a house-party performance in Brooklyn where the band literally played in an empty pool to an eager crowd above.

Their set was cut short when the cops showed up for the typical movie-party-scene-cliche noise complaint. However, Dead Stars’ legacy of being the quintessential indie grunge trio was forever cemented. At that moment they were the musical equivalent of Nirvana and Weezer.

In fact, Dead Stars later played a show on the anniversary of the Nirvana album Nevermind. All the bands threw a couple Nirvana covers in their sets and Dead Stars were as close as you’ll ever get to the real thing. The three-piece rock band purity shines through with them in a way that is defined by their effective and powerful live show.

Jeff Moore, Singer-Songwriter-Guitarist took some time to chat with us about their process, the new record, and time travel. Make sure to watch the video for “Calm Punk” and pre-order Bright Colors out March 4th.

How was the process of recording the new record?

It all happened really fast. We finished touring in the Summer of 2014 for our first album Slumber and immediately started writing and working on songs for Bright Colors. That took about 2 months. Then we went into the studio in October of 2014 with Jeff Berner, who we’ve worked with on our last couple of releases and just knocked it all out in a week or so.

All of the basic tracks were done live to 2″ tape and then we overdubbed another guitar track and vocals. Then we mixed and it was done. We tried to keep everything really simple and stripped down. The thing that took the longest was figuring out the best time and way for us to release the album. I’m glad we waited. The timing is right.

What is the Dead Stars songwriting process like?

Usually I come up with a verse and a chorus or an idea and bring it to the rest of the band. We work on it and see what needs to be done to make it better and that’s pretty much it. Some songs just happen and some need a bit more work. If it takes too long we usually scrap it or save it for later. The best songs usually write themselves.

Tell us about Weird Tree Records?

Weird Tree is our own label we created to release our own music. It’s mostly a name but we’ve been using it off and on for awhile when we’ve put something out that’s not on another label. Since we are self releasing Bright Colors we decided we should make it a bit more official. Hopefully it can turn into something more.

How has the Brooklyn music scene evolved over the past decade?

It seems like there are more bands now. It also seems like there are less venues. I don’t really know how the scene has evolved. We’re usually too busy living our lives and doing our own thing musically to pay attention. We’ve always felt a bit on the outskirts of any sort of scene anyway.

How do you feel about the way the music industry has shifted to digital streaming? How does it affect the indie artist?

It will be good once they figure out how to pay the artists decently for the streams. Right now it’s not very lucrative. That’s why I think it’s important to sell physical product still. Vinyl (if you can afford it), cassettes, shirts. Anything that can help you continue to make music. Hopefully there will always be a place for that.

What are Dead Stars plans for 2016?

Well the album comes out March 4th. We have a release show in Brooklyn and then we go on tour down to SXSW. After that we’ll just keep playing shows and see what happens. Write more music. Play more shows. Keep creating.

How was your Audiokite experience?

It was good. I didn’t really look at any of the feedback except for the final result. It seems like people liked the song. I can’t really pay attention to graphs and charts when it comes to my own music. I let the other guys check it out. Letting things like that affect the creative process I feel isn’t good for me. I’m a firm believer in following your own instinct. It’s a great tool and an interesting idea though so I hope people continue to get something out of it.

What advice would you give to young new bands and artists?

Write good songs and play as many shows as possible. Never stand still. Always keep moving forward and stay active.

What has your ear at the moment? What are you listening to?

I haven’t listened to anything too new in awhile. I really like this Scottish band called Paws. I’ve been listening to them a lot.

Any final thoughts?

If your future self traveled back in time to confront you now and tell you what you should be doing. You should figure out what that is and do that. That’s the closest we can get to time travel and changing the past. This is a philosophy I’ve been living by for the past 6 months.

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Music: Connor Vance

Gainesville, Florida is home to our current Evensound artist, Connor Vance. Having shifted gears from athletics to music and moving from Canada to one of the southern most states in the US, Connor is proving himself to be a more than capable singer/songwriter with a knack for writing personal lyrics with broad appeal. His first single “Run” has a deeper meaning than you’d expect after seeing the video.

Connor answered some questions for us here at Evensound so that we could get a better understanding of his inspiration and thoughts on beginning his music career.

What is your musical background? How long have you been playing and writing?

Coming from a family of superb athletes, my early life revolved around playing competitive sports. I was bound and determined to follow in the footsteps of my family. I dedicated most of my time passionately playing hockey with a mindset of one day, making it into the big leagues.

Growing up in a small town in British Columbia, Canada (Prince Rupert), you pretty much have two options: become a pro hockey player, or become a fisherman. During a tournament when I was 13 (there were scouts recruiting for pro Hockey clubs), I had received a vicious hit, which left my right leg bruised so bad I couldn’t walk. I had no choice but to return home, losing what I thought was my shot to be a pro Hockey player.

As I rehabbed, I remember hearing my older brother upstairs making some kind of terrible noise. He bought a cheap guitar and amplifier and decided to try playing the guitar. One day, bored out of my mind, I picked up that old dusty red Epiphone SG.

Basically overnight, my focus of playing sports had completely shifted to being a musician. My life long dream of being a professional hockey player had fell off its course and shifted to the rock star mentality.

I would play guitar for hours and hours; in the morning, after school, and basically whenever I could. I remember being in class completely dazing off, listening to my favored guitarists, sometimes getting in trouble for not paying attention.

My folks split when I was two years old. I never really lived with my Dad, but I knew he had a love for music. After playing guitar for only 6 months I sent him a clip of me playing a cliche Extreme song. He immediately called me afterwards and told me, This is what you’re meant to do this is your destiny.

Since that phone call, I continued to develop my guitar playing skills. I also learned how to sing and eventually wrote my own tunes. I’ll always remember my friends saying how much I sucked at singing and playing guitar; which I am grateful for. They motivated me to get better to the point where I’d be appreciated, rather than shut down.

In 2014, I had an opportunity to move down to Gainesville, Florida in the US to live with my father and pursue this dream of mine. As soon as I had graduated from high school, I packed my stuff, saved up my money, and here I am stateside following my dreams.

Who are your biggest influences?

When I first started playing guitar, I was heavily influenced by the typical guitar Gods such as: Stevie Ray, Jimi Hendrix, Zakk Wylde, John Frusciaunta, and Slash. I found that my style of lead guitar playing has slightly stemmed off of those artists, but at the same time, took its own path due to many different genres of music I listen too.

As I started singing and songwriting, my heavily influenced passion towards playing the guitar shifted. Even though I was obsessed with being great on the guitar, I began listening to more of the lyrics, structure components, and melodies of songs, rather then just the guitar.

As I became more serious as a songwriter, I started listening to artists like John Mayer, Incubus, Chris Cornell, Jack White and Coldplay. Other brilliant artists emerged like Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Imagine Dragons, whom influenced me. I have a deep respect and appreciation for talent and the drive it takes to create catchy songs, and be able to share with millions of people around the world.

What is your song writing process?

There are many different ways I’ll write a song. I tend to fluctuate methods and strategies as much as possible, so I don’t plateau.

I’ll usually start off with a guitar in my hands and a head full of ideas. Whatever emotion I am feeling at that time I’ll apply to the guitar. I usually fool around with chords and patterns on the guitar until I have something that appeals to me.

Once I have the guitar progression, I open up my notebook and either write down initial thoughts that come to my head. It also sometimes works where I can write an entire songs lyrics and apply the guitar after.

When I had written my single “Run”, it was inspired completely from true, traumatic events taken place in my auntie Teresa’s shoes. She had been diagnosed with cancer living in Penticton, BC, Canada. When she was going through chemotherapy, she had a major life threatening surgery coming up, which put her in a position of very strong worry and fear. To say the least, she needed all the support and love she could get at this very rough stage in her life.

At this emotionally trying time, she had found out that her husband of 25 years had been having an affair on her, and was getting ready to leave her. Devastated, she wondered why he was doing this, and at such a bad time in her life. Luckily, the surgery went successful and her cancer was cleared. But when she came home from long nights and months at the hospital, she had nothing to come home to, but heart wrenching memories, anger, frustration, sadness, and so many questions as to why this was happening (the chorus ends with “I worried when things turned grey, that you’d run”).

This had me full of emotion and sadness for someone I loved so much in my family. When I started writing this song, it came through very easily and I wanted to write it in a way that people can take, listen to it, and apply whatever pain they are going through in their life, such as breakups, fights, and so on.

Once I began working with my producer/manager Ian Bentley, I realized that there is so much more involved in creating a finished track than just 4 chords and a catchy hook. From the beats, to the structure, to the ebbs and flows of a tune, there’s so much that goes into a song. Each day I write I feel I am becoming better of an artist.

How do you feel about the status of the music industry and its shifting distribution models in regards to its effect on the indie artist?

Social media is key in today’s indie landscape. Being able to connect with new fans across the world is a click away. I know that record companies are still trying to figure out how to profit from artists now that streaming sites seem to be much more dominate than the old school record stores of the past. They just can’t make the money they used to from CDs. But while the ability to distribute music independently is as easy as it’s even been, there is more competition to get the ears of a new fan. It is not as easy as just putting up flyers in your local town and get A&Rs to show up and sign you. As an independent artist, self-promotion is just as important, if not more than creating a hit song. Only the massively driven musicians who can understand that they have to go out and get it will thrive. If you think it will just come to you because you can write a good tune and publish it on Spotify, I hope you had a nice dream and you slept well.

How was your Audiokite experience?

I really had no idea what Audiokite was. My producer and manager Ian Bentley was very adamant on testing the tracks we recorded in the studio. He felt it was important to understand what tracks resonated well with what genres and age groups. This ties more into the last question on being an Indie artist… understanding who your fans are. Audiokite certainly helped in determining what track we would release first (“Run” tested in the 97% percentile), and the comments and presentation of the reports were very in-depth.

I knew we had something special when we got a response like this:

One of the best songs I’ve listened to through these HITs. I rarely give people 10s because that implies perfection, but this song deserved all the 9s I gave it. Everything is great quality. I can’t pick out a single part of the song I didn’t like. This song could easily be played on the radio and if this artist continues down this path I could see them doing quite well in their future.

We checked the reviewers average rating it was a 4.3 out of 10. Understanding that we got a 9/10 from him meant we were not getting smoke blown up our butts.

One of the cooler comments we got from a reviewer was a word that I did not sing clear on “Run”. She thought that I had sung, “When things turn Cray, that you’d run” – thinking I was trying to be like Kanye West. We then went back into the mastering session and fixed it so there is no doubt I sing “Grey”, not “Cray” LOL.

Finally, we actually used the data from Audiokite and tested our first single “Run” on ReverbNation. Because the data from Audiokite was so good, we had a feeling how it would test there and we were able to land a Crowd Picks spot (radio ready track). Yeah! one fan at a time!

What are you listening to right now?

Lately I have been listening too a lot of Chris Cornell. He has always been one of my biggest influences as not only a singer, but a songwriter as well. I particularly have always been a huge fan and respected him for the fact that his writing style fluctuates from love, to real world problems, to life struggles, and downbeat elements of life that are so real and pull so much emotion.

Besides my inner heavy rock side, I am Canadian born and have a pop feel to me as well, which is why I can’t help but respect fellow Canadian Justin Bieber’s new album Purpose. I really appreciate the acoustic stuff he’s done such as “Love Yourself” – it tells a great story and really connects people with the music and story. His other stuff including “Sorry” and “What do you mean” are also brilliantly produced and super catchy.

I’m big fan of Ed Sheeran right now, I have so much respect for how somebody with such a unique style of music can skyrocket themselves to fame with such catchy, acoustic driven songs.

If there is any modern day alt rock band I would favor, it would be Imagine Dragons. Very impressed with their latest release.

What are your plans and goals for 2016?

Honestly, my goals for 2016 are to connect with as many fans that can relate with my songs, be it lyrically, melodically or both. I just want to get out there and play my music for as many people as I can.

Anything you’d like to add?

If you are an artist that is in the writing process, or has a finished track, spend the extra loot and test it. Either you will get confirmation you have something great, or, you can get unbiased comments on what people did or didn’t like, which can only help improve a song. My tips to any artist: The first time you read anything that may be construed as negative; get sad, get mad and yell to the world they don’t know shit. Then once you have calmed down, go back a few days later and better yourself by taking the comments as way to improve yourself and your art.

Finally, Thanks for the opportunity to share my music!!!

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Band: The Leones

As a Halloween treat for our loyal Evensound audience, we’re thrilled to feature the haunting and contemplative shoe-gaze-freak-folk duo known as The Leones.

Consisting of singer/songwriter/pianist Justin Bachulak and guitarist Dustin Lau, The Leones create a musical atmosphere of warm rich tones and dark negative space while incorporating some seriously creative lyrical depth. The minimal orchestration lends itself to an aesthetic of reverb soaked guitar swells and smokey jazz bar piano. The eclectic lyrics paired with soulfully delivered vocal melodies also enhance the overall feeling that you’re listening to the performance from the depths of a massive secret chamber.

The band has released two recordings of their live sessions featuring the songs “Canyon” and “Fire Walk With Me”. The songs have helped propel their first successful Kickstarter campaign. They have recently met their goal of funding the recording of their debut EP, Ghost in the City. They will be recording with a member of Justin’s previous band Crows and Jays, fellow western NY musician Anthony Del Plato. Del Plato, who’s proving himself as the go-to producer/engineer, was responsible for the excellent and awesomely nostalgic sounding debut EP 1993 by the Buffalo band Cooler. The artwork for Ghost in the City is also featuring the wonderfully whimsical work of Buffalo artist Mickey Harmon. The combination of talent lining up with this project is intoxicating.

The Leones not only scored amazingly well with Audiokite but also captured our attention here at Evensound. The quality of their authentic and timeless sound is only equaled by the heart shown by the two musicians involved. Get a better understanding of who The Leones are and include them in your new favorite Halloween mix.

The Leones will be playing Buffalo’s The Waiting Room and Babeville 9th Ward with the heavily anticipated release of Ghost in the City.

 

 

Congrats on the successful Kickstarter campaign, how do you feel reaching your goal and what’s the plan with recording and release?

Thank you, getting successfully funded helped us tremendously. The support from our campaign not only helped with giving us the capability of making more out of the album from a cost standpoint but it really gave us a positive push to know that people were behind us to make this music. That was the definitely the most gratifying part of it.

You’ve referred to this new collection of songs as the best you’ve ever written and that you don’t feel constrained by the standard pop song formula. What is your song writing process like?

The process is what I love most. I’m a father and a husband, at this point it was important for me to feel like I was available for my family. So it was truly gratifying to just sit and write when it was flowing and not force the process knowing I had commitments, musically. I felt I was a capable songwriter but completely trusting my creative process by waiting for when it called and not pushing it made some special things happen. Especially when I found I felt comfortable enough to write in front of our guitarist Dustin Lau.

In the past I would have to be alone for the writing process and a couple of the songs I was alone, but it was an experience I will never forget. To write in the presence of a musician I connected with and to be able to instantly express those waves of creativity with another musician was very fulfilling. That is what has fueled the whole project. I like to find a chord or two and let a theme develop just from that, maybe picture a natural setting. Lately, that’s all it would take and the songs would came together from there.

How do you feel about the state of the music industry in relation to new distribution models and it’s affect on the indie artist ?

I like how accessible so many amazing artists are. And it’s hard to disagree with the idea that if we didn’t have some of these current formats, we would not not know about some of our favorite music. But I still feel musicians are some of the worst paid people on the planet. In a way, the industry is like it was in the 1930’s and 40’s when big names reigned financially supreme and the rest played for the pure experience of the writing and performing process, and making something on top of that was nice, but damn it’s hard to live on, especially when you have a family.

In a way it’s a microcosm of this country, the whole 1% thing. But it is still true and totally possible that you can start and grow all by yourself and become successful. You might not make big record deal money like previous generations but I think that is why we are seeing such intimate and creative music from so many people, they’re not bound by money. With the resurgence of vinyl records making more revenue that streaming services we might be headed to a new place in the industry that hopefully has the best of both worlds of creativity and sustainability.

What are you listening to right now?

I’m liking a lot of freak-folk bands that have a full vintage sound, like Holy Wave’s album, Relax is fantastic. Always like instrumental stuff in the car, especially classic jazz. But my Halloween mix is my pride and joy of mixes. So, since its Halloween time…

Justin’s Essential Halloween Party Mix

How do you feel about your local music scene?

I feel like in the last couple years the music scene in Buffalo has gained some really great artists. One of my personal favorites and a Buffalo staple is Sonny Baker. He’s a friend a true songwriter with a wide range of influences. We dig the space rock act Aircraft’s sound too. It’s always fun working with different artists for shows. On November 20th we are headlining at The Studio at Waiting Room with Applennium who have a very unique sound. The venues we worked with including Waiting Room and Babeville have been very kind and supportive. We’re proud to be apart of the music scene here.

What are some of your influences?

My biggest influence personally is Mr. Elvis Costello. A musical encyclopedia and the man is flawless at hopping genres. I had my own private musical education by listening extensively to his bonus discs Rhino records released throughout the 2000’s of all his albums.

I always loved dark minor tunes but also psych and prog-rock (Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Pete Gabriel era Genesis, The Moody Blues) but also rock that can pick you up without being sappy but still have some form of darkness to them.

So, that’s what we wanted to do with our music, having minor chord, dark themed verses leading to an uplifting major chorus seemed like a fairly common template. Incorporating the jammy or score-like piano I like to play (big Jon Brion fan as well as jazz pianists like Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, and Wayne Horvitz) I felt some of
my past music didn’t fit my piano quite as well as I had first hoped, but with Dustin’s dream like guitar and pedal work it made more sense. We both really loved The War on Drugs album Lost in the Dream – I mean who didn’t? And My Morning Jacket’s stuff. We found with just the two of us those influences kind of mixed with a little Neil Young and Crazy Horse and then the freak-folk and piano score stuff all seemed to fit with what we were attempting.

What are your goals for 2016?

To get our album Ghost in the City completed for our album release show January 30th at Babeville 9th Ward, play some fun venues, meet some great people, and continue to create an intimate and deep experience for us and our listeners. A small tour will be on the horizon too.

What advice can you give musicians just starting their journey?

Don’t think about anything but writing the truest music you can write. After that, work each day to try to get your music out there. It’s okay to ask for help. Musicians that feel bad reaching out to venues or other musicians usually will find themselves stuck. And when you play, make it all about your music. Let everything else fall away.

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Piano Music: Daniel Ketchum

Music in its purest form is technically a collection of sound waves. When you break down the audible frequency spectrum, the power of vibration can be extrapolated into some pretty fascinating areas of neuroscience, music therapy, and vibrational meditation.

Daniel Ketchum understands these principles of vibration and their powerful effects in meditation and healing. Daniel is a classically trained pianist specializing in ethereal, dreamy, atmospheric piano melodies. He’s been perfecting his blend of classical and new age piano composition for over 20 years.

With his songs continually scoring in the 99th percentile of the Audiokite report system, we here at Evensound became fixated with his artfully crafted sonic landscapes. Daniel was cool enough to take time out of his fifty hour work week and full time job of being a father of five to answer our questions about his music and his philosophies in sacred geometry and vibrational meditation through music.

You’re a very unique artist in that you’re classically trained and not confined to the standard 3 minute pop song formula. What is your song writing process like?

Thank you, I take that as a huge complement! The whole process from start to finish is very complex. I start off by trying to tell a story usually about a feeling or something that has inspired me. So, I go into a meditative state while playing the piano, letting the melody flow through me. Then I work on refining that melody so it’s very precise and conveys the feeling I’m wanting. Usually this happens in little fragments or clips. But it’s much deeper than that, most fragments/clips when I repeat them throughout the song are fractals or reflection of it’s former self, slightly altered in some form or another. After I have enough fragments of a song, I then work on mixing them together, I usually try to do this in the form of The Heroes Journey ( A pattern of storytelling used for thousands of years). The entire process of completing a song can take weeks to months and sometimes even years. Then I do some home recordings and listen back to them so I can tweak them before I go to the studio.

What are your thoughts about sacred geometry in relation to frequency and vibration – does it affect your approach to music.

That’s a complicated question, I’m not even sure if I can explain it with words haha! Our experience and our reaction to all things beautiful is made possible by our unique ability to subconsciously recognize geometric harmonic waves of energy. What our senses respond to is the geometrical intervals of wave forms created through the application of sacred geometry. When you look at a beautiful flower what you’re seeing is sacred geometry used in it’s visual form at just the right harmonic intervals to create that flower. When you listen to a beautiful song you’re hearing sacred geometry in it’s auditory form at just the right harmonic intervals to make that song beautiful. If you take a glass of water and expose it to that same beautiful song you where just listening to it would change the structure of the micro clusters in the water forming geometric patterns that are intelligent and coherent to the origin of the songs creation. As Masuro Emoto so eloquently demonstrated in his book Message From Water.

I try to use Sacred geometry principles in my music as intervals of reflections, reflections of emotion of previous parts of the song but ever evolving as it progresses through the story. In this way I attempt to capture a story in the wave forms created through the application of sacred geometry so the listener can translate what they are hearing into visual information. I never really knew if this worked until I got some amazing feed back from Audiokite. Three of my song had listeners that were able to tell me exactly what I was thinking or going through when I wrote the songs even though there are no singing or lyrics. A reviewer said that when they heard my song “Mystical Creatures” they were imagining old castle type of structures which was exactly what I was imagining when i wrote the song. In fact I had named the song Ancient Castles but then changed the name last minute. The same thing happened with “Among The Mist” where a reviewer described exactly what I was going through when I wrote the song.

We didn’t see anything on your site about upcoming live performances, any interest in live shows?

I’ll be honest Right now I’m not interested in live shows and just the thought of preforming live terrifies me – lol. But I think that’s just because I don’t have the time I feel like I would need to get ready for live performances. Besides music, I work 50 hours a week as a kitchen manager in a busy restaurant and have an adorable family with 5 kids that take up most of my time. But if there was a demand for it and I had the time it’s something I would consider.

What are you’re thoughts on contemporary music and the status of the music industry given the massive shift in digital distribution to streaming?

I’m not really a fan of MOST music played on the radio these days. I feel like it lacks creativity and emotion! Or maybe I’m just picky, but when I listen to music, I want to feel something from it, not just hear the same boring melody, beat and lyrics over and over again. Don’t get me wrong I like lots of the music out there and the stuff I like, I really, really like.
I’m really loving the shift from digital distribution to streaming! I’m making way more from streaming than I ever have from digital distribution and even more so than from hard copy’s. It’s crazy though cause twenty years ago, with out the online industry i don’t feel like i would have been able to be as successful, you had to be signed or know the right people in the business which seamed almost impossible. I just don’t know how sustainable the music streaming industry is… But I like it. As a whole though, I feel like the digital online music movement is a good thing for musicians.

What are you currently listening to? What are your thoughts on contemporary pianists?

Currently I listen mostly to dub-step. Which most people find odd – lol. But my favorite type of music is probably movie sores because I feel like the good scores are packed full of the most emotion. But it’s not like I just listen to movie scores throughout the day, only when I’m watching a good movie.

On the contemporary pianists, yeah there are some good ones out there but none that I’ve heard lately that I’m crazy about. Then again maybe I just don’t listen to enough of my genre of music outside of myself. Anyway most of the stuff I’ve heard lately though feels like it’s lacking or missing something, emotion or feeling maybe, not sure.

What did you think of your Audiokite experience?

My overall experience with Audiokite was great! Two out of the 3 songs I submitted scored in the 99th percentile, the other I think was 95th percentile so I was happy about that. I loved the feedback both good and bad. It was awesome reading what people loved about my songs and super helpful to read that most of the issues people had with them were things I was aware of. I really loved the film and televisions charts as well. Anyway I was impressed enough that I’ll definitely be using AudioKite again in the future for both my finished and unfinished work!

What advice would you give to young musicians just getting started?

To never give up! I’ve been playing and writing piano music for 23+ years now and it’s just now starting to take off for me, But It’s definitely worth the wait! Learn what works and what doesn’t and keep changing your approach until you get the results you want!

What are your goals for 2016 ?

2016 is going to be a great year! My goals for next year are to finish my next album and delve into more film score type style of music. Triple my income from my music so I can quit my day job. Get back on track with my exercise, tai-chi and hapkido scheduled all while somehow managing to find the time to juice enough fresh vegetable juice, culture enough vegetables, make enough kombucha and grow enough fresh herbs for the whole family lol… I’m kind of a bit of a health freak!

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Band: Blue Light Bandits

We’d like to introduce you to our most recent Evensound artist, Blue Light Bandits. Hailing from New England, they expertly combine their incredible musicianship with interesting stories and compelling melodies. Their authentic sound is soulful, timeless, and not without a fair amount of funk.

Their story is an interesting one as they’ve grown and evolved over the years into the well oiled machine that they are today. Playing nearly 200 shows a year while holding down full time jobs, Blue Light Bandits not only put the “fun” in funk, but they prove that hard work and perseverance pays off.

Although they’re keeping a nearly impossible schedule these days, they were able to answer some questions for us here at Evensound.

 

How did you guys come together and form the band, where did the band name come from?

Dan and Ethan met in high school and started the band as a cooperative effort to escape from formal music training and begin creating. Over the years of playing as an acoustic duo, they met Mike (drummer) and finally became a rock band. Recently, the group found Ricky playing solo in some of the same places they played in Worcester and swept him up to complete the group. The band name is a combination of a memorable blue light visual at one of their first gigs and the movie Bandidas, which was viewed as part of a Christmas time movie ritual.

How would you classify your sound? Who are your influences ?

We would classify our sound as a soulful combination of Rock, Pop, and Funk. Some of our most profound influences are John Mayer, Kings of Leon, Jimmy Hendrix, Robert Glasper, and Coldplay. We are always finding new influences and searching for music that changes us and inspires us to create something new. This is what keeps us close together and on the same page, even as it turns.

What is your songwriting process?

Most of the time the music comes first. We all seem to indulge in the therapeutic nature of the sounds we make, so we tend to play what we feel. Someone creates an atmosphere or a motif and then we sit down and explore it together. Once the main parts are created and we have said what need to say musically, the words just seem to fall into place with the environment that was already created.

How is the new record coming along? How did you get hooked up with the Converse Rubber Tracks ?

Ethan: Slow but steady – we’ve found that studio time needs to be as comfortable and pressure-free as possible in order to end up with something we like. It’s a hard thing to find the time and resources for with each band member balancing a full time job along with 3-4 late nights each week gigging. But we’ve got two tracks in the oven that need final touches on mixing and mastering and we’re pretty excited about how they’ll turn out. Each provides a nice entry-level look into what we’ve been up to musically.

While I was an undergrad in Syracuse University’s Music Industry program, I met Fader Magazine & Cornerstone Agency co-founder and fellow ‘Cuse alum Jon Cohen. Jon was hugely instrumental in working with Converse to get the Rubbertracks project off the ground a few years ago. Jon encouraged us to apply for studio time in January of 2015 as Rubbertracks was just beginning to take root in Boston. We were accepted and ended up doing two sessions at Q Division Studios in Somerville, MA (one through RT and one on our own) and worked with Matt Beaudoin, an excellent engineer and producer who’s worked behind the board for the likes of Ryan Adams, Fountains of Wayne, and Howie Day. It was an incredible experience we’d recommend to anyone, and gladly do again. We even scored free shoes and plan to continue working with Converse as they move to impact the Boston music scene in larger ways with each passing year.

What’s the plan for the release of the new record? New England – National tour ?

We don’t have any finalized full album plans yet, but we do plan to release a couple new songs that we have been working on before the end of the year. Now that we have finally found a permanent guitarist, we are starting to plan some short “mini tours” down the east coast for next summer, as well. All the while, we have weekend residencies in both Worcester and in Boston and play a consistent circuit of shows all across New England.

How was your Audiokite experience ?

Dan: Great! Audiokite definitely exceeded my expectations. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I purchased my first report, but I was very impressed with what it had to offer. We used Audiokite to get some feedback on some new songs we are working on. The feedback we received was thorough and straightforward and highlighted some simple ways in which the songs could be better received. The presentation of the data was clean and everything was very easy to understand. I found it invaluable to have random ears critiquing our sound and not our friends and family because some of the most brutal comments offered the most insight. In addition, it was nice to hear some praise for our work and see who (demographically) is really into it.

How do you feel the music industry is handling the changing distribution model and new independent artists?

Ethan: I am definitely a fan of the direction music consumption has been headed. I find subscription streaming to be an extremely convenient and efficient way to consume music, in that it is eliminating compact disc clutter and is making song file piracy obsolete and unnecessary.

The social aspects that Apple and Spotify have added to their services enhance the experience even more. But streaming is not without its issues. It’s nice to see songwriter royalty streaming injustices being taken to court lately, as I feel the extreme decline in songwriter royalty payouts was a horrible and largely unprecedented side effect of the shifting model of distribution.

Another thing that worries me is the importance of advertisements throughout digital streaming services. Just last week I was informed that my long-standing Google Chrome extension AdBlock was no longer effective for stopping YouTube ads. I worry that it won’t be long before the premium cost of ad-free streaming services does not fully eliminate advertisements. It doesn’t take too vivid an imagination to picture the future of digital interaction as a constant and hypnotic series of advertisements with a small bit of content sprinkled in.

I understand that the issues of ads in streaming and artist/songwriter paychecks are connected; one would assume that an increase in streaming payouts to artists and songwriters would likely result in higher premiums or more advertisements in the streaming market. That balance will prove extremely interesting to watch play out as music distribution technology improves.

I do think it’s an exciting time in history to be an independent artist. Programs like Converse Rubbertracks are very encouraging for independent musicians like us looking for a foothold. Online services like BandsInTown and SonicBids have been a big help at landing us some great opportunities. The perspective the internet has provided into how the music industry works has been important for us too – it’s much easier to avoid situations in which artists could be taken advantage of than I imagine it used to be. But regardless of today’s opportunities vs. yesterday’s, I hope our most useful tools as musicians will be hard work, networking, and a high bar for professionalism, all of which are timeless qualities in all forms of business.

What advice would you give to a new indie band just starting their journey?

Make small attainable goals. Be business minded and be professional. NETWORK. Continue to listen and be a fan of music (very important!). There is no formula or perfect way, just grind and make it happen for yourself.

What music are you listening to right now?

In the past couple of weeks we saw one of our new favorite local bands called Oh Malo and went to see Thundercat at The Middle East in Boston. We have been constantly grooving out to both of these groups for the past two months. Funk has hugely influenced us as a band these last few years so new jazz/funk crossovers like Hiatus Kaiyote and Robert Glasper Experiment have not left our listening cues. We have also been listening obsessively to Blanko Basnet, a band we were lucky enough to find during some random YouTube exploration.

Being from New England… Any comments about deflate-gate ?

Dan: Deflate was hilariously blown out of proportion. I personally believe that Gronk deflated the balls with his pre-game ball spiking ritual, but who really knows….

Ethan: I see and hear a nation of sore losers at every turn of this conversation. Tom Brady is the GOAT and Belichick is a wizard.

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Music: Josh Gonzales

We here at Evensound are thrilled to give you some new music for your summer playlists. Featured artist, Josh Gonzales, hails from the geographical center of Canada. But, his album When She Smiles, has a light and airy vibe that will pair nicely with your Corona at your next beach bonfire.

The comparisons to John Mayer and Jack Johnson are undeniable and admitted as huge influences. But, that doesn’t restrict Josh from using those influences as vehicles for his own stories and developing his own sound.

Beyond the clean production, solid performances, and excellent song writing there is a casual ease to the delivery. There isn’t some desperate urge to prove itself as the next big thing. There are simply a collection of songs that were written and captured by friends that are in it to win it. But most importantly they’re having fun and enjoying their time. A pretty terrific Summer motto.

Josh took time to answer some questions for us here at Evensound. Proving that he’s just as gracious and eloquent as he is talented.

Congrats on your full length release! It’s such a gorgeous sounding record. What was the song writing and recording process like? Where did you record and master?

Super glad you like it! The writing for the songs on the album usually started with one of three fumbling processes:

I’d write a nearly fleshed out song and bring it to the studio. (Young As I’ll Ever Be; Cydney)

I’d have the beginning of a riff or vocal hook and we’d work out the rest of the song structure together (Sitting on a Fence; When She Smiles)

Thomas, our guitarist/co-songwriter/audio engineer/producer/resident mad genius, would come with a guitar riff or fully formed instrumental structure and I’d fill the space with vocal melodies and lyrics. (Crazy Lady Signs; Bubble Gum Tongue; Suitcase)

We recorded the entire album in Thomas’ parent’s garage. His dad was an audio engineer so it’s not as ghetto as it sounds haha, although Thomas was the one handling the recording duties. I was doing my honors thesis at the time and Thomas was a full time engineer, so we couldn’t go through epic 12 hour recording sessions. We’d do it in bits and pieces, recording the vocals one day, and then coming back to it another day to record drums and overlay guitar tracks. The process might have hurt us in some ways (it didn’t let us get into a late night groove often) but I think it allowed us space to contemplate on what we were trying to convey. It was a deeply, if not always well, thought out process.

We handed off the mastering of the album to Philip Shaw Bova, who’s worked on albums like Bahama’s “Bahama is Alfie” and Feist’s “Metals”. So that part worked out pretty well.

Your site mentions John Mayer and Bill Withers as influence to your self description of Soul-Folk-Pop, any other influences? Who can we find on your current playlist?

I mean, personally I listen to a lot of RnB and chill electronic music, so even though we have more of a contemporary alternative sound, I get a lot of inspiration from artists like Jamie Lidell, As Tall As Lions, Ellie Goulding, Chet Faker, Flight Facilities, Frank Ocean…the list is endless.

I also draw a lot from more rock-oriented bands like the Arctic Monkeys and Alabama Shakes, or people who just have a very raw and honest opinion of themselves. Childish Gambino’s “Camp” is an album that still resonates with me because of that. He says things you wouldn’t expect in ways you wouldn’t expect, and I try to subtly add the same kind of color in my own lyrics.

I’m also a huge fan of EDM bands like Clean Bandit, Calvin Harris and Daft Punk. They write the most ridiculously catchy hooks. Honestly, I think anyone who can write a great hook is someone you can learn something from. Weezer was a big inspiration back in the good old grade school days for that very same reason.

Thomas has his own sources of inspiration and I think it colors the music we co-write in interesting ways too. He’s also less prone to weird Mars Volta style benders, so it keeps us grounded.

Top 3 artists/albums on my playlist right now:

Big Data – 2.0. “The Glow” featuring Kimbra continuously gives me goose bumps and the album as a whole is magnetic.

Lucy Rose – “Shiver” is one of my favorite songs of all time, and I cannot wait for her new album to drop in America later this month.

Close Talker – Flux. My favorite band out of Saskatchewan right now and it’s not close. These boys will be making noise worldwide in the very near future.

Where does your song writing inspiration come from?

Honestly, I just love storytelling. You try to make every song it’s own self contained entity but I found myself referring to the other songs we were recording to the album to try and find a cohesive thread that ran through, just so I could connect the dots as much as possible.

The song “When She Smiles” was actually written about 6-7 years ago (about some crush I had I’m sure, although who exactly is a mystery even to me at this point). The bare bones of “Sitting on a fence” came from a semester abroad in 2012, and “Young As I’ll Ever Be” came about because I wanted to raise money for charity. Those songs gave the outline of the album as a whole, and then the rest of the lyrics were really shaped by how I saw them fitting into this imagined structure I had in my brain about the “culture” of the album. The funny thing is, we didn’t really write a lot of extra songs. You’re supposed to write 20 songs and pick the 10 best, but for us, these 7 songs just really coalesced. Thomas would come up with an instrumental and it would just make sense. I think we got very lucky that way.

What’s your take on the music industry today?

I don’t know how much I can speak to the music industry at large, but the music industry in Saskatchewan is really strong. We have amazing governmental support from Creative Sask and SaskMusic. A lot of great bands are popping up, these amazing musicians like Keiffer McLean and Close Talker, Kacy & Clayton and Tenille Arts, and Danny Olliver, and it has this kind of butterfly effect. Once you see a local band be great, you’re kind of like “Hey, that’s really cool” and you start to really understand what’s actually possibly, even though we might not be in the heart of things like someone in LA or New York. We’ve had bands showcase at Folk Alliance, SXSW, and do sold out shows in Europe. I think the music industry will be fine as long as we have bands that continue to strive for greatness because people will always be moved by prodigious art.

Your location in Regina is almost the direct center of North America, yet you seem to have an almost coastal beach vibe with your relaxed delivery. Are those two things mutually exclusive? What is the music scene like in Regina?

As a researcher, you’re use of the term “mutually exclusive” warms my heart haha.

I think the sound comes less from a coastal distinction and more from an exploration distinction. Hiraeth is a Welsh word meaning “a homesickness for somewhere you cannot return to, the nostalgia and the grief for the lost places of your past, places that never were” and I think it’s the best encapsulation of our music.

Every prairie soul has a longing to escape, to the coast, to an island, to the mountains, wherever, even if it’s just for a little while. The pull is stronger for some people more than others. Both Thomas and I have done our fair share of traveling and, as much as Saskatchewan is home, it’s hard not to yearn for the adventure that comes with visiting new places. Music is an outlet for us to explore that aching wanderlust.

We’re also generally pretty easy going people, so some of that has to do with our laid back attitudes too.

The video for “Young As I’ll Ever Be” is fantastic, you guys all seem to be actually having a blast. Can we expect that kind of jovial energy in the live show? How have your live shows been going?

The recording of that video was a blast. We always have fun at our live shows, I’ve been friends with Thomas since the beginning of high school and Jon (bass) and Cyprian (drums) are both good friends too so it’s hard not to have fun. Our live shows have been so much fun, we try to keep a good banter going, although sometimes I wish people would dance more, but I think that’s more of a function of our music than anything else. Maybe I just need to write more dance-y tunes to be completely satisfied with our live sets haha.

What’s in store for the next year of album promotion? CAN/US tour?

We’re just gonna keep playing, whenever and wherever we can. It’s tough to make a touring schedule given I will be starting the first year of my Master’s this Fall and Thomas is a full time engineer, but we’re planning a couple of western Canada tours. Hopefully we’ll be down to the States for some festivals next summer too. Our main focus will be on recording some cover songs and releasing them once a month on Youtube starting in the fall. Stay tuned!

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Band: M.A.G.S

The spotlight continues to shine bright on the city of Buffalo, NY. Between the injection of capital from Governor Cuomo and the eccentric but progressive billionaire Elon Musk, “The Queen City” is experiencing a truly noticeable expansion in it’s industrial economics and in turn creating a palpable renaissance era for arts and culture.

Elliott Douglas is one of the city’s most prominent up and coming artists. After playing in numerous Buffalo acts he’s making waves with his first venture into the solo artist realm. M.A.G.S is the name of Elliott’s recording project in which he writes, sings, and plays all the instruments.

Not only does Elliott possess an extreme proficiency with each of his instruments, but his knack for writing intriguing songs with lyrical depth and catchy hooks is awe inspiring.

As impressive as M.A.G.S first EP Cellophane is to listen to, which has been on repeat here at the Evensound offices, the true magic happens with their live show. We strongly encourage seeing these amazing songs come to life if you have the means.

M.A.G.S will be closing out the Quiet Country Audio showcase for Buffalo’s second ever Herd Fest on Saturday night at Duke’s. Likely the most anticipated line-up of the festival, given it’s incredible line-up featuring Buffalo acts that should definitely be on your radar. The showcase line-up is – 10:30pm – The Soft Love, 11:30pm – The Slums, 12:15am – The Naturalists, 1am – M.A.G.S

Elliott took the time to answer some questions for us here at Evensound. Proving that he practices what he preaches in contributing to his local scene by “not being a dick”.

 

Where did the name M.A.G.S come from ?

Do people come up with clever assumptions on what the acronym stands for – i.e. “Murdering Adults Get Serious” or “My Adorable Guilty Secrets”… Or is that just us?

M.A.G.S was born out of the swift and controversial end of my previous band, The Malones. After being apart of close to a dozen projects up to that point I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing and recording my own solo material. It definitely took me some time to work through some of my insecurities about releasing my own music and my singing voice.

It’s been a journey getting to where I am now. The name M.A.G.S as an acronym really doesn’t have an official meaning. Originally it was just Mags but there is already and artist using that title so I had to improvise. Part of the fun is letting people make up their own meaning and hearing what they come up with.

What are your influences? Who are you listening to currently?

I’m usually all over the place with what I listen to thanks to Spotify, but there are a few albums that I’ve been binging on lately.

Tame Impalas’ Lonerism has to be my most-played album as of late. Every single song on that record is a masterpiece in its arrangement and production.

Believe it or not, I didn’t really get into The Strokes until after I started M.A.G.S. I knew some of their more popular songs but I hadn’t really sat down and spun an entire record all the way through until late last year. I’ve been referencing them a lot in my new songs.

Lastly, I always find myself coming back to Arctic Death for inspiration. If you don’t know Arctic Death, look them up. My dear
friend Steven Floyd, front-man of Buffalo super-band The Slums, was the guitarist of Arctic Death. That’s actually how we met. His work in that band completely changed the way I play guitar and has a lot to do with my songwriting style with M.A.G.S.

We noticed on your Facebook account that you were home-schooled. Did that experience give you a better environment to explore your creativity?

Man, being home-schooled is a blessing in disguise. All I would ever do on my lunch breaks was run downstairs to my computer and record songs or I would be playing Underoath’s They’re Only Chasing Safety on drums from front to back. I never took any lessons growing up but I had plenty of time and juuuust enough exposure to the outside world to help me along with honing my skills.

Your most recent EP Cellophane is amazing! What was the songwriting and recording process like?

The songwriting process was the most organic and natural experience I’ve had writing music so far. I was right in the middle of a 10-month break up with my now-wife Julia so I had a lot to write about to say the least.

I changed a lot during those 10 months and I think Cellophane is a snapshot of how I was processing being single and the choices I was making in that season.

How has it been playing the songs live with a backing band? Who are those cool dudes backing you up?

Adam Lilley and Andy Wesner are the two powerhouses that make up my live band. Drums and bass respectively. To put someone completely out of their element and to watch them rise to the occasion and exceed your expectations is a wonderful process to watch come full circle.

Mags is my baby and Adam and Andy are kick ass babysitters It’s very difficult for me to rely other musicians and people in general and they have never let me down.

You mentioned previously playing in one of Buffalo’s most prolific defunct bands, The Malones. How do you think the Buffalo indie rock scene has evolved since then?

Big things are happening in Buffalo man. I think The Malones was like lightning in a bottle. The three of us were all in the right place at the right time, when the scene didn’t have a clear direction or a “buzz band” if you will.

I never thought of us as prolific or influential while it was happening but looking back now I can see how much people actually gave a shit about what we were doing.

What advice would you give to any young musician or indie band just getting started?

Support the scene! Go to shows, talk to everyone, don’t be a dick. In a city like Buffalo, being in a band doesn’t necessarily have to be all about image or selling tickets. There’s nothing like going to a local show and sensing that spark in the air, like everyone is there for the exact same reason and they believe in what’s about to happen.

What did you think of your Audiokite experience?

It was eye-opening! I crave criticism. It’s one thing for your family and friends to critique your material but for total strangers to either totally dig your stuff or just totally lay into you is a whole other thing.

What’s in store for the next year of M.A.G.S ?

I’m not much for planning to be honest. I have some aspirations and I will definitely be putting out new music in the not too distant future but honestly I’d rather just take things as they come and let it all be a surprise.

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Music: Diana Zinni

Brooklyn, NY is home to our most recent exceptional artist, Diana Zinni.  A singer/songwriter in the purest form, she has a knack for achieving the perfect balance of poignant lyrical content and memorable melodies. With her writing partner and co-producer Bryan Kane of Bone Gunn, Diana is able to turn her thoughtful songs into deep sonic landscapes that feature unique textures and instrumentation.

Originally from the small but industrious town of Leroy, NY, Diana has long been in the shadows of the music industry while working on her craft. Patiently waiting in the wings for her time to shine.

At two years old she was inspired to write songs and perform after seeing the Beastie Boys  “Fight For Your Right” music video. As fate would have it, after graduating from SUNY Oneonta’s Music Industry program, she went on to intern at Chung King Studios. The famous former “House of Metal” where Rick Rubin produced the Beastie’s debut License to Ill.

Since then she has been instrumental in the mastering process of some of the biggest releases of the past decade while working at the prolific Joe Lambert Mastering studio. Click on the link to see the work that has passed through those doors to have your mind blown.

Now with the release of her debut EP More, Diana is honing her live show and heading back to western NY for a bit of homecoming show at the Montage Music Hall in Rochester, NY on Saturday June 6th. She takes the stage at 9:15pm and you can find tickets here.

With an astute business acumen and a seemingly endless tank of inspiration, ambition, and talent. Diana is quickly making a name for herself as one of the hardest working indie artists in the game. We here at Evensound were lucky enough to get to pick her brain before she starts the second phase in her career.

 

Can you describe the writing and recording process for the More EP?

I had a moment of surrender right before these songs started coming through. Changed jobs, really started to ask some big questions and I think that opened a channel. I wrote everything in my Brooklyn apartment for the most part. Had a keyboard, acoustic guitar and a minimal Pro Tools set up. Luckily, I met my producer, Bryan Kane, shortly after I started writing and he just “got” me and created arrangements beyond my wildest dreams. He also developed me as a singer, overall. When the student is ready, the teacher arrives, they say. It felt so good to have someone appreciate my songwriting and put so much of their own energy into the project.

 

Your music videos have a very clean and direct visual impact.
How was that process?

 

I know so many wonderfully creative people and it was thrilling to finally be able to collaborate with them. I trust my own taste, but I’m no video editor! I loved being able to say, “do this” and have it magically exist. These 2 videos were an introduction and I can’t wait to expand upon what I have to say artistically.

How are you preparing for your live shows and what can we expect? Are you excited to bring the EP to life?

I’m really excited about my set because I’ve only released 4 songs so far and the set includes songs people haven’t heard yet that will be included on my upcoming full-length. Right now, I’m playing solo with an acoustic guitar. It’s an intimate way to meet my songs for the first time.

Given your proximity to the music industry, what are your thoughts on current pop and indie female contemporaries?

I have admiration for and draw inspiration from many current female artists. If the statement you’re making is clear and you’ve got great songs, I’m on board regardless of genre.

 

What are you listening to these days?

 

I’m really enjoying the new Florence + The Machine album.

 

What did you think of your Audiokite experience and what insights would you offer other indie artists looking to develop?

 

Submitting to Audiokite was a blast. I was happy with the results, but I don’t know what would change if the results had been negative. I believe in my tracks and that’s all that matters. To indie artists:  accept that you’re a brand and make that brand as authentic to you as possible. It’s more than just your records: it’s about live shows, videos, social media, etc. Say something meaningful on all platforms.

 

What is in store for the next year?

 

Putting together a full-band live show and releasing the full album!

 

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Music: Lunatic Wolf

South Africa is home to our most recent Evensound featured artist, Lunatic Wolf. Longtime friends and band mates Gavin van den Berg and Richard Oldfield make for a magically dynamic songwriting duo whose chemistry exudes warm familiarity.

Like your favorite Fleetwood Mac or Ryan Adams record, Lunatic Wolf’s music is organic and eclectic enough to achieve a natural timelessness. Their beautifully arranged songs showcase rich lyrics and harmonies over lush sonic landscapes that transport you to your favorite musical memories. The recordings themselves are given top notch treatment and would still feel contemporary while either spinning on a turntable or streaming over the internet.

The band’s YouTube channel features a series of live videos performed at High Seas Studios with their 6 member live band along with mini-documentary about the recording of their new album, To The Adventure. The beautifully shot and edited videos do a fantastic job articulating their process as well as how the band evolved into its full 6 member shape. Their live delivery of these dynamically abundant songs is impeccable.

Although the only pop culture references to South Africa recently in the United States have been the recent movie Chappie and the film’s cameo from South African rap duo Die Antwoord, that’s not to say there isn’t a thriving indie music scene that deserves our attention. The size and geographic location of the country give it a very distinct artistic output. Rich in culture, history, and economic disparity, its no surprise that there is a large creative indie heart to the country.

Gavin van den Berg was gracious enough to take some time to answer some of Evensound’s questions about their journey so far and what their aspirations are with the new record To The Adventure currently on Spotify and iTunes.

 

You and Richard being the principle songwriters, how collaborative is the recording process with the entire group?

We share a similar vision when it comes to songwriting and our debut album To the Adventure was actually written in a garage over the course of two years. We tackled the final production stages at High Seas studios in Johannesburg with the help of our good friends Jacques du Plessis (who now plays keyboard and percussion in the band) and Gavin Flaks (who now plays drums).

Congratulations on the Radioplay Valentines day song win with “Roses”. What is the inspiration behind the song? Did you know that it would have the impact that it has had so far?

Thank you. We were very excited to hear this news! Roses was one of the first songs that Rich and I wrote from start to finish. We were asked to write a song for my sister’s wedding and Roses was the outcome of that. The lyrics definitely parallel our own relationship experiences though. We never expected it to make it on the album but we’re happy it did.

What kind of music did you and Richard experiment with in High School and what lead you to this conclusion of style and aesthetic? What are your influences?

Richard and I were big into the late 90’s pop-punk scene at that time. I think that genre really cemented our love for melody and simplicity in arrangement. That has definitely stayed with us and we’ve carried that through into the music that we play today.

What is the South African Music scene like?

We can’t really speak for the South African music scene as a whole but the South African Rock music scene has always been supportive and welcoming. The scene is minuscule compared to many other industries worldwide but we’re aware of the opportunities that that may present in itself. It’s also incestuous to a degree, but that makes it kind of cool. We’ve made many friends-for-life here and are very grateful for that.

Any plans for embarking to the U.S. ?

A trip to the States would be amazing. We’re holding thumbs!

How did Grammy nominated engineer, Emily Lazar end up mastering your record at The Lodge ?

Emily had mastered many of the classic records that we grew up listening to including Say Anything’s “…is a Real Boy”, The Shins “Wincing the Night Away” and Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s “The Dust of Retreat”. We loved the sonic complexity of Emily’s mixes and thought that she could do well for our album. We contacted her directly and she was totally cool with working with an independent band. The rest is history.

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