Linda Eder

On March 1st Linda Eder releases her new album "Now" on which she reunits with Frank Wildhorn. In this interview she explains the 'hook' of the album and that she wanted the very best out of their partnership. Don't forget to go her concert because well, I will let her explain it to you. Read it in this exclusive interview!

[Q]: First off, congratulations on your new album 'Now'. What's the story behind the album?

Linda Eder answers [A]: Frank was pitching different CD ideas to Sony and they jumped on the concept of an Eder/Wildhorn reunion. All he had to do was sell it to me... :)

He's been asking me for years to sing his music again. I needed to do my own thing for while but I knew that one day I would.

[Q]: Did you have an idea or concept for your new album?

[A]: The concept, or the "hook" is trunk songs. Meaning songs that he wrote for musicals that either didn't happen or have yet to happen. There are several of those on the CD as well as some that I asked for like the big band swing numbers. We also worked with some key lyricists over the years that also "get it" and because of that some really great stuff happens. This was a bringing back together of that whole team from writers to arrangers and musicians.

[Q]: After six years you have started working again with Frank Wildhorn. In what way has your cooperation changed because of the 'time-out'?

[A]: I'm more demanding... :) I'm not married to him anymore so I don't feel like I have to sing a song that I am on the fence about. Not every song he writes is a home run. He has a great batting average but I kept pushing for more.

[Q]: Which song on "Now" took the longest to complete? Why?

[A]: I think the song MORE THAN HEAVEN took the longest. I produced that song with my partner Billy Stein. He and I have known each other many years but we started working together again on a CD that I did called THE OTHER SIDE OF ME. It is very different from the music that a lot of my fans knew me for. MORE THAN HEAVEN is a pop track and I overdubbed my vocals many times to create a choir. There are a lot of layers to Billy's track and I was creating my vocal arrangement as I was recording the different parts so it took time. I had to live with it for a while.

[Q]: In what way do you mix the Broadway musical influences into a recording to let it elevate the spirit while capturing many moods?

[A]: I don't really think of myself as a Broadway performer because I only did one show. I was just singing for a living straight out of high school. I am basically a self taught musician and for someone so shy about singing in front of people as a kid, it's odd but I've never had a problem connecting emotionally to the music that I sing. If it's the right song for me, I just seem to know how to find it.

[Q]: What can your listeners and fans expect from your tour?

[A]: A lot of beautiful melodies and some kicking up tempo. I sing a fairly wide range of musical styles. I like that because I like many types of music. The new songs are great and we have just started performing several of them in the show. They are going over really well with the audiences because Frank writes music that plays live well. It's dramatic music for the most part. I also have a great, incredibly versitile band.

[Q]: Any tour-event, or fan-moment, you like to share with your fans?

[A]: Touring for me is all about the horrors of traveling balanced out by the joys of standing on that stage in front of a great audience.

No pain,no gain. I'm a homebody so until the day I build a concert venue in my back yard I have to deal with flight delays, bad weather and hotels.

[Q]: What is your main goal to reach as an artist?

[A]: To move someone emotionally with the music. It's quite a feeling.

[Q]: Since your debut in 1991, what would you say has changed the most in your music?

[A]: I'm more myself. In the last 7 years I pushed the envelope and I also wrote my own songs and I grew into myself finally.

[Q]: Recently, what is a typical day like for you?

[A]: Feed the dogs, feed the horses, get my son up and off to school. Clean the house, (I have three German Shepherds and an 11 year old son so cleaning is non-stop) then I like to sit and have my green tea and take care of internet stuff. Go to the gym with my boyfriend. Since September 2009 I have been remodeling my house. I do much of it myself. I love working with wood. That project has taken up most of my spare time. The weekly routing really revolves around my son, my animals and my house.

[Q]: Final words?

[A]: Just a really big thank you to all the loyal fans who have stuck by me through all my musical forays. I hope they really enjoy this new CD.
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Drive A

I'€™ve always covered a bit of everything writing about rock and a band that really recently sparked my interest was the incredibly young Drive A based out of Los Angeles! The band currently finds them selves out on the Dead Masquerade tour with Escape The Fate but in the short few years that the band has been playing together they'€™ve toured with everyone from HIM to The Cure with everything from Good Charlotte to Black Tide in between! With the sophomore record dropping this Spring, I knew it was the perfect time to sit down with the lead singer of the band Bruno where we talked about everything from how the writing process changed for this record to where he got the inspiration from for some of the material on the new record '€œThe World In Shambles'€! Catch the boys on the rest of this tour that also features Motionless In White, Alesana and Get Scared and watch for the CD hitting shelves with in the next few months!

So a little one soft one to start! Obviously you'€™ve got a lot of things going on for you with the new release but soft to start, what are like the three things you must have while on tour being that you tour so much?
What I need on tour? Water. Obviously but on tour it'€™s even more because like when you'€™re at home, you get used to like having access to water but on tour if the venue doesn'€™t give you water you get really lazy. I get really lazy and sometimes I'€™ll try to make maybe two water bottles last way longer then they should last and I end up getting dehydrated. I ended up getting myself sick last year when we toured with HIM and I was like in the hospital for two days. I was like too lazy to go find water so water is definitely one. Some sort of privacy like headphones, like music to keep you sane and then a lot of sleep. That'€™s the three things you need on tour.

Perfect, and then Drive A has been together for about three years now. How did it come together? I know you'€™re an original member.
I met the guitar player Jason at a concert three or four years ago and we kind of became friends and we listened to the same type of music. We wanted to start a band and then we met our drummer Cody through a music club so all we needed was a bass player. We went on one tour where a friend of ours'€™ was helping us fill in on bass and we were looking for a bass player so he saw us with Set Your Goals almost two years ago now. He saw us and messaged us on Myspace and he was like '€˜Dude you guys rule. Like I play bass'€™ and he sent us a video. He'€™s from Milwaukee and we'€™re all from out in LA so he sent us a video and we were like '€˜Dude the kid'€™s cool. He'€™s good, he likes the band'€™ like that dedication to the music at the point. Like everyone'€™s here for the music. We then flew him out and we became great friends and yeah, that'€™s how it worked.

Then '€œThe World In Shambles'€ is coming so soon and I know it'€™s been a while in the making. I know you guys were about to start writing right after Bamboozle so what can kids look forward to? Is it more mature? A different sounding record?
Yeah definitely! A huge progression from '€œLost In Desire'€. I mean it'€™s like we played two hundred shows since then so we got that. It'€™s been about three years pretty much since our last record so we'€™ve grown as people and lyrically it'€™s more there. Like '€œLoss of Desire'€ was the debate of like do you go after what you really want to do in your life or do you like kind of go fuck it? It was kind of a debate and '€œThe World In Shambles'€ was like the world'€™s fucked but we'€™re going to go after what we want to do so it'€™s more almost like a positive record. There'€™s some negative stuff but it'€™s really therapeutic. On this record, we also wrote thirty songs and then we picked like twelve of our favorite songs that really fit together and on '€œLoss of Desire'€ we wrote eleven songs and we recorded those eleven songs. Definitely different.

Great then how does the band normally go about the songwriting? Maybe it changed for this record because I know you said you wrote a lot more songs this time around so how does it normally go? Is it like one person, more collective?
It changed a little bit but it'€™s pretty much the same thing but we'€™re closer friends now. I'€™ll bring in ninety percent of the songs, show the guys and then they'€™ll make changes to it because everyone'€™s got their music chops. Yeah so I would bring in most of the ideas. What I did on this record that'€™s different then '€œLoss of Desire'€ is I kept like a journal of things I wanted to write about. So if something pissed me off, something really made me excited, I'€™d write down the idea and then go back to it and write lyrics from that idea so it was all like a story kind of.

Awesome it sounds really good and then maybe what was like one of the stranger places you found inspiration? Maybe with this record or recently?
On this record?
Like something someone said or like something that happened or like a dream or something.
Oh let me think about that!
Of course!
I remember getting really inspired when I traveled to Europe this past summer for like a week. When I was over there, it really seemed like, just going around the city, I went to Italy but seeing people interact way more over there and there'€™s more of like a community. It really kind of got to me and I thought '€˜You know what? Like people in the states are like '€˜Fuck You'€™ it'€™s like me and only me'€™. '€˜If you'€™re not helping me, get out of my way'€™ and it was like over there it seemed like Fuck the man let'€™s help each other kind of. So that was an inspiration for a song called '€˜Revolt'€™. I just remember seeing all these people like kind of united about stuff. It was cool!

Perfect then maybe obviously this show was nuts but how has this tour been? Like obviously a lot of these kids are so young and crazy. How has it been opening especially being something a little bit different and not the screaming side of things? How has it been going over for you?
It'€™s been great. It'€™s been so much fun. I think the bands they'€™re all different bands. We'€™re extremely different from the other bands but I think the energy is there in what all of the bands do so kids get it. So it'€™s been one of the best tours we'€™ve ever been on. Escape the Fate we toured with them in September last year we'€™re all pretty good friends with them so it'€™s awesome to tour with them again. We played with Get Scared with The Used like two years ago and Motionless in White we haven'€™t really played with them but I feel like I'€™ve seen them before. Like Bamboozle or something but really this tour like all the kids, the fans are really young and that'€™s great though. The younger the crowd is, I think they'€™re more open minded to new music so it'€™s cool.

And that was the tour with Black Tide, right?
Yeah!

Then maybe what'€™s like the strangest thing you'€™ve seen so far like in the crowd or not necessarily on the road because I'€™m sure it'€™s a pretty crazy bunch of bands that are together but maybe at the shows?
Oh, like at one of the shows?
Yeah or you can say on the road but I'€™m sure the road'€™s pretty nuts.
Oh yeah (laughs). We get..(laughs) ah yeah. I'€™ll stick to shows! Shows like as far as crowd goes?
Yeah like maybe something strange in the crowd or like some one body surfing? Like I came in right when they were holding you in the crowd.
Yeah that'€™s always definitely a crazy part at a show. I thought tonight was kind of weird. Like some girl in the front row got really ticked off that I would dare to go out in the crowd. It was just the most ridiculous thing. It'€™s like you go to a concert like this knowing the bands that are going to play then you wait in line for front row tickets you know then you get mad when the singer goes out in the crowd. Like give me a break, like really? I went up and she like waved her hand at me and was like all mad but I looked at her and I was like '€˜Yo, easy! I'€™m not trying to kick you. I'€™m trying to show you that this is how a concert is supposed to be'€™. It'€™s ridiculous!

Perfect then they'€™re kind of goofy and it may be embarrassing but what was like the first CD or cassette you bought then the first concert you went to?
Mine'€™s not really embarrassing the one I'€™m thinking about. Actually, I'€™ve got two. The first one is Blink 182'€™s '€˜Enema of the State'€™ and then the Dazed and Confused soundtrack. So those two are like the first I remember then my first concert was also Blink 182 and Green Day which was amazing and I wish they would tour together again.

Because you guys are like heavier punk but you guys are punk so do you think that'€™s influenced you at all? Like those bands?
I guess so I mean like it'€™s just the music we all grew up to. This whole generation really was brought up on those bands. Like you'€™re unable to avoid them unless you listened to Britney Spears but like those bands were just really cool. Had great songs, fun bands and we'€™re more like heavy I guess but really like we care about the same things. I'€™m not saying we'€™re the same type of band. The energy and the songwriting is more important then being like heavy you know what I mean.

Then maybe what'€™s coming up? I know you have the record coming out so obviously that'€™s huge but are you going to be like touring for the record? Are you going to be taking a little break until it comes out?
Nope!
(laughs) Nah!
I mean-
You guys don'€™t know breaks. You'€™re not too good at the whole break thing.
No and we tried it.
You'€™re constantly out.
It didn'€™t work. Actually, you know what? We have four days off.
Oh jeez!
Yeah we couldn'€™t go to the Canada dates because we had a bunch of bullshit.
So you guys have like four days off in a row because of Canada?
Yeah we have the Canada dates and we played in Buffalo a few months ago so we dropped off that. We have a bunch of stuff that we have to go take care of back in California so it'€™s kind of like a break.
Then you probably can'€™t say-
What we'€™re doing back there?
No well that as well and tours.
Well yeah then new tours can'€™t be really talked about but there'€™s one in April and May and probably one in the summer. The record'€™s coming out in the Spring and also another cool thing is we filmed two videos with the director that did all the Paramore videos and it'€™s like a continuation. We did one for our single '€˜Let'€™s Have A Wreck'€™ and then one for '€˜Revolt'€™ and they look fucking awesome. They'€™re almost done. They'€™ll be out soon. Maybe March or April.
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Augustana

A few days ago, I got the rare opportunity to talk to the lead singer of Augustana Dan Layus and it comes at an incredibly exciting time! While spending over two years out of the spotlight, the band went through highs and lows including losing a member who had been there for the last few years but out of that time came their great new self titled record that hits stores on April 26th. Following the band through this time, there were so many expectations I had and when I got the first chance to listen to the record the other day I was sold on the idea that this is by far the most beautiful material I'€™ve heard from the band so far!

During our interview that followed the next day, I had the opportunity to pick Dan'€™s mind about everything from how the songwriting process went for this record to maybe their stranger inspirations to what they went through making this new record. The boys grew up a lot it seems through this process and despite being three records deep, the boys are still incredibly young in their mid twenties Dan himself being only twenty six and having this band for six years. Be ready darlings, this extremely passionate band who never gives up despite all the hard times and life experiences they'€™ve been given are ready to break their way back into your hearts this year!

With so much going on right now, let'€™s start with a soft one. Being a band that does steadily tour, what would you say are the three touring essentials you must have to survive?
After a long time holding out, it would have to be an iPhone for sure. I was holding out for a while and I got one. Why did I wait so long (laughs)? It can kill time that needs to be killed efficiently for sure on the road. I would need it, especially for the pod casting it'€™s very nice. I don'€™t know, I don'€™t really use a computer on the road. I guess coffee (laughs)? I don'€™t know, man, I don'€™t know..do you got any ideas? I'€™m trying to think. It'€™s been a minute we'€™ve been at home for a while.

Then I know that the record has been in the works for a while. For the third record it'€™s at least been over a year and a half.
Oh yeah definitely two years.
So obviously you guys have gotten older and I'€™ve heard the record it still has that Americana folky side but how do you think it'€™s different maybe then the last release (Can't Love, Can't Hurt)?
I feel, in my opinion I might be right or wrong, but I feel like finally we'€™ve achieved the bridge between what we do live which is I think way more earnest and kind of unapologetic and less safe I think. I think we finally put the bridge and made it make sense like onto a record. I think that there was for a lot of years and a couple records a large disconnect between the two and it'€™s difficult but I think we finally got it. Like we got what we do well on stage and got it on a record. I think it makes sense (laughs).

Perfect, and then with this record I believe it'€™s your third release and it'€™s the one you decided to self title which some people may find strange. Is there a certain reason for doing that? Calling it '€˜Augustana'€™?
Yeah it just kind of felt like necessary. Like everything'€™s been building up towards sort of this moment as far as being the people in the band. We'€™ve been doing this for six years and we wanted to just put a sort of period at the end of a very short sentence. Make it not a statement because that sounds kind of arrogant but you know what I mean. It just felt natural. I felt like there was so much that was said on the record lyrically and all these things and it would sort of work itself out. I don'€™t why it just felt natural.

Perfect, and then obviously this is something that the fans have been waiting for for a while and I know it was a long process for you guys. Maybe what was like the biggest difference? From what I understand, there'€™s a member loss (John Fredericks), is that correct?
Yeah in the band there'€™s been so many member changes (laughs). Well basically the good majority of the band that we'€™ve been playing with as Augustana for the last three or four years, well both of the last records, have been basically the same five people. Me, Chris, Jared, Justin and John Fredericks. So we were all involved, all five of us, we pretty much made the whole record together and just recently in the last three or four months John left us and it will be sort of interesting to see where we go from here. We don'€™t have a keys guy yet but we'€™ve been playing with a pedal steel guy. He'€™s really great. We have an extra guitar player now. I think we'€™re going to end up being like a seven person band on this tour (laughs) which is great. Takes the pressure off of everybody'€™s shoulders.

Then is touring something that'€™s in the near future? I know it'€™s been a while for you guys. You were out with the Counting Crows I believe on your last tour but is touring something that'€™s going to be coming pretty soon?
Oh yeah definitely! I think it'€™s booked for May and June something like that. That'€™s the first run. You know just small rooms, hopefully people will you know show up but we'€™ll be there.

Being that it'€™s been a while, I actually saw you last a while ago when you were out with Wild Sweet Orange, but that was the last time so it'€™s definitely been a while. What can they look forward to coming out to the shows now that'€™s maybe changed? Like how are you guys going to go about the show.
You know I don'€™t know if we go about it any differently. I think that'€™s just what we do. We were 23 and here we are now 26. I think just many tours later and a lot of experiences later, I think naturally just the music has changed. I think that just as life changes the music changes. You know all sorts of different things have happened. I don'€™t know what it will be but I think it will be creative, interesting, fun for sure.

Then obviously like we said a few times before, this record has been a while in the works so maybe I know you'€™ve done the songwriting in the past but how did it go for this record? Maybe if it changed?
Well in the past, you know, I always kind of had taken that on myself and sort of for this one I felt like I have these guys and I have to write everything from front to back. It just kind of became something where I realized there'۪s nothing wrong with wanting or needing help. It'۪s a good thing. It'۪s a really good thing and I really opened myself up to it and thought whatever makes, this is so clich̩d, but really whatever makes a song the best song it can be..that'۪s what I should do. So having a different eye and whether it'۪s with the band or not with the band, if that'۪s what brings out the best ideas that push me further into writing the record then that'۪s the right thing to do and that was a really nice relief off my shoulders. Just kind of letting myself let it go. Just being like there'۪s other people that can take responsibilities for this along with me. At least for this particular record you know what I mean.

For this release, so '€˜Augustana'€™, maybe where was like the strangest place you found inspiration?
Strangest place we'€™ve found inspiration?
Yes.
I don'€™t know if this is the strangest but I feel like it'€™s one of the most interesting. One of the most unique ones was for the song called '€˜Hurricane'€™ that'€™s on the record. We were actually on tour with the Counting Crows at the time and me and John, the keyboard player at the time, we were playing on a casino riverboat basically. Like, you know, that kind of thing. I don'€™t want to say Biloxi but somewhere in Mississippi and we basically just had a lot of down time before the show and started writing a song. It was very much something that was that time, that place but it felt right. It just kind of happened in an hour and we wrote it by the river side (laughs). It was pretty cool.

Perfect then once again as repeated over and over, it'€™s been a while since the last release so maybe what are you most looking forward to having this record out and having your fans be able to hear that since it has been a while since new material has been out?
Just that right there. Just that it'€™s been a long time and to still be able to like finally put it out there. We'€™re probably really self indulgent but I guess that'€™s the nature of doing this kind of thing (laughing). We just really want people to be able to hear it. I don'€™t know why it'€™s a really weird thing but if you put out a record you obviously want people to hear it. You want to hear what people think about it or you want to affect somebody in some way. I'€™m just glad that this is finally going to be out and out of my hands and out of my car and in somebody else'€™s car you know. Just to see if it does do anything exciting for somebody but I don'€™t know what that is. At least it will be out and we can move on you know (laughs)!

Then these ones are kind of different and it'€™s definitely bringing it back but maybe do you remember what your first CD or cassette was and then the first concert you ever went to?
One of my first shows I ever went to was when my step-dad took me to Tom Petty. It was out in San Diego during the Echo tour which was my favorite record. A great album and I think it'€™s overlooked now and I was probably well I might have been a freshman in high school. I don'€™t want to say that'€™s my first show but it'€™s the most memorable one and you said my first album? The first album I ever bought with my own money, my own allowance money (laughs) when I would take out the trash, was that Nirvana acoustic EP. You know the album everyone had. Yeah that Nirvana unplugged album and I loved it. That'€™s what started it all (laughs).

Then maybe do you think, well the Americana maybe from Tom Petty, but do you think those experiences have an influence on you like what you'€™re doing today with the band or just you personally?
You know I think it does actually. I think that what we wanted to do was sort of challenge ourselves not to go so heavy in one direction and what ever that direction may be like Americana or, you know, sort of really big rock or really stripped down or really alt-country or really pop. I think it'€™s a really challenging thing and I don'€™t know if we did it but we wanted to accomplish sort of a mix of all of those. I just kind of felt like if all the songs were right, that the right things would come to it at the right time and give the right sound and all these things but I would say that absolutely. You know I don'€™t want to call it Americana, whatever that is, yet it'€™s always in the forefront of playing and certainly in the songwriting and I'€™d say about half of our production. It'€™s just the most natural thing. Especially '€˜Boston'€™.

Then obviously you have the record coming out but it'€™s still a little under three months away so maybe are you going to be touring with the record a lot this year? Are you going to go back to the old ways? What'€™s going to be going on this next year?
Well I hope we tour a lot. To me, it'€™s been a long time since we'€™ve done it but I would just say that we are again. I don'€™t know how long we'€™ll be touring but hopefully if things go well, we'€™ll be touring a lot!
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DJ Whoo Kid

DJ Whoo Kid and rock phenom Travis Barker have teamed up to release their mixtape 'Let the Drummer Get Wicked'. In his busy schedule, which he even shares in detail with us (well not everything), he took some time off to talk with me. We talk about his career & flare, the idea behind the mixtape & 'Come N Get It'-video and his love for video games...

[Q]: First off, congratulations with your new mixtape 'Let the Drummer Get Wicked'. What's the story behind the mixtape?

DJ Whoo Kid answers [A]: I've known Travis for a while now. When I started experiencing his crazy remixes with Snoop, Drake and YouTube videos, I went mad. I hit him on Twitter and gave him an idea to do the drum production on new unreleased songs instead of current songs people already knew.

[Q]: How do you define your own flare? How do you add this to original songs?

[A]: It depends on the song and the artists - you can't really do much with a wack artist. I also did some original production on the Jim Jones record. I add the effects, and do the song line up of the mixtape. And of course I approve what songs need to be on the mixtape .

[Q]: Which song on "Let the Drummer Get Wicked" took the longest to complete? Why?

[A]: Too $hort's record was the longest. It has over a hundred drum sounds!

[Q]: Which one do you prefer: Xbox Kinect, WII, PlayStation? How did you come up with the idea to use a Xbox Kinect for the "Come N Get It"-video?

[A]: I have all three and love them all! I'm a video game geek, and always went crazy when I saw myself over the years getting cameos and characters in videogames. The Kinect combined with Infra-red was an idea brought to me by Dan the Man. We brought in some cool nerdy tech guys to break into the Kinect and bring it to life on screen. Possibilities are endless.

[Q]: When creating a track, do you have a set theme and pre-written lyrics, or do you start with an idea or the music first?

[A]: I start with the idea, search for artists that would make sense with this idea, then we start on production. It's a long process! Chasing hot artists down while I do radio and tour the world is another annoying headache.

[Q]: Any tour-event, or fan-moment, you like to share with your fans?

[A]: I've got a "Catch Me if You Can!" Club Tour hitting 22 countries in two months, feeding over 100,000 ears Hip Hop, House and Techno. The girl-on-girl moments in the DJ booths are getting more crazy!

[Q]: What can your listeners and fans expect from your tour?

[A]: They can expect simply hot music and free mixtapes!

[Q]: You have been releasing mixtapes for quite sometime now. During the years what has changed the most (music-wise)?

[A]: I've decided to stick with single artist-based mixtapes. They work better due to the fact you concentrate more on their fan base - like me and Snoop, me and Tech N9ne, me and Lloyd Banks. They mutate into web albums when original production comes into play.

[Q]: A DJ, your own website, mixtapes, etc... In what way can you keep up with these different activities?

[A]: You've gotta keep up with every aspect of entertainment in order to stay relevant. I even co-own KRSP.com, which is a new clothing line loved by all genres. We did a collabo crewneck with Wiz Khalifa, J.Cole and Curren$y, to name a few. Everyone wears it, not just rappers.

[Q]: What (other) collaborations could we look out for in the future?

[A]: DJ Whoo Kid and Lenny Kravitz, more UK and French artist collabos.

[Q]: What is your main goal to reach as a DJ/artist?

[A]: My main goal is to retire in two years, so enjoy my mixtapes while they are out there. There will never be another idiot DJ called DJ WHOO KID! lol

[Q]: Recently, what is a typical day like for you?

[A]: 8am - Kids to school
9am - Radio show meetings
10am -12 - Video editing for RadioPlanet.tv
1pm -2pm - Artists meetings and marketing planning
3pm - Pick up my kids
4pm - KRSP clothing planning
5pm - Twitter updates and publicist meeting
6pm -7pm - Studio with mixtapes
730pm - Kids basketball practice
830 - Kids homework
930pm - Tour and Monthly calendar planning
10pm - Kids sleep
11pm - 2am more promo, Twitter, website updates
2am - sleep

This is done Monday through Thursday, and then Friday through Sunday I'm at paid events overseas or in the US ---- then we start all over again!

[Q]: Final words?

[A]: PIZZLE -POW!

Check DJ Whoo Kid at the following sites http://krsp.com and DJ Whoo Kid Twitter - naturally he is also on DJ Whoo Kid Facebook.
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Motionless In White

The current Escape The Fate headlining tour '€˜The Dead Masquerade'€™ is a huge tour happening right now that also brings out Alesana, Get Scared, Drive A and Motionless In White who this next interview is with! It'€™s been known to have some insane and incredibly passionate fans in the audience which is creating for some tension filled moments with some of the bands and musicians on this tour. When talking to Chris who provides lead vocals for the band, we came upon the topic of how far fans will go right now it seems to get a piece of the band. Later even that night, Nick the lead singer from Get Scared even talked about he has had seventeen pairs shoes of stolen off his feet on this tour!

While talking about the current plans for the band, their latest video for '€˜Abigail'€™ and the new record this really ended up being a large portion of what we talked about in the interview. When Chris told me about an incident where he actually bled when a girl dug her nails into his shirt which also included his skin, it reminded me of past interviews in particular with Andy Six of Black Veil Brides and we ended up discussing the issue. Read on for the full interview with Chris and let me know what you think but definitely do pick up their first full length '€˜Creatures'€™ and look for the title track'€™s music video after the tour finishes!

So maybe a little soft one to start. You guys are always touring I know with like Black Veil Brides and Warped Tour and stuff. Maybe what are like the three things you must have while on tour?
Absolutely my iPhone. I think I can vouch for everybody in the band iPhone. Make up for me. Can'€™t live with out that and I'€™m going to go with water because I drink a lot of water. If I don'€™t have any, I get like severely dehydrated within a day so yeah make up, water and my iPhone.

Perfect then how did Motionless In White come to be?
Me and Angelo, our drummer, kind of like were in different bands in high school and then we started this band awhile ago, a couple years ago, and over the years we kind of just acquired more and more members and became what we are now. So it'۪s just your clich̩ met in high school, found more members as time went on and became the band that we are today. Wasn'۪t that crazy!

Then '€˜Creatures'€™ came out pretty recently in October and it'€™s your first full length I believe. So how has it been going over being pretty new still?
I mean for me personally it'€™s going over a lot better then I ever expected it to do at this point. Like I thought it would start out small and then hope that it would pick up the pace and get out there more but we actually started out pretty good for what anybody predicted and then since then, it'€™s been going constantly. People are receiving the songs pretty well live and everything'€™s good. It'€™s going awesome! Way better then I ever thought.

Perfect then maybe how do you go about the song writing process? Is it just one person, is it more collective, does it change?
For '€˜Creatures'€™, it was more so like ninety percent me. Like I write all the music, I write all the lyrics, all the singing and everything and then our drummer Angelo and our bassist Ricky kind of have ideas that they'€™ve wrote and like everybody kind of has little parts but the primary writer is me and it'€™s more unified. It just beat the way that we used to write songs where it was a group and it just took forever and just wasn'€™t flowing but for our next record, we'€™ve already kind of started writing and it was more so like me and Ricky writing then just me. He has a lot of really good ideas and we'€™re kind of a team effort on it.

And then maybe what'€™s like the strangest place you'€™ve found inspiration? Like for a song idea or a thought that came to you?
I don'€™t know most of my stuff that I really do, as strange as it is, is not really that strange. That'€™s a good question. Most of my songs or my lyrics are about personal stuff or I might do something through the eyes of characters in movies and books and stuff so I wouldn'€™t say really any of it is strange because they'€™re all pretty commonly known characters or the stuff that I go through in my life really isn'€™t that unique compared to what other people go through. I guess I don'€™t really have anything that'€™s really strange inspiration. Yeah I don'€™t think I have an answer to that one. Stumped!

Then this past year, you'€™ve toured with some pretty big bands like Black Veil Brides and Aiden'€™s William Control so maybe if you could go with like any three dream bands right now, who would they be?
Well I guess, not so much any more, but Bleeding Through has always been my favorite band and my biggest inspiration in life and my biggest influence for everything that I do. I would love to tour with them for the rest of my life but as far as like bigger acts, Cradle of Filth is a very big one. I don'€™t think it would ever fit but I would love to tour with Manson or AFI. Just bands that kind of inspired me to do what we do. Cradle of Filth was a big inspiration musically to us or influenced us I should say so as of now, I would probably say Cradle of Filth. We did tour with Bleeding Through last year actually and that was pretty awesome. It was like a dream come true. I was a major fan boy for them the whole time. It was just us, them and two other bands. It was just a ten day tour. It was really, really awesome. It was my favorite tour we'€™ve ever done. (Shows me the Bleeding Through patch on his jacket).
Yeah that must have been good! I saw your patch earlier.
I have Cradle of Filth too(shows other one and laughs). I'€™m a fan boy.
Maybe a little bit!
I'€™m terrible (laughs).

Then this tour is obviously some pretty crazy crowds I'€™m sure with Alesana and you guys and of course Get Scared, Drive A and Escape The Fate. Maybe what'€™s like the strangest or craziest thing you'€™ve seen in the crowd so far? Maybe not just on the tour but like at a show?
Definitely the thing that kind of like made me really just think about some stuff was surprisingly the first day of this tour. We'€™ve played some shows where fans would go crazy like they'€™re in the moment and they flip out and go crazy. We played this one time on this old tour where this girl just like started freaking out, screaming and grabbing my arm and just like ripped into my skin and up until this tour, that was the craziest thing I'€™d ever had happen. Since then, I'€™ve always wondered what would happen if I gave the people even more allowance to get at you. Like what would they do? So this tour the craziest thing that has ever happened has been we played in Tucson, Arizona and I went down to like get in the crowd. Like get up against the barrier and get in people'€™s faces and this girl, I don'€™t know how she did it I was blown away, grabbed me by my shirt and pulled me into the crowd. Literally nails dug into my skin, grabbed me by my shirt pulling me in and I was just like what are you trying to do right now? Are you just trying to get my shirt or are you trying to pull me in and eat my flesh like a dog? I had to drop the mike and because she had me from behind, she like grabbed from a weird angle and I couldn'€™t get my arm around and I had to signal to a security guard. The security guard had to rip me out of the crowd. This girl was not letting go and it really made me kind of think like what is the end result of this? If that security guard didn'€™t get me, what would have happened? Like if I just let go and stopped fighting her, would she have pulled me in and really started like eating me? Would she have pulled me in and just stop once I was in there? Like what could the guard actually do? So that was super weird to me that like that girl was that crazy about it. Like she was not letting up and the guy had to rip me out of there. So that'€™s definitely the strangest.
Is that like a regular occurrence? Like that happens a lot?
Some kids have no respect for your personal stuff like kids will just grab your necklaces and your bracelets and rip them right off of you.

That'€™s what Andy (of Black Veil Brides) told me. They'€™ll just tear stuff off of you!
Oh yeah! Not that this is a big deal or anything but like I can'€™t wear necklaces or bracelets or even rings while I'€™m playing and going in the front because they just don'€™t care if it'€™s yours, they will rip it right off of you. It doesn'€™t bother me like yes I understand that you want something from the show but really. When it comes to stuff like your tour pass, I'€™ve had tour passes ripped off me, how could you not realize that the band guy needs that? Like I need that because that'€™s my access way to get to into the show and stuff like that. Don'€™t steal my keys off of me. Stuff like that kind of, it doesn'€™t bother me, it just kind of makes me question what people are thinking about.

That'€™s really bad! I'€™ve seen people like try to take the guy'€™s pants off. Like when I did Pierce The Veil, they just tried to grab his pants or put their hands even in his pants while he was playing.
Yeah! I just want to know, like I kind of want to take a day where I can see some crazy, crazy fans and just let go. Just give me to them and see what happens. I really want to do it but at the same time I don'€™t feel like going to the hospital if they try to fucking eat me or something.
If they eat you! (laughs)
I wouldn'€™t think that they would try until that girl dug her nails and made me bleed. If that didn'€™t happen, I would have probably been like oh they just want my shirt or whatever but no, this girl was ripping me to shreds.

Ouch, that'€™s crazy! Then '€˜Abigail'€™ was the last video that dropped really recently. Like it'€™s your last non-live music video. So maybe how did you come up with that idea? Is it really truly about '€˜The Crucible'€™?
Yeah I mean when we were trying to come up with an idea, I didn'۪t know if it would be clich̩ or not but I kind of wanted to just, you know, reenact The Crucible with our band. When we talked to the director who did the video, he kind of wanted to bring like the old era of The Crucible and just put it in like a modern day setting where, you know, The Crucible meets like CSI or those forensic shows. I definitely wasn'۪t into it at first because I was just like this doesn'۪t make sense. It doesn'۪t go with the song and it doesn'۪t go with the lyrics or even '۪The Crucible'۪ but fortunately enough, it worked out to where I don'۪t hate it but it'۪s still not what I wanted it to be. I like the band performance parts and I like the parts with the creep and all that stuff but I don'۪t like the cop stuff at all. I'۪m kind of down about that but it'۪s whatever. I'۪m not the one who'۪s watching it so as long as the fans like it, I'۪m cool.

If you could take another, I mean you may have already made a video for another track I'€™m not sure-
We are as soon as this tour is over.
Aw that'€™s exciting!
Yep!
Then I won'€™t ask the song because you may not want to give that away!
Well I can tell you what song it'€™s for. It'€™s for the song '€™Creatures'€™ that we did. Once again, not the song I would like to do but it makes sense. It'€™s alright!

Then maybe as embarrassing as this may be considering the music that you'€™re doing today, what was the first CD or cassette you bought then the first concert you went to?
First CD I bought was Weird Al'€™s '€˜Bad Hair Day'€™. I'€™m pretty sure I'€™m not the only one who'€™s heard that CD. Probably because Weird Al was the shit back then. So yeah that was my first CD and then my first concert was No Doubt in 1995. I was in fifth grade. Magic Kingdom tour and it was awesome! It was my first concert so it was like really boring for me and really awkward for them to play songs not like they were on the CD. You know I had never seen a band live before. It was just the fact that they didn'€™t play their songs exactly like they were. They would stop and talk in the middle of the songs and change things around. They would be different live and it was like a weird experience for me but at the same time, it was awesome! I was super into No Doubt.

Then obviously those are a little different then what you'€™re doing today but do you think they still influence you like those musical experiences?
Yeah I mean not so much like what those bands did musically but seeing what a whole live show was and seeing how you just can'€™t go up there and play note for note just a line up of your songs and expect it to be a show because people could just listen to your CD. You got to do something else in the midst of your sets. What I do is I try my hardest to get the crowd pumped up as much as possible. That'€™s something I saw in No Doubt. They'€™ve got sing alongs, they got people to do chants and stuff so it like opened up my eyes and made me realize that there'€™s a difference between live and CD and that if you'€™re playing a live show you'€™ve got to put on a show!

Perfect and then the last one! What'€™s going to be going on? Are you guys just going to continue to tour like crazy? Are you going to be taking a break?
We already know what we'€™re doing all the way to the end of this year. So like there'€™s no more surprises or anything. Like we already know every single thing that we'€™re doing this year so we'€™re going to record a new record at the beginning of 2012. I can'€™t say what tours we'€™re on but fortunately we have some pretty awesome shit coming up. Especially in the summer! So yeah we actually have a lot of cool stuff coming up.

Perfect, well thank you so much!
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Attack Attack

If you'€™ve been sticking around for a while, you know that I don'€™t cover just one kind of music. I'€™ll do an interview with an alternative country band then turn around to cover one that has become known to be '€˜crab core'€™! Recently I sat down with Andrew Wetzel and John Holgado at one of the last few dates of their last US headlining tour '€œThis Is A Family'€ where we talked about everything from how they are going to proceed with out Johnny Franck who recently announced he was leaving the band to the pranks they'€™ve been pulling with the rest of the bands on the tour which including filling a certain death core'€™s band wagon with brightly colored balloons!
The band told me about intentions to do another full US headlining tour this Spring maybe hitting the lesser known markets and how they went about their songwriting for the new record which just came out this summer. Read on for everything going on with the band and definitely pick up the new record simply called '€˜Attack Attack!'€™

So a little soft one to start! Obviously you just did Warped Tour and it wasn'€™t your first time around. How did that end up going for you with the new record and everything?
Andrew: It was a lot different! For the first year, we had a lot of driving. Like kind of just accumulating to the ridiculous schedule of Warped Tour and just trying to figure out where we fit like on that tour and how to do best. Like how to attract the people to see us and hear us play. This year was a lot different because we went into it knowing what to expect and you know we were really stoked on our new record and all of the other shows that we had done in the Spring right before that did really well. There was a lot of hype so overall this year'€™s Warped tour compared to last year was just way more relaxed and we kind of knew how to work it and we had great crowds and huge shows every day. It was just really awesome so I mean it was just a lot more relaxed and we knew like what to prepare for.

Perfect then obviously you have been touring since the release of the record so how do you think the second record'€™s been going over?
It seems to have gone over really well. Well it seems to be doing really well. It'€™s very difficult, as a band, to try to figure out when you change your sound how far can you go. How much different can you get away with without fully alienating your fan base because as you go, like as the band progresses, you lose fans. Like the bottom quarter of your fan base just drops off every single time you do a new record because they undying loved whichever record was before that but this one I think we found like the perfect medium. To really push forward but still really showcase the sound that we had from the first record. It seems to be doing really well, the numbers have been really great and we'€™re still stoked with it like the first one too so it'€™s good.

And how has the sound really been changing? I know you have Caleb now on the front vocals. How has it been going, like how have the reactions been since the changes?
Andrew: It'€™s been great!
I know you lost another member unfortunately too.
Andrew: Yeah, we'€™re just used to it at this point. Like we'€™ve had lots of line up changes and stuff and each time it seems to really benefit our band and it seems to really push us to be more creative. I mean with Caleb at the front like he'€™s recently started singing like clean singing too. It'€™s come along really well. He'€™s been taking vocal lessons and he'€™s really starting to get like really comfortable with being the front man. Before, he just didn'€™t want to do it at all. He didn'€™t want to front the band just because he never wanted that kind of attention but like he'€™s really grown into it and really owned it. Like if you just watch him on stage now where if you saw him like a year ago, it'€™s really like a night and day difference. I think it'€™s really awesome.

That'€™s awesome and I know you guys posted a new song I believe. It is a little different. Is that a sign of you guys maybe even starting to think about writing a new record or an EP or is it something you just decided to put out?
Andrew: We were just always going to be in a state of creation and writing of some sort. I mean it'€™s pretty early to tell like what is going to happen. When Johnny said he was going to leave the band, we were already working on that song and Caleb was already working on singing. So when Johnny left, we were like well we don'€™t want to leave like that kind of cliffhanger. You know that open note there and be like '€˜well what'€™s going to happen now? Is it going to suck, like what is it?'€™ so we figured it would be in our best interest to put out something with Caleb singing. I mean Caleb sounds great and so we were just like '€˜Dude, let'€™s just put out this clip'€™ so people know like hey just because Johnny'€™s gone doesn'€™t mean we can'€™t still like be a band. We can'€™t still do what we'€™re doing so yeah that was pretty much like the whole motivation behind that. Just to kind of get it out there and kind of calm people down. It'€™s not the end of the world. It'€™s not the end of our band. We know it'€™s just the next phase.

Perfect then how has this tour been going in particular? Everyone'€™s a little bit different in their style of music like you have the death core and sing/scream. It'€™s all really different how has it been going?
Andrew: Yeah I mean it'€™s been awesome. Like everybody is friends on this tour. You can'€™t see it but if you looked around our bus right now, I'€™m wearing a flack jacket. I just bought a two hundred dollar air soft gun today, like an assault rifle. Everybody else did too! We'€™ve been having this like air soft feud with Emmure and it'€™s just gotten really out of control. It'€™s not really funny anymore because all of these guns draw blood at this point but I mean yeah, every one'€™s getting along great. The shows have been awesome. The crowds have just been really nuts for every single band and like every band has a huge response. You know there isn'€™t like that weird wildcard band that draws their own crowd and then they leave when they'€™re done. Like everybody'€™s crowds have like stuck together and just have been super supportive. This just has just been like really great!

Then what'€™s like the strangest thing you guys have seen lately? I know this seems pretty crazy with your air soft guns and I'€™m sure you have been having some fun with those but what'€™s like the strangest thing you'€™ve seen?
Andrew: This tour?
This tour, yeah!
Andrew: What'€™s been the craziest thing?
John: The balloons!
Andrew: Oh! We pranked Emmure the other night at the Norva in Norfolk where we bought like three or four hundred balloons at Walmart. Then we filled them all up! We actually had the entire back lounge full from floor to ceiling with inflated balloons and then we had to like pull them all in big trash bags and then run them around the block to Emmure'€™s band wagon and we filled their entire band wagon with balloons from floor to ceiling. That'€™s like the funniest craziest thing. Honestly like it was a cool prank but it really inconvenienced us boys and them because we lived with out like a part of our bus for like two days and it took every body constantly blowing up balloons for twelve hours then we had to figure out how to get them over there. It was really elaborate but it was really funny because they were all bright colors and they'€™re a death core band.
So have there been a lot of pranks on this tour or are they only between you guys?
Andrew: Not really! I mean it'€™s difficult when you get into the prank realm because sometimes if you tour with bands that don'€™t have like a good sense of humor then the pranks get really tragic and like messed up. Anything can happen. Like one time, a band covered our entire van in condiments but it was like twenty degrees outside. So there'€™s like peanut butter and syrup and mayonnaise and mustard like all over the outside of the entire van and we had to stand in twenty degree weather hand spraying at a car wash like blowing mustard off our van with water in sandals. It sucked! There'€™s just certain things. Like some bands do pranks but the balloon thing like we were talking to Emmure about it and they thought it was hilarious. Like balloons? They don'€™t do anything we just popped them and threw them away. It'€™s no big deal but other bands they get carried away and people'€™s feelings get hurt and it'€™s just kind of a really slippery slope but this tour'€™s been pretty good as far as that kind of stuff. Like the air soft thing, everyone has a gun and it'€™s like even and the balloon thing was just funny and that'€™s pretty much been it.

Does this happen on stage?
Andrew: No we don'€™t do it on stage.
John: We try not to!
Andrew: Yeah that'€™s pretty much like our only rule is it cannot happen while bands are playing. Because like if I get shot while I'€™m playing drums, we play to a click track and stuff. So if I stop, that song'€™s done. Like that'€™s it! You know the set'€™s ruined and so that'€™s like our only real rule. Don'€™t shoot people on stage because you can'€™t go anywhere. Like you just have to stand there and that'€™s not sick at all if you got shot while you'€™re playing.

Then this is a little different. If you could take any three past bands you'€™ve toured with, so not like a dream tour like the Beatles, who would they be on a dream tour today?
Andrew: Bury Tomorrow I think first off. Those dudes are rad. Trying to think of who else we'€™ve toured with. Stick To Your Guns would be super sick as well as Escape The Fate. We really enjoyed touring with those dudes so I think those would be the three bands that we'€™ve toured with that I would want to be out with again.

Perfect and then how does the band normally go about the writing?
Andrew: We just kind of go for it. There'€™s no real rhyme or reason. It just kind of happens. Somebody will be on their computer, you know, writing a guitar riff or using a programming/synth part or programming like a dance beat or something like that. Literally anything can trigger it. It'€™s just pretty much when one person gets inspiration, as soon as they tell somebody else it'€™s just kind of rabid. It just like explodes after that then everybody kind of starts throwing in ideas like on top of it and then usually the song will suck and we'€™ll have to re-write it. I mean it'€™s just kind of whatever. Sometimes Caleb will just be at home because he has a studio in his basement and records bands and he'€™ll just write a song. Or like Andrew (Whiting) will be at home and he'€™ll be on his laptop and he'€™ll pull out his guitar and come up with a series of guitar riffs that we just kind of archive and pull them back out later while writing something. It'€™s literally anything can happen and we'€™ll write a song.

And then you guys obviously have a few songs that have sort of a '€œdifferent'€ name to them like '€˜Sexy Man Chocolate'€™ or '€˜Smokahontas'€™. What'€™s like the weirdest name you'€™ve come up with?
John: I don'€™t know they'€™re all pretty goofy.
You guys like to switch it up!
Andrew: I think the weirdest and worst one that we'€™ve come up was back in like 2007 when we wrote a song called '€˜If Guns were outlawed, can we use Swords?'€™ which is just like the worst song title in the world.
John: I don'€™t think I was in the band at that point.
Andrew : Yeah you weren'€™t.
You wouldn'€™t have been okay with it.
John: You got away with that one!
Andrew: I think that'€™s Whiting'€™s and my fault. I think we were the only two that were in the band at that point. It was just awful.

Perfect, then kind of a different one. What was like the first CD or cassette you bought and then the first concert you went to?
Andrew: The first CD I actually bought was Incubus'€™s '€˜A Crow Left of the Murder'€™ and the first concert I ever saw I think was also Incubus when they did their headliner run on that record back in like 2005 I think is when that was. 05, 06 somewhere around there. Yeah that was my first concert. I'€™ve only actually been to like two big concerts. The other one was Modest Mouse and those were really like the only two legitimate big concerts I'€™ve ever gone to.
John: What was the question?
Andrew: What was the first CD you bought?
John: First CD was probably like Britney Spears in all honesty. I don'€™t know, I was into weird music back in the day. I was like twelve maybe. First show was Yellowcard. It was my first mosh pit, that was pretty cool!

Then what'€™s going on for you guys in the next few months? Do you think you'€™re going to stay on the road? I know you have the UK tour coming up, going to take a little breather?
Andrew: We'€™re going to be home for Christmas and New Year'€™s. So we'€™re just going to hang out with our families and try to figure out things to buy them for Christmas because we haven'€™t seen them in forever so we'€™re probably going to buy really crappy presents. Yeah we have Christmas then we'€™re doing a lot of Europe at the end of January and beginning of February then I think we have March off and we'€™re pretty much just going to be like writing in between during all the times we'€™re at home because we get bored after like three days. So then in the spring, I don'€™t know what our plans are. We'€™d like to do another American run in the spring and just kind of do like other markets then all the main cities. That'€™s pretty much it I think for that.
And that'€™s your first headliner tour in the UK or the first ever, even?
Andrew: Yeah first headliner in the UK. It will be our first time going over there!
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Visions

When you think of the Boston local scene and take a real look at it, you see a lot of electronica, acoustic guitar driven hooks and pop punk but something that may have seemed to be missing in the city is a hole that'€™s been filled by VISIONS. Self described as alternative country, TJ Petracca took eight months to record '€˜Re:Visions'€™ which quickly became a project that entailed up to eighteen live musicians at once!

Since the release, VISIONS has become sort of a collective interchangeable band but there are a few members who have been with TJ since the release steadily with Dylan Martin and Taylor Pile who I got the chance to talk to this past week about everything from how the record was recorded and how those songs have been going over live to a pretty exciting announcement regarding their time spent at South by Southwest next month! They are hosting their own showcase this year which has quite an impressive and long list of bands including Caspian, Analog Rebellion, The Spring Standards, The Rocket Boys, Fried Ice Cream, The Pepper Rabbit and fellow Boston locals The Blue Pages and Rodeo Church and of course..VISIONS! You'€™ll be able to catch this talented group at Bayside Bowl on February 25th and can look forward to hearing a lot more about the boys in these next few months!

We'€™re all pretty young still obviously so take the band member sitting next to you. What would they be doing if they weren'€™t in music?
Dylan: I wouldn'€™t be able to do anything but music. Like because music is..my life .I don'€™t know. That'€™s all..I can say.
Taylor: TJ would be doing math.
TJ: He'€™s right, I'€™d be doing math. Dylan would probably be riding his bike or running around Oregon.

Perfect, then how did VISIONS come together? I know that it was one person originally and now it'€™s a full band obviously but how did it all come together to this point?
TJ: Basically like it started out just me and I had this solo project. Visions of Kody was this side project that I started and it was just like an acoustic project that I did with like a cello player and a mandolin player and we toured like that for a while and came back to Boston and we realized that the songs could be a lot bigger. I went into the studio with out a band and just had like my friends come in and do different things and write an album. It took like eight months or something but yeah we made a record and then after the record was done, I just kind of like talked to different people and showed people the album and found people who wanted to play it.

Then with RE: Visions out, obviously there are a lot of members but you are playing this material off of it at shows together so how is it going over? Like how are kids like reacting to everything?
TJ: They'€™re a lot more insane then they are on the album and something I'€™ve realized like I'€™ve never really had a band like this before. I'€™ve never really been in a band before I just did solo project stuff. It'€™s different in like the intensity and chemistry and like the things you learn about each other with in the songs. It'€™s a lot more magical to be like playing with people then to be like creating, fabricating like one track at a time in the studio.

And then are you guys maybe like writing together now that you'€™re like a full band after this record? How do you normally go about the writing? Is it one person, more collective, has it like changed?
TJ: We haven'€™t really..like we just barely started writing.
Taylor: TJ will get angry about something and then he comes in with his guitar and he just freestyles a song about it and then me and Dylan will start playing.
Dylan: Occasionally we'€™ll play something or sing something that we like and, you know, use that.

And then it is a little something different then what we'€™re hearing with a lot of the local Boston bands but in a good way. How do you think you stand out because I know there'€™s a bunch of instruments on the record like a violin but then you have drums and guitars altogether. So how has that been going?
TJ: I don'€™t know I mean at our CD release, we played as an eighteen piece band and we tried to re-create the album like as much as we could. Which was really challenging but it was really fun and we have like a live DVD of that show coming out pretty soon. I don'€™t know I mean, how do we stand out? Like when we play those pop shows and stuff?
Dylan: I think we stand out because we have a lot of emotion, more then like the scene bands. TJ puts his whole heart into everything in a performance and you can see it in his face.
TJ: Aw, thanks bud.


And then how does the album come off live? I'€™m not sure how it exactly comes off but do you have like the string instruments with the guitar or how does it go about?
TJ: I mean we just did a show on Saturday and we played with a guitar, pedal steel, bass, drums, organ and then we had three background singers and I think that actually worked the best out of everything that we'€™ve done so far. We'€™ve played as like a four piece with two guitars, just drums and bass which is kind of like pretty rock band-y but I don'€™t really feel like it'€™s as dynamic or speaks as well as arranging it differently. It'€™s fun adding, like especially being an interchangeable band. We have so many people in our rehearsal space all the time.
Taylor: It'€™s basically like us three are the actual members and then we collaborate with other people.
Dylan: We just bring in all of our friends. I mean we go to Berklee. Not that hard to pick some great players.

So then I actually talked to Dear Zim yesterday and yeah, it was very, very extremely different from you guys.
Dylan: Yeah definitely but we'€™ve actually played with them a lot.
But there are a lot of Berklee bands that are based in Boston or they leave school here then they go play somewhere else. Do you think it'€™s personally affected you? Like has it helped you guys as a band?
TJ: Absolutely we all wouldn'€™t know each other. I mean I'€™m from Utah, he'€™s from Ohio, he'€™s from Oregon. Like none of us would be playing music together with out Berklee. I don'€™t know I went there for six semesters. I'€™m taking this semester off though.
Taylor: Yeah we'€™re taking a semester off because we'€™re doing South by Southwest.
TJ: Yeah we have a tour planned in March and we'€™re going down to South by Southwest and we'€™ve been working on organizing a showcase to benefit the Austin Humane Society. We'€™ve got a really great venue right on Sixth Street and we'€™ve got some amazing bands playing with us. Can we say who they are?
To be honest, I talked to Rodeo Church because I was supposed to talk to them and they told me they were playing.
TJ: Yeah Rodeo Church is playing but we'€™ve been able to get some really great national bands. Should we tell her?
Taylor: Caspian, The Spring Standard, The Rocket Boys. I'€™ve been talking to Analog Rebellion today and I think we'€™ve got them which is pretty awesome. I'€™m really pumped about Caspian. They'€™re like my favorite.
Yeah that'€™s awesome!
TJ: Then we have like two or three other shows that we'€™re playing down there. We'€™re trying to play every day then we'€™re touring on the way down there and the way back which will be cool.

Then maybe what'€™s like the strangest thing you'€™ve seen or experienced? I mean I know you guys are really different from like Dear Zim and the electro dancy thing so what'€™s the strangest thing you'€™ve maybe seen?
Dylan: I can'€™t really think of anything that'€™s too strange.
TJ: Strangest thing to me was like playing a lot of shows with like Dear Zim and Love Via Dance Machine. Like those bands that are not necessarily in the same genre as us but still getting a really good response from everybody there. I was really nervous about how they would react but we'€™ve definitely like been able to, you know, connect with a lot of people there. What also was really strange is at our first show, every body was singing along and it was like two weeks before the album came out. We had just kind of like leaked it a little bit like we hid flash drives around different venues and stuff. We tweeted pictures of them and it kind of like spread a little bit and the next show we played everybody was singing along and I just like teared up.
Taylor: We all cried.

Then I have been listening to some of the stuff and one of the songs that sticks out to me is '€˜Drunk Children'€™. I think it'€™s really good, I actually think that'€™s my favorite but I know it'€™s a concept album from what I believe. So how does that come out during the shows? Do you like play through it? What happens?
TJ: At the release show, we played it front to back and we played it in order. For a while, we were only playing the first five songs. That was like what we played. That was like our set and now we know everything and we'€™ve kind of mixed it up a little bit so I don'€™t know it was definitely cool to play it all front to back but I love mixing it up now. Like we'€™ve found some really good ways to arrange it and transition it.

Then these are a few kind of goofy ones. What was like the first CD or cassette you bought and then the first concert you went to?
Dylan: Metallica and Metallica.
Taylor: Um. Oh my god. Okay the first concert I went to was Lit.
TJ: My first concert that I can consciously remember was Tim McGraw but the first concert I ever went to period was Fleetwood Mac. My parents took me in and they forgot to bring ear plugs so they put like cigarette butts in my ears and they had front row seats so they had to give them up because I was just bawling because I could tell that Stevie Nicks hated puppies.
Taylor: We emailed Stevie Nicks to play our showcase. She never got back to us.
Dylan: We'€™re pretty bitter about it.
She'€™s going to open the night.
Taylor: Yeah she'€™s opening for us!

Then what is coming up? You have a lot of shows obviously and playing South By which is actually coming up pretty fast next month so with the CD, you'€™re just going to be playing a lot? Is it going to be a while for new material because the record did just drop.
TJ: This month is just like a lot of business. We are like emailing. Crazy stuff is happening like every day. Every day something changes. South By is going to be crazy!
Dylan: The only show we have this month is in Portland, Maine.
TJ: Yeah on February 25th we'€™re playing up in Portland, Maine at the Bayside Bowl which is a really cool little bowling alley. It'€™s the new hot place in Portland apparently. So we'€™re playing there and other than that, we'€™re just like practicing and working!
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Eleanor Fye

Eleanor Fye's second amazing album "Love Stays On" has just been released. I had a very interesting interview with her in which we talked about her career as a songwriter and her albums. She also explains the difference between her debut and her new album. And, yes a tour is imminent in 2011!

[Q]: First off, congratulations on your album "Love Stays On". Please tell us about the album.

Eleanor Fye answers [A]: Thanks, I appreciate it! This is my second record of original songs. My first, "Drive," was released in June 2007. There's been a lot of water under the bridge, a lot of development in my life in the last three years, and the new album definitely reflects that. I initiated a pretty major career shift in 2008 and followed that by moving across the country to Nashville, then back to an island near Seattle a year later. When I got to Whidbey Island, I met Gonzalo Bergara and learned about John Jorgenson through DjangoFest NW. That festival was a revelation to me, and an obvious influence, since both those guys are featured on my tracks. So several of the styles and sounds on this record might not exist if I hadn't moved back to Washington. I'm glad I was able to follow my heart and gut.

[Q]: Which song on "Love Stays On" took the longest to complete? Why?

[A]: I think it was "She Flies," which I started during a trip to New Zealand in January 2008. During that trip I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of swimming with dolphins in the wild, which was exhilarating. I remember the chorus coming to me during that trip, and I knew it was going to be a good one. I struggled a bit with getting it done, but finally just let it go and actually finished the lyrics in the recording session. I'm normally a planner, so allowing myself to be at the mercy of the moment was a huge leap of faith.

[Q]: The album was recorded in a just a few days. How did you manage to do this so efficient?

[A]: Well, it's both a skillset and a producing style, I guess. I learned how to create CDs and manage production schedules while making sales and marketing training CDs at Microsoft. We got to record in Microsoft Studios, which is one of the biggest ProTools HD outfits in the country, and the content development process was pretty rigorous. I got a lot of experience in creating sessions that didn't require a lot of post-production editing because we usually didn't have the time for it. As far as my style, I've come at my recordings maybe a little back-asswards from the indie norm. I go in to record songs that are new and untested, sometimes not even quite finished. But for some reason that's the way that has felt right for me, and the strong vision was always there. I've been fortunate to work with musicians who have strong jazz tendencies and great ears. I like to have players in the studio who don't need to see things beforehand or rehearse, but who can read a chart and hear between the lines, be in the moment, and fly by the beat of their heart, if not the seat of their pants. It's one of the reasons I absolutely love Nashville. The level of musicianship is stunning.

[Q]: What is the main difference between your debut album and this one?

[A]: The new record reflects more miles under my wheels and more confidence and maturity both in my singing and in my writing. With the first album, I still was new to the whole songwriting thing -- I wrote my first song in January 2006 - and I was still not sure of the whole move beyond the jazz and classical modes that were so familiar to me. On top of that, I was having all these realizations about how many people I was letting impose their agenda on me, rather than being who I needed to be and making the mistakes I needed to make. I'm at a much better place in my life now, and that joy really rings in the new record.

[Q]: Working with A-list musicians (ie., Michael Rhodes and John Jorgenson), in what way does their musical experience and taste influence your musical thoughts?

[A]: It's a pure joy to work with them, and the sessions with those two in particular were the most fun of my musical life. They hear so fully and immediately, and can respond and manifest so quickly, that it doesn't take long to work through ideas. They also helped with some of the arrangements, and with making songs that much better. Best of all, they're both dog people, which is really the most important thing!

[Q]: When creating a track, do you have a set theme and pre-written lyrics, or do you start with an idea or the music first?

[A]: I would say all of the above. Since I've been a writer and content producer in my "day" job, I can definitely create content to order, and enjoy that exercise. The songs on my records usually show up as successive snippets of lyrics and/or music. Sometimes I'll just keep a file for a particular song title and toss random notes in there. At some point I sit down and realize they're all of a piece, and I piece them together. Sometimes a song seems to write itself, like "Love, the End," which I wrote on a friend's dining room table in about ten minutes.

[Q]: In what way have your parents played a part in your decision to pursue a musical career?

[A]: I think I always knew I'd be a late bloomer, because I used to joke that I'd be a lounge singer later in life or play drums in a rock band. It was painful to have my parents discourage me from pursuing music as a profession earlier, but in retrospect I'm glad they encouraged a "professional degree." My master's degree in library and information science has served me well, and has opened a lot of doors. I'€™m glad I balance these dual passions for music and business, as they definitely are both relevant to the music industry now. I'm grateful - extremely grateful - for my corporate experience and learning how to get things done on a bigger scale.

[Q]: Are there (still) goals you want to reach as an artist and/or songwriter?

[A]: Most definitely. I would love to do a jazz project and share some interpretations and arrangements of standards that are a little different than the norm. I would love to have a major artist sing one of my songs. That would be so cool! And I love film, so would love to have a song in a film at some point. I did the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program in Seattle a couple years ago, and I learned that I am more tuned to writing songs or composing themes for film than full-on scoring or arranging/orchestrating. So it would be fun to do a collaborative project with a film music team.

[Q]: Any plans for a tour?

[A]: I've been so ambivalent about touring. It's taken me a long time to feel balance in the equation of "I love roadtrips" + "I feel happy when I'm singing." I thought I would do little "tour-ettes" this year, maybe long weekends in various places. I'll still do that. But I'm starting to feel that, "Wow, it would be really cool to have some face time with people listening to my music." That showing up is so important - as Woody Allen said, it'€™s 90% of success. But I didn't want to do it just because you have to do it. I wanted to do what felt right for me at the time. And now it's feeling like the time. So yes! Tour imminent. I'm looking forward to getting around the country a bit.

[Q]: How hard is it for a songwriter to give a song a description? Isnot it possible that a song does not have a story but just lyrics?

[A]: It's not necessarily hard for me to tell where a song came from, but there may be several other influences going on that don't fit into a neat blurb. Also, my songs may mean different things to me than to other people, and different things to different people. I'm frequently surprised by peoples' interpretations of my lyrics. It's not necessarily what I was writing about, so it's great that the songs have that interpretive range. And things change over time. I find nuances in my first songs that I didn't realize back then, and I'm sure I'll feel that way someday about this current crop of songs. I do love a song with a story, but I also love the idea of abstraction, words playing in time and space with music. Of course, keeping it grounded and simple is important, so I love that challenge of finding the threads of meaning through a song, even if it's not an explicit story.

[Q]: Recently, what is a typical day like for you?

[A]: I live on an island, so I love to get to the beach regularly. In the morning I usually have some coffee while I read e-mail and news, then do a few hours of consulting work - either conference calls or compiling/creating information and sending it out via e-mail from my "loftice" as I call it (my loft office). Then I usually juggle booking, promo, design, charting, or other music-related tasks. Then evening is usually when I practice or rehearse or write, when I'm more relaxed and at ease. And of course, I run errands and stop in on friends and just hang out, too.

[Q]: Final words?

[A]: Thank you! I appreciate your interest and hope you enjoy my music.
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Jessie and the Toy Boys

Jessie & the Toy Boys just released her 'Push It Remixes' EP today. As a bonus Jessie's favorite song, Valentine, has been added and the remix featuring Yelawolf has also been released. In this interview Jessie talks about the UK-influence in her music, the goals she would likes to reach, the process of making Push It and more...

[Q]: First off, congratulations on your EP and single "Push It". Please tell us about the EP and single.

Jessie Malakouti answers [A]: Thank you very much. I'm excited that the ep is available for everyone. It has some awesome remixes of "Push It" by some of my favorite DJ's. I also put "Valentine" on it, which is one of my favorite songs I've ever written. We went really 80's freestyle with the track. I love the throw-back vibe.

[Q]: Which song took the longest to complete? Why?

[A]: Push it was a gradual process. I think I have about 9 versions of it on my computer. I knew it had a magic about it the very first day we recorded it, but it took a minute to fine tune. Yelawolf added a missing element to the song as well.

[Q]: To what extent can we hear UK-influence in your music? An example please...

[A]: When I would travel to the UK and other European countries for songwriting trips, I discovered sounds like dubstep. I put out a dubstep single independently in 2008 called "Outsider". Once I actually moved to the UK I became even more transfixed with the genre. I emerged myself in electro/dubstep culture and then dialed it back to keep it pop. You can hear little dubstep wabbles in songs like Push It and Valentine... and Dub grooves in songs like "Flash Back" on my album.

[Q]: When creating a track, do you have a set theme and pre-written lyrics, or do you start with an idea or the music first?

[A]: There really isn't a formula. Sometimes it will start with a title I have in my notebook, other times with a melody in my head... and then there are times I hear a track that inspires the whole song.

[Q]: Are there (still) goals you want to reach as an artist?

[A]: Of course. This is only the very beginning of my journey. I feel like the world is at my finger tips, I have so many goals. Watching the Grammy Awards last night was inspiring. I really look forward to having budgets to do the kinds of things I envision doing with my live show.

[Q]: Recently, what is a typical day like for you?

[A]: A dream. Recently I have been having one long dream.

[Q]: Final words?

[A]: Just want to say thank you so much to everyone for the support! Push it is out on itunes and other digital stores, and I hope you enjoy it!
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Avant

AVANT's new album 'The Letter' is out now and is a great success! His debut was released a decade ago in 2000 and he still is the voice of modern soul which he explains in this interview. Furthermore, Avant talks about his latest song 'Never Give Up The Fight' which is about cancer, his upcoming tour, his fans, and much more...

[Q]: First off, congratulations on your hit-single 'Kiss Goodbye' and your new album 'The Letter'! My woman loves it but sorry she does not need your number (I won't allow it). Seriously, please tell us about the song.

AVANT answers [A]: A kiss is a very intimate thing shared between two people who have an emotional connection. I would say it'€™s the most intimate.'€œKiss Goodbye'€ is a warning to the fellas that if your woman kisses another man, she'€™s basically kissing your relationship goodbye.

[Q]: Your music is described as 'new voice of modern soul'. How do you describe 'modern soul' in comparison' to 'ghetto soul'?

[A]: There'€™s a sophistication to modern soul. There'€™s a story and a lesson behind the music. I grew up listening to Luther Vandross, Gerald Lavert and Babyface. These guys taught you something. I am doing what they do but with a contemporary twist.

[Q]: Your debut was in 2000, exactly 10 years ago! Congratulations on reaching your decade of making music. In what way has the music developed itself during this decade?

[A]: I'€™ve grown up and learned a couple things: about this business, about music, about relationships and I think it shows lyrically. The writing has definitely developed as I'€™m not just singing about a guy who meets girl and now he wants her. I'€™ve been writing and singing more about the state of the world, love and appreciation of women, inspiration, and triumph. So that has changed but overall, I think I'€™ve been consistent with the quality of the music. Or at least my fans think so.

[Q]: Are there still goals you want to reach as an artist?

[A]: Of course! That'€™s still the reason I am an artist and continue to work in this business. How about a Grammy? How about a world tour? I'€™ve been blessed to be able to visit different countries and various parts of the world, but never embarked on a full world tour. I also love acting and have made a few appearances on some shows but I'€™d like to invest more time into that. And most importantly, I'€™d like to use my music as a platform to give back and help people.

[Q]: Cancer is a terrible disease. "Never Give Up The Fight" is a song about people undergoing cancer treatment. To what extent can a by-stander understand what is happening during their battle? Any advice for people who are supporting their loves ones?

[A]: I can'€™t say to what extent a by-stander can understand, but I can definitely say that it'€™s hard. I lost my father and uncle to cancer. And two of my closest cousins are undergoing treatment right now. It'€™s a helpless feeling to know that you can'€™t do anything but just be there for them. Pray for them. Help them. Stay positive for them. Spend time with them. Cancer affects everyone, not just those diagnosed.

[Q]: When creating a track, do you have a set theme and pre-written lyrics, or do you start with an idea or the music first?

[A]: It depends on what I'€™m going through. Sometimes a melody comes to me head. Other times the lyric comes first. It'€™s about pairing the right two and making the best combination.

[Q]: Any plans for a tour (domestic + international)?

[A]: I have upcoming shows up on my website (www.avantofficial.com) and facebook. And yes, there are plans for more dates. I'€™m heading to Amsterdam in April. Hopefully there will be more shows that take me oversees.

[Q]: Your album 'The Letter' is a letter from you to your fans. What I missed is what your typical day is like? So please tell us...

[A]: If I have a morning TV appearance, then I wake up extremely early to be able to sing on TV and then it'€™s go go go all day. Interviews, photos, meetings, performances, and more. It'€™s busy. When I have days off, I still get up somewhat early to work out and spend time with my son.

[Q]: Final words?

[A]: Be kind to people- treat them the way that you'€™d want to be treated. And if you'€™re unkind to yourself, start treating yourself right.

Thanks to you and all my fans. '€œThe Letter'€ is available now. Please come see me at a show, or keep in touch with me on Facebook and Twitter.
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Dev

'I like my beats fast and my bass down low' is the catchy refrain of DEV's hit-single "Bass Down Low". Introduced and produced by The Cataracs, just 3 years ago she posted one of her first songs on her MySpace page. Now she is ready for her debut album and to tour the world in 2011. In this interview DEV even explains the secret story behind her name, don't tell anyone else!

[Q]: First off, congratulations on your hit-single 'Bass Down Low'! Digging it a whole lot... Please tell us about the process and why it took so long before it topped the charts?

Dev answers [A]: Thank you! "BASS DOWN LOW" was just a fun track The Cataracs and I made a while back. Nothing too serious we went into the making of that record, we were just kickin it in the studio and a lil banger was born! I have no idea why it took so long before it topped the charts, G6 was out there stunting LOL.

[Q]: Sorry but I have to know... What's the meaning behind your name 'Dev'?

[A]: It's a crazyyy story actually. you see, my real name,,,,,,is,,,,,,,,,,,

DEVIN.

so DEV,,,,is just what people call me for short haha.

[Q]: Nowadays you constantly hear about 'breaking barriers/innovate' in music. Your music is described as 'perfect mix of electro pop, dance and R & B'. In what way do you consider this 'breaking barriers'?

[A]: I don't consider any of that. I make different sounds every time im in the studio. I have no rules, I have no pressures. If I want to rap, I spit. If I want to sing, I sing. If I want guitar or low bass, The Cataracs go crazy on the beat. If thats whats considered to be 'breaking barriers' I guess thats that. I just look at it as me creating music LOL.

[Q]: How hard was it to get yourself noticed by record labels? How did you meet The Cataracs?

[A]: The Cataracs found me on MySpace just about 3 years ago. I put up a song on MySpace that I recorded on my Macbook and they liked my sound. We work really well together and have been working together ever since then. I was grinding super tough for about 3 years. Doing a few shows a week and recording as much as possible. I had record labels shoot me down and try and stunt on me, but I kept hustling and was eventually loved by Universal Republic. I just recently signed to them a few months ago and The Cataracs signed to them as well. That's the fam right there!!

[Q]: Two/three years ago Cataracs released their innovative album 'Lingerie'. In what way has their musical career played a part in your own career?

[A]: They do all my production and are my partners in crime. They've taught me everything I know about music and this industry. How to write songs and share my personality with the world. They've never once tried to change anything about me or what I want and I love that because I was never willing to do something or change for anyone but myself.

[Q]: Any plans for a tour (domestic + international)?

[A]: Yes both are in the works. 2011 is gonna be crazy!

[Q]: Are there goals you want to reach as an artist?

[A]: I want this journey to take me as far as it can. I take everyday as it comes and am learning about myself more and more everyday. I do have my own personal goals of success that im constantly working towards and would love to happen, I just gotta keep it movin.

[Q]: In your childhood, who were your favorite artists (music-wise and fashion-wise)?

[A]: Nirvana. Kurt Cobain. The Cranberries. The YYYs. Karen O. Eminem. Lauren Hill. Radiohead. Gwen Stefani. Britney. Elton John. Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Snoop. Pac. B.I.G. I remember always loving those artists growing up.

Fashion wise, I remember always reading my moms Vogue magazines and idealizing the lines and models LOL. I was such a Cindy Crawford-fan when I was little, I thought I was Cindy Crawford.

[Q]: How hard is it for a self-described outsider to stand-out?

[A]: Self described outsider! LOL. I've never tried to fit/stand in or out. I've never thought about it like that. If I like something, I like it. I've always done my own thing. so I definitely don't look at the situation as being easy or hard.

[Q]: When creating a track, do you have a set theme and pre-written lyrics, or do you start with an idea or the music first?

[A]: All of the above. Sometimes I'll go into a session with pre-written lyrics and/or ideas, other times we start sessions off with nothing and make a song from scratch about whatever we feels right then and theres.

[Q]: Recently, what is a typical day like for you?

[A]: Lots of flying. Sometimes phone interviews, online interviews, radio interviews, sometimes photo shoots. Most of my days are booked with shows. Every day is different but always very eventful lol.

[Q]: Final words?

[A]: "Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy....." U know the rest!
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Jamaica

Jamaica just released their EP 'Cross The Fader' and on February 15th their full album 'No Problem' will be released. The timeless French duo are currently touring Europe and US till late April. I had the chance to talk with Antoine and asked him about the albums, creating songs, and we even talk about French vs USA being a fun cliché.

[Q]: First off, congratulations on your EP 'Cross The Fader' Please tell us about the EP.

Antoine: Thanks a lot. It was our first release to give our North American followers some sneakpeak at the record during our first american tour in October. We are of course really happy to now reveal the full length (with bonuses of course) on February 15th. We still can't believe our album is soon available in the US.

[Q]: In reviews your music has been described as 'pop perfection'. Since your music is perfect, will this be your last album? If not, in what way can your music evolve when being perfect?

Antoine: I like that you're using that quote, thanks. In my opinion, this enthusiastic journalist tried to describe our effort in recording only singles, at least according to our taste. It's a really nice observation though. But we are fully commited to becoming unperfect and boring for the next album: mid tempo ballads which start in Am, C, F, G should do it.

[Q]: Sorry but I have to know what is the story behind the name 'Jamaica'?

Antoine: Don't be sorry. We picked the name because it refers to a place, like bands we love like Chicago, Boston, Paris. We also wanted a name that ended in "A" because we think Nirvana, Metallica or Madonna are great picks. And of course it was available and sounds timeless.

[Q]: Are there still goals you want to reach as an artist?

Antoine: Touring and making it somehow in America would be amazing, but most of all, writing and recording songs we are proud of and playing good shows. It might sound obvious but it's a really strong drive when you play 13 shows in 15 days.

[Q]: When creating a track, do you have a set theme and pre-written lyrics, or do you start with an idea or the music first?

Antoine: It's often based on chord changes. Sometimes, an urge to create a song that starts with a chorus, or end with an epic crescendo gives a good scheme to write but we don't rely on being too precise style wise beforehand.

Lyrics come from bits written here and there and are most of the time completely written without any music in mind first. When the two meet, it's time to melt them and make them sound as a whole. I love the initial inspiration, it's raw and comes from nowhere, but the process of making things straight is a really rewarding time too. I think it's the details you manage to fix which make a song special. Unless you're Bob Dylan or The Beatles and you basically write masterpieces for breakfast.

[Q]: In the US tv-series, comedians, etc... are making jokes about the French. In what way does it affect your career & music?

Antoine: We don't count many comedians from TV series among our fans, they probably still listen to Brian Adams according to their looks. So I guess they're pretty harmless. French people make fun of Americans too and I always like a good joke, whether I'm the predator or the aim. Clichés are often a fun starting point. I love when Americans use a fake french accent, it's "délicieux".

[Q]: Any plans for a tour (domestic + international)?

Antoine: It's our everyday life for a year now, and counting. We're touring Europe until April, then we fly to the States and Canada for a 2-week tour mid to late April. We then go back home for the summer festivals, probably Japan again and, hopefully, some North America again. It will depend on your reviews, don't forget that "pop perfection" thing as mentionned above.

[Q]: Final words?

Antoine: Thank you for noticing our band, it's "délicieux". Oh, and we want to play in New Orleans, I've always wanted to visit this city.

x
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DC The Midi Alien

DC The Midi Alien is about to release the album 'Avengers Airwaves'. I am already nodding my head to the first tight single "Man Made Things". I had the chance to talk to the producer & DJ about his new album, his political views, and his upcoming projects (ie., John Cena, MC Rabo Rawk, and more...). He even explains how his name and the bands name came to be.

[Q]: First off, congratulations with your new single 'Man Made Things'. I am digging it a lot! What's the story behind the song?

[A]: Thanks man I appreciate that. Basically the idea behind the track is just taking a good look at all of the things that are a part of our daily lives as Americans that are really doing humanity more harm than good. There are countless things on a daily basis that are numbing our intellects and killing us, and nobody in the mainstream media seems to really talk about it. Whether it's the government, the food we ingest, the products we are sold or the drugs we are told will help us.

Take the drug industry for example. Pharmaceutical companies have their agendas, and although it's been said before, I believe it rings true that when it comes to disease and illness the real money is in the treatment and not the cure. From 1996 to 2007, the number of Americans on anti-depressants doubled from 27 million to about 50 million and in that time the number of Americans who actually sought psychiatric help plummeted. I feel that now more than ever, our consumer based culture is actually encouraging people to take the easy way out of problems. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that there are some people out there who have legitimate chemical imbalances and other mental issues, and my sympathy goes out to them, but for the most part I just think Americans have been sold on the idea that a pill will and can make everything better in their lives.

It's important to remember that every major corporation has an agenda, and seldom do these companies put the well being of Americans before their profit margins. I mean, this is only one issue. Their are so many other issues plaguing American society on a regular basis. The government is still in the Middle East because of oil, yet they claim it's because of American freedom and liberty.

On top of that, we are desensitized to violence and destruction because of certain video games and big screen Hollywood contributions, so when we see that 22 American soldiers died in Afghanistan over the weekend, we don't even view it the way we should. It's totally unnatural. It actually really disgusts me how much this country wastes and takes for granted. And I realize that I'm a part of it too, but that's what the track, and the album is about. Standing up and saying, "Ive had enough of this. I need to say something." and questioning the "reality" that we're force fed every day. I recruited 4 MCs on this track who I knew felt the same as me in Slaine, trademarc, Vinnie Paz and Sabac Red, and they each conveyed the message in their own way.

[Q]: Sorry but I have to know... What's the meaning behind your name and the band's name 'East Coast Avengers'?

[A]: HAHA Yeah that's an interesting story. So for people who don't know, the group East Coast Avengers is comprised of MC Esoteric, the trademarc and myself on the beats and cuts. The three of us decided to form a group in 2008, and we actually had about half of our debut album finished before we decided on the name East Coast Avengers.

The name is actually an homage to Marvel Comic's 'West Coast Avengers' which was a series that came out in 1984, and since the three of us are children of the '80's we finally decided on the name after about 2 months of racking our brains for one. Some of the names we rejected were pretty funny and have become the subject of inside jokes between the three of us. But yeah, growing up the three of us were all into Marvel, and one day Esoteric just texted trademarc and I a bunch of ideas in an attempt to land on something we could run with, and right when we saw "East Coast Avengers" it was like a light went on.

[Q]: The previous East Coast Avengers' album was 'socially aware'. In what way has the new political situation changed your view on music?

[A]: Well the most glaring thing is that Dubya and his puppeteers are no longer in office, although the effects of his 8 years of corruption are still affecting us to this day. As proud as I am of Americans for electing it's first black president, I'm just as disappointed in them for not really following up and doing the work to really see past the novelty of his being elected. Everyone thought that when Barack took office, things would just change overnight.

The truth is, it'll take much longer than a 4 year, or even 8 year term in office for this country to really change in any significant way. I remember when Obama tried to pass his health care bill through, and everyone was terrified and calling him a socialist. At least 95% of those people wouldn't know what Socialism looked like if they ran it over with their car, yet middle America demonized him for trying to "change" the country. It's funny to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the biggest Obama fan in the country either. I think all politicians are scum bags. Republican, democrat, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, it's all part of the same system. Pick a side people pick a side! The reality is, Americans are scared of change. I wanna know why.

[Q]: You and trademarc are working with rapper/actor/WWE Heavyweight John Cena. How did you guys get in contact and even in talk to record an album together?

[A]: Well trademarc and I met through Esoteric, and John is Marc's cousin. They've worked on music together in the past before I knew Marc. This project we are recording now is some really intense material. Marc was institutionalized when he was younger, and was diagnosed with bi-polar 2 disorder with manic tendencies. His experience was such a life changing event, that years later he has decided to dedicate and entire album to his experiences. The album ranges from family issues, to addiction to pills and alcohol, to relationships and hospitalizations.

I'm honored that he came to me to provide the musical back drop because these events shaped Marc into the man he is today. He's a brilliant lyricist, a poet and a friend. John involvement will be mostly from his own perspective, as he was present in Marc's life during those trying times.

[Q]: On this new album you have a lot of guest rappers. Any plans for an album/song with a pop/rock/etc... artist? If so, what can we expect?

[A]: Ummmm, no plans at the moment. I'm about 3/4 finished with an EP that I'm recording a producing with my good friend and MC Nabo Rawk (formerly of Porn Theater Ushers) entitled "Lords of the Synth." I've known Nabo for over 10 years now, and we're collaborating on a project that contains beats made from the Moog synthesizer. The analogue Moog synth has always amazed me. It's one of the coolest instruments ever created in my opinion. I've sampled many Moog records from the 1960's and '70's so it wasn't a stretch for me to make 8 or 9 beats that were mainly constructed from sounds from the Moog. I think people will really like this project.

Nabo has performed a few of the tracks as a sneak peak and we've gotten great responses so far. That project is scheduled for completion in March and will drop sometime near the beginning of summer 2011.

[Q]: Nowadays you are see-ing a lot more 'classic' hiphop-duo's (DJ + rapper) coming out. How do these duo's compare to the old-school ones? Any pro's and cons?

[A]: I think the movement of that formula is a really good thing as long as the MC and DJ has chemistry. That's the most important ingredient in any artist relationship. Take Gangstarr for instance; the thing that made Guru and DJ Premier so great was their chemistry. When you went to see a Gangstarr show, you just knew it was gonna be great. Rest in peace to Guru. Hip Hop lost a general when he passed.

As far as the newer cats compared to the old school, I think for the most part they are doing a good job of upholding tradition and moving the crowd with music, skill and energy. I actually have been known to walk out of rap shows if they suck. So many times I've seen cats on stage who just play someone else's beat, spit a rhyme that sounds unrehearsed, fail to engage the crowd and rarely even acknowledge that they have a DJ behind them. I'd like to see the DJ make a come back.

Way back, before corporate America got their greasy hands on the rap industry, the MC was ONLY really there to hype the DJ. When "Rapper's Delight" came out, everyone all of a sudden wanted to rap and be in the forefront. Don't get it twisted, I love rappers, I just wish more of them would acknowledge that the DJ is the backbone of Hip Hop. That way rappers would be forced to include the DJ in the performance aspect more.

[Q]: Any plans for a tour? What can your listeners and fans expect from your tour?

[A]: We actually have no plans to tour at all. I'll get back to you on this one.

[Q]: What is your main goal to reach as an artist?

[A]: As a musician, I think I'd just like to continue to learn, to be inspired and to inspire others to make the music they want to make rather than trying to please a certain crowd. Hip Hop has been a big part of my life for about 18 years, so if I can do something to enhance the culture I will. It's important that whatever type of music I make, I'm always pushing myself forward and challenging myself. The day that I become sick of what I do, is the day that I should stop doing it because I know that the audience will hear that in the music.

As an American, I just want to convince people to think for themselves. So many people in this country dub themselves a republican or a democrat, and that immediately tells them and everyone around them what they believe in and where they stand on issues. Personally, I'm all over the place on virtually every social and political issue. There's no name for the political party I consider myself a part of. I'm an American. That being said, I'd like to see more MCs show their awareness instead of letting the streets tell them what to rhyme about. I'm waiting and hoping it'll be uncool to be ignorant sometime soon again.

[Q]: When creating a track, do you have a set theme and pre-written lyrics, or do you start with an idea or the music first?

[A]: Naw usually I come with the beat first, and then I'll let the MC take the beat and write what they will on their own time. In rare cases, someone will come to me and say "I need a beat that sounds like this" or sometimes an MC will come to me and give me an a capella that they wrote to someone else's beat, andI I will go and remix it. That's always fun because more often than not I can come with something that fits the vibe of the lyrics better than they had expected.

[Q]: Why is it important to question authority and challenge 'America's idea of Patriotism'?

[A]: I think in order for an American to really be patriotic, questioning authority is essential. Thomas Jefferson said "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears its people, there is liberty."

There are so many choices that are made for us nowadays. We are given the illusion of choice, but for the most part I think Americans are really afraid to have the freedom of choice that we deserve. Paper or plastic? Stairs or escalator? Left or right? Those aren't real choices. If we the people aren't in some way letting our leaders know that we are watching them and holding them accountable, they will get the idea that they somehow above society and can therefore do what want regardless of consequence. Questioning authority is one of the greatest things you can do for your country.

[Q]: Recently, what is a typical day like for you?

[A]: My typical day usually consists of getting up at around anywhere from 8 AM to 11 AM with my girlfriend. We usually have a big cup of coffee and then I check my emails and read up on a few news sites, twitter, ESPN and my fantasy basketball team hahahhaha. At that point I shower and get dressed, and then I either head into my home studio for some work or we head out to do errands. I'm always hitting up flea markets, record stores and good will stores hunting for rare vinyl. I'm a groove hound. I think that digging crates is a lost art form that really should be present in any Hip Hop producer or DJ's arsenal.

I'm usually up really late because that's when I'm most creative. Mos Def once said that the night is a time of change, and I've been a night owl since I was an infant. Other than that, life comes at me one day at a time, and there's always something new to take care of. I'm close with my Pops, and all my friends and fellow artists. I don't have kids yet, but maybe someday. I'm still young. We'll see.

[Q]: Final words?

[A]: I just wanna thank everyone who's shown me love and continued to support real Hip Hop and dope music. I do what I do for me, but I also do it for you. I hope yall love bangin' this album as much as I did making it.

Also, thanks to all the artists who contributed to Avengers Airwaves, and to Brick Records for believing in me and this record. And also, make sure you stay tuned for "Lords of the Synth," trademarc's solo album, and a solo album from my fellow Avenger Esoteric. Peace!
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