Cassadee Pope

Through interviewing bands for the past almost three years now, there are several incredibly talented acts that I'€™ve had the pleasure of interviewing multiple times and one of those bands was Hey Monday, the Florida based pop rock band that found themselves on tour with everyone in the scene from All Time Low to The Ready Set to the famed front runners of pop punk Fall Out Boy. Times have changed though for the Hey Monday camp as they go on hiatus which provided lead vocalist and main song writer Cassadee Pope the chance to break out on her own and try her cards at performing as a solo artist!

While taking the risk, it does mean sending her back to some much smaller spaces while test-driving her solo material before she heads into the studio to start recording. Providing an incredible set full of tons of Hey Monday songs and six or seven songs she'€™s now written solo, the room was captivated and it was a sure sign of the success Cassadee is so soon to find once again!

Last time was at Dirty Work.
Oh, yeah so a little while ago.

How is it to be like out on your own in comparison to being with a full band, maybe playing your own material?
It'€™s been awesome. I'€™m enjoying being able to have a bit more of a personal relationship with all the fans. I felt close to them before but it'€™s been a bit more about me this time. I feel more like obligated to connect with the fans. I feel a lot more grateful for them at these shows because it'€™s not Hey Monday, it'€™s me and I feel like their support is really vital right now. So the fact that they'€™re even at the shows is now more important to me then ever.

Then while it'€™s a little soft, how did you go about working on your solo material compared to the group efforts?
Well, it'€™s always been the same. I'€™ve always done co-writes and done stuff on my own. The only difference is not doing material with Hey Monday. With Hey Monday it was more pop rock stuff and this stuff is a little bit poppier but it'€™s never really changed. In my solo stuff, I didn'€™t really have a direction in mind. Just to grow and kind of go with whatever direction it grew into and it turned out to be like a pop rock thing. A little more of a poppier base.

Then do you think a record will come soon? I know you'€™ve done some with Hey Monday but as Cassadee solo?
I really want to. It'€™s just a matter of a budget and making really good sounding albums because I think that'€™s all part of the debut. Making everything sound good and sound the way I want it too. I don'€™t want to release demos that don'€™t sound good or don'€™t represent what I'€™m going for. So I'€™m getting some decent sounding demos together and showing them to labels and stuff. Working with some publishing companies and getting something where they can give me a budget to make an actual album because it'€™s definitely not cheap. Hope to release something before the end of this year but realistically, that might not happen.

Now I know this may not be exactly a PC question but are you going to continue on touring now solo?
No, it'€™s okay! Yeah, I'€™m going to continue working for the solo stuff. The tour ends on February 24th and I'€™m going to really focus on getting the songs together and going into the studio and do some really good sounding things but yeah, I'€™m really going to give this a shot. Just try and see how it goes. I really want to go for it. I can'€™t really do that if I'€™m also doing Hey Monday if I'€™m going to focus on this.

Then maybe as a solo artist, who would be your dream person to work with?
I'€™ve worked with a lot of people but I still haven'€™t written with Michelle Branch. I love her and I would love to write with her. Avril Lavigne would be cool. I would love to write with Pink and there'€™s a few writers. Like Doctor Luke would be cool to write with. Bonnie and Mckee and Ryan Tedder.

Then maybe to end it off, are you playing all new material, are you playing some old material? Like what can kids look forward to when coming out to shows.
It'€™s mostly Hey Monday stuff and then like five or six new songs. I mean recently I'€™ve been getting requests for my stuff which is super awesome and people are actually starting to sing songs which is crazy but yeah it'€™s mostly Hey Monday stuff because that'€™s what they want to hear. So I sprinkle in my things here and there.

Then what'€™s coming up? Like obviously working on music, this is your first solo tour.
It'€™s still really new!
Considering that the first show of this tour was your first solo show ever and having a new band behind you. It must have been so scary!
It was scary but I was so happy with the results and I was really happy with the show itself. It was in Anaheim and like two hundred people showed up and they were really, really excited and they just absorbed like all the new stuff and I was really happy to start off on the West Coast and do some shows there because they weren'€™t like the best shows ever. To start, they never are. Like not a lot of people ever come out. I'€™m kind of glad we started there and now we'€™re here on the East Coast where it'€™s so amazing. We have like six or seven shows that we were able to do together before this run so we feel much more comfortable and everything'€™s tighter and it'€™s just been awesome. It'€™s been amazing!
Continue Reading...

Foxy Shazam

I'€™ve seen hundreds of bands live but one that never fails to impress and one that I'€™ve seen several times are the Ohio rockers of Foxy Shazam. I'€™d seen a few moments of them at Free Energy and at the time, my virgin ears were just utterly confused but the next time the band came around Boston I took the opportunity to speak to the keyboardist Skye and later that night saw them daze and confuse even the fans who were there for the insane Darkness.

Catching them on an incredibly smaller scale at a private college show this past week, I can'€™t wait to see them take the stage Saturday night here in Boston at TT'€™s and you should too! The band is embarking on a headlining run which has been a long time coming for this talented band and it couldn'€™t be at a better time! From eating lit cigarettes to sitting on his keyboardist'€™s shoulders, Eric Nally has become one of the most loved front man in the game and the band is right on par with him. Read on for our exclusive!

This is a huge tour opportunity but obviously you guys have been around for years. You said that all the shows are already sold out. Maybe how have the shows been so far and maybe what are you looking forward to being out with The Darkness?
Traveling wise what am I looking forward to? Well, these guys are friends of ours'€™ so literally seeing them everyday and Justin recorded our record so he produced it and we spent months with him. It was awesome. They'€™re great dudes and we love being around them. They put on a great show, they'€™ve been doing it for a long time. Super professionals and they'€˜re just good people to be around. So I'€™m excited about that. All the shows pretty much already being sold out. You know every single show is going to be packed and fun. A lot of these places we'€™ve been before but not recently or there'€™s one place in Chicago The Metro that we'€™ve never played before. A place where I'€™ve seen a lot of bands play but never myself.

That'€™s going to be awesome then! Speaking of the new record, '€˜The Church of Rock & Roll'€™ just came out. So even though it'€™s still so, so new how do you think it'€™s been going over?
It'€™s going great! We just started playing the new CD and we had our CD release show like a week ago or something like that. A week and a half. None of our fans had ever heard almost any of the songs. We played like three quarters off the record and for that, people loved it! Honestly, I haven'€™t seen a bad review yet. People that don'€™t usually get excited about records, our family members and things, like older people that are on that side of that, are getting strangely excited about it. I'€™m getting good feelings about it. We'€™re on a new record label now and they'€™re super good about everything. We'€™re having radio people coming out every day and all these business people. We'€™re not used to it. We'€™re touring. We'€™ve been touring for eight years. Now we have business people coming to see us and loving us so that'€™s kind of a cool thing to be happening right now.
Yeah, only good things! Only good things!
Yeah!

Do you think it changed sonically at all from the last record? ?
Every record changes for us. We record it in a completely different way, completely different part of the world. Like every record, we'€™re on record number four right now, but the first one was recorded in Cincinnati for like a thousand bucks. The second one was recorded in Seattle for a couple thousand bucks. Third one was, when we got signed to Warner Brothers, and they just threw piles and piles of money at it so we were in L.A. Made this really smooth sounding rock record and then this one we did in the UK with Justin and we just made it feel like a rock and roll record. Like we just went for it. We wanted to do something proggy and weird. Every record should feel completely different to people.

And then maybe how did the songwriting go for this record? Was it pretty similar to the last one or different?
Yeah! The writing changes all the time! The songs come to different people at different times. Sometimes certain people have these overwhelming piles of music coming out of them and some times they don'€™t. So before this record, I had two hundred and seventy something songs written and demo-ed but we have six of us in our band and a lot of us write all the time . So only a few of my ideas really got used in the record but a lot of the writing actually happened in the studio. We wrote and recorded almost every thing for the record in the studio.

Perfect and then obviously, you guys tour a bunch. You'€™ve become known for your live shows. Crazy, not in a bad crazy, but a good crazy but maybe something people just aren'€™t expecting. What'€™s like the most crazy thing you'€™ve seen happen so far on this tour?
That gets asked often but there is no craziest thing. Like that'€™s an impossible question to answer. We'€™ve had stuff catch on fire before on stage. Some times our fault, some times just something caught on fire. We'€™ve had rain coming in, we'€™ve played outside and a hurricane was coming at us. So you literally see this darkness coming at us and people are just dancing like crazy like ignoring it. There'€™s been broken bones. I'€™ve had my head smashed open. I got scars (shows me) right there. Drying blood on stage. Getting hit in the face with a bass and I got my head smashed open. These are just things that happen. We'€™ve just learned that it'€™s weird to not get hurt doing things we'€™re trying to do but I think we got it down to a pretty smooth science right now. A combination of amusement, taking control of your body, fans intervening, just anything comes from with in you during the show.

Then maybe for you personally, what'€™s the first CD or cassette you ever bought as a kid and the first concert you ever went to?
The first CD or cassette, see that'€™s a hard one, because I had an older brother so he had all these CD'€™s so I don'€™t know what counts as mine. How about a concert? When I was a little kid, I grew up going to blue grass festivals but the first like rock and roll show was when I was four years old and it smelled really bad. I didn'€™t understand what was happening but I remember, you know when you'€™re four, you'€™re right at everyone'€™s butt so you'€™re just in this big crowd. Hearing loud noises, smelling people'€™s butts. I remember how unpleasant it was. I remember the first CD I bought from my brother'€™s friend. It was like a silly ska mix CD. I remember I bought that. For some reason, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I remember listening to it front to back. Being a little kid, that CD sparked interest in me to do music.
Then obviously that ska mix sparked interest in you doing music but do you think it influenced you personally, even maybe in Foxy a little bit? Maybe the element of rock and roll?
I'€™ve found baby pictures of me playing piano.
And just playing ever since?
Yeah I started taking lots of lessons starting when I was eight but I have baby pictures, toddler pictures of me playing. I'€™ve pretty much always played. Everybody in my family always played.
Piano? I was like man that'€™s awesome, it'€™s like a family affair!
Yeah (laughs)! Dad plays guitar, mom plays up right bass amongst a pile of other instruments.

Then maybe what'€™s coming up after this tour?
Headlining tour. The plan is a headlining tour pretty much right after this and then if you pay attention, we tour a ton. We literally have been doing like two hundred to three hundred shows a year for the eight plus years.
Continue Reading...

Frank Turner

I like to travel the spectrum of musical genres to shake up the grind of attending shows up to seven nights a week and one that is always of particular interest is singer/songwriters. They are always a joy to interview and I pretty much spoke to the king of the current punk rock songwriter class last week. That man would be Frank Turner.

While being considered a god of the alternative scene for so long, the new record that came out in 2011 '€˜England Keep My Bones'€™ really pushed Frank into the mainstream audience and the insanity for him has only been going up and up. Leading up to his Wembley Arena headlining show that is just about sold out for April. We talked about the new record to come as well as American touring and something that you may have heard of called '€˜Anglophilia'€™. Read on for my exclusive with Frank!

So maybe a soft one to start. Obviously, you just played the shows in Austin, you were in Brooklyn, you'€™re about to do pretty much the world after this in a few weeks. Really going everywhere. Is this year just going to keep on going like that?
Yeah, I think so. I mean it'€™s kind of how it was the year before and the year before and the year before and that'€™s fine with me. It'€™s not something I'€™m complaining about. You know I love what I do. I love traveling and I love playing shows but as well, I also love getting a little bit more sleep then I have been recently but this is me. Moaning about my life. I'€™m sure I'€™ll be fine but no, it'€™s great. It'€™s exciting.

And then you'€™re about to play three nights with The Dropkicks and they'€™ve been around for quite a long time. Playing the two nights here and show in Lowell. What are you most looking forward to? They'€™re a huge irish band.
They are! I mean the Tsongas day we'€™re actually playing two shows. A matinee and an evening show and it'€™s like a gazillion billion people. I'€™ve actually played there before with The Offspring a few years ago. So I know it but yeah it'€™s a large place should we say and it'€™s going to be Saint Paddy'€™s day in Massachusetts with the Dropkicks. That day is slightly intimidating to me actually. I'€™m sure it will be fun but I'€™ll probably be really drunk as well. So I'€™ll see how that goes. It'€™s nice here though. I really like this House of Blues. It'€™s a good one. It'€™s fun to play in Boston so I'€™m sure tonight'€™s show will be a lot of fun.

Speaking of large venues, obviously you'€™re headlining Wembley for the first time and you only played it like two years ago with Green Day.
Well, we played the stadium two years ago but we'€™ll be headlining the arena for the first time. This is a different venue.
Right but you'€™re headlining Wembley Arena still which is huge. Which is insane for a musician!
Totally mad and it all feels very surreal. See it'€™s funny at this exact moment is when it sort of all kind of is the nitty gritty like nuts and bolts stuff is starting to rear its'€™ head. So all of the sudden, we'€™re planning some stage spots and set list and all of that kind of thing. It'€™s making it all seem more real then it has to date but we'€™ve sold nearly all the tickets so that'€™s exciting. It should be a good show!
So it'€™s already close to selling out?
Yeah!

Then obviously '€™England Keep My Bones'€™ came out in June. Maybe, since you'€™ve been writing music for a really long time, before Frank Turner as a solo project, how did you go about the writing process for that record itself?
Well, I mean I don'€™t really have a writing process as such and people, especially kind of young kids, always come up to me and are like how do you write a song! I always feel kind of bad because I don'€™t really have an answer for that question. They just sort of arrive and I always feel like it'€™s like an alien attacking you and there'€™s no kind of fit to it. I guess I'€™m lucky in that. Obviously, I'€™ve spent a lot of time. It'€™s not like I just wake up in the morning with fully formed songs in my head. It'€™s just some days it works one way, some days it works another. I guess the main difference with '€™England Keep My Bones'€™ for me was first of all, I feel like me and The Sleeping Souls who are my live backing band who also played on the last record, I felt this time we really kind of settled into the roles with each other. We'€™re really comfortable with playing with each other. It'€™s like we kind of know how we work with each other and how to work together the best. To make the best sound. We actually also did more pre-production on this record '€™England Keep My Bones'€™ then I'€™ve ever done on an album. We demo-ed the whole record which we had never really done before. It was actually really good to do and definitely something I want to do again.

And then even though that only come out last summer, is there still something in the making? Being a song writer, I'€™m sure you'€™re writing quite a lot all the time. Is there something kind of in the plans?
Yes! We are going to be in the studio at the end of this summer. Hopefully have a new album out early next year. So I think we'€™ll probably be playing at least one new song tonight actually but there'€™s a lot of new material. I always kind of feel like it'€™s a relief more then anything else. You know I read an interview a few years ago with Nick Cave which I found very reassuring because he said that every time he finishes a record, he feels like he scraped up everything from the bottom of his barrel creatively speaking and if Nick Cave feels that way, because that'€™s quite often how I feel, then I admit that was kind of a relief.
To see that he had felt the same way?
If Nick Cave, who I think is one of the most incredible geniuses around today, feels like that then I'€™m kind of like '€˜Phew!'€™ Confident.

Then obviously you'€™ve put out multiple solo records over these past few years and were in bands before, you'€™ve been around obviously in the alternative world for a while but now you'€™ve been selling out shows like crazy. I was at the Cambridge show with Andrew Jackson Jihad when you sold that out four months ahead of time or something. Congratulations!
Thank you! It was really good to play that show. For me, it'€™s a legendary place the Middle East and there was talk at the time of it being moved to a bigger venue. It was a difficult one for me because on the one hand, I never want what I do to be exclusive in any way. Actually, I was thinking about this a lot at South By South West because it'€™s all that kind of like '€˜there'€™s this crazy party that no one'€™s going to be able to get into but so and so from Public Enemy is playing a deejay set'€™ and it'€™s like the whole principle of it is exclusionary and I think that'€™s awful. That'€™s not what rock and roll is supposed to be but at the same time, I'€™ve always wanted to play a show at the Middle East.
Have you really?
Yeah, yeah! I mean I grew up listening to a lot of punk and hardcore records and I had a massive love for Massachusetts hardcore so like Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Cave In. All those kind of bands from here. Favorite, favorite bands and I had tons of boot leg tapes of people live at The Middle East and that kind of thing. So it was really good to play there!
And then maybe do you remember the first CD or cassette you ever bought? And the first concert?
Well the first cassette I owned that was mine, I didn'€™t buy it myself my mom bought it for me, it was '€˜Thriller'€™. Still one of the best fucking records. I think the first record I bought with my own money as far as I can remember might well have been a Judas Priest cassette. That'€™s how fucking cool I was. I remember the first CD I bought was by a band called ..Pigs in Space. This short lived british rock band and then first gig was a band called Snug who were a very short lived British punk band who weren'€™t very good. Their guitarist was called Ed Harcourt and he'€™s now a singer songwriter who I'€™m friends with and we'€™ve toured together a ton of times. So it'€™s a weird one because we'€™ve sort of come full circle if you like. He'€™s a wonderful guy.

Perfect and then obviously you'€™ve been touring for years, but I recently talked to like Kaiser Chiefs, Bombay Bicycle Club who are all in the British scene. Just starting to tour here. Kaiser'€™s toured here before but not recently. Maybe advice you'€™d give to bands who are just starting to tour here?
Get ready to work hard! Well, I think one of the things about America is that basically you can cheat in the UK. You can nail the right magazine covers and radio coverage and then you can sell out a room tour of a thousand cap venues and come back and do one tour of two thousand cap venues and you'۪ve kind of done the UK. A lot of american bands do that, you know. They'۪ll get a big hype and a buzz going and then they'۪ll show up and play big shows and the box is ticked if you'۪d like. So it'۪s found to be very frustrating when I was younger because there were lots of great English bands and there'۪s a lot of sort of soft spots for English bands in the music scene. You know in fairness, I'۪m kind of experiencing sort of that a little bit in the moment. There'۪s a lot of kind of anglophilia in the American punk scene. I guess it swings both ways but one of the things I like about America is you just can'۪t achieve-. Achieve is kind of a loaded word. I'۪m not sure if I should use that word but like if you want to be successful in America, you just have to tour and tour and tour and I think that'۪s one of the reasons I'۪ve always liked American rock and roll music more then English. Just because all of the bands are always fucking machines. Really well polished machines and even just looking at hardcore/punk when I was a kid, we have all these kind of hardcore shows with all of our bands and then one of kind small American band will come over and they absolutely walk all over us and the reason was because they'۪ve just done three hundred shows in a year where we'۪ve done like seven. Do you know what I mean? And it is kind of a clich̩d thing to happen for an English band to go to America and then sort of implode but then they kind of realize the enormity of the task. I mean there'۪s obviously been examples but I don'۪t think there is anything inherited in British character that means that you can'۪t tour in America. You know I mean we do but it'۪s a long walk. Thankfully I love it. It'۪s absolutely no chore to me to tour. I love it but if you'۪re the kind of band that doesn'۪t like touring very much then America'۪s probably not for you basically. That'۪s the short answer.
Continue Reading...

Polar Bear Club

As I always say, I believe a reason why I continue to steadily interview the bands touring their butts off is because of their heart and determination. Currently there is a perfect touring example of this in the Glamour Kills incarnation that is happening now. It features five acts (The Wonder Years, Transit, Polar Bear Club, The Story So Far & Into It. Over It.) who tour the majority of the year while barely having any time to themselves at home but it pays off. The tour has added several second shows in cities to selling out the majority of the already planned ones and all are past interviews for me.

But one that always stands out are the Rochester boys in Polar Bear Club. A band that just released their new record last September '€˜Clash. Battle. Guilt.Pride'€™ and will be spending their summer on the always treacherous Warped Tour! This time around, we talked about the writing process of the new record and how great the Glamour Kills experience has been so far. Read on for our new exclusive with lead vocalist Jimmy!

I know this tour just started the other day with The Wonder Years but how have these first few shows been going?
It'€™s been great! It was kind of strange because like I just said, we had so much time off. Three months off and that'€™s a lot for us. I mean we'€™ve maybe only had like a month off at a time here and there. We just sort of burrowed ourselves into a little corner where there was nothing else for us to do and then this tour came up so we haven'€™t seen the US in this three month time period, we had just come off a European tour and we didn'€™t want to go to Australia and South America after that. We just took the time off. So we did a little warm up show in Rochester and now we'€™re on the third day of The Wonder Years tour and its'€™ been great. This is a massive tour. Not a lot of people realize that we did two shows in New York that were both sold out.
Two shows in New York?
Yeah! This show here is sold out as well in Boston in a huge venue. They added a second show in Chicago, they added a second show in Philly which is a really good energy. I guess I didn'€™t realize that The Wonder Years were this big but they earn it. It'€™s kind of amazing because headlining is great but it'€™s a lot of pressure and a lot of work. I actually would much rather open for another band just in terms of like day to day. I mean as an headlining artist, you have control of the show but in terms of work level and stress level, this is amazing. We'€™re playing fourth out of five so we don'€™t really have a lot of pressure on us but the kids are in the room by that time anyways so it'€™s the best of both worlds really.

And then it'€™s you guys, Wonder Years, Transit, The Story So Far and Evan (Into It. Over It).
And Evan, yeah. Don'€™t underestimate The Story So Far.
Yeah I have an interview with them too I understand.
Oh, okay good! They are destroying this tour. They are absolutely destroying and I said it on stage in New York City it was amazing. We'€™ve sort of seen a lot of bands like that before. Like we took Title Fight out right when that was happening and we were on tour with Gaslight Anthem right when that was happening. And now to see this happening right now. It'€™s like there'€™s nothing like seeing a band in its'€™ stride. They'€™re really hitting hard. You'€™ll see tonight just like they'€™re killing it.

Perfect and then the new record, '€˜Clash Battle Guilt Pride'€™, I got it! Because we interviewed like two years ago and you were working on it. Like AP tour! How do you think it'€™s been going over so far?
It'€™s been great! It'€™s done exactly what we wanted it to do. I think it showed people what type of band we are. That we'€™re going to make records for a while and that'€™s going to be the sum of the whole thing. I think when we first came out people were like '€˜Oh this first stuff is really good. Is that going to be it from these guys?'€™ because that happens to a lot of bands. I think with this record we'€™ve shown a lot of people that that'€™s not all we have because we'€™re songwriters. That'€™s what we want to do and we'€™re going to make a lot of records and a lot of people that talk to me about this record they say '€˜Wow it'€™s like a combination of everything I thought Polar Bear Club was in one record'€™ which I guess that'€™s kind of cool. Really, from our stand point, I say this every time, even I probably said this to you at the AP tour, we just really make music that we want to make. There'€™s no other way to make music. It'€™s so funny when people say a band has sold out. I'€™m not saying people think that of us. It'€™s funny when people think that and I think it too sometimes. When you think that a band is trying to act a certain way. We'€™ve never been able to fathom that. We'€™ve never been able to be like '€˜We should try and sound like this'€™. I was watching the documentary about Wilco on Netflix the other day and Jeff Tweedie was talking about this very thing and he was like '€˜The record label didn'€™t like the record and I didn'€™t know how, there'€™s no other way to do it and I don'€™t know how to do it any other way'€™. I was like '€˜That'€™s it!'€™ because there'€™s no other way to do it. People could come to us and be like '€˜You need to make a record that'€™s more like this'€™ and we just said '€˜Go fuck yourself. There'€™s no way to do it'€™. We just make the music we want and we only just follow our instinct. It'€™s a reflection of where you'€™re at in your band and the person you are at that time but I think this record really is one more step into our world. The next one will be the same thing but just at a different time in our lives.

And then maybe how did it compare song writing wise to '€˜Chasing Hamburg'€™? Was it pretty different?
It was very different. It was incredibly different. '€™Chasing Hamburg'€™ we wrote really fast. We took the winter off just to write and we were at it every day. We all lived in like the same house doing it just twice a day, five days a week for the whole winter. We toured out to the studio and recorded it. This time around, it was a little bit more organic. Sort of on slow bills. We didn'€™t really force it and we really took our time with the songs. Something new this time which we had never done before is we had a demo version for every song. Complete demo.
Oh really? Full on demo?
Full on demo. Vocals, everything and then we went to pre-production where we recorded a second demo of each song and then recorded so we had never done that before. Most times, no one is knowing what the vocals even sound like until we go to record them before this record. We'€™ll probably never do it again but that'€™s the way it was moving up to this spot. Now, we'€™re just demo-ing, demo-ing, demo-ing. Just trying to get into that sense of the big picture with the record and I think this record was more cohesive then our records have been in the past because we did that. We went into the studio with I think fourteen songs and ended with eleven? Eleven on the record? Yeah. I'€™m sure it does.
Could be eleven songs or maybe eight?
But you know, we just had a bigger pool to pick from and to make sort of the cohesive record that we wanted to.

And then maybe you have this tour that just started and it'€™s a pretty decently long tour. Then Warped Tour!
Yep, all of Warped Tour!
You'€™re playing all of Warped Tour, you just started the Glamour Kills tour, what'€™s going to be going on this year? Just keep on touring? Take more time off?
Well when this tour ends, we have a little break and then we do all of Warped Tour and then after that, we have a little tiny break then over to Europe for some end of summer festivals. A little short fall tour and that'€™s all we'€™re planning at this point but yeah I mean, you know, I think the goal is to do that and be writing at the same time and sort of getting some demo'€™s out and seeing where we'€™re at as songwriters and just getting ready for the next record! That is really our goal for being in a band. Is writing records. I mean touring is amazing and we definitely enjoy the climate that we'€™re in in the music industry. You now write records so that you can tour as opposed to one day where it was the opposite. You tour to sort of sell records. Now, we'€™re making records so that we can go on tour but the best part is the writing process. I love that so much and so to get back to that, that'€™s important and we'€™ll be back doing that soon.
Well that'€™s really, really important!
It is! Writing records is kind of important. I mean it'€™s just we'€™re not going to be on the radio. We just have to build our own sort of world to be able to sustain ourselves doing this band. It'€™s just the way you do it now because you just have to build your own sort of life and touring is important to that for sure but we just want to keep putting out records. Putting out records and just reach new people. It'€™s why this tour is so great too. You wouldn'€™t think it but at these shows, there is a lot of people who have no idea who we are. These kids who are coming to see The Wonder Years.
Really?
Yeah! Totally. Like I think people generally know who we are who never really gave us a chance. I'€™ve read at replies on twitter. People are like '€˜Wow I never listened to you guys'€™. It'€™s kind of a double edged sword because you may have toured for ever but you'€™ve just become a name. I mean there'€™s bands I do that too also. I never really listened like when I was younger to RX Bandits. It was like a band name I saw on tour posters but I had never listened to them but I saw them and I was like '€˜Wow that'€™s cool!'€™ to a lot of people that are in that band. I had seen ads in the magazines and posters but it was like '€˜Oh, that'€™s what that is? I thought that was like this!'€™ Oh okay, it'€™s cool!
Well that seems similar to AP Tour where you were nothing like say Bring Me The Horizon.
This one'€™s a little bit more alike. It'€™s funny and it amazes me every day too because I'€™m like wow I'€™ve done so much press. We'€™ve been in all these different publications, all these bands have talked about us. Louis C.K. has that amazing bit: '€˜There'€™s a lot of people in here but there'€™s a lot more people not here'€™. I figure everyone in this '€œworld'€ at least knows who we are but that'€™s not true. So many people don'€™t and we just have to stick at it until they give you a chance.
Well, thank you so much!
Thank you!
Continue Reading...

Mona

On a consistent basis, I interview the bands who are attempting the jump over the pond (or even the border with Canadian bands) where we talk about both their struggles and their triumphs over seas. Most recently these bands included acts from Kaiser Chiefs to Bombay Bicycle Club and most recently Abandon All Ships but there are the bands who are from the United States who first find success in other countries like the UK and Canada. One of those bands is the Nashville based Mona.

With their debut US record dropping a week ago to the day, they are poised for success here and I got the opportunity to talk to lead vocalist Nick hours before they hit the stage in Boston. With the band poised to tour with famed Noel Gallagher of Oasis next month and most recently coming off some time with The Airborne Toxic Event, they are sure to be all over your radars soon enough!

So you'€™re on this tour now headlining. How has that been going considering you'€™ve been opening for people in the past on their tours as of late?
Yeah, like in the states, we did some really small stuff. It'€™s kind of weird because we'€™re used to playing bigger rooms. The last show we did in the UK was 2,500 people after ten months, so it went so fast and then here it'€™s a much bigger country. Things work differently in the states but I love small rooms. These are like my favorite places. We'€™ve played to nine people and we'€™ve played to nine thousand and my favorites are around the two fifty group. I just love that type of feeling. It reminds me of being a kid in church when I was growing up so yeah, I like it a lot. If I could play for the rest of my life in that kind of a venue and still get the word out as big, then I would do that but I mean obviously, one needs to grow but sometimes we'€™ve missed it. Obviously you'€™re happy because you'€™re playing bigger places but even when we were playing the UK and Germany and stuff like that and places start getting bigger, you kind of miss it. You feel more and more distant the bigger it gets.

And then I'€™ve been talking to a bunch of bands that are from the UK so they'€™re trying to cross over here while you guys have experienced a lot of success over seas and then your first album is coming out here. So maybe how has that been? Because you'€™ve opened on pretty big shows here like you were with The Airborne Toxic Event and that was theaters and then going out with Noel Gallagher in April. All those shows are going to be huge shows again.
It'€™s a bit of a mind game because you come back from wherever and it doesn'€™t feel real. So until it happens here, it'€™s not that those people don'€™t mean anything because we made a lot of friends and fans but it just doesn'€™t feel like it is resonating yet until its'€™ your own country so I mean I'€™ve had friends that are in bands with similar things who have had huge success in other parts of the world but till they did it here, it didn'€™t feel like it mattered. There'€™s a little bit of that but you have to have a lot more patience because it is so much bigger. It'€™s not hop in the van and hit the whole thing. It'€™s awesome! You go from Glasgow to Brighton, that'€™s like the North of the UK to the South of the UK and you can do it in like the distance of Chicago to Nashville. Not even thinking of trying to go East Coast to West Coast. So it'€™s a chess game mentally because you got to be patient.

And then the first one comes out here Tuesday which is huge and the song'€™s on the radio so people are starting to hear it. How excited are you to finally have a full length record out here?
It will feel like it'€™s materializing. You'€™ll meet people and they'€™ll be like '€˜What do you do?'€™ and you'€™re like '€˜I'€™m in a band'€™. '€˜Do you have an album?'€™ '€˜Kind of not here We have an EP but the single you can download'€™. It'€™s frustrating. Even friends and family are like '€˜Well can I go to wherever and buy it?'€™ We just weren'€™t here so it was stupid to release a record and not be able to follow it with a tour and we'€™re doing Leno on the same day. It'€™s kind of like a foot print, like a first step. It'€™s like '€˜Okay, let'€™s get started!'€™

And then maybe you said you'€™re working on the second record because the first has been out from my understanding in the UK for a while, just not here. How do you go about the writing process?
I mean I write all the vocal melodies and stuff like that but the band definitely collaborates. Right now, it'€™s just trying to collect ideas and figure out what direction we'€™re going to do next. I mean you have bands like The Strokes where they do albums that are pretty similar but the second was another step. If you were into them, you appreciated the second album more and you have bands like U2 where they completely redesigned themselves. We'€™re trying to figure out how far to go with it and how much do you want to take and experiment or piss off your fans that quick. I think we'€™re feeling out things with time but the way I write is all on my own so as far as lyrically, as time goes by, it'€™s not really going to ever change. I don'€™t really sing anything unless I believe it. I'€™m not a great story teller. I'€™m more of I guess an expressionist. You can feel what I'€™m kind of shouting across the room where as Dylan when he'€™s talking about the Jack of Hearts and all this story stuff. My brain just doesn'€™t work like that. I guess I'€™m more of an emotional baby. If it'€™s a mean song, you can tell because I sing it pretty angrily.

Then maybe, a soft one, do you remember the first CD or cassette you ever got as a kid or the first concert?
All my first musical experiences were in the church so I didn'€™t really discover rock and roll till later. I remember in an old beat up Dodge Caravan my mom had this sixties and seventies '€™Crusin'€™ Classics'€™ CD that she got at like a Shell station which was old Doowop stuff. We used to listen to a lot of oldies which I think is hilarious because as an adult, some of that soul music is the most sexual music that was around at the time but I can'€™t really remember the first. I remember stealing like a Aerosmith CD from a Walmart or something. I can'€™t remember which one it was but I think it was because I saw Liv Tyler and Alicia Silverstone in that video and I wanted them. I didn'€™t know if they were like in the band or who they were, I just remember seeing the video and I wasn'€™t allowed to watch it. I was sneaking around watching it thinking this is awesome but then, I obviously got Nirvana amongst other things.
Continue Reading...

Every Avenue

So you'€™re on this tour now headlining. How has that been going considering you'€™ve been opening for people in the past on their tours as of late?
Yeah, like in the states, we did some really small stuff. It'€™s kind of weird because we'€™re used to playing bigger rooms. The last show we did in the UK was 2,500 people after ten months, so it went so fast and then here it'€™s a much bigger country. Things work differently in the states but I love small rooms. These are like my favorite places. We'€™ve played to nine people and we'€™ve played to nine thousand and my favorites are around the two fifty group. I just love that type of feeling. It reminds me of being a kid in church when I was growing up so yeah, I like it a lot. If I could play for the rest of my life in that kind of a venue and still get the word out as big, then I would do that but I mean obviously, one needs to grow but sometimes we'€™ve missed it. Obviously you'€™re happy because you'€™re playing bigger places but even when we were playing the UK and Germany and stuff like that and places start getting bigger, you kind of miss it. You feel more and more distant the bigger it gets.

And then I'€™ve been talking to a bunch of bands that are from the UK so they'€™re trying to cross over here while you guys have experienced a lot of success over seas and then your first album is coming out here. So maybe how has that been? Because you'€™ve opened on pretty big shows here like you were with The Airborne Toxic Event and that was theaters and then going out with Noel Gallagher in April. All those shows are going to be huge shows again.
It'€™s a bit of a mind game because you come back from wherever and it doesn'€™t feel real. So until it happens here, it'€™s not that those people don'€™t mean anything because we made a lot of friends and fans but it just doesn'€™t feel like it is resonating yet until its'€™ your own country so I mean I'€™ve had friends that are in bands with similar things who have had huge success in other parts of the world but till they did it here, it didn'€™t feel like it mattered. There'€™s a little bit of that but you have to have a lot more patience because it is so much bigger. It'€™s not hop in the van and hit the whole thing. It'€™s awesome! You go from Glasgow to Brighton, that'€™s like the North of the UK to the South of the UK and you can do it in like the distance of Chicago to Nashville. Not even thinking of trying to go East Coast to West Coast. So it'€™s a chess game mentally because you got to be patient.

And then the first one comes out here Tuesday which is huge and the song'€™s on the radio so people are starting to hear it. How excited are you to finally have a full length record out here?
It will feel like it'€™s materializing. You'€™ll meet people and they'€™ll be like '€˜What do you do?'€™ and you'€™re like '€˜I'€™m in a band'€™. '€˜Do you have an album?'€™ '€˜Kind of not here We have an EP but the single you can download'€™. It'€™s frustrating. Even friends and family are like '€˜Well can I go to wherever and buy it?'€™ We just weren'€™t here so it was stupid to release a record and not be able to follow it with a tour and we'€™re doing Leno on the same day. It'€™s kind of like a foot print, like a first step. It'€™s like '€˜Okay, let'€™s get started!'€™

And then maybe you said you'€™re working on the second record because the first has been out from my understanding in the UK for a while, just not here. How do you go about the writing process?
I mean I write all the vocal melodies and stuff like that but the band definitely collaborates. Right now, it'€™s just trying to collect ideas and figure out what direction we'€™re going to do next. I mean you have bands like The Strokes where they do albums that are pretty similar but the second was another step. If you were into them, you appreciated the second album more and you have bands like U2 where they completely redesigned themselves. We'€™re trying to figure out how far to go with it and how much do you want to take and experiment or piss off your fans that quick. I think we'€™re feeling out things with time but the way I write is all on my own so as far as lyrically, as time goes by, it'€™s not really going to ever change. I don'€™t really sing anything unless I believe it. I'€™m not a great story teller. I'€™m more of I guess an expressionist. You can feel what I'€™m kind of shouting across the room where as Dylan when he'€™s talking about the Jack of Hearts and all this story stuff. My brain just doesn'€™t work like that. I guess I'€™m more of an emotional baby. If it'€™s a mean song, you can tell because I sing it pretty angrily.

Then maybe, a soft one, do you remember the first CD or cassette you ever got as a kid or the first concert?
All my first musical experiences were in the church so I didn'€™t really discover rock and roll till later. I remember in an old beat up Dodge Caravan my mom had this sixties and seventies '€™Crusin'€™ Classics'€™ CD that she got at like a Shell station which was old Doowop stuff. We used to listen to a lot of oldies which I think is hilarious because as an adult, some of that soul music is the most sexual music that was around at the time but I can'€™t really remember the first. I remember stealing like a Aerosmith CD from a Walmart or something. I can'€™t remember which one it was but I think it was because I saw Liv Tyler and Alicia Silverstone in that video and I wanted them. I didn'€™t know if they were like in the band or who they were, I just remember seeing the video and I wasn'€™t allowed to watch it. I was sneaking around watching it thinking this is awesome but then, I obviously got Nirvana amongst other things.

Slow one to start, you'€™re headlining which you haven'€™t done in too long. How has it been going so far considering you have the new record out with '€˜Bad Habits'€™?
It'€™s been good! This is only the fifth day so it'€™s still pretty new for us to see the response to the new material. It'€™s been good! Fun! The past couple days have been brutal because the rides have been extremely long and I feel like it'€™s just been a blur. Haven'€™t really had a good sleep yet. Every singer on this tour has been fighting with their voices. It'€™s been alright though!
It'€™s been long drives? What'€™s maybe the longest one you'€™ve done so far?
Nine hours last night, ten hours the night before, seven hours before that. So yeah, we haven'€™t been in a hotel for longer then four hours in the past four days. It'€™s been great!

That'€™s perfect! Now that '€˜Bad Habits'€™ has been out for a while, being put out in August, you did Warped Tour, you were on tour when it came out. Then you did the Yellowcard tour and now you'€™re on this one, how has it been going over compared to '€˜Picture Perfect'€™?
It'€™s been good! We'€™re playing all but one song off the new record and I feel like kids have really been reacting well. I shouldn'€™t say kids, the people, it just feels weird to say that, but yeah we'€™ve been on some great tours. Everybody seems to really enjoy the new songs and we get excited when we play them. Every opportunity to play them is great!

Then maybe what'€™s coming up after this tour, touring-wise?
After this tour, we go to the UK with We Are The In Crowd and then after that, we don'€™t have any plans. We'€™ve been writing and just playing it kind of by ear. See what'€™s going to happen!

Because we have interviewed in the past, it doesn'€™t make sense just to ask the same questions so maybe what are the three things you must have while on the road to survive?
Things I need to have on the road? Phone, I need my phone! When people ask me these questions, I'€™m like what do I need! I wear the same clothes every day. I don'€™t really need much, I gave up on socks.
You gave up on socks?
I gave up on socks. I kept losing them. I'€™m just sick of laundry. It'€™s been too hard to wash and it'€™s easier if I don'€™t change my clothes every day. I'€™m just kidding guys, I'€™ve got good hygiene! Tooth brush, phone and I like to have books. If I have some thing to do, my fucking head piece doesn'€™t go nuts!

Then maybe even though '€˜Bad Habits'€™ just came out last summer, you do put out records pretty steadily, like you have a few records under your belt. Maybe is one even in the works, like writing for a new record or is that still a little whiles away?
We'€™re definitely writing. We'€™ve talked about it but we have no idea. We'€™re not really setting anything in stone yet. We always write though. I always have songs running through my headpiece and so when the time comes, we'€™re always ready.
Continue Reading...

Caspian

Through out the past three years, I'€™ve steadily interviewed both the bands that are splashed across your television screens on MTV to the best in the local music scene but one band that has stood out for me is the post rock instrumental project known as Caspian. While being a Boston main stay, the band has had their fair share of international touring which was shared a bit in our interview and have recently finished the fourth record that is discussed as well.

I recently had the chance to sit down with front man Phil and was in for a treat that night at the show as I saw a captivated audience truly fall in love with every measure of the set. Caspian is a huge treat to see live and I thoroughly encourage all of my readers to take the opportunity if it comes to them!

A little soft one to start! Obviously you are a band that'€™s played a lot of countries not just the US but overseas. What are three things you must have while on the road to survive?
You need an iPhone with lots of batteries so that you can play games and stuff like that. You need to have lots of water. You need to have a comfortable seat to sit on and something to eat! Dinner is always nice. In America, that doesn'€™t happen as much but over in Europe, they bring out like the old grandmother who makes food for you like on the clock. We'€™re spoiled over there like that.

And you'€™re about to go over again in the beginning of the new year.
February, yeah!
Are you guys headlining that run?
Yeah, yeah! It'€™s seven shows. Really short by our standards. We'€™re doing a festival in Denmark with a bunch of other post rock bands, instrumental bands. Yeah, it'€™s just us! We'€™re not packaging with any other bands so it will be local support but it'€™s just us.
So just bands from each city?
Yeah, yeah!

Then obviously it'€™s (Caspian) a little bit something different in the Boston surrounding area music scene. How did you guys get started really? How did Caspian get together?
It was in 2003. We were all in other bands at the time and the bands that we were in were pretty standard rock and roll bands that we liked. We all went to the same college but we didn'€™t know each other in college. I graduated, met Cal who'€™s the blond guitarist and he started showing me a bunch of records that sort of blew my mind. Some that I had never heard before like The Appleseed Cast and Mogwai. You know The Appleseed Cast?
I'€™ve interviewed them. We were actually like in this same booth me and Aaron. It was in April!
Wow! No kidding! Cal showed me '€˜Lole Owl'€™ and to me, I had never heard a record like that before and I found it was a really powerful experience. Sort of locked myself away for two weeks and just listened to nothing but that record and so he and I just started something up. He knew the drummer, Owen, and the bass player Chris and we just started jamming. When we got together, we didn'€™t have the urge to tour and play shows or record. It was more to just screw around in a room and that made us feel satisfied. So yeah Appleseed Cast pretty much started it off. Then from there, it was just kind of slowly getting into other bands of similar ilk and that'€™s cool you like them, though. Did they play here or something?
Yeah! They played the same room that you guys are playing tonight with A Great Big Pile of Leaves this new-ish band from New York.
Good, good show?
Oh, it was killer!
First time you had seen them?
Yeah first time I had ever seen them.
Awesome!
So good!
They'€™re rad!

Then you'€™re signed to Mylene Sheath. How did that come about? I mean it'€™s like Herra Terra is on that label.
Herra Terra, yeah a Boston band. Constants was on it for a while. Junius. We put out our first record with a label called Dopamine who was a Boston label I don'€™t know if you'€™ve heard of them. They put out our first record in 2005. That sort of made its way around the post rock circuit for people who were into this kind of music and Mylene Sheath heard it and they liked it and they put out our next record '€˜The Four Trees'€™ on vinyl about a year after the first one and we started a relationship with them. They'€™re just incredibly sweet people. They'€™re a pleasure to work with. They have the best work ethic. They treat their bands just amazingly well. So it'€™s an honor to work with them definitely.

And then I know you'€™re working on your fourth? Is that even something you'€™re recording, something that you'€™re writing musically?
We have difficulty writing between tours. It'€™s really hard. Once we get done with tour, we want to come home and just go to sleep so we had to get off the road then we spent all summer pretty much finishing it up and it'€™s funny you ask that because in a few days, we'€™re going to record it in Somerville for eighteen days and it'€™s going to be done.
You'€™re about to do it like not in February but early and now?
No, like January 2nd! In three days. So pretty much three days from now we'€™re going to be recording. It kind of feels like we'€™re getting ready for a wedding. It'€™s like we'€™ve been planning this huge wedding. We'€™re like bridezillas. Just stressing every little detail. Think we just want to get in, let it rip and see what happens.

Do you think sonically it'€™s going to be different then the past three?
We want it to be! We want to try some new things. There'€™s a song that has vocals. We'€™re going to do that one tonight but it'€™s through a pedal that makes my voice sound like a robot. So it'€™s not really real vocals.
It'€™s not you like singing?
It'€™s more of a texturing. Not crooning or anything because then everybody would leave like immediately.
They'€™d all just go!
We'€™ve always tried to write material that works live. Just melts face. Just totally shredding and we'€™ve done that for three records so this time we wanted to try something that was more conducive to an album experience. Something that fits more moods then just '€˜epic'€™. Something that mimics life a little bit more because real life isn'€™t always epic and bananas and something that'€™s a little bit more of how we feel.

And then obviously you don'€™t have the lyric element writing words to your songs. How do you guys go about maybe the songwriting musically?
Like song titles?
Like when you'€™re writing these songs. They'€™re longer like ten minutes, nine minutes. How do you go about it? Like how long would you say maybe it takes to make one Caspian song? Like maybe how long did it to make the longest one?
It varies. We spent five months writing a song on our last record. That wasn'€™t like every day for five months but every time we got together, so we spent a lot of time on one of these songs. The last song that we wrote, we wrote it together in like three days. It varies. Always different!

Do you all do it together? Write their own parts?
Yeah! Most of the time. I sort of write like the skeleton or a foundation and I bring it to the rest of the guys and they sort of do what they do. They pick it apart and bring their stuff to it so it'€™s a really democratic process.

And do you think that record will be awhile into 2012 to be released considering you'€™re making it in January?
We'€™re hoping early fall or late summer. It'€™s going to get mixed in April so it won'€™t be done officially till then and then at that point, we'€™re looking for the best way to put it out. That usually takes six or seven months. Probably September which will be the next time in Boston which I just realized.
Yeah because you don'€™t play in Boston that often.
We used to play twice a month because no one is doing this music around here. So when it started, everybody was like I want to go see this instrumental thing. We played constantly! We played TT'€™s like once a month for a year like back in 2006 but at this point, we want to space out each show. Like make each show a little more special. So I think the record release show in September will probably be the next time.

Well, you tour! It'€™s not like you only play in Boston and like Connecticut. You tour consistently. It makes sense. Then maybe a little softer one to end it off. What was the first cassette you ever remember buying as a kid and then the first concert?
First CD or cassette? The first CD I bought was right down the street at what was Tower Records. Remember when Tower was on Newbury Street? I bought '€˜Physical Graffiti'€™ by Zepplin and it changed my fucking life. The first cassette I ever bought was Naughty By Nature. What'€™s the song that'€™s like the big party hit? Or '€œBelle Biv Devoe'€ that kind of stuff. Maybe it was Mariah Carey I don'€™t even know.
I know what songs you mean though.
Yeah! The first show I ever saw was Jimmy Page and Robert Plant at the Boston Garden when I was five. Like the old Garden.
That must have been crazy that'€™s insane.
It was unbelievable! Still the best show I'€™ve ever seen.
Well then obviously do you think those influenced you at all? Maybe you personally or Caspian?
Yeah, absolutely! I grew up being obsessed with music and the process of buying albums and unwrapping them and spending time with them. Oh yeah, absolutely! Hundred percent. Formative stages definitely.

Then obviously like you said you'€™re going in to record the record in three days. That must be insane, I'€™d be scared if I were you. Honestly, if it was that close!
We'€™ve been preparing for so long. A little nervous. We'€™re working with a producer for the first time. We'€™ve always just done it ourselves.
Oh really?
So there'€™s going to be someone calling the shots. So that will be interesting.
This is your first time ever working with a producer?
First time with a producer. We'€™re really excited. We just kind of want to get started. Get to work on it and get it done because it'€™s been brewing so long and if it sits any longer, it will be too long you know what I mean. Yeah three days, holy crap! You'€™re getting freaked out now I'€™m getting scared.
I'€™m like getting worried for you. I'€™m like '€˜no!'€™ It'€™s scary when you go in!
Yeah do you play music?
No I don'€™t but I do this so much that I understand or I'€™ve interviewed a band a bunch of times while they'€™ll be going through a record process and they always are like '€˜this happened and then this happened'€™ and it'€™s like all these scary things and like how they couldn'€™t release it for so long once it'€™s done. I'€™ve been doing it for a few years so I'€™ve seen great stories and horror stories.
We'€™ve always had good stories but maybe we'€™re up for a horror story!

It will be good and then because obviously this is like a lull time in touring, like this next month or two, so are you going to be touring in the new year a lot? You'€™ll be back in Boston in September but do you think it'€™s going to be pretty soon?
We'€™re going to go back to the UK for a week in February but we'€™re also going to play on this island..have you heard of Sardinia? Like Corsaca and Sardinia?
Yeah!
Well I think we'€™re playing on a beach at sunset with this giant PA system.
That'€™s going to go over really well!
You think? I think so too.
Considering where it is too.
That'€™s June but up until the album comes out, we'€™re really going to take some time away from all things Caspian because we'€™ve been deep in it for the last year just constantly so I think we kind of need a breather to regroup and then the album!
Continue Reading...

Thanks to:

Blogger, Google and of course Jermy Leeuwis.

Flickr Photostream