As It Is talks Warped Tour, the full length process and being signed to Fearless!

 

With Warped Tour in the thick of its’ second week, we’ve been highlighting bands that we think you should be checking out with Never Shout Never, Mod Sun and now As It Is! Our date is around the corner, okay in two weeks, but we’ve been working hard to secure interviews with a lot of the acts we feel should be on our readers’ radars.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Andy of As It Is on their first full US headlining run. We took some time away from the craziness of a packed crowd outside of the venue and spoke really everything As It Is has been up to lately as well as what’s to come in the future. While we hope to secure a quick interview with the band at Warped, I always appreciate getting to have a quality interview with bands outside of the hyped Warped atmosphere. Here you can find everything from Andy’s tour essentials to the quick process from being signed to Fearless to putting out their first full length album. Read on for our interview and catch the dudes on the rest of Warped Tour this summer, with them in Nashville tomorrow!

Maybe to start it off, the three things you must have with you while on tour to survive?

Hand sanitizer to stop the spread of any coughs, colds, worse things than that. Toothbrush and I suppose toothpaste has got to be with it. You got to keep your hygiene levels up because otherwise it just gets disgusting.

Then I from reading your Facebook and that kind of thing, I know you only have one more show left on the GK Tour but it is your first full tour or first full US tour. How has that experience been?

It’s been amazing. It’s been really incredible to see the amount of a response we’ve gotten from fans and from kids. Like we came over here not expecting a lot because it’s a UK band’s first time in the US. It’s like okay well if anyone’s there who knows us, it’s great and the fact that we’ve actually had quite a few people who actually know us and have been like waiting to see us, waiting for us to come over has just been pretty incredible. Yeah it’s been really cool.

Perfect and then considering that and considering the success that a lot of British pop-punk bands have had here, who have been like touring here for like six years like You Me At Six, Enter Shikari. What have you realized is the biggest difference here, probably the drives I’ll take a wild guess.

Yeah, you took the words out of my mouth there.

How has that experience been kind of having those really long drives compared to six hours being like the longest?

I’ll tell you what, it’s been mentally challenging to try and keep your sanity. I think the longest drive we’ve probably did was about sixteen hours and I think that you reach a point after about nine or ten hours where everyone’s just lost the plot. Yeah it just gets a bit ridiculous in the van. So yeah the drives have been hugely different. I mean on the average UK run, you play maybe what eight to ten shows in the UK and that’s the size of Florida and we play three shows in Florida. So that puts it into perspective so it’s just vast size difference of the US. Show wise, I don’t think there’s a huge difference between UK fans and US fans. I feel like once upon a time, there probably was but I think the internet has helped sort of because you can have friends you’ve never even met in completely different countries and discover really obscure bands from like the suburbs of any city around the world. Just through searching Facebook or searching Google or whatever. Any sort of differences sort of don’t really happen because people know so much about music worldwide. Rather than sort of specific pockets, scenes so much.

Perfect than I wanted to ask you. I know Fearless has signed international bands and they do still have them but it’s pretty much you, Chunk (Chunk! No, Captain Chunk) and Tonight Alive. How did that signing come about considering it mostly is American bands that get signed?

I feel like we’re probably a little bit in the dark of the behind the scenes workings. It was a case of we sat down when we first decided to go with our current manager. We sat down and sort of discussed first of all, whether we wanted to think about signing to a label at any point in the future. Like we weren’t big enough to even go like these are the labels we want to approach, blah, blah, blah. Anything like that. If an offer comes along from anyone, like who we would consider going with. It was maybe a list of like two or three labels with Fearless being at the top and it was like okay cool it was the end of that. Then a few months later, we just got a message over Facebook from our manager just going like Oh Fearless is interested. It was like, okay but that was basically the extent of that. Then okay, Fearless are really interested, they’re thinking about putting in an offer. Oh, okay, they’re actually interested! Not fake interested. So yeah that was basically pretty much the start of that. The whole talks process was we said to our manager who we wanted to sign with and Fearless were apparently interested.

I’ve heard that before that they’re super casual to the point where it like doesn’t seem real. Like where they’ll hit you up like over Facebook, they won’t even hit you up like over email.

It’s a good thing. I mean it doesn’t need to be like a massive sort of fan fare, pompous sort of congratulations you’ve got an offer from us! Don’t you feel amazing? It’s two likeminded, for lack of better word, entities or groups of people both wanting to achieve this same thing together and that’s what our experience with Fearless has been. It’s been great in the sense that we have likeminded thoughts about like the music industry and how record label/band relationships should operate. It’s a case of working together to create something really good. They’re helping us and they seem to be liking what we’re producing for them. Which is good. It’s always handy.

Then speaking of the things that you’re producing for them, it is your Fearless debut and it comes out in the UK April 20th then it comes out here the 21st. Maybe to start it off, why the title “Never Happy Ever After”.

So that title comes from one lyric of one of the songs. It’s a song called “Sorry” which is track number three I think. We basically went through the lyrics and just tried to think about what like the themes of the record were. The sound of it. Trying to find something that summed up like the record as a whole. I think we’ve tried to make a quite diverse record. I mean there aren’t any like reggae tracks on it but it’s not like all three minute pop songs and it’s not all ballads but there’s a bit of diversity to it. So we wanted to try and find something that sort of summed up everything. We felt that it was a nice little play on words that sort of took the lyrical tone of the record and was sort of summed up in a nice little short package.

Nice, I like that and then how do you go about the writing for this one. Was it one person, was it more collective, did it kind of change every time? Were they all new songs, older songs, like how did you go about the choosing for this album?

So it was completely collective. We got one song on the record which we recorded before which we thought was like a good way to bridge older fans with newer fans. They can all latch on to that one song but then the rest of it, it was a case of fear of how it came about. So we had the message from Fearless that they wanted to work together and then it was a case of our manager going right, so we want to try and get this record out before this time next year. Thus talking in 2014 which means we need to have it completely done by this time early 2015 which means over Christmas, it all needed to be recorded. So we recorded by the end of the year. Okay which means it needs to be written before like fall and this is a conversation we’re having maybe like a year ago. It was like okay, we can do that I think. So we were all working at the time and we knew from how we had written the EP was a case of sitting in a room together and writing. We knew that the EP was a massive step up from anything we had done previously. It was like okay, this works for us. We’ll do the same again. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We’ll do the same again but we all had jobs. So okay, that’s going to be a little bit of a snag. So basically, we all decided to jump in and do it. We get a second chance at getting a debut record done so let’s just do it. Quit our jobs, moved to Patty’s parents house and I basically lived in their attic writing the record over about three months in the summer of 2014. Basically every day. I think we had one tour in the middle of it which was like five dates which was a nice little break. Then had a few days off here and there but it was pretty much rock solid all the way up till we flew out to Florida to record the record. Yeah it was just a case of everyone sitting in a room bouncing ideas off each other and everyone has input on everything. Like Foley, our drummer, helped write a lead line for one song. He was just like I’ve got this idea in my head from what we’ve worked out. I think it should go like this and he just sang it. I was like brilliant, sounds great to me. Then Patty and Ben both play drums as well. I don’t play drums but still try to have my input on the drums and just basically try and craft all the songs as best we can. If it’s something where some people are really unhappy with something, then everyone has the right to say no I don’t like it and we go back and re-look at it because if they don’t like it, there’s got to be a reason behind it. If they can articulate the reason, and we can discuss it and work through it then we’ll probably get a better song out of it. So that’s sort of how we do it.

Perfect, then this is pretty soft compared to what we’ve been talking about. Maybe the first CD or first cassette you ever remember buying as a kid and the first concert you ever went to?

The first CD I ever bought was Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” if you remember that, do you remember that?

Yeah I do.

I remember it said on the front cover the Italian international super hit.

The one hit.

Yeah, the one hit. So yeah that’s quite embarrassing one. It’s a bit of a tune. Yeah I only bought it because my favorite football team growing up, well still is was Chelsea and they play in blue. As a little kid, I loved the title and always wore a lot of blue attire. I think the first ever concert I went to was a band called Status Quo with my dad. Have you heard of Status Quo?

Yeah!

So good old dad rock.

Good experiences.

Yeah, god they were getting on a bit then so they’re really old now.

Then to end it off like I said, you’re still very new to touring in the states and you’re on this US label but what is coming up for As It Is once this album comes out?

So after this, we do the Warped Tour kickoff party. That’s why we’re cutting this tour short, to fly over to LA and do that. Then we’re going straight from LA to Europe to Germany to do a European tour with Silverstein. Then once we finish that, we play our record release show in London on the day the record comes out. As soon as we get back, very busy. It’s been a solid two months of touring which is by far the longest we’ve been away. So that’s when the record comes out. Which will be great because we’ve been done with it for ages. I keep forgetting that it’s not out yet. So that comes out and then we do a UK co-headline run with This Wild Life and have a couple festivals. Hit The Deck festival and at the end of the UK run, we’ve got Download Festival. I’ve been going to that for the past five years just as a fan so to get to play that is quite cool, it’s like we can tick that off the band bucket list.

Yeah exactly.

Then we come back to the US for Warped Tour. We’re doing the whole of Warped Tour. Which is going to be I think another amazing experience.

Only the best tour that exists in the summer. It will be my sixth year covering Warped Tour. The tour is such a great opportunity for you as a smaller band here. Just a huge opportunity.

Absolutely and it’s also growing up in the UK, Warped Tour is this mythical thing. Like I always wanted to go to the Warped Tour growing up. You see the lineup come out every year growing up and you’re like, right well seventy five percent of these bands I love and how am I not getting to see this. I only ever wanted to go and this is the first time I’m going and it’s to play the entire thing in my band. Which just is crazy. That’s a real dream come true there.

Well then maybe to end it off, are there bands that you are excited to see on Warped Tour or maybe bands you haven’t met yet that are maybe playing the tour with you?

The Wonder Years, super excited to see them. I’ve seen them loads of times but always enjoy seeing them. Who else is in there?

I think most have been announced besides like some main stage bands maybe but I think the majority of it has been announced.

And if they haven’t been fully announced, they’ve probably leaked. Motion City Soundtrack I’m excited to see because I’ve never seen them before and I can’t wait to see them. Man Overboard, they’re just great songwriters so I’m excited to see them.

You always have a good Fearless representation on the tour.

Yeah there is! It’s one of those things too when your mind just goes black. Silverstein, I’m excited to see. All the bands that we seem to be touring with at the moment are going to be there. We did the European tour before this with Trophy Eyes who are on Hopeless and they’re from Australia. Such great lads. So it will be good to see them again. Silverstein will be really cool, never seen them. Obviously I’ll get to see them when I’m on tour with them and then This Wild Life who we’re doing the UK run with. We’re excited to see them. Set It Off are playing it as well.

It will be a good time.

Yeah! It will be nice going into Warped Tour knowing people. Like Neck Deep is on it. We’ve seen them before but they’re always good to watch.

You’re going to be a happy camper.

Yes, very.
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REVIEW: X Ambassadors' "VHS".

The debut record for X Ambassadors finally comes out tomorrow as “VHS”. It’s been long anticipated but after listening to the record, it is definitely worth the wait. It is like the band on double time, speed, whatever you want to call it but it’s still X Ambassadors with a lot of hop in their step. They open the record with “Y2K Time Capsule” which is a recording of Casey and Sam’s father asking them where they wanted to be in fifteen years. It’s pretty incredible that their response was “Way away from here”. The first full track on the record is their current number one hit RENEGADES. It had really great group vocals and definitely a different feel but in a great way. Next up was one of two tracks on the record that will be familiar to X Ambassadors fans with UNSTEADY.

After this track, we then dig into a completely different sound with HANG ON and GORGEOUS. It was a lot deeper into the R&B groove, it kind of reminded me of Boston favorites Bad Rabbits. Something I really enjoyed in this record is the anecdotes/interludes in the album that after reading about the record, lead singer Sam says he wanted to do as an homage to the mixtape vibe. They create this personal window into the journey that the band has experienced and now with this new record, all their hard work is truly paying off. The next three tracks are my favorite part of the record with FEAR, NERVOUS and LOW LIFE. Two of which were done with executive producers Imagine Dragons. There was a really soulful vibe to this section of the record that I loved. Overall, the record was fantastic and well worth the wait. X Ambassadors, double the speed.
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Hawthorne Heights speaks new music and touring with From Autumn To Ashes!

I interview pop stars, rappers, street punk duos, death metal bands but the people I like speaking to most tend to come from the same club that JT Woodruff of Hawthorne Heights comes from. The musicians that are the inspirations for the new class of musicians. The bands that wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for an act like Saves The Day, Yellowcard and Hawthorne Heights. With the latter, I was able to grab a few minutes with lead vocalist JT on the first day of their extended tour with From Autumn To Ashes here in Boston!

In our interview, we spoke new music coming out from the band late summer/early fall as well as hopes for more touring coming pretty quickly after that. Catch the guys on tour now with From Autumn To Ashes, Sleepwave and Extinction A.D.! Interviews with FATA and Extinction A.D. will also be up this week so check back with us and keep rocking!

Obviously you guys have been touring a lot recently. I know you were just in Boston for a tenth anniversary show for “The Silence in Black and White” but what are you most looking forward to during this run considering every band on this tour is a touring veteran?

Yeah I’m really looking forward to seeing From Autumn To Ashes. I haven’t seen them in a while obviously like nobody has but I’ve been a fan of the band for years. One of my first bands toured with them in 2000 or 2001. So I’m looking forward to reconnecting with those guys. I’ve known Spencer from Underoath for a long time and he’s obviously in Sleepwave so I’m looking forward to seeing those guys. Extinction A.D. is the band that we don’t know we’re looking forward to meeting them. So there’s a bunch of bands that we have never played shows with so we’re looking forward to it.

Perfect and then I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, that the last record came out in 2013. I know you’ve spent some time in the studio lately but is that something where you’re like working on a record or kind of just playing around?

We’re finishing our third EP and we’ll be finishing that at the end of this tour and in between these two tours because they’re kind of broken up by a week off. So we’re going to be doing that. It will come out towards the end of the summer or very early fall. We’re kind of taking our time with it in between shows.

And despite you doing this band for a very long time, I know you’re with members that kind of haven’t been there since the beginning. So do you think the songwriting process still changes for you or have you kind of gotten into a steady rhythm?

Well I think the songwriting process should change every record for every band. No matter the line up, no matter anything. You should be trying to push yourself in different directions and that’s definitely what we’ve been doing on this. We’ve all been trying to help out as much as we can.

Then maybe was there something new you tried on this last EP or maybe something people won’t expect if they are fans of Hawthorne Heights?

I think that we’ll start working on different things as we get in to the studio. Right now, we’re just working on skeletons. Basic structures of songs. We have about fifteen of those right now that we’ll whittle down to maybe ten. We’re looking forward to actually getting in the studio which will be the first week of August.

Perfect then you’ve always kind of been actively touring. Kind of what is the game plan for like the next maybe year or so? Are you going to be selective touring, going to be focusing on the new music?

I think what we’ll be doing is finishing the record in early August. Getting it out sometime in the early fall, late summer. Touring, more shows and we’re probably due to go overseas here soon. Hopefully Asia, hopefully back to the UK and Europe. Then we’ll work on another full length sometime in the spring!

Then I wanted to ask you, obviously you’ve been steadily touring over the years. You haven’t really stopped besides a few minor bumps. You are a big inspiration to the bands coming out now, maybe advice to bands to keep it going, keep on touring?

I think really bands just have to have fun. I think the idea of sex, drugs and rock and roll ended in like 1993. So I think that as long as you’re out there having fun and taking what you do seriously and treating the fans well, treating everybody in your band well I think that you should have no complaints. I think that as long as you’re having fun, you should do it.
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Hayley Kiyoko debuts music video for "Girls Like Girls".

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0MT8SwNa_U[/embed]
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Mod Sun talks his incredibly unique debut album!

Take a look at me walking down the street, in press mode at a show. I don’t exactly scream the typical fan you may see at this next gentleman’s typical show but Mod Sun is one of the rare ones that makes me pull myself out of my natural element. Over the years, I’ve been able to keep up with quite possibly one of the most humble men out there. He just dropped his first “proper” full length album, ‘Look Up’ in March despite releasing countless mixtapes, EP’s everything you can imagine besides the classic defined full length record. I’ve seen him play Boston countless times, play several Warped Tours and put in more time than most artists I work with.

This time around, we talked about his upcoming Warped Tour (where you can currently find him now), his debut record and how his album release tour was going. From interviewing him as he was opening for Cisco Adler to selling out his own show at Middle East , coheadlining with T. Mills to now a much bigger club, Mod Sun has always kept it real and hasn’t changed who he is. The world is just starting to notice what a gem he has. Read on for our new one!

How has this first real solo headlining tour been going for you?

It’s been going so great. I just had a sold out show in New York City and I called my mom onstage. I’m a testament to all the people that have played shows to five people before and those who have stuck with it. This is the start, it’s going to go somewhere. Like I’m a testament to those people and now it’s starting to catch on and it’s not catching on in like a wack way like Modsun’s  blowing up. It’s catching on because people actually feel the vibe. They want to be happy. The world’s ready to be happy. So a lot of things have changed since the last time I talked to you but I haven’t . I haven’t (laughs).

Like you’ve been saying, the album comes out officially a week from today. How does that feel considering how long you’ve been working at this?

I’ve gotten asked this question a few times today because I was doing a few other things and the great thing is that I’m not even nervous.

You’re not nervous?

My debut album’s coming out and I’m not nervous. Want to know why? Because it is like the sound I’ve heard in my head since I started this. It’s what I wasn’t able to do eight years ago, nine years ago when I started this because I didn’t know what I was doing. Now I know what I’m doing and I created this sound I heard in my head. The orchestra that I heard in my head. That I created and put it down and now every time I listen to it, it means more to me and I’ve done everything I could do to it. There’s nothing more. A lot of artists will drop albums and be like well I wish there were things that I could have done if I had more time and I had like all the time that I wanted because it’s my thing. I didn’t rush it and I did everything I could possibly do to it. So it’s so exciting because it’s not about first week or how it’s interpreted within the first couple months even. It’s like I made an album that’s going to live forever.

And for this record, were they all new songs written specifically for this album?

Yeah! The only song that’s on it that was released prior to all these new songs was ‘My Hippy’ and ‘My Hippy’, I got a verse from one of my really good friends. His name is Dizzy Wright. He’s like an equal of mine when it comes to preaching the right thing. I feel like in a hip hop sense and he does it totally different from me. Besides that, every single song is brand new and we made all the music. No one else produced anything. There weren’t any producers sending us fucking beats. It was all us.

Maybe how was that considering you were able to have full control and not have someone like over your shoulder?

That’s how it should be. It’s funny that you even get to ask the question how was it like to not have someone over your shoulder because it’s not supposed to be like that. It’s not supposed to be like someone over your shoulder. Someone saying change this, change that. That’s not what it’s about and if you’re smart, you’ll spend time with your songs and you’ll know good enough to say change this, change that. It’s not about that and wherever that got misconstrued that it’s about having someone tell you this and that and for you to listen to other people, that’s now how it’s supposed to be. I didn’t listen to anyone else. I made sure when it comes down to that final process of my album, I made sure that the words I was saying, the importance of them matched the importance of the music. That the music and the words complimented each other, not vice/versa. Not the music is amazing, the words are amazing but they’re fighting each other. So that’s the biggest difference but you’re not supposed to have someone in your ear, no.

Then maybe considering you’ve done so much on your own and kind of letting kids have your music for free and all that. You’ve done so much touring, you’ve been on Warped tour several times. I know you’re back on it this summer. What is coming up? Are you just going to be touring? Obviously that’s a huge big tour that you’re doing.

Yes I’m on tour but that’s what every artist can do. Every artist can support the album by touring. What I’m going to do with my album, I’m going to take it to places that people haven’t taken their albums internationally. Things like that. I have a message that goes with my music and many countries out there need the message that I’m saying. Songs like “Free Love” that means something here means something totally different to another country. Free love means something totally different then it does here because other countries go through so many different things. So I’m going to take it there. Second thing with the smile movement is alternative charts. Which is me challenging all these other rappers to say no one tells you what genre your music is. You decide that. Lil Wayne can drop another album tomorrow in the country genre. He can do that. He can do whatever he wants. Any artist can. No one tells you what genre your music is in. My music should not sit in just rap but my music should sit next to rap but that’s not it. So I’m challenging a lot of things. I attached an audiobook to the record because I’m saying with that expand your boundaries of what artistry is to you. In a day or age where kids can choose to buy your CD or download it for free, they should have that option. Why not give them something that makes them want to hold in their hands that album. That makes them feel special because I know when I bought CD’s when I was younger, I like held them down and if that jewel case on that CD that I bought got a crack I freaked out. Because I held those things down and people think that era is dead and those people are the ones that are living in the past. So I’m challenging artistry of the audiobook on my album. No one’s ever done that. Bring it all together. It’s beautiful. Being an artist is so fucking free right now.

 
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Never Shout Never talks their return to the road, Black Cat and what they've been up to!

This next band Never Shout Never has been one that we’ve been following over the years seeing them through several record releases yet this was still I think the interview that is my favorite. Literally five minutes after the band left the stage, I was able to grab a few minutes with lead vocalist Christofer Drew! While my game plan going into it was to talk Recycled Youth, we quickly switched the topic to their previously undiscussed upcoming full length “Black Cat”!

With the record dropping post this summer’s Vans Warped Tour journey, I was eager to talk to Chris about his hopes for this record. Never Shout Never has always been one that is full of genuine love for making the music they desire to make, not really haven’t anyone else part of calling the shots. This time around, they were a little more open to working with their major label family for the past several years, Warner Brothers, and with a main stage home this summer they are sure to only get bigger than they’ve ever been.

You’ve been on quite a bit of a road hiatus but this tour ends tonight. How do you think it’s been going over?

Well, I mean I think we definitely accomplished what we were going for. You know we just released like a fan album of some old songs and we just kind of wanted to do a tour to really re-engage our hard core fan base. Just kind of the people that will pre-order tickets. A lot of the shows sold out pretty quick because we’ve been doing smaller-ish clubs you know. The whole tour was sold out so I think we accomplished what we wanted to do. Just re-engaged our fan base because we’ve been in the studio for like the last two years. It’s definitely been a while since you’ve kind of heard our name or heard anything new from us so this was just kind of a way to take a baby step back into the touring life and re-engage.

Is this something that you’ve been planning for awhile? Like doing these imaginations of these songs or is this something that you’ve had kicking around for a while? How did this idea come about to do this record or this volume?

Yeah I don’t really know how many we’re going to do. I was thinking three but now I’m thinking maybe more like five.

Oh nice.

Yeah. I mean we just played these songs live all the time and they just always keep evolving and there’s always new things that I love doing. I just really love these songs and I was just so young when I recorded them that I wasn’t fully developed as a musician or an artist. I just loved those songs and they are so nostalgic for me. Just being able to re-do them and have a second chance to do them, it just really brings a lot of fulfillment to me as an artist and it’s really nice.

And I know you’ve been spending a lot of time in the recording studio but do you have like some original material in the works?

Yeah, that’s the thing. I mean we only spent like a month on the Recycled Youth thing but we spent six months recording a brand new record called “Black Cat” which is all new material. I think it’s probably our best yet. It’s definitely more like a contemporary sound. More pop which is kind of scary for us because we always kind of try to stray away from that but we just hit this point where we were like we want to make something-. We want to at least make like a real attempt to connect with a mainstream audience again because we haven’t ever really tried. I just think that it would be fun to play on some bigger stages and actually have Warner be excited about our shit because we’ve always kind of been anti-corporation, anti-mainstream. Now we’re kind of at this point where we want to check it out.

You want to try it out, see what it’s all about. Then I know you’ve been with the same guys in Never Shout Never for a while now, you do have one new member I think this is kind of his debut tour but do you think the songwriting process is still changing or do you think you’ve kind of fallen into this steady rhythm of this band?

I mean the thing is that for the “Black Cat” abum, I was way more open to co-writing with the other guys in the band. We worked with this amazing producer Dennis Herring who produced the album and I had never been open to that before. I used to always be like this is my shit. I don’t want anybody touching it. You can’t tell me what to do kind of attitude. So I’ve just been a lot more open to writing with people. Bringing other peoples’ ideas into the process. I think it’s definitely changed a lot like that but really I just have fun writing. I’ve got at least thirty songs right now that are just laying around that aren’t even on “Black Cat” so we’re just kind of rolling with the punches year by year. We’re just going to keep putting out new music. We’ve got enough songs for at least three albums already.

Wow, I mean you’ve always steadily released new music. I know you don’t wait very long at all in between albums but I think that’s something you’ve always done or wanted to do but “Black Cat”, do you have like a release plan for it? Like do you have the date planned or do you think that’s still a little while away?

Well, we just now turned in the masters which is like the completely finished record. This week, I’m going into work on the album art with the art department at Warner and going to get some real bad ass shit going. We’ve been taking our sweet ass time on this because we’ve never done that before. We’re actually going to make an attempt to push a song to the radio and make a long kind of layout of the album. So I would say it would probably come out early fall is kind of my guess. We’re taking as much preparation time as possible. We just want it to be a really solid release.

Well maybe then to end it off, from speaking to the band in the past, you have been with Warner for a while and you’ve been doing this for a while. Maybe how is it now to kind of do that radio push? Is this something that you’ve always wanted to do? Is this something you’ve kind of explored just recently?

Yeah, I’ve always been opposed to it because I didn’t feel like I was making anything that I wanted the world to hear yet. I was just kind of figuring my shit out. Like a lot of the time, I was figuring out what I wanted to do and what I wanted to sound like and what I wanted to portray. I think that we finally found it. We’re adults now. I feel very comfortable with our music so it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
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Hayley Kiyoko talks her creative process, tour essentials and first musical inspirations!

This weekend, Boston royalty Bad Rabbits is playing a much anticipated hometown show at famous rock club Middle East and handpicked by the band to open is Hayley Kiyoko! We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with the talented songstress a few months back and to preview her upcoming Boston show, we wanted to highlight our interview with her! She can be seen on your screens this past spring with her recurring role on “CSI: Cyber” and with the first season wrapped, hopefully this means she’ll be making some more touring moves around the US. Read on for our new interview and catch Hayley Kiyoko this Saturday in Cambridge!

This is the last night of this run and you’re getting started with your solo touring.

Definitely!

So maybe the three things you must have with you while on the road to survive?

Honey. Trying to think, I need my cellphone then my pillow! My TempurPedic pillow.

Then how has this tour been going? Obviously you’re something a little bit different for this tour but obviously you have a lot of fans here. How have the shows been going?

Shows have been going great. The audiences have been super. Incredible in receiving the music. It’s been really cool to just see each city and see the differences as far as people are concerned. Just like what songs they like. What they vibe with so it’s been a social experiment.

His A social experiment? So the shows are going well, how do you think it’s been going like with online reactions!

Yeah, I love when fans tag me in their photos so it’s been really cool. There’s been a lot of photos from tour and stuff so it’s a nice little photo album online. For all to see.

Then how do you normally go about the songwriting process? Do you do all the music yourself, do you write a little bit with other people?

I always start with the drum beat so we’ll go in and just figure out the kick and snare. Then I scat the whole melody of the song and then we feed in the synths and the extra layers. Then the lyrics are last.

Perfect and then I know this tour comes to an end today but do you have a lot of touring coming up?

Yeah I’m up for a couple tours right now. We’re just trying to jump right back on another tour. Just do more and more and it’s all about just connecting with the fans now that the music is out. Just spreading the word and meeting people face to face.

Then I know you have a little bit of history in the entertainment industry but when did you first know you wanted to focus on singing?

Music’s always been number one. I’ve always focused on it. Music takes a long time to develop and really find your sound. Find the right people and the right platform. It’s not so much an audition and book it kind of a thing. It’s really a lifetime journey. So now at twenty three, I’m really happy with where my music is at and I’m finally being able to put it on a platform for people to listen to it. That’s been such a gratifying experience and I’ve been waiting to tour. It’s not like I just started working on my music yesterday. I’ve been working on this since I was ten and was just like when am I going to go on the road? But if I had done it when I was sixteen, it would have been a totally different thing. So I’m really happy with just the timing of everything. It all works out for a reason.

Is this your first like big tour?

Solo tour, yeah. This is the first solo music tour. We broke down the set. It’s just me and one guy. Normally I perform with a full band so that was a struggle. I’m trying to figure out what sonically represents my music the best with two people. So that was a challenge.

So you mostly play shows with a full band then?

Yeah but now we know that we can do it kind of broken down and see that it’s easier with traveling and stuff like that but I prefer to perform with my whole band. I just love the energy.

Yeah and this is kind of a more broken down, acoustic tour anyways.

Yeah. My version of acoustic tour is like drum pads and synths (laughs).

It worked out though. Then for you the first CD or first cassette you ever remember buying as a kid and the first concert you ever went to?

NYSNC was the first CD and I believe concert too. It was the No Strings Attached tour and I just fell in love with just the energy of performing. Of course I was on the side dancing the whole time like I was on the stage. That was definitely a turning point where I was like I don’t want to play small venues. I want to play big venues with explosions and fog. It’s all about the experience. It’s not just about the music. That’s what I’m trying to do with these small tours. Not small but on like a lower scale. Not just making it about the music but a full experience as much as I can.

So are you going to be trying to do that coming up? I know you said you’re going to try and jump on a few tours?

Yeah we’re up for a couple tours. We’ll figure out what we’re going to jump on next in the next couple weeks.

And what is the plan for 2015? Are you just going to be trying to get more music out?

Yeah I’ll just be pushing the music. Just spreading the word. I have a music video for “Given It All” coming out next month and lots of content with that online. Just touring from now until I have to go back to acting.

You’re going to try and balance it still?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love both but when you write an album, you can shoot a show. I can make both work.
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Sorority Noise talks new record, essential gear and "emo"!

The new buzzword for the pop punk music world this summer has easily been this next band Sorority Noise! Their new record, ‘Joy, Departed’ just dropped last week and already people have been rocking it and reporting it as this summer’s anthem album. Luckily, we caught them on their pre-album release tour with Fireworks on a tour that had every show sold out. For this interview, I sent a fellow music comrade Jack Hutchings out to the Middle East to speak with Adam Ackerman from the band Sorority Noise. Read on to learn about the writing process for the new record to the different influences each member brings to this band!

If you were talking to somebody who had never heard Sorority Noise before, how would you describe the band’s sound?

 Well, we take influence from all over the place, none of us really listen to the same music so we draw influences from all over the place. I listen to everything from jazz to hair metal, Cam listens to screamo and he loves Regina Spektor, Charlie listens to a lot of rap, so we’re kind of all over the place. Ryan is in a band called Prawn as well so he brings in a bit of an indie rock influence. I guess if I had to describe it, I’d say it’s rock & roll for the modern youths.

What are three things you need to have on tour with you at all times?

You definitely need your phone so you can stay in contact with everybody, you need your keys because if you lose those you can’t go anywhere, and you need to bring snacks because if you show up to a gig and you’re hungry, you’re not gonna play well. Well actually most importantly, you need your instruments.

 How has the tour with Fireworks been going so far?

It’s been a blast the past couple shows have all sold out, which is incredible, Fireworks and Turnover are a great bunch of guys that we’ve been getting to know. We’ve had a really great turnout and response it’s been a great time!

So tell me about the writing process for Joy, Departed, was it different from the writing process for Forgettable?

There was a total line-up change for the new record, for Forgettable I actually wasn’t in the band at the time but it was recorded at my school, and I was already friends with the guys in the band at the time, so I was still hanging around a lot and got to hear the record. And basically how it went, Cam would present them with a song and they’d just be like “yeah that’s cool, let’s go record that” it was supposed to be a real fun thing. With this record we were really able to take our time with the songs and make sure everything was what we wanted, we had input from everyone, Cam would bring us a skeleton and we’d go “okay we like this part, we don’t like that part, let’s switch this here” even adding our own stuff at times. So I think the biggest difference between the two records was the time we were able to put into it and the line-up change that totally changes the sound of the group. The new record is totally new, totally fresh, and we’re all really proud of it.

On that subject, why the name Joy, Departed?

Actually it’s a funny story, Cam and I go to school together at the University of Hartford, where there’s a great conservatory called The Hartt School and a couple of our friends are in the opera department and they’re opera singers, so we went to go see them in a performance called “The Magic Flute” and it just happened to be one of the lines from that. It was inspired by one of the lines in the English langue translation. I’m not entirely sure why Cam specifically chose that line. But we heard that and we kind of looked at each other and said “wow! I really like that, it really goes with the sound we’re looking for!” I think it just really encompasses everything nicely.

Now you guys are often called an emo band, is that something you agree with?

I think all genres have their ups and downs, they all have their stereotypes, but emo at it’s heart is just emotional music which I think you could apply to a lot more than just what we do. The emo label definitley isn’t something we’re afraid of, if that’s how people want to label us, if that’s how they want to tell their friends to get them to check us out, then that’s cool. We’re just playing what we feel we need to play, so if that’s how people want to label us, that’s fine!

So what’s in the works for Sorority Noise in the near future?

We just announced a tour with Motion City Soundtrack and the Spill Canvas, which are two bands I never in a million years thought I’d have the privilege of saying I’m about to go on tour with. So we have that tour coming up, we’re probably going to be doing some touring the fall too, and we’ve even already looking into 2016 but we don’t have any details on that yet but you’ll hear about it when we do!

Do you like being a part of the underground scene or is the ultimate goal to advance to bigger things?

Well it’s always cool to move forward, I mean for us the most important thing is just being able to play the music we want to play. We have a lot of friends that moved from that underground scene into the real industry, at some point they become adults and realize they have a family to support and still love what they do, but need to do it at a bigger scale. And that’s not to say that DIY is dead or anything like that, but we have to grow with what we’re given. So if we get to a point where we get to expand, that’s awesome, we’re gonna keep doing what we do and as long as people are okay with that we’ll keep growing. But I love where we’re at right now, where we get to play real venues like The Middle East that have actually have like you know, monitors. But if somebody calls us up and says hey let’s do a basement show, we’re down for that too. Just because getting to play for people is just such a joy.

Okay let’s talk firsts, what was the first concert you ever went to?

So I was blessed to have very musically minded parents, they’d play, they’d sing and they instilled a love of music into me and my siblings at a very young age. So my first concert was actually the Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald. And I’ve seen them 8 or 10 times, because they were my aunt’s favorite band, they were my parents’ favorite band, and just because they believe live music is important and they wanted to expose us to what they enjoyed. So it was the Doobie Brothers and KISS.

One of my favorite questions to ask is the gear question, so what do you use onstage?

Oh, fun! My favorite question! Well I’ll give you my personal rig, I don’t want to divulge the secrets of my brethren. So I play out of a YBA-1 Traynor head that I really love. It’s been modified to specs that I’m actually not even really sure of. Then I play a compact Orange PPC212 cab with vintage 30’s and an open back, which I really really like. For pedals I have an Xotic SP Compressor, then I run through an Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork which I just picked up, a Crybaby Wah, Planet Waves Strobe Tuner, Walrus Audio Mayflower, Marshall Shredmaster. The next ones my favorite right now, it’s a Bad Comrade made by Recover Effects. It’s all hand made, point to point hand wired. It’s got a really cool glitch fuzz thing that I’ve been using a lot. And then I have an Ibanez Chorus that I really like, a Memory Boy Delay, and Echorec by Catalinbread, a Ghost Echo by Eartquake Devices and all that’s powered by a Walrus Audio Phoenix power supply. For guitar I play an All-Stock 2011 Gibson Melody Makers Explorer.

It’s interesting because I think a lot of casual listeners don’t even realize the complexity of what goes into the sound for a band like Sorority Noise. What are your thoughts on that?

 Well for me there are two huge rules of thumb, one if you have any pedals at all you need to have tuner pedal, just tune your guitar, it’s not that bad. Some people will actually sacrifice their tuner pedal for like another phaser or something and I just don’t understand that. The other thing is if you’re gonna have it on your board, make sure you use it. I use every effect on my board, even if it’s only once for one song, I make sure that everything gets used. We’re all gear nuts so we really take our time to make sure we have all the proper equipment to make sure what we hear in our head is what people hear one the record and at the shows.

Listen to some of Sorority Noise's music on Bandcamp.
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William Control speaks about a new record, touring plans and touring essentials!

I recently grabbed a few minutes with music veteran Wil Francis in regards to his solo project William Control who also doubles as lead singer of long time rock act Aiden! We spoke his new headlining run that he just completed as well as what he’s working on the rest of the year. He’ll be a busy man splitting his time between Aiden and William Control the rest of the year. While he’ll be taking some time away to work on a new Aiden record, he told me he hopes to have a new William Control record out before we ring in 2016. Read on for our new interview and definitely keep your eyes peeled for new stuff from this talented man!

Being that you are a touring veteran, soft one to start, the three things you must have with you while on the road to survive?

Three things I must have with me? Clean socks, cigarettes, and money for coffee.

Money for coffee? Definite! Then how has this tour been going so far? I don’t think you’ve done a full US headliner in a while.

Yeah well the last one we did was in 2013. So it was a couple years ago.

Then how has this one been going so far?

This one’s been great. I mean it’s not the biggest tour but it’s just us promoting it on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and shit. But yeah people that are coming are loving it.

Like die hard fans. Then maybe I know it’s been about a year since your last record. Are you currently working on a new record for this effort or is it still something that’s a while away?

Let’s see. I’ve begun kind of fiddling with some new stuff but I’m going to make a new Aiden album this summer. So I’m doing Aiden this fall, that’s when it’s going to come out. So William Control, I’ll probably have a new record out by 2016.

And how have you learned that balance? I know that you still do both projects actively. Maybe how do you kind of split your time between the two? Do you go a few months where you just do Aiden stuff, do you go a few months where you just do William Control stuff?

There was a time when I started William Control in 2008 and I primarily did Aiden, and then I did William Control after the record cycle finished. Then in 2011, I started doing William Control full time and kind of put Aiden on the back burner because we had some shit going on. We were dealing with a label of ours. So I mean I pretty much have just been focusing on William Control for the last four years now. With this, I’ll just do Aiden probably for a year or something and go back to William Control.

Then maybe how do you go about the writing? Do you feel it still differs? Do you think you’ve kind of gotten into a steady rhythm of how you write your music or is it still pretty different?

Yeah I don’t know, writing songs is kind of strange. I mean sometimes an inspiration hits at the most inopportune times. Where you think, fuck I just need to put this down. Or sometimes you’re in the studio and you just write and you can’t do shit and it just sucks. It’s weird, art is weird. It just happens when it happens. You can’t really force it.

Perfect and obviously you’ve been doing music pretty much your whole adult life. Maybe when did you realize you first kind of wanted to do this as a career? Learning to make this work and be a musician.

I mean I wanted to make work right after I got sober in 1999. I started a band and it didn’t work out. The guys were flaky then I started Aiden and quickly knew that it was something that I wanted to pursue full time. By the excitement of people that were hearing the band. I thought, fuck it, I can definitely make this work. Here we are, ten years later.

That’s crazy. So when did you first start doing this then? I know you’re still pretty young. So when did you first start doing music if that was in 1999.

I must have been about ten years old when I picked up the guitar. So that was what, 1992. I’m thirty three.

That’s still pretty young though.

Yeah, that’s pretty young. Yeah I picked up a guitar when I was about ten. Kind of played all through my adolescence and learned the instrument and learned how to craft a song and all that shit. It wasn’t until I got sober where I realized I fucking hated doing it for people. This is what I needed to do. Fuck everybody.

Then maybe advice to kids who are just getting started to keep on going at this? Like for example, I know you have Justin Symbol out and this is like their first US tour.

I mean any advice from me would be to go to school first and get a degree. That way when you don’t make any money playing music, you can get a real job but I guess the other advice would be to write songs well. Work on writing songs first of all.

Then like you said, I know you’re going to do Aiden. Is that album like almost done, is it finished?

It’s about half finished. I’m going to finish recording it this summer.

Perfect so like you said you’re going to be focusing on Aiden for a little bit then kind of going back to this project but what’s going to be going on? Are you just going to be like steadily on the road, are you going to be doing selective touring, like what’s going to be going on?

I mean I got a couple of touring plans in the works right now. I’m not going to do it like ten months a year, it’s going to be like really select shit.

Like really think about the tours before you go into it. Well thanks so much William Control, I think that’s it!
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Drenge talks festival season, US touring essentials and touring the states!

It’s not a well kept secret that I don’t bite at the bit to grab a few minutes with the onslaught of UK acts making their first few trips to the US. There’s something about their youthful energy, thirst for late night rock shows and talent roaring out of them that I can’t resist. So when I was given the opportunity to head out to interview the lead singer of Drenge, Eoin Loveless, I was there in a second.

Forming the band with his brother and playing as a live three piece, the boys packed out the most often opening spot for acts to play at Great Scott last weekend. Playing around a twenty song set, the band rocked on into the late hours and kept the audience captivated. A few hours before, I sat down with Eoin to pick his brain on his pretty basic tour essentials to the songwriting process for Drenge to advice he would give to fellow UK bands trying to make that first tour jump to the states work to their advantage!

 

To start, off three things that you must have while with you on tour to survive.

Three things that I must have on tour? A phone, wallet and passport.

Crucial.

Yeah, crucial. Yeah I don’t think I can go like five hours without any of those.

Then maybe how has the US touring been going for you? I know obviously you’re in this band with your brother. How has it been going for you in the US being so young.

It’s good! I mean like we’ve never kind of come over here and gone like straight out for like six weeks or anything. We’ve kind of done like a week on the West and a week on the East. This is actually like our third tour. It’s been our fifth time out here. We’re so used to kind of just doing a week in Seattle, LA and San Francisco then coming over here and doing Boston, New York and Philly and those places. So yeah I don’t know we kind of get a bit of each side. We haven’t really done anything in the middle of the states.

Oh really, you haven’t kind of gone to that area?

We did a show in Chicago and we did a show in Minneapolis and those were the only two we did in, what do you call it?

The Midwest?

Yeah, Midwest.

Then like I said, you are in this band with your brother so maybe how do you go about the writing process? Is it one person, more collective, do you kind of bring your own ideas?

Like I come up with the music and the lyrics, but we structure it together. Just so that the music that we’re making is enjoyable to listen to but also a challenge and enjoyable to play as well.

I know you put out an album very recently, but are you currently working on maybe even like an EP or an album?

I don’t know, we still kind of are touring this second record and we haven’t quite gotten into a set up. Our practice room is like always a mess and when we get back, we just load our stuff in there. Then usually, we have to load out like three days later to go to another show. So yeah the writing is kind of taking a backseat but I’m coming up with stuff. I can take fifty ideas to Rory and out of those fifty, we’ll probably come out with like five usable songs.

Really?

Yeah, like we edit it. Stuff that I really enjoy writing or putting together doesn’t mean that it is the right thing for Rory to play or for Drenge to put out.

Then maybe for you, I know you have a lot obviously going on, but the first CD or first cassette you ever remember buying as a kid then the first concert you ever went to?

I don’t believe that they broke much ground over here in the states but it was a UK pop group called Steps. They put out a Christmas double A-side and they put out a cover of a song called “Tragedy”. Which had a music video with a really popular dance move and it had all the dance moves on the back of the CD so you could learn how to do the dance like them. Then I think there must have been an instrumental version so you could sing along and then, the other A-side was like a Christmasy single. Where in the video, H (Ian “H” Watkins of Steps) who’s like the guy who is a massive party, he gets kidnapped by an ice queen and all her dwarves. Then the rest of the band come and save him. There’s lots of snow skidoos, dwarves, cheap graphics and stuff. Worth checking out.

Definitely want to watch it. Then I wanted to ask you, I interviewed this fellow UK band Until The Ribbon Breaks last night. As well as covering a lot of other UK acts lately. It’s becoming a lot more common for the young acts as well as yourselves to come over and testing the waters. Maybe advice to bands to keep coming back to the US?

It is incredibly expensive to tour the US. We make a loss every time we come over here. So from the business idea, it’s not great. You got to be loaded and like only rich bands or bands with a label can really do it. Certainly the reason we’re here, because we’ve got a label. If your parents are really happy to put up a couple like ten thousands, twenty thousands, yeah come over here. It’s an amazing country to be in and to play shows in but plus twenty one situations sucks massively. Unless you can sort out some all ages shows. You can tour the states really cheap. You can stay at some friends’ houses or whatever but it’s not easy. Just work hard in the UK and come over when you can afford it I guess is my advice.

Exactly then to end it off, what is coming up after this US run?

I think I got one day off this month where we go back to the UK. We’ve got a radio session then we go to Netherlands for a festival then we come back to the UK for a festival the next day. Then I’ve got a day off. Then I go to France then I come back from France and then we all go to Glastonbury because we’re playing. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say that but it’s a secret show. So maybe yeah, I don’t know. Yeah maybe I can’t but that’s what we’re doing. Yeah we’re all super excited about that and then just kind of festivals most weekends until October. When we come back here to support Wolf Alice.

That’s a good tour. They just headlined here like a few weeks ago or maybe a month or so now.

Yeah I mean they’re doing a lot of touring in the states.

That will be a really solid tour.

Yeah they’re having a sick time over here this year which is crazy. Yeah really trying to break it. So we’re supporting them.

Will be a great, great tour.

Yeah definitely. I don’t know if there’s a Boston date. I know there’s a Providence one.

I think there is.

Okay.

I think I remember seeing it pop up.

Is that music hall just down the road?

I think you’re right. I think it may be Brighton Music Hall.
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Karmin gives us the lowdown on everything "Leo Rising"!

Last we talked to Karmin, the duo was signed to Epic, opening for Justin Bieber and had two huge back to back hits with Brokenhearted and Hello. Flash forward a few years later, they have left their major label and are on the cusp of dropping their brand new record, “Leo Rising”. Inspired by an astrological reading they had last year, Karmin wrote a song representing each zodiac sign and certain characteristics that go with it. So far all we’ve seen of the record are three singles but after my new interview with the couple, my eyes were opened to the whole record process. It’s significance to Karmin, the story behind the two videos released so far and the reason for the album title!

Catch up on Karmin with us and be ready for the new record soon as well as a accompanying film!

 So maybe a soft one to start, obviously you guys have a lot going on with the new record coming out but maybe how has your tour been with Lindsay Stirling so far?

Amy: Yeah it’s been great. I think we’re like halfway through or something like that. She’s a delight and super talented and it’s a bunch of actually talented people there. Actually, Karmin is traveling just Nick and Amy and then our guitar player so we’re doing sort of an acoustic version of ourselves which is really refreshing.

That’s awesome and then you obviously released some tracks earlier this year but your single, “Didn’t Know You”, you just released it. How did you go about the writing for the new song?

Amy: The writing?

Nick: So actually every song, we had a crazy experience this past year with an astrologer.   The information kind of blew our minds. All this stuff happened that according to our charts would happen. So we were like oh shit, maybe that’s something else going on. So actually each song is based off a characteristic of each of the zodiac songs.

Oh wow.

Nick: So yeah “Didn’t Know You” is the Gemini song because Gemini is kind of like the twins but it almost seemed like split personalities. So that’s why we called it “Didn’t Know You”.

Wow, that’s really interesting. So you based your whole new record off of that?

Nick: Exactly. Each song.

Amy: Yeah, basically there’s twelve songs which are all based off a zodiac sign. We thought that was so cool for the fans because then they could feel like we had a song for each of them but more importantly, it shows in our like research of the zodiac which is ancient by the way don’t know if you’re into that, that each person is actually affected by all twelve signs in different ways. Like you might have Cancer in your house of family, you might have Gemini in your house of money or your career might be something totally different. So it’s kind of fun and inspiring vibe to get the album done.

Amazing and then you’ve put out two very unique videos for this record. Maybe that is because of being based off the signs but how did those ideas kind of form, like the plans?

Nick: The ones for “Sugar” and “On the Road”?

Yeah, the ones for “Sugar” and “On The Road”.

Nick: Yeah so far “Sugar”, we actually kind of wanted to tease the whole album concept and our film. So we actually are going to be putting out a film with the album. The film is going to be scored by the album in order that they appear. So when we were creating the album, we were creating kind of a story arch. It was also kind of loosely based on what we went through the last couple of years. So, one of the characters in the film, the man in the blue suit, kind of played corporate. So we wanted to have him in all the videos. He is a very well groomed man. That’s the character that we wanted do the intro for the “On The Road” video, he’s part of the “Sugar” video. So yeah that’s kind of the concept for “Sugar”. Just very vibey. Then for “On The Road”, we just kind of wanted like a one take video.

Amy: Then we wanted to get kind of artsy. We teamed up with this company called Creative Recreation who donated like a thousand shoes. We used the samples of the shoes so they were like the shoes that only had one foot of each pair. We used that to create kind of a mosaic. We made that ourselves, by hand in our backyard. So that was really a treat because we had it as also worked as sort of a tribute to the Boston Marathon bombing anniversary which was a little close to home for us having been born in Boston and having met in Boston.

Nick: Having our friends actually run the marathon.

amy: Yeah, so that turned out to be a perfect collision of things because we also donated the mosaic to the Midnight Mission which is in LA where we live now and the wall of shoes ended up at the Children’s Hospital in New York City. So it’s really been a unique video.

Yeah, that’s amazing. And then I know you talked about how you kind of had this astrological reading last year and each song is representative of a different sign but how long has the album been in the making? Was it inspired by that or had you already been working on like a new record?

Amy: We had already discovered the sound. I think the most unique thing about this record is that it’s the first time Nick and I have made new music alone. We had the amazing honor and pleasure of working with incredible producers in the past like really big producers. Oftentimes, the songs would end up sounding like singles or it would have more of like the producer’s sound to it. This album is fully us. Fully Karmin. So we sort of found the sound and then the inspiration from the zodiac sort of started writing itself because we realized the songs intrinsically were in line with some of the archetypes.

Perfect, and then maybe why “Leo Rising” in particular for the title of the record?

Amy: Well, like we said, you have different signs affecting you. Like Nick and I were born two days apart from each other in the same year and I always wondered why we were not anything alike. Turns out my rising sign, your destiny sign, what you’re supposed to become in this life, can be calculated by entering like the exact minute of your birth and mine is Leo rising. So I read what that meant and I was like wow, this actually applies to me so much more accurately then what I am which is Taurus for example. Leo rising is somebody who takes a spotlight, the center of attention. Someone that has a huge imagination and almost has like a childlike love for life. So that’s sort of why I wanted to title the album that. I think I read somewhere that Beyonce is also a Leo rising. I’ve been finding out all these other Leo rising’s.

No, that’s really cool. That’s awesome. A good connection. Then, I don’t think you’ve announced the release date or anything like that for the record yet, correct me if I’m wrong, but maybe what is coming up after this run with Lindsay Stirling?

Nick: You’re right, there is no release date quite yet because like we said, we want to do the video for it. So we want to make sure we have all our stuff done. So we’re aiming for the fall. So it’s all about the singles. We actually have an app that just came out which you can get our music for free on. So we’re going to be putting everything up there first before it goes public. All that good stuff. Totally free. Just type in Karmin and it should show up.

Visit their official website.
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This Century talks "Soul Sucker" and farewell shows!

This next interview took me down memory lane with me searching for my long forgotten music blog. They were the second in person interview I conducted in my career and even then, I knew this band was going to do something. Since that point, I have conducted countless interviews with the band. I’ve seen them open for Arizona comrades The Maine in front of a sold out crowd as well as seeing them control their own headlining sets to crowds of diehard fans. They’ve now released three full length albums but unfortunately with the delight of a third album announcement came the announcement that this talented band was calling it a day.

When I got approached with the opportunity of performing a final interview with the band as what I like to call an “exit interview”, I jumped on it. Lead vocalist Joel and I talked their new record “Soul Sucker” and how the writing/recording process compared the albums that came before it. We also talked both the biggest life lesson Joel learned from doing This Century as well as his favorite accomplishment. I am forever grateful for the time I was able to spend with the dudes and only wish them the best with future projects. Read on for our new interview and pick up the new record, you won’t regret it!

 

  “Soul Sucker” just came out but how do you think the initial reaction has been? Maybe considering the news that came with it too about the band? Like how have the kids been?

It’s been overwhelmingly positive. Which has been pretty gratifying. I think that the news of the breakup probably played into that quite a bit. I think when any band or anything comes to an end, people tend to look at the positives of whatever it was. So you know I think that played into it but I still think that people legitimately like the music which is really cool. I mean from what I’ve noticed. There are some people who reacted not so positively but we’ve never really had that kind of response to any of the other records we’ve put out yet. I think for the most part what we heard back was yeah it’s good and some people were like I’m indifferent towards it. It didn’t really make me feel strongly either way and I think with this record and kind of what I was always feeling is that we went far enough out of our comfort zone that I think it was different enough to make people feel something very strongly. So we did get some negative response but that to me was a great sign that we did something different enough from our previous releases.

Then for you, was there a song on the record that really stands out as something maybe you’re the most proud of on this record?

A certain song that I’m the most proud of? Man, that’s hard to pin. To be honest, it’s more the entire record. I know that’s kind of lame there. You know one that I think maybe I’m proud of, it’s not really on the record. It’s a hidden track on the physical copy. It’s ‘Talk To Talk’ and that’s just because that was the first song that I recorded after I recovered from vocal surgery. So that was like a really special moment. To be able to hear that back and kind of reflect on the whole entire process and how far I had come.

And that was the song that you had released like kind of as a single.

Yeah we kind of released it as a single before we went on the Long and Winding Road show with Nick Santino. It was just kind of one of those songs that we wanted to get out there and be like hey guys we’re still here. We’re going to put out music eventually.

Perfect and then was there something new you guys tried on this record. Like maybe something new in the recording studio or something within the writing process?

There was. Everything about this record was fairly different from what the This Century norm is and that was very intentional. With both our last records, we had quite a lot of time to kind of write and really digest the songs that we had written. For our first one, we were out in California for two months and one month of that time was, actually probably more, dedicated to writing but we had already written a bunch of songs beforehand. So we had the luxury of time. “Biography of Heartbreak”, we had almost too much time unintentionally. That was like a year and a half of writing. “Soul Sucker”, we decided to kind of just lock ourselves in a room for two weeks for the writing process and just do the record in that amount of time. We succeeded at it. To me, it’s still surprising because it was just such a short amount of time but I think when you put that kind of pressure on yourself something cool happens. So we write the record in two weeks time and then the plan was to record in a month but obviously things went a little differently.

Yeah. And then obviously you guys have done this band for eight years. Maybe what like the biggest lesson you learned throughout the project?

Wow. The biggest lesson I’ve learned. I want to make this good.

Just considering you guys have been together since you were pretty much kids.

Yeah it was since senior year of high school. The biggest life lesson I’ve learned. I think probably just be kind to everyone. Just in all of our experiences on the road. You know we kind of tried to adopt that mentality. Just because people respond pretty favorably when you’re just intentional about being kind and people everywhere are just very broken. They’re looking for a kind face. I think that’s probably the biggest life lesson I’ve ever learned from this whole experience.

Perfect and then you’ve obviously been on a lot of tours, you’ve just put our your third record out with “Soul Sucker”. Maybe like an accomplishment that really stands out in your mind for this band?

Probably what we call our TC family. It’s our fans. Our following. Whatever you want to call it. That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment in my eyes. I set out to do music, not to really have fame or attention. IT was more so that idea that you could play music and do what you love but also impact peoples’ lives in a positive way. That’s kind of what bands did for me while I was in high school and I had some rough years and that was a really cool thing. It was so fascinating to me that music kind of transcends language barriers. There’s something almost magical, that sounds really funny, but there’s something that’s unexplainable about music that just kind of speaks to the soul. That was really cool and I think that’s the biggest accomplishment for me is being able to do that and listening to people’s stories and seeing how maybe our music has helped them forget about whatever was going on temporarily. Just kind of help them look at life in a more positive light. That’s really cool.

Perfect and then I know you’re playing some final shows as a band. I know you’ve announced some but is that like a tour that you’re going to be doing or is it just going to be like a set few shows? To like end it off this summer?

Yeah, I don’t know if it’s going to necessarily going to be a tour. It’s probably going to be a little more laid back. Just because we all have different kinds of schedules going on right now. We definitely want to play as many farewell shows as we can. Just because we feel like we really owe that to our fans. It would just be a nice thing. It’s sounding a little bit more laid back. We’re going to try and just get shows here and there but it will kind of be happening throughout the year. That’s kind of what it’s looking like. So right now we have two shows in California coming up here. June 10th, June 11th then we are in Phoenix June 13th. So far, that’s really all we have in the books right now but I really want to get over to the East Coast. I would love to do some international shows so that’s all stuff that we’re kind of working out. Trying to figure out what will be the best time for that. Fans will definitely be hearing more from us about that stuff.

Perfect well thanks for taking the time. Thanks actually for always taking the time. Our first interview with you guys was at Warped 2009.

Oh wow are you serious?

Yeah I was writing for a different website at the time but yeah I’ve been Music Remedy covering you guys for the last couple years. That was like my original blog.

Wow, cool. So you’ve been in the picture for quite a while. That’s really cool!

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Andrew Combs talks touring plans, new record and first record bought!

Thank you for taking the time today.

Oh yeah, of course.

Perfect, so maybe a soft one to start. Obviously you’ve been touring a lot lately and playing some shows with Joe Pug and that kind of thing. Maybe the three things you’ve realized you must have with you while on tour to survive?

Three things I must have with me on tour?

Yeah.

Besides like the obvious things like guitar and clothes.

Yeah.

Well I always bring my fishing rod just in case and, let’s see. What do you call those clean wipe things, you know what I’m talking about like for your face.

Baby wipes?

Yeah, some of those and maybe Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels on A Gravel Road”.

That’s a perfect one. Then like I said, you’ve been touring a lot and playing shows. I know you’re about to come out to the Northeast. Maybe considering the album came out in March, how has tour been going?

It’s been great. The record came out in March and the press is really good. It’s nice to see that kind of trickle down to people coming out to the shows because they heard of me on NPR or something like that. That had never ever happened to me before so it’s nice to see the audience outcome. Yeah, it’s been good. I mean I’m still very much in the starting stages of my career but I feel like it’s growing toward the right place.

And then how long has the new record kind of been in the making, this release? Like how long were you working on it?

Well, I recorded six songs in the end of 2013. That was all the money I had. Like to make six songs. So we shopped those six around then we got money from other places to make the next six which we did at the beginning of 2014. So I guess it was a few months but it really was onl, if you just calculate studio time, ten days worth of working. Then It got mixed and mastered from about the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2014 then we put it out this past March.

Perfect then how did you go about the songwriting process? Is it still different every time? Have you fallen into a steady rhythm when it comes to your music?

It’s always different. Lately I’ve been writing just a lot by myself when I have time. I’ve been gone so much. I collect a lot of ideas on the road but I never really try to flesh them out. I’ve been home for a couple weeks now and I’ve been writing a lot more but I don’t know. It always changes. People always ask me if I write a melody or tis the words that come first. It’s totally always different for me.

Perfect and then when did you kind of realize that this is kind of what you wanted to pursue, like music as a career?

Well, it’s kind of always been what I wanted to do since like high school but I guess I realized that I could do it about three years ago when I got a publishing deal. So that could replace what I was doing for day jobs and I could just write for me or for other people. Or go on tour. That that would be able to pay my bills.

Perfect then I wanted to ask you if you remember the first CD or first cassette you can remember buying as a kid then the first concert you can remember going to?

(Laughs) The first CD that I bought for myself was a band called Toadies. They were from Dallas or the North Texas area where I’m from. The first concert I went to was probably some like punk show in Dallas when I was in like middle school or early high school probably. Some band that I don’t even remember.

And then I know you’re coming to the northeast, you’re playing Boston and that kind of thing in about two weeks time. Besides that, what is coming up for you this summer, maybe the fall?

I’m just doing a lot of kind of random touring. Lots of local, regional festivals and doing five days in sections, that kind of thing. Then in the fall, me and two guys that play with me we’re going back to the UK for a little while. Hopefully, more spots opening for some bigger bands. We’ll be up there with Kasey Musgraves in the northeast in July I think it is which should be good. Hopefully some more stuff like that comes about and then the fall will be pretty busy with the UK and Americana Fest in Nashville. I’m sure it will all fill up.

 

 
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Late Nite Reading

You obviously just started this tour yesterday, still a little bit to go. What are the three things you must have with you while on the road to survive?

Brady:Oh man, for me I always forget contact solution. Clean clothes and socks! So I’m an awful tour packer. The hour before, I’m like shit and just throw shit in a bag.

Dalton: Yeah, I picked up a three pack of white Hanes tees. Currently repping one right now.

Brady: Yeah you got a little spot on there too.

Dalton: Yeah don’t remind me. I need my Tide to go pen too, that’s my number two and then you know just a great pair of shoes!

Brady: Yeah shoes are cool.

Dalton: I got a couple with me. I got my running shoes, my boots, whatever I’m feeling you know. Going to run around on stage, put the running shoes on. Actually, our crew is the most serious answer. There like the most incredible.

Brady: Incredible! They are fucking killing it.

Dalton:And if you look at them right now, Cody if he was wearing Ryan’s shorts he would be invisible.

Brady: He would be invisible. You would not be able to see him.

Dalton: Cody! Hey could you and Ryan switch pants please? It’s for science.

Brady: You’ll be invisible, dude! He’s not fat enough, he’s not skinny enough.

Dalton:  They’re like an old married couple.

Brady: Pretty much.

Okay then like I said, the tour started last night. It's your sixth headlining tour. You've gone out with other people.

Brady: Wow, I didn’t even know that. You’re telling me things I don’t even know.

Dalton: That’s amazing.

Brady: That’s awesome. Prepared.

Well, Ashley told me. I used to work with her when she was at like Century doing like Suicide Silence and bands like that.

Brady: Those guys are great, we love Catalyst.

Dalton: So yeah this is our sixth headlining tour which you already know which is pretty amazing. We just found that out recently. Yeah but it’s going pretty well. I think this is definitely like the most legitimate headlining tour and it might not be the biggest crowds and we’ve only had two shows. Haven’t even had the second show.

Brady: Haven’t played that yet.

Dalton: So we don’t really know what to expect.

Brady: It’s kind of our coming back a little bit. We took some time off to write a really cool record. We got to put that record out. This is to support it and it’s been awesome because there’s so many people that we used to see all the time still coming out, just a little bit older.

Dalton: Yeah it’s cool because we get to see a lot of our older fans like growing up a little bit and they kind of have watched us grow up as a band as well. I think the shows are really growing. I mean this is the longest set we’ve ever played. It’s just shy of fifty minutes. We’re doing almost two entire EP’s throughout the set and then some covers and stuff in there as well.

Brady: So we’re just happy to be playing all of the new music, some of the old music.

Dalton: It feels great.

Brady: And just kind of coming back and trying to kill it but it has been over a year since we headlined so it’s nice to be the last band on the bill for a while.

Dalton: Especially with a crew man, you don’t have to do anything.

Brady: Yeah man! This crew is the best part about it.

Dalton: They do everything it’s great.

Brady: It’s our biggest crew, it’s nine people total. Five on the crew, four in the band.

You released "The Ecstasy" EP just in March. Maybe why that for the title?

Dalton: Well the song was “Ecstasy” and we were trying to think of names for the EP and we had a couple cool ideas and stuff but overall we just thought Ecstasy was kind of the coolest one.

Brady: There are cool themes that come with it.

Dalton: It’s edgy.

Brady: Yeah, it’s a little edgier.

Dalton:And it kind of paints a picture of a lot of different things.

Brady: I think there’s a lot of like feelings and like a lot of different emotions that are on that record but I think a lot of it is happy. So we were like well that all ties in and it’s edgier.

Dalton: I think it fits and yeah it’s a little edgier. We wanted to kind of grow up a little bit and not be taken as a kid band. So it kind of did a little bit of everything we needed it to do.

Brady: And to check ceilings off of the possible titles.

Dalton: Yeah we almost named it Floors.

And then how did you go about the writing of this EP? Was it one person, was it more collective?

Dalton: No, the writing for this EP was awesome.

Brady: Definitely different then any other record.

Dalton: We spent about two months with one of our buddies in Orlando who owned a studio.

Brady: We drove there.

Dalton: We just wrote like twenty different ideas out and some of them we finished and some of them we hung on too. Some are just half songs we didn’t even put vocals on but we wrote as much as we could in two months and just lived at the studio every single day.

Brady: You know, we’d sleep in the studio. Wake up and just start doing the songs.

Dalton: Like sometimes it would be all of us in the room, sometimes people would be out playing Tony Hawk on the playstation just doing whatever.

Brady: It was cool. It was a lot of ideas coming together. I think it was a really different writing process for us but it felt really great. Then from there, it worked out perfectly because we were like we got these songs. You know we like a handful of these that we think have potential. We were about to head home from Orlando and we were like, let’s decide what producers we want to use. It just so happened that the timing was perfect that we were like okay we have like two and a half weeks or something which was right at the start date of when we needed to leave and Atlanta was on the way up home so we were like let’s do it. Let’s fucking book it.

Dalton: We stayed another month in the south when we got to Atlanta.

Brady: Got it all wrapped up. Came together really quickly.

Dalton: Yeah and we got to do a lot of co-writing. For different tracks and stuff. Like “Heart Attack”.

Brady: Yeah, “Heart Attack” was written with Jason Lancaster of Mayday Parade and Go Radio.

Dalton: Which was amazing for us. He was definitely the most phenomenal writer I’ve ever had the experience to work with.

Jason's great.

Dalton: Yeah and he’s just so quick. He comes up with ideas.

Brady: You know in the writing process, you come up with ideas and you pick some, you like some, you toss others out. Everything he would do, we’d be like yo put that in there.

Dalton: It would be like that’s amazing. Yeah he was unreal and we’re all really big Go Radio/Mayday Parade fans.

Brady: You can close your eyes and hear him sing and be like oh my god.

Dalton: No he was singing some of the ideas for like melodies and stuff on “Heart Attack” and I was like man I don’t know if I could even sing after you. Like he was just so good.

Brady: He was incredible.

Great! Then you've put out the EP's but are you even considering a full length record?

Dalton: We always consider it. It’s something where we don’t want to jump the gun.

Brady: That’s a big thing.

Dalton: Your first full length is like your first real statement and like EP’s are what people are following. Like the core fans.

Brady: I think they kind of morph you and they start building that foundation that let you play around a little bit but I think that we’re waiting for that. I mean we’ve tossed ideas around for it and loose time lines but I think we’re waiting for that moment where we’re like yep, this is when it needs to happen.

Dalton: Definitely. I think our next step is going to be another EP in my mind but I don’t know where we’re all at on that but I can definitely see another EP. Hopefully before this fall, it happens.

Brady: That would be awesome.

Dalton: We’d love to just get some more music out there. Just keep it going.

Brady: At least a single.

Dalton: Just like keep it going on our Soundcloud and stuff. We’re just trying to experiment and just get everything we can out there. Just kind of see what people are grabbing at these days because we like so many different types of music that we don’t really want to force ourselves into one genre. We’re pretty young and early in our band stage so I feel like we have a lot of room to grow.

Brady: There’s a lot of places to go.

Perfect then for each of you, the first CD or first cassette you ever remember buying as a kid and the first concert you can remember going to?

Dalton: Good thing I know Clayton’s answer. I don’t even know mine but for Clayton’s answer, the first CD he ever bought was Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue”.

Brady: Yeah “Ocean Avenue” was the first CD he ever bought.

You guys make me feel so old.

Dalton: I know, right?

Everyone lately has been like NIrvana's "Nevermind", Green Day's "Dookie" and you guys are like Yellowcard. You guys are making me feel super old, thanks guys!

Brady: You’re welcome! Sorry about it.

Dalton: That’s what we’re here for!

Brady: I think the first record I ever bought with my own money was “All Killer No Filler” by Sum 41.

Dalton: Nice!

Brady: Bought that in a mall in Florida when I was like twelve and my first concert was the Pop Disaster tour with Blink and Green Day and Jimmy Eat World.

Dalton: Both of yours are so cool. My first concert was, yeah, Nysnc. Then my second concert was Avril Lavigne and Simple Plan. So I don’t know which one is cooler. Nsync was actually pretty sweet. I would go to that again if I could.

And then considering you djust start this tour, but are you just going to like focus on writing more, are you going to try and go out again pretty quickly? Kind of what's in the plans.

Dalton: After this tour? Well, we’re always kind of writing a little bit but when we’re home, we’re writing a lot more. A lot more full ideas. On the road, you kind of have to balance time with lack of studio equipment. You just have voice memo’s or ideas on the guitar and stuff but when we’re home, we’re always full force trying to write at least a couple days a week. So we’re trying to get new music out.

Brady: We’re playing some options right now for this summer just for tours and that kind of stuff.

Dalton: Yeah I’d like to do a little bit for sure.

Brady: Just because we’re getting back into it. We haven’t toured in quite a while. So I think getting this taste back into it, we’re like fuck we want more.
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