24OUR F O R
T H E
L O V E
M U S I C
OCTOBER 2016 NO. 16
Braxi portrays love through their musical output.
andrew foster Does Good Again with Where The Sea Meets The Sky.
Danielle Knoll an uptempo modern pop-rock number masquerading as a reverb-soaked 80s tune.
mel alston JR life in many ways encapsulates the struggles faced by independent artists. 24OUR MUSIC RETURNS THIS MONTH AND IS OUR BIGGEST YET. FEATURING SOME OF THE MOST EXCITING MUSIC CURATED BY OUR TEAM OF EXPERTS. 24OUR MUSIC MAGAZINE - OCTOBER 2016
30 BONNE FINKEN
An artist can sometimes be looked up to like a superhero, and in the case of Bonne Finken, she is one outstanding fighter.
COLORBLUE Colorblue are a Finnish group based in Helsinki currently, but they want everyone to know who they are and are ready to show the world what Colorblue is about.
54 20 JEAN-PAUL DE ROOVER Jean-Paul De Roover is no ordinary musician. The choice to be a oneman band is not only unique, but also gutsy.
SARA WATKINS In a sea of artists trying to get their foot in the door musically, itâ€™s always a pleasure to hear from a wellestablished act that knows exactly who they are and what they want to deliver.
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WIZ KILO Montreal, QuÃ©bec-based electronic & hip hop artist Wiz Kilo has been very active in the music scene.
MOONZZ Fans of upbeat indie dance troupes such as Gorgon City and Odesza are going to want to check out Trust Cycles by the young and ambitious MOONZz.
48 60 METRONOMY "SUMMER 08"
MOONZZ EP TRUST CYCLES A P ARTY IN THE MAKING
Metronomy offers a pointed look at an important time in Joseph Mount's life as he questioned the proper direction of his life and art.
ANDREW FOSTER There's rarely ever a doubt about what you'll get with Andrew Foster, the enigmatic singer from south England.
06. Danielle Knoll
A 90's pop and rock inspired product from Toronto, Danielle Knoll sounds melodic and brave in her six-track EP Alive.
38. Mel Alston Jr
Soulful R&B artist Mel Alston Jr. brings a unique flavour to every project with which he is affiliated. Alstonâ€™s life in many ways encapsulates the struggles faced by independent artists.
The Dutch musical group BRAXI portrays love not only through their musical output, but also through their very existence.
24OUR MUSIC 84. Jack Woodward
UK artist Jack Woodward attempts to acquire said unique attention by using current trends while somehow evoking nostalgia at the same time.
Everyone needs some good old dance music now and then. And yes, the music industry is teeming every day with artists attempting to tap into this insatiable desire in audiences.
98. Kassassin Street
The Southsea, UK rock troupe is a lively and cool bunch, whose eccentrism never distracts from how skillful the group is.
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ere comes our biggest issue yet! Headlined by Philadelphia's Mel Alston, 24Our Music is back with a fantastic mix of new friends and old across all different genres. In this issue, we showcase artists who have gone above and beyond not only in their sound, but their act as a whole. Fashion, swagger, and individuality puts these artists over the top. Among our returning friends we have Andrew Foster and Kassassin Street, two UK-based acts that couldn't be more different from each other. BRAXI is some of our newer acquaintances, showing how music can be larger than life, while MOONZz is all about using the wonders of space to push us to our potential. Last but not least, Mel Alston returns in this issue, offering us one of the most incredible photoshoots we have ever had. As usual, we encourage all our readers to really take the time to explore and find something new. 24Our Music prides itself at featuring a diverse array of artists from all around the world, and this issue is no exception.
INDEX Creative Department Creative Director: Justin Everest
Staff Writer: Adrian Bambace Staff Writer: Jonathan Di Lalla
Writing Department Editor-in-Chief: Justin Everest Managing Editor: Brandon Minia
If you have any questions or would like to advertise with 24Our Music please contact us at the provided email below.
Senior Staff Writer: Evan Crandell Staff Writer: Michel Orange
Staff Writer: Trent B Minia Staff Writer: Ariel Nascimento
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Writer: Brandon Minia
Photos by: Chris Hau
Live Photos by: Shannon Dobson
DANIELLE KNOLL 8 â€“ 24OUR MUSIC
SINGING OVER A CONTAGIOUS MIX OF HOOKY BASS LINES AND CATCHY CHORUSES WITH MEMORABLY HUSKY VOCALS, KNOLL DELIVERS A RECORD THAT WILL TRULY MAKE YOU FEEL ALIVE.
A 90's pop and rock inspired product from Toronto, Danielle Knoll sounds melodic and brave in her six-track EP Alive. Singing over a contagious mix of hooky bass lines and catchy choruses with memorable husky vocals, Knoll sounds fantastic in her element. By the end of this EP, you will not only feel alive, but you will surely be craving more from the Toronto singer. The record starts off with the eponymously titled "Alive," and while we may have a little concern with the production, as Knoll's voice doesn't necessarily mesh as well with the instrumental as it could, all is forgiven
once the track breaks into euphoric chorus. The lyrics can come off a little cliche as well, but it makes for a conventional and easy entry point into the album for all fans. "Voices" shifts gears welcomingly, with Knoll holding nothing back and switching from an upbeat party groove into something more angsty. Here, she echoes elements of Shania Twain in her poppy Up prime, all while lending a more modern edge to the song. "Knoll" sounds elegant here, her voice majestically cruising along one of the tighter instrumentals on the album. Needless to say, the emotion of the song carries well
here, with Knoll showing off just how dynamic of a performer she is. Once again we shift gears back to sugary pop, with "Dance All Night" perhaps making the argument that it should have been the first track on the album. This one has more of a groovy disco flair, with Knoll crooning confidently over a catchy and flirtatious bass line. The chorus is hooky and melodic, one that will surely set dancefloors ablaze. This track has the potential to really strike a fiery chord with audiences.
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"This War" goes back to the angsty side of Knoll, and it sounds just as melodic and elegant as before. Knoll's vocals sound absolutely on point here, perhaps her best performance on the record, whose voice and emotional prowess is comparable to Kesha's performance in Zedd's "True Colors." "Flake" on track five might feel a little weird to sing along since the hook is literally "you are such a flake," but the song's chorus is a wash of euphoria that showcases another of the record's tighter instrumentals. The record ends with "Confetti," an upbeat stomper that indeed sounds like it was ripped from right out of the 90's. With one of the more uplifting choruses on the record, "Confetti" closes off the album on a bombastic
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note, a celebratory anthem that indeed calls for confetti. Alive is a solid EP, marred by very little and supplemented by a lot. Knoll's performance is strong and confident, her voice riding along tightly for the most part with an album that is pretty well produced. There's maybe a few blips in production where Knoll and the instrumentals don't mesh well, along with some questionable songwriting at a few points here and there, but for the most part Alive is an undeniably gutsy effort from the Toronto artist. Danielle Knoll's Alive is a record that commands your attention, and we eagerly await for more. Be sure to catch Danielle Knoll Tuesday October 25th at the Piston in Toronto!
" ALIVE IS AN UNDENIABLY GUTSY EFFORT FROM THE TORONTO ARTIST."
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Writer: Trent B Minia
Photo Source: Winduprecords
WIZ MONTREAL, QUÉBEC-BASED ELECTRONIC & HIP HOP ARTIST WIZ KILO HAS BEEN VERY ACTIVE IN THE MUSIC SCENE.
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KILO 13 â€“ 24OUR MUSIC
" WIZ KILO PRESERVES THE ELECTRODANCE COMPONENT OF HIS ALBUM" 14 â€“ 24OUR MUSIC
In the dawn of Spring 2014, Wiz Kilo released his debut long-play record, Jungle Disco, which made a lot of listeners into Wiz Kilo fans after listening to his album. Fast forward to the dusk of Summer 2016. Wiz Kilo is back with a new eight-track record with songs lasting for no shorter than four minutes. Reflection and emotion are the focus points for Wiz Kilo’s album, Nocturnal. We hear it in the music: Coming straight off the lead-off song, “Nocturnal” immediately produces mind-swirling soft synths, which presents a much darker atmosphere compared to his previous album. After the drum beat kicks in, Wiz Kilo opens with the following lyrics: “When the night calls / You long for love under covers / Where no one knows your name and nothing matters.” What a way to start off the album and setting a fresh impression. And of course, Wiz Kilo preserves the electro-dance component of his album. Tracks like “Broken,” “Persuasion,” and “NLS” brings the energy to make you dance your heart out and break a sweat. Wiz Kilo’s new release Nocturnal is definitely the kind of step-up from Jungle Disco fans will note and appreciate. His ability to progress and mature this early continues to make him a promising Canadian talent to look out for.
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DOES GOOD AGAIN WITH WHERE THE SEA MEETS THE SKY
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There's rarely ever a doubt about what you'll get with Andrew Foster, the enigmatic singer from south England. Armed with only his guitar and his vocals, Foster is a master at enchanting listeners with songs about his homeland and the mysteries surrounding it. In Where The Sea Meets The Sky, he holds nothing back. "When The Mist Swept Through The Town" is an apt opening that re-introduces Foster's folsky crooning and guitar playing. Newer listeners will be instantly captivated by the mix of Foster's voice and his lyrical songwriting, while older fans will be happy to just be back for the ride. In "The Lives We've Led Before," Foster allows his guitar to take the spotlight as well, with the twinkling guitar solo in the interlude sounding magnificent. Foster has done this for years, and here his mausical storytelling skills are undeniable. In these first two songs, listeners will not only hear the sounds of a rainy and earthy English countryside, they will feel it too. The earthy tones of the record are quite prominent, even in the more spacey tracks. "Moondial" sounds like a campfire serenade, and while it may evoke the feeling of being underneath a starry and breezy sky, you still feel grounded. "Arcades & Crashing Waves* is the poppiest track on the record, perhaps the poppiest we've ever heard Foster, but that isn't a bad thing. Here, Foster shows off just how absolutely captivating and melodic his voice can be, singing out one of the catchiest and most serene hooks we've heard from him on any of his songs. Despite being one of the more conventional songs from Foster, the track retains the very grounded yet mystical style that Foster has mastered. In case fans haven't fallen for the record already, "Arcades & Crashing Waves" will have them smitten. Foster then ages a little on "Parachute," which we mean endearingly of course. It's no question that Foster takes inspiration from much older artists, and here he sounds at his most mature. With his voice sounding mysteriously gruffer over one of the sleepier guitar riffs on the record, Foster sounds as if he tears a song write out of a Beatles or Bob Dylan catalogue before going into another airy chorus.
Writer: Brandon Minia
Photo by: Aaron Bennett
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"Nightwalkers" sounds like something from his last EP, Check Signal Aspect, mostly due to how ominous he writes about the 'Nightwalkers' and puts them as the focal point in the song's chorus. We've been treated so far to some incredibly grounded acoustic folk hits, but "Nightwalkers" is a good reminder of how fantastical the English songwriter can get. Aside from some chilling lyrics, Foster puts on a show and uses his guitar to make one of the more eerie-sounding songs on the album. "The Ghost Of Buster Crabb" shunts this listener in front of a campfire during a round of ghost stories without the listener even leaving their seat. This is a track that is one of the best at encapsulating what Foster does, showing off how the singer uses story telling to not only deliver a narrative, but throw the listener into a new atmosphere. It's hard not to feel the tingles in your spine as Foster sings to you a ghost story.
The record ends appropriately with "Down The Rabbit Hole," and although it comes at the conclusion, you almost feel as if leaving the record is indeed falling into Wonderland. This is is a jarring way to end the record, as the chord progression sways magnificently between peaceful and irksome. It's a song about discovering the world and its mysteries, and although Foster assures you that you'll be "safe in the dark," you can tell by the way the song is delivered that it's not a guarantee. Indeed, the way Foster ends his record is beautiful, proving once again just how masterful he is at his craft. Where The Sea Meets The Sky feels much more grounded compared to his previous releases, but that isn't to say there isn't anything mystifying on this record. Amongst the prominently earthy feel of the record is "Arcades & Crashing Waves," a melodic track whose chorus is unbelievably captivating. "Nightwalkers" reminds us just how fantastical
" ARMED WITH ONLY HIS GUITAR AND HIS VOCALS, FOSTER IS A MASTER AT ENCHANTING LISTENERS WITH SONGS ABOUT HIS HOMELAND AND THE MYSTERIES - Brandin Minia SURROUNDING IT. "
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Andrew Foster can be, which he follows up with the chilling tale of "The Ghost of Buster Crabb." "Down The Rabbit Hole" meanwhile is a haunting ending that beautifully ends this record. Andrew Foster once again shows off his love for his music and his roots, with Where The Sea Meets The Sky gracefully painting a record that you can genuinely feel, hear, and touch. Whether its genius or skill, Foster has a way of taking us to the place he grew up and making us feel at home.
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Writer: Evan Crandell
Photographer: Shannon Lepere
Interview with One-Man Band Jean-Paul De Roover 22 â€“ 24OUR MUSIC
JEAN-PAUL DE ROOVER IS NO ORDINARY MUSICIAN. THE CHOICE TO BE A ONE-MAN BAND IS NOT ONLY UNIQUE, BUT ALSO GUTSY.
- Severine Baron
One needs to have a serious amount of talent, motivation, and know-how to make a living as a solo artist, and De Roover clearly has those traits and then some. The Thunder Bay native recently spoke with 24OurMusic about his journey through life and music and described his plans for the future. 24Our Music: What is your musical background? Jean-Paul De Roover: I come from a pretty diverse musical background, having played in rock and post-hardcore bands in high school at the same as singing in barbershop choruses. I was part of an awardwinning high school band playing trumpet and percussion but also playing bluegrass with an 80-year-old man from time to time. I didn’t really care what kind of music I was playing, just as long as I was playing music. As time passed I played in a pop/ reggae/rock group among many others, and ended up beginning my solo career in 2007. Since then that’s been my main focus, but I still have time to sit in with other bands, whether it’s punk-rock, technical pop-rock, folk, or even country, I love being able to work on something new. 24Our Music: How would you describe your musical style? JPDR: My own musical style is a mix of rock, folk, pop, electronica and a cappella. By including live-looping in my performances I’m able to borrow different elements from each genre to create my own “post-pop” type of sound. I bring the energy of rock music, the songwriting and storytelling of folk, the catchy hooks from pop, the performance tech from electronica and the layers upon layers of vocals from the a cappella world.
24Our Music: How did you get into livelooping? How did you decide to make music on your own instead of with a band? JPDR: Both questions can be answered in the same way. When my band Night Safari dissolved in 2006, I wanted to start something new that I would lead, without having the typical problems of a band (vocalist quits, drummer is drunk, bass player can’t go on tour, etc). I could just be a singer songwriter, but I love the fullness of a band so I sought out different ways of making that happen. I started with one looper, and shortly after that I was out and playing gigs bringing more energy (and sometimes volume) than a full band. As the years passed, I bought more and more gear and equipment that would allow me to achieve new sounds, textures and effects that would add to the “one-man-band” that it has become today. Being out on my own also meant that if I wanted to change genres, styles, or anything else I would be able to do that on a dime. I want a lifelong career, with a discography that is varied but tells the story of my life. I want a listener to be able to hear the maturation of my sound, as well as the twists and turns as I get excited about a particular direction at a specific time in my life. 24Our Music: What are your primary sources of inspiration? JPDR: A lot of what I write about comes from my own personal experiences and perspectives, but I’ve also been stepping outside of that comfort bubble lately to write fictional narratives in the 3rd person. That being said, the root of all my inspiration is emotion. I only write a song if it makes me feel something and often times
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that’s because I’ve lived it (or those around me), so we can all share that kind of common life experience. I have a hard rule now that if I no longer feel something when I perform a song, it gets dropped. That’s my way of making sure that I’m as honest as possible on and off stage. 24Our Music: How would you describe your creative process? JPDR: My creative process has changed a lot over the years. It was obviously different when working with other bandmates than with the solo project, but since starting to perform under just my name there have been some significant shifts. When I first started, I was so excited about livelooping technology that I wrote music specifically for the pieces of equipment that lay before me. This created some really cool and meaningful music, however I realized that without the technology, there wasn’t really a song there – at least not something that could be boiled down to an acoustic guitar and vocals. That doesn’t apply to everything I did, but about 4 years ago I did make a conscious effort to work from the “song” first, then apply the technology to help build the song rather than the other way around. Otherwise, typically I work on the instrumental first and write the lyrics second, but it’s all project-dependent of course. 24Our Music: How have your experiences growing up abroad affected your music? JPDR: I was born in Canada but grew up in Africa, Asia and South America. Growing up overseas gave me a unique perspective that is hard to explain. When someone asks me “what was it like growing up overseas?” my typical response is, “well, to me it was normal.” Living somewhere for 6 months and moving happened often. Building friendships at new school's just to have them fade when I left was just how things were. Being a minority based on my skin colour and language was just how it was. I believe that that upbringing allowed me to be very open, creatively and as a person. Diversity is something i relish in my music, and heading out on the road for long periods of time doesn’t scare me, it’s exciting. I think I’m actually driven to leave my home every so often because of my family’s constant traveling. Of course, having heard music from all over the world has given me a larger musical vocabulary to draw from when I’m writing, although it doesn’t always present itself obviously.
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Otherwise, I’ve had great opportunities to tour overseas (Mexico, Beligum, Germany) in the past year, and those experiences have inspired some of my newest writing. 24Our Music: But Thunder Bay is your home base, right? What role does that town play in your music? JPDR: I was born in Thunder Bay before moving overseas, but it’s always been my home, conceptually. Even when I was elsewhere, my parents’ home 30 minutes out of town was always my reference point. Since 2001 it’s been my home base after moving there permanently from Chile, but in 2014 it became my home in a different way after my wife Shannon and I bought our first home. In January it will become home for yet another reason when we welcome our first son into the world. Musically, Thunder Bay has been very important. Its music scene is one of Canada’s best kept secrets and I’m grateful to have had a role in it. Whether it was putting on shows, developing concert series and even building my own festival for 8 years, or simply being a part of the scene as a member of different bands, the people here have helped make my own music what it is by inspiring and challenging me to do better. The beautiful scenery and landscape of the region doesn’t really play any part in my music, I’m more interested in the humanity of it all. 24Our Music: You have experience not only performing live, but also composing for film and television and working in production. In which aspect of the industry, if any, do you feel most at home and why? JPDR: I live for the stage, but I absolutely love being creative in a studio with hard deadlines for a project. Performance gives you immediate satisfaction and feedback from an audience, leaving you with a natural high that leaves shortly after you start loading your gear back into the car. Composing gives you the freedom to explore different styles of music and to really spread your wings and grow as an artist through working on clients’ project. It’s hard to find time to develop your own musical vocabulary so composition is often a great excuse to try something you normally never would. Production work lets me get hands-on and really mentor another musician(s) as I guide them through a recording project from the first demo all the way to the album release show.
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It’s great to bring my experiences and perspective to another person’s project while simultaneously stepping outside of my own head for a while. All three of them tie together quite nicely with the way I’ve structured my life and my business, so it’s hard to choose one. I’ve been performing much longer than composing or producing, so that one’s probably the most comfortable. Composing and producing are also done out of my home studio “Blueprints,” so I’m literally most “at home” for those two! 24Our Music: What was it like to make the Blue EP? JPDR: The Blue EP was the first time I recorded, mixed and released my own material. Working out of my home studio “Blueprints”, I wrote, rewrote, performed (except drums on “Blue”), recorded and mixed all the elements of the two songs that would comprise the EP. It was a bit more relaxing to work out of the comfort of my own home, but also more stressful because it’s often harder to work from home since there are so many other distractions. Otherwise, it was a very insightful process as I’ve been honing my skills in this area for the past 10 years, so it was about time that I put them into practice for a new release. The other fun challenge was actually delivering it before a specific deadline. The Blue EP (as well as several variations of it – vinyl, digital, bonus content, etc) were made available to fans and friends who contributed to a crowdfunding campaign the year before that resulted in me doing my first ever European tour. The purpose of the EP was also to show people some of the stuff I’ve been working on lately, exploring a more sensitive side of my songwriting and possibly hinting at the direction of the next full-length album. 24Our Music: What does the future hold for your music? JPDR: Other than some touring in Europe this Fall, the rest of the winter will be focusing on writing and tweaking the next full-length concept album while continuing to work on a variety of upcoming films and commercials, as well as releasing some projects that I’m producing in the coming months, not to mention raising a newborn in the new year!
- Brandon Minia
Visit jeanpaulderoover.com for more info, tour dates and to hear the “Blue” EP.
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DE ROOVER IS NO ORDINARY MUSICIAN " - Evan Crandell
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Writer: Brandon Minia
Photo Source: Cody Osen
BONNE FINKEN BONNE FINKEN READY TO FIGHT
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FINKEN IS AUTHORITATIVE IN BOTH HER LYRICS AND HER PERFORMANCE, COMPLEMENTING THE TENACITY OF HER CHARACTER.
An artist can sometimes be looked up to like a superhero, and in the case of Bonne Finken, she is one outstanding fighter. Having taught herself everything she knows about music, Bonne Finken is an empowering presence, her voice domineering as she sings over orchestral electro-pop instrumentals. She is also a cancer survivor, a monumental moment in her life that brings the musical heroine we know today. Finken, hailing from the midwest, is an artist on the rise. She has so far received radio play from many radio stations, including STAR 102.Fm and LAZER 103.3. With her upcoming album and follow up to Fairytales / Loveaffairs on the horizon, Finken may just be rearing up to take the next big step. Her latest single from the album, “Speak To Me,” is an electropop anthem. Finken is authoritative in both her lyrics and her performance, complementing the tenacity of her character. If the song’s power and production is any indication, Finken could be up for a very big year. With an artistic persona backed by the swagger of a musical warrior, Bonne Finken is getting set to really make mark on the world.
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Writer: Ariel Nascimento Photos by: Maarten deBoer
SARA WATKINS ARMED WITH A KILLER VOICE, LYRICAL PROWESS, AND INSTRUMENTAL CREATIVITY, SARA WATKINS HAS SHOWN HERSELF TO BE A MUSICIAN OF HIGH STATURE. HOWEVER, IT IS HER INCOMPARABLE ABILITY TO CONVEY A STAGGERING RANGE OF EMOTIONS, FROM TEARJERKING FEELINGS OF REGRET, TO UPBEAT HOE-DOWN CHIC, THAT TRULY MAKES HER UNIQUE. YOUNG IN ALL THE WRONG WAYS EMBODIES THIS SPECIALTY OF HERS IN A CATCHY, EMOTIONAL PACKAGE. 32 â€“ 24OUR MUSIC
AND WISDOM UNIFY " - Sara Watkins
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In a sea of artists trying to get their foot in the door musically, it’s always a pleasure to hear from a well-established act that knows exactly who they are and what they want to deliver. Singer-songwriter Sara Watkins is just that artist. As the former singer for blue-grass group Nickel Creek, member of I’m With Her with Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan, and two albums under her belt; it is safe to say Watkins knows what she’s doing. Moreover, if her incredible voice wasn’t enough of a tool for success, she also plays the fiddle, ukulele, and the guitar. Young in All the Wrong Ways seems to be an exploration of Watkins’ musical influences over her career and it is a gorgeous experience. The title track gives off a surprisingly soulful delivery from Watkins, showing off how unafraid she is to change up her sound. Her voice is soft yet intense, and really gets the feeling of nostalgia across. The guitar work mimics the contrast in her vocals, with raw yet melodic playing. Transitions from reminiscing on acoustic guitar, to restating who she’s become with intricate electric guitar riffs compliment Watkin’s storytelling abilities. Her narrative prowess is further displayed on “The Love that got Away.” This track can be best described as “Hotel California” played on a ukulele. You’re welcome. Watkins shows off the upper register of her voice, which she sustains effortlessly. The soft piano playing meshes with the despair in her voice, as she sings about the regrets she may have about her missed opportunity with her lost lover. Watkin’s blue-grass roots finally come out with a bang on “One Last Time.” Standing bass provides a bouncy rhythm for the country style guitar melody and the fiddle accompaniment. The track is one of the more light-hearted moments on the album in terms of lyrics and melody. For instance, Watkins semi-joyfully chants “you don’t miss me; you just miss my kisses.” You can hear the legitimate comfort and enjoyment she has in singing this type of music. As a result, the listener can’t help but be lifted up by the infectious nature of the song, and no one’s complaining. The album reaches it’s crescendo with “Move Me,” which is unsurprisingly one of the commercial singles. Watkins lets loose an extremely engaging, raunchier side to her voice. You won’t be able to get this song out of your head in the best possible way, I assure you. You’ll quickly find yourself sitting at the dinner table and in an uncontrollable burst, shouting “I want you to move me” with no irony. For the eminent gazes of shock and awe, refer your audience to the music video for this single and everything will be explained. Again, Watkin’s ability to conjure and project feeling is astonishing. She’s smart about her singing as well as the arrangement of the song itself. Everything seems to be perfectly in place yet effortless. The perfect example of this is her transition from the bridge into the chorus of this song, and the inflection she puts on the word “move” as she enters her head-voice. It’s seamless, and scary, and I love it.
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The next few tracks are a sort of cool down from the intensity of the previous half, but is just as musically breathtaking. Watkins continues to explore genres on “Without a Word.” The song has a bluesy sound conveyed by organ and acoustic guitar accompaniment. Her delivery on this slow jam is very breathy; we know this is intentional and controlled after what we’ve heard she’s capable of with her voice in the previous tracks. This vocal choice is a smart way of word painting the “[leaving] without a word” by telling the story in a whisper, and that kind of thought is so appreciated. She then moves onto pure country blues on “The Truth Won’t Set Us Free.” In contrast, “Invisible” has a very simple arrangement, probably to keep the emphasis on the lyrics which are definitely her most heart wrenching on the album.
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I believe they speak for themselves: I don't wanna be a weak one, holding on to not let go Calling out cause I don't want to be alone And I'm not looking for an easy way I'm looking for the truth Finally, “Tender-hearted” is the culmination of what Young in All the Wrong Ways is about. The track calls on the classic sounds of bluegrass and country behind Watkins’ amazing voice and thoughtful instrumentation. With this song, as well as with the work as a whole, Watkins proves that doesn’t take a lot of bells and whistles to make great music and she has embodied this concept in a stunning way.
" WATKINS PROVES THAT DOESN’T TAKE A LOT OF BELLS AND WHISTLES TO MAKE GREAT MUSIC. "
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Writer: Adrian B
Photographer: Stevie Chris
MEL ALSTON JR STRUGGLES, INSPIRATION, AND CAUTIONARY TALES. 40 â€“ 24OUR MUSIC
24OUR EXCLUSIVE SOULFUL R&B ARTIST MEL ALSTON JR. BRINGS A UNIQUE FLAVOUR TO EVERY PROJECT WITH WHICH HE IS AFFILIATED.
Coming off of his recent Movie Muzic: Director’s Cut live album, Alston’s life in many ways encapsulates the struggles faced by independent artists. 24Our Music: What major styles or artists have been your biggest inspirations for the various works across your career? Alston: Early on, I want to say Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and D’Angelo. Then I started reading some books on rock, so I became a fan of Jimi Hendrix, No Doubt, Earth, Wind & Fire, Steely Dan a little later, and then The Rolling Stones. 24Our Music: That’s really interesting—your inspirations have a bit more of a rock edge than I was expecting.
anyone who’s listened to your recent work. On that subject, your most recent project, Movie Muzic: Director’s Cut, tackles a lot of themes that some would call rather old school or antiquated. How do you take these themes, such as longing and heartbreak, and make them feel newer and fresh again? Alston: I think that one thing that will never get old is being able to connect with your audience. Even though these are subjects that have been discussed since the beginning of time, it never really gets old. Each and every day someone has that longing or experiences heartbreak, so you have that opportunity to let them know that they aren't alone. Those subjects will always be relevant.
Alston: Yeah, I mean, I like a lot of R&B, but rock isn't as controlled, which I appreciate. With R&B, it’s a lot more controlled and there’s a lot more attention to the melodies and whatnot. But with rock you get to let it all go. That’s why in my own music I like to build it up gradually and then let it all out and go crazy toward the end. At the start you’re like, “This is pretty solid,” by the end you’re like “Damn, what’s good?” [Laughs] You know what I’m saying? 24Our Music: I get where you’re coming from there, as will
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I try my best to be creative with it in a metaphorical kind of way. If you take, for example, “Science and Math” I try to use some basic elements of metaphor—nothing too deep— but I try to touch that subject in a different way than anything I’ve ever heard. In another song, I might try to use the weather as a metaphor for the way that love is always changing, and it’s just something you can’t control. When it’s a different voice or melody, you get a different vibration from it even though you’ve heard the same story a thousand times before—it makes it new all over again. At the end of the day, you want people to feel it, what you’ve gone through and your experiences, and that’s what matters most to me.
24Our Music: It’s almost timeless in a way. Alston: Yeah, yeah. 24Our Music: I want to go back to the subject of your musical inspirations because you’ve piqued my interest. Marvin Gaye I kind of saw coming, but Hendrix and The Rolling Stones? That kind of caught me by surprise. Alston: [Laughs} 24Our Music: So now I really want to know: if you could collaborate with any single band or artist, who would you choose? Alston: [Takes a moment to think] That’s a tough one because you said “single.” 24Our Music: I’m putting you on the spot here. You seem to have a long list. Alston: Yeah, for sure. Because when I was listing my inspirations I didn't mention Ramsey Lewis, and he’s more so of a composer—he worked a lot with Earth, Wind & Fire. Now I’m looking into the studio with instrumentalists and stuff like that, so I’m thinking I’d pick Ramsey Lewis if he was still at it. I feel like composers inspire so much in artists. But that’s a tough question man. 24Our Music: I’m not looking to throw softballs. Alston: Because I could also Say D’Angelo. I think a lot of how he composes and puts a lot of things together, you know, I can feel it. I just love the way he mixes things—I can’t recall the name of the man that he works with for mixing, but when things are mixed just right, you can add a whole other element to your sound, and it comes across as more organic.
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" WITH R&B, IT’S A LOT MORE CONTROLLED AND THERE’S A LOT MORE ATTENTION TO THE MELODIES AND WHATNOT. " - Mel Alston Jr
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24Our Music: So, shout out to D’Angelo from Mel Alston Jr.: he wants to work with you if you're reading this. Alston: [Laughs] Yeah man, I just want to be at the point where I’m in the studio working with violinists and horns and flutes where it’s almost like a symphony. But damn that was a really good question. 24Our Music: I’ve got a bit more of a loaded question for you: what are the biggest challenges that you have faced, be them artistic or commercial, as a musician in the independent music scene? Alston: The biggest challenge for me is that I’m an artist but I still work 50 hours a week working for the government. Sometimes I go into work and I go “Damn, I’ve got to do this again?” and other times I go “Well, this is allowing me to exercise my passion, so best keep at it”. My job allows for me to continue to be passionate and create music, but it’s definitely the biggest challenge for me, trying to balance the two. Another thing is that there are so many artists in the industry now, and while many are passionate there are so many who are just in it for the limelight. I hate to use the word “competition,” but I’m competing with so many other people who are on the same frequency as me and then all of these other people who are all just like “look at me”. And it’s weird because to me music is about so much more than that. Nowadays music is so much about material things and partying that it’s easy to lose focus of the spiritual aspect of it all, and that just kind of bothers me at the end of the day. Staying true to yourself is so hard because the music industry would have you believe that you need to fit a certain mold with your sound so that you can be on the air. But we’re really lucky to see so many independent artists now rising in popularity, showing businesses that you don't have to fit a certain mold to touch people with your music. But to answer your question, the biggest challenge is trying to still be myself despite the industry standards while also keeping to a 50 hour a week work schedule. 24Our Music: If you could drop everything else for music, would you do it? Alston: Yeah, definitely. Another challenge is trying to avoid pitfalls. You’ve got so many people trying to take advantage of up-and-coming acts, so you have to always be on the lookout for jank promoters or people who try to overcharge you and other stuff like that.
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" MOVIE MUZIK: DIRECTOR’S CUT, TACKLES A LOT OF THEMES THAT SOME WOULD CALL RATHER OLD SCHOOL OR ANTIQUATED " - Mel Alston Jr
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" WITH R&B, IT’S A LOT MORE CONTROLLED AND THERE’S A LOT MORE ATTENTION TO THE MELODIES AND WHATNOT. " - Mel Alston Jr
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24Our Music: What can we expect in your upcoming projects? Alston: Well, the Movie Muzik project is like a trilogy, so next would be Movie Muzik 2, then Movie Muzic 2: Director’s Cut, then Movie Muzik 3, then ending with Movie Muzic 3: Director’s Cut. Part 2 is going to focus a little more on contemporary issues like politics rather than love, and we really want to add a lot more footage to tell more of a story. We really wanted to have that with Part 1, but we just didn't have the budget, so now we’re hoping to get some sponsorships and things of that nature, which is why it's great to have the opportunity to be in the 24Our Music Magazine. It’s really helpful because I really want to get my brand out there and push the music as far as it can go. When people start tuning in, we’re going to have something for them. We wanted to add so sci-fi elements in there too; I’m a huge movie buff, and that sound isn't typically heard in today's mainstream music. I want this next project to act as a bridge between two worlds in that sense, to add a new element to my craft that has been left out of popular music for some reason. 24Our Music: Thank you so much for your time Mel. We’re going to be looking out for Movie Muzic 2 because it sounds like a really interesting project. Alston: It’s going to be interesting for sure—I’m just trying to add a little something different. Thank you guys so much.
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BRINGS THE MUZIK TO CINEMA " - Mel Alston
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Writer: Brandon Minia
Photographer: Derrick Freske
MOONZZ "MOONZZ" IS MORE THAN JUST A STYLISTIC WAY OF REPRESENTING YOUR LOVE FOR SPACE — THE SINGER TELLS US ELOQUENTLY JUST WHAT GOES INTO HER CRAFT AND HOW SHE AIMS TO INSPIRE PEOPLE. 52 – 24OUR MUSIC
INTERVIEW 53 â€“ 24OUR MUSIC
"90% of our galaxies and stars are undiscovered." That is your cool space fact for today, offered to us by none other than the wonderful MOONZz. She can explain to you better than we can, but this space factoid explains the energy behind her music, the idea of the unknown while fulfilling our potential. "MOONZz" is more than just a stylistic way of representing your love for space â€” the singer tells us eloquently just what goes into her craft and how she aims to inspire people. 24Our Music got the opportunity to sit down with the talented writer and singer as she discussed her quirky name and image origins, as well the process behind her music. Coming off the heels of her recent EP Trust Cycles, MOONZz gives us an insight into the writing process behind her album, while also briefly discussing artists she would love to collaborate with. We also ask her about any upcoming tours and shows, the answer to which is in our interview. 24Our Music - Hey MOONZz, for our readers, tell us really quickly who you are and what you do. MOONZz: I'm Molly, also known as MOONZz, a 25-year-old storyteller, dreamer and composer. 24Our Music- We're really intrigued with the space imagery of your entire act. Firstly, why space? Space scares us, but why? The only logical reason is because it's one of the few things we cannot yet control and don't entirely understand. I read recently that 90% of our galaxies and stars are undiscovered. It's 2016... Isn't that a crazy statistic? From the Big Bang to now, we've discovered hundreds of thousands of planets, and most if not all have one or more moons, each with a more unique cosmic character than the next. And as far as we know, we have only reached one of them. The scope of what we have yet to experience is so massive, and I find it fucking beautiful to think about how much more we have to see and learn. MOONZz is the reminder that every day we get one step closer to fulfilling our potential. We're all evolving at an alarming rate, discovering moons of our many planets, exploring much of what we used to deem impossible. And sooner than many care to acknowledge, what was once impossible is quickly becoming an inevitability. I find inspiration in that. 54 â€“ 24OUR MUSIC
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" MOONZZ IS THE REMINDER THAT EVERY DAY WE GET ONE STEP CLOSER TO FULFILLING OUR POTENTIAL. " - MOONZz
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24Our Music- Secondly, what is the origin of your name, and why is it stylized the way it is? MOONZz: MOONZz was a cosmic coincidence - from a nickname my sisters called me growing up, mixed with my obsession with looking at the stars through my telescope with my dad, I developed a deep love and appreciation for our known galaxy and the mysteries beyond. 24Our Music- We love how adamant you are in pinning a genre to your music. Why might genre not apply to you, and how do you stay free from that type of barrier? MOONZz: I feel like if a listener gets so used to your sound, it becomes monotonous - that being said, I'm constantly challenging myself to experiment: with production, approach to harmonics, with compositional choices, time signature, anything that pushes me to be better and surprise myself is the most important. I'll always live in the R&B/soul inspired world, but the best part of writing is reinvention, and shedding skin you once thought would hold you back. 24Our Music- Let's talk about your EP, Trust Cycles. What went into the recording process for this record, and what were some of the challenges? MOONZz: This EP showcases my writing style, as both producer and musician. Some listeners may not know that I grew up playing piano for hours, so this was the opportunity to bring my unique progressions and
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harmonies to the table.Like any artist, the hardest part of saying something is 100% finished is actually letting it be... actually letting it be... These seven records on Trust Cycles were all woven together at the tail end of everything, when we were deciding the EP title, artwork, track list order etc. I've realized I have a hard time not hearing little things I could've changed or a harmony I could have sung differently. But at the end of the day, it circles back to exactly what MOONZz symbolizes - finding trust in change. 24Our Music- Were there any songs that maybe you enjoyed recording over others? MOONZz: "Every Every" was a moment of clarity in myself, in my worth, and my sexuality. It put everything in perspective. 24Our Music- How did the collaboration with HYDDE come about? It is certainly one of the more impressive tracks on the record. MOONZz: Thank you! I really love AYW, too. So, I came over to HYDDE's studio back in October 2015 and had that chord progression idea on piano. We started pretty quickly with our friend Jake Hawkes, and came up with the hypnotic chorus, "Anything You Want, I can do it for you...". We finished the song so quickly, and it was stuck in my head for daaays on end. 24Our Music- Can you tell us about any plans to tour or any notable shows that are coming up? MOONZz: I can't announce quite yet, but keep a look out for top of the year/spring announcements! 24Our Music- Are there any artists, past or present, that you would love to collaborate with? Oh man...Living: Mick Jagger, Neil Young, Ben Gibbard of Postal Service/ DCFC, Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow, Tom Petty, and of course Carole King, Anderson Paak, Thom Yorke, Taylor McFerrin, John Mayer, Erykah Badu, Sia, James Murphy, Aretha Franklin, Phantogram, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala...I feel like I could keep listing so many inspirational people I admire, but there's a solid start. Dead: Frank Sinatra, Amy Winehouse, and Elliot Smith.
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24Our Music- If MOONZz was a dessert treat, what would she be? A dark-chocolate dipped mint chip Bon Bon with crunch on the inside. Always sweet but takes a bit to get to the core. 24Our Music- Thank you MOONZz for taking the time for talking to us! Thanks for taking the time to interview meâ€Ś x
“ WE'RE ALL EVOLVING AT AN ALARMING RATE, DISCOVERING MOONS OF OUR MANY PLANETS, EXPLORING MUCH OF WHAT WE USED TO DEEM IMPOSSIBLE. “ - MOONZz
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Meet Colorblue COLORBLUE ARE A FINNISH GROUP BASED IN HELSINKI CURRENTLY, BUT THEY WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE AND ARE READY TO SHOW THE WORLD WHAT COLORBLUE IS ABOUT.
I was lucky enough to be able to have a short conversation with them and try to learn a little bit more about what they do. I'm pleased to say that they are a welcoming bunch of people that are making music filled with energy and passion. 24Our Music: So tell us a little about yourselves and your history as a band to start off Colorblue: Me and the guitarist Antoine had a band together for a decade. The Duke was all about 70's classic rock. We went through different genres from prog to more poppier style. We had numerous gigs all over Finland and had a status of one-hell-of-a-dangerous-band. We also won a band contest in Gothenburg, Sweden and had some random shows in Russia! 24Our Music: So what caused The Duke to end after what was clearly a successful run? Colorblue: We buried The Duke in October 2014 as our drummer couldn't go on doing gigs etc. and the genre was about to take some turn. 24Our Music: So when did Colorblue come to be? Colorblue: Colorblue was formed in November 2014 actually..in a sauna (so Finnish!). I had a meeting with Benjamin who I got to know 2007. He was playing drums in a pop-punk band called Cardiac Catalyst. We had some gigs together
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some years earlier. I realized there in the sauna that he wasn't currently playing in any band and I needed a new drummer. Everything happened pretty fast as week later we already had first rehearsals. Oliver had been a gig bass player in The Duke when we had our last gigs earlier that year so it was more than natural to ask him to join Colorblue. Oliver had his roots in the guitar pop band called Sons of Suns which was still operating. The guys had been playing together ever since the elementary school. Later on they decided to have a break which made it a bit easier to Colorblue. 24Our Music: So now that you had the lineup formed, what was the next step for the band? Colorblue: It had been very slow earlier releasing new music and videos. I wanted to change that. From the beginning the plan was to be very active and visual band. During the first six months we released three singles and made a music videos for all of them. We had different kind of characters who represented Colorblue. Naturally they wore blue :) For example in our debut single/music video "Blue is Our Color" we had two figures dressed in blue plastic capes and they were carrying baseball bats. 24Our Music: That's amazing! The theatrics are excellent and I enjoy the theme you're doing for. Can you tell us about what you're working on right now?
Writer: Mike Orange
Photos by: Colorblue
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" THIS NEW AND UPCOMING BAND ARE ENTHUSIASTIC, ENERGETIC AND READY TO PLAY AROUND THE WORLD. " - Mike Orange
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Colorblue: We're currently recording our first album which is scheduled to be released in February 2017. During our existence we've been flirting with different kinds of musical directions. We have gone through experiencing electronic beats, soul and even some disco. In the album we're focusing the genre into a more folkish pop sound. As a songwriter my strength is Britpop style ballads so we'll be serving that kind of stuff as well. At one point I think I got a bit on the sidetrack trying to create more danceable material. For now more slower songs feels right. 24Our Music: What can fans (new and old) expect when they come to see you perform the material live? Colorblue: In our live shows we have challenged ourselves to be pretty faithful to the recorded material. Sometimes you get disappointed watching live shows if the band is different than it sounds on a record. So we're trying to generate live shows sound the same as it does in the album. Though in the live set we have here and there extra intros which lead into the actual song. We're also pretty enthusiastic jam band what it comes to live performances. Me and guitarist Antoine are big fans of Pink Floyd etc. so we've been trying to retain our psychedelic roots. Once in a while it may happen something that separates us being a basic modern act. Though we're serving pretty modern production there's always a special old school angle in almost every song.
- Brandon Minia
24Our Music: That's excellent to hear, on behalf of 24Our Music and (hopefully) some new fans, thanks for chatting with us today! This new and upcoming band are enthusiastic, energetic and ready to play around the world. As they stated they strive to give their best at every performance. Striving to be the best they can live or on a record, Colorblue are a band to watch out for and I hope to see more of them.
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THE BEST OUT OF THE MOMENT " - 24Our Music
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Writer: Evan Crandell
Photo Source: Metronomy
METRONOMY METRONOMY OFFERS A POINTED LOOK AT AN IMPORTANT TIME IN JOSEPH MOUNT'S LIFE AS HE QUESTIONED THE PROPER DIRECTION OF HIS LIFE AND ART. THE MUSIC ON "SUMMER 08" IS APPROPRIATELY HARD-HITTING AND ENGAGING, FURTHER DEEPENING HIS UNIQUE BRAND OF ALTERNATIVE POP.
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Do you remember what you were doing in the summer of 2008? Reflecting on events from eight years ago is interesting because not enough time has passed to create a sense of nostalgia. Memories and feelings from eight years ago still pack a level of raw emotional punch, even as life’s circumstances have probably changed. This has been the undertaking of Metronomy, the London-based outfit led by Joseph Mount, with the recent album Summer 08. While some might assume that a title like that would denote a sunny recollection of a time of prosperity, Summer 08 is more like an honest depiction of a moment in time, with a full range of emotions. The album follows the time of Metronomy’sNights Out and is a sort of meditation on Mount’s feelings and ambivalence toward a life of mainstream musical success. In addition to its reminiscence of the era, Summer 08 also marks a return to the hard-hitting, unpredictable style of Nights Out after the less intense English Riviera from 2011 and Love Letter from 2014. In the opening song “Back Together,” Mount sounds driven, both lyrically and musically. It contains popping upbeat notes under vocal lines like, “You and I have go to get back together.” While the track could easily be interpreted as a love song, it seems to also call back to a previous time in Mount’s life, yearning for something that may have been lost along the way. Summer 08 maintains a balance of sprawling ideas and stylistic continuity. Mount has a truly unique brand of quirky music that may not satisfy mainstream expectations but carves its own engaging place in the industry. This balance is heard well on the riff-based “Miami Logic.” The song’s structure and execution is almost Talking Heads-esque, particularly during the spouting synth solo, reminiscent of late keyboard master Bernie Worrell. Mount hints at the difficulties of remem-
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The incisive first half of the album closes with a trio of note-worthy songs, beginning with the pointed “Old Skool.” Mount is joined by the Beastie Boys’ turntablist Mix Master Mike as he sings about defiance of the conventional trends of 2008, opting out of a lifestyle that has value systems like: “make some money / make more money.” The ensuing “16 Beat” is a love story to Mount’s preferred drum
The latter part of Summer 08presents a somewhat softer perspective, beginning with the eerie yet loving “Mick Slow.” The synth bass-driven track comes to a thematic climax with the falsetto words, “I’ve got something better, perfect for this weather / you and I together, might it last forever?” The most overt sweetness comes on “Love’s Not an Obstacle,” with its driving beat and warm chord progression. Mount is at his most romantically earnest as he writes, “Anything’s possible when love’s not an obstacle,” which is perhaps a suggestion to follow pure feelings instead of imposed labels. The passage of eight years is one that allows for significant personal evolution while maintain the memory of the visceral feelings of the earlier time. Even though it may seem strange to commemorate an era that isn’t all that far back in our memory, eight years is perhaps the right time after which to recalibrate, to take stock of one’s growth and perspective on goals in life. For Metronomy, it means a blend of cautionary tales and ruminations on complex romances.Summer 08 is not just a look back to what’s come and gone, but perhaps a reminder for Mount not to forget
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" FOR METRONOMY, IT MEANS A BLEND OF CAUTIONARY TALES AND RUMINATIONS ON COMPLEX ROMANCES. "
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Writer: Evan Crandell
Photos by: Noa van Hilst
Photos by: Henk Ros Art Fotos
Photos by: Robert Keel
BRAXI SPREADS THE LOVE
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THE DUTCH MUSICAL GROUP BRAXI PORTRAYS LOVE NOT ONLY THROUGH THEIR MUSICAL OUTPUT, BUT ALSO THROUGH THEIR VERY EXISTENCE.
Love is one of the most universal inspirations for music and has been since the first music was made. Although it can be overused as a theme, there are still musicians who continue to make it sing in original ways, tapping into its timeless presence in our human experience. The Dutch musical group Braxi portrays love not only through their musical output, but also through their very existence. The husband and wife duo of Brandi and Max Himmelreich let their love for one another shine through their work and they help spread openness and understanding of people from all walks of life. The two recently spoke with 24OurMusic about their origins as a group, their inspirations, and plans for the future of Braxi. 24Our Music: What is your musical background? Brandi Himmelreich: Like many musicians, I began studying singing when I was only 10 years old, involved in a touring children's chorus called the Pensacola Children’s Chorus. I owe so much to them, as they taught me respect for all music genres and the importance of technique and performance. After studying musical theater at the University of Central Florida, I began my career performing musical theatre in the United States, landing leading roles in Actors Equity Association productions of Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey), Rent (Maureen), Flo Manfred in the World Premiere of Meat Street the Musical, The Vagina Monologues, and in a special production of the musical Grease (Frenchy), co-starring with Joey Fatone from NSync, and the late Jeff Conaway from the original film. I sang for Walt Disney in two different productions: an a cappella pop group called ‘American Vybe’ and the show Tarzan Rocks! and I also sang for Universal Studios both in Florida and in Osaka, Japan. In 2008, after moving to Amsterdam, I auditioned for a televised talent contest called POPSTARS and won! I signed with Warner Music Benelux and had a number 1 hit on the charts. It was a great few years. I opened for 1980s star Rick Astley on his Night to Remember tour, and wrote and performed songs for huge international events such as Amsterdam, Stockholm and Antwerpen Pride, Ride for the Roses and the Tour de France. I fell in love with the music industry and knew I wanted to stay in it for the rest of my life. But after a while, I longed for something different: to write my own kind of music and have an emphasis on live performances that combined my theatrical and acting background. But I didn’t want to do it alone. When I met Max, I knew that’s exactly who I wanted to start this journey with.
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Max Himmelreich: I knew I wanted to be a performer after seeing Jim Carrey's Ace Ventura. I was acting and singing through life. My mom is a primary school teacher and my dad was the co-founder and musical director of the local amateur theatre, so I was always blessed with having a great environment growing up and the support to follow my dreams and grow and train my skills. I only started singing at about age 12 in the musicals. But it really picked up when I joined a local band with friends singing pop, rock, and blues at age 16. We wrote some of our own stuff, which also landed us a local pop-prize! I had a very hard decision that year. I was accepted into the Amsterdam Academy of Musical Theatre, which meant letting the band go. I would have to give both my full attention, so it was impossible to keep up. So I decided to focus on my future in Musical Theatre and train my classical vocal technique as an addition to my musical palette. In my fourth and final year I was hired for one of the Netherland's most successful musicals ever, Soldier of Orange. Soon after that I ran into Miss Brandi Russell at a gig in Amsterdam, and together we spent the next four years developing the concept of Braxi's Crossing the Classics. 24Our Music: How did you start making music together? Brandi: We met while singing for a company in Amsterdam and hit it off right away. When I saw him, I knew he’d be in my life, and when I heard him sing, I knew I would marry him! We started off making close harmony covers of hit songs, and it grew from there. When we decided to make it official, we founded Braxi. The name actually came from Max’s father who combined our names as “Braximus.” We dropped the “mus” and Braxi was formed! Max: This has always been one of the most exciting aspects of our job, finding a beautiful song and making it our own. I'll never forget the first song we 'braxi-fied' back in 2012. We had to perform a few new songs and we were basically getting bored with only picking existing duets and wanted to broaden our horizon. So we picked Seal's hit “Kiss from a Rose” and in the middle of the night we just started singing. Neither of us being able to play an instrument well enough to help us in our endeavors, it left us to rely solely on our ears. And as perhaps inefficient as this may seem, it does leave us the room to come up with unique and interesting musical decisions, because we're not locked into the set 'rules of engagement'. 24Our Music: What is it like to be in a band with your spouse? Max: It is the best job in the world! We never have to be apart, and on stage, singing with and to each other is just magical and it will never get boring. Brandi is my biggest inspiration, my best teacher and my biggest fan. But she’s also my worst critic, and that helps the most. We want nothing but perfection and because of our different backgrounds we both add in different places, and learn something new every day. Now, as the whole 'being together 24/7' might seem like a problem to most people, I can only say that I love it and wouldn't want it to change ever! Brandi: Our relationship makes the music stronger. We are always pushing one another, both in the writing and recording process as well as
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" LOVE IS ONE OF THE MOST UNIVERSAL INSPIRATIONS FOR MUSIC AND HAS BEEN SINCE THE FIRST MUSIC WAS MADE. " - Evan Crandell
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as in live performances, and we never let each other fall. This has really brought our music to a different level, because we push each other to do things we might not be able to if we were on our own. We can reach deep emotional levels faster than we would if we weren’t in a relationship. We are perfectionists with our music and know each other’s potential. Being in a relationship helps us with that because we can take more criticism from each other, and are forced to work through any frustrations. I mean we live together, so we can’t just walk out if something gets tough. 24Our Music: How would you describe your creative process? Brandi: We begin with an idea, one that consists not only of a lyric or melody, but a complete message. Max is really great at writing melodies and I love writing lyrics, and together we come up with the entire package that the song should be. And usually that’s late at night, after a bottle of wine (laughs). Max: I have to start by saying that until just over a year ago I had never successfully written anything, aside from a few monologues and musical projects in the Academy. At the time I thought I just didn't have the guts, but when I look back I understand I simply didn't have the right inspiration. It wasn't until after Brandi and I met with our producer Peter Hageras in Stockholm, where we spent three days recording several of our new songs that Brandi had written, that I started writing ideas down myself. I had only helped Brandi with a word or a line here and there and my biggest input had been creating harmonies. But since then I've just decided to write down all my lyric ideas and record every melody that jumps up in my head. Sometimes things that have nothing to do with
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FUTURE FOR BRAXI IS LOOKING BRIGHT " - Evan Crandell
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one another, after weeks and sometimes months, seem to link to each other somehow. Many times I can take ideas from a while back that suddenly jump back up and fit into the song like a glove. After a while I found that what I need is a concept for my project, one clear focus point to build from. Like with “IL NOSTRO AMORE (Our Love)” it was the piano at the start. It turned out being a waltz. But every movement, every melody and lyric that followed simply came from that piano intro. At the moment I'm writing another love song, but for the longest time I didn't understand my own idea. I knew it was love, undying and universal. But when that concept finally presented itself to me, I finished the whole song in an hour.
24Our Music: What are your primary sources of inspiration? Brandi: Both Max and I feel like we are constantly inspired by the love we have for one another, as well as the love we see around us. We want to help promote equality in love, because we feel like everyone deserves to feel how Max and I feel for one another. This is why we are so involved in the GLBTQ communities. Personally, I use our music and performances as therapy, and I use my own personal experiences as a major source of inspiration.
BRAXI PORTRAYS LOVE NOT ONLY THROUGH THEIR MUSICAL OUTPUT, BUT ALSO THROUGH THEIR VERY EXISTENCE. I suffered from depression for many years before meeting Max, because of childhood poverty, bullying and always being told I wasn’t good enough. The music that we make give me the chance to deal with those issues, turning them into something positive. Max: To say that Brandi is my one and only inspiration would be the easy answer, and it wouldn't be completely correct, but I must say that all my other inspirations I have found thanks to her. I guess the biggest one is love. Love in every form, without prejudice and the beauty and adventure that comes with it. One of the first things Brandi and I did together as a couple was record and perform a song called "I'm Gay" for the Amsterdam and Antwerp Pride together with OUT-TV. Which is of course ridiculous, and that was the fun! It wasn't about the literal gay meaning, but the expression of love. That love for others is the only real natural feeling left and celebrating that feeling is the most beautiful and fun thing in the world. We are both huge supporters of the LGBTQ community, as of course Brandi is part of it. But that feeling, of standing for something so pure and the real conviction I have towards it, that inspires me. As well as being an inspiration to Simone (our daughter), being a role model is a drive as well as an inspiration. Both: We are both also inspired by artists that have pushed boundaries in the past within their music, those who have broken the molds and proven that being different and theatrical in music can be a very positive thing. Artists such as David Bowie, Grace
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Jones, Queen, Kate Bush, Prince, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, as well as some modern artists such as Lady Gaga and Sia are all artists we look up to and are inspired by. We love how they combine every form of art in their music and performances, and how they never believed it when people told them it was “too much.” All of these artists invoke intense emotions with their music and performances, and prove that individualism can actually be a great asset when attempting to break boundaries within this industry. 24Our Music: All of this must have led to your term ‘Musical Esemplastic.’ Where does that phrase come from and what does it mean to you? Both: Actually on our computer, we have a screen saver that shows the word of the day, and one day it was: esemplastic. After reading the definition a light bulb went off: “Having the ability to shape diverse elements or concepts into a unified whole.” This completely describes what we do with our music. It was a perfect way of describing us, combining different genres, languages and sounds to form a new whole: Musical Esemplastic. 24Our Music: Would you care to talk about your time on the cruise ship in the Mediterranean? How has that experience impacted your music?
“ THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING ASPECTS OF OUR JOB, FINDING A BEAUTIFUL SONG AND MAKING IT OUR OWN. “ - Max Himmelreich
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Max: The time we've spent onboard ships - a total of 3 years - as hard and often frustrating as it has been, they have been our true push to be better and grow with every single performance. My father told me, "It has been like getting paid for doing a Master's Degree". Even though we've had to win the trust of the management every time we boarded a new ship, that always happened quite fast. And then what we're left with was basically a fresh free try-out audience every week of hundreds of people. That helped us coordinate our music exactly to our peers and try out things that they didn't expect, but loved! Brandi: We needed a break from the Dutch music industry. In The Netherlands, being different, flamboyant and theatrical is looked down upon. If we wanted success there, we would have to change everything about the music we make, who we are, and what we stand for. So we decided to take all of the time we needed to develop our music and image away from The Netherlands. The best idea was to work on ships for income, which gave us a different audience of 1000 people every seven days. We were able to try new ideas, test our music, test our image, and experiment with every part of our development on new faces every week. We noticed the types of music that people from all backgrounds and cultures loved, and after three years of intense studying and experimentation, we finally have found what we consider to be the “key” of who we are as BRAXI. 24Our Music: And haven’t you been participating in songwriting competitions as well? Both: Yes. In February of this year, we decided to enter two of our songs, “IL NOSTRO AMORE (Our Love)” and “Breathless” into some of the biggest songwriting competitions: Unsigned Only, International Songwriting Contest, John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the UK Songwriting Contest. We are still waiting on the results from all of the contests, but as of now, our song “IL NOSTRO AMORE (Our Love)” won first place in the Vocal Performance category of Unsigned Only, and was top three in their fan-based vote competition Fandemonium. 24Our Music: It seems like you draw from many different influences for your music. Describe the importance of multiculturalism in your art.
While travelling abroad, we have witnessed people being moved by the power of music all over the world, and we wanted to savor those moments in our own songwriting. For example, in Turkey we saw a street musician playing a sitar and people around them singing with so much passion in musical tones we don’t have on our western pianos. In Honduras we saw an aboriginal tribe playing instruments made from trees and rope while the families laughed and danced around them. It was so beautiful to hear sounds outside of what we consider “popular music,” and even though we couldn’t understand the words they were saying, we were still swept away in the magic of the moment. It was proof to us that our ideas of “no boundaries” could actually be taken a step further. On the album we are currently working on, we have commissioned musicians from seven different countries to play some traditional instruments from their locations, and we are singing in at least 4 different languages, including Swahili. For us, this is the ultimate way of saying ‘no matter who you are, what you look like, what you believe in or who you love, if we come together without judgments, we can create something special and beautiful.’ 24Our Music: There's a new album on the way? What else does the future hold for BRAXI? Both: We are finishing up our first album of original music entitled Musical Esemplastic, which should be released in the beginning of 2017, and are actually recording a new video clip in the rainforest in December. At the moment we are being booked for a UK theater tour for early 2017 with our show Crossing the Classics, where we take our genre fusion to the stage with a live band and dancers. All information and updates can be found on our website or Facebook. If you sign up for our website newsletter, you can have special invitations to private shows, preview our new music videos, and have the opportunity to listen to our music before it is released. Even though we have chosen a path not as easy as “mainstream pop”, we do hope that our music will reach a broad audience who believe in taking chances, embracing individuality, fighting for equality, and breaking boundaries.
Both: We believe that music is a universal language. You can listen to a song sung in a language you do not speak and be moved to tears. You can understand exactly what the song is about just by listening to the mood of the music and the emotion of the singer. We think this is the magic of music.
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Writer: Ariel Nascimento
Photo by: Jack Woodward
JACK WOODWARD UK ARTIST JACK WOODWARD ATTEMPTS TO ACQUIRE UNIQUE ATTENTION BY USING CURRENT TRENDS WHILE SOMEHOW EVOKING NOSTALGIA AT THE SAME TIME.
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It can be difficult for new artists to come out as relevant while still making their own mark on the music industry and ultimately, get noticed. UK artist Jack Woodward attempts to acquire said unique attention by using current trends while somehow evoking nostalgia at the same time. Listing his influences as juggernauts like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bruce Springsteen and the Foo Fighters, he has set himself a solid base for success. Although Woodward’s first two singles are not exactly ground-breaking in terms of content, they show potential especially in terms of his voice. His first single, “Someone Else’s Life,” sounds very 90s, giving those down-home, authentic, Brian Adams vibes. Woodward is just on the brink of sounding country because of the low tone of his voice. However, he gives a good balance of pop vocal style to accompany this a heavily acoustic track. The chorus is strong but the verses feel somewhat unsure and held back, which is expected for an artist’s first attempt at a single. On the other hand, “Honey” is very upbeat and light compared to the focus on regrets and blowing chances in the previous song. He is alluding to his influences here with a Springsteen “Born to Run” inspired chorus, and a classic breakdown with fast, muted down strokes on the electric guitar. I would say this is the stronger of the two singles mostly because Woodward sounds more sure of his vocal and instrumental decisions. Both of which are well balanced with regard to sound engineering and production; they compliment each other well rather than one overpowering the other. Woodward has a ton of potential and I feel like this is just a glimmer of what’s to come. His lyrics leave something to be desired, as they come off as quite superficial. However, if he can take a more unique spin on the stellar influences that come across in his music, success is in his reach. His main problem is standing out from the uninspired “dudes with guitars” mold, which is a fine line on which he is walking. Luckily, his musical talent provides him with the tools to do so, it’s just a matter of execution.
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Writer: Adrian Bambace
JACK WOODWARD’S “HONEY” IS RADIO READY
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WITH A PLEASANT VOICE AND A CATCHY, SIMPLE INSTRUMENTAL, JACK WOODWARD’S LATEST SINGLE PROVIDES SOME EASY LISTENING FOR POP ROCK LOVERS.
The strong suits of “Honey” are apparent from the very start of the song: a warm, mid-tempo acoustic guitar rhythm gives way to a vocal accompanied solely by drums. Eventually, all three of these elements unite to give way to the song’s addictive, upbeat chorus. The lyrics aren’t earning many points from me—they aren’t cringe inducing, but they still come off as a bit cheesy; “Honey” is just a bit too sweet for my taste. That being said, the song objectively has enough going for it to be a solid single, with its high production quality and vocals that will probably resonate with a large demographic. Jack Woodward’s vocal performance makes his climb to success a definite possibility, as there are myriad reasons to like it. His high notes always hit their marks spot on, and his warm timbre gives the song a country-like feel. This comparison might be a turnoff for some, but the vocal resembles something that one might hear in something out of Florida Georgia Line. While Florida Georgia Line is about as musically intriguing as an unsalted cracker, Woodward has a more alt-rock leaning to his voice, and has a crystal clear enunciation makes his vocal performance infinitely more intriguing by comparison. If he continues to carry on executing his vocal strengths while simultaneously accompanying them with thought provoking lyrics, there’s a chance you’ll be hearing the name Jack Woodward again on your local radio station. “Honey” is by no means a game changer in the music world, but it’s a pleasant love song that demonstrates all of the best qualities in Jack Woodward’s musicianship. Woodward’s vocal is well delivered, and the instrumental is simple but catchy, so you should definitely give the single a chance if the aforementioned qualities intrigue you.
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Every once in a while, an artist comes along who appears ready to take off, as if their talent is not yet being embraced by as many people as it should. The operative word here is yet. For someone like English singer-songwriter Jack Woodward, that moment of breaking into the next level of fame cannot be far off. His combination of strong vocal delivery and punchy production are on full display on his recent
Writer: Evan Crandell
single, “Someone Else’s Life,” a song that also shows a more contemplative and perhaps darker side to Woodward. The song begins with force, as the instrumental material sets the tone for a pointed, somewhat aggressive mood. The music sets a high bar of energy from the opening notes and hardly relents throughout the track. The drums keep churning throughout, which gives the song momentum even with Woodward’s more mellow delivery in the verses. And even though the song basically uses the same chord progression from beginning to end, the band is effective in creating contrast between the choruses and verses with significant emotional and musical variation. Woodward’s lyrics are introspective and somewhat morose as he uncovers a darkness he may have previously kept secret. In the song’s first words, he writes: “You only know me by name / but I’ve been fooling you from my little game.” It’s a striking show of self-awareness as he acknowledges that his public image and pure vocal style may have caused some to generate untrue notions about him. It all builds up to the impassioned chorus where he lets loose, singing, “You’ve had your chance and you keep hanging on for someone else’s life.” It seems as though we’re to assume that he’s addressing himself with these lyrics, but the message is one that will surely resonate with many listeners. While “Someone Else’s Life” may not be the most original song out there, it’s a solid offering from Woodward that demonstrates not only his unique vocal skills and high production capabilities, but also a raw emotional side of him that is vulnerable and engaging. And the latter is the kind of trait that can set someone apart in the crowded field of folk-pop. It’s only just the beginning for Jack Woodward, and “Someone Else’s Life” is another step in his journey toward wider fame.
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" WOODWARD'S VOCALS ARE PURE AND EFFECTIVE AND THE PRODUCTION IS ON POINT. "
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THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN IS OFFICIALLY OPEN UNTIL OCTOBER 25, 2016. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN, VISIT: HTTP://KCK.ST/2CUQKHU
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CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO FUND MELISSA AKERIB’S DEBUT ALBUM ‘EPIPHANY’" - Meliessa Akerib
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Writer: Evan Crandell
Photos by: Diskopunk
EVERYONE NEEDS SOME GOOD OLD DANCE MUSIC NOW AND THEN. AND YES, THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS TEEMING EVERY DAY WITH ARTISTS ATTEMPTING TO TAP INTO THIS INSATIABLE DESIRE IN AUDIENCES. MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, MOST OF THIS CONTENT SEEMS FACTORYMADE, WITH EACH SONG BLENDING INTO THE NEXT.
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While it may be good for a temporary romp on the dance floor, it ultimately has very little lasting value. Savvy fans of the genre, though, will look beyond the more obvious streams and discover a plethora of unique, fun, and eccentric dance music, including that of the Swedish group Diskopunk. The five-piece band from Stockholm only debuted this year, but they already have a few of singles under their belt that suggest a bright future. The group is made up of Antonio America, Joakim Rydén, Harald Forsmark, William Collins, and Henrik Ulvenäs. Their three singles thus far reflect a band with a seemingly fully realized sound, and one that has already been remixed by multiple producers. One could easily guess that they have been performing together for several years. The song “Antonio America” starts with a standard disco feel and a typical story of coming into one’s own. DIskopunk puts their stamp on the theme, though, with original lyrics and effective variations in energy throughout. They write, “Losing grip is such a human thing / I wear my fuck-ups like a diamond ring.” It’s a life lesson that is familiar to most of us, and they reinforce it with the repeating line, “I’m dirty and I’m free,” tapping into the punk spirit. The song “Fire” offers another typical subject with a Diskopunk twist. This time, the narrator is thrown head over heels for a lover. The tempo here is almost identical to “Antonio America,” and Diskopunk will have to be careful that their songs don’t all sound too similar, but “Fire” definitely offers something new. The pulsing keys and drums build up gradually to the chorus where they sing, “When I saw you, a fire started in my heart / I looked at you again / yeah you burned from the start.” The band keeps things unpredictable with variations in the different verses so the track maintains our interest. “Motivation” has a slightly slower tempo and has an 80s vibe, complete with a quote of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The song represents an apparent trend in Diskopunk’s writing of containing occasional lyrics with shock value. There was the “fuck-ups” line in “Antonio America” and here, in a song about the banalities of human nature, they write the line, “Poke at Jesus with a stick / if he doesn’t answer you’ll know that he’s a dick.” They quickly diffuse any offense, though, with the follow up: “Oh we’re having so much fun.” The song reaches its central point in the chorus when they write, “You can’t lose, you can’t win, ‘cause you’re not fighting / but you still think… you are winning.” It’s another original take on a classic theme as they suggest that we should all fight for what we believe. Between the conscious, provocative lyrics, the pumping, glittery production, and the clever songwriting, Diskopunk has certainly hit the ground running in their debut year. The band will have to avoid falling into too rigid a formula with their music, but the character exhibited in the three singles so far suggest their sound will continue to evolve. In any case, Diskopunk is a band on the rise that should garner the interest from listeners far and wide.
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" IF THEY CAN AVOID BEING TOO FORMULAIC, THE EDGY SWEDISH GROUP WILL QUICKLY ASCEND IN THE MUSIC WORLD. " - Evan Crandell
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READY TO DANCE TO THE DISKO " - Evan Crandell
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Writer: Brandon Minia
Photos by: Kassassin Street
KASSASSIN STREET FOR A BAND THAT HAS ONLY BEEN OFFICIALLY AROUND FOR ABOUT TWO YEARS, KASSASSIN STREET IS AN ENERGETIC GROUP BRIMMING WITH CONFIDENCE. 98 â€“ 24OUR MUSIC
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CAN WE SAY WE LOVE MAKING MUSIC" - Kassassin Street
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The Southsea, UK rock troupe is a lively and cool bunch, whose eccentrism never distracts from how skillful the group is. Since their 2014 release "The Royal Handkerchief Ballet," Kassassin Street has been setting alight the indie rock scene with a fun and tight brand of psychadelic rock. Describing their sound as "normal rock just with reversed guitars and a lot more paisley" (before joking around about how everything except the lead vocals couldn't be reversed so they had to "tone it down a bit" because the result was so funny), the band describes perfectly just how much their energetic nature leaks through in both personalities in sound. Kassassin Street is a band who just seems to be naturally cool and stylish, so much that they don't even need to try to look great at what they do. In 24Our Music's exclusive interview with the band, Kassassin Street talks about their name, how musical personality is like cookies and biscuits, and the growth of the band since their debut.
24Our Music - How exactly did Kassassin Street come about? Also, where did the name come from? It rolls off the tongue really well. If you’ve ever tried to pick a band name you’ll know how difficult it is. You end up coming up with all kinds of ridiculous things like ‘Sonic Earwig.’ We always walked down a road called Kassassin Street when we used to watch bands at The Eastney Cellars in Portsmouth and one day we were all like, “‘Ang on. . . that could work.” I’m glad you think it rolls of the tongue, thanks. 24Our Music - What is "psychadelic rock," and how exactly would you apply this genre to Kassassin Street? Ryan - Psychadelic rock is basically the same as normal rock just with reversed guitars and a lot more paisley. There was a point when we’d reverse everything except the lead vocals, but gigging became impossible so we had to tone it down a bit.
--24Our Music - Describe your band and what you do in ten words or less. Nathan - I’d probably just use the word party, 10 times. 24Our Music - We've known you for awhile and have already done some coverage, but just for our readers who aren't exactly familiar, how long has Kassassin Street been around? Ryan - We’ve always been playing music together since we’ve known each other, but our first official release was ‘The Royal Handkerchief Ballet’ back in 2014. Nathan - As Ry said we’ve always been playing music together in some shape of form since I can remember. Me and Row used to jam together in school and try make as much noise as possible. I’d say things really started to take shape when we met Andy and Tom at Southdowns College. I think together we learnt we could make a much bigger noise if there was more of us.
24Our Music - From as long as we've covered you, Kassassin Street has always been a very stylish band. It's not all just sound, you all really carry this punkish, loose vibe that really just makes your sound that much easier to jam to. Is this deliberate, or just something that comes out of your collective personality? Nathan - Ha I think I know what you mean? I’ve always associated the word stylish with scrubbing up quite nice, maybe we do, Andy definitely does! I think with the sound, it’s all about who you’re playing with and who you’re playing to. When you’re playing in a band with your best friends, and to a crowd of people who are up for a good time, it’s very easy to let loose, not over think anything and just see what happens. To be honest, even in the early days when we were playing to just one man and his dog, if his dog was proper up for it, then you’ve got no excuse not to go a bit crazy. 24Our Music - Is "personality" something that is particularly important with a band like this, or are you all just doing what you do? Nathan - I don’t think we’ve ever really thought about it so I think we’re very much just doing what we do. Personality is really important though, try to think of it in terms of biscuits. Imagine watching a band where all the members are Rich Tea’s, whilst solid, it’s probably not going to be that entertaining. I reckon you definitely want a Bourbon in there, a Hobnob, Malted Milk and maybe half a ginger nut, now that’s a band I’d watch. 24Our Music - Many of us here at 24Our Music, staff and readers, first heard you when the band came out with "The
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Royal Handkerchief Ballet." If you can think back, what went into that song as a debut single, and how far has Kassassin Street come as a band since then? Nathan - When we made that record, it was the first time we’d used a proper studio, plus we had a good friend and top all round music person Tristan Ivemy producing it. It was a really fun and optimistic time. I think that optimism went into the record and ultimately came out in the sound of it. Since then we’ve just kept at it, we’re still making music we love and pushing really hard. The only thing that’s changed is that crowds have been getting bigger and we’ve had the opportunities to keep playing our songs further away from home. 24Our Music - Amongst your more recent singles, "Hand In My Pocket" definitely has a more dancey vibe to it. What went into songs like this compared to your other works? Ryan - I think with that one Row was just messing around with an arpeggiator and the song kind of just fell in to place. The rough demo then got passed about a bit and we all added a few ideas and then out of nowhere the track was done. It was different because we had the recording before we’d even played through it as a band. 24Our Music - Any major releases coming up in the horizon, as well any major tours? Ryan - We’re currently assembling a load of new tunes together and will be looking to start recording them very soon. We’ll be touring again in November, and any new releases are going to coincide with that when it kicks off. 24Our Music - What does Kassassin Street mean to you? Nathan - I’ll refer back to your first question, party! Everyone is welcome to come and join it! 24Our Music - One last question, and it's pretty serious, so get ready. Our readers really need to know: if the other members of your band became dessert treats, what would they be? Nathan - Our band don’t really do desserts so I’ll adapt it to Indian cuisine. I think Andy would be a Jalfrezi, Row would be a bowl of Saag Paneer, and
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Published on Oct 21, 2016
Here comes our biggest issue yet! Headlined by Philadelphia's Mel Alston, 24Our Music is back with a fantastic mix of new friends and old ac...