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BEYOND THE STAGE

BEYOND the stage

STAFF

ADDIE WHELAN EDITOR IN CHIEF

ALICIA RANGEL ART DIRECTOR

DELANEY DEANGELIS DEPUTY EDITOR

GINA SCARPINO PHOTO EDITOR

KRISTEN HUMPHRIES

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Beyond The Stage is a digital music magazine based in the United States. You can read Beyond The Stage online for free or visit our website to buy a hard copy. Previous issues are always available to read online or order in print.

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WRITERS

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Addie Whelan Alyssa Buzzello Blake Charles Delaney DeAngelis Joe Hernandez Kristen Humphries Lauren Klonowski

PHOTOGRAPHERS

CONTENT ASSISTANT

Addie Whelan Alicia Rangel Alyssa Buzzello Bailey Flores Blake Charles Chelsea Gresh Gina Scarpino Joe Hernandez Nicolita Bradley Stone Fenk

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TABLE OF

CONTENTS ON THE COVER

20 NOAH CYRUS

GALLERIES

FEATURES

12 NEW POLITICS 32 WEATHERS 42 MILCK

06 Bruno Major 18 Album Reviews 48 YUNGBLUD 51 Playlist

04 Nothing But Thieves 05 Dua Lipa 10 Lights 11 Why Don’t We 16 Betty Who 17 Kimbra 26 SXSW 36 Phoebe Bridgers 41 FIDLAR 46 Chase Atlantic 47 Vince Staples

NOAH CYRUS ON THE COVER

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NOTHING BUT THIEVES NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 2018 - GINA SCARPINO

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DUA LIPA

PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 2018 - BLAKE CHARLES

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BRUNO MAJOR WORDS AND PHOTOS BY ADDIE WHELAN

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There’s nothing better than hearing that your favorite artist is releasing new music. Whether it’s an EP full of brand new songs or just a remix on an old track, a new release is almost better than an ice cream bar on a hot music festival day. Enter your new favorite artist: Bruno Major. He’s been self-producing, writing and releasing his own music just the way it needs to be: one track a month over the last year. “Well, I made ‘Wouldn’t Mean A Thing,’ the first track from the album. It was really immediately apparent to me that that was the sound for the album and it was so fresh and exciting and I couldn’t wait to put it out,” said Major. “Then, I watched a documentary on South Park about how they make an episode every week. They come in Monday morning and I thought, ‘if they can do an episode every week, that I can do definitely do a song in a month.’ So I decided to do it in real time. Because I didn’t want to wait around for six months or whatever it is to make an album.” Major released just a couple of tracks before his audience started to spike, streams started to pour in and attention really started to climb. Continuing to release music, Major sparked the interest of dozens of media outlets, fans worldwide and even Sam Smith, who’s asked Major to tour with him in Europe this year. While he grew up playing music, Major cites that his musical influences are really all over the place. “Well, I started off as a guitar player so I was really influenced by guitar players like Jimi Hendrix and jazz players like Joe Pass and Django Reinhardt. And I got into songwriting and I fell in love with Randy

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Newman, who you probably know as the guy who wrote “You Got a Friend In Me” in Toy Story. But he is also one of the greatest, if not the greatest songwriter of all time. Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and then I got into like production like James Blake and Radiohead,” Major said. Those musical influences have shaped Major’s sound, which he says sounds like, “if Chet Faker was produced by James Blake and D’Angelo was playing keys.” While Major’s sound sounds like a mishmash and collaboration of a bunch of artists, Major finds that his inspirations are from all over the place. “I write about all kinds of things. Maybe that it’s a book that I’m reading or maybe it’s something that someone says in a certain poetic way, maybe it’s from an advert on TV,” he said. “Just sometimes they come into my head like emails, there’s no real pattern to it. It’s just the world around you is what inspires me.” Those inspirations have traveled into a dozen songs, some of which with more than fifteen million listeners. Those songs were created as a solo project, usually with just one collaborator. He elaborated, “I write everything, but I’ve co-written some of the songs, I coproduced most of the album with my friend Farrah, but I play all of the instruments and I produce it myself, yeah,” said Major. “It’s not impossible to do everything yourself. I did a few of the songs by myself, like ‘On Our Own’ and ‘Just The Same.’ They were 100 percent me in every way. But a lot of the time, it’s necessary to have someone to bounce off of or even, ‘Is this shit?’ Sometimes they say ‘Yeah, it’s shit.’ and then you actually know.”


While Major has written songs on his own and with a collaborator, he also reflected on the positives and negatives of being a solo artist. “The rewards and the punishments are greater in both ways. You have complete creative control and you get credit for everything that you do and it’s your work, it’s your baby. And I’m a control freak so I love that sort of thing,” he said. “But you don’t get to share your experiences with anyone else and that can sometimes feel like you are on your own and you’re really putting yourself, it’s my name and everyone knows that Bruno Major, I have that name when I was 7 years old when I was sitting next to someone in math. That those people will see you putting yourself out there for judgment and that’s a scary thing. But you just have to be brave, I wouldn’t have it any other way to be honest.”

or San Diego or Vancouver, Portland, etc. and all of these places are new to me. We’ve found full rooms full of fans that like the album and bought tickets, which is mind blowing to me,” reflected Major. While Major might be busy through this year, touring and finding new inspiration for music, one thing remains the same: “I really like ‘Havana’ by Camila Cabello. It’s such a tune. I think it’s such a classic. I think we’ll be dancing to it still in 20 years,” he laughed.

Since he won’t have it any other way, Major plans to continue through the end of 2018, touring all over the world. “I’m going to be touring through the end of the year. We get a week off of this tour, then we go on tour with Sam Smith and then a UK Arena Tour which is going to be mad. Then, I’m doing my own UK tour, then I’m doing some dates around Europe and some festivals.” He continued, “Then, coming back to America and doing a bunch of dates around here like Bonnaroo, finishing off in Vegas. And then planning on doing Asia and Australia and at some point I have to make a new album.” In short, Bruno Major’s start and continuation in the music industry continues to bring him success, through unique releases and continuous touring through the year. “I’ve never been to any of these places before, never to Chicago or San Francisco

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LIGHTS

COLUMBUS,OH - MARCH 2018 - CHELSEA GRESH

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WHY DON’T WE

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 2018 - ADDIE WHELAN

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NEW POLITICS WORDS AND PHOTOS BY ALYSSA BUZZELLO

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It was nearly eight years ago New Politics released their first self-titled album. Since then, the band has toured with Twenty One Pilots and Fall Out Boy, has released three more full albums, has recorded with Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and has breakdanced into the hearts of many many fans along the way. Now, on their third headlining tour, we got to chat with New Politics in a green room in Los Angeles listening to Thrice. The latest album from the group is titled Lost in Translation. The album has been out for months now with strong fan acclaim. The lead single, “One Of Us,” is an upbeat anthem that has a very positive message. There is no actual story behind it, however a lot of different circumstances combined and became the inspiration behind writing it. “David has just announced he was going to BTS

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be a dad,” Soren Hansen, who plays guitars and keys, recounted. “He was back in New York. We were supposed to write for a week and we just ended up watching TV and hanging out, talking, having a great time. Literally the night before he was leaving we wrote this song and it is very meaningful to us. I don’t think we were trying to write a song that had some sort of political impact or anything but it was cool to see afterwards that perhaps people took it as that.” Along with great things happening during the writing period for the last album, there were a couple of horrible events and saddening moments. “The way we look at it is it’s almost like there’s something ironic about a happy song because in order to write a happy song you really have to be aware of how shitty things are,” singer David Boyd explained.


Two-thirds of the band hails from Denmark, so the term “lost in translation” is a bit too familiar to them. Boyd and Hansen started the band in Denmark and then picked up drummer Louis Vecchio when they got to the United States. The album title came from a familiar feeling after the group realized there are just some things that are meant to be lost in translation. One phrase Boyd used as an example of something lost in translation was “Don’t let them blow your candle light.” ”It’s like your spark. Even though they understand now, they almost understand us better when we are lost in translation,” he explained. And, if you did not know, there is no such thing as a “danish” pastry in Denmark. New Politics are known to be one of the most active bands in the scene and have played an insane amount of shows per year. They are a must-see band that deliver raw energy and insanity on stage. They continuously work on their live set. “Touring is great,” said Boyd. “It’s fun to hear everyone sing along to the songs that we love but we didn’t know how people were going to respond to.” On their third headlining tour, they have outdone any live show they have put on before. They have made it clear that they have only scratched the surface of what they are capable of. Boyd is multi-talented in ways that bring their live show to the next level. How many lead singers stop mid-set and throw in a breakdancing spectacle topped off with a head stand? In terms of production, New Politics has stepped it up tremendously in order to create an ambiance and feeling of cohesiveness to an in certain ways odd mix of songs. “We look at a song as an individual song on our Walkman,” Boyd says with a laugh, “We look at it from the perspective of how the hell would this song fit into this and with this lineup for this tour. We’ve really dared to take these songs that don’t make sense and make them work.”

“Lifted” was a song on the setlist that had received surprised accolades from fans. They placed it as an encore song on the setlist in order to fill an awkward spot, however the spot it filled was as a crowd pleaser. The setlist that New Politics wows crowds with night after night is the most diverse setlist the band has put together because of their dedication to playing material new and old spanning all of their albums. Life in a van during touring is an entirely different life altogether. Day in and day out in a small space with your bandmates and crew can get tiring. “The biggest lesson is to enjoy and have a good time doing it because before you know you’re on the last two shows of the last two shows of the tour and it’s over. You’re ten people on this tiny bus and that’s a lot of people so you have to be really be able to accept each other for who they are and I would think that’s the hardest thing,” Hansen chimed in. The music taste also seems like a crazy enough mix of genres to make for interesting travel situations. Vecchio was quick to admit that lately he had been listening to the new Kendrick Lamar album along with old school. Hansen revealed that the band actually listens to metal before the show as a warm up. The most shocking confession was that Boyd simply does not like listening to any music while on tour. What the future holds for the band is truly in their hands. “Why should we be afraid of the future if everything is so good as well? There’s so much to celebrate,” said Boyd. Louis suggested, “I would love for us to do a project where almost every song had a feature. Our friends that we’ve met throughout our career.” New Politics is a band that could be taken in so many directions. We can expect nothing but craziness out of this band. No matter what, we definitely suggest following along so you do not miss out on any of it. BTS

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BETTY WHO

PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 2018 - JOE HERNANDEZ

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KIMBRA

SEATTLE, WA - FEBRUARY 2018 - NICOLITA BRADLEY

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ALBUM REVIEWS Expectations Hayley Kiyoko Atlantic Records When discussing Hayley Kiyoko and her music, the word “unapologetic” gets thrown around quite often, and after listening to her debut album Expectations, it’s clear why. While Kiyoko is perhaps most known for her starring role in Disney Channel’s Lemonade Mouth, her undeniable pivot into the world of queer-centric pop has done nothing short of reintroducing her to the world as a songstress with a unique point of view that deserves to be heard. Her 2013 EP, A Belle To Remember—which marked her first introduction to the music world as a solo artist—was packaged rather differently than what was to come. Afraid of being unfairly judged or restricted, Kiyoko opted not to use female pronouns when singing about her love interests, or discuss her own queerness at all. That quickly changed however, as her next release, 2015’s The Other Side of Paradise - EP spawned the lesbian anthem “Girls Like Girls,” firmly cementing Kiyoko as the “Lesbian Jesus” that her fans now lovingly refer to her as. Her next release, 2016’s Citrine - EP, reinforced how Kiyoko is here to stay, with arguably one of the most striking voices in modern pop. From opening track to closing track, it is clear that Expectations perfectly epitomizes unapologetically queer pop, showing Kiyoko as unafraid to speak the truth as ever before. This album is nothing if not cohesive, as Kiyoko’s unique blend of dreamy synth pop masterfully flows from track to track, taking the listener on a enchanting ride through Kiyoko’s many complexities, all while maintaining an indisputable pop sensibility. The colorful and bouncy “Curious” has arguably the most infectious chorus on the whole album, the sexy and eclectic “Palm Dreams” shows Kiyoko at her absolute grooviest and “What I Need,” which features fellow queer songstress Kehlani, sounds plucked right from pop radio with a chorus that is practically begging to be sung as loud as possible. The album does have it’s darker moments as well, as Kiyoko has stated that “Mercy/Gatekeeper”—which is arguably the most avantgarde song on the album—is about depression, and “Molecules”—which manages to be serene and anthemic at the same time—is about the loss of a friend. Even songs such the bubbly “Feelings” and the sensual “Sleepover” have melancholic undertones, as the former is about how Kiyoko was made to feel ashamed of her own feelings, while the latter is about falling in love with a best friend that isn’t capable of reciprocating those same feelings. Through and through, Expectations is an extremely impressive debut from Hayley Kiyoko, whom we fully expect to become one of pop’s new heavyweights. 4/5 - Blake Charles Download: “What I need (feat. Kehlani),” “Curious” and “Molecules”

Love, Simon (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Various Artists RCA Records Love, Simon is a 2018 American film about the coming of age story of Simon Spier, a closeted teenager from a suburb outside Atlanta, directed by Greg Berlanti and adapted from the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. At the helm of the film’s soundtrack is Grammy winner Jack Antonoff. Antonoff is best known as the singer and songwriter of his band Bleachers, former cowriter and guitarist of Fun, and producer for artists such as Lorde, Taylor Swift and many more. The soundtrack features music previously released from Bleachers, Brenton Wood, The 1975, Whitney Houston, The Jackson 5, and HAERTS. The soundtrack, however, is significant for the artists that came together to write new songs for the film and support the cause, movement, messages, and LGBTQ+ community Love, Simon represents. New original music, some cowritten and produced by Antonoff, on the soundtrack include singles from Bleachers, MØ, Troye Sivan, Amy Shark and Khalid featuring Normani. The standout of the compilation is Troye Sivan’s new song “Strawberries & Cigarettes”, cowritten and produced by himself, Alex Hope and Jack Antonoff. Pun very intended, Antonoff and Sivan are a match made in heaven. The duo worked previously on the track “Heaven,” which features Betty Who and is found on Sivan’s album Blue Neighbourhood. Originally written for Sivan’s debut, “Strawberries & Cigarettes” is now found on the soundtrack and tells the story of a relationship that has ended, but Sivan can’t stop chasing. The compilation blurs the lines between nostalgia and the present, and mixes breakout and up-and-coming artists of today’s charts with legends throughout history. The emotion, love and heartbreak is raw and felt throughout each of the songs. Antonoff’s production elevates any song he’s involved in to even greater levels, and the handpicked tracks compliment the new releases incredibly well. This compilation is the perfect soundtrack not only for Love, Simon, but for anyone searching to find love, understanding, their identity and representation in the world around them. 5/5 - Joe Hernandez Download: “Strawberries & Cigarettes”, “Keeping A Secret”, and “Love Lies”

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WORDS BY DELANEY DEANGELIS AND PHOTOS BY ALYSSA BUZZELLO BTS

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In just a few short years, Noah Cyrus has become a breakout artist. In 2016, she signed a record deal with RECORDS, as well as releasing her debut single, “Make Me (Cry).”Since then, she’s released several singles, created huge collaborations, sold out her very first headlining show and even joined Katy Perry on tour. Now, the 18-year-old artist is focusing on creating her debut release, NC-17. She from creating huge collaborations to selling out her first headlining show, to joining Katy Perry on tour. “My sound, especially what everyone is about to hear, is left of center pop and a little darker than most pop songs,” said Cyrus. “This new chapter of my music will really show the darker side of the pop genre.” Cyrus grew up in a musical household, with her father Billy Ray, sister Miley and brother Trace. Now, it’s her turn to join the spotlight. “It’s gotten me extremely prepared for the good, bad and the ugly,” said Cyrus. “This business can add some wear and tear on a person and I’m extremely lucky to be aware of it from being around it so much.” Cyrus draws inspiration from a variety of genres and artists. She loves hip hop and R&B, with Kanye West being her biggest inspiration from that genre. When it comes to more indie music, Cyrus said Ben Howard and Lana Del Rey have been inspirations for a long time. “Honestly, it’s a hard question because I love so many artists and it’s hard to be put on the spot to pick a few,” she added. “I get so much

inspiration from all types of artists in all types of genres.” Showing the variety of her inspiration, Cyrus has many current favorite songs, including “The Way Life Goes” by Lil Uzi, “Barbie Tingz” by Nicki Minaj, “Moonlight” by XXXTentacion, “Bad Bad News” by Leon Bridges, “Night So Long” by Haim and “Uh Huh” by Somewhere Else. In her music career so far, Cyrus has worked with some huge collaborations, including Labrinth for her debut track, Alan Walker for the track “All Falls Down” and MØ for her latest single, “We Are…” “We Are…” is an anthemic pop take on being a teenager and the influence of social media. “It’s kind of creating this false sense of reality for everyone. What you need to look like, wear and act like,” Cyrus said. “It’s about how we, as youth culture, are getting fucked up in the brain due to the circumstances online. If you don’t do the Instagram makeup look, you’re not pretty. That’s not right. It’s sad to think about people younger than me and little boys and girls who could have their confidence destroyed by social media exactly how mine was when I was younger.” In addition to collaborations with other artists, opening up for Katy Perry and selling out her first headlining show, Cyrus performed at SXSW. “That was so much fun, so much yummy food too,” she said. “It was very different because you get to perform for mostly industry people.”

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Behind Cyrus are her fans, also known as her Cyrens. Her dedicated fans have helped spread her music worldwide, and have supported her in this beginning stage of her career. “I am grateful for all they have done to get me where I am and that this is only the beginning,” she said. “We still have more singles. More albums. And more years together. And that I love them so much for all their support and that they mean the world to me.” For Cyrus, it’s important to connect and bond with her Cyrens online. Though “We Are…” comments on the negativity that comes from social media, it’s not all bad. Whether it’s doing a livestream or replying to fan comments, it’s a way to talk and deepen the relationship she has with her fans. “It’s the only way you can truly build a relationship and can communicate with most of them so to build that bond online is extremely important,” she said. Overall, Cyrus’ music is relatable. “Make Me (Cry)” is an authentic ballad about heartbreak, “Stay Together” embodies a wild and free teen spirit and “I’m Stuck” is all about crushes. Her music so far is eclectic, ranging from R&B influences to country-pop. It’s only the beginning of Cyrus’ career, and she’ll be spending the rest of the year to focus on creating more music. “I’m starting to really focus on the album and making sure that it’s a body of work that I’m truly proud of and that it really is something I want to show the world,” Cyrus said. “So I’ll be writing, and will be in the studio much more this year.”

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NOAH LIVE IN LOS ANGELES, CA

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SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST PHOTOS BY BAILEY FLORES

PRESENTED BY RIPTIDE MUSIC FESTIVAL ALEX DI LEO

THE HEIRS

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LOVELYTHEBAND

THE ACADEMIC


BUMBLE PRESENTS EMPOWERING CONNECTIONS

BUMBLE CEO WHITNEY WOLFE AND GINA RODRIGUEZ

HAIM

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CAPITOL ONE HOUSE

SAINT MOTEL

MATT AND KIM

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TWITTER HOUSE STELLA DONNELLY

STELLA DONNELLY

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A CONVERSATION WITH KEITH URBAN

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SHAKEY

NEON

KELELA

DJ FARRA FAWCETT

VISTA KICKS

MÉLAT

SYDNEY FRANKLIN

SHAED

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WEATHERS

WORDS BY KRISTEN HUMPHRIES AND PHOTOS BY BAILEY FLORES

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All hail the new kings of sad-pop, deeply probing lyrics with shimmery instrumentation (think: Paramore, Bad Suns, and twenty one pilots). We had the chance to sit down with Weathers, a four piece alt-rock band from Los Angeles, to detail their new music, the necessity for individual listener experience, and much more. “I think it’s really important to all of us for each person to have their own individual experience [with our music]; it’s important you have your own personal connection,” admits Cameron Boyer (vocals). When the band released “Happy Pills,” they tweeted how the song has different meanings to everyone—something close to their hearts. “‘Happy Pill’ doesn’t have to be a pill,” claims Cole Carson (drums), “It’s a metaphor; it’s not just something to make you happy, but to sidetrack you into not dealing with what you’ve been dealing with.” Weathers detract from the notion that a song has one single meaning, allowing their music to relate better to everyone who listens. The band writes songs that fans can grow up with and make memories to, much like a soundtrack to their lives. When asked who made the soundtrack to their lives, the band named a couple rock legends and clear influences. Brennan Bates (bass, keys) stated Gorillaz has a ton of different vibes. Cameron Olsen (lead guitar) admits El Camino by The Black Keys shaped him as a person, as the album is “a banger front to back.” Boyer followed suit after a slight Killers change, “I can’t think of anything else but Hot Fuss. Actually, Brothers by The Black Keys.” Carson was quick to note Wasting Light by Foo Fighters, “Dave Grohl is my hero and that album, the music side of it, I was really drawn to. It progressed me as a musician.” The connection from artist to fan is incredible and Weathers don’t take it for granted in the slightest. “They stayed patient with us,” Boyer admits about the Weathers fanbase, “We have some really great fans and they stay with us.” Take it from the endless tweets asking for new music or the all-caps craziness of a new show announcement. Bates comments, “They BTS

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would get excited about every little hint about music coming. They were excited and they still are.” What more could a band ask for? To release music to eager ears and to play music to hearts and minds that genuinely care. What a beautiful thing Weathers has going on—and it doesn’t stop yet. The band just released Part 1 of Kids In The Night, a four-track EP featuring instant hits “I’m Not Ok” and “The Night Is Calling.” “It’s a totally new sound that we’ve took a long time and worked really hard to make,” Boyer details about the new music, “He [Tim Pagnotta] was our producer and he challenged us to be different and to keep going even when you feel like you have it perfect.” This idea of perfection and a clean sound didn’t sit well with the band, as they ached for something more honest and raw. “It’s okay to not be perfect because so many of our favorite records have so many imperfections, like it’s okay to have a sh*tty sounding guitar,” admits Olsen of the band’s sound. But don’t be mistaken—there’s a difference between finding an authentic, live tone and low-tier mixing. Weathers aces the live authenticity. “We’ll be focusing on content and making sure the music that’s getting released is doing what we want it to do,” Boyer details the 2018 progression of the band. We think Kids In The Night is already a promising release and with talk of a summer tour, it seems the guys are just getting started. Keep an eye out for this band—they are certainly not leaving your radar. From clever lyricism to perfectly timed harmonies and riffs, Weathers gets it so right. The future is a bright one for them.


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PHOEBE BRIDGERS NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 2018 - GINA SCARPINO

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FIDLAR

POMONA, CA - FEBRUARY 2018 - ALYSSA BUZZELLO

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MILCK

WORDS BY LAUREN KLONOWSKI AND PHOTO BY GINA SCARPINO

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One of LA’s best-kept secrets, MILCK, sat down with Beyond The Stage and discussed her journey in music from her humble beginnings to now and how the important activism is in her work. MILCK, the name behind Connie Lim, has been musical for most of her life. “I started singing whenever I was like super young, like three or four and my sister and I would put on our parent’s CDs and then go and perform little musicals for them,” she remembered. A few years later, she started writing her own piano compositions. While these little performances and compositions contributed to her path towards a career in music, she didn’t really start songwriting until she was 17, and even then, she didn’t even realize what she was doing was actual songwriting. “I used it as healing from my eating disorder,” said Lim. “I was anorexic. I started finding a way to pair my poetry and my music together, and then I was like, ‘Oh hey, I’m writing songs.’” MILCK points to a lot of artists as influences, even if she is not consciously looking for them. “I’m that type of artist where even if I hear something once, in passing, that will highly impact me, so sometimes some of my influences almost feel like an acquaintance, like I don’t even delve that deep into their category,” she said. More obvious influences for her are 70s rock legends, The Carpenters and the Bee Gees thanks to her parents. As she got older, she started getting into bands like Imogen Heap, Portishead and Massive Attack. She says that she still listens to them a lot, so they naturally feed into her own songwriting. Back in January, MILCK dropped her latest work, an EP titled, This Is Not The End. The title of the EP was originally going to be “Black Sheep.” After current events, she changed her mind. “As I was watching everything that was going on in the world, and also because one of my songs quietly became attached to the Women’s March, I started having people kind of turn to me for hope. I generally don’t alter myself to fit what people need, but for myself even, I wanted to talk about how this is not the end,” she explained. BTS

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She gave us a glimpse of just what it was like to record the EP. “We already had all the songs done and and prepared, so I think I sent the label like 40-some songs and then we picked our top ten favorites. Then, as we were making preparations to record the album, I started writing more and we threw on a few new songs, too,” Lim said. The EP features seven original tracks from the singer-songwriter and one highlight is the song, “Ooh Child.” MILCK said she’s really proud of this track because, “I produced it with one of my cowriters Adrianne Gonzalez, who is like a writer for Procter and Gamble and did the first female directed commercial for them and then we had two female music producers for the track. It was also really cool because we recorded it at EastWest Studios, where Frank Sinatra recorded ‘My Way.’” For the entire album she worked with producer, Nick Ruth. “I basically went over to his house every day and we would hash out ideas. For example, there’s a song on the EP called, “I Don’t Belong To You” and we were trying to figure out how to do the song,” she said. “We were like, ‘Is it just piano? Or like how do we get the rhythm in it?’ So, we just started getting creative with it. We experimented with vocal pedals that have harmony and vocoder but still being super intentional about the record being organic in the whole process.” She goes on to say that that thought was really the driving force behind the production. They really focused on “following the inspiration and not trying to force things. If we were feeling burnt out, we would just take a break and go outside. It was a really healthy process.” Activism has always been on that artist’s mind. Even when she was young, she was already wondering about privilege and fairness. “I was always really intrigued by like, ‘Why am I so lucky to be born in this country?’ My parents worked hard and were able to give me these opportunities. ‘But, why not other people?’” she explained.


MILCK points to the fact that the American upbringing puts a lot of focus on working hard, which can make it easy to overlook the real issues happening outside our little bubbles we live in. “When the election happened, that was when I was like, ‘Hey, I need to pay more attention, and maybe use my voice for something bigger, than just my career, like there’s gotta be something bigger and more important,’” she said. Her parents are immigrants from Hong Kong, who had a very different upbringing than she did. “They were very aware. Their education was very conscious about learning, about countries,” she said. “Perhaps, that’s something in our culture that we don’t encourage.” MILCK is learning just like the rest of us. “There is a lot of people finding their activist voice or just trying to do something more meaningful with their lives. I think I’m just part of that movement,” she said.

can happen, which can lead to more peace.” She talks about how her work has to have meaning behind it. For her, it has to be more than her just performing a song for an audience. With tracks like “Quiet,” she has truly proved that this thought process is what drives her. “It’s not easy sometimes, and it brings me back there sometimes which is it’s tiring but, I can make a difference by sharing hard stories.” She’s been touring with the Australian indiepop artist, Amy Shark and has learned a lot from her. “Amy’s been touring like crazy, she’s been touring for like, three months straight,” she said. “This is my first long run, so we get to talk backstage about ways how we try to stay healthy or how we cope and there’s a lot of respect, so it’s been awesome.”

She definitely is a part of that movement. With her breakout track, “Quiet” she was able to really get involved in the Women’s March and find her activist voice.

She’s really been enjoying the different crowds every night on the tour, as well. “I love trying my cheesy jokes, I have an arsenal of dad jokes and I just try all of them. I like to see which cities like my dad jokes more than others,” she said. “So far, I feel like Portland seems to like my dad jokes the best.”

When asked how the experience of performing at the event was, she immediately exclaimed, “I met Yoko Ono!” Five minutes before she was set to take the stage, she was asked if she’d mind if Ono would join her on stage while holding a peace sign. Of course, she agreed.

As much as she loves testing out her jokes, she also loves the chance to meet people after the show. As a self-proclaimed introvert, it tires her out a bit, but she loves it. “I love when people tell me how they discovered the music, or if they hadn’t heard of me before the show, that’s always awesome to hear,” Lim said.

“That was magical. I don’t get starstruck really, but with her, I immediately started crying when I saw her.” The performance was outside, in the cold so she got herself together and had a great set. She mentioned that she also got to meet people like Halsey, Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Moore, who had worked with in the past. Overall, she said, “It was a good time. I loved listening to Halsey’s poem and getting to see everybody there.”

Looking forward, MILCK has some exciting plans. In addition to music, she also books speaking gigs, so she will be attending numerous conferences. She will be working with Samsung, an Asian-American justice organization, Women In Technology and more. After, she is taking a week off for herself in the desert.

MILCK has struggled with issues of abuse and eating disorders in the past, and “Quiet” really discusses those topics. She says that it isn’t that hard for her to sing about those times. “I am very comfortable with sharing a lot of my flaws and mistakes because my theory is, if I am vulnerable, than other people can be more vulnerable,” she explained. “If more people are vulnerable then more community

“I am totally doing that stereotypical artist thing where they’re like, ‘I need to be alone in the desert.’ I am so excited because I am going to start writing,” she said. “I think we are going to be releasing new music very soon.” With all of this, it’s sure to be a great year for MILCK and we can’t wait to see how her important work is going to keep impacting the masses.

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CHASE ATLANTIC

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 2018 - CHELSEA GRESH

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VINCE STAPLES

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 2018 - STONE FENK

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D U L B

IA IC L YA B S TO O H SP E I RI PH M HU

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N TE S I R YK B DS OR W

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DO NOT CHANGE “THINGS UNLESS WE SPEAK ABOUT THEM. SO WE GOTTA TALK, WE GOTTA VOTE, BTS

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AND WE GOTTA THINK. “


“Things do not change unless we speak about them. So we gotta talk, we gotta vote and we gotta think.” Despite the confusing and divisive nature of today’s world, we’re witnessing a generation of intelligent, empathetic and motivated-for-change young adults— Dominic Harrison is one of many. We caught up with Harrison, known by his stage name Yungblud, the other week to talk music, the normalization of heavier issues (i.e., sexual assault, addiction, etc.), and much more. “I’m just saying what I think,” Harrison notes about his music having a message without being too preachy, “We [millennials] see the future we want and the future we want to be apart of; it’s been held back by a generation that doesn’t understand as much.” Noted by his prominent Twitter presence and active engagement with fans, Harrison has grown up in the social media era—one that allows for a lot of selfeducation. But he, and his fans, refuse to be silenced by those who turn a blind eye, as he offers irrefutable advice: “If you’re told to shut up, shout louder.” So, he did. As a kid growing up in Northern England, Harrison was exposed to “lad” mentality at a young age. “I’ve seen these drunk girls being taken home by boys who are not nearly as drunk as they are. The messed up thing was, it didn’t resonate how wrong it was until I grew up.” This normalcy of sexual harassment and assault never sat well with Harrison, which led to his penning of “Polygraph Eyes” from his self-titled EP, YUNGBLUD. “I just needed to tell it from a male perspective,” he admits, “Just because a girl wants to wear a skirt or drink

as much as she wants, it doesn’t give you the right to take her against her will. That’s what’s wrong and that’s what’s real and it happens everyday.” It’s this authenticity and honesty in his music that has allowed Harrison to connect on a deeper level with fans—and he doesn’t take it for granted. “The best thing in the world is the reaction,” he excitedly tells of his relationship with fans, “The DM’s on my Instagram and Twitter saying ‘thank you for this song, I feel like I can speak about this issue now’—it happens all the time and it’s a real connection and that’s what I do it for.” You can sense his genuine appreciation radiating off his tone. If anything was obvious to us, it’s that Harrison is not one to be ignored; not now and certainly not in his inevitable future as a successful artist. We need more truth on the radio. We need more visibility and transparency with real issues. We need more artists like Harrison to spark conversations with everyone who listens to his music. We need to continue growing this generation of strong, wellinformed kids. From “Tin Pan Boy” to “King Charles,” if you’re someone who feels lost and silenced, YUNGBLUD is for you. Harrison fills his lyrics with curiosity and questions of society’s current rules (think: American Idiot). He refuses to accept the unfairness and lack of empathy in older generations— he’s an incredible force to be reckoned with and his fans are just the same. “All my life, people misunderstood me and tried to put me in a box because I didn’t express myself in a certain way. F**k that.” Here’s to expressing yourself, whoever’s reading this. Go out in the world and be you, unapologetically.

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ARTISTS WE SAW AT SXSW 1.Cut It Out - Kitten 2. Broken - lovelytheband 3. Female - Keith Urban 4. Heart to Break - Kim Petras 5. Your Girl - Violet Days 6. Happy Pills - Weathers 7. Find Yourself - Great Good Fine Ok 8. Suburban Wonderland - HEIRS 9. Brooklyn Bridge - Alex Di Leo 10. Bear Claws - The Academic 11. Boys Will Be Boys - Stella Donnelly 12. Happy If You’re Happy - Matt & Kim 13. My Type - Saint Motel 14. Want You Back - HAIM 15. Lonesome - SHAED

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KEITH URBAN | PHOTO BY BAILEY FLORES BTS

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Beyond The Stage Magazine - April 2018  
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