J anuary 2015
BEA MILLER Olivia Somerlyn Nick santino Jingle ball
CONTENTS: Beyond The STage ISSue 2
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LewIS waTSon JIngLe BaSh Bea MILLer
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oLIvIa SoMerLyn BeST of 2014 JIngLe BaLL
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grrL PrTy LavIer STaff PLayLIST
STAFF: Editorial: Executive Editor Allison Lanza Feature Editor & Outlet Contact Gabi Talisman Photo Editor Becca Mathias Layout Design & Issue Editor Addie Whelan
Alyssa Hemingsen Charlotte Freitag Delaney DeAngelis Eden Jezierski Kathryn Bethard
Photographers: Addie Whelan Allison Lanza Becca Mathias Chelsea Gresh Gabi Talisman
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Bleachers chicago // nov. 2014 Photo By: allison lanza
demi lovato minneapolis// dec. 2014 Photo By: gabi talisman
LEWIS WATSON + BEN KESSLER world cafe live // philadelphia, pa
words by kathryn bethard photos by becca mathias
On a rainy Monday night as the support for Lewis Watson approached the stage, the excitement in the air was palpable. The crowd, filled of mostly girls in their mid-teens to early-twenties let out a unanimous “aw” when sixteen year old singer-songwriter Ben Kessler picked up his guitar and addressed the crowd with a welcoming “hello.” Beginning his set with a track from his recently released EP “So It Goes,” he energized the crowd and had everyone clapping along. Ben’s set was five songs long and he was sure to include a cover of Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah.” He exited the stage and a half hour later, Lewis Watson stepped up. Opening his show with “Sink or Swim,” the crowd was very mellow and one of the most calm crowds I have ever been a part of, with excitement and anticipation clear on each person’s face. The upstairs of World Café Live, where the show was held, is a small room that allows for an intimate setting, which attributed to the crowd’s seemingly respectful low volume. This setting allowed for an experience different from any other show I have been to. The set was acoustic, which was different than the full band sets Watson had been used
to playing on the rest of the tour. He had a running joke during the whole set as he claimed “we normally play this with a full band, but…” He played other songs from his debut LP “The Morning,” and had the crowd singing along to tracks such as “Castle Street,” “LA Song,” and “Stay,” a riveting tune made up of folky sounds and a gripping bridge. “Stones Around the Sun” is a mesmerizing song and arguably one of the highlights of the night. He ended his set with “The Wild,” a crowd favorite. He exited the stage and the crowd willed him to come back on for “one more song,” which was chanted throughout the room. For this final song, he asked the crowd to form a circle in front of the stage. He stepped down, coming face to face with the crowd and played “Made Up Love Song #43” unplugged, whilst spinning around to be sure to face each member of the wide eyed, excited group. He invited the crowd to sing along and instructed everyone to keep singing as he once again exited the room, promising to come back out and speak to each one of us in “just five minutes.” He held on to his promise.
LUKE HEMMINGS AND ASHTON IRWIN 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER
Ariana Grande, Pharrell, 5 Seconds of Summer, Rixton, LIL Jon, Martin Garrix and MKTO.
JINGLE BASH Photos by: Allison Lanza
Designed by: Alyssa Hemingsen
TONY OLLER MKTO
MALCOLM KELLEY MKTO
ASHTON IRWIN 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER
MICHAEL CLIFFORD AND LUKE HEMMINGS 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER
CALUM HOOD 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER
JAKE ROCHE RIXTON
CHARLEY BAGNALL RIXTON
JAKE ROCHE AND LEWI MORGAN RIXTON
Nick Santino Words and Photos by Allison Lanza
Nick Santino is, by no means, new to the world of music. The former frontman of the band A Rocket To The Moon released his debut solo album Big Skies in May and an EP entitled Savannah just this past December. According to Santino, going from a lead singer to solo artist was “not so weird as, just, different.” He explained the transition when we sat down with him at the Chicago stop of his “The Long & Winding Roadshow” tour. “I wasn’t used to it. But I think I’m liking the whole ‘solo thing,’ it’s a little more easy-going.” When Nick released his first solo EP, he released it under the name “Nick Santino & The Northern Wind.” “If I just came out solo, under my name, I felt that it would just be overlooked. You know, singer in a band goes solo, just like every other singer of a band. I thought that if I added The Northern Wind to it right out of the gate, it would kind of make people think ‘maybe he has a new band, what’s going on?’ It kind of added a little bit of mystery to it.” He dropped The Northern Wind for the release of his debut full length, citing that “it felt like the right time to drop The Northern Wind… like, hey, this is actually me doing the solo thing.”
As a solo artist, Nick is independent, which is different than when he was with A Rocket To The Moon, who were signed to Fueled By Ramen. “It’s a lot more hands on this time around,” Nick said, explaining the difference between being with a label and being an independent artist. “The pros of the label are you have all the connections and resources right at your fingertips, where doing it yourself is a little bit more difficult to get those kind of things. But the pros of being independent are that I can release and record music whenever I want, which is basically the most important thing if you think about it.” He went on to express how those signed to labels are at the liberty of their label when it comes to making and releasing their music. “People that are signed to labels don’t get to release music as frequently as they want to and it’s just kind of ironic because they’re in the music business and the last thing they’re doing is releasing music.” “This year I want to work on getting a backing band together and play this album, Big Skies, the way it was recorded, with drums and electric guitar,” he said of his plans for 2015. “That’s my goal, to start touring full band. I did the past year solo and acoustic, so it will be cool to get all the energy going with the full band. That’s the plan – to keep it going with the touring.” So, while you are waiting for the next batch of Nick Santino tour dates to be announced, do yourself a favor and pick up his Savannah EP now on iTunes.
Portraits and Words by Gabi Talisman Live Photos by Becca Mathias
hen I was like 8, I was watching American Idol and it was an episode of American Idol Gives Back that they did towards the end of the season at the time. And I don’t remember who it was, but one of the singers who was a finalist went somewhere, I think she went to Africa? And she sang for a bunch of kids who were younger than I was at the time and whose parents who had died of all different sorts of types of diseases who were living in these shacks by themselves like the size of my kitchen table,” Bea responded when we asked how she got into singing. “I saw how much joy these kids that was brought to these kids’ faces when whoever it was started singing for them and the show donated money, and I pointed at the screen and I said ‘Mom, I want to do that,’ and that’s what really started my journey.” To Bea’s adoring fans this story is hardly surprising: making people happy seems to be a prime goal for the up-and-coming songstress. At just 15 years old, Miller has already appeared on “The X Factor,” growing a sizable following during and following the show and has released her first EP entitled “Young Blood.” With a #2 peak on the iTunes Pop Charts, over 2.6 Million views on the lead single’s music video, and more than 500,000 dedicated Twitter followers Bea Miller is going places. We spoke with her during her time in Minneapolis, Minnesota following her performance on the city’s Jingle Ball Tour stop and had many questions for her, beginning with how she comes up with her incredible lyrics. “I write a lot of poetry, I actually bring a little address book in my purse at all times – it’s really, really tiny. On each line I’ll write like one line, because it gives you like a small portion for each address, but I like to write a one sentence poem in there every day and so things like that.” This journal helps Bea formulate her lyrics. She explained, “a lot of times I’ll turn like a real deep journal entry into poems and usually when I’m writing lyrics I pull them from my poetry.”
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With such dedication to her music it is not hard to see that this girl is going places, but we wanted to know exactly who she wanted to work with when she got there. “Ed Sheeran. For sure Ed Sheeran. Ed Sheeran is my everything. I love him. I can like hear it in my head, it would be real soft and simple like a lot of his music is and it would just be him on his guitar and the two of us just singing and uh, no backing track, no harmonies, no crazy high ho, just a really simple slow song all in one take would be really pretty,” Bea answered our question with no )hesitation. “All I have been listening to on the past week is his album just straight on repeat; I mean like recently it’s the only thing I want to listen to.” Interestingly enough, even though Ed has had an outstanding 2014 Bea didn’t even pause when asked if there was a song she wished she wrote, answering “Ooo, definitely ‘Take Me To Church.’ First of all, Hozier is like my favorite artist of all time currently, like I think he is amazing. I own all of his music I think that every single one of his songs is amazing, ‘Take Me To Church’ isn’t even his best song. Like every single song that he has is just as good or better than the last one It’s like never ending, amazing music by him and if I could pick one song I would pick it because I love him and I wish all of his songs were mine.” 2014 has been a big year for Bea, releasing her label debut EP and having her lead single “Young Blood” gain some Top 40 recognition towards the end of the year. With a giant social media presence and constant fan interaction both online and off, we were left asking, “What do people not know about you?” Bea’s fans may be interested to know that she is a self-proclaimed master of the art of the grilled cheese sandwich. “I make the world’s best grilled cheese. Well, in my opinion, you know, here’s my secret. I’ll give you my secret for grilled cheese. This is the only food I can cook and I’m very proud of it, you have to put the butter in the pan, not on the bread. So you let the butter melt into the pan and let it soak all up as it’s browning. It’s just that I’m not very interesting. I put like one slice of cheese.” Grinning, Bea added “Oh here’s an even better fact; I don’t like having too much filler in between bread. Like if I get a bagel, I can’t have too much cream cheese in there, if I’m eating toast, I can’t have too much jelly on top. Whatever I am eating with bread, cannot be overwhelmed by whatever is on the bread.” With arguably the most entertaining response to this question we could have asked for, Bea proves to be even more remarkable than expected. Miller claimed to us that she wasn’t a very interesting person, but we feel that “extremely driven” is more accurate. When asked about when she will be able to look at her life and say “I made it,” Bea thoughtfully answered “I feel like I should have an answer to this but I know myself, and I know whenever I reach whatever I think will be good enough I’ll want to be doing more. I’ll be like — for example, my music video for my song ‘Young Blood’ reached 2 million views recently and when I first started making the videos, I wanted 1 million views and that’d be good enough for me. Now I’m like ‘Oh my god, we need more!’ It’s amazing obviously, but I am always thinking about the next step.” (CONTINUED)
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With a stellar year behind her, Bea Miller was invited to perform on the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour among some of the biggest pop acts in the world. Bea was quick to reply when asked about the tour, saying, “The best part is all of the amazing artists that are on this tour too. I get to meet them and talk to them and watch their performances, which is so much fun, and all of the fans that I get to meet and sing to that I wouldn’t be able to interact with otherwise.” So much success so quickly can change a lot of people, but Bea is arguably one of the nicest and most humble artists out there today. After her performance, alongside Becky G and Shawn Mendes, she made sure to meet as many people as possible and did her best to interact with fans on social media, immediately picking up her phone to follow and tweet the fans she had just met. When BTS asked if she had anything to say to her fans all over the world Miller gave her quickest but perhaps most thoughtful response yet, saying “Just thank you so much for everything because I wouldn’t be here where I am without them and I love them to death. They buy my music and listen to it, they come to my shows, they watch my videos and they’re my support team. I will never be able to thank them enough.” With the fans behind her, the poetry in her pocket and an incredibly strong drive for someone just 15 years old it’s safe to say that, even though 2014 was a big year for Bea Miller, 2015 will be even bigger.
Mockingjay Soundtrack Various Artists Republic Records
Asking an eighteen year old to curate the soundtrack for a sure-to-be box office hit is not exactly a common decision, but when that eighteen year old is Lorde it might just work. The Mockingjay Part One Soundtrack curated by the New Zealand alternative pop sensation is a well-compiled mix of haunting tracks from a handful of artists spanning multiple genres. The stellar soundtrack features a plethora of strong female vocalists, the majority on this specific album, almost as if to shadow the beloved strong and heroic main character of the Hunger Games movies, Katniss, The entire soundtrack is quite the melodic rollercoaster. High, climactic points include “All My Love,” an upbeat EDM style track by Major Lazer featuring Ariana Grande and the softer and slower points of the album include the lightest track of the collection, the very whimsical “Kingdom” by Charli XCX and Simon Le Bon. Each individual song on the Mockingjay Part One Soundtrack sounds completely different from the rest, yet the dark, and dangerous vibe of the Hunger Games series is well represented all throughout. Although at points the soundtrack lacks energy, the majority of the album is full of great songwriting and brilliant moments. Lorde brought together unlikely collaborations (The Chemical Brothers and Miguel), some of 2014’s most popular newcomers (Tinashe, Tove Lo) and her own raw talent (Yellow Flicker Beat) to create a soundtrack that is both true to the film and a must listen to, whether or not you have seen Mockingjay Part One. 4/5 - Allison Lanza DOWNLOAD: “Scream My Name” by Tove Lo, “The Leap” by Tinsahe, “This Is Not A Game” by The Chemical Brothers, Miguel and Lorde
Sucker Charli XCX Atlantic Records
Charli XCX’s sophomore release, “Sucker” packs a punch of retro-pop vibes, empowerment and all around girl power. The singer has referred to “Sucker” as an album that is everything that she wanted it to be and each track is very clearly full of her attitude and personality. Charli’s debut release “True Romance” was a magical mix of indie-electronic-pop tracks and was a relatively well kept secret, unfortunately leaving very little impression on the pop scene. Coming off of “True Romance,” Charli finally began to get the recognition she deserved by working with artists including Iggy Azalea and Icona Pop for their respective radio hits of 2013 and 2014. Charli finally scored a hit of her own with “Boom Clap” and established herself in the mainstream pop music scene in 2014. Sucker starts off with the album’s title track, an edgy song whose chorus proclaims “you said you wanna bang – well, f--- you, sucker!” repeatedly, rolling straight into the album’s second single, “Break The Rules,” a pop anthem in which Charli exclaims “I don’t want to go to school, I just wanna break the rules.” The rebellion quickly dies down, at least for a little while with a few quirky tracks about fame, breakups and money. The album comes to a close with “Die Tonight,” a song about a night with good friends, one of the best songs on the album, “Caught In The Middle,” and a falsetto-heavy song about the pain of love, “Need Ur Luv.” Sucker is perfect for drives with friends, singing in the shower, and for nights out and may just be the album to prove that Charli XCX is in it for the long haul. 4/5 - Allison Lanza DOWNLOAD: “Caught In The Middle,” “Break The Rules,” and “Doing It”
Album Reviews (Cont.)
Forest Hills Drive J Cole Dreamville Records
J Cole has crafted a slew of good albums, but he has yet to craft a great one. While each of his three major label releases contain scattered moments of brilliance, none of them are particularly strong as cohesive bodies of work. His latest effort, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, is no exception. It is certainly a solid release; his lyricism is sharp as ever and his delivery is passionate, but he fails to hold the listener’s attention for the album’s entire hour-long run. With 2014 Forest Hills Drive, J Cole offers a no-frills glimpse at his progression from an ambitious adolescent to a successful rapper. The album is named after his childhood home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where much of the LP’s narrative takes place. He interpolates coming-of-age memories seamlessly with tales of his current successes, uniting them with common themes of growth, lust, and gratitude. Devoid of any guest artists or discernible radio hits, the album is firmly centered around his storytelling. Had J Cole’s masterful storytelling been paired with grittier beats, 2014 Forest Hills Drive might have possessed the punch it so desperately lacks. Cole appears to be stuck in 2004, spitting over College Dropout era soul-sampling tracks. The album’s production is lackluster and unengaging, falling short of the dynamic instrumentals featured on his previous release, Born Sinner. J Cole’s strong conviction and unwavering confidence is admirable, and 2014 Forest Hills Drive showcases these traits. While he seems to be growing bolder in his lyricism, as shown on the politically-charged “Fire Squad,” Cole still plays it relatively safe when it comes to subject matter and soundscapes. He has evidently become complacent with his current style of rapping, rarely showing any versatility. In order to reach his full potential, it’s absolutely crucial for him to begin taking musical risks. 4/5 - Charlotte Freitag
J Cole - Photo By Charlotte Freitag
DOWNLOAD: “Fire Squad,” “03’ Adolescence” and “G.O.M.D.”
Best of 2014 Olivia Somerlyn
Olivia Somerlyn Words By Allison Lanza Photos By Addie Whelan There are few rising musicians with fanbases as dedicated as Olivia Somerlyn’s. Twenty minutes before our interview with the singer, Olivia sent out a tweet encouraging her fans, dubbed “Somerlovers,” to send in their questions with the hashtag #BTSAsksOlivia. For the next hour, our phones were buzzing with questions from eager Somerlovers, hopeful that their question might get picked. “I don’t know if they realize just how amazing they really are and how powerful they are,” Olivia said of her fans. At just twenty years old, Olivia has quite a few huge accomplishments under her belt. She has toured multiple countries with Jessie J, Big Time Rush, and the Jonas Brothers, she has collaborated with Nick Jonas, and her single “Parachute” frequents the SiriusXM Hits 1 weekend countdown. From a young age, Olivia knew that she wanted to be a musician, and she sites one particular show as her revelation moment. “When I was little, I was at a Hilary Duff show,” Olivia recalled, “and I just remember thinking ‘you can do this? I could be that real life human being dancing around on stage and singing the songs?’ I just loved it.” Not only did Olivia take an early interest in performing, but she also started writing songs at just thirteen years old. “I think it’s a great way for me to get my feelings out,” she said. “I’ll take little things that happen to me or people that I just meet and turn them into songs that I think can end up being really powerful… I always try to write songs that have a deeper meaning to them. Like the single “Parachute” that I have out right now, it’s still a really fun song and it has a more dancey vibe than I’ve ever done, but the subject matter still has an empowering meaning.” When we asked Olivia how she feels knowing that there are fans that have formed such a strong connection to her music, her wide eyes and huge smile spoke for themselves. “It’s the coolest thing ever. I’ll even get emotional myself talking about it,” she gushed. “The meet and greets are really special because that’s where you actually get to talk to the people that love your music and you get to hear from them directly. When moms tell me that their girls are feeling alienated in school or being picked on and a song of mine has helped them through it, that’s amazing.”
Meet and greets are just one of the many ways that Olivia maintains a close relationship with her Somerlovers. “I’m really active [on Twitter] responding to people, even just favoriting and retweeting people just so they know I see them. If someone’s having a hard time and they direct message me something personal, if I see it, I’ll respond,” Olivia explained, well aware of how easily she can make a fan’s day, simply by favoriting a Tweet. Wanting to break away from the more traditional outlets for artist-to-fan relationships and offer her fans something a bit more special, Olivia had an idea to use an iPhone specifically to connect with her fans. While Olivia was competing in the iHeart Radio Rising Star competition, she realized how hard her fans were working to rack up votes and thought “I should just do something super special for everybody to make this last day really fun.” Thus, the fan iPhone idea was born. Olivia tweeted what she referred to as her fan number and invited her fans to text her. She would text back and occasionally even call her fans as a reward for working so hard to help her win the competition. Olivia ended up placing second in the national contest and remains proud of her fans and the results, stating “Even though we came in second, which I think is still incredible, it’s cool to even have been picked by iHeart Radio to be in their top 25 artists that were picked.” Olivia explained her current single, “Parachute,” as a dancey song about “this kind of volatile, rollercoaster type relationship where you’re making your own decision to leave even though you know it’s going to be painful.” The single is often heard on Sirius XM Hits 1, but she was originally nervous to share the idea of “Parachute” with its cowriter, Nick Jonas. “Because, like, it’s Nick Jonas, and I didn’t want to seem silly,” Olivia explained, “but I said it because he started humming a melody over this track he had been working on and the song fit too well for me to be shy and embarrassed. So I said it and he was really excited. It flowed really fast from there.” Olivia described the day she spent with Nick in the studio writing “Parachute” as a magical one. “We were there for like, ten hours in Henson Studios in LA, which is my favorite studio, and I’ve always wanted to work with him.” In fact, when asked her dream collaboration, she laughed and said, “Well, it was Nick Jonas!” “Parachute” is being frequently played on Sirius XM’s Hits 1 station and local stations are slowly but surely picking up the track as well. “San Francisco, which is my hometown, has started playing it. It’s awesome because that’s the Top 40 station that I listened to when I would drive to school, so that’s really cool,” she exclaimed. Olivia has had a busy year, between the iHeart Radio Rising Star competition, her frequent travels, making the very time-intensive music video for “Parachute” and working on more music. What’s next for Olivia Somerlyn? “Hopefully more radio airplay for “Parachute” and I hope to nail down a second single. Maybe some more fun collaborations, and hopefully a tour,” she explained. It sounds like 2015 may be another busy year ahead for Olivia Somerlyn and her Somerlovers.
Rapid Fire With Olivia Somerlyn: BTS: Top Played Song on Your iPod?
OS: Domino by Jessie J BTS: Most Embarrassing Song on Your iPod?
OS: All of the High School Musicals or “The Bunny Hop” for Easter with my cousins. BTS: Starbucks Drink of Choice:
OS: Soy Chai Latte (I’m allergic to dairy) BTS: Thing You Do Everywhere You Travel??
OS: Read about each place and learn something! BTS: Favorite Place You’ve Ever Played a Show:
OS: Mexico City. The Mexican fans go crazy! BTS: Obsession Song?
OS: “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea or “Santa Barbara” by Nick Jonas BTS: First Album You Ever Bought?
OS: Probably Britney Spears or Hilary Duff 23
Fan Questions With Olivia Somerlyn:
Fruit? Peaches. And I’m really sad that they’re not in season right now. Like, whenever they’re not in season, I’m sad.
We kind of talked about this, I was saying like other parts of Europe, Switzerland, Germany, and I’ve been to Paris but I’d like to go to other parts of France.
Hmm… probably Jessie J all those nights that I got to watch her. She’s just unreal. That’s a hard one though – so many good ones.
Yeah! Who doesn’t like Chipotle? I love burrito bowls!
Hmm… nothing physical, but I just want more opportunities to connect with Somerlovers in this year and more opportunities to see the song and my music get more out there in public.
rita ora minneapolis// dec. 2014 Photo By: gabi talisman
BEST OF 2014 Lists Compiled by Beyond The Stage Staff Designed by Addie Whelan
Pop Singles By Allison Lanza
“Sleeping With A Friend” - Neon Trees
“Boom Clap” - Charli XCX
“Sleeping With A Friend” was, without a doubt, one of 2014’s both most infectious and underrated pop singles. The song is an obvious, yet intimate track about friends with benefits that features a type of sexual energy that differs from anything else in heavy rotation on Top 40 radio this year. The alt-rock band has always had a bit of an 80’s-pop vibe, but on “Sleeping With A Friend,” Neon Trees threw the guitars in the background and brought forward synthesizers to create a retro-pop jam that served as a refreshing addition to pop radio in 2014.
“Stay With Me” - Sam Smith Soulful British crooner Sam Smith burst onto the Top 40 radio scene early in 2014 thanks to his 2012 collaboration with Disclosure, “Latch,” finally gaining airplay. But his debut solo single, “Stay With Me,” a song with pleading vocals and a strong emotional pull was what really established Smith as potentially the biggest star of 2014. Now that critics are hailing him the male equivalent to Adele, there is no denying that “Stay With Me” was the start of a beautiful career for Sam Smith.
Charli XCX is not exactly a newcomer when it comes to pop music. Because of her work on Icona Pop’s smash hit “I Love It” and her catchy chorus on the song of the summer, “Fancy,” you probably already knew Charli’s name. But with the release of “Boom Clap” from The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack, the name Charli XCX is finally related to a hit solo track. “Boom Clap” is full of charm and synth, all while capturing the great parts about being in love – without falling into the cliché. Photo by Allison Lanza
“Jealous” - Nick Jonas Following the break-up of the Jonas Brothers, Nick Jonas’s second attempt at a solo career has resulted in a pop-R&B crossover album full of maturity and killer falsetto. The lead radio single “Jealous” tackles the feelings that Jonas experiences when other guys steal a glimpse of his girlfriend. “You’re too sexy, beautiful and everybody wants a taste, that’s why I still get jealous,” claims Jonas. Protecting his love from intruders with a good beat and falsetto? Totally swoon-worthy.
“She Looks So Perfect” - 5 Seconds of Summer Often pegged as “the American Apparel underwear song,” 5 Seconds of Summer’s debut single “She Looks So Perfect” was just the push the Australian newcomers needed to rise to superstar status. After opening for One Direction the past two summers on massive tours, it was time for 5SOS to command their own fanbase, and that is just what they were able to do with the catchy lyrics, raw guitars and gang vocals present on “She Looks So Perfect.”
Rock Albums By Delaney DeAngelis
Cavalier Youth - You Me At Six Listen to You Me At Six’s first album, Take Off Your Colours, and Cavalier Youth right after each other and they sound like two different bands. Once a band with evident pop influences, You Me At Six has now left that behind with a more alternative rock sound. Cavalier Youth is a great combination of slow songs and fast paced songs, showcasing You Me At Six’s talent and variety. Song highlights from Cavalier Youth include “Fresh Start Fever” and “Love Me Like You Used To.”
Happiness Is - Taking Back Sunday
Duality - Set It Off
High Noon - Arkells
Photo by Chelsea Gresh
Weird Kids - We Are The In Crowd One of the reasons We Are The In Crowd are so great is that they bring in a great combination of female and male vocals, creating a conversation effect within the songs. It’s really interesting to listen to a song that gives both a female and male perspective. While Weird Kids does give this, it’s also filled with great girl-power songs, something refreshing in an industry dominated by men. Like with the other top rock albums of 2014, this album has a great variety of songs. Song highlights from Weird Kids are “The Best Thing (That Never Happened” and “ Come Back Home.”
Taking Back Sunday has been around a long time. Their first full album, Tell All Your Friends, was released in 2002. Happiness Is is their sixth studio album, and throughout the past twelve years, they’ve managed to evolve their sound while still keeping their distinct sound. As bands grow, they usually create a more mature and adult sound. Taking Back Sunday is a clear example of this, no longer writing songs about their feud with the band Brand New. As the band has grown into adults with families, the content of their lyrics have grown. Song highlights from this album are “Flicker, Fade” and “Like You Do.”
Set It Off is quite a unique band. At times, Duality feels like a compilation of different subgenres of rock music, yet it somehow works. Some songs have pop influences and some have heavier rock influences. Singer Cody Carson has a wide vocal range and uses it to convey different emotions in the songs. Duality is a well-rounded album, with songs of many different styles and tempos. At times the lyrics can be a bit harsh, but there is a nice balance with more meaningful lyrics. Song highlights from this album are “Forever Stuck in our Youth,” “The Haunting, and “Ancient Youth.”
In a nutshell, High Noon by Arkells is classic rock music with a twist. With catchy beats and catchy lyrics, High Noon is an album that gets stuck in the listener’s head. What makes the album really great is the use of the keyboard, something not often used by bands today. While each song has its differences, there is a consistency to the album. While some albums can seem like a random combination of songs, High Noon sounds like a well thought out collection of songs that all fit together. Song highlights include “Fake Money” and “11:11.”
Indie Albums By Addie Whelan
Dialects - Snowmine Continuing to impress listeners again with their sophomore album, Snowmine debuted Dialects and received high remarks from music critics across the world. Filled with their unique sound and incredible vocals, the band released an album that can be listened to all the way through without a single skip. Recently on tour with Freelance Whales, the band gained a following and Dialects earned an impressive 300,000 plays on Spotify. Notable tracks include, well, all of them. But must listens include “Columbus,” “Rome” and “You Want Everything.” Snowmine continues to reinvent themselves and stun listeners as they grow their sound.
Strange Desire - Bleachers Jack Antonoff is not exactly new to the music scene. After playing with FUN. and hitting the Top 40 charts multiple times, Antonoff composed a new album under the name Bleachers and hit the charts again. Strange Desire includes singles “I Wanna Get Better” and “Rollercoaster,” and there is not a track worth skipping on the album. Coming as a surprise to listeners, “a Wild Heart Reprise” includes an appearance by Yoko Ono. Another song, “Take a Me Away,” is a collaboration with Grimes, which is by far the most “different” track on the album. Coming (back) to the music scene, Antonoff stuns listeners again with a brand new sound.
Hozier - Hozier From a small pub in Ireland to the biggest venues in the United States, Hozier burst onto the charts with “Take Me To Church” and continued to make a name for himself with his self-titled album. With soul comparable to that of Sam Smith, the singer/songwriter emotes in every word he sings, drawing from past experience throughout each track. Although the album was released in July, it recently took off and hit the top 10. Must listens include “From Eden,” “Sedated,” and duet with Karen Cowley “In A Week.” as well as “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene.” Hozier has been nominated for multiple “Best Newcomer” Awards, and there is no doubt why. This is All Yours - alt-J When indie band alt-J announced their sophomore album was due to be released, fans all over the world immediately flocked to their website to pre-order. But when the brightly colored disc showed up on millions of doorsteps, many were disappointed. After a few listens, This Is All Yours quickly became a frontrunner on the charts across the world. “Hunger Of The Pine,” the easily most popular song on the album, surprised listeners when alt-J sampled Miley Cyrus’ “4x4”. Other notable tracks include “Left Hand Free,” which has earned a large amount of radio play. alt-J has continued to impress fans with a notable sophomore album, paired with another sold out tour.
Photo by Allison Lanza
Hope - Manchester Orchestra Earlier this year, Manchester Orchestra released “Cope,” their fourth album. But when Hope suddenly appeared on iTunes and Spotify, fans were stunned to hear that Manchester Orchestra had been secretly recording the counterpart to Cope. Hope is a much more broken down version of Cope, ditching the heavy guitar for acoustic guitars, slow vocals, and piano. The title track “Top Notch” is stripped down into a ballad, while “See It Again” is backed with backing vocals by the band that can be compared to a choir. The album tugs at the heartstrings of listeners, bringing them back to the days of Mean Everything to Nothing, the band’s sophomore album.
EDM Albums By Eden Jezierski
1.Totem - Tom Staar & Ansolo
2. Cut Your Teeth (Kygo Remix) - Kyla La Grange
3. Recess - Skrillex
4. Ghost - Mystery Skulls
5. Take Me Home - Cash Cash ft Bebe Rexha
While this name may not sound familiar to you, you’d be surprised to know that he’s becoming a household name. Ansel Elgort who got his claim to fame as Augustus Waters in The Fault in Our Stars has always had a great love for EDM. While focusing mostly on remixes, Totem came out in July as his first original track. Making such great waves among the progressive charts, the teen heartthrob had the honor of performing at Electric Zoo in New York City this past year. His sound is more on the traditional side and you’ll always receive a fair share of “bass drops” when listening to his tracks, especially Totem.
Kygo, a norwegian DJ has a unique sound all of his own. Most artists in the world of electronic music have a distinct sound that sets them apart from everyone else. His beats are on the softer side, but still bone chilling. EDM is a genre where certain songs will grab the listener and give them a feeling of euphoria. The original track by Kyla La Grange is slow and ominous. Kygo had taken it to new heights with his familiar beat and made it one of his top listened to tracks on Soundcloud. His beats are absolutely delicious to the ear and this one was made for the repeat button.
Sonny Moore, also known as Skrillex has dipped his toes in every genre. The former front man of rock band From First to Last has always dabbled in electronic based music and within the last few years found himself receiving several Grammy awards. What makes the track even better is the fact that Fatman Scoop is involved, a familiar voice in hip-hop. Skrillex also has a distinct sound of his own, but this song follows the more familiar sound heard in most EDM.
Luis Dubuc is the man behind Mystery Skulls. He previously worked in the field of alternative rock music with a hint of electronic under the name The Secret Handshake. His own vocals are involved which is always refreshing since most songs heard have a featured artist. The full length album Forever dropped back in October, jam packed with electronic songs that all have a different feel. Ghost was the perfect way to start off his new career in EDM with its addictive chorus that quickly becomes singable.
Cash Cash is another band that started off in the alternative pop rock scene. While their music always had an “electronic feel”, they teamed up with Bebe Rexha, the other half to the rock electronic duo Black Cards created by Pete Wentz to create a stellar song. Her vocals are perfect for this kind of music and this song had taken over the top 40 radio scene. It’s admirable to see bands reaching out into such a popular genre today and fully succeeding.
R&B Albums By Charlotte Freitag
Z - SZA
Souled Out - Jhene Aiko
G I R L - Pharrell
When Top Dawg Entertainment announced that SZA would be the first woman added to their impressive roster, an enormous amount of hype was built for the oddball singer’s first major label release. She certainly delivered with her album Z, a strikingly organic and experimental debut. The album is driven by thick, sweeping synths and massive percussion. SZA sings hazily and with great ferocity, leaving listeners spellbound. Her music defies all genres, as it possesses the soulfulness and vulnerability of R&B, the grittiness of hip hop and the maddening catchiness of pop. SZA is simply a fascinating artist, and Z is far too mystifying to skip.
Kauai - Childish Gambino While the concept of a Childish Gambino R&B album may sound bizarre on paper, it works beautifully in reality. Gambino’s latest release, Kauai, is seven tracks of lush R&B slow-burners, broken up by Jaden Smith’s spoken-word pieces. The album makes it abundantly clear that Gambino has been underutilizing his R&B prowess, as he croons with enough passion and confidence to trick first-time listeners into assuming he’s primarily an R&B singer. Slinky, smooth and soulful, Kauai is a relaxing and ear-pleasing listen. Interestingly, all proceeds from the album go towards purchasing bodycams for American police forces, an initiative that has gained a great deal of traction in recent weeks.
After an impressive run on the hip hop feature circuit, Jhene Aiko proved that she can truly hold her own with the release of her major label debut, Souled Out. Confident, charismatic and earnest, it’s nearly impossible not to become enraptured with the LA-bred songstress. Aiko’s strength lies heavily within her exceptional songwriting ability, and her delicate voice compliments her lyrics beautifully. She displays her songwriting prowess on Souled Out, using clever wordplay to detail her tumultuous love life. Because of its emotional and introspective nature, the album is relatable to many listeners.
Pharrell’s second solo release, G I R L, is the culmination of his year-and-a-half-long winning streak. His unadulterated happiness is infectious, and it manifests itself in the 10-track LP. Relentlessly joyous and smooth, G I R L feels like a carefree celebration of life’s simple pleasures. The album manages to be slick without feeling unauthentic and stylistically uniform without becoming dull or uninteresting. Pharrell enlists a unique array of collaborators to bring more color to the album, including Alicia Keys and the ever-polarizing Miley Cyrus. Between Pharrell’s luscious soundscapes, feel-good lyrics and impressive falsetto, the album is remarkably well executed.
Photo by Charlotte Freitag
Aquarius - Tinashe Tinashe’s stellar major-label debut, Aquarius, is everything early listeners had expected from the young singer. The dynamic album is a marriage of alt-R&B edginess and shimmery commercial appeal. Tinashe displays her stylistic versatility on the 18-track LP, alternating seamlessly between club bangers and haunting ballads. While the album covers many different styles, it still feels fluid and cohesive; the tracks are united by the overarching lusty sound of the album. With Aquarius, Tinashe proves that she has the confidence and charisma to thrive in the current climate of R&B
Hip Hop Albums By Charlotte Freitag
Cilvia Demo - Isaiah Rashad
Run The Jewels 2 - Run The Jewels
Shyne Coldchain Vol 2 - Vince Staples
Isaiah Rashad is indisputably hip hop’s rookie of the year. The Tennessee native established himself as an artist to watch with the release of his superb debut album, Cilvia Demo this past January. Cohesive, thought-provoking and raw, the 14-track LP attests to Rashad’s endless potential to achieve massive success. Rashad doesn’t shy away from any topic on his acclaimed debut, rapping about everything from his innermost insecurities to social issues such as police brutality. He rhymes with an impressive passion, attacking each verse as if it’s his last. Rashad’s fearless vulnerability and lyrical prowess place him a cut above his contemporaries.
Oxymoron - Schoolboy Q Conflicting thematic elements make TDE affiliate Schoolboy Q’s album Oxymoron one of the most enigmatic and compelling projects of 2014. Schoolboy Q has proven himself the master of juxtaposition, managing to rap about his dangerous drugged-out lifestyle and undying affection for his young daughter in the same breath. With various tough-as-nails beats as a backdrop, Schoolboy Q takes the listener on a wild ride through his subconscious. The album alternates rapidly between the carefree whirlwind of his current life and the paranoid tribulations of his past one, painting a fascinating portrait of the complex character that is Schoolboy Q.
Killer Mike and El-P bring a striking amount of ferocity to their second collaborative effort, Run The Jewels 2. Bold, energetic and heavy, Run The Jewels 2 exudes pure power. The 12-track LP is driven by booming production and razor-sharp lyricism, mesmerizing the listener for the entire 40-minute run. Run The Jewels 2 is a significant improvement from Killer Mike and El-P’s highly-praised debut mixtape, developing a tighter sound and expanding upon the duo’s natural chemistry. Killer Mike and El-P’s latest project is far too exhilarating and powerful to miss.
Shyne Coldchain Vol 2, the latest mixtape from Long Beach rapper Vince Staples, is understated yet immensely powerful. Although the tape runs only a brief 29 minutes, multiple listens are required to fully grasp the wisdom Staples conveys throughout the ten tracks. He draws inspiration from his tumultuous upbringing to paint a bleak picture of what it feels like to be marginalized in America. His poignant social commentary and arresting flow evoke strong emotions in the listener. Staples’ unique storytelling has helped him achieve a great deal of critical acclaim. Four projects into his career, he’s finally earning his spot in mainstream consciousness.
Photo by Charlotte Freitag
Piñata - Freddie Gibbs & Madlib On the heels of some major industry missteps, Piñata is Freddie Gibbs’ triumphant return to hip hop’s ever-changing landscape. The seasoned Indiana rapper teamed up with Madlib, one of the genre’s best-regarded producers, to create one of the most clever and cohesive albums of 2014. Over Madlib’s funky, sample-heavy production, Gibbs shows off his versatility and lyrical agility. While the album runs with calculated precision, it is still marked by an abundance of authenticity. Piñata makes it clear that Gibbs had never abandoned his unapologetic attitude, as he refused to compromise his polarizing style for commercial appeal.
malcolm kelley of mkto chicago// dec. 2014 Photo By: allison lanza
Jingle Ball 2014 Photos by Gabi Talisman
jessie j & ariana grande
Shawn Mendes BTS: Tell us about your song “Something Big” what inspired that? SM: I wrote the song when I was on the tour bus actually for Austin’s tour. And basically that was my first tour ever, and I used to say I was “high on life” at the time and everything was so exciting. I felt like I wanted to write a song that expressed my emotion at the time and this was something so big for me. and like I just wanted to write a song that was like “if you are really in love with something and if you work hard to get there in a positive way” positive things will come back to you, so I was like “I really want to make people feel invincible” and its like a really exciting song right at the time and that was the inspiration for it. BTS: And what’s your goal for 2015? SM: My goal for 2015? I don’t know. BTS: Is there an award you wanted to win? SM: No, Yeah, But I don’t like to make goals, no I love to make goals, but I’m always like I don’t like to like think that it’s going to happen like jinxing myself. I don’t know, maybe like to go on my own headlining tour, or an award. But we’ll see how it goes!
BTS: Can you tell us about your song writing process? Becky G: My song process, I guess it varies it just depends on how I am feeling, sometimes I start with the melody, sometimes I start with the lyric concepts. I mean I’m not going to lie, sometimes I go into the studio and they have these awesome tracks and I have writers block I’m like not, there’s nothing in the top of my head to write about so I always have this little list in my phone of like random things whether it’s a random saying or something that I saw like something that I just went through or something that I know I went through and I’ll go on that list, I’m going to write about this today, I feel like writing about this today. BTS: So what’s the best part about writing for so many people? BG: The best part about writing for so many people is feeling the energy from the audience, especially being a new artist, and its like im just so, im up for a challenge and I like when I see people like “Who is that chick” “why is she even up there” and im like “look, this is why I’m up here” and I like giving that energy to them and getting it back from them. BTS: What’s something people don’t know about you but you might want them to?
BG: I don’t know. I guess that I’m a very goofy person and very outgoing, I think a lot of people like when you see an artist you’re like you only see the pictures of them like posing and have a bunch of makeup on it’s like there’s so much more to it, and I’m like really outgoing!
BTS: What’s your favorite song you’ve ever written and why? OR: Favorite song I’ve ever written and why that’s a really good question. You know what? I would say it kind of goes off of my album, for us, Stop and Stare is the most important song. I won’t say its my favorite, but it’s the most important song because it was the thing that every band and every artist needs a second song that prevents them from being a one hit wonder otherwise you just kind of go quietly into the night and Stop and Stare kind of, everyone was like “oh Apologize it’s those guys” and then we did Stop and Stare and it kind of rescues us from One Hit Wonderville. So I would say that’s my favorite.
nico and vinz BTS: Do you guys have a favorite Holiday memory? NAV: I think favorite holiday, I remember being back in, my parents are from Ghana, and once I was there an we went to church and came back and just ate a lot of food, just like a bunch of great food and we gathered around, singing and joking and its not often that I get to go back there, so but I remember that time it was a lot of fun. NAV: Yeah I mean, Like every holiday is a nice time for me, like I get to spend time with my family, I was in Ivory Coast one time in 2007, Christmas, and it was just so different than like Norway, I was used to not a lot of gifts and it’s less stressful than it is in Europe. So that was a nice memory. BTS: Do you guys have a dream venue to play a concert in? NAV: Madison Square Garden NAV: Yeah I was going to say the same BTS: And what is your favorite song to perform and why? NAV: I mean it’s gotta be our single of course and “In Your Arms” and “Am I wrong” because people sing along but also there is a song on the album called “Runnin” which is really cool like when we perform that song it’s a lot of fun and dance and enjoy it.
meghan trainor BTS: What is your favorite part about being on the Jingle Ball tour? MT: Getting to chill with all of the other artists, definitely, and performing in arenas, like thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pretty awesome and like, what new artist gets to do that? BTS: Do you have a favorite Christmas time activity? MT: Yes. Watching The Grinch. BTS: Do you have any other movies you like to watch around the holidays? MT: Just Friends with Ryan Reynolds is amazing. My mom also cooks these little hot dog things that you dip in brown mustard and they are perfection. I eat like fifty of those.
ariana grande jessie j
From Left to Right: Sophia Eris, Lizzo, Manchita, Blowtorch, Quinn (bottom)
A Conversation With: GRRRL PRTY Words by Gabi Talisman Photos by Addie Whelan
Meeting seemingly by chance can hardly explain the fantastic collaboration that GRRRL PRTY has become. Lizzo, Sophia Eris, Manchita, DJ Shannon Blowtorch (and their trusty makeup artist Quinn) may be the next big GRRRL sensation. With members Lizzo and Sophia touring with CHVRCHES, working with acts like Bastille and Prince and the groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first singles (with only self-promotion) gaining quick Internet buzz, stardom really just seems like a matter of time. With a girl power message, strong beats, great lyrics throughout (an unfortunate rarity in a time where seemingly any rap or Hip Hop song can shoot just anyone to stardom) and a commanding stage presence, GRRRL PRTY is taking the world head on. We spoke to Manchita, DJ Shannon Blowtorch, Sophia Eris, Lizzo and Quinn about their music, their lives and the future for the group. Continue for our interview with GRRRL PRTY.
@ GRRRLPRTY @phunkprincess @Lizzo @msblowtorch
BTS: What inspired you to become a group? (GP) Lizzo: I think it was a natural chemistry because we’d all in some way shape or form worked with each other in the past. Blowtorch straight up just walked up to me at a challenge show in the Sculpture Garden and said “wassup?” and I was like “wassup girl?” Then she talked about how she loves teaching how to DJ and I think that was probably coming from a place of, girl, we see you got a space bar going on up there and let’s get some hip hop going on up there and so on so forth with Blowtorch but for the most part, since I moved to the city I immediately started working with Sophia Eris and me and the Chita are together and it all kind of – this is my cousin! We met this girl in the weirdest way, everything was kind of natural, you know. I don’t think we sat back and everything was like “lets build this dream team, it’s gonna be bam-bam-bam” It was just like well ‘we worked with this person and I’ve worked with this person and she’s like “I’ve worked with this person”. It only makes sense. Blowtorch: Well I saw you and Lauren running around Minneapolis all over town for probably like a good six months thinking “Who the fuck are those girls?” Lizzo: We were just frolicking. Blowtorch: You just stood out and there was an aura and a presence about you that stood out that “I don’t know these two, where the f did they come from?” You were noticeable just walking through the streets of Minneapolis. Lizzo: I know, I got big hair. Sophia: We met Quinn because Lizzo and I got beat up together the night before. We were like walking. A physical altercation. Sophia: They stole our phone, so the next morning we’re walking all beat up to get another phone for her and we’re just talking about how we want a good friend. Lizzo: I just remember we were like, I was like, I’m over it, we walked up to let this girl pass and we were like really? I was like I’m over this I’m so over this blah! “I want to be friends with someone like her.” What a sweet girl. And baddabing badda-boom, out of nowhere. It’s crazy. BTS: When you guys make different songs, do you do beats first or lyrics first? Is it a combination of both?
Manchita: We beat shop, so we like look for beats that other people have made, because none of us can make beats yet. We’re all working in our own ways to get there but – Blowtorch: Key word yet. Manchita: We knew that we wanted a Wegula song. Lizzo: Yeah Wegula was lyrics first. But the chorus was almost there like – GP (All): Whoops I didn’t know you was a Wegula. (All Laugh) Manchita: Basically, we beat shop and then we sit together and we’re all like YEAH YEAH (dancing) and we can’t stop moving. Like we can’t stop moving or we just got hit with espresso or something, we say “yeah star this one let’s do this one.” And then we sit in quiet or in different rooms or wherever we need to depending on our moods and our menstrual cycles and write our verses and then we share them.
BTS: Who is your dream collaboration if you could work with anyone? Lizzo: I don’t think we’ve ever talked about that before. Manchita: I don’t think we have as a group. I think I would love to collaborate or get beats with Run The Jewels. Lizzo: That’s what I thought, Run The Jewels. It makes sense. Quinn: And Outkast. I can barely even finish saying it out loud. GP (All): Ughh Lizzo: You said dream right? Manchita: Dream. There it is. Sophia Eris: Run The Jewels is a possibility. Quinn: A Dream collaboration with Oukast Lizzo: That would be with Outkast. Lizzo: But it would be like a room full of rappers. We would like producer wise who do we want? BTS: How about Missy Elliott? Quinn: Missy Elliott. Sophia: Everyone says Missy Elliott. BTS: They do say Missy Elliott. Everybody loves Missy. Lizzo: Like Missy and Andre. Quinn: No, Missy and Timbaland. BTS: What’s your favorite song to perform live and why? Blowtorch: I like Girl Anthem. Manchita: That’s a fun one. Blowtorch: The song just comes so hard. Sophia: I really like Nightwatch now, it’s like a banger now. I just feel so cool like when we do it I just like the vibe when we do it like the way we feel. But we’re like jumpy and crazy and we lean on each other and it just feels cool. Manchita: I agree with Sophia, it’s my favorite one because every time the beat comes on it’s like I’m hearing it for the first time and I feel like I can ride my verse differently every time and its so smooth that you are just swagged out when it happens.
BTS: If you weren’t making music what would you be doing? Sophia: I was in the music business before I transitioned to the other side as an artist, so probably be helping them (motioning around) or helping artists in some shape or form. Manchita: And if I wasn’t making music, I probably would be working with kids. BTS: Like a teacher? Manchita: I would probably be dead honestly. But if I were alive, I probably would be in Liberia at an orphanage, where my dad grew up. BTS: What are you excited about for the future as a band? Manchita: Our EP! I want to go on tour as a band, I want to like open for other acts. I want to be able to play the U.K. and Europe. All over. I want to go I want to move, I really think that this situation, this collective has the potential to be a part of a huge movement for women and girls and boys. And everyone to just see women be strong, because I remember when I was a girl, I didn’t have that, it wasn’t like that. Lauren Hill was tight as fuck, and that was Lauren Hill. And then there was Veruca Salt and Kim Deal and those were the women that I like really looked up to. But like, that’s not enough. You know what I mean? They can’t be the only women doingshit. It needs to be like you have options and then there’s like a group of like super tight shit happening, and they’re women at the same time. Blowtorch: I love that you said Kim Deal. Manchita; Oh yeah. That’s my number one. The Beatles, The Pixies and Radiohead are my three number one bands.
calum hood - 5sos chicago// dec. 2014 Photo By: allison lanza
Photo by Allison Lanza / Art by Dylan Evans Name: Dylan Evans / LAVIER - Release: “Chai Tea // Tai Chi” EP coming at the end of January 2015 BTS: How did you get started on the LAVIER project? LAVIER: I always thought electronic production was a cool thing. It was this mysterious thing that I didn’t know. But I just started messing with it. I saved up and bought a MacBook as a freshman in high school and it was mainly a lot of my friends around me. I kind of got away from it because I wasn’t capble of doing a good job at the time, but when I went to a peforming arts high school for my senior year, I was doing music all day, every day. At first this was just for fun and I’d show my friends from school. Then I kind of decided I wanted to try to do a thing with it but I sat on the idea forever because I wasn’t confident in my abilities yet. Not being in school, all my time has been spent writing stuff like this, so then I decided to do something with it because there’s no loss involved. On Music vs. Art: LAVIER: A lot of people are all about performance and technical ability. Though I would rather do music over art as a career, I think for music to be worth anything, it should be an art. That was always my judge to if I liked something or not, like, can you call it art? Yeah? Then it’s good. BTS: Tell us about your music BTS: How do you plan on making process. performing LAVIER music? LAVIER: I use Ableton recording LAVIER: Starting off, I’ll persoftware-- it’s good for digital form it like a DJ set, since it’s production. Sometimes I’ll a lot of software production. throw up a piano track and go I think the end goal would from there. I usually do section be to have an ensemble of by section rather than writing sorts with live everything. a whole song, because by doing An electronic drum kit with section by section I can really samples loaded on it, me on make sure that each part has guitar, and two keyboards or umph to it. It’s a lot different something. The goal is to get than writing for other projects it off the computer and onto because it’s not a continuous the stage, but for now I have stream of thought. With this to establish a fanbase before I you have to pay attention to can really think about that. whether or not it sounds good. On the Technical Stuff: LAVIER: In addition to like, connecting with people, with this music I have the side of me that wants it to be musically good. There’s really technical music that I can listen to and be like “oh, that’s really good” but someone who doesn’t understand it as much might be like “this sounds like crap.” I also like the side where you can listen to Iron and Wine and you’re like “oh my god.” It would be cool to be accessible to the average person. I want them to listen to LAVIER and I can just be like “hey, you’re actually listening to complex jazz theory right now.” On the “CHAI TEA // TAI CHI” EP: LAVIER: I had this friend who was really into Tai Chi and another friend got me obsessed with chai lattes. I was really into neo soul and new jazz stuff this year but I also liked trip-hop and other stuff that was like, real out there. I always joked that I was going to make a sick R&B album called “Chai Tea and Tai Chi” and then I started LAVIER and realized I could do it. I hope the EP is a thing you sit down for twenty or thirty minutes and you just like, listen straight through it. It’s going to be five or six songs and it’ll be on my BandCamp and Soundcloud around the end of January.
Fitz and the tantrums chicago // nov. 2014 Photo By: addie whelan
SHAWN MENDES MINNEAPOLIS // DEC. 2014 Photo By: GABI TALISMAN
Best of 2014: Staff Picks Complied By Beyond The STage STaff 1. Rome - Snowmine 2. Sleeping wiTh a fRiend - neon TReeS 3. Boom Clap - ChaRli xCx 4. STay wiTh me - Sam SmiTh 5. She lookS So peRfeCT - 5 SeCondS of SummeR 6. paRiS – magiC man 7. fReSh STaRT foReveR - you me aT Six 8. 9.
- Taking BaCk Sunday
Come BaCk home
- we aRe in The CRowd
10. love RoBBeRy – kalin and myleS 11. hungeR of The pine - alT-j 12. i wanna geT BeTTeR - BleaCheRS 13. ReCeSS - SkRillex 14. 2 on (feaT. SChoolBoy q) - TinaShe 15. BloCkBuSTeR nighT pT 1- Run The jewelS