Beyond The Stage Magazine - February 2022

Page 1


BEYOND THE STAGE

BEYOND the stage

STAFF

ADDIE WHELAN

EDITOR IN CHIEF

LAUREN KLONOWSKI MANAGING EDITOR

GINA SCARPINO BUSINESS DIRECTOR

JOE HERNANDEZ DEPUTY EDITOR

MARISSA SANDOVAL

PROJECT MANAGER

ABHIGYAAN BARARIA COPY EDITOR

AMANDA RESTAINO INTERN COORDINATOR

CHELSEA GRESH

Buy a print copy of ANY issue at: https://btsmag.co/PrintBTS 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. For Feature & Show Inquiries: awhelan@beyondthestagemagazine.com For advertising inquiries: ads@beyondthestagemagazine.com

Read the latest news at: WWW.BEYONDTHESTAGEMAGAZINE.COM

WRITERS

Revisit our previous issues at: https://btsmag.co/Issues

Blake Charles Brooke Madigan Lauren Klonowski Merritt McLaughlin Paulina Levitan

PHOTOGRAPHERS

PHOTO EDITOR

Alana Swaringen Alyssa Buzzello Ari Battis Blake Charles Chelsea Gresh Dana Jacobs Joe Hernandez Maggie Montgomery Marlowe Teichman Nicole Solero

@BTSMAG


TABLE OF

CONTENTS ON THE COVER

32 THE ACES

GALLERIES

FEATURES

12 SG Lewis 20 JJ Wilde 48 MisterWives 08 Outside Lands Music Festival 24 Life Is Beautiful 32 BottleRock Music Festival 46 Naliya 04 MODSUN 05 Louis The Child 06 Walk The Moon 07 Lucy Dacus 16 Dayglow 17 100 Gecs 18 Japanese Breakfast 19 Meet Me @ The Altar 28 Willow 29 Tinashe 30 The Front Bottoms 31 Jeremy Zucker 38 Waterparks 39 FINNEAS 44 Soccer Mommy 45 Julien Baker 46 Idles 47 The Midnight 52 Babygirl 53 Olivia O’Brien 58 Winnetka Bowling League 59 Perfume Genius 60 MAX 61 Noah Kahan THE ACES ON THE COVER

BTS

3


MODSUN

CHELSEA GRESH - CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 2021

BTS

4


LOUIS THE CHILD

BLAKE CHARLES - PORTLAND, OR - SEPTEMBER 2021

BTS

5


WALK THE MOON

MAGGIE MONTGOMERY - NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 2021

BTS

6


LUCY DACAS

DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 2021

BTS

7


BRITTANY HOWARD

CAROLINE POLACHEK

OUTSIDE LANDS MUSIC FESTIVAL Photos: Joe Hernandez

RUFUS DU SOL


LIZZO

THE STROKES

BTS

9


NELLY

VAMPIRE WEEKEND


GLASS ANIMALS

ANDREW MCMAHON

TAME IMPALA

FLO MILLI

MOSES SUMNEY

BTS

11


SG Lewis

PHOTOS BY JOE HERNANDEZ | WORDS BY MERRITT MCLAUGHLIN

BTS

12


At age 16, Samuel George Lewis began creating what he lovingly describes as “shitty dubstep remixes of popular songs.” Not unlike a lot of teenagers, the English native took some time messing around mixing beats, falling in love with electronic music, and finding his sound. Unlike a lot of teenagers, over the next two years, he put out his first song as SG Lewis and got picked up by PMR records. Of the experience, Lewis figures he “got really lucky.” We think it’s a little bit more than that. Lewis’ music is entwined with a deep appreciation and understanding of the genre it’s informed by. Heavy electronic tones weave together the fabric of the tracks, paired with bubbly disco influences. “The last album had a big disco influence and the way that it kind of came about was by going and watching DJs play between the ages of 18 and 21,” SG Lewis said. “I read a book called ‘Love Saves The Day’ by Tim Lawrence and that kind of gave me a big education about the birth of disco and the seventies in New York. I kind of just fell in love with the genre. I combined that with the electronic music I’ve been listening to anyway. It became a big Influence.” “Love Saves the Day” is an exhaustive look into dance music culture from 1970-1979, offering more than 300 in-depth interviews with the era’s most game-changing artists, including David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Tom Moulton, Loleatta Holloway, Giorgio Moroder, Francis Grasso, Frankie Knuckles, and Earl Young. One thing all of these artists had in common was the ability to pivot and remain unique within their genre, always offering a new facet of originality. From music production to adding his own voice on a number of tracks, Lewis exhibited that sense of originality through his song, “Chemicals.” “If you asked me five years ago whether I would be singing on my records I would have laughed in your face. The best part about music is pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. So for me, singing was the most uncomfortable thing,” he said. “The process of figuring out my voice, learning how to sing and learning how to use my voice has been one of the most challenging and rewarding things BTS

13


I’ve experienced as a musician.” The saying “high risk, high reward” has held true for Lewis, as stepping out of his comfort zone has paid off for him. “It’s something that I’ve continued to grow into and then to have ‘Chemicals’ be the biggest single off the album is just like, giving me like a steroid injection of confidence,” Lewis said. ”When I’m inside in a studio now, I’m really just like loving singing it in the moment, and I’m pushing myself.” Singing is not something Lewis set out to do, but it’s something that he says he will continue to pursue in the future, although it may not be his main focus. “I’ll always be a collaborator. I love collaborating. I’m too much of a fan of other people’s music to become a one man show,” he said. “But singing is something I’m doing more of currently. It’s definitely something I enjoy doing as well.” He has also collaborated with a number of artists, including Bruno Major, Clairo, Finlay “Phairo” Robson, Frances, and Dua Lupa. Lewis says collaboration with artists is something that is really special to him. Stemming from a mutual appreciation of each others work, he’ll get together with an artist with the hope of creating a meaningful and fresh track—usually from scratch. “It’s almost always from scratch,” he said “I’ll meet someone and the first priority is always just hanging out and going [to] get some lunch, you know, get to know each other a bit and get to know something about the person. From there we’ll go back to the studio and usually I might have an idea, like just a little beat idea or something, but a lot of the time it’s just from scratch. It’s always about making it as personal and as collaborative as possible.” In addition to collaborations, SG Lewis released his debut album, times, last year. Described by him as “an ode to the present moment, and the finite chances we have to celebrate it” and “an exploration of escapism and euphoria, and the memories attached to those experiences.” The album has ten tracks, one of which, “Impact,” features Channel Tres and Swedish icon Robyn.

There was another unexpected collaborator on the album: the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge of working to release an electronic dance album while clubs were shuttered and would-be fans were in the peak of their banana bread era might be enough to shut down other people, but for Lewis, the timing actually worked to his advantage. “I was lucky enough that I’d written a lot of the music before those lockdowns happened. The time of lockdown coincided with me needing a period of time where I was locked in a way to work on the production and to finish in the mixes,” he said. “Because I’m on the production side, I’m working alone, so I needed that time when I locked away to do that. In a strange way, I was lucky to have that time.” Even though that timing worked out, Lewis says there was still a lot of talk of delaying the release of the album. “It was actually something I was really against because it came at a time when people needed an escape and music, they needed music that transported them to clubs and festivals in their mind,” he said. This time around, his upcoming sophomore album will transport people to clubs and festivals across the nation. Between producing and writing, Lewis has a lot on the docket for 2022. “I’m deep in writing the next album. I’m kind of exploring my voice and some writing a lot at the moment and that’s been a really amazing challenge and something that I’ve really wanted to do for some time, I think, subconsciously,” he said. “I’m also producing a lot of records for other people and some heroes of mine. I’m enjoying making music right now and trying to do as much of it as possible. I’m just constantly in the studio.” Through passion, hard work, drive and perseverance, that kid making “shitty dubstep remixes” now has collaborations with amazing artists, nearly two complete albums, dedicated fans, slots at big-name festivals, sold out shows, and a sought-after sound. We think if that kid could see himself today, he’d be very proud. SG Lewis’ former self may not be able to see him now, but fans can later this year in Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.


BTS

15


DAYGLOW

MAGGIE MONTGOMERY - NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

16


100 GECS

BLAKE CHARLES - PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

17


JAPANESE BREAKFAST JOE HERNANDEZ - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

18


MEET ME @ THE ALTAR AUDREY BATTIS - ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 2021

BTS

19


JJ WILDE PHOTOS AND WORDS BY BLAKE CHARLES

BTS

20


Canadian rocker JJ Wilde knows how to make a statement. A soulful, unapologetic swagger radiates from both Wilde and her music that makes her nearly impossible to ignore. Her voice crackles with personality as she sings about hard times, heartbreak, and the struggles of trying to make it in the music industry. “I’m a very stubborn person and I’ve never kept my mouth shut,” said Wilde. “I don’t really believe in a certain persona as far as artistry goes. What you get is what you get. It’s just me, whether I’m working at the bar or whether I’m on stage, you’re going to get the same f****** person.” For as long as she can remember, music has coursed through her veins. Wilde – whose real name is Jillian Dowding – grew up with music-loving parents who raised her on the sounds and styles of rock music. Her dad played her British rock and music from the underground scene while her mom played her Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon. From the heavy drums and raucous guitars to the raw and powerful vocal performances, Wilde was enamored by it all. “Music has always been a huge thing since I was like a tiny little kid… There’s no way you can be raised on something and not have it affect what you do. I remember being a kid and getting woken up on a Saturday morning because my parents were blasting music super early in the music while cleaning the house and yelling ‘wake up kids!’ and it would just be like great music.” Looking at Wilde’s music now, it’s clear that the music of

her youth has greatly impacted the artist she is today. Her adolescence was spent not only falling head over heels in love with rock, but also – perhaps unknowingly – forming the foundation that her career is built on. She was basically a rockstar in training without even knowing it. From the time she was a teenager, Wilde was working multiple jobs to pursue her musical ambitions. Most of her time was dedicated to work and school, but the rest was all about music. Her unwavering dedication has always been a part of who she is, which is why even in the hardest of times, she always lands on her feet. “I’ve always kept 2-3 jobs since I was 15. It’s just kinda the way my parents raised me… That was nothing new, but the tiring thing was trying to do music as well because that’s really what my passion is. I felt like I was just spending energy doing all these different things and not fully doing music.” After years of working non-music jobs, there came a point where Wilde didn’t know what would come next. She had the talent, drive, and passion to be a full-time musician, but she knew that even the most talented musicians don’t always make it. She’d grown exhausted from going job to job while pursuing music on the side, and eventually decided it was time to see what else was out there. “I thought, ‘You know what, maybe [music] isn’t going to work’ so I went into a career counseling appointment at a college, and this nice lady was telling me all these different things about all these different careers… In that

BTS

21


appointment she told me all these options – and they sounded great – but I didn’t f****** want to do any of it… Even though this [music] thing isn’t working right now, I know now that if I were to pursue any of those, I would constantly be wondering ‘what if’, and I never want to wonder ‘what if.’” It was only a few weeks after this unsuccessful counseling appointment that Wilde met her future manager. Luck? Perhaps. Hard work and persistence? Without a doubt. Wilde released her debut single “The Rush” in late 2019 to rave reviews. The track was praised for its classic rock edge and Wilde’s stellar vocal performance, and quickly started gaining momentum on Canadian rock radio. The track is an absolute barn burner of a debut single that showed Wilde was ready to set Canada ablaze; and set ablaze she did. “The Rush” went on to make chart history in Canada when it topped the modern rock, mainstream rock, and active rock charts simultaneously, making Wilde the first woman ever to do so. The song reached incredibly high highs and garnered Wilde some well-deserved praise and notoriety in the process, but the inspiration behind the song comes from one of the darkest times in her life. “I went through a very dark couple of years before I went into music full time where I was very confused as to where my career was going. I was working three jobs, doing music, and it was just a dark time.” This time in her life didn’t just inspire “The Rush”; it inspired the majority of her debut album as well. Released in the Summer of 2020, Ruthless is a hard-hitting project that

BTS

22

bursts from the seams with grit and passion. The album is a rock album to its core that embraces elements of folk, alternative, and pop as well. No matter the sound, Wilde delivers every last uncompromising lyric with her signature timbre. The whole album shows her fighting through hardships, and ultimately turning her darkest days into anthems of resilience. “My songs come from personal experience and have always come from a very personal place, almost to a fault. Sometimes it’s hard for me to write those songs because it’s like people are reading my f****** diary, you know what I mean?” Wilde’s vulnerability is exactly what makes Ruthless such a powerful project, and is a huge part of what makes her such a special artist. At moments, the album is full of pain and rage, while other moments it hums with intimacy and sorrow. The title Ruthless really does say it all, as life was proving to be a harsh affair for Wilde at the time of the album’s conception. “The title Ruthless really reflected a lot about where my life was at the time, but also the music industry in general. There’s no forgiveness, you know what I mean? I felt like it embodied where I had come from in the past couple years in this not super great place, and then also where I was hoping to go, and just not giving a s*** about what anyone thought about it and just f****** doing it.” Wilde fought through the hardships, crafted a killer debut album, and once again made history when Ruthless won the JUNO Award for Rock Album at the 2021 ceremony. She became the first woman to win the award in 25 years,


with the last being Alanis Morisette with Jagged Little Pill in 1996. As someone who grew up watching the JUNO Awards and loving Alanis Morisette, this was an incredibly special win for her. “It was so incredible. I can’t even put it into words to be honest. I mean, it was during COVID so it was a very small affair, but I loved that because it was just my family and me and a couple close friends. It was very intimate and amazing. The people that were there had seen my entire journey so it meant that much more to me.” She also hoped her JUNO Award win could inspire young female artists in the world of rock, much like how artists like Alanis inspired her. “There’s a lot of really f****** talented women up and coming in rock right now, and to be able to say ‘let’s f****** go’, that’s what it was for me... I just want women to empower women in this genre and in music in general, like we need to lift each other up.” Following the huge success of “The Rush” and Ruthless, she released her latest project, an EP titled WILDE - EP in the summer of 2021. The project sees Wilde expand on the sounds of her debut, while keeping true to her soulful, rockin roots. Opening track “Bushweed” is full of twang and sass, “Off the Rails” is an absolute earworm that practically beg you to sing along, and “Mercy” hits the emotional high-point of the EP, as Wilde begs for mercy in a hymn-like way. The EP has proven to be some of her best work yet, but the creation process for the project was completely different than how it was for Ruthless. The COVID-19 pandemic forced Wilde to stay in Canada while her main producer Frederik Thaae was back in Denmark, which forced them both to change their process and outlook on creating music. “You have so much more time to sit on the music, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. When you’re in the studio, everything is so immediate; the energy is there, the creative energy is there, but you also have a timeline. You have a deadline. During the pandemic, there was no deadline. You’re just writing! I found that good balance of not digging in too far where you’re overthinking every song, but you’re also getting s*** done.” It seems that no matter the challenge, no matter the circumstance, JJ Wilde will find a way to overcome. It can be heard in her voice, felt in her lyrics, and sensed in her aura. Her talent, drive, and passion had already taken her far, but with increased momentum and a limitless world around her, there’s no telling just how far she’ll soar.

BTS

23


LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL Photos: Marlowe Teichman

BILLIE EILISH


HOUSE OF YES

WILLOW

ALL TIME LOW

BTS

25


LOST FREQUENCIES

EARTHGANG


MEGAN THEE STALLION

BTS

27


WILLOW

JOE HERNANDEZ - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 2021

BTS

28


TINASHE

DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

29


THE FRONT BOTTOMS CHELSEA GRESH - CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

30


JEREMY ZUCKER

DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

31


THE ACES PHOTOS BY DANA JACOBS | WORDS BY PAULINA LEVITAN

BTS

32


What do you get when you bring Katie Henderson, McKenna Petty, Alisa Ramirez, and Cristal Ramirez together? The Aces. From practicing in their garage to selling out their own headline tour, this group is absolutely crushing it. They have landed on Billboard charts such as Top Albums, Emerging Artists, and Heatskeekers Album, as well as the Breakthrough 25 for Rolling Stone. Two years ago, the quartet released their debut album When My Heart Felt Volcanic which was featured on The Recording Academy’s list of “11 Artists Keeping Rock Alive” and Billboard’s “Best Overlooked Pop Albums of the 2010s.” Additionally, they have made TV appearances on shows like “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and MTV’s “Total Request Live” with Sway Calloway. Currently, they have been on a roll, working with other hot groups like 5 Seconds of Summer, COIN and X Ambassadors on the road.

Back in November 2021, they embarked on their sold-out headline tour which kicked off in Seattle. Just days later, they spoke with Beyond The Stage from the back of their bus on the way to San Francisco for their third show. The group has loved every moment of performing live – as headliners and guest acts – thus far and has been embracing fans along the way. “Touring during COVID is a whole different experience,” bassist Petty said. “It’s not like it was before, but we’re just grateful that we’re able to be out playing shows.” Receiving over 46 million streams since its release in October 2021, their new album Under My Influence covers deep, vulnerable, and relatable topics that promote honesty and trust like the group openly expresses with one another and its fans. In the past, the group has avoided using gendered pronouns in its music, however, this album entails explicitly queer lyrics.

BTS

33


Lead singer Cristal Ramirez explained this came from a place of unsureness at the time of their debut album; Petty didn’t identify as queer and Henderson wasn’t out at the time, so the band didn’t want to misrepresent any of its members. They also feared that using such lyrics could limit their fanbase.

world,” Cristal Ramirez said.

Fast forward three years, the band saw a lot of growth.

Alisa Ramirez explained that it took almost all of 2019 to write the album.

“It felt super natural for us to step into our power as queer women and tell our stories and just be completely honest and let those stories be out in the BTS

34

When writing the music for Under My Influence, The Aces organically started using the pronouns “she” and “her”, agreeing to leave it that way because it was true to their stories being told in that moment.

“Cristal and I would go with one of our collaborators and write a song, get the bones of it, and then Katie


and [Mc]Kenna would come in, and we would all record the live instruments and finish it together,” she said. However, amid prepping for an album release, the pandemic transpired. Suddenly, the band’s plan to tour fell apart and they were forced to turn back to writing more music. Unfortunately, with the world at a halt, they faced a bit of writer’s block and felt uninspired. “Here we had all this music we were just putting out that we spent a year creating, and so our tank felt empty, creatively,” Ramirez added. “So, a lot of 2020 was spent just putting that record out and making the best of the situation.” Using a desire to return to their roots and approach things in a simpler way as motivation, most recently the band has been writing more with most of their music stemming from “organic jam sessions.” Encapsulating this same pure energy, the band has worked to create a safe space for fans and listeners with not only Under My Influence, but all their music and shows. The Aces created a realm where people can be whoever they want to be and just hang out and make new friends with other fans.

BTS

35


“We have really special fans and they’re all so nice to each other,” Petty said. “We just really want to cultivate that and help it thrive and grow even bigger and stronger.” Months prior to their headline tour, the group released a video for their single “Don’t Freak” which appeared fun to shoot for its allude to the classic 70’s punk pop vibes. The concept came into fruition when Alisa Ramirez heard the song. “It felt black and white and kind of like lightning crashing in the track, and it just feels really, really cool,” she said. With the song being about mental health and the struggles people face with it, the band wanted to paint a picture of that space for viewers, creating a disoriented feeling. “It felt like this Twilight Zone-esque song. So, I wrote this treatment and linked up with a director named Daniel Carberry who is absolutely amazing,” Ramirez said. “He executed it perfectly; we’re really happy with how it turned out.” With over 3.8 million streams since its fitting release during Mental Health Awareness Month (May), “Don’t Freak” is highly acclaimed. Cristal Ramirez explained that the band is currently exploring topics they hadn’t before. “I really, really struggled with really, really intense panic attacks throughout the pandemic and also just have had general anxiety disorder my whole life,” she said.

BTS

36


The band wanted to expand their repertoire to topics outside of love and relationships, and felt this theme was an important one to cover as it is a part of who they are as The Aces. The group has certainly come a long way since their start. “We used to practice in a tiny basement in Cristal’s house and then in my house, rattling the dinner plates upstairs. We just played any opportunity we had, Henderson said. “We’d play shows for our friends in our hometown, so to be opening for other bands and headlining our own tour is pretty surreal.” The band is ecstatic to be back on the road, playing in front of audiences. Being away from their fans for two and a half years has allowed them to miss and cherish the live shows. “To see how our new album resonates with our fans and to hear them singing every word back to us, has been such a cool experience,” Henderson added. While on the road, the band has had time to stream other artists while traveling between shows. Petty shared that she’s been listening to the new Beach House EP. Cristal Ramirez has been jamming to Phoebe Bridgers, whom she has gotten really into recently. While Henderson found this question to be a bit difficult, she finds herself listening to Arctic Monkeys on tour, as well as the latest Avenue Beat album the debut farewell album. And last, but certainly not least, Alisa Ramirez has been listening to “a lot of shoe-gazey stuff.” “I listen to a lot of Cocteau Twins, The Cure, The Smiths, stuff like that. But then also, I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s new version for Red. It’s interesting, a lot of fans will ask about that one, so it’s been fun to talk to them about it.” Connecting with fans and staying true to themselves appears to be The Aces’ top priorities as artists. With over 91,000 Instagram followers on their group page and 950,000 monthly Spotify listeners, the band’s fanbase is constantly expanding and evolving just like they are. Here at Beyond The Stage, we applaud them on their effort to be open and honest with listeners and not hiding their true colors. With more music on the way and a burning desire to keep playing live shows, The Aces have many avenues awaiting them in the future. BTS

37


WATERPARKS

DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

38


FINNEAS

MARLOWE TEICHMAN - LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 2021

BTS

39


BOTTLEROCK MUSIC FESTIVAL Photos: Blake Charles

JESSIE REYEZ


FINNEAS

DONNA MISSAL

MAX

MAREN MORRIS

BTS

41


THE HIGHWOMEN

MUNA

OLIVIA O’BRIEN


MILEY CYRUS

BTS

43


SOCCER MOMMY

BLAKE CHARLES - PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

44


JULIEN BAKER

ALYSSA BUZZELLO - LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

45


IDLES

DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

46


THE MIDNIGHT

BLAKE CHARLES - PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

47


MISTERWIVES PHOTOS BY JOE HERNANDEZ | WORDS BY BROOKE MADIGAN

Undeniable energy and passion for what they do is all we could ever want from a band, right? As fans, we pay exorbitant amounts just to see our favorite groups perform live and, hopefully, experience something borderline euphoric while belting out the lyrics to each and every song played. For the New York City-based band MisterWives, going on tour and being able to connect with an audience is what makes it all worth it. MisterWives, consisting of Mandy Lee, William Hehir, Mike Murphy, Etienne Bowler, and Marc Campbell, came to be in a unique way and we’re so glad they did. “Our band came together serendipitously in New York almost a decade ago meeting each other at bars, restaurant gigs, and an infamous 80s-themed party when our bassist Will played an 80s-themed party thrown by our singer, Mandy,” the band said. “The two quickly became roommates and started busking and playing every corner and crevice of the city. As each band member came into the mix, we quickly bonded over our love of playing music together and MisterWives started to take shape. The magic that happens when we’re all playing together has only strengthened over the years and when we’re on stage all feels right in the world!” MisterWives’ sound can undoubtedly fit into a number of different genres. At times, there is heavy pop influence, while at others, an indie sound dominates. Their range as a band is admirable and can be attributed to why they have seen much success. As fans, we love when our favorite artists dip into new areas and try something new. It’s what makes us continue coming back for more and MisterWives has understood that completely. “Each member brings their own personal style and taste into the songwriting process and the live show,” MisterWives said. “[We] think one of the reasons our band has resonated with so many people is that

BTS

48


we’re a mix of so many styles and don’t fit into the standard boxes the industry has always tried to place us in.” The band’s most well-known and streamed song “Reflections” garnered immense attention on the social media app Vine in the mid-2010s, as well as on TikTok in 2021. Having now accumulated over 132 million streams on Spotify, the song is widely recognizable and sure to puts any listener in a happy mood with its upbeat tone. Back in 2013 and 2014, MisterWives joined American Authors and Twenty One Pilots on their respective tours. “As a band, we have been incredibly lucky to have toured with a wide range of extremely talented groups. Every act brings such energy and skill to their shows, and we always view it as an opportunity to learn and build on our own set,” the band said. “We are very thankful to all the musicians who we’ve had the privilege of sharing the stage with.” Every band or artist remembers the first time they had the feeling of making it big. For some, that comes in the form of meeting a fan for the first time. For others, they watch their songs rise to the top of the charts. For MisterWives, it was at a gig in New York. “The first ‘holy shit’ moment we had together was when we played Mercury Lounge, which was a bucket list moment for us in New York. When we showed up for load-in, there was a line that wrapped around the block, and we assumed they were there for somebody else,” the band said. “Crazy enough, they were there to see MisterWives thanks to a blog post about some demos we had recorded in our closet. From then on, everything snowballed and continued to grow.” 2020 was a big year for MisterWives. Of course, an obvious pandemic sparked and put the world on hold, but there was still music to be shared. With an album ready to go that year, the group decided to push back the release date from February to July. In thinking about delaying it even further, they ultimately decided not to and said that they thought the album would be more important to people now considering what the world is going through. The album, Superbloom, is a 19-song body of work that highlights the band’s talent and exemplifies all that they bring to the table. Kicking it off with “the end” and rounding it out with “SUPERBLOOM,” listening to this album feels like an experience that we all needed at the time.

BTS

49


An excellent form of escape, a wide array of beats and melodies, and a sound that captivates, this album encompasses everything that we search for in music and is sure to please, no matter the listener’s taste. “Our band has been through so many difficult obstacles, changes and losses, and Superbloom narrates that journey. It proves that you can make it through adversity and grow through the other side.” When asked about the group’s favorite song, they said that they are proud of every song on the record. “The album tells a story from beginning to end and each song is an integral piece to that story and it wouldn’t feel complete otherwise.” As we can imagine, a band being able to perform its songs live for the first time is an unforgettable experience that has the potential to set the tone for what lies ahead in the future. While looking back on their time in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they said, “We were looking forward to playing all of the new songs, but the surprise favorites that resonated most like ‘Rock Bottom’ made us feel less alone in our experience, and was incredibly cathartic to scream ‘glad I saw this place, now I know I’m NEVER COMING BACK’ with the crowd each night.” Taking place in November and December 2021, MisterWives recently embarked on its “Resilient Little Tour.” The 24-stop tour was a nationwide adventure starting from Atlanta and ending in New York. As this was the band’s first time being back on the road, performing in any kind of live setting, we were curious to know what that first show back was like. “It was a lot of nerves and excitement and more nerves after not touring for so long,” the band said. “It felt like a different life that was going to be tricky to tap back into but thankfully it all clicked from the first note and felt better than it ever had before.” On playing Superbloom live, they said that it surpassed all of their expectations.

BTS

50

“We’ve spent the last few years only holding onto streams and social media to know how the album has connected with people, but finally getting to experience it live together was unparalleled,” MisterWives said. “We also worked really hard on the production to make every moment of the set match the detail and energy of the album, and it was amazing to see it all come together.”


Citing that it was the group’s best tour yet, the band said that it was an experience that made them want to keep pushing forward and that they were very thankful for the fans that showed up to their shows and “screamed every word.” “[It is] the most euphoric feeling possible and it’s strange to feel so in a moment while having an out-ofbody experience every time. Nothing makes you feel more alive than hearing everyone sing together.” Getting an inside look as to what life on the road looks like is always fun and it really says a lot about a band with how they live during this unique time. For MisterWives, tour is like a “Groundhog Day that you want to keep reliving.” “We wake up, get coffee, then head into the venue to set up the stage, flowers, production etc. Then in the afternoon, we do soundcheck, meet-and-greet, then break for dinner before we gear up, rip ginger shots, put our hands in, and rock and roll!” they said. “Then we sleep, shower and repeat. We missed absolutely

everything [about touring] except the comfort of a clean bathroom…or any bathroom at all.” As successful as MisterWives has been, we feel as though it is important for them to share some advice for young and aspiring musicians. Given their experience in the industry so far, whatever they might have to say would undoubtedly be useful to anyone reading this. Believing in one’s self, no matter what happens, is something the band truly believes in, they said. “Don’t ever listen to the doubters, and if you do, only use it as fuel to keep moving forward. Don’t give up on yourself and always stay true to who you are.” It’s thrilling to see such a genuine and passionate band succeeding in the industry. We are confident that they will have a long road of success ahead of them and are eager to follow along on the rest of their journey. Whatever that may look like, MisterWives is bound to keep utilizing their talents to connect with others. BTS

51


BABYGIRL

ALANA SWARIGEN - CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

52


OLIVIA O’BRIEN

NICOLE SOLERO - ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

53


NALIYA

PHOTOS BY MARLOWE TEICHMAN | WORDS BY LAUREN KLONOWSKI

BTS

54


Naliya, a 20-something Canadian-born-and-bred producer and artist, has taken over the music scene these past few years with her pop-centric melodies and earnest lyrics. She kept herself busy in 2021 by dropping numerous singles, videos, and – like most people on Earth – making TikToks. However, as of late, her attention has been fixated on releasing her debut album. It’s been a long time coming, with years of production and writing going into it. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say she’s been working on this album for most of her life. “My family is very musical, so my whole life, there was always music in the house. I played piano as a youngin’ until I was allowed to quit. And then I picked it back up again when I no longer had to do it. Music has always been a part of my life,” Naliya said. “I guess I really started writing

songs and making beats and stuff in high school more just for fun than anything else. And then I kind of realized the more that I did it, how much I liked doing it. It kind of shifted to become my main focus. There’s always been music around.” Naliya isn’t just an artist, though. Some of her best work has come in the form of production credits on other artists’ songs like Tate McRae, Lauv, The Kid LAROI — just to name a few. For each track, the process differs. “My role completely depends on the room that I’m in because I do produce, I write as well, and I’m also an artist. So, I can fill whatever shoe. For example, for the Tate song (“rubberband”), I produced that with Andrew Goldstein and wrote it with Jacob Kasher and Tate,” she said. “But on the flip side, for example, for “Lifestyle”, with Jason BTS

55


Derulo and Adam Levine, my contributions were strictly lyrical because the production was already done. It just kind of depends on the room and what’s needed from me, because obviously, I like doing everything, but I don’t need to do everything all of the time.” Since she’s been musical since she was young, it’s only natural to wonder which came first for her: production or singing/songwriting? When she started, she felt connected to the piano. “I remember in high school, I would learn how to play different songs,” Naliya said. “Then, I started writing my own songs, and when I wanted to record them, I think my dad gave me Cubase for Christmas when I was, like, 14 or 15.” She goes on to say that recording then became the focus for her. “I was trying to figure out how to record the songs that I had written — that’s when I got interested in making beats because my eyes were opened to this whole world of production that I’d never really seen before,” she said. “I just watched a bunch of YouTube tutorials and figured out how to program drums and that sort of thing.” She calls her personal brand of music “bubblegum trap.” She said that she pulls a lot of influence from different genres, so her music doesn’t necessarily fit into one specific genre, but she really likes “dreamy chord sounds and hard drums.” Speaking of influences, she loves Canada’s own Drake as well as the likes of Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey, Travis Scott and more. “I listen to a lot of different music, so I kind of pull influences from all over the place,” she said. Whatever influences she got inspired from while writing one of her latest singles, “Roller Coaster,” they’re working in her favor. Recalling the process of creating the track, she said that she was “blissfully in love” around the time that she wrote it, which was a little over a year ago. “That song came so quickly. It was crazy. It was probably just like, honestly, a couple of hours. I played the chords on my laptop and the song came together pretty seamlessly, which is pretty rare,” Naliya said. “A lot of time, I torture myself for weeks over one song. So, it’s a pretty good feeling when a song comes easily. I remember I started with the chords and then I wrote the melody and then I wrote the words, and then I went in and I added drums afterward. So, that’s how that one all came together.” In 2021 she had the chance to film a video for another one of her singles, “Handshakes.” The experience was one for the books, she said. BTS

56


“I’ve never had the opportunity to shoot a video like that before. There was such a huge team of people working on it. It was really cool to see everything come together and see all the different little things that everybody was doing together to create something bigger,” Naliya said. “It was definitely nerve-racking for me. It doesn’t come easily to me to lip-sync my song in front of a room of 15 people with their arms crossed, judging me, you know? I’m hoping that that part of it gets easier over time.” “I have all these visions for my music — I always have. But, I’ve never really had the budget or the team to make them come to life. I’m just very grateful to be in this situation now where my dreams can actually become something.” So what does the next chapter have in store for Naliya? Her very first project release! She said to expect loads of more music from her camp.

“The past couple of years have been all about making the music and picking the songs. The project has changed so much, even from the beginning,” she said. “I remember I was so set on it being like these ten songs, and then over time, I made better ones, and they kind of came in and replaced some of them. So, the project has been ever-changing. I finally feel like I’m at the point where I’m really confident with it, and I love all the songs, and it feels cohesive.” The style of the project is still up in the air. “I’ve been working on this big body of work for a long time. Now that it’s done, I’m very excited to just start rolling it out.” Well, the world is just as excited for her to roll it out, and it is safe to say that Naliya will be making her mark on the music scene with her first debut.

BTS

57


WINNETKA BOWLING LEAGUE MARLOWE TEICHMAN - LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

58


PERFUME GENIUS

BLAKE CHARLES - PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

59


MAX

DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

60


NOAH KAHAN

MAGGIE MONTGOMERY - NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 2021

BTS

61


THUNDERCAT | PHOTO BY MARLOWE TEICHMAN