Jordan Fisher Finish ticket
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Issue 12 | Beyond The Stage Magazine 06 Kathryn gallagher 10 Warped tour 14 thirdstory 17 divide music festival 20 jordan fisher 26 ALBUM REVIEWS 28 FINISH TICKET 32 BASILICA BLOCK PARTY 35 THE HUNNA 41 PLAYLIST
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Jon Bellion | washington d.c. | july 2016 | Photos by: Gabi talisman
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Twenty one pilots | austin, tx | july 2016 | Photos by: alicia rangel
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Photos and Words by Gabi Talisman
Talk about a dedicated, passionate soul: Kathryn Gallagher knows what she wants in her career. From her musical debut on Broadway to independently releasing two EPs, Gallagher has a one track mind for creating the best career for herself. Working coast to coast, she created her own dedicated fan following. Gallagher starred in the Deaf West revival of Spring Awakening, with another musical in the works. She then pushed herself further, focusing solely on music. We sat down with Gallagher to learn more about her favorite songs at the moment, how she creates music and what her dream festival line up is. Read on for more from our conversation with Kathryn Gallagher. --BTS: For our readers who may not know your sound, can you describe yourself and your music a little bit? KG: Yes, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a girl named Kathryn and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been writing songs for a long long time. I write folk, indie-pop songs. Very lyrically and very story driven songs. And I like doing that.
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BTS: When it comes to your writing process, you play guitar, but do you start with lyrics? Melody? KG: I generally start with something to say. Going into the studio, when I’m going into a full write I always like to have a piece ready. It can be very awkward when you don’t have anything else to do. When I’m just writing myself, I usually start with an idea, a thought that i want to say. And i sit down with my guitar and I mess around with the chords and word vomiting. And if something great comes it comes, and if not, I keep going. BTS: When you collaborate with other writers, you say you like to bring something into it. Do you always bring lyrics? KG: I usually bring...I have all of these pieces of all of these different songs that I started writing on my own or it wouldn’t flow or it was just abandoned. So I always bring in a couple of ideas, like a chorus or a verse. Or a melodic idea. Because it’s just nice to have in your back pocket, in case it doesn’t go so well. BTS: So as far as performing goes, you’ve had the chance to perform to some huge audiences and some intimate audiences. What is it like with intimate audiences? Is the feedback better? KG: I love intimate audiences because you get to really have a conversation with everyone. You get to see everyone’s face and you get to read the room a lot. It’s easier to read the room and to sort of vibe out with each other. So I love like a small, quiet room. But then there’s nothing better than playing with a full band to a bunch of people and rocking out and flipping your hair. So they both kind of have their pros and cons. I did a SoFar gig last night, and playing to a silent room is like really awesome. Fully attentive and listening to every word, it’s terrifying, it’s great. BTS: Was that a very different experience? With SoFar, not everyone is there directly for you right? KG: It’s kind of like a brand new room. You really have to win them. You know? Like you know when you have them at the end that you earned them. It’s really cool to go in front of an audience and just they have no idea who you are and they have no idea what you sound like until you sing for them. And having that kind of opportunity to just start from scratch with a room full of people is awesome. It’s really fun. BTS: What music are you low-key vibing to right now? What’s not popular but you’re really into? KG: I think Maren Morris is fucking incredible. I’ve been listening to her album non-stop. I just finished doing a musical that was like folk, country, bluegrass. I was trying to listen to a lot of country music to kind of understand it and get certain nuances down and I was listening to like all Dixie Chicks. I’m always listening to Taylor Swift because I think she’s a brilliant writer. Maren Morris, Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, I love country music. I really, more sort of, not country, Daywave, Hound Mouth, I’m always a huge fan of BORNS and The 1975. I kind of love everything. Any artist that kind of tells me a story in the song I’m into. Yeah, I love all music, I really do. BTS: If you could write with anyone dead or alive, who would it be? KG: That’s a really hard question. You know, I really want to write with The 1975. I think they’re amazing. I would really love to write with, I think Jack Antonoff does really amazing
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things and he’s always kind of breaking the rules. I feel like he’s a perfect example of steady and having the box there and then knowing exactly when to go outside of it. He crafts these perfect kind of pop songs, with kind of a real respect for what came before while also kind of challenging it. It would be super exciting. But if I could write with anyone dead or alive, God, I really would love to get in a room with Janis Joplin. I know that’s really not possible, but it would mean the world to me. I would love it. BTS: If you could curate a festival, who would be on the bill? KG: Oh my god. Okay. Well, all of my favorites. I would have The 1975, I would have Bleachers, BORNS, I would have obviously have Taylor Swift, I would have a night of Bob Dylan, Carol King and James Taylor and Crosby Stills and Nash. And then I would do a night of my friends, Phoebe Bridgers, Jessie Thomas, Who else am I listening to? Luna. Yeah, that’s kind of the cool thing. I’ve noticed that a lot of the music I listen to is just music that my friends make. I got lucky and I have really talented friends. But like Phoebe Bridgers is honestly one of my favorite artists right now and she’s a good friend of mine. Yeah, my festival would be a month long. BTS: In the early 2000s there were a lot of mashup album, if you could mash up someone else for an album who would it be? KG: Oh rad. Fuck. Let me think about this. Who would I mash up with? I would do a country artist. I would do like Tim McGraw and really dive into country music and have that be an excuse to do that. Or like the Dixie Chicks. I would want someone in country music. I think it would be kind of awesome. That, or like Def Leppard. I kind of want to do an album with Def Leppard. They’re kind of one of my favorite bands. I have like four Def Leppard shirts and i just totally geek out over them. And then one time I was going into a bar in a Def Leppard shirt and the bouncer was like “I bet you can’t even name a song” and I was like “don’t test a bitch.” And then I did, and I named albums. So don’t test a bitch! BTS: That’s your motto! KG: Yes it is. BTS: Favorite concert you’ve ever been to? KG: Oh my god. Spice Girls when I was four. BTS: If you could have readers take away something from this article, what would it be? KG: I try and be really open and vulnerable because I’m not very good at doing that in my real life. And um, so, for me, my
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takeaway is my music is hey try doing this in real life and listening to music makes it feel like the feelings that we have are okay because someone else has them and that’s why so many people listen to music. Because it makes you feel like you’re a part of something and you’re not so alone. And if my music makes you feel at all like you’re somewhere where someone else has been where you’re at, that’s a high place or a low place, wherever you’re at then I think I’ve done my job.
modest mouse | pittsburgh, pa | july 2016 | Photos by: stone fenk
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Photos by Allison Lanza and Stone Fenk
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CROWN THE EMPIRE
AGAINST THE CURRENT
FOUR YEARS STRONG
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
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4 Live Albums You NEED To Hear Words by Kristen Humphries
The best part of music is the ability to hear it and see it live - no question about it. It’s the environment, the people, the lights, the emotions. While studio recordings show production value and planned out technique, live recordings take it up a couple notches. It’s experiencing the connection with that moment - the one where you look around and see smiles and laughter and tears spread amongst the crowd. You see arms waving and bodies swaying and you feel like you could live here forever. With the immediate feeling as though you’re in the crowd with the rest, these live albums will take you to that moment.
Live At Monterey - Jimi Hendrix Recorded June 18, 1967 at Monterey Pop Festival in Monterey, CA “Excuse me for a minute, just let me play my guitar, alright?” With the intro quote from his cover of “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix sums up this entire album. What makes his virtuoso stand out even more throughout Live At Monterey is the fact that he was completely self-taught – one of the countless reasons he’s known by many as the best guitarist to exist. To this day, the last track “Wild Thing” is one of the most iconic performances ever. As shown in the cover, Jimi sets his guitar on fire and then smashes it, adding to his onstage humor. Throughout the album, Jimi is laughing and improvising and you can genuinely feel how much he loves playing his guitar. Even though the album feels like guitar solo after guitar solo, there is something special about each track. With covers of Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Chip Taylor, and Howlin’ Wolf, you get a little R&B, a little blues, and a lot of rock. Monterey Pop Festival is the performance that broke Jimi Hendrix in the US. It set the tone for what The Jimi Hendrix Experience would be in the future and, evidently, it made rock music history. Though the band recorded the album in 1967, the way Jimi speaks to the crowd makes you feel like you’re there in a timeless moment of genuine rock music. Highlights: “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Hey Joe,” “Wild Thing”
MTV Unplugged In New York – Nirvana
Recorded November 18, 1993 at Sony Music Studios in New York City As successful as this record is (having reached #1 on several charts), it almost didn’t happen. For starters, Nirvana isn’t necessarily an acoustic band, obviously. It took a lot of convincing for the band to agree to the show and even when they did, Cobain still used his amp and distortion pedals. Not only that, but the band wasn’t psyched on previous Unplugged performances, therefore adding covers like Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” to enhance the set. This album embraces the quieter side of Nirvana and because of that, the talent and versatility really shows. The entire set was filmed in a single take, which is unusual for Unplugged. One of the most notable moments is the last track, “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” where Cobain nearly strains his voice from screaming. The producers wanted an encore, but Cobain cleverly admitted “nothing could top that song.” And he’s not wrong – possibly the highlight of the record, the final moments prove how much passion Nirvana gave to the performance. Even in a more intimate setting like this one, fans can feel the massive impact Nirvana continues to have on music. Highlights: “The Man Who Sold The World,” “Lake Of Fire,” “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”
Bullet In A Bible – Green Day Recorded June 19, 2005 at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes This album (played to a 65,000+ crowd) proves how incredible of a frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is. He brings a sense of closeness within the crowd by calling them “brothers and sisters” – proving Green Day’s fans are more like a family than anything else. His ability to command the stage is evident by the several crowd chants that occur throughout the setlist. But it’s songs like “Jesus of Suburbia” and “Longview” that remind you how cohesive Green Day truly is. Between the smooth transitions and the tight instrumentation, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt make their presence known. It’s very rare to find a band that sounds better live than they do in the studio, but Green Day is one of those few. Bullet In A Bible puts more passion behind the songs their fans already love. With the incredible crowd response, listening to this album feels like you’re in the midst of a musical revolution. Highlights: “Jesus Of Suburbia,” “Longview,” “Basket Case”
Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles – John Mayer Recorded December 8, 2007 at the L.A. Live Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles Despite this album being the most chilled out on the list due to its bluesy nature, it certainly doesn’t make it boring. With tracks exceeding ten minutes in guitar solos and impromptu note changes, John Mayer provides a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s one of those albums where you don’t have to be doing anything to enjoy it – you just close your eyes and appreciate the raspy, ambient vocals of Mayer and the sound of his guitar. Since the show was split into three sections (acoustic John Mayer, John Mayer Trio, and John with his touring band), the album has a lot of variety. It’s in the John Mayer Trio section where he plays one of his most famous songs: his relaxed cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” But for those who prefer the bluesy guitar solos and riffs, listen to “Out Of My Mind” and “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You).” These are just a few of the songs on the track list that prove the studio recordings don’t do them nearly enough justice. Where The Light Is takes John’s talent to the next level and demonstrates his being one of the best modern musicians. Highlights: “In Your Atmosphere,” “Free Fallin’,” “Gravity”
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Words by Delaney DeAngelis Photos by Gabi Talisman
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They’ve got a unique sound,and only do they best describe it. “I say it’s three guys, who do sort of folky-esque soulful vocals with hip-hop influence and that kind of wraps itself up within sad love songs with a bunch of faithful harmonies,” said Skinner.
Thirdstory is the perfect example of a band finding success using social media. Consisting of Elliott Skinner, Richard Saunders and Ben Lusher, the New York based band has found success using online platforms including Twitter and YouTube.
The band said it took them about a year of writing before the release of the EP. “We started writing in London, and then made a trip to L.A. for a month, and found the producer of the EP right at the end of that whole process,” said Saunders. All of the members are songwriters, and find themselves really ingrained in their music and take the time to perfect their craft.
The band has released a variety of cover songs on their YouTube channel, ranging from Drake’s “Hotline Bling” to Taylor Swift’s “Style,” some garnering over one million views. Third“We’re all very opinionated when it comes to melodies and story explained that they take the time to look at what songs lyrics and there are definitely times when we’re meeting up are relevant at the time before choosing what song to cover, but and discussing a single line,” said Richard. “We’ve spent like they also make sure it’s a song they can tailor to their own style. 30 minutes discussing a single lyric.” “We look at the Billboard charts when we’re doing a cover but it’s also mainly songs we like,” explained Skinner, “And what songs we think we could transform and make our own and meanings we connect to.” “I think the biggest thing with picking the songs is probably good melodies,” added Lusher. The band released a three-song EP in May, titled Searching.
The band writes based on personal experience and try as best as they can to connect their lyrics with what their fans are going through in their own lives. “A lot of the songs we write are coincidentally sad love songs and we’re kind of trying to connect to what people in their twenties are feeling, kind of trying to find themselves while trying to find love, while mending from their heartbreak,” explained Skinner.
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“We try to talk it out as much and try to. If it’s a specific Richard influence, I gotta put myself in that situation or vice versa,” Skinner added. “They’re all really personal songs.”
“I think also, our fans, they all found us through us doing covers of songs,” added Richard. “So it’s been amazing to see our fans send us covers of songs that we wrote.”
The band not only likes to connect to fans through their music, but also through social media.
While Thirdstory’s fanbase continues to grow, the band has been planning out the rest of year, including touring and finishing a full-length album.
“We love how our fans love to send us dumb stuff, ‘cause we’re the exact same way-- We act like idiots on Snapchat and like to have fun on social media,” said Ben. “So it’s definitely a cool part of our relationship with our fans.” As mentioned previously, the band has found success through utilizing social media to spread their music all over the world. On Spotify, the top five cities where people listen to the band are currently in the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.
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“So it’s kind of about the balance of doing touring and rehearsing for all that jazz and finishing up this album to release sometime soon,” said Elliott. “We’re not exactly sure, but maybe this year, maybe next year.”
Photos by Austin Olea and Evan Olea
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COLD WAR KIDS
JR JR EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS
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Words and Photos by Gabi Talisman
Jordan Fisher isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exactly your average pop star. We do our research here at Beyond The Stage: We know what music people like and we know how artists perform their live show, but very little could have prepared us for how great of a person Fisher genuinely is. Beyond great vocal skill and dancing ability lies the mind of someone so quick, driven and prepared that even with just one single charting on pop radio, we think heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ready to take over.
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“[All About Us] definitely became something over time. It started off as a skeleton that I cut last January that was the forefront of the demo for the most part. You know, it was a song that, over months of compiling all these great records, and writing a lot and it just kept popping up and I kept going back to it. I was like ‘there’s something really special here.’” He said quickly, talking about the song currently launching him into pop radio ears across the United States, “And when I started working with Oak [Felder], like last June, it was well over a year ago, I went to him and was like, ‘I have this song that for whatever reason it just keeps holding up, you know, to everything I’m doing,’ but it was just not at that place that we, Oak and I, cultivated at that point. We’d already done two or three songs together for the record and I was just like, I would love for you to take this song and reconstruct it and bring it to the place everything else is at. And he was like ‘I can totally do that’ and he took the song and deconstructed it, rebuilt it, and we recut vocals. It ended up becoming the single. It felt like the best way to introduce me as an artist and as a person and give people a kind of sonic foundation where music was concerned.” Born in Alabama and beginning his life as a performer in a 5th grade production of School House Rock, Fisher always seemed to know what he wanted. Influenced by classic soul and R&B artists including Prince and Whitney Houston, it might seem unlikely that he would be able to bring elements of their sound into his own music. However, Jordan Fisher isn’t the kind of person who wants his music to be easy. Speaking to his upcoming EP and debut album, we figured out why his fans have been waiting for music for a long time: when Fisher finds his vision, he sticks to it until it’s right. That took some time. “So there’s a narrative, of course. Every artist has a story, and I think the biggest challenge was just kind of beyond finding the producers and the topliners that I meshed well with. It’s a lot of blind-dating [building the first album]. What are those 12 songs gonna be? How are you going to tell the story? What’s that story gonna sound like? How can people feel involved where the narrative is concerned?” Continuing, Fisher said, “It takes a lot of just playing and being with different people and formulating different kinds of social and cultural dynamics to help make that record what it’s gonna be and how people relate to it, what they think about when they listen to it and so on. You know where the songs are concerned, where those [childhood] influences are concerned, they’re definitely present. Every song, there’s gonna be nuggets and tidbits of Luther [Vandross] that you hopefully hear here and there and Lionel Richie that you hear here and there and Stevie [Wonder], The Doobie Brothers and so on, without it over-saturating people, but more so educating newer generations on what I grew up loving and listening to. I want to bring that kind of sensibility to pop and radio.”
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Looking at albums from Jordan’s youth, it’s easy to see why the idea of a story being told throughout an album, while a classical concept rarely practiced today, is incredibly important to him. “There are a couple [albums] that you know, were prominent in my life growing up that heavily influenced my decision towards wanting to specifically make music and make something from scratch.” Jordan said. “Full Moon by Brandy, is one of them for sure. Confessions by Usher. Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie [Wonder], is definitely one of them. They just had that thing. They had that story. Those were albums that you have to play from top to bottom, because there’s a narrative, there’s something that they’re trying to share from the artist and from their souls. They’re trying to share it with people, and listening to those growing up, I was like ‘I’m gonna do that, I’m gonna create that thing’.” With an EP out this month and an album firmly in the pipeline for early 2017, you would think Jordan Fisher would be taking a break while he has the opportunity, but we’re not sure he has that in him. Currently crisscrossing the United States for radio shows and promotion events, Fisher seemingly wants to keep going forever. Even as an incredibly active person who is
always on-the-go, the transition from living in LA and doing TV work like Grease: Live, to constantly traveling is difficult for the singer. “Life on the road is interesting. It’s very different. It’s finding sanctuary in places that aren’t your own home and learning how to cope with that. You know, figuring out a way to keep things fresh, where that’s concerned, is definitely a bit of a challenge. There are a lot of airplanes and hotels right now, and that’s a different kind of lifestyle. In terms of the social dynamic, it’s hard to see friends and impossible to date and you have to figure out how to, you know, stay sane on the road, I guess it’s really been the biggest transition, going from TV and film to this.” He stopped for a minute, choosing his words with purpose, but continued, “From working on a movie that’s shooting on location somewhere, I’m living at that place for two months, and kind of make a home out of that. Or if I’m working on a show back in LA, I’m home. My house, my car, my family are all close by, my friends, my dog, it’s my stuff. It’s mine. And I have to, I don’t really know if share is the right terminology to describe being on the road, but it’s just that. I have to share a lot of me on the road. I’m around people a lot and then all of a sudden I’m by myself in a hotel room. There’s a lot to be said about that. I guess where artistry is concerned it’s good to reflect and chill and crash at the end of the day after being around and meeting a bunch of people, some that I’ll never see ever again and some that will inevitably be in my life for a very very long time, hopefully, should this thing work out. It’s definitely been a massive change, but one that is very welcomed.” With his transition from TV and movies to music (for now), Jordan Fisher has already made his mark in a very short period of time. Playing shows with artists including Zara Larsson and Troye Sivan, along with people like Mike Posner (“As a songwriter, I freaking love him.”) and Beyonce protege Sophie Beem. He’s been invited to play the upcoming Arthur Ashe Kids Day in New York, an event that has boasted previous superstar performers Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, the Jonas Brothers and more. Fisher seems humbled by the whole whirlwind, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to stop playing bigger venues. “Madison Square Garden and the O2! I mean those are definitely the ones, 100%. MSG, I’m a Knicks fan, and that’s definitely one I have to play. Being an LA boy, Staples [Center] and Hollywood Bowl are two venues that I definitely want to play, and the Greek [Theater], I have for whatever reason. The day that I sell out the Greek will be a day that I just...I don’t know. Lots of tears. MSG and O2, mark those down.” Duly noted. Often referred to as a triple threat, with the acting under his belt and dancing showcased in the music video for “All About Us,” and during his live performances, Jordan definitely doesn’t want to only stick to singing. “TV and film has been in my life since the beginning, and that will never change. You know really the biggest thing I guess is being somebody that can keep his hands and feet in all three of those things,
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and more. Fashion and sports and video gaming, I’m trying to become a part of those worlds, as well. I wear a lot of hats.” Fisher said. “I want to do this for a very, very, very long time. I mean, put out an album, go on tour, do a film, work on Broadway, be a dad, get married, go back on tour, put out another album. I want to do that forever. The biggest thing is finding the rotation; figuring out which foot to put in front of the other, and being able to be okay artistically honing in on one thing at a time. That’s another massive challenge I find that a lot of artists and actors have. I definitely do, you know, when I’m touring and I’m playing a show, I miss being on set, and vice versa. It’s just something that will just be what it is. I look forward to being able to do another movie again, when the right one comes, and at the right time.” Although Jordan Fisher is definitely ambitious, he’s not high and mighty. Walking through his label offices in New York City late last month, whether he worked directly with them or not, FIsher stopped to chat with every single person we came across, actively making an effort to be not only involved, but also to keep an open and friendly presence. Fisher also very publicly makes this effort on social media, not only with fans but fellow artists and radio personalities. This effort has definitively endeared him to many, but comes across as genuine and earnest, not forced- a very welcome distinction. The idea of community instead of competition radiates from the singer, and when asked about it, he jumped in to the question with both feet. “We’re all in this to make music and to put it out and let people relate to it, cry with it, and celebrate it. Being an artist and somebody that’s in that wave, I’m honored to have a voice and a platform. I think that as artists, we should celebrate each other. I just did a show in Birmingham at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre with 7,000 people there, I did my set and Ben Rector came on after me. He took a moment in his set to talk about me and celebrate what I did prior to him coming out onstage and I was so humbled because I’m a massive
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fan of his. He brought me back out on stage and he just loved on me as an artist to another artist, as a fan of music.” Continuing, he said. “I love seeing that kind of stuff. It’s so cool to me when I’m at a show and somebody brings out another artist to sing one of their songs with them. We’re a family, and we’re a very, very blessed, small percentage of people who get to do what we do every day. The fact that people think that there’s not enough room for others to be a part of that is unfortunate, but I think that only hurts them. I’m really lucky to be a part of a generation of artists and actors that love each other and get to celebrate each other.” An artist who is deservedly sure of himself and ready to do everything he can to make his career happen, but without any need to try and get ahead of anyone else in the process feels like an unfortunate rarity, but Fisher embodies all of it. Heading into the second half of 2016, with plenty of touring and an album on the horizon for next year, Fisher still has a lot left to do before the year is out. “I’m a very goal-oriented person, and I make a lot of them. I’m competitive by nature with myself, where art is concerned I don’t think there’s any room for competition, I think that’s kind of a dumb idea, but I am with myself. I was a gymnast for 12 years. I’ve grown up pushing myself and trying to figure out how to make ‘the thing’ happen. I’d love to play an arena before the end of the year and I’d love to get a plaque by the end of the year. In terms of affirmation, that would kind of let me know that things are going the way that they should bethat somehow, someway I’m doing it right. It would hopefully be a sign that there’s more to come in terms of success in that way- that people are listening to stuff that I’m putting out and actually care about what I have to say through music. That would be pretty cool. I’m completing the album right now, I would love to announce the date before the end of the year. Meet Justin Timberlake. Hopefully work with JT. That could be cool. We’ll keep it there for now.”
Coldplay | st. louis, mo | july 2016 | Photos by: anna xu
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Album Reviews Youth Authority Good Charlotte MDDN Summer 2016 wouldn’t be complete without a new Good Charlotte record. It’s been six years since their last record, Cardiology, and it’s safe to stay that Youth Authority brought us back to the good times of The Young and The Hopeless and The Chronicles of Life and Death. Youth Authority is any fan’s throwback album, but it still has a more “updated” experimental pop-punk sound. “40 oz. Dream” is a California sounding track that talks about MTV and basically what Good Charlotte “grew up” on. “Makeshift Love,” the lead single off the record, pretty much gives fans the ultimate throwback feels, living up to fans’ expectations that this record would take them back to the good ol’days of Good Charlotte. “Life Can’t Get Much Better” is the ultimate live sing-along song, almost like a slowed down version of earlier hit “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.” The band surprised listeners with some surprise guest vocalists. Kellin Quinn from Sleeping with Sirens makes an appearance on the track “Keep Swingin’,” Quinn’s voice fitting perfectly with the track. Another guest appearance on the album is Simon Neil from Billy Clyro on “Reason to Stay.” The slowed down track again mixes the elements of the old school Good Charlotte, but keeping up with the modern pop-punk sound. Youth Authority is not a disappointment to the pop-punk world. Good Charlotte gave us a record after six years and it was worth the wait. Each track will have the crowd at the live shows falling in love with the band all over again and will convince new fans to go back through the extensive Good Charlotte discography. 5/5 – Valerie McIntyre Download: “Keep Swingin’,” “40 oz. Dream,” “Life Changes,” “Stray Dog,” and “Reason to Stay”.
Energia J Balvin EMI Colombian reggaeton superstar J Balvin plans to break into the American mainstream without singing a single word of English. Equipped with the undeniable global appeal of his new album Energía, he has positioned himself to do exactly that. Co-produced by Pharrell Williams, Energía blends stylistic elements of American hip hop seamlessly with the heat and exuberance of Medellín, Colombia, Balvin’s hometown. Balvin is able to appeal to American listeners without compromising the Latin flavors that make his music wildly popular across South America, a rare capability that sets him a cut above his pandering peers. His left-of-center aesthetic translates into arresting, memorable music that resonates with with a wide variety of listeners, regardless of language barriers. Balvin’s percussive delivery and crisp enunciation engage even those with the most remedial knowledge of Spanish. Balvin’s keen hip hop sensibilities are most prevalent in the production values of his tracks. He takes American sonic trends and offers his own interpretations, resulting in unprecedented triumphs such as the sinister, snarling trap strains of “Veneno” and the “One Dance”-esque uptempo lushness of “Solitario.” Energía presents a dynamic array of styles, as Balvin switches between rap, pop and bachata with finesse. Within a genre as rigid as Latin Urban, Energía’s eclecticism is a bold statement itself; Balvin’s creativity serves as a call-to-action for other artists in the same sphere to experiment with new sounds. As the title would suggest, Energía is an album that relies heavily on creating ambience and evoking moods rather than delivering poignant lyrics. It’s a multidimensional affair that can soundtrack both a wild night out and a relaxing night in. Energía’s greatest success is conveying emotions and telling stories through soundscapes rather than through words. With Energía, J Balvin not only offers a creative new perspective on reggaeton, a genre long considered on its deathbed, but also renders it accessible to a global audience. 5/5 – Charlotte Freitag Download: “Ginza,” “Solitario,” “Safari (feat. BIA, Pharrell, and Sky)”
Better Weather With Confidence Hopeless Records
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Releasing a debut album is as exciting as it is daunting for any band coming onto the music scene. But for Australian newcomers With Confidence, there’s really no need for the latter feeling. Their debut record, Better Weather, does absolutely everything except disappoint. In their first release with Hopeless Records, With Confidence create an album that travels through all the ups and downs of a relationship from where it starts to where it ends, and give insight to all that happens in between. Better Weather proves itself as a pinnacle summer jam album from the second it starts. The first song “Voldemort” is a one-hundred-percent must listen for any contemporary rock fan. The song’s recently released music video counterpart is fun and low commitment for the average viewer. The cheesy set, overly aggressive makeup artists and aloof director character create a backdrop for the band to showcase their personality apart from the song. It becomes a full package video to compliment a full package album. Moving forward, With Confidence continue to bring the top notch jams with songs like “We’ll Be Okay,” “Gravity” and “Din-
ner Bell.” And for all the “pop-punk” fans out there that may be drawn to the band’s Hopeless label relationship, have no fear. Better Weather stands true to all things even remotely related to the terms “pop-punk” and rock. It’s edgy without being intimidating and presents something for pretty much anybody in need for new music. Making a pit stop from the guitar heavy anthems and turning towards the bittersweet ballads comes the track “Long Night.” The break in styles falls into a platform for the album to end on, one that comes with reflection on past relationships and feelings. Wrapping up the album with the dynamic track “Waterfall”, With Confidence create the perfect balance of moving on and still wanting answers, which leads to an ended voicemail recording to close the album. Now if that means the whole album serves as a message lost in translation or just the last song, that’s up to you. 4.5/5 – Madeline Shiffer Download: “Voldemort,” “Long Night,” “Dinner Bell,” “Waterfall”
Album Reviews (continued) Nothing’s Real Shura Polydor Records ‘80s music has made a startling comeback these past few years and seems to be everywhere. We’ve seen The 1975, M83, Carly Rae Jepsen, and even Taylor Swift claim to revive the pop scene our parents had experienced. They all claimed to be the new step forward, the geniuses, the originals; but Shura is the only sure contender of these claims. Nothing’s Real is an album of fun, uncertainty, love, and most of all, personality. Shura’s self shines through every song on this record, each track reassuring you that these songs could not possibly belong to anyone else; the combination of ‘80s-esque synths and lyrics that read like poetry out of a diary is uniquely Shura. Sure, other artists have tried to use this exact formula, but none have reinvented it quite like this. Shura uses her synths as the ambient, icy soundtrack to her life, leading us through relationships, anxiety, regret, and heartbreak through her moody melodies; we can see in the realization of “2Shy” or the panic of the title track, “Nothing’s Real”. It’s easy to picture the scene or thoughts she’s describing to us and imagine her exact song playing in the background. On “Kidz ‘N’ Stuff,” we hear Shura question how she “can’t be everything that you need;” however, as a debut album with nothing but easy listens and great impressions, Nothing’s Real is everything it needs to be. 5/5 – Maya Alfia Download: “What’s It Gonna Be?,” “Touch,” “What Happened to Us?”
Last Year Was Complicated Nick Jonas Universal Music Group In his most recent release, Last Year Was Complicated, Nick Jonas makes it evident that he’s no longer the innocent boy band member he used to be. Overall, it’s an OK pop album, but there’s nothing that makes it stand out from the rest of the pop albums out there. The album is filled with sexual innuendos and quite a bit of swearing, but they just seem out of place, almost as if Jonas went out of his way to prove that he is an adult now. Maybe it’s because of his previous image with the Jonas Brothers, but it just comes off like he really wants people to know he no longer wears his purity ring. Last Year Was Complicated is a generic pop album. Most of the songs aren’t too memorable. “Voodoo” starts the album off right, with fun, upbeat melodies. “Touch” is an R&B influenced song that stands out as well. “Good Girls” only stands out because it’s yet another pop song with a good girls versus bad girls theme. “Close,” was a smart choice for a radio single— it’s catchy, and the steel drums and featured vocals from Tove Lo make it one of the best songs on the album. Perhaps the best song on the album is “Unhinged,” the only ballad of the album. This is where Jonas truly shines. It’s something he’s always done best, even during the days of the Jonas Brothers. There’s just something about his voice that lends well with ballads. With Jonas’ high notes and the piano driven instrumentals, it’s the only song on the album that is truly different from the rest. 2015 was a great year for Nick Jonas, with the success of his self-titled album. It was looking like he could really succeed with a solo career post-boyband, but Last Year Was Complicated isn’t the most memorable album he could have made. 3/5 – Delaney DeAngelis Download: “Close,” “Unhinged,” “Voodoo”
Blush Moose Blood Hopeless Records
Who doesn’t love a good, hearty emo-indie record from time to time? If that’s what you’ve been in need of, then look no further. Blush, the first full-length release from Moose Blood since signing with Hopeless Records earlier this year, stands alone in a surplus of 2016 poppunk albums. But the album does anything but corner itself into one genre. Moose Blood have perfected the art of truly being their own kind of musical category, having created a signature sound since their formation in 2012. Hearing just a few guitar riffs from any of their tracks is more than enough to know exactly what you’re in for. The platform set by the band’s two previously released singles comes to a full completion throughout the album. “Honey” and “Knuckles” set the stage for what ends up making Moose Blood’s songs so recognizable to fans, complimented perfectly by lead singer Eddy Brewerton’s unique, gravelly vocals. The band keeps
it intense without ever crossing the line and becoming too harsh, especially in tracks “Pastel”, “Sway” and “Freckle” where said line becomes rather thin. While maintaining the notable undertones, the band manages to create an album that stays interesting and engaging from start to finish. Blush stands independently as an entire piece of music as opposed to ten individual songs. It’s an album you can put on and get lost in during a long drive or late night study session. In the end, Blush proves itself as a massive success in terms of debut label releases. A milestone no doubt, Moose Blood provide an album that not only leaves fans satisfied, but deeply hungry for what’s to come next. 4/5 – Madeline Shiffer Download: “Cheek,” “Sway,” “Spring,” “Freckle”
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Beyond The Stage would not exist without incredible live touring bands. Finish Ticket exemplifies what it means to know who you are as a band and to have a live show that reflects that. Opening for incredible acts including Ed Sheeran, The Black Keys and Fitz and the Tantrums, Finish Ticket has gained notoriety across the United States for a rocking live show, leaving each performance with more fans then they had before they hit the stage. With single “Colors” hitting alternative radio and the band hitting the road for headlining dates this fall, they took some time to tell us what live music means to them, why their live show is so important and how they went from a local opener to having a nationwide headlining tour.
ever tried to headline at that point. We were super scared and then the day of, a lot of people showed up and five minutes before we were supposed to go on we heard that it sold out. That was the coolest feeling, that we actually accomplished our goal and all these people were here to see us. That’s just like something that had never happened before- we had never sold out a show before, so it was just like really, felt validating, I guess. The fans were great, we had a great time, and that’s still that show that sticks out of my mind as being the first of many really awesome shows.
Beyond The Stage: You guys got your start playing every small show you could find and working your way up. Do you have a live show that is most special to you?
Alex: All the time. Foals- I think the first time we saw Foals was at Outsidelands a couple years ago. I had heard about that band but I didn’t really know any of their music, and then I just hear this massive sound of like rock and roll coming from the stage. I’m like, “holy shit, who is that?” And it’s this band Foals. They just blew me away and ever since then I’ve been a huge fan. We’re all really big fans.
BTS: Are there bands or artists that you’ve seen whose live show is super impressive to you?
Brendan: Mine is probably the first time we sold out. That show was August 16th, 2015. It was the first time we ever, like, tried to put on a really big headlining show in San Francisco, where we’re based out of. We were really nervous about it because it was the biggest venue we’d Brendan: I mean, for me, Cage the Elephant. I saw them
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Alex: Because I mean, it’s just always been important to us. We started so young and we felt we had to prove ourselves every time we walked in a venue. You know, when you’re that young (we were like 15 and 16), people don’t take you seriously, so we’ve always kind of had a chip on our shoulder. It was always that we wanted to walk into a room and do a great job and leave people feeling like they just saw something great no matter what they’re expecting. We just want to go and do a great job. People can take it or leave it. If they don’t like it they don’t like it, I think that’s where, I think, when you show someone a record or something, it’s just, that’s it. It’s just music taste, that’s all it is. They like the song or they don’t. With the live show, you can sway people who maybe don’t like the genre you’re playing into enjoying your show. We just want to walk off stage and have people be like, “that was a great show.” And that’s because of how we started, and how we always had to prove ourselves from a young age and just use the 25, 30 minutes you have to just win people over. BTS: Do you have a dream venue to headline? Alex: I mean, Red Rocks. Michael: It’d be great to headline there. Brendan: I mean, there are a lot of venues. I feel like, we’ve been lucky enough to open a lot of really awesome in like, 2011 for the first time. I went down to San Diego shows, especially on the most recent Twenty One Pilots and caught them there. I went to see Manchester Orches- tour we did, so we kinda got a taste for playing really retra- I love that band, another great live show. But I guess ally big rooms. But I guess that’s not all we want. There’s Cage the Elephant just like, they went on and I knew some some other small rooms. songs, obviously, but I wasn’t that into them yet. And they just came on and from the first note, the lights came on Alex: I’d love to headline the Bowery Ballroom. ‘Cause and started and Matt Shultz just ran toward the crowd we’ve played there a lot but we’ve never played our own and faked like he was gonna jump in the crowd and then show there. didn’t. Everyone freaked out and then by the end of the song, he actually did it. Just on the first song, he set the Brendan: Our last time through we headlined Gramertone for the whole night. It was one of the best live shows cy, which is kinda similar. It was weird cause we always I’ve ever seen. So that’s a band, like that one show, that’s came back and played Bowery, so it was weird that we probably still my favorite show I’ve ever seen. Just, I don’t weren’t headlining Bowery. I still want to go back and do know, that opened my eyes a lot, and I’d seen so many live that at some point. shows before that, but just his stage presence and just as a frontman, just everything he was doing, Matt Shultz is Alex: I mean obviously, Madison Square Garden, but the mindblowing. Greek [Theater] in Berkeley, California, that’s on the list, that’s a great venue. BTS: You stress your live show more than many bands do right away, why do you think it’s so imBTS: Between your 2014 and 2015 releases, your portant to you?
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music got a lot more rock based, why and where did that come from? Alex: I guess it kinda stemmed from once we started touring for most of the year, which started really in 2014. We toured, like, 9 months out of the year, we got to play our live show a ton of times and our live show is, I guess, a bigger rock show than what we’ve been able to translate on recording. So once we were done with that cycle of touring, we wanted our next release to really reflect our live show a little bit more than the past release we had, so I think that’s why it sounds a little bit more rock-leaning and heavier, if you want to call it that. We just kinda tried to make a concerted effort to really try and write songs and put the songs on the EP that we thought would be really fun live songs to play. BTS: Is there a song on the EP that you’re particularly proud of ? Brendan: For me, I think “Wrong.” Lyrically, especially. I think “Wrong” is one where I kind of really, if you look at the lyrics, it was kind of a tough time when I did write that song. It was a lot of up and down and during that one period of time. I think it was all hitting me that when you’re an adult, when you’re at this age, no matter what you accomplish or what you set out to do, you’re always gonna be wanting more. When you’re a kid there’s none of that, none of that responsibility, there’s no chasing after it. You can dream a little bit because you can just have so much more to look forward to- you’re not there yet, you know? I think looking back, I took a lot of that for granted. As a younger person, I guess I just had different expectations of what it would be like to be this age- to be in your early 20s, you know, not that I’m not happy with what we’re doing, I’m loving this and we’re doing great things. It’s been a blast. It’s not that at all, it’s just, I think no matter what you’re accomplishing in life, I think you’re gonna have those struggles and I think if you’re anybody who wants to accomplish anything, you’re gonna have those mental battles. Like, where you’re never quite fulfilled. I think that’s just something that comes with that, being that age, especially right now. In your 20s, it’s just a weird time. And that’s kind of what that song is about, it’s just about realizing how incorrect you were about your expectations of the future. I think personally, there’s a lot that people can connect with that song. I think everyone’s going to go through that. I think if you’re just in college trying to figure it out, if you’re still not in college, if you’re in middle school, high school, you have no idea what you wanna do with your life, I think it’s something really relatable. I’m
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glad that I can write a song in such a way I feel so proud of that song that hopefully can help people in a way by reminding them that it’s a struggle for everybody, too and it hopefully gets better. BTS: You mentioned your touring schedule, and your touring in general impacting your 2015 release, are you guys working on your next release? Is what you’re doing now impacting that? Alex: Yes and yes. It’s always hard to write music when we’re on the road, there’s just no real downtime. Or, with Brendan, he likes to write alone and there’s no alone time on the road. So when we were back home, before we started this Fitz and the Tantrums tour, we got the chance to hash out some new songs and had some ones that didn’t make the EP cut that we’ve been still working on from last year. We’re also just planning, once we come back home from this tour that we’re on right now, to really delve into deep writing, arranging for a full-length album. We’re excited for that full length album, and ready to check out their headlining tour this fall: it’s one no one should miss.
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Photos by Addie Whelan
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
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RON POPE DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
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COLD WAR KIDS
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Photos by Marissa Sandoval Words by Kristen Humphries
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Having formed in October 2015 in Hertfordshire, England, The Hunna have made quite a name for themselves. It’s easy to understand their quick success from the commending amount of hustle from the four guys: Ryan Potter (vocals, guitar), Dan Dorney (lead guitar), Jermaine Angin (bass), and Jack Metcalfe (drums). After working hard to create a local following, the band’s name spread across oceans. Between touring, writing, and gearing up to release their debut album 100, The Hunna has a promising future. Beyond The Stage was lucky enough to hear all about it while chatting with the group. Perhaps the band’s recent global success has something to do with its social media presence – the guys maintain a positive and engaging response to as many fans as possible. Nonetheless, they all got together a few years ago and only really started playing as The Hunna last year. “I met Ryan when I was sixteen in college…then we met Jack locally and I’ve known Jermaine since kindergarten and there formed The Hunna,” explains Dan. Social media is only part of a modern band’s success. The rest involves persistent hard work, touring, and writing, which is what The Hunna has made out of 2016 thus far. They gave BTS some insight on their writing process for 100.
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“We write however is best,” frontman Ryan Potter notes, “Whether it’s me and Dan because we’ve done that since we were sixteen, or Jermaine writes one and we go to rehearsal and jam on it together.” However, not every song the band writes makes it into the final cut, as Dan mentions. “We were writing for about two years and wrote over two-hundred songs, so we just picked the best ones and developed them.” For The Hunna, it’s all about picking the right songs, which has to feel natural. That’s exactly how 100 came to be. “It’s just kind of gradually and naturally came together,” describes Ryan, “the ones on the album now are the ones that everyone felt was right; it really has a vision. It’s our story before we got signed up until now.” Clearly, their song choices and fluid writing process has paid off, as fans sing back the lyrics to songs the band has yet to even release. And this makes gigs even better. “We shred like madmen when we play ‘Bad For You’ since it’s the last song of the set,” Jack discusses of the song that “breaks sticks and hearts.” As a bonus for fans: the band just shot the music video for the song, which will be a deluxe track on the album (so watch out for that soon!). Based on the dedication from their fanbase, it’s easy to see why The Hunna has big dreams for touring.
Having spent the first half of the year on tour in Europe and America, the band has been on a rollercoaster of a journey. Between headlining their own shows and supporting bands like Coasts, the guys of The Hunna have a few favorite shows. “Electric Ballroom because it’s our biggest headline show to date,” Jack comments and Ryan is quick to agree, as he tattooed the show’s date on his arm. The group is in this surreal time of gaining positive attention and watching their dreams manifest into reality. “We’re just four guys who love to play music together… we all had the same dream and now we’re here and getting to travel the world,” Ryan notions about the band playing shows globally. Though they’ve done a lot of touring already, they have a few bucket list shows to knock out in the future, including Wembley, O2 Arena, Coachella, and headlining Glastonbury. But if you’re wondering where they really want to play a show, they have some quality ideas. Ryan has his heart set on playing in an igloo, whereas Jermaine prefers a skyscraper, and Jack suggests Jupiter. Honestly? Fans of The Hunna can totally make this happen based on their already overwhelming support (who wouldn’t want to watch a gig on Jupiter?). All jokes aside, the band has a busy next few months while pushing their debut album. Upcoming shows include Reading and Leeds, as well as the UK and European tours. Assuming the success continues to skyrocket, we can bet the band will be touring all over in the future. They hope their debut album will do as well as they expect it to and we don’t doubt it at all. If you’re into great rock music made by genuine, hard-working dudes, then The Hunna is certainly the band to get behind.
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lindsey stirling | pittsburgh, pa | july 2016 | Photos by: stone fenk
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happy Issue 12! Check out what we’re listening to below and head to our twitter (@btsmag) for a link to the playlist!
1. All Nite (feat. Vince Staples) - Clams Casino 2. 1st Day Out The Feds - Gucci Mane 3. CRZY - Kehlani 4. Gold - Kiiara 5. Veneno - J Balvin 6. Dang! (feat. Anderson .Paak) - Mac Miller 7. Get to Know Ya - NAO 8. Cold Water (feat. Justin Bieber & MØ) - Major Lazer 9. Not Nice - PARTYNEXTDOOR 10. Superlove - Tinashe 11. JoHn Muir - Schoolboy Q 12. Reality Check (feat. Eryn Allen Kane & Akenya) Noname 13. Oxygen - Smino 14. Mixtape (feat. Young Thug & Lil Yachty) Chance The Rapper 15. Why You Always Hatin? (Feat. Drake & Kamaiyah) - YG
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