May 2019 - Beyond The Stage Magazine

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BEYOND THE STAGE

BEYOND the stage

STAFF

ADDIE WHELAN

EDITOR IN CHIEF

DELANEY DEANGELIS

DEPUTY EDITOR

GINA SCARPINO PHOTO EDITOR

CHELSEA GRESH

ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR

LAUREN KLONOWSKI

ASSISTANT DEPUTY EDITOR

JOE HERNANDEZ

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.

Read the latest news at: WWW.BEYONDTHESTAGEMAGAZINE.COM

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WRITERS

Revisit our previous issues at: https://btsmag.co/Issues Addie Whelan Blake Charles Joe Hernandez Lauren Klonowski

PHOTOGRAPHERS

DIGITAL ASSISTANT

Alyssa Buzzello Bailey Flores Becca Mathias Blake Charles Callie Craig Cassidy Kotyla Chelsea Gresh Gina Scarpino Joe Hernandez Nicolita Bradley

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Follow us for updates at: @BTSMAG


TABLE OF

CONTENTS ON THE COVER

20 JOHNNY ORLANDO

GALLERIES

FEATURES

06 Tom Walker 12 NOTD 28 Houndmouth

34 Alan Walker 40 BAYNK

04 State Champs 05 James Bay 10 Maggie Rogers 11 Greyson Chance 16 The Kooks 17 Bryce Vine 18 Robyn 26 Subtronics 27 flor 33 Tori Kelly 38 Simple Creatures 39 Donna Missal 44 LP

JOHNNY ORLANDO ON THE COVER

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STATE CHAMPS

CHELSEA GRESH - CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 2019

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JAMES BAY

CALLIE CRAIG - CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 2019

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A CONVERSATION WITH:

TOM WALKER PHOTOS & INTERVIEW BY NICOLITA BRADLEY INTRO BY ADDIE WHELAN

When Beyond The Stage last spoke to Tom Walker at the beginning of 2018, he was on the verge of his first US tour. Influenced by his friends and family, Walker was stunned to hear that he was going on his own headline tour. He “hoped that people would like his music,” as

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he just released his first single, “Leave A Light On.” Now with more than two hundred million streams on Spotify alone, Walker is touring North America and has been featured on dozens of playlists with hundreds of thousands of listeners every single day.


Tom Walker: Over the last two or three years we’ve been here doing various radio promo tours, I did a few support things, opened up for The Script - that was a big U.S. tour with them. So I’ve done a few bits and bobs but the last tour was my first ever headline tour. BTS: How was that tour? TW: It was really, really good actually! I just love road tripping in America it’s so much fun. There’s never a dull moment. The drives are a lot longer than in the UK. You could drive from the bottom to the top in 12 hours. BTS: What’s your favorite song to perform live? TW: I think “Leave A Light On” because a lot of people know it. It’s the most popular song. The crowd always seems to go the most mental for it. But some of the new ones on the album, like “Cry Out”, I really like performing that. It’s a bit different than anything we’ve previously done. BTS: It’s surprising to hear that they know “Leave A Light On” more than “Just You and I.” TW: They’re kind of catching up with each other! “Just You and I” just went #4 in the UK so it’s kind of caught up with “Leave A Light On” which is cool. But they’re two different songs. “Leave A Light On” is really lively and a bit loud, while “Just You and I” is more of a sing-a-long love song. BTS: What’s been the most exciting fan moment for you so far? TW: There’s one particular girl who told me a really nice story about how her brother had a problem with drugs and managed to sort himself out. He listened to my song “Leave A Light On” and other music. She was quite emotional. It was really cool to hear how music helped. It’s a nice side effect of being a songwriter, getting to help people indirectly. I’ve played at a few fans’ weddings.

We sat down with Walker in Seattle earlier this year to talk about his first tour versus his latest, the festivals he’s looking forward to and so much more. Read on to learn more from Tom Walker. Beyond The Stage: You were in America last August on your first headlining tour. Was that your first time performing in America?

BTS: A lot of your songs are really lesson oriented. Is that something you plan for when you write or does that happen more naturally during the process? TW: I think it just naturally happens. I don’t really set out to give anybody any life lessons. I don’t pretend to know what I’m doing. I think all of my songs are a bit depressing, but with an underlying tone of hope. There’s always a silver lining, light at the end of the BTS

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tunnel. I like writing about things I worry about but having an overall outlook of “it’s cool because we’re going to get through this together”. I never intentionally set out to do that though. It has to do with how my brain works. I get really upset about the current state of politics in the UK and a bunch of different stuff… You spend your whole life worrying about that stuff but if you spend your whole life trying to positively make a change in your own life, that’s all you can do. It’s good to worry about it, but also good to get on with your life. BTS: In our last interview, you mentioned an ACDC song you wish you could have written. Is there another song you would have liked to have written? TW: I really like “Stop This Train” by John Mayer. I love the whole production of it - the way that the snare sounds like a train chugging along. From the songwriting to the production, everything is amazing on that record. BTS: Do you work and write on music while you’re touring? TW: I try to write lyrical ideas down, but I have to admit I’ve been lacking recently. I find that if I’m going to write a song I need no distractions. I need to sit in a room, by myself with a guitar or piano and maybe another person and just think of it. It’s hard with the band around, and we’re drinking beers - it’s so much fun. The idea of sitting in a room trying to write a song while that’s going on is difficult.

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BTS: Is there a specific artist you want to go on tour with? TW: I love Imagine Dragons! I think they’re really cool. They’re out doing massive arena tours. I thinnk that our sounds would go well together. BTS: What’s next for you in 2019? TW: So we got this US tour then we get back to the UK. We’re rehearsing for about 10 days, putting together a whole new set together for a big UK tour that we sold out a couple months ago - which is sick! After that we’re going to Europe for another tour. Then it’s festival season - Japan, New Zealand, back to Mexico, Singapore, a couple in Europe and the UK. Maybe Glastonbury, I’m not sure yet. At the end of the year there’s another UK and Europe tour, and Christmas. BTS: Is there a specific festival that you’re really excited to perform at? TW: If I got Glastonbury that would be my favorite thing. I love Glastonbury. I bought a ticket just in case I’m not playing because I genuinely love the festival so much. So I’d really like to play that, but we’ll see what happens.

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MAGGIE ROGERS GINA SCARPINO - NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 2019

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GREYSON CHANCE BECCA MATHIAS - PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 2019

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NOTD

PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO WORDS BY ADDIE WHELAN

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With a massive discography and chart-topping singles, NOTD have taken over the electronic music world in the last year. “I Wanna Know,” the single that immediately skyrocketed the duo to the top 10, alongside previous Beyond The Stage cover star, Bea Miller, has almost a billion streams on Spotify, quickly making their way to the top of the top 40 radio charts. Now, the swedish duo has even more music on the way, with plans to tour, incorporate instrumental versions into their live performances and more. Read on for our full conversation with NOTD. Beyond The Stage: Can you introduce yourselves for our readers? NOTD: We’re Sam and Tobi from NOTD. BTS: So you guys met on SoundCloud, how was that different than meeting a traditional way? Sam: For us, we first started talking on SoundCloud. And then after, we met at our high school because I was attending the same high school that Tobi was. I would say it was really different [than a traditional experience] but it’s all different when you’re writing [music.] So you really didn’t know who you were making music with [online]. You know what I mean? So it was kind of different and writing through Facebook it was kind of weird, but cool in the same way.

Tobi: Back then, SoundCloud wasn’t really a big community and it was a really small place where it was just Soundcloud producers. So it was a special era. BTS: Was it scary when you guys met for the first time face to face? Tobi: It was so fun, I remember it. Sam: I wouldn’t say it was scary, but it was the first day at a new school for me, so I was nervous already, for meeting all of the new people and then I met Tobi, so I was a bit shy, but I wasn’t scared. BTS: How did you choose your name? Tobi: Our manager came up with the option called ‘The Locksmiths’ and we said, ‘no scrap that.’ Well then I was with my wife and I was just writing down a bunch of different names and then I wrote our full names and the two letters of our last names. I just reversed it. So it’s NOTD. Simple, but really not that simple. BTS: You’ve remixed some songs for a really big artists. Can you kind of talk about the process you went through with those songs? Tobi: I mean at the beginning, both Tobi and started making like unofficial remixes. So when we got the

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opportunity to make our first official remix, it was like crazy. Then when we got the opportunity to make remixes for Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran, it was like so crazy. It was so crazy and weird, because our music was getting released through a record label. Then to have it released on the artist’s Spotify page, that was incredible. BTS: How is creating a remix different from making an original? Tobi: Making a remix is more like, “how would I make this record.” With the original, you can put all of the emotion in the beginning. When you’re doing the writing and you’re in the session, you can do 100% your own stuff. BTS: Your song with Bea Miller, “I Wanna Know” is on its way to a billion streams. What was that recording process like? Tobi: We had the song for super long. We had it for over a year and it was really special to us. We just needed to get it out, but we really needed a feature. We had Bea try another song for us before, but it was good, but it wasn’t really good. We love her voice but she really didn’t fit there. So, then we had this song and we asked her to try it and she just nailed it. Sam: When we got the version back, we said “yes, this is it.” BTS: You guys have also performed that song acoustic before with her. And so what is it like kind of taking a song that’s more electronic and kind of transferring it over to acoustic? Sam: Since we make like kind of dancey electric-focused music, it’s cool making it to stripped down version of it. Then you can really feel the emotion or the top line more on the track itself. BTS: What can you tell us about your single “So Close”? What was the process like for making that song? Tobi: So Georgia Ku wrote it together with Captain Cuts and Felix Jaehn in Los Angeles like a year ago. And then we have been getting a ton of contact with Felix Jaehn, like BTS

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phone calls and Twitter chats and we got the conversation going. And then he sent us this track that they wrote. The demo version and asked what we could bring to the track. So we wanted to bring it to the next level. And when we heard it, we said “wow this is a really good song.” So we went to the studio and we made a version that we really loved and everyone else did too. BTS: Can you tell us a little bit about the music video for the song too?


Tobi: So the song is kind of dancey and uplifting and kinda happy, but the lyrics are sad. Since you kind of want to move and dance when you hear it, it was like “we should have dancers to just, this is the vibe.” We loved the vibe of the neon signs in Japan and everything just felt really great. We never had been to Japan or Asia, but we really want to experience it ourselves. BTS: What do you guys have going on the rest of the year?

Sam: We have a new single out with HRVY, he’s a singer from the UK. He’s really good, the song is so so good. It’s a really special song for us and we’re excited to get it out. Tobi: We’re also working on the live show and seeing how we can make it play out since we both play instruments. We kind of want to introduce that into the live shows so it’s not just DJing which we’re also going to do. It’s very exciting. BTS

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THE KOOKS

ALYSSA BUZZELLO - LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 2019

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BRYCE VINE

BLAKE CHARLES - PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 2019

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ROBYN

BLAKE CHARLES -SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 2019

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JOHNNY ORLANDO WORDS BY LAUREN KLONOWSKI PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO

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fter making YouTube videos for fun with his sister, Canadian pop artist Johnny Orlando has transformed what was only a hobby, into a full-fledged career in the span of just a few years. In the beginning, Orlando and his older sister, Darian would make covers of their favorite songs and somewhere along the way it struck a chord. A career in music was never the goal though. “It wasn’t even my idea, to be honest, it was my sister’s. She was inspired by YouTube covers of other people and we just kind of started doing it. She was like, ‘Hey John, do you want to make a YouTube video? I was like 8 years old so I was like, uh, yeah sure.’ I probably didn’t even know what a YouTube video was at that time, or what YouTube could really do. It was all by chance, honestly. I don’t think we had any intention of getting popular or getting paid, or even knowing you could at that time. YouTube in 2011 was different than today, there were not that many popular YouTubers, it was just a fun hobby site for everybody.” Orlando talks about what it was like to essentially launch a career for himself at eight years old. “It’s really crazy, it all just happened so fast. The years kind of flew by -- it feels like it was yesterday.” As for actually getting signed, he says, “The time from when I first started talking to labels to when I was actually signed was not a very long period of time -- it was like maybe 6 months.” While the turnaround time on getting signed wasn’t long, Orlando and his team held off on even looking for a label for some time. “We didn’t want to use a label for so long because when you’re too young in the music industry, you sign to a label, you end up getting shelved. So, we wanted to wait until I had some leverage, until I had some popularity to sign to a label, and the label is just killing it. It’s amazing.” Waiting was clearly the right move, and he definitely has some popularity with

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over 5.8 million followers on Instagram, he is on his way to being a household name. When creating Teenage Fever which dropped last month, Orlando looked to some of his favorite musical influences: The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber, Black. He says that he draws inspiration from a lot places, including his father. “My dad used to play super old music from when he was a kid. I listen to Pearl Jam sometimes, a little bit of Otis Redding, that was before he was even born [laughs].” This culmination of modern and older artists helped mold his songwriting into what it is today.

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He and his sister co-wrote much of the EP. “My sister and I were on every song, then we usually had one other writer or one other producer. It was really cool, I love working with Darian. She’s like the female version of me. We’re the same person, just different gender. I loved everybody that we worked with, I honestly don’t think we had one bad session on this EP. Obviously, some songs were better than others in the end, but mostly it came down to what fit with the Teenage Fever theme. So, what constitutes the Teenage Fever theme? “To me, it felt more like a timeline than a body


of music. The whole Teenage Fever concept is that it’s a collection of my experiences throughout my teenagehood.” “It was different for every song,” Orlando says when talking about the recording process of the EP. “In the actual studio, we would have around a six hour time slot and sometimes we’d go over on some songs. Other songs it would happen in 3 hours for the whole process. Usually the producer comes in, plays some chords, records it, puts it into Logic and puts it on a loop and makes drums. Then we come in and freestyle to it and we get a chorus melody, then first verse, second verse and sometimes the bridge.” With this being Orlando’s first EP and first real experience in the studio for a long-term project, he got to learn a lot of new things. He says, “I learned a lot about writing and about producing and what actually happens in sessions because before these sessions, I had never done a session. Over the time period of the EP being created, I have developed my voice a lot because I started going to voice lessons and learning how to sing properly, instead of just on instinct.” However, he learned more than just musical techniques. “I definitely learned about myself creatively and how to dig into my feelings and memories and how to put them into words, too.” Out of all the things he learned, he says that the biggest lesson was, “Not being afraid to let it all go. Just let it all out.” “Sleep” is the current single off the EP. The concept behind the track is “wanting to stay awake as long as possible, because even though you’re not dreaming, that’s what it feels like.

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Being awake is way better than whatever could possibly be in your dreams. It’s powerful because being awake is better than your wildest, most idyllic dreams.” To capture this, he filmed a video for the track that has almost 7.5 million views on YouTube. From the sound of it, filming the video was just as much fun as watching it. “It was lots of fun shooting it! We shot it with Nadia Turner, it’s always more fun having friends on set. I’m a solo artist, so it can get boring sometimes. Being with a friend instead of an actress that the label finds is definitely better because you get over that hour and a half of awkwardness at the beginning of the shoot, where you’re just trying to have it not be uncomfortable when you’re on camera and introduce yourself.”

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Now that he’s released and EP and has a hit single, it’s time to hit the road! He’s heading out this spring. “I am excited to perform in Toronto again, my home city. I’m also excited to go back to places that I love, like New York, for example and to go to new places like Boston. And I’m just excited see everyone that supports me online, in real life!” While Orlando just released Teenage Fever and he’s gearing up for a tour, he is still looking forward to the future. “Tour starts in a month and a half and then there will be another tour in the fall. We are also definitely going to be releasing some music in the summer for all the hype.” It’s going to be quite a busy year, but it looks like 2019 is coming up all Johnny Orlando.


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SUBTRONICS

CASSIDY KOTYLA - CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 2019

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FLOR

JOE HERNANDEZ - PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 2019

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HOUNDMOUTH PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO WORDS BY ADDIE WHELAN

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Just across the river from Louisville, Kentucky, you’ll find the town of New Albany, Indiana. At first notice, the town shows an incredible amount of history, established in 1817 just after the American Revolutionary War. Now, the town has grown to more than 35,000 residents and is called home by American alternative blues band, Houndmouth. Consisting of Matt Myers (guitar, vocals), Zak Appleby (bass, vocals), and Shane Cody (drums, vocals, the band was formed in 2011, quickly signing to Rough Trade Records in 2012. “We’re all from the same town, so we got together and started playing music. It was pretty casual. Definitely a casual get together,” Cody said of the formation. Although the band cites that their formation was “pretty casual,” their skyrocketed success was not. After releasing their debut album, the band performed on The David Letterman Show and CONAN, which were followed by performances at some of the biggest music festivals across the United States.

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Drawing inspiration from their own lives, the band uses their own personal stories to create their music, which brings true authenticity to their raw, captivating tracks. Sonically, the band draws inspiration from all over the place, which Myers noted includes “John Prime and Randy Newman,” and continued, “A lot of stuff that was recorded between 1970 and 1974. If it was a record between 1970 and 1974, we’re probably going to like it.” Although the band’s first two albums were similar sounding, Houndmouth took a chance on their third album, Golden Age. “[When we would record] before, we would get in a room and we played live. But for Golden Age, we built the tracks separate. We built a band instead of playing as a band. So it was kind of a different vibe,” Myers said. “It was a very conscious decision to build the band [instead of record live]. It’s just something that we wanted to do.” Joking that the album was named after the song of the same namesake, Myers clarified how the album is about the juxtaposition of technology and how it sounds positive, but “not really in this case.”

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Landing them a solid listenership and fanbase, the band went on to release more music, specifically their “California Voodoo EP,” which includes some of the band’s favorite demos to date. “We just really liked those songs. They unfortunately didn’t make the album and we really liked them,” Cody said. “We went to Gatlinburg to record them. We got a cab and loaded all of our gear in it and went to this cabin. We stayed there for about a week. It’s really funny to listen to some of them because they are really janky recordings. Like I heard it on the radio the other day and it was kind of funny to hear like, someone playing our janky recording on the radio. Like if they knew the state of mind and the equipment that we had to use — it’s just funny to hear on the radio. Gatlinburg actually burned down after we left, we left and the town went down in flames,” continued Myers. Now, touring with Ben Kweller, the band is hitting cities across the U.S., grabbing the attention of rock fans around the country and introducing them to their sound. “Shane turned me onto Ben Kweller and then he showed up at our bus at ACL this year and we started chatting. If you know him or you don’t know him and

you see him perform and hear him talk, you know that he’s a lovely guy and very personable. He’s super fun,” said Myers. Not only has Houndmouth been able to explore new food and new cities, but achieve some of their own dreams too. “We got to go to Barclays Center today to play a festival and it’s amazing. I’ve never shot a professional three pointer before, more or less never been on a professional court. But it’s amazing. In an empty arena,” said Myers of the experience. Although Houndmouth has skyrocketed to success, playing some of the most iconic venues across the United States like Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom and New York’s Brooklyn Steel, the confidence they portray towards their own music is astonishing. Backed by their own roots, they explain that their music sounds like “the cornfields of Indiana” and it’s exactly where they want to be. With a strong possibility for an incredible amount of success, Houndmouth’s growth for the future is strategic and focused, but is backed by family roots and personal triumphs. With plans for building their own families in 2019, the band shows that personal connections are important, in return, creating a genuine, authentic, and personal experience in their music.

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TORI KELLY

BLAKE CHARLES - PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 2019

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ALAN WALKER PHOTOS AND WORDS BY BLAKE CHARLES

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A

DJ/producer known for painting unique and vivid worlds through his music, Alan Walker has quickly become one of the most recognizable and in demand names in EDM. His unique ability to take the bombast of EDM, and use it to create something tender and emotional is just one of the many pieces of the puzzle that is Alan Walker. His music is dynamic to the point that it will have you dancing one second and crying the next. One could argue that the full range of human emotion can be found in any number of Alan Walker songs. Despite the precision of his craftsmanship and artistic vision, music wasn’t always Alan Walker’s goal. “I was a kid that was really interested in programing and gaming and anything that has to do with technology pretty much. Graphic design as well. It wasn’t until 2014 when I really had a breakthrough with music, but I started in 2012 I would say. I learned how to do music and everything through YouTube. I just watched tutorials and experimented along the way. I think that’s pretty much the beginning, and since then it’s been a crazy journey.” Walker’s crazy journey started with “Fade”, an instrumental track that became an anthem of sorts for the online gaming community; a community that Walker grew up in and greatly identifies with. The track quickly took hold online, helping Walker secure management and an ever growing fanbase, eager to hear more from the then up-and-coming producer. After seeing the online reaction to “Fade”, both Walker and his label realized the crossover potential the track had, and decided to repackage it. “‘Fade’ was originally a song that I did in 2014 and it blew up on the internet and it got like 200 million views on my previous label. When I signed with Sony Music and my management, we talked about doing a remaster of ‘Fade’ and that’s when ‘Faded’ came to life.” After adding piano and vocals courtesy of Iselin Solheim, “Fade” became “Faded”, and an international sensation was born. The song is currently one of the most streamed songs in the history of Spotify, while the music video is currently one of the most viewed and liked videos on YouTube. What sets “Faded” apart from other dance tracks, and what has made it connect with so many people, is the deep emotional aspect of the song. Dance music is often known for being shallow, silly, party music, but with “Faded”, Walker proves that dance music can be far more than any stereotype says. The plucky synths, simple piano, and heartbreaking vocals all lead up to the

magical release of tension that is the drop, bringing the emotions of the track out in full force. The track not only cemented Alan Walker as a force to be reckoned with, but a producer with a unique emotional perspective in the dance music landscape. “I always like to make music that I feel like could fit my emotions. For example, I put my emotions into melodies and I feel like I can use that to talk and communicate what I feel without using any words, and that’s what I did when I made, for example, ‘Fade’; I made a melody that I loved and it sounded nice, and little did I know that it would blow up.” On stage and in interviews, Walker is known for wearing a black surgical mask that covers the lower half of his face, as he further immerses himself in the mysterious world he has created. He doesn’t cover his face for anonymity per se, but rather to shape a complex and ever-evolving storyline surrounding him and his art. Some of the biggest names in electronic music cover their faces to hide their true identities, but when Walker covers his face, he is doing anything but hiding. For he and his fans, there are no limits to what the mask can represent. While the mask has now become a symbol of the Walker universe, the initial choice to cover his face came from both Walker and his team. “I was discussing with Sony Music and my management planning like how to put Alan Walker out and we looked at my social media and personal interests, which is music production, programing, and graphic design. These things said ‘You’re that guy in the background, you’re not the guy that likes to be the center of attention’ and I felt like that represented me. I figured we could do something that reflects on that hacker universe with like the hoodie and the mask.” While the mask has become just one of Alan Walker’s most recognizable attributes, it is far more than just a signature. Among many things, the mask represents the power of anonymity and the creation of unity. Both Walker and many of his fans have roots in the online gaming world, so the mask also represents the realm of secrecy that many gamers inhabit. The mask is essentially another screen, further mystifying and isolating whoever wears it. However, it seems as though the very thing that may seem to keep people apart, is exactly what is bringing them together. Upon first glance, hoodies and masks may seem to represent isolation, but in the world of Walker, they represent a world where everyone belongs. Hoodies and masks have become a staple of Alan Walker shows, and while people’s faces might be covered, their joy, passion, and love for one another are on full display. BTS

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“Anyone can be a Walker if they put on a hoodie and a mask.” Walker’s visual interpretations of the world he and his music inhabit is just another piece of Walker’s grand musical puzzle. Futuristic and dystopian, the world of Walker is about finding hope in a world that often times seems hopeless. Take the music video for “Faded”; a boy dressed in Walker’s signature mask and hoodie, explores a seemingly abandoned world in search for his home. We see the boy search and search, only for the video to conclude with him learning that his home is no longer there. Walker further explored this sort of imagery with the “World of Walker” trilogy, as he embarked on an even more ambitious and cinematic project. A story set to “All Falls Down”, “Darkside”, and “Diamond Heart”, we find ourselves in the year 2100, where the world’s inhabitants known as “Walkers”, uncover a time capsule buried 83 years in the past by a civilization on the brink of collapse. While the capsule contains many mysteries, the Walkers eventually decipher some of the technological artifacts left behind, and learn of a grand prophecy and mission they are meant to complete. The three aforementioned tracks each represent their own episode, perfectly mirroring the complex story being told. The intense level of detail, imagery, and emotion of the project is unprecedented, as “World of Walker” completely eclipses any preconceived ideas about what music videos can and should be. “The entire concept around Alan Walker, both me as a person and me as an artist, is surrounded by this cryptic universe. It’s also very influenced by the gaming world and the technology world and everything and anything that fits the universe of Alan Walker.” Despite ambitious music and video projects, it wasn’t until December 2018 that Alan Walker released his debut album, entitled Different World. Continuing with the dystopian imagery, Different World is the sort of sucker punch of an album that only a dedicated vision and years of hard work can accomplish. From the intro of the album, Walker transplants the listener into the enigmatic world he has created, for a listen that is as fun as it is impactful. Despite both the lyrical and sonic cohesion of the album, Alan Walker had gone on record several times saying that he never planned on releasing an album. “I was releasing singles in the timespan of three to six months, and in that period I worked on a lot of new music and had a bunch of new demos that were good, and were potential new singles. After one or two years of this, I had a pretty big library of music that was good BTS

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enough to be released but didn’t really have the time to put it out. We figured that we could eventually do an album because we felt like the library of unreleased music was becoming really strong, and also I had generated a following where I felt like I could be release an album without fear that a lot of people would skip through it or not listen at all.” Needless to say, the worry that people wouldn’t listen to the album was quickly squashed, as Different World


has proven to be a perfect representation of Alan Walker; the EDM superstar who refuses to be defined. Through his music, he has created so much more than simply songs to dance to. His music has created worlds, stories, and a sense of belonging for a community of Walkers all around the world, who identify with the man behind the music, just as much as the music itself. As long as Alan Walker keep creating new worlds, we’ll keep preparing for the journey. BTS

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SIMPLE CREATURES ALYSSA BUZZELLO - LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 2019

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DONNA MISSAL

GINA SCARPINO - NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 2019

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BAYNK

PHOTOS AND WORDS BY JOE HERNANDEZ


When asked how he came up with the name, BAYNK will laugh and say he thought of the name while taking a shower, wrote it down and thought it looked cool. He’ll call it an uninteresting and uninspiring story. This multi-talented New Zealand producer, however, may be one of the most interesting and inspiring artists on the rise. Jock Nowell-Usticke is a chemical engineering graduate who is now known as BAYNK. His interest in music first formed when he was 21 and playing in a cover band while attending university. They had entered in a competition with the prize being studio time to record a demo, and won. They recorded the song they had won the competition with, and “then we’ve got the recording deck and I really hated it,” says BAYNK. “I think most of the band hated it as well. So I was like, I’m going to figure out how to do it myself. And I downloaded the software and just got obsessed. It’s pretty much straight out the gate.” From then on he was obsessed with producing and making music as much as he could, putting his music on SoundCloud and diving deep into the project for months. Until he just about gave up. “No one really seemed to listen to it. So I just gave up. I just stopped making music. I was like, I’m going to need to find an engineering job because no one is going to listen to my music.” Months later someone finally did, reached out and asked BAYNK about his music. He credits her for giving him the confidence to continue to pursue music. BAYNK not only produces music though, he takes complete creative reign over his work by performing on tour, directing and editing his own music videos, programming his own lighting rig and when he isn’t collaborating with other artists BAYNK even writes and sings his own vocals. BAYNK was based in New Zealand until recently moving to Los Angeles, where the opportunities to work and collaborate with artists wasn’t as prevalent. “So I just started singing my own vocal chops. And I would just chop it up, and I eventually started saying random words. Then I think maybe a year or two into it, I just eventually was like, ‘oh, I’m just going to like do the whole bit and just see what happens.’” That exact same reasoning is how his passion for other aspects of his project grows. “I never came from an artistic, creative background. Being from New Zealand, it’s just so fenced off from those worlds. When it came time, when out of the blue, the project started getting some heat and I started to feel like I wanted things like music videos.” BTS

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He wanted to help his tracks gain traction, and in regards to music videos he explains in the beginning he didn’t know anyone who could help or anything about videography. As with each aspect of his project, he would turn to YouTube and research everything himself: “I’d get like a little obsession for it. And then I’d just like go deep in my cave and learn everything I can about it. I find this a great way to distract myself from music as well. I got to the point after a year of making music that I couldn’t do this every day anymore. It was just mind numbing. It felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I needed to distract myself. So I’ve got a camera and started making music videos and editing. I would learn about lights. I just figured that the best things to really do research on was anything to do with being an artist and every facet of the project.” These interests have more benefits than just providing a distraction, but actually inspires and motivates each aspect of work. Lighting and music video concepts will generate ideas for songs that will suite that situation, touring provides a nice break from making music and vice versa. After performing for so long, BAYNK becomes ready to lock himself away for a few months to work, which he plans to do to finish off his upcoming EP. The EP will feature at least four new tracks, with his previously two released songs “Settle” featuring Sinead Harnett, and “Off Limits” featuring the Australian band Glades. Now located in LA, collaborating with artists has become much easier for BAYNK, as proven by his feature with Glades. He first heard their music on Australian radio, but didn’t reach out to work with them until he was clicking through Spotify searching for a female artist with a rich, strong, interesting tone. “Once I found her, she was like at the top of my list. It just happened that they were writing an album maybe five minutes away from me. Up in the Hollywood Hills. So I hit them up and they just rolled in one day. We wrote it in like five hours. They’re all super nerds and it just happened very naturally.” He continued to recount the day, saying they had lunch to chat and get to know each other, not discussing music at all. Back in the studio, BAYNK and Glades worked on their individual portion of the song to see what would happen. “I just sat down and I produced the song from start to end, and they sat on the couch and wrote the whole song. We actually barely talked until the end. It doesn’t usually happen that way. Usually we’re talking the whole time, but they BTS 42

obviously are a band and they have their whole process sorted. So they just do their thing. And then by the time I was finished, they finished the lyrics. And I asked them to record it. Along with his upcoming EP, BAYNK hopes to release more music videos in 2019 and will be playing music festivals this summer in America and overseas. Along with all that, he plans to lock himself away to create new music. “I don’t even know what I’m going to do next. That’s not true, I do. I have inklings of what I’m going to do. But I’m not sure. I’m not ready to say just in case it doesn’t come to fruition.”


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LP

BAILEY FLORES - AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 2019

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PLAYLIST 1. The Wild One - Suzi Quatro 2. Hellboy - SWMRS 3. Less Is More - Demob Happy 4. Scrawny - Wallows 5. Half Man Half God - Don Broco 6. She Looks Like A Dreamer - Hey Charlie 7. Predictable - You Me At Six 8. Poor Boy - The Regrettes 9. A.M. - Beach Goons 10. Rebel Red - HUNNY 11. Trampoline - Airways 12. Rebel Rebel - David Bowie 13. Bad Company - YONAKA 14. GET OVER IT - RAT BOY 15. Bullfrog - Stand Atlantic

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SHAWN MENDES | PHOTO BY ADDIE WHELAN BTS

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