Beyond The Stage Magazine - May 2018

Page 1


BEYOND THE STAGE

BEYOND the stage

STAFF

ADDIE WHELAN EDITOR IN CHIEF

ALICIA RANGEL ART DIRECTOR

DELANEY DEANGELIS DEPUTY EDITOR

GINA SCARPINO PHOTO EDITOR

KRISTEN HUMPHRIES

Buy a print copy of ANY issue at: http://bit.ly/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

BTS

2

WRITERS

Revisit our previous issues at: http://bit.ly/BTSissues

Addie Whelan Blake Charles Delaney DeAngelis Joe Hernandez Kristen Humphries Lauren Klonowski Samantha Aneed Valerie McIntyre

PHOTOGRAPHERS

CONTENT ASSISTANT

Addie Whelan Alicia Rangel Alyssa Buzzello Bailey Flores Blake Charles Chelsea Gresh Curtis Vadnais Gina Scarpino Joe Hernandez Marissa Sandoval Nicolita Bradley Stone Fenk Valerie McIntyre

Want to be featured in BTS? Contact: awhelan@beyondthestagemagazine.com For advertising inquiries contact: ads@beyondthestagemagazine.com

Follow us for updates at: @BTSMAG


TABLE OF

CONTENTS ON THE COVER

38 JAKE MILLER

GALLERIES

FEATURES

06 - GOODY GRACE 50 - DREAMERS 56 - GRACE WEBER

12 - Emo Nite 24 - Albin Lee Meldau 30 - LYDIA 46 - Album Reviews 62 - Jule Vera 69 - Playlist

04 - All Time Low 05 - 5 Seconds of Summer 10 - Alvvays 11 - Noah Kahan 14 - Michigander 15 - Jacob Banks 16 - iHeartCountry 22 - Kane Brown 23 - Steve Aoki 28 - Wolf Alice 29 - Bishop Briggs 34 - Quinn XCII 35 - Billie Eilish 36 - Our Last Night 37 - Misterwives 44 - The Band CAMINO 45 - Queens of the Stone Age 48 - The Hunna 49 - The Night Game 54 - Odesza 55 - Turnover 60 - Andy Grammer 61 - Don Broco 66 - Jukebox The Ghost 67 - Jorja Smith 68 - Taylor Swift

JAKE MILLER ON THE COVER

BTS

3


ALL TIME LOW

COVINGTON, KY - CHELSEA GRESH - APRIL 2018

BTS

4


5 SECONDS OF SUMMER CHICAGO, IL - ADDIE WHELAN - APRIL 2018

BTS

5


GOODY GRACE WORDS BY SAMANTHA ANEED AND PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO

BTS

6


W

hen an artist releases their first major project, it usually has a deeper meaning behind it. It is what the artist stands for, how the artist feels and it most likely shows how they want to be branded as an artist. From the moment any artist decides to make an album, they have to make decisions about the recording process, how many songs to write and what exactly they want their sound to sound like. From there, they decide which songs to add to their tour setlist, and in the end, they really have to decide what they want to convey with their music. When Goody Grace released his debut record Infinite, he knew it was going to mean something. “The word ‘infinite’ means a lot to me. It kind of means there are endless possibilities in life and what we can do is infinite. I was really happy to just kinda have my introduction to music as my first project named after just everything I stand for,” he said. As for what he wants fans to feel when they listen or the message he wants to send, it’s simple—he just wants them to feel the same or different emotions he felt while writing the songs. Behind every great song is an even greater story and behind that great story is an emotion that was felt during that time. Whether it’s anger, sadness or happiness, it was there and sometimes, we don’t even realize it until we hear a song that makes that turns on the light bulb. Goody Grace wants people to feel something when they hear his music. “I just really hope to convey the emotions that I kinda had put into it as I created it. You know, I love how when I hear a song and how it makes me feel. All the music I like, I like because of how it makes me feel; not even just how it sounds or the lyrics or whatever, it all comes down to the feeling it gives,” he said. “I really hope people just feel something when they listen, be it maybe the exact feeling i had when I was working on it or they could just take it in

a different way and feel something else that I didn’t intend but that’s what they take from it. I just really hope to convey the feelings that I had while making it.” Infinite is full of very unique songs and lyrics that are full of emotion. The sound on the album is eccentric. Finding inspiration for songs is demeaning and difficult. When asked where he finds inspiration for his songs, Goody Grace explained it comes from what he listens to. “I find inspiration with anything that I really listen to. I am a big fan of many different types of music, so I think all my inspirations and influences are blended together in my sound.” That sound is like something you’ve never heard—it’s one-of-a-kind. If you have never listened to a Goody Grace song, you are in for a treat. His project is a whole experience to listen to from front to back. “I would describe my music as very cinematic and catatonically very versatile and emotional lyrics and you know, it’s not really one genre,” he explained. “It’s kind of all over the place but there is still cohesion in the sound.” He also describes his sound as “cinematic” and “nostalgic.” As an artist who has been known as the opening act for the last three years, Goody Grace recently branched out and headlined his own tour. As an artist prepares for their own tour, there are many things to look forward to—the best being an entire room of people singing your lyrics back to you. “It’s really crazy for my first time to just be, like, in a room with everyone singing these lyrics,” he said. Imagine being in that venue hearing your favorite song live; it’s a special feeling. The artist feels the same, performing and hearing fans singing back the lyrics that means so much to them. He notes, “I feel like I got really comfortable performing, though. When you’re opening, you’re just trying to win people over if they don’t know you. Now when I perform live and I walk out on stage, I’m like ‘Damn, you guys already know the words.’”

BTS

7


When you’re in that moment, it is magical for you and the artist. Being on the road for a long period of time can be exhausting, and that’s why getting proper rest is important. For Goody Grace, some of his favorite parts of touring include the different hotels he gets to sleep in and trying new food from each city he visits. When it comes down to it though, he says the best part about touring is playing the shows. “My favorite part about touring is the shows, honestly. Playing shows is the absolute best part,” he said. “When I was out on stage and hear just from the first song people singing is, just like, the best part of touring. It truly is the time where you just forget you’re in a new city. It is very great.” Writing a song is a difficult task. You have to find the perfect beat, combine the lyrics perfectly and in the end, you have to feel good about the song overall. As far as lyrics, Goody Grace has that department covered. His lyrics are easily relatable and can make you feel something with the first verse. He has a way of telling a story through music and it is a beautiful gift. As for songs on Infinite and the inspiration behind them, or the mindset when writing them, we can conclude they all hold powerful emotion and tell a story only he can tell. We asked Goody about a song he wrote titled “Pretend.” It really came down to the first word of the song and it spiraled from there. “‘Pretend’ was actually written very, very fast. I was sitting down playing guitar with my friend and I wrote it with him. What happened was, I was just playing the chords and he was like ‘it would be funny if the worst word you started with was fuck.’ and I was like ‘damn, that would be really funny.’ So that night I was sitting there and it was more like strummy, but I started picking it more like a folky version and I wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it the next day. It was kind of like a freestyle and it like kinda wrote itself and it is one of my favorite songs of mine. It sounds the most like an old Bob Dylan song or something and I guess I was pretty emotional when I BTS

8

wrote it. I think it’s kinda funny that it sounds so pretty but the first words are ‘fuck you.’” So when an artist writes a song, they’re most likely coming from an emotional place but can still have a laugh at the same time. At the same time though, not every song comes from an emotional place, as some just come when they find a great beat. “For my song ‘In The Light of The Moon,’ I was alone on my friends couch and no one was there yet, but I was sitting there on my laptop just playing around with Logic. I was playing around with a key on my laptop and I found the intro. I wanted it to sound creepy, like some vampire Transylvaniatype sound. I made just the baseline and added some electric guitars and there were no drums at the time,” he said. “Then, I just started free styling lyrics and the first thing I wrote was the hook. I added a verse, made the beat and kept an open verse, then sent it to Lil Aaron and went to his house and he did it. That’s one of my favorite songs as well and I love it. That shit goes off live.”


Now the hard work comes into play when it is time to record and produce the songs they have worked hard to write. For Goody Grace, he says his recording process is usually just him alone. “I made a lot of the project alone. I work a lot alone on my laptop. I was writing the songs and working on it for quite some time so, you know, I made so many songs that kind of went in and got scraped. It was a long process of just finding the right track list and songs I felt comfortable with and felt like it should be the first look at me as an artist. A lot of songs went through different versions and what not and I have been working on them for a long time. I produced a few just myself and worked with some friends. The process was really fun and I am excited to just keep making more”

even if he is an opening act again. “Hopefully after this I can do a summer tour. I want to release as much music and tour as much as possible.” Understanding the emotion that goes into each song and being able to connect to it is something that gives you that butterfly feeling in the pit of your stomach, but hearing those songs come to life on stage—that’s magical. Goody Grace is an artist, a creator and someone who puts his all into each project and song he does.

After releasing his stellar record, headlining his first tour and getting a taste of life as a headlining artist, Goody Grace just hopes to continue making music and continue touring

BTS

9


ALVVAYS

EUGENE, OR - BLAKE CHARLES - APRIL 2018

BTS

10


NOAH KAHAN

CHICAGO, IL - ADDIE WHELAN - APRIL 2018

BTS

11


5 REASONS TO ATTEND

EMO NITE

WORDS BY ADDIE WHELAN AND PHOTO BY GINA SCARPINO

BTS

12


When you grow up listening to albums like The Black Parade, Commit This To Memory, Infinity On High and Louder Now, you know the word emo. That feeling when the heart monitor kicks in at the beginning of The Black Parade kicks in, that feeling when Brendon Urie hits a note that you didn’t think was humanly possible, that feeling like everything’s going to be okay. If these feeling are slowly coming back to you, then Emo Nite LA is for you. Read on for five reasons to attend Emo Nite at a venue near you. 1. The music is actually songs you want to hear. Have you ever gone to a bar and immediately realized that all they’re going to do is play that horrible Top 40 radio song every time you want to dance? We’re talking opposite of that. Carefully curated by the event guests and the hosts, you’ll hear every song you want to hear, didn’t think you’d ever hear in public again or remember singing in your bedroom, with or without your parents knowing that they’re definitely an f bomb in the chorus. 2. People actually dance. Throw it back to your Senior Prom and that awkward feeling where people just…stand there. A great song plays and people just… stand there. Instead of standing around, Emo Nite boasts one of the sweatiest dance parties of all time. Whether you’re standing on stage, at the bar in the back or somewhere among the crowd, you’re sure to be exhausted by the time you leave.

tone deaf, a horrible dancer or just plain crazy, there’s definitely no judgment at Emo Nite, wherever everyone is welcome. 4. It’s there when you need it most. Instead of a one time, pre-game at someone’s apartment, Emo Nite doesn’t mess around with its schedule. Touring the country constantly, Emo Nite has dates around the country at some of your favorite music venues. Find the tour admat on their social channels, their site or even at a local venue near you. 5. They have real guest hosts. Trust us, this won’t be like the time that you bought a $50 ticket to see a “guest” speaker and it was just your friend’s mom. Whether it’s Mark Hoppus (the father of rock music), Derek DiScanio from State Champs, or even (excuse us while we tear up), Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low, Emo Nite has some of the biggest guest appearances known to man. So next time you’re looking for a way to get out all of that pent up energy from this week’s work disaster, check out Emo Nite LA. You won’t regret wearing your best band t-shirt, singing your favorite songs and hanging out with your friends. Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, Emo Nite, we can’t wait to see what’s next for you.

3. It’s a judgment free zone. A judgment free zone in 2018 - is it real? We’re actually telling the truth. Whether you’re wearing a My Chem, All Time Low or Blink-182 shirt, you’re definitely going to find friends who want to sing, dance and remember ‘the days’ with you. Even if you’re BTS

13


MICHIGANDER

PHILADELPHIA, PA - VALERIE MCINTYRE - APRIL 2018

BTS

14


JACOB BANKS

CHICAGO, IL - ADDIE WHELAN - APRIL 2018

BTS

15


IHEART COUNTRY PHOTOS BY ALICIA RANGEL

BTS

16


DAYTIME VILLAGE JANA KRAMER

LUKE COMBS

DYLAN SCOTT

DANIELLE BRADBERY

BTS

17


DYLAN SCOTT

DUSTIN LYNCH

MAREN MORRIS

RED CARPET BTS

18

BOBBY JONES AND CANDACE CAMERON-BURE

JANA KRAMER

JON PARDI


LUKE COMBS

SCOTTY MCCREERY

COLE SWINDELL

SUGARLAND

DAN + SHAY

LUKE BRYAN

BTS

19


MAREN MORRIS

DAN + SHAY

DANIELLE BRADBERY AND DAN + SHAY

BRETT YOUNG

BTS

20

SUGARLAND

JON PARDI

GAVIN DEGRAW AND BRETT YOUNG

DUSTIN LYNCH


KEITH URBAN

COLE SWINDELL AND LUKE BRYAN

LUKE BRYAN

BILLY CURRINGTON

LUKE COMBS

JON PARDI

MASON RAMSEY

COLE SWINDELL AND LUKE BRYAN

BTS

21


KANE BROWN

ODESSA, TX - BAILEY FLORES - APRIL 2018

BTS

22


STEVE AOKI

SEATTLE, WA - NICOLITA BRADLEY - MARCH 2018

BTS

23


ALBIN LEE MELDAU WORDS BY BLAKE NELSON AND PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO

BTS

24


F

rom the beginning of his career, it was clear that Swedish singer-songwriter Albin Lee Meldau was to make an impact. With a sonic style that pays homage to the past with a distinct modern pop twist, and a vintage, yet unmistakably fresh voice, his music transcends time. Without a doubt, many of his influences span from his childhood, as he comes from a musical family, with both of his parents being musicians. He started playing trumpet at a young age, so the musical juices had been flowing since the beginning of his life. Whether conscious or not, these influences would be seeping into his veins, helping formulate the musician he is today. “I grew up singing soul, blues, and reggae. What I want to do now is contemporary music and try to do my own thing… that’s the best way to put it. It’s a diary from a highly sensitive 27-year-old megalomaniac. It’s a breakup album, the beginning of something old, and the beginning of something new. I’d say it’s wedding singing in a new package.” This “wedding singing in a new package” has helped Meldau become named one of NPR’s must see artists at SXSW, as well as receiving a nomination at the Grammis in his native Sweden. While Sweden is known for spawning some of the world’s best pop artists such as Robyn, Max Martin, Tove Lo, and the recently passed Avicii, Meldau’s music takes a much rougher take on what many think of Sweden’s sugary sweet pop to be. There is still without a doubt a certain distinct pop appeal to all of his music that makes it catchy and accessible, while still staying true to his dark and eclectic core. Meldau even went back to Sweden to record his debut album entitled About You, which will be released June 1st. When we asked him about going back to Sweden to record the album, he had this to say:

“I don’t believe in ghosts. A room is a room. I don’t care if it’s Abbey Road or if it’s my mate’s cellar. ‘Lou Lou’ was recorded for $200 in my friend’s house. You can never reproduce that, it’s got to do with the planets and the stars. But of course it does influence it, it actually had to do with the best place to do it, and the cheapest and the actual best equipment and everything. My producer is Danish, which is very close, neighboring country, you know? It’s basically the same country. So of course it influenced it in a great way, and I wouldn’t have been able to bring all my friends playing on the album, you know?” Before there were plans for an album however, there was “Lou Lou,” Meldau’s somber and gravely first single that served as a launching pad for his career. Much of his first EP, entitled Lovers - EP, followed in similar sonic territory, which fused these retro elements with an indisputable pop sensibility. Meldau continued further into this territory with his next release, which came in the form of another EP, entitled Bloodshot - EP. This release helped Meldau establish himself into his own lane in the music industry, gathering legions of fans along the way. While he found a distinct sound that blended beautifully with his unmistakable voice, he was unafraid of sonic experimentation. Meldau’s most recent single off his upcoming debut album, “I Need Your Love,” shows him traveling further into the world of pop, even incorporating some elements of dance music, thus experimenting with different musical flavors once again. “‘I Need Your Love’ was written in LA… It’s a very dancey, upbeat track about that love can also be the worst feeling in the world, you know? But also the greatest. The video will be out soon, it says it all… It’s about love and why we do stuff like this. It’s a very uncertain world, and it’s quite a tough job. I’m not complaining, but what I’m saying is it’s basically suicidal. Why would you do such a thing to yourself? Because I need your love.”

BTS

25


While he has released two EPs, with Lovers - EP coming out in 2016 and Bloodshot EP coming out in 2017, About You will mark his first full length album. “This album is a real album. It’s made through Astralwerks at Capitol. Sony Music in the Nordicks. Caroline Music in Europe. I think there are 14 people that wrote stuff on this album. There’s hundreds of people that helped me do this, so it’s a teamwork. The difference is that I have real support.”

bearing nature. Many have said that his music has served as a vessel for them to relate and feel understood, so we asked him what he hoped to accomplish with his music: “My mother is a singer. She said ‘you don’t need to accomplish shit’. It doesn’t matter how many people. What you want to do is to tell a story. Hopefully people listen… What do I want to accomplish? A life, maybe? I don’t know. I just do what I do, and then we’ll see where we end up.”

Meldau has also recently toured with English songstress Jesse Ware on the U.S. leg of her tour. “It’s been great. I’m very tired. I have a lot of stuff to do. I have to work at the same time I’m sitting in the car, so it’s very stressful. Otherwise, if I only had this tour to do, it would have been fine, but I have some more things I need to do while I’m doing this. The best places in the world to play is probably America because the audiences are very appreciative. But every culture is different. My favorite place in America… New York is my favorite city in America. Easy. It’s the only thing that reminds me of home.”

While his 2018 has been very busy this far, and is on the verge of releasing an album, we asked Meldau what we can expect from him in the near future: “Album release 1st of June. Yeah, that’s it.” However he goes on to say, “I have shows. I’m not sure what’s happening exactly, but I’m doing my favorite festival in the world now in July, called ‘Roskilde Festival’ in Denmark... And then just gigging I think. Writing my next album, releasing my next album, touring this one, and then continuously trying to get more songs done. Just more work probably, and hopefully I can come headline my own shows!” With his album release in the coming days, and more shows on the horizon, we can’t wait to see Albin Lee Meldau and his timeless music take on the world.

Meldau’s music has often been described by the public, and even Meldau himself, as a look into a diary, due to its honest, soul

BTS

26


BTS 27 27 BTS


WOLF ALICE

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARISSA SANDOVAL - MARCH 2018

BTS

28


BISHOP BRIGGS

PORTLAND, OR - BLAKE CHARLES - APRIL 2018

STELLA DONNELLY

STELLA DONNELLY

BTS

29


LYDIA

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY JOE HERNANDEZ

BTS

30


O

riginally formed in 2003, this band from Gilbert, Arizona, has gone through many changes. Founding member and vocalist Leighton Antelman is now the only remaining original member of Lydia. The rest of the band’s lineup includes keyboardist Matt Keller, guitarist Shawn Strader and touring members to play bass and drums during their live shows. When asked to describe the sound of his band, Keller responds with “that’s a hard question.” He continues saying “we have some guitar, some piano, some drums and some singing. Just listen to it and find out for yourself!” It becomes obvious Keller and company isn’t so much concerned with fitting their music into a genre or sound, but instead creating a piece of art they are proud of and enjoy. “If anyone wants to tag us to a certain genre, that’s tight, but I don’t personally. I don’t really care; I’m all into it. If you think we are indie rock, pop or norwegian death metal—whatever, that’s cool. We’re just playing music. Whatever comes out is how we roll with it.” Since Antelman revived the band after a hiatus in 2010, the guys have been busy evolving their sound by following the indie pop trend of blending different genres and sounds into their music. The three albums released post-hiatus alone show the evolution of Lydia’s music in the last eight years. After being independent throughout these years, the band is set to release it’s seventh studio album, titled Liquor, with Weekday Records on July 13, 2018. Prior to signing to Weekday Records, 8123 managed the band. Though 8123 is made up of a great team of people and community of artists, Weekday Records presents a new opportunity for Lydia. When keyboardist Matt Keller joined the band, it was the first time Lydia signed to a formal label and wasn’t working as an independent band. Keller describes signing with Weekday as an exciting opportunity for the band to work with a

new team of people, “[Weekday Records] let us make the album we wanted to make.” Initially, Lydia tried to continue creating the record independently. The guys rented a house in Big Bear, California, and set up a makeshift studio to work on the record. After completing a few songs on their own, the band hit a wall and sought help from Weekday Records, who recommended the producer Eric Palmquist. Some artists Palmquist worked with in the past include Mutemath, Hunny, Bad Suns and Thrice. According to Keller, Palmquist and Lydia worked incredibly well together. “It turns out [Palmquist] was awesome. He had incredible ideas. He did a really good job pushing us to do the best we could do and constantly reacting to ideas in a cool way. At the end of the day, we produced three songs on the record and Palmquist did seven,” describes Keller on working with Palmquist. Lydia’s main focus in their music is ensuring all three members’ voices are heard and represented in the music. While the band may have their own studios set up in their homes, they’ll meet together to pick apart demos and build off of ideas and concepts together. While the guys had taken a similar approach on prior album releases, Keller remembers not expressing his own dissatisfaction with a certain work and going along with what the group was thinking. “In the past, I may hear a particular key part or vocal line, and I remember recording this. I didn’t like it, and I didn’t speak up.” This record was about evolving the group’s dynamic, encouraging everyone to speak up and ensuring the best record possible was being made. In addition to Antelman, Keller and Palmquist, a new individual was brought in to contribute to Liquor. Shawn Strader was officially brought into the band for being an incredible guitarist, and adding a new perspective to the music. Strader brought a unique perspective that elevated elements of music and, according to Keller Strader, would come in with “obtuse” ideas such as playing a bridge “upside-down” and pushed the band to take a different approach in their writing and recording.

BTS

31


The lead single, “Goodside,” further shows the band’s creative process and the variations a song goes through. The track began as a song that Antelman brought in and Keller wrote a bridge for after hearing. Eventually, the majority of the song was scrapped and Keller’s bridge became the actual song. The melodies of the chorus didn’t come to the band easy, as Keller remembers walking around Palmquist’s studio until Antelman had an idea. According to Keller, this is Lydia’s typical creation process. Nearly every song on the record took multiple iterations and changes before the group was happy with it. There’s one song on the record that didn’t follow this, Keller explains, “There’s a song on the record called ‘Way Out,’ that me, Leighton and our buddy Kevin wrote in one day, and it didn’t really change much. That never happens.” Not long after the release of 2015’s Run Wild, Lydia had already began early work on Liquor. Keller and company had already started writing and discussing ideas they had for new music while on their tour with Pvris in 2016. Nearly three years in the making, Lydia is finally ready to share their debut on Weekday Records, and the outcome of all the time and work they’ve put into Liquor. “We really pushed ourselves to deliver and have something we were proud of,” says Keller. Prior to the release of Liquor, Lydia fans can expect three more singles to be released, and a headlining tour to follow.

BTS

32


BTS

33


QUINN XCII

PORTLAND, OR - BLAKE CHARLES - MARCH 2018

BTS

34


BILLIE EILISH

NEW YORK, NY - GINA SCARPINO - MARCH 2018

BTS

35


OUR LAST NIGHT PONTIAC, MI - CHELSEA GRESH - MARCH 2018

BTS

36


MISTERWIVES

NEW YORK, NY - GINA SCARPINO - MARCH 2018

BTS

37


JAKE MILLER WORDS BY ADDIE WHELAN AND PHOTOS BY STONE FENK

BTS

38


A

t first glance, something extremely notable about Jake Miller is his presence on social media. Whether he is interacting with fellow artists about their most recent releases, gaining the attention of major radio stations or engaging with his fans, it’s definitely apparent that he runs his own social channels. Across the board, Miller’s presence is honest, sincere, relatable and trustworthy. Fans share open, candid conversations via direct message and Miller answers, giving life advice, a needed pep talk, a promise for new music and more. When a fan comments on Miller’s Instagram post, asking for him to write lyrics for a tattoo, Miller replies and sends them a photo via Instagram’s built-in messenger platform. “Its really cool [to see fans with my lyrics tattooed]. I have a John Mayer tattoo and it means so much to me, so I can only imagine how my fans feel when they get my lyrics tattooed. I have that same feeling towards John Mayer, I look at him like a God in terms of music, so to have people look at me like that is incredible. Every single day at every show, I see at least five to ten tattoos that I have written lyrics for them by hand and they have gone and gotten them tattooed. That is just incredible. More people are coming to me in the meet and greet and saying, ‘Can you write this lyric out?’ Even some of the songs that I just put out on this album two months ago, fans are already going and getting the lyrics tattooed. That will forever be the coolest thing to me,” he said. His fans constantly drive him to create music, resulting in two albums dropped just in one year, all which Miller self-wrote and produced. “I would describe my sound as pop mixed with a little bit of R&B. It’s just a mixture of all the different types of music that I listen

to myself. My music spectrum is all across the board from John Mayer to Drake to The Beatles. I just appreciate good music, so I think that my music is kind of just like a blend of everything that I listen to and so it’s kind of hard to categorize [my own]. I would say pop, R&B with a little bit of funk, positive uplifting with a lot of great messages, the whole point of music is to make people happy and take people out of the dark places so that is what I try to do with my music,” Miller said to Beyond The Stage. “My musical inspirations are across the whole board. It’s not just like it was one specific artist that inspired me on this album. In terms of my lyricism, John Mayer has always inspired me. In terms of dreaming airy guitars in the background, The 1975 kind of inspired that. I use some saxophones on a few of my songs and The 1975 definitely inspired that. Then, I have some songs like ‘Mulholland Drive’ and ‘The Girl that’s Underneath’ that just like have big pop drops that are inspired by Zedd and Bruno Mars. My musical influences all just across the board,” Flashback just five years ago, when Miller was in a completely different boat, working with a major label, producing music in studio spaces and rather than singing and playing guitar, rapping. The decision to leave that behind resulted in what Miller calls the best decision of his life. “As an artist, the most important thing is having your creative freedom and being able to do whatever you want. When I was with the label there were a lot of ups and downs. I think that the biggest down was that I felt creatively suppressed [...]. They basically said, ‘These are the songs we want you to record and we think these will fit you and we think these are radio friendly songs. Go to the studio and make these songs,’ even though I didn’t write or have any attachment to any of them.”

BTS

39


“I felt like I was selling out for a little bit and losing myself, in my head and in terms of my musicianship. Now, I’m independent and writing about whatever I want, I can rap, I can sing, I can do whatever I want, nobody is telling me what to do. The greatest part is that when I became independent, I learned how to make my own beats and I had never made a beat before at all until like last year. I dedicated all of 2017 to learning how to make my own beats so I went to guitar center, bought all this equipment I didn’t know how to use and spent a million hours on YouTube. Now, I can make just as good of a beat as any A list producer out there and that’s a skill I’ll be able to take with me for the rest of my life. This album I just released, I produced the entire thing in my bedroom, by myself. I recorded the vocals in my bedroom, I mixed it, mastered it, all in my apartment,” Miller said. As he reflects on creating Silver Linings, his most recent release, Miller noted that writing his music doesn’t necessarily happen only in the studio,on airplane napkins or in the shower. “You can’t just sit down and write a beautiful song at any moment of the day. You have to wait until inspiration hits you and that’s the best part of being in my bedroom. If I’m sitting on my bed watching TV and I don’t feel like writing then cool, I don’t. But if I do, then I roll out of bed over to my studio and start writing,” he said. As he’s grown as an artist, Miller continued to explain how creating music in his own time has helped him grow as an artist. “As an artist, I’m always growing and pushing myself to learn new things. Rapping was kind of something I fell into, I thought of it as a hobby when I started with my friends and it was all really fun. I was really just doing it as a hobby but people kind of started telling me that I was really good at rapping and I should take it more seriously. That’s when I did take it more seriously and I started gaining a fan base,” he reflected. “That fan base fell in love with my inspirational rap songs. Some songs wouldn’t even have choruses, BTS

40

they would just be straight 3 minutes of me rapping telling stories about suicide awareness, anti bullying, really strong, deep messages and the fans fell in love with that. As time went on, I was learning how to do more things and being in more sessions with other people, I wanted to learn how to sing as well. I still rap a little bit but I really wanted to kind of push myself and see what I can learn. It’s kind of like how I learned how to make my own beats, I’m always just trying to learn new things so who knows where the next direction will go,” he said. That next direction has inspired thousands of fans, who continue to drive hours, wait in line for days and seek out Miller’s music. Those inspirational messages grace hundreds of fans that have lyrics tattooed, whether it’s something uplifting, encouraging. Signed with a heart and his initials, Miller’s lyrics have meaning, soul and are as genuine as the artist himself.


BTS

41


“If you have never heard any of my music, then I think it is very important to hear my newest album. As an artist, I’m always getting better and I’m always growing. Right now, I think I’m the best I have ever been and I think the message on this album is really cool,” he said. “If you look on the album cover it’s me, standing on top of a mountain with a bunch of people floating away holding balloons. All these people drifting away into the sunset represent past relationships, bad energy, ex managers, ex girlfriends, ex record labels and just letting bad energy go. Focusing on what is right in front of you and focusing on the future. If you look at the cover, I’m standing on top of the mountain by myself, which symbolizes me being independent. I’m just watching all this bad energy and past experiences drift away, looking at the sunset and the silver lining and realizing that with every bad situation comes a silver lining and a positive outcome. I just hope that people listen to the album and realize that you don’t need to have everything figured out right now, everything will be alright if you just focus on what is right in front of you and not look at the past and get caught up in the past.” As Miller continues to look forward, he reflects on the past, present and future. As his nationwide, sold out tour comes to the final few stops, Miller plans on getting back into the studio, spending time with his loved ones and connecting more with his fans. “I’m going to go home after this tour and write a lot of music. Since I have put out two albums in the last year, I’m going to plan on really getting into the studio and dial in and find a great single. I’m going to try and put out one song every month or every two months, kind of take it easy as in terms of quantity. This is the year that I try to find that song that changes my life.” Whether you’re a long time fan of Miller

BTS

42

or just getting to know the singer, he’s definitely grown over time, from the cover of Beyond The Stage in 2015, to so much more. Between producing music, touring the world and inspiring his thousands of fans, we can’t wait to see what’s next for him.


BTS

43


THE BAND CAMINO PORTLAND, OR - JOE HERNANDEZ - MARCH 2018

BTS

44


QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE SAN DIEGO, CA - ALYSSA BUZZELLO - MARCH 2018

BTS

45


ALBUM REVIEWS Church of Scars Bishop Briggs Island Records Known for her larger than life, gospel-esque voice, alt-pop rockstar Bishop Briggs has without a doubt been one of the most interesting and exciting new artists to steamroll her way through the alt-pop scene in recent memory. Her breakaway single “River” reached the top spot on Hype Machine, was covered by P!nk multiple times on tour, has over 80 million streams on Spotify, and introduced Briggs’ fresh new voice to the world. From there, the world was her oyster. She opened for Coldplay for a handful of their tour dates, performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and released her self-titled debut EP, as both a Record Store Day exclusive and digitally, with slightly differing track lists. This catapulted Briggs and her music into ears and hearts around the world, ensuring she was a force to be reckoned with. With the release of her debut album Church of Scars, Bishop Briggs doubles down on her one-of-a-kind amalgamation of pop, soul, alternative, gospel, electronic, and rock, all with heaps of ceremonious passion. Moments such as the anthemic, arena rock inspired chorus on “White Flag”, the quivering and haunting chorus on “Water”, and the swampy breakdown on “Hallowed Ground”, demonstrate just how Briggs can effectively conquer a myriad of musical stylings. However, what really makes this album stand out is how despite the genre that Briggs tackles, she emotes and delivers with the same high level of gusto and devotion. Her epic vocal delivery, which often includes wailing and growling, is ever present throughout the album, both on more electronic tinged songs such as “Wild Horses” and “Hi-Lo (Hollow)”, as well as on more acoustic leaning tracks like “Lyin’” and “The Fire”. She makes her voice nearly impossible to ignore, proving how compelling and dynamic of a performer she is. Briggs also throws her fair share of curveballs on the record, as the the springy, techno breakdown on “Hi-Lo (Hollow)” seemingly comes out of nowhere, opening track “Tempt My Trouble” plays with some soft disco influences, and towards the end of “Lyin’”, Imagine Dragons’ frontman Dan Reynolds makes an unexpected and muted guest appearance. Needless to say, Bishop Briggs likes to keep her listeners guessing, and after listening to Church of Scars, we’re guessing that Briggs just might be the new princess of the alt-pop scene. 4.5/5 – Blake Charles Download: “Dream”, “Lyin’”, and “Hi-Lo (Hollow)”

Voicenotes Charlie Puth Atlantic Records Charlie Puth certified himself as an independent artist with the release of his album Voicenotes. He produced this record himself using Pro Tools and the voice recorder on his iPhone. With these simple arrangements, Voicenotes spotlights Puth’s talent as a musician and producer. The album starts off with the track “The Way I Am.” In many interviews, Puth has said that it’s a track about being who he is and accepting himself. The instrumentation, along with the rest of the album, has influences from 80s pop and 90s modern R&B. The first single from the album released last year, “Attention,” includes a bass line that makes the track unique from any other song heard on the radio. You don’t often hear songs like “Attention” on radio since dance/ EDM music with drops seem to be taking over the radio waves. This leads to Puth’s second single from the album, “How Long.” Again, it’s a track you never really hear on the radio. However, these two singles are a breath of fresh air for radio stations to play something a bit different. Puth goes deeper into the 90s inspired sound in the track “Change” (accompanied by James Taylor) and we can hear the 90s R&B influence heavily in “LA Girls” with the sound arrangement. Highlights from the record include “Done for Me” featuring singer Kehlani. Their voices are a perfect arrangement for the track. In the song, “If You Leave Me Now,” featuring the Philadelphia group Boys II Men, the track spotlights more of Puth’s vocal and harmonizing talent. What separates and makes this album unique from Nine Track Mind is there isn’t one consistent sound and Puth isn’t afraid to be himself and make the music he wants to hear and make. 4.5/5 - Valerie McIntyre Download: “Change,” “Somebody Told Me,” and “Empty Cups”

BTS

46


ALBUM REVIEWS Invasion of Privacy Cardi B Atlantic Records If we had to describe Cardi B with a single word, it would without a doubt be charismatic. Whether she’s topping the charts, performing on the world’s biggest stages, or racking up millions of Instagram likes, Cardi knows how to keep an audience’s attention. She quickly became known for her stint on Love & Hip Hop: New York, as well as her now iconic and endlessly quoted Instagram videos, both of which served as her introduction to the masses. However, despite gaining legions of fans, and being labeled by many as the breakout star of Love & Hip Hop: New York, that wasn’t Cardi’s end goal. She wanted to be a music superstar. Eventually, those dreams of music superstardom came true with the release of a little song called “Bodak Yellow”. The song became an indisputable smash hit, reaching the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, making Cardi only the second solo female rapper of all time to achieve that, only behind Lauryn Hill with “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998. The runaway success of “Bodak Yellow” cemented Cardi B as so much more than a reality star, or a viral Instagram success, but rather as one of rap’s most exciting and promising new stars. From the get-go, Invasion of Privacy shows Cardi holding no punches, as she assures her presence is felt through punchy flows, clever, and often hilarious lyrics, and boatloads of unquestionable magnetism. What immediately stands out is just how undeniably comical much of Cardi’s wordplay is, as the bouncy “Bickenhead” shows Cardi describing countless ways and places to “pop a pussy”, and the bass and trap soaked “I Do” with SZA boasts the line, “Pussy so good, I say my own name during sex”. Vulgar? Perhaps. Hilarious? Without a doubt. While the album is laden with Cardi’s amusingly over the top personality, she also exhibits many moments of vulnerability as well. On the opening track “Get Up 10”, Cardi describes her climb to superstardom, despite the world knocking her down time after time, on “Ring” with Kehlani, she details her insecurity when a partner stops communicating, and on “Be Careful”, she opens up about a cheating partner, and the heartbreak she suffered because of his infidelity. She also does her fair share of sonic experimentation as “I Like It”, which features Latin artists Bad Bunny and J Balvin, is a Latin infused trap banger, while on the soft, Caribbean inspired “Be Careful”, Cardi flexes her singing skills as well has her rapping skills. With Invasion of Privacy as a whole, Cardi B proves her outspoken, bombastic, playful, and often hilarious brand of rap is no fad, and is without a doubt here to stay. 4/5 – Blake Charles Download: “Bickenhead”, “Best Life”, and “Bartier Cardi”

Dirty Computer Janelle Monáe Bad Boy Records If the term “triple threat” is used to describe a multi-talented entertainer, known for excelling in multiple avenues of entertainment, a “quadruple threat” should just be called a Janelle Monáe. While she was first introduced to the world as a singer, she has recently become known for her abilities as an actress as well, with roles in Hidden Figures and Moonlight. Because of this, she took a slight break from working on new music in order to fully dedicate herself to her roles. Once the films were released however, anticipation grew with each passing day, as the knowledge that Monáe could make her triumphant return to the music world at any moment was more present than ever. Her return came in late February, when she dropped two singles, and announced that her highly anticipated third studio album, Dirty Computer, would be released in late April. The album’s title and concept comes from Monáe’s belief that humans are essentially computers in the way we operate, and in the sense that we all have viruses. But sometimes viruses are only socially constructed ideas about what makes someone inferior, such as factors like race, gender, and sexuality. This album is essentially Monáe claiming her status as a dirty computer, and reveling in the things about herself that many people will see as a virus, because to her, they are beautiful. From beginning to end, Dirty Computer seamlessly walks the line between being aggressively political and carelessly joyous. Tracks such as the bouncy and rubbery “Make Me Feel”, the sleek and sexy “Crazy Classic Life” and the bubbly and electric “Pynk”, all perfectly exemplify Monaé’s pivot to pop. Monáe also proves on the braggadocious and empowering “Django Jane” that she is an extremely powerful presence as a rapper as well, as she passionately delivers lines exploring her past, female empowerment, awards, politics, and “black girl magic”. Monáe even finds a way to incorporate her rapping skills in more than just “Django Jane”, as “Crazy Classic Life”, “Screwed”, and “I Like That” all feature rap verses as well. Monáe does not shy away from aggressively political moments as well, as even many of the bright and perky songs have more serious and pressing undertones. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the album’s final track “Americans”, where Monáe cheekily highlights many of the country’s problems, all while remaining unabashedly patriotic. Perhaps the most compelling part of the track however is the stunning dichotomy of the sweet and sparkly track, paired with the spoken bridge and outro from an uncredited man, who passionately declares that until certain injustices are fixed, “This is not my America”. All in all, Dirty Computer shows Janelle Monáe empowering herself, her fellow dirty computers, and the world around her, all while having the time of her life. 5/5 – Blake Charles Download: “Django Jane”, “Americans”, and “Make Me Feel” BTS BTS 47 47


THE HUNNA

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARISSA SANDOVAL - MARCH 2018

BTS

48


THE NIGHT GAME NEW YORK, NY - GINA SCARPINO - APRIL 2018

BTS

49


DREAMERS

WORDS BY DELANEY DEANGELIS AND PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO

BTS

50


R

ock trio Dreamers got their start nearly four years ago, and have since signed a record deal, put out their first album and extensively toured. The group formed in New York City, when singer Nick Wold worked one day a week as a bartender and lived out of a small reversal space in Brooklyn. “I realized if I didn’t have an apartment, I could work only one day a week at this bar, so I lived in my practice space for a couple years,” said Wold. “I had no windows, no shower.” While living in the practice space, Wold said he learned how to write songs better. After Wold had parted ways with his previous band, he met bassist and keyboardist Marc Nelson and started Dreamers. Eventually, they signed a record deal in Los Angeles, where they met dummer Jacob Lee Wick, who Wold describes as “the final part of the puzzle.” Now a fully formed band, the group describes themselves an alternative rock cosmic band, with inspirations from a wide range of rock music, from the 60s all the way to 90s grunge. The influence is clear in their music. Their debut album, This Album Does Not Exist, came out in 2016, and there is something so nostalgic about the music they make, as if it really did come straight from a different decade. But in reality, the music comes from a band formed around three years ago. “We just kinda wanted to carry that torch on to the future and see if we could make something that sounds new that comes from it,” said Wold. The group recently released a studio cover of the song “Zombies” by The Cranberries, a 90s band from Ireland. The song, first covered live last fall, began as a song that the group loved as kids, and has become a tribute after The Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan passed away this year.

“We’re still playing it, and we think it’s really politically relevant now, with all the talk of guns and violence, and violence causes silence,” said Wold. “It’s amazingly exactly relevant today as well, so it’s awesome, and it’s our shout out to her, one of our favorites. The group is clearly composed of similar people, all bonded by a love of rock music throughout the decades. “There’s this whole sense of New York, that sort of the late 70s punk rock scene, kind of embodies Lou Reed and all this stuff that we all kind of relate to, so that drew me here,” explained Nelson. “Found Nick, he loved the same stuff, he was writing amazing songs.” The band started its roots in New York, but found a home in Los Angeles after signing to Fairfax Recordings. Both cities influence the group in different ways. “I grew up in Seattle and I was obsessed with 90s grunge and Nirvana and stuff. I moved to New York when I was 18, I got obsessed with punk and CBGBs [country bluegrass blues] and the revival of that, The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and all that stuff,” explained Wold. “That was kinda the New York sound to me, and all of us, we all relate.” Another New York influence is the hustle that the city requires. Wick explained the importance of working hard in the city, or else you won’t make it. “Being surrounded by all the artists and weirdos that decide to move to New York from whatever town they came from, it’s a certain type of mind I think that does it, and that was great for me to be around,” added Wold. The influence of both New York and Los Angeles allows a duality of influences. New York allows that influence of creativity and hustle. On the other hand, Los Angeles is much more focused on business and a more laid back feel, where you can mess up a few times or be 15 minutes late.

BTS

51


“There’s two prongs to this, there’s the artistic side and there is business side and I feel like New York has a wealth of the artistic side and LA has this sort of pragmatism about the business side.”

god, this reminds me of Space Jam,’ and I knew the site was still up cause that’s like the one of the only 90s websites that is still running and exactly the same, no one touched it,” said Wick.

Dreamers has no shortage of creativity. It extends beyond their actual music and shows up in their visuals. Whether it’s their website, music video or photos, the band incorporates creativity into their whole image.

The psychedelic, 90s theme simply fits the band inspired by their influences, while also doing what they could, before they had a label and budget.

“We like the double meaning of dreams, which is dreams are like goals and aspirations, but they’re also just a psychedelic trip you have every night when you sleep,” explained Wold. “So we do a lot of dreamy things, a lot of dream sequences and we also just like to have fun with it.” And they take that psychedelic trip meaning seriously, from the crystal ball in their Twitter name to the bright flashing colors on their website. In addition, their website has serious 90s vibes, inspired by the Space Jam and other old 90s websites. “It’s actually what I thought when I saw the Dreamers website, it’s like, ‘oh my

BTS

52

On their website is the Dreamers manifesto. Overlayed on a triangle, surrounded by flashing neon GIFs, it states: “We are impractical. We do not listen to those that doubt us. We push boundaries. We believe that nothing is impossible. We rewrite the rules. We create. We are boundless. We are enchanted.We are asleep to the waking world. We are DREAMERS.” “We felt with a name like Dreamers, we had to say what we meant, and with that we mean we love to talk philosophy for fun and everything,” explained Wold. “Rock and roll is part of entertainment but also part of like philosophy of life and how to live and how to be and we wrote that manifesto to just kinda throw that out there and a statement.”


BTS

53


ODESZA

SEATTLE, WA - JOE HERNANDEZ - MARCH 2018

BTS

54


TURNOVER

PITTSBURGH, PA - STONE FENK - APRIL 2018

BTS

55


GRACE WEBER WORDS BY LAUREN KLONOWSKI AND PHOTOS BY ADDIE WHELAN

BTS

56


A

s an artist that makes music that fits into multiple genres, like R&B, soul, hip-hop and gospel, Grace Weber has plenty of influences that have helped shape her sound. She grew up listening to the likes of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Billie Holiday, Diana Washington and Boyz II Men, among others. As she got older and more into songwriting, she turned to Joni Mitchell, a Canadian singersongwriter. “I used to study her lyric books and just dive into her songwriting and try to figure out how she does it and how she’s so epically amazing,” Weber recalls. She also mentions the effect Blond by Frank Ocean had on her personally, as well as her entire approach to music. “It changed my whole perspective of production and space in music and how much you can strip something down. It’s cool because Nico [Segal], who produced my album was in some of the Frank Ocean sessions,” she explains. She goes on to say how Frank Ocean’s style has had a large impact on her work. “Frank’s process and how much care he takes with every single line and every single melody is so cool, so he’s a huge influence.” While she points to R&B, gospel and hiphop as her favorite genres and the ones that she gets the most ideas for her own music, she does have a secret obsession song, just like the rest of us. Fans would probably be surprised to know that it’s “Feels Like Today” by Rascal Flatts. “When I was in high school, if I was having a bad day, I would just blast “Feels Like Today,” it’s just a very positive, countrypop epic power ballad and that was my secret jam that I never played for anybody else but, for me it was my pump up jam,” she laughs. On top of making an incredible album, Weber can also add Grammy Award winner to her long list of credentials. She received a Grammy for her contributions on Chance the Rapper’s album Coloring Book, which won Best Rap Album in 2017. “It was crazy, when the Grammys were happening, we were

all in L.A. watching and had like a viewing hang with our producer Garren [Langford] and we were getting ready to go to the after party. I just wasn’t thinking if Chance wins, that means we are Grammy winners, I was just so excited for Chance and so excited to be there and be hanging,” she explains. “So, when he won Best Rap Album, Garren and I were like, ‘Does this mean we get a Grammy? Are we like, Grammy winners?!’ We Googled it on our phones like does this mean we get a Grammy, and it was a yes!” Weber had worked on Chance’s track, “All I Got” although it wasn’t Chance’s track to start with. It started way back when Weber was trying to catch the attention of some producers that had struck a chord with her. “I had been wanting to work with Nate [Fox] and Nico and Peter [Cottontale] for a little bit. So, when I heard “Acid Rap” I was like, ‘Who the hell is producing this music? It makes me feel like I have to sing.’ When “Surf” came out, I was like I HAVE to meet these dudes,” Weber says. She loved the type of music they were making; music that remind her of her roots. “They’re making future music, but it’s still timeless and classic. At the same time, it is just all so soulful and has clear gospel influences, which is what I grew up singing,” she explains. She had tried reaching out to them, to try and make something happen, but hadn’t heard anything back. Until one day… “A few months later, I got a text from my buddy and he was in L.A., I was in L.A. and he was like, ‘Hey, I’m at a studio with these producers you should come through, they like your voice, you should sing.’ I didn’t even know who the producers were. I show up to the studio and meet these guys named Nate and Nico and didn’t even process that they were the guys I had been trying to meet! I walked in and they were like, ‘Do you want to sing on this track?’ and I instantly like felt the same feeling that I felt when I listened to “Surf” and “Acid Rap” and I was like, ‘I HAVE to sing on this. This is magic.’”

BTS

57


At this point, Weber still hadn’t realized just who she was about to work with. “I just got in the booth I sang on the song and it went really great and I got out and everyone was super happy because we had just made some cool shit. She finally asks who these talented men were and she was surprised to hear their answer: “’Oh we go by The Social Experiment – I go by Donnie Trumpet and I go by Nate Fox.’ Once I heard that, it was that moment of like, ‘Shit, I just made a song with the dudes that I have been trying to meet!’” Since there was clearly chemistry between the group, Weber went on to ask the guys of The Social Experiment to produce her entire record. “They said yes, so we started working on that in March. A couple weeks into the project, Chance walked into the studio and heard a song that we were making and basically asked if he could put that as the first song on Coloring Book so it turned into “All We Got” which was just incredible,” she says. When asked what in her life influences her music, she points to pretty much everything she comes in contact with. Friends, personal relationships, books, other music – it all has a role in her songwriting. “Sometimes I write songs by being inspired by what my friends are going through, witnessing different things and this whole album is basically stories from my own personal experience,” she says. She goes on to say that this time around the recording process was somewhat different; they recorded and produced the record at the same time versus recording all of it, then producing all of it. It opened up her eyes to a new recording process. “I was getting inspired by the drums and sound of the keyboard and trumpet, all of the sounds of the whole beat and song were influencing my lyrics and influencing what the song meant for me. It was a really beautiful process; it was like building the whole song together. It opened my world up for writing and the options on how I can use my voice as an instrument.” Looking forward, she’s pretty stoked for the entire record to come out, but there is one track in particular she’s extra excited about. BTS

58

It’s called, “Happy Thoughts.” “It’s kind of the thesis of the album and I am just really excited for that one to come out,” she says. Another project Weber has to be excited about is her non-profit that she runs, The Music Lab. “Our biggest mission of The Lab is noticing a young person for who they are, and help them celebrate that. Maybe it’s a kid at school who loves to sing but doesn’t want to be in the concert choir and doesn’t know how to express himself or herself artistically because there’s nobody there at that school that notices them, or there’s no class that really fits what they want to do. We try to supplement that and be like, ‘You’re so dope, yes, you’re talented, yes, you should pursue this, let’s help you find that confidence.’” She points out that there is another mission to The Lab – bringing the Milwaukee youth community together. “Milwaukee is still one of the most segregated cities in the country. We thought this program would be a really great opportunity to bring kids from all different backgrounds together. We promote to all the high schools in the Milwaukee area, public schools and private schools and bring all these students into one room and show the young people in Milwaukee that we’re all Milwaukeeans and we can all come together through art and music.” Weber feels very strongly that change is made possible via young people. “Change happens when the youth take it into their own hands. We tell them that the Milwaukee music scene is up to them define. Everybody coming through here, it’s not up to us anymore, it’s up to them.” Whether she’s writing for Grammy awardwinning records, performing her own tracks or working on The Music Lab, it’s sure to be a great, powerful experience. We look forward to her forthcoming album and whatever she decides to try next!


BTS

59


ANDY GRAMMER

SEATTLE, WA - NICOLITA BRADLEY - MARCH 2018

BTS

60


DON BROCO

PONTIAC, MI - CHELSEA GRESH - MARCH 2018

BTS

61


JULE VERA

WORDS BY KRISTEN HUMPHRIES AND PHOTOS BY CHELSEA GRESH

BTS

62


T

he most telling sign of a band’s longevity is its ability to grow and evolve—perfect example: Jule Vera. The self-proclaimed (though picking one genre doesn’t feel right to either one of them) alt-pop rockers are changing up their sound that best suits the band moving forward. From touring with friends to maturing in the industry, Ansley Newman (vocals) and Jake Roland (guitar) detail Jule Vera’s story. If you’re surprised that Ansley’s name isn’t Jule Vera, you’re not alone. “We were struggling to find a name [for the band] and were looking at baby names,” Ansley notes. “We saw Jule and Vera and put them together because it sounded cool, but everyone thinks it’s my name.” The choosing of a “baby” name should not deter anyone from believing Jule Vera is still an unsure, wandering fourpiece band. In fact, the band’s maturation and making big decisions is the most important part of their progress right now. As a band, changing your sound can be terrifying. You have no idea if your fans will stick around, if they’ll resonate with the music like they did before, or if they’ll keep tweeting you words like “we miss the old stuff.” Take All Time Low, Paramore and The Maine for example: bands who were of the Warped Tour Era, but chose to move onto a more mature sound that suits their tastes and their goals better now. Jule Vera is choosing the same route. Ansley claims, “We started the band when I was fifteen, so we’ve just grown up. It used to sound Warped Tour-esque and now we’re getting out of that scene sound-wise.” Taking new strides is always risky, but if a band is to be successful in the long run, it’s necessary—and both Ansley and Jake seem to have a better idea of what the band should sound like moving forward, as it all starts in the studio. In an ideal situation, writing and recording by yourself is simple: you go into the studio with an idea, evolve that idea and create a song that makes your heart proud. Being in a band is a much different dynamic and it’s something Ansley had to get used to when

writing for a record. “Sometimes you write a chunk of [a song] and have an idea and bring it to the band and it goes in a different direction,” she explains. “If you really liked it and it goes in a different direction, it’s just something you have to do.” Not only that, but writing can be a grueling process if the topic is something heavy on your heart. Ansley goes on to state how “some things are hard to write about, but it’s worth it when people can relate to it.” She’s right. That connection and the ability to relate from writer to listener is one of, if not the best, things about music. Recording follows a similar routine for Jule Vera. “It’s a waiting game sometimes,” Ansley offers with a laugh, “I did all the vocals [for the most recent record] in a couple hours and then I’d have to wait for everyone else to do their stuff.” This grueling wait is more excitement, rather than disdain, for wanting the music to be complete. It seems like the band truly loves the studio because they hint at new music coming soon. “Not any original music yet, but we’re gonna do some covers for YouTube very soon,” Ansley notes. Though the band has been busy in the studio, touring is one of their favorite parts of what they do. Having toured with American Authors, Vans Warped Tour and Our Last Night, Jula Vera has been nothing short of busy, and it’s the fans that keep them going. “Boston is always really good for us. Same with Chicago and in Texas,” Jake comments. The duo agree that “Bad Company” is one of their favorite songs to play live, as fans love it. “I always like Porch Swing,” Ansley adds. “It’s me and my ukulele and the rest of the band comes in later.” And what’s the best thing about touring in general? “Meeting friends and fans,” Ansley suggests. “Everyone’s super nice on every tour we’ve been on. You just make so many friends, so it’s a lot of fun.” It seems like Jule Vera is doing everything right: growing as a band, loving what they’re doing, and being incredibly downto-earth and kind-hearted individuals. The band is one to watch out for in the future, so make sure to keep them on your radar.

BTS

63


BTS

64


BTS

65


JUKEBOX THE GHOST PORTLAND, OR - JOE HERNANDEZ - APRIL 2018

BTS

66


JORJA SMITH

SEATTLE, WA - NICOLITA BRADLEY - APRIL 2018

BTS

67


TAYLOR SWIFT

SEATTLE, WA - CURTIS VADNAIS - MAY 2018

BTS

68


PLAYLIST Bite My Tongue - Logan Henderson Promise Everything - Basement Bloom - Troye Sivan River - Bishop Briggs I Said Hi - Amy Shark Intro/Set3 - The 1975 Low Hymnal - Told Slant MOVE - jesse saint john Only With You - Cyn Sixhundredthirtyone - Sanction Closure - Vancouver Sleep Clinic Killer + The Sound - Phoebe Bridgers, Noah Gunderson Fragile Beings - Dirty Chime, Skela Rut - The Killers Herricane - LANY

BTS

69


IHEARTCOUNTRY | PHOTO BY ALICIA RANGEL