BEYOND THE STAGE
BEYOND the stage
EDITOR IN CHIEF
GINA SCARPINO MANAGING EDITOR
JOE HERNANDEZ DEPUTY EDITOR
ABHIGYAAN BARARIA COPY EDITOR
AMANDA RESTAINO INTERN COORDINATOR
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Abhigyaan Bararia Amanda Restaino Brooke Madigan Ivy Sandoval
Alana Swaringen Alyssa Buzzello Ari Battis Blake Charles Chelsea Gresh Gina Scarpino Joe Hernandez Maggie Montgomery Marlowe Teichman
CONTENTS ON THE COVER
24 GAYLE 08 Bad Suns 16 JC Stewart 34 poutyface 43 Patrick Droney
04 Alexander 23 05 Beach Bunny 06 Lawrence 07 Caroline Polachek 12 CHVRCHES 13 Remi Wolf 14 The Struts 15 Eric Nam 20 YUNGBLUD 21 Kacey Musgraves 22 Fletcher 23 alt-j 30 Parcels 31 JoJo 32 Touche Amore 33 Gracie Abrams 38 Glass Animals 39 Louis Tomlinson 40 Trixie and Katya 41 Tate McRae 42 Queensryche 47 The Marias 48 Said The Sky 49 Manchester Orchestra GAYLE ON THE COVER
GINA SCARPINO - OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 2021
ALYSSA BUZZELLO - SANTA ANA, CA - DECEMBER 2021
MAGGIE MONTGOMERY - NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 2021
CAROLINE POLACHEK BLAKE CHARLES - PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 2021
BAD SUNS: FROM JUNIOR HIGH TO NATIONWIDE TOURS
PHOTOS BY MAGGIE MONTGOMERY WORDS BY ABHIGYAAN BARARIA
A lot of bands have long-winded histories of how they got together, from meeting in church groups to having classes together in college to even just growing up together. Bad Suns’ origin story is no different. The California-based band, which consists of Christo Bowman on the lead vocals, Ray Libby on the guitar, Gavin Bennett on the bass/keyboards, and Miles Morris on the drums, has been creating music together since the inception of their debut song “Cardiac Arrest” way back in 2012 and the subsequent EP Transpose in 2014. But the groundwork was laid much before the band officially came together. Beyond The Stage got a chance to sit down with frontman Bowman while the band was on tour in Nashville, Tennessee. He said that he started writing songs, playing music, and eventually formed a band when he was about 11 years old, finding friends around him that were interested in music and wanted to play with him. This went on for a few years before he met Bennett. “We went to the same middle school,” Bowman said. “We were friends for a few years.” Then came along the freshman year of high school, when Gavin and Bowman met Morris, who was then playing with a different group of people but eventually joined the other two to form a band that would play together for a few years. Libby, although not in the band just yet, was still known by the other three due to their love for similar kinds of music. “Ray was sort of in the music scene that we were involved in, in San Fernando Valley,” Bowman said. “So we all knew each other for a while — our bands would play shows together.” Around the time that Bowman was writing songs that would end up being in the first Bad Suns record, Libby approached him, asking if the band needed a guitarist, just as they happened to be looking for one. That was about 10 years ago — when it all officially began back in 2012. “From there, we just hit the ground running and kept writing songs,” Bowman said. “And that summer, we recorded what would be pretty much half of the Language & Perspective record. Got a record deal and, you know, from there [it] was history.” BTS
Then came the issue of finding a band name, which the members “desperately needed,” according to Bowman. After going through bookstores and libraries, looking at titles of books, albums, and movies, he finally struck gold in the form of a CD by a band called The Bravery. “They had a song called ‘Bad Sun,’ and I always thought that was an interesting image,” Bowman said. “And I liked the way the word sounded, so we stuck
with the least terrible option.” Going from the past to the potential future, Bowman said that if given the chance, Bad Suns would love to collaborate with somebody like Robert Smith from The Cure who he said was one of the band’s heroes. Another person the band has been wanting to collaborate with is the American composer and songwriter Tycho.
“ I feel like our styles of music, [with] my voice and his music would be a fun combination and [something that] I’d want to hear,” Bowman said.
Bowman also added that he would love to be in the studio with the English electronic band Depeche Mode.
“It’s wonderful, it’s really nice,” he said. “There’s just an added element of knowing that it’s something that’s not to be taken for granted. Every show and every city we had to be in, you know, it’s just a wonderful feeling.”
Speaking of the band’s latest album, Apocalypse Whenever, Bowman said that the process started before the pandemic, and everything around the world came to a virtual stop while they were making the latest record.
Bowman said that there were instances when he had doubts about how long it would be before Bad Suns could perform its music again for the fans, and on particularly bad days he would wonder IF they would ever be able to do it again.
The latest album started brewing just as the band was wrapping up touring their 2019 album, Mystic Truth. Bowman said that he started collecting some songs and presented them to the rest of the members once the tour was over. The band started what Bowman called a “mood board” while on the Mystic Truth tour, sending each other different sorts of imagery to get inspiration for the next album.
“So now every day that I wake up on the bus, we have a show that night or even on an off day, whatever,” Bowman said. “Pretty much every day you wake up on tour, it feels like you got to take stock and [realize] how special it is.”
“I would put in all these different movie stills and movie posters and, you know, album covers and photos,” Bowman said. “ A lot of things just to kind of, like, get the ball rolling.” Going from there, the band started making the music once they got home from the tour, and already had a few songs they were excited about by the end of 2019. Once they had written “Baby Blue Shades” and “Grace (I Think I’m In Love Again),” they considered that a good enough excuse to get back into the studio, Bowman said. “We were really fired up and ready to start recording,” he said. The band went back to the process they had always employed for creating music but had sort of shied away from in the third album, which was just writing batches of songs and incrementally getting back in the studio and recording them over time, Bowman said.
Speaking of the distant future and the kind of legacy the Bad Suns would want to leave behind, Bowman nodded to the fact that he wanted the listeners to be comforted upon hearing the band’s songs, for many years to come. “I want the songs to kind of speak for themselves, and hope that people are able to find solace in them for a long time,” he said. Well, as long as Bad Suns keep pushing out relatable music as they have for the past decade, we believe that every listener will be able to find some sort of comfort within the lyrics. Currently, the band is touring its latest album, Apocalypse Whenever, but we won’t be surprised if they have already started working on the next project, given their latest track record. Regardless, given the quality of music we have received from Bad Suns in the past decade, it’s safe to say that everyone will be vibing to their songs even in the distant future, exactly how the band would like to be remembered.
From creating an album during the pandemic to touring it now that the situation has somewhat mellowed out, the band has become much more appreciative of its fanbase and is thankful for each moment spent creating and performing music, BTS
JOE HERNANDEZ - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 2021
BLAKE CHARLES - PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 2022
DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 2022
DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 2022
MORE THAN AN ARTIST PHOTOS BY MARLOWE TEICHMAN | WORDS BY IVY SANDOVAL
Usually, for artists, songwriting and music is a part of them. Something they’ve always dreamed of. That was not entirely the case for JC Stewart. Up until the age of 15, he wasn’t fond of music. Growing up in a small town in Northern Ireland, his passion at the time was rugby. Although he and his family knew he could sing, it wasn’t until his mom encouraged him to attend a “Making Music Workshop” that he left the workshop and decided music was what he wanted to do. “I came out [of the workshop] going, ‘I’m going to do this forever,’ ” Stewart said. From then on, his goal was to become a songwriter. The beginning of 2020 was a real turning point for him when his rendition of the iconic “Friends” theme song “I’ll Be There For You” went viral and gained Jennifer Aniston’s attention. A fun take on the classic comedy sitcom’s intro to make quarantine, and what was such an uncertain time, a bit more entertaining ended up being the breakthrough he had never imagined. “I woke up one morning and my phone was going mad,” Stewart said. “And they’re like, ‘Look at Jennifer Aniston’s Instagram.’ ” Before he knew it, he had become a viral hit. “My phone nearly broke! And then all of a sudden the labels start going, ‘Good Morning America’ is like, ‘Hey, we’d love to have you on.’ ” Now 25 years old, he’s proven to be the songwriter he aspired to be, and much more. Signed under Warner Records, he released his debut four-track EP, When The Light Hits The Room, in late 2020. Singer-songwriters such as Labrinth, Julia Michaels, and Jack Antonoff, just to name a few, are who truly inspire him. To Stewart, being able to create in every aspect is what fuels him. “Where you’re an artist, but you also get to go away for two years and write a soundtrack or you get to write music for a movie or for other artists,” he said. Stewart doesn’t want to be put into a singular box. Creating a name for himself in both singing and songwriting is what he desires. “That’s my dream. That’s my niche. There’s a lot of people, especially in L.A., that do that, and it’s super inspiring to be here for that,” he said. “Whereas in London, it’s a bit more like, ‘Are you an artist or are
you a songwriter?’ People don’t really understand that I do both sometimes.” Having worked with talents like Lewis Capaldi, Tom Odell, and even touring with acts like Lauv, The Vamps, and Anne-Marie, Stewart has undoubtedly established himself in the industry. “I just like to take any opportunity at this point because it’s really fun,” he said. “I love seeing other cities. I love a weird experience” His 2020, UK chart-making single “Break My Heart,” co-written with Niall Horan, gained him even more traction and earned him his first MTV Video Music Awards nomination. The collaboration for Stewart was a “weird” one because it was the first time he had ever written a song where the original idea wasn’t his, he said. An idea originally from TMS, multi-Grammy and Brit Award-winning songwriters very close to Horan had the track ready so Stewart decided to tweak it a bit, going back and forth via email with his fellow Irish colleague. Stewart is known for writing such emotional, contemporary music with somber lyricism.
Coining himself as the “Professional Sad Boy,” he is trying to sonically become more. While his lyrics sometimes still remain melancholy, the change came from wanting a bit more from the live performance experience. “It was quite a sad experience when I used to play live and I got a bit bored of it, to be honest,” Stewart said. “And then, I started playing festivals and just making all those sad songs have a lot more energy live.” Playing festivals was a revelation for Stewart, especially the Reading and Leeds Festivals, which ended up changing his whole view on stage presence. 14,000 people were ready to experience what he and his band had been rehearsing for a week, but unfortunately, his then-drummer slept in. Forced to go out on stage with nothing but his acoustic guitar and drum pedal, he still managed to create a worthwhile performance. What could have been a disaster, turned out to be one of the biggest revelations within his career. “There were mosh pits to this thing!” he said. “Since then, I’ve only played that show and I don’t have a band anymore. It’s just me on my own. And, yeah, that was a big turning point for me, I think, in figuring out what I was doing.”
His latest single “Love Like That,” with a guitar-driven, bouncy framework for an honest apology, was a bit of a new sound for him. More upbeat than usual, Stewart calls it “cowboy pop.” “It’s not about a romantic thing. I’m a bit addicted to working sometimes,” Stewart said. “I’m a very driven person so sometimes that gets in the way of everything else and most of all the people you love. It’s essentially an apology. It’s also something to remind me of like, come on, there’s bigger things in life sometimes.” As for what’s next for JC Stewart, summer singles, more live shows, and of course, more songwriting. Anything more than that is anyone’s guess. “Who knows what’s going to happen? I don’t like to plan that far in advance,” he said. Passionate yet composed, whatever else comes Stewart’s way will be a project worth waiting for.
CHELSEA GRESH - CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 2022
KACEY MUSGRAVES DANA JACOBS - OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 2022
GINA SCARPINO - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 2022
MAGGIE MONTGOMERY - NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 2022
A STUDY OF POP SENSATION: GAYLE 24
PHOTOS BY NICOLE SOLERO | WORDS BY AMANDA RESTAINO
For many 17-year-olds, life is simple: school, work, study, weekend, repeat. That is not the life of rising singing-songwriting sensation Taylor Gayle Rutherford, better known as GAYLE. For her, life is filled with writing, recording, interviewing, touring, and more the average kid could only dream of. Her life wasn’t always like this, though. It wasn’t until attending her first concert, Aretha Franklin nonetheless, at the age of seven that this began to change. Despite already having an affinity for music, it was the legend who inspired GAYLE to make music her career. “She’s who made me want to do music, the way she made me feel,” she said. “I felt like I had never felt before. I was just like ‘That is what I want to do for the rest of my life. “ Even though the two couldn’t be more different sonically, GAYLE instantly connected to Franklin’s music, which we have come to know as simply iconic. “I love her intensity. She’s very intense and her soul was very inspiring to me. Her attitude as a performer and an artist I really love,” GAYLE said. “I’m originally from Texas, so I was always surrounded by country music, and hearing something different, I thought ‘Whoa, that is fucking amazing.’” As she grew, more artists influenced her, helping her tailor her style like Julia Michaels, Alanis Morrissette, and other powerhouse women who created sounds she could put a unique flair on. However, the soft notes and lyrics of Michaels mixed with the strong vocals of Morrissette aren’t all we have to thank for GAYLE’s genre-defying songs topping charts today. We also have to appreciate that pop smashes played a massive role in her musical discovery. “I loved pop music,” she said. “I was obsessed with The Chainsmokers. I think I was probably 12 or 13 when ‘Closer’ was out and oh my god, the ‘hookiness’ of that song and their music I was so obsessed with because they had this way of putting earworms into their songs.” In a truly magical fashion, GAYLE created her perfect musical concoction: the soulfulness of Franklin, the catchiness of The Chainsmokers, the depth of Michaels’ lyrics, and the spirit of badass rockers like Morrissette. However, creating this blend didn’t happen overnight. Though it may come as a shock, GAYLE’s original BTS 25
background is in country music. Hailing from Texas and later discovered in Nashville by Kara DioGuardi, CEO of Arthouse Music Publishing who later signed her, it was her original plan. “I was homeschooled and genuinely what I was surrounded by, specifically in Texas, was the good girl, ‘Yes ma’am, no ma’am,’ socially acceptable thing,” she said. Where she ended up is vastly different and not what you would expect from that world. How did she go from the girl next door to the loud, vocal, and even angry teen who’s not afraid to write a “fuck you” song about their ex? Unlike how creating her distinct style took time, drawing influence throughout her life, she just woke up one day and vowed to make a change. “I was a really judgmental person when I was younger because I didn’t understand how the world works,” GAYLE said. “I would look at people who would drink or do drugs or have sex before marriage or wear crop tops, and I genuinely judged those people…Then, I just honestly started growing up.” Realizing she wasn’t happy and was trying to please others, she decided to start doing things differently. As she matured, GAYLE wanted to do those same things she judged others for. “I realized I was judgmental because I didn’t understand those feelings. I didn’t know why people were feeling the way they felt,” she said. “I didn’t know why anybody did that because I’d never experienced that before.” Encountering these feelings, she started becoming a different version of herself. “That also made me want to be more outspoken about the things I personally believe should be accepted, or at least have less shame around it,” GAYLE said. “It’s a big part of who I am now because I never want to be that ignorant again.” Proving she is like other teenagers in some ways, as their life experiences affected who they are, so did GAYLE’s. What she wanted when she was 12 is not what she wants anymore. “I used to think about who I was going to be when I was older and the things I wanted. I woke up one day and realized that all of that completely changed over time,” she said. “Especially with music, I was always dead set on [country music], and that hadn’t changed. Then I woke up one day and was like, I didn’t do any of that, and I’m, honestly, happier because of it.” Even though she shared that her life is still a mess, she seems to have a lot figured out, definitely more than us at 17. BTS
She brought this energy of being a woman living life as she pleases and speaking out to her viral song “abcdefu”, which has received many accolades, including spending 19 weeks at the time of writing on the “Billboard Global 200” where it hit number one. It also peaked at number three on Billboard’s “The Hot 100” where it placed for 18 weeks at the time of writing. If you haven’t heard this song, you’re clearly living under a rock. While GAYLE may never fully understand why it resonates so much with listeners because she can’t experience it from their perspective, she believes it is partly due to being openly angry – something many people struggle with, herself included for a while. “There’s so much shit to be mad about in your personal life and the world,” GAYLE said. “If you sit and think about it, most of the time people have something that makes them mad. For a really long time, I didn’t let myself get angry because I thought that made me an angry person, but not feeling your anger is what makes you an angry person in the long run because you don’t emotionally process any of it...So, I just really wanted ‘abcdefu’ to be an open space where people can be angry.” Beyond that, the song was filled with words we’ve all thought of but were scared to say to someone’s face. Even though GAYLE didn’t directly say all that to their face, she said that being able to say it in a song helped her know that she could say it to someone’s face if she wanted to. Either way, there is no way he didn’t hear the song, and he definitely knows who it’s about! Reminiscing on days spent daydreaming about the song hitting number one on the radio with her best friend she wrote it with, GAYLE expressed what it felt like when her manifestations came true. “I remember when it hit three million streams and being like, ‘Whoa, that’s cool,’“ she said. “Especially because a song I had out before had like 500,000 streams in a year, and I was so excited about that. Then when ‘abcdefu’ in three or four months had three million, it was so exciting. I could not have guessed or known in any way. I was hoping. But even if it wouldn’t have done that, I still would have been happy with what it had done.” Reaching milestone after milestone, GAYLE can tell her childhood self that her dreams of going number one or making the Billboard charts came true, even if she didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. “I’m so grateful that it gives me more confidence in the goal of making this happen again, knowing it has happened before. It seemed so unreachable six months ago,” she said. Released after “abcdefu,” her next single “ur just horny” achieved great success as well, accumulating over 11 million streams on Spotify alone. Again, she proved that raw emotion is the guide to the hearts of music lovers everywhere. BTS
Her leading goal in creating music, honesty is something she values and puts into every song by relying on personal experiences, a refreshing sensation when it can seem like other artists are just selling. Her debut EP, which wasn’t out at the time of our interview, is titled a study of the human experience volume one, alluding to those emotions at the forefront of her first two singles as creating a moment for open discussion on life. “It’s definitely a study of my own experience — my personal experiences and everything that I’ve done in my life, but it also is a collaborative project,” GAYLE said about her first body of accumulated music. “I worked with other writers and producers, and they put themselves in the music as well. It’s not particularly just a study of my human experience; it’s a study of the human experiences involved with the project.” Adding fun twists to her work, GAYLE is devoted to treating each piece more experimentally, whether sonically, collaboratively, or topically. Like the title says, it is all a study. Her favorite song from the EP proves her ability to defy being just one kind of artist — not being what many would expect from her. Talking about her song “kiddie pool”, Gayle said: “Somebody asked me a question like ‘That seems like such a different place for you sonically; how did you get to that place of wanting to experiment with yourself?’ It’s funny because I wrote that song before any other songs on the project. I wrote that when I was 15 with my best friend Sarah Davis who was 18. It was about six months to a year before we wrote ‘abcdefu’ – I was madly in love with my boyfriend who we ended up writing it about. I loved him so much, and I wanted to tell him, and that was a scary thing. It’s such a vulnerable thing being like, ‘Hey, I’m in love with you.’ So, that song is about experiencing love for the first time and young love and admitting that to a person.” Showing that there are many sides to her, she proves that her EP is not about taking her one sound and running with it. It’s about showing evolution to her listeners, something that they BTS
can do, too. It embodies all the things we feel, none of which are good or bad, but just are. “My biggest thing is I hope people know my music is a safe space to feel anything you want,” GAYLE said. “If you listen to my songs and you get angry, great. If you listen to my songs and you get happy or sad, or if you feel nothing at all. Think what you want to think and feel what you want to feel. Put on whatever you want to put on. It’s your choice. You can listen to it and use it in your life any way you want.” Currently touring with three shows under her belt by the time of the interview, GAYLE shared that she was performing unreleased songs, including ones not found on the EP, which are contenders for a later venture. While most time on tour is spent working, she dedicates a lot of time to being an avid foodie, embracing foods from each environment. While that may not seem like much, existing in various capacities is a special thing to do, and existing at all isn’t easy. In a poetic manner, GAYLE shared that sentiment in a profound message: “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Existing as a human being is really difficult. It’s a difficult thing to maintain. So, if you just survived, that’s a success.” How did a 17-year-old become so candid and wise at such a young age? Well, we’re still trying to figure out her secrets. Follow along on the journey with us, so we can all learn how to be more like GAYLE and say what she did best — “abcdefu.”
ALYSSA BUZZELLO - LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 2022
JOE HERNANDEZ - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 2022
ALYSSA BUZZELLO - LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 2022
GINA SCARPINO - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 2022
POUTYFACE IS CAPITALIZING ON EVERY OPPORTUNITY THAT COMES HER WAY PHOTOS BY ARI BATTIS | WORDS BY BROOKE MADIGAN BTS
The range of ways in which artists are discovered stretches vastly. A few decades ago, it might have been through being a street performer or word of mouth. Today, being discovered online or through a phone application is the epitome of the state of the industry. Every day, young singers and songwriters are uploading videos of themselves online that display their talent and musical abilities. Going viral is not easy, but when it works, it really works. Olivia Knight, otherwise known as poutyface, experienced this first-hand. The young California native wrote her first song at the age of 13. At 18, she made the move to Los Angeles and her journey since has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. The artist got her start back in 2019 on the app Voisey. It is a platform for singers and songwriters to connect with one another through videos. poutyface was one of the first artists to go viral on the app. Citing that her songwriting process has changed quite a bit over the years, poutyface elaborated that “I started writing songs by myself when I was 13 and a lot of that came from writing poetry first.” That poetry would then be converted into songs, but she said
she “wasn’t writing a whole lot, because it was just whenever I was feeling something.” Moving to Los Angeles provided her with the opportunity to write with a lot of other people. Whoever she was with, they would constantly have songwriting sessions going on and it resulted in four or five songs a week, sometimes. “The process is very collaborative,” poutyface said. “We’re all just typing in a Google Doc and dumping in a bunch of words, a bunch of phrases, and seeing what catches and what doesn’t. Being like, ‘Okay let’s build off of that, that’s super cool,’ or ‘Oh I really like that word let’s use that for the chorus.’” poutyface is now signed to Island Records and has a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music. Part of what has contributed to the artist’s growing success is her ability to reach and appeal to a young audience. In addition to her music being liked, her online persona is one that generation Z can relate to and appreciate. It’s important for an artist to understand who their audience is and then cater to them. Because poutyface is the same age as many of her listeners, it works really well.
Although artists like Frank Ocean, Doja Cat, and Kendrick Lamar have been mentioned as inspirations in the past, she said that an album she keeps returning to is Parachutes by Coldplay. “I grew up on a lot of Tom Petty, a lot of Rage Against The Machine, and a lot of Alanis Morissette from my mom,” poutyface said. “Those are probably my main memorable influences.” Additionally, when asked who her favorite artist of all time was, Morissette and Cavetown were mentioned due to their ability “to like touch me with such incredible lyrics.” She is a massive fan of Cavetown’s entire catalog. It is clear based on all of these artists she appreciates most, that lyricism is a top priority for her and that is truly what she connects with. It is so nice to see an artist as passionate about this as poutyface is. She’s really in it for the music. In February and March, poutyface joined YUNGBLUD on his 2022 tour across North America. “It’s been very crazy just because there’s no way to know what it’s going to be like,” she said. “But generally, I feel very good and at peace and comfortable when I’m up there [on stage.] So, it can only get better from here I think.” When thinking about a dream venue to perform at someday, poutyface reflected on the tour with YUNGBLUD and knew that the Milwaukee show would be at a memorable place. It was at The Rave, an iconic venue home to a basement swimming pool signed by the late Mac Miller. She and a member of her team were very excited about that show and to check out the space. An artist’s debut single is not always their biggest success. In the case of poutyface, it is. “DEATHWISH” debuted in April 2020 and has since amassed just under seven million streams on Spotify. The happyleaning music in this song is interestingly juxtaposed with lyrics like “smash your windows, key your car.” poutyface’s music is filled with angst and raw emotion. She perfectly encapsulates what many young people are feeling and separates herself from other artists who sing somberly about heartbreak or other youthful experiences. Her sound feels reminiscent of something that we could have heard from Avril Lavigne in the early 2000s. It’s refreshing to see this again. BTS
In “NEVER FUCKIN KNOW,” one of the first lines reads “The last thing I remember is watching a Dominic Fike video.” When asked about this, she said it refers to his video for “Chicken Tenders.” The video “had just come out and we were like ‘Oh my god let’s watch this Dominic Fike video’ and it was so sick, and that’s literally the last thing I can recall.” poutyface also threw in that she loved Fike’s recent performance in the HBO television series, “Euphoria.” The artist has several songs out, but no album or EP just yet. While reflecting on her favorite song that she has written thus far, an unreleased piece came to mind. It is unknown when “Ragdoll” will be released, but her excitement about the song speaks volumes. As for the future, “nothing is set in stone yet, but, a couple more singles and then next step probably will be an EP. I’ve got a lot of music, but I want to give every song its own space and not just dump three albums out at once, which I could theoretically, because we have enough music for that, but yeah, EP will probably be next.” Exciting is an understatement when describing poutyface’s growth and potential as an artist. She has already achieved so much at such a young age, signifying that even more is bound to come her way. With more concert and festival appearances to come in 2022, poutyface will garner a lot more recognition and attention this year. Watching a young female artist succeed is invigorating and we cannot wait to see where this current path that she is on leads to in the future.
BLAKE CHARLES - PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 2022
LOUIS TOMLINSON DANA JACOBS - OAKLAND, OR - MARCH 2022
TRIXIE AND KATYA
DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 2022
DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 2022
DANA JACOBS - OAKLAND, OR - MARCH 2022
PATRICK DRONEY CREATES THE PERFECT SOUNDTRACK TO LIFE PHOTOS BY ALANA SWARINGEN | WORDS BY IVY SANDOVAL
For pop singer Patrick Droney, music chose him, gravitating toward the guitar like a magnet. “I don’t really ever remember saying, ‘This is what I want to do.’ It’s just kind of like, this is what I’m doing.” Now at the age of 29, he has quite a lineup of accomplishments. From sharing the stage at just 12 years old with the musical genius of B.B. King and James Brown to his headlining tours and playing prominent music festivals like Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits. In 2019 he released his debut self-titled EP, where his single “High Hope” gained so much traction, that it was featured on season 16 of the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy.” Success was brewing for Droney, but then the Coronavirus hit.
The pandemic, like it did with many others, shifted his mindset. With live shows gone, Droney needed to find a way to connect with his audience like never before, leading to a deep dive and reevaluation of what his purpose was in music. That’s where State of the Heart comes in. A debut album that “became this house that I was building and a safe space.” Each piece so intimately created, with the idea of a bigger connection in mind, the idea of the human condition, to get everyone through a foreign time. While built intimately, the producer and songwriter in him couldn’t help but create such unique and sonically built spaces. One thing about Droney is that he is a true storyteller in music, captivating and transporting his listeners to a different world in each track.
Droney thinks of himself in a much different way, though. “Because songs are fossils. I’m an archeologist. I’m just in the room and when I find them and dust them off I’m just glad it picked me,” he said. “There really is no science to this. This is like divine stuff. It really feels that way when you’re making it.” If you were to ask the singer if he considers himself “pop” he would say yes, but he does want to redefine that narrative. “There’s so much pop music and it’s the same exact kind of song or whatever,” he said. “Whereas if you go back in time, the 90s or the 80s, it’s wider. It’s just popular music. I hope that we get back to that place a little bit.” For Droney, his music is “exploding colors of everything that I feel and see.” Although the album has been in the process of being made over the last five years, it’s his official beginning. The story of who Patrick Droney is now. “I feel like I’m starting somewhere and I have something to crusade for.” Living in New York, Los Angeles, and now Nashville has definitely had an influence on his music. Different environments and memories in each place yet still the same for everyone. In his title track “State of the Heart” he says, “But who the hell are we? / Wandering around in this big city / Acting like we got our lives together / Trying to find ourselves in the letters of dead poets,” creating such a specific thought we have all had of the unknown and trying to find ourselves learning from others. Such specific lyricism truly highlights the connection we all have. “This is my time to just make my little stamp on the world,” Droney said. “All these songs are little vignettes of my actual life; but I really found [that] the more specific I get as a writer, the more universal things are, which is crazy.” State of the Heart is a body of work that takes you through every emotion. It encompasses the true, authentic feeling of life in every form. From momentous ballads on the wonders of life in “Talk About That,” to
heavy grief in “Glitter.” Of course, the feelings of love arise in hopeful tracks like “Yours in the Morning” and “River,” as well as heartbreak in slow yet soulful singles like “The Wire.” State of the Heart is Droney’s soundtrack to life. A connection so strong you become the main character alongside him acting as a narrator. Each track is so raw and immersive, further proving Droney’s boundaryshaking, one-of-a-kind artistry. Droney mentions the fact that in the end, the album is still a product for consumption. Despite the fact, it’s a piece of art so unparalleled, made with every effort and emotion available. “I read this poem by [Pablo] Neruda called ‘October Fullness’ and it starts and it says, ‘Little by little but also in great leaps, life happened to me,’ ” he said. “And I just started weeping, like why am I so sad? Oh, because this is an accumulation of my whole life to get to this moment and this thing, and that kid who is
climbing up the hill… Like I [my older self] have to take it from here.” Even two days before the deadline, Droney was still working, the poem inspiring the wondrous “Little by Little,” knowing the pieces had fallen into place. “It’s just so personalized but you have to let it go,” he said. “It’s just an odd thing, but a beautiful thing.” Now on tour, Droney feels the universal connection more than ever. A moment he wasn’t sure he’d have again during the pandemic. “It’s almost exhausting because it’s like way more emotional, but that conversation with these crowds, that’s what I meant by being different [on] this record,” he said. “What’s happened in this time it’s like, ‘Oh, we’ve both seen some stuff and we’re here together and the veil is lifted.’ We are just raw.” A full-circle moment of the human condition.
DANA JACOBS - OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 2022
SAID THE SKY
JOE HERNANDEZ - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 2022
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MAX | PHOTO BY BLAKE CHARLES