Beyond The Stage Magazine - September 2019

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BEYOND THE STAGE

BEYOND the stage

STAFF

ADDIE WHELAN

EDITOR IN CHIEF

GINA SCARPINO MANAGING EDITOR

CHELSEA GRESH PHOTO EDITOR

LAUREN KLONOWSKI

DEPUTY EDITOR

JOE HERNANDEZ

Buy a print copy of ANY issue at: https://btsmag.co/PrintBTS

Beyond The Stage is a digital music magazine based in the United States. You can read Beyond The Stage online for free or visit our website to buy a hard copy. Previous issues are always available to read online or order in print.

Read the latest news at: WWW.BEYONDTHESTAGEMAGAZINE.COM

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WRITERS

Revisit our previous issues at: https://btsmag.co/Issues Addie Whelan Joe Hernandez Lauren Klonowski Samantha Aneed Sara Feigin

PHOTOGRAPHERS

DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER

Addie Whelan Alex Lyon Alyssa Buzzello Angela Romano Audrey Lew Becca Mathias Bernadette Castillo Chelsea Gresh Dana Jacobs Gina Scarpino Jason Murray Joe Hernandez Marina Boichuk Sara Feigin

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

34 EBEN

GALLERIES

FEATURES AND FESTIVALS

10 James TW 24 Stephen Puth 52 Great Good Fine Ok

06 Firefly Music Festival 14 KISS The Summer Hello 18 Capitol Hill Block Party 30 106.1 BLI Summer Jam 40 Disrupt Festival 44 JP Saxe 48 Outside Lands Music Festival

04 Troye Sivan 05 The Regrettes 16 We Were Promised Jetpacks 22 Khalid 23 Chase Atlantic 28 Lewis Capaldi 29 Twin XL 33 ONE OK ROCK 42 Robyn 43 Third Eye Blind 56 Weathers 58 Why Don’t We

EBEN ON THE COVER

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TROYE SIVAN

DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 2019

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THE REGRETTES

CHELSEA GRESH - CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 2019

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AJR

ALEC BENJAMIN

BISHOP BRIGGS

CHELSEA CUTLER

GREAT GOOD FINE OK

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FIREFLY MUSIC FESTIVAL PHOTOS BY ALEX LYON

HALF ALIVE


DJ SNAKE

BROCKHAMPTON

HALF NOISE

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HIPPO CAMPUS

LOSTBOYCROW

JESSIE REYEZ

LOUIS THE CHILD

KING PRINCESS

MAX


PANIC! AT THE DISCO

SIR SLY

VAMPIRE WEEKEND

PASSION PIT

TYLER THE CREATOR

ZEDD

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JAMES TW

PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO WORDS BY LAUREN KLONOWSKI AND SAMANTHA ANEED

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W

e had the great pleasure of sitting down with former BTS cover star, James TW to discuss his debut album, Chapters and his journey as an artist. His success didn’t happen overnight; it took a lot of hard work to get him to where he is today. After being noticed by fellow pop star Shawn Mendes, James TW had the chance to head out and open the show for Mendes on his world tour. The 12 track record, Chapters showcases James as not only an artist, but who he is as a person. He added genuine, emotional stories into the record, which makes it as raw and honest as any album could be. The album cover features 12 pictures and each picture represents a “sticker” for each of the tracks featured on the album. He wanted to venture out from others and do something different, “I liked the idea that every song had this badge. When we released them, month by month, they had these little stickers to represent each song. I always wanted the stickers to be the tracklist on the back instead of words or just fit it on the front. We tried so many different things. I don’t want to just stick a picture of my face on my albums. I like the artistic side,” James said. Having that visual for each song is a cool thing to see because its like image and word association. You see the suitcase and think of the track titled “Suitcase”, it’s the same with the sticker of a camera, which makes you think of the track, “Big Pic-

ture”. It’s one of the most unique things an artist could do with their album cover. After hearing about this expressive and creative process for the images that represented the tracks on the album, we were dying to find out about the writing process for those tracks. “There were different combinations of writing sessions. Just some with me on my own and most of the time it was me trying to force an idea, but the best ones always come to you naturally. So ‘Soldier’ was the first song that I wrote at my flat. That idea started out on tour. I was out on stage and started randomly playing some chords and it kind of came out and I finished it at home, so that was one way one song happened. Another way, was when I would go to other people’s studios. I like to go into sessions with a concept. That’s the most difficult part I think. When you write songs so often, you get really good at writing. For my music, it has some kind of message or story. I always go in with some kind of concept and that’s the majority of the songs,” said James. The writing process can vary from artist to artist, but usually one common theme is having to make the hard decision of what tracks are going to make the final cut of the album. “I think nowadays people write so many. Since signing to a record label, I’ve probably written between 120 and 150 songs. A lot of that was still in

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development; I wouldn’t say those first 50 were ready. I was writing to find some good songs, but I wasn’t rally having an open mindset of what was going on the album. For the album, I probably wrote like 50, but then 100 were kind of just keeping the ball rolling.” Judging from all of James TW’s music that has been released, it’s easy to say that he enjoys releasing music that is full of raw emotion. “I have a really early memory of being in a school and sometimes when I wasn’t playing football (or soccer as you call it), I would go into the library and write about crushes and girls and just trying to be a rockstar. There was a lot to write about at that time. It came naturally to just be myself and put myself out there,” James remembered. Putting yourself out there can be challenging for just about anyone, including James. “It’s easier now. What’s so weird is if you were to think about two strangers on the street who just met, you would never expect them to tell you what they’re going through after only knowing them for 30 minutes. But, when you work with someone and you’re open, it’s just easier to work with them. Sometimes it helps and sometimes there isn’t enough for a story. If I put myself out there, then chances are we will have a better song at the end of the day. I have just had to get used to opening up to random people.” With an album full of such strong tracks, it must be hard to pick a favorite. James said, “I think my favorite changes. I listened to the album on the plane for the first time in like a month. I am really excited about ‘Incredible’. I just see that song as such a timeless song. I am really proud of that one. The funny thing about that song is I didn’t even want it to be on the album to begin with, and now it’s weirdly become one of my favorites.” When asked about the hardest part of writing this album, James said, “I think because it was my debut album there was a lot of pressure behind that. It’s a big statement and it felt different than my EPs. When I think of my favorite artists, I think of their albums as a benchmark of what they are and how good they are. A lot of my favorite artists you know their albums were huge and that’s what made them. That was the most difficult part-questioning whether the songs were good enough or the entire thing was good enough.”

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Keeping this in mind, it must have been difficult for James to write a few of the album tracks, right? “Most of the songs were written in one day, then we tweaked them the next day. The one that was the hardest was probably ‘Happy For Me’. So, ‘Happy For Me’ is kind of based around a piano riff I came out with when I was on tour with Shawn Mendes years ago and I loved it. I knew it was going to be a song one day, but I could never find a song for it or a melody or anything. So I tried to write that riff so many times. Then one day, something hap-


pened and it kind of just inspired the whole thing out of nowhere. I knew I had been waiting for that moment. That was a real bitch to be honest, I hated that one. You lose faith in it, you put yourself out there and it fails and then you want to take a part of it and try again. It’s a weird thing, to think about it for a different concept or production. I’m so happy that it ended up being on the album in the end.”

life in this album because I feel like the more you grow up, the less that changes. My lyrics are such plain-Jane lyrics. I just say it as it is, there aren’t any metaphors behind it. I am jealous of people that can do it, like Frank Ocean. He can do that and I Google the meaning behind his lyrics and I’m just like mind blown. Chapters just fits with the songs and the lyrics. I am glad I went with a very simple one.”

Chapters has such a strong, cohesive stretch that really shows off Jame’s creativity. “I think there are common themes on the album and there are some more unique stories. The album itself is just talking about how for me, those songs are things I would talk about from when I was 12 to 20. So much has happened for everybody, you just grow up so much and learn so much about yourself. I just kind of wanted there to be different stages in my

So what’s next on the agenda for James TW? Shows, shows and more shows. “I am doing a lot of shows in the U.S. I am doing a mini-U.S. headlining tour, then I am mixing it up by supporting Dean Lewis.” No need to worry though, he’s not working himself to death. “I turn 22 in October and I’m going to Australia for Christmas-it will be a nice beachy Christmas. So, we’ll see how the rest of the year goes-- should be exciting!”

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ALLY BROOKE

AJ MITCHELL

IN REAL LIFE

96.5 FM’S KISS THE SUMMER HELLO

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PHOTOS BY CHELSEA GRESH


AVA MAX

IN REAL LIFE

ALLY BROOKE

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WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS BERNADETTE CASTILLO - AUSTIN, TX - JULY 2019

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Being a touring professional goes far beyond what fans see. It’s more than just spending your days in dark venues and traveling around the world. It’s waking up at 4 AM to make the hotel lobby call at 5 AM, only to be followed by a two hour commute to an airport, where you get on a four hour flight, to then get into another car and drive to another dark venue and do it all over again.

WHAT IT REALLLY MEANS TO BE ON TOUR Words by HERO Records CEO Matt Medney

In my time as a touring professional, I’ve traveled to over 35 countries, where I’ve produced 300plus shows. Touring is exhausting, but working on shows has allowed for me to experience those “perfect moments,” which are frequently seen as the climax of a show. It could be during the artist’s intro as they’re walking on stage, or how the pyrotechnics line up with the drum part in the bridge of a specific song, or even those moments where the crowd is singing the words louder than the artist. Those “perfect moments” are the most meaningful part of touring and producing shows. Special moments like those that make up shows are not only incredibly meaningful to fans, but also to the people behind the scenes, like myself, that work tirelessly to provide such fun and unforgettable experiences for those in attendance. What people don’t realize is that in-between those “perfect moments,” are the countless hours of planning, advancing, rehearsing, and traveling that are put into making those shows possible. Even when you’re out on the road and have an off day, it doesn’t mean that you get to take a full day off from your job. The traveling aspect of tour is amazing, but it’s hard to see most of the places we travel to unless we have an off-day, and even on those off days you’re still planning for upcoming shows or appearances, or even planning the execution of whatever tour is following the one you’re on at that point in time. When you’re out on the road (or really working in any part of the music industry), the hustle never stops. The biggest lesson I learned through my years in the touring industry is to always live in the moment. You can get tangled up in your work while you’re on the road, making it easy to forget how amazing your job and current job opportunity is. But even on those off days when you’re still on-call for answering emails and calls about upcoming shows and tours, it’s important to remind yourself to go take that picture in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall. When your job takes you to incredible places, it’s important to take advantage of those places and opportunities while you can, because who knows when you’ll be back in France or China or wherever you are. Always remember through the late nights, jet lag, hustle, and just general exhaustion to take a step back and live in the moment and remind yourself why you’re doing this all in the first place. BTS

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AMINE

CHELSEA CUTLER

LIZZO

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CAPITOL HILL BLOCK PARTY PHOTOS BY JASON MURRAY

MITSKI


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EVAN

AMINE

MITSKI

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CHELSEA CUTLER

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KHALID

ADDIE WHELAN - CHICAGO, IL - JULY 2019

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CHASE ATLANTIC

ALYSSA BUZZELLO - LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 2019

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STEPHEN PUTH PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO WORDS BY LAUREN KLONOWSKI

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T

he story for every artist and how they manage to break into the music industry is unique. However, a few things that seem to be a common theme in these stories is hard work, dedication and drive. Stephen Puth’s story is no different. After working in finance and learning that that wasn’t the trade for him, he started at the bottom as an assistant for anyone and everyone in the music industry. He worked his way up the ladder to take his musical career to the next level. “Music was always the thing that was my escape from my reality, the side thing. Over time, it just became the actual thing,” Puth said. His journey to his status has been quite inspiring. “Two years ago, I was assisting for everyone. I was also trying to get an internship with just anybody and I was just trying so hard to get into music and then it just kind of transitioned into, ‘Oh, I produce and songwrite’ and it just kind of naturally clicked.” Clicked is a bit of an understatement. Puth has managed to take the pop scene by storm by only releasing three tracks: “Sexual Vibe,” “Half Gone” and “Look Away”. They all have a unique sound that shows a progression and still manages to tie each track together. “My sound is always going to be evolving in some way, shape or form. When I first started, I was really into that surf-rock, vintagey sound, retro vibes. Then the second song (‘Half Gone’), I was a little more modern, but still kid of old-school in a sense. Now, it’s still has this like ‘cowboy feel’ that feels like it’s the opening to a Quentin Tarantino movie. I think my sound is always gonna change. But when you look at all three tracks, they all somehow connect.” When it comes to songwriting, Puth said that he draws from his own experiences, but they don’t always pertain to one single person. “With ‘Sexual Vibe’ it’s not like I am thinking of this one specific person. I think any song ever written, or will be every written by a person in general, is always going to be autobiographical because it’s what’s happening to them, that’s inspiring them. So, I don’t necessarily have to feel, ‘Oh my girlfriend just dumped me’ or in that position but rather, at one point in my life I felt this and now I’m talking about it. Othertimes, you just walk into a studio and you’re like, ‘I want to write a song today,’ and sometimes you just write lyrics, but you’re always gonna pull from something.” When writing his latest single, “Look Away” he pulled inspiration from his own experience. “I think it always stems from your personal life, and wanting to talk about feelings that have happened to me, but also just everyone in the room that day when we were writing.

It’s a very relatable subject. With a breakup, or after a fight, there’s always that awkward moment of where you get the “look-away” and honestly it was just a really catchy melody and it just clicked immediately.” In terms of musical influences, Puth looks to artists that are completely different from his own genre. “I always love this because, yes, I have musical influences, but they sound nothing like my music. I don’t think I could ever make anything like their song in any way, shape or form. I love Van Morrison. I love The Beatles, I also love Foster the People. MGMT? Love. And you take those and how do those four relate to my music? It’s doesn’t really line up. I really loved Eminem growing up. Like obsessed with him. Like kinda took it too far. Like needed to dial it down a notch. But, all that somehow gives creative influence in some way shape or form. Sometimes, I’ll rap made up lyrics when I’m writing just to me inspired, like rap just a list of words. I’m not good at it, but sometimes it works when I pretend I’m Eminem. I know I’m not Eminem, but it’s great. After his inspiration struck and he created some great tracks, he was able to create some great music videos to go along with them. The first, “Sexual Vibe”, has over 10 million views on YouTube was a huge hit and a standout moment for Puth. The process of creating the video for the second video, “Half Gone” was a bit different from his first time around. “It’s so interesting, because obviously the first time doing a music video I was really nervous for no good reason, but it was still fun. By the time of the second video, it wasn’t in LA, it was kind of uncharted territory. It had a smaller crew as opposed to, ‘Oh, we’ve hired these actors for the day to make a party scene,’ this was more of, ‘Okay, it’s you and it’s a girl and you’re gonna have to be friends today.’ I just thought that small environment with everybody made the video really interesting.” The video itself stemmed from Puth’s original idea. “I don’t know that much about cinematography but I simply wanted it to do the ‘rewind thing’ because I thought that was really cool. The director, she had actually helped with my previous video. She really could translate my words pretty well. So, that was the idea and I was like, ‘I want it to be snowing, let’s do it in Toronto.’ Of course, we get to Toronto and it’s not snowing at all, it’s just very cold. I guess behind that, there were a couple ideas, I just had the general premise. It was really the director who went in and coincidentally were like, ‘Hey, you should ice skate.’ and I was like, ‘I played hockey my whole life, I would love to ice skate!’ So, I was so glad that was actually part of the video. The actual message of the video BTS

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is to see the deterioration of a relationship from memory.” Since Puth has been in the music industry for awhile now, he’s gotten some great advice from musical artists and execs alike. The best advice he’s ever gotten? “Patience. 100%. Most days I’m like this [snaps fingers]. I want it done. Music, doesn’t work like that. There are some times where I write a song and I’ll email everybody and be like, ‘This is the next song! This is the next song! It’s amazing!’ and then like a week later, I’m like, ‘I hate that song, why did I even email that to you?’ It’s just patience of strategically setting everything up. The actual making of the music or why is it not number one on this thing or that-- it’s a process. It’s the classic, ‘trust the process’.” In addition to being an assistant, intern and writing his own music in the past, he has written and produced for other artists as well. When asked if he will continue to work for other artists, he said, “It’s always time dependent, I’m gonna have to prioritize myself. But, if there was an artist who I clicked with, in terms of writing then, yes. I’ve

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clicked with a couple groups, but it just didn’t really get too far. I’ve made some great friends too, so if I clicked with somebody, I’d give it the time. Two days ago, I did a country session with these awesome guys from Nashville. They write Jason Aldean music. I’m not very good at writing country music but I was like, ‘I want to write a country song with you guys!’ I always love those type of sessions because it’s me doing more watching than doing. You just gain perspective. I would write with other people again, it just depends if people want to write with me. I’m a nightmare to write with. You’re either gonna love me when we write a song, or you’re just not. It’s simple [laughs].” Thinking of the rest of 2019, and what he plans on doing next Puth said, “Well, I was gonna do laundry…


[laughs]. I wanna put out an EP, but going back to the patience factor, just taking the time and picking the right songs that make the most sense. After releasing that EP, I’m gonna start doing some promo traveling. Just gonna go to a bunch of places, radio, hopefully play a couple places too. Just exposure, it’s all about building your fanbase. But actually, showing people that live hours or miles away to some extent who you

are. It’s fun, so I am just kind of starting that aspect of it now.” While he’s climbed his way up the ladder, he’s still managing to take his talent further and further. With this new EP and promo shows on the way, it’s sure to be a continuous climb up and we can’t wait to see just how high Puth goes.

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LEWIS CAPALDI

JOE HERNANDEZ - PORTLAND, OR - JUNE 2019

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TWIN XL

SARA FEIGIN - NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 2019

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FLETCHER

BAZZI

JAKE MILLER

ALLY BROOKE

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106.1 BLI SUMMER JAM PHOTOS BY AUDREY LEW

BEBE REXHA


JONAS BROTHERS

BRYCE VINE

WHY DON’T WE

MARK RONSON

ELLIE GOULDING

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ONE OK ROCK

JOE HERNANDEZ - PORTLAND, OR - JULY 2019

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EBEN

PHOTOS BY BECCA MATHIAS WORDS BY ADDIE WHELAN


A

s the lights go down and fans starts to rise out of their seats, there’s nothing like the moment when an artist steps on stage for the first time. The energy rises in the room and not a care in the world is present anymore. For 23-year-old EBEN, it’s even more than that. His fans, who often drive across the country to see him perform, are undeniably one of the most energetic fanbases in pop music. As EBEN bounces across stage, introducing himself to the crowd, a massive amount of phones are in the crowd and lit up posters often raise into the air. A humble and gracious smile graces EBEN’s face as thousands of fans sing his lyrics right alongside of him. As soon as EBEN steps on stage, the energy in the room builds to an extreme amount. As he takes over the stage, fans are instantly out of his seats because they know what’s about to happen in the next thirty minutes. When Beyond The Stage sat down with EBEN, prior to a performance at Philadelphia’s The Met, the singer was nothing but relaxed, even ahead of performing to a sold-out crowd of 3,500 later that night. “I just feel at home on stage. I’m more comfortable performing on stage than I am in an interview. When I go on stage, I completely let loose and there’s no worry in the world that can bother me or ruin my day when I’m on stage. Once you have it in your hands, it’s a completely cool, almost-new feeling every time,” he said. Described as “undeniable and charismatic on stage” by Billboard Magazine, EBEN’s live performance is nothing but energetic. Although EBEN’s set is short on the 8 Letters Tour with Why Don’t We, he performs with the confidence of a headliner and shows that he truly lives and breathes music. “I got my start in music really young. I started singing in my church choir. And then, I was a musical theater kid for the most part. My goal was to move to New York and do Broadway. And then when I turned 15, I went and tried out for a signing show, it was American Idol. I actually made it to the Top 24. That was the first time I went to Los Angeles. I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. Going out there was a completely

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different world and I completely, absolutely fell in love with it. And that’s when I started to do my own solo career. So I guess, it was since I was 15, that’s when I started taking it seriously as a career. And now I’m 23 and I’m on tour,” EBEN shared with BTS. Now, EBEN’s created his own music, influenced by artists like The 1975, Chance The Rapper, Chelsea Cutler and Jeremy Zucker. All of those influences combined has lead to a pop-driven, hip-hop sound that in return, created an upbeat live performance that’s clearly grabbed the attention of hundreds of thousands of fans. With an unimaginable dedication to those fans, EBEN consistently chats with his fans, has his own VIP Meet and Greet and even hosts an after party, which gives his fans an opportunity to hang out with the singer and get to know him on a more personal level. “I love connecting with my fans through social media. It’s the portal to them. And it’s a way that they can get access to me and without that, I feel like that there would be a huge

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gap. You wouldn’t be able to have such a good relationship without them,” EBEN told BTS. Building that relationship with his fans has resulted in more than 80,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, building EBEN as one of the quickest growing artists of 2019. With infectious music and relatable lyrics, EBEN’s music continues to draw attention as he performs at the biggest venues in the country, which in return, has brought some of music’s most important industry professionals to see him perform live. Most recently, EBEN landed a deal with Atlantic Records, which was released via Billboard. As soon as the news hit, fans took to Twitter and Instagram to share positive messages towards the deal, especially as EBEN continued to tour with Why Don’t We, who are also signed to Atlantic. “I am truthfully living my dream [to be opening for Why Don’t We]. In the full sense of that phrase, I am truly living my dream. I get to go on

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stage every single night and do what I love. I have my best friends on tour with me. Between the boys and I have my team, like Brandon my drummer, he’s one of my best friends as well. It’s a dream come true and I don’t take [my life] for granted,” EBEN shared. Most recently, EBEN has released “Plastic Angels,” which chronicles the first time that the singer went to Los Angeles. “‘Plastic Angels’ is a representation of the first time that I had come out to LA. What you see on TV is that LA is this perfect place, you know, once you get there, you realize that it’s not a perfect place. It’s the big music industry machine. Going out there for the first time was a complete shock. I’m from Cincinnati, so it was just very different and that’s what ‘Plastic Angels’ is about.” Now, the music video for the track is out, showing how EBEN’s visuals play into his music, garnering more than 100,000 views in just two weeks. His fans have built their own social presences around the track, showing how important EBEN is to them and how relatable the track is for them. While EBEN shares that his live performance will always be exciting and energetic, he shared that his writing process is a little bit more lowkey. “When I’m writing, I write a lot better when I have a candle. It doesn’t matter what kind of candle it is, I think it just adds to the vibe. There’s not really a specific list of things that I need when I’m writing, but it’s more just like in the moment. It just is more about what I’m feeling and in need of at that time,” he said. In the next year, EBEN has big plans. With more than 1 shows down already this year, that’s not the end. Next, EBEN, along with Why Don’t We, has plans to go to Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, all while performing new music and creating new music. Although he shared that being on the road can be exhausting at times, connecting with fans is still his favorite part of his life. His upbeat pop music shows that EBEN has real chops for the music world, encompassing that into a live show that has clearly already paved the way for the singer to be the next big thing in pop music. With a massive fanbase, an incredibly humble personality and real talent, EBEN shows that there’s a way to be refreshing and genuine in pop music and we can’t wait to see what’s next. BTS

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ANDY BLACK

CIRCA SURVIVE

SLEEPING WITH SIRENS

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DISRUPT FESTIVAL PHOTOS BY MARINA BOICHUK

ATREYU

JULIET SIMMS

SUM 41


FOUR YEAR STRONG

MEMPHIS MAY FIRE

THRICE

HYRO THE HERO

THE USED

ANDY BLACK

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ROBYN

DANA JACOBS - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 2019

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THIRD EYE BLIND CHELSEA GRESH - CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 2019

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JP SAXE

PHOTOS BY SARA FEIGN, WORDS BY SARA FEIGIN AND LAUREN KLONOWSKI


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etting to know an up-and-coming artist can be hard work for potential fans but Los Angelesbased, Canadian-bred singer-songwriter, JP Saxe is every new fan’s dream. When you search the singer’s name on YouTube, (often the first place most teens go to find music), beautiful and thought-provoking music videos are the first videos to come up. Having visuals that affected people was always just as important to Saxe as having lyrics that sat with the listener for awhile. Saxe refers to himself as a songwriter “trying to tell the truth.” His work proves this as true and is likely why fans flock to him. We had the chance to sit down and chat with Saxe about his writing process, music that’s on the way and more to come for the rest of 2019. “I’m trying to create something in a song that closely resembles the emotion that the song is rooted in as much as possible. If the song can make me feel like the moment in my life that the song is about made me feel, then I know I’m succeeding,” Saxe explains to us in a conference room at Sony Music’s Downtown NYC offices. He hopes his music resonates with others, but mainly he is creating music that he, himself can be proud of. His latest single, “Same Room”, is a very personal story for Saxe, “It’s the first song from the post-love era of my life,” he explains with a laugh. He doesn’t like the term “breakup songs”, so he somewhat lovingly refers to “Same Room” and songs of that sort

as “post-love songs”. “It isn’t about breaking up, it’s about what the afterwards feels like,” Saxe explains, he doesn’t feel like songs about breaking up have to be sad and heart wrenching, because humans feel so many emotions. At the start of “Same Room” Saxe quips about watching a Ted Talk episode, and he explains to us that it’s important to see humor in all situations, no matter how bad they are. Currently we’re in the digital era, one where people like to ingest everything from music to television to photos in quick bursts or in binge-able means, such as whole seasons of shows being released at once, or an album comprised of music videos rather than just songs. Saxe is following suit and focusing on quick bursts, but of binge-worthy content. His two recent singles, “Same Room” and “The Few Things” had very artistic, modern art type music videos. The songs art part of a longer release cycle that is yet to come, and they tell the story of the past year of his life. He felt that celebrating them in a visual way was an important way to tell his story. While the songs are connected to each other because they’re about experiences he’s had, he was never trying to fully connect them in anyway, hence why the music videos have differing themes. “I think it’s just an exciting artistic opportunity to take the emotion that we had in the music and figure out how to collaborate with brilliant visual artists with something unique to look at,” Saxe tells us.

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Connection is another huge part of the musical process for Saxe -- he doesn’t just create music to create music. He wants to build a connection with every single listener and it shows. “The biggest successes of my career will be my song having an impact on someone in a country I’ve never been to, you know, having a relationship, having a conversation with someone.” Some fans have connected with his work so much, they’ve chosen to make it the soundtrack to some of the biggest days of their lives. “I have a song called ‘The Few Things’ that I’m watching people have their first dance to now or like walked down the aisle to. One of them actually went out and performed a song for their firsthand, but you know, there’s also people who got married dancing to that song. I don’t think there’s any accolade I could get in my career that would be more meaningful than being a

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part of someone’s biggest moment of their life. That’s ahumbling thing as an artist. It’s incredibly fulfilling.” Saxe let is slip that there will be more music to come before the end of the year. “We released ‘Same Room’ as the first track of 2019 but there will be three to four more before the year’s over.” We can’t wait to see how these tracks will progress his already-thriving career and show off his creativity. On top of new music, he’ll be hitting the road with Noah Kahan starting at the end of the month in Atlanta spanning all the way to the beginning of November in San Diego. It’s going to be a very raw and memorable show for those who can make it out. “It’s going to be just me, a guitar and the panel,” Saxe says. This is an awesome, rare opportunity to see such a stripped back show in the music industry today.

somehow so much better than studio versions. Saxe agrees. “I think that when you hear a song live in the room, the energy of that room can think, ‘We’ve all experienced this, the energy of that room create an experience around that specific song. You’re just not going to get from a recording or even a recording of a performance.” This tour is sure to be an exciting one for Saxe and fans alike. It’s clear that JP Saxe has a good head on his shoulders with vocals and lyrics that will stand the test of time. His vision is clear and in a world full of people seeking their 15 minutes of fame, we know that Saxe has the skills and the persona to make a lasting impression. This impression will not only his fans, but the music industry as a whole.

There’s just something about live music that is

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OUTSIDE LANDS MUSIC FESTIVAL PHOTOS AND WORDS BY ANGELA ROMANO

DAY 1

Outside Lands is a three-day music festival in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, which began on Friday, August 9th. It was a refreshing perspective to be surrounded by the excitement radiating off the fans who spent all day camping out for the headliner at the Lands End stage. Scheduling The Neighbourhood, Lil Wayne, Blink-182 and Twenty One Pilots on the same stage was certainly no mistake, well done OSL.

Lil Wayne broke out hits including “Lollipop” from his album Tha Carter III released in 2008, to “Bedrock” which features Niki Minaj, released on We Are Young Money in 2009. The crowd nostalgically sang along while dancing and bumping into each BTS other48with no care in the world.


Keeping the nostalgic theme was Blink-182, performing songs such as “I Miss You,” “Feeling This,” and “All the Small Things.” The controversial topic in the crowd was the lack of original member Tom DeLonge. The band also played new music from NINE, which comes out late September. The anticipation was growing and the crowd began to liven up again as we approached the last set of day one, Twenty-One Pilots. The audience knew every word and sang along happily. They had outfit changes, fire and courage to dive into the crowd to get a more intimate experience with their fans.

DAY 2 For day two of Outside Lands, it was a bit colder than day one but the amount of attendees seemed to double. If you’re big on having quality Instagram content OSL has you covered. The iconic windmills that greet you as you walk into the south entrance, or the giant Ranger Dave that greets you as you enter the north gate. Bubble Tea Party was like a page out of Alice in Wonderland with giant mushrooms and a lounge to relax while you sip tea or get your face painted by the White Rabbit. Wine Lands is an enormous tent where you can sip on wines from over forty wineries. Beer Lands is basically the same but with thirty beers from local breweries. If you’re not in the mood for wine or beer they have a cute cozy corner called Cocktail Magic for all of you liquor lovers. The comedy tent, co-curated by SF Sketchfest, had a circus sort of vibe with large fabrics draped from floor to ceiling and a beautiful neon and light bulb sign. We were able to catch Rhea Butcher and Ramy Youssef perform. Ella Mai was on the top of our list for the entire weekend. The English singer-songwriter has even been added to Barack Obama’s playlist of the year. The fog and mist picked up which made Ella comment about moonwalking on the slippery stage. She continued to smile and work the stage while playing top hits like Boo’d Up and Trip. Childish Gambino closed out the evening with record attendees. He emerged on a lifted circle stage that brought him from the sound booth in the middle of crowd to the main stage. Shirtless and full of energy Gambino danced along with the audience for an incredible performance.

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DAY 3

Outside Lands day three began with Puddles Pity Party whipping up some gyro sandwiches at the GastroMagic stage with Souvla’s Tony Cervone. Puddles took every opportunity to bust out in song including Bonnie Taylor’s “I Need a Hero”, David Bowie’s “Heroes”, and Enrique Iglesias “Hero” while appropriately replacing each hero with gyro. Afterword, a set by the charming singer songwriter Dean Lewis. He sang out wearing his heart on his sleeve and truly opened up with his lyrics as fans sang along beautifully. We didn’t expect to feel such emotion, but it was hard to ignore the pureness. We dove into the crowd to capture Judah and The Lion. Fans sang and danced to the upbeat inspiring set, the pure energy they give off is unexplainable. They covered it all from “Suit and Jacket”, “Goin to Mars”, “Over My Head” ande “Don’t Mess With My Mama” which a video featuring their mothers played in the background as they performed the song. Leon Bridges, a soul singer from Texas, was next. Who knew Leon had such great dance moves? He sashayed across the stage effortlessly as they performed hits like “Beyond”, “River”, and “Brown Skin Girl”. Anderson .Paak was the last set of the festival. Interestingly enough, a killer drumkit which seemed to be the main focal point on the stage. throughout the entire set, Anderson never lost that appreciative grin. He slayed those drums with pyro and fog surrounding him. He and Leon should have a dance off, It was the perfect ending to a great festival in a lovely park.

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GREAT GOOD FINE OK BTS

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PHOTOS BY ALEX LYON WORDS BY JOE HERNANDEZ


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reat Good Fine OK is a duo consisting of Jon Sandler and Luke Moellman, that is perpetually changing and evolving. The New York City-based duo even enlists the help of touring members, to create a full band and incorporate live instrumentals in their performances. This simple idea takes their great album music to the next level and offers a new, refreshed sound when their fans trek out to see them on tour. With this enthusiasm and drive, Great Good Fine OK is a powerhouse duo that keeps on rolling. When prompted, the duo describes their sound as “indie pop with a dash of R&B, maybe, and with synths for sure.” With the changing music landscape, genre-based music becoming a thing of the past and their own curiosity, this duo isn’t afraid to explore different sounds and expand Great Good Fine OK. Jon and Luke’s friendship, and musical partnership, began through the introduction of a mutual friend back in Brooklyn, New York. “Luke was the roommate of the guy who was my current musical partner at the time. He was a piano player in my band. So I met Luke going over there to work with the other guy and we became friends,” describes Jon. “We just decided to try to work together on something and the rest is history.” Since forming Great Good Fine OK in 2013, and releasing their first EP, Body Diamond in 2014, the duo has been releasing singles and EP’s at an alarming rate. With the direction the industry is moving, and the “Spotify playlist” culture, the rapid release of singles and EP’s is much better suited. With this model, artists don’t have to wait to release large pieces of work and can put their music in the hands of fans sooner. Additionally, this gives the duo the freedom to experiment with their work, and even other artists. During live shows, Great Good Fine OK is expanded from the duo to a four-piece band. “For the live shows, we stretch the songs out in certain places. There’s shredding guitar solos and drum solos. We like to change it up a little bit from the recorded versions,” Jon and Luke describe. Since the duo had been touring and performing live as a full band for some time, it was only a matter of time before aspects of the live show made its way onto a Great Good Fine OK track. On June 28 of 2019, Great Good Fine OK released GGFOUR; their fourth EP which featured live instruments, horns and even collaborations.

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Jon and Luke are fans of a variety of different genres and musical styles, and with the live shows taken into account the new sounds on GGFOUR was a natural progression. The pair let the songwriting process shape what their work sounds like, and don’t go in with a clear idea of how they want a song to go. The duo doesn’t allow their writing and recording process to dictate Great Good Fine OK, and allow it to vary. “Luke will come up with the music and he’ll make a beat. Maybe he’ll send it to me and do the top line, which is the lyrics and melody over it,” describes Jon. “Then we’ll go back and forth. But sometimes I’ll come to him with a melodic idea, or lyrical idea. Sometimes we’re together in the same room coming up with everything. So it just varies.” Great Good Fine OK has now collaborated with artists like The Chainsmokers, Transviolet, hip-hop artist Pell, and more. The collaboration process is equally as variant for the duo. “With our song that we did with Before You Exit, that was all five of us in a room together working on a song,” they describe. “Sometimes we’ll come to the table with another artist with the song that’s more fleshed out, or maybe the other artist will. It all depends on the situation. But the coolest thing about doing a collaboration is to get that other person’s energy, their thoughts and what they’re going through.”

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Great Good Fine OK say the best part of touring and playing the festival circuit is meeting new fans, and seeing the longtime fans that have become a family. Jon and Luke say, “These fans have really become family because they’ve been to so many shows. And hearing people’s stories about how much our music, or our band, mean to them. We joke about how we don’t have casual fans, they’re all like so hardcore. But we don’t take that for granted.” Great Good Fine OK was excited to release GGFOUR, and are already looking ahead to new shows and new music. Their fans were undoubtedly even more excited about the release, and are looking forward to seeing the duo’s further progression and evolution. With all this music on their side (and more to come), Great Good Fine OK’s live shows are only going to continue to get larger and greater. Their drive for success and the desire to put on the very best show possible for their fans will take them even further. We can’t wait to see what they get into next, whether it’s more singles and EPs or more shows, or both. No matter what they decide to do next, one thing’s for sure, Great Good Fine OK are bound to only go up from here and we couldn’t be happier about that fact.


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WEATHERS

JOE HERNANDEZ - PORTLAND, OR - JULY 2019

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WHY DON’T WE

BECCA MATHIAS - PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 2019


PLAYLIST 7.

1. Ready - Alessia Cara 2. My Type - Saweetie 3. Sweet Dreams - WESLEE 4. oh, mexico - Jeremy Zucker 5. Jesus In LA - Alec Benjamin 6. Conversations With My Wife - Jon Belliion 7. Make Out With Me - Maren Morris 8. I Can’t Quit - The Vaccines 9. Grand Paradise - Foxing 10. Love Me Hate Me - Bryce Vine 11. feel something - Bea Miller 12. I’m Your Wreck - Mt Joy 13. Red Hearse - Red Hearse 14. Sh’Diah - Bon Iver 15. Winners Circle - Anderson .Paak

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WHY DON’T WE | PHOTO BY BECCA MATHIAS