POND+Chris Douridas+Noah Schnapp+Dua Lipa+Palmas Satchmode+Jimmy Marble+Sports+Finn Wolfhard Bishop Briggs+Chad Heimann+Cleopold+Jackson Grant
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DECORATED YOUTH Quality over Quantity
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EDITOR & PUBLISHER Heather Hawke CO-EDITOR Jordan Fisher
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Cover photograph by Lindsey Byrnes . Issue design by Heather Hawke.
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Issue 16â€™s contributors (in order of work shown): Lindsey Byrnes
Additional thanks to: Emilie Pereira
The members in POND
Gabe Donnay of Satchmode
Big Hassle Media
Press Here Publicity
The members in Palmas
Opulent Artist Management
The Members in Sports
Jill Fritzo PR
Benny Tarantini PR
Pitch Perfect PR
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COVER Lucius - 148
PHOTO GALLERYâ€™S Tame Impala - 10
James Blake - 26
Two Door Cinema Club - 48
Julien Baker - 12
All Things Go Fall Classic - 28
The Japanese House - 50
Blood Orange - 14
Hit the Lights - 32
The Lemon Twigs - 52
Alex G - 16
Simple Plan - 34
Twin Peaks - 54
Young the Giant - 18
Beach Fossils - 36
Iceage - 56
Cleopold - 20
The 1975 - 38
Tegan & Sara - 22
Catfish & the Bottlemen - 40
Venture Out: Venice, Berlin, and Copenhagen - 58
Moses Sumney - 24
Beach Goth Festival - 42
Venture Out: Korea - 64 Venture Out: NYC - 68
INTERVIEWS Satchmode - 70
Jackson Grant - 92
Finn Wolfhard - 126
Chad Heimann - 76
Palmas - 98
Dua Lipa - 130
Bishop Brigss - 80
Chris Douridas - 104
POND - 138
Cleopold - 86
Sports - 114
Jimmy Marble - 142
Noah Schnapp - 122
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LETTER & PHOTO FROM THE EDITOR When you’re in the creative field (whether you’re a musician, photographer, creative director, cinematographer, graphic designer, music supervisor, director, ect.) it’s important to be surrounded by a creative community. People who can inspire you, teach you, keep you on your toes, and also help give you some real, honest, perspective on ideas and projects, to balance you out. Holly and Jess of Lucius, who are our cover feature, didn’t have a creative community to lean on until they met each other in college. In their feature we dive deep into their beginnings as a group and also their childhoods. Speaking of childhoods, we talked to two people who’re still in the prime of their formative years, Noah Schnapp and Finn Wolfhard (of the Netflix show Stranger Things). We also talked to; the musicians in the Oklahoma based band Sports, London based “Hotter Than Hell” pop musician Dua Lipa, Australian based photographer Jackson Grant, music supervisor and School Night founder Chris Douridas, LA by way of Tokyo and Hong Kong based musician Bishop Briggs, Bay area talent booker Chad Heimann, Gabe Donnay of LA group Satchmode, west coast inspired east coast band Palmas, Cleopold who found his love for creating his own music by first pitching to other musicians, Australian based group who will for sure “Sweep You off Your Feet” POND, and the LA based and LA inspired director, photographer, designer Jimmy Marble. Here’s to finding your own creative circle who will support you when you need it most.
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Tame Impala // September 3 Greek Theater, Berkeley by Heather Hawke
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Julien Baker // September 13 Underground Arts, Philly by Emily Dubin
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Blood Orange // September 13 The Lincoln Theatre, Washington DC by Pamela Ayala
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Alex G // September 16 Irving Plaza, NYC by Emily Dubin
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Young The Giant // September 17 Radio City Music Hall, NYC by Tim Toda
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Cleopold // September 24 The Lincoln Theatre, Washington DC by Cina Nguyen
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Tegan and Sara // September 28 Observatory, Santa Ana by Andrew Gomez
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Moses Sumney // October 1 Lincoln Theatre, Washington DC by Pamela Ayala
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James Blake // October 1 Lincoln Theatre, Washington DC by Pamela Ayala
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All Things Go Fall Classic // October 8 Yards Park, Washington DC by Cina Nguyen featuring photos of Ace Cosgrove, Sofi Tukker, POP ETC, Bishop Briggs, and Passion Pit
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Hit the Lights // October 12 Irving Plaza, NYC by Tim Toda
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Simple Plan // October 12 Irving Plaza, NYC by Tim Toda
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Beach Fossils // Oct 13 The Observatory, Santa Ana by Andrew Gomez
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The 1975 // October 14 The Forum, Los Angeles by Andrew Gomez
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Catfish and The Bottlemen // October 22 DC9, Washington DC by Mickey Cerball
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featuring photos of Hinds, The Drums, Health, Bon Iver, Wild Nothing, Kali Uchis, Hunny, SadGirl, Future Islands, Devendra Banhart, Melanie Martinez, Homeshake, King Krule, Albert Hammond JR, and James Blake
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Two Door Cinema Club // December 3 Harrah's Resort Valley Center, San Diego by Andrew Gomez
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The Japanese House // December 4 The Observatory, Santa Ana by Andrew Gomez
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The Lemon Twigs // December 5 Manchester, UK The Deaf Institute by Jessica Gwyneth
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Twin Peaks // December 10 Strange Matter, Richmond by Mickey Cerball
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Iceage // January 9 Lexington, London by Jessica Gwyneth
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Venture Out: Korea by Cina Nguyen
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Venture Out: NYC by Sophia Ragomo
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e d o m h c t Sa
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Interview with Gabe Donnay
GROWING UP Music has been a huge part of my life since I was really young. I was born and raised in Baltimore. My mom plays cello and loves classical music, so she got me started on the violin when I was six years old, and I picked up a bunch other instruments as I went along. I was lucky to fall into a group of really talented musicians that I played with all through high school and still collaborate with now. FORMAL / NOT FORMAL MUSIC EDUCATION In the beginning, my musical education was completely classical. I started studying violin in the Peabody Institute prep program when I was six, and started learning piano when I was ten. When I was twelve or thirteen I got my first electric bass and then an electric guitar shortly after, and I started playing in my first rock bands. That led to me really broadening my musical interests. In high school, I kept going with the classical training, but I also started studying jazz on piano and bluegrass on violin. In college, I studied music theory in depth for the first time, and I also stumbled on a great jazz organ teacher and ended up studying the Hammond organ for four years. So I've accumulated a pretty strange mix of education and influences.
He spent the better part of two years creating the sonic blueprint for the group’s debut LP, Love Hz. Although the LP contains some pretty vivid themes – emotions of loss, regret, and guilt, along with the idea of the loneliness and isolation that come from love – Gabe wanted the song structures to come organically, so he wasn’t necessarily writing for it the entire time. Satchmode’s debut EP Collide was released in 2014, and Gabe followed that with another EP, Afterglow, the following year. With the addition of band mates in 2015, the group now consists of Gabe, Eric Downs, Bo Jacobson, and Sage Skolfield. Love Hz was released on February 7, 2017 on Minor Miracle Records.
THE SHIFT IN ENJOYING MUSIC TO THINKING MORE ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN It was definitely always a dream of mine to make a career out of music, but I didn’t really start to believe it was possible until I started working on Satchmode. Some of the band’s early singles started getting some attention and then one thing just led to another. THE START OF WRITING MUSIC I remember the first real song I wrote very distinctly. I was ten years old and I had just finished reading Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. The story was so heart-wrenching to me that it felt like I had suffered a loss myself. So I wrote this sort of love song from the perspective of the characters. I didn’t really know how to play guitar or piano at that point, so I just wrote it as an acappella. I remember performing it as a shy little kid at and people were like, “Where the hell did that come from?”
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BIGGEST HARDSHIP THAT’S INSPIRED HIS WRITING Tumultuous romantic relationships have been terrible for my mental health, but great for songwriting. Love is a wood chipper that sucks my emotions in on one side and shoots lyrics out the other. I just have to be there to catch them. GETTING INSPIRED WHILE OUT AND ABOUT – VOICE MEMOS & NOTES Smartphones are great because I almost always have a recording device on me. I’ve written entire songs on long drives just humming into my phone. I have a big library of sketches and voice memos that I’ll comb through every once in a while for ideas. I don’t think my memory is particularly good, and if I don’t record an idea quickly then it usually just evaporates. So, I can’t say I remember a specific time I didn’t want to forget something - I already forgot it. LYRICS – WHERE, TIMPERIOD & PHYSICALLY, THEY WERE THOUGHT UP I think there’s a common misconception about songwriting that you need to be feeling powerful emotions in the moment to write a moving song.
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Of course, that works sometimes. But when you’re actually really distraught or depressed or heartbroken, the feelings are often too overwhelming to try and process into words. For me, I have to be in a relatively calm and secure place to be able to wade back into those dark emotions without letting them engulf me. You have to be able to get in touch with those painful experiences while maintaining enough detachment to translate them into your art in a controlled way. The songs on this album were written over a pretty long period of time - more than three years. I wasn’t necessarily writing for the album that whole time. I had a pretty clear theme for the record early on, and so I sort of just had to be patient and let the songs accumulate around it. LYRICS – INTENTIONALLY SITTING DOWN TO WRITE VS HAVING IDEAS IN YOUR HEAD AND THEN THEY SPILL OUT This reminds me of a great quotation by the painter Chuck Close. He said, “Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive.
You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.” The key to writing is to do it all the time, and to follow your ideas wherever they lead without judgment. The first few things that come out when you sit down to work are usually mediocre, but if you just keep pushing through the crap you’ll eventually land on something worthwhile. And the more you work, the faster that whole cycle can happen. The real struggle for me is just reserving enough time to write in between holding down a 9 to 5 job and taking care of all the other stuff that needs to be done for the band. WRITING, SOMETHING THAT COMES EASY TO HIM? It’s rarely easy. I’m a perfectionist. On any recording, there are things I wish I could have done better. But striving towards the ideal that I hear in my head is what I love about writing, even though I know I’ll never reach it. It’s a constant struggle, but it’s a struggle that I love.
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SHIFT IN WRITING PROCESS I find it helpful to vary my songwriting approach as much as possible to avoid falling back on the same habits and tricks. Trying to exactly reproduce a process that worked well in the past usually leads to stale ideas. There are lots of ways to mix it up, but even simple things like changing the instrument that you’re writing on or starting with lyrics rather than melody are enough to send a song in a different direction. FAVORITE PART IN ALBUM CREATION PROCESS I love the spark when you first realize that you’re onto something good… when you write a really great hook and you’re dancing around in the studio in the middle of the night with the speakers blasting. WHEN AND HOW THE TITLE – LOVE HZ – CAME ABOUT IN THE CERATION PROCESS This record is about the grieving process that you go through when you’re in a relationship that’s falling apart. Each of the songs is linked to the classical stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
The song “Love Hz” was one of the last that I wrote for the album, and it seemed like a fitting title track. The name captures the theme of the record really succinctly, and that track is the only song about acceptance. It’s about making it through that grieving process and coming out the other side. ARTWORK – CONTRIBUTE IDEAS OR REMAIN HANDS OFF I’m lucky that I happen to live with a really talented graphic designer, Jordan Stone. He’s done a bunch of artwork for Satchmode in the past, including the single art for “Further Away” and “Don’t Give Up On Me”. For the album, I had some initial photo concepts that we messed around with but couldn’t really execute. Jordan ended up developing the final concept on his own, and it needed very little revision. I’m really pleased with how it turned out - artwork can be really tough because I’m not as comfortable communicating visually as I am musically.
ARTWORK – AESTHETICALLY COOL PACKAGE VS COVERSATION BETWEEN LYRICS AND ART One of the sad things to me about music in the post-Internet world is that album art has become an afterthought for a lot of artists and fans. Most people that listen to your album will never see the art blown up larger than a phone screen. But it still matters a lot to me. You don’t get many chances as a band to make a visual statement that you know most of your listeners will see. So I’m really happy that Jordan’s artwork feels like the perfect aesthetic reflection of the sonic and lyrical themes of the album. MENTORS I’ve been lucky to study with a number of amazing musicians. In particular, I credit a lot of my musical foundation to my time studying violin with Ivan Stefanovic and Hammond organ with Dave Mattock. Ivan helped me build a strong technical foundation and develop a disciplined approach to practicing, and Dave totally shaped the way I think about improvisation, phrasing and rhythm.
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While I didn't personally dive into music or care for it too much till my early teens my parents were big music fans who had cabinets full of CDs they'd blast in the backyard on weekends. I also grew up camping a ton since my parents owned an RV. I spent a lot of time picking out CDs from their collection to listen to on the drives to make the time go by faster on the four hour drives we'd make out to Arizona.
Heimann As a student at the University of San Francisco, he began exploring all of the industry options available to him; he held positions as the Student Director for his college radio station (KUSF), and was a senior music writer for his college paper (The Foghorn). Off campus, he interned for a variety of locally based music businesses, including: Zeitgeist Artist Management, Goldenvoice/AEG, Yours Truly, and Noise Pop Industries. He was hired by Noise Pop in 2011, having graduated from USF with a bachelorâ€™s degree in Media Studies and co-founded the boutique artist management firm, Salty Artist Management, with his best friend and managing partner Christopher Crowley. Currently, heâ€™s the Talent Buyer at Noise Pop where he handles all the talent buying for the Noise Pop Music Festival, Swedish American Hall, and 20th Street Block Party. He is also part of the team that books for Treasure Island Music Festival. As a managing partner and founder of Salty Artist Management, he advises the careers of every artist on the management roster, such as: Skylar Spence, Mitski, Mutual Benefit, Diet Cig, as wel as the electronic producer Giraffage and indie artist Jay Som.
PATH TO BEING INVOLVED IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY I think from my mid-teens I knew I really liked going to shows and wanted to be involved in the scene but didn't have a clear path to how to make money doing it. I remember wanting to be a music attorney back in high school but by the time I went to college law school was the last thing on my mind. Within the first week of going to school (at the University of San Francisco) I popped into the campus radio station that was mostly community run and told them I'd like to get involved. From there I had my first taste of the SF music scene. After getting into the groove of it I figured that working the music industry was my calling.
GROWING UP I grew up in Alta Loma which is a part of greater Rancho Cucamonga in Southern California. It's a bit out of the way of LA proper but not too far away enough to where you could be in Downtown LA in less than an hour.
COLLEGE INTERNSHIPS On campus I had become the head of student recruitment at KUSF and spent some time as a music writer at USF's newspaper The Foghorn. While those were great ways to get involved at school and grow my resume I knew I wanted to try and get a real world internship or two to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I really resonated with Zeitgeist Artist Management's roster and was lucky enough to spend 8 months interning and seeing how much work goes into management. That experience also helped connect the dots to the roles managers, agents, publicists and label product managers play in an artist's career.
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After Zeitgeist I spent some time as a marketing intern at Goldenvoice's SF office where I saw more of the corporate side of the industry being that GV is a part of the concert behemoth AEG Live. Being that they're a large and diverse company one day we could be marketing a hip rap show while the next day it could be trying to connect with a burner crowd for jam act. From this internship I learned I was less interested in marketing nor in being part of such a large corporate promoter where bookings are kind of all over the place. After spending some time helping remotely with the folks at Yours Truly and the new defunct music site The Daily Swarm I started interning at Noise Pop as a general marketing intern. Shortly after my internship ended I was offered a part time job as the festival's marketing coordinator. STARTING SALTY ARTISTS MANAGEMENT WITH MANAGING PARTNER CHRISTOPHER CROWLEY Chris and I met the first day of school in our intro to media studies class. I was a freshman; he was as a transferring sophomore. We both had band tees on so we had an immediate bond. During my junior year we started booking a local college night at a pretty terrible bar down the block from campus where we booked small garage bands and oncampus DJs. Through those shows we started managing a few friend’s bands by helping them get other local slots around town. That was around 2010/2011. By 2012 we starting managing Giraffage which really was the turning point for us professionally. SALTY ARTISTS MANAGEMENT – REVISIONS Since the beginning it's always been Chris and I supporting independent artists as best we could. The only thing that has changed is our team which has grown larger over the years.
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In 2015 we brought on Jessi Frick as our third partner whose artist friendly management style is very in line with Chris and myself. We also have managers Jeanette Wall and Ariel Bitran on the team as well operating under Salty. SALTY ARTISTS MANAGEMENT / NOISE POP – HURDLES AND OVERCOMING THEM I think the biggest challenge is knowing when to not take on too much and make time for yourself. On the management side specifically there's always another band or three I'd like to work with but it's knowing when you have enough without sacrificing a current or future client's time. TALENT BUYER RESPONSIBILITIES A talent buyer is the person who books on behalf of a promoter and handles the day to day relationships and negotiations with booking agencies that represent bands. I have the job of balancing the Swedish American Hall calendar making sure I’m not booking on days we have private rentals while also not booking too many shows to overload our marketing team. I also then draw up initial financial offers to send to agents and work to come to a final agreement for each show. BOOKING ARTISTS TO PLAY THE SWEDISH AMERICAN HALL VERSES TRESURE ISLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL For the most part Swedish American Hall offers are all coming from me while Treasure Island is a committee of myself, Noise Pop's owners and the booking team of Another Planet Entertainment discussing slots as well as fees.
PROCESS OF FINDING THE RIGHT MUSICIANS FOR THE RIGHT GIG There are so many elements at play to building a bill each night. Sometimes it's an agent coming to you with a full package of a headliner + touring support band that you know are going to be the next big thing while other times it's you, the agent and headliner working through a list of locals to bring together the right bill. DO THE RADIUS CLAUSES OF THE LOCAL FESTIVALS IMPACT THE SWEDISH AMERICAN HALL AND TIMF? I think over the years the growth in festivals and promoters all over the state have all affected the landscape of booking bands. You might have perfect act you want to bring to town for Halloween but they reach out to the agent and find out they're booked already for New Yearâ€™s Eve and not coming into the market till then. It makes for each promoter having to build relationship early with bands by booking them while they're just starting out. GOOD CROSSOVER / COMPETITION WITH BAY AREA VENUES There can be a bit of competition at times. I can be submitting an offer for a tour and going up against one to five other venues in the city for the show. It necessarily come down to money either but more so which room is the best fit for the show as well. Sometimes an agent would rather have a band in a sold out 350 cap room than a half empty 600 cap room. The date can also affect it too. FAVORITE BAY AREA VENUES Not counting the Swedish American Hall I'd have to say my favorite venue in San Francisco is The Independent.
The room isn't too small to where bigger bands won't play it but intimate enough to where it always feels special. FAVORITE PART OF BEING A TALENT BUYER / ARTIST MANAGER Working for Noise Pop I really love being a part of team of fun passionate people who are all excited about producing events as I am. It's so cool to spend months of work on an event and then see 20,000 all enjoying it because of the work we put in. As a manger it's so fulfilling to start working with an artist who's literally making music out of their bedroom and help grow them to a level where they've turned that passion to where they can make a living and see the world. A SHOW THAT WAS ESPECIALLY MEMORABLE By far one of the coolest shows this year was getting a chance to work with Beach House's team on producing an intimate seated 200 cap show in a DIY space where no phones or cameras were allowed in. Getting to enjoy a band of that size in such a small space was so rewarding to me. MENTORS Yes, early on since I met him my good friend Steve Brodsky mentored me up until he passed away from a leukemia at the age of 34 in 2013. Steve was an artist manager with strong ties to the SF music scene who was always there for me when I needed a label contact, advise on a legal issue or just an introduction to a local promoter. When I find myself questioning something I still find myself asking "What would Brodsky do?"
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Her moniker, an ode to her parents, is inspired by the Scottish village where they were born. She, on the other hand, was born in London, moved to Tokyo at age 4, and then six years later, made the move to Hong Kong. She journeyed to Los Angeles when she was 18 to attend college at the Musicians Institute, and began performing shows around the city to gain insight into being a live performer. A few days after former A&R (Artists and Repertoire) manager, George Robertson, saw her perform at Songwriter’s Round, she was in the studio with producers Mark Jackson and Ian Brendan Scott writing what would become the song that launched her career. Since the release of that first song “River” last January, she’s released four more songs; “Wild Horses” in April, “The Way I Do” in May, “Pray (Empty Gun)” in August, and “Be Your Love” in September.
p o h s i B B Brigg s
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WHERE SHE GREW UP - BORN IN LONDON, MOVED TO TOKYO FOR 6 YEARS, THEN TO HONG KING - IMPACTING HER CREATIVITY For me, it's all I've ever known and I'm just so thankful to have been given the opportunity to live in such inspiring places. I think it all depends on what's happening in your household. I was still doing average kid things but it just so happened that you can see the majestic Tokyo Tower in the background! I have always been creative and I was most definitely a lone wolf growing up. I was always in my own world and I loved writing about everything. FORMAL / NOT FORMAL MUSIC EDUCATION I was actually in a gospel children's choir while living in Japan! That was when I really dived into soul music and learning about harmonies.
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But other than that little stint when I was super young, I wanted to do my own thing. When I moved to Hong Kong, my mum gifted me singing lessons with Christine Samson as a Christmas present. I went to her studio every Saturday for 8 years! The less formal side of this training was trying out for every audition and anything singing related event I could.
THE START OF WRITING MUSIC I have always been writing songs but I don't know if my audience (a.k.a. my mum, dad and sister) were that into them. They were very supportive but I wouldn't hear them singing back the song that I wrote. This was before I really learnt about "hooks"! Regardless, it was, and will always be, an outlet for me (with or without the hook)!
PATH TO BEING INVOLVED IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY Growing up in Japan, it was very common to go to Karaoke Bars! My dad would get up there and sing Frank Sinatra. I saw this light in his eyes and I wanted a piece of it! I’ve known I wanted to be a musician for as long as I can remember because there is nothing else that makes me feel more alive or fulfilled.
GETTING INSPIRED WHILE OUT AND ABOUT – VOICE MEMOS & NOTES I have written lyrics on the back of an envelope that had my rent check inside! I will always find a way to remember it and I try to tell myself, ‘If it does get lost in any form, then maybe it wasn't the strongest that I can do’. I've noticed a strong concept or lyric or melody will stick if it has depth, but that being said, always have your rent check envelope handy at all times because you never know!
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LYRICS – INTENTIONALLY SITTING DOWN TO WRITE VS HAVING IDEAS IN YOUR HEAD AND THEN THEY SPILL OUT I try to write every single day. Whether it's just in my notes on my phone or it’s singing into my voice memos. I try to make it a habit. Whenever I sit down to write, I think it's important that whatever is in your head is let out and put into a song. Sometimes it has to be put out there to lead to another idea or something greater. Having the intention to write is the first step to putting it all out there. DOES WRITING COME EASY I think when it comes to the things you value, it never comes easy.
You are always going to want it to be the best it can be and I've learnt the importance of digging deep into every single emotion you felt in that situation or moment. I think it's most difficult when you are going into that space of your soul that has to be emptied for a lyric. FAVORITE PART OF WRITING / MUSIC CREATION PROCESS My favorite part of the creation process is performing! That's when you get to feel what you've written and share it with others who have probably gone through what you've gone through. It's when I feel most free.
REPRESENTATION THROUGH HER MUSIC’S VISUALS My top priority is to be represented authentically because I feel if you are genuinely yourself, you can't lose. This is the person I am when I close the door, when I am in private. This is the most vulnerable I've ever been in my writing and I try to carry that transparency over to any visual that may come along with it. VISION OF MUSIC My vision of music hasn't changed at all. I still see it as this pure, magical thing that I am always in awe of and trying to grasp.
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Geordie studied musical theory in high school, but since he didn’t feel that he excelled at it, he began performing shows and writing his own music. After touring as a session guitarist in Australia for some time, he moved to LA (nearly five years ago) to initially pitch tracks for other artists before he started focusing on his own music. One of those gigs was with the group Miami Horror, with whom he collaborated for the track “Love Like Mine.” The name Cleopold originated here, when Geordie had to give them an artist name for the feature. Following “Love Like Mine,” he built an archive of tracks and began to focus solely on his own music. After he showed Nick Murphy his first single, “Down in Flames,” Nick decided to release it through his own new label, Detail Records. Geordie wrote a majority of the EP in LA, but went to Cleveland for two months to get away from the hustle and the social side of things and focus on the music. His debut EP “Altitude & Oxygen” was released last June through Detail Records.
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GROWING UP I was born in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to Switzerland where I lived for ten years. My mum signed me up to sing with the KKB boys choir when I was six and I've been singing ever since. The choir travelled a lot and we spent time in Europe, USA and South Africa wearing church robes. I remember singing in a production of Turandot opera and getting to dress up as a monk. It was pretty exciting stuff at the time and I still feel that same excitement when I play shows these days. FORMAL / NOT FORMAL MUSIC EDUCATION The high school I went to in Australia had a great music facility with a couple of pretty loose music teachers who gave us free reign of the place. they were the best, very encouraging. We'd spend hours in there making songs and having a crack at all the different instruments.
PATH TO BEING INVOLVED IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY My older brother played in a band and our parents bought us both electric guitars for Christmas one year. That's pretty much it. THE START OF WRITING MUSIC Yeah, it was some weird guitar opus. I was never that good at learning other people's songs so I remember always trying to make my own. DID HIS EXPERIENCE WITH PITCHING TRACKS TO OTHER ARTISTS SHIFT HIS WAY OF WRITING? Yeah, I learnt a lot from working with other people. Especially how to communicate and when / when not to share an opinion in a tight-knit working environment. When everyone's expressing themselves and putting ideas on the table, it's pretty easy for personalities to clash and I think it's important to learn how to treat every situation differently and keep egos or attitudes at bay.
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LYRICS – WHERE, TIMPERIOD & PHYSICALLY, THEY WERE THOUGHT UP It varies. I usually make a loop and just put down whatever comes to mind until something clicks as a starting point. Then it's about developing the idea into something I connect with. LYRICS – INTENTIONALLY SITTING DOWN TO WRITE VS HAVING IDEAS IN YOUR HEAD AND THEN THEY SPILL OUT I'd say most of the time I'm on standby to write something or jot an idea down. I'm getting better at delivering a song on the fly but I hate the idea of making something shit because I put pressure on myself to rush it for a deadline. DOES TRAVELING HELP WITH THINKING UP IDEAS For sure. Moving around helps trigger different feelings and ideas so I find it helpful to work with a variety of people & places. It's also a lot more fun. Having access to a space for a limited amount of time can also add pressure to be productive. I come up with lots of ideas in the car too. GETTING INSPIRED WHILE OUT AND ABOUT – VOICE MEMOS & NOTES I thought of a great dog name last week and didn't write it down and have since forgotten it. I hope to remember it soon but doubt I will.季Same thing goes for songs. I've gone through a few computers and have lost hard drives & phones with terrible voice recordings that could have been great starting points for songs. Sometimes it's really disappointing because recreating a forgotten idea might not have the same quality. FAVORITE PART OF WRITING / MUSIC CREATION PROCESS OF ALTITUDE & OXYGEN The process was pretty stressful as I put a lot of pressure on myself and made good and bad decisions along the way.
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My head feels a little more screwed on now so I’m looking forward to the next release. My favorite part was listening back to the finished product WHEN AND HOW THE TITLE - ALTITUDE & OXYGEN – CAME ABOUT IN THE CREATION PROCESS At the last minute. I think it sums up the mood nicely as highs and lows are a recurring theme across the five tracks. I also like the idea of the relationship between high altitudes and low oxygen levels making it harder to breath the higher you go. ARTWORK – AESTHETICALLY COOL PACKAGE VS COVERSATION BETWEEN LYRICS AND ART To be honest I think videos and art should be an extension of the music and its expression. Also, branching out into other art forms is a lot of fun if you get to work with good people. REPRESENTATION THROUGH HIS PRESS PHOTOGRAPHS I've realized it doesn't matter nearly as much as the music and I only have one face so there's no point hiding it or trying to be something I'm not. Picture perfect portraits don't always reflect a realistic image of the subject anyway. I like drawings and illustrations because there's room to move and viewers might see a different set of details in the image. I'm really proud of the watercolor portrait my mate did of me and remember feeling unsure about it at first but then trusting that it's cool because I trust the artist. Drawing opens up another world of color and imagination. it makes viewers look at the subject from a different perspective.
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GROWING UP I grew up on the border of New South Wales and Victoria, around four hours away from Melbourne, the city I now call home. I was there until I finished my high schooling, and moved to the big smoke the day after! WHERE HE GREW UP / WHERE HE LIVES IMPACTING HIS CREATIVITY I spent most of my childhood online, it was easier to be the extroverted character I was through a computer when you're from a rural town. I picked up photography as an interest when I hit my early teenage years, I think I wanted a new Myspace profile picture and decided to take it myself. PATH TO BECOMING A PHOTOGRAPHER Upon moving to Melbourne I realized quite quickly that freelancing needed to be my only option, it was a force but definitely in the right direction. Your skillset can be based off who you know rather than what you know which is a slippery slope to losing your creative outlet. Although it is all about balancing commercial and creative work for me at this point in time, living away from our parents means we've got to make our money somehow. ART â€“ EXPOST, PROTECT OR HEAL HIM It keeps me sane and gives me purpose. Videography and photography, even through the influence of surrounding creatives, keeps my mind at ease. Although I move on quite quickly to "that next job", it allows me to grasp a feeling of accomplishment.
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SUBJECT MATTER â€“ FAVORITE TO CAPTURE Outside of the weddings most weekends, I really enjoy editorial and look book work. This simply comes from the enjoyment I get out of buying my own threads. Most subjects I shoot aren't agency based models, and just friends I have known or met from a night out on the town. My first subject matter was honestly drunk under aged friends at parties in my hometown. TRIP TO JAPAN It was my first time outside of Australia, and definitely not my last. Beyond the humidity (serious thirty degree days with rain on top of that), my experience was a positive one. I travelled solo for nine days and forgot to actually enjoy myself I was so attached to the documentation. Everything over there gave off a point of difference. When I wasn't stumbling down into an underground four-person dive bar, I wanted to explore all I could within the Tokyo district. TIPS FOR TAKING STREET STYLE PHOTOGRPAHY WHILE TRAVELING The way I see it is that you've spent money to be in such a country, you won't be there long so if it isn't harming anybody just get the shot out of the way. I don't know an inch of the Japanese language, but from the very few times I was told through body language that I couldn't shoot in certain places, I just awkwardly giggled and left. The slow-shutter flick I got of myself at Shibuya Crossing took a few minutes to get right, so I'm sure everyone had the "just another tourist" mindset, but I wasn't going to see these people ever again.
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HOW CONFIDENCE AND HUMILITY COMES INTO PLAY Once your foot is in the door, you need to understand that you can figure out any newly-found challenge with confidence. If it means being a little conceited then just own it, self-doubt runs through most creatives blood so you might as well keep practicing in the meantime instead of wasting the time that you have comparing yourself to others. You'll have countless times of browsing somebody else’s work thinking "why didn't I do that?", so take it as inspiration and move on to your next task. Knowing your worth also helps, this definitely comes in time. My first wedding I charged what I now know as a pretty low rate, but I wasn't in it for the money as it was my first gig! STAYING INSPIRED To remain inspired is to throw all forms of jealousy out the window, you can only do you in the end. I'm inspired by those who own dissimilar vision within the photographic field, I've made friends with loads of Flickr users internationally through groups and referrals. I like to think of these connections as a two-way street, I see the world through their eyes and they see it through mine. VISON OF PHOTOGRAPHY EVOLVED DEFINITELY. Especially in terms of the way I edit. I used to be so drawn into wanting my digital photos to look like they've been shot on film, but different jobs require a different approach. From time to time you have to keep in the back of your mind that you're working for somebody else, and not yourself. TAKING A LOT OF FRAMES VS JUST A FEW I have a bad habit of deleting shots as I go, thinking that the viewfinder on my camera will allow me to judge which shot works best. I really need to stop this. On a nine hour day at a wedding, I'll shoot just under 1000 shots and select roughly 300 of those to edit further at a later date. FAVORITE STORY BEHIND A SPECIFIC PHOTO This particular shot has its memories. The three of us moved in that bewildered state which I cherish so much, that unsettling feeling a photographer gets when exposed to something uneasy yet pleasing.
That's exactly what we found throughout the remains of Wye River bushfires - its urban dystopia is dark, but in between, we all caught a glimpse of beauty. A grey wave of trees behind a white desolate beach. INSPIRATION WHEN THINKING UP IDEAS FOR SHOOTS If I am working for myself, or at least don't get told much within a given brief, most of my work is indeed shot sporadically at last minute. I do this as my thoughts will more than likely pile up and remain unfinished, it is best if I just execute the ideas quick smart. If I do have a vision for a shoot with a subject involved, I still attempt to not say too much during the shoot, it removes the unspoken difficulty of over-thinking what you're after in a shot. MAKING THE MOST OF A MOMENT You feel more inclined to make the most out of your time being present if you're part of a paid shoot. A few months back I was prepared for an outdoor wedding, and right after the ceremony, the rain began to fall quite heavily. The rain if anything added to the occasion, and you just had to go with your gut feeling! The bridal party all had umbrellas which were used as props, and none of us were afraid of a little mud. With no protection from the rain, my camera somehow managed to remain in one piece. I was definitely a lot more prepared the next time around. BIGGEST HURDLE – OVERCOMING IT I think my biggest hurdle with being a photographer was the comparison I internally faced with other creatives works, I think intrinsically we all start out this way judging by the amount of self-employed artists that are out there. It is when you simply take what you see from others as inspiration rather than jealousy, and perhaps even apply the inspiration to future shoots, that you'll overcome this. There are so many of us out there, and you've got to be in it for the love. Applaud what you're viewing on Instagram, attend your friend’s exhibitions. MENTORS I've mentioned this wonder woman in a few interviews previously, and I won't stop now. My work wouldn't be where it is now, nor would it be of existence if it weren't for Sarah Bahbah, a now LAbased photographer who I befriended whilst she was living in Melbourne.
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Interview with Matthew Young
GROWING UP I was born in Brooklyn but grew up in Voorhees, NJ, outside of Philadelphia. My parents are true New Yorkers, born and raised in Coney Island so it was always important for them to raise me with some of that culture. I spent a lot of weekends and holidays in the city. Neither of my parents are artists but they pushed me and allowed me the freedom to excel in my interests. While neither of them played instruments, they certainly exposed me to my musical tastes. I have very early memories of listening to the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, and other classics. It didn’t take much to convince them around 12 years old that I wanted an electric guitar. Since then, there probably hasn’t been many days I haven’t held an instrument. MUSICAL UPBRINGING Where I grew up, when you hit 4th grade you were allowed to pick an instrument and try out for the school band. The trumpet stood out to me, it’s a powerful instrument. I wasn’t very great at it but I played for two years and loved it. Playing trumpet made me revisit that acoustic guitar that had been sitting around my house for years.
THE START OF WRITING MUSIC I always loved playing, it took getting older, expanding my interests and knowledge that I started taking song writing more seriously. BAND FORMATION Adam and I had been introduced a few years earlier jamming with some mutual friends. We had kept in touch and got together a few times over the years but like most things in life our time was occupied with other things. Around 2013 I moved out to California for a work opportunity but knew it was temporary. Adam and I kept sharing tunes back and forth through email and we decided when I came back it was time to get together and actually play. I had known Eric since high school and Adam grew up with Pat. We had mutually known Kurt through the music scene. We didn’t have many expectations other than getting together on weekends to play with some friends. From there it grew naturally. WRITING PROCESS – INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP EFFORT I would say a combination of both. A riff or idea may come from Adam, Eric, or myself however the song is written as a group effort. Kurt is very vocal with instrumentation ideas and leading us with where he thinks he can take the vocals. We tend to be more of a quality over quantity band. We scrap a lot of ideas and only move forward with the ones we’re passionate about.
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LYRICS – INTENTIONALLY SITTING DOWN TO WRITE VS HAVING IDEAS IN YOUR HEAD AND THEN THEY SPILL OUT It is definitely more of the spilling out variety. We are open about our motives and direction, the idea to write a song people can dance to is nice, but we’re not going to force it. When a tune feels right, we move forward with it. Eric always preaches that our best songs are the ones that are spewed out naturally in written in a matter of minutes. TRAVELING IMPACTING ART – INSPIRED BY THE PLACES THEY GO I think that new experiences always open up your mind but I believe we are playing the music we love to play. People always ask us how a band that has so much surf influence comes from Philadelphia and Brooklyn. WRITING, SOMETHING HE ENJOYS? I enjoy getting in the room with the guys and playing new ideas, feeling each other out. I think it’s where we get to connect and often find ourselves on the same page. We are currently working on our debut record. It’s an interesting, exciting, and sometimes stressful time. We have high expectations of ourselves and are vocal about that fact. SHIFT IN WRITING PROCESS The first time we recorded we were on an extremely tight budget and were still figuring out who we were. This time around we are thinking about bigger instrumentation, how we can achieve certain sounds and dynamics. I don’t believe the process has shifted as much as it has evolved. ARTWORK – CONTRIBUTE IDEAS OR REMAIN HANDS OFF We’re very hands on with our artists and contribute through every aspect. Particularly Kurt and Adam have a really great vision for how our music translates visually.
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We try to make each piece of art cater to the song. Like our recording, it’s not so much a revision as it has been our ideas evolving and getting stronger. ARTWORK – AESTHETICALLY COOL PACKAGE VS COVERSATION BETWEEN LYRICS AND ART I can’t speak for the others but I don’t believe we look for a direct connection between lyrics and a video. I believe it’s more so about finding the right mood that connects the two. There needs to be a connection there. In our most recent video “Flowers” we tried to connect the themes of the song with the vibe of the video, but there was no direct connection. Aesthetics are incredibly important but it also needs to make sense. REPRESENTATION THROUGH BAND’S VISUALS I want people to take us seriously and know that we take our craft seriously. We try to only release visuals that live up to the standard that we feel represents our band. We work with artists whom we respect and trust can help bring to life what is in our head. How people interpret that is out of our control. WHO / WHAT CHANGED THE MUSIC INDUSTRY The internet but more specifically Spotify has made access and discovery so much easier. In a playlist you can discover 100 new artists you never heard of. Whether that is good or bad isn’t for me to say. I still love going to a random show and discovering something new. MENTORS I’ve had many mentors along the way, including my parents or other people I look up to. Jeff Watson gave me a chance and took me under his wing, that guidance led me to want to be in a band again.
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After college, Chris landed jobs at KERA, the flagship NPR station in Dallas, to KUSC in Los Angeles, then became the music director and host of Morning Becomes Eclectic at KCRW-FM in Santa Monica. While at KCRW, Geffen Records enlisted him as an A&R (Artists and Repertoire) consultant. Two years later, he became an A&R executive at DreamWorks Records. Within a year, he was invited to host and curate the inaugural season of Sessions at West 54th, a weekly PBS music performance and interview program. He later worked at AOL Music where he oversaw Radio@AOL, and created, produced and hosted the popular Sessions@AOL interview and performance program (AOL Keyword: Sessions). After these ventures, Steve Jobs personally hired Chris to be his Creative Programming Consultant and launch the new iTunes Music Store. Chris’ music supervisor / consultant work came naturally. When he went on air every morning in the film capital, he would often get calls from filmmakers and directors asking him about the music he’d play, since playlists weren’t online at the time. He landed a couple gigs early on as a music consultant, and other projects came along soon after; Chris has now done work for a number of award-winning film and television projects (Flaked, the Austin Powers series, As Good as It Gets, American Beauty, and The Girl Next Door). In April of 2010, Chris launched School Night; a free weekly live music series at Bardot in Hollywood, presenting upand-coming new artists alongside legendary musicians in a dance party atmosphere. School Night also launched a monthly sister series in Brooklyn at Baby’s All Right.
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GROWING UP I was born in Columbus, Ohio. My entire family is from there. My parents divorced when I was 6 and my mother moved my sisters and I to Chicago. When I was 14, we moved to Corpus Christi along the Gulf of Mexico in South Texas, mostly to get away from the brutal Chicago winters. WHERE HE GREW UP / WHERE HE LIVES IMPACTING HIS CREATIVITY I had a tremendously creative childhood. My mother instilled in me a deep respect for music. She was a wonderful amateur singer, and keyboardist. More importantly, she had a really great record collection that included Chopin piano works, Ray Charles, Burt Bacharach, The Carpenters, Johnny Mathis, Nancy Wilson, Simon and Garfunkel - records I listened to over and over again. My stepfather turned me onto the Beatles, The Doors, Blood Sweat and Tears. Also, as a kid growing up in Chicago, I was very aware of the radio charts, listening to WLS and Larry Lujack in the 70s. They published top 40 charts every week that were posted in the record department of our local K-Mart. I was obsessed with them, monitoring the rise and fall of my favorite songs, week to week. WHAT SCHOOLING / WORK EXPERIENCE HE HAD TO LAND JOB AS MUSIC DIRECTOR AT KCRW In my teens I studied guitar and piano, but soon abandoned music performance (probably because I didn't see myself improving fast enough), and dove into what became my real passion - acting. I worked on a lot of plays throughout my high school years, but more importantly, I became heavily involved in the National Forensic League, performing dramatic and comedic monologues and duet performances in speech tournaments across the country. My senior year, I won 3rd place in dramatic at the national championship tournament. This all convinced me I wanted to continue working in theater and film, so, with the help of my 3rd place national high school ranking, I went to college on a theater scholarship, and minored in radio/tv/film, at what was then North Texas State University (now University of North Texas). As soon as I started college, I was also working a lot as a waiter to help pay expenses, and it occurred to me that waiting tables would probably be my default job, in between acting jobs, once I got out of school.
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I guess I wasn't looking forward to that part of being an actor. So, as part of my work in my minor field of radio/tv/film, I was very happy to see that NTSU had a full on professional radio station in the theater building. The station broadcast to Dallas Fort Worth. And I thought to myself, 'hmmmm. maybe I could do radio work in between acting jobs instead of waiting tables.' So I volunteered at KNTU, the campus radio station immediately after starting my first semester of school. My first show was a weekend classical show, which didn't last very long. Maybe a couple weeks. I did a couple early morning weekday newscasts too, but that didn't go well. One day I was on air, reading a newscast in the middle of one of our DJ's shows, and it was a story about the Pope getting shot at, the DJ on the other side of the glass was trying to make me laugh, and it succeeded. He turned his back to me, dropped his pants, spread his ass cheeks as wide as possible, and pressed his ass against the glass which was probably no more than a foot or two from my face. I start laughing uncontrollably in the middle of this horrible story of an assassination attempt on the Pope. Of course, we got several complaints from listeners. Look, I didn't want to be a journalist anyway, or a newscaster. I was just doing that to get my foot in the door at the station. Anyway, within a few weeks, a weekday morning slot opened up, and I began hosting a show called The Morning Exchange, mixing the best stuff I found in the station's library - and in my own record collection - including bluegrass, blues, classical, reggae, ska, Motown, classic Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, alt-pop, kitschy country, and a heavy dose of melodic Blue Note, Savoy, Verve and Atlantic jazz classics (NTSU was and still is an important jazz institute). I ended up hosting that morning show for the rest of my college years, while doing plays and film projects in the afternoons and evenings. That show was the breeding ground for all that came after. It's where I first started figuring out that a wild variety of musical styles could actually fit together nicely. It was during this time that I also became aware of KERA, the flagship NPR station in nearby Dallas. I became an NPR junkie, listening in to their evening jazz programming, late at night. I remember very clearly falling asleep to a show hosted by Ed Budanauro, thinking to myself how cool it would be if I got a job there, while I extended my acting work to Dallas area theater and film work.
Well, all of that happened. While still in school, I noticed an opening at KERA for a weekend classical host. I didn't know a lot about classical, but I wanted to apply. I had a friend named John Large, who was a frequent customer at the restaurant I worked at. He was a professor in the voice department at the Music school. He offered to give me a crash course in how to properly pronounce Dvorak, and Grieg, and Chopin, and Liszt and Haydn - all the rock stars of that world. So when I went in to do a demo for KERA, I aced it. I was soon doing a show called Weekend Classical at KERA, which I did for a year or so. On that show I stretched the idea of what could be considered in the classical repertoire, occasionally playing things like Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain, and the ECM recordings by cellist David Darling, or Aerial Boundaries by Michael Hedges. Eventually, I was promoted to the overnight jazz slot, doing the graveyard shift midnight-5am Tuesdays through Saturdays. Pretty soon thereafter, Budanauro left and I was promoted to the prime time, Monday through Friday, All Night Jazz program. I was 24. Meanwhile, the M-F morning show at KERA was a classical show hosted by another former KNTU host, Craig Allen. So we were classical by day, jazz at night NPR station, like most NPR stations across the country at that time. But the station's listener numbers were dwindling, and station management was looking for a fix. Well, unbelievably, Craig and I were able to convince the management to let us begin forging the format into a more eclectic format, inspired by our KNTU days.
So Craig started slowly adding stuff like Andean folk music, Vince Guaraldi classics and Texas based singer songwriters to the classical morning mix, while I started adding things like Joni Mitchell's Mingus album, Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones and Steely Dan to the evening jazz mix. Eventually we met in the middle, and became a full blown eclectic format by 1987 or so. At that point, my nightly show was called 90.1 at Night. Listenership and pledge drives started to spike. Meanwhile, an Austin based radio jock named Jody Denberg had stumbled across the station while on a Dallas visit and championed our new format in a cover story that he wrote for Texas Monthly magazine. In the story, he compared what we were doing at KERA to a station in Santa Monica, CA called KCRW. That was the first time Iâ€™d heard about KCRW. Knowing that I wanted to eventually be in Los Angeles, pursuing a film career, I thought that KCRW could be a great next step in my radio work. Coincidentally, a college friend of mine was getting married in Los Angeles, so I accepted his invitation to attend the wedding, and, armed with this hot-offthe-press huge cover story, I was able to set up a meeting with KCRW's then music director, Tom Schnabel, while visiting LA. Tom was actually quoted in the article. I'm pretty sure that had some influence on my getting his attention to begin with. Any way he gave a me a few words of encouragement, saying he'd probably be able to find something for me to do at the station, and that was all I needed.
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Upon my return to Dallas, I gave them notice and within two months, I moved to Los Angeles. Funnily enough, when I got to LA, I called Tom to let him know I was in town and looking for work, he had a very different response, basically telling me that KCRW had no openings. After I badgered him a little more, he told me he thought I was a little too commercial sounding. Of course, I took that as a compliment and within three weeks I was hired at KUSC, the classical station across town, subbing for Jim Svejda, their beloved classical host who was recuperating from a heart attack. I hosted that show for the entire Summer of 1990. To my shock and delight, that Fall, after 10 years on the air, Tom Schnabel announced he was leaving KCRW to start a world music label with Herb Alpert. I swooped in and delivered air checks from my eclectic Dallas days and got called in to audition for Morning Becomes Eclectic, the show Tom had made famous among Southern California music lovers. I guess it went well. I had just turned 28 and I was now the music director and morning host at KCRW. HOW HE GOT STARTED WITH HIS CAREER IN MUSIC SUPERVISION Because I was on the air every morning in the film capital of the world, I would often get calls from filmmakers and directors asking me about music I was playing and how to get a hold of it. Our playlists weren't online at that time, so they would have to call me to get the details. One of the frequent callers was Josh Brand, who was the creator of a show called Northern Exposure, a show that featured a character named Chris, who was the morning DJ-turned-philosopher in this mythical sleepy Alaskan town. Josh called me so often that I finally suggested that he hire me as a consultant, which he did. I didn't really ever work on the show, but a lot of the music from my playlists would end up on the show. I guess I was sort of a consultant at large, which helped to make Josh feel less guilty about calling me all the time.
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Not long after, I started getting calls from filmmaker Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Manhunter). Michael was working on a new film with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro called Heat. Again, I floated the consultancy idea to Michael and he jumped. This time I was more intricately involved in suggesting tracks for specific scenes. This was my first film credit as a music consultant. I needed an agent to negotiate that deal with Michael, so now I was off and running. Other projects came along soon after. Grace of My Heart, in which I suggested the pairing of Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach. I had just had Elvis as a guest on my radio show, and a couple weeks later I had Burt on my show. Elvis was a massive Burt fan, and Burt was open to working on film projects, so the idea came naturally. I also encouraged Mike Myers to reach out to Burt for my next film project, Austin Powers. Not long after, I was hired by Mo Ostin and Lenny Waronker as part of the A&R team for the new DreamWorks Records label, a move that led to my being involved in film projects that Spielberg oversaw (American Beauty, Small Soldiers) and animated projects steered by Katzenberg (Antz, the Shrek series, Over the Hedge). FAVORITE INTERVIEWS HE DID DURING THE TIMEFRAMES OF WORKING AT DREAMWORKS / KCRW / SESSIONS AT WEST 54TH / RADIO@AOL / SESSIONS@AOL Stand out guests from that era of Morning Becomes Eclectic include Brian Eno, Leonard Cohen, Joni MItchell, Allen Ginsberg, George Martin, Lou Reed, Burt Bacharach, David Bowie, Tom Waits (who appeared live on air for my last official show), and the radio debuts of Fiona Apple (July 1996) and Beck (July 23, 1993). The highlight of Sessions at West 54th was Beck's live appearance on the show, which turned out to be his last tour stop in support of his Odelay album. I think the general consensus is that we captured his best ever live performance from that tour. My personal highlights from Sessions@AOL include my first ever interviews with Paul McCartney and Madonna.
STEVE JOBS HIRED HIM AS THE CREATIVE PROGRAMMING CONSULTANT FOR LAUNCH OF ITUNES MUSIC STORE When I left AOL, I reached out to my friend Jimmy Dickson to let him know I was available to help with anything Apple was planning to do in the music space. It was the dawn of the iPod culture and iTunes was just about to launch. He went to Steve with the idea and within a few days, I had a call from someone at Apple human resources telling me Steve wanted to meet me. A few days later I was on a plane to San Jose. I recall very vividly waiting outside Steve's office nervously. Awaiting the meeting. He came ambling out in shorts and bare feet. Couldn't have been more lovely. We talked about Dylan, and I shared some concepts I was thinking about for the pending iTunes launch, ideas that came to fruition there after my hiring (iTunes Originals, inspired by my Sessions@AOL project, and iTunes Essentials, a series of playlists-to-go for the iPod culture). One of proudest interviews happened as part of the iTunes Originals series. I spent a couple days following Paul Simon around, and recorded a couple of interview sessions with him. I repurposed the resulting conversation to create a two-hour radio special about his life as it relates to music, along with stories of his greatest recordings. It's archived on my Soundcloud page (link: www.souncloud.com/chrisdouridas). ECLECTIC24 - KCRWâ€™s ONLINE ALL MUSIC CHANNEL Around 2008, our fearless leader Ruth Seymour was experimenting with the idea of an online all music channel, as an alternative for our listeners that would tune out during our news and public affairs shows. The channel was to be called KCRW Music. We launched it in a sort of beta form, but it was flawed out of the gate. It was a patchwork quilt that repurposed all of our on air music shows laid end to end. so there was really no programming continuity from show to show. While a well done freeform programming offering, it was kind of choppy to listen to.
And, since KCRW's on air format was a mix of news and music programs, we didn't have enough repurposed music shows to fill a 24 / 7 offering, so we actually had to have several DJs, including myself, produce new shows that would be exclusive to the online channel, and fill up the holes that remained in the schedule. So it was quite costly to produce. I could feel management was teetering on the edge of canceling the project or at the very least canceling the shows that were produced exclusively for the channel, to cut costs. I knew that would end up making the channel sound even less fresh, and more like a retread of what was on air, and never gain any traction with listeners. As a rescue mission for the channel, I drew on a radio concept I had created for Radio@AOL, which was a 24/7 stream I had called EclecticXL. I worked with the station engineers JC Swiatek and David Greene to fine tune the idea, (it was JC's idea to call it Eclectic24), using a software called Selector and soon presented the concept of a fresh, voiceless, daily mix of the best music we've played over the years and the coolest new tracks we were excited about. I said that I would like to be the person to oversee the effort, as long as I could be the gatekeeper on what gets on the channel. And while we originally gave the impression that it was a collaboration of all of the station DJs, in truth that can't work day to day. You need to have a lead arbiter in order to have a cohesive sound. Station management agreed. Since the launch, I have been programming the channel, drawing heavily from my own playlists, and the best things I hear my colleagues playing. THE LAUNCH OF SCHOOL NIGHT â€“ FREE WEEKLY LIVE MUSIC SERIES AT BARDOT IN HOLLYWOOD In 2009, I was working on a film project called Morning. The cinematographer on the film was dating the owner of a bar in Hollywood called Bardot. Consequently, we had our wrap party at the venue. I'd never been there before, and so the owner was giving me a tour. I was so impressed at how beautiful the space was, that the owner invited me to come back and DJ some time.
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I was always terrified of being a club DJ but I saw this as a chance to face my fear and I accepted, partly because we agreed to do it on a Monday. I figured since they were usually closed on Mondays, their expectations of a great turn out were pretty minimal. The owner could sense my anxiety so he suggested I invite a band that I am excited about to come play after my set. I wanted the night to have a party atmosphere, partly as a response to the programming offered at the nearby Hotel Cafe, which was predominantly acoustic. I wanted it to be as much fun as possible and dance-worthy. So I lined up two bands - Dawes and The Like. I also brought in Valida, a friend who was real club DJ, and she introduced me to a promoter. This was all so I could guarantee at least a relatively good turnout. As we got closer to the event, we decided to do a month, since we were going to all this trouble. Of course, we need a name. My promoter partner, Matt Goldman, came up with the best Monday club night name ever - School Night, which also happened to be a phrase that many of our friends were using as an excuse for why they couldn't make it to the show ("I can't make it, it's a school night. I gotta work tomorrow!"). Our first show was April 12, 2010. In our mailings we described it as a 'new Monday night Hollywood party'.
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That same week, I happened to run into Chrissie Hynde of the band The Pretenders outside of a restaurant on Sunset Blvd. She confided in me that she was in town for a week or two and was looking for a cool place to do an underplay somewhere in Hollywood to showcase her latest album. I suggested she headline our second show. She came down to Bardot the next day to check out the space and immediately agreed to do it. Brett Dennen had also jumped on the bill. So our second School Night ever had Chrissie Hynde and Brett Dennen. We had a line four blocks long, and turned away hundreds of people. So we just kept going. Within a few months, Paper Magazine awarded us the title of "America's Best Party", in their annual poll. Because the magazine was a New York publication, we started getting offers from New York venues, wanting us to bring the series to NY. We opted to partner with the Bowery Hotel there, which we did as a monthly for four years. Then we moved to the Brooklyn Bowl as a weekly last year. And this year we relaunched as a monthly at the Brooklyn venue Baby's All Right, our current home there.
AS A MUSIC SUPERVISOR / RADIO HOST / SCHOOL NIGHT FOUNDER – RESPONSIBILITY TO FIND COOL MUSIC Not really. I can only really trust my inner compass. I simply gravitate to music I love, not that I kinda like, or that I think people want to hear. It just has to be something that moves me or exhilarates me somehow. My only edict in my approach is that I have to LOVE it, and I hope those that pay attention to what I'm doing trust that. And so really my only responsibility is to not betray that trust. MENTORS Of course. So many. Most importantly, my mother gave me an appreciation for music. The creative zest exemplified by Ruth Seymour, the matriarch of KCRW will forever be part of me. Through their work in erasing musical boundaries, Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon were deeply influential in inspiring my understanding of what KCRW could sound like. Tom Waits set the bar for how an artist can explore his many voices. Lenny Waronker defined for me what it means to be a creative person on the label side of the music business. And Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno gave me a very visceral perspective of how to capture the essence of music. Just working alongside Steve Jobs for the short time that I did was spectacular, seeing him shape the launch of iTunes. Right now I am learning the world of artist-friendly publishing through an icon in that world, Lionel Conway.
MUSIC SUPERVISOR RELATED QUESTIONS GETTING A PROJECT – CLIENTS COMING TO HIM WITH A PROJECT, HIM GOING TO CLIENTS, OR MIXTURE Typically, I get a call from the director of a film or a producer of a TV show. Usually they have some awareness of my taste in music because of my radio show. Very rarely do things come through my agent or my pursuit of a project. MUSIC SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES It varies, but generally the music supervisor oversees all things musical in a film, TV show or commercial. It's my job to help the director create the musical world that the story lives in.
Like all creative heads on a project, I am there to serve the drama as best I can. So everything comes from the script. If someone is whistling a tune walking down the street in a scene, I'm involved. If they don't already have a composer hired, I work to bring the right composer on board. If needed, I work with bands and artists to have original music written for the project. Producing the soundtrack album also falls under my duties. The biggest change over the years has been with regard to soundtrack albums, which are not the cash cow they were at one time. It's rare these days to get a large advance from a record label for a soundtrack, which used to be a reliable source of revenue for a film music budget. Soundtracks now are mostly marketing tools for a film or TV show. DIFFERENCES IN RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN PLACING SONGS IN TV EPISODE VS IN MOVIES? TV programming has evolved so much in recent years, and the creative brain trust - our top writers, actors, producers, directors are all working in television, so I'd say that TV has really raised the bar as a creative outlet. Used to be that film was a better space to get creative with the use of music. I think television has now surpassed film in that regard. FINDING THE RIGHT TRACK FOR THE RIGHT MOMENT Again, you're there to serve the drama, so you take your cues from the script and the characters that are on screen. I like to be bold and push the possibilities as much as possible. Ultimately, the tone of the piece is decided by the director and producer so we're at the mercy of their courage. My job is to present the best, boldest ideas - only ideas that I LOVE - and let them decide. FINALIZING SONG PLACEMENT – WATCHING FOOTAGE FROM SCENE WITH EACH SONG CHOICE Yes, exactly. It's trial and error. You throw things again the picture and see what delights. Sometimes you'll work closely with the editors to shoehorn the music into place, in the best way possible to give the ideas their best chance.
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HAPPY ACCIDENTS / UNEXPECTED DISCOVERIES FOR SONG PLACEMENTS Unless it is composed for the scene, it's always a happy accident. But often I will come across an artist that happens to be just right for a new project I'm working on. While working on Shrek 2, we had David Bowie's "Changes" temped in a scene that has Shrek and Donkey transforming into 'beautiful, sexier' versions of themselves. I felt the song could use an update, so I was looking for someone to cover the song. Of course the studio was encouraging me to find a big artist, but I just wanted to find someone that could nail it. I also really like introducing new artists if possible. Right around that time, I was having dinner with a friend who brought along a demo of an artist named Butterfly Boucher he was working with. As I left, I listened to the demo, pulled over a few blocks away and called my friend to see if she would try to write something for another scene in the film. I met with her and within a week or so I had a new demo from her. While the song was lovely it didn't work for the scene, but it occurred to me that her voice could be right for the Bowie cover. She jumped at the chance and within the next week she sent me an astounding new version of the song. Everyone loved it. Of course, I had to send it to Bowie's camp to get his approval, since he was the writer. I nervously awaited his response, because I really thought the version of the song was perfect, and if he said no I wasn't sure what I would do.
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His manager called me and said, "Yeah, David loves the new version, but there's one other thing." There was a pause. "Yeah?" I asked. "David wants know if it'd be alright if he joins her on the track, swapping verses." The version in the film and on the soundtrack features Butterfly Boucher and David Bowie. INCLUDING LESSER KNOWN ARTISTS ALONG WITH BIGGER NAMES ON SCREEN Well you always want to do what's best for the project. Sometimes that's an established artist or a well-known song, but whenever possible, itâ€™s always nice when you can introduce the world to something new. Think of how Harry Connick, Jr. was introduced to the world through When Harry Met Sally. Or Lisa Loeb through Reality Bites. As evidenced over the years in all of my work, I have a special fondness for bringing up new artistry in the world. I'm very proud of so many new artists that Iâ€™ve been able to bring to my projects: Butterfly Boucher and Imogen Heap in Shrek 2, Oren Lavie, Regina Spektor and Hanne Hukkelberg in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Nellie McKay's songs in Rumor Has It, Lucy Schwartz's songs in The Women. Also I really love it when I can help bring original new songs to the world from any artist. Some examples from my projects include Counting Crows "Accidentally in Love" from Shrek 2, Michael Kiwanuka's "It Always Comes Back Around" in House of Lies, Grizfolk's "Way Back When" in Mr. Peabody and Sherman, AltJ in Sea of Trees, Elliott Smith's take on the Beatles "Because" from American Beauty, and the stunning Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello collaboration in Grace of My Heart.
HOW USING EXCLUSIVE (UNRELEASED / MADE SPECIFICALLY FOR) SONGS IN PLACEMENTS COMES ABOUT – EXAMPLE LOCAL NATIVES SONG “PAST LIVES” AND S. CAREY’S SONG “ROSE PETALS” WERE USED IN EPISODES OF FLAKED Will Arnett is a big fan of Bon Iver and Local Natives, so I reached out to both camps. Natives were just finishing their new album and suggested we come listen. We all felt that song would play well in the show, so we found a way to work that out. Bon Iver was unavailable but the drummer of the band, Sean Carey has his own solo stuff too under the name S. Carey, which I love. Without telling Will, I asked Sean if he would write something on spec, which is just to write a song after reading the script to see if it's something we might be able to use. I suggested that he focus on the last scene of the premiere episode. I sent him a rough cut of the scene as well. He just nailed it. I showed it to Will and (co-creator) Mark Chappell and it was approved instantly.
Sometimes you want the payoff musical moment to help leave the audience with a feeling at the end of the story: Elliott Smith in American Beauty. It's different for every project. Depends on the story.
LICENSING BUDGETS – HOW IT IMPACTS MUSICIANS While film budgets industry wide have declined overall, it's far more important now than it ever was for an artist to find placements in film, TV and commercials. Along with touring, it's one of the few remaining ways to find greater exposure, and bring in revenue for the artist to survive on. The importance of artist's maintaining relationships with music supervisors has risen accordingly.
CURRENT PROJECTS Among the ones I can talk about, we're starting season two of Flaked, the Netflix series created by Will Arnett, and we're doing a reboot of the famed Fox series 24, called 24: Legacy.
MORE VITAL – OPENING OR CLOSING CREDITS PLACMENTS Sometimes you don't want a song at the front of a film. Sometimes a score piece is best, sometimes silence works. Sometimes you want it right at the top to set a mood, like "Stayin' Alive" in Saturday Night Fever.
MOST MEMORABLE PLACEMENT JOB I am especially fond of the soundtrack for the movie 187. It's the one and only film I ever worked on in which we never hired a composer. I essentially 'scored' the film entirely with licensed music. It was also my first main title film credit as music supervisor, which I’ve since gotten on every film since. BIGGEST HURDLE THROUGHTOUT THE PLACEMENT PROCESS – OVERCOMING IT Handling the paperwork and clearances can be the least attractive aspect to the job, but I now work with people that actually enjoy it so I let them handle that side of things.
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING MUSIC SUPERVISORS First, if you're doing it for the money, find another profession. It's become a very crowded, competitive field, since several universities now offer programs that include music supervision. I'm lucky to have other sources of income so I can still be selective with what projects I work on. If you still have an interest, I think it's very important for you to have a way to showcase your taste in music. Most of my work has come from the fact that filmmakers, directors, producers, and advertising executives are familiar with my radio show or with KCRW and come to me because they like my taste in music.
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Their first EP, Naked All The Time, was recorded at Blackwatch Studio in Norman, Oklahoma, where Cale worked during intervals in the bandâ€™s and studioâ€™s schedule. Because the EP was written over a long period, even at only eight songs, there were a vast number of influences for the music. The influence partly stemmed from Blackwatch itself, where Cale came into contact with artists such as BRONCHO, Samantha Crain and John Fullbright. For their debut release, the three band members sampled different techniques when recording (like playing with varied synth and keyboards) to attain a captivating sound. Naked All The Time was released in July 2015, and their follow up EP, People Can't Stop Chillin, was released in October 2016.
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GROWING UP Cale: I grew up mainly in Tulsa, OK. I wrote songs in secret on my sister’s karaoke machine, but besides that I spent most of my time playing basketball. My dad was a basketball coach. I wanted to be in the NBA.
Eventually got a guitar and now I’m here. I never was interested in learning other bands songs, but was always into writing my own. I didn't think of myself as a creative person. Growing up a creative person was someone who could draw or paint well not strumming around on a guitar.
Jacob: I grew up in Tulsa, OK. My childhood was more or less normal with hardships here and there; a lot of playin’ outside and watching tv. Creativity wasn’t instilled too much by my parents, but my sister was really into drawing and Christian was always hitting pots and pans so I was sort of around it. Didn’t really think too much about music until I was maybe 11 or 12 when Christian started playing in a band with Cale. Though I decided, being the little brother, that I had to be different and not play guitar, so I got a lil Fender bass combo package for my birthday. After that I started playing every single day with a friend at school who was beyond better than me and all we played was Sweet Child O’ Mine and Carry On My Wayward Son all the time while his dad sang and played drums. I like to think I was a better bassist then than I am now, it was all downhill from there.
FORMAL / NOT FORMAL MUSIC EDUCATION Jacob: I’ve never taken a paid lesson, but I’ve gotten plenty of pointers from many musicians. I’d say my friend’s dad in grade school is who I’d have to thank for any musical training early on. He more or less convinced me that I was good enough to keep going, then after that I didn’t really see myself doing anything else but music. I was in band at school for a few years, but marching band was the worst thing around and Cale was in yearbook, which sounded way more fun, so I quit and did that. So you could say I got some classical training from band, but I don’t think I remember too much. I might start really practicing my trumpet again, though. I wasn’t half bad. Could be tight.
Christian: I grew up in Tulsa OK. Took an interest in music specifically drums around 1st grade. None of my immediate family members played an instrument so it sort of came out of nowhere. Got a drum set for $100 from a neighbor and I can remember spending hours just hitting them.
Cale: My parents bought me a guitar when I was in second grade, but I wasn’t patient enough to learn how to play anything until I was like 13. Even then, I was just writing songs with power chords. I never cared to shred. I didn’t get interested in theory until after high school.
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BAND FORMATION Christian: I always was into the idea of being in a band. I found out a friend of mine was starting to play with some kids and invited me over one day. First time I really met Cale. That was about 14 years ago and have been going ever since. Looking back at it we all really loved the idea of playing together but the fact that we are still together seems like it was meant to be. Cale: Once I learned how to play a few chords on guitar, I saved up and bought a drum set at Toys R Us so I could start a band. The only reason I met Christian was because I was looking for people I could start a band with. We were like 12 or 13. Christian was actually good at guitar. He really taught me how to play guitar. I always wanted to match him. Christian brought his little brother to band practice one day and I liked him. Thought he made us look cooler and he was really good. So we kicked our other friend out for Jacob. Meant2Be. Jacob: Definitely more of a question for Cale and Christian. I joined FINALLY when they decided to kick out the other dude. I think we all remember that night differently, but I had never been happier. GETTING INSPIRED WHILE OUT AND ABOUT – VOICE MEMOS & NOTES Cale: That usually happens in my car, and I’ll panic to unplug my phone from the aux and open up Voice Memos to record my idea before I forget it. If I’m out in public, I’ll excuse myself to do it. I never let it go. Jacob: I do that all the time, but usually the idea is pretty much gone once I get back to my room to record it so I end up writing something else. But I guess it gets me started.
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WRITING PROCESS – INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP EFFORT Jacob: The writing process always has kinda been an individual thing. I don’t feel that we started conventionally like some other bands do, in a garage or something. We rarely (if ever) all got in a room and wrote something. I’m pretty sure I started recording random songs in Reason 3 (thanks to Christian) before even joining the band. So the process takes place individually, then if Cale has vocal ideas, the song lives on. But we’re getting to the point where we’re wanting to try some new techniques, making it a bit more collaborative along the way. That’s what you’ll hear on the next record. Cale: Yeah we all write and record in our own bedrooms and then work together on them later. If it’s a demo I’ve made, there will already be vocals on it. But Jacob and Christian will send me instrumentals and I’ll write vocal parts on them. LYRICS – WHERE, TIMPERIOD & PHYSICALLY, THEY WERE THOUGHT UP Cale: I try to write lyrics that fit what the song is already saying. Usually in another character. It’s not all literal to my life, but I think the emotions in it are. With ‘People Can’t Stop Chillin’ I’m the self-assured party guy that’s actually insecure and scared behind the curtains. Both my parents got cancer right before we started making this record, and I think it shows how I dealt with it. Just trying to ignore the anxiety and compensate by hangin’ out. Pretending there wasn’t a problem.
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LYRICS – INTENTIONALLY SITTING DOWN TO WRITE VS HAVING IDEAS IN YOUR HEAD AND THEN THEY SPILL OUT Christian: For me it’s a combination of both. I get the feeling when I haven’t written anything in a bit that drives me to write. Which is great because it’s something I love to do and once I'm in it I remember why I do it. Nowadays I get hit with so much content that can be used as inspiration it sometimes can be overwhelming. That inspiration then can be stirred back up when I’m actually ready to write, but majority of the time it’s too late. Jacob: I’d say it’s usually intentional. I kinda just write as I go and let it build on itself and then I start to develop an overall feel of what it is and go from there. I sometimes have preconceived ideas of what vibe I want to go for, but it usually changes if I write something different or better than what I was imagining in my dome. Cale: Sometimes I’ve got some guys swimmin’ around for a while before I actually sit down with them and record. I write songs in my car a lot. But I write/record in my bedroom every day. So it gets out one way or another. WRITING, SOMETHING THEY ENJOY? Jacob: It depends on the day. Sometimes I’ll sit down at 7PM, look at the clock, and outta nowhere it’s 3AMand I’ve got somethin’ pretty cool. But also there are those days where I’ll sit down at and end up just wanting to take a nap within the first hour because I’ve got zero ideas. I rarely force myself to write. Usually I’ll just practice an instrument or read if that happens, or go hang with the boys (and/or my girl). Cale: It’s easy when I’m having fun. I usually stop completely if I realize I’m not having a good time. I laugh a lot at what I’m doing and that’s when I know it’s good. FAVORITE PART IN ALBUM CREATION PROCESS Jacob: It was a pretty quick one. I’d say my favorite part is always getting into the studio with Chad and hearing the songs come to life in a whole new way. It’s an exciting process.
Cale: It’s the most fun when we are all in the studio with Chad feeding off each other. I like chillin’ with Chad’s dogs too. Shout out to Doug and Sophie. ARTWORK – CONTRIBUTE IDEAS OR REMAIN HANDS OFF Jacob: We were all in Los Angeles this past summer and realized we had a great opportunity to take a tight photo for the cover. We had been toying with the idea of it having a nighttime drive vibe, so we found some guy on Craigslist named Ray White with a real clean 90s Mercedes convertible and asked if we could take a photo with it. Then our manager talked to a photographer (Jason Castro Clifton) and we just went for it on a whim. I handled all of the post production (typography and editing) and there were quite a few revisions, but we got to a place where we’re all super happy with it. ARTWORK – AESTHETICALLY COOL PACKAGE VS COVERSATION BETWEEN LYRICS AND ART Jacob: I find it just as important as the music itself. If it doesn’t make sense or represent the sound, then what the heck is the point? I think albums are just as much a musical experience as a visual one. If you have the power to put imagery in someone’s head to represent what’s inside before they ever hear it, you gotta take advantage because that’s pretty cool. MENTORS Cale: I guess you could say our producer, Chad Copelin, has been a mentor for me. He and I have very similar tastes in music, and he’s super good at everything so I’m always learning from him. I lived in his studio as an intern before Sports ever recorded there. That’s basically how we started working with him. BRONCHO could be considered mentors as well. Ryan helps with lyrics and harmonies sometimes. Nathan Price played drums on both records. Jacob: Not intentional mentors, but I’d say anyone I’m involved with musically has been a mentor in their own way. I’m a spongy guy.
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For one of Noah’s first roles, around age 8, he worked with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg in the movie Bridge of Spies. After noting how amazing the experience was, Noah recalls a moment on set in which the entire cast surprised him on his birthday: “They told me that I had to go to get schooled and they walked me out of the set because it was October third, which is my birthday, and everyone started singing ‘Happy Birthday,’” he says.
“I had a picture with me in front of the cake and behind me was Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Hanks. That was something.” Noah praises both Hanks and Spielberg on their genuine kindness: Spielberg would show him videos of his daughters in college and Hanks would always be putting Noah in the light. A month after Bridge of Spies was released (November 2015), Noah landed another iconic role: he lent his voice to Charlie Brown in The Peanuts Movie. Meanwhile, he was in the midst of filming one of his most ominous roles yet－Will Byers from the Netflix show Stranger Things. Normally, after memorizing his lines, Noah goes through each part of the script and thinks about what his character would be thinking in that moment, so when it’s time to audition he can fully embody that character.
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Since the log line of Stranger Things was dedicated in part to eighties Steven Spielberg films, and Noah had worked with him in the past, the role had sort of a full circle effect. “In the Spielberg movie, I played a character in the 50s and I think it's really cool playing a character from a different time period,” he says. “I liked being in the 80’s time period, my parents were always telling me how ‘Oh, I remember wearing this certain shirt’ or something like that, and I love how it brings everyone back to that time.”
Back in Spring 2015, Noah actually met Redford when he took part in the Sundance Directors Lab and played the lead in director Brent Green’s Untitled Loveless Fable, where out of two hundred directors, actors, and screenwriters, he was the youngest person invited. During this lab he learned that it was ok to improvise lines and experiment with scenes. “I was actually lucky enough to be among many people and I was the only kid there,” he says. “It was definitely a learning experience.”
For the show’s audition, Noah originally went in to read for the part of Mike Wheeler (played by Finn Wolfhard), but after his callback they asked him to read for Will. The scripts they used were progressive, and for one of the last callbacks they even read scripts from Stand By Me (1986).
Noah was attending summer camp when the call that he landed the role came. When the show premiered a year later (July 2016), he was once again at summer camp, and since he was cut off from media, he missed the viral commotion the show caused.
In the first scene of the series, Noah was put to the test. There’s a solo scene of him being chased by the Demogorgon where he has no lines and has to simply use facial expressions to convey his feelings. Noah explains that the movie All Is Lost (2013) starring Robert Redford helped helped him a lot when it came to acting this out: “It was a movie where he was all alone on this boat and he didn't talk the entire movie, it showed that he didn't even need to talk, the expression on his face … made such a significance.”
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Noah says his favorite thing about acting is the ability to be someone else: “Where you don't have to be your own person, you could transition into this whole different characters, demeanors, I love being in another time period where everything's all different.” It seems most of his roles comprise of him being in a different time period, including his role in the short film The Circle with Ryan Phillippe that was based during the Great Depression: “It was pretty cool because the entire film was filmed on one drone.”
Aside from being in movies and television shows, Noah can also add acting in a music video to his resume. The music video was for the song “LA Devotee” by Panic! At The Disco: “My mom had a few friends who actually wanted to do it with me and we worked together and I said ‘Oh, that sounds so cool, a music video. It's so different from everything I've done before.’” Noah also mentioned that when they told him he was going to do the video, he remembers having to memorize the lyrics so he could mouth the words. He walked around in circles in the basement repeating the words continuously, “and now I can't get it out of my head anymore.” For Noah and his Stranger Things future, he’s most looking forward to seeing what his character has in store for him: “I'm excited to see where my character goes and how they write, if he becomes evil or what happens.” Saying that since Will Byers throws up that slug at the end of the season, it’s hinting that something's going to happen with that monster inside him. As far as other endeavors are concerned, his latest movie role was in We Only Know So Much, which is in postproduction and slated for release this year.
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The audition for Stranger Things came about through Finn’s agent, and when he read the logline for the show (an eighties love letter tribute to John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg films) Finn was instantly sold. He’s always been interested in the 1980s and thinks that time period is “insanely cool,” stating: “I've wanted to act in an eighties thing. The slides we're really really good and the script was amazing.” For the audition, although he was sick in bed, Matt and Ross Duffer (the show’s creators) scheduled a Skype call with him where the entire conversation revolved around which movies fascinated them. Wolfhard says the fact that the Duffers are regular people is what makes them so cool: “the Duffers, they weren't Hollywood kids. They grew up in North Carolina and they were regular kids and they watched movies and they were just as interested like I was. They went to film school and they finally hit it big.” Somewhere in the midst of that first call, they asked Finn to come to LA, and after one audition he met co-stars Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, and Gaten Matarazzo. He returned a month later for a follow up, getting the congratulatory call of his acceptance the following month. It’s not hard to notice that Finn is at home in the Sci Fi genre – in addition to playing Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things, Finn has played in an episode each of The 100 and Supernatural, as well as playing troublemaker Richie Tozier in a remake of Stephen King’s It, currently in post-production. He’s excited to someday expand his horizons to comedy or indie drama, and is even determined to explore other forms of media as well – directing and performing music to be exact.
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After finishing his scenes on the laidback set of Stranger Things, Finn would go back to the Video Village (an area on set with portable monitors) and watch other cast members to learn what he could about the directing process. “I was super interested in it and I was lucky to be on a set that was so supportive where they let you see the behind the scenes and see how they direct,” he says. “Working with them and getting to know them more and getting to know the director's style. It was really supportive.” Finn stated that having a good bond with the director is the most important thing you can do for a performance, adding that it doesn't end up working if that relationship doesn’t mesh. Finn’s passion for film and filmmaking originates from his father, but his love for the eighties/nineties music culture stems from both of his parents: they used to play him artists like the Clash, Tears for Fears, A-ha, and Guns N' Roses while driving around in the family car. Later, Finn’s mom introduced him to the Beatles, which started his plunge into other similar rock groups of that era. The autoplay video feature on Youtube where like songs lead into each other was a driving force: a Beatles song would lead to a Led Zeppelin track, followed by a Rolling Stones one, and so-on. Finn picked up the guitar around the age of 9, but didn't think much of learning more than the first few power chords since learning bass was more popular at the time.
“When I turned 12 I got super into guitar,” he says. “I've been passionate about really playing guitar for about three years and wanting to get the music and doing music courses.” He got a taste of being professionally involved with the music scene in 2014, when the Canadian band PUP needed an actor for their music video for “Guilt Trip.” “My agent at the time was like, ‘Here's an audition. They're called PUP and here's a video they did before,’” he says. Finn says that he’s always nervous to audition, but after watching their gory video for “Reservoir,” he fell in love with the idea. Still, he really started loving the band and their music, which made him more anxious: “I ended up going and just meeting with the two directors who are two of my best friends and they're part of my family now. We ended up talking, it was not even an audition, and then we started listening to the song and then that was it,” he says. About a month after the video came out, the band was passing through Seattle, only two hours away from Vancouver. Finn, accompanied by some friends, wanted to make a weekend out of it. “We ended up going and I ended up texting Stefan ‘Yay, can you get us in? We're only eleven years old so I don't know if it's all ages.’ He was like, ‘Yeah,’ and he was super cool about it and got us in.”
He says that ever since the band came out before their set to meet them, they’ve all felt like brothers: “they're the definition of supportive because they have to have support when they're touring,” Finn says. Fast forward to 2016, when PUP was talking about doing music videos for their new album, The Dream Is Over. “Ever since the ‘Guilt Trip’ video came out I was like, ‘we got to do a second one, we got to do a second one,’ all the time.” When Finn was in the midst of shooting the remake of It, he met up with them in Toronto. “We had ramen with our director Jeremy and they were talking about music video ideas and as a joke we were like, ‘we should do a Guilt Trip two.’ They were like, ‘Okay.’” After two weeks, and some back-and-forth with song choices, Finn got an email from the director stating that the video would be for “Sleep In The Heat,” and immediately after getting the treatment and the script, he was in. When Finn is back home in Vancouver, he loves that it’s possible for him to just be a normal kid surrounded by his friends, and to not have to talk about acting and everything that comes with it: “All of my friends have been friends with me before I started acting so they don't care. Which is the best thing for me,” he says. “Because it's more realistic to have friends that don't care about what you do and they just want to play video games and watch movies and be creative and do their own thing.”
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Although his band was well known, the Kosovan music industry wasn’t like anything in the UK or the USA, and he didn’t have an option to pursue music as a career.
Dua’s parents had only left Kosovo when the war in Sarajevo started, and since her maternal grandmother is from Bosnia, their family was put at the center of a lot of conflict and they felt it best to transplant to London to finish their studies. When the family moved back to Kosovo, it was at a time when many Western artists were playing in the country; the first concert Dua attended was a Method Man & Redman show when she was 13, and her second was a 50 Cent show. Her father, Dukagjin, was a musician himself (the lead singer for a renowned Kosovan rock band called Oda) and was involved with producing shows through his work for a telecom agency.
When Dua was 15 she moved back to London, where she lived with a friend’s family to dedicate herself to being a musician on a global scale. She studied full time, splitting her regular schooling with studying part time at Sylvia Young Theatre School. She spent time posting covers online and making impactful steps on social media. After her A-levels she took a year to really hone in on her music career and eventually connected with her manager as a result. It was then that she began to go into the studio five days a week, although there were times where the vibe of the session wasn’t really fitting with what she wanted to create. After the fabrication of “Hotter Than Hell” she went into sessions idealizing the next version of that track. After switching up her sound, “New Love” came about in New York, and “Last Dance” two weeks later in Toronto. Her debut album is currently slated for release on June 2 of this year.
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Heather: So, I wanted to start off with that [the Lollapalooza 2016 aftershow]. How was it that night [July 29, 2016] opening up for The 1975, who are also London based musicians?
Heather: Mm-hmm. So I want start all from the beginning, I know you lived in London until you were about 11 and then you moved back to Kosovo. Was what your childhood like?
Dua: It was amazing, I really enjoyed myself. It was my first time doing anything like that, like opening for such a cool artist. I don't know, it was exciting to get to engage with new fans and watch The 1975 play after me. It was really, really cool. Then I guess it kind of gave me the confidence to really want to do another support tour, but a proper one and go out for a month. I just went out and did a tour with Troye Sivan all over the East coast, for a month. Like the second leg of his tour, which was really fun. So yeah, it's just been such a great experience. I love it.
Dua: Well, I guess when I moved to Kosovo for me, it was really exciting and fun. I could speak the language but I couldn't read or write in the language. It was all in all a really great experience, I made so many amazing friends that I wanted to do music on more of a global scale. I felt like I could do that from London. When I decided to move at 15 I knew why I was doing it and being the new girl in school sometimes is tough, but you figure out a way.
Heather: At that show I was so happy, because those fans were there, I feel like for you because they knew your music. Dua: You think? Heather: It was so mind blowing. It was the coolest thing to see. Dua: Yeah, it was really, really exciting and it was just so much fun to perform. Me and my band still talk about that, because also it was like in between all the festival shows that I actually get to play in a venue, which is really cool. Just realizing when you have actual time to sound check and just get everything right, it makes all the difference.
Heather: Was it easy to get a creative community surrounding you? I'm from a small town so I kinda know it's hard to be surrounded by a creative community. No one really knows there's a music scene and stuff. Was it easy to find? Dua: Yeah, yeah I mean because it was just like I was in school, and I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do music but I didn't really know that it was potentially a possibility I guess. At that point it was just friends, because it was friends in my class. I spent most of my day with them but when I moved to London and I started to going to theatre school that's when I really started finding my circle, who I wanted to hang out with. It became a bit more apparent I think when I started finding people that, like-minded people that kind of had the same goals as I did.
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Heather: That's so awesome. This is going to go way back, but I know your dad is a musician but do you know your first musical memory? When you first felt super inspired by music? Dua: I don't really know. I think just because I was surrounded by it so much. I think maybe when I saw Katy Perry on stage for the first time at The HMV Apollo in London. I was about 15 and I was just like, "Fuck, I want to do that so badly." Heather: Oh man, I'm sure that was so incredible. Dua: Yeah, it was. Then she puts on such a good show. It was definitely one of those things where I was like, "Man I want to do something like that, I want to have my own show." Heather: I could totally picture it, like the whole production thing. It would be so awesome. Dua: Yeah, absolutely. Heather: Once you got to London did you know how to slowly gather up the creative team (like your manager) since your dad's a musician, or did you sort of have to learn how to gather up a team like by yourself? Dua: No I was posting covers up online, and I was just contacting people through social media. Basically I found my manager through social media, it was more like a friend of mine.
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A producer that I had met online that liked one of my covers, was just kind of helping me out with some stuff. Showing me about what different things mean, like publishing deals and few other things. Yeah through him I met a friend who then introduced me to my manager. So it was just like a series of fortunate events I think. You know ups and downs, but it led me in the right direction. Heather: That's so cool to hear. I know that "Hotter Than Hell" was a song that kind of started it all for you, one of the first songs that you wrote for the album and it kind of dictated where the album was heading. When you were creating it did you know it was going to be this massive? Dua: No, I didn't. I always hoped it would be, only because it was the song that ... Like you said was just kind of started everything for me. I felt a very massive connection to it. I always hoped that it would do really well. It's one of those things, especially now that music changing so much and streaming is taking over. It's sometimes quite hard for a new artist to make it through, but yeah I guess people saw something in it. Yeah, that just attracted them to it. Heather: It's such a massive song, it's amazing how much you blew up after that. Dua: Thank you so much, thank you. Yeah, things changed a bit.
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Heather: When creating this album, I know it took like a couple years. Did you feel any sort of like limitations when creating it? Dua: I guess I was my worst enemy at points. Where the only thing getting in between my work was me and to not being able to really open up. The second I kind of learned that, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks that's in the room. As long as I can open up, that's the way I'm gonna get the best song out of myself. It was just depending on the day, how much I felt like I wanted to open up. Some days I felt like I wanted to close up and not talk to anyone, and some days I really wanted to get everything out. Some days you'd get really lucky and write a really honest song and something that I felt would be really good on the album. Some days I felt like I was lying to myself, because I wasn't exactly getting what I wanted out of the studio session. I'm still learning and there are a lot more things that I want to write about, and talk about. Yeah, it'll come out soon enough. Heather: So I know that when you do co-writing in the studio, you want to get to know the other person just as much as they want to get to know you. Who is your favorite person to co-write with? Do you have just one or a couple? Dua: I've got quite a few people I like co-writing with, I love working with this guy called Talay Riley. I loved working with Andrew Wyatt, I love working with a guy called Kozmeniuk [Stephen ‘KOZ’ Kozmeniuk] Because there are loads of people I love working with, and I guess it took me a little while to find a little group of people that I go back and forth and work with. Yeah, there's really, really cool people that became good friends of mine now as well. Friends, going into a session and hanging out with them to actually becoming good friends with them.
Dua: Yeah, yeah well the plan is February [now pushed to June 2]. So yeah, just kind of getting everything set and ready. There's still some things that I'm missing from it. Like I wanna have a feature on the album, obviously I don't know if that's going to happen but we'll see. Heather: So when you're writing a song, where do you mostly pull the lyrics from? Is it like imagination or is it real life? Dua: It's all real life. Especially because I was in such early stages of learning how to write a song, I felt that making up a story was too hard of a task for me to do. I just wanted to just really open up and just speak about things that I know and write about things that I know. That's proven to be very therapeutic for me and enjoy it a lot, and every time I feel like I went in and said I was going to make a story up. It somehow ends up being about me. Heather: I was watching your music videos from like a year ago before you got signed. “Be The One” and then "New Love". I feel like with your new music videos you still have that sense of identity. How was creating the 'Be The One' video with Ansel Elgort? Dua: It was really exciting and I'm really excited to of had the opportunity to have done another video for that song, and the reason we did another video for it because we're re-releasing the song in the UK. It was the only place we didn't, it kind of skipped us because we didn't expect it to do so well all over Europe. It kind of just happened, so it's exciting to have another opportunity at it. Getting to do a crazy Sci-Fi video and also with Ansel in it, it was really exciting. He's undoubtedly an amazing actor and it was cool to work alongside him. It was really inspiring to watch him work. Yeah, it's one of those videos I'll always look back on, it was really fun.
Heather: How far along on the album process are you? I think you said early next year  you're going to release it?
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Upon forming, POND immediately recorded their debut album Psychedelic Mango with some help from Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala). Within months, they released Corridors of Blissterday, the live follow-up album recorded with an eight-piece band. Their third album, Frond, was released in 2010 and helped solidify the band and their sound in the eyes of the industry. Beard, Wives and Denim, their fourth album, was recorded on a farm a few hours southwest of Perth and released in March 2012. This album allowed them to head overseas for a thirtyone show North American tour, including a stop at the South by Southwest festival. After returning home, POND sold out a national tour before heading to tour the UK and Europe. Their fifth album, Hobo Rocket, was released in August 2013 as a way for them to showcase their own more evolved and dense sound. POND supported the Arctic Monkeys throughout their Australian tour in 2014 before jumping over to Europe to headline their own tour. They also performed at the festivals Primavera Spain and Field Day in London. After a short break, the band took off once again for a North American tour. Their sixth album, Man, It Feels Like Space Again, was recorded in Melbourne, Australia and released in January 2015. What followed were more shows in North America and then, for the first time, venturing down to South America to perform at festivals. They released the song “Sweep Me Off My Feet” back in October 2016 (which was co-produced by the band and Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker), and followed it up with a second track, “30000 Megatons,” in November. Both are tracks from their seventh studio album The Weather, slated for release on May 5.
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Interview with Nick Allbrook GROWING UP I grew up in and around Derby, in the Kimberleys in Western Australia. It was hot and free and deep. But kids don't think about that, it's just super fun. My parents just let me do whatever creative stuff I wanted, which usually involved drawing meters upon meters of cartoons and space monsters and Baby Godzilla and medieval mouse warriors. There wasn't much creative stuff at school, except for free time. There wasn't much of anything at school up there. 季 MUSICAL UPBRINGING I remember waiting for my parents to leave so I could put on Silverchair (Freak) rly loud and... well... "rock out" until I was drenched in sweat and pretty much dead on the floor. My sister came home while I was doing this once I remember. I must've been 8. No formal training, just Dad dropping mad nostalgia bombs on me on the reg. Sabbath etc.
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THE START OF WRITING MUSIC Me n cousin LZ wrote some songs on a family holiday. We were playing the guitar flat on our laps fretting with the thumbs. I think we wanted it to sound like Spiderbait. Must've been 10. WRITING PROCESS – INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP EFFORT It's usually individual. We have bits --- words or chords or whole songs or samples or a bridge --(scene missing) --- and then it’s pretty much a song! GETTING INSPIRED WHILE OUT AND ABOUT – VOICE MEMOS & NOTES This happens a lot. I usually record things in my voice recorder when I’m walking around at night, intoxicated. Sometimes it's worth remembering, but often it's total bullshit. Some stuff has made it through.
LYRICS – WHERE, TIMPERIOD & PHYSICALLY, THEY WERE THOUGHT UP I didn't write every word to this album in one sitting. I guess some - SOME - of the lyrics came from living in a country which was entering - and is seemingly still entering, deeper - one of the most prejudiced, divided and confused times within my memory. There's also love and heartbreak and crippling self-loathing and meth and death and Bataclan in there too, but watevs. FAVORITE PART OF THE ALBUM CREATION PROCESS I like actually feeling like something I’ve written is good. Sitting back by myself and reading it along with some music and giving a lil' self-congratulatory smile. I liked hearing Zen Automaton become what I always dreamt and more. I liked hearing Gum sing lyrics I was proud of in full Queen harmony. Watching Kirin love life. WHEN AND HOW THE ALBUM TITLE ‘THE WEATHER’ CAME ABOUT The Weather. It's softer than our usual psychbullshit-word-vomit, the weather is changing (actually), the weather is changing (metaphorically)
ARTWORK – CONTRIBUTE IDEAS OR REMAIN HANDS OFF Our idea and a little bit of designer back and forth. ARTWORK – AESTHETICALLY COOL PACKAGE VS COVERSATION BETWEEN LYRICS AND ART It's so freaking hard to answer a lot of these, because the answer is always yes, no, both, somewhere in between and somewhere out to the side, in infinitely varying degrees. Of course I'd always want something that I think is 'aesthetically cool', and usually am drawn to something with some sort of personal or representational relevance to the "VIBE" of the album. 季 VISION OF MUSIC EVOLVED When I first began I pretty much wanted to be something else. Now I've come to the painful realization that I am actually me and I've just got to make the best of it. It hurts too much to please.
MENTORS Most of my mentors probably don't know me, and if they do they don't know I consider them my mentors. Robert Wyatt, Jeremy Holmes, Neil Finn, Bjork, Johnny Watson, Amber Fresh. People who are true I think.
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Growing up in Yakima helped shape Jimmy’s work ethic. He began writing feature-length scripts in high school as a form of escapism from his hometown. It trained him to be ambitious and to see his ideas through. Since his parents didn’t want him going to art school, Jimmy went to Western Washington University and studied Creative Writing and Art History with the knowledge, going in, that he wanted to be a filmmaker. He also knew that since film is the most modern visual medium, he needed to understand the history or art to further understand all the questions of its format. He made films on his own while attending school and it became his unofficial third major. After graduating college in 2008, he got offered a job in Paris teaching French New Wave and a DIY digital filmmaking course to American undergraduates studying abroad, as he too had studied abroad and had become close friends with the program’s resident director. Jimmy spent that following year working in Paris, creating art, and applying to graduate schools. He ended up getting accepted to one of his top schools, but being happily involved in a relationship, he turned it down and together they made plans to move to LA, unfortunately breaking up before the move. When he made it to LA, he only knew about two people in the city, which led him to begin the process of honing in on his widely known aesthetic. Before his move to LA, his short films and videos were black and white, mimicking new wave films. After his move, wanting to consciously find his own style, he switched to color and made that the primary element of his work. His began directing short films, music videos, and web commercials, and in 2013 he started taking on the medium of photography. Jimmy was always a fan of photographs, but never owned a camera. When he got an iPhone he started taking photos of everything, and after Instagram came out his account took off. His inspiration for filmmaking started around the age of 16 when he began watching movies and seeing how each director portrayed a point of view, be it happy, sad, or funny. This made him want to share his perspective of the world with people. Although now maintaining a more complex style, Jimmy’s still fascinated with experimenting and combining genres. The lengthy process of actually creating the film is what is most important to him.
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GROWING UP IN YAKIMA, WASHINGTON Yakima’s a very no-frills place to grow up. It’s an agricultural based economy and it’s a little isolated geographically. Still, when it’s all you know, it’s all you know. You don’t need to grow up somewhere super wild and dynamic to grow up a creative person. I always loved making stuff. I loved writing stories and drawing large-scale tableaus with tons of characters in them, or designing flags for made up countries or making maps of my neighborhood, trying to figure out all the yards with swimming pools. Nothing I was doing was anything that was encouraged or praised, it was just what I did on my own when I had time between sports or school. PATH TO BECOMING A FILMMAKER I started writing creatively as a young kid. Basically as soon as I learned how to type. Then I started to love performing when I was in middle school. I loved getting in front of my classmates and reading my short stories and figuring out how to manage an audience. I loved getting a group of people going. Then when I was in my middle teens I started watching more interesting movies, and I couldn’t believe how much abstract emotion and feelings a director could convey in a film and I decided then I was going to be a filmmaker. I was 15 or 16. I started writing feature length scripts then. I never thought of it as an industry or a job until I was in my mid-20s and had to make a living. Movies were always just my pulse and what got me out of bed. SUBJECT MATTER – FAVORITE TO CAPTURE My first short film was about a 19-year-old director home from college attempting to direct his first short film as the production falls apart.
It was during my first year home from college, and the movie fell apart completely, mirroring the story to a T. I love that as a genesis a lot when I look back on it. I think everything I write is a love story on some level. I’ve directed other people’s scripts, and I've written lots of scripts, but I've only gotten the chance to seriously direct 3 of mine in a serious way, and they’re all autobiographical and based on romantic relationships. I know you need a lot of inspiration to get a film made because it’s almost an impossible thing to do. So I guess the love stories are the ones that really get me moving. MOVING FROM YAKIMA TO LOS ANGELES After high school I went to college at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA for 4 years and got my degree in Art History and English, and then long story short I lived in Paris for a year. In Paris I started getting serious about making art and gained a lot of self-confidence which resulted in knowing the exact direction I wanted to take myself, so I took the show on the road to LA to toss my hat in the ring. I figured if I wanted to make movies, it would be a good place to start. CAPTIVATED AUDIENCE- FEELING PRESSURE & STAYING INSPIRED I’ve always been concerned with being prolific. I think it comes from studying art history and learning how for every masterpiece an artist made there were hundreds of lousy things. But the thing that’s different these days is that you put your lesser works out on blast because you’re trying to keep up with content. I feel like that’s partly how I got into photography in the first place was just to stay prolific and relevant between film projects and then the whole thing took on a life of its own.
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VISON OF FILMMAKING / PHOTOGRAPHY EVOLVED There are certain things that I believe to my core about creating that will never change. A lot of the surface stuff has changed, like subject matter and what kind of characters I want to be working with or imagining. But what really inspires me has basically stayed the same. I want to mix aesthetics that haven’t been mixed yet and tap into exciting new worlds/feelings by doing so. I’m getting better at it. Still not great. WORKING WITH CLIENTS – WHO COMES TO WHO WITH IDEAS It’s a mixed bag. Both are exciting opportunities. I’ve gotten lucky and have gotten to work with a lot of great creative people whose minds I really respect. So on the jobs where I come in and they have it all planned out and I get to execute their vision, it's great because I’m doing something I probably wouldn't have thought of. But then there are jobs where they ask me to come up with tons of new ideas and then they help me refine them and then it’s something exciting by the time we shoot it or film it. I love the pre-production process. KINGS OF LEON ‘WALLS’ ALBUM ARTWORK They basically came to me and said, “Here are the lyrics to all of our new songs. Can you please read them and then come up with 50 photos inspired by these words?” They gave me loads of reference images of the world they wanted it to be existing in and then turned me loose. It was one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had. SCOUTING FOR LOCATIONS For my personal work I typically have a location figured out early in the process because I have to think within tight budget restraints and what I have access to. So typically I'll find a place and then try to figure out what kind of story would make sense for it. For commercial stuff I’m able to just let the ideas fly and then we go out and find it. HIS PUBLICATION, FUDGE MONTHLY I had the idea during late summer 2015, because I was tired of taking photos and wondering where they would end up. Would a magazine accept them if I submit? Would a blog pick them up? It was always a crap shoot. It was also really limiting because when you think about making original work, you want it to be original, but when you are making
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original work for other people, they want it to be how they want it. So there’s the limitations of shooting within a season if its fashion, or trying to use a certain kind of model, or whatever. So Fudge came about as a place where my work could always be whatever I wanted it to be, and I could be prolific, and have an artifact to show for myself. August was the last issue for the time being, though. Not to say it couldn’t pop up again in the future. I’m just more inspired to put my focus in a few different areas at the moment. Fudge Monthly required a higher percentage of my attention than I was expecting. But what ruled about Fudge was I got to work with so many different people. A mix of me reaching out, and people reaching out to collaborate. But I'm really satisfied with how many fun, cool people I got to work with. I wanted it to be more than just models, although some of the issues do just have models. But I was really trying to just find interesting, exciting, new types of people to photograph. MENTORS Wow so many. I’ve actually been really lucky to have such amazing people to ask questions to about career paths, aesthetics, feedback. It’s amazing. I have a great community. MOMENT HE RELAZIED THIS IS THE PERFECT JOB FOR HIM When I’m directing something, and we do a choreographed shot that requires lots of exact timing from lots of the different departments and we nail it, or we get through an insane amount of shots in a day, or something just falls into place and what’s captured is perfect, I typically burst into a victory lap for sheer joy. I mean that literally. I run around like I just scored a world cup goal, and I can’t help it. It’s the best feeling. I feel really lucky that what I do evokes joy in me. Obviously not every day on set gives me that, but even so, there’s usually always catering and that’s often enough to get me enthused and grateful to be doing what I’m doing. PERFECT STORM OF FILM / PHOTOGRAPHY SCENARIOS – ONE SUBJECT, ONE LOCATION, GEAR, CITY All of my scripts right now are set in Los Angeles, and I’d be beyond thrilled to make any of them. I have lots of dream scenarios in my head. I’ve got this great feeling about them. I am excited for the next five years. Decade, even. Century!
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Dresses: Palace Costume Shoes: Zara Fishnets: Wolford 148 | Decorated Youth Magazine Jewelry: Sarah Magid
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Dresses: Miu Miu Jackets: models own Pants on Jess (right): Zara Fishnets on Holly (left): Wolford Boots: Saint Laurent
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Two years after Holly and Jess met, the idea of Lucius began forming. After honing in on where the two were musically, they knew they wanted their music to reflect thoughtfulness and intention. In 2007, after graduating, Holly and Jess moved to Brooklyn to pursue their musical career. The duo found an old Victorian house in Ditmas Park via Craigslist that was previously a music factory. After seeing that a Steinway grand piano and vintage organs occupied the living room, with more recording studios and pianos from the late 1800s in the basement, they knew they wanted to move in. For several years, when they weren’t working as musicians for hire, they wrote and refined their music in the old Victorian house, and eventually they released their debut album, Songs From the Bromley House, in November 2009. Although they sang together as a duo for six years, the concept of how they sing (the two-into-one merging style) developed over time as a way to feel for comfortable on stage－ more from awkwardness than shyness. The fact that people started commenting on their “two as one” singing style reinforced what they were doing. They’ve always been admirers of artists with a strong visual representation of their music, ones who’ve created an alternate universe for themselves and their audience to be transported to. However, figuring out how to incorporate their own took some time. 2010 was the start of Holly and Jess’ being costumed and styled identically as an extension of the music, which has now become an established attribute. Holly and Jess assembled a band of friends and neighbors: Danny Molad (Jess’ husband), Peter Lalish, and Andrew Burri (who left the group in September 2016) they released their first LP as a five-piece, Wildewoman in October 2013, following their 2011 EP of the same name. The following year, they started the list of highprofile appearances and long touring: "Turn It Around" landing a placement in a commercial, and performing at Governors Ball, Lollapalooza, Sasquatch, and Newport Folk.
Lucius also sold out a headlining show at the 3,000capacity Terminal 5 in NYC that December. Throughout their two and a half years of touring, Holly and Jess went through the struggle of constantly being surrounded all while feeling alone. They dealt with this both individually and together: the two are very different personality types, but since they’ve been friends for fourteen years, they feel that they can speak on each other’s behalf. The place that was home to them, where they first started to take their music seriously, stopped feeling refreshing after they began to compose all their vast emotions into new music. Knowing that this may have been the reason why NYC started to feel a little too intense and why a lot of the tracks off Good Grief are so heavy. They needed space from the sensory overload that was NYC. Later, they did make a conscious decision to make some “light hearted” tracks to give them and the listeners a bit of relief like “Born Again Teen.” They drove from NYC to California and relentlessly continued to create what would become their sophomore album, Good Grief. A truly bicoastal record; the album’s opener "Madness,” was written in Ditmas Park, whereas the verses of the closing track, "Dusty Trails," were penned in Joshua Tree. Once there they found the ideal LA space that they had left NYC to find; a hilltop house made of reclaimed materials in LA's Montecito Heights where musicians often come in need of a retreat. Although they only went to the West Coast to create their sophomore album, Holly, Jess, and Danny ended up moving there, while Peter still lives in New York when the band isn’t on the road. Veteran producer Bob Ezrin (Lou Reed, Pink Floyd, Kiss) teamed up with Shawn Everett (Weezer, Alabama Shakes) to help the group arrange and record. Although Everett mixed Wildewoman, this was the group’s first time working with him as a producer: he was a friend of Lucius's first, a collaborator later. Good Grief was released on March 11, 2016.
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Heather: I want to start from the beginning, what was your childhood like? Was creativity a big part of your childhood in your family?
That's how I started singing, singing along to Roy Orbison and Linda Ronstadt and Sam Cooke and Etta James. That's how I started to fall in love with music.
Jess: Yes. I was sort of a loner and I was really into creating worlds for myself, which is not that different than what we do on stage in the band now, with costumes and visuals. Constantly creating spaces and places for me to sit in, or painting, or with my dolls I would create worlds and houses and I would make courses in my backyard out of brooms and jump over them and pretend I was a horse. Not just one broom, I would find every chair and every stick I could possibly find and I would just gallop away in my backyard. I was constantly wanting to be swept away for some reason. Maybe I was really inspired by theater but also maybe it was a little bit of loneliness and a combination of those two things. Maybe a little bit of a weirdo.
Heather: Was there a specific moment when you transitioned from merely enjoying music to thinking more about being a musician?
Holly: I was always outside and doing weird things, I guess. My first show and tell, I remember I made this little city for slugs in the Tupperware and it was "Slug World" and I brought it to school. Everybody else brought their Barbie, or the book that they liked and I think some of the kids were horrified that I brought Tupperware slugs, but I thought it was great. Art was always my favorite class. Then I got into music later on, starting with piano and other instruments. Yeah, that was a big part of my life. Music was something that everyone in my family loved and listened to a lot, but everyone was mostly a visual artist. Jess: Same for me. Holly: I think that was a big part of both of our upbringings and a big part of the reason why we make that a big focus of our work as well. Jess: Yeah, and just to paint another landscape, my dad would take me on long car rides and - I'd later learned that Holly did similar things - but my grandparents lived several hours away and we would take these long car rides and that's where he'd introduce me to records that I fell in love with.
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Jess: I think the creative and the music were always there, from a really young age. When I started writing, I didn't really start seriously writing until I started living with Holly. I would write here and there, or for school projects, always experimenting with different programs in school or going to the library at school. They had a huge music database that we were just constantly exploring and trying to think of ways that I could reinvent something that maybe nobody had done. Then when we sat down together for the first time, I guess Holly had really got half of a song in going to a session and she was like, "You know I was thinking that maybe we could work on something of our own and build up this." Then we just started. It wasn't really a discussion even, I don't think. It just happened. That's really when it was a serious pull for me. Holly: I think for me it was, I always wanted to perform music. When I decided I wanted to do music I was really interested in performing and performing it in my own way. I also from a very young age loved writing short stories and poems, and it was one of my favorite things to do in school and I competed in school with writing competitions and stuff like that. When I went to college and decided to start taking songwriting classes, I realized, "Oh, these two things that I love so much, I can put them together." It wasn't really until then that it occurred to me to create music. I didn't know how to go about it, even. It turned out it was just a lot of experimenting. Like Jess was saying, I think we learned a lot through working together and experimenting together.
On Jess (left) Dress: Opening Ceremony Shoes: Saint Laurent Belt: Top Shop Jewelry: Sarah Magid On Holly (right) Top: Zara Skirt: Asos Shoes: Saint Laurent Belt: Stylists own
On Jess (left) Dress: Opening Ceremony Shoes: Saint Laurent Belt: Top Shop Jewelry: Sarah Magid On Holly (right) Top: Zara Skirt: Asos Shoes: Saint Laurent Belt: Stylists own
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Jess: Having a safe place where you can make a fool of yourself and not feel weird about it. I think that's everything. Having a community to support you in some way. The community could be one person; it could be a slew of people. Actually I was similar, I didn't really know that about Holly, but I was similar. I was writing. I was always getting accolades. When you get recognized for short stories and picture books and stuff in elementary and middle school. A lot of my pieces, I remember were about creating another world. I remember there was some gifted and talented education program. There were different methods to get into those programs, but I had written this one book about a mouse and the mouse's life. It was very detailed, the drawings were so detailed and I think I was in 5th grade. The story was very complex and she brought it to this school counselor and I got accepted into the program because of that, which was actually a really good time for school at the time. Holly: It was the same for me. I had taken tests for G/T because Bonnie was in. A lot of the tests, I didn't quite qualify. I ended up writing a short story, I think it was 3rd or 4th grade, about a soldier dying and I wrote this whole paragraph of the anguish he feels and my teacher was like, "Look at this!" Like, not normal. Then they put me in. Jess: We're discovering things. Maybe it was 3rd or 4th grade I don't remember. My teacher was actually not supportive. She didn't recommend me. For some reason she just did not like me, Mrs. Schur. I still remember her. She was nasty. She was a mean lady. When I got in, I went to tell her, I was so proud. I was like, "Mrs. Schur, my book..." I had really strong spelling, I had college-level spelling as a little 4th grader. I had that going for me but that was it. I got really nervous during tests and then the stories. My mom had collected all the ones that were worth showing the counselor and I'm sure she still has it, too, knowing my mom. I went to Mrs. Schur and I was like, "Mrs. Schur, I got into Gate!" She was like "You did? I didn't recommend you." Holly: That was like every other teacher. I had a teacher me and my mom called "Mrs. Bitch" all the time. This was in high school because I was having trouble with tests and focusing because I was just bored out of my gourd. She told my mom â€œsometimes you need to accept that some children just aren't as smart as others."
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My mom got up and stormed out. She was like "That's not what a teacher's supposed to ..." You're coming to your teacher about "how can we make this better?â€? Jess: Yeah. Yikes. Holly: Anyway. Jess: You're getting a real scoop here. Heather: Oh, man. When you guys met, when you were going to college, was it an instant friendship or did it take a little bit for you guys to connect. I feel like it was pretty instant with the way that you two interact. Holly: Once we started talking about our upbringings it was very clear that there were similar methods and similar interests and musical loves. Kind of our approach to life. Naturally. We really became close friends through the writing process, through making music. We had a lot of mutual friends but we hadn't become close for whatever reason. Not because any reason in particular other than ... Jess: Being in the same circle and seeing each other a lot. Holly: Yeah. Then eventually it was all the time. Heather: Talking about "Good Grief" I know you two started writing in New York and then you went out to LA to get away from the sensory overload of New York. Did the traveling influence you? Do you think your work would sound the same no matter where you created it? Jess: I think without even knowing it your surroundings influence your craft. We kind of wrote in so many places. Vermont and in New York, upstate New York but also in Long Island and also in California. I think that we wanted to be in places that took away distractions and were inspiring, were beautiful and comforting and had a cool piano. I don't know, it's hard to say. Our records and our songwriting style is always eclectic and a mixture of so many different worlds and parts and inspirations. I think we're always making songs that sound like we've been traveling or that we've been to other places. I don't think it ever feels like too much of one thing. Does that make sense?
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Heather: Yeah, totally. Do you guys write when you're on the road or is it more like you have to sit down and prepare yourself to write a song or an album? Jess: We usually need a moment to step away from the madness to be able to feel super-inspired, but we're always taking notes. We're working on a film score [the upcoming film 'Band Aid' a directorial debut by Zoe Lister-Jones] on the road right now. Holly: Yeah. That's some new work for us. We're spending the afternoons and stuff on it. I think for writing our own stuff we're always collecting ideas, like Jess was saying. Hoarding lyrics and thoughts and journal entries, so when we sit down and have a safe space, quiet space, we have a lot of material to sift through and revisit. Heather: Was the decision process to pick Born Again Teen as the first single an easy choice or did you guys have to sit with the album a while and think about which one to put out first? Jess: Yeah that was not an easy choice. There was a lot of back and forth. Oddly enough it was one of the first ones that we finished and it was as a result of approaching a lot of heavy material and ideas and not really wanting to go there quite yet because we'd just gotten off the road. So we're like, "This is heavy. Let's do something light and easy, something kind of humorous, just to get back into the groove a little bit. Warm up to things and heal the wound before re-opening it." So we started with that. It is funny that it ended up being the single but I think it was because of that same reason. It was the rebel on the record and the one that was almost the antithesis of everything else. It stuck out, for better or worse. We went for it. Heather: I think it was a great choice. The music video that went with it, how did that come about? Did you guys come up with the idea? Holly: No, that was the one time that we have loosened the reins and let somebody else have them. We were talking to him about the video and he was going on and on about this idea and that idea, and he sounded really discombobulated on the phone but he's done such amazing videos and classic videos that we thought "Well, I don't know what this guy's talking about but we're just going to show up and let him direct it."
We literally showed up and were like "Okay, what do we do, where do we go?" It was a really fun experience. He's a wacky guy and he got so many different people together. When we were in the car with the filming us in the backseat, he is the one driving everywhere. The camera guy was in the passenger seat. He's going through alleys and going the wrong way, different roads, illegal things were happening. It was great. Heather: Did you have a favorite part about the writing or album creation process of "Good Grief"? Holly: When you finish a song and you have this excitement and you want to hear it over and over again. There's nothing better than that first moment of completion when you feel like "I can't wait for people to hear this." Exploring with the bad in the studio is also really exciting and fun because you see it brought to life in a completely different way, maybe that you never expected to. I don't know there's a greater joy for me than when you first finish a song and feel like "That's it. This is it" and then you want to hear it over and over again. Because it's so new and you're imagining all these possibilities for your little song child. Heather: When did the title of "Good Grief" come about in the process? Holly: We didn't want to title it until we knew which songs were going on and we could look at it as a whole and see what it meant exactly all together. We weren't totally sure what was going to go on the record until pretty late in the game. I think at the moment when we pretty much picked what was going to go on there and had that solidified, we stepped back and looked at it and saw that there was this bipolarity to it where there were these really dark and sad, eerie songs and then there was also these super happy, energized, uplifting songs and it was just funny how there were both of those existing so clearly. It made sense because of what we were talking about earlier, which was that one was a Band-aid to the other. It was the yin and the yang and the balance of it, because some of them were so one way we had to have the others in order to level it out for an audience in Park South. We had to tour this record. We're like "We don't want to sing dark, sad songs every night."
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It was that idea and what phrase comes with that idea and Jess came to the studio and had suggested that and it seemed to make sense because it was good, and it was grief, and "good grief" together is its own phrase of like, "Ugh, good grief." This selfdeprecating but humorous phrase. That's how we felt at that point in the studio. It was like "God, can we just stop whining now." It encompassed those two things and it ended up being perfect. Heather: I want to talk about your style because as a photographer I really love when musicians have this secondary creative outlet that helps showcase their music. Where do you guys find your clothes and when you're packing for tour do you pack out certain outfits for a specific date? For an LA show do you pack a certain outfit, bright colors or dark colors? Do you guys play off it like that? Jess: Sometimes in the show, we're all about movement, but we would bring six outfits on tour and we'd rotate between different outfits. Right now it's just a three-week tour, we just have a couple of outfits that we're rotating between. We have a lot of fun with it and we design and collect a lot of ideas for our outfits and then we have executors who are also incredibly creative and take our ideas and bring them to life. Fort Lonesome, a company out of Austin, Texas has worked with us a bunch and Christian Joy, we got a booklet and he's also worked with us a bunch, and we've been really fortunate and there's a completely different aesthetic but we have a lot of fun with that. Heather: Amazing. For both of your albums did you want the album art that accompanies your music, to represent the sound and lyrics or did you aim for a visually cool package? A little bit of both? Jess: Tries to be a representation of the record as a whole, of the record title, or something that feels like the spirit of the whole record. For "Good Grief" it felt like we were trying to find something that could have many meanings. We didn't want it to just be an eye roll. It's dark but it's also romantic. The notion that you're holding onto nothing, or holding onto something that doesn't exist, but also the idea that something's missing. A deep hug, an emotional hug, is so good but can also be the hug of something that you're letting go of.
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There's just so many ways to look at it. I think that's beautiful. You leave it up to the audience to decide. Heather: What is your perspective on how you want to be represented through the group's press photograph? Holly: We are always aiming to - and I'm not sure we've hit anything on the head yet, even, because everything's always evolving and we're always trying new things. As far as one we did for the last record, we wanted something very stylized to go with the picture as a whole. With the way that we dress for the stage and the way we set up the stage and with the symmetry and the very stark images to go with the starkness of the record and the songs. But with color, as well. I guess that was the thought process behind some of those photos. Heather: I just have one last question for you two. I know you sort of mentioned it at the beginning, but who have your mentors been along the way? Holly: We've been really fortunate to work with a lot of amazing artists in the last couple of years. We worked with Jeff Tweedy, we worked with My Morning Jacket. We toured as a band with My Morning Jacket but we've also sung with them, background. We got a chance to sing with Mavis Staples and she's joy personified and the most amazing woman. Most recently we have been working with Roger Waters. It's all been an incredible learning experience to work with these people who have been around the block a hundred times and really know so many things about performing and about music. It's pretty incredible to see it firsthand and take what we can from that. As far as life, I would say our families and our friends, and they've been incredible supportive all along the way. Even with people like Mrs. Schur and Ms. Bitch. We had our parents standing behind us. Then, of course, you have your mentors through recorded music that you fall in love with like everybody does and learn so much from such a small age and those people would be David Bowie and Roy Orbison and the Beatles and all these artists that we learned to sing with through the radio and on records. You take inspiration everywhere you go but we've been really lucky to have all of those people.
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Published on Feb 21, 2017
Our sixteenth issue features an interview with the music group Lucius as well as interviews with; Satchmode, Chad Heimann, Bishop Briggs, Cl...