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Entertheventure Featuring Indie Artists

Ninkasi Brewing’s recording studio and donations program unites all p. 6 Broke Royals raise deaf awareness with emotional video P. 23 LOLA SHARES Challenges and making of “Extended Play”! p. 30 ISSUE #3 oct. — Nov. 2017

zenxienz Pushing Boundaries in the “Brainforest”


C O N T E N T S 4 Letter from the Editor

38 Sydney Lauren


40 Danny Baxley

6 Ninkasi Brewing

Record an album while getting your beer on!

New Releases 10 JREAMS Video

An exclusive ETV world premiere!

11 Nina EP 12 Big Hair Girls Video 13 Polartropica Video 14 Manchado Video

A three-part video series featuring masked dancers

16 Grizfolk Single 18 Rural Alberta Advantage Single 19 Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor Video 20 Twin Seas Album


A multitude of emotions will leave you “Left in Motion” A story about reconnecting with music after hard times



42 Zenxienz’s “Brainforest” Let your imagination run wild!

44 Agency’s “Resist”

Fight the power and don’t look back

45 The Peanut Gallery’s “Deep Thoughts” Stuffed animals unite with live action

46 The Hi Hat Concert Review Highland Park shows off its experimental side


CALENDAR 48 October 50 November


Latin roots representing East L.A.

21 The Mynabirds Album 22 Vital Video 23 Broke Royals Video

Raising deaf awareness and making good music at the same time


24 Oparu Video 25 Voldo Blanka Video 25 Bryan Stave Single 26 The Sounds of Ghosts Video Who knew ghosts sounded so good?

27 Inner Wave Album 27 Josh Jacobson EP 28 Native Sons EP 28 Carly Taich Single 29 Karpinka Brothers Album

Bringing folk and 60s pop into a new frontier


29 Zoot Woman Video

Interviews 30 Lola

The one and only female Elton John!

34 Rachel Louise Taylor

On the road to becoming a positive role model for young girls

36 AJ Steel

He loves you even when it’s bad








36 29 Twitter @EnterTheVenture


Zenxienz Cover Story!

30 3

ETV Founder/ Editor/ Writer/ Designer: Isiah Reyes


reetings and welcome back to the third issue of Enter the Venture, the bi-monthly magazine aimed at providing you with info on new music releases, interviews and reviews of indie artists from around the world. This issue features our very first world premiere with the release of JREAMS’ video for “Seoul.” It was an honor being asked to help launch this single and video to the masses on the Enter the Venture website on Sept. 22. Hopefully there will be more opportunities to help out other artists with premieres in the future! The issue’s news section features an in-depth look at Ninkasi Studios, a recording studio located inside a brewery. I was first intrigued by this studio when Gayle Skidmore (last issue’s cover artist) mentioned recording her latest album there and I decided to find out more about how the studio operated. I discovered that Ninkasi Brewery goes beyond just beer and music by also helping out the local community with non-profit efforts. Check out the story to find out more about the recording studio as well as Ninkasi Brewery’s “Beer is Love” donations program.

Big Hair Girls. Broke Royals returns to ETV with a new video for their song “As Long As I Can See” that aims to raise deaf awareness by using sign language in its storytelling. This is yet another example of an artist using its influence and platform to spread awareness for a good cause, and not to mention, the music is pretty good too! Whatever your style is, give these songs a listen and expand your music collection with the upand-coming artists found in these pages. You can’t really go wrong with any choice. Interviews with musicians who come from all walks of life is what Enter the Venture is all about and this issue is no different, featuring five stories for you to enjoy. Learn more about Danny Baxley, a Dallas-native singer-songwriter who landed himself in a hospital after a suicide attempt and then used the recovery from the experience to fall in love with music again. Then there’s Rachel Louise Taylor, a young up-and-coming pop country singer who is using her talents to become a role model and teaching guitar lessons to ensure she passes on what she knows to the next generation. ETV is always looking to offer a diverse set of unique stories in every issue from people of all backgrounds, so be sure to stay tuned for more in upcoming issues.

As always, there’s a variety of music featured in the new release section from London-based Nina and her new synthwave EP “One of Us” to the catchy and Overall, it was a lot of fun making this third installment empowering video “Future is Female” by the trendy and I hope you enjoy it. See you in December! 4

Enter the Venture is feeling the LOVE! It’s been two months since the previous issue was released and it’s clear you’ve all been enjoying Enter the Venture! From all over social media, readers and featured artists alike have shared their appreciation for what ETV stands for and that’s bringing to light new and exciting music that makes you dance, rock out, or just feel all giddy inside. New music can come from anywhere and anyone, so if you’re a solo artist or part of a band and you want to be featured in the magazine with a new release or profile interview, reach out to ETV and all you have to do is have music uploaded online (so we can hear it) and answer a few questions (so we can know a little more about it). It won’t be long before you have people sharing their appreciation for your music! ETV is looking to support new music and build a community so let’s keep sharing the tunes and sharing the love. That’s all for now, and remember, you can order a copy of Enter the Venture magazine or view a free copy online at

About Enter the Venture Magazine Enter the Venture is a bi-monthly magazine born from the need to feature amazing emerging musical talent that often gets overlooked by the mainstream media. The magazine promotes new song and album releases, reviews, and interviews with indie artists and bands from around the world in all genres of music, including rock, pop, Hip-Hop and electronica. From the songwriting process, to recording techniques, to touring shenanigans, Enter the Venture strives to cover all the topics readers want to know concerning their next musical addiction. 5

Images via Ninkasi Brewing Company


inkasi Brewing is not your typical brewery. Located in Eugene, Orgeon, this brewery houses a recording studio for artists to record their music and they also help the community with a local donation’s program. ETV spoke with Ninkasi Brand and Experiential Marketing Director, James Book, and Beer is Love Program Manager, Emilie Hartvig, about how music and donation programs help promote Ninkasi Brewing’s philosophy of combining beer and music in an awesome marriage.



in tours and bookings.

“In the early days of the company our former CEO and Ninkasi Brewing was co-founded by Jamie Floyd and I intended to build a studio and then Total Domination Nikos Ridge in 2006, and together they used their IPA exploded in popularity in the NW,” Book said. “As combination of business and brewing skills to push marketing director at that time, I continued to sponsor Ninkasi to become the fastest growing craft brewery bands with production time and pressing etc. and they in the United States. The brewery has expanded its organically would spread the word about us on tour. operations over the years while keeping a focus on Bars and their fans took interested in the story and helping the community we made new account with a donations partners and new program or by helping customers as result.” local musicians achieve “Plus, it’s inside a brewery so the artists their goals of producing tend to appreciate that detail. No beer The music produced a record with an inStudios for the drummer until the drum tracks atis aNinkasi house recording studio. mix of local,

are laid!” - James Book

James Book, Ninkasi brand and experiential marketing director with two decades of experience in the music industry, operates Ninkasi Studios and provides expertise to Ninkasi partnered artists at no charge. He said the idea for Ninkasi Brewing to include a proper studio happened organically since the brewery was already supported local artists through music production, recording, album pressing sponsorships and assistance

regional, national, and international talent. Book said Ninkasi has close partnerships with various artists and they call these artists first when looking for bands or solo artists to appear at new beer launch party tours and other events.

“We work the most closely with bands from SoCal, Washington and Oregon, naturally, but we have 7

enjoyed working with others from further away and Americana music. including the amazing Gayle Skidmore who now lives in The Netherlands,” Book said. “Pacific Rain was a NW-centric beer release focusing on our quality of life up here,” Book said. “Given that The equipment in the studio includes the essentials of we were also sponsoring Northwest String Summit what any proper recording studio should have, from bluegrass festival in overlap to the commemorative mics, a collection of restored vintage and modern ‘Pacific Rain Compilation,’ we opted to make an entirely instruments, and amps with a digital audio workstation string/acoustic album in commemoration of the beer’s running Pro Tools. Book said they work primarily “in release where many of the artists we featured on the the box.” album also performed at the festival.” “Plus, it’s inside a brewery so the artists tend to Ninkasi Studios’ work in appreciate that detail. No recording and producing beer for the drummer indie and established until the drum tracks are artists has allowed the laid!” Book said. area of Eugene to gain more recognition as a celebration.” - Emilie Hartvig The first original musical legitimate place where offering to come out talented musical artists of Ninkasi Studios was can go to record. In turn, the “Dawn of the Red Compilation EP” released in these bands also spread the word about Ninkasi, September 2015. The collection included music from making the relationship beneficial for both sides. Vokab Kompany + Kraddy, Sapient, Black Beast Revival, and Tyler Fortier, among others. The artists Book said Ninkasi does not sell their artist’s music chosen for this compilation were specifically chosen but they do use it internally for content and video based on where they were from. soundtracks that are produced and they also offer the music to their non-profit partners to use as soundtrack “For the ‘Dawn of the Red Compilation,’ which was for their promotional videos. Overall, Ninkasi Brewing a concept record, we intentionally chose bands of is aware of the powerful combination that beer and completely different ‘flavor’/genres from specific target music can have and using it to help propel local artists cities in line with our local strategies in those areas in an intriguing way. and asked them each to write a song called ‘Dawn of The Red,’” Book said. “They obviously asked ‘What should it be about?’ but we told them to authentically interpret it themselves and just include the phrase ‘Dawn of The Red’ in their songs’ choruses as it related Floyd and Ridge have always made it a point to make to their lyrical themes. The album came out great and donations part of their brewing culture. After donating we pressed vinyl that the bands could sell on tour and beer to the community here and there, Ninkasi set up that we could use at account promotions such as bar a donation programs called Beer is Love that offers beer donations to registered non-profit organizations. event giveaways and so forth.”


Ninkasi Studios has made several compilations allowing the artist to write an original song based on the name or theme of the flavor. The latest was the “Pacific Rain Compilation” base off the Pacific Rain Northwest Pale, which is crafted with lava-filtered water from the McKenzie River Watershed. The compilation features up-and-coming and established artists from the region performing Bluegrass, Roots 8

“While the main focus of Beer is Love is to donate beer to non-profits, we also integrate an employee volunteer program,” said Beer is Love program manager, Emilie Hartvig. “If an employee wants to volunteer for a local organization, we work with them to make it happen. If there is a volunteer opportunity during the work week, we ensure that they are still able to get paid for their job while taking a couple hours out of their day to give

back to a cause they care about.” The program has worked with many types of nonprofits. It recently narrowed its focus on the “Beer is Love DNA,” supporting non-profits doing work in five core categories: women, equality, recreation, the environment, and arts and music. Some of the nonprofits they have worked with include McKenzie River Trust, HIV Alliance, SOMArts, Team River Runner, and Women Who Code. Beer is Love has found success in donating in progressive non-profits and it plans to continue doing more events in the future. “We are a part of all kinds of events,” Hartvig said. “In the next couple weeks, we are donating to a concert in the park, an art exhibit opening, a local beer festival, and a small private celebration. The donations for these events range anywhere from four and a half barrel kegs to two cases.” For anyone interested in getting involved with Beer is Love, visit the donations website at Ninkasi. To learn more about all the incredible beer and music related news going on at Ninkasi Studios, check them out at Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and their official site.


Images via JREAMS

ETV JREAMS Releases New Premiere Video for downtempo


Jreams’ New Album “Letters to Jupiter” is out on Oct. 6!

n anticipation of the upcoming JREAMS album “Letters To Jupiter” coming out Oct. 20, Enter the Venture is proud to present the world premiere of the third single/video from the Austin, Texas producer. The “Seoul” music video shows off the city of Seoul with its bustling streets, trains, and marketplaces and captures a day in the life of a tourist enjoying the sights and sounds of the city. The video transition and cuts match the instrumental music, which is calm and keyboarddriven and consists of ambient noise sound samples that culminate into an atmospheric, experimental track. The Jazz, electronic, and downtempo influences give the laid-back song hints of groove that highlight the talents of JREAMS and his rising stardom. The two previous singles “(im)mortal” and “Gravity” are both equally impressive in sight and sound making them a must-watch if you can’t get enough of trippy, electronic vibes.


1. Gravity 3. Seoul 4. (im)mortal 5. Origins 6. Ephemeral 7. Helium

Music “Seoul”

Images via Nina

Nina’s latest EP “One of Us” synthpop and synthwave love


ondon-based Nina released her latest EP “One of Us” on Aug. 11. The opening synthesizers in the “One of Us” title track evoke outer-space emotions with Nina’s voice adding narrative to the other-worldly experience. When the beat drops, the song sounds straight ripped from a classic 80s film but still fresh, new and invigorating at the same time. The new wave roots wrapped in modern sensibilities clearly show the German-native’s early influences of Depeche Mode. The second track, “Counting Stars,” also begins quite ominous in a synth-laden landscape. The darker and slower-tempo track offers the chance to get lost in the music and allows the listener to feel the nighttime stars surrounding them. The production on both of these songs are top-notch, thanks to producer Oscillian and mixing work by Grammy-Award winner Liam Nolan.

is a affair

Douglas Holmquist’s remix of “Counting Stars” is a soothing version that perfectly closes the EP as it relaxes you to the end. Overall, the songs and remixes on this album are great for anyone looking to relive the sounds of synthpop and synthwave from new talent.

Nina’s New EP “One of Us” is out now!

The rest of the EP remixes the two songs wonderfully. SJBRAVO’s remix of “One of Us” is a groovy disco style song made to get people on the dancefloor. It’s an interesting take and is different enough to feel like a new song entirely. Johnny Royal’s remix contains faster-sounding beats with an underlying synth melody that adds a futuristic feel. Angger Dimas’ remix is full of suspense with dub-step influences that completely take the song into a new direction. It is easily and by the far the most experimental track on the album. Lastly, 11

Positivity and embracing uniqueness are at the heart of the Big Hair Girls’ Message


ew York chant-pop duo Big Hair Girls released a new video for their single “Future Is Female.” Their fun dance track is full of girl power and would feel right at home to fans of Shamir, MIA or Sofi Tukker. The duo is made up of sisters Venus and Lizzy Lightyear who both grew up in New York as Russian / Romanian / Surinamese and Caribbean lineage. According to them, their mother was an immigrant, their parents were strict, and their family didn’t have much money. They were bullied in their school years and they stood out during a time in their lives when they we wanted to fit in. Soon enough they realized their differences were what made them awesome and they stopped straightening their hair and took the path to freedom and big hair. Their song “Future is Female” is an anthem for the Girl Power Movement and celebrates female empowerment. Big Hair Girls started making music out of their bedroom studio and quickly became a staple of New York City’s


underground scene, where they DJ’d at LGBTQ parties. It wasn’t until they linked up with producer Donny Dykowsky that they created their signature sound, which includes tropical, pop anthems inspired by themes of power, strength, unity, and individuality. The duo’s ultimate message is to embrace uniqueness and to spread positivity and acceptance. Lizzy and Venus have put themselves at the forefront of the growing army of glitter warriors and are ambassadors to the future of girl power.

Images via Big Hair Girls

Polartropica’s influenced by


new Equal

video is rights Movements

himsical space pop psych artist Polartropica said. “I’m hoping to always make ethereal and beautiful has recently released a new video for music, the songs are generally lyrically sad and a little “Olympia.” The theme behind her new music dark, but the music always has a sparkly sheen.” is to make a magical make-believe world. Polartropica also pride themselves on giving back to The J-Pop song features dreamlike vocals with an the community by pairing up with organizations such upbeat message that will soon be a memorable electro- as Planned Parenthood and Youth Justice Coalition for pop anthem for the masses. The video is thematically live shows. influenced by the movements for rights and equality during the presidential elections as well as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics trailer. Polartropica is the music endeavor of Los Angeles based Ihui (eeway) Cherise Wu. Born in Taiwan yet raised in California, Wu combines pop melodies, futuristic synths and classical string arrangements, creating a genre of bubblegum psychedelia that is fit for all intergalactic space travels. Wu created Polartropica as a place where things exist in places where they don’t belong. Elements of complete opposites are fused together resulting in unique sounds that use both organic and synthetic instruments. “I wanted to create a healing, inspiring and empowering space with just the right amount of disco-party!” Wu

Images via Polartropica 13

Images via Manchado

Columbia’s Manchado shows off singing and dancing talents in three-part video series


ew York-based alternative hip-hop artist Manchado released his latest video “Wild Child,” the finale of a three-part video series.

Born in 1995, Manchado is a DIY singer, producer, dancer and designer who moved to New York from Bogota, Columbia, at age 18 by himself to pursue his passion in music. The alternative Hip-Hop artist has finished his three-part video series, which includes “Part 1 Break” and “Part 2 Out of Control.” All the videos in the series feature Manchado surrounded my masked dancers who join in on the choreography to make for interesting videos and danceable tracks. He uses the people and the characters in his videos as metaphors to illustrate a bigger point about the human condition. Notable for writing and producing his own songs, Manchado is looking to take his underground status to the next level. After starting his music writing career at the age of 7, Manchado took it upon himself to learn the craft of writing songs, performing, and learning to correctly work a crowd. For a crossover genre comprising of EDM alternative with a Hip Hop vibe, Manchado likes to put an interesting twist into his music, which truly comes to light in the finale of “Wild Child.”



Photos via Grizfolk

Grizfolk’s inspiration


new from

o-Cal native Grizfolk’s new video for “In My Arms” has been released in collaboration with Jamie N Commons and has gained 2.2 million streams on Spotify since its release. The song draws on a wide range of backgrounds from its bandmates, which consist of frontman Adam Roth, bassist Brendan Willing James, drummer Billy Delia, keyboardist Sebastian Fritze and guitarist Fredrik Eriksson. The band has become known for their textured sound, graceful melodies and sprawling guitars mixed in with edgy electronics. The idea behind “In My Arms” came when Adam Roth was recovering from surgery on a hemorrhagic polyp and was rendered unable to speak for two weeks and unable to fully sing for two months. Through the recovery, Adam was able to rebuild his voice and concentrate on new beginnings.

single all its

draws members

voice, and we suddenly had our first duet. I pretty much thought about everything a guy could think about during those weeks, and for the most part realized how I took a lot of things for granted in my life. I wake up everyday now and remind myself how fortunate I am to be able to still do what I love.” During the summer of 2016 the band would get together and start their writing sessions with a round table discussion of sorts on current events. “When Jamie came by one day for a co-write we had a beat and a start of a melody already but no theme,” said Brendan Willing James. “I mentioned an idea of the ‘falling dream,’ the one where you jolt awake right before, or as you hit the ground in a breathless state.”

“Those two weeks of sitting in my apartment alone, The band took that idea and looked at it through the literally speechless, were some of the most interesting lens of a relationship, where those ripples would be felt and important days of my life,” Roth said. “Jamie came by the person lying next to you. along at almost the exact time that I was losing my


“‘In My Arms’ came from a place of wanting to comfort someone in times of trouble and distress, which couldn’t be more important in any given time, especially right now,” said James. For the video the band wanted to take the viewer on a journey through various emotions depicting the chaos, distractions and loneliness of daily life, along with the security and safety that comes from companionship and empathy in the midst of turmoil. Working with Thomas Leisten Schneider at Wolf at the Door, a production company in Venice Beach, they agreed on the idea of capturing the magic of Los Angeles at night. Unlike most major U.S. cities, Los Angeles is not a “city that never sleeps,” so Thomas and the band decided to shoot car scenes at night on the empty LA streets to capture the dream like state of the song. “In My Arms” is Grizfolk’s follow up to their debut full length album “Waking Up The Giants” that was filled with arena ready, expansive melodies that led to tours

with Bastille and X Ambassadors, festival appearances at Firefly, Hangout, Bottlerock and Voodoo and late night TV performances on Late Night with David Letterman and CONAN. To support the single the band will be touring the East Coast this fall.

Grizfolk - Tour 10/7 – WTMD Rock Block Towson, MD 10/14 – Coda Philadelphia, PA 10/17 – Mercury Lounge NY, NY 10/18 – Great Scott, Boston, MA 10/20 – University of Maryland College Park, MD 10/21 – Cycle Fest Charlotte, NC 10/22 – The High Watt Nashville, TN 10/24 – Vinyl Atlanta, GA 10/25 – Vinyl Music Hall Pensacola, FL


Images via Rural Alberta Advantage

New Single shows off Rural Alberta Advantage’s sound from their upcoming album “The Wild”


ural Alberta Advantage released their new single “Brother” in anticipation of their upcoming album “The Wild” coming out Oct. 13. The three-piece band consists of Nils Edenloff, Paul Banwatt and Robin Hatch, who are known for delivering folk songs that stem from humble places that have a way of touching the heart. They went on the road last year to try out new material and used the experience from their live sets in the studio. In addition to “Brother,” the band has also released singles “White Lights” and “Beacon Hill” that will intrigue fans old and new to their new 10-track album. When making a record, Edenloff said he does not follow a theme or plan but rather lets the music dictate where it should naturally go and “The Wild” is no different. The band has been nominated for two 2012 Juno Awards (Best New Group and Video of the Year for their song “Stamp”), long listed for the 2011 Polaris Award, and awarded the CBC Music Prize for Best Independent Artist in 2014. They have previously released three albums on Saddle Creek: “Hometowns” (2009), “Departing” (2011) and “Mended With Gold” (2014).


Images via Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapors

“See You in the Mourning” is hypnotic, chilling, and combines bliss and terror


etroit Psych-rock trio Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor released a new trippy and artistic video for their single “See you in the Mourning” from their upcoming album “Lavender Blood” coming out on October 27. The sublime single is the second track from the group’s upcoming album “Lavender Blood” and it’s about the last conversation had with a friend before their passing. The song features a classic guitar within a textured and layered rhythm section that is perfect for hypnotic swaying in the spacey night. The band’s fourth album feeds on the blend of blissfulness and terror, a departure from their previous release “Desert Brain.” The new album was recorded in a remote lodge nestled in the woods of northern Michigan, taking advantage of the building’s large cathedral ceiling and open floor plan for a unique experience that fans will surely enjoy.

The band has shared the stage with the likes of The Black Angels, A Place to Bury Strangers, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dead Meadow, The Warlocks, Nick Turner’s Hawkwind and played festivals such as Mid-Point, Montreal Distortion Psych Fest, SXSW, and CBGB Music & Film Festival. 19

Photo via Twin Seas

East LA natives stir up new wave and psychedelic sounds in debut album


Twin Seas Release New ALbum “Twin Seas”

win Seas have shared a new west coast lifestyle music video for their single “Surf Wave” from their self-titled debut album released on Sept. 29. Hailing from East-LA and inspired by 80s new wave, 60s psychedelia and their own Latin roots, Twin Seas was created by Eduardo Bueno and Jose Cruz who later enlisted bandmates Fabian Marquez and Carlos Canovas. Together they have created a fresh soundscape with “Surf Wave” that leads the listener on a voyage of warm tones and sun-kissed melodies. After forming in 2016, Twin Seas have made a name for themselves in the LA indie rock scene by playing to excited, energetic, and loyal audiences all over the SoCal area. In a short time, the band has perfected the art of live performance. Twin Seas completed their self-titled record earlier this year at their home studio at La Mina, in the neighborhood of City Terrace. For this debut, they recruited the help of vocalist Chrisol and the rhythm section from Chicano Batman who are both featured on the record. The band’s distinct sound, dubbed “New Wave-Dream Pop”, will provide the quintessential soundtrack for a summer day.


Twin Seas - Tour 10/1 – DBA Residency 10/8 – Redwood Bar 10/13 – Halloween Civic Center 10/14 – Orale Fest @ The Vortex 10/26 – Epic Bar 11/5 – DBA Residency 11/8 – Off Beat Bar 12/3 – DBA Residency

Images via The Mynabirds

The Mynabirds’ singer Laura Burhenn lives in the moment and wants to “Be Here Now”


he Mynabirds released a new album titled “Be Here Now,” a collection of nine songs written and recorded in January 2017 over the course of two weeks following the Inauguration and the Women’s March. Singer Laura Burhenn worked with producer Patrick Damphier in his Nashville studio to create an album that documented the controversial news and reaction to everything that was transpiring.

wanting to seclude oneself from all the hate and political news happening every day. Despite the harsh realities we live, Burhenn feels optimist about the music community.

Music videos for “Cocoon” and “Shouting at the Dark” are already out so if you’re looking for something new and exciting, give these videos a view.

“It’s a funny time right now where I feel like the music community feels stronger and safer than ever,” Burhenn said. “I feel closer to everyone, and I think we have each other’s backs more than we did this time last year. That seems really The song “Cocoon” is about hopeful to me.” connecting with people and also


Images via Vital

Vital’s with


“Finito” is a a artistically

alifornia singer-songwriter Vital released a new music video for his electro-charged pop-laden thriller single “Finito.” The song is similar in sound to the likes of Blood Orange and Future Islands with its soulful energy, taking inspiration from a vast musical spectrum. The video is a gruesome tale with a sad end for Vital, as he is carried off in a body bag leaving us to wonder how he got there and who the killer is. “The video is a morbid depiction of my thoughts and imagination,” Vital said. “Out with the old and in with the new.” On the new album, Vital said he wanted to inject a shot of adrenaline into the predictable radio playlists of today. Although he rarely listens to the radio, Vital’s name is his opinion on the value of music to the world. “I always knew I had a voice, but I never wanted to use it because of the things that I was going through,” Vital said. “Because I was angry, I wanted to express myself through Hip-Hop instead. It was really rough growing up. So I didn’t want to sing it to you; I wanted to rap it to you.”


soulful morbid

song video

The song sees Vital straying a bit away from Hip-Hop as makes the decision to use the full range of his voice with the intent of making music that lasts for a long time. “I’m really not all about the cliché stuff. My aim is to make timeless music. Music that will still sound fresh 20 years from now. I’m done with trying to make trendy music that’s only good for right now.”

Images via Broke Royals

Broke Royals aim to raise awareness with new emotional


deaf video

roke Royals released the new pop friendly and inspirational track “As Long As I Can See” from their self-titled album coming out Nov. 17.

The band pulls from a wide range of sounds across indie, electronic and pop to marry raw, organic characteristics with crisp, detailed digital elements and production. The video relied on striking visuals and incorporated sign language that raised deaf awareness during Deaf Awareness Month in September. The International Week of the Deaf began on the 18th and the video served as a way to show how music can be enjoyed and felt without words. The band will be donating the profit from the first week of sales and streaming to the Nyle DiMarco Foundation; a non-profit who works to improve the lives of deaf people. Broke Royal members Philip Basnight and Colin Cross were inspired by the unspoken emotional response to seeing a loved one after a long day and the importance of reconnecting. Basnight said the album’s name represents a confidence and assurance for the band’s future. “When we started recording music we didn’t know that there would be such a stirring creative chemistry, but by the time we made the album we had found our sound,” Basnight said. Be sure to check out the self-titled album when it drops on Nov. 17. 23

Images via Opāru

Opâru’s video focuses on the beautiful aspects of nature and blends them with an urban landscape


pāru is the moniker of Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and actress Dianna St. Hilaire, who is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is creating haunting electro music with dark undertones and “The Deep End” shows off her influences that can be found throughout the record. They include the likes of Mt. Eden, Lindsey Stirling, director David Lynch, American Horror Story, and Zola Jesus.

Partnering with the infamous Kim Fowley (The Runaways, Kiss, Joan Jett, Alice Cooper), she has toured the U.S. extensively, been featured on official Grammy ballots, as well as charting on Billboard. In 2015, Oparu decided to reinvent herself with this new project that focuses on experimental electronica, 80s synth pop and alternative rock.

“‘The Deep End’ is about a unique equality between two people on an emotional and physical level,” Opāru The new single is a love song to her beloved and admires said. “Our survivability paired with our own hopes and the strengths and the flaws in a relationship, but most dreams and how we can make them a reality for each importantly, it focuses on the depth of what most other by helping one another to change the world.” humans attempt to attain in their lifetime. The video features time-lapsed visuals of nature and the hustle and bustle of a city at night, highlighting the importance of finding compassion for living things and being mindful of your inner animal. “The music represents pure animalistic human emotion,” Oparu said. “It epitomizes what it is like to be human by transcending the human experience with self-discovery and acceptance of who we are on an emotional level.” Oparu started to write and perform music at a very young age in choir and musicals. Her first instrument was the piano and she taught herself the craft of reading and writing music. In her late teens, she began performing with punk bands and for producers as a back-up/studio vocalist in New Mexico where she took on her first musical alias with the group Versailles. 24

Image via Voldo Blanka


Voldo Blanka Releases New Music Video “Go Your Way”

Photo via Bryan Stave


Bryan Stave Releases New Single “Chasing Platinum”

bit of backstory about singer-songwriter Bryan Stave: he grew up in Greenfield, Wisconsin, where he played all kinds of sports from football to basketball. He would go on to coach high school basketball and at different universities where he spent summers on the road, a place where he realized his passion for music. He found himself playing guitar and singing in his assigned dorm room between camp sessions and began writing and performing pop songs around his college town of Madison, Wisconsin, which drew comparisons to the likes of Jason Mraz and Hunter Hayes. Bryan began working on his first EP that was completed in the summer of 2015. He then settled Voldo Blanks is the moniker of Neu Mannas, who was on Nashville, Tennessee, as his new home, and shortly the frontman of alternative rock group Head of the thereafter, connected with producer Christian Davis of Herd, the first band in Canadian history to have a #1 Sony Records. rock single without a record label. After three albums and years on the road, Neu Mannas left to hone his The new single “Chasing Platinum” is a song about an skills as a composer for screen. Although he falls under artist who is successful with his music but struggling the umbrella of electronic, he is also a songwriter, with the demands of the job and the unavailability of multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and film composer spending time with his girl. Bryan said he is looking whose concept lends itself to the realm of alternative into his own future and how he’ll have to balance his musical life with his personal relationships. electronica. anadian electronic artist Voldo Blanka’s music video for “Go Your Way” is from his recently released album “Nuns Enjoy a Mandman.” It was directed by Nathan Kim and shot in the dark and grungy alleys of Los Angeles featuring actors Stewart and Judson Emery as they reunite after exploring the depths of the city. The artistic yet reality-based video fits the melodydriven single, which is built around a classical piano line and haunting electro-vocals that take you to space. The inventive instrumentation is reminiscent to the likes of Hundred Waters or Chromatics and is a track to be played repeatedly to the end of the year.


Images via The Sound of Ghosts

The to


Sounds of Ghosts’ Nowhere” is a

mericana roots band The Sound of Ghosts released a new single titled “Train To Nowhere” that exemplifies the band’s signature style of fiddle-fueled melodies, soaring harmonies and storytelling lyricism from their upcoming release “Delivery and Departure.” The Sound of Ghosts are an Americana roots musical collective hailing from Los Angeles, California. The five-piece collective of musicians have crafted a musical experience with unique arrangements and vast variety of influences. A culmination of traditional front porch Americana, folk-laden melodies and vintage rock ’n’ roll, The Sound of Ghosts have succeeded in bringing their own edge to this timeless genre of music. Comprised of James Orbison (vocals, bass), Anna Orbison (vocals, ukulele), Ernesto Rivas (lead guitar), Phoebe Silva (fiddle) and Jon Sarna (drums), they have united to push the boundaries of typical Americana and created an evolving sound demonstrating the diversity of each of their own different musical backgrounds. Included in this are elements of classic rock, musical theatre, country and everything in between.

New Single Fiddle-Romping

“Train Hoot

the impact Lamb had made on not only him, but the community around him. James Orbison fell back into music as a mechanism to cope with his grief, where he consequently rediscovered his passion for writing and playing again. They decided to name their band The Sound of Ghosts, which was the title of Brown Bird’s first album, to honor Lamb and to be constant reminder of his love for music. The new music is set to be an immersive listening experience and is filled with diverse soundscapes and a multitude of sonic textures. Lead single “Train to Nowhere” is an upbeat folky song with driving guitars and catchy hooks that showcase the band’s signature sound. Accompanied by a powerful trumpet solo, it is assured to get listeners up and dancing. The narrative was built around the ideology of escapism and the importance of adventure. The song symbolizes the journey of self-discovery and introspection.

The Sound of Ghosts have opened for artists such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Sisterhood and Oingo Boingo. Their music has also been featured in national commercials for major brands such as Yahoo! and Kia. The Sound of Ghosts formed in memory of the band’s The Sound of Ghosts also won ‘best live performance’ friend Dave Lamb, who passed away too soon from at The Roswell Film Festival. With their growing Leukaemia. Lamb headed an acclaimed band Brown California following and authentic sound, The Sound of Bird with his wife that was named NPR’s folk group of Ghosts are ready for their next musical endeavor with the year. James Orbison was touched and inspired by the release of “Delivery and Departure” due fall 2017. 26

Inner Wave Release New ALbum “Underwater Pipe Dreams”

with delicate vocals and summery guitar playing that has a classic feel but modernized with tightly-produced drums. Another single from the album is “Buffalo,” a synthesized journey through star-seeing landscapes of rainbow colors and slow-swaying beats. The band’s unique sound has attracted many new listeners, leading to their album release show at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana to be sold out. Inner Wave has steadily grown their fan base, touring with indie rockers Hot Flash Heat Wave, playing sold out shows and garnering over 100,000 plus monthly plays on Spotify. Fans can’t get enough of Inner Wave’s synth-rock and Latin style Hip-Hop sounds.


nner Wave has spent three years putting together the 18-track album titled “Underwater Pipe Dreams” that combines trance and psychedelic influences together to create something new and alluring. The single “Eclipse” is a pop sounding, upbeat number


Josh Jacobson Releases New EP “First Light”

rooklyn-based singer-songwriter-producerinstrumentalist Josh Jacobson’s debut EP “First Light” showcases Jacobson’s soulful vocals and dreamy tones developed alongside bells, trumpet, violin, and synths. The EP acts as a gateway into the inner workings of Josh during an emotionally impactful time in his life–relating to his fans in an organic way without having to reveal details beyond the emotion of each song.

“‘Underwater Pipe Dreams’ was a name that initially came up as a joke, but the more I saw those words together the more I liked it,” said Songwriter Pablo Sotelo. “Underwater is a nod to Lil Ugly Mane’s ‘Underwater Tank’ song that was released in 2014. Pipe dream is a phrase that means an unattainable or fanciful hope or scheme. A fantasy something that will most likely never happen. That is how I felt about a lot of things during the making of this album. Whether it was a relationship I was in that was on the verge of ending, my future career in music and the uncertainty of it, the outcome of all these plans I wanted to see through (including finishing the album) felt like a long-shot.” Josh has toured at SXSW and headlined for big-name festivals such as Miami Music Week and a Northside Festival showcase at Knitting Factory Brooklyn. Throughout his touring, he has proven to be a sensation on stage that goes beyond what you hear on record. Josh will be playing a few select shows in October.

“‘Tethered’ is at its core a song about coming to terms with the fact that even the most meaningful connections can be temporary… but on a deeper level it’s about the whole concept of learning to live in a state of constant flux,” Josh said. 27

Native Sons’ Synth-laden dark wave EP “Super American” is out now!


ative Sons released their EP “Super American” on Aug. 4. The synth-heavy debut single “Lay Your Lover Down” has got an addicting beat with dark wave influences and spacey keyboard experimentation. The 7-song EP is a mix of pop, dance, electronic and rock, and covers the themes of past relationships and their past musical history together. Some might remember Thomas and Justin from having played in the rock and Blues band The Iron Heart with headliners Black Keys and Kings of Leon at the 2013 Bottle Rock Music & Arts Festival. However, they wanted to move away from the traditional rock sound and focus on taking their sound in a new direction. In 2016, the two brothers in music decided to finally pull the trigger on changing their musical trajectory. They called on friends and industry contacts to put together a roster of producers to help and they found the sound they were looking for with the help of producer Chris Garcia, who has worked with Lana Del Rey and Adele in the past. Now the Native Sons are ready to take on the world as an electronic dark wave duo and we can’t wait to see what they cook up next.

Carly Taich’s orchestrated, Emotional Album “Reverie” is out in October!


sheville-based singer-songwriter Carly Taich released her debut single “Let it Shine” from her upcoming album “Reverie,” to be released in October. Carly asks heavy questions with a lighthearted flare and her evocative lyrics shine a light on dark contradictions while savoring the purest parts of life. The single “Let it Shine” is an emotion-filled indie pop song filled with highs and lows in sorrow, remembrance, and appreciation of the past. Though starting off with only guitar, drums, and vocals, it’s clear to note that those three alone create an atmosphere that is haunting and ghostly yet reassuring. Carly’s voice is calm and soothing as a violin swoops in to add a layer of comfort in the dark fog. The track is a satisfying listen for anyone into folk-pop and beyond and it’s a single that builds anticipation for “Reverie” coming out in October, an album about moving forward while giving the past a proper burial ground. The album features Alex Travers (violin), and Midnight Snack members: Mike Johnson (bass guitar/synth/piano/ acoustic guitar), Jack Victor (percussion/vocals) and Zack Kardon (electric guitar/vocals) and was recorded at Sedgwick Studios, North Carolina by Mike Johnson with additional engineering by Peter Brownlee.


The Karpinka Brothers Release New ALbum “Talk is Cheap”


anadian folk-rock duo The Karpinka Brothers released their latest album “Talk is Cheap” on Sept. 15 with the single “You Make It Look Easy” turning heads. The track is about a time of self-introspection and wondering about your own place in the world. The album finds the balance of sincerity and positivity for the Saskatoon brothers, who have a reputation of balancing as professional musicians and community volunteers. The brothers worked with Grammy nominee Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen, Vic Chestnutt) who recorded and produced the album at his legendary Hotel2Tango in Montréal. The album is a mix of folk and 60s pop songs with contributing musicians from Mathieu Charbonneau (Timber Timbre) on piano and keys, Jamie Thompson (Unicorns/Islands) on drums and percussion, Sophie Trudeau (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) on violin, Joel Kerr (Sara Slean) on bass, and backing vocals by Krista Muir. The Karpinka brothers will be taking their nostalgic and pastiche songwriting on the road for a North American tour in support of “Talk is Cheap.” Be on the lookout for the rise of this duo, who have in the past shared the stage with artists like John K. Samson and Gordon Lightfoot.

Zoot Woman Release New Video “Ordinary Face”


ritish band Zoot Woman have released a new music video for their track “Ordinary Face” off their fifth and latest album “Absence.”

The song is about dealing with feelings of insecurity and the need to connect with others. The video shows a variety of “ordinary” people looking directly into the camera making different faces and emotional expressions. A notable feature of the video is its use of fan appearances rather than actors, as well as the lack of any makeup on anyone in the video. A definite connection is made by the fans and the viewers. The video shows a very true, authentic view onto the “Ordinary Face,” which the song is about. The album “Absence” was created after the band completed a sold-out European tour and festival appearances around the world. It is described as the band’s “most sincere and personal album” by singer Johnny Blake and contains infectious, introspective, and 60s soul-inspired tracks throughout. After launching onto the scene in 2001 with their debut album “Living in a Magazine,” they gained recognition as a rising electro-clash band and they have continued to carry themselves with the modern aesthetic they have always had since inception. 29

Images via Lola


Solo Artist Interview

St. Louis singer-songwriter Lola Toben is Feeling Fine as she releases singles once a month from her latest EP “Extended Play.” She spoke with ETV about her earliest musical influences, the challenges she faces in music, and plans for touring


ola Toben is a singer, pianist, and songwriter who has been referred to as the “female Elton John.” Working as a studio musician from session singing, arranging, coaching and playing keyboard, she has also been a soloist and pianist for several nationwide Christian conferences and retreats. She got into music at an early age and was inspired by a wide variety of musical


influences that have helper her develop a unique writing style. “I have loved music since I popped into this world,” Lola said. “My parents were both music lovers, so there was always music playing around the house. My earliest influences were Elton John, Billy Joel, Carole King, Joe

Cocker and The Beatles. I would always sing along and make up dance routines. I feel like my writing style has a lot of that 70s vibe because of those early influences. I also adored Disney music, you know like Little Mermaid, Lion King, and Pocahontas.” Since moving to Los Angeles in 2017, she has worked with producer Jez Colin (Barry Manilow, NSYNC, Stevie Wonder) singing on the trailer for major motion picture “Kong: Skull Island.” Lola’s latest project is an EP titled “Extended Play,” where she has been releasing a single at a time from it since May. She worked with Topher Mohr and Alex Elena, two Grammy-nominated producers in Los Angeles. “They were fabulous,” Lola said. “The type of music is soul/pop/singer-songwriter. There are some retro vibes for sure. I think it is a great introduction to my music. The lyrical themes mostly revolve around love: looking for love, trying to hold onto love, forgiveness, breaking down walls in relationships, and overcoming obstacles. My second single, ‘Feeling Fine,’ I wrote after graduating college. That one is more about transitioning into a new life, letting go of the past, and stepping out into the world as an individual.” Lola said the most gratifying thing for her about music is performing and sharing it with others, saying that being on stage melts all her stress away. She also shares her love for music by teaching piano, voice,

Lola’s R&B and Soul single “Way to Your Heart” was the first single released from “Extended Play” in May 2017. She has since given her fans a steady dose of new songs on a monthly basis with the release of “Feeling Fine” in June, “Love is the Answer” in July, “Tired of Waiting” in August, and “Bring My Baby Back to Me” in September. 31


and composition lessons privately.

R&B. Depending on the venue, Lola will either perform as solo artist or with her “The hours of learning, preparing, and husband depending on the venue. Lola’s rehearsing become worth it when you get first solo effort was the 2016 debut album to move people and touch their souls,” Lola titled “A Living Prayer.” said. “I feel like music has a way of reaching the deeper side of people and connecting Lola has gone on to perform across the them in ways nothing else can.” country including at venues such as The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles and Blueberry However, making music doesn’t come Hill in St. Louis, touring with the likes of without its challenges. Lola said the hardest as Premik Russell Tubbs (Santana, Sting, part about making James Taylor), Jeff music was keeping her Haynes (Joni Mitchell, head up in the face of Cassandra Wilson, other’s criticisms. Herbie Hancock) and bass virtuoso Michael “Not EVERYONE Manring. She plans to is going to like your continue performing voice, your style, or locally in Los Angeles your songs,” Lola said. to get more people “You can’t be making involved with her music music to get approval. and she also has plans It has to be because you to play shows along the believe in it. Whenever west coast. I start doubting myself, I remember that it is “I’d like to get up north not about ME, it’s about and do some shows in the music. I think I San Francisco, Seattle, have a message to share: and Portland,” Lola one that is healing and said. “I also plan on unifying.” doing another big St. Louis show sometime In addition to making next year. We just put music as a solo artist, on a huge concert Lola and her husband released an EP in celebrating the release of my EP in St. Louis 2014 titled “Bryan and Lola.” Together (my hometown) with a full 8-piece band. It they perform a combination of acoustic was amazing!” original music, classic rock, and modern covers. Lola said they have performed at Lola will continue to make her mark in L.A. many wineries, bars and private events in as an intricate songwriter with a unique, St. Louis and that their folk-rock is low-key. booming voice. She can only continue to rise from this point and we look forward In 2016, Lola pursued her career as a solo to hearing what’s next in store for her. Lola artist where Bryan works as manager, said she has written a lot of new songs since booking agent, guitarist, and backup singer moving to L.A. and she wants to try them for the project. Lola serves as front woman, out in the studio. We can’t wait to hear songwriter, arranger, pianist and singer them! performing songs of original soul, pop and

“Whenever I start doubting myself, I remember that it is not about ME, it’s about the music.”


Images via Rachel Louise Taylor

Rachel Louise Taylor Solo Artist Interview

Country singersongwriter and guitarist Rachel Louise Taylor released her full-length album “Sunflower” on Aug. 26. Rachel spoke with ETV about her musical influences, lyrical themes, and why she teaches guitar lessons 34


achel’s discovery and interest in music begins at a young age. At around age 7, Rachel would go on trips with her dad to see her uncle, who was a lead guitarist in a band in Wichita, Kansas, perform live. She remembers thinking about how cool it was to see her uncle perform, and soon after, Rachel asked her dad to get her into guitar lessons. She learned to play guitar in 2nd grade but it wasn’t until 4th grade that she started writing her own songs and then performing live. Rachel’s influences early on include every girl’s favorite star, Taylor Swift, as well as a little bit from what her musical family listened to. “I grew up listening mainly to Shania Twain,” Rachel said. “I nearly had her entire album ‘Come On Over’ memorized, listening to it over and over. I did grow up on a farm, but my dad listened to more oldies music back then. I feel that between Shania and Taylor Swift, that was enough inspiration to help me develop and discover my genre.”

At age 12, Rachel played at a coffee shop in Topeka with her guitar teacher, who invited her onstage to play a song with him. Rachel said she got nervous and froze when she was supposed to sing and play guitar at the time, but she only played guitar. The brightness of the stage lights and the whole experience would normally discourage an upand-coming singer-songwriter, but Rachel continued her path to becoming a professional musician.

YouTube, but I actually cried happy tears. I will never forget that ‘aha’ moment.”

current moment before it passes by, as well as looking for the future. I heard a quote somewhere that says, ‘If you dwell on the future, you will Rachel’s latest album “Sunflower” is lose out on living in the present.’ I the culmination of her journey so truly believe in this, and I intend to far but it’s only the beginning of a live that way.”

“I think the coffee shop showed me the worst that can happen – not being able to sing, and be frozen,” Rachel said. “Due to that happening to me early, I was able to convince myself that I didn’t want that to happen again. I was able to experience it and grow from that. My advice is to do anything they set their minds never give up. If performing or being in front of stage is what whole new chapter. The writing for you want to do, never let go of that the album took about a year and a hope. One obstacle can be overcome half with some songs taking longer to make way for so many other than others to write. Rachel has opportunities, if one takes the effort become confident with her writing to do so.” style and took the time she needed to make sure the songs were as perfect Rachel continued to perform on as they could be before releasing stage and soon businesses and them. The album was recorded and organizations took notice of what co-produced in Wellington, Kansas, she was capable of. She performed at the Green Jean Studios. at the Texaco Country Showdown 2012 and Topeka First Friday One of the songs on the album, “In Artwalks and was getting known, Your 85,” was featured on national but the biggest surprise was when and international country radio Rachel’s song “I Got Mud” was and topped the Ullplay music chart played on the radio. in the U.K. for three consecutive months. “The radio host had e-mailed me, so I was listening to the radio, filming “My main lyrical theme is not to my friend on Skype, as she was take life for granted,” Rachel said. filming me through Skype,” Rachel “Whether or not it’s being in love, said. “I believe the video is still on it is just as important to take in the

In addition to making her latest album, Rachel has also kept busy by teaching guitar lessons since 2015. She said it is a lot of fun and has allowed her to re-learn some of things she learned back when was younger. “I decided to teach guitar lessons because I wanted to give back to younger artists just starting out,” Rachel said. “I want to potentially stand as a role model for younger girls who have goals in life, to look up to and know to.” that anything is possible, and they can do anything they set their minds to. I have also given them multiple performance opportunities joining me on stage, where they are in the spotlight and are able to showcase their new learned talents.” With her album complete and released in August, Rachel looks ahead to the future. She plans to continue performing and broadening her touring destinations. “My plan is definitely to play more shows!” Rachel said. “Although I am in college, I plan on being more busy next summer with festivals, etc. I also hope to broaden my 3-hour radius circle to be able to travel farther and open more performance opportunities not only for me, but to connect and be able to meet with my fans.” 35

All photos via AJ Steele






elbourne singer-songwriter AJ Steel is an upcoming talent from down under who is turning heads with his catchy tunes and pop rock style. AJ spoke with ETV about his early influences, the making behind his single “Love You When It’s Bad” and his writing style.






songwriter. His songs have been added to satellite radio with more than 3 million listeners, have been used in independent films out of Los Angeles, and have received national airplay on commercial radio in Australia along with numerous internet radio stations worldwide.

AJ’s music is a mix of the alternative rock sound mixed Some of AJ’s influences growing up were Nat King Cole, with the endearing qualities of a good pop song. “Love Frank Sinatra, and classical music, even going so far You When It’s Bad” is an introspective track tinged with as falling asleep while listening to the 1812 Overture hope hanging on each note of the piano ballad. The song back in the day after a morning in the waves. So, it’s no soars high in the second half with a full band sound and surprise that he would enjoy the likes of “Pet Sounds” lyrical inspiration about how much people are prepared by the Beach Boys. He’s also a fan of The Beatles, U2, to go through to chase after the one they love. and Bob Dylan, all artists who are known for their memorable and deep lyrics. Although he is a skilled “The song probably took about four months to do,” AJ performer today, he stated that he didn’t start getting said. “I’d work on it then have to put it away and then come back to it. I just couldn’t nail down the story for into music as early as most musicians do. that one. I kind of knew what I wanted to say but it took “I was probably a bit of a late starter when it comes to some time to reveal itself. Some of them come quickly music,” AJ said. “I used to play the piano by ear when I and some of them just take time. There’s not much you was about 10 or 11, then I got side-tracked into surfing. can do about it, you just have to keep working on it if I lived on the coast and it was a real beach town. you believe the idea has integrity. The recording and Everyone seemed to surf there. So, I didn’t get serious production process took some time as well. I tried all sorts of instrumentation and arrangements until I found about it until I was about 16.” an arrangement that worked.” Since then, he has established himself as a prolific 36

Indeed, it worked, and the story does present itself naturally as the song develops. Like many songs, parts of the production were easy to work on while other parts were either challenging or difficult. One challenge was making a song that covered new ground while also retaining elements of what made his previous work stand out. “I don’t like to go over what feels like old ground, but sometimes you have to if you want to bring a song to life,” AJ said. “Sometimes you just fight it, you shouldn’t, but sometimes you just do.”

solo, I really wanted to find my sound, what I wanted to say as an artist and that took a lot of time to dig right down and find the real artist I wanted to be. So, I had to lock myself away to do that.” Overall, AJ Steel is a name to lookout for. As time keeps ticking, AJ will keep writing, recording and releasing new songs that will touch the hearts of many. His next big hit is just around the corner, and we hope you’re there when it arrives.

His latest song is just one of many already in his discography. As a solo artist, AJ has released an EP and four singles, and from his previous band, he has released an EP and an album. To create his songs, he mostly creates them in his studio but is open to collaborating more. “Music is more fun when there’s other people in the process, but so far I’ve kind of locked myself away,” AJ said. “After going 37




Sydney Lauren’s recently released EP “Left in Motion” is a five-track record covering the highs and lows of a variety of emotions. Sydney spoke with ETV about the making of her EP, the recording process, and the meaning behind her songs


ydney grew up in a town called Harrison outside ballads that showcase Sydney’s distinct vocals and of New York City, a place that no doubt left an hard-hitting lyrics. impression on her. “I’m so happy to finally have the music out after sitting “I was definitely influenced by New York, living so with it for so long, now people can hear what I was close to the city gave me opportunities that opened my working so hard on!” Sydney said. eyes to different music, art and experiences,” Sydney said. “It has an energy to it that will always influence The making of the EP was both challenging and liberating, as creativity and concentration became the me, I love it!” focus during the recording sessions. Sydney wrote all the songs on “Left in Motion” in about five months, with another five months to fully complete “I like the creativity that is constantly happening the recordings. Sydney’s lyrics and melody found a during recording,” Sydney said. “You have all the tools home with co-writer Tad Kubler from the band The to test out new ideas which is always really fun. I found Hold Steady, who wrote and produced the music. The the hardest part to be the final vocals. It can be hard result is a collection of pop tracks and introspective to fully emote when you’re singing in a silent room by


All photos by Shervin Lainez

yourself. We weren’t going to stop on the political side is “Save Us,” until they were the best they could inspired by the 2016 Orlando shooting. The lyrics are in reaction be!” to the terror that many felt after One listen of the EP will evoke the incident occurred and how a multitude of emotions for any love and compassion will always listener. “Haunt Me” is a song outweigh hate. Her lyric “One shot about leaving the past behind and to the masses / Builds stronger not letting it linger on to haunt passion” demonstrates the realthe present. The universal appeal life response of how people came is enough to hook new listeners, together to comfort those in pain. but it’s the deep meaning that The depth in Sydney’s lyrical goes beyond the surface that will approach is her greatest talent keep them coming back for more. and we look forward to what’s in Sydney spills her heart out on this store for her next release. In the track and although she can write a foreseeable future, Sydney plans happy song, she said the sad ones on touring to share her songs to a greater audience around the come out much stronger. world. “I always like to make sure there is a big message or lesson learned “I am hoping touring will occur in a song,” Sydney said. “It should in the next 12 months!” Sydney said. “I love performing and want make a point!” to share these songs with people A song on the EP that is more every day!” 39

Image via Danny Baxley



Danny Baxley released his latest EP “Love Sex Alcohol” on July 24. He spoke with ETV about how music served him as a means for escape, the themes of the EP, and offers advice for other musicians going through tough, emotional times


rowing up in Dallas, Danny always had an interest in music. At age 12, he picked up a guitar for the first time and three years later, found himself writing original songs. He was raised in a broken home filled with violence and abuse, and music served as a therapeutic release to get away from it all. “I believe when I was young I sought after anything as a means for escape, unconsciously of course,” Danny said. “I couldn’t see it at the time because I was right in the middle of it, but my level of stress was slowly killing me internally. I felt lost, confused, scared, and always on edge without knowing of anyway to release the pentup emotions and energy I had over the years under my family’s roof. Those feelings were what I first wrote about. Expressing my confusion and feeling distant from the outside world were major themes in my first endeavors with writing. Then, of course, the sappy love


songs followed in high school from the various girls who I thought were ‘the one’ began to fill my early catalog.” After college, Danny found himself turning away from music to do jobs that were unfulfilling, which eventually led to emotional and mental breakdown. Hitting rock bottom, Danny attempted suicide and was taken to a hospital. “After my breakdown and suicide attempt, I landed in a hospital for quite some time,” Danny said. “The transition back to music was as organic as could be. It was as if I rediscovered my best friend whom I hadn’t seen it years and we hit it off like the old times and became inseparable again. Comically, when I began playing again after years of it being absent, I couldn’t remember even my own songs, let alone any covers with the exception of Weezer’s ‘Say It Ain’t So.’ So, I didn’t

really have a choice but to fiddle around and put together new songs. I even wrote something while there, and performed it for all the other patients and staff at the hospital, my first time performing in years.”

King once that he spent X amount a time everyday writing, I’ve used the same strategy so new material is always being created in the Baxley household. When I’m not writing, I’m typically practicing.”

After this experience, music returned to Danny and became a major part of his life again. He started writing songs with lyrics straight from the heart. He was once again on the path to living the life of a musician. When he got back into recording, he created and released his EP titled “Identity.”

The resulting EP is a collection of guitars and poetic lyrics with a darker side that explores different genres in new, creative ways. The EP features electronic glitch sounds and distorted vocals, and mixes heavy rock and dance together. Danny worked with the instruments he had and utilize them to create the songs he saw in his head.

30th of August that I’m excited for. I plan to release more music, build a bigger fanbase, and to ideally not piss off my wife for devoting so much time to the work involved in being a musician these days. I love her to death though, and she is very supportive.” Danny has gone through a lot but his journey has led to him a position where he can use his experience to help others. He has this to say to others going through emotional times:

“You’ll hear ‘no’ a million times, “Love Sex Alcohol” is the follow get to use to it. Keep fighting up to “Identity” and it’s about self- “I didn’t want to fit into a singular through until you get the ‘yes’ you’re expression. The EP was originally box, nor did I want to follow the searching for.” planned to be a full LP divided into same model that’s been going on the three portions of the EP title. for years,” Danny said. “The EP is a work of trial and error. A journey in “Those themes are still present in creating something new and that no the EP just not as prominent as one ever thought of doing before.” they were,” Danny said. “‘Love Sex Alcohol’ can also be seen as ‘Good Danny said he originally started as a Mediocre Bad.’ I really wanted to singer-songwriter but couldn’t help express my feelings towards the wanting to do more with his sound. greats in life, the tolerable, and the He wanted to keep pushing himself bad times, which have been constant to create a new identity with endless themes in my life and I’m confident possibilities without boundaries. in most others as well.” This has led to “Love Sex Alcohol,” the culmination of creating his The EP was put together in Danny’s own sound that goes against studio in his home. His arsenal of common conventions to how most equipment included an iMac, two songwriters go about writing songs. JBL monitors, Native Instruments The outcome will be appreciated by Maschine, Maschine Jam, Komplete those looking for something that Kontrol Midi Keyboard, a Gibson is experimental, unexpected, and Les Paul and an Orange MicroTerror coming from a place of healing. amp all put together with Logic Pro As far as for the near future, Danny’s X. plans revolve around playing more “Nearly every day I’m either working shows and getting his name known. on something new, or attempting to complete a project I had already “Playing live right and developing a started on,” Danny said. “So, writing presence onstage is my current goal,” the music and lyrics didn’t pose any Danny said. “I have a show booked trouble for me. I read about Stephen at The Well in Brooklyn NY on the 41

Images via zenxienz

Album “Brainforest” executes with layered Review synthesizers and vivid imagination


ong Kong-born musician, producer, and songwriter, Cameron Williamson, aka zenxienz, has released his second full-length album for 2017 titled “Brainforest” on August 4. In 2016, zenxienz created a new track every day to cope with his growing depression. From this, he captured the happiness and sadness of life with introspective instrumentals that pushed the boundaries of EDM, Jazz and psychedelia. The album “Brainforest” continues his philosophy of opening the heart, mind, and soul through the arts. The opening track “Insignia” is a full burst instrumental rife with colorful


sounds that mix both electronic and tribal-sounding drums, enchanting piano and an immense amount of creativity that sets the table as to what’s to come. The Middle Eastern vibe is traditional with a strong dosage of modern influences. “Undercurrents” continues the electronic sound but with a more intense EDM and dance vibe that pulsates at every turn. It’s the perfect song for those hot nights at a glow in the dark festival where you just want to lose your mind, body, and soul in the music. The album is the audio translation of a painting full of vivid colors and strange shapes all colliding into each other to produce a unique visual image. The beats throughout the album

are fast yet the melodic keyboards that accompany them are slow, majestic and space-like to the point where being surprised becomes the expectation. “Pico” has vocal sound samples mixed with heavy bass and disjointed drums all put into a synthesizer blender that melts away all conventions about what music is supposed to sound like. The drum style changes pace, style and tempo all in a matter of seconds making it a stand-out track that is destined to be blasted against a backdrop of strobe lights and beer cups held in the air. The sound of the album is heavily electronic, constantly changing through different

methods of expression in both planning and execution. Soaring synthesizers add layers of discovery that make for repeated listens, as this is not an album that could be fully understood in just one spin. The amount of rave and hardcore dance injected in each track will be enough to last for a very long time. Some tracks like “Coiled” are a bit darker in tone with vocal tracks making small appearances to keep you on your toes of what to expect. Though most of the songs border on being dubstep, they do not stray into the territory of being loud and abrasive for the sake of it. The psychedelic drums and bass have deeper intentions with many breakdowns that give you a breather from dancing and trancing about. The breaks allow for recuperation, reflection on introspection, and allows you to take in the moment with someone new as you’ll most likely be listening to this new age, off-the-rails record at a blistering venue. The sounds, although chaotic, are therapeutic even for those swaying to the

rhythmic madness alone in a room. There’s no doubt that the sounds from zenxienz will continue to impress for many years to come. For now, let’s all enjoy what this masterful electronic musician has created: an inspiring connection with others through sounds, mental images and creativity.


ALbum Review R&B and Soul artist Agency has recently released “Resist,” a politicalinfused album about the struggle for equality and fighting the power


esist” is an album about the civil rights movement but with a hint toward the contemporary world we live in today. With social activism being the driving force beind this work of art, it’s no surprise the album starts off with a powerful speech followed by sirens. The opening track “What’s Going On (Right Now?)” is a bouncy track but with a powerful message that questions the world we live in. The clap beats give the song an upbeat feel but there is clearly more substance between the surface. “Till & Marrow” is a slower, introspective and soulful song with R&B influences and sultry voices. You’ll find yourself nodding your head to the beat as well as the message. The piano and guitar enter the fray in “Rumours” to add a breath of fresh air. Backing vocals and a hip beat mixed with fight-the-power lyrics clearly define the album’s political message “Backwards” also uses piano prominently as a groovy instrument with “I won’t go down without a fight” as a line that echoes the album’s namesake in “Resist.”


“Black Boys on Mopeds” (a cover from Sinead O’Connor) opens with acoustic guitar and shows off the album’s variety in styles that make for a rich listening experience. Sonically, there are many elements that make up the sum of this album’s parts; for example, sound clips of historical audio clips are played throughout the songs in tasteful ways to add context to the main theme. Agency’s Drake-like vocals also add a layer of flavor to the sound as it is strong yet vulnerable and yearns for a positive change in the face of hopelessness. “March on Babylon” even adds trumpets to the mix for a truly exotic feel and “Red to the Moon” uses strings and mechanical background noise to truly round out the listening journey. The avant-garde approach on some of the songs is akin to the likes of FKA Twigs and suitable for anyone looking for a new, bold, and enriching collection of music. Overall, “Resist” is an essential for any R&B fan and it covers a lot of ground in its scope and execution. The songwriting is top-notch and the message is always present, making for a cohesive piece of art that stays on track while utilizing an array of tools in the music making department.

Video Review New Jersey Hip-Hop duo The Peanut Gallery released a music video for “Deep Thoughts” from their upcoming “Tales from the basement” album


he Peanut Gallery is made up prep school graduate and breakdancing Orlando and his partner in crime Flee Jones, an inner-city gangster using music as an outlet. They got together after their plans to start up Party of 5IVE went astray and now the duo are making songs they want to and connecting with fans on a deeper level. The song starts off with a symphonic keyboard track and popping beats that get you in the mood to hear what deep thoughts could come from the unorthodox duo. Almost immediately, hints of OutKast and A Tribe Called Quest can be heard yet the duo takes their expressive style in their own direction. The music production by Flee Jones has been accurately compared to the likes of Dr. Dre, Ja Rule, and Ludacris. The personal lyrics cover topics like getting locked and being denied, but the main takeaway is that Orlando will not change his outfit or stop rapping because that’s who he is. The track delivers the message of accepting who you are and making it as far as you can despite the haters that will inevitable try to tear you down. His poetic style of the song and the lack of a chorus allows

Orlando to fully express what’s on his mind without having to conform to any typical songwriting patterns, creating a refreshing and unexpected take in the rap genre. “Everything I end up loving always seems to disappear” is the final line that puts into perspective the overall message of “Deep Thoughts” and allows the song to be relatable to other people who are going through similar experiences. The video strongly features Orlando’s interest in plushies, especially one of cartoon character Arthur. The visualizations on camera represent what’s being said lyrically and there’s a humoristic tone with the acting throughout. The use of the dolls highlights Orlando’s comedic values and soft spots rather than trying to appear all hard like most other rappers do. The Peanut Gallery are in the process of writing and producing their album and both plan on releasing various projects together along and touring this year. “Deep Thoughts” is available on iTunes Spotify and SoundCloud, and we know we’ll be seeing more of them as they continue to rise. Be sure to check out the album “Tales from the basement” coming out Oct. 13. 45

Concert Review: Arthur King & The Night Sea and Aaron Espinoza @ The Hi Hat


he Hi-Hat and Dangerbird Records presented an experimental, psychedelic odyssey on Sept. 20 as Arthur King & The Night Sea and Aaron Espinoza (of Earlimart) showed up with music that went beyond the normal audio performance one expects from a concert. A major addition to both sets was the inclusion of visual aids that elevated the already trippy yet calming sounds coming from a variety of instruments.

drinks, and watch interesting, boundary-pushing shows at an affordable price. The best aspect is the homey, comfy vibe you get within it all.

First to take stage was Aaron Espinoza, from indie rock band Earlimart, a Pixies / Sonic Youth post-punk band that’s been around since 1999. Aaron’s performance was a complete opposite of that: a part electronic, part acoustic set both spacey and calming yet daring and alluring. Two screens were placed on each side of the Highland Park’s The Hi Hat venue offers adequate space stage, setting the appropriate lighting for his journey for the performers and music lovers to watch on. The through the cosmos. Aaron’s voice was sampled live and building includes a bar, billiards tables and burgers played behind his singing voice, producing a chorus of within arm’s reach. It’s the ideal place to get good food, voices that were textured and layered above the various


Photo by Isiah Reyes

The Hi Hat 5043 York Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90042 Highland Park

providing a live soundtrack. The music was atmospheric for the most part, taking dives in and out of jazz, rock, electronic and at times, a mixture of all of them. At one point, the visual aid displayed a first-person view of riding a roller coaster just as the music elevated to a suspenseful state, truly making a cohesive marriage between both sight and sound. Although Arthur King & The Night Sea is mostly instrumental without lyrics, Arthur King & The Night Sea are a white-wearing clad of they often convey more feelings, emotions and thoughts diverse talents all wrapped into one. Before they begin, with a high level of creative expression than bands that a large drape covers the stage, separating the band from have singers in them. Be sure to show up when this the audience. Soon enough there are light projections amalgamation of influences and styles comes rolling shot onto it allowing for interesting visuals that almost into a town near you. make it seem like we are watching a movie with a band synths and pulsing drum beats. The set was one long, progressive experience that had no defined beginning or end, allowing listeners to get lost in their own trance thoughts and keeping rhythm while doing it. Overall, Aaron’s foray into minimalistic electronica expands our appreciation for his talents and keeps us guessing what he plans on doing next.


Los Angeles C A L E N D A R Music Scene October 2017 Sunday














GBH w/ The Casualties and Spider @ The Roxy


9 J Balvin @ Microsoft Theatre

15 Eric Nicholas: Cire the Maestro @ The Mint

22 Paul Kelly w/ Jess Cornelius @ The Roxy

29 The Bloody Beetroots Live @ Fonda Theatre


Depeche Mode w/ Warpaint @ Santa Barbara Bowl

The Flaming Lips and Mac Demarco @ Fox Theatre pomona

16 Aquilo w/ Yoke Lore @ El Rey Theatre

23 Tegan and Sarah @ The Theatre at Ace hotel

30 Hoodie Allen @ Fonda Theatre

Misterwives @ Fonda Theatre

10 Marlee Quirarte / Scarlett Taylor / Roslyn Moore @ The Mint

17 Muna @ Fonda Theatre

24 Haley Reinhart @ El Rey Theatre

31 Cousin Stizz w/ Swoosh & Big Leano @ The Roxy

Gillian Welch @ The Orpheum Theatre

11 Father John Misty w/ Weyes Blood @ Arlington Theatre

18 Oh Wonder w/ Sigrid @ Shrine Expo Hall

25 Hollywood Undead w/ Butcher Babies @ The Roxy

T-Pain w/ Felly @ The roxy

12 First Aid Kit w/ Van William @ Theatre at Ace Hotel

19 Echosmith w/ Banners @ Fonda Theatre

26 Dream Theatre @ The Wiltern

SG Lewis @ El Rey Theatre

13 Alison Wonderland w/ Elohim @ The Novo

20 Odesza w/ Sofi Tukker @ Staples Center


The Interrupters & SWMRS w/ Sharp Shock @ The Fonda Theatre

Scorpions w/ Megadeth @ The Forum

14 Galantis @ Greek Theatre

21 Dinosaur Jr. w/ Easy Action @ Fonda Theatre

28 Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival 2017 @ Exposition Park

Get ready for Camp Flog! A two day-festival at Exposition Park featuring a star-studded lineup including Kid Cudi, Lana Del Rey, Mac Miller, Justice, Alison Wonderland and many more. Two day general admission is $208 plus fees and single day passes are $65 with unlimited carnival games. Visit

Desert Daze is bringing live entertainment to the desert! The fun is taking place this year from Oct. 12 to Oct. 15 at the Institute of Mentalphysics at Joshua Tree. The lineup includes Iggy Pop, Spiritualized, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, Sleep, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ty Seagull and more! Visit 49

Dreamstate is an oasis for dreamers, dancers and lovers. Taking place Nov. 24 and Nov. 25 at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, ethereal beats and timeless melodies will transport you to a higher state of consciousness. Trance music has the power to connect, the power to soothe, and the power to heal.

Sinister sights and rattling sounds will shock, amaze, beguile, astound! Located in San Bernardino, the Halloween style annual music fest takes place from Oct. 27 - 28 and utilizes four stages at the NOS Events Center to feature multi-genre music. One day ticket starts $119 and two day passes at $209. For more info visit 50

Los Angeles Music Scene

C A L E N D A R November 2017












Daniel Caesar w/ Snoh Aalegra @ Fonda Theatre


6 Knotfest @ Glen Helen Amphitheatre


7 The Story So Far w/ Turnstile @ Teragram Ballroom

13 I Prevail @ The Novo



Rich Chigga @ Fonda Theatre

27 Jon Wayne @ The Roxy

Tedeschi Trucks Band @ Arlington Theatre


Matisyahu w/ Common Kings @ The Wiltern


LCD Soundsystem @ Hollywood Palladium


Steel Panther @ The Roxy

9 City of the Sun @ The Roxy

15 Sheppard @ The Roxy

21 Mogwai @ The Belasco Theatre

28 San Holo w/ Droeloe & Just a Gent @ The Novo

Jacob Banks @ The Roxy

Death From Above w/ The Beaches @ The Novo

22 Snow tha Product @ El Rey Theatre

29 Pink Martini @ Theatre at Ace Hotel

King Krule @ El Rey Theatre

16 Daley w/ Tiffany Gouche @ EL Rey Theatre

23 Ben Rose Band @ Perch LA

Ugly God @ The Novo

My Life w/ Thrill Kill Cult @ Teragram Ballroom





Hamilton Leithauser w/ Courtney Marie Andrews @ Fonda Theatre

Shout Out Louds @ Fonda Theatre

24 Deorro @ Fox Theatre Pomona

Ali Wong @ Fred Kavli Theatre for the Performing Arts, Thousand Oaks

The Expendables w/ Pacific Dub @ The ROxy

25 Guns N’ Roses @ The Forum

30 Dhani Harrison w/ Summer Moon & Mereki @ El Rey Theatre


ETV To order a copy of Enter the Venture magazine or view a free copy online, visit: Twitter @EnterTheVenture 52

Enter The Venture - Issue #3 (Oct. - Nov. 2017)  
Enter The Venture - Issue #3 (Oct. - Nov. 2017)  

Enter the Venture is an indie music magazine featuring new releases, interviews, and reviews covering solo artists and bands from around the...