BRAVESOUL – DAZY – THE GO TO – MEG MYERS – KYLE LUCAS & MORE
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co-founder â€“ editor-in-chief ashley osborn
co-founder â€“ art director cara bahniuk managing editor jenn stookey content director anjel lopez copy editor courtney dondelinger co-founder mckenzie hughes contributing photographers
cara bahniuk, matt burke, dan deslover, brendon donahue, courtney dondelinger, tarina doolittle, jordan fischels, brad heaton, megan, leetz, anjel lopez, nicole mago, charlie martel, david mullis, laura, murray, ally newbold, ashley osborn, heather phillips, petey place, danny raybon, sam roenfeldt, sam san roman, daniel shippey, jared thomas and amy willard
contributing writers (online & publication)
ryan argast, christina belles, haley black, jennifer boylen, colleen casey, madison convey, rebecca del castillo, trevor figge, perry fish, jordan fitzsimmons, zach murman-freer, tamara fuentes, will howard, logan kant, jessica klinner, catt kruger, daisy marietta, theresa pham, karlin reed, ryan bahniuk, annette schaefer, alyssa schmidt, steven smith, morgan waldorf and abby welsh
digital marketing team
olivia adams, geoff burns, rachel carter, sierra eldridge, aaron hinckley, megan shea and catie suliga
caroline hall, brad laplante, jordyn lockwood and megan shea
facebook facebook.com/highlightmagazine twitter @highlightzine instagram @highlightzine _________________________ thank you
blackbear, the catalyst publicity group, atlantic records, co5 media, kyle lucas, new age management, monster aesthetics, alaina bendi, earshot media, big picture media, brixton agency and our amazing readers!
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07 meg myers provided
monster aesthetics ashley osborn
dazy matt burke
the go to provided
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05 this or that 08 clothing highlight 10 label highlight 11 venue highlight 12 highlighted artists 13 industry highlight 15 film highlight 16 bravesoul 20 dazy 24 the go to 26 meg myers 28 kyle lucas 32 blackbear 40 tour round up emblem3 issues chiodos bring me the horizon jackson gunthy dangerkids pvris 52 reviews
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CRUSH Y D N CA
NY’S CHILD I T S DE 45%
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BLACKBEAR - 32
MONSTER AESTHETICS - 8
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CATCH ONTO THESE TRENDS
COMPANY: Monster Aesthetics STAFF: Trevor Nicholls - Founder, Artist, Visonary behind all that is MA Crystal Medoro - US Operations, Customer Support, Tour/Event Coordinator Junior Sealy - Wholesale/Consignment Accounts WEBSITE: monsteraesthetics.com
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WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?
The brand originated in 2009, right out of Toronto, in the heart of the art district near downtown. Recently, to keep up with customer demand, up our efficiency, and lower our production costs, weâ€™ve expanded our physical presence into the US. We are now the proud operators of an additional office and stock center in Detroit.
HOW DID MONSTER AESTHETICS START?
As far as our name, Trevor likes a simple, clean explanation for what he is putting out there. Though he may deviate from the theme, he started out with creepy illustrations, and that name has been home ever since.
WHAT YOU FEEL YOUR BRAND REPRESENTS?
The Monster Aesthetics family agenda represents free thinking, individualism, and an inner philosophy that is not determined by tradition or societal norms. We promote constantly and persistently educating oneself on real issues and finding what YOU believe and the logical reasoning behind it. We believe in staying true to yourself and the courage to think independently, based on rational thought and fact - not emotion or heresy. We also believe in an individual contribution to the community, driven by personal integrity, and the reward being an improved quality of existence.
REASON YOU STARTED YOUR BRAND?
Simple. Trevor wanted to make clothes for himself to wear, and when others saw what he was creating, they wanted more! As an established artist, he has always had inclinations towards the dark and unique, and nurtured a certain passion for urban goth fashion. Voila! Monster Aesthetics was born.
WHY PEOPLE SHOULD CHECK OUT YOUR BRAND?
Because nobody can ever have enough black in their closet! Our designs have proven to look phenomenal on your favorite bands, as well as being perfect conversational jumping points in a room of strangers.
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YOU MAY WANT TO LISTEN TO... In what has been called “the best punk scene in the country,” friends Eric Osman and Emily Hakes started Lame-O Records in Philadelphia. What started out as putting out friends’ records has developed into a highly respected record label within a great community. They’ve been putting out records by bands that’ll make you wish you lived in Philly since 2012. Check out some of our favorites below!
MODERN BASEBALL - If you haven’t heard of this band
yet, let me help you catch up. With the success of their album Sports, Modern Baseball skyrocketed to one of the most well-known and beloved bands in the scene today. And it’s no wonder why. How could you not love their brand of relatable punk jams that makes you thankful for your friends and house shows? And just when you thought you couldn’t love this band any more, they released their latest album You’re Gonna Miss It All last month. Do yourself a favor and put this album on repeat. Listen to: “Your Graduation”
THE HUNDRED ACRE WOODS -
If you’re in the mood for some folk/indie jams this is the band to go to. With beautiful vocals by Winthrop Stevens and lyrics that’ll make you feel homesick, this band continues to outdo themselves. Not to mention the banjo is enough to make you swoon on the spot. Listen To: “Pennslyvania”
THE WEAKS - Let me introduce you to your new favorite band.
The Weaks is so catchy it’s almost rude to other bands. With their release of The World Is A Terrible Place & I Hate Myself And Want To Die they have solidified their place in the Philadelphia punk scene and coming soon to a scene near you. Commit this album to memory and look out for upcoming tour dates. You’re gonna want to see this for yourself. Listen to: “Dunce Pageant”
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VENUE HIGHLIGHT THE BLUEBIRD THEATER - DENVER, CO
WHY PLAY HERE?
The Bluebird has been a landmark in the Mile High City for 101 years, founded in 1913 by a grocer by the name of John Thompson. The venue was renamed The Bluebird and first put to use as a movie theater in 1922 and has evolved throughout the years, providing various functions. The downtown community has enjoyed the building for as long as it has been opened. It wasn’t until about 20 years ago that businessman, Chris Swank, re-opened the building as the music venue that locals know and love today, and it has been used for this purpose ever since. The theater is associated with the second largest concert promotion agency in the United States, AEG, to bring the best acts to town. It has been a very popular venue for local up-and-coming artists, touring bands, and a place for Denver’s own music sensations to start their careers, including The Fray.
The mid-size venue is ideal for popular acts but manages to provide an intimate setting while allowing a decent occupancy size. The spacious layout, with floors in tiers, lets audiences have an enjoyable music experience, having an excellent view of the stage no matter where they choose to stand. The Bluebird’s classic architecture on the interior adds a lot of character and a unique ambiance for both performers and fans. Located on East Colfax, The Bluebird is in the perfect location for various other activities. Before going to a show, grab some doughnuts from the newly opened Voodoo Doughnuts Mile High, browse for some vinyl records at Twist and Shout or Angelo’s, or grab a bite to eat at any of the various restaurants on the strip.
TWITTER: @bluebirddenver FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/bluebirdtheater WEBSITE: bluebirdtheater.com MARCH 15TH
REVIEW: Tamara Fuentes
The War On Drugs
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ARTISTS BRUNO MAJOR Location: London, UK Current Album: Live EP The London, UK based artist Bruno Major has been making sincere music all of his life, and it shows. His music is raw and full of soul and heart. It brings a classic sound back into the industry, and it’s more refreshing then a long awaited rainstorm. To get to know Bruno, give a listen to his latest project, Live EP.
STAY SEVENTEEN Location: Boston, MA Current Single: “Cloud 9” Members: Dana Dibiasio – Vocals, Mike Sanders-Demott – Vocals/Guitar, Jayk Watson – Vocals/Bass & Dan Dunham – Drums By merely listening to Stay Seventeen you wouldn’t believe that this band came together just two short years ago. Their pop rock vibe is reminiscent of bands like Mayday Parade and All Time Low, and they are sure to follow in their footsteps. Jump on the bandwagon of Stay Seventeen by listening to their new single, “Cloud 9.” Crank the volume, and this Boston, MA band will get you moving.
W.C. LINDSAY Location: Philadelphia, PA Current Single: “Kids These Days” What do you get when you mix punk, electronic, and hip-hop production? Dance punks. And that’s exactly how to describe Philadelphia, PA’s W.C. Lindsay. The band’s combination of styles definitely sets them apart from other sounds. Give these guys a listen and you will have your head bouncing to their beats in no time.
WORDS: Jordan Fitzsimmons 12 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET
NAME: Finn McKenty WEBSITE: creativelive.com
Finn McKenty and Kurt Ballou 1. WHERE ARE YOU FROM? I live in Seattle, and also spend a lot of time at our offices in San Francisco. 2. WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL STORY/WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE INDUSTRY? I got into the DIY punk/hardcore scene, and pretty much never left. As the “DIY” part implies, a big part of that scene is DOING stuff, so I jumped right in and started doing zines and playing music by the time I was 13 or 14. One way or another I’ve been involved with music ever since: I’ve written for magazines like Terrorizer, Decibel, Substream, was the creative director of Flo Multizine, and have done artwork for tons of t-shirts, covers, etc over the years. In 2013 I joined the team at CreativeLIVE and started the music & audio channel, and all those years of sleeping on stranger’s floors next to a pile of cat barf and going to shows in the wrong side of town with 4 people finally paid off! I was able to call in some favors from longtime friends like Eyal Levi (Audiohammer Studios), Big Chocolate and the Toontrack guys to get the channel off the ground. 3. WHAT ARE THREE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE CAREER MOMENTS? - Getting my foot in the door as an intern for CreativeLIVE founder Chase Jarvis (2001) - Joining the marketing department at Abercrombie & Fitch (2009) - Starting the music & audio channel for CreativeLIVE (2013) 4. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH? My goal is for CreativeLIVE’s audio channel to be known as the world’s best place to learn how to write and record music. I’m not putting down music schools or all the great blogs and youtube channels making tutorials, because they’re great for what they are. But when it comes to learning REAL WORLD production techniques from the people who actually make the records you listen to, that’s pretty hard to find-- and we want to be the world’s #1 destination for it.
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A MATCH MADE IN OUR NIGHTMARES Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and David Fincher team up for a third time to make movie score magic
Considering the whole story revolves around one long table conversation, at first Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails frontman) and Atticus Ross were uninterested in working with David Fincher on The Social Network. Originally believing the story to be kind of dry and unable to fit in their schedules, they rejected Fincher’s offer to compose the score. Curious as to why Fincher chose to tell this unique story they quickly reconsidered. Unlike the usual dark and morbid content Reznor and Ross were used to working with, The Social Network revolves around Mark Zuckerberg’s creation of Facebook and the many lawsuits that soon followed. Wanting the score to guide the film in a darker direction, they utilized the piano as the human centerpiece of each track. Using the piano as the anchor brought about a sense of frailness, humanity, and vulnerability to the film reflecting the character’s emotional turmoil. Then by taking the piano into an alien landscape filled with distorted imaginative beats they created a dimensionally complex score unlike anything ever heard before. Seamlessly corresponding with the ominous tone of the film, each track perfectly encapsulates Zuckerberg’s genius developing vision. Tracks like “Magnetic” and “In Motion” showcase a profound simplicity complemented with a turbulent background creating an inventive freshness to an otherwise normal setting in the film. Critical reception of this score reflected their hard work as it won nine major awards including the 2010 Golden Globe for Best Score as well as the Academy Award/ Oscar for Best Original Score. Collaborating again in 2011 on Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Reznor and Ross felt right at home with the film’s chilling and eerie vibe; as it tells the story of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and a young computer hacker Lisabeth Salander as they track down a demented serial killer. Favoring atmosphere over a cheap thrill this score takes time to build on a sense of ever looming uneasiness. Layering electronic echoes over a worn piano, it’s impossible not to feel the uncomfortable tension created in each track. At times tender but mostly terrifying tracks like “People Lie All the Time” and “Hidden in the Snow” utilize space and silence as key components in recognizing unsettling fear throughout the film. Relying on the sharp piercing noises that create a chill up your spine, this score is seeps into your mind and haunts you long after it ends. Gone Girl will mark Reznor and Ross’ third score for Fincher. Based off the novel of the same name Gone Girl is about a woman who mysteriously disappears on her wedding anniversary, leaving her husband (Ben Affleck) as the prime suspect in her murder. The novel Gone Girl sold over 2 million copies in its first year after released, often being referred to as a publishing phenomenon yet Fincher has decided to go against the rules with this one. Deviating from the novel’s original ending, Fincher has chosen to write his own. Although the ending will be a surprise, viewers can expect the Reznor- Ross- Fincher signature touch on this exhilarating dark ride. Synthetically drenched melodies and hauntingly icy beats are sure to amp up this mystery thriller in theaters this October. Keep this one on your radar. REVIEW: Rachel Carter
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HOME: Los Angeles, CA NOW JAMMING: Timebomb CURRENTLY: New Album, Touring, SXSW
STILL COMING DOWN FROM
first moment we jammed, we know Max was the the high of having their EP The Infinite Hourglass right guy for us.” Max Breaux brought a dynamic successfully funded on the popular crowd-funding and unique style of drumming to the table and website, Indiegogo, Bravesoul is determined intensified their music, and thus Bravesoul was to make their way into your playlists. Bravesoul formed. brings a unique sound to the alternative scene that that’ll keep you listening. This band knows The name Bravesoul serves as a tribute to a young how to take a song to the next level through great Iranian student, who gave her life standing up lyrics, strong percussion, and amazing melodies. against her government. Marty recalls being in tears after hearing about a young girl, Neda, who In 1978, right before the Islamic Revolution, the in 2009 became a martyr for the movement on parents of front man Marty Rod, front man and the streets against her tyrannical government. “I guitarist of Bravesoul, moved out of Iran and over wanted to write something that directly expressed to America. His parents both studied acting and that feeling of sadness and awe,” Marty said. then began writing and performing in plays. His This would be the inspiration for their song father was trained in classical Persian singing, but “Brave Soul,” which then became their band never pursued music as a serious career. From an name. “Bravesoul represents what we admire the early age Marty knew he lived in an artistic house most in others and what we strive in ourselves,” explained Marty. and, he too, began acting and singing. When asked who encouraged him the most, Marty responded, “my older brother was the greatest inspiration for me. He would fill my head with music no kid my age would’ve listened to.” These bands included REM and The Doors, and he still knows every word to some of their songs. Marty’s brother also played piano and wrote songs, which provided an influence on Marty early on. “He was the first person to hear one of my original songs and give positive feed back,” Marty said. “His opinion happened to matter more than anyone else. At a young age, around 16, that encouragement meant a whole lot.” In college, Marty met his bass player, Eric Noble. They quickly became friends started to play as a duo and were passionate about continuing their music, they began looking for additional band members. “We were looking for a drummer a couple of years ago and Marty reached out to his childhood friend, Max,” Eric said. “From the 18 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET
These talented musicians all brought types of influences into the band. Eric tells us that the band has influences of, “West African music, 60s Motown Soul, 90s alternative rock, modern electro and more.” By listening to all different styles of music, Bravesoul is able to take songs the direction they need to go, creating a unique sound that can be heard on their latest EP. This collaborative effort, as explained by Eric, is like something that he has never felt before making it easy to write songs with the band. The band also shared some insight into what their writing process is like, and how their songs are formed. Max explained, “Marty will come in with a concept, lyrics and a general chords structure. Some other songs come from jamming in the rehearsal space.” And it turns out that this ends up leading to some common themes throughout their songs. Marty explained that in The Infinite Hourglass, he stuck to keeping the lyrics under the
theme of transience and running out of time. This style of writing music is interesting, because they know what they want the EP to mean, yet they don’t have lyrics for it yet. The words and stories to these songs are forged from the music created before hand.
new EP, The Infinite Hourglass. After listening to this EP, I was already singing along to songs like “Timebomb” and “If The Morning Comes.” The EP didn’t come easy, though. Max lived on the east coast raising a family and would fly out to L.A. to record or play shows. But in the end, it paid off. Bravesoul’s EP is definitely one that everyone Just sitting down and listening to their EP will should listen to. prove that they do indeed have a unique sound. When asked what the band thought made them More exciting news from Bravesoul is that they will different, they expressed that dynamics is what also be preforming at this year’s SXSW Festival separates Bravesoul from other bands. Eric in Austin, Texas. The band is very excited to be explained, “We go from quiet and moody to loud preforming with other great artists and see it as a and heavy, sometimes in the same song. It’s an way to spread their music to many more people. emotional rollercoaster, for us and the audience.” In addition to dynamics, Marty said that Bravesoul Bravesoul is excited about the future of their band “brings more of a focus on strong lyrics and and their music, as they should be. They have a unique song structures.” Bravesoul is able to use sound that is distinguishable amongst other bands their knowledge of many styles of music to make and is appealing to the ears. Go pick up their EP their songs into something completely different and keep an eye out for shows in your area! than what people are used to. PHOTOS: Provided Bravesoul has started to pick up ground lately, especially after the successful release of their
INTERVIEW & STORY: Zach Murman-Freer
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HOME: Tallahassee, FL NOW JAMMING: I Told You So CURRENTLY: Recording songs and about to play some shows
NOT MANY MUSICIANS
without any promotion but still received good reviews and positive responses. “For doing zero have the chance to say that they have grown up promotion, I was really surprised I had such a in home surrounded by music, but for Dazy, it’s great response.” a something that she is always grateful for. “my parents have always been extremely supportive A lot of the success of the song, Dazy attributes of the decisions I’ve made in my life, even if it’s to her wonderful producer and engineering team not what they would have chosen for me.” of Zack and Kenneth. “These dudes work so hard and have such a complete understanding Her parents not only influenced her music choice of everything they work on. When it came time but also her name as well. While her name is to record with them it was almost as if they could actually Lauren Wilhelm, she goes by the name read my mind on how this new project needed to Dazy on stage. “It’s is a cuter and a better sound.” representation of who I am. I’m a total hippie, I’m all about love, happiness, and being free-spirited But even though making a single is a lot of work, so that’s how I want my music to make people feel. there were still time for some fun here and there, My parents are the ones who molded me into the “they are just so much fun to work with and they musician that I am so I chose “their” flower and are complete professionals at the same time. The put my own spin on the spelling of “Daisy.” total package in an engineer/producer team,” she continues. She also states musical experiences growing up really contributed to her music today. “The first Another important contribution to the song came CD I ever bought was Britney Spears “..Baby from Derek Sanders from Mayday Parade, who One More Time” and from there it was all a also happens to be her boyfriend! “I remember the bubblegum-pop ride downhill,” she said. “As I first time he heard the song he told me it was his got into high-school I got really into the emo/rock favorite song I’ve written. I felt so accomplished! bands like Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World, We had a great time in the studio and I really and Copeland. When I first started writing you missed having him there the last time i went up to could definitely hear the merge between the pop record. It was so nice to have such great support and rock genres. The combination of catchy from him.” melodies with darker music and lyrics was really pleasing to my ears so that’s what my music While she says that they don’t plan to collaborate developed into.” again in the near future, that doesn’t mean she’s going to give up her entire dream team. She plans “I feel like people really dig this new sound of a to keep the same producer and engineer dream girl singer in the pop/rock scene,” she says about team and even add a new one, “There is another her music. “The majority of the pop/punk fanengineer, Lee Dyes, who I really enjoy working base are struggling teenagers, dying to connect with as well. I hope to release an album this year with something and they’ve picked music as an with the work of those three wonderful, talented outlet. I think it’s time for them to have a positive dudes.” female leader.” Her latest song, “I Told You So,” got released 22 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET
Her latest single isn’t the only thing that she’s been celebrating about recently, she has just joined
the Catalyst Publicity Group saying that she actually found out about them on Twitter. “I was lurking around one day and found a post that said Catalyst was looking for artists to represent and from there we got on a few calls, exchanged ideas and it just felt like a good fit.” Although she’s working on a lot of her own stuff, that doesn’t mean that she wouldn’t go back to doing covers, especially Drake covers. “The first cover I did was Drake’s “Headlines”. I am absolutely obsessed with Drake’s music and some of his slower songs are right in my bluesy vocal range. I would cover an entire Drake album if given the opportunity!” Dazy might sing a lot of covers, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily contribute to her music writing. “My songs literally come to me out of thin air and is never intentionally inspired by another song or artist,” she says about the process. “Every song I write has a different feel because of the lyrical content or emotion behind the song. Music is the expression of emotion through melody, lyrics and tone and for me, only happens organically.” “No honest music can be written in a forced way, at least not the type of music I write and believe in.” she continues. All this success hasn’t come easy though. She says that people have questioned her career because of her age. “At one point in my career (I think I was 21) I was told that I was already “too old” to be a musician. Like what does my talent expire when I turn 20?!”
about the ‘Highlight’ in her career. “Every day in Dazy is a “highlight” because I’m proud of what I’m doing.” She also knows that this is just the beginning, stating that there is still so much more for her to go in her career. “I want to be on a giant stage with a crowd that is super into the set and singing along with me. I want my shows to be where people find their happy place, that way they can take that experience with them and spread the love in other areas of their lives,” she says about her current dream. “Music is so incredibly inspirational and HUGE in peoples lives. I want to be a part of music that influences people positively and promotes a very fun lifestyle.” No matter what comes next for her, we are sure that Dazy is going to do just that, even stating that she’s working on a bunch of stuff now. “I am constantly writing and playing with ideas, preparing myself for the moment I’m ready to create a full-length. I’m going to start playing shows in the next few months and do have plans to collaborate with a few other artists. I can’t give away all my secrets but it’s going to be RAD!” We can’t wait to see what happens next! PHOTOS: Matt Burke INTERVIEW: Christina Belles STORY: Tamara Fuentes
But she doesn’t let stuff like that bring her down; she continues by saying, “I see it as the complete opposite. The style of music I have grown into is even better now than it was then because I kept working on it. It took me a long time to realize that they are the wrong ones and what I’m doing is the way music was intended to be heard and felt,” she said. “I’m finally at a point where I’m happy with the music I’m making and the validation I get from my fans is all I need to feel reassured that going solo was the best decision I’ve ever made,” she says
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THE GO TO THE NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
pop/rock band The Go To is really just four best friends making music and actually being successful at it. From finding their bass player on YouTube to gaining thousands of fans, the young musicians’ careers are just getting started. When The Go To started with just Mat and Austin, how old were you guys? When Austin and I first started playing in a band together we were just 16 years old - it was awesome to be able be in a band with a good friend. How did you decide to ask Cory to play bass for you guys after seeing him play on YouTube? After a year or so we started looking for a bass player to join us, so we started searching on YouTube and saw a video of Cory playing some crazy stuff on his bass. We sent him a few messages and were able to get him down to a rehearsal at my house and we knew right away he was in. Did Cory live far away at the time? It was tough because Cory and Alex live an hour and a half away but we work it out. 24 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET
HOME: New Haven, CT NOW JAMMING: “Too Sore” - Single CURRENTLY: In the studio working on new songs
All of you guys are between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. Because of traveling to different states for playing shows, how do you deal with school? Being in school still while being in a band has given us really unique challenges that most bands don’t get. We have had to be really good planners so that school stuff could still get done right along side the band stuff. Our parents and everyone we work with are so supportive that it really makes it a breeze to be young musicians! Is it tough being young musicians? It can be tough sometimes but we totally realize how lucky we are to do something that we love so it makes it all worth it. How long did it take for you guys to sit down and say, “Hey I think we’re ready to record an EP?” About a year ago we started working with some awesome producers and they really helped get the most out of our music. We still remember when we were sitting around listening to the first mix of “Too Sore” in the studio and knew we were going to have a really cool record. What was the recording process like recording it?
The recording process for our debut EP was awesome. We felt really good about the songs we were writing and playing so we all knew it was time to make a record.
Having a steady fan base is the best part of being in TGT! We have literally the best fans ever and we would do anything for them, they’re all so supportive.
How difficult is it traveling being the age you guys are?
What are the shows like?
Traveling is one of the biggest challenges we have to deal with as a band. It is sometimes tiring and sometimes stressful but at the same time it’s such a blast travelling together as a band. When you spend as much time together as we do, it gets pretty hilarious with jokes and pranks and stuff – we are all best friends so it’s actually pretty fun.
The shows are crazy too, we always see familiar faces, but there are always new ones too!
What inspired you to become a pop rock band? Was it your local music scene that inspired you? We all pretty much have similar influences – we all loved Green Day and All Time Low and bands like that so it brought us together musically right out of the gate. Of course, we›re all huge fans of pop bands like Maroon 5 and Vampire Weekend too, so having both the pop and more edgy rock side in our music has been important to where we came from and where we are going musically. After gaining a steady fan base, how much does it affect your personal lives?
Is there anything you are currently working on? Right now we’re in studio working on some new songs that we will be releasing soon! We’ll also be doing another music video! Our first video for the song “Too Sore” was so much fun - we had about 100 of our fans in the video like it was one huge party. We are getting crazy views and an amazing reaction so we want to make the next one even better. What other goals do you guys still have for the band to accomplish? I guess one of the biggest goals we have is to continue playing in front of more and more of our fans and keep making great music. PHOTOS: Provided INTERVIEW & STORY: Geoff Burns HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 25
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HOME: Tennessee NOW JAMMING: “Make A Shadow” EP CURRENTLY: Getting ready to play some festivals this summer
MANY PEOPLE GO THROUGH LIFE
trying to figure out what their passion is but Meg Myers found hers at a young age. The singer/songwriter dropped out of school in sixth grade already knowing what she wanted to do with her life: to be a musician. “I stayed home and read books and played music,” Myers said. “It was clear to me that music was what I wanted to do and so without school and knowing what I wanted to do it was pretty easy to just go and play shows. My parents have always been super supportive of my music.” The songwriter’s first show was at a recital after taking voice lessons for a few months when she was nine years old. She sang “Colors of the Wind” from the Disney animated film Pocahontas and “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” “I was really shy and nervous until I got onstage,” Myers recalled. “It’s the same thing for me today. I get really nervous until I’m up there and playing.” Even though the songwriter is from Tennessee, she had moved to other states such as Ohio and Florida before ultimately residing in Los Angeles. Through all of the moving, she was still always around music by her family exposing the musician to many music styles such as country, classic rock, folk, jazz and many others while she was growing up. When she turned 12, her older brother taught her how to play bass; she then started writing songs on piano and guitar. “Writing songs was and has always been very therapeutic for me,” Myers said. “I literally don’t know what I would do without it.”
It wasn’t until a few years ago when producer and songwriter Doctor Rosen Rosen and his manager at the time discovered her on Myspace. Rosen Rosen produced Myers’ first EP Daughter In The Choir and her second and most recent EP Make A Shadow while she signed to Atlantic Records. “We come from different musical backgrounds but work so well together, and that’s part of what gives the music its unique sound,” Myers explained. “However, we also love a lot of the same music and sometimes it feels like we share a brain.” There are more live instruments used in Make A Shadow and Myers “got darker and more personal with some of the writing.” She explained that Atlantic Records has allowed her to have more creative freedom when it comes to sitting down and deciding how she wants the songs to sound. “I feel like [Make A Shadow] is a great representation of me and how I feel,” Myers said. “I didn’t plan to make something different from Daughter in The Choir, my songwriting has just evolved over time and those were the songs that we chose.” Although talking about herself and her music is tough when it comes to questions from fans and the press, she at least knows she loves to write music and perform it. The songwriter’s career highlight was when she had the opportunity to open a set for The Pixies and with the release of Make A Shadow. But at the end of the day, she feels she is still forming into the musician she knows she can be. “I think this last year I did the most growing because I signed to Atlantic Records and quit my day job and have been camped out in the studio writing and recording,” Myers said. “I’m always growing as an artist, every day.” PHOTOS: Provided INTERVIEW & STORY: Geoff Burns
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HOME: Marietta, GA NOW JAMMING: “It’s Always Sunny in Marietta 2” CURRENTLY: In the studio
TAKING THE LEAP TO GO SOLO
after spending years in a band can be quite scary, but several releases later, Kyle Lucas has definitely mad a name for himself. Following the demise of his band Vonnegutt, Kyle Lucas took the opportunity to make music solo full time. He grew up writing rhymes and creating rap music, and his love for all sorts of music helped shape the sound he has as a solo artist. “I always loved music growing up. When I was in fourth grade I could have sworn I was in Boyz II Men. My parents and family are from Detroit so there was always a lot of Motown playing in the house,” he shared. His musical inspirations are very eclectic: from Coheed and Cambria, Jay Z and even film plots. This shows in his music and Lucas features spoken word with influences from all over the musical map. “I love all kinds of music and always wanted to just create everything I grew up hearing. Growing up on bands like Blink-182, MxPx, Sublime, [and] Less Than Jake influenced me so much. Also, I think being in a for five years helped me understand how to write more songs with rock influence and melody.” Not only has his musical taste influenced him as a musician, it also influenced the style of his releases. Many Kyle Lucas releases are part of collaborations with other artists. “I love collaborating. Obviously it’s a great move as far as my career because when I’m featured on other artists’ songs/albums who have a bigger fan base than me, it exposes me to a bigger audience. I think its great. But it’s also more than just a business move, I generally love collaborating with other artists,” he said. “It makes me a better artist. I write better songs when I work with artists like Jonny Craig and I think I rhyme better when I collaborate with other emcees like STS. It just pushes me more creatively.” As he mentioned, Kyle Lucas has done some extensive work with Jonny Craig. After meeting during Warped Tour in 2011 while they were both in other bands and after ending up with the same publicist they’ve worked together on countless occasions. They have written together, recorded together and even toured together when Kyle was first started his solo career. “He sent me the hook for ‘Worth It’ and I recorded my verses the day before I left for SXSW. Two days later we were filming the video for ‘Worth It.’ Since then we’ve recorded a lot and become really good friends. We work really well together in the studio.” Anyone who is a Kyle Lucas fan also knows that him and Captain Midnite are basically partners in crime. “We met back off Myspace back in the days, he sent me a beat right before I signed my first record deal with Big Boi (of Outkast),” he explained. “We are working on our third joint EP now and it’s coming along really well. We have a great friendship and chemistry in the studio. He also DJ’s and plays keyboards for me on tour so its been great traveling with him.” Not only does he collaborate with lots of artists to create a variety of different songs, many of those songs he releases completely for free. “I just feel that I would rather people have my music, actually 30 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET
hear it and possibly share it then try to nickel and dime fans for every single song. At least at this point in my career, it’s a lot easier to spread free music to people who have yet to hear of me then try to sell music to them.” You can still find Kyle Lucas music on iTunes, but that’s not the most important thing to him. “In the future, I want to release things for free and for sale so if you choose to support that’s great but if not at least you have the music. I just want people to hear my songs at the end of the day.” Recently he has been teasing fans with words up lots of upcoming releases. 2014 is going to be a big one for Kyle Lucas bringing lots of new music our way, including a new mix tape, EP and full length album. “I’m super excited to release some new music for everyone. I’ve been really focused on writing perfecting my craft and just becoming an all around better songwriter. I want to release an EP, Fear and Loathing In Marietta, then a full length mix tape, It’s Always Sunny in Marietta 3 and finally my debut fulllength album, Marietta, Georgia: The Album.” Yet again, he goes back to just wanting fans to hear what he has to offer and collaborating with his new music. “I want to just give the fans a lot of free music before my first album that will be available for purchase. Also in-between those releases, I plan on releasing a joint project with Captain Midnite as well as one with Jonny Craig.”
Most people would think it’s crazy to be working on so many projects at once, but that’s Kyle Lucas’ favorite part of doing what he loves. “I just love the art of creating music. It sounds cliché and corny, but I love expressing myself through music. There’s a certain feeling in the studio that once these ideas start to materialize into actual songs people can hear. I can’t describe it,” he expressed. “There isn’t anything better than having a job that you love.” Obviously, he wouldn’t even be able to make music if there weren’t fans that wanted to hear it, and he is very grateful for that. “What keeps me going as an artist is 100% the fans. I have such die hard and passionate fans it fuels me for when I’m feeling low or thinking about quitting… it can be really stressful. But the reactions from the fans… all the emails and messages I get are so moving,” he confessed. Fans keep him going on a daily basis, but it stills get tough once in a while, especially before he took on being a solo artist full time. “When I was in Vonnegutt and being signed in that situation was very frustrating. Every step forward seemed to be followed by seven steps backwards. It eventually caused my band to break up just because I feel everyone was so frustrated with the industry and our situation,” he said. “When everyone else in my band walked away it was just my manager and I left. That was a very tough year. Not to mention I broke up with a girl I thought I was going to marry so that was like the salt in the wound of my career failing.” But, he continued to get through those times of doubt from the get
go. “Luckily all the while I was in Vonnegutt, I was steady putting out solo music and featuring on other artists projects. That helped me build a solid fan base so when Vonnegutt broke up and I was kinda forced to go solo, it wasn’t impossible for me to bounce back. Then It’s Always Sunny In Marietta 2 came out and jumpstarted my career. That was definitely the silver lining.” He’s far from done yet, despite new music, Kyle Lucas has a lot to look forward to. “I want to just keep building my fan base and writing better songs. That’s all I’m focused on at this point in my career,” he assured. But, he also has quite a few plans for his recent future and he could not be more excited. “In May I go on tour with Jonny [Craig] to Australia which is so exciting. I’ve never even left the country so being able to play ten shows there is incredible. I’m finally in the position where I’m being asked to be on tours, and fans seem to be anticipating my music. It hasn’t been an easy or quick road to get here, but it’s been worth it.” Those lucky enough to catch him on tour in Australia will be in for a great show, and the rest of world can look forward to lots of new music from Kyle Lucas. It’s going to be a quite a year for this musician. PHOTOS: Provided INTERVIEW & STORY: Jennifer Boylen
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HOME: Los Angeles, CA NOW JAMMING: Who You Are ft. Prie (Single) CURRENTLY: Working on the release of The Afterglow
ONE WORD; ONE MAN, AND HE HAS A whole lot to say through his music. What is Blackbear, you ask? Well, it’s Mat Musto’s newest project and it will probably make you have a whole lot of feelings. We already knew that this man has a whole lot of talent, from his own music and collaborations, such as having been featured on an Artist Vs. Poet song, a Mike Posner song, and collaborating with River Cuomo of Weezer, to his having contributed and co-written popular songs, including Justin Bieber’s hit song Boyfriend, with Mike Posner.
But we’re not here to go on and on about his previous accomplishments – we want to focus on what’s happening right now – and that’s The Afterglow which is coming out appropriately on 4/20. If you’ve never heard his new tunes, you should. Whether or not you’ve been a fan of his music in the past, it’s safe to say you’re likely going to be in for a treat. With solid beats, smooth rhymes, and a sensual voice putting it all together, you probably won’t be able to get the songs out of your head. Being from Los Angeles, a city of opportunity, but an overpopulated one at that, there’s bound to be pros and cons in the endeavor to be a well-known and successful musician. Many artists from
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smaller towns suffer from not having enough exposure, but it’s also beneficial because they don’t have as much competition. In his own words, Blackbear says that it’s been a good thing because LA knows what’s real off top, but it’s harmful because LA doesn’t know when to stop. It’s a true statement, being that LA is one of the entertainment capitals of the world and has a tendency to draw in, chew up, and spit out anyone who tries to make something of themselves – especially in the music industry. And on top of that, it seems like everyone is trying to make it in music. It seems like most are either very talented at performing and getting themselves out there or great at songwriting, but rarely both. Luckily, Blackbear has double-threat talent on his side when it comes to not only music making, but performing. Additionally, having already made music under his own name, and been around the block when it comes to knowing the music industry, we were curious as to how that has affected his current project. “I made music as me since I dreamed my first dream, who is bear to you and who is bear to me? What is life but a dream? You must reap what you sew; you must learn what you teach.” Always a poet, he has the most intricate of answers to intrigue us.
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Blackbear always has a rhyme up his sleeve, one of my favorites being when he explained the most enjoyable parts of making music and recording, “I like the bells and the whistles, the kicks and the snares, I like the kinda music you can play anywhere. The people that you meet, will love your songs and your beats, lines out the door, you’re selling seats; the people in the audience will listen while you speak.” Beyond that, his process is one not uncommon in the music industry, especially with artists who spit rhymes of any kind. “First I pour some drink up, that’s whiskey in my teacup. And then I turn the speakers, up so high it’s reefer. Make some melodies and flows, 2 or 3 new voice memos. Read the lyrics out my notes to all the chords I just composed.” Something else that fans have noticed about his habits is his social media posts. While many artists and bands are very limited to what they can and do post, whether by their own limitations or their managers, record labels, etc., Blackbear posts whatever he wants. In his own words, “I just wanna say what I wanna say when I wanna say it. Other people say fake shit cause they afraid they’ll never make it. I’m not jaded ‘cause I was born to change it.” Everyone has issues and difficulties in their career. Fortunately for Blackbear, he’s been able to overcome it by remembering to set the bar higher. “Why make a little heat when you can make fire?” he points out. Especially with the highlight of his career being right now, not with cars, money, or clothes, but with The Afterglow coming out in just a few days. (4/20) Since we have one thing in common above all, being all about living your dreams, we dug a little deeper into understanding how he’s living his. He’s realized that he was, in his words, living his dreams when he started living. “When I started giving, when I started loving, when I started something, when I proved ‘em wrong, when I wrote a song, I knew all along I was a king.” PHOTOS: Tarina Doolittle INTERVIEW & STORY: Daisy Marietta
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“I LIKE THE BELLS AND THE WHISTLES, THE KICKS AND THE SNARES, I LIKE THE KINDA MUSIC YOU CAN PLAY ANYWHERE. THE PEOPLE THAT YOU MEET, WILL LOVE YOUR SONGS AND YOUR BEATS, LINES OUT THE DOOR, YOU’RE SELLING SEATS; THE PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE WILL LISTEN WHILE YOU SPEAK.”
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TOUR ROUND UP
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P PHOTO: Cara Bahniuk
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PHOTO: Ashley Osborn
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PHOTO: Ashley Osborn
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PHOTO: Ashley Osborn
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PHOTO: Cara Bahniuk
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PHOTO: Ashley Osborn
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PHOTO: Ashley Osborn
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reviews artist: Taking Back Sunday album: Happiness Is rating:
Sounds like: Brand New Bayside The Starting Line
Recommended tracks: “Beat Up Car” “We Were Younger Then”
Stood a Chance
All the Way
Beat Up Car
It Takes More
The Don’t Have Any Friends
Better Homes and Gardens
Like You Do
We Were Younger Then
Nothing At All
Release date: March 18th, 2014
This month Taking Back Sunday will be six albums in, and they still just never get old. The band’s upcoming release Happiness Is is not excluded here. With their new album the band manages to remind us of classic TBS while still keeping a very fresh sound that doesn’t feel overdone. In all honesty, on a first listen through of this album, I had no intention of making the previous comments, in fact, I was kind of disappointed. Somehow, though, every time I played a song for the second time my mind was instantly changed. The album encompasses a rawer feel with a bit of playfulness. Tacks like “Stood A Chance” and “Beat Up Car” really embody the energetic nature of the album. At the same time tracks like “Flicker, Fade” and “They Don’t Have Any Friends” captures that gritty and still somewhat catchy sound that we are used to hearing from TBS. For me, a personal high point on the album is with the track “We Were Younger Then.” The song starts out slow and simple with a single melody played on a keyboard complimented with Adam Lazzara’s vocals over top. The song quickly builds adding in guitars and drums. From there the songs mostly keeps the energy up but goes through a few variations that make it probably the most musically interesting track on the album. The album finishes off on a softer note with “Nothing At All” with its acoustic vibe and beautiful harmonies. I’ve always felt that TBS kind of nails it when it comes to their slower tracks and “Nothing At All” fits right in bringing the album to a peaceful close. Taking Back Sunday have always stayed rather true to their sound, but have still managed to bring something a little bit different with each album. Happiness Is may be the kind of album that has to grow on you a bit, but it still makes a great addition to any TBS fan’s music collection. REVIEW: Annette Schaefer
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Artist: Architects Album: Lost Forever // Lost Together British metalcore band Architects’ sixth studio album Lost Forever // Lost Together is not the most groundbreaking, but it is aggressive and fun. The album opens with “Gravedigger”, which will have your heart pumping at an alarming rate. It is not until “Red Hypergiant”, an homage to their sophomore album Ruin, that the album slows down and give the listener a break. The best track of LF//LT would hands down be “The Distant Blue”. As the last track, it is provides a satisfying ending. Yes, it is one of the slowest songs on the album and borderline dramatic, but it is soul wrenching and the lyrics will have you questioning life. Overall, the album is not revolutionary, but is heavy, dark and a solid effort. LF//LT is relentless and a cacophonous war between Sam Carter’s tortured vocals and the complex rhythmic breakdowns of the dominatingly loud guitars and drums. I would recommend the album to all metalcore lovers and Architects fans.
recommended tracks: “Castles In The Air” & “The Distant Blue” review: Theresa Pham
Artist: La Dispute Album: Rooms of the House Rooms of the House by La Dispute is a work of art. It is composed of stories strung and pieced together through the collection of the 11 tracks on the album. I’ve never been on the edge of my seat listening to an album, getting more excited for each new track. They take a different lensed approach to analyzing life. The focus is on objects in and around a house, and similar settings that have meaning or are attached to the memories and events that ultimately string the albums story together. If you’re looking for an album to really dive into, then I suggest this one. I’ve never listened to an album that has put this much detail into every song, every sentence, and every lyric. It’s a chronically ordered narrative; this album brings meaning back to how music truly is art. Track one: ‘HUDSONVILLE MI 1956” really captured me, not only is it the first track but it is the start of the story, the start of how the album unfolds. The last track “Objects in Space” really pulls the album together at the end. The song itself is the mellowest off the album; all the lyrics pull pieces of each story in the songs and mend them together. I have never wanted to listen to an album on repeat more than this one, hoping to pick up on lyrics and details that I may have missed the first time. This is an album to truly divulge yourself into.
recommended tracks: “HUDSONVILLE MI 1956”, “Woman (reading)” & “Objects in Space” review: Catt Kruger
Artist: Memphis May Fire Album: Unconditional Nearly two years after releasing a breakthrough record with Challenger, Metalcore group Memphis May Fire is gearing up to release their fourth full length album, Unconditional. With this latest release the band has packed in some hard hitting riffs and soaring melodies all with a touch of sincerity. The album opens energetically with “No Ordinary Love” and keeps it going with proceeding tracks “Beneath the Skin” and single “Sleepless Nights.” The songs are full of pounding beats and are dense with heavy guitars and vocalist Matty Mullins’s screams. Unconditional seems to take a bit of a back and forth between the truly heavy and the more melodic. Tracks like “Possibilities” and “Speechless” feature much more singing than screaming and really show off Mullins’s vocal talent. Mullins has made no secret of his religious beliefs and on Unconditional the importance of faith is made quite apparent, especially in songs like “The Answer,” which speaks of someone or something that is always there and is “the answer to everything.” If this album has any real flaws it’s in its lack of originality. The songs are all edgy and still somehow melodic and beautiful, but it sounds like something we’ve all probably heard a hundred times before. Although if this genre is something you’re into Unconditional is a solid release.
recommended tracks: “The Answer” & “Speechless” review: Annette Schaefer
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