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HIGHLIGHT STAFF Press & Publicity – Head Photographer – Editor– Co-Founder Ashley Osborn

Production – Art Director – Layout & Design Cara Bahniuk

Editor - Writer – Co-Founder McKenzie Hughes

Contributing Photographers

Derrick Austinson, Cara Bahniuk, Lauren Brown, Nicole Busch, Mike Danenberg, Lori Gutman, Catherine Khom, Erica Livoti, Charlie Martel, Tara Novak, Josh Olson, Heather Phillips and Brittney Tambeau

Contributing writers

Logan Anne, Claudia Boisvert, Liz Brossard, Jessica Klinner, Sophie McCaul, Jade Middleditch, Marina Oliver, Taylor Pittman, Kristy Siciliano, Brian Sykes and Patrick Quiring

Online Contributers

Amanda Diske, Anna Schultz, Samantha Skapin, Brian Sykes, Hayley Todd and Morgan Waldorf

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8Kisscurrent trends 16 now, now 24 show reviews The Concrete Production started Now, Now just released a brand new Highlight went to two must-attend (or out as a straight promotion company but has quickly turned into clothing as well. Read to find out how and why!

album and completed a tour cycle. Read into what is to come in the future for this up and coming band.

9 venue highlight

18 mest

Anyone who knows anything about music venues has probably heard of Chain Reaction and have wanted to attend a show there. Check out our venue highlight if you haven’t.

10 label highlight

Fueled By Ramen is a very wellknown record label, especially for their line-up of bands over the past few years. Read into our feature on three bands you MUST listen to.

Mest, having been a band for many years, is making a comeback in the industry and sat down with Highlight to discuss the changes they are experiencing currently.

20 said the whale

Trying out new writing pairs with long time and new members for the new album is something Said The Whale has never done before. Read into their experience trying new things.

11 Photo Highlight 22 album Reviews Mike Lerner never thought he would be touring the world with Jusitn Bieber when he picked up a camera for the first time. Check in to read more about Mike’s career as a photographer.

should have attended) shows this month. Check out Cara’s photos from The All-American Rejects and Hot Chelle Rae to see what you may have missed out on.

THank you

We would like to send out a big thank you to Atlantic Records, Big Hassle Media, Fueled By Ramen, Freshly Pressed PR, Mike Lerner, Nina Johnstone and Tony Lovato as well as all the bands that took time out of their busy schedules to work with us. Also, thank you to everyone who supported us and checked out the first two issues. We can’t believe this is our third and we hope you have enjoyed what you have seen!

Need new music to listen to? Want to read someone elses’ opinion on your new favorite album? Our album reviews should be your stop


a rocket to the moon

enter shikari



hot chelle rae

the all-american rejects

said the whale

now, now

The Metro, Chicago, IL, Ashley Osborn

The Via, Chicago, IL, Ashley Osborn

House of Blues, Chicago, IL, Cara Bahniuk

Jonathan Taggart

The Bottom Lounge, Chicago, IL, Ashley Osborn

Arizona, Derrick Austinson

The Metro, Chicago, IL, Cara Bahniuk

The Vic, Chicago, IL, Ashley Osborn

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a rocket to the moon- 12


hot chelle rae

said the whale - 20

enter shikari

18 - mest

the all-american rejects

16 - now, now


Kiss The Concrete Productions. a concert production company turning clothing company, was founded by Nina Johnstone in San Diego, California three years ago. Kiss the Concrete is still going strong and we got the down low of the future from Nina herself.

How did Kiss The Concrete come about?

Kiss the Concrete originally started as strictly a concert production company. We had friends in tons of talented bands who wanted to play to the San Diego market, but never had a way in due to their lack of prior shows in town. So we decided to start the company to help get those bands heard by San Diego audiences. Along the way, we though we’d reach more bands and people by promoting the brand via a clothing line. Three years later, we are still at it and have built a cult following.

What you feel your brand represents?

With our newest line, we wanted to encourage today’s youth to “Make the Everyday Count”. We believe that every individual has a goal they want to obtain, but don’t find the beauty in the trials and tribulations it takes to get there. Whether it’s perfecting the “360 double kick flip” in skateboarding to starting your own couture clothing line to becoming a doctor, it’s the nights spent breaking bones perfecting tricks, sketching your visions, or studying all 206 bones in the human body that make the dream come alive. You’ve earned your scars, so wear them proud. 8 -

What are your three favorite designs?

The Black “Make the Everyday Count” Tee is one of my personal favorites. It’s really simple and clean and keep the mantra of “Make the Everyday Count” on the tips of everyone’s tongues. Its my most favorite design so I attached it as a tee and crewneck.

Why people should check out your brand?

Kiss the Concrete is truly “do it yourself”. If you’ve ever had a dream you’ve chased forever, we want to be a reminder that you too can make things happen for yourself. Kiss the Concrete is all about getting out of your head and onto the pavement and running headfirst into today. While checking us out, please check out a band we sponsor, Like Tyrants. Theyre in the vein of the Sleeping, Thrice, & Bayside. Catch them wearing our new line which drops this summer before we head out on the entire Vans Warped Tour this summer. Their entire EP, “Old News” is available at See more at

venue highlight chain reaction- anaheim, california History:

Why Play Here?

Notable APRIL Shows:

Chain Reaction is a small venue based in Anaheim, California. It is a place that was created for people of all ages in the Orange County area, so they could come out and get to enjoy a show.

Even though its tiny size, this venue is definitely not over-looked among bands. It seems to always be packed and with the amazing support with fans in the area no show is ever boring here. This venue is a definite must stop on any tour from smaller bands to even larger acts when they want to go back to their beginning tour roots.

May 6th –



may 8th –

William Control

may 10th –

Ice Nine Kills

June 2nd – He Is We


label highlight

WRITE-UP: Taylor Pittman

With A Rocket to the Moon featured on our cover this month, what better record label to highlight than theirs! Given credit for helping spark the success of alternative-rock veterans like Jimmy Eat World and Yellowcard, Fueled By Ramen started with the realization that the independent rock scene was not receiving much attention. After launching in 1996 and focusing on incorporating each artist’s visionary goals into everything from music to advertising, the label has grown into a community that boasts of a close connection between artist and fan. Thanks to Fueled By Ramen, it seems the independent rock scene is finally getting the attention it deserves. Check out these popular artists who are currently on the label!

fun. -

If you’ve turned on your radio within the past few weeks, chances are you’ve heard of fun. Formed in 2008, fun. has been said to have an indie pop rock sound. The band released their first album, Aim and Ignite, in 2009 and received high praise. However, it wasn’t until their album release under Fueled By Ramen in 2012 that the band started getting heavy radio time and performance requests for late night talk shows and popular music festivals like Bonnaroo. The second album entitled Some Nights features the popular first single “We Are Young” and has made a lasting impression on the music charts. With tour dates scheduled through September and several of these dates already sold out, it seems as if fun. is only getting started.

Listen to: “Some Nights”

Gym Class Hereos - Taking cues from musical genres

like rock, rap, and funk, Gym Class Heroes produce a sound that is hard to compare. The group formed in 1997 and began playing college parties, birthdays, and small festivals. The success of their first album entitled The Papercut Chronicles scored them spots on Warped Tour and SXSW. Over the years, the group released albums with hits like “Cupid’s Chokehold” and “Clothes Off!!” before all members took a hiatus to pursue other projects. Gym Class Heroes hit the music scene again in late 2011 with The Papercut Chronicles II. “Stereo Hearts,” the first single off of the album, features Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and hit #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100. With a music video in the works for the third single “The Fighter” featuring Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Highlight Magazine is excited to watch the continued success of Gym Class Heroes.

Listen To: “Ass Back Home” feat. Neon Hitch VersaEmerge - Known for an experimental rock sound, VersaEmerge is currently made up of Sierra Kusterbeck and Blake Harnage. After signing with Fueled by Ramen, the band released their self-titled EP in 2009 scoring them a spot on the “Secret Valentine Tour” with headliners We the Kings. Their first full-length Fixed At Zero came out in 2010 prompting their own headlining tour with popular bands like Anarbor and Conditions. VersaEmerge is currently in the studio recording their second album, which will be released later this year. Kusterbeck tells fans to expect a more worldly sound compared to their previous releases. Luckily, the duo put out a live acoustic EP late last year to keep their fans satisfied until the second album releases. After performing on Warped Tour, the Alternative Press Tour, and The Bamboozle, VersaEmerge already has quite the resume. We look forward to hearing their new album and anticipate big things from them this year.

Listen to: “Figure It Out”

Highlight of

mike lerner

Name: Mike Lerner Location: New York City Website: Clients: Fueled By Ramen Records, Atlantic Records, Victory Recrods, Warner Bros. Records, Hopeless Records, Capitol Records, S-Curve Records, Alternative Press Magazine, Artist Arena, Universal Records, Def Jam Recrods, Harper Collins, Ford Models, Inked Magazine and Scooter Braun Productions.

How did you get into photography?

I got bored with life and picked up a camera. I’m sorry if this is too short, but this is honestly how it happened.

Career highlights?

1) I recently got to shoot some promo images with LIGHTS. I’ve been trying to shoot her for I don’t know how long now and whenever she was in NYC our schedules didn’t match up. It went really well and we had a blast. She is one of the nicest people and musicians I’ve met thus far. 2) Obviously getting to go on a world tour for 6 months with Bieber was amazing. Still to do this day for someone who hasn’t been a photography for long at all to snag that gig is still amazing to think about. 3) I had a photo on display at the Tate Modern in London the summer of 2008. It sucks though because I was in London in September of 2008 and when I went to see it, it was taken down the week before.

What do you still want to accomplish?

I still want to shoot editorially. Mainly celebrity portraiture, lifestyle work. At one point, I’d love to have a gallery show. As of right now though photography will be taking a small backseat as I am getting ready to start an exciting new project.

Favorite tour memory?

Favorite memory was playing golf in Sao Paolo with Justin on a billionaires private golf course. He was so nice and welcoming and after sad us down with his family for an awesome lunch, some of the best chicken I’d ever tasted. He also showed us his car museum. Not collection, MUSEUM.

Keep updated with Mike @MikeTakesStills HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 11

HOME: Braintree, MA NOW jamming: On Your Side[Fueled By Ramen] CURRENTLY: Preparing for the release of their second full-length

Say hello

to A Rocket To The Moon, a band who not only survived through the electro pop outbreak of 2007, but has thrived since then. Most bands of that time slowly died out as their fan base of young teenage girls grew up. A Rocket To The Moon, on the other hand, matured with their audience and held on to the spotlight. What started as a solo electronic project in Nick Santino’s bedroom slowly transformed into a fully fledged band with a solid fan base and a record deal with a big name label. The idea for A Rocket To The Moon initially started with lead singer Nick Santino. By posting a few songs on the internet, Santino was able to gain a fan base and get recognized. When Santino was approached to play Bamboozle in 2008, he was more than willing to say “yes,” but something was missing. He needed a band to back him up on stage. With the help of a few friends in the music business, Santino was able to assemble a full band for the Bamboozle performance. After that, the guys decided to continue on as a full band. In August 2008, A Rocket To The Moon signed with Fueled By Ramen, a label home to bands like Paramore, Gym Class Heroes, and Panic! At The Disco. Sharing a label with such big names must come with some pressure, right? Well, not exactly. Fueled By Ramen is one big happy family and A Rocket To The Moon could not be happier to be a part of it. Every band on the label is different and that’s what makes it so special. There is no pressure to be like anyone else because every band caters to a different sound and audience. The band wasted no time getting into the studio and recording music after signing. They had their first EP, “Greetings From” ready for the world in October of 2008. The EP reached #21 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and featured singles “If You Only Knew” and “Dakota”. During the early months of 2009, the band started working on their first full length album with famous producer Matt Squire (All Time Low, Panic! At The Disco). Having prepped for this album for months, the boys in A Rocket To The Moon were more than ready to get started recording. The album only took 17 days to fully record. There was a sense of urgency from everyone involved. After recording, the band set off on a few tours. They were one of the opener’s on the 2009 AP Tour with 3OH!3, Family Force 5, Hit The Lights, and The Maine. They also played the May 3rd date of Bamboozle in New Jersey and select dates of Warped Tour. After touring with The Cab on their What Happens In Vegas Tour, the band released their first full length entitled On Your Side. The album had a great response and was an instant fan pleaser. “Like We Used To”, the 14 -

single off the album, hits pretty much everyone right in the heart. The story of heart break and watching the one you love fall for someone else is something most everyone can relate to. Most of the album’s songs are the typical love songs, but catchy, upbeat songs “Dakota” and “Life Of The Party” make up for any lyrical shortcomings. Santino has a way with words and can easily captivate anyone with his voice and lyrics. It’s not hard to tell by listening that A Rocket To The Moon’s music is very unique. The band pulls most of their influences from several different genres, but mainly country. Being a band with such a diverse sound has opened up many doors for the band. They have had opportunities to tour with Hanson, Never Shout Never, Fun, and Mayday Parade, all of whom may be confined to the “pop rock” genre, but have a different approach to that genre. Touring with such a variety of bands has allowed the guys to obtain a fan base that spans over different musical tastes. It also allows the band to try new things with their music without the fear of losing fans. The country influences of A Rocket To The Moon came out in full force when the band decided to record a five song EP called The Rainy Day Sessions EP. It was recorded on a rainy day in Georgia with producer Dan Hannon. The EP consisted of remastered versions of songs from On Your Side and a cover of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”. If being in Georgia wasn’t enough inspiration for the country sound of the EP, the boys brought in bluegrass duo Larkin Poe to accompany them. Since the guys are such huge country fans, they were so excited to be able to produce something that fans would be familiar with and yet still be new to them. Working with a new producer is always a challenge, but the guys took it head on and were pleasantly surprised with the outcome of their work. The collaboration with Larkin Poe creates such a unique and relaxed vibe. The EP is truly the best thing to put on and listen to on a rainy day. If you have followed the band since their start, it’s not hard to tell how much they have matured. They have a completely different sound than when they first started. It takes a lot of confidence and guts for a band to take a different path with each record. Growth is one of the most important things for a band, especially a band that started out young. As the years go on, the band becomes more familiar with their fans and themselves leading them to take risks with their music. No one wants to listen to a band produce the same sound album after album. The songs would become redundant and boring. A Rocket To The Moon has done a great job at keeping their music fresh, exciting, and entertaining. The Rainy Day Sessions EP is such a great example of

how the band keeps things fresh. What other bands have put out country versions of their songs? A Rocket To The Moon could come out with a hip hop record and fans would go crazy over it. There is just something about the four boys in this band that make people go crazy. Whether it’s the voice and charm of lead singer Nick Santino or the wit and sarcasm of guitarist Justin Richards, fans are captivated by them. A Rocket To The Moon is a very relatable band. They are the kind of guys who will stand in the rain and sign until they get to meet every single fan, make every silly face and pose any way for a picture, and accept all of the marriage proposals thrown their way. It is hard to find a band like that these days. Most think they are above their fans or want to charge for meet and greets. Without the fans, bands would still be sitting in their garages wishing they could make it big. Watch one interview with the guys and you will immediately fall in love. They are so happy and easy going it is hard not to love them! Rocket is also a very hard working band. They know how it feels to be unrecognized in the music business and have to work to get their name out there. They spent most of their early years as a band on the road gaining fans. With this type of touring comes stress and agitation. When asked about how they managed to get through the hard times on tour and spending every minute of every day together, drummer Andrew Cook responded, “It’s always a learning process just figuring how to get along and deal with stuff together. You have to learn to let things make you stronger rather than draw you apart. It’s really all about communication and learning how to talk to each other and be honest with each other. That’s how you survive. If you don’t do that, you don’t make it.” The band just recently wrapped up production on their second full length album in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Mark Bright (Carrie Underwood). Now you may be thinking, “What in the world is A Rocket To The Moon doing working with a country producer?” Since the band pulls so many of their influences from country music, they thought it would be fun to work with a country producer and try something new. It was all meant to be because about the time Rocket was looking for a producer, Mark Bright was looking for a band to work with. Previously, Bright had been working with strictly singers so he was also more than eager to help Rocket with their album. It has been three years since Rocket has put out a new record which is a long time when making music is your job. Influences for this record include anything from Johnny Cash to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. When writing for On Your Side, the guys were stubborn, young kids only listening to certain artists and being close-minded to certain kinds of music. While making this record, they were

pulling influences from all types of genres even the Top 40 of the pop charts. Their new sound is like pop rock with a country twang. This album will be much more mature lyrically. The guys have done a lot of growing up since the last record and experienced many things that inspired some of the songs. The band wanted to be able to relate to the fans on a deeper level. They didn’t want to just make a record about breaking up and making up. Santino wanted the songs to tell a story and for fans to be able to paint a picture in their head of what the song is about. The music on the new album sounds so much like a country song. The only thing keeping it from being labeled one is Santino’s voice. Being from Boston, Santino doesn’t have the southern drawl it takes to create that country sound. The guys won’t give away too many details about the album because details are still being sorted out and the tracks are being mixed and mastered. So for now, we have no title or official release date to tell. All we know is that it will be out sometime this summer and will be their greatest album to date! If you haven’t been keeping up with the guys lately, you have missed quite a lot. The boys in Rocket have had quite an exciting start to their year. At the beginning of this year, they enjoyed some time overseas playing LIV5 in the Philippines with The Ready Set, The Summer Set, and Forever The Sickest Kids. After that, they headed over to Australia for Soundwave. If you’re itching to hear one of the songs off of their new record, be sure to catch them on tour now with The All-American Rejects. The new song is called “Going Out” and is all about having a good time with friends. Whether you love A Rocket To The Moon for Nick Santino’s incredible vocal ability or Eric Halvorsen’s dashing good looks, you can agree that these guys deserve the world. It just goes to show that being the good guys can get you far in life. We send all of our love and support to A Rocket To The Moon as they gear up for the release of their new album. Get ready for the new and improved A Rocket To The Moon coming your way Summer 2012! INTERVIEW AND PHOTO: Ashley Osborn STORY: Jessica Klinner


PHOTO: Ashley Osborn STORY AND INTERVIEW: Patrick Quiring

now, now

HOME: Minneapolis, MN NOW jamming: Threads [Trans-Records] CURRENTLY: Getting ready for their summer tour

To survive in the very competitive music industry, a group has to have something that sticks out, something that nobody else seems to be making. This might scare the faint of heart, but for some others they might see it as a way of really showing who and what they truly are. To the few that do stick to their guns the reward is normally greater then the struggle. One group in particular that has been doing just that is Now, Now, and they have been sticking to their own beat for quite some time now. Hailing from Minneapolis Minnesota, these three friends have been at it for some time. The band started in 2003 as Now, Now Every Children and then shortened their name to just Now, Now last year. The two original band members Cacie Dalager (main lyricist, guitar, vocals, keyboard) and Bradley Hale (drums, and backing vocals) had met at a high school marching bad camp. The final member, Jess Abbott (guitar, vocals) wasn’t added till about four years ago when she flew out to Minnesota for the summer. After four long years they are finally back with Threads, an album that has stretched their sound to new lengths. Of course, an album that is as good as this just doesn’t happen over night. Leading up to this album this threepiece ensemble had faced quite a lot of strife. “It was a weird time for us as a whole. Basically everything we built our band’s lives on crumbled,” says Cacie. Some of the things that contributed to this were a live lineup and even a label change. They also spent a lot of time on writing and “developing the sound even more.” These of course were just growing pains that all bands that hope to rise to the top have to face eventually. Fortunately for them, they were signed to Chris Walla’s Trans Record Label, which is a huge success since Chris Walla is the guitarist for the legendary indie group Death Cab for Cutie. When they found out the news about getting signed to such a prestigious record label they claimed, “weren’t expecting it at all.” Since they’ve known Chris for a couple of years they felt truly elated that he would choose them not on a biased opinion from being friends, but because of their talents. The only word they could use to describe this feeling was “amazing.” Besides the label change they focused a lot of their effort on crafting this new record. Since this was the first time that Jess was actually part of the recording process, they could really make something that showed just what the group had progressed to. Of course, this meant that they would have to get into the groove with each other in a recording sense. They successfully “clicked” and were able to pull off this album. To begin to test the waters they recorded an E.P. called Neighbors, which would be the first time they recorded with Jess. Neighbors also presented a more evolved sound then their last record to the world. Neighbors luckily worked out and the group liked where everything was going.

Then came Threads, which is a record that they’ve “never worked as hard” on before. Which is quite easy to tell when you listen and hear all of the intricate melodies, beautiful effects and honest lyrics. The way they mix their album is so complicated that they are sometimes uneasy when performing it live. A lot of the times during sound checks “fans actually don’t recognize it’s them” at first. Luckily they pull it off, but it is still bothersome at times for them. Bringing about such a unique sound requires the group to call upon a lot of different influences. Bradley listens to a lot of electronic and pop music while Cacie does the same. She says, “One of my biggest influences is Jimmy Eat World.” How she found out about J.E.W. is a total case of serendipity though. One summer at Warped Tour she stumbled upon them while she was actually there to see Good Charlotte. Lastly, Jess listens to mainly stuff in the realm of indie-pop, a lot of “lead guitar stuff.” She blames this for when she was really little and would just pick up her mom’s acoustic guitar, which would be just laying around. Luckily all these influences “come together in their own way” in the end to create this delicate dark sound. Besides the countless hours spent on perfecting the instrumentals into what they wanted, they also had to have the heart wrenching, near haunting and honest lyrics that are found on Threads as well. Some people might think their lyrics are about certain specific things, but Now, Now would say otherwise. The band prefers it when a song has a meaning that is open to interpretation as compared to songs that have one exact meaning. That philosophy also applies to Threads in that there is no direct story behind it, but it is supposed to come full circle. While Now, Now has been slaving away at just staying alive as a band and progressing their sound the world has been slowly noticing these three Minnesotans. First they got their song “Neighbors” on Grey’s Anatomy and have been touring extensively with some huge bands like Hellogoodbye, You, Me, and Everyone We Know and most recently, The Naked And Famous. This coming summer, they will even be hitting the road with the fun., which is sure to be a treat! One thing they love about touring is “all of the friends we meet,” and the friends they’ve made with previous bands. A highlight of their career this year has been the South By Southwest festival down in Austin, TX where they got to see so many familiar faces. Another thing that brightens their day is when people come up and tell them how much they’ve changed “a part of their lives” with their music. These three might have just started out making their own special blend of dark indie-pop music, but now they have truly grown and formed a sound that is all their own. Sure, they might have seen some problems over the past four years; however with dedication in their veins, this threepiece group was able to rise above that. If they keep going at this hardnosed pace then they will soon be threading their tunes into everybody’s musical playlist (we certainly know that they’ve won us over already), and if they don’t give up, then 2012 will undoubtedly be the year that Now, Now will never want to forget. HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 17


HOME: Blue Island, Illinois NOW jamming: Almost - Single CURRENTLY: Preparing for the release of their sixth album We recently caught up with Tony Lovato and Richie Gonzales of the punk band Mest on their most recent tour with Attack Attack! And Escape the Fate. When the Highlight staff found out that Mest would be touring again after so many years, we were very anxious to see what they would bring to the table after so long. To say the least, it was eye opening to see what Lovato and Gonzales had to share with us about the differences in the industry and their temporary break. We are highly anticipating Mest’s future and we feel that you should be as well. Q: Having been in the music industry as long as you guys have, how do you think things in the music industry have changed the most since you guys started in 1995? Lovato: Have things changed? Well for me, I’ve noticed a change, when I was headlining and doing these same sized venues, and we would do a tour. The first thing we would do literally every time I made it a point, because I toured with a lot of bands that treated us good, so I knew when I got to that point I wanted to be like that, you know, and when your treated bad as an opener your treated like “oh, you’re a f**king opener”, just I hate that sh*t. So the first thing I would do on our tours, I would go up and introduce myself to all the other bands. We were probably the only band on that tour with a bus back then, and I would be like “Yo, our bus is your bus, if you wanna f**king come hang out your more then welcome. Just come on up and let’s have a good time.” 18 -

On these tours though, it is so different. It is like everybody sort of has their own entourage, and I always told my workers what to do. We strike our drums all the time, and we wanted everyone to have the same stage that we had, to be able to put on the show that they potentially could put on, because they are trying to earn new fans. It is only fair, an honest thing to do. I have noticed too that not a lot of bands strike these days. We also always let everyone use the entire light board. We never restricted lights, sound, and we always let opening acts use the riser, and you never find that these days. Everyone is just worried the opening band will put on a better show then them. As for the crews, everyone we hire are people we grew up with so it is a little more family oriented. Around here though, it is more of just dudes that have to be working. So they have no real ties with the bands. Q: Just to clarify, are we talking about the tour’s crew, or the venue’s crew? Lovato: The tour’s. Q: How do you feel the crews at the venues treat you? Lovato: Oh, they are always cool with us, because they always feel bad for us. They see everyone else treating us like s**t.

Q: How do you feel about the break-up that happened? Lovato: Between my girlfriend and I? Oh, how did you know? (Laughing) Well in 2006, I was the one that made the final call. It was one of those things where you knew it was going to happen. It was inevitable. Matt was having a kid, Jeremiah was getting older and not wanting to tour as much. So it was just one of those things. The whole Photographs (2005) record sounds like it is a relationship record. Like, the songs when you are listening to the lyrics sound like they are between a girl and I. Realistically though, it was about me and the relationship I had with the band and the relationships within the band and the relationship with the producer at the time and how hard it was just to make the record. The song “Nightmare” is actually about making that record because it was such a hell for me. I spent a year and a half busting my ass writing songs and working. Then when we started making the actual record everyone all the sudden has an opinion on what songs should be on the final record. I had just spent a year and a half writing this record everyday and all the sudden you guys decide these are the songs we want on the record? I have no say? It was that kind of sh*t, I just think if your going to put the work in, put the work in, don’t come in at the last second and expect all the glory. So I think you work for what you get. So like I said, with the breakup, it was inevitable. We knew it was going to happen. It was like if you have ever been in a relationship for a long and you both know it’s over with, but your just waiting because you’re in a comfort zone. When you have been with them (the band) for so long that you don’t know anything else, I just knew it wasn’t going to go any further. So about two weeks after the record came out, I just called up everyone on an individual basis, and said we should just tour Japan, and tour America, then call it quits, and everyone was pretty much on the same page. Q: So did it ever really end? When the band broke up, what happened with your music, did you keep it up or did you take a break? What lead to the Mest that is currently touring today?

Lovato: It ended for a while, completely 100% ended. But one day I hit up the other guys and told them I was interested in doing another Mest tour. Jeremiah declined because he has a job and a kid, and Nick wasn’t interested. So I put together different crew and took a tour. Q: So guys, what can we expect from the new Mest album you guys are releasing this month? Lovato: Fans can expect it to be a little bit heavier from past Mest records. No screaming or anything, however we wanted to experiment a little bit with a newer, heavier sound. Gonzales: It’s just harder in the sense of melody, but it’s still the same stuff Tony used to write. It’s tony with a new crew. Lovato: It’s the band with new a set of balls, a set of dog balls. Q: You guys are doing this tour, releasing the album soon and you recently released a single. What is next for Mest? Gonzales: We are just going to tour, over and over. You know, to get as many fans as possible and reconnect. After the interview, I meet up with just Richie to ask a question about Tony. Q: So what do you think keeps Tony going? What do you think keeps him motivated since he’s been crafting music since 1995? Gonzales: Tony has just devoted his life to music. I mean this is basically all the guy does. And he does it just for that reason, for the music. He keeps touring, getting fans, writing music, all because he loves it. I’m sure it’s the same reason why any of us get a job in this industry. It’s because we just have a devoted love to making music. INTERVIEW: Josh Olson PHOTOS: Derrick Austinson


said the whale

HOME: Vancouver, Canada NOW jamming: Little Mountain (Little Pony Records) CURRENTLY: Touring North America


merica’s neighbor to the North has

brought a plethora of musical talent south and this isn’t something that is going to cease anytime soon. Although they may have started only five years ago, Said the Whale has received quite a bit of publicity in Canada and it is just a matter of time before this poprock band becomes a household name in the U.S. Upon the release of their third EP, Little Mountain, in March, they began their 2012 tour of the United States and Canada. Said the Whale formed in 2007 and began like most musicians; playing and recording music in any place they could, from basements to bedrooms. In a recent interview Highlight was able to speak with three members of the band; Tyler Bancroft, Ben Worcester and Spencer Schoening, the original three members. “It was just Ben and I making recordings. We had ideas to expand and actually do a tour and put a band together. So we got Spencer, who we went to high school with,” said Bancroft. “There have been some past members on bass and keyboard, but we have finally settled on this lineup.” This is the band’s third time visiting the United States to tour. Their first tour was in 2011, where they played at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas and spent the rest of the spring touring up and down the West Coast. Their notoriety in Canada could be contributed to their 2011 JUNO award for new group of the year (for American readers, this is similar to a Grammy in the U.S.) followed by a CBC documentary entitled “Winning America,” which aired in the summer of 2011 in British Columbia. “Those things are like merit badges [JUNO award and the documentary]. It’s like saying what you are doing as artists is cool, high-five,” Worcester said. This is the third full length album for Said the Whale, and the writing is mostly done by Bancroft and Worcester. For Bancroft, the writing process has stayed the same over the years in the sense that he is still writing the words and the skeletons of the songs, but it differs in that this has been the first time they have had an extensive period of reproduction. It has been used to finish a lot of their songs. These are the first collaborations the band has done in terms of song writing and arranging. “Spencer actually wrote a song and sings a song on the album, too,” Worcester said. “This is the first time in our career where someone other than Tyler and I have written lyrics to a song. This is also the first time writing songs with Nathan, our new bass player.”

Said the Whale feels very confident with their current lineup and the ease that is coming along with the new process of co-writing with other members of the band. It is becoming a very natural process for them. Their lyrics have become a fine blend of literal meaning and layered metaphors. For Bancroft, it is easy to explain what each word is about in a song, but to sit down and say what each song is intrinsically about is nearly impossible. “There are a lot of reoccurring themes,” said Bancroft. “Like ‘Big Wave Goodbye’ is about many things, but at the end we reintroduced a song called ‘Pretty City,’ which was on our Bare Bones EP. It is about the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the song 2010 is about the Olympics.” All of the songs are real to the band and about something that has happened to each of the members throughout their lives. “Speaking as the person who does not write the majority of the songs, these are two people who very much write what they know. So, in a lot of ways, it is kind of like looking back at the last two years of their lives,” said Schoening. Each song on Little Moutain is accompanied by a video, 15 videos in total. Some of their videos were translated exactly from the story they were telling in the song, but some have nothing to do with the song and aim to create a deeper meaning. “I remember the last time we can home from tour; Ben remarked how he felt like he was just living this album. Everything that had any specific meaning in his life he had already written a song about,” said Bancroft. “So, it was kind of like walking through the album.” “It is true. It’s weird. Things kept reoccurring through lyrics in the song. It’s like I’m reliving it,” said Worcester. Said the Whale was awarded with a spot in the Canadian music Magazine Rockstar Weekly’s list of the “Top Rockstars to Watch in 2012” earlier this year. The band is to perform at Sasquatch Musical Festival, Memorial Day weekend at the Gorge in Washington State. PHOTO: Jonathan Taggart INTERVIEW: Ashley Osborn STORY: Liz Brossard


review: Patrick Quiring


Jack White album:

Blunderbuss rating:

sounds like: The Black Keys The Pack A.D. The Strokes

recommended tracks: “Sixteen Saltines” “Freedom at 21” “Take Me With You When You Go”

tracklisting: Missing Pieces Sixteen Saltines 3 Freedom at 21 4 Love Interruption 5 Blunderbuss 6 Hypocritical Kidd 7 Weep Themselves to Sleep 8 I’m Shakin’ 9 Trash Tongue Talker 10 Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy 11 I Guess I Should Go to Sleep 12 On and On and On 13 Take Me with You When You Go 1 2

release date: March 6

website: 22 -

Jack White is on a quest to save music, or well I guess he just wants today’s music to know where its origins lie. This might be an impossible feat for some musicians, but with Jack White anything is possible. Jack, along with his ex-wife, reintroduced America to the sounds of Arena-Garage rock with The White Stripes a decade ago. The White Stripes weren’t enough for him so he started to branch out and formed other music groups. After 15 years of being a part of musical groups he has finally released his first solo record called Blunderbuss. You can hear everything Jack White has been a part of throughout this whole record. For example, The Dead Weather’s influence can be heard through the brutal sounds of “Sixteen Saltines.” Even though it’s quite obvious to hear echoes from Jack White’s previous musical works through the album, there’s just something special about Blunderbuss. It feels as if he took the classic blues and rock sound and infused it with all of his previous bands. What he got was a sound that is all his own, a sound that’s a little bit more raw though. Blunderbuss is fantastic; it takes old-fashioned rock and blues and puts a hard edge on it. If you’re a die hard Jack White fan then you’ll probably fall head over heels for it. It’s definitely an album might have a chance of changing the musical landscape just like the White Stripes Elephant did. All we know is that only time will tell.

Artist: Eric Hutchinson Album: Moving Up Living Down

Although Eric Hutchinson’s last release was back in 2008, he’s coming back in 2012 with some flare. His music isn’t just pop or rock music. It’s unique music with a “feel good” style. His latest album “Moving Up Living Down” shows off this unique style with just the right amount of instrument variety and catchy lyrics. “Talk Is Cheap” introduces the album with a perfect beat for bobbing your head. Because let’s be honest, you’ll probably be doing that throughout all 11 songs. “Watching You Watch Him” is a hit right out of handclap heaven, while “The Basement” has a 1960’s vibe that is sure to get you off your feet. “I’m Not Cool,” a song with a hint of electronic beat perfect for your summer playlist, tells all about how he’s just a regular guy. With all of the talent that went into the making of this record, that may be hard to believe.

recommended tracks: “The Basement” & “Living In The Afterlife” review: Taylor Pittman

Artist: Norah Jones Album: Little Broken Hearts Norah Jones is back with her fifth album, Little Broken Hearts, and she is not the same artist she was in 2002. She has continuously grown and this album is the culmination of her last ten years as pop/jazz artist. It brings you back to music that made her career flourish, but takes away the commercial pop sound. The twelve track album begins with “Good Morning.” It slowly opens you up to Little Broken Hearts with a harp and acoustic guitar. The second track, “Say Goodbye,” is my least favorite track on the album. I feel as if it does not fit and takes away from her jazz and blues influence and almost feels bubblegum pop. However beautiful, the album is full of contempt, loss and heartbreak. The listener can truly feel that in “Miriam” and “Little Broken Hearts.” The album is a beautiful testament to Jones’ abilities as an artist and we can expect to see her for many more decades to come.

recommended tracks: “Good Morning” & “Little Broken Hearts” review: Liz Brossard

Artist: William Beckett Album: Walk The Talk EP

After the falling out of The Academy Is last year, fans were left disheveled and in disbelief. Thankfully the former front man, William Beckett, decided to continue on as a solo artist. His first solo release, Walk The Talk EP, will leave fans with a smile on their face and wanting more. The 4 song EP is the first in a series of three that Beckett intends to release this year. “Compromising Me”, the first song on the EP, is an instantly catchy tune that will get stuck in your head after hearing it only once. The track “Girl, You Shoulda Been A Drummer” has a 60s rock vibe and a well-written chorus. Beckett’s vocals suit every song on the EP. He considers this his best work yet and it’s hard to disagree even if you are still bitter about the split of The Academy Is.

recommended tracks: “Compromise Me” and “Oh, Love!” review: Jessica Klinner


the allamerican rejects WHERE: The Metro, Chicago, IL PHOTO: Cara Bahniuk

hot chelle rae

WHERE: House of Blues, Chicago, IL PHOTOs: Cara Bahniuk

Issue #3  

Who’s Inside: A Rocket to the Moon + Now, Now, Said The Whale, Mest, Kiss The Concrete, Chain Reaction (venue), Fueled By Ramen, Mike Lerner...

Issue #3  

Who’s Inside: A Rocket to the Moon + Now, Now, Said The Whale, Mest, Kiss The Concrete, Chain Reaction (venue), Fueled By Ramen, Mike Lerner...