K N O X H A M I LT O N – K E V I N D E V I N E – LY D I A – O N E O K R O C K & M O R E
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editor-in-chief jenn stookey co-founder – art director cara bahniuk co-founder – photo editor ashley osborn managing editor jessica klinner online editor nick yacovazzi digital marketing manager olivia adams design assistant benjamin bacon co-founder – legal – finance mckenzie hughes contributing photographers
cara bahniuk, demi cambridge, jordan fischels, lori gutman, rachel kober, casey lee, charlie martel, natalie montaner, savana ogburn, ashley osborn, heather phillips, sam polonsky, taylor rambo, sam roenfeldt, nicole fara silver, kara smarsh and clark terrell
contributing writers (online & publication)
haley black, jennifer boylen, geoff burns, haley buske, colleen casey, rebecca del castillo, ally fisher, trevor figge, annette hansen, jessica klinner, zoe marquedant, bridjet mendyuck, theresa pham, alyssa schmidt, alex shimalla, catie suliga, nick yacovazzi and bailey zeigler
digital marketing team
geoff burns and tim mcgovern
laura arthurs, kristen torres, samia mirza, sarah akomanyi and brad laplante
_________________________ website twitter highlightmagazine.net @highlightzine facebook instagram facebook.com/highlightmagazine @highlightzine _________________________ thank you
thank you our last night, curran blevins, the catalyst publicity group, warner brothers records, brixton agency, 8123, capitol music group, big picture media, caleb mallery, and all of our staff and readers.
_________________________ 06 our last night matt vogel
07 kevin devine casey lee
lydia taylor rambo
knox hamilton chuck lang
walk the moon heather phillips
one ok rock kazuaki seki
05 this or that 08 clothing highlight 11 label highlight 12 venue highlight 14 industry highlight 18 highlighted artists 19 film highlight 20 knox hamilton 24 kevin devine 28 lydia 32 one ok rock 36 our last night 44 tour round up wavves wolf alice the struts the jesus & mary chain sleeping with sirens panic! at the disco new found glory tigers jaw walk the moon manchester orchestra catfish and the bottlemen halsey yellowcard phoebe ryan 62 reviews
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DEMI LOVATO HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 5
OUR LAST NIGHT 36
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44 TOUR ROUND UP
24 KEVIN DEVINE
20 KNOX HAMILTON
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32 ONE OK ROCK
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WE ARE NOT VOICELESS CEO & FOUNDER Ryan Hetkowski LOCATION Detroit, MI
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND WE ARE NOT VOICELESS?
Voiceless was founded in 2011 for the reason of helping those who are voiceless in circumstances we feel they need to speak up in such as domestic abuse, depression, having suicidal thoughts, bullying and other mental health struggles. Our company slogan is #wearenotvoiceless and represents that “you” are part of the “we” of mental health and you are not alone. We also spread [the word about] speaking up to get help and bettering yourself through help. WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOUR BRAND REPRESENTS?
WHAT ARE YOUR THREE PERSONAL FAVORITE DESIGNS?
Positive As F*ck, Don’t Lose Hope and Music Saves Lives WHY PEOPLE SHOULD CHECK OUT YOUR BRAND?
Hope. We are here to spread mental health awareness and hope for those recovering from mental health struggles. t @NotVoiceless i @WeAreNotVoiceless wearenotvoiceless.com
Inspiration, outreach and mental health awareness.
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[ formerly backslashes and bad ideas ] [ now with even better ideas ] [ new music coming soon ] 10 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET
YOU MAY WANT TO LISTEN TO...TRIPLE CROWN RECORDS Created in 1997 by Fred Feldman, Triple Crown Records has been home to some of the most influential bands in the alt rock scene over the years such as Brand New, the Dear Hunter and the Receiving End Of Sirens. Currently, the New York-based label supports the efforts of several up-and-coming bands that deserve your attention. Below are just three bands on the label’s stacked list of artists. Be sure to give a listen to and support all of the bands on the Triple Crown Records roster.
FOXING As a band that’s only been around for four years, Foxing have made quite a name in the alternative music scene. Their debut album, The Albatross, earned them wide acclaim and a very specific and dedicated fan base. Since opening for Triple Crown alumni Brand New last fall, the St. Louis, Missouri, band has become a well-loved and hyped band. With the recent release of their second full-length album, Dealer, the band is living up to and exceeding the expectations anyone had for them.
Listen To: “The Magdalene”
FROM INDIAN LAKES In early 2009, Joey Vannucchi started writing songs for a solo project that eventually turned into From Indian Lakes’ debut album, The Man With Wooden Legs. After an independently released album (Able Bodies), From Indian Lakes signed with Triple Crown Records in 2013 and released their latest full-length effort, Absent Sounds, in 2014. Packed with soft, ethereal sounds, the third studio album brought new life to the California band and gained them even more devoted fans than they had accumulated from their previous releases.
Listen To: “Am I Alive”
INTO IT. OVER IT. Evan Weiss is a man of many bands. Over the years, his name has graced the lineup of several renowned groups, and there’s a good chance you’ve heard of most of them. Into It. Over It. began as a way for Weiss to get his creative juices flowing again after being in a rut and turned into one of his most successful projects to date. If Into It. Over It. is playing in a city near you this fall (and it’s likely), it’s definitely worth your time and money to go.
Listen To: “Discretion & Depressing People”
WORDS: Jessica Klinner
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VENUE HIGHLIGHT TREMONT MUSIC HALL - CHARLOTTE, NC HISTORY For the last 20 years, Tremont Music Hall has been a staple in Charlotte’s music scene. Opening its doors to various local, national and international rock and alternative acts, Tremont has played a vital role in bringing live music to the Southern city. From Iggy Pop to New Found Glory, Tremont has set their stages for legends and up-and-comers alike. With its rich history with both the local and national scene, it’s no wonder why the long-time venue is so revered.
WHY PLAY HERE? With a unique two stage set-up, offering both 400 and 950 capacity rooms, Tremont supplies audiences with a variety of bands from the starters to the modern headliners. Unfortunately, the venue recently announced that they would be closing their doors for good on Dec. 19 to many music fans’ dismay. This makes the venue a must-see Charlotte hot-spot this fall/ winter before it’s too late.
A Sound of Thunder
Kataklysm and Belphegor
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REVIEW: Annette Hansen
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R E Y L L NAME: Caleb Mallery LOCATION: Los Angeles, California JOB: Director and Editor
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t @calebmallery i @calebmallery
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL STORY/WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE INDUSTRY?
I grew up obsessed with music and played guitar in a lot of local punk and hardcore bands. At the same time I was always stealing someone’s video camera (because I never had one of my own) and shooting ridiculous videos with my friends. Being a kid in the ‘90s, we didn’t have the technology available now so I figured out how to connect two VCRs together to do all my edits. I used this game called Mario Paint on my Super Nintendo to make all my titles and really just had a ton of fun doing it. So I pretty much grew up as this crazy, freckle-faced kid gripping a guitar in one hand and a video camera in the other until the video camera became my obsession. When I was 19, I decided to go to film school in Orlando, Florida. Before I graduated, I was working hard shooting every live concert that I could and telling every band after the show that I would also direct their music video. I kept hustling as hard as I could until the band Oceana approached me about doing a video for their song “The Family Disease.” After that, I directed the Sleeping With Sirens video and everything has pretty much been going non-stop since then.
JUST WANTED THAT STYLE OF VIDEO?
It’s a combination of both really. For many videos, it’s so important for the fans to see how their favorite artists are growing, changing and maturing. Capturing an amazing performance is all a part of that. I work really hard to create an atmosphere where the band/artists feel extremely comfortable while we shoot. This really gives them the freedom to let loose and give a real performance for the camera. However, I’ve recently submitted quite a few uniquely narrative driven treatments that I’m very thrilled about. It’s a direction that I’m excited to move forward into and would love to direct more narrative driven videos in the future.
WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING DO YOU PREFER: FILMING THE VIDEO OR POST-PRODUCTION. WHY?
I really love every aspect of filmmaking, but if given the choice, I would always choose filming. I’m a people person, and there’s nothing in the world quite like being out on location and shooting with an incredible team. I do love aspects of post-production as well, color grading especially. Color is something I’m very focused on in shooting and in post.
HOW INVOLVED ARE YOU IN DEVELOPING THE CONCEPT FOR MUSIC VIDEOS?
WHAT ARE A COUPLE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE CAREER MOMENTS?
Very involved. Usually, each project starts with submitting a treatment to the artist, the label and management. Sometimes that comes completely from my mind, other times it’s a collaboration between myself and the artist working together to create the concept. I’m really big on teamwork and collaboration so I really love it when you can work closely together with an artist to bring a vision to life.
I grew up a huge fan of Chris Carrabba and everything he did with Further Seems Forever and Dashboard Confessional. (I actually played and sang a few of his songs at my high school talent show, haha) So when I got the call a while back to work with him on shooting a video for the Further Seems Forever reunion, I was pretty stoked. Chris is an amazing guy and working with him was a ton of fun.
SIMILARLY, HOW DO YOU APPROACH EACH PROJECT CREATIVELY IN TERMS OF CAMERA ANGLES, LIGHTING, MOOD, ETC.?
Working with Bradley Walden while we shot the Emarosa videos last year was a blast. While we were shooting the video for “People Like Me We Just Don’t Play,” I have to say I’ve never seen someone go that hard in front of the camera before. He really left everything he had on the stage for that shoot. It was just fun to watch. We also drank a truckload of Red Bull so that may have helped a bit too.
Many times as you’re writing the concept, the shooting style tends to reveal itself to you. All the pieces start to appear like a puzzle putting itself together. I’m also just a huge camera nerd so I love to sit down with my director of photography and come up with all the different approaches to tackling how a video will be shot. On most of my videos, I also make sure to plan for a lot of time to cover performances with the lead vocalists. That, to me, is part of capturing the heart and soul of a music video.
HOW DO YOU NORMALLY PREPARE FOR VIDEO SHOOTS ONCE YOU RECEIVE THE PITCH? IS THERE A CERTAIN RITUAL YOU HAVE BEFORE STARTING A NEW PROJECT?
You never know when the next treatment call is going to come in, but when it does, I don’t have any crazy rituals except for consuming vast, potentially dangerous amounts of caffeine and writing in complete darkness. Then, I incessantly share the idea with trusted partners like my director of photography and producers using them as sounding boards for the concept.
YOUR MUSIC VIDEOS SEEM TO BE VERY PERFORMANCE BASED. IS THIS YOUR PERSONAL STYLE OR HAVE THE ARTISTS YOU’VE WORKED WITH LIKE EMAROSA AND MAYDAY PARADE
IS THERE A CERTAIN MUSIC VIDEO/FILM/ DIRECTOR THAT HAS GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WORK AS A DIRECTOR?
In film school, I was heavily influenced by guys like Mark Romanek, David Fincher and Brett Ratner with what they brought to the music video scene. I loved how their work evolved into what it is today. Other directors like Danny Boyle, Neill Blomkamp and Christopher Nolan have had a huge impact on me as well. I’ll quit there because if I start talking about specific films and videos then I won’t shut up.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?
Always! I’ll be shooting a short film in early 2016 and I can’t say too much, but I’m also in the middle of pitching a TV show heavily focused on the music industry. There’s also plenty of super fun music videos coming up as well. It’s a great time to be alive! INTERVIEW: Jessica Klinner PHOTO (SPREAD): Daniel Kyukendall PHOTO (LEFT): Sam Schneider
ARTISTS GENEVIÉVE BELLEMARE Location: Los Angeles, CA Current Single: “Shenanigans” As serious as she is sultry, Los Angeles’s Geneviéve Bellemare means all business. Mixing soulful renditions with fiery rhythms, this rising pop star is due for her day.
SEMIOTICS Location: New Brunswick, NJ Current Single: “M. Connolly” Meet New Brunswick’s newest emo punk outfit, Semiotics. Meshing the mellow, but aggressive vibes of Tigers Jaw and the Front Bottoms, the group mixes eclectic songwriting with harmonic riffs and tasteful noodling.
PEPPINA Location: Finland Current Single: “Time Standing Still” Quirky and eloquent, singer-songwriter Peppina’s angelic choruses and soulful melodies lead the way for intimate and powerful tracks from this Finnish artist.
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WORDS: Nick Yacovazzi
Just in time for Halloween, Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak hits theatres. This fantastical horror film plays out more like a Brontë novel than a straightforward scary movie. There are plenty of ghosts and things that go bump in the night so the movie to still classifies as a horror film, but the gothic styling and steadily unraveling mystery make Crimson Peak more of a hybrid film. In appearance, it resembles the standard haunted house flick, with the story centering around a decaying homestead in a particularly barren corner of England. The manor’s brooding and almost abandoned appearance is frightening, and the house hosts the scariest moments in the film, but the building also has a sort of grotesque, gothic charm. Similar to the castlelike mansion in Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands, the house in Crimson Peak is both intriguing and unwelcoming. You wouldn’t want to stay there overnight, but you do want to see it up close. This setting contributes to the overall heavily stylized, gothic feel of the film. The Victorian dress and mannerisms pull Crimson Peak more into the territory of a BBC mini drama than the classic haunted house film, like Paranormal Activity or Poltergeist. The lavish costumes and set design, while moving the film away from others in its genre, don’t alienate it from del Toro’s other creations. Pan’s Labyrinth is a similar crossbreed of the horrifying yet fanatical. Audience members will definitely be scared watching both films, but they will also be sort of fascinated. That is where the originality of Crimson Peak comes in. Crimson Peak is a movie that does more than just make you jump. In the way that Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook is as much about grief as it was about the monster in the house, Crimson Peak is about both the dead and the living. The story begins with Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), an aspiring novelist, trying to publish a ghost story. Edith believes in ghosts, having seen the horrifying specter of her mother as a child shortly after she died of black cholera. The ghost warns young Edith to stay away from Crimson Peak. Edith encounters no place nor phrase resembling the ghost’s words growing up and the encounter leaves her with nothing more than a belief in the supernatural. It isn’t until the ghost’s second appearance and the sudden death of a family member that Edith begins to be affected by its presence. Enter Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). He appears on the fringes of Edith’s life just as she is looking for somewhere and someone new. The two marry and move back to England to live in Sharpe’s family home along with his sister Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain). Just as Edith begins to settle into her new home, perched atop a clay mine, she starts to see ghosts again. The audience is left wondering where the next threat will come from and who is really to be trusted as the motives of the Sharpe siblings begin to distort. The gothic backdrop seems increasingly warped as the narrative pulls further and further away from the initial romance of Edith and Thomas and closer to the monster lurking at the heart of the narrative. Fans of del Toro’s other works and viewers looking for more than just a good scare should definitely check out Crimson Peak. If not for that, then for the good 10 second shot of (spoiler alert) Hiddleston’s butt. REVIEWS: Zoe Marquedant
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HOME: Little Rock, Arkansas NOW JAMMING: How’s Your Mind CURRENTLY: On tour with Civil Twilight
DRIVING FOR ENDLESS HOURS
through the monotonous highways of the Midwest can really give someone a lot of time to evaluate their life. It is as if the endless open road is a perfect setting for deep thoughts and long conversations. Boots Copeland, frontman of Knox Hamilton, is no exception. While enroute to the Chicago date of their tour with Civil Twilight, the singer discusses the nitty-gritty details of being a musician, writing music and the history of Knox Hamilton. All four members of the band left behind very stable jobs to be able to pursue music full time. Not only did they leave careers, but they are also forced to say goodbye to their families each time they leave for tour. Boots himself has a one-month-old at home while out on the road this time, but rather than simply grinning and bearing through the hardships, they use it as a driving force because they know they are making music for a reason. “You’re doing this because it’s a passion and because it’s a fire,” he shared. “If you have the goal in mind [and] you have your wife and your family and the people you’re supporting in the back of your mind, it makes it even that much more important to give it the best shot you got.” Although Boots does leave most of his family at home, his brother Cobo is right by his side every step of the way. The two brothers began playing music in their family’s Pentecostal church as soon as they could function. Music is very important in their faith, and the Copeland family acted as the cornerstone of the music program in their church. After their dad moved the family and their church to Little Rock, Arkansas, the two brothers met the rest of their bandmates and the bedrock for Knox Hamilton was formed. Although that was how they began, the band never had a desire to go from church to church and play gospel music, so their evolution from the family program to the main music scene happened rather naturally. “We do write such positive music [so] it was ever a thing that we have to move away from the church; it was never like that,” he shared. “All of our parents are super supportive. I guess it wasn’t a conscious effort to do one thing or the other it was just kind of our own thing.” Growing up in the South seems to have had quite an indirect effect on the music of Knox Hamilton. Their sound has lots of different aspects, some of which have yet to be heard,
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like a folk sound and hard rock tunes, but will be present in upcoming releases. Boots traced these influences back to Little Rock and their southern roots. He said Little Rock has many layers to the music scene that includes much more than just Johnny Cash or Evanescence. “Our music has been called energetic but laid back as well, and I think the easy going positive vibes of our music could be attributed to the southern lifestyle,” he said. “It’s very positive, people are friendly, it’s uplifting, and our music kind of mirrors that in some aspect.” Knox Hamilton recently released their first official EP How’s Your Mind, and it is comprised of four songs that had not been released before. Prior to this compilation, the band had a few songs floating around but had pulled them all, with the advice of their label, so they could restructure and work on some new stuff. Boots admits that decision was met with some hesitancy because the more music they have that people can listen to and get to know, the better. But, ultimately the decision has seemingly proved to be a good one. “It’s a good call in the fact that those songs could be better because those were very old songs that we did by ourselves in Little Rock,” he admitted. “We’ve grown as musicians and ‘producers’ so they could definitely be kicked up a notch. I guess we’ll see what the future holds for those.” How’s Your Mind is an assortment of four songs that Knox Hamilton feels is the best music they choose to pursue up to this point. Without any specific theme in mind, they compiled a few of their favorites and let them out into the airwaves. Those four songs include three new ones and the single that can be blamed for where the band is now. “Work It Out” has had tons of buzz and more than 3 million streams on Spotify alone, but it was a tad unexpected in the best way. “I never write a song to where I’m thinking that one is definitely the hit because we weren’t a band like that. We just wrote songs for fun,” Boots said. While the track is how their manager found them and began the journey they are on now as a band, Boots said he did have a bit of foreshadowing of the attention it would receive from the get go thanks to his wife. She said it sounded like the “real deal” when listening to the first version of the song while driving around in Little Rock. However, they didn’t
know exactly what sort of impact it would have on the band from the get go. This EP may be young, but they already have plans to record a full length early in 2016 and hope to have new music out by the middle of the year. For now, they are promoting How’s Your Mind on tour with Civil Twilight. After opening for the band in the spring and hitting it off with one another, a tour was the right move. “We love those dudes and we hope it’s reciprocated,” he joked. “We kind of planned it and our agent liked the pairing. We share the same agent so it was very organic in that aspect. It’s just something we kind of talked about in the spring and it finally came together with our EP coming out so it worked out perfect.”
Like many musicians, Knox Hamilton thrives while on tour. Their favorite thing is being able to meet people who have followed and supported them over the years. Especially while away from their own families, Boots said it is nice to feel like you have people on the road who want to see you. “Most shows you’re playing to people who appreciate you and love you in some aspect or another so it’s pretty rewarding for us to get to be around people who don’t hate us,” he said. “It’s crazy that you can travel 2,000 miles away and at least have songs in common with someone.” PHOTOS: Chuck Lang | INTERVIEW & STORY: Jennifer Boylen
HOME: Brooklyn, New York NOW JAMMING: “Lovesong” (The Cure cover) CURRENTLY: In the studio
KEVIN DEVINE & THE GODDAMN BAND
might be the last people you’d expect to be standing in front of you in the TSA line at the airport. Heading home after Riot Fest, we all swapped stories of our weekend as Devine reminisced about seeing his friends in the “Windy City.” Cheerful, friendly and tired, it wasn’t long before Devine and his bandmates waved goodbye as they jogged through the frequent flyer fast lane to catch their plane to New York.
By the time our interview rolled around, Devine had just stepped off another festival stint in Arizona and a two-week long tour with Brand New and Manchester Orchestra. “They’re old, life-long friends and it doesn’t really feel like touring when we’re all together,” Devine said. “Not that touring is a matter of all positive things at times; it’s all adventurous and fun, but sometimes it’s not. With those guys it feels [like we’re family].”
If there is something you should know about Devine and his plethora of projects, it’s that he is always touring. His last two records, Bubblegum and Bulldozer, were released in 2013 after his Kickstarter campaign made more than double its goal. From festivals to touring with Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, Dads, Into It. Over It. and the Front Bottoms, Devine said he has had enough down-time to catch up on New York Mets games. “When you make art for a living or entertain people for a living, that is a career and that is a 24-hour on-call job for sure,” Devine said. “I actually think I work a lot more than I’m giving myself credit for or letting myself define what I do as work. I’m fairly driven and responsible for a rock n’ roll person, but I’m okay with it.” While he hinted toward a new album being in the works, the release date is set for the fall of 2016. With “adrenalized” songs and tracks that “almost serve as breaths” on the record, it’s up in the air as to what the new album will sound like. From comparing the first two Strokes records or Guided By Voices albums, Devine said he wants “rock songs that speak more to that” vibe. “When I think [of what] the live experience is like now, it’s like 70 percent the rock band and 30 percent the guy who is trying to communicate something very directly,” Devine said. “I think the thing that binds the two very [cohesively] to the song. I have a very clear image of what I want it to be. It’s just going to come down to executing it. That’s the stuff I’m figuring out now. That’s all subject to change when we actually record it.” Besides touring, Devine has partnered with Bad Timing Records to debut his vinyl project called Devinyl Splits. Every couple of months, Devine teams up with other artists from bands such as Tigers Jaw, Perfect Pussy and Nada Surf to cover some of their favorite songs, which are released on limited pressing of 7” vinyl. The latest band to join in is Cymbals Eat Guitars. From growing up in the Staten Island, New York punk scene, Devine said being able to press these splits and record the songs on vinyl is something that comes natural to him. His 2012 tour EP, Matter Of Time, was recently pressed on vinyl as well— much to the chagrin of the vinyl community who went nuts over the news. “It’s funny because there has been a commercial resurgence for vinyl in the past five years,” Devine explained. “I never felt like it went away. I have always [coveted] vinyl releases since I was a kid because in the punk scene that was the currency; you did 7” inch singles.” Devine has put out one song since 2013. His most recent song, “Geißen,” was released in March of this year as part of a Devinyl split about six months after the death of his long time friend and bandmate, Mike Skinner. Touching, soft and
emotionally charged, the song is a tribute to Skinner who passed away last October. He used songwriting as a tool to cope or as Devine puts it, “a way to encapsulate a structure of the messier feelings and omnidirectional feelings of loss.” The two were involved in a number of different bands, most notably the Miracle of 86, a reference to the last time the New York Mets won a World Series. “I’ve always treated writing as a way to work out the messiness and try to make something out of the messiness,” Devine explained. “[Using the song to cope] was definitely part of the pie for sure; that’s what I did with Mike, we made music. That’s where he would’ve told me to put [that song], I know that. It’s not like an overarching resolution, like it’s lifted. It’s more like, ‘Okay, I make a little more sense to myself than I did two hours ago.’” Devine has a way with words. Whether it be in his music or the way he speaks, he knows how to tap into his feelings. Even down to his most difficult feelings of the memories, he has being a young musician comparing his success to others, dealing with death or always wondering if the next show is the last one. How does he stay positive? Devine sums it up as “not falling into the trap door of compare and despair.” “We can all fall prey to [that] in our day-to-day lives,” Devine said. “Looking at other people’s circumstances in your field and going, ‘Why aren’t I as popular as him?’ or ‘Why don’t I have the same material success as her?’ It’s a day to day, hour to hour experiment. It’s good to get beat up because it reminds you that you’re not the goose laying the golden egg every time.” Devine said every time he gets off tour and “is able to claim musician” on his tax returns is a little victory that always pulls back to the summer of 2005 when Devine got his first check from Capitol Records. He credits his performance An Evening at Webster Hall and that first check as a musician as crucial moments in his life. Both on different sides of the spectrum— the first as a turning point in his career that closed a chapter on his discography up until 2012 and the latter the first time he could say, “Holy shit, I guess I’m doing this,” and become a musician. With “relative success and relative failure,” Devine stays humble. “[Be] fair to yourself and be fair to your audience,” Devine said. “If you fall into a pit of self pity about where you are or where you aren’t in your career, you are doing your audience a disservice and you’re doing yourself one. You can look up the mountain you’re climbing and see a bunch of people who are closer to the summit than you are, but I can also turn around and see hundreds of thousands of people who would love to be in the position I’m in.” PHOTOS: Casey Lee | INTERVIEW & STORY: Bridjet Mendyuk
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HOME: Gilbert, Arizona NOW JAMMING: Run Wild CURRENTLY: Just wrapped up the Run Wild tour
THE THREE MEMBERS OF LYDIA
are all smiles as they sit in the small green room of the Firebird in St. Louis, Missouri. They’re one month into their national tour in support of their new full-length album, Run Wild, and they seem more than happy to be together in this place. While Lydia has been around for the last 12 years, this threesome, consisting of vocalist Leighton Antelman, guitarist Justin Camacho and keyboardist Matt Keller, has remained the core of the band for the last five years. With their calm friendly demeanor, it’s clear the band still love creating music and performing together. It’s that kind of love for their craft that pushes them to continue moving forward. “The drive is always there,” Keller expresses. “If you got it, you got it, and you’re going to have to do it or else you’re going to go crazy.” On Sept. 18, Lydia released their latest album, Run Wild. The band harnessed that “drive” and used it to create an album that is loaded with bright, ambient melodies from start to finish. While the album still encompasses Lydia’s quintessential laidback, pop style, the band say they feel like this album is a bit of a departure from their previous work. For Run Wild the band teamed up with two producers, Colby Wedgeworth, who worked with them on their last album Devil, and Copeland’s Aaron Marsh. Camacho says that “just that alone, having two producers who work in completely different styles, added a ton.” On top of that, the band really wanted to focus on writing songs that challenged them as songwriters to experiment with new sounds. “We wanted to make sure every song has its own identity, sounds that you can easily identify,” Keller explains. “It’s so easy to be just like ‘Let’s play an acoustic here, let’s add an electric guitar here.’ We’re always trying to create new textures, new feelings because that can help guide you in the direction the song needs to go.” Lydia’s latest run of shows, aptly named the Run Wild Tour, began just days before the album’s release. The shows were an opportunity each night to expose audiences to their new material. “[For] the first two or three dates on the tour, the record wasn’t out yet, so we would play the new songs and people would stand there and go ‘I don’t know these songs!’” Keller describes. 30 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET
Once the album was released, though, audiences embraced the new music. “I’m looking out and there’s people singing along, dancing and yelling for new songs. I can’t really ask for much more,” Keller adds. Known for their charismatic stage presence, Lydia take the St. Louis stage donned with a starry backdrop and with an enthusiastic energy. The crowd is more than happy to return that same enthusiasm. “I think we just have a lot of fun up there,” Camacho says. “People tell us every single night, ‘You guys just don’t stop smiling up there.’ I just think that we all like playing music together.” And Lydia’s glad to share that positive energy with their fans. “The connection with everybody on stage is really big. [The audience is] just seeing us listening to each other. That’s really what it is,” Keller explains. “That energy transfers to the crowd and then the energy they have transfers back to us.” While the band look more at home on stage than most people do in their own living room, the guys plan to take some time for themselves and their friends and family once they step away from the road. “Touring in general can be pretty hard, being so far away from friends and family,” Keller says. But no matter what challenges their career has thrown and continues to throw at them, the band say that it’s all worth it at the end of the day. “We have the coolest job in the world even when it’s hard,” Keller adds. “I get to play music with my best friends every night. If you remember that, that’s pretty cool.” For over a decade, Lydia have managed to persevere through an industry that seems to face never ending changes. Ultimately though, the band is just happy to carry on doing what they do best and hoping people are there to watch and enjoy the ride. “It’s pretty crazy that you can write songs and people around the entire world will come and see you and pay their money and stand in lines to meet you and sing every word of your songs at the top of their lungs at the shows,” Camacho says. “That’s like something I don’t think any of us will ever forget, and we’ll always draw from that.” PHOTOS: Taylor Rambo | INTERVIEW & STORY: Annette Hansen
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Photos from @oneokrockofficial on Instagram
HOME: Japan NOW JAMMING: “Cry Out” CURRENTLY: On the Back to the Future Hearts Tour with All Time Low, Sleeping with Sirens, and Neck Deep
WE ALL HAVE DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS. These future selves that we hope to be propel our current selves through hell and back (if necessary) to see our dreams become reality. The four members that make up ONE OK ROCK are no different than the rest of us. Lead singer Taka set out on a mission 10 years ago to take his band and their music past Japan’s borders…to the United States. And if their new record or slot on All Time Low’s Back to the Future Hearts Tour are any indicators, this dream has come true. For the past decade, ONE OK ROCK has been selfproducing albums in Japan and gaining a loyal fan base in their native country. Now their music is spreading across the globe. The band’s most recent album, 35xxv, was actually re-released in English through Warner Bros. Records, making the deluxe edition their first “American” album to date. Taka, the band’s lead singer, explained that he grew up listening to the Used and Good Charlotte— bands that have worked with John Feldmann on quite a few albums. When ONE OK ROCK was given the chance to collaborate with the renowned producer, Taka was able to watch another childhood dream materialize. When 35xxv was originally created, the lyrics were all written in Japanese, and despite the band’s long-term goals, they didn’t really think about how the songs would sound once translated. This is where Feldmann’s experience—as well as the aid of a few friends turned translators—was incredibly useful. In Japan, Taka explains, the music relies heavily upon sounds and melodies, but he claims that American music is “more simple, I think.” Despite this perceived simplicity in comparison to Japanese music, ONE OK ROCK still dedicated a good couple of months preparing for their debut in the States. In addition to being taken under Feldmann’s wing and guided towards the best sounds to encapsulate their music, the band was able to collaborate with Kellin Quinn of Sleeping with Sirens, a band that ONE OK ROCK cites as a major influence. The meeting was facilitated by Feldmann’s lengthy roster of previous projects and book of well-known alternative musicians. The collaboration culminated into Quinn singing on ONE OK ROCK’s song “Paper Planes.” This friendship between ONE OK ROCK and Sleeping with Sirens didn’t end once 35xxv Deluxe Edition hit American shelves. One Ok Rock is currently on All Time Low’s Back to the Future Hearts tour, where they share the stage with Quinn each night. Not only do the two bands appear on the same tour (another dream come true for Taka), but Quinn also comes out to perform “Paper Planes” each night.
I attended the first night of the tour in Orlando, Florida, because I wasn’t passing up an opportunity to see these bands collide on one stage. ONE OK ROCK played first, and despite being a more recent addition to the alternative music scene in America than the rest of the line-up, their music provided the anticipated level of pop-punk and rock to get the crowd ready for the rest of the night. When Quinn came out for “Paper Planes,” the audience responded with deafening screams of surprise. However, it was Taka’s apparent joy (as well as the rest of the band’s clear enthusiasm and pure gratitude to be where they were) that was most apparent. “I love it! My dream of touring in the US has come true,” Taka explained. I left the concert that night as one would expect: sweaty, without a voice, and with an incessant ringing in my ears. Yet, this American way of going to a concert, or devoting as much energy and participation in the performance as the band, is quite different from what ONE OK ROCK is used to. “It’s totally different. [In the] United States, everyone is singing louder, but in Japan, it’s more calm and [people] just listen,” Taka explained. This concept of a concert is hard for my American pop-punk brain to fully understand. Beyond the fan and musical differences, Taka and the rest of ONE OK ROCK are “loving” each and every moment of their first American adventure. Taka recited some of his favorite cities (New York, Los Angeles and Nashville made the top of the list) and expressed a general wonderment toward his time in the states. As the band’s tour manager Levi Tecofsky said, “getting their music across to more people [has been] Taka’s big dream” for quite some time. When asked what the challenges have been on the way to fulfilling so many of his dreams, Taka claimed that they’ve been non-existent. “I like difficult stuff. That’s why I tried to look for challenges,” he said. The band has encountered its fair share of difficult moments while trying to break into the music scene over the past 10 years, especially gaining access to American ears. But the stadiums packed with screaming, sweaty fans, belting out all the words in Japan combined with their entrance in the States prove that nothing will stop ONE OK ROCK from pursuing their dreams. PHOTOS: Kazuaki Seki | INTERVIEW & STORY: Alexandra Shimalla
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HOME: Hollis, New Hampshire NOW JAMMING: Younger Dreams CURRENTLY: Touring Europe
IT’S A BRIGHT AND EARLY MORNING
in 2007 for Trevor Wentworth as he and the rest of Our Last Night take one final moment to reflect before crossing the threshold of making their dream of a national tour into a reality. Every local show, every dive bar set over the last several months has lead to this moment, and Our Last Night couldn’t be more optimistic about the future, especially Trevor only 13 years old. At an age where most kids are primarily concerned with what band tee to where to school, Trevor is dealing with things such as the upcoming album cycle with Epitaph Records and performances scattered across the country to follow. Not more than a year later, sparks began to burst rather than fly when the band released its debut Epitaph release, The Ghosts Among Us, received an unanticipated, but earned response. Peaking at #6 on Billboard’s Top Heatseeker’s chart, it was evident that the post-hardcore prodigies were no pedestrian group, but rather a rising national act, ultimately leading to an opening slot on Asking Alexandria’s Welcome To The Circus tour in support of the sophomore release, We Will All Evolve. Now heading into the latter half of their musical decade, Our Last Night finds itself part of a grassroots renaissance. Self-producing their brand new album, Younger Dreams, Our Last Night is further shifting away from label notoriety to develop on their own personal brand and identity. What’s notable, though, is the band’s priorities of developing an intimate bond with fans. In an era where fans vie for even a chance at a response on social media, Our Last Night aims to maximize interactions with fans, using the Internet and beyond to communicate with them, something that has always been a primary goal for the band. “In the beginning we had our traditional goals of wanting to be signed [and] tour nationally, but ultimately it was to grow our fan base,” Trevor said. “When we started it out, it was a lot of weekend gigs and small shows, but once we had a chance to have a national audience, we made touring one of our top priorities. Now since we’ve traveled around the country and the world we are making the relationship with our listeners our top priority. Social media has guided our ability to interact with fans with more than just messages and updates.” HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 39
WITH OUR MUSIC HAS BROUGHT US TO
WHAT I BELIEVE HAS BEEN THE
OF OUR CAREER.”
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The group’s dedication to fans and vice versa serves as only half of the equation for their independent revival. In 2013, Our Last Night announced that after three successful releases with Epitaph Records, the band would be departing from the punk powerhouse label and would be launching an Indiegogo campaign to support funding for two brand new EPs— one electric and one acoustic, both under the name Oak Island— by the people, for the people. Our Last Night is one of the handfuls of rising national acts that has taken the path of independent, fan-funded music. Moving away from the traditional model of label signings and album cycles, more groups are looking toward sites such as Indigogo or Kickstarter to support these projects. Some notable examples of successful campaigns include singer-songwriter Allison Weiss’ funding of her debut Was Right All Along EP, which eventually launched her to two fulllength releases via No Sleep Records and SideOneDummy, and Protest The Hero’s Volition, which raised a staggering $350,000 in crowd-funding. Our Last Night’s 30-day campaign accumulated close to $50,000 by 947 donors, smashing their original goal of $15,000. The band’s campaign for the two EPs included uploading covers of hit pop songs performed in the group’s aggressive and alternative style to their social media, fueling a demand for the group to continue covering Top 40 hits— a concept that Wentworth believes has added breadth to the band’s talent and personal songwriting. “Our fans really respond to the covers we post on our YouTube page, and playing these songs really influenced our work on our most recent release,” Trevor said. “It’s been good practice being able to take a song and develop your own arrangement to it. Learning everything you can about those songs helps develop a personal writing process and provide something new and different to our fans. Some of the greatest songwriters in the world wrote those tracks, and you learn a lot from every part of the song. The melody, lyrics, and arrangement challenge you to be a better writer.” “When you’re creating music, you ideally want people to respond to the things that you create and write personally, so at first we were hesitant to start doing covers,” guitarist Matt Wentworth added. “We eventually came up with our own rendition of Adele’s ‘Skyfall’ and it just made sense in our style.”
The data doesn’t lie. With multiple videos on YouTube totaling hundreds of thousands of views and a covers playlist totaling over one million, Our Last Night has maximized the value of their online resources. Instead of creating a news and info oriented media, the group invites fans to a creative space, helping individuals create a bond with the group that transcends their music. Trevor attributes fan relations and musical independence to be their biggest points of growth to date, citing that the end of their label days created an unwanted dissonance. “Towards the end of our contract with Epitaph, we felt like we had been hitting a low point. No one seemed to care enough and we were stuck in a situation no one wanted to be in. However becoming independent with our music has brought us to what I believe has been the best part of our career,” Trevor said. “Our independent release of Younger Dreams really gave us flexibility and a new way to give something to the people who listen to us. We have the ability to work with a variety of people and choose our team.” When asked about the future Trevor and Matt both agree that they’re just getting started. “This is a new point in our career for us,” Trevor said. “We want to continue playing shows around the world and headlining shows in places such as Russia or Southeast Asia where people may not always get to see their favorite bands. We’ve developed so many relationships with our fans in different places across the world and want to keep reaching new places with our music.” As the band gears up for their headlining tour in support of Younger Dreams, Our Last Night will be visiting 10 different countries in over 35 different cities in the course of two months. The band sees each day as a brand new opportunity and moment to further connect with their fan base— a goal that has been the endgame spanning Our Last Night’s career and became an attainable dream the moment those boys stepped on that bus in 2007. PHOTOS: Matt Vogel & Kolby Schnelli INTERVIEW & STORY: Nick Yacovazzi
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TOUR ROUND UP
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PHOTO: Jordan Fischels HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 45
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PHOTO: Heather Phillips
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PHOTO: Natalie Montaner
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PHOTO: Casey Lee
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PHOTO: Jordan Fischels
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PHOTO: Cara Bahniuk
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Ghost Town ALBUM
SOUNDS LIKE Set It Off Get Scared Crown The Empire RECOMMENDED TRACKS “Out Alive” “Let Go”
BUY IT ON November 6th, 2015
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It is clear that Ghost Town had a specific audience in mind when writing their third studio album, Evolution. The trio is all about standing up for the outcasts, the underdogs, and the weird kids. The lyrics are relevant to the challenging transitions and self-discovery that are experienced in middle school and high school. Teenagers will be attracted to the understanding that Ghost Town provide, as well as the consonant mixture of electronic and rock. The title track transmits a revolt reaction with lyrics that pack great force regarding change and taking a stand against being mistreated or overlooked. Ghost Town plays around with their band name in “Human.” Ghost is spelled out, which fills up the space of melody but with somewhat cheesy results. The track begins strong but becomes cluttered with synth as it progresses. Confidence and control exude from the empowering party-like anthem, “Loner.” The content is opposite of what one might think. Being alone doesn’t always have to be a depressing time. It is important to be able to enjoy your own company because sometimes you are all that you have. Evolution preaches the struggles and rewards of stepping outside of your comfort zone and becoming a person who is authentic and unashamed. Evolution is for the misunderstood kids who feel like loners. Ghost Town offers them a safe place within their music.
REVIEW: Haley Black
Seconds of Summer ALBUM Sounds Good Feels Good Produced by pop-punk legend John Feldmann, 5 Seconds of Summer’s sophomore album, Sounds Good Feels Good, captures the light yet emotional aura that surrounds the four boys from the land down under. The album openers are high with energy, full of fun guitar riffs and time changes, as well as catchy choruses, making a lively and engaging introduction to the band’s trademarked “new broken scene.” However, the band is quick to change the tone with the emo power-ballad of “Jet Black Heart,” a song loaded with passionate lyrics and powerful vocals about heartache and depression. The album springs back with the light and poppy “Catch Fire,” co-written by Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, and exudes the promise of unfaltering love with the lyrics, “I can’t change the world, but maybe I’ll change your mind.” The album showcases the band’s growth not only lyrically, but also sonically, most notably on album closer, “Outer Space/Carry On.” The song’s atmospheric yet guitar driven sound is ethereal and only heightened by musing group melodies under lofty lyrics, “Nothing like the rain when you’re in outer space,” which are followed by an interlude of crashing waves, allowing for nothing short of an idyllic conclusion. Sounds Good Feels Good is a mainstream pop-punk revival and monumental follow up album for 5 Seconds of Summer. The songs are lyrically pleasing and beautifully composed, exposing a profound band development.
RECOMMENDED TRACKS “Catch Fire,” “San Francisco” & “Castaway” REVIEW Ally Fisher
ARTIST Mutemath ALBUM
Vitals After several years since their last record, expectations were sky high for Mutemath’s newest release, Vitals. The twelve tracks are dripping with smooth vocals and electronic rhythm all enveloped in a dream-like feel. Vitals is very cohesive, using similar samples throughout to link each track to one another. Instead of just throwing together a dozen songs, it is clear these were written and compiled with a purpose. Over 48 minutes, Vitals travels from catchy melodies and driving energy with songs like “Monument” and “Best Of Intentions” to being complemented by vulnerable and introspective vocals with “Safe If We Don’t Look Down,” “Remain” and “Stratosphere.” In a world where many don’t listen to albums in their entirety anymore, it is tough to differentiate which is a better goal: to create a completed body of work or to put together a selection of songs that are great on their own as well as together, especially with the title track serving as a wordless-intermission midway through the album. That being said, Vitals is impressive in every aspect and is a great reintroduction to Mutemath and exactly what they are capable of creating.
RECOMMENDED TRACKS “Stratosphere,” “Best of Intentions” & “Remain” REVIEW Jennifer Boylen
Neighbourhood ALBUM Wiped Out! Wiped Out! begins with a moment of silence—literally 34 seconds of silence before moving on to track two. While it’s an interesting creative choice, it comes off as a bit self-indulgent, which seems to be a bit of a trend throughout the album. From front to back this record is moody and groovy with an innovative spin on a very nostalgic, vintage feel. After the widely popular I Love You, this release was highly anticipated. While the first singles give listeners a good idea of what to expect from Wiped Out! in its entirety, “Prey,” “The Beach” and “R.I.P. To My Youth” are probably the standouts—the rest of the record is a bit underwhelming in comparison. The title track leaves quite a bit to be desired. However, this record stays true to the Neighbourhood through and through. From Jesse Rutherford’s distinct, gravelly vocals to their unapologetic use of sound samples and hip hop beats, they have a style all their own and show it off during all 11 songs of Wiped Out!.
RECOMMENDED TRACKS “Cry Baby,” “Baby Come Home 2/Valentines” & “R.I.P 2 My Youth” REVIEW Jennifer Boylen
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