founder & publisher winnie surya managing editor tiffany lam assistant editor abbey toomey-fisk copy editor lauren lyford & karmin yu photo editors winnie surya & tiffany lam art directors winnie surya, jessie moore & seanzha kemal communications manager tiffany lam pr & marketing feli langlois & toni rose castillo contributing writers zoe harrison, chloe hoy, nathan cornell, shelby kreiger contributing photographers jennie tan, savana ogburn, kelsey hall, gabby mendoza, lilly nguyen, marisa martel, eman el-saied INTO THE CROWD is a Toronto central online music magazine dedicated to showcasing the world of music, media and pop culture. social media www.intothecrowdmagazine.com www.facebook.com/intothecrowdmagazine www.twitter.com/intothecrowdmag www.issuu.com/intothecrowd instagram - @intothecrowdmag contact email@example.com cover heffron drive november 2013 by savana ogburn
WILDLIFE | 4
HEFFRON DRIVE | 26
BEAR MOUNTAIN | 8
THIS CENTURY+NICK SANTINO | 32
ARIANA & THE ROSE | 12
MOON KING | 36
THE CHAINSMOKERS | 16
I AM KING | 38
STAGES & STEREOS | 22
IAN KELLY | 44 | INTO THE CROWD MAGAZINE
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I heard that you guys actually met in college?
Are you guys planning to play at NXNE again?
Dean: Not really…The iteration of the band is here right now. Graham and I met when we were teenagers, so we’ve known each other for a long time. But for someone who’s been playing with us for touring for the last year, Daryl, he and I met in university.
Derek: We haven’t really talked about it yet. We usually end up playing it.
You guys met at Queen’s (University)?
What do you like about Toronto’s crowds?
Dean: Yeah, we met at Queen’s and then after, we went to Glasgow and played in the first version of Wildlife that sort of just disbanded for a few months. How did you come up with the band’s name?
Dean: I don’t know, a lot of our friends live here. Toronto crowds are notoriously standstill and don’t love dancing, but if you get the right crowd of people, it’s all just about trying to create the right environment for people to have fun on a Saturday night.
Dean: There were a lot of people who had animal band names at the time.
You released your second album last March, can you tell us about it?
Derek: We just figured we’d do the big ones.
Derek: We recorded it in Connecticut with a man named Peter Katis and he was someone we really wanted to work with, so it was pretty great to do. We were in Connecticut for a few months and did a bit of recording in New York City (in Brooklyn).
Dean: Yeah, just steal them all! It was funnier that way. How was the tour? Derek: Pretty awesome! We love touring around and playing in the States is fun. We’ve done quite a bit of it now. Any fun memories from tour? Derek: We had a really late night in Missouri once in St-Louis and went to the Arch and just ran around like a bunch of idiots. It was fun. Dean: Yeah, it was good. We just played in New York and the CMJ Festival was really fun; we played in Chicago and that was really cool. The stories could go on and on probably.
Dean: We’ll play if it’s a good idea or if it’s a fun show – if it’s a fun show and a fun place, we’re in!
Dean: Peter Katis, Gus Van Go and Werner were the guys that we made the album with. It was pretty fun. What inspired the cover art with the arrow through the heart? Dean: It’s really low brow. The album is called …On the Heart and it’s about all things relating to that. So that anatomical image with the arrow is just the graphic quality that we were looking for. Derek: We like to describe the overall aesthetic as romantic and violent. Do you have anything planned for 2014?
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Dean: A year long vacation, hopefully, not a hiatus, but a vacation.
What do you think about the Toronto music scene?
Derek: Some naps.
Derek: So far? There’s a million different music scenes in Toronto – not a million, but there’s a lot.
Dean: We’re going to go on tour and just not play any shows. Derek: Yeah, just going to tour around and do a restaurant tour. So a break for a few months? Derek: Nah! We’ll take a break through Christmas probably and get back into it in the New Year and do another tour. Nothing’s lined up yet, but that’s usually what happens. Dean: We’re getting bored, so we’ll start writing songs together again, probably in the next little while and start making plans for our next record – not that we know when that’s going to happen, but we got to lay the groundwork.
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Dean: Toronto has the best music scene in Canada. Derek: Definitely. Montreal and Vancouver all say that they’ve got the greatest music scene, but Toronto is the hub of Canadian music. Dean: Sorry Vancouver, you don’t win this one, but you’re still great. It’s a good city to play in, for sure. I’m glad that when we first started to play here, there were a lot of bands we liked, but there were very folky bands and we were a loud band, so it was hard for us to find people to mash up and play with. Derek: We’ve been doing this for seven years now and it’s certainly changed.
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armountain ISSUE 16
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Bear Mountain is a 4-piece group hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia. These 4 boys released their debut album, XO, in May of 2013 and it is full of upbeat, electronic tracks. After touring much of 2013, they have decided to continue touring well into 2014 and even hope to start recording soon. Into the Crowd was recently able to sit down with this quartet to see what they’re up to and what’s next! Interview & Photos by Winnie Surya Words by Zoe Harrison How does it feel to play at major music festivals?
you tell us anything about it?
It’s pretty fun. I think, for us it’s like kind of a dream come true. To play big festivals and in front of big crowds, especially with the type of music we play.
The songs were recorded over a long period of time. It was done in different sections. There was the laptop stuff and then there were live drums and then a lot of layering.
How’s touring so far? It’s been fun. It’s been different this tour. We’ve done west coast and Texas and New York and now this Canadian part. It’s been really good. So it must be cool to go back to Canada after this tour. It’s weird. We’ve been to so many different places on this trip. It’s been kind of lucid; like you don’t really know where you are. Three weeks ago we were in Austin, Texas in 30 degree weather and then we were in New York a week ago and now it’s really cold. You don’t even know where you are.
Any story behind the name? No, I just had to think of a name the day of. They’re just names to be honest. I’m not really good with them. What’s in store for you after this tour? Not a lot of sleep, no girls, lots of driving, some shows. If you could describe your music in three words, what would they be?
How did you come up with your band name?
Obsequious, effervescent, uplifting
It came from a book (The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac) but to be honest, it doesn’t really have any significance. It’s just a band name.
What is your inspiration?
You guys just released you debut album, XO. Can
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Everything. No one thing. We just listen to a lot of music and try to get inspired. It’s like chasing something.
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Interview & Photos by Savana Ogburn
I heard that your parents are very involved in the fashion industry. Since fashion and music are so different, how did your love for music come about?
quintessentially, themselves. Even though I don’t think that my music is exactly like that, it’s just sort of the way that they were so specific to who they were within pop music. I really admire that.
Well, the two are very separate, no one in my family is involved in music aside from my dad singing really badly in the car. I started as a dancer when I was really young, like 4 or 5, then I sort of segued into musical theater- I did theater my whole life, in New York, and then I went to a performing arts high school in Manhattan, where I wrote music on the side just because I liked it. Then, when I was in college, I went to NYU, I was writing with people and producers because I loved writing; it was fun and it was different than theater. When I was a junior in college, that’s when I thought, “Ok, I’m going to do this. This is something I would really like to do”.
Are there and cool memories from past or the current tour that you’d like to share?
Could you tell us a little bit about the EP you have coming out in February? Yeah! It’s called “Head vs. Heart” and it’s 4 songs. I think it’s a really good introduction to who I am as an artist. I really wanted to nail, sonically, what I was trying to do and I had been trying to find the right blend of acoustic elements as well as synth and electro elements for songs, and I think that this is the first time that I’ve really done that. The synth sounds are really dark and it’s dance beats, but then it has very singer-songwriter melodies and lyrics so I got to really tell stories while also having it be fun and have a drive to it. So, that’s what the EP is. What are some of your big musical influences? I think I sort of run the gamut a little bit. I love singer-songwriter artists like Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, and even people like Carole King, you know, amazing songwriters. And then more from the dance side, I love people like Goldfrapp and Santigold who really screw with beats and weird synth sounds and things like that. I think that’s where the melding has come together. I also love people like Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple who are just,
We went to England this past September for Fashion Week and that was really cool. We traveled all around and played like 10 different shows in a week and a half, which was really cool. We performed at Fashion Week at different events in London and we just had a really fun time. Steve, our tour manager, is actually British- he came onboard with us, and also Greg, who’s videoing for us- we kind of stole them from England. You’re doing cover songs on this tour, could you tell us which is your favorite to play and why? Yeah! We do a mash up. It’s cool- it’s Wrecking Ball, which is the main mash up, and then we have some Lana Del Rey in there and I throw in a couple Taylor Swift lines, I sort of made it this big, epic, breakup song. We do it in a really cool way- really light, sort of like if Wrecking Ball was my song, what it would sound like. I think it’s really fun every time we do it. Every time we switch songs, everyone always is like, “Woo!”, each time we switch, which is really fun because you know that they’re with you and they’re excited about it. We weren’t sure about it when we first did it, I was sort of like, “Oh, I’m not sure if this is sort of, too obvious or not”, but I’m really glad that we did because it’s translating really well. How did you land a role in Paul McCartney’s new video, and how was that? It was really cool. I’m in it for like two seconds- you blink and you miss me, but I’m there! A woman that I work with actually, who is an acting manager who’s come on board and been a really wonderful mentor of mine, she’s British and the head of a European arm of an American acting management company- she
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JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 represents the guy who directed the Paul McCartney video. So she said “You know, I have this singer, I think you should check her out” and the director said, “Yeah of course I’ll put her in”. I just thought I was going to be a glorified extra, which basically in the end, I was, but I got to get my hair and makeup done, and meet everybody, and talk to Paul McCartney. The whole thing was pretty ridiculous, it was one of the top three moments of my whole life. Maybe the top, maybe number one. What are the best and worst things about touring? I really like touring, we were just talking about this the other day- your schedule gets really regular and I think that that’s really fun because you get to really be present. You’re kind of in this little bubble, like you’re in a bus, you’re in a venue, and we, as a band, have made an effort to go out and go find like, a cool restaurant (in each city). In Texas we were like, “Ok, we have to get barbeque.” We just sort of frequented the same diner all day. I like sort of getting the flavor of wherever you are. Today it was raining so we didn’t really explore Athens...but I think that that’s the best part, that you get to sort of jump out and see places, and meet people that you would’ve never gotten to meet or see before. The worst part...I don’t really know, I really like it- which probably isn’t going to be great for my personal life. The worst thing that I could say is the opposite end of that- with a hectic touring schedule, and the more hectic things get, especially if you’re going to do radio and interviews and everything while you tour, you would be in these great new places and not get to see it. So I know that’s sort of answering this question in the same way, but I think it’s like the two sides of a coin. Today I would’ve loved to see Athens, but I couldn’t and that stinks. So I think that it depends on your day- if you have it together and get to go see it, and then the days that you don’t, and you’re on a bus. Is it hard to be on the road during the holidays? No, because we’re going home for Christmas, so we’ll all be home for that. We’re all from New York and we’ll be back there in 3 or 4 days, even though it’s just for a night. But we have the day before off. We’re all together for Thanksgiving, and I think everyone felt pretty okay about it because we’re all sort of like a little family. I think it would be hard if we were away through the whole holiday season- that would’ve been harder. But in this aspect, I think that
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it’s been really fun. It’s been really nice, like yesterday we were at Stone Mountain and there were all these Christmas decorations , so I think that’s really funthat we get to see different cities during the holidays because everywhere gets sort of dressed up.
ISSUE 16 What is your favorite pass time on tour? We play a lot of catchphrase. I wish we could say that we’re some kind of crazy band, I’m sure the guys would love for me to tell you that. But yeah, we play
a really serious game where everyone’s involved. It’s really fun, I think!
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chainsmokers Interview by Tiffany Lam
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T’was the week before Christmas, not too long before the song #SELFIE took the EDM world by storm, we sat down with NY duo Alex and Drew of The Chainsmokers before their first show in Toronto at the Hoxton. Initially, before meeting the duo in person, I didn’t quite understand their humour (or maybe I’m just really gullible), but after a while you start to understand and realize how ridiculously hilarious they are. And amazing at completing each other’s answers. Though probably a lot less exciting in writing, the interview was far from dull, and one of the most entertaining (and confusing) interviews I’ve ever done. And a hilarious recording to transcribe. The Chainsmokers...Where did this name come from? A&D: We don’t know; it just happened...like the Chaos Theory. So, if you could rename The Chainsmokers, what would it be? A&D: Avicii How did you guys meet? A&D: On Chat Roulette. T: ... A&D: Seriously. It’s true. Check our bio. T: That’s definitely something different. What’s your favourite track to play at shows? A&D: Sheryl Crow - Strong enough to be my man T: Really? A&D: Yeah, and we usually dedicated it to someone... So if you come tonight, we’ll probably dedicate it to you. (Editor’s note: Sadly, they didn’t...if you were wondering. I’ll live.) What’s your favourite aspect of being on the road? D: I really like being on the road. A: *turns to Drew* ...Why... A: I like the food. D: Yeah, you get to eat in all these different cities, it’s sweet. A: Usually the host takes you out. D: Free steak dinners!! And asparagus. I love asparagus. But there’s a lot of other good things too. What has been your proudest moment so far?
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D: I got a boner after like 13 shots of whiskey the other night. That’s... Surprising. A: Probably TomorrowWorld for a serious answer, but [Drew’s] was a really good answer. (Editor’s note #2: Yeah, as you can see, sarcasm’s really hard to tell in a written interview, but I guess it is what it is.) Favourite artist right now, EDM or other: A: Drake D: Galantis. Hands down. Biggest music guilty pleasure: A: Coldplay. D: Coldplay. I fucking love Coldplay. Biggest pet peeve: A: Wet socks. D: People that walk slowly in front of you. Best meal of your life: A: Woah. D: Woah. At my friend Zack’s house. T: Ok ok, best meal on tour this year? D: Ooh, remember the time we crossed the border from Mexico... A: The sandwich spot at the liquor store...That was special. D: It was amazing. A: We don’t actually know the name of this place, it was just this liquor store that had sandwiches. D: In McCallen, Texas. After 4 hours of crossing the border from Mexico. That was delicious. I remember both of us just being in heaven.
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A: Yeah, I wanted 50 of those. My friends would describe me as... A: Sensitive. It’s in my bio D: Curious My mom would describe me as... D: Sensitive A: Curious Most private thing you’ll admit: D: I don’t know, we’re pretty open about everything - that’s kind of our thing.
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A: Drew used to work at a hot dog stand. I cried two weeks ago... D: And I liked that he cried. What would fans be surprised to know about the Chainsmokers? A&D: Our song #Selfie was an accident. A terribly great accident. It was a joke, they just didn’t get it. People don’t get our jokes either. One time we photoshopped Justin Bieber into a photo with us DJing, clearly photoshopped. The top comment was like, ‘Way to lose all your core fans by hanging out with Justin Bieber’, and there was 107 Likes on his comment!!
If you ever found yourself running from the cops, it would most likely be for... A: We got into a lot of fights recently D: We got into a lot of fights recently A: So maybe beating someone’s ass D: Or getting or ass beaten, or getting blamed for starting the fight, which we probably did start A: Yeah, that or public nudity
later. D: I think we should have a TV show. A: On MTV. It’s gonna be great. D: We’ll call it “The Wild Life of Alex and Dan (Drew)” Why do you get a different name? D: I’m not going to be in the show. My friend Dan will play me.
Last question, what are your future plans together as The Chainsmokers? You know, any goals, hopes, aspirations, the next step? Get married. Dinner at 8. Plans to get a hot dog
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Interview & Photos by Pauline Nguyen
Since this is your first time playing in Toronto, how has it been so far? Zach: Very exciting. This is an electric city, and I’m so stoked to be here. Daniel: Yeah, it was a wonderful show, the crowd was fantastic... we had a blast. Zach: We’re very lucky. Have you gotten a chance to walk around the city? Zach: No, we haven’t, unfortunately. We got here pretty quickly - we got pulled over, so we had to deal with that for a while, but I wish we had more time here because it’s a really cool place. Are you planning on coming back (to Toronto) any time soon? Zach: Of course, we’d love to come back. Daniel: I mean, hopefully we’ll be on tour for most of the year next year so we’ll have to stop in and say hey. How has the Glamour Kills Tour been so far? Daniel: It’s unbelievable. We’re having the time of our lives, we’re getting to play for the best crowds we’ve ever gotten to play for, I mean, we’re on tour with some of our best friends. Zach: It’s so much fun. No complaints at all. What made you want to come back from your band’s hiatus? Daniel: When we were on hiatus, I was with another group of touring musicians - we went on the road and did our thing, and that kind of fell through, but after that, our bass player just got out of the army, and we were talking about maybe writing a Stages record anyway, and that fell apart, my other stuff fell apart... we had so much positive feedback, the band was growing during our hiatus, and we said, ‘Why don’t we just build a band, find musicians that really want to do it, hit the road and a hundred percent do it?’. So we found this guy, and our drummer, and started pounding pavement.
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JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 Are you planning to release an “official” full-length debut album?
You just released your fifth EP - could you tell us about it and the recording process? Zach: It’s called ‘Small Town Favorites’, it just came out about three weeks ago. We did it with these producers named Zack and Ken, in Atlanta, Georgia and it was probably the most fun I’ve had making a record. We just went in, tried a bunch of different stuff we wanted to try, and just experimented with a lot of stuff, and it came out really, really well. We were so stoked on it, we definitely matured our sound a little bit, and just brought in a bunch of new influences - ‘cause as we’re getting older we’re listening to different music and we just made a record that we’re super, super proud of. Daniel: We posted up in a warehouse for maybe two and a half months and just wrote as many songs as we could write, and a lot of it is just the times we were having while we were writing it, it was a really awesome, easy process, and it was wonderful. I hope the next one is just as smooth.
Daniel: We would love to, that takes a certain amount of funding, and all of our records are self-paid for, we’re an independent band completely, and I guess if we had a real budget for it... I mean, we just don’t want to go into the studio and slop together ten songs just so we’ll have ten songs. We’d rather have five or six really good songs. If we had time to be in the studio and make a full-length record, and if we ended up signing a deal, then of course we’d end up doing a full-length, but right now, I think the process that we’re on - which is putting out an EP every year I mean, it’s just like putting out a full-length every two years, and it keeps your band fresh in everybody’s minds, you’re not sitting for two years waiting to put out another album. What’s in store for you after this tour? Daniel: We’re gonna tour! Zach: Yeah, we’re gonna just stay on the road, we have a lot of things we’re working on right now, we’re just excited to keep moving forward. Daniel: Yeah, we’re gonna stay on our course with the cycle that we have now, and keep doing it because if it’s not broken, then there’s no reason to fix it.
Speaking of influences, who are your musical influences?
Any New Year’s resolutions?
Zach: For me, I listen to a lot of weird stuff, I’ve been really, really into the Backstreet Boys right now, honestly.
Zach: Yeah, put Stages & Stereos into everybody’s iPod, everybody’s iPhone, everybody’s Walkman...
Daniel: He is! He’s not lying. Zach: I listen to them probably every day, I love it, ‘Straight Through My Heart’ is my favorite song ever, and I listen to a lot of eightie’s music as well, like The Police, he got me into Whitney Houston, Cindy Lauper, The Waterboys, so my influences are kind of all over the place. Daniel: I mean, my background comes in with classic rock, to The Killers, to The 1975, to Saves The Day - I mean, I honestly just listen to everything. Zach: Yeah, there’s so much good music out there now.
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Daniel: Take over the world with our band.
Daniel: We wanna be on your Walkmans. Do you have any favorite hometown band? Daniel: There’s so many bands from our hometown, there’s a lot of really well-known bands from our hometown, but right now, my obvious, cliche answer would be The Neighbourhood. Their new record is fantastic, and I love that record.
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Interview & Photos by Savana Ogburn
effron Drive’s catchy pop music has captured the ears of people all over the world garnering them a large following of incredibly passionate and supportive fans. This past winter, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Kendall Schmidt of Heffron Drive (and most famously of the band and Nickelodeon television show, Big Time Rush) and talking about his music, fans, and plans for the future. Heffron Drive began as the small project of singer-songwriter Kendall Schmidt and guitarist Dustin Belt after meeting each other by chance and realizing that they lived on the same street in Burbank, California: Heffron Drive. Shortly after the band was formed, Kendall was asked to be a part of the hit boy band, Big Time Rush, forcing him to make Heffron Drive a side project. Although Kendall has an incredibly busy schedule, he still finds the time to write and release music for Heffron Drive as well as Big Time Rush. “Until now I haven’t really had time to manage both, but I’ve always managed the idea of doing both. But now I have a little bit of free time, and I could’ve done nothing the last month or so and just sort of taken a break, which I’m sure I’m due for. I should probably take a week off or something”, Kendall laughs. Though he has been extremely busy with music, touring, and Big Time Rush, Kendall still has high hopes for the success of Heffron Drive. “ I had some free time and I wanted to make sure that the fans were still happy. I also wanted to be able to
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release music, and in order to do that, I wanted to play it first to get people excited for it. So that’s what the opportunity for this tour was... being on the road is good experience anyway for the future and no matter how many people you play for, it’s just building a fan base...it’s never a bad thing to be on the road.” In February 2013, Heffron Drive embarked on their first ever tour- a short stint in Austria and Germany. “(The fans) knew all the words, which was amazing, and I’ve been sort of testing how much people know the words the last couple shows. They know them a lot more than I thought. It’s always fun to let them sing parts, especially big specific parts of the song.” Fan interaction is obviously important to Kendall- from hosting meet and greets after shows to replying to fans on Twitter, Kendall knows how crucial his fans’ support is to his music career. “Heffron Drive has always been something I’ve wanted to do; I’ve always wanted to put out solo music. I think it’s basically that I’m using it as my solo platform to be able to release music because I’ve always wanted to be able to put out music under an entity and not necessarily just my name”, Kendall says. In the past, Heffron Drive has released multiple songs on the band’s Purevolume page for fans around the world to enjoy, free of cost. But now that Kendall has two solo tours under his belt, he speaks of plans to release more music under the Heffron Drive moniker, “Realistically, it’s just a contractual thing... it’s classic music business stuff though, so I’ll have to navigate those waters. And I think that if an artist has
You can imagine the rushes to run out on stage in front of thousands of people, but it’s a similar rush to perform in front of 150 people. I felt those nerves when we played Heffron Drive shows in Germany, I didn’t realize how nervous I was going to be, playing for that small amount of people.
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something to give people, you should let them give it, and hopefully they (the label) feel the same way. But, like I said, I would love to release music. This is sort of my releasing. This is all I can do. I can’t sell it, so I might as well play it live.”
fans. “You can imagine the rushes to run out on stage in front of thousands of people, but it’s a similar rush to perform in front of 150”, Kendall says, “it’s great playing these shows because you get to feel like a real artist again.”
At any given time, you can find Heffron Drive fans buzzing about the band’s biggest single, a catchy electronic pop song called Better Get to Movin’. “It’s sort of like the back and forth of a guy and girl in a club, a dance floor-ish kind of place and sort of the emotions that are going through his head. Sometimes, in a situation like that there’s a lot more thinking that goes into it than you really honestly thought there would be,” Kendall says, “All you have to do is go up and ask to dance, and sometimes we build too many walls and not enough bridges.” It was evident on the Heffron Drive Winter Tour that this song especially resonates with Kendall’s fans- the leading lyrics were met with excited cheers and loud singing across the venue.
The artistry behind Heffron Drive’s music is heavily influenced by the likes of Metro Station, Incubus, and The Postal Service. “The production of the original Heffron Drive songs was really Postal Service-inspired. I just love Postal Service, it’s just pretty awesome”, Kendall raves. “It was also heavily influenced by Metro Station because my buddy Mason (Musso) was blowing up like a rock star right when we (Heffron Drive) started making music. I really loved the programmable beats and guitar. Those guys made Metro Station on a laptop, and they would record guitar onto the song and the beats were made on a little midi keyboard.”
Though the venues Heffron Drive played on their 2013 winter tour were small, the band still managed to bring a live show that packed a punchcomplete with illuminated street signs of the band’s namesake road and a crowded room of dedicated
It’s easy to see that 2013 has been a big year for Kendall Schmidt. He started the year with his very first solo overseas tour, released three new singles, and he’s begun building a strong fan base for his new music. But what’s unmistakable is that Kendall is fulfilling a deep desire to connect with people through his music...and he’s doing it in spades.
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thiscentury + nicksantino &thenorthernwind
Interview by Jessica Pascarella & Toni Rose Castillo Photos by Winnie Surya Words by Zoe Harrison
Into The Crowd was recently able to sit down with two of the bands from the famous 8123 family, This Century and Nick Santino & The Northern Wind. Nick Santino has been journeying throughout the states having recently released his solo project. This Century’s 2013 album, Biography of a Heartbreak, has been wonderfully received in the music community and the Arizona quartet seems to be doing quite well as independent artists. We sat down to talk to Joel and Nick about their current and future plans for their music! What direction are you taking with your music? Nick: Kind of just whatever comes out. Honestly, I don’t really have a destination. It’s just whatever happens. Do you think you’ve finally found your sound in Biography of a Heartbreak or do you think it might change again with the next album? Joel: I wouldn’t say that we’ve completely landed on a definitive sound but I would say we’ve gotten closer to what our general sound would be. Things could very well change with the next record; It’s just depends on where we’re at, at the time as people and what we want to write. How has the transition from being sign to 8123 been?
Nick: It’s been pretty good. I mean 8123 is a management company but it has some perks of like a label vibe to it. It’s that family vibe that being in a label was kind of lacking at the end. I’m definitely more free; I can do what I want without them getting mad or telling me what to do. It’s a good transition. I like it so far. You guys have a TC family. Are you planning to spread your music to different places, maybe around the world? Joel: We’re big on the international stuff. It’s basically, our whole thing is, wherever people want to hear our music we will go. As long as there are enough people for us to actually go there. The Philippines is a good example of the whole TC Family thing. It was a very organic way that it kind of came about. A lot
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JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 of the fans were requesting songs on the radio and that allowed us to finally go over there. That’s kind of been the approach to other countries. We’re always looking for opportunities to grow the TC Family in other countries and overseas. Are you guys going to plan a tour overseas next year? Joel: Yeah, that’s the plan. The trickiest part is finding a promoter who will bring us over, especially in the countries that we’ve never been to. They’re kind of taking a risk by bringing us over. But yes, we’re planning on doing a couple countries that we’ve never been to before this next year. This is your first North American tour as a solo artist. Does it feel different touring by yourself? Nick: Yeah, it’s kind of lonely but not in a sad, depressing way. You just kind of miss having a couple guys to share the stage with, but I like it. I feel like I can say what I want and have the freedom to do what I want, which is cool. I only have to answer to myself for right now, which is nice.
Are you guys ever going to finish the 16 Project? Joel: For those who don’t know, the 16 Project was a thing that we basically decided to give out 16 free songs, but we never really did set a deadline on it. Technically, the 16 Project is still alive. The last one is remixes. But yes, I think our intention is to finish the 16 Project it’s just that things have come about. We made some records but I would like to finish the 16 Project, just so we can be men of our word because I don’t like a man who doesn’t stick to his word. We know you’re good friends with Debby Ryan and you have collaborated with her on a cover, “We Are Never Getting Back Together”. Can we expect another collaboration in your future endeavors? Nick: Probably not with Debby. She has a record coming out as far as I know, that we wrote together and I wrote like half of it with her. I have some ideas for collaborations with some other artists and other female artists. I’m always down to sing with friends. I know that you were on a label before. What are the pros and cons of being on a label and
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being independent? Joel: The pro is basically just one thing. Being on a label, in the situation that we were in, it’s like having a rich dad who really couldn’t care less about what you do. They will give you the money to do what you want to do but they don’t really invest too much personal interest in what you’re doing. In the long run, it’s really hard to feel appreciated and I think that’s kind of the situation that we had. Our buddies in The Maine had the same thing. Being off a label is a lot more liberating and having the creative control that we do is for me personally, I prefer it. Since you dabble in production, will the next This Century album be self-produced? Joel: Yeah! I’m glad you brought that up. We are aspiring producers, especially Alex and Ryan. They’ve been deeper in the production world but yeah, we would love to self-produce an album. That would be the ideal situation. It’s just a matter of us getting there as far as our knowledge base and being able to do it. We tend to be kind of creative control freaks so that would be really cool. It’s something that we’ve been thinking about.
So Nick, how did you come up with The Northern Wind? Nick: I wrote it in my iPhone notes. I remember being on tour with All Time Low in 2010. I was sitting in the van and for some reason I though, if I ever go solo…I don’t even remember how it came about, I just thought The Northern Wind was a cool name and I’m from Boston so it’s technically the north in the states. I play kind of like a folky, southern style of music I guess and it kind of has that folky name without saying The Southern Wind because I’m not from the south. It’s just kind of came about and I’ve always said that if I do anything, I want it to be called the Northern Wind. Are there any pros and cons to playing alone? Nick: Cons is you’re kind of lonely. You have to think about everything to say in between songs and if you mess up, you’re the only one that messed up. You can’t blame it on anybody else. The pros though are, it’s just fun. You can be a little bit more honest when it’s just you. You can really tell the story. When you hear it from one person, it’s a lot more believable than when you hear it from four people. I like it though. It’s cool.
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Interview by Karmin Yu
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What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Moon King? When I started the project it was a tape I made called ‘Daniel Moon King’ , & it just sorta naturally became the name for the project. The front cover was a photo of Mia Farrow playing Peter Pan in a 50’s stage version, and that kind of represented the character in a lot of these songs, this kind of celestial, androgynous singer. What brought you guys together to form a band? After I did the tape I wanted to start playing shows. Maddy lived down the street from me & we’ve been playing music together most of our lives, so it seemed to make sense that we do this together. We were in a similar place at the time, both feeling pretty unsure of what to do with ourselves. How would you describe your band’s sound? I like to describe music in terms of size - most of the time we want to sound really big, like we’re playing a stadium show in somebody’s basement or something. To make someone feel like they’re right in the middle of the sound, very visceral and kind of physically affected. It can be disorienting sometimes but hopefully transportive as well. How does living in Toronto affect your music? I think growing up downtown in any major city has a pretty strong effect on how you feel about shows, about bands, about music in general -- it’s just there all around you, all the time, you dont have to search for it. Maybe we missed out the NEED to get out of a small town, or suburbia, there’s a lot of creativity that gets fuelled by that frustration. I can never move out to the country, I’m a big city kid. Which artists do you look up to? We’ve been really lucky that a lot of our friends are also touring now & we get to see them all the time -- Sean Nicholas Savage, my friend Lorely who does Empress Of, Fucked Up, and of course my brother Airick who has a band called Doldrums, I feel really
inspired by them. You guys just released a video for “Almost Blue,” where did the idea for the video come from? Bryan Ujueta did the video with us in New York, we were doing some shows with his band Twin Sister the video was very much his idea, music videos aren’t really my thing, I don’t watch them or pay much attention to them. He made it entirely out of still photos, like stop motion animation. I really like how it turned out! What is the meaning behind “Almost Blue”? I think it’s maybe the only positive song I’ve written, it’s just about finding someone that’s your match & being at peace -- usually I write pretty about hopeless & desperate feelings, so this is kind of the polar opposite. it this kind of sunset-vibe, ahhh, like closing credits feeling. Is there a correlation between “Appel” and an apple? Haha no not really, I just liked how the word looked. “Only Child” is so catchy! Where did the sonic and lyrical inspiration come from? Yeah that one is more typical me, like doom and gloom .... it’s about memory loss, mostly my grandma’s Alzheimer’s .... I’ve never had a conversation with her my entire life, it’s a very empty & lonely feeling. Like, nothing is really going to happen, ever. As far as sonically, it’s mostly acoustic guitars put through tons of distortion, and some weird keyboard chords underneath that are modulating around kinda robotically. Your opinion HSY and TOPS? I love both of these bands -- it’s great to have them together, they represent two groups I feel close to -- TOPS are with Arbutus Records out of Montreal (Blue Hawaii, Sean Savage, Doldrums etc) and HSY rep Toronto & the Buzz/Daps Records crew (Odonis Odonis, Hooded Fang etc). I’ve never felt like I’ve been part of any one ‘scene’ or close circle of friends, I move around too much. I’m always on the outside.
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Interview by Karmin Yu Photos by Winnie Surya How is tour so far?
Nate: The tour’s been pretty awesome! For the most part, it’s really awesome for us to actually go on a tour and feel like we’re getting treated with respect. We have a green room and the production is great, we get soundchecks and stuff like that. It’s just so awesome to be treated that way.
Nate: The whole thing is bittersweet, whether you’re at home or you’re on tour. Jake: You’re always missing your family.
Jake: There’s also Story of the Year and other bands that we’ve listened to since middle school. Hawthorne Heights and Story of the Year, I’ve listened to them since I was thirteen. To be on the road with those guys is insane!
Justin: I guess it depends on how big your band is or what you’re driving. We’re driving in a van and it’s very hard to be comfortable and sleep and all that kind of stuff. Making money is also a downside because where we are right now, we’re not really breaking even at this point. So, it’s hard to make money on tour. There are all kinds of bad things, but there are good things too, like travelling the world and playing your music.
Nate: Yeah, we love every single band that we’ve been with.
Jake: That half hour set that we have everyday, that’s why we’re out here.
So you didn’t get a green room in your previous tour?
How are your Canadian fans different from your American ones?
Nate: No, it was a smaller tour. It’s cool for us to experience this now and to see what it’s like to be on a bigger tour.
Nate: There’s a huge huge huge difference!
Jake: It’s our first actual big tour. Nate: Yeah, we were a little shocked! You guys also toured with Pierce the Veil last year? Jake: Yeah, we had a couple of dates with them. It wasn’t like we were on the whole tour. Nate: We just played the Canadian dates. Jake: It was awesome; it was amazing! It was a big wakeup call for us. What are the pros and cons of touring and not touring at all?
Jake: Last night, it was amazing compared to most of the shows on tour. Where was it? Nate: It was in Montreal. How has it been ever since you guys signed to Velocity/Rise Records? Nate: We’ve seen changes, definitely. We’ve kind of evolved with our sound a little bit and we’ve evolved as a band and as musicians as well. We really went the extra mile this time. Justin: We just really worked hard and pushed ourselves. No one else changed it but us; it had nothing to do with the label. I know a lot of people are saying “Oh, they sound like a Rise band now” or
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JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 “Rise made them change” and that has nothing to do with it. We made all our music. Nate: So yeah, we have changed, but the change was for the better. It had nothing to do with us getting signed. We just had to step up our game. Did that change your view of the band’s future? Jake: There’s always room for progress; anything can happen. Nate: We really don’t like to be stuck. We don’t want to be a static band that always has the same sound on every single CD. We all listen to so many different kinds of music that we want to incorporate as much as we can into our sound. We really want to take the next step on our CD and do something completely different than we’ve ever done before. That’s probably what you’re going to see on all of our CDs. So you just released your debut album OneHundred, can you tell us about it? Justin: Recording process, we started with the pre/ pro and then we started working at my house. We kind of messed up a little bit: we started recording our pre-production a week before we had to go to the studio and we actually got a phone call from our producer saying: “Hey! I can’t wait to see you guys tomorrow!” and bla bla bla. We didn’t know we were supposed to go at that time, so we kind of rushed with everything. We actually had to write three quarters of the album in the studio because we didn’t have enough time because we’re procrastinators. We wrote most of that in the studio and the songs kind of all came from different places: someone had an idea or we took old demos and threw them together, chopped them up or someone had the lyrics and we made a song to fit the lyrics. Jake: Every song was different; like whatever fit the mood, basically. How is your debut album different from your EP? Nate: Our EP definitely had a different lyrical aspect. I feel like the music is mostly the same on the CD, but we kind of took lyrics to a different direction because Sam took over most of the lyrics for the full length, compared to the EP where him and Justin were kind of collaborating. Justin: We all threw in lyrics.
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Jake: Yeah, I’d come up with one or somebody else would come up with one and write it down to make sure it’d fit. Nate: Sam had his whole idea for the CD and what he wanted to do with it. So, we let him do his thing and get out what he needed to say. Jake: He has tons of lyrics on his phone, probably enough for the next eighteen records! Justin: Yeah, we’d be on tour somewhere or in Disneyland – Jake: That’s where “Thrive” came from. Justin: Yeah, he actually wrote the lyrics for “Thrive” at Disneyland. You released your music video for “Julia” not too long ago, what was the inspiration behind the song and the video? Nate: The song inspiration was definitely Sam’s relationship that he was in before that ended badly. He wrote that song two or three years ago and we never used it. We made a demo for it and we had it on our page for a while, but we never got around to actually making it into a song that we wanted to release on full length or anything like that. So, we had to pick another song to put on the full length and so we decided to kind of just make that song that we wanted to do and it ended up being one of the most catchy songs on the whole entire CD. Justin: I think it relates to the video because of all the anger that he had in the relationship and coming out of it. You can definitely tell in the music video that he’s pretty pissed off. Nate: The line “I know I was the one who set your heart on fire” is why we clear her on fire in the video because it’s like a metaphor for it. What is in store for 2014? Jake: We have a tour that’s confirmed right now with Abandon All Ships in February. Nate: Everything else is above the air. Jake: We’re just taking it as it comes, going through the motions. We’ll see what happens. Nate: Just expect big things! We’re hoping to be out as much as we can.
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ISSUE 16 Canadian singer/songwriter, Ian Kelly, recently released his fourth album, All These Lines, in November of 2013. His delightful melodies and unique voice are often described as melodic-folk with pop influence. Kelly plans to expand his horizons while touring throughout 2014 and we were lucky enough to sit down and chat with him about it! Interview & Photos by Winnie Surya Words by Zoe Harrison You just released your fourth album, could you tell us a little bit about it? It’s a little pop-ier than what I did in the past; a little less on the folk side, more ethnic. The main difference with this album compared to the others is that I wrote way more songs on this album. I thought, there are 150 albums coming out every week, if I’m going to add one to the pile, it has to be good. I really wanted to have good songs on this. I wrote around 50 and we put 10 on the album. I wanted to be in love with every song. How long did you have to write and record? A fair amount of time because I like to do a lot of stuff. Since I work alone a lot, I do one thing after the other, so it takes more time. I’d say I took about 5 months to write the songs, so like last fall. We really started in January with my co-producer. He helped me select the best songs and we worked on them further and improve them. It was about a month of that, not recording anything. It was 2-3 months of recording. I mixed it myself and since it’s my music I can really tweak everything until I’m satisfied. I enjoy the process so maybe that’s why I took a bit more time. Altogether, it’s almost a year. That’s not too long, not too short to write an album. I wanted to stop touring and focus on this album. Also I have kids and I wanted to spend time with my family and experience life. It’s important to live in the moment and live life to the fullest. Time flies so quickly. I wanted to stay home and spend time with my kids. Is it different from any of your previous albums? Well, I think so. It’s more pop, maybe a little less acoustic guitar. The way I worked was kind of the same because I spent a lot of time in my basement, in my little studio. For the first time I played drums and bass on there. I guess that’s different too. Usually I would record demos and then get a good drummer to replace what I’ve done.
Are you doing one man shows again? Well, just for the recording part; layering tracks and stuff like that. Your single, “Do You Love the Rain”, I was wondering what the song is about? Actually, it’s about a bunch of stuff. When I was 25, I quit drinking and I met my wife. I quit my day job to spend all my time working on my music. I thought if I didn’t focus on that, I wouldn’t ever make it. You can’t just train during the weekends and then go to the Olympics. That’s not how it works. I thought, if I want to do this, it’s all in. It’s about that period of time where I started to make some changes in my life and also the fact that when it rains, it something beautiful. I just thought the rain could be something beautiful as well. What’s in store for you next year? I mostly tour in Quebec although I’m trying to build an audience elsewhere. I did a coast to coast tour six months ago and I go to Europe a lot. It’s hard for a Quebec artist to come to Toronto and do stuff. I do want to play elsewhere. I want to travel this country from one ocean to the other. Where do you get your inspiration? I look up to a lot of people. I listen to a lot of people, from Andrew Bird to The National to The Roots. I’ve listened to a lot of hip-hop music in my life, not a lot of folk. I like bands like Queens of the Stone Age and stuff like that. When I write my own songs, it’s kind of a blend of all the stuff I listen to. What does music mean to you? It means a lot. The thing with music is that we’re always adding more. We’re still listening to the music that was made 50 years ago but we still make it every day. Music is something I need to do. I’ve put it aside many times, but I’ve always gone back to it.
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record creating an entirely new age of grungey-melodic based side of punk. Skaters bandmates all hailing from Boston, UK and LA have contributed to their highly cultured sound.
SKATERS - Manhattan
Who’s bringing back punk? Skaters, and no they don’t skate nor do they dance. NYC based artists released “Manhattan” their debut full length
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“Manhattan” is heavily influenced with sounds of 70’s & 80’s rock which is evident in their breakthrough track “Miss Teen Massachusetts” with their witty lyrics, and “house party” vibe they can easily be anyone’s favorite. Skaters ability to engulf the the sad side of the teenage mind and naivety of being young, roaming through life without a clue creates this sense of coming of age. Every song seems like a anti-social relation, heartbreak and carefree mindset.
“I Wanna Dance (But I don’t know How), pop like beats and lyrics can make anyone dance, and without a doubt make you remember what it was feel not only misunderstood, but breaking free from the institutions of life and just living in the moment. What sets Skaters record apart from many other alternative artists is their ability to be genre hoppers - partially uptempo dance to surfy-punk rock. There’s this nostalgic essence to their lyrics, that reminds listeners of The Strokes. Favorite track off are “Schemers” & “To Be Young”. Skaters is groovy, timeless, and tragically comforting. (Eman ElSaied)
ISSUE 16 in “Windows In Heaven,” where she sings about her late father – truly a beautiful song, it was done well, and definitely does the band justice in terms of their growth. Ending the album with “Reflections” was a smart choice, returning the band to its exuberant pop-rock roots. To me, this one was the most reminiscent to their debut release.
We Are The In Crowd - Weird Kids
Poughkeepsie’s pop-rock darlings We Are the In Crowd impress with their latest release, Weird Kids. A collection of ten songs that stay true to their roots, although varying slightly from the upbeats of Best Intentions, is sure to provide adequate listening material for any new listener (or devoted fan) looking for a taste of something fresh. Starting off with “Long Live The Kids,” the band proves they have the chops to execute a ballad, at least in progression. Make no mistake; it still remains a hard-hitting anthem that has some great gang vocals. “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)” is one of the more ‘edgier’ tunes of the album, and is followed by “Manners,” which is a great showcase of the back-andforth magic of Jardine and Eckes. “Come Back Home” is a sweet, slower track, but definitely one of my favourites. Another heavier song, “Dreaming Out Loud,” features thumping guitar lines and drum beats. I imagine the audience being very high-energy when hearing this one, it’s pretty lively. I fell in love with the bridge in “Remember (To Forget You),” it has a catchy chorus although the topic is kind of cliché. Jardine‘s vulnerability is showcased
A strong output from We Are the In Crowd, who continues to prove that they are without doubt, deserving fixtures in the growing pop-rock scene. Here’s to hoping that we don’t have to wait over another two years for their next release, but until then, we have Weird Kids to savour. (Chloe Hoy)
Neck Deep - Wishful Thinking It’s 2014 and every other band you hear is another pop punk band. The genre is completely oversaturated and it’s hard for new bands to come out and set themselves apart. I guess Neck Deep has been doing this for themselves. They recently signed to Hopeless Records, have a couple of big tours coming up and seem to be getting better every day. Before listening to Wishful Thinking, I had only listened to Neck Deep once or twice and wrote them off as a really weak version of The
Story So Far, but I think they’ve done a good job of shaking that comparison. The two bands still share similarities, especially vocally, but Neck Deep doesn’t sound like a boring clone anymore. This album doesn’t do a lot for me, personally, but I’ll start out by focusing on what I do like. “Losing Teeth” is a solid track about growing up and going forward that any pop punk band around would have loved to open their record with. On the track, “Staircase Wit,” Neck Deep shows off some interesting guitar work with a lead that repeats throughout that I can’t get enough of. A couple of other standout tracks are “Damsel in Distress” and “Say What You Want.” I particularly like the latter because it’s only one minute long, so it never overstays its welcome and the execution is perfect. My favorite track on the album, though, is “Mileage.” It’s a song that talks about how everyone wants to leave home and do something, but once you do, all you want it to be home- they’re never ungrateful for the success they’ve earned. While Wishful Thinking has its shining moments, as a whole, it felt a bit bland. The weakest point of the album for me is the new recording of “What Did You Expect?” It just doesn’t hold up when compared to the old version. If you are a big fan of pop punk, you’ll probably eat this album up and love every second of it. Don’t go into this expecting something groundbreaking; I don’t think that’s what Neck Deep was going for anyway. Neck Deep shows a lot of potential and promise with their debut album, so keep your eye on them. (Nathan Cornell)
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Published on Feb 25, 2014
Featuring Heffron Drive • The Chainsmokers • Ariana & The Rose • Wildlife • Bear Mountain • This Century + Nick Santino • Ian Kelly • I Am...