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 & seanzha kemal communications manager tiffany lam pr & marketing feli langlois, kelsey barnes & toni rose castillo contributers zoe harrison, daniel hadfield, nathan cornell, jennie tan, savana ogburn, marisa martel, eman el-saied, kelsey barnes, savoula stylianou, renee tran, oscar rodriguez, hayley hasessian, chloe hoy 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 firstname.lastname@example.org cover disclosure january 2014 danforth music hall toronto, on by tiffany lam
tableofcontents q&a the skins wakey! wakey! the royal concept lyon the maine aaah! real monsters stay seventeen jilette johnson we are the in crowd
4 8 28 32 36 46 48 52 54
cover artist disclosure
artist spotlight shad
festival recap coachella
The Skins Interview by Chloe Hoy | Photos by Winnie Surya
This year will be an EPIC year for THE SKINS! The band has been writing and working with a whole bunch of amazing writers and producers andare so excited to show you all what they’ve been up to! Check out our interview with band to find out more!
Your self-titled debut EP was released in 2012. What inspired the music behind it? Our EP was our first collection of music released to the public. It was basically like our first stepping-stone to becoming a “real” band haha. We did it when we were super young, individually and as a band and most importantly as writers, and we were fresh out of music school (School of Rock) where we learned to love a lot of Classic Rock, Prog and Soul/Funk music. So the songs on our EP are inspired by bands like Led Zeppelin, Earth, Wind and Fire, Janis Joplin, Jane’s Addiction and King Crimson. Musically and lyrically, we meshed personal life experiences with the style of a more classic rock or soul band. Who or what inspired each of you to take up an instrument, and being making music together? Reef was always EXTREMELY (almost abnormally) natural at learning to play new instruments and new music quickly. One day our father came home with an electronic drum kit, and without ever having any lessons or even coming in contact with a drum kit, Reef picked up the sticks and just began playing! No lie! It was really amazing to witness. So after our Dad had succeeded at getting both Reef and I (BayLi) into rock bands like Zeppelin, Hendrix, The Doors, etc. our mother proceeded to sign us up for lessons at The School of Rock (in NYC) where Reef began taking drum lessons and I (BayLi) took guitar. A few years later our sister Kaya joined the school and after trying out a few instruments (and not really liking them) she landed on bass and the rest is pretty much history! I will say though, Kaya’s case is even more impressive because seeing that she only attended the school for a few months, she is basically self-taught. For being a self-taught bass player, who only picked up the instrument 2 1/2 years ago, she is extremely advanced and skilled in her playing and performance.
Daisy’s father and Uncle Jimi, as well as her older cousin Jimi, played a huge roll in inspiring her to play guitar. After she saw these very important men in her life create music with a guitar it made her want to do the same thing. For Russell, it was inspired to play guitar after seeing a few friends playing. He thought it was super cool so he picked it up himself and BAM he became the awesome guitar player that he is today. For Bayli, Kaya and Reef, what is it like being in a band with your siblings? This is definitely one of the most commonly asked questions we get and the answer that we always give is that it is amazing being in a band along side our siblings! A lot of people assume that because we’re siblings we fight or argue a lot but it is quite the contrary. Because we are related we can be open-minded and honest and genuine with each other. Not saying that we never disagree, but if we do we have a way better understanding of each other than most people do, so we know how to go about handling touchy situations or disagreements. Honestly though, we VERY rarely disagree on things so I guess we are just lucky to get along so well. How did you guys manage being in school and your music career? Kaya and Reef are currently enrolled in homeschool tutoring after having to leave regular public schooling because of how much we travel and tour. Daisy and I (Bay Li) are currently on leave of absence from our colleges (Daisy :The New School and Bayli: Pratt Institute) and Russell withdrew from his college in New Jersey to live in NYC and be a full-time musician. You released your latest single, “Dead Hands”, at the beginning of last year. When can fans expect to hear some new music?
WWW.INTOTHECROWDMAGAZINE.COM We don’t have a set date on when we will be releasing new music but in the next few months, potentially around Summer time, we are supposed to be putting out an EP with brand spanking new tunes on it! We are so excited for you guys to hear the new music we’ve been working so hard on creating and perfecting for your ears. What do you hope to gain from touring North America in the upcoming weeks? Are you excited to be on the road? We are excited to simply spread our music and name around to all of these different people in places we’ve never even been! We are excited to play for audiences that we KNOW can appreciate good music. Although we’ve been out on the road before, this tour will be the biggest tour and most dates we’ve ever played, so it will definitely be an experience to say the least. Most importantly, we are pumped to hit the stage and feel that rush of adrenaline and energy and genuine happiness that happens every single time we perform. We always hope that we relay that feeling to our audience as well. Can each of you describe, in one word, how you feel when performing on stage? Reef: Great Daisy: Euphoric BayLi: Abstract Russell: Happy Kaya: Alive! Where do you see yourselves in ten years from now? Daisy & Russell: Following in Michael Jackson’s footsteps, with 10 grammys Reef: In 10 years? I just want to have a lot of money BayLi: In 10 years I want us to love each other and our music even more than we do now Kaya: In 10 years, the question should be where I don’t see myself...cause I see us everywhere! What’s in store for you guys for this year? This year will be an EPIC year for The Skins! We have been writing and working with a whole bunch of AMAZING writers and producers and we are so excited to show you all what we’ve been up to! We will be releasing new music and touring a lot more! We will soon be in a city near you, so keep an eye out :)
March-April 2014 How does it feel to be back in Montreal at this same venue? Montreal’s one of my favourite cities to play. We have the craziest Montreal fanbase in the world, you guys just bring it! Montreal’s an awesome town and we always have so much fun here! The first time we came and we played this little show and we kind of undersold to a small venue and it was just insanity. We did that show solo and the crowd was just insane; they were out of control! I remember the sound guy covering his ears and hiding because it was just so loud. It was awesome! And then, we came back here, but it was just me solo. I’ve only ever played solo, and today we get to play with the whole band. So to me, it’s a whole new show and it almost feels like it’s a whole new venue as well. How does this tour compare to the one you had in Europe? I love this tour! Honestly, I think a lot of touring is about the people you surround yourself with. I’m really lucky to curate this group of people that I’m with. I’m a HUGE fan of Jillette Johnson and I really believe in her music and in what she does. So, to get to hear her shows every night is fantastic. She’s super fun to travel with. For my own set, the people that I’m playing with are some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever played with in my life. On top of that, our drummer is someone that’s been friends with me for eighteen years. I love the touring party, I love the music on this tour so much, it’s fantastic! Is it true you met all your bandmates in New York? Yeah, well I met Fitz, our drummer, in college. The bass player, I met in New York. And the other person I’m playing with is Casey Shea, who’s playing guitar and singing. Casey is someone who’s been a friend of mine since I first moved to New York, probably for over a decade at this point. Not only is Casey one of my favourite people to hang out with, but he’s one of my favourite artists as well. He’s a really talented writer. He and I were both signed to Family Records back in the day. Literally, this tour feels like I’ve curated all of my friends, it’s awesome!
Interview by Karmin Yu Photos by Winnie Surya
You recently just released a new EP, what makes it so Irresistible? We were going to release an album as well, initially.
WWW.INTOTHECROWDMAGAZINE.COM When we were making the album, we wanted to make something very cohesive because it’s an album. It’s a collection of songs that need to work together, but during the process of writing, I wrote probably eighty or a hundred songs. So, we had all these songs that were fantastic, but didn’t fit into the world of the album. So myself and Caleb Shreve, who produced it, just decided “Hey! We have five songs that are too good to not put out and they don’t fit into the world of the album, sonically or story-wise. So we should record them.” We had this great song called “Irresistible” that I wrote with this guy, Boots Ottestad. Boots is such a great writer and he wrote some from the album with me as well that I really love. We thought that "Irresistible" was a really great song, so we put it out on the EP and we decided to call it the Irresistible EP! What happened to the rest of your songs? They're all over the place! The one thing that's really cool about my life and my job is that I get to write songs not just for myself, but for other artists. I've written on a lot of songs that are out in the world right now and with those songs, hopefully they'll all find home, some with other people. Some of them will be around for a while and find new incantations and maybe make it on the future Wakey!Wakey! album. What’s your favourite song off of the EP? It's really tough to say. My favourite song changes every day. Songs, a lot of times, are kind of like your kids, so it's really hard to say. For the EP, one really weird thing about what I do and the way that I write songs is that each song is its own ambassador; each song becomes its own thing. Sometimes, I'll write a song that people might really love and sometimes I'll write a song that a whole other group of people might really love. On the EP, there are five different songs that I hope all of our fans will love, but they are over a quite a large swath of material. Sometimes, when I'm at the show and we bust into "Irresistible," it's huge and it sounds awesome. When I was on tour in Europe, Alexz Johnson got to come out and sing with me, it was the best thing in the world! The audience gets super excited and they sing along – it's awesome! Then, other songs like "Phoebe Cates" has been one of my favourite songs to play live; it was very much requested, even before we released it. Why did you rename your song “Young Love” to "Phoebe Cates"?
One song was called "Indy Love" that was on the album and one song was called "Young Love". We couldn't have two songs that were something-love because that's would sound really redundant. So, I started thinking about the song and tome, the song is really about young love and that feeling when you're first falling in love and discovering your sexuality and all that stuff. And for me, that's a lot wrapped up in the actor, Phoebe Cates, because I remember being a kid and seeing her and she was this huge sex symbol and just the feelings that she brought out – to me, it was kind of the essence of young love. Your newer music uses much less piano and has become more pop-y, why? When you're writing, you have to write what really appeals to you. For me, it's a scary thing – we have the luxury of this fanbase right now, which is fantastic and I'm so lucky and so blessed to have them. It's tough because it's my job to write things that they will all enjoy, but I also have to write what I enjoy. So it's like this big trust exercise where I have to believe that my fanbase is probably evolving the same way that I am. I have to hope that they’ll all come with me and I’m sure that we might leave some behind. I’ll miss them and I hope they still listen to the old stuff and still love it; I hope it doesn’t make them sad. Hopefully we’ll find a whole new world of fans as well. You starred in One Tree Hill, do you still talk to any of the cast members? Yeah, I’m super tight with a lot of those guys. They’re really, really sweet people. I’m so lucky to have had the experience of being involved with that show because it’s such a massive thing. They introduced us to so many wonderful fans, which is fantastic! But I have to say the greatest gift that I have is my friendship with the cast. James Lafferty is one of my besties, so I’ll crash on his couch in L.A. sometimes. Sophia Bush and I… last time I was in L.A., we went to a Regina Spektor concert together. India de Beaufort – who was my love interest in the show – in real life, is like my little sister and we text each other all the time. Stephen Colletti is another awesome person and he’s such a supporter of what I do. I got a text from him the other day just being like: “Yo! I’m living with your EP! I’m loving it!” So that friendship from that stuff is really cool!
Shad Artist spotlight
Interview by Savoula Stylianou | Photos by Tiffany Lam
ingston favourite Shad made a triumphant return to town with his first show he’s ever played at the Grad Club.
“If it’s before a show and I only have a grey t-shirt and big Red Wing boots, I’m like, ‘This is just not gonna work out’.”
The hugely popular venue, home to shows organized by music guru Virginia Clark, welcomed Shad on January 29 along with his opening act, Egyptian Prescription.
2013 saw the debut of Shad’s latest album Flying Colours, which was met with huge success. He said he hasn’t settled into a groove of sorts just yet though.
Tickets for the gig sold out in two days, which Shad said he was amazed by. “That’s pretty fast! I haven’t done a club show in Kingston in maybe 2 or 3 years. I hear it’s a great vibe, and I trust Virginia. There’s living room vibes, so it’ll be fun and sweaty,” he said in our interview a half hour before the show began. The musician’s pre-show requirements are simple: he just needs his go-to stage uniform. “I have to wear light-weight shoes to jump around in and a black t-shirt, that’s it.” The reasoning for this specific attire is pretty straightforward, Shad said. “I need a black shirt because I sweat so much, any other colour is very apparent. Today, for example, I have to take off my long johns and put on more appropriate undergarments, for similar reasoning – I can’t be up there feeling like I’m wearing Huggies.” Anything except these two pieces of clothing would be potentially detrimental to the show, he jokes.
“It’s always the same challenges. With this album, I wanted to try different things, and I feel happy with what I did; but I can also look at the album and say, ‘Yeah, I did the same thing,’ which is good. I think I did my thing.” Shad is known best for his lyrical genius, lacing his songs with the perfect juxtaposition of catchy riffs and thoughtful, honest words. The key to his prowess of shaping the English language into powerful lyrics is to sometimes step away from his work. “There’s no formula for me. I just push through it – and that works, but other times I have to step away. I usually find my best ideas come not when I’m forcing it, but when I’m in some state of letting my mind go and be free,” he said. “I’ve had that experience of plugging away at some lyrics and almost the second I walk down the street to get a coffee because I’ve given up, it’s like ‘Boom, boom, boom,’ I’ve got it.” One of the songs that perfectly exemplifies why Shad is one of the great Canadian rappers on the music scene today, thus allowing him to beat Drake at the 2011 Juno Awards for rap recording of the year, is taken from the new album and titled “Remember to Remember.”
The song called for a reunion of Shad working with his two friends Mike Tompkins and Lights. “They’re two people I’ve worked with before, and that’s how I like to keep the vibe so people can be comfortable creatively to try different things. I mean, it’s hard in the studio to be in a vulnerable place putting ideas out there and your voice out there,” he said. The music video is very visually interesting, starting in largely dark light and transitioning into the use of lots of neon lights and stimulating visual effects. Shad said he collaborated with a long-time friend for the video shoot with Lights. “The guy who shot it has done a bunch of videos for me and done all my artwork, so I let him do what he wants. He’s like a good friend of mine and the cool thing is he knows me super well and we’ve worked on a bunch of stuff together.” Shad and the director looked to the music video for “Remember to Remember” as a chance to really try something vastly new and make it happen. “At this point, [the director] is approaching it like, ‘Well, what have we not done before?’ and one thing we hadn’t done was something that felt like that – the darkness, then the phonetic energy with the lights and the colours and the trippy effects.” With four albums under his belt, the London-raised musician said even though he’s been in the music business for the last ten years, he never regrets the things he messed up. “I’ve learned so much through music, it’s what I’ve done most of my adult life,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about trusting myself and trusting my own common sense and heart, for lack of a better term. I could talk about that for a long time.” In terms of summer plans, Shad jokes that other than his upcoming collaboration with Beyonce, he is going to be touring a lot. “Nothing too crazy on the horizon, just touring on the weekend and in the summer, we’ll play a lot of festivals, so we’re looking forward to that.” And if given the chance to return and play the Wolfe Island Music Festival again this August, the artist said he would love to. “That would be great, I love Wolfe Island.”
Skaters Artist spotlight
Interview by Abbey Toomey-Fisk and Zoe Harrison | Photos by Winnie Surya
How did SKATERS form? We formed a couple years ago when Josh and I met at a party in Los Angeles. We knew each other through mutual friends but it was our first time meeting. We stayed up really late listening to a bunch of records and we ended up parting ways. I was about to move back to New York and then when I finally got to New York, he dropped me an email saying he would be in New York tomorrow. We didn’t really realize he moved to New York to be in a band with us. He showed up and we ended up forming as soon as he got there. How did you come up with the name for your band? The name kind of came first. We kept thinking about how good of a band name it was and also how when we were kids, we would skate like there were no cares in the world. It was worry free with no expectations, like it was a good time. It was straightforward, honest and innocent and that’s the kind of band we wanted to be. Can you take me through your recording process? There were like 30 songs for the record (Manhattan) and it got widdled down. We went into pre-production with the producer and picked the songs we were going to record plus a couple others that may or may not make it. Then we went to studios in New York and we were held up there for a month in a room on the top floor. We made it our little home for the 4 weeks. Then we went on tour and kept working on the record. It all came together very sporadic and jumbling. What’s your favorite song of the album? It kind of changes but the one song that really sticks with me is “Band Breaker.” I think it became my favorite because it was so hard to record. We tried it like 5 times and it wasn’t until the last time we tried
it. We ended up getting it in like a day. We just went it and recorded drums and were like okay it sounds good and everything was layed down super quickly. Who are some of your musical influences? They’re kind of all over the board. Obviously the band is influenced by late seventies, post punk. Stuff like The Ramones, Television, Blondie but also English bands like The Clash. All of us come from totally different musical backgrounds and all of our stuff together shaped us. You’re going on your first headlining tour in the U.S. Are you excited? Yes, I’m excited but I’m a little nervous. We haven’t been to some of those cities before. What are you expecting for this tour? It’s always interesting to see the crowds. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s interesting to see what people respond to. You’re also going on tour in the UK. What are your expectations for that tour? It’s us and Drowners, they’re our good buddies from New York. We share a similar crowd base so it should be really interesting. How do you find time to practice since your band is kind of spread out? Everyone lives in the city now so we’re all together. What do you want your fans to take away from the new album? I want it to be a record you can just put on. I remember growing up and there were albums that you could just throw on at a party and satisfy everyone and that’s kind of what I want people to feel. You put the record on from start to finish and everyone will be psyched that it’s playing.
“I remember growing up and there were albums that you could just throw on at a party and satisfy everyone and that’s kind of what I want people to feel. You put the record on from start to finish and everyone will be psyched that it’s playing.” - Michael Ian Cummings
An Exclusive Interview with...
Tiffany from Into The Crowd Magazine caught up with Guy and Howard of Disclosure in Toronto and chatted about being brothers, touring, Holy Ship, and some of their favourite things. They were such humble guys, very well-versed and mature for their young age. You could tell they were very different from an ordinary electronic artist. It was such a pleasure to interview them, and the live show and visuals were absolutely mind-blowing. A Disclosure live show is definitely something you donâ€™t want to miss.
Disclosure. Where did that name come from?
H: That’s about it.
Howard: Really boring story. We needed a name for our MySpace page and Guy was filling out his car insurance and it said Disclosure on it, and we thought it was a good word and it stuck.
G: Saw the CN Tower. Didn’t go up it yet, but I’d like to.
So if you were to rename your group something else, what do you think that would be? Guy: Haha I think the reason we called it Disclosure was so we’d never have to do that; I’m really bad at naming names of bands. H: Megatron? Is that taken? G: That’s the thing, everything’s been taken. There wasn’t many ‘Disclosure’s out there, so that was helpful. I heard you guys started playing music pretty young, and that your parents were also a bit of musicians as well? H: Yeah, they were both professional musicians. They had music all around the house all the time, so we were just encouraged to play music from a really, really young age. I think that’s definitely why we do it now. Being brothers, how is it like working with a family member? You know, being a musical duo traveling everywhere together, do you guys ever get sick of each other? H: I think it’s fine. People often think we argue all the time but we don’t really spend that much time with each other on tour; we travel with about 12 members as a crew so there’s a lot of space to just socially move around. It’s nice. I also heard that your parents toured in Canada a lot. Did you guys ever get to visit Canada back then? H: Our dad did. He was in a rock band and they toured Canada for like 6 months at one point; it was pretty serious touring. But that was much before we were born, when he was maybe just older than us now. This is our 3rd time in Canada; we’ve done Toronto, Montreal, we’ve done a few shows. Has there ever been any time for some sightseeing or is it usually just tour tour tour? G: Yeah, usually just in and out. Canada’s always right in the middle of the tour, or at the start and then we have a couple days off here. We had last night – went to the cinema, haha.
Now tonight, Toronto gets kind of like a Disclosure double feature - there’s a live show here at the Danforth Music Hall, and then a DJ set right after at the Hoxton, which are both sold out. Can you maybe elaborate a bit on what these two back-toback shows will be about? H: Well tonight here we’re playing a live show – so that’s with all our instruments and all our production, playing all our own songs. Then we’ll go over there and DJ, playing other people’s songs too. What’s your favourite song to play live? H: To play live? I think it changes depending on what’s recently been added to the set. We added “Apollo” just before we finished the last tour and I think that’s probably it because we’re least used to playing it, so it’s more exciting. G: It also depends on the crowd and which song is biggest where. Here when we play “You and Me” people always go absolutely crazy, whereas in the UK it’s more “Latch” or “White Noise”. Those are definitely still crazy here as well but it’s nice to get the response changing where you go. We kind of look forward to that moment. H: Especially in Australia, “When A Fire Starts To Burn” is by far our biggest song, for some reason, so that one’s huge out there and not really that known anywhere else haha. Favourite aspect of being on the road? G: Hmm... Playing shows I guess. I mean, a lot of it is just traveling and not sleeping very much, but it’s a very minor problem compared to how great playing shows, partying and meeting people, basically. I love meeting people and especially other artists as well. We just did this thing called Holy Ship which was really, really fun. Just hanging out with our mates the whole three days, in with the crowd as well around the boat, meeting really cool people and playing shows. That’s the best. What would you guys say your proudest or best moment is so far? What has been the proudest or best moment for Disclosure so far? G: Having a #1 album in the UK was amazing. Being
nominated for a Grammy as well, and the BritAwards. All those things, you know, cause when we started making music or making the album we didnt have a single conversation that was like, “Let’s try to win an award here, I think we can do it!”. It was literally like, just having a laugh and making music for fun. And yeah the awards are just a nice biker up, and cause we worked so hard last year doing like 50 festivals and tour after tour... It’s almost you know, it’s worth it. Everyone appreciating our work, it’s a really good feeling, especially getting the Grammy’s – that’s crazy. What are your favourite artists right now? G: My favourite producer right now is Kaytranada, who’s from Montreal actually I think, so that’s cool. H: Yeah, me too. We went to see him play recently on Holy Ship. G: He’s done a remix of one of our songs called January, and he also has a tune called At All, and the video is him hanging out with these body building women. You’ll find it, it’s funny. He’s a really nice guy and his production’s really, really good. Biggest music guilty pleasure? H: We need to come up with better answers for this question. G: I quite like Kylie Minogue - “Slow”. I think that’s a really underrated song. It was a massive tune, but I don’t think the house world really appreciated how house-y the production is and it’s absolutely great. And the video is just her lying around on a towel, it’s a really good one. What are your biggest pet peeves? A pet peeve. You know, something that grinds your gears. H: Oh right, so we stayed in this hotel here last night, and there was a party going on in the room next door... that’s it. What’s going on in the room next door. Hate it. Is it because you’re not being invited, or? H: No no, it’s just cause I want to go to bed. G: Soooo boring, it’s unbelievable. H: No, come on I mean, anything keeping you awake is my pet peeve. Sleep’s valuable on tour, haha.
G: Mine would be crying children, yeah. I’m not good with kids, haha.
What has been your best meal on tour this year? G: The best meal I’ve probably ever had would be when we went to Abu Dhabi for this DJ set over December, and I took my best friend out cause it was his birthday and we went to Marco Pierre White’s restaurant. He taught Gordon Ramsay to cook; he’s like a legend. We went to his steakhouse... best steak. H: Probably the sushi that we ate in Japan, I’ve just never had sushi as good as that before. I’ve never really had sushi before that to be honest, but I haven’t been able to match it. Much different than sushi in a box. G: I know we had sushi in Las Vegas and their idea of it was something like pork belly wrapped in rice. H: I mean it was delicious, but not really authentic. How would your mom describe your different personalities? G: I’m more extrovert, Howard’s more the introvert, more chill. Howard likes to play a show, go out and make a tune, read a book, go to bed. I like to play a show, do a shot, go out. It works for us, haha. Is that how your friends would also describe you guys? G: Definitely, everyone knows Howard’s the chill one. Most private thing you’ll admit? G: There’s not a lot of private stuff out there, which is great! Haha. I’ve said in a few interviews I used to do gymnastics. Howard used to say I did ballet as well, which is not exactly true but I did used to do dance. H: I’m qualified to instruct wind surfing. G: But that’s not a bad thing. H: But it’s private. She didn’t say it had to be embarrassing. G: Well, now I’ve just embarrassed myself for no reason there then, haha. A bit like the last question, is there anything your fans would be surprised to know about you both? H: I think a lot of fans would be surprised to know which one of us is called Howard and which one is called Guy. We often get people at front row and they’re like, “GUY!!” at me, and I’m like “Noo... over there!”.
G: The age comes up often too. Especially on Holy Ship, people often ask [Howard] “Are you the older one?”. It’s cause I can’t grow a beard. Big brother thing, I can’t grow a beard! There’s a private thing. If you ever found yourself running from the police, it would most likely be for... H: This is a dangerous question, let’s think carefully, haha. G: I don’t think I’ve gotten into one fight ever. I don’t really get naked that often, especially outside, so nudity wouldn’t be one. H: I don’t get naked outside [either], no. I got chased by the police once with all my friends because a guy handed me a bottle of, what I thought was beer or something. He was like “Can you hold this while I do up my shoe?” and as he did up his shoe, he ran off. Then the police turned up and saw me with this thing, I still don’t know what it was but they shouted “HEY!” so I just dropped it and left. Still don’t know what that was about... Quite like to know, if anyone’s got any input. G: Oh I know one for that one. Trespassing. I used to go to this place with my mates near where we live, which was something like the biggest abandoned mental asylum in the UK. We used to break in there and go look around. There were still beds and stuff of mental patients, really creepy. Went there on Halloween a couple times and there’d be dogs in there that’d scare you. It was really good fun. It’s all been knocked down now but it was really, really cool. Last question: What are some plans for 2014? H: We’re touring until late September time, so we won’t have much time for writing really, but we’re doing bits and bobs, and then once we stop then we’re going to work on the next record for the next 6 months. G: There will be music released before then though, especially with and for other people, just not in album format. I’ve been doing a lot of producing for people as well and Howard’s been writing with people like Sam Smith for his album. We’ve kind of just been more working with other people rather than solely on Disclosure stuff. It’ll be out fairly soon. Not planning to take any time off or anything like that? G: Nah. We had a bit of December off, but I feel fine. H: All ready to go again.
The Royal Concept Interview and photos by Eman El Saied
all these rock n roll clichés that are going around in circles. We even stopped drinking Jack Daniels when we understood that people think it’s “Rock n Roll”. The only image we try to create is being 100% honest and play our music the way we want to. We try to have big smiles on our faces and not show any arrogance or being blown up in any way.” How refreshing. With being so blown up so quickly, an artist cannot help but get vulnerable. 2013, has been the year of many great alternative artists, throwing off mainstream artists off the charts: Lorde, Young The Giant, Haim, even EDM has chased the scene away. “Like any band we fear that people will stop listening to our music and stop showing up at the shows..The fear of getting old and outdated. It’s because of our fans we’re where we are and therefore we feel blessed and grateful. We play every show as if its our last one...and in that sense we’re all very vulnerable.” But what makes them tick about the industry? Is it the scene? The lip syncing? Nope. “What’s annoying about the industry is that everyone is so negative. They keep talking about the glory days of the 90’s when you actually sold records etc. We’re having the time of our lifes and feel passionate and happy “We’re blessed to be able about our situation. We’re blessed to be able to do what to do what we’re doing doing and we’ll keep on and we’ll keep on growing as a band we’re growing as a band regardless regardless of the pay off. of the pay off. This industry This industry needs more passion’’ needs more passion.”
he world is on fire with new and upcoming group The Royal Concept! Sweden natives, Filip, Magnus, and Frans are just what alternative music needs. The combination of electronic and alternative music has created quite the frenzy. Since their come up, TRC has been extremely successful with their tour with Atlas Genius, and their brand new song “On Our Way” which was most recently featured on Glee. Although they been compared to Phoenix it has only added to their instant success. Growing up, the group found themselves going to Jazz college in Stockholm. But as any artist continues to grow, there is a sense of longing in pursuing ones dreams to its fullest extent. As the boys grew tired of studying music , their longing desire to travel and perform their music pushed them to drop out to form a serious rock band. Since then, they haven’t looked back. Within three years the boys managed to get signed in their native country, and the U.S.. Being heavily influenced by Zeppelin, Beatles, Fleetwood Ma,c Daft Punk, and a wide variety of electronic artists. In addition to jazz education...TRC style of music makes them almost limitless.
In this most recent interview, TRC was able to indicate their fears, dreams and goals as artists. Since the release of their EP “On Our Way”, the boys have been on tour non stop. When asked about what music lyrically they try to create, they simply responded “the things we sing about so far have always been personal experiences that we try to explain so everyone can recognize themselves.” Connecting with their fans is one thing, but being able to affect their fans lives is another. “The other day we played our song “In The End” in Houston and this couple walked up to us and said that the song saved their relationship. Obviously not all of our songs save relationships but it’s heart warming when people actually become affected in a positive way.” Although very intrigued by their fans they find themselves to be very “well behaved, kinda boring, but the people around us go nuts all the time. Thank God for that cause otherwise we wouldn’t have anything to write songs about.” So what makes these artists different then the rest? Then any other alternative rock band out now? When it came to image, the “rock star image” was definitely not one of them. “We’re just so tired of
What are TRC doing when they aren’t being total bad asses you ask? “Live action role playing.. We all have alter egos within the band. Magnus Roberts alter ego is for example a killer slap bassist who insists on playing mean over the top solos over our songs. Frans Povel (drummer) does a wanna be dub step producer called “Kurt” that has serious nasal congestion problems. If they could be anywhere in the world, it would be in a small Swedish island south of Stockholm called Öland. David basically grew up there and we go back there all the time to write music. If they could create their own headlining tour their most top two picks would be: “Capital Cities and Atlas Genius because they’re both close friends of ours and great bands. We have so much fun when we get to hang out and I think we’d all put on a hell of a show every night” The Royal Concept is everything you think they are. Inspiring, creating and humble. What can fans look forward to in 2014 you ask? Hopefully, a world wide album release. .
Interview by Renee Tran Photo by Winnie Surya
e caught up with LYON, also known as Lauren Malyon, at the Tattoo Rock Parlour for an interview about her new EP release, Indian Summer. Self described as a “Toronto artist playing electronic indie pop with a human soul”, soft-spoken singer LYON carries an extensive and naturalistic quality. Lauren definitely puts a spin on synth-pop through her knowledge and skill in classical music. “I started the violin when I was 3 and piano when I was 6. Then, I was mostly doing classical music. I lived an hour outside of the city, Port Perry. And I was driving into lessons, downtown Toronto every weekend to attend the Performing Art School.
Yeah, so, it was a really good time of learning a lot and training really hard and learning how to, well, I was practicing two hours a day for classical music.” In this EP, Indian Summer, LYON conveys a shy tone through her voice, seemingly like her personality. “In my regular high school in Port Perry, I was in all the choirs. I was never the soloist though; I wasn’t really that big personality – I was more like the quiet person in the back of the room. I didn’t really start playing and singing until maybe grade nine or ten. I was getting really into it at home; I’d be thinking of ideas all the time, jotting down notes. Yeah, I didn’t really start singing, playing, and performing until I was maybe like 16 or 17? I’d really done classical music my whole life, and I decided to make my focus more writing and going into the pop direction. Yeah that’s my first 17 years.” When asked to elaborate her self-description as an electronic artist with a human soul, she explains, “All I mean by that is, my music is obviously synth-pop, and a lot of it is made electronically. I think sometime the human element can be lost; I think it’s more an intention to keep the feelings and emotions real. Tying that together, you have the synth-pop, you have the stuff that’s made electronically on the computer, but, you also have a well round of emotion, and feeling, and lyric that I hope people connect to.”
March-April 2014 Giving the five-tracked EP a first listen, it resonated to me light-hearted and summer-esque qualities. Delving deeper into the lyrical content of it was more words of love, love-lost, and moving forward. LYON described her album to be dreamy, melancholic, and with heartbreak. “Lullaby” interprets this EP perfectly – it projects a very dream-like sound in mood and lyricism, about heartbreak and missing that particular person you no longer can be with. It lingers on the idea of dreaming and being with that special someone, and waking up to reality without him or her. As the first contribution to the EP, LYON explains “Lullaby” as, “[...]one that is really, really
special to me because, I hadn’t written for a while because I was down and things weren’t so good. And I didn’t write because I was somewhat bottling it up, and kind of resisting in a way. And then, when I finally realized, I gave in and it all poured out. I wrote basically the entire first half of the song in pretty much in one sweep. We then made the decision later to leave it exactly the way it came out. We didn’t want to touch it.” The opening song to LYON’s EP is “Indian Summer,” an up-beat song that holds a pretty straightforward title – it makes you wish summer were all year long! “Indian Summer” catches your attention when you hear the first and strong notes of guitar playing. As the intro continues, the sound of finger snaps merges with the guitar; the song’s fluidity to the first verse transitions swimmingly. As her song progresses to the lines of, “you say don’t worry/ you’re in no hurry,” the beat paces up as the symbols clash softly together. Then the chorus hits to LYON’s ironically frail tone but strong voice of, “Indian summer/Make me move to the beat as the heat washes over me.” Although her lyricism sets up the perfect combination of beach tunes, a layer of melancholy is simultaneously heard of. The fourth track on Indian Summer is, “Floating.” The song starts off with the essential sound of 80’s
WWW.INTOTHECROWDMAGAZINE.COM synth-pop making it sound bright and uplifting. The song in itself is about being part of a connection that was unlabelled and fun – floating. It then transitions to the feeling of regretting that the union was too up in the air and emotions were too strong to continue a bond that was already so frail. “Floating,” was the second music video made – it presents LYON in a karaoke bar lit with neon lights. The music video screens LYON singing to, “Floating,” on stage, transitioning to the karaoke screen of a couple having fun, and other people in the bar. Watching this video and matching the haunting atmosphere it captured to “Floating,” I asked LYON if she felt like the video conveyed her
song well enough. “It really did! I just trusted Sean, the director. In the beginning when he contributed his idea - I really felt like he understood that floating on the first listen sounds like “ahhh”, happy-go-lucky and falling in love. But he really understood that it’s also this consciousness that things don’t last forever. And there’s sort of that other layer to it that, yeah, it’s not just all happy. Like what goes up must come down, I feel like he just understood the layers of it, and he did it really tastefully with a lot of style. I’m so happy with the end product.” EP Indian Summer is honest and a great listen. LYON is an altogether organic electronic artist – she maintains a natural through line of revealing much of herself throughout this EP because of this characteristic. Giving the EP a further listen, there’s this saddening satisfaction of concrete fluidity in each track, it tells a story of a girl coping with heartbreak. LYON is currently on tour and plans on making a full album, better known as the next chapter of her life where the big adventure begins. She teases, “it’s the continuation of Indian Summer, since it is a full album it will explore a little bit more broadly. I think the EP sounds quite similar, but it’s all going to be slower. And I think with the flow, it can explore a wider range of trying a few things.”
Lauren’s playlist: 1. PHANTOGRAM – “Fall in Love” 2. CHVCHES 3. LORDE 4. BASTILLE
“I was more like the quiet person in the back of the room. I didn’t really start playing and singing until maybe grade nine or ten. I was getting really into it at home; I’d be thinking of ideas all the time, jotting down notes.” - Lauren Malyon 35
Interview by Kelsey Barnes | Live photos by Daniel Hadfield | Portrait and film photos by Winnie Surya
fter dropping out from their label, five-piece rock band The Maine fought themselves to release music independently. With passion and non-stop supports from their fans around the world, the band did quite well on themselves; they has released two full length albums, an acoustic EP, and a live DVD through Eighty One Twenty Three Management and did countless headlining tour from North America to South East Asia. Last March, we got the chance to sit and talk with vocalist John Oâ€™Callaghan and guitarists, Jared Monaco and Kennedy Brock before closing their very first acoustic tour in Toronto.
WWW.INTOTHECROWDMAGAZINE.COM Why did you guys decided to do an acoustic tour? Jared: We just put out an acoustic EP; it’s called Imaginary Numbers. It’s the first time that we’ve done that, so it made sense to do an acoustic tour around it, I supposed. We did something kind of similar to this when [Pioneer] came out. We did like a strip down set but this one is more focus on; we worked a lot on all other songs so we could incorporate to the set and we obviously play songs from Imaginary Numbers too. John: I think its forcing us to try new things and try experiment and see what work and what doesn’t. Its really – we’re trying to push ourselves as a band. Pat had an idea [about the neon backdrop] and I rolled off that and I mean, we had a unified if somebody has an idea; its kind of the way we write songs too. If somebody had an idea and if its unanimous decision. Were there any challenges with the winter weather? John: Not really. Jared: We lucked out so far. Kennedy: We had one drive for about ten minutes. It was kind of weird going through Denver. Other than that, its because we were in a van and we don’t familiar with it because it just a rental so we weren’t sure on certain part of the aspect of that. John: Over here [East Coast] we knew its going to be cold so we had a couple weeks of prepare. Yeah, its usually not like this. It’s the worst winter in twenty years. John: That’s what everybody said. I believe you. Its just because we’re following the nasty weather. Kennedy: I mean, we’ve been in this area in the winter too. John: We’ve toured in the winter so… Jared: I think the last time it was the first time I stood up in zero degree weather and I don’t think I ever experience that before. It was so cold.
Oh really? John: It was six minutes - we were standing up outside, waiting for someone for the keys. I was pissed out in the cold. What is the meaning and significant cover for Imaginary Numbers? John: Its symbolic in a couple different ways. It’s kind of representing the idea that makes you make your life you want to make. I guess you can kind of say the cake is your path and how do you decided to walk it. I mean, its obviously; there’s no specific kind of meaning behind it and it probably changes for me daily which is cool for me because I don’t want to give the same answer to interview either and that is the thought part but also I don’t feel it has to mean one specific thing. With your forth album, Forever Halloween – I was wondering what inspired you to make the album sounds darker? Jared: We wrote the same way we always write. John writes most of the actual song-writing itself and that didn’t really change much. We recorded it totally different; it’s all live and pretty much all analog that we did in the studio so we were just going all in one time – just recording every instruments which we’ve never done before. The record definitely has a feeling vibe to a going back to it. I think it’s a lot different than you isolate the guitar at one time. Its all in one room together, its all going, it just create. We didn’t intend for it to be a dark record. I’ve heard people saying it too and I don’t know John: I think its also just captures where my head was at as far as the lyrics are concerned and I think we tried our best to match the music with what best we saw fit. For me, there are so many optimistic stuff as well. I guess it just a little bit realistic with the age we are now and I was 18. I’m not saying we’re cynical now but I think we just more real about life and it goes on. I was talking about that! With your albums and EPs, you guys really progress where there are some bands that kind of came out the same times as you guys; kind of playing the same type of
March-April 2014 music. Is this because of growing up factor? John: I think its really important we don’t feel like we’re taking steps backwards. I’m not saying - for our band, I’m not putting label on others are doing or anything. I’m just telling you if we continued the same music, it’ll be out of fear that nobody going to like something different and for us, we embrace that fear and we strive out of it because it’s the same kind of fear that drives us to go on these tour; it’s the same fear that drives us to continue to put ourselves in line; to put ourselves in songs; it’s the fear that you’re not going to be a band tomorrow and that’s what I think – probably the big part of it and you see, a lot of bands going to the old sound. Probably they’re afraid they’re hitting a ceiling or something and for us, we’re fully invested in materials now – so it’s no looking back. Jared: We found out people like that too. It is scary at first but our fans at least feel like they’ve been there for everything. John: Its like the relationship between us and them. I think we might be a less accessible because we’re obviously not on the radio and stuff but I think our relationship with people that come to our show and experience the real thing. Ya know, concert going and music experience. That’s the most strong that ever been. Why did you guys decided to play Vans Warped Tour after 5 years? John: We look at is as a great opportunity! Kennedy: It’s been that long since we’ve been around Warped Tour so it is nice we are able to. We have done other things; we’ve gone to other adventure and it’s a cool opportunity for us to play in front of people we haven’t played for awhile. John: We kind of dissed ourselves from that crowd and those bands and its not because we didn’t have a good time at Warped Tour but it’s because we have to figure shit out for ourselves and we feel now that we’ve established an identity as The Maine and we’ve established who we are. At the same token, I feel like there are obviously plenty of people that unaware of what we’re doing and for us, we are going to take our work ethics and go out there and try to play to as many people as possible.
After leaving your label, how was the process change on the album? Kennedy: Everything are more hands on not that [we] weren’t before. I think that we do it this way because we are so hands on want to be in control at everything we’re doing. Jared: Our manager company had pick up a lot of slack like stuff record label would handle so its all done in a house now. Eighty One Twenty Three is like driving force behind everything that we do. John: It’s a lot more modest and modest for us is a good thing at this point and its far more intensive and the people that truly care are truly care and find out about what we’re doing and it’s a working progress we’re learning everyday. Just like songwriting and everything else but we’re in a comfortable spot as far how we’re feeling about everything and we’re not getting too cozy and that’s why we’re doing a tour like this because we don’t really want to get too comfortable and content; we want to keep pressing out own. Does it feels like you have 100% freedom when it comes to this kind of tour? John: Absolutely. Jared: I realized it more and more that we can do whatever we want like we’re playing with Nick [Santino] now; he’s opening for our East Coast dates and on stage, we can do and say what we want unless if there’s curfew. Kennedy: At the end of the day, we’re the one who signed out everything. John: We have to play the music we have to play on tour… Jared: And there’s nobody standing side stage with a keen. John: Again, its all the learning process we’re trying to figure it out like everybody else but we have ourselves with the whole accountable so it’s pretty gratifying. Pretty fulfilling. You’ve been buying back tickets from scalpers. How did you decided to do that?
“That’s why we go out and talk to people afterward because we don’t charge for that stuff. We don’t think the over privilege people or the more wealthy can have more opportunity than somebody else. At the end of the day, people worked hard just like we did and we do when we want to see a show ... If you want to see a movie, you work hard and you use your money to purchase your ticket and experience it and we want everybody to have the same opportunity.” - John O’Callaghan
March-April 2014 John: It’s the first time its happening for us.
Jared: We never to replicate it live.
Kennedy: We kind of alerted we realized there were tons of tickets showing on things like Stubhub and at first, we don’t know what to do so we’re still figuring our the best future plan.
Kennedy: It just an idea that happened from it and when we started jamming it. I think everybody was pretty quickly…its click.
Jared: We tried to keep our ticket prices low too. John: Because we go to concerts too so we know if we want to see Radiohead or something like that, I saw tickets on Stubhub for $800 and I won’t go because that’s ridiculous. That’s why we go out and talk to people afterward because we don’t charge for that stuff. We don’t think the over privilege people or the more wealthy can have more opportunity than somebody else. At the end of the day, people worked hard just like we did and we do when we want to see a show. You worked hard to put in the money. If you want to see a movie, you work hard and you use your money to purchase your ticket and experience it and we want everybody to have the same opportunity and for us, it was a shock because we never had anything happened like that before. Do you think its because of the venue? John: I think its because the tickets went so fast. Toronto was sold out in five hours! Jared: Yeah, it was pretty quick that’s why we added the second show.
Jared: We never even try to rework it. It was just a song that’s a studio track. I think I remember when we worked on the song; we were in Maryland or something. There were so many layers that were happening that I was just thinking that there’s no way we could do this live. John: Again, this is a special thing for us and this is an opportunity to try; to push ourselves again, you know? That supposed to be the theme but we figured there’s going to be people, like you said, you’ve been with us for five years and there’s people who’ve been with us for seven so it’s something for people like you. Hopefully it’s a treat for people who’ve been with us. It’s a treat for us because it’s the first time we played it and it’s been fun so far. Last question: How do you guys feel about selfie? Jared: I don’t take ‘em. I don’t really do them. John: We aren’t the selfie guy. Kennedy: I like making pictures. I can make a picture of myself. I can take a picture of myself but I would never use the term of selfie.
John: But its really cool because promoter like Travis – he and I were talking earlier and he said its really cool to be able to alleviate that problem especially because this kind of venue are really small and they understand what’s going on and they don’t want that to happen either so I think if we were at bigger venue like the House of Blues or something like that, its really hard to pint point and they can’t because they’re such a huge company but that’s a cool thing about playing these small venues. They feel like we feel as a band. It’s like there’s still a place for us; there’s still a place like this venue for our band, which happened to be this venue [the Hard Luck Bar] tonight. I think that’s what really cool about not being Miley Cyrus.
John: I mean its kind of what it is. You take a picture of yourself.
Why did you guys decided to play “You Left Me”?
John: We don’t crucify the selfie. We embrace the selfie. We don’t give a shit about the selfie.
Jared: It’s definitely not my style. Its not like “this is how I looked like, everybody!” John: Let’s put it this way. I never taken any picture in the mirror of myself unless if its like my buds hanging out; sending it to them. Jared: Yeah! I love that! Kennedy: He has done it a lot. Jared: I got friends to do it non stop.
Interview by Karmin Yu
Aaah! Real Monsters
ou may have heard the name Aaah! Real Monsters before. No, I’m not referring to the cartoon show on Nickelodeon, but the fivepiece rock band from St. Louis. As scary as the band name may sound, I actually got to speak with a very down-to-earth Matt Moore, the bassist of the group. Back to the striking name, Aaah! Real Monsters, the band actually based their name on the TV show – actually, it was the guitarist, Nick Dawes’ favourite cartoon. They all agreed that it would make them stick out and push people to give their music a chance. Luckily, the band gained exposure after their first album. At the same time, however, not all members were living in the same city: Tom Watkins moved to Los Angeles, Keith Bowman and Dawes remained in St. Louis while Moore and Ryan Martin returned to Colorado. Despite the huge gaps between them, they still kept in touch and seeing the success of their first record, it urged them to come together and work on another album. While they were creating their new record about a year ago, they had twelve songs that they really wanted to put out on one compilation. But, they had six okay songs that didn’t quite compare to their six really good ones. So, they decided to release those six, which now appear on their latest EP entitled Don’t Quit, and continue to refine the others. Moore also tells us that the most meaningful song from Don’t
Quit is “Colorado” because it was based off a forest fire that affected Ryan’s community in Colorado. Unfortunately, one family died in the fire and hundreds of houses suffered damages, but on the bright side, the houses, he says, are looking great now. When asked to compare the group’s old tunes to their newer ones, the bassist says that it’s a lot more different due to the fact that their older music was more limited and it was very experimental. The first album also focused heavily on Watkins, whereas the second one, he switches his gears in writing. It also has a larger variety, such as more vocals, Queen-esque sounds, three part harmonies and many Beatles-influenced lyrics. Additionally, they’re interested in venturing into jazz and other different styles while maintaining their pop punk energy. As for the band’s tour life, Moore says he can’t wait for more in the future. Even though sleeping on hardwood floors and eating whatever he can isn’t super appealing, he still enjoys the overall experience. He’d also like to tour the world with Real Friends, from the UK to the Phillipines (little sidenote: both bands are actually real friends. The guys from Aaah! Real Monsters have been following them since they first started out). But for now, while they’re at home, they plan to finish recording their album by the summer and to schedule more shows.
Interview and photos by Hayley Hasessian
How are you enjoying Toronto so far? Dana: It’s really cold. Haha Mike: We just had poutine earlier and it was awesome so I’m enjoying it! So how has your tour been going so far? Are you enjoying touring with This Is All Now, Halfway To Hollywood and Hollywood Ending? Dana: Yeah we’re really enjoying it! We’ve known the guys from This Is All Now for a long time so it’s great to be on tour with them. Is this something you always knew you wanted to do? You always wanted to be musicians? Dana: Absolutely, I took lessons since I was a kid and did everything I could to get better. It’s definitely always been a dream of mine. Mike: Totally, it’s something I’ve always wanted. And once I was in 4th year of university, everything for the band started falling into place. What was it like, breaking the news to your families that you wanted to form a band? Were they supportive of your dreams? Dana: At first it’s always a difficult thing and your parents may not always agree but they grew to accept it and really support us. Mike: Yeah, my parents thankfully were supportive too. Obviously no parent is ever thrilled, but they knew this was something I’ve always wanted so they support me.
Dana: We’d be nowhere without the support of our parents so we’re very thankful. In February you released your latest single, Cloud 9, who was produced with Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount, who have produced for big name bands such as All Time Low and Mayday Parade. What was it like working with producers who have created music with such big, influential bands? Mike: They were really great, they created a really relaxed, comfortable environment for everyone in the studio. Dana: Yeah, they’re really great guys to work with and really were a nice push to our sound. They made it work really nicely and we would love to work with them again. So now after releasing this new single, what can we expect to hear from the new album? Dana: It’s going in a really broad direction, we’re not holding back, we’re doing whatever feels right. Mike: There’s a lot of country! So we hope you guys like country music haha Dana: Yeah, so far it’s a good mix of different styles and sounds. We’re excited for people to hear it. Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans and to the readers of Into The Crowd? Dana: Come see our shows! Mike: Check out our music!
Johnson Interview by Karmin Yu
We’re so sad to hear about the tragedy at SXSW! What are your thoughts on what happened? Indeed it was such a tragedy. I have no understanding or tolerance for drinking and driving, because as we very sadly all witnessed in Austin, the repercussions can be irrevocable and devastating. It was a very sad day.
We LOVE "Cameron" and you captured the audience's attention when you played that song. Can you tell us the story behind this beautiful song? Thank you! Cameron is loosely based on the story of a trans friend of mine. It's also more universally about self-acceptance and individuality.
Is this the first time you play at SXSW? How was/ is the experience (so far)? Which artists were you excited to see? This was my 4th SXSW. I find that every year it gets crazier. I was psyched to see a band called A Silent Comedy and they played above and beyond my expectations.
We also have "Basset Hound" playing on repeat and you said that this song was about stalking somebody, can you elaborate? Ha yeah I like to use the word "stalking" because it eludes to a creepier sense of lust in the song. Really the song is about unrequited love and obsession.
You recently just played Montreal (and your set was absolutely amazing) and you said it was your first time in the city, what are your first impressions of the Montreal crowd? Will you be coming back? Oh thank you! I had a blast in Montreal. You guys were so attentive, and yet super enthusiastic. I can tell you all are real music fans, something that I don't see in every city I play. I truly can't wait to come back. You're from New York, what are some notable differences between playing a New York or American show vs a Canadian one? Well, New York is like a country all in its own. I can't really call a New York show a typical "American" show. But I've spent many years of my life playing in NYC, so I've finally broken past that crowd aloofness that so many people talk about. American cities really vary with their enthusiasm for concerts, but Canadian shows have across the board been full of life and excitement in my experience. How is it like to be on tour with so many guys? What do you bring with you on tour? I'm having a blast. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter, more entertaining and inspiring group of people to spend my time with. I bring show clothes, earphones, vintage onesies and way too many coats.
We enjoyed the little anecdotes between each song! We love how each song of yours doesn't have to be based on a HUGE event. So, how do such everyday things inspire your songs? As a songwriter, I think it’s important to always pick your eyes up and look around. That's what I try to do in my songs. I think it’s the little details in life that help tell the bigger, deeper stories. How was the recording process behind Water In A Whale? It was very exploratory and organic. My producers, Peter Zizzo and Michael Mangini, as well as the man who signed me to Wind-Up Records, Gregg Wattenberg, all made sure to pay a ton of reverence to my songs the way that I originally wrote them. So I really got to run with the production because I trusted the creative minds around me. What's next for Jillette Johnson? Will we be hearing any new music soon? I'm gonna stay on the road for a good while and keep promoting Water in a Whale. I'm about to release a music video for my single, “Torpedo,” so definitely keep your eyes and ears peeled. But I'm always writing, so I'm sure I'll hop back in the studio soon enough. I can only keep these songs in the voice notes on my phone for so long. =)
We Are The In Crowd
Interview by Abbey Toomey-Fisk | Photo by Winnie Surya
What is the inspiration behind the title of the new album?
Five new songs from Weird Kids! And of course, we plan on a very energetic show.
We came up with the idea about a year ago when we first started writing again. It was inspired by everything we are surrounded with. This world of weird and creative people. Our fans, our friends, co-workers... so many of us are really strange in our own way, and we don’t want people to be afraid of that.
How different will it be for you being the headliner for the tour?
Can you explain the concept behind the vest as the album artwork?
What is the inspiration behind the single ‘the best thing (that never happen)’?
It was an idea brought to us by our record label, since I wear vests a lot, and we rolled with it.
The Best Thing. Lots of energy.
Well we’ve all been through break ups and so lyrically we were inspired by our pasts and I actually wanted to keep the lyrics playfully sarcastic yet still serious. But musically and melodically we were looking for a fun energetic vibe and we actually ended up writing this song last.
How does this album compare to the previous ones?
Relating to the last question, what is the best thing to never happen to YOU?
It shows growth in us. I think it identifies WATIC better than ever before.
I guess it hasn’t happened yet!
What song was the most fun to record?
Was the recording process different from Best Intentions? We had more time so there was less pressure in that department. And we were just so eager to get songs out because we hadn’t recorded in two years! What should fans expect on this upcoming tour?
Pretty different. We’ve only headlined over dead before. I’m nervous but really excited at the same time.
What message would like WATIC fans to take away from ‘Weird Kids’? I want fans to know who we really are. We are given this opportunity right now to show them that and I want them to know we plan on doing all we can this year to prove our dedication. Weird Kids isn’t just for us though, as I said before, we were really inspired by our fans on this record.
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oachella...is not just a music festival but an overall dreamlike experience. You become one with all the good vibes people are giving off and the music blaring out the speakers. Everything outside of Coachella, ceases to exist. There were so many talented artists performing and I think from all the running around with overlapping set times at Warped, I had my time management on lock. That being said, I have to name a few artists that hands down blew me away harder than the sandstorm I survived Saturday: HAIM, LORDE, Capital Cities, The 1975, Drowners, Surfer Blood, Daughter, MS MR...I could keep going but then I’d fill up the issue in its entirety. I got to capture some photos with my Canon AE-1 35mm film camera. The camera policy is generally strict but, security doesn’t know what a professional film camera is so, I easily got my camera in. (Note to all you who shoot film, take a film camera with you to Coachella!) I also took a Polaroid 210 Land Camera that I restored and honestly, it beats any Instagram filter. Enough camera talk, if you’re planning to hit up Coachella be prepared to have a weekend that is out of this world and make sure you drink tons of water!! I wish I could sum up Coachella in words but honestly, words don’t don’t do it any justice. As a former Coachella virgin, I have to say, I seriously cannot wait to do it all again someday. Hope you guys enjoy some of my photos! Oscar Rodriguez is a California-based photographer, writer and contributor to Into The Crowd Magazine.
Published on Apr 22, 2014
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