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s r e n w o e h t from CO-CREATORS Ariella Mastroianna Catherine Powell EDITORS Lizy Goold Ariella Mastroianni Nicola Pring PHOTOGRAPHY Catherine Powell WRITERS Olga Khvan Stacy Magallon Ariella Mastroianni Nicole Mazza Catherine Powell Nicola Pring Tanya Traner LAYOUT DESIGN Catherine Powell

Twelve issues. It’s hard to believe that we’ve someone put out an entire year’s worth of issues. We can’t thank everyone enough for all their support and kind words over the past year and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on! If you haven’t already, please check out our collaboration line with Jawbreaking Clothing - there are some really cool shirts available! Year one was the craziest year of our lives and we can’t wait to see what the next twelve months hold for Naked Mag! Thanks again :)

catherine & ariella in this issue The Used Courtesy of Big Picture Media

Avan Jogia Courtesy of Shannon Barr PR

Cherri Bomb Courtesy of Hollywood Records

The Almost Courtesy of Force Media MGMT

Ashland High Courtesy of Big Picture Media

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Katherine McNamara Courtesy of Much & House PR

The Arkells Courtesy of Big Hassle

Tyson Ritter Courtesy of EMC Bowery

Plug In Stereo Courtesy of Atlantic Records

Bearcat Courtesy of Big Picture Media


CO-CREATORS Ariella Mastroianna Catherine Powell

s r e n w o e h t from MESSAGE TO FANS

EDITORS Lizy Goold Ariella Mastroianni Nicola Pring PHOTOGRAPHY Catherine Powell WRITERS Whoever Got Their Shit Together On Time Aka No One LAYOUT DESIGN Catherine Powell

catherine & ariella

in this issue Band Name Courtesy of

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available now at shopjawbreaking.com Band Name Courtesy of

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The Almost

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Katherine McNamara

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Ashland High

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Avan Jogia

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Tyson Ritter

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Bearcat

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The Almost

Words: Ariella Mastroianni | Photos: Catherine Powell

It’s 2 p.m. and the guys of the Almost are hanging out in a conference room on a lower level of the Convention Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Today the space acts as a greenroom for the first-ever RaleighPalooza Music Festival, although the stark white walls and white tablecloths draped over the 15 some-odd tables suggest otherwise. Frontman Aaron Gillespie looks down at one of the main stages through large windows that line the far side of the room. Fans scatter no more than 15 feet from the front — some sit on the venue’s concrete floors while others shuffle around in small groups, looking down at their phones. Despite the 37-band lineup, the venue looks empty. ”I think this is it,” he says. “I don’t think any one else is coming.” 6

The guys sit in a semicircle at a roundtable and chat over the feedback of drums and guitar that shake the room from below. Despite their difficulty in finding the basement-like venue at 8 a.m. and early trip to Nashville tomorrow to record their next album, The Almost just want to relax. And goof around. “I have a ‘zero urinals in 2012 policy’ right now. It’s going great, by the way,” guitarist Jay Vilardi says in his slight southern accent. “If you get pissed on all day, I don’t want to stand near you. That’s it. Person or inanimate object. That’s my policy.”


Each of the guys is quick to chime in on the conversation except for bassist Jon Thompson, who doesn’t speak much but laughs and nods his head in agreement. He slouches in a chair a few from my left with his arms loosely crossed over his gray button-up shirt. Guitarist Dusty Redmon gets up and demonstrates how far it is necessary to stand away from a urinal to avoid getting your shoes dirty while drummer Joe Musten does nothing to hold back his strong, goofy laugh. “These readers are going to be bummed,” he says as he adjusts his wide rimmed glasses. “This is literally what it’s like to hang with us.” The Almost aren’t afraid to act dumb. After playing music professionally for over a decade and touring together since 2007, they’ve grown out of caring about their image. “I’m not in a place anymore where I’m 20 and care about having a $2,000 a week lighting package,” Aaron says. “That’s all well and good but if I could line up all the money my organizations have spent on ‘being cool’ I could feed a village.” “It’s about simplifying,” Jay adds. “When did having gear that works not be enough?”

venue in North Carolina. The guys attribute their laid-back demeanor to living in the South. At the same time, the near-30-year-old guys are settling down and building families. Aaron and Dusty both have sons who are only a few months old. Since the guys live with their families in different states, they often fly out to play one-night or two-night festivals. “This lifestyle is hard enough,” Jay says of touring. “When you’re making music you want to be creative and comfortable and not worried.” “I never joined a band to make it,” Aaron says. “That’s not what this lifestyle has ever been about for me.” Joe laughs. “You think that first tour in we did in 2001 we were trying to make it?” he says to the guys. “We just wanted to… I don’t even know… why did we go on tour?” “So I didn’t have to go to college,” Dusty adds. “That’s it man,” Aaron says. “We did it to make friends and trade t-shirts and yell and be idiots and go to gas stations and buy gross food… that’s what it’s about. Being honest about who you are and what you believe in.”

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A few hours later the Almost take the stage. The crowd still stands in parted groups, leaving pockets of empty space all over. “I’ve been thinking about this festival all day,” Aaron says into the mic while he tunes his guitar. His tangled red hair falls in front of his face. “I know you’re all musicians and you want to be cool. I did too,” he continues. “I would be like, wait I have to look like I like the band? But I want you to come to the front of the stage. I want this to not be awkward.”

The crowd reluctantly moves to the front of the stage as the Almost start their set. Aaron motions them forward until they’re packed tightly to the front. “Now,” he says. “I want you to put your hands in the air,” he says, waving his hands back and forth. “Let’s have fun.” The Almost break into their set. The crowd joins in, waving their hands and singing along. At the end of the day the guys did what they set out to do: play music and have fun doing it. 9


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KATHERINE MCNAMARA

Words & Photos by Catherine Powell

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Katherine McNamara makes me feel like a slacker. She graduated high school at 14, but had already been taking college courses since she was 13. The now 16-year-old is currently a senior at Drexel University where she is finishing up her business degree online. She’s also an actress, dancer and singer who spent all of last year in “A Little Night Music” on Broadway, and has a new Disney Channel movie, “Girl Vs. Monster,” coming out this fall. I meet up with Kat and her mom at the TKTS steps in Times Square. The petite blonde is dressed in tight skinny jeans, combat boots and a leather jacket layered over a hot pink top. The always14

busy street is exceptionally overcrowded today and we struggle to find a seat among the countless tourists taking a break from their long day of slow walking and stocking up on “I Love NY” gear. “I used to live two blocks from here, on 49th and 8th,” Kat says as she makes her way through the crowd, politely saying “excuse me” to those in her way. New York was a culture shock for Kat. She moved to the city at 15 to perform on Broadway in “A Little Night Music”. The kicker — she auditioned “just for fun” and was cast in the show that day. She had one week to pack up her Midwest life and relocate to the Big Apple.


Kat is not an average 16 year old. Besides her year-long stint in “Little Night Music,” Kat performed in multiple regional theatre productions in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, as well as in a pilot for Disney Channel called “Madison High,” the soon-to-be-released version of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, the blockbuster success, “New Year’s Eve,” as well as guest appearances on “Kickin’ It,” “Drop Dead Diva,” “Law & Order SVU” and more.

through Drexel University before she earned her diploma and is currently finishing up her business degree with a concentration in finance, which she hopes to wrap up next spring.

Needless to say, Kat does not have much time for anything else besides acting, but she makes time. It took awhile, but now her friends back home in Missouri understand her lifestyle. “I come into town and I try to see everyone I can,” she says. “I have friends who will come visit me wherever I am and we’ll sight see!”

Despite her slight nerdiness — her words, not mine — Kat has a wide variety of interests outside of books and numbers, including softball and ballet. In her first theater production she was hired as a dancer after being referred by a family friend. After just one production, Kat was hooked. She continued acting in Missouri before moving to New York for a year. She now resides in Los Angeles.

It’s hard enough for a normal teen to keep up with their high school load, so for a rising star like Kat it seems impossible, right? Well, wrong. Kat’s mother taught her from home, where she studied since the first grade. She was kicked out of school because they “didn’t know what to do with [her] because [she] was so advanced.” Kat still took art and P.E. classes at a normal school, and participated in assemblies and field trips, but at home she could go at her own pace with her studies. She ended up graduating high school at 14, but started taking online college courses

Kat describes herself as “self-disciplined,” which is how she manages to get all of her homework done while on set of whatever she’s filming at the time. “I find schoolwork fun,” she says, laughing. “I always find time to do it.”

Kat’s involvement with Disney started from one audition for “Madison High,” a pilot she filmed a few months ago. Following the filming, Kat continued to get offered different roles and auditions and eventually decided to relocate to L.A. permanently. Though moving isn’t easy on any kid, Kat had some benefits — a whole new set of friends within the Disney Channel family. “Literally everyone knows everyone on Disney Channel,” she gushes. “We all go to the same events and hang out together.” With leading women like Selena Gomez 15


and Debby Ryan currently conquering the channel, it’s easy to see how Kat’s kept a good head on her shoulders throughout her climbing fame. “Everyone is just good people,” Kat says, smiling. Though her current Disney fame may be limited to a few guest spot appearances, that is all set to change come October when Kat plays Myra, one of five main roles in the new Halloween movie “Girl Vs. Monster.” “‘Girl Vs. Monster’ was the best experience I ever had,” Kat gushes. “Everybody was so amazing to work with, both on and off set.” Her smile expands as she talks about how close the cast (Olivia Holt, Kerris Dorsey, Luke Benward, Brendan Meyer) became over the course of filming. The five kids stayed in the same hotel and spent “literally every waking moment together.” When they weren’t filming, the cast was playing hotel tag, hanging out by the pool and being normal teenagers. Kat’s character, Myra, is a stereotypical mean girl who undergoes a metamorphosis and becomes possessed by monsters, which only makes her more evil and demonic. As much fun as playing a demon was for Kat, it was the singing and dancing that really made the role take the cake as her favorite. Singing is another talent that Kat hopes to share with the world. When she gets back to L.A. after her time in NYC she’ll 16

begin working on some original music. “I started in musical theatre,” she says. “You have to love singing and dancing for that.” Kat is “happily busy,” but doesn’t give up the opportunity to embrace her downtime. When she does have a few hours to spare she’s hanging out in a popular plaza in L.A. with her friends where they’ll go to movies, restaurants and go shopping almost every night, assuming they’re free. If she’s not there, she can be found in her kitchen, baking or cooking things to bring to set, playing guitar, reading or knitting. “Acting just brought me this indescribable joy,” Kat says when asked when she knew her future was in performing. Throughout the interview I’ve noticed Kat beam every single time she gets to discuss her work. To her, there is no bad side of Hollywood — she sees only the good. As Times Square continues to get busier and our time is almost up I asked Kat a simple question: If it doesn’t work out, what else would she do? Kat looks up and smiles, “I don’t want to do anything else with my life other than act and sing and dance.”


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Trace Cyrus of

Ashland High

Written by Nicola Pring Photographed by Catherine Powell

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Trace Cyrus is not his sister. Or his father. Or anyone else, for that matter. In fact, from the moment I’m introduced to Trace at his publicist’s office in Manhattan, I get the sense that his persona is distinctly opposite of the simple, sweet Achy Breaky-Hannah Montana-Party in the U.S.A. stuff that made his family so famous. Trace is completely covered in tattoos. His black tank top and fedora don’t do much to conceal his fully inked arms, chest, neck and head. It’s just before 6 p.m. on a Monday evening, and Trace, having spent all weekend performing and promoting his latest musical project, Ashland HIGH, at The Bamboozle Festival in Asbury Park, N.J., is exhausted. He reclines sideways on a small, black leather couch in the corner of the office in front of a big window. His rail-thin body stands out like a colorful kaleidoscope of skulls, feathers, flowers and faces against the gray New York City sky. Despite his exhaustion, and the fact that Trace has just accomplished a major goal in playing with Ashland HIGH at Bamboozle, it’s clear that he’s fully alert and already planning his next move. He focuses his pale, blue eyes alternately on the wall in front of him, and on me as he candidly and calmly recounts his struggle to make it to this point in his career. Trace has been surrounded by music for 20

as long as he can remember. Billy Ray Cyrus, his adoptive father, gave Trace his first guitar at age four, and began bringing his young son on tour with him when he started performing “Achy Breaky Heart” in the early ’90s. On tour, 10-year-old Trace acted as guitar tech for his father, and considered Billy Ray’s band mates to be his best friends. “In reality I was probably in the way more than I helped,” Trace recalls in an ever so slight Southern drawl, a mark of his Kentucky birth and Tennessee upbringing. “But he would make me feel really special, and I just loved being around the tour and hanging out with the band.” Influenced by his father’s success, Trace began seriously playing guitar and singing around 11 years old. He always wanted to be a rock star, but never believed it could be a reality for him. “I always said I was going to be a roadie or a tech one day,” Trace says. “Truly, I would be happy just loading the gear, just being in that environment. But I shot for the moon.” Trace began playing solo shows in Tennessee when he was 16, before moving to Los Angeles and forming pop-rock band Metro Station at 18. Even as Metro Station began to gain traction, Trace doubted his ability to become an established artist. “It wasn’t planned to start a band and become famous. We did it for fun,” he says. “I didn’t really get the confidence that it could happen until I saw that record labels were contacting us. And to


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that point, it was just a thought in my head. I had more realistic goals.” Just as quickly as the band rose to prominence on Myspace, was signed by Columbia Records and reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts with their single “Shake It,” everything fell apart. Metro Station disbanded in 2010 after several disagreements between members. Though Trace had already begun to conceive of and write songs for Ashland HIGH, the two years between Metro Station’s break up and Ashland HIGH’s inception were difficult. “That transition point of not touring and not being where I wanted to in life was hard as hell,” says Trace, explaining bluntly that he struggled with serious depression and drinking and drug problems after Metro Station broke up. “Even in [that] rut, I was working, but it’s so easy when you’re just home doing nothing to get just caught up in [depression].” Trace struggled with the thought— as he has for most his life — that people would judge his music based on his family’s success, rather than on his own merit. “I truly felt like everyone would always just think, ‘Oh, that’s Billy Ray Cyrus’ son,’ and not look at me as an individual for myself,” Trace says. “Seeing Miley become successful made me give myself some hope because when you talk about Miley, you think of her as herself, you don’t just think of my dad. She’s her own person, and I think I’m becoming that too.” 22

Over the past six months, Trace overcame his depression, released an album and a music video with Ashland HIGH and toured with Breathe Carolina and The Ready Set. “I feel like finally my vision just started to become a reality, and I love it. I’m truly way more happy than I’ve been in years.” Trace’s new project reflects what he’s always wanted to do — make pop music. Although his body art, piercings and long, unkempt hair give him a typical rock look, he’s always considered himself to be a pop artist. He loved ’80s rock bands like Poison, Guns N’ Roses and Mötley Crüe as a child, but was inspired more by their look than their sound. “I didn’t really want to sound like [those bands], but I loved how they looked,” Trace says. “I started making pop music because I feel like I just fit and look the part of a rock star so much that it’s almost boring. The only thing rock about me is my look. It’s all about shock value.” Trace sits up on the couch and tells me confidently that his look is the most important thing he has to assert his individuality among countless would-be pop stars trying to make it big. “People will always look at me and think of me as the guy with the tattoos,” he says. “I never have to worry about playing a show and people not knowing who I am.” For Trace, the tattoo craze started the


day after his 18th birthday, when he had the words “Songs of Victory” inscribed across his chest in big, loopy, black letters. Ever since, the ink has spread rapidly over his body, most recently to his head, where he has an Native American chief tattooed on one side, and an eagle and roses on the other. “[My mom] freaked on me for that one a little bit,” he says of his new scalp art. “And the face,” he says, lightly grazing two black feathers on his cheek, which hang under his left eye like permanent teardrops. Trace’s ink obsession has inspired his family to get tattoos of their own, and the singer cites getting inked as an unusual shared activity that brings his family together. He tells me Billy Ray nearly has two full sleeves, his mother has her entire back tattooed and Miley has sporadic art all over her body. Trace’s tattooing sessions always last at least 10 hours, and he always uses the same artist, Chris Garcia, who has become a close friend. “He’s not heavily tattooed, so he’s completely opposite of me, and that’s why I think I get along with him,” Trace says. “The only things me and him really have in common is that we both like tattoos. But I have a lot, he doesn’t and we just talk.” Trace tells me his legs are the last blank canvas on his body — the final frontier. “I can’t wait to finish [my legs], but the only thing I’m going to miss is that time with my artist,” he says.

more music videos and get back on the road. He’s turned down a few tour offers because he’s waiting for the timing to be right. Trace also hopes to release a fulllength, in-store album by the end of year. He has yet to sign with a record label. “I know if I went after a label and pursued them I could get signed now,” Trace says. “[But] I’m doing everything my friends on labels are doing, so I have to have a label prove to me that I need them. I want a record label because I have such high expectations for myself, but I’m only going to do it if I know that they’re helping me out as much as I’m helping them out. I’m already doing it all myself.” Trace stresses that “doing it all himself” also means he doesn’t get financial support from his family for his music. “I’ve lived on my own since I was 18, and that’s what I hope people can see about Ashland HIGH. This is nothing like ‘Hannah Montana’ or something where it’s built by a machine like Disney. This is all my ideas and concepts and my vision, fully. No one is behind this but me. I hope people can recognize that.” In his young life, Trace has already risen to the top of the industry and come crashing back down. And he’s not afraid to start all over again. This time he’s a little older, a little wiser, has a few more tattoos and is finally coming into his own.

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PLUG IN STEREO

Words: Nicole Mazza Photos: Catherine Powell

Crowds of over-excited concert-goers hurriedly make their way from one stage to the other on the hot, packed beaches of Asbury Park, N.J. at The Bamboozle Festival. Despite the chaos, Plug In Stereo’s Trevor Dahl is calm. Behind his framed glasses are sincere eyes that are focused as he speaks with genuine thought and excitement. He’s likely still high off adrenaline after playing a 20-minute set at the Temple of Boozle stage to a moderate crowd of teenagers. It’s his second consecutive year at the New Jersey festival and surely not his last. Prior to the release of “The Patience,” his latest EP, last year had been the first time he sang his single “Oh Darling” with Cady Groves. The song had just begun building momentum in the music circuit, but times have changed. Now the crowd is full of girls singing along, not just to “Oh Darling,” but to a handful of his tunes. “It’s a lot different than it was last year and hopefully next year will be twice as good,” Trevor says with a smile, his dirty blonde, coiled locks bouncing with every tilt or fidget. Music is everything to Trevor, but it hasn’t always been that way. Growing up in Portland, Ore., sports were a huge part of his life. Basketball, baseball, football,

hockey, soccer, you name it and he’s probably played it. “I guess golf, even,” he adds to the long list. Before he picked up a guitar, before music became the center of his world, he would have never dreamed of being where he is today — he’s been on a slew of supporting tours and headliners, has had a hit single and is currently preparing for his first full-length record release with Atlantic Records. “When I was little I wanted to own a restaurant and I wanted to cook,” Trevor says. “I wanted to play sports, and then I wanted to be a teacher. Probably when I’m old, like 70 years old, I’ll want to be a teacher. But for now, it’s all about the music.” Inspired by his father, cousins and brother who played instruments, Trevor picked up his first acoustic guitar in middle school. “I saw my dad teaching my brother and I was like ‘Oh I want to be better than him’ you know what I mean?” he explains of the friendly sibling competition. Without a group of friends who were interested in music, Trevor would retreat into his room alone while his brother played in the garage with his friends. “I just recorded in my room and played acoustic songs all day, every day,” Trevor says. A few bands later, he was releasing songs he had worked on as a solo artist on Myspace. When he got positive feedback, he focused on his singing and writing. Before he knew it, he 27


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was dropping out of high school after his sophomore year. His parents were weary at first — Trevor’s father is a school principal. Eventually, they let their son do what he needed to do. “They were like ‘Alright, see how it goes,’ so I left and for awhile, for the first year I kind of regretted it,” Trevor says. “I was like, ‘Nothing’s been happening.’ I wasn’t touring as much as I thought I was going to be.” But time treated Trevor well and after writing his first album and releasing “Oh Darling,” he signed with indie label Triple Crown Records and everything started looking up. He’s in a completely different ballpark now after having jumped to Atlantic Records, where he’s in the process of releasing his first full-length album. “I’ve been recording for a long, long time. I’ve been writing it for like two and a half years,” he says. “I just tried to write as many songs as I could and find the twelve that I really love and that the label loves.” Trevor hopes to have the record out within the next six months. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever put out. I promise.”

for five weeks by myself I kind of had to fend for myself and so I started cooking a little bit and it’s kind of fun.” But when it comes down to it, it’s clear there’s only one thing on Trevor’s mind. “When I’m not touring I’m literally in my room recording and writing. It’s what I like to do. I don’t like to do a lot of other stuff.” Though he admits that he misses his best friend at home and hasn’t had a girlfriend in four years, touring and music is his only option. From recording to life on the road, it’s the only life that Trevor can imagine for himself. “If I need to go to college, that’s a back-up plan and I don’t really want a back-up plan,” Trevor says confidently and firmly. “I want to go for what I’m doing. If I have a back-up plan I’m subconsciously going to help myself fail, you know what I mean? I don’t want to do that.” Until Trevor is ready for a change, he has his eye on the prize. “I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and keep putting out songs that I like putting out,” he says. “I’m just going to keep doing it until I don’t feel like doing it anymore.”

Now, 19-year-old Trevor struggles to find a definite list of hobbies that don’t consist of music. “People ask me this and I feel like such a fucking loser,” he says, laughing, though he adds that he enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking and camping. Even cooking has been something he was forced to pick up. “When I first went to L.A. 31


THE USED Words: Ariella Mastroianni Photos: Catherine Powell

The Used walk off stage as smoke rolls over the densely packed crowd at Irving Plaza in New York City. The stage lights dim to a deep blue as three ascending notes beep on a loop through the venue’s speakers.

Beep. Beep. Beep. The crowd shuffles back and forth as they wait for something to happen. The beeping steadily repeats from low note to high note, as if to count time ticking by.

Beep. Beep. Beep. At this point, it’s hard to tell if the band will come back out. The beeping continues for what feels like minutes, while the stage remains dark and empty. All that’s left for the crowd is to hope. And a sense of hope is exactly what The Used want — it’s also what they finally have. “We almost had a crash,” bassist Jeph Howard says of the band’s fourth studio album, “Artwork.” The record was leaked three months prior to the official release date in 2009, Jeph notes, which brought about a slew of problems with marketing and sales. Their label (Reprise, Warner Bros.) did nothing to help. After the release, the guys had enough — 32

they dropped their label, got rid of their management and tore apart from anyone who did not support them. “We got rid of all the people that were bringing us down,” Jeph continues. “People that weren’t really helping our creative process, but strangling it.” “Artwork” is a mean, hateful record. It’s brutal through-and-through: with some of the band’s heaviest instrumentation and darkest lyrics. But looking back at what happened, the guys don’t have any regrets. They just want to move on into a new, positive direction. Jeph is sitting with Quinn Allman, the band’s guitarist, in the greenroom at Irving Plaza. It’s a few hours before their show, and their team is finally allowed to run a sound check. Violin tracks from their song “Bird and the Worm” ring through the room. Quinn lights a blunt and takes a hit as he leans back slightly in his seat. The guys are on tour to promote their latest record,


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“Vulnerable,” which was released in March 2012 through their label, Anger Music Group in partnership with Hopeless Records. The album sold 60 thousand copies in two months.

“We’ve endured a lot, we’ve seen a lot of bullshit and we’ve been fucked over by a lot of people,” Quinn says. “But it’s all part of a bigger experience. A healing. It’s a good thing for sure.”

“There’s a lot of hope in this record,” Jeph says, not only of the album’s success, but also of its content. “It’s the beginning of the next cycle of The Used.”

Quinn recalls a show in 2011 that marked the beginning of their downward spiral. They were playing in California at the Musink Tattoo & Music Festival. Towards

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the end of their song, “The Taste of Ink” the band’s frontman Bert McCracken fell off stage, breaking his hand and elbow. “It looked like a dinosaur bone sticking out, you know. Just popping through the skin,” Quinn describes of Bert’s elbow injury. “He got back up stage and finished the fucking set. That’s hitting some sort of bottom, but it turned into us thinking we had to make a badass record.” As Quinn recalls Bert falling from the stage, a member of the venue’s staff walks into the greenroom and reluctantly asks Quinn to stop smoking. Quinn nods immediately. “Yeah, sure man,” he says without hesitation. He puts the blunt away. The guys of The Used have grown up and their priorities have changed. Well, they’ve been modified. Their band — their music — has always been their number one, since they formed nearly 12 years ago. “I think I’ve grown up a lot,” Bert explains. “I’m 30 and not 19 anymore and things don’t really aren’t as carefree. I have a wife and home. Now I understand why I love music and why I do what I do.”

that mirrors the same hope found in their 2002 self-titled debut, this is not to say their career is coming to an end. “The beginning of every album is a new beginning, you know what I mean?” Drummer Dan Whitesides says. “I don’t think there’s an end for [our band] in sight. We just wanted to make a fuckin’ positive record.” And that’s exactly what The Used did. For now, there’s no looking back and there’s no looking forward. They’re together making music and that’s all they want and it’s all they can hope for. They’re perfectly OK with not knowing what will come next.

“It’s always up and down you know,” Bert says. “We’re human beings just like anyone else. Life is all about failures and successes and what we make of those failures and successes really define us as people, especially as artists. We just take it one day at a time.”

“We’re all in different places personally,” Quinn says. “But we’re on a mission to be there for each other.” Jeph cuts him off, adding, “We wanted to be more of a team.” Although The Used have come full circle with a positive message in “Vulnerable” 39


Avan Jogia Written by Stacy Magallon Photographed by Catherine Powell

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It’s a warm, overcast morning in New York City’s chic little neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. For even the smallest of reasons, it feels great to be alive. Besides a warm cup of coffee, what more could I possibly need to kick off a Wednesday? It seems like my life couldn’t be any more perfect, until I remember there’s a well-dressed man in a chocolate brown fedora sitting across from me. I don’t know about you, but adding Nickelodeon star Avan Jogia into the equation doesn’t seem too shabby. “Jovial? Opulent?” Avan thinks of adjectives to describe himself that correspond with every letter in his last name. I watch him attentively, noting his casual outfit — a gray button-down jacket and a plain white t-shirt. It’s pretty early, and for all I know, he could have been asleep ten minutes ago. But, unlike me, he certainly doesn’t look like he was. I take another glance at his face and learn he’s still thinking about those adjectives. He chuckles at his struggle while he lights a cigarette. “I’m neither of those things. Those are just good words. Can I think about it then e-mail you later?” Avan always wanted to be an actor. He grew up in a lower-income neighborhood in Vancouver, where his father raised him around motion pictures like “The Godfather” and the collection of James Bond films. With the aid of this influence, Avan’s love for acting developed naturally. 42

Throughout high school, he spent most of his time pursuing his passion instead of attending classes, and at 16, he dropped out. At 17, he packed up his dreams and headed for California. Within the first six months of living in Los Angeles, Avan scored a role on Dan Schneider’s teen sitcom, “Victorious” on Nickelodeon. “As a Canadian, I needed a job in order to live there,” he says. “I was incredibly lucky.” Avan stars as Beck Oliver, an easy-going problem solver at the fictional Hollywood Arts High School. “Beck is very nice,” he says, placing a playful emphasis on the word ‘nice,’ later explaining that his character can sometimes be a little too nice. Though he clarifies that both he and Beck are agreeable people, he admits to a couple differences between them. “Beck is a very go-with-the-flow kind of guy. He doesn’t go starting trouble, nor does he have much conflict in his life. As for me, I definitely come across more conflict than Beck does.” Although Avan is currently dedicated to his involvement with Nickelodeon, he hopes to branch out from the familyfriendly network when the time is right. “I’d be stupid not to. I want to be able to play roles that are not myself. As an actor, your goal is to play a different person, and I have yet to do that,” Avan says. “In the arena of teen television that I’m currently in, you don’t really get the chance to.”


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Aside from acting, Avan loves creative writing, playing the guitar, piano and dabbling on the accordion. He also uses his position in the limelight to promote gay rights. In March of 2011, Avan co-founded a non-profit charity called Straight But Not Narrow (SBNN) with two friends, Heather Wilk and Andre Pochon. The organization of young, straight adults aims to promote positivity and acceptance towards their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual friends. “My mom is a hairdresser, so I grew up around a hair salon. I was always with her two best guy friends who were together. Was it ever an issue to me? Never,” he says. “So I don’t quite see why it is.” As a whole, Avan hasn’t come across much backlash while endorsing SBNN. He knows that he can’t change the minds of those who have already developed extreme opinions, but he’s making sure to voice his own. “It’s important to be not so much political, but to stand for human rights,” he says, assertively. “I think you should definitely be vocal about something you support, because for whatever reason, people are listening.” As we talk, a teenage girl walking by stops dead in her tracks at the sight of Avan. She’s late for school, but she doesn’t seem to care. She asks him for a hug and a photo, and he happily accommodates her wishes. Despite the recognition he gets on the Internet

or even walking down the street, the 20-year-old actor doesn’t deliberately change his personal life because of his professional career. While in Manhattan earlier this week, he made a trip to the Museum of Natural History where he was recognized by a few fans. “If you’re at the Museum of Natural History, don’t take a photo with me. Take a photo with the dinosaur or the nine billion-year old iron meteorite,” Avan says, cracking a smile. “I’m on a television show and that’s a rock from space. They’re not even comparative.” We share a laugh as our conversation winds down. As we talk about Avan’s future, he immediately mentions his desire to travel. After non-stop shooting on the set of “Victorious” for eight months, he hopes to leave the west coast.

“It’d be nice to get out of L.A. for a little bit and see the world,” he says, eagerly.

He also touches upon his upcoming movie, “Rags,” filmed with fellow Nickelodeon stars Keke Palmer and Max Schneider. Much like the film’s title, the plot involves a musical twist on a Cinderella-esque rags-to-riches story. The Nickelodeon original movie premiered at the end of May. We’ve been hanging out for a little over an hour, and I remember I have my final and favorite inquiry saved for last. 45


“Gandhi once said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ What change do you personally embody?” After mentioning his ongoing involvement with an organization like SBNN, it seems only natural to ask. Avan looks down and takes a moment to think. “I want to see more empathy in the world,” he says as he stares into my eyes, sounding completely sure of himself. “The context or parameters of a situation don’t matter. As long as you are understanding and can operate off of empathy, I think that’s very important.” 46

I leave Avan with his mother to share a smoke on Smith Street. As I start walking towards the train station a few blocks away, I reminisce on the morning spent in his company. Soon enough, I begin to hear his voice ringing in my ears. Empathy. Understanding. Empathy. Understanding. When I step off the platform and onto the Manhattan-bound C train, I smile to myself. As the train car jolts into motion and pulls out of the station, I start wondering about Avan’s next move for humanity, and whether or not he’ll actually e-mail me later.


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THE ARKELLS Words & Photos by Catherine Powell

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I’m late, as always. After some aimless walking I get off the “N” train and locate Santos Party House, a large building with no sign, and a tour bus parked in front — the only evidence this is a music venue. I shrug and hold up my hands at the door to allow the bouncer to draw two embarrassing, large, black “X’s” on my hands with a sharpie. I give my name at the ticket window and make my way into the club for The Maine’s North American Pioneer Tour. My eyes adjust to the darkness just in time for a bright white light to shine from onstage. I can now see the huge sea of people, all clapping and cheering as five musicians lose themselves onstage. I haven’t heard any music like this before, and up until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of The Arkells. I’m impressed, really impressed. They’re a little quirky, and a lot awesome. I wanted to know everything about them. I sat down with bassist Nick Dika to hear their story. How and when did The Arkells form? The band formed in Hamilton, Ontario about five years ago. A bunch of us were going to school at McMaster University, the town’s local college, at the time. You’ve had a lot of success in Canada. How well does that success translate to the US? In Canada we have been touring consistently for the last five years, so we have a lot of experience playing for people and engaging them through our live show and turning them onto the band. In the US, we haven’t toured as extensively.

This is only our second American tour, so we haven’t had as many opportunities to engage people through the show. Hopefully as we continue to tour in the US it will translate into the same type of success as we had in Canada. What was the writing and recording process like for your most recent album, “Michigan Left”? Because we were on the road for so long in Canada, a lot of the initial ideas for “Michigan Left” were conceived and tested while on the road. When we finally came off the road, we spent a month working on ideas in pre-production before we headed into the studio. We spent about six weeks recording at a studio called the Bathouse in Kingston, Ontario. How was it different from your first fulllength album, “Jackson Square”? The process of recording “Michigan Left” was different than recording “Jackson Square” in that we had a lot more time when recording “Michigan Left.” When we recorded “Jackson Square” in 2008, we only had a few of weeks to work with in the studio. We took twice as much time when recording “Michigan Left.” With “Michigan Left,” we were listening to bands like Spoon and Phoenix and really wanted to make an album that included some finer studio touches — experimenting with additional track layers and vocal delays — and because we spent six weeks in the studio were able spend that time experimenting. 49


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What song off of “Michigan Left” has the most meaning for you? It’s tough to pick a one song. People who have children will tell you they can’t pick a favourite. I don’t have kids, so I would equate it to picking a favourite chocolate bar. We work really hard on all of them and they all have their own special significance and meaning to us. At what point in your career(s) did you realize your music was catching on and this could be a career? I don’t think there is one specific point where you realize you might be able to make a go of music. We have always tried to work as hard as we can, so when things are catching on or going well, we were usually too busy to realize it right away. I guess that moment of realization first came for me when I was filling out a form at the bank and wrote “musician” under occupation. I smiled to myself. I thought ‘Wow, this is going to be the coolest application form these guys get today.’ Do you remember the first time you heard your song on the radio? Where were you and how did you react? The first time we heard our song on the radio was the month our first album, “Jackson Square,” came out in Canada. We were on tour with a band called Matt Mays and El Torpedo and we were driving through Toronto on our way to a show that night, which was at a place called the Phoenix Concert Theatre. Westopped at a light and heard the song, 52

“Oh The Boss Is Coming,” blaring from the car next to us at the light. It was equal parts exciting and surreal. I still remember the huge smiles on everyone’s faces. As soon as the light changed, we turned on our radio and listened to the rest. What has your experience in the US been like so far? Our experience in the US has been great so far. This tour has been our first time in many American cities, so we have been doing our best to take full advantage. We’ve tried to see and eat as much as we can in our free time. Some of the more touristy things we’ve done is going to the JFK Museum in Dallas, visited the Harvard Campus in Boston and watch a Philadelphia Phillies game. We’ve also eaten a ton of BBQ. We don’t have much good BBQ in Canada. What are some similarities and differences between playing shows in Canada and the US? One of the main differences is the travel time between cities. Canada is as big as the US geographically, but only has a tenth of its population. Canadian cities are further apart and this means a lot more driving in Canada. Since we’ve been in the US, most of the shows have only been two to five hours apart, compared to six to nine hours in Canada. Because Canada shares a border, culture and language with the US, there are lots of similarities. It might not seem like much, but using the same electrical voltage system is key. We’ve lost some keyboards in the UK because of the different electrical requirements.


What are some of the band’s goals that you have yet to reach? How do you plan on reaching them? I think one of our goals would be to continue to work at creating both records and a live show that strives to evolve. We find that we are having the most fun when things are fresh and interesting. Whether it’s thinking of ways to retouchold songs liveor playing around with new sounds and instrumentation, trying to stay on our toes creatively is one goal we are always working towards. How do you translate your live performance into the studio and vice versa? On “Michigan Left” we were very conscious of this challenge and wanted to capture as much of the energy of

our live show as we could on the album. To do this we tried to do as much recording live off the floor as we could. Not just bass and drums, but Max’s vocals and Mike’s guitar parts as well. A lot of the best performances come from the energy that happens when we are all playing together in a room. What do you have planned for the rest of 2012? This summer we are playing festival shows throughout Canada and hoping that our rec. softball team makes the playoffs. Come the fall we will be doing more international — US and Europe — touring that should take us through the end of the year. 53


CHERRI BOMB 54


Words: Olga Khvan Photos: Catherine Powell 55


A

s I walk into the dimly lit interior of Irving Plaza to meet Cherri Bomb, a mass of brilliantly red curls approaches me, and Nia Lovelis’ skinny frame envelops me in a hug. The rest of the girls — Julia Pierce, Miranda Miller and Rena Lovelis — follow suit. Standing together, they make for a quirky sight — bursts of color break up their mostly black outfits and pairs of knee-high leather combat boots in forms of sequins, red lipstick, zebra-striped leggings and streaks of brightly dyed hair. They’re a rock band on tour promoting the release of their debut album, but they’re also a group of teenage girls just looking to have some fun.

attitudes are easygoing and relaxed. Rena perches herself on top of a couch, while Julia, Nia and Miranda sit huddled closely together on its cushions. They joke around and giggle often throughout the interview, like any other group of 14-to-16-year-old girls would.

“Instead of just always playing the music, we try to actually have some kind of talk and banter in between [songs during the live set],” Nia says. “And have some fun with it,” Julia says, finishing Nia’s sentence.

“Guys don’t get the ‘girl process,’” says Nia, prompting the other girls to repeat the phrase and hold a brief discussion about guys’ inability to understand girls’ emotions and need for two hours of prep time before going out, all while bursting into an infectious laughter.

It’s almost time for sound check for the Los Angeles based band’s first New York City show, in which they’re supporting glam rockers Steel Panther, but the girls’

While all the girls seem to share a deep connection, Nia and Rena are actual sisters, a bond that Nia says is beneficial for their music. The sisters vibe off each

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“Yesterday Miranda and I saw a cute waiter and looked at each other and burst out laughing,” Rena says. “And I knew exactly what they were laughing about,” Nia says. “I did, too,” Julia adds. “Girls have this telepathy between each other. Once you become close with a girl, we don’t even have to talk. We can just look at each other and know what we want to say,” Miranda says, as the rest of the girls smile and nod in agreement.


other in the rhythm section, with Nia on drums and Rena on bass. “They’re actually sewn together. We’re pasted on,” satys Julia, lead singer and guitarist, motioning to herself and Miranda, who plays rhythm guitar. “But they’re stitched together.” The chemistry among the girls is undeniable and it’s exactly what Julia was looking for when she started recruiting members for an all-girl band back in 2008, posting flyers and online ads that the other three eventually

responded to. “I thought it’d be amazing to share this experience with girls just like me,” she says. After continuously playing shows around Los Angeles, Cherri Bomb eventually caught the eye of a fellow female rocker — drummer Samantha Maloney of Hole, Mötley Crüe, Eagles of Death Metal and Peaches fame. Under her management, the girls went on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins and played festivals in Australia and Europe, opening for the Foo Fighters in Germany. The girls recently had the 57


chance to play alongside the Foo Fighters again at Bamboozle. This summer they’ll have the opportunity to meet a few other bands they admire, including Of Mice and Men, Sleeping with Sirens and Pierce the Veil at Warped Tour. “We love festivals. Our first festival was in the U.K. and ever since then we’ve pretty much fallen in love with the whole scene, just playing in tents and having all these people walking around, hearing other bands next to you,” Julia says. “It’s just something that we’ve always set out to do and we love it.” Cherri Bomb may not be new to playing festivals, but this year they’ll be doing it with a full-length album under their belt. Released May 15, “This is the End of Control” is full of energy, edgy guitar riffs and four-part harmonies. One of its tracks, “Shake the Ground,” is featured on the soundtrack for the summer blockbuster “The Avengers.” “It’s our first album and we’ve gotten really good response so far and it’s really exciting. We put a lot of work into this,” Miranda says. “Songs were just coming flying out of nowhere and everyone was always playing and creating something,” Nia says of the writing and recording process.

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“We’d all be in a room and some of us would have poetry books and stuff where we’d get lyrics from and we’d have all the instruments out. Someone would come up with a riff and we would jam on it,” Miranda says. “It was such a creative process and it was fun to share it with everyone.” Although the girls are in their teens, their music has reached fans from all generations. “We have fans who are our age, which is so cool, and then we have fans who are older just because we’re playing real music and we’re definitely serious about this,” Julia says. As for the album’s content, Cherri Bomb leave it up to the listeners to interpret it however they want. “We kind of leave our songs open. It’s almost like an R. L. Stine book — sometimes you choose your own story with it. We put enough information to create some of the story, but then the rest of it is for you to figure out,” Nia says. “We want people to be able to relate to it.” After wrapping up the interview, we move into the hallway for the photo shoot. While taking individual shots, the girls joke around and dare each other not to smile, but end up laughing their way into sound check. It’s as if they’re constantly in on an inside joke, but that comes as no surprise — it’s all part of the “girl process,” after all.


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Tyson Ritter Words: Olga Khvan | Photos: Catherine Powell

The All-American Rejects have been around for over a decade, but for frontman Tyson Ritter, songwriting is getting truly personal and cathartic for the first time. “I always would pull from people in my life or make up stories around certain subject matters for songs, but this is the first record I [wrote] where I actually took some time to collect my thoughts on myself and my life at the moment instead of venturing off,” he says of the band’s recently released fourth album, “Kids in the Street.” Following the success of the band’s last album, “When the World Comes Down,” powered by its hit single “Gives You Hell,” back in 2008, Tyson moved to Los Angeles from his native Oklahoma, an experience that he recalls as a “terrible idea.” “After we went across this crazy ride for ‘Gives You Hell,’ coming back down to Earth felt like a sort of taxing adventure. I ran around and had a lot of late nights and early mornings,” he says. “Any small town kid going out to Los Angeles is going to get his breath taken away by something that massive. Los Angeles is a very overwhelming city. The transition was like boiling water to freezing cold. It was terribly shocking, but it’s a part of the journey and I’m proud to say I survived it.” 61


It was an experience that produced the more personal songwriting approach for “Kids in the Street.” “This is a record about sort of recovering from your early 20s. Turning 25 seems to be this pivotal point, much like 18, when you’re like, ‘Where the hell am I going to college?’ 25 is more like, ‘Where the hell am I going with my life?’ It’s sort of more of a grand brushstroke than just the transition from high school to college,” says Tyson, now 28. “This record’s sort of like my quarter-life crisis.” Writing the album and moving out of Los Angeles may have provided a catharsis of sorts, but the crisis still seems to endure. “Now I don’t really live anywhere,” Tyson says. “I just have friends that stay at my places and I don’t really like living anywhere. I’ve determined that there is no place like home, so let there be no place like home.” There is one place that does feel like home to Tyson, but it’s not a permanent residence. “My identity crisis is so surreal right now. That’s why I think being on stage is the only place where I feel like I’m finally at home. I don’t think about anything. I am truly at peace and one with whatever we’re supposed to be one with when I’m up there,” he says. Today, the stage is a big one — The Bamboozle Festival. I sit with Tyson in the lounge of Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park, N.J. His face is lightly 62

scruffy, his dark hair slightly tousled and the cuffs of the jacket he’s wearing over a striped orange button-down are undone, revealing a multitude of bracelets on his wrists and rings on most of his fingers. Various sound checks can be heard coming from the beach, and Tyson admits that he had never even heard of some of the bands on this year’s lineup. “It feels good to be like the dinosaurs on this thing. It’s really surreal, especially nowadays because there are so many bands out there,” he says. “It’s crazy to see people that have come along with us for ten years. The older kids at the back are waiting for ‘Swing, Swing,’ the newer kids up front are waiting for ‘Gives You Hell’ and there’s ten years in between those rows.” Although Tyson is proud of “Kids in the Street,” he thinks it’s important to give fans what they want in terms of older songs and to ease them into the new material. “There’s nothing more upsetting to me than when a band comes out and plays only music I don’t know and refuses to play songs that got them to where they are,” he says. “We don’t do that. We open with ‘Dirty Little Secret’ and then smash right into ‘Swing, Swing.’ If you’ve known this band for a while, it’s a fun trace through time.” “We’ve traveled through many sort of phases of the genres and in ten years I feel like that’s the one thing that this


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band has always had going for us — the fact that there are songs you know and songs that even if you don’t want to know them, you can’t help but sing along,” he says. Over the past ten years, Tyson has not only watched The All-American Rejects change, but also the entire music industry. “I feel like musicians have more power than they ever have in the industry. I feel like as technology has advanced, so has the individual, which is a beautiful thing because this is an industry that eats people alive every day,” he says. 66

While technology and social media may give a musician more power, it also blurs the line between a musician’s professional and personal lives, according to Tyson. “I was at an advantage not having YouTube and Facebook [when starting out]. There was still a velvet rope separating band from person, whereas nowadays kids seem to be totally enveloped with Twitter and all that social media, so they want to get as much of you as possible,” he says. “It totally takes down that whole larger-than-life persona that I exude on stage every day. When we play a show, it’s a performance. I think the one thing I feel disadvantaged by


in the advancement of technology is that it makes people think I’m just crazy when I go play, whereas people have just never seen a show with a performer.” “I loved frontmen that scared me, made me feel sexual and made me want to be like them,” says Tyson, citing his admiration for Freddie Mercury, Van Halen and Van Roth. “I feel like nowadays the way that people can embrace the connective tissue of an artist to a fan is by making sure that the artist has more human qualities. I just hate that there’s no velvet rope anymore. I love performers that scare me and shock me.”

There are some things, however, that Tyson is sure about — charity work (his foundation Don’t Hate on Haiti raises funds for the rebuilding process in the afflicted country), a desire to pursue acting (he’s been offered roles, but he’s waiting for the right role and the right moment) and music, of course. “One song that lasts forever,” he says, when asked about his goals. That song, however, is not part of The AllAmerican Rejects’ extensive discography. Not yet, at least. “It’s there. I just ain’t writ it yet,” he says, jokingly exaggerating his Oklahoma accent. He chuckles, pauses and refocuses. “That’s my only goal,” he says. “I want to live forever through music.”

It’s hard to tell who Tyson is when he’s not fronting The All-American Rejects. On a recent time off, for example, he grabbed a couple of shirts from his Los Angeles residence and stayed at a beachside hotel for three days. “I had nothing to do. I listened to records and I chose to do nothing,” he says. “I write, of course, but when I take time off, I don’t know what to do. It’s like having a gold bar and being in some magical land that accepts one gold bar for the rest of your life as admission to some sort of crazy adventure and I just stand there at the gate the whole time, holding it and going, ‘What am I supposed to do now?’ I don’t ever want to figure it out, I don’t think. It’s funny how stir crazy you get when you go all the time [and then you stop].” 67


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BEARCAT Words: Tanya Traner Photos: Catherine Powell

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Renee Yohe, front woman of BEARCAT, sits in the back of a dimly lit booth at Coffee Shop, an upscale diner in Union Square. She’s hard to miss in a short black dress, colorful blazer with brown fringe, big gold jewelry and bright red hair. Her arms are covered in tattoos, and her big green eyes are accented with a lot of black eyeliner — a far cry from what you would imagine the daughter of a pastor might look like. But this is who she is. Renee says she has always been on the move, even before touring as an inspirational speaker and with BEARCAT. The daughter of missionaries, she relocated frequently, going back and forth between Illinois, Russia, Colorado, Florida and California. “I don’t think I’ve been anywhere for more than a year,” she says, noting that moving around so much was really rough on her. “When it was all happening I became that really dark, angry, depressed, raging alcoholic teenager,” Renee says. She says she left her parents at 18 and continued her gypsy lifestyle. Her depression spiraled into drug abuse, homelessness and eventually self harm. However this dim time in her life brought positivity. Her depression and substance abuse prompted a group of friends to 70

start “To Write Love on Her Arms,” a now international campaign completely dedicated to helping those going through the same issues, self-injury, suicide, depression and addiction. According to its website, the movement has now helped individuals in over 170,000 countries. After two stints in rehab, Renee became a spokesperson for the cause as well, attending many speaking engagements to tell her story and hopefully help those going through the same issues. She says she even wrote a book about her troubles, “Purpose for the Pain,” a compilation of journals she had written over five year. Renee quit cosmetology school to write the book and tour with it. As much as she values helping others, Renee says she does not want to be a poster child for drug abuse. She wants to be someone other than the girl in the story. “I spent all that time and all of my creative outlets just trying to give to other people and I forgot myself completely.” This is where her most recent story begins — music. Renee says singing was never something she did for others.


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“It was always more intimate, like a secret thing,” she says, later noting that some of her friends knew her for years and had no idea she could sing. She sometimes used music for therapy, once gathering a room full of girls after a rough night and singing with them until they were asleep. But it wasn’t until a night in her garage after recording her first song using “Garage Band” that she thought about taking music more seriously. A few weeks later she played her first show in Orlando with one original song and a few covers. “It seems like everything I do happens really fast like that,” she says. By her third show, Renee was already playing for thousands because she turned what was supposed to be a speaking engagement into a show. “I kind of slipped it by them, I was like, I’ll tell my story I’m just going to do it differently.” And even more quickly, she says, BEARCAT was flown to Los Angeles by Atlantic Records to record a five song EP, which will be released on June 5.

me too, personally.” She refers to her own struggle with anxiety. Renee says that she does not like to have her picture taken, or even to have people look at her, and these anxieties do not disappear when she’s on stage. She says that she has found routines to help her deal with her issues before each performance. “Having so many positive responses and then just knowing that like initially I’ll be freaking out but when I actually get up there and get into it, it’s like ‘Wow I really love this,’” Renee says. She says that she could only give up the life of a gypsy if she ever wanted to settle down and have a family, but notes that she wants her children to grow up knowing and experiencing different cultures. Above all, Renee is an example that stories can be and are ever changing. No one has to go through tough times alone and you don’t have to be defined by your story. Music is her story now, one that is being written with no clear ending in sight.

Her fast trip into music has not been the easiest process however. “There’s so much duality in it,” she says. “It was a really short process but at the same time was a really long process for 73


NKD Mag - Issue #12 (June 2012)  

The Used, Avan Jogia, Katherine McNamara, The Almost, Ashland High (Trace Cyrus), Bearcat, Cherri Bomb, The Arkells, Tyson Ritter (The All-A...

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