POPTIZED ISSUE 04
S U M M E R 2 019
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contents features the regrettes 8-12 madison ryan 13 ROZES 14-15 danny and alex
new hope club 18-21 pronoun 26-29 HUNNY 32-37 the parkers 38 hippo campus 40-47 belaganas 50-51
articles somiâ€™s debut 16 how pop songs shape summer
the summer in boston
summer soundtrack 53-54
photos great good fine ok
chase atlantic 24-25 cage the elephant
fitz and the tantrums
EDITOR'S LETTER Hi everyone, More and more lately, I’ve found myself reflecting on this area of society we inhabit—this corner of the world we creatives exist in. Gone are the days of straightforward feedback, when we’d get back a math test and know each part of each problem we got wrong. When we made our first steps into this arena, we signed an invisible contract, trading out that clear-cut criticism for a more subjective response and with that, each person’s reason for disliking our work becomes more thorough, personal, and piercing. The more we work, the more layers of self-doubt that appear, clouding our vision. While continuing to publish articles, I’ve definitely felt this veil of doubt envelop me. With the help of my friends and time away from social media (I recommend all of you try it), I’ve fought hard to ignore these doubts, forget these distractions, and recenter on my goal with Poptized: creating a place where everyone, from fans to the musicians themselves, can express how music affects their lives. And now, here we are, back with our biggest issue yet. I know I say that every issue, but ultimately my goal is to say that every issue and mean it. And boy, right now, do I mean it. In here you’ll find Hippo Campus, The Regrettes, HUNNY, and so many more powerful, talented acts. Most importantly, I couldn’t have done it without the help of all my heads, writers, interviewers, photographers, and editors, all of whom are just as elated about this issue as I am. Enjoy. Yours,
Twitter: smoothbartowski Instagram: karianntan
TEAM Editor-in-chief Kariann Tan Head of PR Sara Salamat Head of Photography Emma Sophia Valles Head of Writing Emily Richardson Head of Graphic Design Ashleigh Tain Social Media Managers Kelly Aloia and Kylee Grimwood Music Curator Wen Ip
Writers Rebecca Mae Adrianna Dreckmann Ashley Rana Ainsley Martinez Chelsea Holecek Elena Naze Delaney Howard Jennifer Nguyen Photographers Abby Stanford Carrine Hen Kellie Wiltz Ellie Johnson
FOLLOW US Twitter: poptizedmag Instagram: poptizedmag
KIC KINâ€™ IT WITH
Photos and words by Emma Sophia Valles The Regrettes are frontwoman Lydia Night, guitarist Genessa Gariano, bassist Brooke Dickson, and drummer Drew Thomsen. From appearing on talk shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live!, to entertaining thousands at festivals like Coachella, the group has enjoyed critical and commercial success over the past few years. For good reason; their 2017 freshman LP Feel Your Feelings Fool! sports an 82/100 on MetaCritic (a score that qualifies as “universal acclaim”), and from July to December of this year, they’ve booked 63 dates in 14 countries. We got to sit down with them and discuss touring and their upcoming album: How Do You Love?
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So, I heard the new album, How Do You Love? this morning! It's really really good. Lydia: Really!? Thank you! When is it set to drop? Lydia: August 9th. In what ways would you say this album is different from previous ones? Genessa: It’s more mature. Lydia: I agree, it’s a lot more mature both lyrically and musically. The themes are more mature, but how I construct them hasn’t changed that much. But I mean, the music itself… let’s just say we tried out a lot more. Genessa: Yeah.
bit, and then I wrote some songs just with him. Also, sometimes I just wrote alone in my room and brought to the rest of the band. So it’s kind of it’s a whole mishmash of different writing styles and themes; with a lot of hard work, it all came together. Drew, how was that experience for you, both coming on this album and writing? Drew: It was really cool! I toured withthem not a lot, but enough—before recording it. Touring and signing these vinyl’s and everything shocked me a bit; at first, I was like: “Oh, you want me to sign this?” It felt like I was part of the family even before I stepped in the booth, but having a record where I played on the whole thing? Like, it’s me playing it? That feels pretty good. Genessa: You’re locked in. We put a ring on it.
Drew: A lot more. Lydia: We definitely had more fun with it. Genessa: Recording the first album, we stuck to drums, bass, and guitar. Lydia: Super simple. Genessa: This album, we added a few things. Feel Your Feelings Fool! was like the base of all this. Now, we have our eyes set on this new record. Lydia: And it’s a concept. How Do You Love? is a concept. Lydia, do you write all of it? Or is it a group effort? Lydia: No, not at all. I mean, there’s a lot that I’ve written alone, but this album definitely was more of a collaboration which was so fun. It was our first time making an album with Drew, which was awesome. I wrote with Drew, we all wrote together, we wrote with Mike, our producer, a little
Lydia: Yeah, we put a ring on it. We locked him down.
"This album definitely was more of a collaboration which was so fun."”
And so for this album, is it a narrative you're trying to tell? Through your eyes or someone else's eyes?
the listeners like, pay attention, we’re about to tell you a story. Get ready and listen. “How Do You Love?” is the conclusion of all of it.
Lydia: I wouldn’t say it’s through my eyes specifically, but it definitely is inspired by my personal experiences. I took a lot of different stories that I had and used them to build this one story that made the most sense from this one character’s perspective. All of the details stem from personal experience, just more exaggerated so that they could fit together and convey a story that makes sense to other people. So, it’s like a cautionary tale.
This single you guys dropped, "I Dare You", what was the inspiration behind the music video for that? There was a part where it was filmed horizontally but it looks as if you're going up.
Hearing the album all the way through, it sounds like a temporary relationship. Is that what you were aiming for? Lydia: Kinda. Now I think most relationships are temporary unless you’re dying together. But, I do feel like it was a temporary relationship story. I noticed it because of "More Than a Month".
Lydia: Yeah, we wanted to create a visual to show you this other world: a visual representation of what it feels like falling in love with someone and the kind of insane aspect to it. You turn into a little bit of a crazy person. But, it’s also so beautiful. The whole album is based on the idea of love as a lovely disease: the visual to falling into it, being infected, and infecting other people around you. It really does feel like a fantasy world when you’re falling in love with someone. So we wanted to create this video so that when people are listening to the album, they can put themselves in that world. And for the tour, would you guys be implementing all of these visual ideas into the shows?
Lydia: Yes! Yes. Could you describe what you were intending in terms of creating a narrative with this new record? Lydia: Well, I think that the tracklist is key—the whole thing is pieced together meticulously and it’s meant to be listened to from start to finish. We created this poem that’s in the beginning, that’s the best way we could set it up for that. It tells all
Lydia: Yes, and we are so excited. You're doing two legs, right? The one now and then one in the fall right? Lydia: Yes, the one now is definitely less extreme because the album’s not out. We don’t give too much away. Our fall tour is our album tour, so that’ll definitely be a more complete experience.
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How's being on the road been? I saw you guys went on tour with Twenty One Pilots too. So how was that? Brooke: Awesome! Genessa: It was amazing. It was the craziest tour we’ve ever been on. They were so helpful and I think that was one of the coolest parts of the experience was seeing what goes into a tour that scale. We learned a lot. Drew: They have a massive construction team. There are so many machines. Lydia: They’re literally building up and taking down their gigantic stage every day.
and hours before I can go to bed. We get to carry a few amps each and sleep in a van with our local crew. Now that you're headlining, are you guys excited for that and touring with Hot Flash [Heat Wave]? And then Greer? All: YES! Lydia: Brooke has never done a full, real, headline of her own. We haven’t gone on our own tour in a long time so it’s gonna be so fun. Is there a town or venue in the US that is your favorite to play? Lydia: There’s a few. We love San Francisco. Brooke: New York is awesome.
Genessa: Then they drive it to the next place and build it up again. Lydia: I feel like it’s made us all appreciate our own headline tour and having to load out. I feel like now there’s no excuse for complaints from me—I’m not fork lifting for hours
Lydia: And LA is just like our home. Check out The Regrettes’ upcoming album "How Do You Love", out August 9th.
MADISON RYAN Words by Rebecca Mae Hailing from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Madison Ryan is an emerging pop artist with notable successes already under her belt. Her debut EP, Primary, earned her a spot on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Ryan’s voice on the EP is reminiscent of Hayley Williams, accompanied by hard-hitting lyrics and incredible pop production. Although she is only 19 years old, Madison has toured with notable acts, including SayWeCanFly, Jeffrey Gaines, and Minshara. In addition, she has played multiple festivals throughout the country, including Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Launch Music Conference, and the Jersey Shore Festival.
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ROZES Words by Emily Richardson
There comes a time in every person’s life when they must stand up and fight for what they believe in, and what they hold to be important and true. For Elizabeth Mencel (otherwise known as her stage name, ROZES) that time is now. Releasing two singles so far this year, “Halfway There”, the anthem of the 2019 Women’s March, and “Call Me”, Mencel has been hard at work establishing her indubitable voice and message as a songwriter and performer. Here she is on the process and message of “Call Me”, as well as some words on what advocacy as an artist means to her. So, you wrote "Call Me" at some sort of songwriting camp? Can you tell me a little bit about that experience? Yeah, I wrote “Call Me” at the Alicia Keys “She Is The Music” writing camp, which is an all female based writing camp to give women the opportunity to show their talent within the industry. Basically, the song is written, produced, mixed, and mastered completely by women, in which is a really rare thing to see in the music industry because a lot of really talented women are unknown. The idea was that we would write songs then show Alicia, and then she would take what she wanted for her own records. Me, Alex Hope and Sophie Frances ended up writing “Call Me” in one of the sessions, and I was just like, “I need this.” I needed this song. It was just everything I needed to say, just my life in that moment. And kind of always, so yeah, I was able to release that. It was the perfect, most beautiful thing. That's amazing. Like you said, it's very important to you; obviously I don't want to overstep boundaries, but if you're comfortable, could you talk a little bit about the story of the song? Definitely. I travel a lot for work and, sometimes, it’s hard to be there for everybody in my life. Somebody very special to me was struggling with their mental health, and I was freaking out. I just didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to be there, so I just kept saying, ‘call me’, ‘know you can call me,’ ‘you can call me,’. It was just sitting with that I could literally only reach out through the phone, but in the end that did help this person, and I could recall all the times that the same thing had helped me. This was kind of around a time, too, when a lot of my idols within the industry were struggling with their own mental health issues, so I thought it was a message that we all needed and wanted to talk about, so it was just perfect that I was put in the room with these two girls. We all were kind of feeling the same way. The first lines came to my head, and from there, we were coming up with things that are the telltale signs of depression, for example when you just can’t get out of bed, or when you’re staring blankly out the window.. Sometimes we just don’t notice that stuff in the happiest people. So yes, it was just something that I really wanted to say. And when that happens, you tend to write the most unfiltered songs.
"It's an important time to say something about the things you believe in." You released "Halfway There" earlier this year in support of women's rights. It seems, alongside "Call Me",your music really has a lot to say about social issues. Yes! I think that with my music lately, I’ve decided that it’s an important time to say something about the things you believe in, and I notice a lot of celebrities kind of just staying in the background. I felt like while there’s a lot of people that say stuff like ‘you’re a sinner’ or ‘don’t have political views’ or stuff like that. I think that it’s so important that I do and it’s so important. I think that a lot of the youth need people who are talking about these things. Very openly as human because I, personally, didn’t really have a lot of people doing that when I was growing up. That’s what I’ve been trying to do through music: stand up for people who need a voice. That's exceptional. Any plans for the near (or far) future that me and my readers should know about? I have a lot of new songs and collaborations coming this summer, so be excited for those!
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DANNY AND ALEX Words by Ainsley Martinez A young Danny Scordato and Alex Merrill met in middle school and as they played instruments for childish enjoyment, the music they created changed and surpassed the stage of awkward adolescence, following them into their 20s. By the time they entered high school, the two friends knew music was their calling and would be their career. “I remember Danny telling me ‘If I don’t become famous before 8th grade then it’s all over’, so he set the deadline and we definitely surpassed it,” said Merrill. “But we’re still going.” Their EP, Grand Slam, Thank You Ma’am, was released in 2018. As the 4 songs introduced the pair to the music industry, it also introduced them to the success that followed. With 42,112 Spotify listeners and an album underway, Danny and Alex prove that there’s almost nothing you can’t do with a friend and hard work. In the ultimate age of self-production and musical independence, the two take a more challenging approach by not having a producer, but nevertheless, the end product is polished and perfected. “We’ve been with a few producers over the years, and it’s not always quite what you see it as”, said Scordato. “It’s much better, in the long run, to just learn how to do it (producing) yourself”. Merrill adds that the expanding accessibility of technology provides easy access to music production necessities.
“Everything is so cheap production-wise like laptops and recording software that you really don’t need to rely on anyone else”, said Merrill. Both expressing that self-producing is the “only way to go”, Scordato and Merrill create music that exemplifies exactly what they want it to. While some listeners analyze their lyrics for metaphors and motifs, Scordato says there’s no need: their first EP wasn’t filled with underlying messages. “It’s just pop music about quirky things, and we try to make it very aurally appealing. We try to add a lot of depth to the music by adding interesting chords,” said Scordato. Scordato and Merrill seek to bring more “funky” sounds to their upcoming album. In a project that they said boasted “better production and more storytelling”, the two hone in on their musical inspirations. Artists such as Prince and Steely Dan have influenced their production process, and their new music is generally described as different and going in the right direction. “The first EP was definitely a little all over the place, so hopefully this is a little bit more cohesive”, reflected Merill. “It tells a better story of what we’re about”. There is no set release date, but Danny and Alex are hoping to release the album by July of next year.
SONG REVIEW Words by Ashley Rana
K-pop artist SOMI makes her long-awaited musical debut with "BIRTHDAY" and "Outta My Head". Former I.O.I member SOMI made her solo debut with “BIRTHDAY” and “Outta My Head” earlier this summer. After leaving the girl group in early 2017, SOMI and her fans were both unsure when her debut would come. Luckily, the stars aligned and SOMI blessed us with her first two songs. The main single “BIRTHDAY” is a poppy, feel-good track about shedding the boring parts of life and pretending every day is a celebration. In the first verse, SOMI addresses a boy and lays down the law; her life is currently mundane and she needs to change that. As the verse melts into the pre-chorus, SOMI makes the decision to start living every day as if it’s her birthday. The beat drops after SOMI says “Imma shake it shake it shake it like it was my birthday”, followed by an explosive, firework-like chorus. This song is, simply put, a bop, and should absolutely have a spot on everyone’s summer playlists. “Outta My Head” is the B-side to “BIRTHDAY”, and it shows off a different, more vulnerable side of SOMI. This mid-tempo track explores the trials of a turbulent relationship. “Outta My Head” features SOMI’s original melody and lyrics from a song she wrote when she was younger. This song is the perfect B-side to “BIRTHDAY” not only due to the lyrical content but also because it emphasizes SOMI’s talent as a singer, featuring some stunning vocal runs on the bridge. “BIRTHDAY” and “Outta My Head” prove that SOMI’s musical debut was well worth the wait. These songs are bound to garner new fans and attention as SOMI continues to work on new music, but for now, we’re going to keep shaking it like it’s our birthday.
Rating: Stream BIRTHDAY now on Spotify by using the QR code on the left.
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NEW HOPE CLUB Words by Sara Salamat Photography by Emma Sophia Valles
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Sara got a chance to meet up with the New Hope Club boys before their sold-out headlining show at the famous Troubadour. She sat down with Reece, Blake, and George a couple of hours before showtime and chatted about the songwriting process, reflecting on how much they’ve accomplished. Okay, I have to start with this question: Have you guys seen Rocketman?
Reece Yeah, I think The 1975 played here? Yeah! It was years ago. They're awesome.
Do you write lyrics first or do you guys start jamming in the studio and go from there?
George: They're great.
Blake: Honestly we do both.
I know you guys are known for your covers as well, so if you could perform one live duet with any like any of your covers who would you pick?
George: It can happen either way. Someone could have a title or lyric in their notes, and someone else has a guitar riff on voice notes, so you can take both of those into a [studio] session like, "Oh, I've got this cool idea". Sometimes, the song turns out completely different than how we expected them to. The end products are sometimes good and sometimes they could be better.
Blake: No. Reece: No. George: I have! So, you know that one Troubadour scene? How cool is it seeing that in theatres, knowing that a legend like Sir Elton John played here almost 50 years ago and now you guys sold out a show here? George: So like, when it was in the cinema, obviously I don't really know a lot about Elton John, but watching that film was great. And I saw that he played the Troubadour, and I was sitting next to my mum and I was like "We're playing there! We're playing there!" It must be surreal you know? To see that and then you're like "Oh sht. That's our name up there." But speaking of seeing your name up here, how do you feel about selling out the venue?" Reece: It's mad yeah. Obviously, when we put on the tickets we did not think it was going to sell out. It's pretty cool and like...it feels good. You know we came here to watch a friend, Bea Miller and she came on stage and was like “We sold out the Troubadour!” And I was like that'd be so cool—if one day we could do that. And finally, it happened! It's a big deal because it's the first venue before you start playing the bigger ones too.
get it done.
Blake: Well, we did a Beatles medley, so I guess that would be it! Did you guys, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr perform together the other night at Dodger Stadium? Reece: Yeah! George: Yeah, that was so cool. Can you tell us anything with upcoming music maybe? Any features that you might have? Blake: Yes. We have two features coming out which is really exciting because we've never really featured on something before, so it's quite fun for us to try something new. The songs are quite summery and I think we just wanted to try something different, you know? For sure. You get to tell your own story when you write, which is really cool. So, because you guys started young, do you ever feel pressure in this kind of career? George: I don't think so. I think we were young and so we needed to gain the experience and put ourselves in situations with professional people. Reece: We were like 15 when this started, and now I feel like we've got a grasp on it. We know what we want to write about. We know the kind of music we want to make. Now we can start making the final decisions, and then start writing songs together and get in the studio to
Yeah, do you see that Eagles poster over there? The guy in the middle is Glenn Frey. He used to room with Jackson Browne, an incredible songwriter. There's this famous quote that he told him and it was "You're going to write a lot of bad songs, but eventually you might write a good one." You know what I mean? Trial and error. George: You never know, you know? You just keep writing songs. Blake: I think that’s important, to be able to keep on writing and knowing you’re going to have some bad ones. Check out New Hope Club's discography on Apple Music and Spotify now.
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GREAT GOOD FINE OK Photography by Abby Stanford
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CHASE ATLAN Photography by Kellie Wiltz
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Words and photography by Jennifer Nguyen Performing under the pseudonym “Pronoun”, Alyse Vellturo is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who made her musical debut in 2016 with her EP There’s No One New Around You. Since then, she has been consistently working, performing at notable festivals like South by Southwest in 2017, and Riot Fest in 2018, all while running her indie music label Sleep Well Records. In 2019, Billboard designated her as one of their indie “artists to watch”, and boy were they right. Her debut LP i’ll show you stronger. showcases her talents not only as a captivating songwriter but also as a proficient multi-instrumentalist, from the tight basslines to the shimmering guitar riffs and enticing vocals. This September, she’ll be touring all over the east coast with various acts, but before that, Jennie got to talk with Pronoun about her new album, the process behind that, and her tips for hopeful artists.
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How are you doing today? Hot, but good. Tell me about your debut album i'll show you stronger. What was it like bringing a whole album to life in the studio? It was really cool. It was the first time I’ve ever done that. The first EP was done alone in my bedroom with no live drums or anything. When I made “Run”, I did sample mini drums and when I got the first mix back I thought: “This sounds dumb”. Like, you need to have live drums on it. So, last-minute I booked a studio space and the album came together super quickly. I put it off for so long because it’s always overwhelmed me. Finally, I was just like “Alright, this track comes out in a month, so you just have to go in there, perform it live, get it mixed, and get it out”. That was pretty cool and I ended up doing a couple of other songs that way too. It was mostly half and half. On all of them, I play bass, guitar, synths, and vocals. There are five tracks with live drums on them as well. Is there an implicit meaning behind your record? The record, in general, is about finding yourself after a quick and drastic change in your life. After something like that, you have to navigate through it and rediscover who you are and what you’re worth. i’ll show you stronger. is finding that strength in yourself in a difficult time. Tell me about your passion for music. When did you realize that you wanted to make music and what made you realize that? Nothing specifically. When I was 4, my sisters and I took piano lessons for a bit, I also took guitar lessons for a bit, drum lessons for a bit. By 14, I stopped everything all together and focused on sports. It was mainly making music for fun and not writing my own stuff. When I was in sophomore year, I found Dashboard Confessional and he inspired me to pick up the guitar and write my own music. I felt if this guy can put his heart on his sleeve, get up on stage with just his guitar, and be so openly honest about his life, that’s something so cool and special and I wanted to do that.
Then, I took a break again, before starting at a music school. I thought, “I’m not as talented as these other people”, so I got into producing and engineering other people’s music. Later, I got into the business side of music, working on managing and distributing. What inspired me to pick up the guitar and make music again was a breakup. That was when this project started. It was the only thing that made me feel better. What is your favorite part of the music process? I think touring now, which I never thought I would say. Writing is fun when it’s easy. In fact, everything is fun when it’s easy. Writing makes me feel better, but I have to be in a specific mood in order to do it and stuff and it can get frustrating when I’m not. To be honest, it’s all fun. I never thought I would be doing any of this on an actual stage, so when I listen to it or look at a photo of me on stage looking around like “Woah, people are singing along”, that’s really crazy I'd imagine that touring and making music is super fun, but exhausting. Is there anything you enjoy doing in your spare time? I run my own record label. I work with a lot of indie artists and trying to expose music I think is really cool. I help them manage their projects and vision and just get it out there. I also love to hang out with my friends and go to a lot of shows. What advice do you have for aspiring musicians and bands, especially people a part of non-traditional and historically marginalized groups? I think first off, realize that society and the music industry has been built off of white men. I think people are really just becoming more aware of this fact and the consequences of it, both of which are pretty great. It is not fair at all and the only way to change it is everyone putting in effort to do so. Especially women, nonbinary people, or if you don’t associate with a gender, just knowing that you stepping up helps to change the whole landscape, even though it doesn’t seem like a big thing. Don’t let your perceived limitations be limitations. You’re the only one that is setting them. Stream i'll show you stronger. on Spotify and Apple Music now.
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o s p o how p er
m m u s the Words by Chelsea Holecek
Summer is measured by the amount of joy we feel. We don’t have to worry about grueling school schedules, homework assignments, or rough winters. Ever since elementary school, summer has existed as the epitome of freedom. Music provides the soundtrack to that freedom—we roll down the car windows with reckless abandon, screaming the lyrics of our favorite song at the top of our lungs. It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly ten years since Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The USA” hit the airwaves and ultimately continued the Hannah Montana star’s high-profile career. The song was doused in catchy lyrics and an addicting beat; it was difficult for my high school freshman self to deny its appeal. Then, there was Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me”, a perfect ode to fleeting young love relationships that I played way too often while singing in the privacy of my bedroom.
I remember obsessively listening to the tracks that made me dance, “Good Girls Go Bad” by Cobra Starship, “California Gurls” by Katy Perry, and the iconic “Airplanes” by B.O.B and Hayley Williams that transcended every possible internet meme known to man. These were the songs that shaped my teenage years, that played while I sang and goofed around alongside friends who I believed would stick by my side through every mishap, every trouble, and every fear. While my high school experience was as much of a disservice to my emotional health as anyone else’s, music helped guide me through it. When things got too overwhelming, summer came around and there was always that hit record, blasting over radio speakers everywhere reminding my teen self it was alright to dance it all away.
e p a h s ongs lives r u o f o r When I listen to “Waka Waka” by Shakira, I reminisce on the connection I had with a close high school BFF, one that I’m still inseparable with to this day. I’ve watched her grow up, get married, and create a life full of happiness with people who treat her right. While in the throes of adolescence, we tried our best to figure it out, piece together what it meant to be young adults in a world that seemed to be against us. I mean, that’s what every teenager thinks, right? But when I look back on times with her, I see weekends sleeping over at her house, listening to music, and talking about life. Those classic summer hits defined a whole plethora of memories that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Since then, pop has evolved and discovered many new artists along the way. For example, independent artist Lil Nas X and his epic single “Old Town Road” has dominated the charts and beat out longtime pop stars for the no. 1 spot. It’s unheard of—an up-andcoming star winning the public opinion to become an overnight sensation by making a song that wildly differs from the typical pop summer smash. But pop royalty remains in the background; Swift is still a lingering presence nearly
ten years later, as well as Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus. The genre maintains its infectious nature—we still hear those chart-toppers on the radio and immediately belt the words. For me, these recent songs will be the soundtrack to my adulthood. Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down” and MUNA’s “Number One Fan” will be at the top of my summer playlists as self-confidence anthems. Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” will motivate me to power through today’s misogynistic regime. “Why men great ‘til they gotta be great?” she declares so confidently in the opening line—it’s that type of self-assurance I carry with me during a summer full of endless possibilities. No matter the circumstance, these songs allow another universe to swallow me up. I transport myself back to 2010 when I hear Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” and recalled wishing someone thought of me that way. I remember breakups and friendships lost. Then, the desperate feeling of adult loneliness and wanting back the simplicity of minor teenage problems. Those songs take me back to that time where things were simpler and not so complex. Summer is meant for joy and music paves the way for that.
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Photography and words by Emma Sophia Valles
Change Ur Mind. Passionate and frenetic pop outfit HUNNY consists of vocalist Jason Yarger, guitarist Jake Goldstein, drummer Joey Anderson, and bassist Kevin Grimmett. Their freshman full-length album, Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes., manages to masterfully weave in between different genres and tempos, from energetic ‘80s new-wave to rhythmic 2000s alternative rock. They’ll be embarking on a headlining tour soon. Sara got to sit down with Jason, Jake, and Joey, as well as their manager Nick, to talk about the band’s evolution, the process of creating their new record, and plans for the future. Since this comes out after the album drops, is there anything you want to say about it? Jake: Just that we’re super excited. This is the record that we feel like we should have been making the whole time. When we described our band to people, this is what we had in mind. I think that is the first time we fully executed our vision. Jason: I think we finally sound the way that I’ve always wanted us to. Yeah. So fully actualized. I hope everybody likes it. Based on that, how do you feel your sound has developed through the years?
Jake: I feel like you can kind of track the arc if you go back and listen from Pain / Ache / Loving through the singles and EPs we put out. We love pop music, we love pop-punk and emo, we love the early 2000s indie wave. And that’s kind of the mix of what we grew up on. So if you start from the beginning you can see where we are trying our hand at different things and seeing what combination is gonna make sense. Like if it’s a pie chart; what pieces and percentages of each genre are going to fit together to fill the pie— the flavor that we want. So if you listen to Pain / Ache / Loving through Windows II, it’s pretty synth-driven and pop-y. After that, we went the complete other direction—far more guitar-based and rock-oriented. We kind of swung it back a little bit on this record to find that sweet mix in between of all of the flavors that we like. Did you guys work with the same producer on Windows II and the record?
platinum-selling. Joey: He’s also our best friend. Jake: We met him and it was just an instant click where we were like: this is gonna be a great experience. We did it at his place in Eagle Rock and it just it felt like home. Different experiences for sure. Carlos, I can’t thank him enough for being part of this record. Joey: He asked us we wanted to do and then he was our shaman. He was like, “What would they do right here?” “This”. So let’s do that. Jake: It’s cool because he’s methodical and technical. but doesn’t waste time. Joey: You go down the rabbit hole. Jake: There’s thought put behind it but he’s efficient. So you can get it quick. He is very good at pointing important things out. Continued on next page.
Jake: No producer on Windows II, our friend engineered it, he’s a longtime friend of Kevin and Kevin’s dad. His name’s John, he’s a great dude. For this one, we worked with Carlos de la Garza who has done some of our favorite recent records. He’s the best dude, super acclaimed, page 33 | poptized
What are your favorite songs on the album?
Jake: Yeah, there’s no deeper meaning.
Jake: We were just talking about it. Nick and I on the way here were listening to it because I’m trying to remember all the songs. “A Slow Death in Pacific Standard Time” is mine right now. I feel like it’s the biggest departure from our previous style. It sounds the most different from anything we’ve ever done but it’s all of the stuff that we like. There are tempo changes. There’s a weird guitar part. The melodies are great. Jay and Kev did a great job with the lyrics and melody on that song.
Jason: It’s just Kevin Grimmett 3.
Jason: “Change Ur Mind” is my favorite.
Was that cut or was it renamed?
Jake: It’s just a banger.
Jake: That was renamed.
Jason: It’s got a slammin’ bass line. That little Tom Phil. It’s good.
Joey: There was a good batch of songs there.
Joey: I like “Different Ways of Saying It” just because that’s like the most emo sh** we’ve ever written.
Jason: What were some other ones? I don’t even know. “Smarter Ways of Saying It” was called “Every Second”. Then we have “Everything Means Everything Meant Everything”. Joey: We had “Poop I”. Jake: That one should have made it.
Jake: Those didn’t even make the record, I don’t think. Joey: Cause they’re POOP.
Jason: If you liked it so much you’d get the song name right. Joey: “Smarter Ways Of Saying It”. I have a list of the fake names.
Jason: We had a lot of demos that ultimately combined into one song. Like, “Change Ur Mind” was three different songs. Oh, Nick gave me a folder that says “Windows III demos”.
Jake: To be fair, we’ve changed the names like seven times.
Jake: That’s so funny. Oh yeah, “Change Ur Mind” was “I Love Gold”.
Can you remember any of the demo names?
Jason: It was a little riff. “Swing 1”, which I don’t think made it.
Jake: I don’t even know. Jake: That didn’t make it. Jason: The only one that I can remember is “Slow Death”, we were just calling it “KG 3” for a little while.
Jason: It was like a demo that we made that we were like trying to model after “Swing, Swing” by All American Rejects.
Jake: It was just because Kevin had a demo like this. Jason: Oh, “Ritalin” used to be called “Die”. Jason: It was a Kevin demo and we were like, “This is like the third one you sent this week”.
Jake: Yeah that was a little extreme. We had to scale it back.
Jake: Yeah, so “KG 3”. Really. That would have been funny. People would have been like "What's the meaning behind this?"”
Jason: Most of these are just like called “Poop” and stuff like that because we’re geniuses.
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“Inside, we just felt like, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, like YES.”
So does that mean that this album supposed to be called Windows III?
Jason: We wanted to get it in as soon as possible and get some sh** out.
Jason: Yeah, it was meant to be Windows III.
Jake: We feel creative when we have a deadline; when there’s an 11th-hour situation, that’s when stuff comes together for us in the best way. We do put that pressure on ourselves. Epitaph is really great with giving us the freedom to create, they just let us do our thing which is really good. That’s the best situation for the band.
Jake: It was going to be the next installment in that series of EPs we were doing, but we ended up liking too many songs and didn’t want to cut anything. We were talking about it with Carlos and we were just thinking “the time is right”. It’s a full length. It’s eight songs and we were just like we can’t cut any of the ones that we got in this final batch. We want the world to hear all of them.
Joey: They trust us with all that, which is the cool part. Jason: They told us “we wanted you for a reason”, so do the sh-t that you’ve been doing.
Jason: To me, it wasn’t even about the number of songs on it because it’s still only technically a full length.
How long have you been signed?
Jake: It’s a short full length.
Jason: A year? It’s almost a year.
Jason: Yeah, to me it wasn’t about the number of songs, but the quality of the songs was wildly different. These were real songs. I don’t wanna just throw them into a bucket and have another Windows EP. This is its own freaking thing. I think these songs are good enough to be called something else.
Joey: Yeah, because we signed in April.
So then where did the name stem from? Jake: It’s kind of just about the urgency of our excitement; we’re so thrilled to put them out. People have been asking us “where’s the full length” forever. Inside, we just felt like, “Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, like YES”. Jason: And we wanted something slightly ridiculous also. Jake: To see that written somewhere is hilarious. Jason: It definitely makes you do a double-take. Like, if you don’t know who we are you’re like: “What is this thing f-cking called?” Joey: Exactly, it’s like, “what are they so stoked about”? Jake: Y-5 is the shortening. Y-5 on the Wi-Fi. Jason: Make sure that gets in there, haha. Make that’s Goldie’s only quote, ok? Since this album is being released on an official label now, did you guys feel any more pressure in creating it? Jake: Epitaph has guidelines essentially. I mean, you don’t want to spend a year and a half making a record or something. Ideally, you want to put it together within a reasonable timeframe. But Epitaph is so cool.
Jason: The day we announced we put Windows II out. Jake: Yep, feels good. Feels so good. This album is very visual. There is a lot of color on the album art and it sounds super different. I saw that you guys are having an art show too. How did curating these visuals come about? Jake: It was largely Jason’s idea. He’s always made our flyers and done cool stuff. Jason: I wanted it to look like it sounds. We talked about what the cover would look like when somebody is like scrolling through Spotify or Apple Music. We always wanted it to be [claps] in your face. The whole record, we just wanted it to be super immediate and present in your mind all the time. Musically, visually, everything. Just went back to basics on primary colors and now I’ve just been kind of going nuts with it. It’s been really fun. Yeah, it looks super fun. And so now that the album is coming out, what can you guys tell us about the future? Jake: We’ll be on tour in the fall with The Story So Far. We’ll be on tour with them in California, Texas, Colorado, and a few other places. Joey: We will not disappoint you. Jake: 2020 I think will be pretty much nonstop during for us, so please come to shows so we can keep coming back! Stream HUNNY's newest album Yes.Yes.Yes.Yes.Yes. now available on Spotify and Apple Music.
Jason: Nobody bugged us. Joey: They’re super mellow. The pressure came from us. We wanted to get it done.
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THE PARKERS Words and photography by Rebecca Mae Anya, when you began writing music, did you ever envision yourself writing and producing music alongside your sister? Anya: I never thought about it when I was starting out, but now I couldn’t imagine creating without her. Has pursuing music alongside your sister caused any issues, creatively or otherwise? Anya: Nah. We chillin’. Sometimes we argue about whose bed we’ll sit in to work on songs (I usually win). Kate: We get along really well and usually have a similar creative vision. Henry, how did you become involved in The Parkers? Henry: I was looking for a way to continue my drumming passion, despite not going to school for it, and luckily I found the Parker sisters through our dads [they went to college together]. Once I heard their tracks I was like: “Oh shit, yeah this is it, let’s go.” Who are some of your biggest music inspirations, collectively?
Flume, Charlie XCX, Lana Del Ray, David Bowie, Chance the Rapper, Tyler the Creator, Mac Miller, Anderson .Paak, Anna Wise, and Erykah Badu. Your self-titled debut EP came out earlier this year. How long had that project been in the works? Anya: [Laughs] A while. We had been collaborating with a bunch of different people and narrowed it down to those songs because they were a concise introduction of the vibe and image we wanted to put out in the world. Some of your music seems to be a social commentary, especially geared toward older generations misunderstanding younger generations. Was there a certain event that inspired this subject? Anya: Not one event, but more the constantly changing political climate. For me, a really big shift in my thinking and writing happened after the Pulse nightclub shooting. Kate: As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been in numerous situations where adults don’t take me
seriously because of my age—I think that’s where a lot of it comes from. Our generation is really stepping up to the plate right now, actively trying to understand what’s happening in the world as well as trying to find ways to help. A lot of adults don’t really see or validate that. What are some of your guys’ dream collaborations? Anna Wise, Anderson .Paak, Noname, Tyler the Creator, Thundercat, and Donald Glover. What music do you have on repeat currently? Anya: IGOR, Queens of the Stone Age, and Anderson .Paak. Kate: IGOR, Noname, TuneYards, The Rolling Stones, and La Femme. Henry: Inspirations, The Dear Hunter, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Andy Shauf, and “Superhuman” by NCT 127. What is next for The Parkers? We have a video coming out soon and some new songs on the way, look out for those this summer.
THIS SUMMER IN
Words by Elena Naze
Boston is the biggest city in New England and more relevantly, sports a bustling music scene. With festivals like Boston Calling and venues like the TD Garden, Paradise Rock Club, and countless theatres, itâ€™s not hard to find something for you. Poptized has you covered with all the upcoming music events happening in or around Boston this summer.
Khalid with Clairo on August 10th Backstreet Boys on August 14th Shawn Mendes on August 15th-16th Jonas Brothers with Bebe Rexha on August 17th The Chainsmokers with 5 Seconds of Summer on September 27th Hugh Jackman on October 1st
PARADISE ROCK CLUB
Neurosis with Bell Witch on August 13th The Alarm with Modern English and Gene Loves Jezebel on August 21st Barns Courtney on September 10th Borus with Uniform on September 11th Vic Mensa on September 12th Angels & Airways on September 15th
Beres Hammond on August 7th Young Nudy on August 10th Dodie Clark on September 7th The Raconteurs with Olivia Jean on September 9th-10th Two Door Cinema Club on September 16th
HOUSE OF BLUES
And if youâ€™re just looking for a way to spend your afternoon or evening, another Boston staple is the musically unconventional Blue Man Group. You can attend one of their shows in the Charles Playhouse. Boston has so much to offer, particularly in terms of music. If you live near the city or are traveling here, pick up tickets to see a show or go support the local musicians that play at restaurants, bars, and street corners every day. Happy concert-going, music fans!
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"fairly easy and free..."
EASE UP, KIDS. Words and photography by Emma Sophia Valles Graphic design by David Kramer Indie-rock outfit Hippo Campus hails from St. Paul, Minnesota, and consists of vocalist Jake Luppen, guitarist Nathan Stocker, bassist Zach Sutton, drummer Whistler Allen, and trumpeter DeCarlo Jackson. Since their formation in 2013, the band has released a plethora of singles, EPs, and albums, each more contagiously catchy than the next. With hard work and persistence, Hippo Campus has enjoyed multitudes of success, performing at legendary festivals like Lollapalooza, critically acclaimed late-night shows like Conan, and selling out historic venues like Minneapolis’ First Avenue. Hot off their 2018 release Bambi, Hippo Campus is currently touring throughout the United States. Luckily, Emma got to sit down with them and talk about their band’s evolution, trials and tribulations when recording and touring, and most importantly, Zach’s budding career as a rapper. So how's the tour been? How many shows have you done so far? Zach: About a hundred and twelve this year so far. We’re on tour with The Head and The Heart currently and that is going well. You guys are opening for them? Jake: Yeah. It’s our first opening slot in like, three years. It’s nice to play a shorter set to a different audience. Zach: A lot of 30-year olds are coming to the shows, bringing their kids. Jake: Bring your kids, bring your family! How does it feel having to compress your setlist after headlining for so long? Nathan: It’s a double-edged sword. I think the longer your set has to be, the harder it is to make the setlist. I know that during our headlining shows it’s just f******* backbreaking trying to please everybody. But on this run, it’s been fairly easy and free. We already have the meat of what we’re supposed to do laid out for us and then we just get to trim the fat. When you guys headlined, you were working with two different charities. How was that? Zach: It went well for us. We worked with Planned Parenthood and the Women’s Foundation. The fans were really great and supportive of the causes.
Nathan: Hi, my name’s Nathan. Zach: This is what Nathan’s coffee sounds like [swirls coffee]. This is what DeCarlo’s coffee sounds like [swirls coffee]. Haha, is this becoming an ASMR interview? Zach: [slurps into mic] That’s actually quieter than I was expecting. I think the guys like you. So we had Planned Parenthood, HeadCount, Women’s Foundation, and The Humane Society as well. DeCarlo: That was the one with the Dogs. Zach: So, we just had partnerships for the tour, where representatives from those organizations would come out in the cities we were in and set up a little booth and talk about their causes. It just seemed like a really easy and important thing to do with the platform and demographics we have. For the one with the dogs, were they part of the VIP experience or was it just separate? Jake: At some of the venues, they would allow dogs in while we were performing. Nathan: Sometimes they would bark. Zach: I got a laugh every time. Jake: There was a cat in a hotel. DeCarlo: One time, one crawled up on Whistler when he was playing the shaker.
Whistler: [dragging chair] Nathan: Oh my god, that was the cutest. Nathan: Whistler, can you just… Zach: Don’t.
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Nathan: We threw ourselves into a time crunch with Bambi, so there wasn’t a whole lot of back and forth for the sake of keeping things rolling. We did have input on the tone of the artwork, but when it came to the content we allowed David to have free rein and he crushed it. He always crushes it. Are these symbols something you want to keep doing? Zach: The symbols on Bambi weren’t so much correlated with the tracks. They were just symbols that kind of reflected the themes of the album. Whistler: So, those symbols were all David, as opposed to symbols or the items on Landmark. Those symbols he just threw on there and we were like, “What are these?” Zach: So, maybe. It depends on the songs. Whistler: It depends on David, too. I feel like David might throw in some stuff. Nathan: From talking to David, I think he’s willing to work with other artists on future Hippo stuff as well. We want to be able to keep our branches growing. Circling back to the music. How has your guys’ sound developed from Landmark to Bambi to Demos II? Jake: I think it’s just production quality getting better, as far as the EPs up to Bambi.
Jake: He’s also a graphic designer first and foremost, so that really plays into the symbol branding. Whistler: That’s like, David’s forte. Nathan: Once you start writing again we’ll see.
Were the demos supposed to be part of the album or were they just something you guys had lying around?
Jake: Who knows. Maybe we’ll never put out another album.
Jake: We’d written a bunch of songs that were all contenders for the album. The demos were the ones that didn’t make the cut.
Zach: [to Jake] Sorry, we’re actually contractually obligated to do that.
Zach: And we had to satisfy our label and the screaming gods that preside over it every day.
For Landmark, you guys had a conceptual character, Mary. How was it like writing Bambi without the conceptual character?
Jake: [pleading to the camera] Please give us back our kids. I miss them. I miss my wife. Please.
Both Bambi and Landmark had objects and symbols representing each track. Is that something like you guys had thought out before? Or did you guys let David (the artist) have creative freedom over that?
Jake: Yeah probably. Well, I guess Mary is more fictional whereas the characters in Bambi were more real. So it just became like, a process that valued honesty, in terms of writing. Rather than writing a narrative, we just wrote about our lives.
Jake: With Landmark, I feel like we zoned in on what we wanted really early. Like, “we want it to be this room, and we want items to represent each of these things”. As far as Bambi goes, we kind of let David just run with it; in the end, we absolutely loved what he did.
Nathan: Mary was a symbol and people on Bambi are real.
What does the name Bambi mean to you guys?
least some of them, right? Because I do remember seeing some of them live.
Jake: Well, my aunt’s name is Bambi.
Whistler: We spent a lot of time at her cabin, so it’s pretty literal. Couldn’t find a better name.
Nathan: It was probably the first two, “Chapstick” and “No Poms”. We played “No Poms” at a bunch of shows and the fans were asking to have it. So we just gave them the worst possible version. It’s like a demo that we recorded a year and a half ago. So, since late 2017, those songs have been around.
Nathan: It’s like a trigger word for me now. Every time I hear it, I’m like, “It’s happening”.
You guys have been touring forever, how's that been?
Whistler: It’s like, such a soft name.
Jake: Honest answer or not honest answer?
Nathan: Like PTSD. Every time I hear that word “Bambi”, I need a huge cocktail.
Whatever you would feel comfortable saying.
Does it have a different meaning to every one of you or is it just because of Jake's aunt?
Jake: Great. It’s been fucking great. Jake: I see colors every time.
I'd assume it's tiring.
Zach: Yeah, I see pink and blue. Nathan: I hear gunshots... To answer your question though, Bambi does mean different things to each of us. You may be able to tell, but it was a very tumultuous process like with our producer and with each other. So when I hear Bambi, I think of the Tokyo Police Club song “Boots of Danger“. But also, I think of the traumatic experiences we had making that album. Jake: We had a working album cover for a minute and it was like, Zach in full makeup; it was just this really soft picture. He looked beautiful. I remember seeing that all together and listening to the music and being like, “Woah, this is cool”. It’s soft but it’s also sad.
Zach: We’ve had some really good times—this year especially—since we dropped Bambi in September of last year. We’ve been on the road pretty much since then. We’ve had a bunch of cool tours and have seen the whole country twice since then. Whistler: The people that we work with are really proud as well. Zach: We went to Australia for the first time and it was sick.
Zach: It’s soft because it’s innocent. What made you guys drop Demos II? Jake: We wanted to take a minute before we worked on new music because we just had toured and before that, we had spent a lot of time writing and recording. We needed a minute to really pause and reflect over the past five years. At the same time, we wanted to give fans something that would tide them over while we took some time off. Also, I just think it’s cool to let people into our process because the songs changed so much from demos to the final record. Zach: Exactly. And we had to pay a sacrifice to Spotify so they don’t take any more money away from me. These songs have been around for a while? Or at
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Jake: We played in Korea, too.
DeCarlo: You said “cereal”, not Syria?
Zach: Yeah, we played in Thailand and Korea and that was really crazy. But you know, if you don’t look at it as a collection of highlights and instead you look at it as a whole thing, it’s exhausting. Holy sh**, I’m excited to go home for more than two weeks at a time and write some music.
Whistler: Yeah. Cereal on the quad.
So what's in the future for you guys, besides another tour?
Jake: Welcome back to on the quad. It’s always fantastic. I could picture you guys sitting on a tour bus making a podcast after like a week on tour. Zach: I dream about us doing that.
Jake: Probably therapy. Just like a lot of personal growth and therapy.
Jake: Whistler did have a podcast. You can check out Whistler’s podcast, Rumba Bumba.
Whistler: We’ll all do that.
Haha, is the name still in the works?
Jake: We’re not joking. But, I don’t know, probably just finding out what our goals are again and coming back bigger and stronger with better songs.
Zach: No, pretty much the only part that’s done is the name. Whistler: Rumba Bumba.
Zach: Hopefully some rap features for me on the low. My rapper name is Lil Spo. Jake: Exposed by Lil Spo. Nathan: Hopefully a Lil Nas remix, cause he’s just doing that with everyone. But you'll feature on his track? Zach: Yeah, hopefully. Truthfully, I have no rap experience. Just get him on tour with you. Zach: He probably would do that. Nathan: I have my cowboy hat. Anything else you guys would like to let the people know? Whistler: Thanks for listening. We’ll be back next week with the next. With another podcast. Zach: With another podcast. We’ll be interviewing Joe Rogan next week. Whistler: This week on Cereal. Jake: Did you say “This week on cereal”?
Stream the album Bambi by Hippo Campus, available now on Spotify and Apple Music.
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CAGE T CAGE T
THE ELEPHANT THE ELEPHANT Photography by Ellie Johnson
THEY ARE FOR THE PEOPLE. Photography by Eric Daniels Words by Adrianna Dreckmann
Belaganas’ are the best alternative hip hop band you’ve never heard of. Here’s why you should have them on your radar. At two in the morning on a night in May, I was scrolling through Twitter and came across a retweet of a music video. That video was for the single “Watch”, by experimental hip hop group, Belaganas. After watching that 30-second clip, I knew I stumbled upon something great. “This is like our first legit interview”, Joey tells me the morning after their first show with the full band, in Los Angeles at the Moroccan Lounge. It capped off a week of “big f****** things” that are coming soon for the band. Musically, Belaganas consists of Phoenix vocalists Joey J and Shanker, as well as drummer Nick Wille. Beyond the face of Belaganas, there is another trio of people, the cornerstones that every band needs but fans often forget. First, there is producer, Austin Jones. Along with photographer, Eric Daniels, and videographer, Derek Rinsema, together the three bring all the visuals to the band’s music and social media. Since the age of five, Joey, Shanker, and Nick knew that music was their path. There are a million Vice articles out there describing how Generation Z is taking a different route after high school. Belaganas are an example of that. With the whole band officially out of high school this year, they have no other plans for higher education other than being Belaganas. “We’re in that weird transition that we’re all really broke fresh out of high school but we have our eyes on big things. We know what we want but we also know what it can do to us”, Joey describes. “We’ve always been outliers in the Phoenix music scene—that’s not to say that the people in Phoenix don’t support us—but we’ve never really fit into the scene in any sort of way”, Shanker elaborates. In an age where music can’t be shoved into one genre, Belaganas bends the rules between alternative and hip hop. This is apparent when they cite their diverse inspirations, from 2000s hip-hop legends Kanye West and Eminem all the way to iconic singer-songwriters like David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. While you may want to compare Belaganas to other contemporaries (BROCKHAMPTON was my comparison) they don’t want to be pigeonholed. “It’s like when people say, ‘Oh, they’re just like BROCKHAMPTON’. It’s not necessarily a diss, but we want to be more than that”, says Joey.
Currently, only eight songs are available to stream on Belaganas’ profiles, yet no two songs are exactly alike. Songs like “Silk” and “Run” offer a more mellow sound that dances with the subject of loneliness. On the opposite end, their latest singles “Watch” and “Moneyman” deliver high energy performances, lyrically flipping off the people standing in Belaganas’ way. On “Moneyman”, Joey takes the reins, producing the anti-capitalist single that epitomizes the definition of “banger”. What’s more, all eight songs, while different from each other, still fit together seamlessly in the overall sound Belaganas is cultivating. Shanker, the self-described “baby” of the group, grew up close to American Indian reservations in Arizona his whole life. “Seeing all the indigenous artists in Arizona but never really hearing them on the radio, compared to the plethora of white artists that dominate the soundwaves really frustrates and inspires me”, Shanker expressed. Shanker, like the rest of the guys, wants to put out music that inspires. Belaganas wants to be the figure for fans who didn’t have someone like themselves to look up to. In my half-hour phone call with Belaganas, it’s very apparent that they’re passionate about what they’re doing. They are all very precise with each step of the process and enjoy the feeling of creating & writing something new. I knew that night in May when I found the “Watch” music video that I stumbled upon something great. I can feel it. While the future for the band is kept under wraps, Wille ensures, “The message is going to get across to the point where people get it. No questions asked.” Belaganas are going to be making themselves heard, whether for a thousand people online or a hundred thousand people in a stadium. Hell, they even have me rethinking a bunch of stuff about the life path I want to be on compared to what I need to be on. You know what they say (in my case, they being Shanker), “Fortune favors the bold.” Indeed, Belaganas are bold. Belaganas' latest single "Moneyman" is available on Spotify and Apple Music now.
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FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS Photography by Carrine Hen
summer soundtrack Words and photos by Delaney Howard
During summertime in California, even when the sun is long gone, the air is still warm (and slightly sticky), but it’s enjoyable. It’s comforting, being enveloped by the warmth, even when it’s dark outside. There’s music playing in the background, and it adds to that summer vibe, that tingling on one’s skin as the breeze sweeps past. The feeling that summer is never going to end, this moment is never going to end, it’s all reinforced by that song that makes or breaks your summer. For me, that song was “I Want to Feel Alive” by The Lighthouse And The Whaler.
Last summer, I went on a two week trip with three of my best friends. We started in our friend’s hometown of Vancouver, Canada, then went on a road trip through California, starting in Sacramento and ending in Los Angeles. During this trip, we followed Harry Styles on tour and went to five of his shows. Along with that, we went to places we had never been before, learned a lot about each other, spent every second together, always with some kind of music in the background, setting the tone. After the final show of the tour—both Styles’ and ours— we were driving back to our friend’s house for the night. The windows were down. We were silent. The clean air was refreshing after having danced all night with thousands of sweaty, exhilarated fans. Even though it felt like it never would, we were all coming to the sobering realization that it was all coming to an end—not only the trip but the entire summer. It was hard to digest. This was a trip we had planned and looked forward to for so long. Facing the last days was immensely difficult; it was the only thing we didn’t plan and prepare for. In the background of our stewing was the lyrics, “I want to see it all at the end with my convictions” followed by the refrain “I want to feel alive”. Even though I had never heard this song before, the uplifting, hard-hitting instrumental break washed over us with an odd sense of nostalgia. It was perfect; in the end, this was something we would see. This is something we would remember, and take with us forever.
Wanting to feel alive, wanting to accomplish that next goal before “the end,” is something we all strive for. Summer is always the time of year to make memories, to hustle, to achieve that dream you’ve had for years. The music we listen to affirms those paths; it provides the soundtrack for our own movie. For me, “I Want to Feel Alive” reaffirmed my love for my friends, the gratitude I have for them and the amazing trip we were on. Even though the trip was coming to an end, I felt good knowing that I would be able to look back on this trip and remember how it felt.
If you’re looking for some music to listen to during the summer, my friends all have music that has been important to their summers because it played a role during a moment that they would never forget. Maybe your next memory will be made with one of these songs as the soundtrack! For my friend Audry, “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane is the defining summer song for her. Though she doesn’t have a specific memory tied to the song, she says it makes her think of her friends. Music’s ability to uncover and recall emotions from past events is truly powerful. My friend Dyana had her first kiss during the summer with “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles playing. As a huge Harry Styles fan, this song already held a special place in her heart. Now she gets to connect that song with a memory she greatly treasures—a very special part of her summer.
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with music that only amplifies the feeling. My friend Kaisha has been listening to “EARFQUAKE” by Tyler, the Creator this summer. She explains it gives her “feel-good vibes”, a necessity during the summer. There are a lot of highs during the summer. Riding this high can be exhausting, and sometimes a bit of relaxation time is necessary. Kaisha likes to listen to “Hands Up” by Blood Orange. She explains that this song makes her feel similar to how Dyana feels while listening to “Space Song.” It’s soothing, and it’s the perfect song to listen to with the windows down in your car as you’re driving home after an amazing night. Taking the time to reflect and remember the day, smiling as she reminisces on certain events, with some Blood Orange playing in the background is soothing for her.
When the sun is setting after a relaxing summer day, Dyana also likes to listen to “Space Song” by Beach House. Driving with the windows down as the warm air fills her lungs, Dyana likes to pretend she’s in a movie as the soothing beat plays and things “fall into place.” Sometimes, we experience things that are just too beautiful to wrap our head around. This summer, I was lucky enough to travel to Europe with my friend Jas, who had been studying abroad for the past six months. One of the songs she played while we watched the sunset over Barcelona was “Old Pine” by Ben Howard. This wasn’t the first listen for Jas, though. She explains, “I listen to it when I want to remember a moment as vividly as possible. I get this feeling whenever I’m experiencing something so beautiful and memorable that compels me to put on that song, and I feel like that helps engrave the memory.” For her, this song doesn’t encapsulate individual moments but rather “binds all my happy moments together.” For many, summer is either the beginning of something new or the end of something spectacular. For Jas, this summer was both a beginning and an end. After traveling abroad, and landing back home in Vancouver, Canada, Jas listened to “Hymn” by Bjéar. For her, this song reminded her to be happy with what she experienced and look forward to what comes next. She expounds, “It’s such a powerful song that gives me full-body chills, so it symbolizes both nostalgia and excitement for the stage of my life that’s just finished, and the new one I’m about to enter!” Feeling your best during summer is a must, and “Hymn” helps Jas accomplish that. Looking around at your friends, feeling your lips turn up as your cheeks ache from smiling, is what summer is all about. It’s being with people you love, doing things that’ll turn into stories for future recounting, page 54 | poptized
For my friend Bethany, her summer song takes her back to her senior year of high school. As a basketball player coasting off the adrenaline of playing a great game, “Anna Sun” by Walk the Moon was the best way to celebrate. Bethany explains that this song takes her back to a time when she didn’t care what anyone thought, and she was carefree. Screaming the lyrics to the song, Bethany let her hair fly around in the wind with the windows down. Even now, “Anna Sun” brings Bethany back to those days. My friends and I have been lucky enough to make some amazing memories—some together, some apart. The music we listened to during these times has changed the way we view music, and the memory altogether. Hopefully, some of these songs will become a part of your next summer soundtrack.
poptized is a canvas for the uncontrollable. our souls, brimming with passion and desire for expression, paint an illustration that encapsulates the world we want to live in through our arts. to us, music is a catalyst for creativityâ€” it motivates us, inspires us, and changes us for the better. we are more than willing and absolutely unafraid to express how music impacts our lives. and in this pursuit, we hope our introspection on art can have a similar effect on yours.