positivexposure Jan 01 2010 • Issue 4
art • music • creativity
It’s not a fight. It’s a
GoodOldWar Also Featuring: WESLEY JENSEN • HELP-PORTRAIT • HARVARD SINGLE FILE • LIFE ON REPEAT • BECCA JONAS SEES IN COLOR • POLYSICS
positivexposure Jan 01 2010 • Issue 4
art • music • creativity
Sunny Landon Sarah Nitt Emma Hope Tyler Vick
from the staff
General Manager Copy Editor Creative Director Marketing Assistant
Happy 2010! It’s the very first day of the new year and we’re very excited to bring your our fourth issue. We worked hard throughout the holiday season to come back in full swing this year. A lot of the positive feedback we heard from readers was that they really like what we’re doing with the Expose Yourself! section. People seem to really love discovering great new artists, so we’ve increased the size of the Expose Yourself! section, bringing you our largest selection of artists so far, with thirteen pages of amazing photos!
positivexposure positivexposure is a digital magazine that features music, art, activism, and Photographer Francesca Allen
creativity- exposing what we like, not criticizing things we don’t. We believe that creativity is a community, not an industry. We look forward to continue building this from the ground up with you, not in spite of you. Ads@positivexposure.com Editorial@positivexposure.com Whatsup@positivexposure.com
photo credits: Cover: Sunny Landon; pgs 4-5: Francesca Allen; pg 6: Jessica
Flavin; Pgs 7-8: Amanda Pulley; pg 9: Kate Pulley; pgs 10-13: Ally Jade; pg 16: Taylor Foiles; 18-22: Sunny Landon; pgs 23-24: Patrick Emmons; pg 32: Xiaohoa Michelle Ching; pgs 36-37: Jeremy Cowart If you were not properly credited, we apologize. E-mail us and we will make it right!
www.positivexposure.com Photographer Jessica Flavin
Life On Repeat
Photographer Ally Jade
Photographer Kate Pulley
Photographer Amanda Pulley
Wesley Jensen and the Wildcats
The Diamond Light
Up & Coming
Up & Coming
Up & Coming
Up & Coming
Jonas Sees In Color
Up & Coming
Good Old War
Up & Coming
FRancesca Allen Francesca Allen is a sixteen-year-old photographer from, well, everywhere. She’s lived in Norway and California, but is currently living near South Wales, England. We think you should know her because we love her excellent portraits and her serene, surreal landscapes.
How long have you been a photographer? I have been taking photographs since before I can remember but I only started taking photography seriously around a year ago. I would not class myself as a photographer. I am just a girl with a camera, and nothing more. How did you get into photography? I haven’t a clue, I picked up a camera and it sort of felt right in my hands. I used to take photos of my little sister in our garden and it led from there. Photography is almost an outlet for me where I can be myself and express the way I feel through images rather than words. It’s personal and intimate and I could not imagine my life without it. Where do you draw your inspiration from? Unusual music, ethereal films, fascinating items, other photographers. I could create lists and lists of things that inspire me right down to traveling by train and viewing the world through tinted windows. What message do you want to send through your art? I want to show people how the world looks through my eyes. Do you have a favorite photographer? I find that although I adore the work of photographers such as Tim Walker and Mario Testino, I am far more intrigued by artists who are closer to my age such as Nirrimi and Eleanor Hardwick. It almost gives me something far more tangible to aspire towards and their work is so fresh and striking, simply because they have a new outlook on life, something that has never been seen before. Do you have a favorite subject to shoot? I find that humans have an ability to express emotion like nothing else. Young girls are so whimsical and charmingly natural in front of the camera that I simply adore to photograph them and I find that women and girls especially are so fluid and graceful. I can say that humans are most definitely my favorite subject. What gear do you use? I use a Canon EOS 400d and a 50mm lens. I also have a film camera, a Canon AE-1. Sometimes I make use of my friend’s flashes and light stands. Do you have a favorite camera to use? I love my film camera because it weighs so much in my hands and I adore the sound that it makes when I wind the film on. I love the whole experience of shooting on film. You never know whether you have captured the perfect moment, and patience most literally becomes a virtue. My first roll of film came out blank and I cried for hours. If you could go anywhere in the world to take pictures, where would you go? I would travel to Sierra Madre, my old home town and take photographs of my memories. I would also love to travel to India or China, somewhere with a completely alternative culture to my own. It would be so incredible to explore a different part of the world. Paris would also be so beautiful. Do you believe that anyone can be a photographer?
Francesca’s Favorite Photo
Of course, everybody can express themselves through art.
What’s your favorite thing about photography? I can’t stand forgetting things whether they are moments or places or people I love so dearly. Photography is the only way to capture a visual image that you can keep forever. What’s your least favorite thing about photography? I hate how frustrated I become with myself when things don’t go quite to plan. I need to learn to be proud of my photographs and my achievements but it is so difficult not to compare myself to others. What is your favorite picture you’ve taken? Is there a story behind it? My favourite picture that I have taken changes daily, but I have always loved a black and white image of a couple in the ocean. It is a candid image and something that they will treasure forever, I hope. It is such an honest image. Do you think photography will always be a part of your life? Of course, photography is my way of escaping reality and I would not be the same person without it. I am not going to lie and say that I could not survive without it, because of course I could survive, but it would be a very empty existence. Is there an element you think every photograph should always have? I find questions like this so difficult to answer, simply because every photograph is different and every subject requires certain elements, yet it often works to break the rules. So I am forced to say that every photograph should have emotion and show a certain connection between the subject and the camera. Oh and light, wonderful lighting is vital.
Jessica Flavin is an (as of just over a week ago!) 18-yearold photographer originally from Virginia but raised in the United Kingdom. We think you should know her because she makes stunning high fashion look easy. How long have you been a photographer? I have been into photography since I was 12, but actually doing since I was 15. I find it really hard sometimes because I have so many visions, so much passion and so many thoughts which I can't put down, due to money or time, so it is very challenging at times. I'll call myself a 'photographer' when I am able to fully achieve what I want to, hopefully it won't be too long! How did you get into photography? I got into photography from art, I have always had an artistic upbringing and I just became fascinated by cameras. It started off in film, and then I discovered Tim Walker and John Galliano when I was 14, so it went from there. Where do you draw your inspiration from? I draw my inspiration from everywhere. Mostly my boyfriend Shane, he always taught me to never waste talent, so I've been trying to do that. Hearing and seeing and being in tune with emotions is something that really drives me to express, so to have someone musically talented to his degree has been a real push for me to achieve what I would like to. What message do you try to send through your art? I don't really try to send any message through my art. I used to do a lot more photography which was artistic and composed to produce a certain emotion, but I'm really into fashion and big sets now. I want to create epic photographs and make people stand back and say, ‘wow.’ Do you have a favorite subject to shoot? There are so many people in the world, and we all look completely different. I always try to put people in certain situations, styles and stories through my photographs. This, I feel, creates a certain persona for that person in that shoot, it is always interesting to compare people in this light.
Jessica’s Favorite PHoto
What gear do you use? I use a Canon 400D, a film Canon T70, I have a 1950s Leica and two other really old cameras that my granddad passed down to me so I’ll be using those when I can afford film! But soon to possess a studio and lighting... yay! If you could go anywhere in the world to take pictures, where would you go? Definitely Japan! The urban landscapes are beyond this world, as is the countryside. I have seen this derelict run down theme park in the mountains and mist and it's my wish to travel there soon, create some bizarre surreal fashion shoot.... Do you believe that everyone can be a photographer? I do believe that anyone can be a photographer. At the end of the day we are creating something to mean something or to show people or simply for ourselves and our own enjoyment. I don't think we can say one is only a photographer because they are successful or well known; it is all about expression and capturing that moment. What is your least favorite thing about photography? My least favourite thing would have to be having an idea and not being able to put it down, which will hopefully not be the case for much longer!
myself, haha. I was pleased with it because I've wanted to do something like that for a while. I love to experiment so I don't think I have one set style and preference.
Do you think photography will always be a part of your life? Photography will definitely be a part of my life. There are so many possibilities within What is your favorite picture you’ve taken? photography; it's just choosing the path to go down. Let it take me wherever as long as Probably 'humming bird'. I think it's beautiful if I do say so I'm happy. +
Amanda Pulley is a seventeen-year-old photographer who grew up in Franklin, Tennessee. We think you should know her because although she’s a twin, her collection of photographs is unique and inspirational. Does being a twin have any effect on your photography? I guess it does in some ways. She’s always there for me to take photos of and to help me improve my photography. She’s my best friend and is definitely an inspiration for me.
AMANDA’S FAVORITE PHOTO
Have you ever thought of doing some sort of project about your similarities and differences? No, I guess I haven’t really. That could be a good idea though! What made you get into Polaroid photography? My sister is definitely the one who got me into Polaroid photography. I guess I had always thought of Polaroid photos being taken only for cheesy family portraits until she showed me just how magical they could be. You guys have an Etsy where you make clothes, accessories, and other things? The clothes are actually vintage, but I definitely want to start making more clothes and possibly selling some on Etsy. We do make headbands, though I have sort of given up on making them and have left it mostly up to Kate. I mainly do graphic designing and sell banners, business card designs, those sorts of things. We’ve both been very creative all of our lives and love to create all sorts of things, from photographs, to graphic designs and headbands. Etsy is our way to share some of the things we love to do with others. How long have you been a photographer? If you consider an eight-year-old with a sticky film camera a photographer, then I have been a photographer for quite some time now. How did you get into photography? I have always loved photography, ever since I was really little. I can remember my parents constantly taking photos of my sister and I when we were younger and just being fascinated by the fact that you could physically hold a moment in time and could keep that memory forever. Where do you draw your inspiration from? I draw inspiration from everything around me. Whether it be music, another photographer, or the way the light looks coming though the trees. What message do you want to send through your art? I don’t think there really is a specific message I want to send through my art. My favorite photos are the ones that make me feel nostalgic or that tell a story. I guess that’s what I mainly hope people feel when they look through my photographs. Do you have a favorite photographer? I have a lot of favorite photographers. My very favorites would have to be (in no particular order): Elif Sanem Karakoc, Elle Hardwick, Mike BaileyGates, Anna Aden, and my sister. Do you have a favorite subject to shoot? My favorite subject to shoot would have to be people. What gear do you use?
Nikon D80, Polaroid SX-70, Canon AE1, and occasionally my sister’s pack film Polaroid camera. If you could go anywhere in the world to take pictures, where would you go? Iceland is definitely at the top of my list. Do you believe that anyone can be a photographer? Anyone can pick up a camera, take photos, and call it photography, but not everyone has an eye for photography or the passion that is needed to make it go anywhere. What’s your favorite thing about photography? My favorite thing about photography is capturing memories. As time passes, I seem to like my photos even more. It’s very nostalgic to look back at your photos and remember that specific moment in time. What is your favorite picture you’ve taken? Hmmm… that‘s a hard one. It was taken in the summertime and is of my friend Chrissey. It was one of my very favorite days during the summer. My sister, Chrissey, and I went walking around downtown Franklin, as usual, and stopped at her house to change. We had planned on doing some crazy hair and to paint ourselves, but that didn’t work out very well. Anyway, we decided to tone it down a bit and this is one of the many photo’s I took that day in her really beautiful backyard. We also got bitten by a ton of mosquitos, which was unpleasant, but it’s the little things in life that can sometimes be the most memorable. Do you think photography will always be a part of your life? I definitely think so. Is there an element that you think every photo should always have? Good lighting, composition, and all that technical stuff, but also take photos that mean something personally to you. If you take a photo just for the sake of taking a photo, it won’t mean anything at all. +
Somewhere between Tennessee and Indiana you’ll find Kate Pulley, a seventeen-year-old photographer who shoots both digital and film, Polaroids to be more specific. Just one in a pair of twin photographers, her eclectic images are thought-provoking and fascinating.
Does being a twin have any affect on your photography? She is in the majority of my photos, so yes, definitely. She makes a good model for me.
KATE’S FAVORITE PHOTO
Have you ever thought about doing some sort of project about your similarities and differences? The similaries and differences between Amanda and I? We've thought about collaborations before, but we've never done a project together. What made you get into Polaroid photography? I've always been fascinated by instant photography. My grandma has a Polaroid camera that I thought was magic when I was younger. I wanted one of my own, but was told it was a "waste of money," so I bought my first Polaroid myself and it started from there. Eventually I upgraded from 600 cameras to my SX-70. How long have you been a photographer? I've really been taking photos for about two years now. I don't know if you'd call me a "photographer" from that point on or not. How did you get into photography? I've always loved to take pictures, but really got into it when I found Flickr two years ago. Where do you draw your inspiration from? Other photos and young photographers, mainly. Objects, places, and music. What message do you want to send through your art? People have told me my photos look magical and I like that image. As for a message, whatever you see in them, I guess. You can make anything look beautiful or interesting. Do you have a favorite photographer? Several people on flickr have some amazing work. Anyone repeatedly in my "favorites." I tend to linger around their photos rather than professionals.
If you could go anywhere in the world to take pictures, where would you go? Iceland! Do you believe that anyone can be a photographer? I'm not sure what the definition of photographer for me is. I don't even call myself one. I definitely believe it takes more than a camera, or moreso a "professional" camera, to be a photographer. Not everyone who takes pictures can take a photo that most would consider art. What’s your favorite thing about photography? The feedback. Hearing that others have been inspired by something I've taken. I also love being pleasantly suprised by a photo that turned out better than I'd expected. What’s your least favorite thing about photography? Not being able to think up ideas or take a photo I'm content with. Being stuck without motivation. What is your favorite picture you’ve taken? It's hard to choose a favorite, but my most popular is my favorite of my digital work, anyway. I'd wanted to capture fireflies throughout the summer. They're so magical. I had a friend (turned out to be several, really) who had never seen a firefly, which really set me in motion. The next day we went to my favorite park near my dad's house and caught as many as we could in a jar before taking this photo and releasing them. One of the most memorable nights of my summer.
Do you have a favorite subject to shoot? My twin sister, obviously. She's in nearly all of my photos. I like shooting her because it's most comfortable. She's a good model and I'm not afraid to order her around. What gear do you use? Mostly old Polaroid cameras, whatever I can get my hands on. I have two Polaroid SX-70s right now. The one I use the most gives a blue tint or vignette to my Polaroids that no one has been able to figure out yet. I also use a Polaroid 320 packfilm camera that was kindly given as a gift from another Flickr member and my sister's Nikon D80, frequently. All others are listed in tags and albums on Flickr. Do you have a favorite camera to use? My "blue" SX-70 and packfilm camera. Do you think photography will always be a part of your life? Yes. Whether or not it is my career, I'm sure I'll carry cameras around with me to capture things, always. Is there an element you think every photograph should always have? Good composition, light, and interest. +
Ally Jade is an eighteen-year-old photographer from Bath, England. We think which she shared through Flickr. It was a mind, soul, and body baring project her own boundaries for the sake of her photography, leavi
k you should know her because she recently finished up a self-portrait project - no holds barred, nothing kept from the audience. She challenged herself and ing large and important pieces of herself with each viewer.
Expose Yourself! You’ve struggled with a lot of self confidence issues… Why did you decide to do a 52 week project featuring yourself? It was completely on a whim one afternoon. I'd seen others on Flickr do it, and how great their shots had turned out, and wanted to try it out for myself! I still do struggle with self confidence, and I'll look at photos and not like them, or how I look, but I think everyone does from time to time. You’ve posted a few quite tasteful nudes of yourself. What made you decide to bare that much of your body? When I do nude shots, the body becomes like a piece of art. I've never been happy with my body, again a lot to do with self esteem issues, but when I take photos of it, I see it as something of beauty, not something that isn't good enough. I've always been fascinated and inspired by nude photography. It’s so raw and expressive, as well as soft and beautiful. You can create so much from a gesture or a certain light on the skin. It's the best instrument a photographer can have, apart from the camera of course! You’ve shared a lot about yourself both with your photos and their descriptions. Do you hold anything back? Through my photos I can put into a picture and into words, things I can't say to people face to face. It's a more constructive way to release how I feel, as opposed to self harm (a subject I've taken photos about, and spoken freely about to my contacts.) Luckily, I don't think I've regretted uploading photos at the time of taking them. I'll look back now and think "that could have been better" or "hmm not sure about that one" but it's a good sign I think; it shows progression. How do you deal with criticism of your photos? Umm, not very well if I'm honest! I take it to heart.I know it's not a very good way to react, but I'm very critical of myself anyway. I try and take it constructively, but it's definitely something I have to work on. What has been the creative outcome of this project? How about the emotional outcome? Creatively, I think I've gotten better at making the ideas in my head into photographs, learning about different editing techniques and styles. It definitely helped me define what kind of photography I like doing. Emotionally, I've made so many friends via Flickr, and they've all been incredibly supportive and fantastic. I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't done this project. Why not do a 365 project? I think I'd run out of ideas! Haha, honestly, I completely admire the 365ers that have the discipline and imagination to do it. It's a massive commitment and it takes so much time, too. I think I'd end up not enjoying it and feeling pressured, and some days you feel crappy and you wanna lay about in your PJs and eat junk food, not get all dressed up and take a shot, or go out and do one. What were the challenges and benefits of the 52 weeks project? I think the challenge wasn't so much finding the ideas, but putting them into action. Some days you can't quite make the image on your camera match the image you wanted in your head. Also, the challenge of actually uploading the photo, definitely the case with Week Thirty Four – I don't think I've ever been so petrified in my life! I didn't know how people would react and it was the first photo I'd ever done like it. But everyone was 100% supportive and reacted so much better than I could have hoped for. Would you do it again? Oh for sure! It was so fun and I learnt so much. I'm not quite sure when I'll embrace it again, but I'm pretty certain I will. What advice would you give other young photographers? Don't pressure yourself too hard, and don't take photos for any other reason than to please yourself. Don't worry about pleasing other people. Did you learn anything from the project? Heaps! I learnt so much about myself and my style, and so much about my camera too. I learn new things about my camera every time I pick it up.
How long have you been a photographer? Umm.. well I've had the SLR I use now for a year and a half, but I was using Fuji digital cameras and stuff for a couple years before that.
How did you get into photography? Me and my boyfriend at the time bought a simple compact digital camera together, and as soon as I picked it up I never wanted to put it down! Where do you draw your inspiration from? Music is a huge inspiration, with a lot of my photos having lyrics in the description. So music or my emotions. What message do you want to send through your art? At first, I didn't really have a message, I just wanted to take good pictures. But after a few weeks into this project, I was getting messages from people on Flickr from around the world saying that my photos had inspired them, or that they could identify with them. That’s the biggest compliment you can get, and if one of my photos can help one person in the tiniest way, I'll be happy.
Do you have a favorite photographer? I can't say I actually have one, but there are so many photographers I admire, but they mainly shoot nudes! Do you have a favorite subject to shoot? Portraits are my niche, and I'm really looking forward to taking photos of some other people besides myself now! What gear do you use? Canon 400D with the kit lens, f1.8 50mm lens, and a f2.8 Sigma lens. It’s all very modest gear, as I can't afford much, but they serve me well. Do you have a favorite camera to use? Canon, but simply because it's the make of my own camera! I have tried using Nikons but I find them so complicated. (I can almost hear the Nikon users of the world tutting at me right now.) If you could go anywhere in the world to take pictures, where would you go? Anywhere really - anywhere that's not the UK for once! Do you believe that anyone can be a photographer? I don't know, I mean, with enough teaching and the right equipment, even a fool could take a photo. But it’s the passion behind it, and the person behind the lens. Anyone can take a good photo, but not everyone can be a great photographer. It's about that little something special that you can't quite put your finger on, but you look at a photo and just think, ‘wow.’ What’s your favorite thing about photography? Looking at a picture and thinking, "I took that," and feeling proud. What’s your least favorite thing about photography? Taking photos in public. I'm quite shy and easily embarrassed; I don't think I could do a shoot in a public place. What is your favorite picture you’ve taken? Is there a story behind it? Week Nine is a really important photo for me. Whenever I look at it, I see it as a milestone, where I really got into this project and really got better with my photo taking. Weirdly, the photos I don't really like, or I don't feel are good enough, usually get the best response though! Do you think photography will always be a part of your life? Oh definitely. People always say to me that I should do it as a profession, but I'm so scared it will suck the enjoyment out of it for me, and it’s a hell of a lot of pressure. So whether it'll be professionally, I'm not sure, but I'll always be taking photos. Is there an element you think every photograph should always have? Emotion. Even in the macros of flowers, I think there should be emotion and a story. That, to me, is essential. +
www.flic.kr/allyjadetakesphotos positivexposure 13
becca Representing Portland, Oregon, 20-yearold Becca has been making a name for herself for half her life. Already popular in Japan, she is finally tackling the American market with a full length, Alive!! Here, she talks about her rise to fame and her plan to take on America.
You've been writing songs since you were 10...that's incredible! Do you have any formal training? No one ever taught me "how" to write a song. I learned the basic structure of a song (verse chorus verse and so on) by listening to tons of music and from being in choir. Over the years I learned more about songwriting by observing songwriters I worked with, such as my producer Meredith Brooks. When you were 10 did you ever expect to come this far? When I was 10 there was absolutely nothing else in my head but the dream of being a singer. I can tell you I did not expect the process I would have to go through at all! What made you first pick up a guitar? Honestly, I was tired of singing a cappella. I wanted something to accompany my voice. How has it been to have released albums in Japan before a US debut? I don't know how to describe this experience other than to say it's felt like a dream. There were so many upsides to releasing in Japan first, such as being able to visit Tower Records and see my album there on the day of its release. You can't do that in the US anymore because Tower Records doesn't exist here! It's also been wonderful because I've been able to get to know a culture very different from my own, that I've completely fallen in love with. I've become a more well rounded artist because of it, and have much more to offer America than before. How in the world did you get to start working with Meredith Brooks? I actually met her through some mutual friends back in my hometown, Portland, where she is also from. Somehow, I mustered the guts to sing for her and she told me I should make a demo and send it to her. I jumped on that chance and recorded a four song demo with two originals and two cover songs, sent it out to her in Los Angeles, and she ended up liking it! So I went back and forth from my freshman year in high school to her recording studio in Los Angeles and eventually just stayed.
It felt like a blessing. I am lucky that my label already likes the songs I have as well as who I am as an artist, so it's not like they had to develop me before releasing. I'm happy that the work I did before getting signed became useful!
This new album and some of its songs were inspired by the death of a friendâ€Ś I believe that there is nothing more sobering in life then the death of someone you know. In this case, he was my age, and it was completely unexpected. It made me realize how fragile life is and how inconsequential the little day to day problems can be. I wanted to feel hope, so I wrote these songs. I think other people will get that same feeling from my album. For a lot of people, an event like that could have gone the opposite way and prevented them from being creative and living life to the fullest... was deciding to fully appreciate life a natural reaction or did it take a conscious effort? Every day it is a conscious effort for me to live life to the fullest. I am naturally introverted and would probably sit on a couch and watch movies all day if I didn't think that would be positively wasteful and cruel to myself. Life is not always grand, but it's the only life we are given. I believe in using life wisely, and this event imprinted that in me. It hit me over the head. So I would say it was a natural reaction at first. After tackling the American market what do you plan to do? Tackle every other country I can get my hands on! My biggest dream is to tour the world nonstop! As an artist what has been the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome? My introverted personality. When I was a child and I told my parents that I wanted to become a singer, they said I wouldn't be able to be shy anymore. In many ways, that is true. It is a constant battle every time I get on a stage and have to speak. If I never had to talk again and I could just play music and say what I want to say in my songs, I would probably be content. What can you tell us about your upcoming full length? I can tell you that every song has a message. I can tell you that I don't hold back with my voice physically, emotionally, or figuratively. What influences you most? I am influenced by female rock chicks! Cyndi Lauper, Heart, and Shirley Manson to name a few. These women and more inspire me to do what I do by breaking barriers. What aspect of music excites you the most? Playing live shows. I swear that there is not a more powerful feeling in the world.
When you first started working with her, did either of you expect this level of success? Neither of us expected who I would become as an artist. I was very young when I started and I think the expectations were hopeful but very different from what happened.
What aspect of music discourages you the most? I am discouraged when there is lack of artistry in popular music. What's your earliest memory of music? My earliest memories are when I would sit alone with a song book and a tape player in my living room and sing along to all these songs. I would do it for hours! It was the most peaceful feeling.
Portland has a very active and amazing music scene, has that scene influenced or affected you in any way? I'm very proud of Portland and the music that comes out of there. The scene has inspired me a lot because it's very creative. How did it feel to release an EP in Japan so soon after being signed? Was it stressful or did it feel like a natural progression?
If your band were an ice cream flavor (real or made up!) what would it taste like? It would taste like Rocky Road, because we are never just one level. We've got nuts (we're tough), marshmallows (yet fluffy and likeable), and tons of chocolate (we can be addicting if you aren't careful). +
Life On Repeat What made you decide to give fans a chance to buy your EP over a month in advance? We wanted to get the word out and fast, so we just decided to give our true fans a head start. It's a nice way to promote and say thank you.
Is selling your EP with no minimum price risky? Of course... But people who really support us may give us more than what we'd normally price it at and kids that stumble across it may just take it for free . . . So in a way it evens out. How do you feel about downloading music? Get used to it! You guys had your EP done very fast! You were signed in July and your EP was available in November…how’d you pull that off? We already had more than enough songs written so we went into the studio as soon as possible. Why did you choose Brian McTernan to produce As I Grew? We chose to work with him and Equal
Writing, recording, and planning a full length album, Life On Repeat has a pretty busy schedule. That works for them though - producing their first EP in just four months, Life On Repeat is used to living in the fast lane. They've also rejuvenated Salisbury's music scene and now the only things guitarist Andrew Baylis has to worry about are broken guitar strings and whether or not there's any Cajun Chocolate Banana Swirl left in the freezer.
Vision Records was very supportive of the decision too. We love his work and sounds so it was really a no-brainer (not to mention, he's only a couple hours from us)!
metal. Just trying to take good aspects of each I guess without sounding cliche.
Being from Salisbury, Maryland, which you have said has no music scene, what obstacles did you have to overcome? We've rented out halls and churches all over just to put on shows in a DIY sort of way. After a couple years of relentless promoting it’s safe to say our scene is now somewhat existent and we have a true home fan base.
What influences you most? An energetic crowd!
Why do you have such a strong dedication to touring? Of course we get homesick, but touring is the only way to be successful now that the internet has taken over music . . . And we just plain like it! You have quite a blend of styles… something like New Found Glory meets I don’t know, someone really tough… who are your direct influences? Hard to say... We all like pop and we all like
What made you want to create music? Music makes the world go round!
What’s in the near future for your band? Besides more touring, of course! We are getting more songs down to hopefully record our first full length in 2011. What aspect of music discourages you the most? When guitar strings break. Who’s your favorite under-rated artist? The Glee soundtrack. If your band was an ice cream flavor (real or made up!) what would it taste like? Cajun chocolate banana swirl... duh! +
Despite band member hardships and the issues of life on the road, Single File managed to produce a catchy upbeat album. Through the bad times, they’ve stayed on top - distracting themselves with happier things, such as breakfast blogging and a scoop or two of Salted Butterscotch Pretzel. Interview with Joe Ginsberg
You guys are living proof that dedication, innovation (and occasional sneaky-ness) pays off… would you say a work ethic is the most important aspect to becoming successful? I think that it's time-tested that hard work and a great work ethic will get you further in life. Sadly though, in our current world (and economy) a lot of other factors come into play. Everything about your career has been unusual…would you say this was fate? Maybe. I mean, we did all those things just to try to make it happen...in those early days there wasn't much that we wouldn't do to get by and get a shot at the title. Despite the psychological hardships that Sloan Anderson (not to mention everyone else) has gone through, your album is very cheerful and happy. What made you guys write such a happy album? I mean…it’s got whistling and everything! The whole theme of the record is that everyone goes through tough times in life, and if you can't laugh at yourself and have a good time you'll never make it through. What made you decide to do your breakfast blog? A friend of mine, JD Perry, from the band Valencia did a 365 day toothbrush blog last year. I thought it was such a cool idea...something simple that you can blog about every day. I love breakfast, and one day I was doing a video update for our Kyte player while eating cereal
and thought, "maybe I should just do a breakfast blog." The rest is history...(in the making). What made you want to create music? Life. To be honest, making music is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. Music is such a powerful thing...it’s so closely tied to your emotions, whether you’re writing, performing, or just listening. There are songs and records that I still remember exactly how they made me feel when I was growing up...I’ve always wanted to give that back to others. And when I’m on stage performing, I get the most sublime feeling...it makes me smile like nothing else...it’s been like that since I was a kid. What aspect of music discourages you the most? The industry is in a pretty dismal place right now...it’s hard for artists to make a living being on the road, and that’s our bread and butter! All I’ve ever wanted to do is tour, but it’s harder and harder to get good tours because ticket sales are down due to the economy. If your band was an ice cream flavor (real or made up!) what would it taste like? Salted Butterscotch Pretzel (also my favorite from a local ice creamery in Denver called Sweet Action)...the ingredients come from different places, but when you put them together they’re DELICIOUS! And plus...it’s BITTERSWEET. +
Featuring: Cover Story
Featuring: Cover Story
Pennsylvania natives and sherbet enthusiasts, Good Old War live for music - and they’ve proved it. Between two exhausting tours with Anthony Green, a split EP and tour with Cast Spells, and the addition of accordians, we don’t doubt Good Old War’s love for their art. And seeing as they’ve been compared to the likes of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, the critics don’t seem to be judging them either. Here, Good Old War’s Tim Arnold talks baseball, weddings, and oh yeah, music.
Featuring: Cover Story What made you decide to do a split EP with Cast Spells? We are great friends and on the same label and we feel that our music goes well together, so... it felt like the right thing to do. Oh, and we love each other so god damn much so any excuse to do something musically together is great. I took a listen to these songs and they’re very different than the songs on Only Way To Be Alone… why did you go in this direction? I don't think we intentionally went in a different direction, but if a group of artists don't progress in some way then I feel as though it could become stagnant and less interesting. I guess the reason it sounds so different is because the writing/recording process was so different. When we made the first record, the songs had pretty much been hashed out and solidified by Keith and Dan and then I would come in and add a lil touch and keep a groove going and the song was finished. We recorded and wrote all of the new material as a unit this time and I think it was inevitably going to sound a bit different. We holed up in a house in the mountains and were pretty much snowed in for an entire month. The environment of a situation in the artistic process has a profound effect as well as the actual process itself. Progression is a natural process that must be embraced or else it stops becoming a work of art and more of a chore. This tour will be the second time out as Anthony Green’s band…this means playing both your sets and his as well, with no break in between… is this any more demanding than playing just one set? Of course, but it’s what we live to do so there are no complaints. You recently had your first headlining tour, with Cast Spells. It was pretty short….any plans for a headlining tour for the rest of the nation? Absolutely. That was one of the most rewarding tours we’ve ever done and it was way too short. Playing a show where you know people are there to participate and sing along and know the material and are on the same page is the best. We love our fans and never want to be without them. You recently released a video for ‘Maybe Mine’ that was all claymation and featured a very unfortunate little clay guy… whose idea was that and why did you go with it? That was our good friend Ben Fannin and it was all his idea. He is a genius and he also did the ‘Coney Island’ video. We went with it because we trust him 100% and respect him
Progression is a natural process that must be embraced or else it stops becoming a work of art and more of a chore. fully as an artist. I’ve seen an accordion in YouTube videos of new songs…is it heavily used on the upcoming album? Where in the world did you learn how to play the accordion, Tim!? It is used tastefully on the new record which basically means I haven’t gotten good enough to play it a lot. I’m working on it. I got the accordion about a year ago and have been teaching myself how to play. Having drive to learn anything is the ultimate tool to learning anything. Wanting to do something makes it happen. What made you want to create music? Playing music and listening to music and thinking about music inspires me to create. Anything that happens to me, bad or good makes me want to create. It’s the ultimate therapeutic outlet. What aspect of music excites you the most? The feeling that different types of music makes you feel. Music is the best drug in the world. It can make you feel amazing and it can make you feel depressed but it’s always intense and to feel is to know. After listening to music you love you feel as though nothing can touch you. Playing music makes you feel as though you are being touched by the magnificent hand of God. It’s a peaceful Zen-like feeling. What aspect of music discourages you the most? Nothing really discourages me. It gets corrupted like anything else but it’s something that you create and either you create with some rotten agenda or you create with your heart.
If your band was an ice cream flavor (real or made up!) what would it taste like? Sherbet.
Featuring: Cover Story
You’ve been compared to the likes of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. If you were to compare your sound/style to any band from any genre, who would it be and why? That works I guess. I can see why people would compare us. It’s pretty difficult to sum up work you’ve been making your entire life and has been influenced by everything from Sesame Street to Megadeath to Vivaldi to one single artist or group of artists. We sit down and write songs that we think are good substantial pieces of work that make us feel good and hopefully make other people feel the same way. Whatever music we enjoy could and very easy to get started and has been probably be compared to us in one extremely natural and easy to create ever way or another. Maybe. since. I guess it has just clicked smoother and faster than other projects. What was it like to come from separate bands to see a project through together? We’ve all had our own project from the beginning. Its like starting anything but in this case it was very natural
In October you played a free show in New York. Do fans react differently at free shows? No, everyone there is hopefully thinking
about having fun and the music and not about the money they spent. Do you prefer vinyl or CD? Doesn’t matter. Each has its upsides but most importantly they both allow me to hear sweet, sweet music. You’ve been on tour since July - what’s it like to be constantly touring? Does it become more of a routine and less of an adventure, or does it get better as it goes on? It is great. It is definitely hard and sometimes stressful and tiring but when the shows are great they keep getting better and better and we get tighter and then everyone has fun. Keith was married in August to his very long time girlfriend. Congratulations! How did the band celebrate the union? We celebrated in high style. Keith asked me to be his reverend and I was honored. Back in June, you got the chance to sing at a Phillies game. What was that experience like and how did that opportunity come up? It was surreal and we landed the gig through the people at our favorite radio station WXPN. Weddings, tours, everyday life, recording, writing, rehearsals - how do you keep it all together? How do you relax? We find time. If you work hard you gotta play hard too, ya know? How has music changed since you were a child? It’s changed so much it would take me days to answer that question. Or maybe it hasn’t...?
If you could meet any past musician... I would talk to Frank Zappa for as long as I could because I think we would have a good laugh. +
Featuring: Cover Story
Halos,GoodOldWar, and Anthony Green @ The Glass House in Pomona, CA 12/28/2009 As experienced by Jill Minor
When the typical person describes a show as “unforgettable,” it is usually just referring to a unique set-up or a really good performance, but the pairing of Good Old War with Anthony Green in a musical extravaganza was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. People lined up outside of the Glass House in Pomona on December 28th starting in the early afternoon with over 50 people outside by 5:30 PM. Anthony Green gave a musical treat to early fans by performing an original song for the crowd with guitarist and back-up vocalist Dan from Good Old War. Macbeth Shoes recorded the song and the fans for a future promotional video. The opener, Halos, really got the crowd going with their screaming-melodic-indie rock combinations right around 8 PM, followed by the three guys who make up Good Old War. They played a set that was interesting and flawless, with a resounding bass drum leading the songs through time changes and vocal harmonies. Anthony Green joined the trio for the song “Weak Man,” singing the same parts he is featured on on the album Only Way to Be Alone and playing guitar. Good Old War was also the band for Anthony Green, playing a second set without even leaving the stage. During the Anthony Green set, a friend named John proposed to his girlfriend on stage and before a crowded room of cheering kids, she said yes. Anthony played songs from his solo album entitled Avalon as well as some new originals, a cover of the Good Old War song “Beautiful Things are Coming,” and finishing his set with the Circa Survive song “Meet Me in Montauk” from their debut album. As a surprise for all the fans present, Circa Survive’s bassist and newlywed Nick Beard joined Anthony and GOW for Dear Child. No fan left that venue disappointed and a few people even got pictures and autographs from Anthony in the back alley, before he had to leave or risk losing shotgun on the ride home. If you have not seen any videos from that show, they are definitely worth a look-up on YouTube and once you are addicted to Good Old War (as I am sure you all will be), look them up on their next tour because they never disappoint. The proposal from John to Monica is on YouTube, and so are reggae versions of a few Anthony Green songs. Be sure to look them up because was truly beautiful.
Sure, everyone knows the name Harvard. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s associated with the prestigious school or the movie Legally Blonde. All college graduates -- surprisingly, none from Harvard -- the boys of Harvard worked for almost two years toward a flawless break into the indie scene. Now, guitarist Jason Shaw tells us how North Carolina’s best kept secret are literally making a name for themselves with their debut album The Inevitable and I. Tell me a brief history of your band. How did each member get added, and where did you all meet? It started with me and Von, I had just graduated high school, I was in college. We were just looking for all of the right musicians for the right spots and without a doubt, we definitely settled for some people to get the ball rolling and start writing music with rhythm behind it so that we could figure out where we were going. It was me and Von and a bunch of our friends and eventually we ended up letting a lot of people go from the band. Most people would just say we kicked them out and I guess that’s true. It sucked but we just wanted to be good musicians. We wanted to have the right person in the right spot. The next permanent position would have been Lee, he plays guitar. There was such incredible chemistry between the two of us I was just like, ’this is the guy I want to play guitar with…he’s like my right hand and this is who I want to play guitar with. That’s what I’m concerned with right now.’ Lee joined the band. Our old drummer at the time, J.P., was going to App state and so was our singer, Jesse, and J.P. was the one who actually found Jesse and brought him to try out. I’ll tell you something really funny, and I don’t know is Jesse will be upset if I tell you this story, but who cares? We tried Jesse out this one night… and he seemed like an okay guy and just all of a sudden he jumped on the mic…never heard the songs before, and just starts making shit up and singing lyrics and making up melodies. It was just like, ‘wow…this is the guy!’ All of us had it painted all over our faces. It was just like, ‘we have to make this person our singer.’ So we all stepped out of the room to talk for a minute because I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page, I knew we were but it was just one of those things, like, ‘So guys, what do you think?’ Jesse is in our current practice space and we were all on the same page so we walked back in and said, ‘We’ve got something we want to ask you,’ and Jesse just looks at us and says, “I’m not gay if that’s what you were wondering.” It was so out of no where, we were like, ‘What are you talking about dude? Do you want to be our singer?’ He was just like, “I’m not gay…people think that sometimes.” And I was just like, “Okay. That didn’t cross my mind, but you have an incredible voice.” Then we found Tim who had been playing in Ten Missing Days. Lee and I were so involved with him playing and we’d go to TMD shows just to watch him play
because we thought he was an incredible musician. When they broke up we jumped on the opportunity and asked him if he wanted to come and play drums for us, and he did, so now we’re Harvard, and we just wrote The Inevitable and I and it comes out on Tuesday, I can’t believe it... We were luckily able to find Garrett who is an incredible musician and an incredible bass player. He was actually playing in a band called This Waking Moment. He was a guitarist in that band and when they broke up we asked him if he was interested in playing bass and he was. It was crazy because the night he tried out, we had been writing and we gave him demos where you could barely play bass and he honestly came in within two or three practices and knew every song we had. There were a few odds and ends we had to show him rhythm wise, but he just knocked it out. Right guy for the right spot, you know? How did you come up with your name? We were racking our brains trying to come up with a name for the band that was cool that rolled off our tongues and was easy to remember and say. We could not have a name with ‘the’ in it. There are so many good bands that have done the ‘the’ thing, but I didn’t want to be one of them. I thought it was cheesy, everybody at the time was like, THE White Stripes, THE Vines, THE Hives, THE Get Up Kids. I
mean, how many different bands currently in AP have a ‘the’ in their names? It was just a train I didn’t want to hop on. “The” was out. We spent probably two or three weeks…we were all in college at the time so we were talking on AIM amongst each other and just throwing out band names. It was so horrible because every time anyone said something it was just like, “no.” Jesse was away at college at App State, so he wasn’t always at practice and we’d have instrumental practices and we all discussed the name Harvard, but it was something we put on the backburner. We had never even said it to Jesse but one day over AIM he said Harvard, so we agreed. Everyone had already said it, it was one word, rolls off your tongue, and you just know Harvard. Speaking of names, why did you name the album The Inevitable and I? Well, the Inevitable and I is a concept album. The entire thing is based around experiences and experiences that have happened in our lives. Everyone is unique in our own way but there is nothing that could ever make anyone better than anyone else, I believe. I think that everyone…no one is better than everyone else. Everyone is totally insignificant but together you can make things so much better. As a whole, a group of people or a community…that’s how people change things. One person can make friends and make a difference but we all have
Featuring inevitable things about us that we can have in common, that we do have in common. Everyone is gonna take something different from the album, no one is going to have the exact same take, there are personal things that all of us hold dear to the album because we wrote it and that’s what we were feeling at the time.
Missing Days with Tim. “The Earth,” which was the first song we wrote after we had recorded Animal, it was crazy because “The Earth” got written literally as we were recording. It easily could have made it to Animal, but it didn’t and we liked it so we kept it around. From there, we were all still in college and we were all really committed to finishing school and graduating. We’d gone so far through it already. It would be pointless not to finish. We all just had the initiative to do it. So, we continued writing and every song that we’d write, we’d come in with ideas and some songs were more toward being a whole song and they get brought into the practice space, and some are just little pieces of ideas we like and we’ll throw them at each other and then bounce other ideas off of those and the goal is just to make one song that’s good that you can listen to and be satisfied with as a musical composition as a whole... We wrote for a year, maybe a year and a half, and we wrote all the way up until the last week before we were going into the studio. “Hallucinating the Horse” was actually written maybe two weeks before we got into the studio.
For me, every song that we wrote, every note that I play, I played it because that’s what I was feeling when we wrote the song and I had emotions and different things swirling around in my head that I wanted to translate to music. For me, this is a long story, and it’s really personal too, but I’ll just go ahead and say it I guess. Last year, around December, I don’t even think we were signed yet… when we were writing the album, it was right before Christmas, and I’d been having some health issues. I went to the doctor and there’s a genetic disease that runs in my family, it’s called Polycystic Kidney Disease and I found out last December that I had that. I was diagnosed with it… I had to have some really really crazy tests done to figure out what was going on with me and I came to the realization that the one inevitable thing that I actually know about myself and that I will never be able to change, and it’s honestly the one inevitable thing in every person’s life on the planet: I’m gonna die one day. I have no control over that. It’s just gonna happen. One day, it’s gonna happen and who knows when it’s gonna be but, I’m alive now so I’m gonna take every day I’ve got and do something awesome, and make it really good and try my best to enrich my life and enrich other people’s lives. The Inevitable and I… there are certain things that anyone can know that are inevitable about themselves and anyone can know that’s inevitable about the world and it’s just kind of a personal thing that you have to create for yourself. Honestly, the only thing I know, about me, is I’m gonna die one day but I’m cool with that. It’s totally fine because that’s just what happens. If Harvard were an ice cream flavor, what would it taste like? Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Cheesecake. I mean, it’s got the best of both worlds. It’s rich and flavorful with cheesecake but it’s also got that dark chocolate flavor [laughing]: that just makes you wonder. How long did it take to write The Inevitable and I? It took us almost a year and a half to come up with all of the material for The Inevitable and I. We recorded our EP, Animal, with our friend Will who was in Ten
Why did you choose Brian to produce? We were throwing out names of producers we wanted to work with and we kinda had a small budget and we won’t talk about the numbers, but, we were just like…who would be feasible, who would we want to work with, and whose sound engineering and production wise do we feel like could do the album justice? Everything we had done was like garage band and we just had friends who had recording gear that were helping us out. We paid 500$ to record Animal. It’s not the best recording, but it’s good. It’s alright, especially for what we did and the time we spent on it. With Brian, we sent out some e-mails, and it was crazy because, I could not find a proper e-mail address for Brian so one day I just thought ‘to hell with it,’ because his MySpace says to e-mail him there to talk about recording. I was like, ‘I’m gonna try, I’m gonna see what happens, this is so unprofessional, I can’t believe I’m doin’ it, but, I’m about to send this guy a MySpace message.’ I sent him a message, I told him who we were, I told him to check out what we had on our MySpace at the time…what our situation was, that we were trying to record a full length, what our availability was, and I asked if he would be interested and I told him we could send him more songs, we could send him all the demos that we had. It was crazy because I think he responded back to me the next day. He said, “I like what I hear, it’s the kind of stuff I like to listen to and work with, send me your demos” and he asked me a few more questions and ended up calling me about two days later and really talking to me about where we wanted to go and what our goals were. After the phone conversation that we had it was just…I was just like, ‘this is the guy.’ He enjoys the music, he wants to help us get the music to it’s greatest potential. He was just very interested in working with us and he enjoyed what we were doing. Why didn’t “The Earth” make it onto the EP? Because the drums were the first thing that got laid down and when we recorded the drums we had not even started writing “The Earth” and two practices later we wrote “The Earth” which back then was an incredibly different song. It was still good, we still liked it, it didn’t change a lot between when we wrote it and, well, no, yes it did. It changed a lot. The drums were already tracked, the bass was already tracked and it was just kinda like, ‘too late now!’ Why is the album being released so late in the year? One, we left to go back to Charlotte on August 6th or 7th. Then we had to wait a while because Brian had another band coming in, so we had to wait a while to get the mixing done. I think the final mixes were done in September and we needed some time to plan the marketing, get the album to press, and get the artwork done. And we honestly just took our time from there to make sure that we were gonna do everything right and not just be satisfied but be completely happy with the album. +
Visit our site to read the whole conversation...it was over an hour long!
Interview with Zack Gray
When did you guys actually get signed with Wind Up? I think August 14th was actually the day that me and Shaun drove down to LA and signed the contract with our manager. So yeah, back in August. We showcased for them, they flew us out to New York back in I think March or May. Then a lot of contracts and all that stuff. We finally got it done in August. It’s pretty exciting. Did they approach you or did you approach Wind Up? They approached us. We showcased for a lot of labels and they were the quickest to move on us. This guy named Dean on Kingsofar.com posts about new bands in the industry and I think he has a bunch of label connections and he had heard about us, and it’s funny because he never posted about us, but I guess he found out about us and went to Wind Up and told them about us and like I said, they bounced on us pretty quickly and flew us out there and caught us. [laughs]. What kind of benefits are there so far to being signed? What other benefits do you think will come? So far, me and Shaun had lived with our parents up until this point and we are were finally able to move into a house with our friend, and being able to support ourselves with just doing music now…basically, the main benefit now is just: this is our job. It’s not just a hobby and when people look at us whether it’s your parents, your friend… when they ask us, ‘what’s your job?’ it’s not, ‘oh, well I play music and I have this other job.’ This is my life now and I am a professional musician. It’s very awesome. It’s been a little weird just because our life has changed pretty dramatically. It’s pretty surreal. Every once in a while it just trips me out. A lot of bands talk about getting
signed and doing that stuff forever and I don’t know whether it happens or not…it’s pretty rare especially in today’s world. I think a lot of bands just look at getting signed but the work really starts after someone invests in you and you’re legally bound to a company. But benefits for the future are having a record that is funded and touring and having a booking agent and being able to tour with bands and, obviously, your record being put out nationally or internationally and a bunch of promotion. Just stuff that you can’t do unless you have a shit load of money which normal bands don’t and labels do. Does being legally bound to a company make you feel any different when you’re writing? I don’t think so. There is always that sense of whether or not they’ll like it because before, it was just what you and your friends think about your song, it’s not someone who is investing possibly in the future millions of dollars into you. I don’t think it necessarily effects the writing but you know they’re going to listen. I’m definitely confident enough in our music and obviously it was our music that got us here so I feel pretty confidently that the music we write they’re gonna like. Right now it’s just writing songs and submitting them and when we get enough songs we’re going into preproduction on our album and they’ve dug what we submitted to them so hopefully if we just keep on a good pace and keep giving them stuff they like then they’ll put a lot into us and we’ll get a lot back. I’m pretty sure this is rare nowadays but we actually signed for two records with them and I’ve heard it’s usually one these days
so it’s pretty cool to know that I have to record and tour on two records at the minimum. It’s a pretty secure feeling of starting to build a career and have two albums of stuff that we get to release to the world. It’s scary because you work really hard at something and Ive heard tons of horror stories about how bands get fucked over and that would really suck to get to a point where you were signed and then get fucked over after that. Wind Up is the biggest independent label in the world. They are an indie label because they aren’t tied to one of the big industries. They’re distributed by sony but they’re not tied down to a huge system so it’s kind of cool. Their biggest band in time has been Creed. Back in ’99 Creed was one of the biggest bands in the world. That’s why they were able to move on us so fast. They didn’t have to go through a huge chain of command, it was, ‘we like this band, let’s get them.’ In a weird sense, I always thought we would sign to an indie label but Wind Up is the best of both worlds. You don’t have all the craziness of a major but you still have the indie comfortableness and creativity of an indie label. Knowing it’s more of a family there and knowing they have just as many resources as a major label feels really good. So what are your plans for more albums? Well, I think we’ve just gotta focus on the first one. I really want to get an album out by next year and I’m
Featuring really pumped to get touring because we haven’t really done very much touring. I wanted to really wait until we have something we’re really proud of before we got out on the road but once we have that we’re ready to tour our ass off and get as many fans and build a following. When I think about being a big band or working towards it is going on tour with bands that I like and playing big festivals like Warped Tour or Lollapalooza or stuff like that. Speaking of large festivals, can you tell us about your Warped experience? Our song “An Answer,” we submitted to the John Lennon Songwriting Contest probably close to a year ago and we were a finalist in the rock category. That was really cool because anyone in the world can enter the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and rock and pop are the biggest categories. That’s out of hundreds of thousands of submissions so it was really huge for us. A few weeks later, I got a call and I guess out of all the bands they choose one to play four regional Warped Tour dates and we were the band they picked. We go to go on this bus that’s like a recording studio and we got to record a song in that so that was really cool. Warped Tour…it was fun but we didn’t have a van and trailer so we toured in my little Isuzu Rodeo and our drummer drove in another car, so, it was a little brutal. I don’t really have AC in my car so it was really hot but it was definitely a lot of fun. I wish it was for more than four dates, though. I just remember the first day in Fresno was just so hot. Shaun threw up and when we played on stage he played in his boxers and just a shirt. That’s how hot it was. I think it was a lot of fun, I don’t really see us being a Warped Tour band, mostly because I feel a lot of that scene is a lot of screamo stuff. It was definitely a really cool experience and it kinda got our name out there a little bit more. What made you want to create music? I got my first guitar when I was five or six years old. I figured out how to tune it eventually and learned like, a G chord and played that, but, I went to church a lot back in the day with my mom and I sang on stage and did the worship thing when I was a little kid. The kind of music we play now is very different from what we grew up with because when I was little I lived with my mom and my sister and I remember listening to NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys and shit like that. The band that started me really on music was Blink-182. I got a little red Squire and I got their book and learned all their songs and eventually I got an acoustic guitar and I basically taught myself how to play guitar and piano. I took guitar lessons for a little bit but my guitar teacher actually asked me to leave because I wasn’t playing what he wanted me to play and I wasn’t practicing and coming back with whatever he wanted me to. It just kept developing. I met Shaun in science class in high school and we had to do a project together but instead of doing the project we just jammed and ended up writing some
songs and playing a show together and it kind of just went on from there. I always remember that my dream was to have a band, and it was on from there. The only other thing I ever remember that I wanted to be was an FBI agent. My love for music has grown a lot and I feel really lucky to have figured out what I wanted to do at a young age and be able to follow that. How did you guys come up with the name Early States? We were thinking of names and we were with one of our friends and he said to pick up a newspaper and I picked up the New York Times and I looked at the title of something on the first page and it said ‘something something Early States’ and I thought it was cool. This friend of mine, Mike, was really adamant about how horrible it was, so I forgot about it. Then when we were in the studio and we still needed a band name I suggested Early States and he said it was cool, and I was just like, “what the fuck man, you told me you didn’t like this.” It just caught my eye for some reason. It could mean we’re in the early states of life or music. I guess everybody is in early states of things at any point in their life because there’s always more to come. What aspect of music excites you the most? Besides creating it, playing music in front of a lot of people. There’s nothing more natural, and putting your passion and getting it out there is playing it live. I get really excited about playing live because that’s how you get it out. Just doing what you love in front of people. I think people connect with a band when it’s really real and genuine and I’m just excited to show that to them and share our music with them. I definitely look forward to playing in front of mass amounts of people rather than doing music videos. Knowing that my job was playing music and that I don’t ever have to settle for anything else...that would make me happy. In a way, we have that right now so as long as we don’t fuck it up, hopefully it will continue. What aspect of music discourages you the most? Having to do all the promotion and technical business stuff myself was a bummer. We have a manager now but I think it will be really cool when everything is handled by other people and all we’ll have to deal with is playing music. Not that it discourages me but, sometimes the writing process is hard. I’ve struggled with writer’s block lately. It’s very interesting. You have to find things that inspire you. A really easy thing for Shaun and I is making the music, but a hard time for me lately is writing lyrics. A lot of the time we record at home and we live at home so we have to find stuff that inspires us and it’s weird sometimes either with
girls or whatever…not that I want to put myself in weird situations, but when I have struggles in life, problems in my life have inspired me to write more than when my life is going extremely well. For me, personally, things that are hard, difficult situations definitely inspire me to write more than when I am super happy. It’s been a little weird lately. I have been happy but other times it feels really weird and I’m still just a person with problems like everybody else, even though I’m signed. I think it’s weird being a musician ‘cause it’s like...you have to find stuff to write about. I’m honestly all about positivity and I think the only reason I’ve gotten to where I am is because I just put out a lot of positive intentions as to what I want and that positive intention has come back to me as what I want. It’s kind of weird how that is, it’s almost like I can’t always be happy all the time and be inspired to write. I think maybe something I could challenge myself is to write some stuff about being happier instead of only being inspired when I...I’m obviously more in touch with my emotions I guess. I’ve definitely gone through some shit but I think when you’re vulnerable and dealing with shit and struggling with trying to stay positive, that’s when you feel more passionate. +
Jonas Sees In Color What made you want to create music? We’ve talked about that in the van before. It’s almost not like a choice. Being a musician is part of who you are. You just have this innate desire to make music. I don’t even think it’s a conscious choice. Whether we wanted to do it or not it’s gonna happen. We just happen to enjoy it so we got lucky, I guess. We all grew up in small towns throughout North Carolina and when we came out here to Greensboro, North Carolina to go to college, we all kind of fell in love together and we’ve been making noise ever since. I just love all these people for as long as I can remember so we decided to play music. How did you come up with your name? In The Giver there is this boy named Jonas and he lives in a world that he believes to be a completely black and white world. He’s chosen to be the receiver and this old man gives him all the hopes and thoughts and memories of his entire village and he has to carry that weight for as long as he Is the giver. We try to take it as a metaphor for what we try to do with our art. You take a story or a feeling that you’re trying to explain through a song and if you can do it honestly enough, the listener can take it almost like it’s their own. Was that a particularly memorable book or was it a favorite of one of yours? It’s a huge favorite of mine. I’m a total nerd. I read all the time. I’m a dork. [laughs] So you’re the one that really pushed for that name? Yeah, I came up with that. But as soon as we all talked about it we wanted it…it’s not even a band name. It’s kind of like a mission statement. That’s why we liked it.
Were any other names considered? Oh, I’m sure and I’m sure they were all terrible. I think part of starting a band is you have to have some really bad band names. We were gonna be like, The Sweatpants Boners, I don’t know. Something terrible.
Interview with Ryan Downing I’ll try! I don’t really have transportation…though… I’ll give you a ride. I’ll give you a freaking piggy back ride. I swear. I wouldn’t lie to you about this. Hold me to it all you want. I would never lie to you.
What aspect of music excites you the most? That’s so hard…it’s like, ’what’s the best thing of the greatest thing in the entire world?” I think just the way it’s made so spontaneously and if you hit the right notes in the right order it’s like What influences you most? Pizza, no I’m just kidding. I think everything, kind it’s always been there. It’s less like you created it and more like you found it. I of. I think that’s one of the reasons we write as love that feeling while you’re creating a band. We’re experiencing all the same things usually at the same time. When you’re in a band, music, of having found something it’s more like a family to a certain extent. I think, really incredible and important. Even if you weren’t necessarily looking for it, as cheesy as it sounds, the biggest influence is sometimes you just find it. the life we’re living. If you ever have a side project, please name it that. Actually, I’m gonna make that my side project, it’s gonna be amazing. I’ll credit you with helping out for that.
Who are your musical influences? We’re all over the place. A few of the bands we have in common that you’re gonna hear if you come in our van with us are Kings of Leon, you’re gonna hear The Black Crows and some older stuff like Ottis Redding or Led Zepplin. We like some new stuff, but you’ve gotta have the classics. Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket, and The Rolling Stones are my personal favorites. What’s in the near future for your band? We’re home for the holidays right now and we’re still promoting our debut record, doing a lot of radio interviews and playing every single show we can get our hands on. We’re supposed to hopefully be on the west coast around February. You better come hang out.
What aspect of music discourages you the most? We live in a hard time to be a musician. A lot of people think you don’t necessarily need to buy music anymore…you can just download it. It has ups and downs but record sales for bands are a lot more difficult now. There’s pros and cons with it, but… How would you like the music industry to change in the next few years? I think as a whole I wish music would get back to a more natural and organic state…there’s so many computers used
Featuring in making music today and it’s making it inauthentic. I wish we had some genuine art again. What do you think could help us get back to that state? I have no idea. I think hopefully people will get tired of what’s going on right now and it will force everyone to be a little bit more open minded and people will start discovering things that they wouldn’t otherwise discover. How do you feel about downloading music? No one wants their stuff to be stolen but personally, if it’s either download the album or don’t listen to it at all, download it all you want. The most important thing is that somebody’s listening to it. Without an ear music doesn’t exist. It’s just vibrations, it’s totally useless. If your band was an ice cream flavor (real or made up!) what would it taste like? We’d be Samuel L. Jackson flavored ice cream. It would taste really sweet but it would kick you in the face. He would taste like action and greatness. What about a side of Chuck Norris? Oh, yes! Chuck Norris topping. He’s the cherry on top. You guys are working with Taco Bell on something called “Feed the Beat?” Yeah, they have this program called Feed the Beat where, it’s feeding starving artists everywhere. They give you these things called Taco Bell Bucks that you can spend on tour and that has saved our lives so many times. That’s awesome…I’ve noticed Taco Bell is always open at 2am after shows when everything else is closed. Yeah. Dude, we get done playing and I’m totally exhausted and I go buy a Crunchwrap Supreme and just like bury my face in it. I just rub my face in sour cream and I’m like “ahhh, I’m okay again!” I meant that literally. I literally rub my face into it. How does the dynamic of your group change with six people in it? We’re kind of like a family and it’s kind of like a circus, but everybody pulls their own weight. We don’t believe that any one person because of any instrument they play is any more
important than anyone else. Everyone has an equal voice and an equal vote. I think that’s what makes our music really eclectic; there’s so many different influences for so many different people. Is it more difficult or easier to collaborate? I think it’s more difficult just because there’s so many more ideas, but it’s so worth that difficulty to have so many possibilities that you might otherwise not think of. What about touring? We have a big white van that we named Vanna White. It’s small for six people because it fills up really quickly, but, we’re at the point now where somebody’s gotta sleep with their head on someone’s shoulder but it’s so worth it just to tour. Now that we have those Taco Bell bucks, we’ve got everything we need. If you could tour anywhere in the world, where would you go? We’ve never been to the west coast before and there have been people over there for like two years begging us to come and I’m like, “I want to too, don’t worry! I really want to!” So, west coast first. You gotta explore the ocean before you explore outer space. I would love to go to Japan. I’m pretty tall and I heard everyone over there is relatively short so I’d look like Andre the Giant and I think that’d be a lot of fun. I’m 6”3’. I’ll wear some stilettos and be like 8”3’ like, ‘it’s whatever.’ You’re on a desert island…you can take three albums. Which ones? Oh yeah, you’re stranded on a desert island with electricity and a way to listen to albums. [laughs] I’m like, ‘what three CDs could I build a boat out of?’ I think I would take Because of the Time by Kings of Leon, Cease to Begin by Band of Horses, and Evil Urges by My Morning Jacket. I would rock out on a deserted island, I wouldn’t even care about being rescued. I’d be like, ‘fuck you all, I’m here to have a party.’ Do you have any carpentry skills? Could you build a boat? [laughs] Probably not…I’d tape two coconuts to a stick and jump in the water like, ‘I got this, I got this!’ Who do you think you were in a past life? Probably some grandma…but a super hero grandma that had knitting powers. Maybe laser eyes and razorblade hips. So you could knit the crap out of someone? Yeah! I would knit crime away. [laughs] Hold on! I’ma get you…In three months. +
28 positivexposure www.myspace.com/jonasseesincolor
Japanese Devo enthusiasts Polysics are already on their tenth album (and their fourteenth year.) Prepping for the release of their greatest hits album Bestoisu!!!! in Japan, Polysics hopes to reach America and tour in the new year. They shouldn’t have trouble gaining attention - that is, not with their vow to rid the world of unoriginal music and their very inventive taste in ice cream. Interview with Hiro
How does it feel to be releasing your tenth album? It’s the 10th but still contains the same temptation we had at the 1st album. Additional to that, there’s more of the recent POLYSICS new wave punk in this album. It’s absolutely the best of POLYSICS. Fourteen years have passed since we formed the band and we are very proud to have the album with this title. How long did it take to write and record? About ten months. Actually, we have been writing music right after the album tour of We Ate the Machine, though the recording started in the beginning of this year when the concept for this album was determined. Is your audience in Japan different from your audience in the US? Audiences in America are enjoying music by themselves; Japanese audiences enjoy music by forming a group, such as clapping, singing, and do choreography together. What was it like to sign with MySpace Records? We felt something interesting would start, very exciting. Do you think your music has changed or evolved over your fourteen year career? Basically my taste of music has not changed since we formed the band. However, there are things that changed in the music we make. Before, I wrote music just for myself, now I write simpler music that would reach more people, to have fun live. Which did you like better: touring in support of your own album or touring on the MySpace Music Tour? In the meaning of introducing ourselves, MySpace Tour would have impact. But, the more fun would be our own album tour. Also, better that we could have more time to perform. Either way, touring in America contains lots of effort. You’re said to be bringing back new wave. Does that create a kind of pressure for you? Never felt any pressure. We just think that if there is no music that we would want to listen to, we should make it ourselves. What’s one thing everyone should know about the new
album? This is the absolute POLYSICS album. Even if you gather iPods all over the world, you wouldn’t find anything like Absolute POLYSICS. What made you want to create music? I wanted to sing like DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh. Even if he sweats a lot, he shouts with stony-face like a robot. To make that come true, I needed to perform. To perform at the livehouse I needed to form a band and write music. That’s why I started to create music. Were any other band names considered? “CASIO-TONES.” Thinking about it now, I really think it was a good idea I changed my mind to POLYSICS. What influences you most? I have so much influence from DEVO’s cynical and humorous character. What’s in the near future for your band? End of this year we’re having a count down live, beginning of next year, we’re releasing the greatest hits album BESTOISU!!!! in Japan. I would hope to go touring in America. What aspect of music excites you the most? I like anything that’s fun. Music makes me very excited. When I’m making music, when I’m performing on stage, when I’m listening to records, when I’m watching my favorite bands live are the happiest time in my life. What aspect of music discourages you the most? There’s too much non-original music. And there are too many people who are over-rated. If your band was an ice cream flavor (real or made up!) what would it taste like? “Popping Toisu Toisu Shower.” When you eat, the explosion occurs; the eyeball would come out, you crush through the window, fly around the world and come back to where you were. It’s a very fun flavor. Very addictive. +
Up & Coming
christie dupree Music comes naturally to Christie Dupree - after all, she was raised on the likes of The Beatles and her siblings make up Eisley. But Christie Dupree is determined to be an individual talent. What made you want to create music? I think it would be easier to name a list of things that did not have to do with my wanting to create music.. It's just something that has always been with me, but has grown over the years into being the main thing that I am passionate about. What influences you most? I don't know if any specific artists do, really. It's probably a collective influence from all the stuff I listen to, I guess. What’s in the near future for you, musically? Recording! I am recording at my friend Wesley Jensen's studio, Whiskey Hound Studios, in Redding, CA. in February. I am very excited and cannot wait to share it with everyone once it's finished. What aspect of music excites you the most? Probably that there are so many different styles, and each different song can evoke such different feelings in people. I think that is really neat, and I hope my music makes people feel something good. What aspect of music discourages you the most? I guess I would say it's discouraging that music is so easily accessible.. anyone can create it or attain it so easily, so that
makes doing music as a career really tough, because there are so many bands out there trying to be successful doing the same thing as you. But at the same time, that is also an aspect that I like about music, it's everywhere, and it's such an important part of life. As an unsigned artist, what has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome? I hardly know yet! I’m only just getting started. But I’m guessing there will be many obstacles. Who’s your favorite under-rated artist? I am very bad at knowing which bands are over-rated or under-rated. But my favorite artist right now is either Good Old War or Miniature Tigers. Both really amazing bands, if you haven't heard them I highly recommend checking them out! If Christe DuPree was an ice cream flavor (real or made up!) what would it taste like? I think I would probably end up being coffee flavored ice cream because I think I drink more coffee than I do water. Plus, I love coffee ice cream. That or Mint Chocolate Chip. What is your earliest memory of music?
Probably my parents singing to me as a child, they had this song that they sang to each of us when we were babies, it was that Oscar Mayer Weiner's song, but they changed the words to sing about how cute and fat our baby cheeks were, and how they loved us so much. I remember knowing that they were singing about me and how cute and fat I was, and just gloating in drooling baby ignorance that I was a special and admired creature. I definitely credit any musical vein in my body to my parent's awesome taste in music. They raised us on The Beatles, and I feel very lucky. How did you meet Wesley Jensen and how did you start collaborating? That's kind of a funny story.. He randomly messaged me on MySpace, asking me to sing on his new EP that he was recording, so I agreed, and recorded the tracks and sent them to him through email, and didn't actually meet him in person until we toured together with my siblings band, Eisley. Have you ever wanted to be part of the Eisley line-up? Not really, when they started out, I was only about 6 years old. And there was never a need for another member, so once I got older I just naturally started writing my own music. And I think it was meant to be that way. They are really supportive of my music, and vice versa. +
30 positivexposure www.myspace.com/christiedupreemusic
Up & Coming
conditions Burrito flavored ice cream and the “perfect hell” of Warped Tour - Conditions really knows what it means to be a band. These boys aren’t going to sit around and wait for a record deal; instead, they’re actively pursuing their dreams, working on a tour early this year and pushing their new EP, You Are Forgotten. And if that’s not enough, look out for their full length - they’re recording this April. Interview with Alex Howard What made you want to create music? I come from a pretty musical family, so the desire to play an instrument has always been there. I wanted to be a little bit different than playing the usual concert band instruments, so when I was in 5th grade I asked my parents for a bass guitar. I played bass all through middle school in jazz band and stuff, but picked up electric guitar on the side. Guitar was a much better songwriting tool than the bass, so it's what I stuck with. Were any other names considered? I think Jason really liked Chapters haha. It's kind of funny to think about since it's pretty similar to Conditions. We just really wanted a simple, one word name. What influences you most? Everyday life. I think that's pretty evident in Brandon's lyrics. We really take pride in trying to write songs about learning lessons and challenges that we've faced rather than the typical love song or sing about partying. I have a select few favorite bands that I'll listen to all day long, but I think we come from a wide array of influences. Jason a lot of times hears something on the radio that sounds nothing like our band and really like a certain part that will spark something for us. What’s in the near future for your band? We hope that we can hit the road hard in early 2010. We've got a couple things lined up that we're hoping to come through, so we'd really like to push our new EP You Are Forgotten a little more before we go into the studio and do a full length. We're hoping to record that around April in order to get a summer release. What aspect of music excites you the most? I think the most exciting thing about music is that there are so many possibilities. Sometimes that's hard to see. Sometimes I can sit down with a guitar and create absolutely nothing and think I'm the worst player ever. Other times so many doors are opened up for new ideas. What aspect of music discourages you the most? I think it's not so much the music that is discouraging; it's the music industry. This band has been to hell and back as far as that is concerned, and we're really just trying to get our heads past waiting around for a record deal and driving ourselves insane to just pushing ourselves as far as we can. Whenever that time comes, it comes, but
in the meantime we're not going to sit on MySpace all day waiting to be the next big thing, we're gonna go out and play shows. Who’s your favorite under-rated artist? I think there are tons of bands out there that deserve more recognition than they have, but since I've seen them recently I'm going to say House of Fools. That band is keeping rock n' roll alive. They are such an amazingly talented live band that it's hard to even want to play a show with them in fear of being totally showed up, haha. They have been totally screwed with their label situation, they just deserve to be shown to the world in the right way. If your band was an ice cream flavor (real or made up!) what would it taste like? It would taste like a burrito. We are so addicted to Chipotle it's just not even healthy. What is the one thing you want people to know about Conditions? I think I want people to actually take the time to get to know the music. Maybe on the first listen it might sound like it's been done before, but I hope there's a little more to us message-wise that will set us apart. How have your experiences in different bands changed how you work together in Conditions? I think that was extremely helpful. My old band had made so many stupid mistakes just being young kids that when this band started, I had a lot more experience and knew better ways to do things right. I think that goes for all of us. From day one we've just been a lot smarter doing this than we were when we were 17 and 18 in our old bands. Tell us about your week on the Warped Tour. It was the most perfect hell I've ever experienced haha. We were on a stretch of the tour in the Midwest with an average daily drive of about 7 hours in a van. The first day we showed up around 8 am after driving about 9 hours from Richmond. We would set up our tent, take our stuff to the stage, run around trying to sell CDs and get people to come see us, play, sell more stuff, pack up and go. We could never get a hotel room or anything because when we're leaving around 9 or 10 pm and the drive is 7 hours, we would have to leave directly from there in order to make the next show. We would get to the next venue at like 4 am, sleep for 3 or 4 hours in the van and do everything all over again. It was painful, but my body got used to it and it was like addicting, we didn't want go home. +
Up & Coming
Suffering due to a loss of equipment, Hail Archer has nonetheless remained strong. Although they've recently had $7,000 worth of equipment stolen, they're recording and plowing through the trouble. They may owe some of that dedication to their name - they're really living up to the keen sense of an archer's vision. What made you want to create music? Music has been a driving force in our lives for many years. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment or influence that made us want to create music, but once you start playing music it’s impossible to stop. When we play our music live and see kids genuinely enjoying it, we feel fulfilled and compelled to keep creating our own brand of music. How did you come up with your name? The story we’ve been telling people goes a little something like this… Archers have a keen sense of vision and pay extreme attention to detail. So in our own little way we’d like to pay homage to those people who continuously strive to view the world with pristine vision and bring that attention to detail to our music. That, or we thought it sounded cool. What influences you most? Personally, I’ve grown very bored with music lately. A lot of the bands that are out there right now are ‘all show and no go’. Bands that can write a song to appeal to a large audience while still pleasing the core of ‘indie kids’ deserve a tip of my hat. What’s in the near future for your band? We are writing lots of new music at the moment. We have been working with a new drummer and are incredibly excited at the maturity and creativity he adds to the group. Once we have a collection of songs we are satisfied with, we’ll be looking to get back into the studio and record. What aspect of music excites you the most? Writing, touring and enjoying the company of your best friends can’t be replaced in our lives. When people enjoy our music and support us over the years we feel we can accomplish anything. Having that support mechanism behind our band can’t be replaced. What aspect of music discourages you the most? A lot of the financial/business aspects of music can be incredibly disheartening. Seeing kids in bands that are touring full-time and have legions of fans, but can barely play their instruments enough to recreate what Pro-Tools has done for them on record is the worst. As an unsigned band, what has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Financial restrictions are always a huge obstacle for an unsigned band. Gas prices are high, it costs money to print merchandise, and contrary to popular belief our band doesn’t run on whiskey – we need to eat Taco Bell from time to time. Also, we’re all getting older and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to not throw out our backs or dislocate a hip. Let’s hope Parliament passes some sort of healthcare reform soon. Warped, Taste of Chaos, or Summerfest? Which was your favorite and why? Warped is always a blast thanks to our friends and fans that hang out all day in the summer heat while enjoying watermelon and soda pops. Taste of Chaos was particularly awesome because we got to play with one of my all-time favorite bands, Thursday. All of them were pretty great experiences and helped make us the band we are today. Your newest EP was downloadable for free on iTunes. Why this free download? We wanted to give something back to all of the people who have supported us over the past two years. We’ve seen a ton of the same kids out to all of our shows. Those same kids have bought a bunch of our shirts and merchandise, so we figured it’s the least we could do for them. Plus, we were really proud of what we recorded and didn’t want to deny anybody the opportunity to hear our music. How do you feel about bands allowing fans to pay what they wish for downloadable albums? Giving your fans that option is a generous way to show them your appreciation for their support. It would be great if people would buy our records and we could make a little money from doing so, but that’s not the reality of the music industry right now. A large amount of equipment was stolen from your practice space. How has that been affecting the group? It has definitely slowed down our progress with writing and potentially touring. We’ve had around $7,000 worth of amps, cabinets and guitars taken from us. Right now we are trying to put together a makeshift equipment set-up to get us through the shows we have booked. Fortunately we have great friends who have been letting us borrow their gear when we play live. Many thanks go out to Sleep Serapis Sleep and Conductors. As unfortunate as the situation is, we’re trying to make the most of it. Instead of asking people to make donations, we’re in the works of putting together some sort of recording that people can purchase from us to help buy us some new gear. More details will be released soon, so be on the lookout for that. +
Up & Coming
the diamond light
What made you want to create music? I have always gravitated toward music since a young age. I guess when my mother gave me a couple Jimi Hendrix records for my 11th birthday that really got a hold on me. From then on I wanted to play the guitar. I know that Griffin and Ian grew up playing blues at bars with Ians dad as well. They've been hustling for a while.
Interview with Brian Stanley
How did you come up with your name? One of my favorite books is called Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac. There's a line in the book that says, "The diamond light was in my eyes." We had just moved to Hollywood and were getting sick of our old name. It seemed like the right time to start fresh. Were any other names considered? Chicken of the Sea, but we were worried about copyright infringement. What influences you most? I hate to speak for everyone in the band, but I will. We dig blues and rock. What’s in the near future for your band? SXSW will be coming up in the spring so we are all pretty excited for that. Working on writing new songs and hopefully record an album in early 2010. Our bassist Richy is going to Prague for the holiday to craft guitars by hand so... What aspect of music excites you the most? Playing live. Everyone in the band loves playing live. Every show and venue is different so it's a fun challenge to set a certain mood or environment for each performance. What aspect of music discourages you the most? I don't think there is anything discouraging about making music, but the music business can get you down from time to time. Basically watching mtv or listening to KIIS FM bums me out. There are great bands sprouting up around LA that deserve to be heard more then say the Jonas Brothers, not hatin’, just sayin’. +
Who’s your favorite under-rated artist? It's hard for me to gauge under and overrated, but that question will keep me up tonight, so thanks. If your band was an ice cream flavor (real or made up!) what would it taste like? Whiskey Mud. As an unsigned artist, what has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome? Being one of thousands and thousands of bands in Los Angeles, our goal is to leave an impression on the audience. We want them to leave the show with ringing in their ears. Tell us about your EP. So we recorded the EP in Culver city with a good friend and producer John Chelew. We recorded 12 songs in two days, then finally narrowed it down to 8 tracks. The actual recording only took a couple days but working out the logistics of mixing, mastering, and manufacturing we found ourselves waiting. With the help from our producer and our manager the ep was finally finished. It felt amazing to finally be done and have a physical copy in our hands.
wesley jensen and the wildcats
Up & Coming
Wesley Jensen may have written his first song in the delivery room just after his birth, but it took him until 2006 to realize that to make his dream happen he would have to grab the bull by the horns and start writing under his own name. Now, Wesley Jensen and the Wildcats, probably the world’s first “epic folk” band, are recording their first full length album, and not to play favorites, but, we can’t wait. What made you want to create music? It’s moving, powerful, and possibly the only thing in this world that’s universal.
If your band was an ice cream flavor (real or made up!) what would it taste like? Whiskey.
How did you come up with your name? I'm guessing this is referring to "The Wildcats" part of it... honestly, I don't really know. I think it started off being said as a joke and somehow stuck.
As an unsigned artist, what has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome? At times, spirits can be low, but I think it’s that way for signed and unsigned bands. We just always try to stay positive doing what we love to do, and that keeps us from really running into any big issues or obstacles.
Were any other names considered? I'm not entirely sure that "The Wildcats" has really ever even been considered. What influences you most? Other music I hear. The things I see, experience, want, feel. Anything and everything really. Hate to be cliché...but I just was and it didn't bother me too much. What’s in the near future for your band? Hopefully more records and more tours. What aspect of music excites you the most? That music is pretty much just a big mess that all of us have created and that sometimes, to different ears, it can actually be an enjoyable mess. What aspect of music discourages you the most? The politics of the business/industry. Who’s your favorite under-rated artist? I have alot of favorite artists...under-rated?...I guess I'd have to go with Wilco. They're my favorite band, so it makes sense that I'll always think they're too under-rated.
You do a lot of work with Christie DuPree…how did you meet her and why did you decide to collaborate with her? I met Christie through some friends and thought she had an incredible voice. From there we just talked it out and put it together. You’ve called yourself “epic folk”…can you expand on that? Ha...I feel like that might be something we would personally like to think our music COULD be thought of, not necessarily saying that’s what it is...it’s really just an idea more than a genre or description for ourselves. Basically, we want to be able to take our folk roots and try to create some special moments with it. Tell us about Battles… Battles is something that we're very proud of. We feel like it’s the record we were trying to create years ago but not until now were we able to get it to click and finally come together. There’s a lot of questions, hope, love and heartbreak packed into the five little songs. We kept it folk but experimented with ways to make it bigger and more unique at times. Overall, we think and hope that most people can find a song on there that they can really connect with. +
Up & Coming
companion Formed from the ashesto ofstart pastfresh bands, the members of Companion decided with a new name and new faces. Since January 2009, they have been hard at work, with two EPs already under their belt. Singer Alex tells ussouthwest how this intrioearly of best friends will bemaking takingDean over the 2010 and life long friends while on the road.
What made you want to create music? Music allows us to express things that words cannot. As the lyricist, I have the freedom to express my deepest thoughts without worrying about being politically correct. Basically, music is my voice. We all love music. We live and breathe it. We also love people. Playing music has allowed us to meet some of the most amazing people over the years. They are now our lifelong friends. How did you come up with your name? Months of brainstorming and debating. Were any other names considered? Hundreds. What influences you most? People. We love our friends, fans, families, etc. We are inspired and influenced by the impact they have on our lives. What’s in the near future for your band? Our CD release for our new EP, Westward Expansion will be held on January 9th at Trees in Dallas. After that, we have a southwest tour with Abandon Kansas and Windsor Drive in February. What aspect of music excites you the most? Freedom. Music has allowed us to travel all over the country and see things we have never dreamed of. It also allows us to express ourselves. What aspect of music discourages you the
most? Money. It is nearly impossible to make money playing music these days. As an unsigned band, what has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome? Financing albums and tours. Can you expand on this? “This trio of best friends has its collective heart set on making music with integrity and meaning in a world that settles for mediocrity.” We are the three best friends in the world. We all live together when we are not on the road, so we are always around each other. We love each other unconditionally. Anyone in our band would die for anyone else. We want our music to have meaning. We feel that the music scene today settles for songs that are about stupid things. We hear people singing songs all the time, and we wonder if they even know what they are singing about. We want to push ourselves to create music that is meaningful both in lyric and in musicality. Tell us about Westward Expansion. Westward Expansion is sort of a sampler/b-sides EP. It has a few full band new tracks, and some acoustic tracks of current songs, or new songs. The titletrack “Westward Expansion” is about love and the power it has to overcome dismal circumstances. +
Interview with Help-Portrait creator Jeremy Cowart What is your cause? Help-Portrait is a community of photographers coming together across the world to use their photography skills to give back to their local communities. When did you decide to do something about it? Last year around Christmas time. It was too late at that point to do anything, so I knew I would have to plan for this year. Whatâ€™s in the near future for you? We're currently working on a book of stories from Help-Portrait set to release within the next year. The stories are too powerful to not combine into a book. We're also in the process of setting up the non-profit to house Help-Portrait and expand the movement into 2010. What difference can one person make? One person can change the world. There are countless examples of that throughout history. It's especially easy these days with instant worldwide access. In my case, I used my very small platform to announce my very small, simple idea to my very small following. And used just four or five friends who also had platforms. Three months later, over 40,000 people in over 42 countries had their portraits taken, many of whom had never had the opportunity before. How did you come up with the idea of Help-Portrait? We have a terrible economy right now where people are hurting more than ever and in need more than ever. So what better time than now to give back? Also, photographers are passionate people. I didn't doubt for one second that they would be willing to join together and use their cameras to give back. I knew we could utilize the power of social media to spread the word quickly. Most importantly, I believe people want to be involved in a story bigger than themselves and this is a good story. How did it feel to shoot the first portrait for Help-Portrait?
It redefined what photography is for me. I realized at that moment how much I take photography for granted. The majority of our world’s population never gets the chance to be on EITHER side of the camera. What is the best part of a Help-Portrait shoot? Seeing the reaction of people being in front of the camera for the first time and receiving their prints for the first time. It's usually a lot of tears, smiles, or both at the same time. How can people help if they aren’t photographers? This year we had around 3,000 photographers and around 4,000 volunteers. In other words, we had more non-photographers than photographers. People can help with hair and makeup. They can bring drinks and food. They can bring flowers. They can do production, organization. They can print, they can frame. There are endless things for non-photographers to be involved with. Do you have to find an “official” Help-Portrait event? People can do this by themselves if they want to. Sometimes those are the most powerful, intimate experiences. But it's also great to bond with fellow photographers and serve together. That's one of the best parts about Help-Portrait is that it establishes community on both sides of the camera.
"There was a single mom and her two kids. The son is nine and sister is eleven. Upon sitting down and meeting me, she saw their photos loading onto my computer. She began weeping. I started talking, asking her story. She said to me, ‘You don't understand how thankful I am and how much this means to me and my son in particular.’ Then she pulled a wrinkled piece of paper from her pocket showing her nine-year-old’s Christmas list. On it were only a few items; at the top of the list was written, "A Family Portrait." I lost it. We printed out 5-6 copies for their family, hugged them and wept." How can someone prepare for next year? All they need is their camera, a printer and some people in need to give to. It's a simple concept, really. But if they want to do a big event with other photographers, the best thing to do is to go to our community website and join another group in their city or start a new one. I’ve told a few people about this and they all scoff and say, ‘homeless people don’t need photos.’ Why decide to take photos for people in need instead of donating money, food, or something “traditional?” We've heard that reaction a lot and find it quite silly to be honest. These scoffers would be shocked to see for themselves what happens at these events. See, we take it for granted that there are always cameras around and we can always have our pictures taken or vice versa, but that is not the case for millions of people. As my friend Annie Downs (HelpPortrait Events Coordinator) said, poverty steals a lot of things, like your home and car and food, but it also steals something on the inside. Help-Portrait doesn’t feed people or give them clothes, but it does feed that something on the inside. It shows them that they can say “I’m still worth being the center of attention, I still have value.” We also encourage our photographers to partner with non-profit organizations, because it would be great to meet those needs at the same time. For example, at our Nashville event we provided meals and clothes for as many as we could and hopefully a sense of value. For the cynical people, it is one of those things that I would say, “You’re right, it is just 30 minutes of their life and something they can hold on to.” But if that one 30 minute session and that one picture makes them make one different choice that leads them back towards a healthy life, away from poverty, that one session was worth that one choice. +