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DEBUT ALBUM from Pop-punk band, Sail To North

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Available on Bandcamp

SPF Editor-In-Chief

Janet Adamana

Contributors & Photography Credits Spencer Marr Suzi Ovens Lauren Colton Special Thanks Elissa Franceschi Tim Kopischke APIT Mary Lambert Julia Sykes Will Brown Kristian Taylor Dre Andreas Sean Huber Dane Rupp Mike Thomas Kevin Richter Brett Rupp

Mar/Apr 2013 This Is From Our Hearts


Words from the Editor-In-Chief

For The Love of Pop Punk


A Place In Time talk Transitions

Listen, Rate, Review


Shared Music Review puts fans in control

Heartbreak Warfare


Elissa Franceschi and her heartfelt EP, Salt

Black As Night


Ormen Lange and their debut album, Black

Proud Mary


Mary Lambert fights the good fight

Dance, London, Dance


Sykes talks Out of Your Hands

Sound, Phrase & Fury is a

Canadian music magazine and website out to help promote musicians not usually covered in mainstream media. All music, photos and articles used are for the sole purpose of spreading the knowledge of these artists and their music. We always encourage readers to support every act through purchasing releases, merchandise and attending live shows. @soundphrasefury

Steady Hands & The Libertines


Track-by-Track of The Libertines

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Editor’s Note

this is from our hearts... Once upon a time, I was a cynic. And by once upon a time, I mean recently so. As a child, I believed that everything was magic and the world was full of awesome, good-hearted people. People who worked hard for what they loved and never turned their backs on the things that really mattered. As I grew older, the world started to look a little different. People were how people are. Living day to day, chasing cash and stopping at nothing to get it. Flirting and flaunting was more valuable than hard-work, and everyone seemed to become desperate, dark and cold. Passion was becoming nothing but a word and I was fearful that I too, was falling victim to the pitfalls of this seemingly awful world. But recently, Sound, Phrase & Fury started to become something more than just a hobby to me. It was becoming who I was, what I wanted, essentially what I’ve been waiting for. It was now something that fueled me, set fire to what was once just a matchstick flame. It brought purpose, excitement, and heart back to this black and white picture I called the world. And the more I worked on it, the more I realized there are still plenty of people living in this is whacked out place who stand for something, believe in something and live for something. From the team of passionate entrepreneurs building a valuable online community of artists, the young guns fighting to keep their band alive, to the sweet young ladies fighting life’s harsh realities one sorrowful song at a time. I feel pretty damn honoured to have the opportunity to work with and get to know these amazing people. And I must send a very big thanks to each and every one of them. Thank you for staying real and for simply making the world a much more colourful and passionate place.

Happy for the all Heartfelt & Human Janet Adamana Editor-In-Chief

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Ever find that one song in a cyber sea of a trillion others, that seems to fix every single calamity and emotional ailment thrown in your direction? One song, that, through some miraculous binding of strumming, bashing and thumping of noisy inventions, shakes every cell in your system and wakes a part of your existence that felt so stagnant yet fleeting like a hazy childhood memory? The one song reminiscent of late summer nights with good friends, running wild and free. The one song that reminds you what it means to be young, hopeful, and naive. This is an ode to those songs and an ode to the ones who have created them. The ones who write, dream and hope that, with the little song they wrote in their bedroom they could someday reach someone. That somewhere in the simplicity of minimal lyrics, soft pretty keys, or a poignant honesty in a singer’s voice, a stranger can find their footing and all becomes right in the world again. Somewhere in the divine chaos of that beautiful noise, a stranger can find their old impassioned self and regain their old unwavering composure.

Headphones in, the whole world out. This is what it feels like to get lost in sound.


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Photos by Laurie Heath

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For The Love Of Pop Punk They’re glad they still have air to breathe. The boys of Maryland pop punk group, A Place in Time, have taken their fair share of hits for a young band, from scrounging around for equipment, fighting parental disapproval, and most recently, the pitfalls of a faulty contract. But this year, the boys take their troubles in stride and take their pumped up pop punk across the United States on their first big tour, in hopes to give back to the fans that stood by and kept their band alive. APIT lead vocalist, Joel Vi Brittania, talks about their latest release, Transitions, their spring fundraising tour and their unwavering love for doing what they do.

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“things are going to happen. Some of them good, some of them bad. But no matter what, you’ve gotta keep moving.” SPF: I know you guys just recently went through a horrible setback in touring plans, but you’re still going through with touring. Tell me more about what happened and the spring tour you’re going to be doing? JVB: Back in late fall 2012, we paid a “booking company” $2000 to help us book our first tour ever. We were guaranteed enough of a turnout for us to survive, and it was a huge step for us because anyone who knows us from Maryland will tell you, we are one of the most broke bands of all time. For our first few shows we were using 15 watt amps that wouldn’t even reach your knees! In the end, it turns out this booking company had completely scammed us, and never booked a single date. They still haven’t refunded us a dime. Thankfully, a good friend of ours from the band Trophies is helping us book the same tour, and we’re turning the entire thing into a fundraiser to help keep the band alive. We’re trying to play a lot of house shows and give back to the fans. They’ve supported us throughout this entire ordeal and have been waiting quite some time to see us on the road. We’re super thankful for their support.

him, so the record is a bit more raw than our previous two. SPF: Explain what people can expect from the 5-song EP? JVB: Variety. A lot of fans of music, not only pop punk, seem to enjoy it. I don’t think it’s like anything the average listener has heard before. I don’t mean that in a conceited sense, but rather, we really tried to go out of the box with our writing, and I think we did a good job.

SPF: Can you describe some of your musical and lyrical influences and inspiration? JVB: Lyrically, we’re influence by a lot of everything. Not just pop punk, but also pop, and punk. There’s some R&B, hardcore, and some metal. A little bit of everything honestly. Duo (guitar/vocals) and I are total suckers for catchy melodies! We try to keep it real, be clever, funny, and poetic all at once. As far as musical influence, we love music. All of it. There’s at least one good thing about every genre, that’s why hybrid genres like pop punk are awesome. When I was a kid I listened to composers before I started listening to bands. Now that I’m older I can someSPF: Talk to me about Transitions. times hear it in our writing, but there’s so much JVB: We recorded it with the talented Greg Parker more from everything else we put into it that it can at his studio, Amped Recordings, in Baltimore. be a bit hard to find. We just try to be creative and We’ve recorded all of our EPs with him so far. This have fun. was the first time we didn’t do pre-production with

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Q&A SPF: Let’s talk about transitions in the literal sense. It’s sort of the theme of the record, the changes we are forced to make in life. You guys have been together since 2010, what kind of changes have you guys gone through, either musically or personally, since your start? JVB: In one word, plenty. Like I said before, when we started we basically had nothing except ideas for writing. Most bands start out from the ashes of other bands or have been doing it long enough to have somewhat legitimate equipment. We worked our way up completely from the bottom. Now we finally have a van, three EPs and almost all the equipment we need. The transitions we went through were tough: always trying to find a way to get to shows, much less our equipment, a couple of line up changes and for a while our families didn’t even support us. But our friends and fans always had our backs, and well, here we are. Not to mention, how young we were, so there were a lot of changes in life, relationships, and mentality as a whole. I believe it shows in our music.

SPF: I want to talk a bit about the pop punk resurgence that’s been happening lately. What are some of the things you’ve noticed happening in the scene, good or bad? JVB: Oh, man. I could go on for days about our scene today. But we knew it would become this way. The good news is, now that pop-punk is popular again, a lot of hardworking bands are finally getting the recognition they deserve! That’s good to see. The bad news is, as with every scene that becomes trendy, a lot of people get into it for the wrong reasons. For instance, those who will rep “Defend Pop Punk” gear, but will never give any band a chance if they aren’t already big. On the other hand, I’ll see a tweet from someone who implies they have superior knowledge of bands, say The Wonder Years aren’t good anymore because everyone likes them, completely disregarding the struggles they’ve endured for almost a decade. Now that they’re finally able to actually put food on the table by doing what they love, to some people it’s not “cool” to like them anymore. And as a band, it’s substantially harder to get anywhere unless you sound like whatever is trendy SPF: Is there anything in particular you hope at the time, but that will never last, something else people will take from listening to the record? will be “in,” and all those hardworking bands lose JVB: Basically, things are going to happen. Some of support. You either fall in line, or change the game. them good, some of them bad. But no matter what, This is what the first two songs on Transitions are you’ve got to keep moving. It’s always worth it. And about. We’re still a baby in band years, so we’re just sometimes, bad experiences can lead to incredible learning that this is how it works. It’s a sad sight, opportunities, or at the very least become good but we can still hold onto the hope that things will memories. change.

“Pop-punk has always been about being yourself, that’s the best part.” Mar/Apr 2013 • Sound, Phrase, & Fury 9


“Music is a beautiful thing, that’s why it’s been around forever.”

SPF: What do you think it is about pop punk that seems to be speaking to so many people, especially these days? JVB: That’s easy! You separate pop and punk, and look at the things that everyone loves about the two genres it’s obvious. With pop, you have relatability, and catchiness. With punk you have fast music that gets you pumped, community, best friends, and real meaning. Both of them can overflow with emotion, what’s not to love? Even when pop punk goes under the radar again, it’ll make a comeback because of these key aspects. It always does.

been about being yourself, that’s the best part. We hope that we can add to the scene by just getting people to look past the black and white. Music is more than just lyrics. Writing should be without boundaries. Listeners and artists can experience more by opening their minds and their ears. That goes for us too. Music is a beautiful thing, that’s why it’s been around forever. That, and squash the beef. Just have fun. When you step into a venue, it doesn’t matter who knows more about what, or who’s been a fan longer, or who’s wearing what, or which band is better. All that matters is that you have a good time. Music has the power to bring people together, SPF: What is it about pop punk that speaks to it shouldn’t tear people apart or put them against you guys the most? What do you hope to add to each other. Everyone knows that! the scene? JVB: We honestly just love being in a band. We love Transitions is available at APlaceInTime.bandthe combination of the two genres and we love how Catch the boys on their Bands Are it feels. With other genres you sometimes have to Friends, Not Food Tour. Dates available on Facebook. put on a front to get noticed. Pop punk has always com/APlaceInTimeMD


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Tim Kopischke and good friend, Nathan Alberg took their passion for independent artists, creation and art, and launched Shared Music Review. A new artist and fan interaction site, where fans rate music, publish their reviews and fall in love with new musicians.

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SHARED MUSIC REVIEW SPF: For those who don’t already know, what exactly is Shared Music Review? TK: In short, Shared Music Review is a free independent website for artists to share and music lovers to discover music. Artists build profiles and share bios, music and videos with the music lovers who in turn rate and review the artists, which helps provide the artists with a SMR Rating. As the artists gain more ratings and reviews they advance through the tiers increasing their exposure.

I started hammering out SMR in July, which, for the most part needed to be completely rebuilt. We launched the first version of SMR on November 16, 2011.

SPF: What sets SMR apart from other artist promotion sites? TK: In the very early days of SMR we looked at many music related websites to draw inspiration from but I decided to just focus on what SMR was going to be and not allow myself to be deterred by the enorSPF: How did you come mity of the internet and its up with the idea for and music related websites. Ineventually start the site? stead, our focus was to take TK: The idea that turned our passion for the love of into SMR started in 2010. music and create. Our goal At that time I was going to was and continues to be start a blog. The blog was having a free independent going to be called Gambling website for independent Piano. As time passed I deartists to share their music, cided against the name. I gain new fans and increase was afraid too many peotheir exposure. Our goal is ple would be hesitant or to help artists find enough wouldn’t give me the time of day with the word success to allow them to do what they dream of do“gambling” in the title. It was then that I came up ing for a living....create music. with the name Shared Music Review. In November 2010 I hired a freelance designer/developer to I also can’t emphasize enough how important our take my idea and make it look pretty on the web. people are. SMR hasn’t been an easy road as none I worked on SMR with the gentleman for several of us were business owners, are in the “music inmonths but he wasn’t able to complete the project dustry”, are independently wealthy or knew anyto my specifications. In mid-2011, the time was right thing about the legalities it would take to protect for Nate [Alberg] and I to start working together. ourselves and SMR while allowing artists to share I had wanted to work with Nate on SMR from the their music on our website. (We hold licenses with beginning but he was involved in too many other ASCAP, BMI & SESAC). Couple our naivety with all projects and he had just gotten married. Nate and of us working full-time outside of SMR, spending

“Our goal is to help artists find enough success to allow them to do what they dream of doing for a living...create music.”

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Industry our nights and weekends thinking, reading, dreaming, writing, creating, designing, developing and most of all, believing. And here we are today... still building, still growing, still believing. We love independent thinkers and independent music makers. We are very proud to be an independent website. Our people is what sets us apart. As others get to know us and what SMR is all about, they’ll believe that too. SPF: On your site you mentioned that you’ve been following reviews of professional music critics, and it’s now time for the fans to take over. What’s your take on both traditional and fan-written reviews? TK: There are definitely music critics that I respect and enjoy reading but honestly, a lot of them are predictable. I don’t think we get enough truth out of them. I do believe a lot of them think they are telling us the truth, whereas they’re really just telling us what will sell or keep their job secure. Our goal is to allow anyone, whether they’re 15 or 50 years old, weigh in via rating or reviewing the music, allowing

their belief and their truth be known. They can rate anonymously or they can write a review and attach their name to their words. We encourage interaction between the fans and artists and we’re working on a more sophisticated fan profile. Right now fans can just track their reviews and favorite artists. SPF: What do you think about the current state of the industry and what do you hope SMR will change about it? TK: This is a tricky question. I have never loved the music industry because there is so much good music that gets missed by the masses. I think the big company side of the music business has failed miserably in the last several years and to be honest, I love it. Not because I like to see businesses fail but because it opened the doors for artists. It made them realize they can stay independent and make a go at it if they’re serious and work hard. There are small labels popping up every day bringing new talent into our world and SMR is being built to help expose these artists to a broader audience. In regards to iTunes or other ways to purchase songs

Tim’s Picks Tim gives us his top picks for independent artists to check out.

Alex Masters

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Easily one of the most talented artists I’ve come across since starting the Shared Music Review project. Masters writes with equal parts vulnerability and wisdom, which is a hard find this early in a singer-songwriter’s career. Her way with words is a necessary rarity. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to meet and watch Masters play several times over the last few months and I know the venues she plays in are going to get bigger and bigger. I was also able to hear the title track to her debut EP, “Long Way Home” play on a TX radio show (first time one of her originals was played on any radio program) and believe me the radio has been missing out!

Industry digitally, I am a vinyl guy so I prefer the full album. I am also a lyric guy so I love listening from front-toback, learning/memorizing each and every word. It’s nice that you can buy one song at a time but there is nothing quite like hearing a complete album the way an artist sees and hears it in their minds. I encourage people all the time to buy the full album and listen to the songs in the middle and the end as much as the first two or three songs. I sometimes start with side two on a record so that I don’t allow myself to miss what is most definitely an important aspect of that artist’s creation.

vision, a dream. Now, to us, it has really become its own identity. We get the occasional person who will email or contact us on social media telling us what we should or shouldn’t have done. I’ll admit SMR is pretty close to home so it stings for a second but I let go of those feelings quickly.

I never made any promises to anyone except myself when I decided I was going to do this, regardless of the time it took, the challenges that stood in my way or the end result. I can tell you there won’t be an end to SMR. We’ll keeping growing, keep improving, keep coming up with new ideas, keep lovSPF: SMR is a relatively new website. What have ing and promoting independent music and we’ll been some of the challenges you’ve had to face keep believing. We’ll remember the small wins and we’ll work towards the next one. I thank the people or continue to face? TK: The biggest challenges we’ve faced have been who’ve had less than nice things to say about what money, or lack thereof, leading to limited market- we’re creating for the motivation to continue and go ing. We have a lot of people who have liked and ap- at it harder than before. preciated what we’re doing but the problem is that not a lot of people know we’re out there. Regardless, we’ll remain steadfast in our vision as I, and Check out to begin some of the others with SMR, wouldn’t know how listening, rating and reviewing some of the most to do anything different. For a long time SMR was a talented musicians in the independent scene.


If talent alone was all it took Blare LeVoir would be a household name. Few can write, produce, and sing a soulful pop song like Blare can. In the craziness of what I’ll call the “modern music industry” it takes a lot more than just pure talent to break through and succeed though. You need to be willing and able to share a lot more than your music (which isn’t always the easiest in itself). Communicating with fans and answering their questions all plays a part and Blare does this better than most. Without discounting Blare’s achievements to date I will say that Blare LeVoir will be a household name in the near future!

Blare Levoir

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Elissa Franceschi chronicles all the hurt and healing in her latest release, Salt.

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Strangers, to lovers, to strangers again. No words spoken. No words needed. This is the end.

The tidal waves of pain and panic, of frantic breaths

With songs like “Ocean”, and “Dust”, the new EP and racing thoughts. Shaky hands and ivory keys starts at the beginning of the end, with Francesfeel a trickle of salty tears. The aftermath of a shat- chi revealing the struggle of accepting that things are the way they are and finding a way to move on tered heart, encapsulated in five touching songs. and grow from there. There is no darkness without a little light, and FranSparked by a break-up ceschi does add a tinge with a long-time beau, of hope and healing. Brixton-based singer/ “These new songs are songwriter Elissa Francesalso largely about the chi has created one of the aftermath and the most honest and moving beauty in renewal. My releases of the year. Her best friends noticed big fourth and latest release, changes in me, and I which is currently titled, wanted to write about the Salt EP, outlines the sad story so many of us know, of the agonizing end the possibilities in that, of becoming different.” and fight towards the new beginning. “There’s no sugar coating what this EP is. They are songs about Recorded in London, with Matt O’Grady (Deaf Haa relationship ending. The girl who wrote them was vanna, YouMeAtSix), her new EP was largely funded a bit broken,” explains Franceschi. “I found the gore by fan pre-orders through, an artof losing your best friend and all that intimacy re- ist to fan networking and fund-raising site similar ally fascinating; the complexities in sustaining to the widely popular Kickstarter. Fans pledged by something, those fine lines between love and hate.” purchasing packages ranging from simple digital

“These new songs are also largely about the aftermath and the beauty in renewal.”

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downloads to signed merchandise, private songwriting sessions and shows with the singer. The process was new to Franceschi, but one which was fun and very rewarding. “It’s been a great experience and I’m glad I tried it. Making a record is very expensive, but for me, what’s been nice is making behind the scenes videos and sharing the creative process.”

credible highlights to her achievement list. “I think singing at Wembley Arena has got to be up there, but also putting out Into the Light two summers ago.” Franceschi explains. “I’m so proud of that album, I never thought it possible to bring the songs to life in that way, I financed every penny and oversaw every riff and beat. It was such a labour of love.”

Franceschi’s love for her craft was sparked in grade school, as she dabbled in every creative avenue possible. “I was always in choirs, jazz bands, and school plays. I was writing stories and poems and once I started piano lessons I was on my way with the song writing. I would lock myself in piano rooms during lunch breaks and play in the dark, it’s been an escape ever since.” Franceschi has come a long way since then, largely due to her natural talent and passionate DIY work ethic. Without the help of any PR firms or record labels, she has built herself a strong international fan base through social media, garnered a lot of attention, and added some pretty in-

2013 looks to be a busy year for Francheschi as she finishes up the new EP, which is expected to be released in the spring, and is working towards a supporting tour, and a publishing deal to help cross a huge goal off the bucket list: getting a song on Grey’s Anatomy.


For updates and release information, check out Pledge packages are still available at projects/ElissaFranceschi. Pledgers get an advanced copy of the new EP including 6 bonus tracks.

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BLACK AS NIGHT The guys of Chicago instrumental rock band, Ormen Lange, talk about the freedom of being without a vocalist, the allure of vinyl albums,and the process of creating their latest release, Black.

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“I love captivating an audience without the

use of a vocalist. It’s rewarding when you can tell the whole room is on the same level as you without ever saying a word.

SPF: Talk to me about your upcoming album, Black. Kevin Richter [Bass]: This album is quite different than our self-titled EP but it is still very “us” at its core. We went into it knowing we wanted a thicker sound, and adding Mike [Thomas] on guitar was exactly what we were looking for. To me, this album represents a giant step in us further discovering our sound, progressing as musicians, and, most importantly, becoming a tighter band. SPF: How was the process different than recording your self-titled EP? KR: The album was recorded at Chrome Attic Studio in Crystal Lake by Daniel Good. It was a totally different process than our self-titled EP. Chrome Attic is an amazing facility where you can stay for the weekend and really separate yourself from normal life. We recorded this album live as well. We were all in the live room together just like we are at a show or at practice. Our self-titled EP was recorded in the same basement that we practice in. Our friend Marlon Aquilar set up a makeshift studio for the weekend with his own gear. We recorded that album in the traditional sense of doing each instrument separately: drums, bass, and then guitar.

member’s styles and influences. But, when brought together, we get what is Ormen Lange, and ultimately this album Black. It’s heavy, it’s pretty, it grooves, and it rocks. SPF: Black is available through digital download as well as vinyl. Why did you decide to also go the old-school route? KR: Personally, I’m an avid vinyl collector, and I think the same can be said for the rest of the band. That alone makes this release extra exciting for me. Going into this project, we had a sound in mind, and we knew that recording to tape and pressing it to vinyl was the best medium for that sound. This album is best heard on vinyl. Dane Rupp [Guitar]: To me, a vinyl possesses a warm organic sound that you don’t get with digital music. The warm sound brings listeners inside the studio with us, and that is exactly what we wanted. Ormen Lange is meant to be experienced live, hence recording it live in the studio.

SPF: What was creating your vinyl and cover like. I see you made parts of it very DIY. Take me through that whole project. KR: Yes we did all of the vinyl art totally DIY. Brett [Rupp] is familiar with a lot of art/construction/ SPF: Explain what people can expect? craft projects so he was able to put together the proMike Thomas [Guitar]: Honestly, I think people cess to make it happen. We sourced blank black can expect a diverse album, especially if you get a vinyl jackets as our starting point. The process for copy of the vinyl, with the intro/outro and inter- the front cover was: print 100 Ormen Lange logos ludes between each track. Then, you are really see- on high quality photo paper, cut them out and glue ing the different sides of the band, which are each them dead center onto the jacket. For the back we 22 Sound, Phrase, & Fury • Mar/Apr 2013


created a few stencils with all the text, then stenciled it on with spray paint. We stuck to 3 colorssilver, green, and purple, and did a handful of different fades and blends to keep all them all different. We hand numbered the jackets and put them in protective clear sleeves. DR: Doing it ourselves was extremely rewarding. We’ve made an effort to have our hands on every single aspect of the band since we started. I’m talking about making our own flyers, seeking out promoters and venues that will support us, and obviously hand designing each and every one of our records. We were as independent as it comes, until recently joining a label. We are still independent, but now have a few more helping hands.

ognize that we’re all very different, and that’s our greatest strength. I don’t think we’ve ever desired a singer, and ever since we started we collectively felt like we could achieve the things we wanted by being instrumental. SPF: What’s your favourite thing about your music? MT: For me, I really like the idea of not having any limitations in the songwriting process. There is no verse or chorus in our songs, so we are free to really do whatever we want. If we find a groove or a part we like, then we’re able to play it as many times as we want, and build upon it or break it down however we see fit. Also, I really love playing it live. I love captivating an audience without the use of a vocalist. It’s rewarding when you can tell the whole room is on the same level as you without ever saying a word. DR: Being heavily influenced by improvisational playing, one of my favorite things about the music is that the other members have completely opposite styles. While Mike, Brett, and Kevin are locked into a tight rhythmic groove, I’m given the opportunity to improvise. It keeps the music fresh. At times we all get extremely heavy and rhythmic which pushes me out of my element, which I love. It gives me a challenge to play in a different, heavier style out of my comfort zone.

SPF: You guys are a really dark and heavy instrumental band. I can definitely imagine you playing in a sweaty college basement with everyone just hanging and jamming out. Can you describe your influences and inspiration? I mean, there aren’t very many bands out there doing instrumental rock anymore. Brett Rupp [Drums]: It’s funny that you say that. I think our second show ever was in a random college basement. It was very sweaty and very awesome. Even though we can be described as dark and heavy, I think it’s important to see that we have a gentler, pretty side to us as well. We try to keep our balance in check. Each of us are inspired and influenced by Black is available for digital download and on vinyl very different musicians, bands, and genres. Ormen Lange is a result of us coming together and at producing something that’s unique. We each rec-


“Ormen Lange is a result of us coming

together and producing something that’s unique. We each recognize that we’re all very different, and that’s our greatest strength.

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new ep from Pop-punk band, live the story Mar/Apr 2013

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proud mary PHOTOS BY Lauren Colton

Mary Lambert says she’s very good at crying. And for a girl who’s had more than her fair share of the world’s harsh shit thrown at her, it may not be a surprise. But aside from her supposed talent for bringing the tears, the Seattle-based musician also packs a beautiful voice, unmatched songwriting skills, and a remarkable strength to carry on. Through her music and now her book of poetry, 500 Tips For Fat Girls, she sets out to inspire others to never give up the fight for your right to be and love the person you really are.

SPF: Take me back to where it all began, how did you get involved in music in the first place? ML: My mother was a singer-songwriter. I was raised around these hilarious songs she would make up on the spot, songs about taking out the trash or driving the car. From very young, I immersed myself in music, mostly writing songs about my beanie babies, crushes, or being sad. I taught myself piano and guitar around age 8, and continued writing through my adulthood. I learned every instrument I could get my hands on from then on: violin, cello, electric bass, upright bass, marimba. Writing songs was always my first love though.

very limited. It took me a long time to read piano music, and I never knew how to write the chords of my songs down, because I didn’t know what they were! Growing up, my mom instilled in us that there was no other option apart from higher education, but my family also had no money. My brother and I both received massive scholarships for college, and I chose to have a fallback plan in case I never became a rock star. I had the most incredible middle school music teacher who used to sneak me Tori Amos and Nick Drake albums, and that really lit a fire for teaching for me. Rather than getting a music education degree at a University, I wanted to get the highest music education possible, receive my Bachelor’s of Music, and then go for my Master’s SPF: You’re a Cornish College of the Arts at a University in a teaching program. Post graduate. What was that whole experi- Cornish, I was so inspired by all of the talent that I felt it would be a disservice to myself if ence like for you? ML: Cornish was an amazing. I was always a I didn’t just try to make it as a performer. The solid songwriter, but I never knew what I was education I received was invaluable. playing on piano. My technical skills were 26 Sound, Phrase, & Fury • Mar/Apr 2013


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“When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we have the most beautiful opportunity to find human connection, to see humanity in it’s greatest light.”

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Q&A SPF: I want to talk about self-love and the fight for equality. I know it’s something that you and your music stand for, and that’s something that you don’t really see a lot of artists doing these days. What are some of the things you’ve seen, or personally experienced that drove you to become such an advocate for human rights? ML: I think writers are inspired to write from their own experience. My experience is that of a full-figured, white, lesbian that grew up hella poor. I will never know what it’s like to be any other demographic. Inequality is too polite a term for the shit that queer folks are experiencing. When I came out, I was determined to change minds about gayness. In as many conversations as possible, through activism, and more prevalent than ever, through my art.

songs super young, and I felt an affinity with her. Among a million other influences, spoken word was a shifting point in my creative process. Discovering slam poetry, and the beauty of spoken word, made me excited to explore the possibilities with lyricism.

SPF: Can you tell me more about your new book: 500 Tips For Fat Girls? I saw a few of your tips and you’re very open and brutally honest about the sad and sadistic world we live in, and the fight to be happy within it. ML: 500 Tips For Fat Girls is a collection of poetry that I’m simultaneously terrified and excited to release. It is not a self-help book, which is my own fault for titling it so deceptively. The title poem in the book is a directional piece that comments on misogyny, media pressures, and fat shaming in a very raw way; a sort of inner dialogue. The writing spans about 5 years of my work, covering manic depression, falling in love, heartbreak, rape, and of course, body image issues. All of my writing is frighteningly vulnerable.

SPF: What do you have planned for the rest of the year? ML: A music video! Maybe 2! I’m really excited to get started on a full-length album, do a national tour, and hopefully get my book published to have full distribution. I also really need to spend time with my lady! Touring is hard on a relationship.

SPF: Is there anything in particular you hope people will take from listening to your music or reading your poetry? ML: My whole journey as an artist, has brought me to a place where I believe in the power of vulnerability. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we have the most beautiful opportunity to find human connection, to see humanity in it’s greatest light. Even in self-reflection, or stories of my own darkness, there is the possibility to connect to others.

SPF: Anything you’d like to say to your current and soon-to-be fans? ML: Thank you for your endless support. For every album, book, or iTunes track sold, I am able to continue doing what I love. Above all else, thank you for sharing your stories with me; For your vulnerability, for your willingness to love your own body, and for your strength.


SPF: Can you describe some of your musical and creative influences and inspiration? Catch Mary Lambert at SXSW in Austin this ML: Jewel’s Spirit album was the first album I ever month. Grab music and a copy of 500 Tips For Fat bought. She grew up poor, like me, and was writing Girls at

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PHOTOS BY Suzi Ovens

Catchy, addicting, fresh and new. Indie-pop group Sykes, talks the UK scene, their latest EP, Out Of Your Hands, and why they may be London’s next great musical export.

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Q&A SPF: You guys have been at this for a few years now, and have already done some pretty cool gigs. What have been some of the highlights you’d experienced as a band? Kris Taylor [Bass/Guitar]: My personal highlight was definitely the gig we did at the Natural History Museum in London. They opened the whole museum up late and put on a party. Terrible on-stage acoustics but not many people get the chance to play in front of fossilized dinosaurs! I will definitely be telling my grand kids about how I rocked a bass solo in front of the giant statue of Darwin.

SPF: Explain what people can expect from the 3-song EP? Kris: I guess you can describe it as upbeat indie/ pop/soul with some pretty handy acoustic guitar work. People who have listened or reviewed it so far have found it refreshing to have female-fronted vocals in a indie-pop band. It’s quite a male dominated genre. We have been compared to Operator Please, Jubilants and Seeker Lover Keeper.

SPF: Is there anything in particular you hope people will take from listening to the record? Dre [Keys]: We would hope it would encourage SPF: Okay, so let’s talk, Out Of Your Hands EP. someone to get off the sofa and come to a gig! Even if it’s not ours. There are so many great nights being Where and how was it recorded? Julia Sykes [Vox/Guitar]: We recorded it in a small put on at the moment and artists always appreciate studio in South London operated by a producer a good audience. called Cameron Blackwood. He is great, as he can engineer, record, mix and produce all in one so we SPF: There’s an apparent difference between value him highly as an unsigned band strapped for your self-titled EP and Out of Your Hands. You went from a softer acoustic sound to a bigger cash! Will Brown [Drums]: It does however have down- more indie-pop/pop rock upbeat one. What brought on that change? sides as he is a very angry Scotsman... Kris: Yeah you get three takes to record your instru- Kris: Indeed. We had just started out when we mental parts, if you mess it up then it simply wont recorded the first EP, so we mostly just translated mine and Julia’s acoustic songs with softer percusmake it onto the record. sion and electric guitar work. We recorded it using analogue recording techniques and direct onto tape

“not many people get the chance to play in front of fossilized dinosaurs!” 32 Sound, Phrase, & Fury • Mar/Apr 2013


“There are so many great nights being put on and artists always appreciate a good audience.”

so there is less studio trickery and more of a warm live acoustic sound. I guess that’s what we wanted at the time as we were mostly playing acoustic shows. Julia: We write and make decisions together a lot more now so there is more input when taking a song we are working on and adding more instrumental layers and cementing a groove with Will’s drums. SPF: You just released your video for your single, “Out Of Your Hands.” I love the concept! Tell me all about creating that video. Who thought of the idea behind it? Julia: It was a group effort with the band and a few mates helping out along the way! We came up with the idea on a Friday and then shot it the whole weekend! We don’t take ourselves too seriously so we wanted a video that reflected that without getting too cheesy. The concept is that we chase a guy around London until he gives in and buys our record.. and then we leave him alone! Will: We shot for two days solid right through the night! I’m not in some of the shots as sometimes I was cameraman or operating the dolly! Kris: We literally filmed everywhere in London! For our next video we are going to pick a much simpler storyline, something where we stay warm and in one room!

Julia: It was really hard work, but we think it paid off. We’re really grateful to our friends for helping out, couldn’t have done it without them! SPF: You guys are based in London, a city that’s world famous for pumping out talented musicians especially in the rock and pop world. What’s it like being in the midst of that, especially as an independent artist? Will: It’s been incredible to play alongside some really great local artists and bands over the last year and see them rapidly develop into professional musicians who are getting decent exposure for their music. The scene is really good at the moment especially as UK artists like Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard and Lucy Rose having laid strong foundations for grass roots emerging singer-songwriters. We would love to follow in their footsteps.


Grab a digital copy of Out Of Your Hands on iTunes, Bandcamp and Spotify. Join the Sykes mailing list to get free exclusive downloads at

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Sean Huber of folk-punk outfit, Steady Hands, lets us in on the details behind his latest EP, The Libertines. 34 Sound, Phrase, & Fury • Mar/Apr 2013

Sound Spotlight

i swear like a sailor

This song was the inspiration for the rest of the album. When you spend a lot of time away from home,

whether on tour, traveling, or avoiding it like the plague, sometimes waking up in the same bed everyday can feel utterly debilitating. But the reality of it is, always moving further from home is just a way to ignore your problems. Nevertheless, you let it ruin relationships just because they may represent that stagnancy of not moving forward. I wrote this at the beginning of the summer and jokingly put in a few lines about predictions of what I knew I was going to do in the future, and it all did happen, so I guess I know myself pretty damn well at this point.


Since high school my father has been an incredible runner. I never had much interest in running until I

moved to Philadelphia and it became a serious hobby for me. Since my father went to school in Philly as well, I know about all of his old running routes and usually use them, knowing that 30 years ago my dad was running on the same streets that I am now. Him and I have never really had much interests in common (he only drinks light beer), so its pretty cool that we run together now. I did finally beat him, but I had his bad back and heart condition in my favor. I write a lot of my songs when I’m running around the art museum.

the libertines

The Libertines is the section of Dublin that I lived in two summers ago. I miss the hell out of that place and

this song is just kind of my ode to it. A lot of the lyrics come from stories of me and my friends drunkenly running around different cities of Ireland on our way back from the pubs. Ireland has become such a big part of my life, but until I can go back I just like to sit and think about it. It took us awhile to figure out how we wanted the rhythm of this song to be, but I'm so happy with how it came out. I almost threw up while doing the vocals, too.

song for rosemary

This is my favorite song to play live. I wrote it one night when I was alone in my house while all my roommates were away on tour for a few weeks. It started with a simple chord progression and many beers later it was done. Rosemary is my Irish grandmother whose family is originally from and partially resides in County Roscommon. When I was out there my father visited and we went to the family graveyard together. During my time spent in Ireland, I had so many ridiculous experiences and met so many amazing people. So this song is for them.


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Sound, Phrase & Fury 1.2  

Volume 1, Issue 2 Interviews with Maryland pop punkers, A Place In Time, Chicago's instrumental rock group, Ormen Lange, the UK's, Elissa F...

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