ISSUE #4 // SEPTEMBER 2015
3 Coeur de Pirate 13 SOAK 21 The Maccabees 23 Marika Hackman 35 Rationale 43 Circa Waves 51 Melanie Martinez
ONES TO WATCH
31 LANY 31 Girl Friend 32 Priest 32 Trash 33 MUNA 34 Mieke
5 Finding the Lost Highway 9 My Favorite Band is Big...Now What? 15 The Record Store Experience 17 Does Digital Kill Anticipation? 27 Queuing for the Cue 29 How to Make Friends at Shows 47 To Whom It May Concern 49 The Radical Reads... 53 Crushinâ€™ on You Playlist
FOUNDER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF April Salud
T P SE 15 20
LAYOUT Robert Jackson April Salud CONTRIBUTORS Katie Collins Holland Farkas Heather Mason Paris Masoudi Roberta Radzvilaviciute Allegra Rosenberg Rochelle Shipman PHOTOGRAPHER Joyce Jude Lee
Putting together the artist and features list for each issue is no small task. First, you have to pick a theme. It has to be vague but streamlined, definitive but up to interpretation. Then you have to sift through the releases of the next few months. Who and what will be relevant? Are they coming into town? Will we just have to do a phoner or settle for an email interview? I didn’t realize exactly how meta this issue’s theme would be. ANTICIPATION is something we have to do for every issue not only because we’re trying to be the ahead of the curve but we’re also trying to be a part of the conversation that’s currently happening. We have to look forward and look back simultaneously. Every issue starts off with a dream artist list. The initial outreach begins and then a lot of waiting happens. A lot of waiting. Pitches are ignored, schedules are being worked out, emails are being forgotten. No matter how much planning you put into one of these things, it never turns out the way you thought it would. And that’s kind of the beauty of it all. Each time, I’m stressed out and question why I put myself through it voluntarily. Hopes are set high, rejection is always expected but the end results never disappoint. You can’t predict what will happen, no matter how hard you try. And that’s ok because what you end up with is even better than you could ever anticipated. APRIL SALUD EDITOR
THE RADICAL, ONLY THE FUNDEMENTALS @THERADICALZINE @APRILSALUD
here are moments where we essentially feel like we’re starting over. With those moments, there are two polarizing emotions that come into effect: fear and excitement. For Beatrice Martin, also known as Coeur de Pirate, the decision to record in English for the first time felt like a rejuvenation of her already stellar career. A huge success and star in Quebec and France, Martin is mostly known for her ethereal and dreamy French songs but wanted to conquer the rest of the world with her next offering. "When the subject of a third album came out, my manager asked me what I wanted to do,” she explained to me. "I had just come off a pregnancy and had this collection of songs that I had beed writing since my daughter was born that dealt with subjects I hadn’t touched on previous albums. It would be a shame not to release them.” Being from the States, I was only made aware of Coeur de Pirate through a typical PR pitch email. I was immediately captivated by her look and the correlation between her music and the subtle quiver of vulnerability in her voice. Despite not understanding what she was singing, the intent of it all was loud and clear and made me yearn for more. When I met her for coffee in Santa Monica, I saw her say goodbye to her daughter and husband before entering the cafe. She greeted me with a smile and had this intensely warm vibe about her. She radiated passion and intelligence about the world around her, something that comes through her music. The “new” Coeur de Pirate is a bit edgier than her French roots, taking cues from the best trends in the industry right now. It has a happier more adult vision of the world than her previous work. There’s a maturity that she breathes throughout still with that incredibly airy vocal atop the layered arrangements. Roses is a marking point for Martin. It’s the point where she starts taking control of her life and demanding more from it. "People aren’t nostalgic anymore,” she observed. "We’re too fast paced and too busy swiping left and swiping right. All we want to do is forget and move onto the next thing. I have to fight for the love and happiness I have. I can’t sulk in it anymore. I have to keep going. I’m a better writer now. To realize that you’re happy, you have to go through all these stages of understanding.” With the release of Roses, Coeur de Pirate’s new mission is to be open to as many new audiences as possible. Not many artists get the opportunity to essentially start over like Martin has and she’s ready to take it on. "Once you’re done recording an album until you release it, it’s all just waiting. There’s a lot of pain and stress because you built up so much into it and people keep telling you it’s going to be but you’re not really sure. It’s almost like having a baby. You’re waiting for something to be over with and it can getting really annoying but once it’s out there, it’s the most beautiful thing and in many ways, it’s not yours anymore."
Follow Coeur De Pirate: twitter.com/beatricepirate facebook.com/ coeurdepirate.officiel coeurdepirate.com
Coeur de Pirate
WORDS BY APRIL SALUD // PHOTO: INTERSCOPE RECORDS
E H T ING
D N I F
FA R K A
wenty-two seems a little late to be going through my teen angst phase, so I’ve just accepted that I’ve entered a general stage of angst and deep-rooted apathy for those around me. Though, I guess I’m not truly apathetic, because when it comes to film, television, music, or art in general I devote my entire being to it. I’m sure this seems over the top -- very tortured artist and very film school -- but I go through a range of emotions just listening to the soundtrack of one of my favorite films. The images are already locked away in a part of my mind that I probably should’ve used to remember the dates of wars I learned about in history class. Or the layout of the periodic table. Emotion pours out of me when it’s related to something fictional. As fucked up as it sounds, there have been deaths that I haven’t been able to process until I watched something similar happening on a movie screen in front of me. And all at once the tears were free flowing. A stereotypical asset of my self proclaimed darkness is my love for David Lynch, film noir, and Marilyn Manson. I began liking the three separately. Manson was first. Back in middle school, I literally began listening to him because I wasn’t supposed to. Not that my parents cared, it was more society’s postColumbine ultra religious mindset that Manson made devil music - and boy did my Hot Topic clad self want to board that train. Film noir came next as my film buff parents introduced me to films like Double Indemnity and Strangers on a Train. I even hosted a noir night back in high school where my friends from digital video club and I ate junk food and watched The Maltese Falcon. My introduction to Lynch started a bit later. Though I remember my father constantly bringing up Eraserhead because he used it in the curriculum for one of his courses, it wasn’t until late high school when my parents rented Inland Empire from Netflix that I sat down and watched one of his films for the first time. My obsession with Twin Peaks began shortly thereafter. My love for film has always focused on the visuals. ’m usually unphased by plot holes until my second or third viewing, and even then I’ll forgive them if
the film is particularly nice looking. I mostly care about how a film makes me feel. And the soundtrack is an important aspect of that, because the images take on a certain meaning according to the music they’re paired with. I had never seen Lynch’s 1997 thriller Lost Highway until I began writing this piece. I recently found a copy in one of those gas station 7/11 $3 bins on my way back from Anaheim and was really excited about it. Despite never having seen the film, I’ve listened to chunks of the soundtrack. The overall feel of the soundtrack is very grunge. Something I can only imagine you’d hear while out at a club or bar during the 90’s. Something I missed out on. Judging by the film’s soundtrack, I anticipated it to be a very dark piece. I always expect this with Lynch, but particularly in this case. And after watching the film I found this to be true. Lost Highway is more dark than it is weird. Trust me, it’s still weird - but for some reason I found this particular Lynch film more disturbing than others I’ve seen. The very first song that plays in the film is David Bowie’s “I’m Deranged”. On first listen, it sounds like a song you’d put on a workout playlist. Loading it up onto your phone and plugging in your headphones makes you feel like a rogue spy. The morose, Morrissey-sounding vocals make you feel like you’re running away from someone, or more - something. Your problems. Your anxieties. You’re going somewhere but you don’t know where. You speed first person down a lost highway. Only headlights light your way down a pitch black path leading to nowhere. A scene revisited throughout the film, and cleverly bookended at the end of the piece as a reprise of “I’m Deranged” plays. The song echoes the thematic core of the piece: a man who is clearly unwell as he deals with the emotions of love, lust, anger, sadness, and guilt all at once. Some pieces in the film are more jazzy and reminiscent of elevator music. Songs that are boring and nondescript in their own sense, but compelling when used in conjunction with the images. Not too distracting, but more there to guide the viewer through
scenes that establish the story. Some are reminiscent of classic movie scores, like something you’d hear in film noir. Scores such as these remind me of romance and make me feel warm inside--a weird juxtaposition in the case of this film, because nothing about Lost Highway makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Some of the scores have a more synth-like and electronic sound to them. Again, very ‘90s, and sometimes almost X-Files sounding. Reminiscent of mystery. The odd and the unexplained. Additionally, there are a few Trent Reznor scores. These tracks are more industrial and mechanical sounding. The distortion reminds you of something gritty. “The Perfect Drug” by Nine Inch Nails is one of my favorites; it makes me think of action and racing. It reminds me of The Matrix. The compilation as a whole sounds like a playlist of 90’s remixes of songs popular in the 80’s - if that makes sense - but “Eye” by Smashing Pumpkins does so the most. It’s a song about addiction. In the film it takes on an unexpected romantic quality, as it plays during a scene where a couple is dancing intimately in a bowling alley. Upon closer listening, the lyrics are actually very melancholy, as is true of most of the songs on this soundtrack. “This Magic Moment” is the only exception. It’s twangy, upbeat - surprisingly upbeat for the rest of this soundtrack - but still a rock song at its core. It’s a love song, and while the rest of the songs on this compilation are also about love, this one focuses on the euphoria as opposed to the anguish. And though in the film it is used during Pete and Alice’s meet cute, I feel that it is used ironically, because nothing about their relationship is picturesque. There are two Marilyn Manson songs used in the piece and both are used in the context of Patricia Arquette’s character, Alice Wakefield. “Apple of Sodom” is used when Pete Dayton is trying to suppress his lust for Alice, and Manson’s cover of “I Put A Spell On You” is played during her striptease. Though Manson’s music is known for giving off anger and violence, more than anything it contains a raw sexuality. Not in a romantic way, of course, but in the crude, bestial sense. Granted, Manson is not for everyone - but you have to admit that there’s something completely visceral about his music. And lastly, we have Rammstein. It’s fitting that the most intense songs in the piece are saved for the film’s climax. In general, Rammstein is a bit too much for me, and something I don’t listen to unless I’m so upset that even blasting Manson through my headphones isn’t a panacea. Both tracks, “Rammstein” and “Heirate Mich,” leave me feeling generally unsettled, which helped put me in Pete’s mindset at the end of the film. The Lost Highway soundtrack is pretty straightforward in its use of song choice and the emotions it has set out to convey. Lynch always finds his way.
E BAND IS BIG
WORDS & DRAWINGS BY ALLEGRA ROSENBERG
t’s almost like magic, when it happens— a miraculous bolt from out of the blue that potentiates a musical artist all the way up the scale of unknown to buzz band to full-on stardom and success. It’s that intoxicating and forever mysterious formula of press, production, connection, and damn good music that artists keep chasing after trying to make it. Unlocking the magical formula is all good for the artists, who are probably dreaming of success from the beginning. But on the fan side, the emotions can be more complex. What happens when you’re a fan of a band during that tumultuous period of ascension? When you love a band, when you really love a band, it’s a feeling like no other. That perfect combination of amazing music plus wonderful people plus the ability to actually see them live and get involved in supporting them can lead to amazing experiences and relationships. And when you love a band before the rest of the world does, jumping on board long before they’ve released their first album or sign that major-label contract, the attachment is even stronger. If you’ve formed personal friendships with the band members or even just established yourself firmly and recognizably as an “OG fan,” a unique two-way loyalty comes into play that can be stretched and shaken by any changes in the equilibrium.
In my experience, watching a band blow up comes with the unfortunate side effect of developing a nasty case of split-personality syndrome. If you’ve been trying to convince the world to listen to this band for so long, when they finally do start to pick up on the utter amazingness of your faves, it can feel like a wonderful rush of relief. The universe makes sense! All is right in heaven and on earth! But then comes the whiplash, and the abrupt about-face— when a friend is trying to rep their newest release to you and you get snappy about how you’ve been a fan for years, or when you nearly go ballistic reading a dismissive, ironic takedown of their official debut from whatever indie blog has decided to pick a fight. “Nobody understaaaaands!” you’ll shriek. The blessing has curdled into a curse inside of you, and upon the visceral realization that you’ll never see your faves in a half-filled 200-capacity club or tiny free festival showcase again, you’ll feel a dark urge to take back everything you ever said about how you wished they would “get big.” But don’t give in to that compulsion, however selfishly you may wish to! It will only lead to tears and bitterness and bitter tears. Experiencing a band you love get big is a game of compromise and acceptance. It’s nearly impossible not to feel some measure of ownership over an emerging artist, especially if you’re a long-time supporter who is now watching newcomers hop casually on the bandwagon and stake claims to content and experiences that you’ve
long considered to be yours. These sudden intruders don’t know anything! They weren’t there for the EP release, for the first band drama, for the supporting tours and for that special moment when their Facebook page hit 10,000 likes. But your loyalty and love of the band might very well be blinding you to the true joy of this momentous occasion. If you can manage to welcome the growth and future of your beloved group with open arms, then you will be all the more emotionally prepared for everything that’s to come. And even when it’s not a matter of a totally wild fame explosion, simply sharing your special someones can be just as hard. There’s something inherently gear-grinding about casually introducing a group to a pal, only to see them a little while later going gung-ho for them without any credit to you. Maybe they become an even bigger fan than you ever were— an innocent act that, while understandable, can provoke a subtle, inexplicable rage. Thoughts might run through your head like, “Why even bother spreading the Good Word of this Good Band, if my pure and powerful love for them will just be unfairly subsumed by these total fakers who hadn’t even heard of them until I magnanimously opened their eyes?” Only zen breathing and a focus on general interpersonal harmony can rid you of this anger. Though it might feel like you deserve it at times, the concept of ownership over a musical act is nebulous and unrealistic. The second you regret
showing a friend that amazing song or fantastic music video is the dangerous moment that inches you just a little bit further towards becoming a shriveled crone on a street corner, ranting to nobody about how you heard them first, in a dive bar, on a park bench, in a dumpster, etc. Don’t let that be you! The initial impulse you had to share your adoration with your friend should be trusted, not turned back on. That quickening desire most likely came out of a yearning to know that it’s not just some fluke of nature that you fell in love with these songs, but that they’re actually really good (as proven by your friend’s inevitable positive reaction). We all know that “sharing is caring” when it comes to material goods, as taught in preschool, but it can be a valuable formula for art appreciation as well. If they do perhaps go on to display more enthusiasm and intensity for the band than you ever managed to, well, then that’s just the way the cookie crumbles— and it should be a reflection upon your own exquisite taste that the music you liked enough to spread around can engender this kind of obsession! With this kind of predictive reach, you should really go into A&R. So it’s all good. Share the love, share the music, and when they ink that record deal and sell out that venue, let the only things you feel be pride and amazement… and, okay, maybe just a tiny bit of wistfulness. You’re only human.
WORDS BY APRIL SALUD // PHOTO:JOSHUA HALLING
Follow SOAK: twitter.com/soakofficial facebook.com/Soak0fficial soakmusic.net
eople tend to associate adulthood with a sense of mourning. We must lay to rest all of our wild and carefree attitudes to make way for the practical and blasé lifestyle that is growing up. “A lot of people feel they have to sacrifice their dreams and aspiration to get jobs that’ll pay for basic essentials,” Bridie Monds-Watson, also known as musical prodigy SOAK, explained. “I don’t have to do that nor do I think I would ever be in that mindset to give up what I want to do,” she continued. It took me a second to realize I was getting taught a crucial life lesson from a teenager. But this isn’t no ordinary teenager. Performing since the age of sixteen and writing music way before then, SOAK has become one of the industry’s most captivating successes. The release of her first full-length album, the aptly titled Before We Forgot How to Dream, weaves together those pivotal instants of youth atop whimsical and airy folk melodies and intricately crafted lyrics. Monds-Watson’s own experiences is at the forefront, driving the message. The album almost acts as a cautionary tale from a child to an adult, reminding them of a time before the burdens of getting older got in the way. A time where they remember there were more important things in life than being fiscally responsible and financially stable. A time where being creative and having an imagination were the purpose of living. The special thing about Before We Forgot How to Dream is how it tells the story of adolescence while the narrator is still living it. The teenage angst, built up emotion, and melodramatic lens is deep and descriptive because it’s fresh. It’s not looking back with a distorted filter but rather it’s an examination and real time analysis of what it’s like to be a kid. What Monds-Watson has been encased by isn’t what a “normal” kid goes though and she’s well aware of it. “I feel like everything’s been slowly building up for the last three years. It’s been a pretty steady rise so I feel very confident and comfortable with the attention in general. It’s always scary.
Being this age and doing this job and having people witness how you grow up. It’s the normal teenage anxiety just on a bigger scale.” As I continue to talk with her, I’m putting together small pieces of her personality and envying every bit of it. She’s humble but confident. Mature but youthful. Strong but vulnerable. At nineteen, SOAK has figured out the secrets to life that some of us have only begun to scratch the surface of but yet, she’s still open to the idea of flexibility and is comfortable not having all the answers. There’s some hesitancy in where she’s going but zero question to who she is. “I think I’ve grown up quickly but not on purpose. You have to mature and grow or else how are you going work and be away from your friends and family without a system?” While Before We Forgot How to Dream gets older, so does SOAK. As she ages, she begins to drift away from the subject matter that so heavily influenced her debut album. After all, she can’t stay in this headspace forever. Eventually, she’ll become an adult and she’ll have to start reflecting back or look ahead. “Writing, for me, is about capturing those moments right when it’s happening. I never know what is going’s to be until I actually do it. I’m trying to move on and move forward from the album I’ve released. It was very in the moment and how I was feeling at that exact time. I never know what I’m going to do next. We’ll just I have to wait and see how it turns out.”
n this particular Saturday morning, I woke up with a mission: to take some time to buy some records. As I throw on jeans and a t-shirt I start to think about how the day might go. How will the records be organized at the store? Alphabetically? By genre? By vibe? Today, I’m going to three record stores and who knows what I’ll find there. Typical Tight Treasure Chest: Jacknife Records and Tapes As I walk up to the first store on a neighborhood street in Northeast Los Angeles’ Atwater Village, I peer inside and can see that it is pretty narrow as shelves line every inch of wall space. Good thing I’m not claustrophobic. I open the door and the little bell chimes, announcing my arrival to the other three people inside. There are records all over, stacked in crates and lining shelves. The last time I was here I finally found a copy of Paul Simon’s Graceland vinyl, one I’d always searched for in used bins. So the expectation of finding something else “new” was high. I completed my standard Paul Simon search and moved past the newer sealed albums displayed on the wall. Should I get Taylor Swift’s 1989 on vinyl? I went to pick it up and decided that I came to this store for something used and that’s what I’d search for on this trip. I moved back towards the shelves of used Pop/Rock and that’s when I saw it. Sitting right in front of one section was The Mamas and The Papas Golden Era, Volume 2. I typically hate buying volume two of something of which I didn’t have volume one but this seemed almost destined. I’d recently had several conversations in which The Mamas and The Papas were brought up and I knew it was a sign. As I moved to the counter with my purchase I felt that sense of excitement to take it home and listen. Clean and Carefully Curated: Vnyl My next stop was to a new shop I’d never been to before in Venice. I headed to the busy Abbot Kinney Boulevard and hesitantly searched the street for the store. Whoa, it looked like a beach house. That’s different. As I headed up the stairs off the street into the clean and relatively empty store, I couldn’t help but notice what a stark contrast to the frantically stacked vinyl of the previous store. Arranging the vinyls by “vibe” walls, it was easy to find something interesting yet undiscovered. Organized into bins like “cooking,” this experience was totally unexpected and delightful. I headed over to the record players set up on one side of the store to discover what was playing there. Each set of headphones I picked up brought new anticipation of what I would hear. I listened to 1989 as I’d wanted to in the last store and quickly made my way through each set of headphones, finally landing on one playing Torres. I picked up the record and immediately knew it would be mine when the first lyrics on the sheet were “Heather, I’m Sorry…” Again, it felt right. I paid for my new purchase and stopped to take a photo of the “Let’s Get Physical” sign on the way out. Tourist Trap: Amoeba Music As I made my way closer to home, I found myself at Amoeba Music, perhaps the most overwhelming record (and book, DVD, CD, tape, everything) store in existence. As I walked into the store and stared into the numbing amount of options, I thought about leaving. After all, in a store this large, no one would notice if I slinked away, through the elevator and back to my car. But there’s something about thumbing through the bins for an hour that’s oddly soothing. I slid up next to a group of reggae artists and began my journey. Would it be wrong to buy something based on album cover alone? There’s a saying about that, I think. I find myself drifting to old standbys without exploring as much as I should. I’ll credit that to a long day of careless musical wandering. By the time I think I’ve wandered enough, the light shining into the store is an orange glow and I head out of the store empty-handed. I’m a little sad that the journey is complete. That feeling of starting something new rushes out as I make the drive home. But suddenly I realize that the journey isn’t over. It’s just beginning. Once I get home I have two full albums to experience. Will I write to them? Cook to them? Put them on to set the mood for a dinner party? When you pick up something completely unfamiliar, the possibilities are endless.
the Record store experience
WORDS BY HEATHER MASON
hen Nsync dropped Celebrity in 2001, the anticipation in the weeks leading up to the release was palpable, despite the lack of teeny-bopper tweets. This was back before the age of the internet (but if we don’t have second-bysecond selfies and Snapchat, did it actually exist?), when record stores reopened at midnight so droves of fans could get their hands on the album at the absolute first second it was made available. Nearly fifteen years later, fans don’t have to leave the comfort of their couches to snag an album as soon as it’s released. They don’t even have to worry about the possibility of it selling out. Instead, they can preorder it weeks in advance and simply wait for the files to be delivered to their email. Sure, it’s a much straighter line from point A to point B, but does convenience kill the anticipation? In 2015, we’re trading hours camping out on a cold, hard sidewalk for 60 seconds of hitting the refresh button. Those 60 seconds can still build up excitement, but it never quite culminates in the same way as a physical release. Once the album is downloaded into your iTunes and you take a look around, you’re not surrounded by a throng of excited fans whose adrenaline levels match yours; you’re still sitting at your computer in your pajamas by yourself. There’s no question that our technological advances have muted the excitement of a physical release, but it’s not only because the releases aren’t always, well, physical. No, the amount of social platforms at our fingertips has invited an overabundance of information related to any and every movement an artist makes these days. Our culture has become content-hungry and over sharing is the new black. The constant need to create hype has artists publishing as much possible content early, including track lists, multiple singles and videos (and if you’re Rihanna, trailers for those music videos), and in some cases, advance album streams. By the time the album is properly released, often all the best parts are old news and you’re left clawing at the threads of the oddball tracks. In such a digitally attentive and immediate culture, the only way to stand out is to be invisible. Frank Ocean has been testing this theory for about three years now, and due in part to that, it’s safe to say his follow-up album to 2012’s Channel Orange is one
of the most highly anticipated albums of all time. He’s been nothing but elusive, dropping off almost all social media platforms and performing at (and canceling 48 hours before) obscure festivals, getting booted from Brian Wilson’s upcoming album and allegedly parting ways with Odd Future. He’s kept quiet on his new album details, which he sparsely discussed as early as 2013, alluding to a release only in April of this year with a simple Tumblr post and a #JULY2015 hashtag. Frank Ocean is the reason I jumped out of bed every day in July, eagerly thinking, It’s here! Today is the day! Frank Ocean is why I sat in my kitchen at 11:59 PM on July 31st, obsessively refreshing his Tumblr page for any sign of that promised album. Of course Frank garnered so much attention strictly because of his pure panty-dropping talent, but by giving the world barely a glimpse into his happenings, he’s only invited more watchful eyes. And when August 1st rolled around and Boys Don’t Cry didn’t drop (is that even the album title? Ugh, Frank), most of those eyes cried; some, in fact, being boys. And then again on August 2nd, and August 3rd, and so on... We’ve created a catch-22 society in which the anticipation weighs heavier than ever. If an artist hypes their release as much as possible, oversaturation burns through the anticipation and we easily lose interest. When an artist drops off the radar and gives us nothing more than a potential release date and doesn’t come through “as promised,” we get angry as if we were owed something. Artists are forced to walk a thin line between giving us all or nothing and no matter which path they choose, the chances of setting themselves up for failure outweigh the chances of pure, unfiltered success. So far, the most efficient method of sticking it to the man in terms of the traditional album release and the convoluted marketing that comes with the millennial age has been spearheaded by—who else?— Beyoncé. Queen Bey added an entire verb usage to her name in December 2013 when she dropped a surprise album on the world—something that hadn’t yet been done nearly to this caliber. The world shook not only because one of its most high-profile superstars was able to keep such a massive secret, but also because such a release was literally impossible
Does Digital Kill Anticipation? WORDS BY ROCHELLE SHIPMAN // PHOTOS: PURPLE PR
in the past. The digital format allows for this; something that couldn’t be done previously when record stores were required to purchase music ahead of time. Formats aside, Beyoncé also took advantage of the most sensible free marketing tool available today—the internet. If Destiny’s Child had surprise-released Survivor, a few people would have posted about it on their Xanga pages, MTV News would have done an interview with the trio, and it would have taken the world a few weeks to catch on. In 2013, BuzzFeed tweeted about it the second it dropped and adults all over the world went into work bleary-eyed the next morning after spending the night obsessively watching all fourteen music videos. By turning her release into a headline, Beyoncé commandeered a curiosity in what otherwise would have been casual listeners. Beyoncé set a new standard by saying, “Fuck the anticipation period”. In a world where we thrive on instant gratification, she handed it over on a silver platter. She opened up the opportunity to turn new releases into sensational stories, garnering even more attention than a standard, predetermined date. In 2015 alone, Chance the Rapper’s new project Donnie Trump and the Social Experiment, veteran rockers Wilco, and wild child Miley Cyrus have all Beyoncéd their new albums—for free. Today, we can hardly duck fast enough to avoid being hit by the constant stream of content being spewed our way. Whether it’s unexpected anticipation or a never-ending build-up a la Frank Ocean, it’s clear the traditional anticipation of album releases ain’t what it used to be—and just doesn’t quite do it anymore.
the maccabees nothing left to prove WORDS BY APRIL SALUD // PHOTO: DAN HUGHES
Follow The Maccabees: twitter.com/themaccabees facebook.com/TheMaccabeesOfficial themaccabees.co.uk/
long,” explained White. “I don’t think we understood the gravity of the situation and without any hesitation, decided to do everything ourselves and immediately go back into the studio. We went straight in without any concept and it took us nearly a year to find something that we really liked and worked cohesively with each other. It didn’t come naturally. When it comes to that point, you kind of have to force restrictions on it to make it right. If the record doesn’t work in this room as a band without any tricks or layering, then it won’t work at all. Once we landed on that philosophy is when everything started to click.” There have been tons of articles relating back to the Faraday memorial that sits in the middle of The Elephant in South London (and the cover of Marks to Prove It). The memorial has almost become a mascot, representing what the album means and ultimately what they stand for as a band. The Maccabees have never had a massive hit song that has led them to critical and commercial success. What they have gained over the past decade is a discography of impressive songwriting and a dedicated fanbase all across the world. They’re unassuming, almost looked over by the mainstream, but with the proper showcase, what is it revealed is something wonderfully brilliant.
friend of mine said that we were like someone who failed their driving test three times but passed on the fourth attempt,” Felix White recounted over the phone. “Which is good because apparently those people turn out to be better drivers.”
Marks to Prove It is the accumulation of The Maccabees’ identity as a band. “Everything is coming together and we finally figured out what The Maccabees actually sounds like,” White admitted. “I love those bands that have been around for such a long while that there’s almost an undeniable quality about them than exceeds any squabble or petty arguments the industry likes to toss in. No matter what, that sound is that band and I’m kind of excited that’s what The Maccabees are becoming.”
While Marks to Prove It had a rough beginning, the concept that clicked in the minds of Orlando Weeks, Hugo I embarrassingly admit to him that I actually White, Rupert Jarvis, Sam Doyle, and White is unwavering. did fail my driver’s test three times only to A no frills record, Marks to Prove It is still able to capture receive my license on the fourth try. “See!” he that raw sound of being an honest to good rock band laughs. “You’re as good of a driver as we are a with complex layers and anthemic sounds to properly band.” To essentially be labeled as the human jam to. The ending result is solid and the most complete equivalent of The Maccabees by a member of an album could be including a killer lead single and trueThe Maccabees might be the greatest indirect to-themselves artistry with just a hint of experimentation compliment I’ve ever received. It’s definitely for flavor. The album urges the listener to “prove” evegoing in my Twitter bio. rything. In the age of Instagram culture, The Maccabees have made themselves relevant in their call to action. They This year marks the return of The Maccabees want things that last. They want longevity. Most of all, they with Marks to Prove It, the follow up to 2012’s want concrete evidence of it. We’ve been wanting to know Given to the Wild. “We had been touring nonstop through 2012 and 2013 and it’s a bit disori- exactly who The Maccabees are. After all this time, we’ve entating coming home after being away for so found it…and so have they.
MARIKA HACKMAN’S FIRST TIME THE GIRL WITH THE MESSY HAIR AND HAUNTING VOICE GIVES US A PEEK INTO HER FIRST EXPERIENCES THAT SHAPED HER INTO THE INDIE SENSATION SHE’S BECOME. WORDS & INTERVIEW BY APRIL SALUD // PHOTOS: JOYCE JUDE LEE
arika Hackman has made herself known as the girl with the dark side in the folk indie world since the release of debut album, We Slept At Last. Her voice, that is soft and sometimes stifled, is overlaid on top of lyrics full of gravity. Despite the deep cutting lyrics, Hackman leaves the door open for a bit brightness letting the melodies shine through with the appropriate amount of optimism. With her unique brand of abstract folk rock that is magically lost in a sea of tangled hair and a special kind of weird, Hackman brought forth a lot of firsts to a new generation that seems to be distracted by the shallowness and indirectness weâ€™ve grown accustomed to. We sat down with her to learn about her first experiences that helped her become the artist that weâ€™ve been exposed to.
FIRST ALBUM THAT AFFECTED YOU Years of Meteors by Laura Veirs was the first album I really listened to on my own and not because my parents were listening to it. It was also the first album I listened to over and over again. FIRST SONG YOU EVER WROTE I’ve been writing for so long that the first songs I ever written were probably when I was six or seven but I don’t really remember what they were about. The first song I ever wrote and performed I actually wrote on a bass. It was a really weird trippy song about a confectionery for some reason. FIRST PERFORMANCE It was absolutely terrifying. I never performed in front of anyone before, not even my parents. I was very private about it. It was at school when I was about fourteen and I went up and my knees actually gave way. But I started to enjoy it afterwards… obviously or else I wouldn’t be here. There was something thrilling about it. FIRST REALIZATION THAT YOU WERE DIFFERENT My friends always called me “weird” and found it quite funny. People would just tell me that all the time and I learned to embrace it. I don’t think I’m particularly weird but I guess we’re all a bit strange. My sense of humor for a child was quite strange, which is kind of abstract. I thought was hilarious but everyone else thought I was odd.
FIRST ALBUM YOU RELEASED It’s been a brilliant experience. When you finally release something like this, you get this sense of pride and satisfaction. To have a debut album out in the world always holds some sort of weight to it. But it’s all been really exciting and now I just want to have a go at it again and make another one. FIRST DRAMATIC EXPERIENCE I’ve been really lucky because I’ve been able to avoid horrible drama. I had really long phases of melancholy as a child but I feel like that’s just a part of growing up. I haven’t had huge events that I think formed and shaped me as a person but instead it was coming to terms with the shit that’s going on in your head. YOUR NEXT FIRST EXPERIENCES I’m looking forward to getting back into the studio and making a second record. I’m excited to make my first second record? I feel like that’s almost harder and I can’t wait for that challenge to make something new and not recreate what I’ve already done.
Follow Marika Hackman: twitter.com/MarikaHackman facebook.com/MarikaHackman marikahackman.com
QUEUING FOR THE CUE
WORDS BY KATIE COLLINS
text from my friend Bethany came through: “bought the tickets!!” And with that, it was official. We were going to see Magic Man in Boston, MA but had to wait two months for the actual show. Two months is a long time, especially in the world of instant everything. The time between when you purchase a ticket and actually get to see a show is the worst. You’re thinking about what songs they’ll play from your favorite albums and if they’ll play that obscure song from that one EP years ago. Or if you’re a new fan you’re just hoping they play your three favorite songs so you can sing along and feel involved. You start to plan the events around the show: where are we going to get dinner? How early should we go stand in line? Do we care to be right up against the stage? Is there a best place to stand in this venue? Then show day comes. I was anticipating having a good time and really hoping I wasn’t going to have a bad time for some reason, but you always run that risk going to see a band that you haven’t known for long. This was a band the people around me loved and I felt like I was being let in on some kind of secret love affair by being able to go. I hold the musical suggestions from the two that introduced me to this band in high regard, so if I didn’t like the experience, I didn’t want to feel like I was letting them down by not wanting to be in this secret club anymore. So what’s the first thing you do at a show? Wait in line. We got there a little bit early because we didn’t want to be too far away from the stage. We got to talking with the people around us and they were trading their favorite Magic Man stories and talking about how they’ve met the band before, you know, typical line-chatter. But then I looked up and got really confused...there was Alex Caplow, the lead singer. My brain didn’t understand...someone coming out to meet fans before the show? But there he was, being super friendly and walking down the line signing tickets and taking pictures. It was cool getting to interact with an artist before the adrenaline (and sweat) of being on stage. We chatted for a couple minutes and took a selfie where both of us were pumped to be the same height so neither had to crouch for a good photo op. Alex said he hoped that we had a good show and I thought “shouldn’t I be saying that to you?”
But now I was nervous and I got this anxious feeling as he was walking away. He wasn’t what I had pictured, not in a bad way, but he was quieter and more reserved than I was expecting and now I started thinking in my head: is this show really going to be as high energy as I think it will be? Have the stories of shows that I had heard just been intense fan accounts and I was going to be let down? And I still had to wait through the rest of this line and the openers. Cue the smoke. Cue the lights. Cue Alex Caplow coming out as a completely different human being. Cue Sam Lee immediately rocking out. Cue the rest of the band having these smiles on their faces as they saw the crowd’s reactions to their mere presence. Cue me having an emotional breakdown. It ended up being my favorite show of 2015. The band, the crowd, the venue, it all meshed together for some weird symbiotic relationship that made it an experience like no other and not just another show. The songs sounded as beautiful on stage as they did coming through my headphones on a daily basis. The energy from Alex was unparalleled and took me off guard. How the reserved and uber polite guy that was out talking to people in line turned into this performer with an intense presence and dance moves to match blew my mind. The show exceeded my expectations and I was impressed beyond belief but the consistency of who they were the most. I had built it up in my mind to be some life changing experience, and I had done that before for a few shows and been sorely disappointed. It’s a risk you take every time you’re willing to step out of your Spotify infested life and see and hear music live. It can be a horrible experience, an everyday occurrence, or emotionally destabilizing. With each show there’s a new kind of anticipation and excitement, nervousness and thrill, that all turn into memories as you leave and nostalgia as you look back. Here’s to hoping that I never get jaded by live music and that each time I still get a knot in my stomach in anticipation of what’s to come when the stage lights up and the music starts.
WORDS BY ALEGRA ROSENBERG
oncerts are magical moments in time when a group of strangers come together to experience the same thing. The great thing about a concert, especially small club shows, is that everyone there has paid good money, gotten off their butts, and traveled at least some distance to be there out of pure love of the music. There might be people standing there who’ve loved the artist for years or who’ve just heard them for the first time yesterday, but nobody is going to exert any judgement. A concert venue is a safe haven of collective experience; an exemplary demonstration of the positive things that can come out of a bunch of people being in the same place together. If you’re living the kind of high-pressure, high-stress life that so many young people are these days, a concert is an ideal chance to breathe and let go. You shouldn’t let fear of going alone stop you from seeing an
artist you love or a band you’ve always been curious about. When I began regularly going to shows alone, out of the two-punch combo of a deep and insatiable hunger for live music and a lack of any chill indie friends who shared my (admittedly unusual) taste in music, my enjoyment of the performances was sorely inhibited by my profound anxiety about being there all by myself. I, a girl who usually can be found humble-bragging about my self-sufficiency and lack of need for regular social interaction, would find myself desperate to talk, to schmooze, to share in the night’s experience with someone...anyone. Over time, through experience and conversations with people who have gone through similar ordeals, I began picking up tips and tricks about how to turn what could be a psychologically disastrous night into a night to remember.
Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely— so here’s a sampling of some of my tried-and-true strategies for solo show-going.
1. Chill out. I know some real original advice here but if you manage to enter the room with a clear and open mind and zero expectations, you’ll be vastly more prepared than most of your fellow lone concert-goers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with standing in the crowd, appreciating the music and the artistry that surrounds it and then leaving the venue without having said a word to anyone. If you can anticipate and accept that as a possible and completely valid outcome and see the positives in simply having experienced a wonderful and creatively productive night of art and culture, then not only will you have a better time if that’s what actually happens, but you will also be pleasantly surprised if you end up having some sort of amazing interaction.
2. Get off your phone, yo! It’s incredibly tempting to retreat to your friendly neighborhood device in awkward social situations, and I have definitely been guilty on multiple occasions of endlessly scrolling through Twitter or Instagram in lieu of actually looking up and paying attention to what was happening around me while at a show alone. But even if you’re not talking to anyone, concerts are the perfect peoplewatching experience! Check out your surroundings for interesting personalities and amuse yourself by imagining the relationships between strangers— either as an entertaining activity in and of itself or as a prelude to striking up a conversation. Maybe someone is wearing a t-shirt of a band you love (an ideal talking point), or maybe that girl is wearing the CUTEST shoes and you just NEED to go over and ask her where she got them. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll spot the Lonely Concert Goer’s Holy Grail— someone you know. But you’ll never
see any of those things if you don’t put your damn phone away for a hot second, I promise!
3. Say something ...anything! This is the hard part but it’s the part that has the most potential for a Good Time. Making that first move to strike up a conversation is possibly one of the scariest things you could ever do, and this includes traumatic events like getting surgery, telling your parents you failed a class, and rappelling down a rock-climbing wall for the first time. But it also has the potential to be the most worthwhile and gratifying part of going to shows alone. So this is how I do it— and disclaimer, this is certainly not the only way to do it, but it’s the way that’s worked its magic on multiple occasions and gained me many a wonderful concert friend. First, I find my mark. I spot a person in the crowd who has that special two-punch factor: they look like someone I’d get along with and there’s something about them or the current situation that I can spin into a conversation starter. Second, I approach, and drop my first line. “Who are you here to see?” is usually a good one as is “Do you know what time [band] goes on” or, as mentioned above, the the time-honored “I love your [article of clothing]!” Once you get talking, you are more likely than not going to discover you have things in common...I mean you are at the same show for a reason. I’ve met some really cool people at shows I went to alone. Some I merely had fun chatting with for the duration of the evening and never saw again, but some I immediately exchanged numbers with, friended on Facebook, and ended up seeing at shows again and again! There is no wrong way to do it. Whether you’re standing, respectfully and silently, appreciating the music, or befriending an entire friend group standing next to you and going out drinking with them afterwards. As long as you keep your head up and your expectations healthy, you’ll have an amazing time.
ONES TO LANY
Who: Paul Klein, Les Priest, Jake Goss Where: Los Angeles, CA For fans of: The 1975, Fickle Friends, Honne
Who: TBD Where: Manchester, England For fans of: Sundara Karma, Prides, Little Boots
If you had only had one chance to play one song to change the world for the better, which song would you pick and why? I don’t think you can change the world with one song.
What obscure instrument do you wish people would add more to their lineup? The Sitar. Amory is really into his Indian Raga recently.
What would your slogan for your band be if you had to come up with one? From an apartment to an arena. If you had to add a celebrity to you band, who would you pick? Jimmy Fallon. What’s the best thing to listen to on the road? I guess the best thing to listen to on the road is stuff you’ve never listened to. We’re sitting in a van for so many hours. It’s a good opportunity to go thru all the stuff that’s currently being released. How would you like to be remembered? Someone who went 100% no matter what. We just wanna work really hard and be the absolute best we can be.
Favorite Instagram filter? Valencia. Adds a subtle warmth to our cold exteriors. If you had to create your own genre of music, what would be called? International Cosmopolitan Art Pop - we’re already pioneering this! How do you think you’ve evolved since starting Girl Friend? We feel as if every song we release surpasses the previous one and are continuing to progress as songwriters. What is your ultimate goal? World pop domination.
O WATCH PRIEST
Who: Madeline Priest, David Kazyk Where: Orlando. FL For fans of: CHVRCHES, Jude, Oh Wonder If you could rescore any film or TV show which would it be? I love a good soundtrack like Pulp Fiction or Guardians of the Galaxy. Although I greatly respect John Williams, I think it’d be fun to put a twist on Star Wars since it’s one of my all time favorite movies (the original trilogy, obviously). What is the most essential thing you own that isn’t really essential? My ten thousand pairs of Vans. What is your life motto? “Do or do not, there is no try”- Yoda What other industry would you like to tackle besides music? Comedy, I like to think I’m hilarious. Fill in the blank: I write songs because __________ Music keeps me somewhat sane.
Who: Daniel Longmore, Tom Barton, Evan Martin, Bradley Weston Where: Chesterfield, England For fans of: Mac Demarco, Happyness, Diiv
What piece of music defines you? R Kelly - Ignition (Remix). It’s naughty, and chill, and romantic. There’s references to food and cars also. 3/4 of us can drive now, and 4/4 of us can eat so it seems very relevant. What makes you nervous? Not knowing if I’m gonna fire blanks or not when I’m with a girl. Who is the most important person in your life? My mum. If you band was a type of dog, what type of dog would it be? Probably a Bichon Frise because it’s what dog Tom’s got and she’s really sound. Still poos in the hallway now and again but don’t we all. Who is your one to watch artist? Trudy
Who: Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, Naomi Mcpherson Where: Los Angeles, CA For fans of: Haim, Shura, IYES Describe your earliest musical memory: Katie: Starting a band with my neighbor Mary. It was called Music To My Ears. Our first single was also called Music To My Ears. We were probably six or seven years old. Josette: My mom telling me that you just don’t tune the guitar, you press down on the frets to make music. Naomi: I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 but my earliest memory is probably hearing the Peanuts Theme Song “Linus & Lucy” played on the piano by my grandmother/piano teacher. Pick 5 people (living or dead) to join your ultimate squad: Besides ourselves: Joni Mitchell, Patrice Rushen (s/o 2 her, she rules), Prince, Skepta, & Jeff Buckley (RIP). #RandomSquad for sure. What is your favorite internet meme? Josette: The Shaq vs. Cat Wiggle Wiggle video. Is that a meme? Katie: Similarly, I like the one where the guy is pole dancing with a clarinet to “Wiggle.” Naomi: The video where Rick Ross says “shout out to all the pear.” Who would be in your dream festival line up? Everyone we listed in our dream squad + a giant pool w/ a waterslide and a bunch of free snacks and hopefully under a shaded tent so its not too hot. Loud but not too loud. We’ll call it “Top 8” because it’d be us and the 5 other people in our squad and no one else. Where would you like to be in 3 years? Just alive and still on earth and playing music for people who aren’t our moms would be good enough for us! Maybe in a pool w/ some bottomless mimosas. Can you tell it’s really hot here in LA?
Who: Elissa Mielke Where: Toronto For fans of: London Grammar, Lana Del Rey, Jessie Ware
What’s been your biggest challenge so far? A big challenge has been training myself to trust my intuition, musically and professionally. I really tend to overthink things and am a perfectionist, so I’m constantly training myself to let go- to allow imperfection and rawness. The most beautiful things have rough edges and I am learning to love that in myself. What is you biggest non-musical influence? Ohh so many things! One of my favourite things is a giant Cy Twombly painting at the Tate Modern in Britain. It’s a big white room with nothing in it but these huge house-sized scrawling brilliant red furious circles all over the walls. When I first saw that painting it changed my life. It made me cry and wake up to what I was feeling in a very vivid way. Whenever I’m there I go back to it. It reminds me that art and music are inexplainable- what if Twombly had been like “Oh this is weird, why am I painting red circles? Probably should think this through more”? That painting always reminds me to write honestly and not to overanalyze musical choices, but to trust their magic. Who would be your mascot to represent your music? Whoever Bob Dylan sings about in “She Belongs To Me.” That woman is a force. What’s one song you never get tired of hearing? Honestly? “Fast Car” by Tracey Chapman. It has everything a timeless song needs and I always feel it. Fill in the blank: Music is _________. I can’t! I tried. I kept putting different words but none were enough. That’s why we need music- words can’t hold the full brilliance and depth of life on their own.
one of the most anticipated and mysterious artists of the year, rationale is on the brink of something special. from epic collaborations to shining bright on his own, this is how he is setting the world on fire.
WORDS & INTERVIEW BY APRIL SALUD // PHOTOS : BEST LAID PLANS
y job is to make things go viral. No, literally. While you might not think there isn’t much to it [insert cat, corgi, Kardashian here], there’s a tastemaker aspect that goes into everything. It’s about knowing what the audience wants and delivering it at the precise moment they want it. Once it starts to gain any sort of momentum, the strategy is this: add fuel to the fire. I became aware of Rationale through research for Issue #1 for our Best Laid Plans feature, particularly prepping for my interviews with Rag ’N’ Bone Man
and CHILDCARE. There was zero information on Rationale but he was still prominently featured on the site. No link thru, no artwork, just a name. A few weeks later, Dan Smith tweeted out a link to a Jakwob track. And there it was: “with vocals from the incredible @iamrationale”. “No Place Like Home” had Jakwob’s brilliant production and exhilarating beats but it was Rationale’s unique vocals that had me hitting repeat. It was full. Full of emotional outcry, passion, and power. I frantically searched for a contact email, I clearly needed to talk to him. Y’know to make my BLP feature more complete.
I received a response almost immediately and it became very apparent that I was talking to Rationale himself, after all it was a simple gmail that I had contacted. We set up a call and to this day, it remains one of my favorite conversations I’ve ever had for THE RADICAL. Yes, it was insightful and articulate and filled with great sound bites but it was much more than that. It was Rationale’s very first interview under this project and it was for arguably the feature I’m most known for. Since then, we’ve had the honor of tracking Rationale’s career from the beginning. After the collaboration from Jakwob, the next we heard from Rationale was on Bastille’s VS (Other People’s Heartache Pt. III). “Axe to Grind” (where he went head to head to head against Bastille and producer duo, Tyde) was an accumulation of all three acts best skills with Rationale at the center of it all. “‘Axe to Grind’ came about through Tyde and Dan working on a couple of ideas while on a break from tour. I was in the studio with Mark [Crew] working with Rag ’N’ Bone Man and he played me a piece of it and I thought, ‘I’ve got something that could work really well with that.’”, he explained to me. That
collaboration was the personification of why Rationale decided to get back in front of the mic again after being let down by previous labels in the past. With some encouragement and support from the dudes at BLP, the world was now reintroduced to a talented artist in the form of Rationale. “The Rationale project is about the organic process of having people who are on the same wavelength.” Once we rang in 2015, the anticipation for anything new from Rationale was thick…at least for people within the inner BLP circle. With a sporadic tweets about working in the studio (with a boost from Dan every now and then), the built up was real and completely genuine. Rationale’s presence on social media wasn’t just promo but rather a real time insight into his creation. Filled with self doubt and anxiety but always remaining optimistic, his presence online felt relatable and humanized him. It kept us wanting more. In April 2015, the first solo track from Rationale was
released. “Fast Lane” was so damn good I wrote about it on two different sites. There’s a slinky quality to it, especially in the guitar riff that made it instantly stand out. And there’s when everything started taking off. Tweets, RTs, and hearts on Hype Machine helped catapult “Fast Lane” into indie music viral heaven. A few weeks later, his sophomore single “RE.UP” was unleashed onto the masses and followed a similar pattern up until Annie Mac gave it a spin on BBC Radio 1 in June. After that, the mainstream love came pouring with the debut of Beats 1 on Apple Music and Pharrell playing “Fast Lane” on his show with Justin Timberlake and Cara Delevingne. At the end of July, Rationale laid it out all on the line. Releasing his third single, “Fuel to the Fire,” it was then revealed it was the title track to his debut EP set for September 18th along with the most massive
announcement yet: his identity. “Fuel to the Fire” was also accompanied with a music video that featured Rationale’s face for the very first time. The anonymity had vanished and putting a face to the voice made his hype even bigger. The video was directed by duo Crooked Cynics and was gripping, heartbreaking, and visceral. If wasn’t made perfectly clear a couple months, the age of Rationale had officially begun. I watched all of this unravel both as a journalist and as a friend. After our chat back in November, I felt a connection with Rationale and wanted to give him as much support as possible where I could. It wasn’t just that I loved his music, I loved him and the team behind him. I remember messaging him after being sent the “Fuel to the Fire” video. It was full of exclamation marks, grammatically errors, and a bunch of meaningless adjectives like “amazing” and “awesome”. He responded with a humbling thank you and a confession that he was a bit scared to release it. The video
visually interpreted this song about all the frustrations and grimness that can fill our lives, but there’s always hope at the end of it. Which is what perfectly captures Rationale as both an artist and as a person. Each track on his debut is different. From political statements to sexy times to songs to just cruise to, it offers a soundtrack for every occurrence in life. Which is what music is suppose to do, right? Music is the soundtrack to a subculture that we’ve created for ourselves. Rationale has been able to create that all in one nifty EP that contains his own perspective and voice over grooving bass lines, pulsing rhythms, and jolting lyrics. No article, profile, or interview could ever do justice to Rationale and his vision. It’s powerful and vulnerable and overflowing with passion. But we’ll keep trying if only just to help keep his fire going.
Follow Rationale: twitter.com/iamrationale facebook.com/iamrationale
RIDIN’ THE WORDS & INTERVIEW BY APRIL SALUD // PHOTOS: VIRGIN RECORDS/EMI
“I REMEMBER T -SHIRT WEATHER. I REMEMBER SOME DAYS, WE WERE SINGING OUR LUNGS OUT IN THE BACKSEAT TOGETHER AND THE SEATBELTS WERE BURNING OUR FINGERS…IN THE T -SHIRT WEATHER.“
he age of social media has brought forth a weird psychology phenomenon that hasn’t happened before. With the constant scrolling through feeds and consuming of other people’s lives, there’s a lingering layer of jealousy and fear of missing out (or FOMO, if you’re hip) that unwelcoming sits on you like cooled sweat. Nostalgia, or rather a false sense of nostalgia, is something we not only experience but almost strive for nowadays. “I wrote ’T-Shirt Weather’ to capture all the hot summers I remember having. Though, I probably never had any of them now that I’m thinking about it,” Kieran Shuddall recalled. “People always look at the past with rose tinted goggles. I think that’s why we always think we want to go back.” Shuddall (vocals, guitar), Joe Falconer (guitar), Sam Rourke (bass), and Colin Jones (drums) came together after meeting at Liverpool Sound City in 2013 to form Circa Waves. With their debut album, Young Chasers out in the UK and set to be released in the States in September, it perfectly captures that sense of nostalgia we’re desperately searching for and clinging on to. While the concept of four lads from Liverpool is easy to drum up the comparisons (“There’s a bit of Wombats in there.” “Ooh a dash of The Kooks, I think!” “Clearly a nod to The Strokes.”), Circa Waves is at the forefront of the resurgence of guitar music. Alongside Catfish and the Bottlemen, Wolf Alice, and to a certain extent The 1975, there’s a new generation of unapologetic British rock that bursted its way through the oversaturated electronic movement. Despite declarations every few years that rock and roll is dead, it always finds its way back into the public’s consciousness. “People want that truth and honesty in music and that’s why it’ll always come back to guitar music,” explained Shuddall. “They want to see real people playing real instruments. Seeing a guy hitting play on a laptop can get boring really easily and I think we’re hitting our capacity. I’m glad it’s coming back to guitar music and I hope it stays this way for awhile.” Young Chasers is very blunt and apparent on what it chooses to be. It’s stripped down and pure with absolutely no gimmicks. It’s a burst of youthful, shimmery guitars that is the most fun you’ll have listening to an album this year. Circa Waves has perfected the bouncy threeminute pop tune with enough alternative edge to keep the vibes ~cool~. Their sound could definitely be interpreted as a homage to the early 00s music scene but could also be swayed into the contemporary upswing of bringing music back to its rock and roll roots. The
common thread that runs throughout Young Chasers and it’s that sense of nostalgia we all possess with a twist of angsty frustration that comes with your teenage years. Circa Waves’ ability to reflect and articulate those formative years comes with tons and tons of practice. The band itself is very young but so are their personal relationships with one another, having only met right before the band started. Having been in several bands previously, it was the synergy and timing between the four of them that has catapulted Circa Waves into buzz band success in the UK. “For every dozen bad songs, one good one has to come through. It’s hard to say what works and what doesn’t work and why this band is one is doing so well but I do think it has to do with the fact that I’ve just become a better songwriter,” Shuddall revealed. Though the lyrical content of Young Chasers seems pretty paint-by-numbers, delving into themes such as being in puppy love, sunny summers and the adventures that goes along with being a typical youth, it’s the combination of Shuddall’s pure exertion of joy and the bright guitar riffs that make it pop. As we grow up so does the need to relive our youth. Well, at least the youth we have created in our heads. The memories we have stored in our brains are mostly derivatives of the event rather than an actual replay of it. We choose what we want to remember and how we remember it and even how we feel about a certain memory can change as we do. This is an idea that is very appealing to Shuddall and why he tends to center a lot of writing around it. “I like writing about the past,” he admitted. “You have to look back in order to move forward.” So what does the nostalgic vibin’ Circa Waves want for their future? “Oh, we want to be fucking huge. Especially in America. We want to play in front of as many people as possible in as many venues as possible and continue to make great music. I know it sounds simple but we just want to keep rocking.” Follow Circa Waves: twitter.com/CircaWaves facebook.com/CircaWaves circawaves.com
to whom it may concern S
omething has been on my mind a lot, this year in particular. We are the generation of music consumers who like to have our music as soon as we can and there is nothing that satisfies us more than listening to our favourite artist as soon as their album becomes available, whether it is streamed, bought on iTunes or bought as a physical copy. Remember when artists released music videos on YouTube, accompanied by that annoying note that said “Not available in your country”? That wasn’t nice, and I feel extremely happy to some things are changing--but not enough. Being the generation that spends over 80% of our time online, it’s simply impossible to miss some things that are happening in the world; in this case your favourite artist releasing their album in another country 2 months before it gets released in your own country. As a fan, it hurts. It’s like saying, “Sorry people, your country is not as important so you can wait, because all I care about is chart success.” There is nothing worse than having to order your favourite artist’s album and pay almost double the price just for shipping fees. Now that is a problem that needs to be fixed. I don’t want to be doing that for the rest of my life, and I know I’m not alone. Staggered album releases have been a problem in the music industry for years, and it is easier than ever before to find an album online even if it’s not released in your country. Wait. Let’s think. Does that mean artists and record labels are losing out on album sales? Of course. So, in a way, are they encouraging illegal downloading? Maybe. Taylor Swift and her 1989 album; we all heard it by now, right? This girl seems to be doing everything right these days, from changing Apple Music to donating money. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Her album 1989 was released WORLDWIDE in October last year. And yes it became one of the biggest albums of the decade, and no it didn’t need a staggered release. Some may say that only happened because she is a worldwide superstar, but did it really? If you think that is the reason, let’s talk about Marina and The Diamonds. Their third studio album FROOT was available worldwide within 3 days of its release. After months of extremely interesting promotion (fruit of the month = new track each month), Marina built up anticipation for this record, and with hardly any radio plays and adverts, she achieved a worldwide success. Not enough proof? How about Ed Sheeran? His album X was also available worldwide within 3 days from its original release date. This album is one of the biggest albums of 2014, so I don’t think there is anything else to say. Remember that legendary moment when Beyoncé decided to drop her selftitled album out of nowhere? That was also available worldwide at the same time. Mrs. Carter, nor her label didn’t leave any fans waiting around. She was just like, ‘Here, have this album I created for you,’ and I’m sure we all agree, that was a pretty great moment.
Look, I’m not saying that staggered release is all that bad. Yes, it gives more time for record labels to promote the artist, but what if the promotional plan goes wrong and things don’t go the way you want them to? Bad stuff happens all the time. Staggered releases can leave people forgetting about an album release, especially when releases several months apart. Remember that amazing album from Swedish artist Tove Lo, called Queen Of The Clouds? It was released in the US in September, then for whatever reason, released in UK seven months later. This was an album I absolutely loved and adored for so long, but after streaming the album in different ways for over half a year, by the time it hit iTunes and other stores in UK, I didn’t care about it anymore, not enough to buy it anyway. Where is the sense in that? I’m not an expert in terms of album sales, nor I’m trying to be, but it just seems upsetting how this happens. Is it that hard to send emails to publications and build anticipation about the album to make sure it’s released worldwide at the same time? I know, it’s a lot more complicated than that, I really do know it. But isn’t releasing an album in one country and delaying it in other encouraging illegal downloads? But hey ho, let’s not finish this on a low. So here is something cool. Halsey made a pretty good mood and after fighting for her debut album BADLANDS to be released worldwide, she succeeded. I’m going to be honest, this made me respect her a lot more. Because of this decision, for me, she doesn’t come across as a person who cares about her popularity in different countries; she respects each fan the same, and she showed it. So come on, let’s not be scared to make a change. It has to happen one day, so please be the one to make that change, and music fans will forever be grateful to you.
he celebrity memoir doesn’t stray too far from the gossip magazines that line the grocery store checkout. C’mon, we read them for the scandals. I want to know how many members of Duran Duran are assholes. (I hope the answer is zero.) We read for the details of their bombastic lifestyles. I want to hear about George Harrison & Pattie Boyd vacationing at their summer villa in Majorca. (Is Eric Clapton there? Oooh, was it a super awkward time?) Basically, we want the William Miller experience from Almost Famous with none of the consequences. In magazines, we see the pictures and we piece together stories from third parties. Sometimes the stars will weigh in themselves, but it’s nothing more than a well-rehearsed endorsement from a publicist. However, the benefits of a memoir’s first hand account can tell a different story. It allows a lot more freedom to be informal, relatable, or even an opportunity to recontextualize history. Since they’re a tad more comprehensive, stars are able to use the scandals of a lifetime to paint an actual narrative, taking on the responsibility of conveying a real personal journey. These aren’t all winners. Oftentimes, revelations in memoirs do more damage than good. That’s the great thing about memoirs: we see you warts and all. After all, you’re just people. The rock memoir, though not one of the most respected forms of literature, are undoubtedly a helluva read regardless, and present fans with a portrait of their favorite artists in an altered light, chronicling the mundane, the extraordinary, and everything in between. Some of the most private, introspective musicians have even released memoirs and revealed more sensitive information on previously unchartered territory than anyone could have possibly anticipated. This fall, five icons put down their instruments and pick up a pen with the release of their own tell-all memoirs. Some for the first time, some sharing more. Jot down these release dates, because it looks like it’s time for THE RADICAL’s inaugural Book Club:
Reckless: My Life as a Pretender by Chrissie Hynde (September 8, 2015) Hynde had an illustrious role in the late seventies punk scene, running in the same circles as the Sex Pistols to The Clash, but only later cemented her own standing in rock history in the eighties as the frontwoman for the new wave band The Pretenders. “I’m approaching writing this memoir much the same way as I would an album,” Hynde revealed back in March. “I hope it makes you want to dance, have fun, dig out some old records and maybe even root through your closet and dust off your guitar.”
I’ll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones (September 29, 2015) In 1981, the couture icon sang “I’ll never write my memoirs / there’s nothing in my book.” To be honest, if Jones’ book solely featured glossy, full color photos of all her most memorable looks for posterity, we’d still be sitting pretty. The androgynous goddess started her career early as a runway model for Yves Saint Laurent, and later found success as a singer in the days of Studio 54 disco, utilizing her Jamaican roots to even bring reggae music to mainstream popularity. She might’ve starred in a few movies or two also. Her talents are endless, really, as are her list of collaborators who together have made Jones one of the most enigmatic multimedia artists.
the radical reads... WORDS BY PARIS MASOUDI
M Train by Patti Smith (October 6, 2015) Five years after Just Kids, her award-winning memoir chronicling her friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the hugely influential poet is ready to release a sequel of stories, ruminations, and polaroids, where she reflects on the loss of her husband and their time together. Acclaim for Smith’s prose is nothing new, but her insight and ability to portray her emotional realities will likely leave M Train as a unique literary experience.
Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello (October 13, 2015) For those who tuned into Costello’s short-lived but great talk show, Spectacle, or had the opportunity to see him play live, then you’re quite familiar with how good this guy is at spinning a yarn. Also, he knows everybody. A master wordsmith and bonafide rock historian, essentially from birth, a memoir detailing Costello’s musical roots and career path would be better suited as a multi-volume set, provided you have a library large enough to stock a thousand books.
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein (October 27, 2015) Carrie Brownstein: “I think I’m gonna release a memoir.” The world: *has no chill* In a conversation with NME, the Sleater-Kinney guitarist outlined the framework of the memoir, revealing “it pretty much ends with Sleater-Kinney going on hiatus.” Safe to assume we can assume a sequel to cover the Wild Flag and Portlandia years, Carrie?
Follow Melanie Martinez: twitter.com/MelanieLBBH facebook.com/MelanieMartinezMusic melaniemartinezmusic.com
melanie martinez cry baby
WORDS & INTERVIEW BY APRIL SALUD // PHOTO: EMILY SOTO
eciding what type of artist you want to be is no easy task. While you may think you can just default to, “Oh well, I’ll just be myself,” you still have to determine which version of yourself you want to throw out into the universe. It’s a mixture of anticipating what the audience wants and what you can stand to become over the foreseeable future. Melanie Martinez decided on the persona of Cry Baby, a beautiful hyperconceptualized version of herself that seamlessly blends together the idea of childhood innocence and adult frustrations. Martinez has been able to execute a very complex and layered story in an edgy, poppy manner. Everything about Melanie Martinez is interesting. Her debut album Cry Baby weaves together coyness and sass, alternative and bubblegum, folk and soul. There’s a bluntness about her music that leaves you feeling emotionally exposed. She sings the hard, dark truths of life and doesn’t apologize for it.
“No one will love you if you’re unattractive” It’s hard to not want to know everything about Martinez. While her music is painfully honest, it still hides behind this character she’s created. Though obviously inspired by her own experiences and traits, Cry Baby is still a work of fiction. After talking with Martinez, there’s one known fact: she knows who she is, what she wants, and what she needs to get there. Damn, I wish I had that when I was twenty. “I always knew the album was going to be called Cry Baby. I knew what the album art was going to look like,” Martinez explained. “‘Dollhouse’ was a turning point for me and I started writing down titles that were childhood themed and related them back to adult situations. It wasn’t until I put the track list in order and saw the themes and how similar the character was to myself. It was like piecing a puzzle together to fully realize the concept I had created.” Martinez has developed this world of make-believe so fully that lines between it and reality are blurred beyond recognition. Her reality is Cry Baby, a Lolita type persona that is meticulously crafted to every last detail by Martinez. The creation is so elaborate
and actualized, it’s hard to tell if the visuals inspired the music or the vice versa. Highly influenced by Tim Burton and other artists, Martinez rarely grabs from other musicians, saying that her inspiration has always been more optical than oral. That shines through in Cry Baby where she paints the story vividly, adding sound effects that stimulate the listener. The melodies are whimsical and vibrant with dark undertones that perfectly match Martinez’s look of pastel colors and Peter Pan collars…again with dark undertones. She’s a cross between Wednesday Addams and Rainbow Brite, Regina Spektor and Lorde, childhood fantasies and adulthood nightmares.
“Everyone thinks that we’re perfect / please don’t let them see through the curtains.” Ultimately, Cry Baby and Martinez’s tale is about self-discovery and self-acceptance. Everything you experience in your childhood that seems to define you the most. You start the journey with Cry Baby and as you make your way through the album, you witness the loss of innocence and the formation of a confident woman. The end result is clearly Martinez’s official welcoming into adulthood. Starting her career as a meek, soft-spoken teenager on reality show The Voice three years ago, she has come into her own as an artist with a sharp vision. It was through the making of this album where Martinez began to believe her own hype and go forth with it, holding nothing back. “I realized how important Cry Baby was to me. I eventually want to make all my albums in the world of Cry Baby and continue to tell her story.” At the end of our conversation, I pointed out to her that her signature two-toned hair seemed to act as a balance between the two versions of herself: Melanie and Cry Baby. “I never thought of it that way,” she laughs. I asked if she ever thinks Cry Baby would fully take over Melanie. She responded with the most logical answer. “I physically can’t. My hair would fall out.”
crushin Falling for someone is simultaneously the best and worst that can happen to a human being. You’re exhilarated by the initial, “Omg they’re so cute. I want to hang with them all the time” and also clawing at your face because of those same reasons. It can usually end up in two scenarios: the ultimate get together or the Friend Zone. Either way, the build up is what we’re here for and here’s a list of songs we all collaborated on to perfectly articulate what it’s like to be crushed by a crush.
’ on you 1. I Really Like You - Carly Rae Jepsen 2. The Way You’d Love Her - Mac Demarco 3. Seeing Stars - BØRNS 4. Barcelona - George Ezra 5. Closer - Tegan and Sara 6. I Wanna Be Yours - Arctic Monkeys 7. Give Me A Try - The Wombats 8. Romancing - The Colorist 9. I Can’t Control Myself - Strange 10. Bite Down - Bastille and HAIM