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INTERVIEW: DIZASTERPIECE

Hi DIZASTERPIECE, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you for having me! I’ve been doing very well!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Hip Hop Is On Its Way Back”?

I wanted to do a song that displayed some of my true emcee skills and that would have tons of energy live. I wrote Hip-Hop is on its way back a couple years ago when I first reality started experiencing what it is to be a Master Of Ceremonies. Trading off energy back and forth with the audience, controlling the crowd, and accumulating that energy from venue to venue. The message in the song is calling for a renaissance of the genre, insisting that Hip-Hop is currently at an all time low, and society is brainwashed by the mainstream media. Consistent tempo changes make way for steady moshing in the crowd. 

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

So that first line in the song that goes, “Yo the world is comin’ to an apocalypse, burnin’ up in hot shit, cause we can’t learn from consequence. We be infected by the toxic” was inspired by some of the ugly things going on in the world between 2015 and now, and the parallel of how I see people treating each other due to this. As well as how all that has affected the state of Hip-Hop and entertainment. The song was also inspired by a few different Jeru The Damaja songs and the Common song, “I Used To Love H.E.R.”

Any plans to release any sort of video for the single?

Yes, There will be a video released for this single eventually. I’m waiting for the opportunity to get more live footage first.

The single comes off your new album In Too Deep To Sleep – what’s the story behind the title?

The title comes from shit getting real to the point where I’m losing sleep over the rap game. Sometimes, when I think to myself “Is this what you really want to be doing with your life?” There are certain reminders that immediately pop up indicating that I’ve come way too far with this shit to stop, or to even second guess myself. I lose sleep over my Hip-Hop career. For better or for worse, but at least it’s a constant reminder that I’m doing something right over here.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process was fun. I produced the instrumentals. The studio sessions where I laid the vocals down went smooth. The songs were engineered and Mixed & Mastered in Austin, Texas by Dan Goebel AKA Little Dan who is a really good friend of mine. We vibe really well in general, and when you put us in the studio together… It’s magic. We would start the sessions off in the morning, meeting up for coffee, and then we would usually hit a deli near the studio for sandwiches. Then we’d hang out a bit, play some guitar or whatever to make sure our souls were ready to go, and shortly after start recording. Shout out to Little Dan!

What role does NJ play in your music?

Growing up in Jersey has definitely shaped a lot of who I am. The good and the bad. I love New Jersey. My career has allowed me to travel and see all sorts of new places, and it’s dope. But the more I see of the world, the more I realize how unique Jersey is, and how it has influenced who I am today. My music is very raw, blunt, and passionate, and I would say NJ has played a huge part in that.  A lot of people think we are rude, but as bold or blunt as we can be… A lot of us, including myself are equally as genuine and sincere. Jersey has raised me to just be myself and not give a fuck what other people think, and to maneuver with pride and confidence… But to remain humble and sincere at the same time. I really think a lot of that shines through in my Emceeing.

How did you go on balancing your punk ethos with your Hip Hop influences on this album in particular? 

On In Too Deep To Sleep, I wanted to keep the sound strictly Hip-Hop still, with strong East Coast/90’s vibes, but naturally a lot of my Punk influence shows up in the lyrical content I wrote. My Punk and Metal influence also comes out in the dark sounding choice of samples in the songs.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

My inspiration for Hip-Hop is on its way back comes from the state of the world between 2015 and 2020, and the way that I see people treating each other due to it. And how I see the state of the world directly affecting the media, mainstream music, and Hip-Hop as a whole, as well as how I see people treating each other all around me. The inspiration for Spiritually Incarcerated came to me when I first really started noticing situations in my life that looked like spiritual warfare. The song is basically insinuating that I go from being a God to a slave. Or going from being powerful, and aligned with my true purpose to having no soul, or to feeling like my soul is being taken away as punishment for a crime I did not commit. In the lyrics, I also describe having a spiritual guide, or even a genie that is nearby, figuring out a plan to break me out and get my soul back, so that I can return to my normal state, and continue on my true path.

What else is happening next in DIZASTERPIECE’s world?

So I got a whole new full length record on deck that I’ve been working on. The record is called “Regression Toward The Mean.” I plan to release it at the end of 2020 and into 2021. After that I plan to tour a bunch. Just have to wait and see when venues will really be opening back up and then I’m going to book shows. I would like to play in new areas as well. There will be new music videos coming out, and new merchandise being released for purchase via my online store and at my shows. I’m really looking forward to the release of “Regression Toward the Mean” and I think my fans are really going to enjoy it. It’s going to be the same kind of sound and style, just much more polished and put together.

WATCH HERE

INTERVIEW: DMac Burns

Hi DMac, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been well, all things considered. The world is heavy right now. I’ve been trying to stay informed and engaged with current events, while also working hard on a bunch of new music.

Out of all the songs out there, why did you choose to cover James Blake’s “Retrograde”?

I connected with “Retrograde” a few years back when I was in a pretty lonely and tumultuous period of my life. I learned to play the song then and it became a bit of a comfort song for me. I play some other covers live from time to time, but it never felt right to record one. This song just felt right and I immediately had an idea as to how I could do it differently with a new beat and vibe. When quarantine started some of the lyrics of the song began resonating with me again so I thought it would be as good a time as any to put it out there.

 What was the approach? Did you intend to go with this song?

My approach with this song was to use some key elements of the original, but speed it all up and make a kind of dancehall beat behind it. I used some similar drum and synth sounds, but changed the pattern to be more upbeat. I also came up with some new parts to fit the feel of my version. Then I just sang it how I would live.

How was the recording and writing process?

The process was pretty seamless. I programmed  a version of the beat and then put down some synth and bass parts over it. Then I recorded my vocals over that in my home studio. At that point I had two of my close friends and collaborators, Seth Nicholson and Colleen Cadogan, lay down some backing vocals to beef it up. After that, I sent the track to my right hand man, Rocky Russo, who is an amazing bass player, mixing engineer, and all around mad scientist. He played some extra bass parts and, along with Seth, solidified the drum programming so the tune would bump how I envisioned it. Rocky also did the final mix/master and then it was done.

How did you go on balancing the original with your own take?

I love the original. I really respect the stripped down simplicity of it. I wasn’t trying to make a soundalike cover. I just think of mine as a whole new interpretation so I can’t even really compare it.

What role does the Bronx play in your music?

I lived in the Northwest Bronx for most of my life so I think it plays a pretty big role in my music even if I don’t totally notice it. I was exposed to a lot of different types of music and culture from a young age and that’s partly what made me want to start playing music. I love hearing different rhythms and styles coming from car windows in the summertime. That has always inspired me to create something that someone might want to bump with the windows down.

Does the cover mean we can expect new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes. I have a bunch of new material coming out very soon. There will be a couple of original singles, followed by an EP. It’s all coming along great. We’re just putting the finishing touches on it.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

The EP will come out at the end of October. I think it’s going to be self titled, DMac Burns. It’s my first release as a solo artist and it represents many years of hard work that have led me to this point. It’s the most honest representation of how I want my music to sound so I think I gotta stick with that simple title.

Any plans to hit the road?

If it’s safe to play concerts, I will play them. Right now it doesn’t seem like that will be the case anytime soon. But, when live music returns, and I know it will at some point, I’ll be on the road for sure.

What else is happening next in DMac Burns’ world?

Right now my main focus is finishing the EP and trying to spend as much time in nature as I can while the weather is nice. That being said, I’m always writing new material. I’ve been working on some original songs for a short film that my girlfriend is writing, directing, and starring in. I’ve also been working on some songs for another film that my friends are making. I’d like to get into doing music for television and film so I’m taking every opportunity I get.

LISTEN HERE

INTERVIEW: Emily Gabriele

Thank you for chatting with us today. To start off, tell our readers more about how you got started in music!

Let me see if I can give you an abridged version – I know we dove pretty deeply into my “musical journey” last time we chatted.

When I was in grade school, we had the opportunity to pick an instrument to learn. I picked the alto saxophone and I still own that instrument to this day!

Fast forwarding ​a lotI always felt inclined to write songs. Ever since I was young, I was finding ways to engage with music – from listening to CDs to singing. I would listen to other artists tell their stories through song, and it compelled me story-tell through writing songs of my own.

Which is ironic (​isn’t it ironic, dontcha think?) seeing as I just released a cover of someone else’s song – ha!

You have a new single out today, which is actually a cover! Tell us more about how the song came to life.

Sure. I’ve always been a fan of Alanis Morissette. I feel a key component to recording and releasing a song written and originally performed by someone else, is to really feel a connection to the song.

With the recent resurgence of ​Jagged Little Pill(originally released in 1995) I felt it was an opportune time to release my own take on a song from that body of work.

I started by reaching out to Billy Aukstik, the co-founder of ​Hive Mind​& ​Dala Records​and told him I wanted to record two Alanis covers off of her album. He was very excited about the idea, so we booked some time at Hive Mind. For the recording process, I brought in some talented musicians, Darby Brandon on the drums, and Cam Seidel on the bass. We had Billy Aukstik, steer the ship with the audio engineering.

After working through the two songs, “You Oughta Know” was the clear standout. We had a blast recording during the session at Hive Mind. I wanted to release “You Oughta Know,” but it felt too spot on to the original iteration of the track.

So I solicited the help of the incredible LA-based producer, ​Angelique Calvillo​. I had worked with Angelique before, and I really love her sound and her ability to carefully crafting unique takes on songs.

Do you get nervous before you release new music or is it more of an excitement for you?

I’m not sure if nervous is the right word to express how releasing new music feels. I feel excitement around releases. I suppose there’s a fine line between nervousness and excitement. If I ever experience nervousness, I do my best to channel it into feelings of excitement, in general.

Was there anyone or anything in particular that pushed you to pursue music?

Are we speaking specifically about this release? If so, both ​Billy​and ​Angelique​were over-the-moon excited and supportive in making this track come to life.

Do you have plans to release more music this year?

It’s tough to plan these days. What I can say is that I am currently working on a few songs. I’m also consistently investing in my craft of songwriting and musicianship. I started taking vocal lessons at the beginning of this year. My vocal coach, ​Monika Judkins​, has seamlessly adopted the virtual voice lesson. They are one of the consistent highlights of my week, especially in quarantine!

The US music scene differs from city to city, what’s the music scene like in your area?

Hahaha, oh goodness. Well, at this point in time, it feels like the music scene in each city is becoming more and more enmeshed into a global music scene. I will say this: I miss the New York City music scene and all of the talented artists that come along with it!

Tell us what you have planned for the rest of 2020? Any surprises?

Ah, there you go using the “p” word again – haha! I guess there wouldn’t be any surprises if you knew about them, right?

Where can we find you online and get our hands on your new music?

You can keep up with all of my happenings by visiting: ​www.egmusicnyc.com

To listen to my music, you can type “​Emily Gabriele​” in the search bar of any streaming platform.

If you’re on social media, follow me on Instagram ​@egmusicnyc​– DM me your thoughts on “You Oughta Know,” I promise I’ll respond!

Caitlin Quisenberry Delivers Vocal Prowess With Her Newest Single “Imogene”

A fun, up-tempo and quirky song telling the story of a girl who is so beautiful, Caitlin Quisenberry even makes the name Imogene cool. While listening to the track, the feeling of awe or jealousy sweeps over us while imagining this girl Imogene. It brings out a feeling that is so relatable, as we have all had that one person we are in awe of. Caitlin sings, “I imagine I’m Imogene, ya I’m her and he’s holding me…” With a guitar twang and sweeping production, Caitlin’s sweet vocals nourish our souls delivering a visual listening experience. Given the fun nature of the daydream-like song, “Imogene” will be paired with an animated music video capturing the full essence of the story. The video is being animated by the expertly talented Hollywood cartoonist, Tom Schneiders.

Hi Caitlin, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! Thank you so much! I’ve been great, just moved to a new city (Nashville) about a week ago, so it’s been a busy and fun time!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Imogene”?

Sure! So “Imogene” is a fun, up-tempo and quirky song telling the story of a girl who is so beautiful, she even makes the name Imogene cool. While listening to the track, the feeling of awe or jealousy sweeps over us while imagining this girl Imogene. The song then transitions from jealousy to an imaginative state where I imagine I am “Imogene”. It brings back all those feel-good memories of an old high-school crush and that butterfly feeling you get early on in a relationship. “Imogene” will be paired with an animated music video capturing the full essence of the story. The video is being animated by the expertly talented Hollywood cartoonist, Tom Schneiders.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

So, I’m actually not the writer on this song. I was pitched the song by a group of writers I know. But I am also a songwriter myself, and have one of my own releasing within the next few months. 😊

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

It has been soooo much fun!!! From the moment I first heard this song, I knew it needed a music video that was creative and outside the box. Given that the chorus is “I imagine I’m Imogene” I thought, what if we truly make the music video almost like a daydream. So, the idea of starting the music video in real life, and then transitioning into animation was what I decided on. I really love the creative liberty this song has allowed me to take, as there is nothing more valuable than fostering and utilizing our imagination.

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording process was great! I record here at Off The Row Studio in Nashville with some of the best musicians in the world. They are just as kind as they are talented. Typically, the musicians are given the music all charted out in Nashville numbers and they listen to the demo once and then from there, are able to give it their own flavor and lay their instruments down. It’s a pretty fast process. I sing and play all at the same time – it’s great!

What role does Nashville play in your music?

A huge role! I just moved here a week ago to give my music career my undivided and full attention. This is the place to be. You are surrounded by like-minded people, have access to all the major publishing groups, managers, labels, musicians, etc. I’m super excited to be here full-time now and see where life takes me.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

It does! I recorded five new songs about a month ago. I’m working with my producer, PT Houston, on the mixing and mastering of them right now and will most likely start releasing my new music come early September. I’m so excited for these new tracks! It has been so much fun watching my music come to life. From hearing a melody in my head, to working on lyrics and collaborating with other writers, like Erin McCaffrey; it has really been such an exciting project from start to finish!

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Tentative release date will be September. I haven’t decided yet if I want to keep releasing my music as singles or if I want to put them out as an EP, so stay tuned on that one!

Any plans to hit the road?

Eventually, I can definitely see myself doing that once venues and bars start opening up again. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on songwriter rounds and showcases.

What else is happening next in Caitlin Quisenberry’s world?

I have my video guy who’s also a college friend of mine, Daniel Catton, flying out next week and we are going location scouting for my next music video for my song titled, “Get Loud”. It’s going to be so awesome – the ideas he has for the video blow my mind! Other than that, I’ve been in the studio here and there and also writing a lot!

GLASS ANIMALS RELEASES NEW TRACK “IT’S ALL SO INCREDIBLY LOUD”

Today, Glass Animals releases their new track “It’s All So Incredibly Loud” taken from their fast approaching third album Dreamland out via Republic Records on August 7th. Listen to the track HERE.

It’s All Incredibly Loud” arrives hot on the heels of Glass Animals’ latest scorching, bass-heavy pop-trip, “Heat Waves,” which is currently sitting at #11 on Spotify’s U.S. Viral Chart and in the Top 35 on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart, as well as in the Top 10 at U.S. Triple A and Alternative Radio. “It’s All So Incredibly Loud” swells with anticipation and expectation; its urgent, expansive, club-style keyboard melody teamed with Dave Bayley’s signature dreamlike vocals makes for a heady mix. The song comes with its own visual accompaniment, which is directed by the remarkable talent David Wilson (Tame Impala, Christine and the Queens). The video, in its own beautiful way, draws focus on the inevitable jump-off point and the terrible silence that follows.

Dave Bayley explains, “The entire song is only about three seconds of life. I think most people have been in a position where they have had to tell someone something that they knew was going to devastate them. Something that would change their life. It’s about the silence that occurs between those words leaving your mouth and the other person reacting. It’s the most deafening thing I’ve ever experienced. The video is meant to be a metaphor for the build-up before that, and then the sudden explosion of quiet that lasts forever.”

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

INTERVIEW: Dream-folk band Constant Follower

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks. Yeah, very good. Cooped-up inside for the last week working on some music for one of our friends Scott William Urquhart. Beautiful dreamy finger-picked guitar. Not far off what we’re doing but very stripped back.  

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Set Aside Some Time”?

Folk are feeling that the single is an ode to something missing. I was reading Portuguese poets around that time and came across the word ‘Saudade’, which kind of describes that pain you feel when something you loved has ended or gone, but at the same time you have this happy feeling for the thing that is missing. Good word. I didn’t write the song about this but it kind of happened around the same time and I think the words aptly fits the song. It has melancholy, yet hopeful and gently rousing message that things won’t always be the way they are now.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I was the victim of a pretty horrendous attack when I was younger which left me with memory damage where I couldn’t remember my childhood… and various other things which continue until today. I didn’t consciously write the song thinking about this. But a big event like this creeps into your songwriting whether you mean it to or not. My songs come out like I’m unravelling a scroll – I don’t write them with intention. So it always takes me a while to work out what they’re about.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The film maker, Martin J. Pickering, is a childhood friend of mine. We’ve done various things together, and been in a lot of… situations together. So we had fun filming it. It’s mostly shot on super8 and I think Martin’s intention was to recreate the memory of a childhood we had together. It’s a pretty big departure from his usual high-production value work, but I think the grittiness and woozy feel really fits the mood of the song.

How was the recording and writing process?

We recorded in Glasgow with Johnny Smillie of Thrum at the desk. He’s got a lot of stories! We were in this little cavern of a studio called La Chunky, and he’d disappear for a bit and come back out dragging some beautiful old rare synth behind him. It’s a space where you can be very creatively open. I brought the recorded tracks back to my studio to mix them though. I needed the time to sit with them and discover what they needed.

What role does Scotland play in your music?

Space. A Polish writer termed our music ‘Scottish Expanse’, and I think I understand what she meant. There are no drums in any of the tracks – the rhytym comes from my acoustic guitar picking. So all the tracks feel quite open. When I visit other places in the world, I notice how little of the sky you can see. I’m talking about in cities. Scotland doesn’t have that high building thing. You can always see the sky. And I think you can hear the sea in the songs as well. I spent a lot of time by the sea when I was recovering. There are so many sounds. Your brain tunes them out but sometimes it can be deafenening if you let yourself notice them.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

The single is the first release form our debut album ‘neither is, nor ever was’ which will be coming out in October. We’re just finishing the mixing at the moment and then off to mastering. We have some beautiful artwork by the US artist Seonna Hong.

Any plans to hit the road?

I don’t think anyone will be doing gigging here for quite some time.

What else is happening next in Constant Follower’s world?

The next single will be out in early August. So we’re gearing up for that now. In the meantime, we have some collaborations that we’re working on at the moment and I’m trying to persuade Kurd (Andrew Pankhurst our guitarist) to record an album of songs he just let me hear which are really pretty special. Definitely some interesting things coming over the next few months.   

Listen Here | Watch Here

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Javier Fever lanza Sin Ti (Remix)

El artista puertorriqueño Javier Fever acaba de lanzar una versión remezclada de su sencillo “Sin Ti”, explicó que esta canción es muy especial para él, ya que es una canción que escribió cuando estaba profundamente enamorado de una chica que creía que era la adecuada . (ella no lo era) aunque él está contento con las experiencias que tuvo con ella, por eso terminó escribiendo “Sin Ti”, que ahora está obteniendo una versión remezclada y como dijo “una versión nueva y mejorada” de una experiencia que probablemente nunca olvidaré.

La primera versión de Sin ti fue amada por los fanáticos de Javier y Javier, lo que también explica por qué decidió lanzar una versión remezclada. La versión original de Sin Ti tuvo un buen impacto con 140,000 visitas a Youtube y cuando se lanzó Sin Ti (Remix) las vistas estaban aumentando más rápido que la versión original. En este momento, Sin Ti (Remix) tiene 370,000 vistas en YouTube superando la versión original de Sin ti.

Javier también dio consejos a otros músicos sobre cuando les hacen daño y convertirlo en algo mejor. O en sus palabras; cada vez que alguien te lastima, cada vez que lloras por alguien, siempre recuérdalo y escribe una canción al respecto. Nunca se sabe si esa persona que te lastima terminará haciendo tus sueños realidad.

Sigue a Javier Fever en todas sus plataformas sociales: https://www.instagram.com/javierfever/
https://www.twitter.com/javierfeverpr
https://www.facebook.com/RealJavierFever
https://www.youtube.com/javierfever

INTERVIEW: Gideon’s Army

Hi Rob, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Good to be with you, I’ve been good. Maybe you’re familiar with the old sayings ‘beware of interesting times” and it’s opposite “may you live in interesting times”, and either phrase on it’s own feels hollow and incomplete, but together I can feel the wisdom. Despite the fact that much of this has been dislocating, I’ve also been able to thrive in ways. I’ve utilized the down time and the isolation to write, compose, learn new skills – I wrote my next album during the quarantine, and although it doesn’t feel like the right time to record it, it’s written and ready to go as soon as the right circumstances arise. Right now though, I’m focused on getting this one right here into the ears of people, I’m really proud of it and excited to share it with others

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Little Black Book”?

I’ve always had an attraction to the cad, the rake, the ladies man, the player, whatever you want to call it, and I’ve played that role at various times in my life. And it’s a very attractive archetype to both men and women, but the downside is that it is harder to earn the full trust of your romantic partners, who may feel like you’re incapable of giving up your old ways. And maybe even you doubt that you can give up all of your old ways. But here you have someone standing in front of you who you believe is of greater value and meaning – and let’s not forget fun – than all of the adventuring and novelty in the world, and I’m choosing her, even though I’m also scared of the possibility that she might leave me one day.

Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?

Not one event in particular, although I guess you can say the event has recurred throughout my life. It’s more an ongoing theme based on the life I’ve led, and continue to lead, and based on the profession I’ve chosen. I’ve gotten much better at communicating over the years and doing and saying all of the little things that earn and build trust, and as my situation changes I’ll definitely have to recalibrate and make adjustments. I am, however, determined to put at ease the mind of any future lover/romantic partner as to my behavior when I’m on tour or in any other situation. A little jealousy here and there isn’t a bad thing though.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

Yes absolutely! And this music video is going to be over the top fun and sexy, much like many chapters of my life. I want to make sure everyone is safe though, so it may have to wait until Covid has left the building.

How was the recording and writing process?

Well the writing came from what I was going through at the time, facing parental disapproval from her side and getting in a lot of trouble for acting out intimate scenes with a model/actress in one of my music videos, even though the nature of it was communicated beforehand and there was no kissing or anything like that involved. We also had plenty of discussions of what our life together would be like if my audience grew and I began touring more extensively, and those conversations didn’t always go well either. The song, as I had written and composed it, came across to the guys in the band as a ballad, but I said no, I want to play against type. Make it jump. And make it uplifting. I brought up Elvis’ “Now or Never” for an example, for reference. How those guys took what could have been a weeper and turned it into something you can dance to. I also felt like the song called out for a bouncy piano part that moved and travelled along throughout the spaces of the song, like in “Rock the Casbah” by the Clash. The guys in this band are aces, and comfortable in so many styles, their versatility is astounding, which is a great fit for me because I write in a lot of different styles.

What role does NYC play in your music?

Well one of the things that makes NYC stand out amongst the major music cities is it’s musical diversity and variety. While musical diversity and variety exist everywhere, it is especially pronounced here. Whereas Nashville predominantly specializes in country music, and Austin in roots music, LA in pop and rock, and New Orleans in Jazz, NYC has got a great balance and mixture of it all, it suits my artistic temperament in many ways, and you can definitely expect that diversity and eclecticism from me on this and all of my future albums. I’m hard to peg down, and I’m going to get harder to peg down. It makes it a little bit more difficult to gain traction at first because I don’t have a built in sub-culture or genre, but I always appreciated musicians and artists who took chances and followed their own intuition and attraction wherever it leads. NYC is also one of the style capitals of the world and I embrace that. I’m into the style icons, and fashion is something I appreciate and put effort into. There is a tremendous amount of aesthetic inspiration here and the downtown NYC rock clubs really fire my imagination as much as any venue in the world. There’s something sexier about them than even Madison Square Garden, although playing MSG is certainly near the top of my bucket list. 

How do you go on balancing your classic roots with your much modern sensibilities?

It’s easy for me. Some people might assume because of the music I make that I don’t like pop music, or R&B, or any of the music that’s popular right now, but that’s not true. I mean, a lot of it is absolute crap, and it’s popularity points to a real crisis in the American psyche, but some of it I really like. One of the reasons people think this is because for so long rock/rock ‘n’ roll pitted itself against these forms, philosophically and creatively. That’s not me, and I can see the things they are doing that rock/rock “n’ roll should be doing, sensual danceability and glamour are the first 2 that come to mind. So just because I have a preference for making music the way I do and presenting music in the way I do, doesn’t mean I don’t really love a lot of that music too. But, I love American roots music, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, country, folk, rockabilly, funk, soul, gospel, etc… and that will always be a big part of what I do and what I listen to. However, I’m not afraid of synth sounds or modern production techniques, or bump and grind at the club or dancehall kind of music. Along with that though, I am also interested in highlighting and showcasing musical virtuosity and craftsmanship in addition to songwriting and storytelling, and I am interested in mining the more noble emotions and the more vulnerable emotions. And I am into pulling the music out of thin air, myself, with what my own heart, mind, and sense of rhythm creates. 

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

“Little Black Book” was recorded as part of an album, ‘Life on the Edges’ which will be released sometime in the fall. I’m still a big believer in the concept of the album, if for no other reason then it is a tremendous money and time saver. Recording songs one at a time is a colossal waste of money and people’s time, I mean that is if you’re using real musicians and real instruments in a real studio, if you’re just singing or rapping over recycled or manufactured beats it’s much less of an issue. But, I do like the modern way of giving way more attention to each single. So i’m going to release 6 or 7 stand alone singles before releasing the 12 song album. I will then focus on promoting the remaining 5 or 6 singles, along with the album as a whole for the people, like myself, who still care about such things. 

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

The next single after “Little Black Book” is “You fill Me Up” and it actually came out today, July 29th, as I’m writing this. I do my best to release a single a month.  The full album will be out sometime in the fall although no exact date has been set yet.

What else is happening next in Gideon’s Army’s world?

Well right now I’m focused on promoting “Little Black Book” and “You Fill Me Up”, I’m also looking for the right music video directors to collaborate with on music videos for these singles and, optimally, all of the upcoming singles on this album. I’m also paying attention to the facts of this virus. As soon as it’s completely safe, I’m going to plan a tour. Regionally at first, in the north east, and then we’ll head out across the country, and then internationally. And of course we’re always open to invitations from festivals.

Thierry Wone & Maggie Tra Rediscover Their Roots On New Lo-Fi Single ‘ LE POIDS D’UNE LARME ’ (The Weight Of A Tear)

Mixing his Senegal/Vietnmaese roots with a multi-cultured French up-bringing rapper ​Thierry Wone​teams up with Australian born Cambodian/Vietnamese DJ/Producer​Maggie Tra​for​‘Le Poids D’une Larme’.​The single is a collaborative effort, produced by Maggie Tra along withThierry Wone which features stunning French lyrics that resonate without translation.

Oozing with emotive feels, and wobbly lo-fi production, ‘Le Poids D’une Larme’ translates to “The weight of a tear”. Collaborating online, across continents and time zones, the song is about the contradiction of love and why we stay in situations/relationships that aren’t good for us. Speaking on the release Thierry Wone goes on to say “It’s a song about why we still love what makes us cry. That’s what I am asking myself and everybody: what is the real weight of tears? But also, is it love without the heart? Is it even better when it hurts? It makes us feel alive”.

Thierry reached out to hotbed of talent Maggie Tra, which has lead her to make her debut as a producer. “Thierry and I both have Vietnamese heritage, despite him being in France and me in Hanoi – Vietnam, during lock-down we connected with our backgrounds,”

The single identifies as unity, the artists’ feed off each other’s energy as they both are on a journey of self-discovery of their roots through music whilst also supporting POC and Asian POC in the music industry.

INTERVIEW: M Dot Taylor

Hi M Dot Taylor! How are you?

What Up Doe Vents Mag?! I’m blessed and thanks for the interview btw

Where are you from?

I’m From Detroit

What is your greatest inspiration for your music?

The Life I live and the people in it that matter to me.

What are 3 words that describe your music?

Vivid, Triumphant, Versatile

What is the hardest subject you’ve ever written about?

The passing of my parents, my cousins, and my brothers incarceration

What are the challenges of being an artist?

Staying focused through growth, distraction knock a lot of artist off track

Are you planning on releasing new music soon?

9/11 “Tap In” Featuring Ice-T, A.D, Glasses Malone, And it was produced by my Day 1 Clyde Strokes

Follow M Dot Taylor here:

https://www.instagram.com/mdottaylor/

Listen to his music here

INTERVIEW: Alexa Swinton

Hi Alexa, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? 

I’ve been great, thank you! It’s been a strange time, but my family and I have made the most of it! WE have quarantined since March 14 and there are seven people- (My grandparents, mom, dad, sister, brother and me) PLUS our chihuahua named Lola.   It’s a lot of fun for sure.  And also a lot of yelling.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “You, Me, And My Purple Docs”?

Yes of course! Well- its my latest AND my first, so its pretty exciting.  

Purple Docs is about using your special strength, whatever makes you feel good, to go out and make a positive difference in the world.  To stand up for what you believe is right, for things that will make our planet a better place to be for all of us.  It’s also about kids taking action, young people taking action.  Well, and any people taking action.  My grandparents like the song too!  

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I have been working with Dawn Elder, a Grammy nominated producer for the past year and a half.  Dawn mentors young singer songwriters and I have learned a lot from her.  We wrote the song together.  She asked me what made me feel special – was there an outfit or something – when we were brainstorming and I thought of my purple Doc Martens which I loved and which made me feel cool whenever I put them on.  So we wrote about that.  

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

Yes, our music video will be released in August!  It has been SO MUCH FUN making a video for this song.  The video tells a story and it’s funny.   I can’t wait to share it!  It even has an Easter egg referring to Emergence, the ABC TV show I starred in last year.  So for Emergence fans – definitely check it out and let me know if you see it 🙂

How was the recording and writing process?

It’s so nice now that you can work on Skype or FaceTime – so Dawn is in LA and I am at home and you can be writing in your slippers.  I also write down lyrics on my own of course – and bring them to our sessions.  I have lots of journals – and over the years – when my mom and I drove to auditions – she always handed me my journals.  So I have a habit of just creating stuff all the time.  You never know what you can use in the future!

The recording process was so much fun.  We did a lot of it time shifted and working remotely – because Dawn is in LA and we are in New Jersey.  So she worked with the musicians ahead of time and laid down the track.  

I have been writing songs and stories since I was little – at least since I was five.  We were in Arizona  on vacation and I started singing some words in the pool and my mom said – wait a minute – that’s super funny!  So she got out of the pool, got her phone, and recorded two lines.  Then we wrote more around that.  The original two lines were “Tonight we’re making Chicken with Chicken Sauce. / You won’t want to miss this party.”  Later, in New York – we had my voice teacher Bob Marks record a piano track to the melody I had come up with and I sang this song in my school talent show.  My mom encouraged me to sing an original rather than a cover.    Yes, it was quite…. bold!  

You get to work with some top notch names such as Errol Cooney and Luis Conte – what was it like work with them and how did they get to influence the song?

I knew many of the musicians because I have performed live with them in the past at Dawn’s Vocal Summit concert event in Los Angeles.  It’s wonderful to work with, collaborate with such talented and experienced musicians!  

Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?

Well, I just turned eleven so I don’t really work on my own.  I bring my ideas and I also get ideas from working with someone.   I think older musicians also work with others – creating music for me is a very collaborative process.  Also – I think recording ideas at the time when you have them – that’s something my mom has taught me.  She does standup comedy and is a writer.  Whenever she hears a good idea, something funny, something interesting, she captures it in the moment.  She does the same with me. 

What role did LA play on the writing and music on this song?

I always love going to Los Angeles – and – we recorded the song at Sunset Sound studios.  This was really cool because Prince recorded Purple Rain in the same studio.  So – I thought it was funny that my song is Purple Docs.  It’s amazing going into the main office at Sunset Sound.  The wall is covered with gold and platinum albums from so many incredible bands. Very inspiring! 

LA is such a cool place.  We went for lunch to Urth Cafe (one of our must-visit places every time we are there) and my sister Ava who is thirteen went slightly crazy when she saw Tik Tok star Addison Rae sitting at the next table.   And we go, we also like to go to the Hard Rock Cafe on Sunset – they always have a great live music or a stream of music videos playing.   We love watching old videos there – we saw Pink Floyd the Wall and Aha’s video too.  One time we also went to the Grammy Museum and there was a Johnny Cash exhibit which was super.  

With a background on acting – how would you say this experience translates into your music?

My background in acting helps me recognize the importance of storytelling. I’d realized a song is a story set to music so I knew I wanted to write a song where there was a beginning- middle- and end.  The story of the song is; I wake up, have a feeling, have an idea, go out into the world and take action! You know, just a typical day! LOL!  

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

At Sunset Sound, I also recorded  “Happy As I Wanna Be” by Micheal Jay, Nicole Anderson, Aiyana-Lee & Andre Mieux. So we would like to release that soon! I am also writing some new music, so stay tuned and follow my Instagram @alexaswinton for news of what’s next!!

Any plans to hit the road?

I would love to!  I love to travel and my family and I have been to Hawaii, Scandinavia, Latvia, Europe and across the U.S.  I also love CANADA – my dad is Canadian – and many amazing singer songwriters come from there.  For now, I will be doing a few virtual appearances including in CANADA – yay!  I will be on CHCH TV  and also on ETALK on CTV.  I am also super excited to sing live at Ryan Seacrest’s foundation for children who are in hospitals.  That will be in Nashville.  What’s cool is to be able to go to all these places without leaving your house!   

Of course – I am also super excited to sing live, in person, with an audience, once that’s possible again.

What else is happening next in Alexa Swinton’ world?

I am currently in bed writing this and also fighting with my siblings.  I LOVE to multitask!

Actually – this summer I have been working on my singing and doing lots of virtual summer camps!   I am participating in competition math, studying puppetry, writing poetry, and also playing Roblox and Sims 4- my two favorite video games in the world!  I also started a new GACHA YouTube channel so I can make stories.  My mom and I are finishing up Skylie, our YA novel, in August.   Plus – there is a movie on the horizon that will be shooting this fall,   

LISTEN HERE

The President Of Pop Already Drops Sequel To Debut Single, with New Track “Fly/Shine”

The President of Pop recently debuted his journey in music with the drop of his debut track “Google-ized by Google’s Eyes, (The No Internet Song),” a song that’s already taken the internet by storm, thanks to its powerful anti-social media stance. 

Less than a month after its release, The Pres. is already releasing a sequel to his debut single, with a more empowering and poetic song titled “Fly/Shine.” This new single focuses on the importance of listening to ourselves and our inner voice that always knows what is best for us, no matter how hard it seems or how criticized we are by other people. The Pres. is clearly empowering people into taking control over their destiny, and not let the external factors interfere on any level. 

In that sense, “Fly/Shine” is much similar to his debut single, he’s just taking different roads to convey the same message; one starting with criticism of a negative pattern, and the second one encouraging and supporting people to believe in their potential. In both cases, the outcome is brilliant!

   Check out The President of Pop On Spotify

HuDost Release New Music Video For “This Is How My Story Ends”

Staying true to their mission, HuDost have returned with the release of their new visuals for single, “This Is How My Story Ends”–which addresses the triggers that many people are struggling with during these tumultuous times and what people can do to claim their own stories.

This song marks the beginning of a slew of singles that will be released every six weeks for the next several months. These releases will include “How Many Miles,” a song that addresses how far many of us have journeyed from our true selves and what it means to come home to our greater purpose (this song includes The Accidentals as guest performers), and “I Cannot Breathe” which is a song applauding the work of collective advocacy and activism in this time.

Moksha Sommer–who with her other half, Jemal Wade Hines–have “decided to hit the ground running through direct action, protest, and solidarity” says, “During a time when many are exhausted by polarization, social media squabbles and a lack of genuine positive action many of our peers have a hunger for empowered change and are fostering that very thing.”

Sommer adds: “The best that we can do as artists and musicians is reflect what is happening in the world with our art, and through that, offer the audience a new perspective on their own struggles. The world crisis that we are also encountering through COVID is one that we need music and art to be a processing mechanism for. We hope to adapt to this time with as much grace as possible, embrace our victories, and discover new ways of reaching our audience with as much love and appreciation as they encounter in a live experience. We feel that releasing these singles during the time when we’d normally be touring is one of the ways we can do that very thing.”

“This Is How My Story Ends” also voices the internal mechanisms that many of us encounter when in pain and isolation such as depression, anxiety, anger, addiction, and the fear that we are incapable of aiding positive change in ourselves or in the world. The hope is that this type of expression can act as a therapeutic tool that does foster that very change.

In terms of the video, the live and somewhat artsy approach with the whole dark background in the video fits so well with the almost dreamy vibe the song goes for.

HAWK [feat. Ken Stringfellow, Morgan Fisher & Pete Thomas] Release New Music Video For “This Is It”

Today we are pleased to join forces with David Hawkins for the release of his new music video for “This Is It,” a very good visuals featuring some interesting imagery that seems to come out of a DIY 90s Alt Rock video.

About the video, Hawkins comments “The song and video are a celebration of being in the moment: This is it. Right now. It’s all we ever have. And the present moment seems more pronounced during the pandemic; things slow down and our senses become heightened. The video speaks to that feeling and features a striking slow-motion cinematic pool sequence of L.A. model & designer Elena Terese directed and shot by Roger Artola, while legendary Hawk drummer Pete Thomas (of Elvis Costello’s band) and I rock out through a psychedelic desert haze. It’s all sunshine and California blue-sky dreams, and falling in love on a trip to the 7-Eleven. It’s the epic sun-blind desert vision quest and then diving into her parents’ pool to cool off; a quiet escape while the brightly colored wave of post-peak America crashes on the shore. And listening mid-plague, you may even catch a glimpse of the black angel in her reflection: ‘I know you came down from heaven / You spread your wings and I was through / This is it.’”

May 15th saw the release of the Hawk‘s fantastic new album Fly. Under band leader David Hawkins‘ stewardship, Hawk has become a full-blown supergroup with the enlistment of Ken Stringfellow of The Posies (and R.E.M. and Big Star) all-time great drummer Pete Thomas of Elvis Costello’s legendary Attractions, and newly-added Morgan Fisher of Mott The Hoople (who’s also played with Queen and Yoko Ono). Hawk, as well as David’s orchestral folk-rock band Be also regularly feature contributions from Jayhawks leader Gary Louris, who’s not present here due to commitments to his main gig, but is already recording his parts for the next Be album.

Recorded internationally, Fly shakes up the Hawk formula that was once described as having “the crunch of AC/DC, the swagger of the Stones, and the melodies of Tom Petty,” according to one journalist, as this time the band’s sonic explorations move into shinier, noisier, hi-tech territory that recalls early-90’s R.E.M. on songs like “This Is It” and “She’s An Angel”, and even channels New Order and The Cure on “You Are The One I Want”, then goes right for the throat of the Trump administration on “TruthTo Power” before closing it out with classic psych vibes on “Lost Our Way”.

David Hawkins is not only incredibly prolific, but also quite the interesting character who took an unusual path to where he’s at now. He’s had a successful career as an abstract painter, and is co-founder of the The Black Mountain Arts Collective, an avant-garde performance group inspired by the “happenings” orchestrated by John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg and others from Black Mountain College in the 1950’s.

Russ Still and the Moonshiners offer intoxicating grooves via new SIngle

In their latest single, the sunny “Cancun,” country-rockers Russ Still and the Moonshiners offer us some of their most intoxicating grooves so far, and if you’re as much of a honky tonk fan as I am, it couldn’t be arriving at a better moment than now. The summer of 2020 has been unlike any other in recent memory for a myriad of reasons, but in terms of compelling country crossovers, the market has been saturated with far more duds than studs – up until the release of this most recent studio cut from Russ Still and the Moonshiners. Built on the back of a rhythm that could slice through even the thickest of fog in the name of shedding some summer sunshine on the dancefloor, “Cancun” is a swinging number sung from the heart.

URL: https://russstill.com/

The vocal that Still gives up from behind the mix here is smoky and rich, harmonizing with the instrumentation in a way that I can’t imagine another singer replicating even if they tried. This isn’t to say that he’s somehow changing the game for country music moving forward – far from it – so much as he is imprinting a signature sound on this track. He’s got a lot of honest grit in his delivery, and though it’s a bit edgier than what the mainstream would usually call for, this could be what makes his performance in “Cancun” as memorable as it is. Still isn’t letting anything hold him back from going hard after the melodies, and his moxie is something that the young rookies in this genre could really stand to learn from.

There isn’t a lot of low-end presence in the mix, and yet the swing of the grooves is perhaps heavier than anything I’ve listened to on the FM side of the country dial in the last few months. Structurally, this is a lean and mean composition that just so happens to be adorned with layer after layer of melodic thrusting, but nothing ever sounds explicitly complicated or overproduced to such a degree of feeling saccharine or disingenuously experimental. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from listening to some of the older tracks in the Russ Still and the Moonshiners discography lately, it’s that this is a band we can count on for giving us truly authentic performances, and in this sense, “Cancun” is on par with everything they’ve produced in their career.

You don’t have to be a big country-rock fan to dig what Russ Still and the Moonshiners are putting together for fans in their new single, but those who keep up with the indie realm of the genre that exists well outside of Nashville city limits definitely will want to give it a spin sooner than later. “Cancun” is a burly beat anthem that has all the charisma it takes to make even the most discriminating of critics into a countrified dance fiend – if only for about three and a half minutes time – and that alone makes it an amazing find this season.

by Bethany Page