Originally from Northern California and now residing in Philadelphia. Experiencing life with others through writing and lens covering music, art, sports, culture and travel. http://aranhart.tumblr.com/
Swedish born singer/songwriter Seinabo Sey will be kicking off the U.S. leg of her For Madeleine tour in Philadelphia on Tuesday May 26th at Underground Arts [tickets here]. This marks Sey’s 2nd headlining tour in the U.S. Sey will be performing songs from her EP, ForMadeleine, which was produced entirely by Magus Lidehäll. The debut EP features “Pistols at Dawn,” “Hard Time” and “Younger.”
You’ve probably heard the remix of “Younger” by Norwegian DJ Kygo. Since then, she has also released a second EP, For Maudo, this past March.
Sey’s recent accolades include Best New Artist at the 2015 GRAMMIS, the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Awards, as well as being named one of “VEVO DSCVR’s One’s to Watch 2015” and “Rolling Stone’s Artists You Need to Know.”
The Supporting Act for the tour, is newly signed R&B group, James Davis. They released their self-titled debut via Hardcover/Motown Records last month to critical acclaim. The familial trio, fraternal twins Jess and Rey and younger brother AusTon hail from Inglewood, CA, and count artists as varied as Curtis Mayfield, Kings of Leon and Nirvana as influences.
Called an “exhilarating, almost unclassifiable group” by Alan Light in Elle, the band “displays, like the music of sibling bands from the Beach Boys to the Jackson 5 to Haim, an unconscious and biological sense of timing and harmony that can come only from growing up in the same household and speaking with the same patterns and rhythms.” With additional praise from The Fader, Rolling Stone and Noisey, it is clear that this trio is a must-see opening act.
Seinabo Sey – “For Madeleine” U.S. Spring Tour
5/26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
5/27 – New York, NY @ Marlin Room @ Webster Hall
5/29 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
5/30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
5/31 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
6/2 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
6/5 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
6/6 – Seattle, WA @ SODO Lounge
6/8 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
6/9 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
Do you believe ‘The world is at your fingertips’ ?? This belief may be showing its truth more and more every day. Your ability to reach the world through travel and the internet has afforded many opportunities that many would never image. The individual from a small rural part of the world now has the ability to touch those in large cities like New York and Tokyo. Which brings us to an unlikely pairing on paper but in today’s ever changing market, more common than not. How does a leather goods company from Spain connect with a Maasai Chief from Kenya? This is where opportunity and preparation meet.
Pikolinos is a Spanish shoe brand that forms part of the Pikolinos Group, a company whose activities range from tanning leather to having their own shops. Their story…
Maasai Tribal Chief Kikanae Ole Pere, or William as he is known in the West, is a Maasai warrior who was declared leader of his community in Kenya after his unwavering efforts to provide for his tribe. William crossed paths with the President of the NGA ADCAM Rosa Escandell and together started a long journey to raise awareness in the Maasai community to inspire them to build for a better future via their own economic resources outside of tourism. Together they created The Maasai Project.
Maasai Project is a design collaboration program with Pikolinos and the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Tanzania where the profits are given back to the Maasai women involved to provide hope and opportunity for a sustainable future through building their own economic resources while empowering women with greater rights and employment.
I had the honor to meet and speak with William at Benjamin Lovell Shoes in Center City.
Olumide: How did the collaboration start between yourself and Pikolinos?
William: This all started from a dream I had that one day I’d be able build my own business, travel, and positively affect the people in my community. I was lucky to meet the owners of Pikolinos and present them my ideas and we were able to create the Maasai Project.
How has this project helped the women of the Maasai Tribe?
The project has allowed women to be self-sustaining in an environment that does not always foster a woman’s independence. Through the Maasai Project it was taught women entrepreneurship and allowed them to make wages for themselves feed their families and send their children to school.
Are there any plans or hopes to expand into other fashion areas?
Yes, working with Pikolinos has given us a great opportunity to see how well the woman’s designs are for shoes and since Pikolinos works with leather goods we would love for the women to design more. With this current project the women have been able to create bracelets and necklaces that are great accessories with the shoes.
Do you think this will inspire the youth to pursue more projects that allow them to affect their community and the world?
Yes, this was a part of my dream. I wanted my people to be able to have more opportunities to grow and learn. We’ve been able to create programs that help educate children. Through this we hope to expose children to more opportunities and have an interest in what they can do for their community and the world.
How do you think your leadership has changed the tribe for the better?
My leadership has opened the eyes of the community and how we view women. Before women were not as valued as they should be. Entrepreneurship has really allowed women to go above and beyond the Maasai Project and shown the strength and ingenuity of our women.
Do you have a favorite design?
Yes I have a favorite. They are all my favorite (laughs)!
Support a local team of Drexel-alum as they will compete for $1million cash prize against teams across the nation. Northeast Region games will be played in Philly July 17, 18, 19. See details below. MUST vote by June 1st.
Instructions: Click link above and set up account. Leave team name BLANK as the link auto votes for them. OR search for “The Blue and Gold Club” in the North East Region after you register if you have any problems.
A quote for team organizer Rob Falcone:
“Even if we aren’t officially a part of the Big 5, we’re still a part of the fabric Philadelphia basketball. This is an opportunity to put some of the best whoever played at Drexel and to go and win a couple of games and say we really do care about basketball and that extends beyond the NCAA.”
Striving as we music lovers do for a new sound that appeals to our palette, it’s not often we come across something that grabs our shortening attention spans… let alone envelops us the further we dig in. That is the bliss — free from ignorance — we hungrily look to feed upon.
When one finds Hiatus Kaiyote it may take a while to realize what is being heard. That wonder is the fuel for interest in wanting to feel and know more. Just as this Melbourne based quartet of musicians challenge themselves (and each other) in creating / performing their music, they invite others into the experience while lending time and space to learn and grow. Accept their invitation and enjoy raw appreciation for the delicately layered and well thought up lyrics which flow over an ensemble of sounds, forming Hiatus’ brand new album, “Choose Your Weapon” (Released May 4, 2015).
That’s when you’ll witness a soaking up of styles from decades past, expressed en vogue — that create an electrically current, even futuristic sound — pushing lyrical limits in an effort to understand our soulful experience in super/natural surroundings. The beauty — and the beast (that ever-present grit and funk), lies in the orchestrated push and pull of different arrangements and interludes that lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist Nai Palm fearlessly leads you through.
The album title implores you to make a wise choice, thinking ahead. A key ingredient to any act is the act-ivating. From there the belief that possibilities are endless guides a freeing of the mind — and we know what follows in time.
Below: I talked with Hiatus Kaiyote drummer Perrin Moss about their new album, the dynamic music culture of Melbourne, and more.
Philly! Check out Hiatus Kaiyote this month: –> Friday May 8th @ Underground Arts ( Tickets)
** w/ Kate Faust and Mr. Sonny James
–> Saturday May 30th @ The Roots Picnic ( Tickets )
Aran Hart: What do you think makes Hiatus Kaiyote and its music unique?
Perrin Moss:It’s 4 people that are very strong minded in their opinions. There’s not one person taking charge and telling everyone else what to do. Everyone brings in their own ideas. Even if it is a song that our lead singer Nai has written, we all interject and put in our own stamp on our parts. Then we workshop the fuck out of it to put it together. The input is so broad, not ever sticking too much to one thing.
We’re always challenging ourselves and the listener, but also keeping the music accessible, not going too far overboard. Even if individuals have their own point of reference for a tune, guiding the song in one direction — we’ll pick up on that vibe but not do it so obviously.
I come from a production background so I’m always thinking about how it would sound on the record. So as the drummer, with a drum fill or whatever, I’m like “Alright cool, I might sit back in the pocket a bit on this part because if I was on the record the drums wouldn’t be all in your face.” So we feel it out that way and I guess it expresses our uniqueness.
Is there a tempo or type of syncopation your band consciously creates? In particular your arrangements/pauses seem to be very complex and a trademark if you will…
I feel like that’s just what we do and maybe over time it’s become a conscious thing. I used to listen to a lot of this ‘South Asian’ music and now when I hear myself drum I can hear where it’s coming from in that sense — the spacing and phrasing. Once you start playing rhythms over and over again it starts coming out in your subconscious. Now when I hear a straight groove that is completely on time, it doesn’t seem natural to me as a drummer — for what I would play.
My natural thing is to be loose and have a few limbs hit later than the other ones, it’s ingrained in me. I keep getting influenced by other music and players, and influenced by life. So that really constantly redevelops your sound. So those time-signature changes is something now, if it wasn’t in the beginning, very natural to us. We don’t want to be known as a certain signature complex style though… or caught up trying to be any one thing, you know. We also really appreciate the simple forms and styles of music. It’s part of the process of us growing as musicians with our instruments.
You think about a lot of people who start off playing music and they wanna shred and then when they get older they chill out on that and want to hear the space in music. So I feel like we’re on our way with that, while not forgetting the feeling you first have when we started playing music — that excitement.
In the beginning it was really fucking hard to play our songs and all the ideas we came up with. But that’s why we liked it and why we came up with it. It was us developing another skill set on our instruments. Saying, “Hmm, I never felt this before… how all of us are playing this way and linking up with each other in new ways — and thinking, “hey this sounds alright!”
Were these recording sessions long (in a good way) with a lot of improv… in essence how structured was the recording process? Because the records sound so natural and blended, while intricate and outside the box…
Our recording sessions were very structured. We tend to write a song and play it in loops for quite some time until we play it live (in concert) and then it will change from there. So we have a lot of experience with the songs before actually recording them. And then when it comes to the studio, most of the songs end up being the same length and form, pretty much. Sometimes what we play changes to achieve the sound we’re looking for, and how we want it to be perceived.
One song on the record “Swamp Thing,” we didn’t really have a form properly and we made it up in the studio as we went. That was the most free-moving kind of song that we recorded. We did three versions and did three different outros with a lot of improvisation. When we figured out the mixing of the album, and the structure of the song, the first half was pretty much how we worked out in the studio… While the last part we listened to all 3 takes and put a little bit of this outro, and a little of that one together from what we liked of each. Then we get into overdub land, so yea it gets pretty deep [laughs].
But, we’re not the type of band that just goes into the studio and starts writing songs and record them at the same time. We definitely marinate on the songs for a long time and figure out what feels right by playing them with each other and live at shows to see how people react to them.
What pieces/elements do you need to start/create a song?
It changes every time but I feel like we all like a story within a song. So lyrics have a lot to do with that and are very important. We feel it’s never a full song until there are lyrics involved. We love having that narrative. Also, I’m a drummer and it’s funny because I don’t feel like I can play any beat until I hear some chords. Even if I just hear 3 chords it gives me an emotional connection to feed off. It’s all about an emotional connection first and then whatever feels right in that context. A lot of the time we love to have these dreamy starts and ends, that draw the listener in and then things develop from there.
It’s always important to mix it up. Sometimes the songs will come from a production track I’ve done, then we’ll rework it. Other times Bender will come up with a guitar melody and Nai will write over top of that. Other times Nai will have a whole song — and you could say this was kind of “the birth” of Hiatus: Nai’s material, just acoustic guitar and vocals, with no other elements involved. I don’t know if she was thinking about a band or other elements, more just writing a beautiful song at the time. And then we developed the other elements around that emotion or feeling.
Of course, at times it’s just whatever we’re feeling. Maybe we wanna create this nasty, gritty, weird 60’s hip-hop thing that’s never been heard before, because hip-hop wasn’t around back then but it sounds like it was made in the 60’s. So then you have this weird crossover between this contemporary world and the old school way of making records. We’re always thinking about that kind of stuff.
Talk about this new album…How did you know this was an album?What makes this collection an album?
A lot of it has to do with the time period. Also, that feeling of, “if we don’t record this song now, we might never record it…” Or we’ve been playing a song live for a while — and maybe it wasn’t quite ready when we did the first album. So, “if we don’t put it in this record, when will it come out?” We put everything in that people had heard, and that was already enough material to not really have to add in anything that new — though we have added a couple new ones too. It’s a documentation of our music and a time period. Capturing those moments and songs on this record.
And the next record will be a totally different thing, that will probably start from now. It will start when we’re on the road because we’ll come up with some random shit in soundcheck that will start developing. Then in a year’s time that will turn into a new song on a new record, just like how much the stuff on this record started before. We’re not very good at keeping secrets with our songs. We like to try them out and see how people react to them, and then we can go and record them.
Describe something that happened to the band in the last 6 months/year and how it has played out for better or worse…
We always really wanted to work with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson — who did the Suite For Ma Dukes thing: a whole bunch of J Dilla songs that he interpreted with like a 30-piece orchestra. We were all just so amazed when we heard that in Australia.
We all love hip-hop and J Dilla, especially me, and didn’t even know for a long time that a lot of my favorite hip-hop songs were produced by Dilla. I was always after this certain characteristic or sound and then I realized that a lot of the songs were in fact done by the same person.
So, during an interview one day we were asked who in the world we wanted to work with and we all said “Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.” And thank god we got to work with him on this record. One of our only features outside of Australia, who among musicians is a big superstar. He jumped on a track of ours called “The Lung.” It was really beautiful and special for us to work with someone of that high caliber.
Also, collaborating with other musicians in Melbourne as well has allowed us to steer away from always ‘over-laying’ parts over parts for songs. We have been able to sit around in a room together with a couple mics, and do one take we could incorporate into a part of a song. This new process is something that has transformed how we are writing and recording our music and where we want to continue going as a band.
Describe the music culture in Melbourne?
It’s a very multicultural city with a lot of opportunities to see music. It’s also a small city so you get to meet a lot of people in the music community when you go to gigs. A lot of people there delve into a lot of different genres. There’s not a lot of ego there or fighting among musicians for gigs. More of a friendly competitiveness where people are giving each other support. The crew of people that I hang out with are a lot of my favorite musicians in the world and I connect with them so much. It’s not just Hiatus — I feel we could all play in each other’s bands because we come from the same place. I don’t know what is happening there but a lot of people are in the same head space about music and about pushing things — but still being true to yourself. It’s a very supportive network.
How as a band do you define progress/positive growth?
We just really take each day as it comes. Our goal is to become better musicians by continuing to push ourselves, and each other. But I guess we’ll never know if we do become great because it seems no musicians really ever feel like they’re great…ya know? And that’s the main part of what keeps pushing you forward and growing.
When they play, they play for each other, and with their audience. From the onset their wry, not dry, humor was on display, toying with the contingent who were willing recipients. Satisfied knowing it was all part of the settling in and becoming comfortable with the performance at hand. Stepping calmly out onto the stage, The Decemberists, one by one or two, followed lead singer and guitarist Colin Meloy, as the Pacific North-westerners took their time to warm up and let everyone know they need not hurry in peril, this would be slow and steady.
Like a ring leader or MC for the evening, Meloy conducted himself respectfully onstage with fun dialogues, working first the guests up high in the rafters saying “Everyone in the top row, whoa, don’t stand up, applaud from your seats. No really. Stay, Safely. Seated. At all times, with your seatbelt fastened.” And then the box suites both stage left and right, repeatedly throughout the night checking in with who he called the Duke and Dutchess of Philadelphia and Baron and Baroness of Pittsburgh.”
The rest of the performance rolled on steadily, building up with musical prowess in full bloom — resting audibly on downtempo tunes, but maintaining the energy with powerful and well delivered lyrics narrating each story.
The topics are as detailed and thorough as the trademark enunciation. But they also take a look at the simple moments that we share in life with our families, in particular children, and appreciate that “sometimes all you can do is just sing a song to your son to make him try and eat his oatmeal.”
Though we may not be “so starry eyed anymore,” The Decemberists provide many moments to get caught up in and newly discover our experience-ful surroundings with lines like “Condescend to calm this riot in your mind, find yourself in time… find yourself in time.” A nod to what we have all around us and ahead. An ironic ‘understanding’ one can notice as the final track of their new album [ What a Terrible World, What a Wonderful World ] is called “A Beginning Song.”
Those that filled the Broad St. palace of a venue Tuesday night were all glad to have such engaging musical masters to guide the shared journey onward.
To open the showcase, as the droves filed in and found their seats, Alvvays — a 5 piece Toronto indie-rock band grabbed people’s attention quickly with lofty vocals over crunchy amps. Their music (plus modest yet colorful look) blends influences of post-punk UK meets Beach House… bottom line it works.
It’s the type of stuff you’d hear playing at a party or picking up a coffee and compel you to ask, “Hey who is this?!… Thanks” and it’s added quickly to a mobile playlist. With talent in their bloodlines and a dedicated touring regiment, Alvvays has been catching the eyes and ears of the music world. So in addition to their current tour with The Decemberists, don’t be shocked to find them on your festival line-up ticket in 2015 and headlining their own shows come next year.
Spend a night with Matthew E White and be reminded that experiencing great music doesn’t have to be so ‘done-up’ or overly-sensationalized. Bringing reality back to live music. It’s a great experience to just sit back and enjoy the show, the talent of each member of the band, and their artistry.
The World Cafe Live upstairs room was not the ‘big performance’ with X amount of orchestral members Matthew E White has done. This was akin to as Matthew playfully put it, “a Randy newman LA supper club show. This is not normal. Not a normal look for us, or you. What a great, and different way to listen to music…”
Different, ahhh, refreshing.
You wanna rock n roll out? You wanna slow it down à la Leonard Cohen? You wanna get groovy and dance with a special someone? You wanna put the windows down and just cruise? Well, the versatility is there for all moods and vibes.
White brings to his audience a “live interpretation” of his new album, Fresh Blood [pitchfork review]. Much of the show is music from the new album, and it does sound quite different live.
He closed with the captivating tune Holy Moly, where he repeats the lyrics “Don’t you ever give a man false hope” — before the band in unison crescendo, seals the deal.
Matthew E White’s Fresh Blood:
Opening the night was the seductive collaboration ofWilsen, a 4 piece band of musicians who all call NYC home, but bring their talents from different locales. Lead singer (and London native) Tamsin Wilson anchors her band amidst ambient sound waves, inviting listeners to be swept away and bob their thoughts along. Nevertheless, not lost while drifting is the careful and heartfelt song-writing that compliments the gentle delivery.
We can’t deny the impact that mobile technology continues to have on how the world dynamically interacts. Our society is increasingly attached to our devices, plus we’re starting to wear more of it, and undoubtedly the impact has real effects. Not only does technology keep us connected to loved ones and drive business, it advances our understanding of the world around us — For example, collecting soil moisture levels, gathering, transmitting, and analyzing critical data as we strive to make improvements to vital industries such as agriculture to help feed a fast growing international population.
As women’s history month comes to an end we remember the past, and look to the future of women’s contributions to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. Examples like Emmy Noether and her contributions to mathematics are certainly worthy of our praise as we consider who overcame obstacles to succeed in STEM.
Now, we consider the always interesting question for each new generation: How will the young women of today take the spark made by Noether (and others) and pave new paths?
We sat down with Linda Ansong, Nana Essuman and Dr. Jamie Bracey of STEMbees. STEMbees is a non-profit based in Accra, Ghana focused on encouraging and mentoring more young African women to pursue their dreams and careers in STEM.
Beyond STEMbees, Ms. Ansong is also Co- Founder of Vestracker AB, Dr. Bracey is Founder of Creative Tech Works Design Studio (CTW) in Philadelphia, and Mr. Essuman is the lead mentor at CTW who is now guiding the replication of CTW Design Studio in Ghana .
We discussed the upcoming City Streets Race during Philly Tech Week 2015, their experiences in STEM, influences, and the significance of striving for more involvement of women in the tech world.
Linda Ansong: In undergrad I studied actuarial science which is very math focused. After college I found myself in an institution called Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology for two years. A majority of my classes were male dominated and I saw this as a problem. I wanted to do something that would motivate and empower more young women to venture into STEM industries. Once I was able to tell Nana about my idea he introduced me to Dr. Bracey and we went from there.
OY: What is the goal of STEMbees and Creative Tech Works?
Nana Essuman: Both organizations have similar goals. The main focus is developing youth to build tech products that create stability and enrich their local communities. Creative Tech Works just happens to focus on youth as a whole and STEMbees focuses on young women. So through this we are able to take what Creative Tech Works has created with City Streets and work on transferring that model to Accra, Ghana. The first pilot is in December ’15, in Ghana, so we are working toward making it a great event for the youth.
OY: What is the inspiration behind the City Streets Race?
Dr. Bracey: We have a culture that likes to play games whether it is on the phone, a board game, or in real life. The goal was to figure out how to get people, specifically young people, to appreciate where they live and interact with technology at the same time.
We had the young people in the program write the code for the mobile app that will be used in the race. We then created a game around the race and we get the young people to engage with cultural icons in the city. It really stems from civil engagement where participants in the race are engaging and learning more about their city.
OY: What unique advantage do women bring to STEM industries?
Linda Ansong: Women are strong, critical, and systematic which is needed in the process of building technology. Having women on our team is the best thing that can happen because women have patience and an ability to bridge the gap in a lot of work environments.
Being outnumbered in most classes 10 to 1 gave me a unique perspective of where women can excel. It wasn’t that women couldn’t do the work it’s just that women needed to be motivated to pursue further education in STEM, past secondary school and through college.
OY: How did your culture influence you growing up?
Linda Ansong: Growing up I was the girl that wanted to know how this or that happened. I would watch Sci-Fi movies and be amazed by what was going on. I really enjoyed math and took a software development class in college that sparked my interest in tech. Both my parents are entrepreneurs which really influenced me, especially my mother. They gave me the strength to work toward my own dreams. Being from Ghana and having the ability to travel opened my eyes to a lot and gave me a new perspective on the opportunities of traveling. My mother told me I can either go travel just to shop or I can go travel learn a lot and create bigger opportunities for myself.
OY: What is the hope for women in STEM?
Dr. Bracey: The goal is for women to go from consumers to producers. To understand the value of technology, you don’t have to be an entrepreneur but at least understand the process of how the technology that you are using works. It’s developing women to be strategic and tactical at the same time.
Linda Ansong: My hope is to help young girls understand that it’s more than just understanding software or programming. I want young girls to understand that there is a large opportunity to create jobs, sustainability, and wealth for their community. It’s tough but it’s an amazing journey and experience to go from working for someone else to working for yourself. It’s powerful knowing that I’m helping show more young girls that they can do it as well.
On Thursday 3-26, two great bands, both from New Orleans hit the stage of the Electric Factory — Galactic and The Revivalists.
Galactic is revving up for a busy 2015 on the festival and concert circuit, doing their best to spread the energy à la CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS — “their music that evokes the electric atmosphere of a whole city – make that, whole cities – vibrating together all on the same day, from New Orleans all down the hemisphere to the mighty megacarnivals of Brazil.”
David Shaw, lead vocalist and guitarist of The Revivalists set off the show with a spectacular spiritual offering, and the rest of the band continued to bring their music to life. The story goes The Revivalists began when guitarist Zack Feinberg ran into David jamming on his home porch in 2007. Eight years later, seven members in, and three albums released they have definitely set their name for themselves in their hometown, now on tour and bringing their music to new venues and fans. Their profound sounds definitely brings out the energy of the crowd with chants, and ‘hands up in the air’ engagement. Their showmanship is definitely what music needs more of.
A few moments after a break, the headlining Galactics dropped in with his jazzy funk saxophone tunes, with each taking their time in the spotlight to play to the crowd. Galactic create an exciting atmosphere totingtheir version of NOLA jazz-funk. This was definitely a night to remember for many energetic and excited fans still buzzing as they filed out.
Find out more, listen, download, and share these bands:
Liverpool quartet Circa Waves recently released their U.S. EP titled T-Shirt Weather via Virgin Records. Produced by Dan Grech and recorded at the historic RAK studios in London, the 5 track EP features their newly debuted single “T Shirt Weather.” The title-track is the latest in a startling run of singles which has seen them make the Radio 1 daytime playlist with tracks “Fossils” and “Young Chasers.”
They are set to release their debut album “Young Chasers” March 30th.
The last 12 months have been building to this U.S. EP release. They were one of the runaway successes at CMJ with the New York Times comparing their performance to the “relentless rhythm-guitar drive of the Strokes.” In addition, they were given the 2015 Best New Band Award by NME on top of the coveted opening slot on the NME Awards tour. Circa Waves also performed in front of packed tents at several festivals including Glastonbury and Reading / Leeds plus played alongside The 1975, Interpol, and Royal Blood.
Circa Waves are: Kieran Shudall (guitar / vocals), Joe Falconer (guitar), Sam Rourke (bass) & Colin Jones (drums).
Guest contributor Ryan Quint talked with Kieran about their upcoming tour, their recent recognition, and what it means to make and play ‘live’ music…
Ryan Quint [RQ]: I want to start off by talking about your upcoming tour. You guys are heading out on a huge Tour in April all throughout the UK and Europe…. and have been touring pretty consistently — doing both festivals and your own headlining shows — which do you prefer?
Kieran: I say headline shows. You’re playing to the audience that is solely there for you. You can enjoy all of the people singing every word back to you. I do think festivals have their own merits too but we enjoy having own our headlines all over the world the most.
RQ: What songs from the new album are most looking forward to performing on this tour?
Kieran: All songs really. I really enjoy playing “Stuck in my Teeth.” Its a song that people seem to really connect with and go a bit crazy to. Obviously the singles are the ones people know the most so they’re always fun to play. Sometimes I don’t even have to sing much, I just let the room takeover which is pretty cool.
RQ: You previously toured with the 1975, did you guys have a previous relationship with them?
Kieran: No, we just got asked to do it. We got to play in huge rooms in Australia and the UK that we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own this far into our careers so we felt that it was a good opportunity for us to be playing in front of 5,000-10,000 people at a time. That sort of experience is great. Once you play in those size rooms, going back to our size rooms (1,000 people) is easier because we know how to work the room a bit more
RQ: What is current your relationship with them?
Kieran: We still speak to them a bit. When we’re down in London, we sometimes go out with them, but they tour loads and we tour loads so its not as easy as we’d like
to go and party with them.
RQ: Apple’s iTunes Store “New Artists of 2015” and Zane Lowe played “Stuck in my Teeth” as his “Hottest Record” in February 2014. Would you consider these accomplishments? And if so, how much do things like this mean to you in the grand scheme of things?
Kieran: Not too much to be honest. I mean its nice to be told these things but I think the real accomplishments come from selling tickets and making the performances as memorable as we can. People high up like Zane Lowe, its very nice that he says these things but he’s not the one who comes to the shows or who necessarily buys the records. Its the people who come to the shows and who buys the records that I want to please. They’re the ones who are going to keep us making music for as long we possibly can.
RQ: I agree, I think a lot of times, artists get caught up with their co-signs and fail to produce where it really matters.
Kieran: Yea you realize that these things from Apple or Zane Lowe only matter for so long and they forget about you. Its the people who truly like the music that will stick around with you.
RQ: Resurgence of UK Pop/Rock artists – Sam Smith, George Ezra, Ed Sheeran, The 1975, Bastille, Royal Blood, among MANY other. Why do you think UK artists have been having so much success recently in the states?
Kieran: I think everything is cyclical and everything comes in waves and at the moment theres a huge wave of that guitar music thats happening in England. Also, if the talent is there then people will recognize it. So I suppose we’ve come out at a good time and it seems that its all heading that way really. I think people may be desperate for guitar music. I suppose there’s a lot of Pop and Hip-Hop music in America so people were even listening to boy bands who play guitar just because they were desperate to hear guitar music. So it all seems that bands like Royal Blood, Catfish and the Bottlemen and all these other UK bands are getting popular because people in America are ready to hear that sound again.
RQ: I know you’re performing several times at SXSW this year. Recently SXSW has been criticized for being very corporate, as an artist do you still look forward to being apart of the festival and what do want to get out of it?
Kieran: We’re just going for the all the free shit.. nah I’m just kidding. But it is very corporate and it feels that way with all of the sponsors. Anyone would frown upon any band who sort of sells out in anyway so to go to SXSW for us is a bit unusual. We don’t necessarily agree with all that sort of stuff but I suppose with these festivals its necessary for them to be as big as possible with all of the sponsors. We do try and avoid big corporate things as much as possible but were willing to take some free shit off them.
RQ: Right, it is still a big outlet and I’m sure a lot of people will be discovering your music there.
Kieran: I hope so!
RQ: Liverpool/recorded at RAK Studios (David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Radiohead, Roger Daltry, Mary J. Blige, Adele, Arctic Monkeys). Does this inspire you knowing that multiple legends recorded there or do you view it as another studio and as a platform to record your music?
Kieran: It’s definitely cool but I don’t sit there and say “Oh, this is a the microphone that Thom Yorke used on the band’s record.” Stuff like that is cool but I honestly think that to make a great record you don’t necessarily have to do it in a big, expensive studio. Personally, we loved how the drums sounded in that room but in my opinion some of the best stuff I ever recorded was in my own bedroom. It’s really just opinion and taste and if the song is good enough, it can be recorded anywhere.
RQ: You mentioned there will be a “Live” aspect to album, how did you accomplish this sound specifically with this studio?
Kieran: We cranked the amps up as loud as they go and then we put them in their own little box with a microphone and we all played in the room together so it was very similar to a live experience in that we would bounce off each other. We wanted a natural sound, we didn’t layer any guitars really, most of it is really just me and Joe (Falconer – Guitarist) playing. I think for a baby (debut) record it’s a really cool thing
RQ: Definitely. Do you think this recording technique will help with your live performances?
Kieran: Yea for sure. If you record a record with a million little things done, the live show will be completely different and people may be slightly confused. I think it helps us knowing exactly what we’re going to be doing live and we can fuck around with it all.
RQ: Moving forward with the album, what can fans expect from the album and how does it compare sonically to the Young Chasers EP?
Kieran: The demos that were on the first EP we recorded ourselves so it’s definitely more scrappy. The album is also definitely more thought out but also we wanted to make sure the drums sounds were small and dry. There were a lot of records we referenced when recording the drum sounds on the album like Arcade Fire’s first record and The National’s early records. And our songs are quite big so we wanted to go the opposite way with the production of them in order to balance everything out. There was definitely a lot of thought that went into how everything sounds on the album
RQ: Last song on the album “Talking Out Loud” is your favorite. What is it about this song stands out?
Kieran: Well for one, its a really slow song so we always get a rest when we play it live. I think Joe liked that song the most, it has a lot of inspirations from Pavements and Brendan Benson with the chilled out sound. It’s a really cool sound that we haven’t really tried before and it came out really well and I think people will really attach themselves to that one when the record comes out.
RQ: Who’s idea was it to follow you guys around in Berlin for the “Fossils” music video and how did the video come about?
Kieran: It was something we had talked about for a long time, just including tour footage and stuff like that in our video. We really wanted to get across who we all really are. And we felt like none of our videos had really done that yet so we thought it’d be cool to get a guy to come and film us in Berlin and he came out with an awesome camera and just filmed everything from the few days we were in Berlin. I love it.
RQ: I know you said in a previous interview that you guys began the day of the video shoot with champagne and cigars; is this a common start of the day for you guys?
Kieran: Yea I start every day at home with champagne and cigars, I cant carry on without them. I’m just kidding. We went a bit extravagant on that day. None of us can afford champagne so we just found some money for that. But it’s definitely one way to start a day, I wouldn’t suggest it every day though.
RQ: Drinking has been the conversation in almost all of your interviews. Who is the heaviest drinker in the group and what alcohol do you have on your rider?
Kieran: We all have various nights where one of us will be up drunk at 7 in the morning but then they won’t be on the next night. We all hit it pretty hard. As for the rider, we usually have some beer then switch between rum and ginger, gin and tonic or bourbon and soda. We have a rotating spirits rider. Oh, and hummus.
RQ: It’s good to see that you take full advantage of the free liquor on your rider.
Kieran: Yea exactly, so 2 days of the week we’ll have gin, 2 days of the week rum, 2 days we’ll be bourbon so we don’t get bored ever and we are always alcoholically surprised.
RQ: I think that’s a pretty good problem you have with not knowing what alcohol to pick for each day.
Kieran: Exactly. And it keeps us drinking everyday which is a benefit.
RQ: Lastly, what are your plans for after the UK tour and will there be an American tour following?
Kieran: Yea, there’s talks of us going to America, it’s all up in the air at the moment though. If it was up to us, we’d be going for a long time so hopefully sometime in the middle or end of this year. We’ve only been (to America) once and didn’t get to explore much so we’d love to go back to LA or New York and also all the other places we missed last time.
RQ: Thank you very much, good luck with the upcoming album release and tour and safe travels to SXSW.
Pre-order their album, which comes out on March 30th HERE: