Tag Archive | "indie music"

ON THE RISE: Ottawa’s Dale DeLong On Bringing Their Music To The Masses!

ON THE RISE: Ottawa’s Dale DeLong On Bringing Their Music To The Masses!

Cleveland-based band Ottawa has exploded onto the Indie Rock scene hard with the release of their punchy new single “Strangers”.  The spirited track is the first release out of 6 brand new, upcoming songs set to trickle out throughout the rest of the summer. Ottawa features the collective talents of Dale DeLong [Lead Vocals], Tim Czajka [Guitar], Jeremy Barnes [Bass] and Will Hooper [Guitars & Backup Vocals]. More Manchester than Midwest, Ottawa creates ambitious Indie Rock that’s equal parts steel-town grit and new wave gloss. Their energetic performances and captivating hooks have helped them generate a buzz far beyond their hometown. After writing and recording for the past twelve months, the band is taking their passion to an elevated level as they set out to promote the releases this summer. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Dale DeLong to discuss his musical roots, the formation of the band and everything they have in store for music fans in the months to come!

Going all the way back to your humble beginnings, both as an artist and as a band. What went into finding your creative voice early on?

That answer is going to be very different for all of us, but for me, I always had this sense that I was meant to front a band, from singing along with New Kids On the Block as a kid to actually looking for guys to start a band with, it always felt very natural. Melody always has come very easy to me, I don’t really know how to explain it; it just comes out. As a band, you’re essentially trying to impress each other, early on. It’s like, “you have a guitar, and you aren’t 50?” Let’s do this.

There is no doubt that music is your true love, so let’s start at the beginning. What are your first memories of music?

I remember my mom blaring ‘Conga’ by Gloria Estefan and I didn’t really care for that too much, but one day I remember her playing “I Can’t Tell You Why” by Eagles. I was maybe 6 or 7 and it just made so much sense to me, like it was made just for me to hear.

Dedicating yourself fully to your art is a big step. Did you ever have any reservations about taking the plunge?

It’s scary. We all still have jobs but, fingers crossed, hopefully for not much longer. The band is taking up more and more time the further we get into it. There’s no reservation in the plunge, it’s just about taking it at the right time, so it sticks.

Who were some of the performers and people behind the scenes who helped to shape the artist we see today?

The Strokes, The Cure, Oasis, The Beatles, Cranberries, Smashing Pumpkins…I’ll toss Jeremy, our bass player, a bone and say Rush (not my thing but it helped shape him). Don Henley, 2Pac- Any new wave band, loads of producers /Engineers, Jimmy Lovine, Matt Goldman, Mark Needham (who mixed two songs for us), Brandon Flowers, Tom Petty, Wilco…it’s endless really.

You are clearly very driven when it comes to your career. Where do you find yourself looking for inspiration to fuel your creative fire?

When you know you’re working toward making your dreams come true, drive just happens and you don’t think twice about it. I’m not consciously driven, its just reality for us at this point; no looking back. The buzz of writing something new that’s so fucking good, and hasn’t been done yet NEVER gets old.

How did you all initially cross paths and form Ottawa?

Tim and I went to high school together. It took me so long to try and convince him to play with me because he never took me seriously- I think because I was a class clown in school. I met Will through a Craigslist ad I posted when I gave up on college and moved home to start a band, like, 10 years ago. That’s when Tim started to come around as well. Needless to say, this band had a couple other iterations along the way, which is pretty typical. Jeremy joined the band two years ago; we kind of needed a new bass player/drummer situation and posted another craigslist ad, assuming nothing would come of it. Jeremy had apparently heard our song “Roman Candle” somehow so he responded right away. He was very good and grounded- he and Tim had an immediate bond over some type of handy work discussion, Will and I ignored, now here are. The 4 of us are Ottawa. Anyone playing drums with us will be a friend or someone hired- we just like being a 4-piece, it works for us.

For those who may be reading this before hearing your work — How would you describe the sound you have created?

We are guitar driven with big choruses; the type of music that you’d clap along with the kick drum to and scream the chorus at a festival. It’s kind of British/ new wave-ish.

What do you bring out in each another creatively?

We aren’t competitive with each other; we only want what’s best for the songs. That being said, we do really push each other. I tend to be the most vocal when we’re writing all together, mostly because I’m the only one with a microphone. There’s a constant push and pull when we’re writing, but when everything finally clicks, there’s a collective like looking at each other like “this is it”.

Ottawa recently wrapped up a long studio session in Atlanta with producer Matt Goldman (Glow in the Dark Studios). What were the highlights of the experience and what have you been cooking up for us?

It was probably the best two weeks of my entire life. The accommodations weren’t the best, lol, but that made it even more fun. We were all sleeping on children’s bunk beds at night, then we’d wake up, drink coffee and make magic. Anything felt possible with Matt, he was steps ahead in his head and he totally got what we were after. Before meeting him we didn’t really know what he was like or what music he liked, because a lot of the records he’s made were kind of metal or whatever. It turns out his favorite music was more along the lines of what we do, so it was just amazing.

What can you tell us about the songwriting process for your music?

Typically, it’ll start with some random melody I have, or a just a title even. I’ll bring the guys some slow ballad-type thing and before you now it, its some Indie Rock banger. Will was playing an acoustic guitar in the studio and we wrote a new song in like 20 min called “Plan of Attack”- it’ll definitely see the light of day.

Did you have any goals, aspirations or a specific vision when hitting the studio for this batch of songs?

Our only goal was that the recordings do the song’s justice; we knew the songs were awesome because we worked our asses off writing them. We’re very proud of this batch of songs!

You’ve been able to live with the songs for a little while now. Which ones resonate with you the most and have you excited to bring to the fans?

Our favorite collectively is a song called “Friends” which we almost scrapped because we couldn’t quite figure it out, then one day, we just did. We’re pumped about all of them but it seems like “No More Love Songs” is the one people are reacting to the most, so we’re really excited to get that one into the world.

I think a lot of people might take for granted what you do to keep things moving forward. Can you talk a little bit about what goes into keeping a band like Ottawa on the rails and moving in the right direction?

I could go on for hours about this — It’s all about the songs! Every new song is a jolt of lightning. The truth is, if we we’re going to quit, we would’ve already. Trying to get this going can be exhausting but when it’s what you’re meant to do, you don’t question it, you just do it.

What were the biggest challenges you faced as a young band?

It would have to be finding the right people to work with, both in and out of the band.

What stands out as your creative milestones?

I can’t pinpoint one thing but finishing a song you started on a random night where you pick up your guitar because you’re lonely, or need to feel like you’re working when others aren’t, is a great feeling.

You have a lot of productive years ahead of you. Where do you see yourself headed musically in the future — with short and long term?

Short-term: releasing these songs and praying to God people like them so we can quit our day jobs, lol. Long-term: festivals all over the world, playing MSG, The Tonight Show, SNL- the whole gamut. I know this may sound farfetched or too ambitious but other bands have done it, right?

As an artist, so many things can be said about the current state of music. What excites about the music today?

The amount of truly talented people being able to put their music into the world is pretty great.

What are you currently listening to for inspiration and what songs are your guilty pleasures?

The War on Drugs, The Killers, Ryan Adams, Old U2… I personally don’t really believe in guilty pleasures because even if something is super lame, there’s usually a team of fantastic songwriters behind it (which I think is awesome), but for the sake of it I think that yoddle kid’s song ‘Famous’ is a pretty good tune. The whole situation is bizarre, but it’s a nice little song.

What do you think people would be most surprised to find out about Ottawa?

We aren’t really the type of people going out partying all the time although we aren’t boring by any means. Personally, I put sleep before most things. You also won’t be seeing us out at swanky night clubs or anything, not that anyone would assume that about us, lol. Tim is a relatively quiet guy but when he get a little toasty that’s when I get texts and voicemails saying how proud he is of what we’re doing and “we’re going to make it”, lol. I look forward to those.

What’s the best way for fans to help support your band in this day and age?

Listen to our music and tell everyone you know and have ever met to do the same!

You have certainly faced your own challenges and learned some things from your time with this project. What’s the best lesson we can take from your journey so far?

When things get really, really hard, that’s right when you’re about to be great- so keep going!

Follow the continuing adventures of Ottawa on social media via Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. Visit the official website of the band at www.ottawatheband.com.

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HEMMING: Candice Martello On Her Breakout Year And Creating Her Debut Album!

HEMMING: Candice Martello On Her Breakout Year And Creating Her Debut Album!

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HEMMING (Candice Martello) is an acoustic singer-songwriter hailing from Philadelphia, PA. Her high-voltage vocals and folk-influenced songs have stood out from the crowd as a performer in the thriving Philadelphia music scene, having played the stage at well-known venues throughout the city. With a family deep rooted in music, It’s no wonder she has befriended every instrument she meets. Playing guitar at just 9 years old, and writing her first song at 13, her fascination with music took off very young.

After graduating from Drexel University, Hemming continued developing her sound and influence as a solo performer to the backdrop of the artist community in West Philadelphia, and as a member of Omar, the two-piece punk band she formed with close friend Nick Fanelli. Many music fans were introduced to her through VH1’s ‘Make or Break : The Linda Perry Project. ‘Make or Break’ was developed by superstar producer and songwriter Linda Perry as the antithesis to reality music shows. Martello joined the show as part of a band, but it was her solo work and a song called “Vitamins” that caught Perry’s attention and started Martello on the journey of finding and developing the voice of Hemming. At the conclusion of the show Martello was presented with the opportunity to make a record with Perry that will be coming out on Perry’s label (Custard Records) this Spring.

With musical influences including Cat Power, Metric, M. Ward, and Elliot Smith; she is inspired by the power of raw emotion, experience, and simplicity. Hemming’s rhythmic, folksy, room-splitting croon produces a haunting experience for her audience. With the honesty of her music, expressed through lyrics like “Do you think I’ll make you feel better?” and “I’ll never be the man for you,” Hemming occupies the space that most people reserve for their heart, whether they want her in there or not.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Hemming to discuss her musical roots, the intense journey she embarked upon as part of ‘Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project,’ the making of her debut album and much more! 

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It’s clear music had an incredible impact on your life. What are some of your first musical memories?

My godfather, who is actually my dad’s cousin, is an accomplished bassist. He has played with people like Lou Reed and has toured around a lot. My aunts worked for an oldies radio station in New York City, so music has always been around my family.

What artists influenced you early on?

I got a lot of influence from female artists like Patty Smyth and Cat Power. I also listened to Bright Eyes when I was in middle school, which is kind of when I started writing myself. I focus a lot on lyric, so Bright Eyes was a huge influence. He is a poet and so is Patty Smyth. It was stuff like that which had a big impact on me.

A career in the music industry isn’t the easiest path. What made you want to pursue music professionally?

I think it was the fact it was the one thing I couldn’t not do! [laughs] No matter what, I felt I always had to write music. That was my outlet. I didn’t know at the time that it would really become a career because you never really know if you are going to end up loving your job. It is really the one thing I absolutely need to do!

A lot of people discovered you earlier this year as part of the VH1 series, “Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project.” For those who aren’t familiar, how did you get involved with the project?

I went in with my friend Nick Fanelli as Omar, a two-piece punk band. We were a last minute addition. They needed a new band and, when Nick first got the call, he thought it was a joke. [laughs] He didn’t answer and then looked up the guy who called him. I think he even hung up on him the first time he called thinking it was a joke. Two days later, we were in LA!

Obviously, you didn’t know what the final product would be when you signed on. Did you have any reservations about being part of a reality series?

Oh yeah! We didn’t have enough time to consider it but we did have a whole day to say, “OK, we are going to be on reality TV. This is a thing that is going to happen and we need to consider that fact!” [laughs] I think the positive things outweighed the negative things in the situation and it was kind of the chance of a lifetime. We had to do it!

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How has being a part of the series impacted you personally and professionally?

It has been crazy! We recorded my album, which is something I have been trying to do for years. I am incredibly happy about that and excited to have everyone listen to it. I just got off tour, two weeks ago, with Rachael Yamagata. That was amazing and we went all the way around the U.S. and Canada, which is something I have never done before. I was playing for crowds that were bigger than I had ever played before. It was cool to get a feel for tour life! I am waiting on the next thing to happen at the moment. I think we are trying to get me back out on tour again soon.

Where are you with your debut album?

We just mastered it, so it is all finished!

That is great to hear! What were your expectations or goals for the album?

I don’t know if I had any expectations for it because I don’t like to have expectations just in case they don’t quite work out. As far as everyone’s reaction to the songs on tour and the songs that are out now, I have a really good feeling about it. I feel like people are missing heartfelt lyrics that aren’t super corny, dance songs or party songs. I feel that is something that is missing from music right now. Hopefully, people will find that in my record.

Hemming - 'Vitamins'

Hemming – ‘Vitamins’

What is the songwriting process like for you? Do you have a particular formula for bringing a song to life?

There is no particular formula to it for me. I can hear a phrase and build a song around that or write a song from the perspective of an inanimate object. It varies and there is no set way I write a song.

Where do you find yourself looking for inspiration these days? Where do you find yourself drawn lyrically?

I started reading some poetry because I often find myself inspired by metaphors. Most of my songs are about heartbreak and feeling alone! [laughs] Classic stuff like that!

Looking back on bringing this album to life, what are the biggest challenges you encountered?

Linda [Perry] is very intense to work with in the studio. She came off way more intense on the show because they spliced together her most intense moments. She is laid back most of the time but she does have those intense moments. I came in with about 25 to 30 songs already written and felt I had a good amount of songs for the record. She would come in one day and say, “OK, I need you to write another song.” I don’t really write like that, under pressure. Usually, a song kind of comes to me. I had to do that twice while I was in the studio. I was there for about three weeks and I had to write two new songs. It was a great learning process because it is difficult to write under pressure but, at the same time, it is your job and it is what you have to do. Only one of those songs made it to the record but I am still very happy with what we came up with for the other new song. I think that will likely be released as something else.

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What type of impact has working with Linda Perry had on you as an artist?

Her way of songwriting is something I hope to one day be able to do as well as she does it. She just lets go. I tend to think about things a little bit too much, which helps me to have very well thought out lyrics but sometimes it is very important to let go, sing whatever and see what comes from that. Never throw things away and don’t second guess yourself. Always try and go with something. That is something she is very good at and she is constantly creating, Even if she isn’t in the studio, if she thinks of something she will have her phone out and record it. You never know when you are going to have a hit!

How did you end up deciding on the name Hemming? Is there a story there?

I knew I didn’t just want to be Candice Martello. I wanted to hide behind a name! I always imagined myself having a band, so we decided I needed a name. We threw around a lot of terrible ideas, hundreds and hundreds of them! [laughs] I was on a three-way text message group thing with Linda and some others with everyone throwing out the most ridiculous names! One day I was in the studio when Linda came up to me. She said, “I’ve got it! Hemming.” I was like, “What? I don’t understand? I like it. It sounds good but what is it?” We ended looking it up and it is a Norwegian baby name meaning something similar to big sister. If you read into it more, it could mean something like werewolf, where something goes through a huge change. We all thought it was kind of perfect because I am going through this giant change right now. I don’t know … [laughs] It stuck and I really like it!

You released two songs that will appear on the album. What is next and which songs resonate with you the most?

We just recorded a video, about two weeks ago, for the next song that is going to be coming out. I don’t know when it will come out, probably in the next few months. That is a song that resonates with me a lot. It is called “Some of My Friends.” It is really just about some of my friends! [laughs] It is a more upbeat song but the lyrics are still sad-ish but it is more of an upbeat rockin’ song. It is just about my friends and I think it is such a universal concept. When I was on tour, it was the one where people came up to me and told me they could really relate to it. It is a universal song and I think a lot of people will connect with it.

You mentioned just coming off tour with Rachael Yamagata. What was the tour experience like for you and what lessons did you take away from it?

It was great! I couldn’t have asked for a better tour. It was really the perfect tour to start off on. Rachel is one of the kindest human beings ever and we got along incredibly well. The other opening band, The Dove and The Wolf, we are all good friends. Everybody in the band was so accepting, wonderful and supporting! Her fan base was perfect for me because she sings a bunch of sad songs too! [laughs] It’s a job and you have to treat it that way. Always sing your heart out on stage. Every place you go to, they are seeing you for the first time, so you have to give it your all everywhere you go!

What is your biggest evolution as an artist so far?

Performance and songwriting. I really had the worst stage fright ever and it’s still very bad but you go on tour and suddenly you are playing to these large groups of people and you have to do it every night! Before everything happened, I was playing maybe one show every three months! Then you are forced to do it every single night! By the end of the tour, I felt my performance getting far better. I think writing and recording the entire record helped improve my songwriting as well.

What is the craziest thing that happened to you leading up to or during a performance?

I am very allergic to sesame seeds and in San Francisco I had a incident. Backstage they have all of these vegetables and dip. Typically, it is ranch dip. I took one carrot and dipped it in whatever form of dip this was and it had three forms of sesame seeds in it. I only had 15 minutes before I had to go on stage. My throat started to close, so I had to take Benadryl and go up on stage to play a set where two of my strings broke in four songs! [laughs] I don’t remember what I said on stage because I was so out of it from the Benadryl. It was very weird! I was like, “I’m sorry everyone! If I break out into anaphylactic shock, my apologies!” [laughs] It was pretty terrible. I think the adrenaline saved me because when I got off stage I was total wreck. I broke out in hives and puked in the toilet! [laughs]

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Not the smoothest of transitions here but … [laughs] you can serve as a great inspiration to aspiring artists. What’s the best piece of advice you can pass along to those who are looking to make their career in the music industry?

I would say, play the music that you want, what you love the most and what comes out of you. Don’t try to change your sound to fit what you think is marketable. Honesty as a human and a performer is always good. Not to be discouraged by what is out there already. Don’t be discouraged if you have a bad show or things just aren’t going your way. I mean, I knew I wanted a career in music but I did not know the right way to go about it. Strange things happen in life that take you where you need to go, so say yes to the right things.

What are you most thankful for this holiday season and what are you most looking forward to in 2015?

I am most thankful for everything that has happened to me so quickly! I am thankful for my friends and family who have been so supportive. I am thankful to Nick, my best friend and manager, who has made so many sacrifices to get me where I am. I am thankful for everyone who has believed in me and Linda. I didn’t believe in myself enough and I needed a big, giant group of amazing people to do it for me and here I am! [laughs]

Thanks so much for your time today! We can’t wait to hear what you have in store for us in the year to come!

Thank you, Jason!

LINKS
www.hemmingmusic.com
www.facebook.com/hemmingmusic
twitter.com/hemmingmusic

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Linda Perry Protégé Hemming Releases “Vitamins”

Linda Perry Protégé Hemming Releases “Vitamins”

Hemming - 'Vitamins'

Hemming – ‘Vitamins’

Custard Records is excited to release the first single, “Vitamins” from their newest signing Hemming that is available worldwide on all digital services today.

Hemming (aka Candice Martello) was first introduced to the world through VH1’s Make or Break : The Linda Perry Project as one half of the Philadelphia punk duo Omar. Make or Break was developed by superstar producer and songwriter Linda Perry as the antithesis to reality music shows.  Martello joined the show as part of a band, but it was her solo work and a song called “Vitamins” that caught Perry’s attention and started Martello on the journey of finding and developing the voice of Hemming. At the conclusion of the show Martello was presented with the opportunity to make a record with Perry that will be coming out on Perry’s label (Custard Records) this Spring.

Hemming’s unique songwriting stamp is her ability to beautifully personify inanimate objects. The idea for “Vitamins” came to her while doing the regular morning routine of taking her daily vitamin. The song is about relying on something outside of yourself, whether that be material goods, substances or another person, to be happy and fulfilled. The song was recorded three different ways before getting it right. The initial attempt included very experimental  orchestrations, but the experimentation diminished the songs emotion. As an acoustic track the sound didn’t quite capture the beauty of the lyrics, and the final product was a combination of the two,  a simple and subtle arrangement that allows the strength of the lyrics and the uniqueness of Hemming’s voice to shine. Hemming is in currently in the middle of a twenty-seven date tour with Rachael Yamagata. The list of remaining dates are below.
“Hemming has a voice that is warm, yet raw in its energy drawing you into the narrative with ease.  – Curve Magazine
HEMMING
Vitamins : Soundcloud / iTunes / Amazon  
Remaining Tour Dates w/ Rachael Yamagata
11.05 | Nashville, TN | 3rd & Lindsley
11.07 | Charlotte, NC | Visulite Theatre
11.08 | Carrboro, NC | Cat’s Cradle Back Room
11.10 | Annapolis, MD | Rams Head On Stage
11.15 | Philadelphia, PA | Union Transfer
11.17 | New York, NY | Bowery Ballroom

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Linda Perry Protege’ Hemming Releases “Hard on Myself” Video And Tour Dates

Linda Perry Protege’ Hemming Releases “Hard on Myself” Video And Tour Dates

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Philadelphia’s Candice Martello, who writes and records as Hemming has released her very first video for her song “Hard on MySelf” via Speakers in Code. The song is currently available on the Linda Perry Project Season One EP on iTunes.

Hemming

Hemming

Hemming, is the newest protégé’ of superstar songwriter and producer Linda Perry and the winner of Perry’s VH1 Show, Make or Break : The Linda Perry Project, a show developed by Perry as an antithesis to music competition shows. Candice Martello (Hemming), initially joined the show mid-season as one half of Philadelphia based punk band Omar with drummer Nick Fanelli, but caught Perry’s attention for her solo work.  Candice remained on the show developing her solo work which lead to a recording contract with Perry’s Custard Records. “This is one of my most proudest moments. When making any record a producer has a list of things you hope a artist brings to the studio, “ says Perry.  “Songs that are strong even without the bells and whistles. They are just good all on their own. Raw honest emotion, the kind of emotion that this industry was once built on. A voice you can believe. Creativity, talent and musicianship, and A Star.  When they walk into the room they are a star. When they sing each line you feel it believe it want to embrace it curl up next to it and hold on each breath til the end of time, because they are a Star you want to follow. Hemming is all of it!  I know she will prove to be much more.”

Hemming will be releasing her first full length album on Custard Records in the Spring of 2015 and  is currently on tour with Rachel Yamagata. “This album has been years in the making for me.” says Martello,  “Linda knew how much these songs meant to me and really brought them to life. I’m very proud of what we have created together and can’t wait for the world to hear it.”

HEMMING ONLINE:
Tour Dates w/ Rachel Yamagata
10.02 | Northhampton, MA | Iron Horse Music Hall
10.03 | Boston- Allston, MA | Brighton Music Hall
10.04 | Montreal, Quebec | II Motore
10.06 | Toronto, ON | Adelaide Hall
10.07 | Ann Arbor, MI | The Ark
10.10 | Chicago, IL | Lincoln Hall
10.11 | Madison, WI | High Noon Saloon
10.13 | Minneapolis, MN | Varsity Theatre
10.15 | Lawrence, KS | Granada Theatre
10.17 | Denver, CO | Bluebird Theatre
10.18 | Salt Lake City, UT | The State Room
10.20 | Seattle, WA | The Crocodile
10.21 | Vancouver, BC | Biltmore Cabaret
10.24 | Portland, OR | Doug Fir Lounge
10.25 | San Francisco, CA | The Independent
10.27 | West Hollywood, CA | Troubadour
10.29 | San Diego, CA | House of Blues
11.01 | Dallas, TX | Sons of Hermann Hall
11.02 | Austin, TX | The Parish
11.03 | Houston, TX | Fitzgerald’s Upstairs
11.05 | Nashville, TN | 3rd & Lindsley
11.07 | Charlotte, NC | Visulite Theatre
11.08 | Carrboro, NC | Cat’s Cradle Back Room
11.10 | Annapolis, MD | Rams Head On Stage

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Michael Bernard Fitzgerald Discusses His Musical Roots And Inspiring New Album

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald Discusses His Musical Roots And Inspiring New Album

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Michael Bernard Fitzgerald is refreshing, optimistic and modest. He grew up in Calgary, Canada; a cosmopolitan city known for its beautiful Rocky Mountain backdrop, an annual rodeo (The Calgary Stampede) and great bike paths. He spent most of his time as a child outdoors with his family camping, biking and hiking in the mountains. He’s an impulsive road-tripper. After high school, he went to Australia with 4 grand, an iPod and a camera. He went without a plan and stayed for 5 months working on a boat and waiting on tables in a piano bar.

Michael’s kind, approachable disposition gives way to an undeniable confidence onstage. This young man can break hearts playing solo with an acoustic guitar and loop pedal, and equally make venues soar with a full band. In Canada, Michael tours regularly from coast to coast. He plays a guitar that is considered the workhorse of acoustics, a Gibson J45(he has one in sunburst and natural); part of his passion for real instruments B3’s, Leslies, tube amplifiers, saxophones and drum kits.

Michael’s  debut album, entitled ‘Yes,’ was recorded in a little studio in Hollywood, California. The song “Man Overboard” was written while joking around and singing the verses to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”. Inspiration for his music often comes to him at a lightning fast pace. “In Your Room” and “Love Is An Easy Thing To Miss” were written in about as long as it takes to sing them. Without any words written down, done from voice note recordings on his phone both songs were written in minutes. “Marvin’s Room” by Drake inspired the guitar for “Love is an Easy Thing to Miss”. “In Your Room” was written at 10PM after a long day with not much flowing and many breaks. Thinking he was done for the day, he sat down one more time, started playing the guitar and making up the verses as he went along. Recorded the song that night, and went to bed.

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald “MBF” has a simple goal – to pursue his craft as honestly as possible – devoid of smoke and mirrors. Positively uplifting. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with MBF to discuss his influences, the creation of his latest album, the challenges involved and what the future might hold for this star on the rise!

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald

First, I have to thank you for taking time out to talk to us. We are really excited about your new album and excited to help spread the word!

Thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time and having interest in the album!

Going back to your early years, what are some of the earliest memories of music in your life?

I got my first electric guitar, the hair metal looking Washburn, at Christmastime when I was about seven or eight year old. I always wanted to play the guitar but I wasn’t crazy about the lessons, so I remember starting to write songs. That is really how I got into the whole songwriting bit.

What was it about music that intrigued you and made you want to pursue it as a career?

Performing was something I always knew I wanted to do. As I was chasing that down in different ways, the music remained a constant during the entire thing and became more and more consuming. Eventually it became my focal point. I gave into it and ran with it. Since then, every year has gotten better and better. I made a promise to myself to continue as long as that was the case!

Who are some of your biggest influences as a performer?

What got me playing the acoustic guitar, bass, drums, horns and with a band something that was a real eye opener — the Hitsville, U.S.A and Motown sound. It absolutely lived on that stuff for the longest time! It has always been a constant that I have listened to Paul Simon. I think he is an amazing storyteller, songwriter and poet. For this most recent record, I started getting more into Bruce Springsteen and watching the U2 documentary, ‘Rattle & Hum.’

A Must Have Album!

A Must Have Album!

You new album is titled “Yes.” For those who may not have heard it yet, how would you describe it sonically?

Sonically, I think it is big. I love all the instruments on it and the people who are a part of it. From song to song, the constant is the voice, guitar and mood. I fell in love with mood during the creative process this time. Every song has different elements added beyond that, so it is an up-tempo, upbeat piece of work!

How did you arrive at the title and what does it mean to you personally?

“Yes” is a simple word that we use daily but this process took a long time and over the span of years, you change as a person. I just felt it was going to be a triumph to finish this album. “Yes” to me is a statement of completion, a statement of arrival, an announcement and an exclamation! It is all of those things wrapped up into one word.

When you first started putting together songs for this album, what were your expectations?

I had none. I knew I need to put out a solid record of music. I had put out music before this in Canada. I knew I was due for that but I just went into the process very open to wherever I would arrive at. I worked with Jon Levine and Brian West as producers on it. I really respect them as writers, musicians and producers, so I felt it was my responsibility to be true to what I like to do and go into the process open to wherever it would lead.

What can you tell us about your songwriting process and how it may have changed through the years for you?

The songwriting process for this record was a little bit different in the sense that a lot of it was co-writes. The reason for it being like that was I would come down to LA to get into studio with the producers. I enjoyed working with them so much and I wanted to be open to wherever we went. We would get together in the afternoon, meet for a meal and then go into the studio to start writing. Most days, we would write until we were ready to track. We would track into the night and that is how we would arrive at the songs on this record. I loved that! I loved that it all came out like that! “Follow” I wrote when I was relaxing on my own. That was written in the way I was used to writing when I am by myself. I wanted to embrace the creativity we had in their studios with this record and I really loved that.

MBF-2013-5

Looking back on the entire process of bringing the album to life, what stands out at as the biggest challenge in creating this album?

The biggest challenge the outside factors. I was working with a different label when I started the process and we didn’t see eye to eye. I had to go through the whole legal split. In doing that and traveling back and forth and trying to make it happen. While there were definitely hurdles, at the same time, I am thankful for those hurdles. I think if the process is too easy, you might not hold it as high. The beauty of it is, a lot of that personal turmoil is great stuff to drive you to write and its great stuff to write about. I think, as a songwriter, you have to live life to write songs!

You have had the opportunity to tour with this collection of songs. What has that experience been like for you and have the songs evolved in the live setting?

The songs always evolve live and I am not happy unless they do! I love when we change this or add that; it is the best part of the process. We have been playing live a lot lately, so we have had the opportunity to let them evolve a bit.

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald

Speaking of live performances, what are your tour plans at the moment?

It has been heavy touring since May, in both Canada and the United States. I was out the entire month of April as well. It has definitely been busy! We are about to go out and do some dates in the States and Canada with Michael Franti. I think it is a going to be a great fit. From what I hear, he is an amazing person, so I am looking forward to spending some time on tour with him.

What are your favorite songs to play live these days?

I am finding it is a treat to play the songs off this record nightly. We had played them before the record came out because I wanted to start trying them and see what was working. I play with a really great band of people who have been my friends for years, so the whole process has been a treat. “Firecracker” is really fun to play, as is “Human.” Honestly, I can’t get enough of playing these new songs live every night. Even on the days that I feel run down from traveling around; getting to play those songs each night is what really keeps me going!

Is there something you hope people come away with after they catch one of your live performances?

Yeah. I hope we connect. One thing I love about playing live is that I get to forget about everything else. I think the music is full of positive messages and the band has lots of energy, so I hope we get to have a great time with whoever is in the audience. The experience is something we all get to enjoy together.

You released a video for “Firecracker”. Are there any other video plans in the making?

We are talking right now about doing a video for “Human” and “Man Overboard.” I am really excited about those. The music video is something very new to me. It is definitely interesting to participate in!

I have to say that the video for “Firecracker” was perfect for the song. What was the experience like for you?

It was really good. It was my first time working with a “video girl.” That was an interesting process in itself! [laughs] Everyone who worked on the video was really nice. Mike Tiddes, the director, he made me feel really comfortable and had great ideas. It is great to work with people like that.

MBF-2013-7

Looking back on your career and body of work, how do you feel you have evolved as a musician along the way?

I think just from playing as much as I have played over the past few years, you can’t help but evolve on a mechanical level as a singer, player and performer. I think that is the biggest change. I also grew a lot in my time working with John and Brian. John would be hard on me at times to make sure I was evolving as a writer as well. I am completely thankful for that experience. It is nice to be pushed once and awhile!

You have played a ton of shows in your career. What jumps out at you as a “Spinal Tap” moment?

Ya know what? I break a lot of strings! I have just come to terms with the fact I am going to break a string here or there and I am going to have to change it in front of the audience. [laughs] I just try to be relaxed about things like that; I don’t think life is intended to be perfect. If you are asking if we have had everyone is playing a bass guitar, I can only say “Yes!” [laughs]

MBF-2013-2

What is the best advice you can pass along to aspiring musicians looking to make music their career?

The advice I would give is the same advice I try to give myself daily. You can get caught up in the details so easily. There are moments of triumph and you can get run down by them, so my focus is to work hard and to make sure I am having fun. If I am having fun, then everybody is having fun.

What are you most excited about when it comes to what the future might hold for you?

I love traveling with my guitar and the band I play with. The people I work with are so wonderful. I look forward to doing more of that and watching it as it grows and we get to travel further and see more people. Every day that is like that is a victory!

Thank you so much for your time, MBF. We are happy to be able to spread the word on it, as it is a terrific piece of work!

I really appreciate your interest and being able to talk about the record a bit!

Never a problem! I am looking forward to talking to you again soon!

Thank you so much! See you soon!

To get the latest information and tour dates for Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, visit his official website at www.ilovembf.com.

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Adrian Grenier’s WRECKROOM Expands Services, Launches Label, Fosters Fresh Talent

Adrian Grenier’s WRECKROOM Expands Services, Launches Label, Fosters Fresh Talent

Making Serious Moves!

Making Serious Moves!

When actor/entrepreneur Adrian Grenier built a recording studio in his Brooklyn home’s basement, his intentions were simple: create a space for friends to write, perform, and record music. However, the equipped studio, appropriately dubbed the WRECKROOM at its launch last May, has evolved and become a breeding ground for fresh talent — a music incubatorthat has helped develop over fifty artists by providing free engineer time, recording equipment, video sessions, and a built in audience to see the final product.

The WRECKROOM is now expanding its services, which you can see from the re-designed website they launched last week. Even more opportunities are now available for artists as WRECKROOM Records has begun to release full EPs and  initiated a new video series titled “Under the Covers” in which artists perform their version of tried and true tracks.

WRECKROOM seeks to develop and promote artists who are pushing creative boundaries. Artists are vetted by Grenier and his team: Damien Paris, Mike Frankel, and Brian Koerber. The two bands that have served as ambassadors of WRECKROOM thus far are Radkey and The Skins.

Radkey is a punk ‘n roll band consisting of three teenage brothers from St. Joseph, Missouri who enjoy video games and the Kansas City Royals just as much as Nirvana and the Misfits.

The Skins are three Brooklyn siblings and two of their friends, all of whom are under the age of twenty. Exploring metal, rock and soul sounds, the combination of Daisy Spencer and Russell Chell’s dual blistering guitars and Bayli Mckeithan’s powerhouse lead vocals illuminate the band’s menacing and mysterious signature style.

Not only do these acts have a ripe amount of youthful rebellion on their side, they each have an EP coming out this summer on WRECKROOM Records. To see a preview of what’s to come from them you can watch WRECKROOM session performances of Radkey’s “Cat & Mouse”HERE and The Skins’ “Surf” HERE.

Like Radkey and The Skins, all selected musicians join the team for a full day session, in which they professionally record an original song and film a live-style music video. The song is later made available on a pay-what-you-want basis on Bandcamp, while the edited videos are available on YouTube. More info on WRECKROOM and the artists they work with are available at the links below.

http://wreckroom.tv/
https://www.facebook.com/WreckroomRecords
https://twitter.com/Wreckroom
http://www.youtube.com/user/WreckroomRecords

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The Honey Brothers: Adrian Grenier & Ari Gold Talk “Time Flies Like A Peach”

The Honey Brothers: Adrian Grenier & Ari Gold Talk “Time Flies Like A Peach”

The Honey Brothers have returned with a new LP, ‘Time Flies Like A Peach’, and it is every bit as sweet as it sounds! But you might ask, “Who are these curious lads with this incredibly smooth sound? Quite simply, they are one of the most eclectic and ear pleasing bands on the scene! The Honey Brothers are: Adrian Grenier (Honey DuContra) on drums, vocals and guitar; Ari Gold (Hoyt Honey) on ukulele, keys and vocals; DS Posner (Dr. J Carl Honey) on vocals and guitar; Andrew Vladeck (Dory Honey) on banjo, guitar, ukulele and vocals; and Daniel Green (Sonny Honey) on bass. Originally formed as a ukulele-singing trio on the streets of New York, The Honey Brothers morphed into the eclectic, electric band they are today, merging a high-energy post-punk sound with traditional music and pop song-craft. Working under the watchful eye of legendary producer Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris, Patti Smith), the band has painstakingly crafted an amazing followup to 2006’s ‘Songs For Your Sister’. “Time Flies Like A Peach” is not only a perfect gateway for new fans to discover their sonic magic but serves as the band’s most fully realized work to date. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Adrian Grenier and Ari Gold to discuss the band’s history, the making of their sophomore album, the challenges involved and what the future holds for this amazing group of artists. 

We always aim to give our readers a little background on the artists we encounter. How did music first come into your lives?

Adrian Grenier: Well, I found my mother’s nylon acoustic guitar in storage amongst some Beatles tablature books. I made the discovery that I could actually teach myself to play the songs. Who didn’t love the Beatles? It was a great entry point into music.

Ari Gold: I had a little piano that was always out of tune, which is probably why I ended up playing percussive instruments like ukulele and keyboards. I never quite got the melodies because everything was out of tune!

Who were some of your biggest musical influences who helped to shape the musicians we hear today?

Ari Gold: With five of us in the band, so we all have really varied influences. I love Kraftwerk, Led Zeppelin, [Igor] Stravinsky as a kid, so I am not sure that influences The Honey Brothers but I am also a big ‘60s ska fan, so that probably led into my ukulele playing.

Adrian Grenier: Ari and I share Ween as an influence.

Ari Gold: Yeah, we are huge Ween fans.

Adrian Grenier: I was a big Funkadelic fan and a fan of the classic bands like Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, like I said, but Funkadelic was the one band that changed everything for me.

For those just discovering the band. How did The Honey Brothers initially form?

The Honey Brothers

Ari Gold: The band started as an acoustic band with three people singing harmonies and it was really cheesy. One night we were playing and the only two people were Adrian and a friend of his. They made so much fun of us, that in order to be cool, we had to bring them into the band. Then we became electric!

Adrian Grenier: Yeah, I started out not as the drummer but as a heckler! [laughs]

Ya gotta start somewhere, right?

Yeah! [laughs]

Another little bit of band history, if you would — What is the origin of the Honey Brothers name?

Ari Gold: Very early on we were much more folky and there were all of these brothers bands from the 1930s that we really liked. Honey just seemed like a nice approach. I mean, we love smelling honey. We love to eat honey but then also there was a sense that we were all looking for sweetness in our lives. We were also looking for family. The five of us came together to form a band of brothers — a new family in a band. It seemed like a nice thing for all of us to bring into our lives. It was an internal thing and it made us all feel good.

Looking back on the early days of the band, did you think you would be still going strong a decade later?

Ari Gold: Honestly, I probably didn’t think we would even be going strong as human beings! I am not even sure I thought the world would be going strong! I think still being able to walk down the street and still breathe the air is a miracle in itself.

What brought The Honey Brothers back together for a new studio album?

Adrian Grenier: I guess it has been sort of a long time coming, accumulating songs and realizing we had to do something with them. We didn’t just want to keep them for ourselves. Music is to be shared! We went into the studio and we did it!

For fans who may not have heard the new material yet, how would you describe it sonically?

Adrian Grenier: I think it is our most realized music to date. That is partly because our first album was never really recorded properly in a studio but was rather pieced together out of necessity. I don’t necessarily want to get into it but we had a tragedy in the band and our first bassist passed away. In order to honor him, because he never got the chance to come into the studio, we used one of our live recordings and then recorded little bits and pieces on top of that. This was the first time that we ever really sat down in the studio and decisively made an album. I think it sounds, if I may, pretty great. Sonically, it has a very New Wave, very feel good, sit back and pop it on the stereo vibe. It is very listenable but it has a lot of interesting hooks. I am very proud of it, as are we all.

In Stores Now!

What can you tell us about the writing process for “Time Flies Like A Peach?”

Ari Gold: It is a mix of elements. Sometimes, one of the members will come in with a fairly, fully formed song idea and watch it get ripped to shreds by the rest of the band! [laughs] Sometimes someone will come in with a tiny little hook idea and then out of a jam, a song is formed. In the end, one of the things the band is pretty rigorous about is making sure that the songs are songs, that they are singable and they are a little journey that can be delivered in a couple of minutes. Even though we will make a lot of noise in the basement for hours on end, we do like delivering something that is a little morsel. It is a democracy with all of the battles and joys which that implies.

Are you always working on potential new material as individuals or is there a point in time where you all sit down to hammer something out?

Ari Gold: We have written songs in hotel rooms before, so it is really wherever the mood takes a person. Usually, each song has an individual that instigated it. Then it gets passed along to someone else and then it gets passed back and then passed around the band. Then we find a sound that works for it. I think once you have added all of our personalities, the additions and add in different the instruments like banjo and ukulele, a song that might have started out as a heavy rock song might end up as a dance song at the end of the day. You never know where a song is going to end up from where it starts.

What was it like working with veteran producer Malcolm Burn and what did he bring to the table for this project?

Adrian Grenier: Malcolm was instrumental in mitigating our political strife! [laughs] We are a democracy in the truest form — we are a family. With a situation like this, there is often some brotherly squabbling, which is great and one of the reasons, I think, we have lasted so long. We share everything and split everything equally but it is sometimes difficult when you are trying to accomplish something specifically on a timeline. Malcolm was really able to sit down and help us get together and find the discipline in a certain amount of time.

What was the biggest challenge that presented itself on the project?

Ari Gold: I think it was unifying the sound when there are five really distinct personalities. That was a challenge because we are used to being kind of a smorgasboard kind of band but we decided before we went into the studio that we would have this album have a flow from start to finish. Smoothing out some of the edges we were used to was challenging at times.

When you look back on your work, can you see yourselves evolving musically through the years?

Adrian Grenier: Yeah, it is funny because at our show on Thursday, we are bringing back some of the old time numbers that we did way, way back in the day. It is funny how much we remember them and how they are sort of ingrained in our muscle memory but it is just a different sound. The songs do really stand the test of time. We have really been having a good time recalling them and playing them. I am sure we are going to have fun sharing them with the audience as well, in conjunction with our new stuff. I would say our older stuff was a little immature, not musically necessarily, but the lyrics were a little more irreverent. Our new sound is more professional and more palatable to a wider audience. You definitely feel the Ween influence in our earlier stuff.

Ari Gold

You mentioned the upcoming tour dates. I am sure it is always exciting to share your work with an audience. Do you guys still get butterflies before hitting the stage?

Ari Gold: I never get butterflies but the excitement has never worn off. My favorite thing to do in the band is take the stage and those moments when we look at each other and we are very much in the moment. I think audiences who come to see us, and we have fans who have been with us for a very long time, know that they are going to have a really good time when they come see The Honey Brothers play. It is nice to be coming back to the Bowery Ballroom, which we haven’t played in a while. We always have a really good time there.

Have you guys ever experienced a Spinal Tap moment on stage, where something totally unexpected happens?

Adrian Grenier: [laughs] It seems that is the only kind of moment we ever have! We are not a polished, A&R type band. We are very much in the moment and anything can happen at any time!

Ari Gold: I did a show a long time ago where I smashed my face deliberately with my ukulele. I was thinking that it would just hit my face and it would be a fun moment. I didn’t realize that I was covered in blood until a few moments later when Adrian pointed it out to me. I was bleeding all over the stage from a ukulele impact! [laughs]

Adrian Grenier: [laughs] Gwar doesn’t have anything on The Honey Brothers!

You recently released the first video in support of the album. Are there any plans for additional videos?

Ari Gold: Yeah, we have one more coming out…

Adrian Grenier: No, no. We have two more.

Ari Gold: Oh, OK. Two more.

Adrian Grenier: Yeah, I have been working on something you don’t know about, Ari.

Ari Gold: You see, this is the good thing about having a band full of creative people! We shot one down in Florida that is about the record business and record stores. We shot it in a record store and we hope to get it out in time for Record Store Day. Our album comes out a few days in advance of that, so we are hoping to get it out around then. In addition, Adrian has been making videos in his basement recording studio, The Wreckroom. He has been recording bands and shooting them playing live. We did a song there which Adrian should be putting up soon!

Adrian Grenier: Yeah, that is www.wreckroom.tv. It should be going up tomorrow (April 17th, 2012).

Adrian Grenier

How did The Wreckroom come about, Adrian? I have been checking it out and it seems like you have some really cool stuff going on there.

Adrian Grenier: Basically, it is a matter of making the most out of this beautiful recording studio that I have built. Why not share it? I had the financial opportunity to build it and it is not going to do me any good if I horde it! I wanted to create a place where people could come and record and utilize the equipment and the space. I have so many friends with bands, I was looking to help a community of musicians that already exists and share that community with the world.

In your opinion, what does the future hold for The Honey Brothers?

Adrian Grenier: I am looking to get The Honey Brothers to record some more songs and maybe do our next album in The Wreckroom. I think it could be a good process, especially because when we aren’t paying for studio time, we can really start to experiment and maybe graduate a little bit from ourselves.

Ari Gold: Yeah, I really think it would be fun to do a record there and then take it to the UK. It would be great to tour the UK, which is something we haven’t done yet. And work on our accents!

Anything you would like to tell your fans, old and new, before I let you go?

Ari Gold: Just that we really hope you enjoy our new record and come out to see us at our upcoming shows.

Adrian Grenier: Yeah, we are really excited to share this music with everyone and we hope they enjoy it. Thanks for checking it out!

Thanks for your time today guys! It’s been a pleasure!

Be sure to check out the official site for The Honey Brothers at www.thehoneybrothers.com. Be sure to check out the magic of The Wreckroom at www.wreckroom.tv.

The Honey Brothers are: Adrian Grenier (Honey DuContra) on drums, vocals and guitar; Ari Gold (Hoyt Honey) on ukulele, keys and vocals; DS Posner (Dr. J Carl Honey) on vocals and guitar; Andrew Vladeck (Dory Honey) on banjo, guitar, ukulele and vocals; andDaniel Green (Sonny Honey) on bass.

You can catch them on tour on these key dates:

Thursday, April 19 | NYC | Bowery Ballroom
Saturday, April 21 | Dallas, TX | Fair Park
Friday, April 27 | Philadelphia, PA | North Star
Saturday, April 28 | Washington, DC | DC9

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Laura Warshauer Discusses Her Music, Career And Creative Evolution!

Laura Warshauer Discusses Her Music, Career And Creative Evolution!

Laura Warshauer’s journey into making music a career began when she was just a small child in her crib belting out songs at the top of her lungs. The young girl with an amazing ability to entertain was eventually given a guitar by her father, which only added fuel to the brightly burning fire. The rising star was honored in 2010 for her abilities and great potential when she was awarded the Holly Prize. The award, given out yearly by BMI and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, goes to an artist who exhibits “true, great and original” qualities. Fresh off of being honored by the industry, Warshauer released her debut L.P. “The Pink Chariot Mixtape.” The well received L.P. displays the budding superstar’s musical abilities and features some of today’s greatest musicians, including Roy Bittan of the E-Street Band.

Lately Warshauer spends most of her time recording new material in Nashville with producer Marshall Altman. Yes, the same Marshall Altman responsible for producing tracks for Natasha Bedingfield and Mark Broussard. The powerful new material will be featured on her upcoming album tentatively titled “Wicked Wicked,” which will be released to coincide with her upcoming national tour with Bob Schneider.

Steve Johnson of Icon vs. Icon recently sat down with the strikingly beautiful songstress to discuss her influences, the success of her first L.P. “The Pink Chariot Mixtape,” and the challenges in creating new material for her upcoming album.

Laura Warshauer

Tell us a little about how music first came into your life.

Music has always been a part of my life. It was just so natural for me when I was little. I’ve always been a singer. I would wake up in the middle of the night in my crib and start singing songs at the top of my lungs. I was entertaining everyone from a really young age. I think songwriting and pop songs really hit me when I was a teenager. Hearing songs like “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette or “One of Us” by Joan Osborne, I was really struck. I was personally struck by their songs, but really seeing how they impacted what felt like everyone around me. Suddenly songs came over people like a wave and everyone was singing them. I think that was really a turning point for me. It struck me how something so simple could be so powerful. I picked up a guitar. My dad actually got me my first guitar thinking it would be great if I could accompany myself. I wanted to just take a stab at writing my own songs.

You mentioned Alanis Morissette and Joan Osborne. I assume they were major influences. Are there others who influenced your musical career?

I would say that they were definitely influences in terms of me wanting to become a songwriter. I would definitely site Springsteen and U2, which are very iconic and epic with huge careers. The arenas and stadiums. As soon as I saw those live performances I was like, “Wow! People can do that? I want to do that!” I wanted to aim to sort of create something of that feeling. In seeing them, there’s a certain power. The magnitude. It all stems from something very simple, which is a great song, but then seeing it in this huge venue, it sort of becomes something that’s so much greater and so much bigger. I think a lot of the underlying themes that I’ve always gravitated towards in my songs have that kind of epic nature to them. So Springsteen and U2. From a female perspective, artists like Stevie Nicks or Patti Smith, she’s a pure artist. It’s that sort of underlying spirit that she brings to everything she does that I think I’m captivated by. From a more modern perspective I really love Metric. I got to see them at Lollapalooza a few years ago. I think they’re incredible and Emily Haines is another great female in rock and roll. I love Muse and the nature that it’s edgy, it’s rock and roll, it’s very modern. Sonically I love what they’re doing. I always enjoyed The Killers. For me they represent something I’m looking to emulate in my live show because it is the rock concert experience, but they infuse it with pop sensibilities and even electronica and dance. With their last record I like how they sort of flipped the script. Here’s a rock band that went to Stuart Price who produced Madonna and they came out with songs like “Human.” I really just love that. I’m really inspired by taking things from different genres and mixing and matching. I feel that if you have an underlying song you can do anything with it and go anywhere with it. That is the exciting part. Getting in a room with people that come from different worlds who hear things in different ways, then you can fuse it all together and see what you come up with.

You released your first LP, “The Pink Chariot Mixtape,” last summer. How would you best describe the sound of that album or your sound in general?

In general my sound is pop, rock, alternative. It’s sort of like a neo-Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper, with an Alanis Morissette vibe mixed in there. I feel like “The Pink Chariot Mixtape” represents that. There’s some classic elements of rock and roll fused with a sort of burgeoning pop sensibility.

What was your most fond memory of working on the “Pink Chariot Mixtape?”

Laura Warshauer

I just loved getting the opportunity to work with Thom Panunzio. He’s incredible. He’s someone I really look up to in music, creatively and with how he’s built his career. He came up alongside Jimmy Iovine in the ‘70s at The Record Plant. At the time that I worked with him he was actually the head of A&R/Geffen Records. He worked with a lot of the artists that we have been talking about. Springsteen, U2, Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith. We set up shop in my manager’s home in Pacific Palisades and I was working with other musicians who also worked with The Killers. They came in from Las Vegas and we set up all of the equipment. For about three weeks we were in this home that we were using as a recording studio. Thom would come over. Thom’s like a James Dean type figure. He’d come over every day in his classic car. We recorded five songs including a song that was actually for a Runaways tribute album, which was cool because Thom had been involved with some of the original recordings with some of the members of The Runaways. It was kind of interesting with it coming full circle. Thom and I are also both from New Jersey, so we share that. I was kind of at a point where I was about to transition to Los Angeles. I really felt that I was transitioning to a new place in my career. This opportunity was just amazing not only because of the recordings, but often times we would go out back. We were in L.A. It’s beautiful in The Palisades. We were hanging out in the back yard around this fire pit looking at this beautiful view and getting a chance to sit there and talk to someone I look up to so much. We talked about his experiences with these iconic artists and how he built his career. I felt like I got so much from that experience.

That sounds awesome! I’d like to pick his brain a little bit!

[laughs]

How was it received and are you happy with its success?

I was very happy. For me, “The Pink Chariot Mixtape” is very much a process of building a career and the life I’m looking to develop. I feel like “The Pink Chariot MIxtape” is a really important step in that process. It brought together a lot of songs, a lot of people, a lot of ideas that have helped me get to the point that I am at right now, which I couldn’t be more excited about.

I understand you are working on new material. What can we expect from that? Are you headed in a different direction?

Laura Warshauer

I wouldn’t say it’s a departure. It’s more of an evolution. I think of it as life is art and art is life. You can almost see the process that you are going through reflected in the songs you are writing and vice versa. Over the past year I’ve really had an opportunity to do so much travelling, sort of get my feet wet. Whether it’s touring or other aspects of my career, I’ve been excited to build. All of that is reflected in this new material. Both lyrically, what I am talking about and production wise. I haven’t decided on the title yet, but as I live with it more and more, I want to call it “Wicked Wicked.” That comes from one of my songs, which is titled “Such a Lovely Place.” The lyrics go, “The violence feels so wicked, wicked sweet. Sometimes the darkness is so wicked, wicked deep.” In the second verse it goes, “The cold air is such a wicked, wicked treat. The morning feels so wicked, wicked free.” So, it’s a big part of the lyrics. I love it because it has a sort of contradictory element that I feel is such a driving force of who I am as a person and where I write from. I’ve always felt like a downtown girl. Suburban punk. I have a pop sensibility, but I’m much more of a rock and roll girl at heart. I was recording with Marshall Altman in Nashville. On my day off I went to The Frist Center there, which is a visual arts center, and I saw this big exhibit that I really connected to called Woman on the Run. It was an installation where … I love anything that looks like a big movie set. It had a Bates Motel sort of vibe. They had a facade of a motel and, where they had the windows, they actually had running movies. You could actually see what was happening inside that motel room from a movie screen. Then the next window would be a different movie screen. There was actually a motel room that you could walk through. The bed’s a little un-made, the suitcase is open. You could see she had to run from the authorities. She had the blonde wig and sunglasses. It’s sort of like Thelma and Louise meet The Bates Motel kind of thing. Something about that sensibility struck me and I love the detail. You walk around and there is dirt and cigarette butts on the side in the alley. This is in a museum. Some day when I do stage productions I want to collaborate with this artist. It really sort of brought home what I am trying to capture in “Wicked Wicked.” That for a title kind of sums it up. Again, I can be that rock and roll girl where I get that phone call from Las Vegas from some of the guys that The Killers set me up with. I’m like, “OK. I’m hitting the road. I’m coming to you right now.” It’s 8 o’clock. I’m in Santa Monica. I hit the highway and drive through the desert. There’s a full moon, I’m almost running out of gas, no one else is on the road, and I’ve never made this drive before. My telecaster is in the backseat. It’s that kind of spirit and energy that I kind of move through life and what it is I am creating. The more that I bottle that spirit and put it out there, that’s what I am after and what I am trying to do.

Laura Warshauer

Have there been any challenges to putting together the new material?

Really its been more inspiring and exciting. I think there is always a challenge to what you’re doing because I think some of the same questions you are asking me, I am always asking myself. Inherently I know what it is that I am looking for, but I ask myself the questions for me to pull it out and have the courage to go after it. I think more than anything you kind of have to dive into the deep end, but you’re sort of constantly looking at things and questioning things because you can’t help that along the way. I think it’s like anything. There are challenges, but overall it’s just been awesome.

When can fans expect to be able to get their hands on the new album?

We don’t really have an exact release date yet. The idea is to put it out to coincide with my upcoming national tour with Bob Schneider. That starts in late April. People can look for it around then.

What can people expect from your live show?

That’s a good question! I’m actually practicing the new material. Up until the tour, my focus is this album and really putting together the live show of my dreams. I’m so thrilled that Bob Schneider has given me this amazing opportunity. I feel like it’s really a chance for me to sort of crystalize this vision that I’ve had in my head for a long time. I had a recent collaboration with an amazing viola player. She also plays electric viola and violin. She sings background vocals. I am very excited about working with her. I’m still in the studio deciding which songs are going to be my focus and that I will be performing on this tour. That’s really going to drive what the live show is going to be like and what other musicians will be on stage with me.

What do you consider the defining moment of your musical career so far?

Definitely the moment where I was on stage singing the Buddy Holly song “That’ll Be The Day” with all of the legends. Lyle Lovett. Shawn Colvin. Graham Nash. Paul Anka. Bob Scaggs. Chris Issak. Michelle Branch. You know what? More than that. The singing was unreal, but earlier that day I had been given the Buddy Holly Prize from the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and Songmasters for a young artist that exhibits some of the same characteristics of Buddy Holly. Because of that I was able to take part in this PBS Special. I just remember playing on stage for the rehearsal during the day and suddenly I was surrounded by all of these artists that I look up to. Lyle was like, “Hi! I’m Lyle!” Michelle Branch was like, “Hi! I’m Michelle!” They were like way too normal. There were so many of them. You ever had one of those crazy dreams where you wake up and you go, “Oh my god! Where did that come from?” I was on stage with this person and that person! It’s warm on stage and the lights … Peter Asher is directing everybody. I literally felt like I was dreaming. Suddenly I’m singing in Lyle Lovett’s ear because he’s asking me the words to the song. He’s like, “Oh. You sound great. How does that go?” It was just surreal. It was amazing. I was like, “WOW!” To be alongside these great artists is what I’ve worked so hard for.

Laura Warshauer

It sounds like it was amazing!

It really was!

That’s a lot of really good talent in one room saying you are a good musician! That has to feel nice!

Before I went on stage, Peter Asher actually recognized me and had me stand up. Again, surreal was sort of the word to describe it.

Do you have any advice for someone who would like to get involved in the music industry?

I do! Yeah! I was talking to someone recently and there is that sort of cliche of just being yourself. To be yourself you have to find out who that is. I think that it’s a process. Like what we were talking about earlier. Life is art. Art is life. Both are a process. You have to have respect for that process. I think that it’s a constant challenge to sort of put yourself out there, and create, and sort of make mistakes. I really think there aren’t mistakes. There isn’t failure. Everything is an opportunity if you look at it that way. As Lionel Richie told me, “just keep going.” I think that’s where you’ll be able to do whatever it is that you want to do. Build the career of your dreams. I think that it takes courage to live the life of your dreams. I think that people should find the courage to do that.

Is there anything else you want to add before I let you go?

I think we covered it!

Thanks for your time Laura! All the best!

Steve, thank you so much!

For the latest on this incredible artist, check out Laura Warshauer’s official website at www.laurawmusic.com!

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MTV2’s 120 Minutes With Matt Pinfield Launches On July 30th!

MTV2’s 120 Minutes With Matt Pinfield Launches On July 30th!

Matt Pinfield

MTV2’s 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield, the re-invention of MTV’s prolific music series, is set to return to MTV2 as an on-air monthly series beginning Saturday, July 30th at 1 AM ET/ 10 PM PT. Matt Pinfield, 120 Minutes’ most beloved and respected host, returns to provide music fans with an unfiltered look at today’s hottest alternative and indie artists, as well as emerging artists spanning multiple genres including hip-hop and rock through exclusive interviews and music videos.

“I am ecstatic to part of the rebirth of this iconic and influential music series,” said Matt Pinfield. “While the new show on MTV2 will feature the same dose of progressive music fans of the original 120 Minutes embraced and loved, we’ll now be expanding outside the alternative music universe to feature a myriad of emerging artists and sounds from a variety of genres.”

The debut episode of MTV2’s 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield will feature exclusive interviews with Dave Grohl, PJ Harvey, Kings of Leon, Dangermouse with Danielle Luppi, Das Racist, Sleigh Bells, Lupe Fiasco, Zach Braff, Black Angels, Fitz and the Tantrums and Theophilus London. Fans will also see the uncensored version of Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” music video, Mumford and Sons VH1 Unplugged performance of “Roll Your Stone,” the music video for Cults’ “Abducted” and more.

New episodes of MTV2’s 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield will air the last Saturday of every month at 1 AM ET/ 10pm PT and will be available online at 120.MTV2.com. In addition, music fans will be treated to a bi-weekly two-minute fix of Pinfield via 120 Seconds, the web companion series, exclusively on MTV’s newly launched pure music website, MTV Hive, as well as great moments and performances from many classic 120 Minutes episodes. Since launching in March at SXSW, 120 Seconds has featured interviews with artists including The Decemberists, Waaves, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Kills, Richard Ashcroft and Ratatat.

“The original 120 Minutes’ paved the way for the most exciting bands and artists of the time to forge deep-rooted connections with their fans,” said Amy Doyle, Executive Vice President of Music & Talent for MTV. “With the show’s re-launch across MTV’s multiple platforms and screens, we’re once again providing passionate music fans with a weekly and monthly destination to discover, celebrate and connect with the best established and emerging musical talent of today.”

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