Tag Archives: 116 Days of Summer Guests

116 Days of Summer Guests: Ashley Delima

Like” Me or Not, I’m Still Here 

Growing up in a very digital age has been full of challenges for my generation and me. In a word where the perception of perfection is life’s goal, where could I fit in? I myself have fallen into the trap of Instagram and keeping up appearances or even obsessively caring what others will think or say about me based on what I post online or how I look. It took me a while (years) to actually realize that the problem wasn’t mine alone. It was what society has implanted in all of us. Of course we allow ourselves to be sucked into this digital world, what feels like an okay place where we can leave and not be affected by it so easily, but in reality it can truly become a never ending cycle of self torture and peer pressure. We don’t notice how much in depth we are gradually falling into this addiction of social approval and even worse – the unlimited chase for perfection. This constant chase has seeped into the music industry. I’ve been noticing how people have lowered their standards towards music and art but since it “sells” it’s acceptable. I feel deeply bothered by this and take it very personally since I feel like a lot of people in my generation haven’t been exposed to so much that’s out there. It is heart breaking to think that so many people will never know what poetic lyrics are, since they are being fed with literalism almost constantly. The magic of decorating words, letters and silence is being left behind and replaced by overly simplified sentences with no space for interpretation and imagination. It is disappointing to even say out loud that passion has turned into greed and our sense of self is now defined and distorted by numbers and status in a world that does not exist. The next generation is boarding in a universe that lets popularity, likes, comments and followers define who they are, which is far from the truth. What are they really gaining from all of this? I have never really known a world without “likes”. A world where people don’t feel pressured to look perfect and don’t feel bad if a post doesn’t have as much engagement as hoped for. I was only 12 years old when Instagram launched. I have only noticed now that everything I thought mattered, really doesn’t. Everything i used to worry about is pure bullshit. The peer pressure of worrying what people will think when creating music, art and content shouldn’t exist because whatever I’m doing is my own vision and if someone doesn’t go along with or doesn’t like it, that’s out of my control. What I have to do, just like everyone else, is focus on my path without all the external noise. What we have to do as individuals who seek to find ourselves and pave our own path, is keep our eye on the prize and believe that our power is that there is no one like us out there. I have to keep believing that I am good enough and that I still exist, whether you like me or not. 

-Ashley Delima

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116 Days of Summer Guests: Alone I Walk

Alone I Walk

ALONE I WALK – 116 DAYS OF SUMMER – CITY DREAMS AND COUNTRY LIVING.

For many people the thought of living the big city life is the norm, it’s where a vast majority of the population was brought up and its where many others migrate towards to build the life they chase.

On the other side of that spectrum is where we lie. The big cities we have seen over the last years of touring are incredible, but what makes them so special? Home. Home for us isn’t a loud, busy concrete jungle. In fact it’s the complete opposite, acres of lush forest in the middle of nowhere with to many animals to count is what we are accustomed to.

This is what keeps balance in life. When secluded from all the loud noises of the city, you find an organic, untapped source of energy and motivation. Negativity that is tied to the big city hustle dies at the end of the driveway. Opportunities and life as a whole seem more clear when you aren’t surrounded by the constant ringing of noisy cars and police sirens. There is a sense of true freedom out in the country. Not being confined to a  “social mold” you have full liberty to create anything you can think of, the possibilities are endless.

Now that you all know what environment we grew up and continue to grow in, having a dream of touring the world and playing music could seem pretty far fetched for a few country kids right? True.  

Fortunately enough for us we’ve had nothing but endless support from our parents to pursue our dreams of performing from a very young age. It never mattered to them what we aspired to do they would fully back us and that is something that we’ll forever be grateful for. It was also very helpful being surrounded by music at all times from a very young age, our Dad has been playing and singing in bands since i could remember. Now that we have been fortunate enough to grow as Alone I Walk, we continued to grow our support system and team as well.

We have now made friends across North America and other parts of the world and always try  host whoever we can that needs a place to stay while rolling through Winnipeg(Central Canada), in hopes everyone can leave their “headaches” at the end of the driveway and find the balance that they might need at this farm in the woods that we call home.  

Much Love

ALONE I WALK

François & Pascal

116 Days of Summer Guests: Strangely Attractive

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Strangely Attractive



Change. It’s inevitable. Times change. Styles change. Tastes change. You grow older. You grow wiser (sometimes).  I am the bass player and the founder of the LA rock band Strangely Attractive. We’ve been out and about playing our version of rock music for about 9 years. When I say we, I mean me and the seemingly, ever-changing line-up that the band has seen throughout the years. We’ve had four drummers, three guitar players, five singers, and a keyboardist thrown in there at some point as well. The current Strangely Attractive crew is Bella Luna on vocals, Carlos Felipe Flores on guitar, and David Rodgers on drums.

Why the band begun to what we are doing now is a pretty big change in my opinion. I guess a decade will do that. I originally started this group because I wanted to create a live dance rock band. Plus, I love playing with a band onstage. I wanted the guitar to do all of the keyboard and synthy parts of a dance song. I knew the guitar parts were gonna be difficult so I waited until I found a guitar player that had the skills to recreate those parts.

When I finally found the guy, I started to find other players that would round out the first incarnation of the band. We immediately recorded a 10-song album and started playing all over town. The sound that I originally had in my head changed and that was totally fine with me. We were able to do a few cool things and people that saw and heard us seemed to like us but keeping the band together was freaking hard.

Musicians would come and go. Personalities, time, different goals, outside forces, and many other complications got in the way. Three years ago, the current line-up emerged and just like before, we started to play around the city. After all these years of playing out and putting out work, I noticed that it was very difficult to get people out to shows. I was racking my brain, trying to figure out what we could do to stand out.

After our last show in 2016, I sent a thank you follow-up email to the club that booked us. I got an email back that was basically a scolding. The message was about how disappointed the club was at the number of people we brought. They were going to give us one last shot, because they liked us, to prove ourselves, and if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be invited back. That one email triggered the biggest change that the band has gone through thus far.

We decided we were gonna put on our own night where live music lovers and great local acts could come together to have a stress-free, creative, and just all around fun evening where awesome bands could get together, play, and hang out and hopefully make their way into new ears and make some new fans. We were lucky enough to find some truly amazing people at Mal’s Bar in LA who welcomed the evening with an open mind and open arms. We couldn’t do it without them. Our monthly residency (every third Thursday of the month) wasn’t the big change though.

We decided to make the band into more of a show. Actually more like a circus. A rock and roll circus. I come from the world of magic and Bella comes from the world of burlesque and variety. We decided to mesh all of our creative passions into one live experience.

Instead of just seeing a band play, you will see world-class entertainers coming in and out of our set, performing their routines to live music by Strangely Attractive. We’ve already had award-winning magicians, well-known artists, world-renown burlesque dancers, accomplished jugglers, and so many different variety acts joining our night. Every show is different and the responses we receive after every performance lets us know that sometimes change is a very good thing! ­

116 Days of Summer Guests: Velvet & Stone

Velvet & Stone

Hey!

Lara here from indie folk band Velvet & Stone. I LOVE summer and can’t get enough of being outside on summer days, especially being in or near the sea or exploring on the moors. We’re lucky to live in Devon in the UK, and there’s never a bit of coastline too far away. The best summer memories are chilling on the beach, surfing, BBQs and sandy toes 😀  

A lot of our songs are written about or inspired by the sea and coastline. Our latest single, aptly named ‘By the Water’, is no exception. The song is a summer anthem. It’s about wanting to be with someone when you can’t, and only finding some peace and solitude by the water. We hope you enjoy it!

We just released a video that was filmed in Devon featuring some beautiful locations. You can check it out here – https://youtu.be/gJeGx2XuYmU   Our debut album is set to be released at the end of June 2019. We can’t wait for you to hear it and hope it soundtracks your summer!  

Lots of love and thanks for listening! 

Lara 



Velvet & Stone on Facebook

Velvet & Stone website

116 Days of Summer Guests: Lucy Booth

Lucy Booth

Hey! Great to meet you guys. I’m a singer-songwriter from Leeds, and I want to share with you my thoughts on the power of music.

I enjoy writing songs about stuff that I think really matters because I believe that music has a special ability to evoke powerful emotions within us. When I think back, I can remember particular tracks which really struck a chord with me, and have woken me up to the reality of the world we live in. ‘This is America’ by Childish Gambino opened my eyes to race and gun violence in the U.S., ‘Wasn’t expecting that’ by Jamie Lawson made me think about the fragility of a human life, and ‘The A Team’ by Ed Sheeran really brought home the tragedy of addiction. 

I think that some major artists, especially those in the charts, tend to underestimate the influence of their lyrics. When they include phrases which degrade women, glamorise drugs, or even incite violence, I wonder if they’ve really thought the implications through, especially when they often have such a huge fanbase of teenagers, who are still forming their views on the world. Surely these artists could be expressing important statements through their art form, such as their opinions on climate change and social inequality, rather than spreading toxic messages to vulnerable minds?

Of course, not all songs have to make a political statement in order to have a positive impact. Heartbreak songs can help people through hard times, happy and up-beat tunes can be incredibly uplifting when you need cheering up. I guess I just think it’s important that song-writers don’t underestimate the influence which their lyrics could have on their listeners, and that they use their gift for the greater good. Songs are an opportunity to share a significant message, or to help listeners to empathise with someone else’s experiences, and I don’t think that should be taken for granted.

Thanks for reading, and check out my debut single, Butterfly, if you get the chance. It was inspired by experiences of an incredibly brave and resilient single mother who I was lucky enough to meet a few years ago.

Love Lucy x


116 Days of Summer Guests: Public Policy

A few years ago, I interviewed Providence, RI’s sax-fronted postrock band A Troop of Echoes for The Huffington Post (read it here!).  We discussed their 2015 release “The Longest Year on Record,” a delightful DIY symphony featuring dozens of friend and neighbors supplementing the core quartet with a choir of strings, horns, voices, and drums.  I wanted to catch up with the Troop, so I’ve invited drummer Dan Moriarty to write a guest blog about his five favorite songs from his musical career.  Dan is currently a lunar geologist working at NASA, and his new band Public Policy (also featuring Nick Cooper from A Troop of Echoes) has recently released their second EP, “Human Resource,” a relentlessly churning post-punk offering.   

 

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Dan Moriarty plays with A Troop of Echoes at the release show for “The Longest Year on Record.”  Photo credit: Freddie Ross

 

A Troop of Echoes – “Kerosene”

Bandcamp Spotify

As a drummer, it’s fitting that the first song I’ve picked doesn’t have any drums whatsoever.  In a lot of bands, drummers aren’t expected to contribute much to the songwriting process. Sit back, keep time, and keep out of the way.  Fortunately, my experience with A Troop of Echoes isn’t like that at all. Even though my bandmates are extremely well-educated musicians and composers, they’re really open-minded and actually encouraged me (the uneducated drummer) to bring little nuggets and song parts to the table.  “Kerosene” emerged from one of these nuggets.

Back in the early 2010’s, I was doing an ill-advised project where I was trying to write a song about each of my 700+ Facebook friends. Yeah, even the ones I met at a bus stop once and never heard from again.  Most of these “songs” were completely terrible MIDI-keyboard odysseys, but a few actually turned out kind of promising. “Kerosene” started off as a vibraphone and bass duet that I recorded late one night in the warehouse we were living in.  I think it was about a friend that had suffered a horrible keg-related injury and then went to live on a houseboat or something. The exact reason for this might be lost to time, but the title of the original recording was “Kerosene: Theme from ‘Dude, Where’s My Face.’”  

Anyway, I shared the original recording with the other guys in Troop, and they really dug it!  Nick got to work composing the incredibly beautiful and moving string and horn parts that completed the song.  It was like an alley-oop in basketball: I tossed up a pass and Nick slammed it home, spectacularly. Everything came together perfectly, and I’m so proud of what we accomplished.  In fact, my (now) wife suggested that I walk down the aisle to “Kerosene” at our recent wedding! That was definitely a proud moment for me, if not somewhat self-indulgent…but I have no regrets about it!

As a final note, this is the most nervous I’ve ever been about recording a song.  I’m pretty comfortable behind a drumset, but had never recorded vibraphone professionally before – especially not using the 4-mallet technique!  I ended up drilling my parts for hours and hours, and ended up nailing it on the first or second take. Thanks, practice!

 

A Troop of Echoes – “Small Fires”

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“Small Fires” is another song that started as a nugget I brought in that was then fleshed out by the rest of the band.  As we were writing the collection of songs that would become “The Longest Year on Record,” we were really happy with the cinematic, melodic, spacious, and atmospheric nature of the songs we were writing.  However, we felt that the album was lacking something punchy and catchy – a “single,” if such a thing can exist for a sax-fronted postrock band.

Around this time, I took a trip to my uncle’s lake house in Maine with my family.  Since everyone went to bed at like 9:45 every night, I would go down to the lake with my baritone guitar and mess around on my uncle’s dock for a few hours.  It was pretty peaceful, and the fish (and mosquitos) were a great audience. One of these nights, I came up with the guitar and bass parts that would eventually morph into “Small Fires.”  They sounded catchy and nostalgic, and definitely hit the sweet spot for what we were looking for to cap off the album. Nick, Pete, and Harry ingested, re-interpreted, and built upon the parts I brought in, and “Small Fires” was born.  

 

Public Policy – “Alluvial Cuts”

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My experience in Public Policy was a little different from Troop, in that I didn’t bring in many parts to write songs around.  However, our songwriting process was still really collaborative – we’d bounce ideas around collectively for pacing, transitions, song flow, etcetera.  The way things fit together was a little different as well. If Troop songs come together as gears expertly meshing in your transmission, Public Policy songs are more like barreling through the tundra in your 18-wheeler, crushing everything in your path.  

“Alluvial Cuts” is one of the catchier Public Policy songs, and I think it captures everything we’re going for.  The guitars are complex and melodic, the vocals are introspective and anthemic, and the bass and drums pummel, grind, and syncopate.  Everyone is bringing the heat. Gotta give a huge shoutout to Daryl Rabidoux and Mike Viele for the production on this EP – everything sounds ridiculous, raw, and huge.  

 

A Troop of Echoes – “Golden Gears”

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This is the oldest song on the list.  We started writing it my second or third year of college, when I was still living in dorms at UMass.  The other guys would come up to Amherst to practice once in a while, and we’d have to migrate from dorm room to lounge to basement to stairwell as we kept getting kicked out of different practice spots for making too much of a racket.  We wrote “Golden Gears” on one these scattershot weekends, and I think the sonics of it really reflect that. The rim clicks, guitar harmonics, and “bass-played-with-a-drumstick” give the song a really plucky, frenetic vibe.

I was a little hesitant to include this song, for a few reasons.  Our songwriting chops weren’t quite developed yet, our performance is a little sloppy in places, and the production on this record didn’t turn out the way we had envisioned (even though this was by far the most money we’ve ever spent on a recording).  However, I think “Golden Gears” is one of our most singular, unique songs. It’s a really different sound from a lot of other stuff out there, and it’s one of the more creative and unusual songs we’ve written, while still being super catchy. It has blemishes, but I think belongs on Troop’s Mt. Rushmore.  

 

Public Policy – “Insulin”

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I’m gonna round out the list with “Insulin,” another recent track from Public Policy.  This song is a wild ride through a bunch of tight, sinewy passages, until the end explodes into some soaring, lush guitar harmonies.  That end section always pumped me up so much that I started wordlessly yelling along with the guitar parts at our shows. It became “a thing,” to the point that the other guys decided I should try recording that vocal part when we went into the studio.  It ended up sounding pretty good, so I guess I can add “backing vocals” to my resume of professionally-recorded parts. Nice.

When we were recording the demo for this song, I ended up in the hospital with diabetic ketoacidosis.  Turns out I had developed type-1 diabetes at 29 years old, and nearly died. Whoops. We named the song “Insulin,” partially inspired by that sequence of events.  

A Spotify playlist featuring these songs is available here.  

116 Days of Summer Guests: Tataetano

The summer is winding down and so is the 116 Days of Summer Guests feature. There are a couple left including this post by Tataetano about whether to work with a major record label or not. Please welcome Tataetano to the blog. 

 

 

 

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Earlier this year I had a meeting with the Global Vice President of one of the big three major labels.  This individual was responsible for greenlighting every signing for all subsidiary labels, including signing and producing records for this one.  I felt I could share this unique experience and discuss a new perspective resulting from it. I won’t disclose which one at this time since I still have a working relationship with them.  I went in naïve and starry-eyed and came out with a positive but more realistic perspective.

 

I can recount every moment of that meeting as it was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had to date.  One comment still loops in my memory just because I still am not completely sure how to interpret this statement.  At the end of my meeting, one of the last things he told me was this: “Remember that I get sent and listen to a hundred songs every day, sent to me by the best singers, producers and songwriters in the world.  If you want to compete be sure you are only sending me your best.”

I thought about this a lot.  I still think about it. Extremely discouraging and inspiring at the same time.  On the one hand, this reassures my notion to always do your best work. No matter what.  You never know who or when your material will get into the hands of someone or something that can allow your art the exposure it deserves.  On the other hand, music is subjective. I may love a song which you are indifferent. That is part of the beauty that is music.  The part of this statement which was contradictory was this: The last artist he signed was not a songwriter.  Not a performer. Not a singer. Not even an artist. It was just someone who said something on a daytime television show and it went viral on the internet. The label saw an opportunity to cash in on this fleeting moment.  So, in that respect, that individual is not the best at anything. They did not work on writing a song, rehearsing a show or spending time in studios.

My takeaway is this:  If you want your art to be received on your own terms, a major label is not the answer.  Their business is selling units, not art. If your goal is to sell units than by all means pursue.  Do not get discouraged or by any means stop creating. All of your favorite artists who are not pre-packaged pop acts expressed their art their own way and built a following well before they got the attention of a major.  The majors want to do the least work possible. They want to throw some money at something that has some traction already, and if it hits, they make their return and go on to the next thing.  Think of it as a venture capitalist investing in a startup. I say, find your niche market, write music you love, develop a following organically, work harder than anyone else.  Don’t ever stop creating, learning and loving what you do.

 

Tataetano’s website

116 Days of Summer Guests: Thunder Club

Everyone pay attention! Thunder Club is here to talk about how streaming music has changed the music industry. It’s a blessing and a curse.

Please welcome Thunder Club to the blog!

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Just to give you fair warning before reading this, this is our two cents on where the music industry is right now. Maybe it’s super obvious, or maybe it’s something new to you. Either way, we hope you find it worth your while and if you agree, that’s great, if you don’t, no big deal, we’re all ears to what you might think about our opinions. Also, if we are wrong about something, please feel free to correct us.  Also, you should listen to our band, Thunder Club, whenever you get a chance.

The music industry is a very interesting place to be right now. It’s kind of like the wild west in a way thanks to the internet. Streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud and Pandora (to name a few) have changed everything.

Life now is all about having things instantaneously, right at the touch of a button. We can order just about whatever we want, whenever we want. In music, your favorite artist could surprise you with a full-length LP tomorrow, and you would have never heard, or seen any marketing for it. Part of that is good, and some is bad. The part that’s favorable, at least for the artist, is that releasing music this way takes away the ability for people to leak their music to the masses. One of the unfortunate pieces of this puzzle is the amount in which artists get paid out by these massive streaming services.

According to CNBC, “Spotify pays about $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream to the holder of music rights.” That payout is bonkers when you think about it. Each artist, songwriter, producer, manager, whoever puts in tons of hours honing their craft and making sure each song is up to their standard. After putting it out into the world, they see FRACTIONS OF PENNIES. It’s frustrating and can be a hard pill to swallow when you are working on all of this independently and see little to no return on all of your hard work.

The benefit to all of this is that your audience is absolutely massive! Basically, anyone who has an internet connection is able to consume your music, which includes label execs and other music big whigs. This way you don’t have to spend your money elsewhere on printing physical copies of your music.

All in all, this industry is grueling, it’s tough, it’s expensive, but fun, exhilarating and super rewarding all at the same time. We have an incredible time in our band grinding to make a presence on social media and getting as much attention as possible on streaming service. I think that there needs to be either a new model of payment from streaming services. What is it? I’m not really sure, but these huge companies wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for us. Consider this, if all artists boycotted putting their music on these platforms, what would happen? Would they go under and people would start buying physical records again? Who knows, but it’s definitely something worth thinking about.

THUNDER CLUB IS:

GARRETT CUSACK: LEAD VOCALS

DENNIS CHEN: GUITAR, VOCALS

PETE BURKHARDT: GUITAR, VOCALS

CONOR JOHNSTON: BASS, VOCALS

JOHN BURKHARDT: DRUMS/PERCUSSION

Thunder Club on Spark

Thunder Club on bandcamp

Thunder Club on Facebook

116 Days of Summer Guests: The Boleys

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Ismael Quintanilla III Photography

Hey, thanks for having us (The Boleys) on your blog. We have some stories from the road and from playing the weirdest city in Texas all the time.

Our first story is based in Houston, TX after the last show of our 2017 tour through Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. A couple friends of ours came to see our show but their truck had broken down about 15 min away, so we came to pick them up in El Toro (our van). We get there, get back, play the gig and one of our friends was lookin a lil fucked up and kinda woozy but he says he’s cool to get in the PACKED van and ride back to their truck afterwards.
So, we’re a little ways into the trip and its pretty quiet, and then a stench started floating around. We then realize this dude has been silently puking all over the floor and everyone starts freakin’ out. We make it back to their truck (throw up guy ain’t driving, of course) and the vomit’s like Nickelodeon orange and is all over Em’s (our drummer’s) shoes. We thought it was pretty funny and I mean who hasn’t been there.
Our next story comes from none other than Austin, the greatest city in Texas. It’s 2015 and The Boleys are playing their first shows at Red Eyed Fly on. So we unload, do our deal, and we’re ready to play 30 minutes before we need to be. We decide to take a smoke break, so we retreat to the alleyway between Beerland and Red Eyed Fly (currently Sidewinder).
If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing and or smelling this alleyway; ya know its a pretty smelly one. Homeless folks go back to do their business, crack heads roam around talking to themselves, its a dark, dank place.
There we are ‘bokin a smoley, hangin, talkin, having a good ole time in the crack alley. Joe (our Bassist) takes the first steps to head back in and slips on something in his brand new shoes. IT WAS A BIG OLE HUMAN DOOKIE!! Oh, the perils of playing on Red River!
Our final story hits close to home for us. The setting: out on a country road around our hometown in Florence, TX. We were taking some pictures with one of our good friends and a great photographer Chelsea Marshall, we had just gotten done with some pictures of us being HARDCORE and breaking a TV. We hit it with baseball bats and put fake blood all over it, the works.
As we were putting it back into the trunk of our car; being green and all. Then tooting down the road, two fellas in a golfcart with a fuckin s-h-o-t-g-u-n roll up; “Get the fuck outta here” was his greeting to us on this fine afternoon. We replied by letting him know that we’re cleaning up our mess and that we’re taking some band pictures. “I dont give a fuck” he said n so we got outa there and they followed us allllll the way to the end of the road. We thought we were gonna die.