ANCHR Magazine

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A Chat With: TEST

"Dont' be afraid to rock." If you wanted to sum up the core principle behind the Los Angeles band TEST and their new album Brain In/Brain Out, that's it. The trio of rockers pulled together their own style that blends sounds and emotions from old school punk, the 00's New York rock scene, Brit pop, and other alternative genres to craft the aforementioned album, which came out last Friday. The layered and dynamic debut full length quickly followed the October release of their debut single, "Entertainment Tonight," which was only a teaser of what TEST has to offer. Just before the November 10th release of the album, lead singer Blake Stokes took some time to talk through the band's process, the biggest factors that influence his writing style, what's next for the three piece, and of course, good ol' fashioned rock and roll. Tune in now and get to know TEST!

TEST is Blake Stokes (vocals, guitar), Wayne Meza (bass), and Morgan Ponder (drums)

TEST is Blake Stokes (vocals, guitar), Wayne Meza (bass), and Morgan Ponder (drums)

ANCHR Magazine: How did you personally first get into making music?

Blake Stokes: I had my first band band maybe when I was 18, like right at the end of high school. But before then, my dad was really--he’s still really big into what’s new. He always had the radio on in the car. I’m 32 so when I was like young and he was driving me to school or driving me around, he’d have on whatever the popular rock station was at the time. My earliest car music memories were stuff like INXS, U2, Depeche Mode. Just dope stuff like that, but we’d also listen to the Top 40 station so it’d be shit like C+C Music Factory, and En Vogue and dope stuff like that. That was my first, me actually being aware of music and stuff like that. As a kid I was just super into it. I was a child actor though, I did acting stuff for a long time. So I wasn’t really thinking about learning to play an instrument. I loved music, I loved records, but I got to a point right at the end of high school where I’d been a child actor for a long time. From the age of 3 up through high school. I was just burnt on acting and I loved music, so I was like maybe I can do this. So the first band I didn’t play anything in. I just sang, and then right when I graduated high school, I wanted to play drums. My parents bought me a drum kit to surprise me. I took a year off between high school and college and just played drums every day in my room, and went out and saw shows and played shows in my little band. That’s how I started and it’s evolved rapidly from that.

AM: Very cool! How did you end up meeting the rest of the guys in TEST and starting up this band?

Blake Stokes: So Wayne, the bass player, I’ve known for a long time and he’s--I’m from Texas originally and so is he, and we met in Texas when we were both in other bands. His band members and my band members, when we’d be on the bill together, it always seem to be like he and I were closing the bar down. So we just started up a friendship and then my band needed a bass player for a summer. I asked him to do it, he said yes. It started as hey we need a dude for like 2,3 months. And we’ve been working together in different bands forever. I’ve known Wayne for like 10 years now. I met him bands and bands ago. Then Morgan, the drummer we met out here in Los Angeles. We’ve known him for 5, 5 and a half years now. We met him through just mutual friends and stuff out here. The band that Wayne and I had had just kind of fallen apart, and we just hit reset and weren’t really doing anything for like a month or two. We were like we just wanna be a three piece cause I’d learned how to play guitar at that point. He was a drummer looking to get down, and that’s how we all came together.

AM: Cool, so it was like a right place right time?

Blake Stokes: Yeah, absolutely!

AM: So I was going to ask if you guys have always been LA based, but you just mentioned being from Texas. Did you live in LA when you were doing the acting thing?

Blake Stokes: I’ve been coming out to LA since ‘91. That was my first trip out here to work on something. I went to UCLA out here. Basically I was in that other band I mentioned, and it was all Texas guys at the point so we’d really only be doing it on Summer vacations and Christmas breaks, when we’d all be back in town. So when I was graduating college and the other guy in the band was graduating, we just sort of said you know, if we’re gonna do this, we need to do this. Are we serious or not? So financially it made the most sense to reconvene in Houston, save up some dough, and then either go to New York or LA. I love Houston, my parents are still in Houston, everything I love about Houston except for the rock scene in Houston. If we were rap, hip hop, or DJs we would still be there, but we’re not so I was like we need to go to New York or LA. I have experience in LA, I know people in LA, so we’re not going completely blind into it. It was between those two and we chose LA. TEST has always been an LA thing though. 

AM: Cool! And then you guys have the debut record out on November 10th. What can you tell me about that? How long did it take you guys to write it, what was the recording process like, and how collaborative is your writing process?

Blake Stokes: So it’s our first full length...we put out an EP early 2016. This is the first full length. There’s 10 songs on it, and we recorded the bulk of it over the summer. We did it with this producer named Joseph Calleiro. He’s dope! He’s got a mobile studio. We have our HQ, Headquarters, our own little demo, rehearsal space near downtown Los Angeles. He came out and we did it here, and dude we knocked it out in like 3 or 4 different weekend sessions. Where we would just work Friday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning. And just done! There’s 10 songs on there. Some of them are older. Some of them were written maybe right after that first EP came out, but there’s two on there that were written right as we were making it. We needed two more, and I had some demos. There’s chronologically maybe a year and a half to two years worth of stuff sitting on there, which is cool. Some things are 3 months old and we’ve never played live before. Some of them we’ve been playing live for a minute. In terms of it being collaborative and stuff...Our songs are written one of two ways. Either I do like a home demo myself and kind of play some rough drums, and play some rough bass lines and build a skeleton and bring it to Wayne and Morgan and we flesh it out and arrange it and stuff. The other half we all write together in the room. So someone brings an idea or we just start jamming and then go back and dissect the jamming. All in all, all three of us are very much on the songs for sure.

AM: Any songs you’re most excited for people to hear or to play live?

Blake Stokes: Yeah, there’s some stuff on there that I think, especially written towards the end, which I think is the direction we’re going. There’s a song on there called “Know Your Servant,” which is track 5 and the cool thing about that, I think that was the very last song written for the record. It kind of gets into some stuff that I’d always wanted to dive into, but we never really had, which was more instrumental noisey parts of a song. Like, I have a tendency to write really “Entertainment Tonight,” it’s very super structured. It’s a verse, it’s a chorus, it’s a verse, it’s a solo, it’s a drum solo, it’s the chorus twice, we’re done. Those songs are fun and my favorite songs from some other artists, but I just wanted to get fucking noisier and weirder and get into it. So “Know Your Servant” is long...I think it’s like 5 [minutes] and something and it’s got like 3 distinct noise passages, and they’re not defined. They’re sort of defined length-wise, like we know how long we’re gonna go, but in terms of what I’m doing, it kind of changes show to show, which is really fun. I love Primal Scream and one of my favorite records by them is called XTRMNTR and they do a lot of that where they just establish a groove. It can be real menacing but they ride that. It gives you kind of time to get hypnotized and overwhelmed by it. So “Know Your Servant” kind of does that, and it’s really fun to play live. Another song I think I’m really happy with, and I love the whole record, but I’m really happy with a song called “Bleached Hands,” and that’s the second single. Some people are calling it a ballad and it’s definitely the slowest thing on the record, but it’s kind of a different flavor for us. It’s got a bunch of whammy bar, bendy, hypnotic-y kind of stuff. It’s a different kind of thing for us, and it works really well in the set cause it’s a breather. A lot of our stuff when we first started was very down stroke, punky, and as we’ve gotten better, we can kind of expand. I think those two are new ground for us and kind of pointing to where we might head.

AM: Nice, very cool! You just mentioned Primal Scream as a band you look up to, but are there any other artists or even books, films, or other art forms that you pulled influence from for the sound on the record?

Blake Stokes: Yes, a couple things. “Know Your Servant” and “You Are Painful”--that’s another one with some noise passages I really like. But I love Blur as well, and Graham Coxon he’s the guitar player in Blur, and he’s one of my favorite guitar players, period. I think he’s fantastic. One of the things I love about him is how nasty he can get. A lot of people think of Blur as very poppy, and Damon can get super cheeky and stuff, but he’s just like this nasty, atonal noisey thing happening over there. There were definitely times where I was thinking about what [Graham] would do. Then speaking of books, bizarrely enough, the last song on the record, “Museum Piece” was the second to last song I wrote for the record. It came super super quick. It came after Lizzy Goodman just put out that book Meet Me in The Bathroom, which has been getting a lot of press, and it’s about the New York rock scene to 2001-2011. Which was right in my wheelhouse of stuff that turned me onto music when I was a teenager and what not. The first Strokes record came out when I was 16. For me, it was all these cool 90’s bands were breaking up or dying or kind of releasing crappy records. Then other than that, it was Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears, or Korn and Limp Bizkit and POD and shit. It’s like to see a band like The Strokes when you’re 16 it’s like...They’re so big now and it’s so beyond that. But it’s easy to forget how, especially for a kid in Houston, how that was like what the fuck these guys look awesome, they’re playing aggressive stuff, but they don’t look like boneheads. So I was reading that book and it chronicles through interviews with The Strokes, and Interpol and Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and a lot of the people who were journalists and managers, and that whole scene...And I don’t listen to a ton of that stuff anymore cause I drove it into the ground when I was 16-20...but it reminded me, just one, how much I love that particular stuff, but more importantly how exciting and it felt like the whole world was in front of me in terms of like, just the possibilities of being young and being in a band. It seemed like there was a new cool band every week. Here’s The Hives, here’s The Vines. It kind of reminded me of that really youthful, naivety, super pumped to play music live. It was very regenerative wholesome kind of fucking cool positive energy that I was reminded of by that. I woke up after reading it the next day, and I have a little practice amp at the apartment, and I just started playing these chords for this other song that was a different thing. I was just thinking about that stuff, and it sounds kind of like that, but the feeling of that was really inspired by that book. I think the more you do this and get into the business side of things, you become more professional and all that, you can kind of forget the sheer pleasure of just plugging in and being loud, and having fun. It’s exciting and that book reminded me of that energy. That inspired the last song, for sure.

AM: Very cool! So it awoke your teenage spirit.

Blake Stokes: It totally did! And not in like a nostalgic way, like "oh man music was so much better when I was a kid." I don’t think that at all. There’s great shit everywhere all the time, but it just reminded me of this feeling. It just sort of was like getting gas in the tank again. Really good, high end, good to go unleaded premium gas. It just sort of put that back in my tank, and it was awesome.

AM: Yeah, I know what you mean. I have to check that book that out though! Are there any other albums that came out this year that not necessarily that influenced you, but that you’ve been enjoying?

Blake Stokes: Yeah, I love the new Sleaford Mods record, I think they’re finally getting a little bit of buzz in America. It’s these two dudes that are pushing 50, and their set up is one guy makes all the music on his laptop. It’s really sort of stripped down, post punk, industrial hip hoppy kind of tracks. And the other guy just rants. It’s singing, it’s rapping, it’s ranting. It’s this really cool amalgamation. Hyper English. And the dude who does all the music live basically comes out with his laptop and hits the spacebar to start the track. They did their first US tour back in April, and they played LA and I went and saw it. It was one of the best shows ever. That record is called English Tapas. And it’s awesome, I don’t think anyone is kind of doing it like them. Then there’s a band called Idles. That’s also an English band. They’re dope. There’s this thing happening in England right now..there’s a few bands that are doing very socially influenced, socially conscious, politically conscious but not politicized kind of music. It’s not love songs. It’s no let’s go get fucked up. It’s nothing like that. It’s just really sort of interesting. Sleaford Mods do it. Idles definitely do it. Their record is called Brutalism, that’s a dope record. And Slaves! They’re younger and they’re a little more cartoonish. The new Protomartyr record is really good, Relatives in Descent. They’re American at least!

AM: Very cool. Then do you guys have any plans for tour then once the record gets released?

Blake Stokes: Yeah, we just did a release show a little bit early. We wanted this band we really like, an LA band called Facial. They’re just fucking great, They’re another 3 piece. If I didn’t know them and someone just gave me their record, I would just enjoy listening to the album. Which is always a pleasure to say about bands you play with. Like I genuinely like your shit. But yeah we did it a little bit early cause we wanted them on the bill with us, and that’s what worked with their schedule, and we had two singles out by then. So we did that, and then we played Long Beach with them. Then just this morning, the three of us were in here working on the next thing. It looks like we’re probably going to do an EP early next year. There’ll be some shows later this month or even December. In terms of touring, we haven’t toured as TEST at all. It’s really been about staying here in LA, playing LA, playing Orange County. And writing and stuff, but we’re talking about doing a small San Francisco down to Tijuana thing maybe beginning of the year.

AM: Anything else you’re looking forward to coming up? Maybe a music can test out your acting again!

Blake Stokes: Yeah, what I learned about that, I can always go back to that. My mom said, years ago when I was in this different band, “you know this music stuff is great, but I just wish you would get back to something more stable, like acting.” It’s like yeah, not accounting or engineering, but go back to that. Yeah, we plan to try to do videos for a while. This record comes out November 10th, and I say we’re working on an EP. I don’t see that coming out til maybe the summer. So all of fall, winter, and spring will definitely be about this. So we’ll definitely do more videos and definitely be playing. It’s looking like we’re gonna do a small little tour.

AM: Very cool! Any last closing comments before I let you go?

Blake Stokes: know a reviewer somewhere wrote that we write “unapologetic things” and I didn’t really know what they meant by that. But a band like us, or a band like Facial...there’s another band we like out here called True Rules. I think at least in America, maybe people are afraid to rock a little bit sometimes. I think that the indie world, the art rock world should maybe be a little less afraid of the rock part of that phrase. We definitely are into that. So don’t be afraid to put a distortion pedal on--

AM: Don’t be afraid to rock?

Blake Stokes: That’s right! Don’t be afraid to rock. You can still be smart and you can rock. Rock doesn’t mean dumb, it means fucking awesome.

AM: Very true.

Blake Stokes: You see video footage from England, or South America, or Japan and people go apeshit... like they sing the riffs in those countries. Then those bands come to America and people are standing around...I think Americans are afraid to let loose. They’re too worried about looking cool. You can love The Velvet Underground, but you can also jump and move. You have hips, you have a chest, you have feet, you can move!

AM: You should come to Chicago! We have a buzzing rock scene here!

Blake Stokes: Our old band played Chicago fucking forever ago...where did we play? We played Red Line Tap and some gallery in Boystown. We used to play Chicago a lot!

AM: There’s a lot of rock bands popping up over here that really let loose. 

Blake Stokes: Yeah, and it’s fun, you know. It’s fucking fun to rock. Let loose a little bit, it’s good for you.

There you have it! Keep up with TEST on social media, and listen to Brain In / Brain Out in full below!

TEST: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram 

A Chat With: Dagny

Hailing from a small town in northern Norway, the now London-based pop singer Dagny has come a long way as an artist, and as a person too. In the past few years, she has developed a unique style and sound as a songwriter, which has garnered attention from the likes of Zane Lowe, Elton John (no big deal), and BØRNS. Between her viral collaboration with the latter and her breakout single "Backbeat," Dagny's songs are laced with an eagerness and authenticity that will only make you adore her catchy and clever pop hooks even more. 

While Dagny stopped in Chicago for her debut performance here during her first ever US tour with LANY, we got a chance to get to know her better. From her move to London, her background in music, her songwriting style, tour life and so much more...keep reading to get to know your new favorite artist, Dagny!  

Dagny outside of The House of Blues in Chicago

Dagny outside of The House of Blues in Chicago

ANCHR Magazine: What was your first musical memory or pivotal moment when you first got into music? 

Dagny: Yeah, I guess I always felt like I should have had a very great proper first memory---like I have friends that are like 'oh my god, I remember my first concert, it was this, and this and this.' But I grew up with musical parents, so we’ve had...we’ve been going to shows since we were babies. We’ve been taken on tour since we were kids. And you know, it was certainly not the kind of music that I play now, or the music that I was into. It was like jazz or Brazilian music, but at the same time I also lived in northern Norway so there was never a band that would stop by there, like a pop band. So I guess I just remember from very early on going to our parents shows. My first pop concert myself, I have no idea...

AM: Yeah, so your parents influenced you then? How do you think that their taste in music has influenced your sound, even though you make pop music now? Do you pull in any traces of that Brazilian and jazz music?

Dagny: Yeah, I always thought that I was gonna wake up at 19 or something and be like oh my god, I love jazz! But that didn’t happen. But I do love the Brazilian music. I think that when I write, and when I listen to music, it’s very--I care a lot about the rhythm of the music. I always start my sessions with like the groove of the drums. I think that probably comes from the Brazilian music. It’s lots of drums and fun. I get very bored when a song is this [motions a flat line with her hands] the whole way through.

AM: Yeah, totally. Do you find yourself drawing from any non-musical influences in your writing? Maybe like a book you’ve read or a movie?

Dagny: Oh definitely. Movies especially. I’m not particularly dramatic myself, so I kind of have to get inspired by not just music and films, but also like my friends. I think I draw a lot of inspiration from other people’s stories. Sometimes it’s easier to write about that because it can get so personal when you write about your own experiences. I have to let some things really digest for a long time before I manage to put words on it. But when like a friend or family member will tell you something, it’s easier to kind of see it from the outside and get some other perspective on it.

AM: Do you have a specific example of a song that came around from doing that?

Dagny: Yeah I have a song about when my drummer, who is also my best friend, started dating my sister. [Her sister is on tour with her.] I think-- there was a lot of songs that came out of that. At the beginning I was like holy shit, I cannot have my best friend and my sister date because he’s also my drummer. If this fucks up, I will be screwed. But luckily it turned out well. So a lot of music came out of that. Also with “Wearing Nothing” and “Love You Like That,” it’s stories that I feel are very much personal, but it also comes from conversations that we’ve had in the studio. So we come in and we’ll talk about something that’s happened, or we’ll talk about certain emotions or something you’ve been reflecting on lately. Then that conversation would kind of make the foundation of the song. That’s the way that I like to do it. Everyone’s different. It’s not always the right atmosphere to come in and be like today I want to write this sad love song, and everyone is happy. You kind of have to feel the vibe as well. There’s always a time for that particular song.

AM: Totally! So you grew up in a small town and now you’re based in London right? How do you think that moving and touring inspires you or has shaped you as an artist?

Dagny: Oh it’s shaped me a lot! I think I’m a very different person now than I was from moving to London. Not very different, I mean I’m still the same me. I grew up in a small town, I didn’t know how to make my way around a big city. I was limited, but coming to London you realize how many people play music, and how much I’ve learned about not just being a musician, but the whole industry around it. Again, I think that being able to live in a city where you can go to shows...your favorite band will always stop by London. They would never stop by Tromsø. To be able to go to shows and get so much inspiration from big concerts. Like I love singer songwriter concerts, like up and coming artists. I love going to that, but that’s also probably because that was what was available. So moving to London, I just got a broader perspective. I’ve grown a lot. I think I’m pretty independent and not as scared of everything as I used to be. Growing up in a small town, something like getting on the tube is such a scary thing. Now we travel the world.

AM: Yeah, and this is your first tour over in the states, right? What have been some of your favorite cities?

Dagny: Philadelphia I liked a lot! It was a really vibey area. Pittsburgh I love!

AM: Which venue did you play in Philly?

Dagny: I don’t remember the name, I remember what it looked like.

Juna [Dagny's sister]: Philadelphia was Theatre of the Living Arts. It was a super cool area!

Dagny: Super vibey! Pittsburgh was really lovely, and we had a day off there. I also loved the day we wandered around Washington D.C. I was gonna get a tattoo, but it didn’t happen. I was sitting on the bus and one of the guys on the bus drew a skull on my foot. I thought, you know what, this tour is the best tour ever, and I feel so pumped today. I’m just gonna get what he drew. So I nearly got a skull on my foot.

AM: Oh no, and then the moment passed?

Dagny: Yeah, the moment passed. I kind of wish I’d done it!

AM: So what would you say has been the biggest culture shock of being on tour over here for the first time? How has the crowd reaction been with Americans versus European?

Dagny: I mean, I’m from like Norway where everyone is very reserved and it’s very like….everybody behaves themselves. Not behaves, but they’re very like-- they would never go to the gig and just scream. Here they’re so loud and communicative. They’re never shy to be like can we take a picture?! I’ve never been to a show in Norway like that.

AM:  Totally, then it’s good to get the word out about your music over here!

Dagny: Yeah, I love playing here.

AM: What about food-wise? Has there been anything shocking to you?

Dagny: Your portions are so big! Fucking hell, I can order like the smallest starter and be fed for the rest of the day. It’s crazy! It’s really a big difference. But I have to say, I like a lot of the food. Fish tacos are my new favorite thing.

AM: Did you try deep dish pizza here?

Dagny: Haven’t done it yet, but we’re gonna do it tomorrow! That was like on my list of what we’re gonna do here.

AM: You should try Portillo’s too! It’s not far from here and they have Chicago dogs and all that.

Dagny: Oh yeah, Scott [Dagny's bandmate} was telling me about that today. I’ve been here before, once properly and the other time I was here for like four hours. I really, really enjoyed it. The first 24 hours were terrifying though. There was a guy on the train that was fixing his girlfriend’s teeth with like a massive knife. It was insane, and then it ended up being one of my favorite cities.

AM: Oh wow, well I’m glad that didn’t leave a bad first impression of Chicago! So I also wanted to mention I love the song that you did with BØRNS, “Fool’s Gold.” How did that opportunity to connect with him come around?

Dagny: That was actually because we-- I wish there was a great story behind this. But it was just that I was working with BØRNS’ producer. We wrote “Fool’s Gold” and the next day he came in he heard the song and was like, "I really love this! I would love to write a part for this." So he wrote it, and it was meant for me to sing it. I heard it with his voice, and I was like you have to sing on it! I never thought it was actually gonna happen, but I love his vocals and I love his songwriting. I just think his music is so good. I was so happy about that.

AM: If you could collaborate with anyone else then, who would be at the top of your list?

Dagny: That’s a good question! I would say MØ. She’s super cool. I think we could make a really cool punchy song together. Also, there’s so many. Ryan Adams, I always say that, but I love him. Everyone is probably saying Drake or someone cool like that. I would love to do a nice duet with Ryan Adams.

AM: Maybe one day! Keep saying it and manifest it!

Dagny: I’ve said it for two years and nothing has changed, but you never know.

AM: Yeah, you’re touring the states now, making yourself known over here. Then you’ve also had Zane Lowe as a big supporter early on in your career. How did that relationship come around, or was it just from him premiering your music on Beats 1? 

Dagny: Yeah that was kind of how “Backbeat” broke out, when he played it on Beats 1. It’s weird, but he’s the only celebrity I’ve ever met, where I just blushed my way through the whole meeting. I literally saw him and was like oh my god, he’s right there. And obviously with him having such a big impact on my career-- I went up to him to chat, and I literally could barely talk. I was just blushing and blushing and blushing, but he was really great. They’ve been so supportive.

AM: I don’t blame you, he’s my idol because he’s such a great tastemaker. He has such a good ear! So speaking of new music, I think you tweeted recently that you were recording in Pittsburgh, so how did that go? Will that work be released soon? 

Dagny: We’re definitely putting out new music soon. That was actually something that was kind of linked up to the latest single “Love You Like That,” but we’re releasing more music over the next four of five months.

AM: Do you have a plan for a full album?

Dagny: Yeah, I love the album, like the format of full albums. So I’m always working towards that. But I think for now, I’m still learning a lot about my sound and having a really good time writing. Doing it like this, and touring...So I think for now I will just be focusing on getting more singles out. But I’m hoping that 2018 will be the year.

AM: Have you been recording a lot on tour or was Pittsburgh a one off?

Dagny: No, not while I’ve been on tour. You always think that you’re gonna get so much done on tour. I’m very impressed with artists that go on tour and manage to record a full album. It’s very impressive. I don’t know how they do it.

AM: What do you do to stay entertained on tour? Do you listen to podcasts or read a lot while you’re on the long drives?

Dagny: Most of the time we get into the city every morning. So we’ll be leaving one city around 2 or 3 in the morning, and we get to the next city when we wake up. So except for when we have some parties on the bus, or chill and drink and play cards...or dance, or whatever we do, we’ll have some of those. Most of the time we’re not even awake when we’re driving. So that’s the only thing that’s a shame. It’s really nice to wake up in a new city every day though.

AM: Yeah, that’ the perks of a bus tour instead of driving in a van overnight.

Dagny: I did actually cross America one time in a car, from New York to LA. When I was 20, so I’ve had a chance to see a lot of the country. It’s great, you can cross it so many ways and see so many different things.

AM: Yeah for sure! So when you’re hanging out at the venues, are there any new albums that you’re into and listen to before shows?

Dagny: Yeah, there’s this guy, Max Frost-- he played right next door to one of the venues we did on this tour-

AM: Yeah, he’s also in town tonight! 

Dagny: Really?! What time?

AM: I think like 8 or 9...but he’s headlining.

Dagny: I need to go! I like him a lot, though. I love him and his song “White Lies.” So good. Then Skott, there’s a Swedish girl Skott. I knew about her a while ago, but she has a song called “Wolf” that I’ve had on repeat. Then for the last month or so, I’ve been obsessing over Julia Michaels.

AM: She's such a good songwriter!

Dagny: Yeah, I knew about her as a songwriter for ages, but now she has her own material.


AM: Last question, anything else you’re looking forward to in the new year, besides new songs and touring?

Dagny: Releasing, definitely. Touring! Headlining in February.

AM: Will you be headlining in the states?

Dagny: Not in February, but I’m hoping to come back next Autumn, or maybe summer.

AM: It’d be nice if you could come to Lollapalooza! At the rate you’re going, it’s definitely possible!

Dagny in Chicago October 20th, 2017

During our chat, Dagny also asked me to make a playlist of some of my favorite music, so here's a compilation of some of my favorite songs by my favorite Chicagoans. 

There you have it! If you can't get enough Dagny, though, check out our gallery of her live show with LANY last month, and keep up with her on social media below!

Dagny on Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

A Chat With: The Nude Party

During Warble Daze last month, Alec Castillo and Shaun Couture of The Nude Party took some time to quickly catch up with ANCHR about their new music and what's next for them in 2018. Although the six piece have yet to put out a full length debut and they hadn't played Chicago since January of this year, they remained one of the most anticipated and buzzy bands of the two day DIY showcase. Based on the energy they stirred up during Warble Daze with their gritty blend of garage, surf, and psych rock, their set surpassed the high expectations. Prior to their rambunctious set, we caught up with Castillo and Couture to talk everything from the process behind their upcoming full length to their best and worst Halloween moments. The two also recalled their early days of getting naked at parties and filled us in on their favorite bands at the moment...Tune in now to our chat with The Nude Party! 

Photo By Devon Bristol Shaw.

ANCHR Magazine: What do you guys remember as your first musical memory, or what inspired you to first start playing?

Shaun Couture: My older brother got an acoustic guitar. I remember the first song I ever learned was this Linkin Park song. 

Alec Castillo: I played drums when I was younger but I never really stuck with it. I didn’t really have anyone to teach me or anything. So I just stopped music until I met Shaun and the rest of the band members in college. We’ve known each other since high school.

ANCHR Magazine: Who initiated the band starting then after you met?

Shaun Couture [To Alec]: Probably you, cause you had a lake house.

Alec Castillo: Yeah, I had a lake house and we all went there one summer.

Shaun Couture: We tried to play music during that summer.

ANCHR Magazine: Do you have any good stories from the time at the house?

Alec Castillo: Uhh one time we sunk the canoe when we were all naked.

ANCHR Magazine: Is that where you got the name from?

Alec Castillo:  I guess so. We had nude parties.

Shaun Couture: We joked around what if you have parties where you had to be nude to get into. Then we just realized it was only us at our parties that were all naked.

Alec Castillo:  One time we waxed Shaun’s ass.

ANCHR Magazine: Waxed Asshole could have been a good band name...Are you working on new music then? I saw you guys were recording on your Instagram.

Alec Castillo: Yeah we just finished recording our like first full length record.

ANCHR Magazine: Right the last one was more of a long EP with 7 tracks. What can you tell me about the recording process?

Shaun Couture: We recorded it at this studio outside of Woodstock. It’s called Dreamland. It’s an old Church. It’s got like a house connected to it, so we lived there for four days while we were recording. We did a bunch of pre production stuff beforehand, but we did 14 songs in 4 days, so we were pretty busy. 

Alec Castillo:  Our roommate Oakley Munson produced the record and Matthew Cullen engineered it. 

ANCHR Magazine: Have you been playing the new record live?

Shaun Couture: Yeah the songs we’re playing tonight are mostly off the new album. We usually play one or two off the last one. But they’re pretty much all new songs.

ANCHR Magazine: Which songs are some of your favorite?

Shaun Couture: We got one called "Chevrolet Van" that we all really like.

Alec Castillo: We’ll play most of the new ones. I like "Chevy Van" too. It’s one of my favorites.

Shaun Couture: We have a slower one called "Astro Man." It’s about a spaceman...It’s about space and shit. That one’s really fun to play.

ANCHR Magazine: You just played yesterday with The Evening Attraction in Carbondale, IL. How did that show go?

Shaun Couture: It was fun!

Alec Castillo: It brought us back, or at least reminded me of the first shows we ever played. Which were all in basements. People are getting down and dancing and having fun. You don’t see a lot of that in venues. People are just arm folded and don’t care, but at parties like that, everyone is getting down.

ANCHR Magazine:  So you toured a bunch this year, playing SXSW, etc...What have been some highlights?

Shaun Couture: I think we all really like San Francisco.

Alec Castillo: I liked San Diego!

Shaun Couture: San Diego was cool. Salem, Oregon was really cool...

Alec Castillo: Yeah, Salem was very cool.

ANCHR Magazine: Yeah, I love that part of the country.

Shaun Couture: We met some long time friends there.

ANCHR Magazine: What albums have you guys been listening to? Or other bands you’re really into? I know, it’s always hard to think on the spot.

Shaun Couture: We have to look on our Spotify! Oh, I really like this band from San Francisco called Mapache . They’re like a West Coast Flying Burrito Brothers... Cosmic Americana.

Alec Castillo: We’re really into the Allah Las right now.

Shaun Couture: I think both of us have been into Drugdealer.

Alec Castillo: I think I saw Drugdealer filming a music video on the beach actually a couple weeks ago. 

ANCHR Magazine: What are some good bands from your local scene?

Alec Castillo: We don’t have one where we actually live right now. There’s not a scene at all.

Shaun Couture: Acid Dad is from New York!

Alec Castillo: Yeah, the city...we live upstate now. 

Shaun Couture: New York City is like our scene now. White Lighters is really cool. BOYTOY! Ghost Funk Orchestra.

ANCHR Magazine: What are your best and worst Halloween moments, either as a band or individually? 

Shaun Couture: Remember that time we played--so we used to live in Boone, North Carolina. Which is like a college town in the mountains up there. There’s a venue called Black Cat and it’s a burrito place but they move all the tables and the bands just play on the ground. Those shows were basically house parties. We played there one Halloween and Connor had to piss, so he fucking jammed the top of a PBR Tallboy and pissed in it. And I drank his piss.

ANCHR Magazine: That was the worst I’m guessing?

Alec Castillo: Definitely the worst. One Halloween, Don got beat up by a fraternity.

Shaun Couture: Those are two really bad ones.

Alec Castillo: It ended up being really funny. He was dressed up as a nun.

Shaun Couture: I was Alan Jackson the last two years in a row, so I was pretty happy about that.

ANCHR Magazine: Nice, anything else you’re looking forward to in the next year, besides the new album? Do you have a timeframe for the release?

Alec Castillo: It’s not really up to us. We’re looking forward to getting it out, though. We like to make music videos. We’re starting to plan some stuff. We don’t know which song yet...

Shaun Couture: We have chickens at our house now, so I’m looking forward to eating their eggs!

The Nude Party at Warble Daze

There you have it! Stay tuned for some new tunes and tales about their new chickens from The Nude Party. You can connect with them on Social Media below, and listen to their EP in full below!

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Get To Know: Levitation Room

Los Angeles psych rockers Levitation Room released their debut album, Ethos, in 2016, and have since toured the country on those songs; performing at SXSW, recording a Daytrotter session, and even venturing into Europe at one point. On Friday the 13th, the group stopped in Chicago to perform at the annual Warble Daze festival, and I got the chance to get to know them a bit. After winning over the Chicago crowd with a mix of their old and new tracks, Levitation Room talked to me about their new music, aliens and paranormal sightings, Chicago deep dish pizza...and a few other topics. If you want to know what you can expect from the band in 2018 and what they get up to on tour, here are seven facts you need to know to get to know Levitation Room now!

Photo Courtesy of Levitation Room. Levitation Room is Julian Porte, Gabriel Fernandez, Johnathan Martin, and Chris Mercado

Photo Courtesy of Levitation Room. Levitation Room is Julian Porte, Gabriel Fernandez, Johnathan Martin, and Chris Mercado

They Almost Got Abducted by a UFO Once

If you ask Levitation Room if they believe in extraterrestrial life, their answer will most definitely be a yes. In fact, the band have even had an alien encounter themselves. Lead singer Julian Porte recalled said encounter with aliens during a past tour, saying, "We saw UFOs in Arizona. Like straight up. We were coming from San Diego and we were gonna play a show in Phoenix. We were passing through this really flat terrain, really desolate land, you know. It was getting late because we were having van trouble, and we were late to our gig. So we’re hauling ass through the desert, and then our drummer’s girlfriend was like 'Hey what’s that light in the sky?' And we looked over to our right, and there were these orbs of light just suspended in the sky. A few of them would appear and they would just kind of hoover and do these formations or whatever and then disappear. Then we were kind of freaking out about it, but they disappeared and then all of the sudden this huge mothership started blinking all the way around." While Julian says they were all screaming and hysterical after witnessing a mysterious sphere light up like that, he also said some of the locals made them doubt their story a little bit. "We can’t say for sure," he says.  "Afterwards we stopped in this gas station and there were some locals standing there. I was like 'Hey guys do you know what those lights were?' They were like 'Those lights? Those were just flares!' Flares don’t do that shit man…" This supposed alien sighting happened a little over two years ago when the band were on their way to SXSW Festival for the first time, and the band members all remain confident that something strange went down, regardless of what the locals said. 

They're Prone to Ghost Attacks, Too

Believe it or not, the alien encounter isn't the only strange experience that the group has had while on tour. Prior to the interview officially being on the record, the band divulged a bit about their evening the night before Warble Daze. It's all just hearsay, but it seems that the Friday the 13th date of Warble Daze lived up its spooky expectations, when the band's bassist Chris Mercado experienced a spiritual sighting in Springfield, IL. The band had been staying there overnight after playing a show on their way up from Chicago, and Chris described a sensation of being dragged out of bed by a ghostly figure. Chris also described the sensation as being "punched in the face by a ghost." 

While on the subject of ghosts and being scared, the band discussed some of their favorite scary movies.  Guitarist Gabe Fernandez says, "I like ones that revolve around mental asylums. People being tortured and shit. House on the Haunted Hill...It’s cheesy and starts getting scary towards the end." Julian also chimed in, saying, "I like ones where it’s not far fetched. Like someone breaking and entering into your house and slitting your throat. Cause that’s realistic. That’s totally plausible."

Lead Singer Julian Porte Never Planned on Singing

Although Julian is and always has been the lead singer of Levitation Room, he says he never wanted to sing in a band when he first got interested in music. He recalls the early days of playing music with Gabe, saying they've known each other since freshman year of high school. "We actually started a band together. We were really into punk rock, so we started with this punk- Iggy Pop- Stooges-New York Dolls kind of sound, " he continued. The band, called The Hits, broke up eventually when Gabe quit because he didn't want to play punk forever. Down the line, both Gabe and Julian got into different styles of rock music, including psych rock, and started working together again. 

"I met up with [Julian] randomly, and I was like I’m still trying to start a band, and he was like well actually I’m starting a band," Gabe says. Julian also reminisces about the early days, saying, "At first all I wanted to do was play a guitar. I didn’t want to sing. I didn’t pick up guitar until way later. Even when we were in a band when we were younger, I just sang. I didn’t know any instruments, but I eventually learned how to play harmonica and then guitar followed. Then I started busking and being a street musician, doing a kind of Bob Dylan act on the street. Then I was like I need to get to a broader audience, and play electric guitar. I was trying to think bigger. That’s when we started talking like yeah, we wanna start a band, let’s get together." Gabe also mentioned that they had auditioned several other singers, but none of them seemed to be the right fit except Julian. 

Their Keyboardist is in Multiple Bands

The band also say that while their sophomore album is well on the way, they still need to finish up recording. Glenn Brigman, who usually tours with the Levitation Room as a keyboardist, also does their recording. Glenn also happens to be in a few different bands, including Frankie and The Witch Fingers, who he was on tour with during Warble Daze. Gabe talks about what's next for the band and the album, saying, "We’re gonna get pretty far out for it. We’re gonna do a lot of planning for that. Hopefully once Glenn gets back by December or November, we’ll really just jump on recording. We’re gonna try to gig but maybe not too much. Just try to get more things done for the album." 

The band also played a couple of the new songs live at Warble Daze, which they've had in the set for awhile, but they won't be giving too much more away before the album is done. "We’ve had [the new songs] in the set for a while. Sometimes we can’t contain ourselves and we just wanna start playing new stuff because you get bored of the old stuff. A lot of other bands or band managers will tell you to refrain from doing that because you want to keep people guessing what your next step is. Or what your next work will sound like...People will start putting stuff on Youtube even when a  song isn’t done yet but it’s like you just can’t wait," Julian says. 

They Want To Make a Living, But They Don't Care About Fame

Gabe and Julian say that the balance between new and old songs in their set isn't the only perfect balance of the group. Talking about the lessons they're learned in their years together, Gabe says, "There’s a fine balance. I would say I know a lot of people try to take me for it. I try to be the organized one in the band. Getting our ducks in order. Julian’s very good at trying to bring in a very free flowing environment and creativity. That’s just been a good balance. The Yin and the Yang. At the same time we could both carry each other’s weight if we had to. We help each other out. There is no head of state. [Julian and I] started the band, but these guys are just as involved and part of it."

Echoing off of that sentiment, Julian adds, "Everyone is really chill. We’re not out of this world eccentric and trying to do loads of drugs you know? We’re serious about this and we love what we do. This is passion. This is the strongest conviction we have. We want to..." he pauses before adding, "We don’t really care about getting fame, we just want to make this a living. If we can do that, then we’ve reached our goal."

Our Favorite Bands Are Their Favorite Bands, Too

Levitation Room put on one of the best shows at Warble Daze, so it's no surprise that they also have a great taste in music. The band admit they have "iPod Wars" sometimes while driving, but they all generally dig the music one another plays. "Usually whoever’s driving is allowed to take over the music," Gabe says. He also says that one of his personal favorites of 2017 is the collaboration between King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard and Mild High Club. "That album was really good. I haven’t really kept up... I try to keep up with little nuggets of modern time, but as of lately I’ve just dropped the ball on that. So that’s probably the only one," Gabe continued. 

Julian also expressed his fondness for King Gizzard, saying, "King Gizzard blew my mind live. We played with them in Austin for this Psych Fest. I kind of dismissed them cause I didn’t know who they were. Everyone kept talking about them, and I dismissed them cause they had a stupid name. I thought it was a stupid name, so I right away was being judgmental. But just by chance, I was outside tripping on mushrooms and-" Gabe interjects to say they walked into the show late, but they were still just blown away. "They do this thing where they break down their set and do a really cool jazzy thing with flutes," Julian continued. 

The band also shout out Babe Rainbow and our pals Post Animal, both of which have played with Levitation Room this year. Talking about the West Coast run they did with the latter,  Gabe says, "They were stoked to be in LA. They had a lot of friends. And they just went super freaking hard.  We were like this is day two for us… But they had all their friends so it was like of course they’re celebrating that they made it into LA. That was a really fun night. After that it was like good shows but we were just kind of taking it easy. Then it was cool to drive through the West Coast and show them the ropes."

They Didn't Come Up With Their Name on a Trip

Just kidding... Although it took them a while to come up with the name, Levitation Room got their name almost exactly how you'd expect if you've listened to their music. Starting the story, Julian says, "I think a lot of great ideas derive from altered mental states. I don’t think you can really deny that. A lot of great people who wrote some great fucking books or have done amazing fucking things... It may sound cliche, especially in this psychedelic rock and roll world, but I mean, that’s how the name came about. We had a mushroom trip and we were in our studio. In our studio we had this little platform. It wasn’t very big, just something to stand on. I was standing on it, and I was in the middle of tripping and I felt like I was floating. It just kind of clicked. At at first I thought the word Levitation, and someone already had the name. From the 90's, there was a shoegaze band called Levitation." Since that moment of realization came to Julian while he was levitating in a room, they decided to add Room to the name, and the rest is history. 

Photos of Levitation Room at Warble Daze

There you have it! Keep up with all of the updates on Levitation Room on their Facebook Page, and listen to Levitation Room's debut album in full below!

Get To Know: Liz Cooper & The Stampede

The Nashville based trio Liz Cooper & The Stampede blend multiple genres together to create a recognizable yet refreshing sound. Fronted by a nomadic Liz Cooper, the group's folk rock melodies mesh perfectly with Cooper's soulful and raspy vocals, formulating a sound that's caught the eye of many, including Audiotree. After recording two Audiotree sessions, it only makes sense that they’d be asked to perform at the annual music festival put on by the Chicago based tastemakers who create audiovisual sessions of the best up and coming artists around. While at Audiotree Music Festival last month, we caught up with Liz Cooper and her stampede (Ky Baker and Grant Prettyman) to talk everything from the Nashville music scene to their hidden talents. The trio have been all over the place lately, performing new music at Austin City Limits Festival, touring with Desert Noises this past summer, and even recording their full length record. It's only a matter of time before they take over the world, so here are five facts to help you get to know them now!

Liz Cooper & The Stampede at Audiotree Music Festival

Liz Cooper & The Stampede at Audiotree Music Festival

They Inherited Their Great Music Taste From Their Parents

Liz, Ky, and Grant all got started in music at different stages in their life, but each of their parents played in a role in their first musical memories. Liz talks about her experience growing up with the rock and roll staples, saying, "For me, my dad was always really the one to introduce me to new music that was...not crappy. I’d be like I want to listen to--" she pauses, before continuing, "Not Beyonce, because I freaking love Beyonce, but like Nelly or something. And my dad would be like, 'No. Here’s Bob Dylan. Here’s The Grateful Dead.' So we always just went to concerts like The Allman Brothers and that festival type of thing. All those songs just bring back memories for me of summers as a kid doing that. So that’s always just been a magical thing."

Ky echoed that sentiment, adding, "For me, my dad has always had pretty great musical tastes. Even being in a crib I just remember going to sleep to Beatles and Springsteen records. Beach Boys, Elton John, and Tom Petty...So it’s been ingrained in me forever."

Grant says he didn't grow up on the classics like Liz and Ky, but his parents still played a major role in his musical development.  "When I was really young, my parents started me playing piano. Whatever musical instrument I wanted to play...they would force me to at least try. Eventually I found my dad’s old Gibson ES 330 from the 60's in the basement under a broken couch in this random room. I was just like what is this? He was just like, 'Here let me show you. I think I remember Puff the Magic Dragon.' So eventually I started playing guitar. That was kind of when it started...finding that guitar. I had always liked music, but the guitar was really different from playing the piano or saxophone," Grant recalled. 

They're Collaborative With Other Nashville Musicians

Liz also talks about how her parents unintentionally got her prepared for tour at a young age, by always moving around and living a nomadic lifestyle. After growing up just North of Baltimore, Liz says they moved around a ton. "I lived in Indiana. All throughout the east coast. My parents always moved around a lot and kind of had the wanderlust thing about them. I’m an only child so it’s pretty easy to just pick up and move around. That’s probably influenced a lot of just me. I was always around older people as a kid. I’ve just always had to kind of adapt into situations and meet new people," she reflected. 

Now, though, Liz has been in Nashville for just about five years, and the band have become very comfortable in their newest home. "It’s been amazing This year, maybe year and a half, the community there has felt so strong. Like anywhere--with anything, it takes a long time to build relationships with people. Just to make solid friends. I feel like everyone who’s moved there maybe around the same time I have, or just in general who’s playing music that’s our age, we’re all kind of doing it together. It feels very communal this past year especially. It’s really inspiring and very cool," she says. 

When I asked which fellow Nashville musicians the group would like to collaborate with, Ky says it would take a couple of days to list of his bucket list. Liz mentions that she's written a little bit with Okey Dokey, a band that the group has played with and become friends with, adding, "I’m actually gonna play guitar with Ron Gallo. He asked me in studio, so I’m gonna play guitar on a song. I’m not sure what the song is, but I'm gonna do it. He came up to me and he seemed really nervous about it."

Although Ron Gallo was a bit nervous to ask Liz to help him out on his recording, it turns out he came to the rescue recently when the band needed him at a festival. "During Americana Fest Liz lost her voice and we had a show. So she came up with this idea to have different people sing our songs, and we still played. Ron came in and sang “Dalai Lama” with us," Ky says. In addition to Ron Gallo, a few other Nashville bands added their hand to the set in order for the show to go on, all in the name of camaraderie. "That was so much fun! I mean, I didn’t feel well. But it was for Americana Fest. I needed to do something about it and I didn’t wanna cancel the show, so I had all these Nashville people sing a song," Liz concluded. 

The New Album Was Recorded In Less Than a Week

While Liz Cooper and her Stampede have been playing a lot of their new music live, they also have new recorded versions on the way. "We were in the studio last fall and we recorded a full length. It’s all been this year of like getting it together, and it takes so much planning. This is all a new experience for me so we’re just trying to figure out what to do to make the right moves and decisions. We have a full length that we’re just waiting to do something with," Liz says. 

Talking a little more about the process behind this upcoming record, Liz adds, "Well we recorded it at Welcome to 1979, which is like... you walk into this big warehouse. On the outside it’s kind of just--" Liz paused and Ky interjected, "Very conspicuous. Looks like an old, nothing special to it...Then you go in there and it’s vibey as hell." Liz continued her story about the studio, saying, it was indeed like walking into the 1970's as the studio's name implies. "It was intense, but not at all. It was really cool to see how it all worked together," she added. 

"It was intense in that we had 5 days in there to record 10 or 12 songs. But it was a very relaxed atmosphere. It was intense cause it was like we can’t just sit here and take our time. We have to really stay on schedule and crank this out. Our producer did a really good job of milking new ideas out of us we didn’t know we had in there," Grant chimes in. 

As far as how similar the new songs will sound on the record versus on the road, Liz says, "For people who have been seeing us, they’ll recognize the songs. We recorded them in a different way. So what we do live is a different interpretation. But for everybody’s ears it will be a fresh thing and something we can keep touring on."

They Plot Out Their Setlist Carefully

Liz also lists "Hey Man" and "Dalai Lama" as some of her favorites to play live. "That’s the one that people usually just go nuts on," Ky says of the latter. "You can see a usual shift. Usually 'Dalai Lama' is the third or fourth song in the set. When we play it, people have been receptive up until that point, but when we play it, all of the sudden after that, they’re a little bit louder. It just seems like people are more engaged. So it’s really fun for us not only because it’s fun to play, but it also gets everyone a little bit more into what we’re doing," Grant adds. "That song’s pretty crazy and everyone will go nuts and we’re doing everything we know how to do at once. Then we’ll come back in with the next song and it’s really chill. So everyone is like 'WHOA What?!' So now they’re paying attention. They’re like 'They might go somewhere now,'" Ky says, echoing off of Grant. 

Liz says the placement of "Dalai Lama" is intentional. "I like to plan it out--it’s all part of the journey. Really planning out your set. I mean it’s fun to just feel it and do random things sometimes. But to really plan something out, you start paying attention to how people react. It’s just like painting or something. You figure out what to do and how to do it," she says about the set list. "40% of the time we write down a setlist. 60% of the time it’s 'Oh yeah let’s go to this one next,'" Ky adds. 

The band also mentioned that one of their touring highlights of the year included playing with their friends in Desert Noises. "I played guitar in Desert Noises, and we went on tour with them and opened up. I did double duty and that was a whole new experience for me and that’s kind of been something I’ve been doing this year to just absorb as much as I can and keep learning. To just keep getting better. How I learned to play guitar was just sitting down and learning from guitar tabs and you kind of keep progressing to whatever you’re gonna do. But I was learning from other people so that was a really cool thing for me," Liz recalls.

Ky elaborates on that tour, saying, "I was such a fan of Desert Noises before they took a break for a couple of years. I was a giant fan. They eventually moved to Nashville, I got to become friends with them, and they decide to make some music again and ask Liz to play with them and have us open. For me it was this whole like holy crap, one of my favorite bands and favorite human playing together and I get to open for them. Now we’re having a blast out on the road. It was really cool for me personally. Absolutely fantastic. A huge highlight of my whole music career. Getting to see my favorite band with one of my favorite humans."

They All Have Hidden Talents

Ky says when he's not on tour he works at a pizza place and he can make a mean pizza. He's even an expert at twirling the dough around, but that's not the only hidden talents the band members hide up their sleeves. "I grew up playing golf...that was basically my life until I moved down to Nashville. My dad and my grandpa played, and whenever I would go visit my grandpa in North Carolina--I don’t remember much of anything, but they’d give me a driving club and it was just like a natural thing," Liz says, adding that she thinks the hand eye coordination of playing golf transferred into learning guitar. 

Ky also mentions that he can put his legs over his head on a good day, but his pants were too tight on the day of the festival to be able to demonstrate. "Grant can catch things in his mouth from quite a distance and from different angles. You can just throw things and he’s gonna catch it in his mouth," Ky continued. 

While they might have a killer golf swing and a knack for catching grapes with their mouth, the band say they're thrilled to just keep doing what they do best in the music scene. Liz mentions how excited they were to be part of the Austin City Limits Festival this year, especially the same day that Jay Z played.  The band is also infinitely grateful for Audiotree and the festival they put on. "We love Audiotree. This festival is awesome. Anyone we’ve ever interacted with at Audiotree has been awesome and taken us in with open arms," Liz says. 

Liz Cooper & The Stampede at Audiotree Music Festival

There you have it! Keep up with Liz Cooper & The Stampede on social media for any updates on the album and upcoming tour dates.

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Liquidlight's Guitar Solo Guide

Portland four piece Liquidlight self-released their sophomore album Wicked Radio back in September, which blends together influences of shoegaze, grunge, and garage rock. In honor of their new album, we had the band put together a few of their favorite guitar solos that have shaped them both as musicians and music fans. From Jimi Hendrix to Jimmy Page, check out what Liquidlight has to say about legendary rockers and their guitar skills.  

Photo Courtesy of Liquidlight

Photo Courtesy of Liquidlight

Jimi Hendrix- "Machine Gun"

Jimi seems like an obvious choice for a list of great guitar solos. He absolutely changed the landscape for guitar playing even fifty years after the fact with great songwriting, innovative studio techniques, and unbelievable lead playing. Machine Gun sticks out as a favorite because it just comes soaring in like a rocket. He's obviously channeling from another place when he's going for it in this one. Sounds like a war zone captured live on stage. 

Frank Zappa- "Inca Roads"

Frank has always been a huge influence for us in everything he did, but much of the time it seems like he get's overlooked as a guitarist. The solo in Inca Roads is fantastic from start to finish with phrasing like no other, dynamic peaks and valleys, and not to mention a top notch rhythm section that can turn on a dime. Oh, did we mention that this was recorded live? What a player.

David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)- "Time"

Gilmour was an early influence to many and we're no exception here. He's got some of the best phrasing in the game and solos that are so memorable that even non-musicians can sing along note for note. The solo in Time is just monumentally awesome... And on a record where every single second is monumentally awesome! He just makes every note speak volumes. 

Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices)- "I am a Tree"

In a band like Guided by Voices that has great songs but isn't generally known for super technical musicianship, Doug Gillard brings a lot of flair to the table. He's a fantastic part writer of leads that fit behind and between vocal lines and really compliment the overall arrangement. Robert Pollard even liked his song "I am a Tree" so much that he elected to include it on Doug's first album with the band, which is a high honor for anybody. He shreds so hard on this one!!!

Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)- "Good Times, Bad Times"

Although Jimmy Page was a in-demand session musician before and during his stint with the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin's self titled album would be his first album with a band as leader. The solo on this song has been a perennial favorite of ours with its screaming entrance and soaring Leslie speaker treatment. It always felt like some of these licks were a right of passage in younger years. If you could play this stuff then you were the shit. What a way to kick off a career!

Lastly, listen to Liquidlight's album in full below, and check out their Facebook page for all the latest updates!

A Chat With: Oil Boom

In just over a week, Dallas's Oil Boom will release their new album, Terribility via Dreamy Life Records. Leading up to the October 20th release date, the group unleashed the album's lead single "Earful"....which is a total earful of goodness that emulates the sound of some of your favorite rock bands; think a hybrid of The Black Keys, Silversun Pickups and a dash of Beck. To celebrate the new music, we talked to vocalist and guitarist of the group, Ryan Taylor. In our Q&A, Taylor hilariously talks about the creative process behind the new album, the long and winding backstory of the band's origin, their favorite new artists, and even some personal milestones. If you want to know what part Chili's menus, bongos, and Craigslist played in the band's history and songwriting style, then tune in below and get to know Oil Boom!

Photo Courtesy of Oil Boom

Photo Courtesy of Oil Boom

ANCHR Magazine: When did you all start making music individually, and what brought you all together eventually?

Ryan Taylor: It’d probably take a Ken Burns length miniseries to accurately map out our weird band trajectory. But suffice it to say, it’s been a long and at times, hilarious chronology. Our situation is a bit unique in that none of us (save Zach, our new guitar player) are from Texas originally. I’m from Oklahoma City, Dugan is from St. Louis area, and Steve is from Lodi, California (zinfandel capital of the US). Dugan and I first met through Craigslist at the start of 2010. Yes, you read that correctly. Craigslist. In the "Musicians Wanted" section or "Casual Encounters", who can say really? When the group started it was just guitar and drums and we had another dude Brian that just sang. But Brian left after our first EP, at which point we enlisted Steve to play bass and I took over the vocal duties. It’s more or less been the same since about a year and a half ago when we added another guitar, first with Jordan Richardson (who engineered our album) and then Zach, starting in September of last year. You could also say FATE brought us together. And by FATE, I’m referring of course to Foghat Appreciation Team Exercises.

AM: What was the process like for writing and recording your new album Terribility?

RT: This is the longest amount of time we’ve ever spent recording an album, but that’s almost misleading, since it was spread out over basically three different periods of time, so just the amount of time involved was notable I guess... and boy I just used the word time a lot. We also tried a few new things in terms of the writing and “fleshing out of the songs.” Everyone was given a pair of bongos and a notecard and asked to come to practice with at least one hummable melody.

AM: How does Terribility differ from your last album Red Metal, in terms of songwriting and sonic structure? 

RT: I wouldn’t say it’s been all that much different of an approach. There are definitely some heavier songs on this album, which is a little bit of departure from our previous releases. Our engineer, the aforementioned Jordan Richardson, did a great job at pointing us in different directions if we landed on a particularly cool sound by accident. Just as an example, at some point during the recording, Steve purchased an 80's BC Rich Warlock bass and its tone proved to be particularly inspiring. We used it on a track called “By Degrees” and it definitely changed the whole framework of the song. Maybe not for the better, but it changed it.

AM: Where did you find yourselves drawing musical and nonmusical influences from for the newer songs? 

RT: We drew upon a lot of musical influences for this album, but I would argue that it was actually the non-musical influences that were more important. A Chili’s menu, a Facebook advertisement for Ninja Dating, a piece of gum stuck to another piece of gum. That sort of stuff is what fueled our obsession with Terribility. 

AM: What’s the biggest lessons you’ve learned about each other and yourselves in your years of being in a band?

RT: That’s a really great question. I’d say we’ve learned how to hold each other accountable without completely being overbearing assholes about it, or at least, this week we have anyways. I think most people tend to view bands as some sort of non-stop beer-fueled concert party train that doesn’t have to adhere to the structure/demands imposed by other non-creative pursuits, when the reality is, it’s no different than any other office environment. You’re going to have moments that make communication next to impossible, but you just have to fight through that in order to get things done. We all make each other mad because that’s what humans do when confined in close spaces for long periods of time, but we also love each other and root for each other and laugh at each other’s bad jokes and bad haircuts. 

AM: What are some of the best kept secrets of the Dallas music scene? Any bands or venues we should all know about? 

RT: There are so many rad bands in Dallas/Ft. Worth, I can’t even start naming them or I’ll never stop. That might seem like a copout and it totally is, but at least I’ll be able to sleep at night without the fear of some misguided local musician hurling a Squier Stratocaster through my window.

In terms of venues, there is a new one in Ft. Worth called MASS that Steve, our bass player, is part owner of. It’s a great venue that genuinely caters to musicians. And not just as an afterthought. They actually have a spot for you to load in your gear! It seems like there are fewer and fewer of those places around anymore. And in no way was I forced to write any of this.

Maybe the best-kept secret just in general is that Dallas is not Austin, but Austin is really close, so you can have it both ways or your way or whatever that Burger Hut slogan is.

We all make each other mad because that’s what humans do when confined in close spaces for long periods of time, but we also love each other and root for each other and laugh at each other’s bad jokes and bad haircuts.
— Ryan Taylor on the band's dynamic

AM: What are some of your favorite songs and albums of the year so far?

RT: The World’s Greatest American Band by White Reaper and Need To Feel Your Love by Sheer Mag are two incredibly good rock albums that came out this year. We all seem to be into those and feel some kinship with those groups because you can tell they also have probably listened to “The Boys Are Back In Town” probably more times than Thin Lizzy has. 

For a song, let’s go with “Get In My Car” by BRONCHO.  

AM: You’ve got a few Texas concerts coming up, but any plans for a tour once the record is out? 

RT: Yes indeed! We’ll be out there in a non-descript white rental van in front of various American Waffle Houses/Guitar Centers at some point in the very near future. Stay tuned! 

AM: You’ve had your music in some pretty big name films and TV shows. If you could have another song placed in any TV show, which show would you pick and why? 

RT: Oooh, that’s a tough one. I’m not sure how feasible it is, but I would be majorly stoked to have one of our songs in Master of None or Atlanta. The music supervision on those shows is incredible.

I’ll approach this from another angle though; what show in history we would like to have our music featured in? If that was possible, I’d have to say ALF would be a top contender. I imagine a plot line in which ALF eats what he thinks is the Tanner family cat but what is actually a stuffed animal decoy. Slowly he realizes he’s been duped so he tricks the Tanners by pretending he’s been paralyzed by eating the decoy. Gradually, the Tanners figure out he’s faking and at the end, over one of our songs, Willy explains that deceiving people is wrong, even if you were deceived first. ALF owns up to his mistake and promises never to eat another cat, real or fake. The last thing you hear before the credits though is young Brian Tanner asking from the hallway, “Hey, has anyone seen the cat?” Was that too specific?

AM: What else are you looking forward to this year besides the new record?

RT: I just had a daughter so I’m pretty pumped about that, mainly because, I finally have someone to indoctrinate with Thin Lizzy lyrics and ZZ Top inside jokes. She was born on Madonna’s birthday though, which means she’ll probably have a Madonna phase at some point, and Madonna will be 75 by then and it will just be weird for all of us.

Other than that, we’re just looking forward to still being able to play music at this age. Collectively, we’re 144. That’s older than Madonna!

Pre-Order Terribility here and keep up with the latest updates by giving Oil Boom's Facebook Page a like. 

A Chat With: Future Thieves

Nashville quartet Future Thieves have been turning heads since the release of their debut album Horizon Lines in 2015. One listen to their debut album's title track or their latest single "Sucker" and you'll find yourself struggling to get the song out of your head. The band have brought their indie rock tunes laced with sticky, pop melodies around the country this year, performing at major festivals and even venturing over to Europe at one point. When the band stopped in St. Louis last month to perform at Loufest, we sat down with lead singer Elliot Collett and guitarist Austin McCool to catch up with the group. Elliot and Austin talk everything from recording at Sonic Ranch to pizza preferences and their favorite things to do in Chicago. To hear about all that and to find out when we'll have new music from them, tune in now to our chat with Future Thieves!

Future Thieves are Elliot Collett (vocals/Guitar), Austin McCool (Guitar), Nick Goss (Bassist), and Gianni Gibson (Drums). Photo Courtesy of Future Thieves

Future Thieves are Elliot Collett (vocals/Guitar), Austin McCool (Guitar), Nick Goss (Bassist), and Gianni Gibson (Drums). Photo Courtesy of Future Thieves

ANCHR Magazine: What do you guys remember as your first musical memory that inspired you to either start writing or playing an instrument?

Elliot Collett: Mine was, in like 2007, I went and saw Ryan Adams in Cleveland, Ohio. My mom took me and some friends, and I’d never seen any type of live music like that. He played for like three hours. After that show, I was like I’d love to play live music...make my own music.

Austin McCool: I’ve actually told this story recently...But when i was a kid, I think I was 10 years old, my neighbor was a drummer and he showed me a lot of cool music. He showed me like The Hives and The Vines and Brand New. We faked a concert in my garage. We had like soil bins where we were playing drums. I was playing a tennis racket as a fake guitar, plugged into a box. It was...I don’t know. Our parents and grandparents were watching us, and I was like ok, I wanna do this for real! Pick up something with strings...

AM: Very cool, so fast forwarding a bit... You guys played some new songs today and you’re working on a new album. How’s that going? Is it done being written and recorded?

Elliot Collett: It’s definitely written. It’s about 80% recorded. We’ve gotta do some vocals and some other stuff on it. We started back in March and we’ve toured a lot since then, so kind of had to put it off a bit. Now we’re back home for a bit so we’re gonna finish it up.

Austin McCool: We’ve toured on the songs though. We’ve played pretty much all of the songs live, so you kind of learn how to put it down.

AM: Where do you guys record? 

Elliot Collett: We recorded most of the record for two weeks down at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX. Which is close to El Paso.

AM: What made you guys decide on that space?

Austin McCool: It’s so awesome!

Elliot Collett: Yeah, it’s great. The largest residential recording studio in the world. Like you sleep there, and they feed you.

Austin McCool: It’s on a 300-no,3,0000 Acre pecan farm! Right next to the border of Mexico.

AM: Oh so did you get some pecan pie and all that?

Austin McCool: Oh my god, yes! We did! It’s super cool though.

Elliot Collett: Super vibey.

Austin McCool: They put you in a house, where you’re like staying by yourself. It’s just…The Head and the Heart did music there. Hippo Campus...

Elliot Collett: Portugal the Man!

AM: Do they have in-house engineers there, or did you bring along a producer?

Elliot Collett: We had a guy helping us, but we have a producer. Chuck Tones was the engineer.

AM: Any good stories about the recording process then while you were there?

Elliot Collett: We went to an old water tower and recorded some stuff down inside of a water tower.

Austin McCool: Some vocals and guitar through an old abandoned water tower. A mic through the top!

AM: That’s so cool! So you said you’ve been playing most of these songs live then--

Austin McCool: 8 of the 12.

AM: Has it been easy to transcribe them all to the live sense then since recording them?

Elliot Collett: Yeah, for us. Sometimes no one’s heard em so we can change them around.

AM: What have been some of your favorites to play?

Austin McCool: "On the Run"!

Elliot Collett: Yeah “On the Run” is really fun to play live. All of them...we love moving on and playing the newest stuff so everything we play that’s new, we love it.

AM: So you guys have a live album too. What made you decide to release that between the two studio albums? Any other artists with a live album that might have inspired that?

Austin McCool: We really didn’t intend to put out a live album. It was a Youtube streaming thing with a studio, and the studio was so nice we were like, who cares! Let’s just throw this out there. It actually ends up being really cool because we didn’t know it at the time, but four of those songs that aren’t on Horizon Line are also not on the second studio record. So they’re only released on that live record.

AM: Cool, then speaking of playing live...You’ve toured a bunch in the summer, even coming to Chicago to play Township. What were some of the tour highlights? 

Elliot Collett: It was great! Most of it was awesome. We toured with our buddy Guthrie Brown. He lives in Nashville, is from Montana. That tour was great cause he is so good. Nick and Gianni played with him most of the tour. People came out, and Chicago is always great. It was packed!

Austin McCool: I’ve got a ton of friends in Chicago!

Elliot Collett: We had just gotten done touring in Europe so coming back and doing a tour in the states was something we were a little more familiar with, so it was a little easier.

AM: What are some of your favorite things to do in Chicago then?

Austin McCool: Portillo's! I went to school at Purdue University, so my junior and senior year, two of my three roommates were from Chicago/Glen Ellyn kind of area. So they knew about Portillo's. On a lazy Sunday, we’d just drive to Chicago to get Portillo's. But we also went to the Chicago Music Exchange. I’ve been there so many times...Giordanos was good too!

AM: Are you a deep dish person?

Elliot Collett: I’m not a deep dish person. I like New York Style.

AM: Do you have any favorite festival moments then from the couple you’ve done this summer?

Austin McCool: Today was awesome!

Elliot Collett: We got to play Bonnaroo and Forecastle.

AM: Any good festival stories?

Austin McCool: One of my favorite moments was standing side stage for Local Natives and Alabama Shakes.

Elliot Collett: There was like a massage tent at Kaboo festival in San Diego. There were two seats and Austin was next to Andrew McMahon, so got a massage with him. He loves Something Corporate.

Austin McCool: I’ve loved Andrew McMahon since Something Corporate, so it was really cool I got a massage next to him. We also met Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray that day.

Elliot Collett: He played at Kaboo Fest as Sugar Ray.

AM: That's amazing. So what would you say is your festival advice? 

Elliot Collett: Indulge in free drinks and use the air conditioned bathrooms when you can find them.

AM: As an artist that’s possible!

Austin McCool: Don’t die! Water, water, water.

Elliot Collett: I need water right now.

AM: What's something about the Nashville music scene that you guys really love? I talked to Ron Gallo yesterday about it a bit. Do you know him?

Austin McCool: Oh yeah! We had a taco with him the other day.

Elliot Collett: He’s super cool! The music scene in Nashville is just great. We don’t even see country music. We’re all in the same world of good music.

Austin McCool: There’s so many good places to go.

AM: Where would you recommend to go and see bands?

Elliot Collett: The Basement is a good place to go to see actual music. Basement East is great. 12th and Porter is great. There’s so many! 3rd and Lindsley is great.

Austin McCool: It’s all spread out, but you know what you’re looking for.

Elliot Collett: If our buddies are playing, we’ll go. If not we just stay home. Something good going on...that’s where we go.

AM: Any new albums out that you guys can’t stop listening to?

Austin McCool: The War on Drugs Record is incredible. The new Brand New record is unbelievable. The new National record that just came out.

Elliot Collett: Anderson Paak is what I throw on whenever I’m in my car

Austin McCool: There’s a new Boyz II Men Song. Big Boi has a new song called “Chocolate” which is our favorite song of 2017. It’s unbelievable. The new Hippo Campus record that came out this year is great!

AM: Do you guys do podcasts at all on the road?

Elliot Collett: We listen to podcasts a lot, yeah! We listened to S-Town. We love S-Town. We listen to Alec Baldwin’s podcast. It’s called Here’s the Thing.

Austin McCool:There’s a podcast called Tuesdays with Stories! It’s two comedians from New York, Mark Normand and Joe List. One of them opened for Louis CK and one of them opened for Amy Schumer, and they mentioned us on their podcast. We sent them a care package of t-shirts and stuff.

Elliot Collett: They’re super cool!

AM: So when can we expect to hear the new tunes from you?

Austin McCool: Early next year, Spring-ish. We're gonna skip the holiday rush. 

While you wait patiently for the new music, check out some photos of their Loufest set and follow them on social media for the latest updates!

Future Thieves: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Spotify // Apple Music

Get To Know: Yoke Lore

Singer-songwriter, dancer, yogi, artist, and just all around creative person Adrian Galvin (known professionally by his moniker Yoke Lore) has had quite the year so far, and he's only getting started. In addition to releasing his Goodpain EP, Galvin has toured all over the country, recorded an Audiotree session, and had his songs placed in some of your favorite TV shows. He just completed another run with Overcoats after touring with them in the spring, and on Tuesday he'll be at Lincoln Hall with the mellow British duo Aquilo. Before the show, we chatted with Galvin about everything from the process behind his EP, his core beliefs and values, pirates, bookstores, and more! Get familiar with Yoke Lore with these six facts you need to know!

Photo Courtesy of Yoke Lore

Photo Courtesy of Yoke Lore

He's Always Writing

Yoke Lore released a sophomore EP in June this year, as a follow up to 2016's Far Shore EP, but Galvin says his songwriting never really has a set plan. "I'm always writing. It’s a constant process for me, so there isn’t really a time where I’m like 'I’m gonna write an EP' or like 'I’m gonna write an album now.' It’s just kind of what’s happening. [Good Pain] just came together...those are the songs that felt the most...that fit most naturally next to and within one another. It was kind of like a set of ideas that I had for awhile that I wanted to elaborate on and really have to deal with. It was probably a couple months long process, but again the process is kind of on going," he says. 

As far as the recording process, Galvin reveals he went a bit off the grid to knock these songs out. "So we recorded it in Connecticut in this--" he pauses before saying, "It sounds so like dumb and hipster when I say this, but it’s this converted barn. It’s really beautiful, in the middle of nowhere. The middle of the woods. It’s just a really good place to go. When we made Good Pain we didn’t have any internet hooked up yet. We were there for maybe like a week, and we would get internet and phone service when we drove into town, but other than that, we were just in this beautiful studio with an amazing array of instruments. Silly pedals. All kinds of drums and stuff." The huge selection of instruments came into play to help deliver the diverse puzzle pieces on Good Pain; each song weaves its own story with a unique tone and sonic structure, but the individual narratives come together to form a story. 

He Practices Taoism

As fas as what inspires the constant flow of writing from Galvin, he gives some insight on that as well. "I get really inspired by books that I’m reading. I’m a big practitioner of the I-Ching. I'm using a lot of weird words there, but I’m a student of taoism, and I focus on the I-Ching a lot," he begins. "What is’s kind of like the taoist equivalent of like tarot cards or something. You can look it’s an Oracle, is what they call it. It’s a navigation tool. You use it to ask questions. The taoists believe that all life is constant flux. All life is constant change," Galvin continued. "In order to feel okay in an environment of constant flux, you have to be changing as well. So they came up with like 64 different transitions that you could possibly be going through at any different moment, and they like mapped them out. So they wrote them all down, and you throw these coins and you build a hexagram with these coin throws, and you end up with one of these 64 transitions. Then you look it up and read about it and figure out where you’re going," he added. 

Galvin also says that while he uses these beliefs to guide him in life, he also uses them to guide his art. "I use it to really like find and map out and follow movements in myself and in my writing. I think the ideas that it contains really inspire me. The idea of constant flux and figuring that out...I’m pretty sure that’s where every belief system begins. With the idea that 'this sucks, how do we figure it out?' I know that’s where Buddhism starts. The first noble truth of Buddhism is that all life is suffering. They’re like 'this sucks'. They don’t hold back. Even if you think about it, the same thing as’s original sin. Blanket statement: 'This sucks, where do we go from here'?" he says. 

Although one of Galvin's biggest outpour of creativity comes in the form of song, he's also creative in other ways, and still pulls from his beliefs to be inspired in that work. Talking more about his passion for visual art as well, Galvin says, "I think I’ve always kind of been into it all. I’m a dancer. I have a dance company. I’m a yoga teacher. Obviously I play music, but I think that this is where music schools go wrong. And they try to make musicians by only focusing on music. To me that’s like the opposite of the point. The opposite of what we’re trying to do here. Everything else enriches everything else. If I want to be a better musician, I’m not just gonna try to be really good at playing chords. I’m going to find out the things that inspire me, and go figure those things out. The dance that I do and the movement with my body really helps me navigate my body onstage and makes me a better performer. The drawing kind of gives me these little like maps to follow that kind of like help me being to figure out where I am and where these songs are going for me. I think it all enriches every other part of it. I don’t think I could do just the one thing. It would feel incomplete, whatever it was." 

Bookstores Are His Favorite Tour Pitstops

While Galvin's art is inspired by his other art, he also looks for other sources of enlightenment. Since he recently stopped over during the summer after performing with Overcoats in May, I asked Galvin to share some of his favorite spots around our city. "I do love Chicago. What’s that bookstore? Myopic Books! It’s a really great place. I spent a couple hours in that place last time I was in Chicago, after our Audiotree session, which was at like 10 in the morning. After an all night drive we parked ourselves in this bookstore and zoned out for a couple hours. I always try to find a really good bookstore in a lot of cities. It’s one of my favorite things to do," he says. 

As far as his other favorite stops in Chicago, Galvin says, "I went to the Carhartt store, which is down the road from that, which I fucking loved. It’s rare to find a whole store. I’m a big fan of Carhartt, which is this kind of industrial clothing brand. A lot of constructions workers wear it, but they make the best stuff because it wears so well. It breaks apart so nicely!"

He's A History Buff

In addition to reading books on the road, Galvin enriches his mind by listening to podcasts that are equal parts entertaining and educational. In the realm of educational podcasts, Galvin loves learning about history. "We don’t really listen to music at all. I guess I listen to music if I’m like in a venue or before a show by myself, but in the car on these long drives, we’ve gotten really into these long form history podcasts. There’s this dude Dan Carlin, who is the godfather of history podcasting. One of the most brilliant dudes I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. He goes into such fanatical detail about historical events that you could just listen to for hours on end," he says. "We’ve gone through his entire catalog at this point, so we’ve used him up. We’re on episode 90 of the "History of Rome" right now, which we’re gonna continue on from our last tour. We’re just getting into it...the History of Rome is like 300 episodes or something, so we’re just getting through the Caesars and it’s just about to get good," Galvin continues.

While most people might get that "tour brain" when everything sort of becomes autopilot for them, Galvin seizes the opportunity to stay on his toes. "I love making tour into an intellectual experience. When I can make these long drives into history lessons, it makes tour so much nicer. It keeps me stimulated. It keeps me guessing," he adds. By listening to so many history podcasts, Galvin has also been able to throw out random facts and trivia knowledge...especially about Pirate vernacular. "We were listening to the History of Pirates actually. There’s this vernacular that you find in the English language that’s just like Pirate Speak. They used to whip sailors who were not obeying their orders. They used this whip called the "Cat of 9 Tails", which was a whip with 9 strings, with either little knots or rocks or a piece of metals at the edge or their strings. Really terrible thing. You didn’t want to get whipped with the Cat of 9 Tails. So the Captain or the First Mate who would do the whipping, would leave the whip in a bloody bag on the deck. Everyone was like don’t fuck up, don’t let the cat out of the bag. There’s so many things like that," he revealed. The more you know...

Most of His Songs Have Two Sides to Them

Some of the best songs that can stand the test of time are those that can stand out even when they're completely stripped back. On the recorded version of Yoke Lore's Goodpain EP, there's layers and layers that come together to form the finished product, but the songs Galvin writes always begin with the bare bones. However, some lucky fans get the chance to absorb that first step of the process depending on the live setting they catch Yoke Lore. Talking about his recent stop in Chicago this summer to do an Audiotree session and a Sofar Sounds show, Galvin says, "Audiotree was a full set, but we had to drive through the night to make it to that. We were driving from Denver the night before. Then we played a Sofar in Philly too." For the Sofar Sounds performances in Chicago and Philadelphia, Galvin performed a solo set with just his banjo. "I really like the acoustic thing because it’ music is very big and expansive sounding. There’s a lot of like synths and sweeps and stuff, and it’s nice to just pair it down and really give people what I wrote in my bedroom like a year ago. I like that I can offer both iterations, and I think that both iterations are meaningful and have value in their own way," he adds. 

Being able to have a strong acoustic and raw version of a song, in addition to an organic sounding song that's been fully produced actually proves to be quite rare these days. "I think it’s like a test of a good performer who can perform without any bullshit. And I think it’s a test of a good song that you can play it with just one instrument and it can still be a good song," Galvin concurred. However, it still surprises people to see a Yoke Lore song done with just a banjo. Laughing, Galvin says,"I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten up there and people are like 'whoa you play the banjo?!'"

He's Friends With Tourmates, Overcoats

Besides educating himself and being a multidimensional performer, Galvin admits his tour mates are also a huge part of being out of the road. Talking about the best friend pairing behind Overcoats, Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, Gavin gushes, "I fucking love those girls so much my gosh. They’re the best. We toured with them whenever it was earlier this year. We had an amazing time with them!" 

Thinking back on his first run with Overcoats, Galvin added, "I love their music so much. We had a great time with them. We had a little bit of a rough tour the first leg cause we did a leg in the midwest, and a leg on the west coast. It was just spring...seasons were changing, and we were just sick. We were all just dying. Then we all started getting injured. This one morning I had this cough I couldn’t shake, and I was like fuck it, let’s go to Urgent Care and get me some antibiotics so I can kick this thing. So we get to the Urgent Care, we get the antibiotics and we call the girls to meet up for brunch, and they were like 'Actually we can’t we’re at Urgent Care, Hannah hurt her foot last night!' We were like what?! We’re at Urgent Care!" Even through the rough times, Galvin says he and the Overcoats crew had a great time in general.

There you have it! To witness the magic of a Yoke Lore performance, find information on all upcoming tour dates here, and grab tickets to Tuesday's Lincoln Hall show here. Get ready for the show by listening to Goodpain in full below!

Slum Sociable's Melbourne Mood Boosting Guide

Melbourne based duo Edward Quinn and Miller Upchurch of Slum Sociable are on the brink of releasing their self-titled LP on November 24th. Dripping with melancholy, the twelve mellow and textured tracks blend together elements of electronic and indie music. To celebrate the release, the pair put together a guide to some of their favorite places to go to boost their mood. While you await the new album, check out Slum Sociable's mood-boosting guide to Melbourne. 

Photo Courtesy of Slum Sociable

Photo Courtesy of Slum Sociable

Vinyl Solution, Cheltenham

I grew up going to Vinyl Solution every weekend and crate-digging through everyone from Can to Miles Davis. It’s still my go-to store for vinyl in Melbourne. Owner Glen has an inimitable knowledge twice the size of this vinyl collection about so much great music and will be more than happy to lend a helping hand if you’re struggling for inspiration. 

Prudence, North Melbourne

I’m going to go on record here and say that Prudence is Melbourne’s best bar. It’s got a really nice, relaxed crowd and spins vinyl well into the early morning. We first discussed the recording of our debut album with producer Russell Fawcuss at Prudence, so it holds a dear place in our heart. If you’re hitting a wall in the studio, having a beer at Prudence is a nice way to replenish your creativity. 

Howler Bar, Brunswick

Howler’s my favorite place to go and check out live music. I caught Whitney there earlier this year and truly agree with them when they say that Howler is one of their top three favorite venues in the world. Acts that are quite established overseas and are about to break here usually play Howler before they come back and play far bigger shows, so it’s pretty motivating to catch them in an intimate setting. 

Fairhaven Beach, Fairhaven

We really enjoy getting away from the city and heading down the coast for writing sessions, especially at the start of Slum Sociable. I’m not going to be pretentious and insinuate that the air down there brings out a special lil something, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I guess it’s a lot easier to turn your phone off and really concentrate on what you want to achieve when the reception is terrible, and that’s exactly what we do in Fairhaven. 

Found Sound, Carlton

If you’re lacking inspiration, sometimes you’ve just got to treat yourself to a new toy. Found Sound is great for second hand music gear that’s been restored back to impeccable quality. The staff know a heap about what you’re looking for too, and if they don’t have it, they can usually point you in the right direction.

Preorder the self-titled album from Slum Sociable here, and keep up with them on social media.

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Get To Know: Ron Gallo

The Nashville via Philadelphia rocker Ron Gallo has had quite the year in 2017; Releasing his debut solo album called Heavy Meta, playing major festivals across the country, touring across the pond, and befriending some of our other favorite bands like White Reaper and Twin Peaks on the road. In the always evolving and ever fickle music industry, it's been a year of textbook success for someone on their first album cycle, but it's also been a year of personal growth for Gallo. 

 I met up with Gallo before he played Loufest in St. Louis's Forrest Park earlier this month to talk through his newfound sense of clarity and how he transcended into new musical territory.  Gallo's songwriting style on Heavy Meta takes on a goofy, laidback tone while tackling serious subjects both in his personal life and with issues that affect the world. Our Loufest conversation spanned topics from Gallo's favorite author to David Lynch and the weight of social media in today's society.

If you haven't yet heard of Ron Gallo, allow us to introduce you with these eight things you need to know.

Ron Gallo at Loufest 2017

Ron Gallo at Loufest 2017

His departure into solo music involves self realization

For several years before Gallo ventured on this solo endeavor to produce the quirky, yet thought-provoking garage rock on Heavy Meta, he had been in the Philadelphia based band, Toy Soldiers. Sonically the music is quite a departure from the work he put out with Toy Soldiers, so how did that come around?  "The story is I made music under the Toy Soldiers name for many, many years. I don’t even know if it really scratched the surface of what I wanted to do with music and what I view as the role of it in my life," Gallo began. 

"I think it’s when I kind of started getting a little more real with myself in what I was writing about, talking about… [I] realized that music for me is really a vehicle for what I need to say to the world and to myself. It’s not like a vanity thing or it’s not even necessarily a fun thing. I mean there are elements of fun, but it’s bigger than that to me. It’s more important. When I started to realize that, I felt like it was me coming into myself a bit. I identified less and less with what my old band is doing and I felt like I wanted to be--I wanted to shed all of the hiding, and I wanted to be exposed and start a project that was just like whatever I am at any given moment. That can keep the whole thing honest and fun, and it can always reinvent itself. That’s kind of when I started making Heavy Meta," Gallo continued. 

To go along with the shift in the purpose behind his music, Gallo also changed his surroundings during the time period of working on his solo debut. After recording all of Heavy Meta in Philadelphia, he packed up and moved to Nashville. Although the scene and the sound of Nashville contrasts with that of Philadelphia, Gallo says his work doesn't feel heavily influenced by either locations. "I think sonically and stylistically where I was going I was kind of just figuring that out on my own...Not necessarily influenced too much by the Philly scene or the Nashville scene, but moving to Nashville, I felt like I identify a lot more with people in the scene. There’s just so many great bands there right now. Especially in the weirdo, rock and roll, garage, psych punk rock whatever scene. It just felt very at home. When I moved there I was like I don’t even really care about going to this place to like make things happen or be a part of the scene. It was just that I liked the city, I needed change, and it all made sense. I just wanted to go somewhere and do my thing," he says. 

He passes time by skateboarding and [crowd] surfing on tour

In addition to the many Summer festivals that Gallo has played, he's been on tour nearly non-stop across America, even venturing over to Europe this year. While on these many tours, Gallo often passes the time with some PG activities, like skateboarding. "We don’t really party. I don’t really drink or rage, as per say. So nothing involving that, but we skateboarded a lot when we weren’t playing," he says. 

What's the best city for a touring band to skate around? "[In] Vancouver there was actually a skatepark right around the corner from the venue, so we went over there. I ended up making a really bad skate compilation video from that [White Reaper] tour," Gallo vouches. 

In addition to skating, surfing also stuck out as a memory of the White Reaper tour for Gallo...crowd surfing that is. While talking about tour highlights, Gallo says, "The West Coast was great. Seattle was a really great show, and our first time really playing out there. I crowd surfed for the second time in my life to White Reaper in Seattle. So that was kind of  a pinnacle moment. The first time was actually earlier this year to Fidlar in Atlanta. It’s just funny that age 29, my first two stage dives were this year. I’m just reverting back to being a kid again."

Geographically, one of Gallos favorite tour memories involved his band's run in Europe. "We got to Norway. Tromsø, Norway, where it’s sunlight 24 hours and we got in at midnight. Still light out. We stayed at this really, really nice hotel on the water. One of my favorite moments was getting to the room--we each had our own room, and looking at the view and sitting down. That was a really nice moment," he recalled. Gallo also mentions he enjoyed his time on the road with Hurray for the Riff Raff, humbly adding, "We’ve been really lucky this year to be surrounded by great bands and great people, and seeing way too many places in a small amount of time. It’s all been’s a blur!"

Comedians influence his stage presence

While Gallo talked me through his transition into solo music, he mentioned that he finds certain aspects of making music fun, but his motive behind creating music is much bigger than that. Prior to Loufest, I had seen Gallo perform at Lollapalooza, where a sense of humor laced his set, and he added an element of weirdness by playing guitar with a fire extinguisher. Gallo explains that comedic undertone in his personality and stage presence stems from a few places, saying, "That kind of comes from---it makes dealing with serious topics in songs and having a certain level of intensity in what we makes it way more tolerable and helps me deal with myself by letting the other side shine through. I don’t really take myself too seriously. Humor and lightness are so important. It’s all about that balance to me. So as intense or heavy as it can be, to kind of like mess with people or make people uncomfortable, or do weird stuff that’s off the cuff, make people laugh...I’ll laugh at myself, make people laugh at themselves….It’s like two forces working together. I love people that do that."

He attributes comedians with some influence on that approach, adding, "I am actually in certain ways influenced by certain comedians. Andy Kauffman….somebody that really tampered with reality and being really confrontational with the audience. No one really even know what was real and what wasn’t real. I love that and I think it’s hilarious. Louis CK and like Hannibal Buress. Steven Wright and George Carlin...there’s a fearlessness to what those guys do. There’s nothing cool about it. It’s like get up there a be real and be laughed at, be laughed with. But you have this ability to convey truth and you’re not afraid of it. I love that. There’s an element to music sometimes where there’s characters or there’s this element of trying to put a wall between audience and band members, an element of cool to it...Fuck all that. It’s about trying to do something real. Be yourself. I just love anybody that does that." 

Humor and lightness are so important. It’s all about that balance to me. So as intense or heavy as it can be, to kind of like mess with people or make people uncomfortable, or do weird stuff that’s off the cuff, make people laugh. It’s like two forces working together.
— Ron Gallo on his stage presence

He also finds Dougie Jones Inspiring

Gallo has posted on his social media about David Lynch's cult classic Twin Peaks. While Lynch has never backed down from venturing completely into bizarre and uncomfortable territory, his work with Twin Peaks has created an entire universe within itself...One which Gallo admires and respects immensely.  "I love David Lynch so much. Really everything that he’s done. His films, and in Philly he had an art gallery. Especially with like his meditation practices and how outspoken he is about that and the role that it can play in creativity. It’s amazing and I think he’s an incredible real deal artist and everything an artist should aspire to be. I mean Twin Peaks is just the greatest...everything about it is’s created a world that you want to live in. As soon as I found out it was coming back I, like most people, was freaking out," Gallo says. 

Talking about his favorite characters in both the reboot and original series of Twin Peaks, Gallo says, "I think Agent Cooper is an obvious lovable character. I know we only got to see him for the brief part of that one episode [in the reboot], but even when he was Dougie, I really loved that character because I think that was sort of the embodiment of a fully present, aware, enlightened being. All he ever really did was repeat the last word that somebody else would say, and it was amazing how he got people to look at themselves or he fixed situations just by inaction. I think David Lynch was going that direction with that character. It’s like he doesn’t care about the material world. He’s kind of in a different dimension, yet he thrives in it because he’s not all worried about it. Everything just kind of works out...he fixes it all. I thought that was a really cool alternative to Agent Cooper. I had a huge crush on Audrey Horne in the first season. Also, David Lynch, his character in the show...Gordon Cole is like the best!"

He believes in social responsibility on social media

Similarly to the balance of lightness and darkness that is present in Gallo's songwriting and stage presence, he uses his social media platforms to bring lightness to his followers, but he also makes sure he takes a stance on world wide issues. While some people challenge musicians or performers in the public eye taking a "political" stance, Gallo has stated it's not just a political stance, it's a human stance. "We have this opportunity now to reach mass amounts of people. There’s like a collective consciousness with the internet that’s like tangible now. You can reach people from all over the world in an instant. Whether we like it or not, we are so influenced mostly in a negative way by the internet and social media. I think everyone is very, very addicted to the thing. It’s so normalized that people aren’t willing to look at it as a problem. I guess that’s where I come in with that is that things like Charlottesville, where there’s these very open acts of hatred and ideas that you don’t like to think exist in this society and country. That we’ve evolved past it and grown to realize that thinking about human beings and the world that way is insanity and it’s sickness and you think it’s gone. Then something like that comes up and you’re like oh yeah, no it’s very, very present still," Gallo says. 

Although there can be a negative side to so much social media and such a quick, global connection, Gallo elaborates, "I think if we’re using the internet to post selfies for vanity, especially for artists, to further their career or to promote their music and their shows...I think it’s their responsibility, especially when your livelihood is based on humanity and people enjoying what you do and support from human beings. The more successful you are, it’s your duty to kind of take a stance. Say something in support of humanity and in support of human beings. That’s gotta be the balance. We have access to people all the time. Don’t just use it for your own gain. Use it to create a better good. Go and put something positive out there that is universal. And nobody can say “Well I disagree with that stance”... What does that mean? It’s means you’re being lazy. Get on your fucking Twitter, even if it’s just like “I love all of you” and “We accept all of you,” you have to combat darkness with the light. I think people that get complacent and don’t use their platform are just lazy. Let’s make the world a better place, not just sit on our asses and wait for things to happen."

Eckhart Tolle Helped Shape His Way of Thinking

Throughout our conversation, Gallo's wisdom and positive way of thinking came across with a certain sense of ease in nearly every answer, and he was also kind enough to share where some of mindset stems from. Gallo shared that he would chose to be stuck with Eckhart Tolle if he got stranded in an elevator for two hours with only one other person. Gallo explains his decision saying, "He’s sort of like a spiritual teacher, and he wrote a book called The Power of Now that was super popular. He’s written a couple of books that have sincerely changed my life and the way that I view the world. I could talk to that guy forever because just reading his words has had such a major impact on my life." 

There is new music on the way

In the recent weeks, Gallo has shared some photos of himself and his bandmates recording new music to follow up Heavy Meta, and he says we can expect a lot of it soon. "So we’re actually gonna put out two new things before the year is over, which is exciting. We recorded one song, a new single that was sort of a response to the whole Charlottesville thing. In early November, we’re doing a tour with Naked Giants so we’re gonna release a split EP with them. Then right before Christmas we’re gonna release an EP that we recorded. The second album should be out middle of next year," Gallo says. 

His hair styling advice is...

In addition to his clever song titles, Gallo's curly mop of hair has become one of his signatures. Gallo's tips for his voluminous hairstyle? Do your thing and be proud of what you've got. "Don’t do anything, just let it be. This is what happens. This is just how it is for me. I didn’t choose this. Guys, whatever you got, just let it go. Learn to love it," he says.

As the interview wrapped up, Gallo also shared one last bit of advice, unrelated to hair styling. "I would always just encourage people to maybe question themselves, question the world a bit. Don’t be afraid to maybe think that how something is, is maybe not how it should be. And have a good time, be happy. It’s your choice," he says. 

Photos of Ron Gallo at Loufest 2017

Get ready for the plethora of new Ron Gallo music coming our way by revisiting the debut, Heavy Meta, in full below. For tour dates, updates on new music, and Gallo's wise words, follow him on social media. 

Ron Gallo: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

A Chat With: Wand

Los Angeles psych rockers Wand hit the ground running after forming in 2013; releasing their first full length in 2014, followed by two albums in 2015...all while touring consistently. The original three piece consisting of frontman Cory Hanson, bassist Lee Landey, and drummer Evan Burrows took their time between 2015 and 2017 to craft their newest record Plum, out last week on Drag City Records. The trio also expanded in 2016 to include two new band members,  Robbie Cody and Sofia Arreguin. The newly expanded group just kicked off a cross country tour to celebrate the new songs from Plum. Before the tour rolls through Chicago tonight, stopping at Lincoln Hall, Cory Hanson took some time to discuss the approach and influences behind the new album, his hand in their music videos, which podcasts they listen to, and what's next for them. Find out all that and more in our chat with Wand!

Photo Credit: Abby Banks

Photo Credit: Abby Banks

ANCHR Magazine: Congratulations on having your new album Plum done and out this month! What differences did you notice with the writing and recording process for this record, compared to your first few albums?

Cory Hanson: Thank you!  The writing and recording process was pretty different.  We kind of invented our own process together.  We holed up in our own studio in Glassell Park, CA and recorded everything we did.  Mostly jams, hours of improvisations that we did for a couple months straight.  We then refined these jams into songs.  We took them on tour in Europe for 3 weeks, recording every show and playing the songs differently every night.  Then we went and recorded Plum in 8 days up in Grass Valley, CA with Tim Green.  We mixed up in Woodstock with DJ Goodwin, and mastered it in Ventura CA with JJ Golden.

AM: Where did you draw influence (musical and nonmusical) from for the songs on Plum, for both subject matter and the sonic and production aspects of the album?

CH: We each come from different musical backgrounds, so we all brought our influences together.  I got really into electric Miles Davis while making this record, which was the result of playing and hanging with Robbie [Cody].  I was also listening to a lot of This Heat, Spiritualized, Joni Mitchell, Townes Van Zandt, Grateful Dead.  Definitely was interested in music that had its roots in the songwriting tradition, but skewed it into something freakier. 

AM: Last month you also released a video for the song “Bee Karma.” How involved are you in the video concepts and where did the idea for the clown come in?

CH: I made that video [for "Bee Karma"], so I was about as involved as you could be in a project.  The clown was the only initial idea.  I wanted to drive a clown around, so that’s what I did.

AM: Which of the new songs are you most excited to play on the upcoming tour, and have you worked out any new arrangements for the set on this run?

CH: We are having a lot of fun playing "Charles de Gaulle" on this tour.  It’s a really great example of how we breathe in and out as a band organism.  There’s so many moving parts, but they’re not wound like a clock; instead they are muscular, based in memory.  Human machines are fascinating.

AM: You’re playing The Troubadour for your hometown show, which is a pretty legendary place, but where else on the tour are you most excited to play?

CH: We were very happy to play there.  I’ve been going there to play shows since I was 15 or so.  It’s my favorite place to see bands.  It’s got great sound, and it’s very intimate.  I saw Dinosaur JR there when they reunited and stood right in front of J’s stack.  I lost a lot of hearing that day, but it was totally worth it.  I don’t know if I’d be here today if it wasn’t for that show.  I’m just excited to bring these songs across the country. We’ve been gifted with some lovely venues on this tour: Lincoln Hall, Bowery, The Chapel in SF.  Very happy and humbled to be invited to play these places.

AM: How do you stay entertained on the road? Do you have any favorite podcasts, books, or games that you play as a band?

CH: Oh my God.  We just finished S-Town on tour.  I nearly cried.  It’s like one of the greatest stories I’ve ever heard told expertly, passionately.  Now we are listening to Ear Hustle, which is all interviews with convicts at San Quentin Prison in California.  It’s very heavy.  We are on the episode about solitary confinement. 

AM: Who are some of your favorite fellow LA bands at the moment? Any new bands we all should check out?

CH: Darto is from Seattle, they’re amazing.  Dreamdecay is also a very good band.  Gun Outfit is one of our favorite bands. 

AM: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would you like to work with?

CH: I’d love to collaborate with Stevie Wonder.  To work on a track with Stevie would be a dream come true.

AM: What else are you looking forward to this year besides the album and tour?

CH: A whole bunch of stuff that nobody even knows about yet!  But soon will.

Chicago, grab tickets to Wand's show at Lincoln Hall here. See the rest of Wand's tour dates here, and grab your own copy of Plum below. 

A Chat With: The Dig

You might best know New York's The Dig by their relaxed rock tune "I Already Forgot Everything You Said" off their 2012 album Midnight Flowers, but the quartet made up of two singers and three songwriters have a dynamic and expansive music catalog under their belt, including the 2017 album Bloodshot Tokyo. The latest album stays true to their laid back and grooving melodies, but also explores different moods and tones to deliver diversity across the 11 tracks. Band members David Baldwin, Emile Mosseri, Erick Eiser, and Mark Demiglio are currently out on the road in support of the newest album, and they'll be in Chicago this Friday. Before the tour stops at Lincoln Hall, we chatted with one of the band's singers and songwriters David Baldwin, all about the tour, new music and more! If you want to know about The Dig's collaborative writing process, which books they're reading, how they feel about pumpkin spiced drinks and pineapple on pizza, check out our chat with The Dig!

Photo Credit: Olivia McManus

Photo Credit: Olivia McManus

ANCHR Magazine: Congratulations on the newest album Bloodshot Tokyo, which you released earlier this year! How was this album different from past work, in terms of the writing and recording scope?

David Baldwin: Thanks, we appreciate that.  Probably the biggest difference between this album and our past work was our overall approach.  We went into this one with way more songs to choose from than we ever had before.  In the past we'd always had to balance writing the music with booking tours, self-managing, etc.  This time around we decided to put all of that on hold and do nothing but write songs for a couple of years.  I think we grew a lot as songwriters in that time and naturally a new kind of sound evolved.

AM: What challenges do you encounter with having multiple songwriters in the band? On the flip side, what do you find rewarding about being able to collaborate on the writing rather than having one person do it all? 

DB: The biggest challenge we face having multiple songwriters in the band is allowing space for a singular vision to find its way onto a record.  You always know that every idea, every lyric is going to have to make it through the committee, and we've talked about how we always have each other in our heads while we're writing.  One of us might be alone writing a song and think, oh so and so won't like this because it leans to heavily toward one style or another.  So keeping the edges of a singular vision from being shaved off can be a challenge.  

On the flip side, because we've been writing songs together for so long, we speak the same musical language.  I think this helps the most in finishing songs that one person may have started but couldn't quite see all the way through on their own.  If you feel like you're stuck with a song but you're excited about what's there, you know you can bring it in to the rest of the band and someone will come up with something cool that you never would have thought of.  We've also noticed that the songs of ours that people seem to respond to the most are usually the ones that were the most collaborative.

AM: Which songs from the new record are you most excited about playing when you’re on the road in the fall?

DB: We have a hoot playing all the songs, but some live favorites in no particular order are "Pool of Rotting Water", "Jet Black Hair", "Bleeding Heart", and "Self Made Man."

AM: How do you guys usually pass time when you’re on the road? What are your favorite podcasts, books, and other ways to stay entertained? 

DB: We usually just blab away at each other and make Instagram stories.  But a good Marc Maron will get you clear through Nebraska.  Some Norm Macdonald standup will do ya.  We all try to read on the road from keeping Tour Brain from setting in.  Notes From The Underground, Tortilla Flat, Ta-Nehisi Coates' new piece The First White President have made up some of the recent tour readings.

AM: In the past you’ve thrown black wigs out at your shows before you played “Jet Black Hair.” Do you have anything special like that up your sleeves for the upcoming tour?

DB: We do have a little something up our sleeves.  It's called our Total Request Hotline.  The number is 347-422-6434, and you can call it to request a song all throughout the tour.  Doesn't necessarily mean we'll play it, but you can still give it a shot.  In fact, a nice gentlemen named Harrison called it today to make a request for our Chicago show. 

AM: Since you’ve been a band for several years now, what would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learned a musician?  

DB: To make what you want to hear and not worry about the stuff you can't control.  But that's easier said than done. 

AM: What have you learned about each other from knowing each other and working together for so long? 

DB: We learned that when one person makes a joke and it gets a laugh, everyone in the band has to go around and repeat it at least once.

AM: I heard that you and Emile used to play in a Rage Against The Machine Cover band back in the day. If you were to form a new cover band today, which band/artist would you cover exclusively and what would the band name be?  

DB: Would have to go with a surf-rock band that does instrumental versions of C.C.R. songs.  We would name it The Loose Screws.  

AM: Who are some of your favorite new artists at the moment, or new music from more established artists that you can’t stop listening to?

DB: Kendrick Lamar, Queens of The Stone Age,  Angel Olsen to name a few.  

AM: Besides the tour, what else are you looking forward to for the remainder of the year?

DB: We're looking forward to keeping the writing going when we get home, and also to some new things we have coming out in the near future.  

AM: Also, as a bonus question, I thought we could play  “Dig or Ditch,” a cheesy game I made up that’s a lightning round of a few polarizing topics/items. If you like it, say dig, or if you hate it, say ditch. 

  • Pineapple on pizza: dig or ditch? Dig
  • Cilantro: dig or ditch?  Dig
  • Watching the previews at the movies: dig or ditch?  When thinking about it, Ditch.  But when it's happening, Dig.
  • Coffee: dig or ditch? Dig but fantasize about ditching.
  • Scary movies: dig or ditch?  Dig
  • Pumpkin flavored food/beverages: dig or ditch?  Dig
  • Nutella: dig or ditch?  Ditch
  • Country music: dig or ditch?  Dig.
  • Spicy food: dig or ditch?   Dig
  • Snowy days: dig or ditch?  Dig

Now that you know more about the band, go see The Dig with Dan Croll at Lincoln Hall this Friday...grab your tickets here before they sell out. Make sure to also call their Total Request Hotline to request your favorite song!

If you're not in Chicago, you can also check out all of The Dig's upcoming tour dates here, and get ready for the show by listening to Bloodshot Tokyo in full below!

A Chat With: Widowspeak

Indie rock group Widowspeak just released their fourth studio album Expect The Best on August 25th. The Brooklyn-based duo of Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas have been making music together since 2010, but this latest album brings their fullest and most developed sound to date. In support of the new record, the pair and their live band will kick off an extensive North American tour this week, followed by a UK tour. Before the tour hits Chicago, we chatted with Molly Hamilton all about the new album and upcoming tour. Check our chat with Widowspeak now to find out the biggest lesson they've learned in their years of making music, what makes this new record different, their ideal night out in NYC, how they prep for tour and more! 

 Photo Credit: Shawn Brackbill

 Photo Credit: Shawn Brackbill

ANCHR Magazine: So your new album Expect The Best just came out last month! How did the writing and recording process for this album vary from your previous records?

Widowspeak: For this one, I still wrote the songs separate, from voice memos and notebooks and random ideas pieced together, knowing we would then expand on that and make them more intricate eventually. In the past, it has mostly been Rob figuring the latter part out, but this time we played with the regular touring band in the studio.  

AM: After releasing a few albums and being a band for several years, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a musician?

Widowspeak: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is just to be kind to people, which seems obvious, but… We are really laid-back as a band and always super appreciative of people we meet on tour, whether that’s the people running the shows or going to them. We’ve heard stories about other bands, whether ones we know personally or are fans of, being jerks or just generally difficult to work with, and that is a total bummer.  It's so important to be good to people.

AM: Where did you find yourself drawing inspiration from for the new songs, whether it be musical or non-musical influences?

Widowspeak: The new songs I wrote sort of in a big batch of them all at once, and I think they are all sort of about feeling stuck in various feelings or states of mind. It’s not uncommon at all to have those sorts of thoughts, but for me personally I wanted to write these songs more directly about that because it was getting increasingly hard to do anything, let alone music. Some of them are more concerned with the symptoms of those feelings, like being unproductive, or looking at social media, and others are about trying to figure out “why."

AM: I really love the cover art too, and the limited edition vinyl you put together with the purple lava lamp splatter. How involved are you with the visuals that the band puts out, and how does the cover tie in with the theme of the record?

Widowspeak: I’m usually really involved in the visuals, if not doing everything except the technical layout myself (sometimes, as with our last record, we use someone else’s art). This time, I took the cover photo and all the other photos in my apartment in Tacoma. The lava lamp is actually my stepmom’s that I borrowed (and that broke!) I had this weird feeling that the corner of my apartment, with a lava lamp, should be the record cover and had no idea why, ha. 

AM: Are there any songs from the new record that you’re particularly excited about performing live? Any spoilers you can give about the set for the upcoming tour?

Widowspeak: I’m excited to play all of them, honestly. I feel like because these songs were originally recorded with the band, they are already really full of that energy. Sometimes we have to try to figure out how to play a song live that was more sparse, or where the instruments aren’t represented by the four of us. This time everything feels more natural, also more high-energy. For tour surprises, I will say we are trying to figure out a new cover… hope we get it figured out in time!

AM: Are there any cities you’re especially looking forward to playing?

Widowspeak: We love playing our respective hometown cities (Seattle/Tacoma, Chicago, Des Moines, Detroit) as well as our new hometowns, NYC and Kingston, NY (upstate), because so many of our friends are there. But it’s also great to play shows anywhere and to be surprised by the people you meet there, or how cool a venue or their staff are. Tour is crazy and full of things you didn’t expect, so I’m just going into it excited to play the songs and hoping the van doesn’t break down.

AM: Speaking of touring, I saw you recently posted on Facebook about a taking a roadtrip (and tour is essentially one big roadtrip itself), so what are your go-to road trip activities, tunes, and essential snacks?

Widowspeak: Yeah, we got a new tour van which is also a great camper van, and we’re excited to bring it on the road! Generally we listen to a lot of podcasts, especially comedy or science ones, because they tend to be things people can all agree on (but also tune out if they want to). Music-wise, the van has a tape player so I’m excited to bust out the old cassette collection and go foraging in the bins at thrift stores. When we’re on tour we like to research ahead of time to see if there is a must-try local restaurant/food truck/etc. that is around, because no one wants to be figuring out how to eat breakfast from the things they have at a gas station. We try to plan ahead. So we definitely sometimes will go through a National Park or something, if it’s sort of on the way, or we’ll go swimming or thrifting or play pinball.

AM: Since the album is called Expect The Best and you’re based in Brooklyn, describe what you would consider your best night out in NYC?

Widowspeak: I would say the best night out in NYC definitely involves knowing where to go so you don’t spend too much money, because the city is crazy expensive and it takes finesse and skill to do it right and not be broke. First, getting some snacks somewhere where there is happy hour food. I really love dollar oysters, and there are a bunch of places in Brooklyn that have them. Or honestly just grabbing something from a deli and finding a good spot in the park or something to people-watch. Then I’d say maybe go to someone’s roof if you know someone with a cool roof, unless it’s raining. There’s nothing better than watching the sun set over the skyline and bridges. But that’s kind of where my idea of the perfect evening devolves, because the best NYC night out would be unpredictable and you’d end up a lot of places you didn’t expect, like random apartments and bars you’ve never been to, or other boroughs from where you live. I will say that later, when you’re crawling home, I would get tacos or halal from one of the trucks, depending on where you are. That’s the classic NYC night-ender.

AM: On a similar note, who are some of your favorite NYC bands at the moment that you would recommend to your listeners?

Widowspeak: Well, we just moved back into town, so I can’t totally speak to any of the newer bands that are just starting out (as we haven’t seen ‘em yet), and also a bunch of the NYC bands are now somewhere-else bands, but EZTV, and also there’s this band Poppies I like, Cut Worms, our friend Renata Zeiguer, who used to be in a band with Rob, is incredible. Other than that there are a bunch I’m not thinking of, I’m really glad to be back in the area though, lots of new bands to hear.

Chicago, you can check out Widowspeak at The Empty Bottle next week. Grab tickets here, and listen to the new album in full below. 

Get To Know: Capital Soirée

Indie pop-rock band Capital Soirée knows how to write a song with a sticky, stuck-in-your-head melody. Since forming in 2013, the group has released a handful of singles, including two EPs called Next Weekend and Take Me Anywhere. Founding members James Kourafas, Max "Rom" Romero, and Steven Rejdukowski have also been playing around the city for years, recently adding on a live drummer, Griffin Shaw. Last weekend, we chatted with the four-piece before they headlined the main room stage at Wicker Park's Subterranean to not only celebrate their upcoming EP, but the one year anniversary of Griffin joining the live band....and Max's birthday. In our interview, the group discusses their new music, the lessons they've learned over the summer, their evolution as a band, and more. Here are five things you need to know about Capital Soirée!

Capital Soirée is Max "Rom" Romero, James Kourafas, and Steven Rejdukowski

Capital Soirée is Max "Rom" Romero, James Kourafas, and Steven Rejdukowski

They've Changed Roles Since the Band Started

The three core members of Capital Soirée are all multi-instrumentalists and have all been able to take on multiple roles throughout the years. After initially starting to play drums at age 6, Max Romero eventually picked up the bass, which has since remained his role in the band today. Vocalist and guitarist James Kourafas describes his start in music, saying, "I was like 9 or 10. [Max and I] initially had met in third grade. We had this whole thing that we were gonna start a rock band." Steven Rejdukowski, who now plays guitars and keys in the current day lineup says, "I learned how to play drums so I could be in a band," after meeting Kourafas and Romero and finding out they needed a drummer to complete their band. He had initially picked up a guitar and learned to play at age 14. Griffin Shaw came in to play the live drums with a lot of experience already under his belt. "I've been playing [drums] 12 years now. My grandpa plays jazz drums. So he got me into the drum world pretty early," he recalled. The band's ability to be flexible and take on playing multiple instruments had led them to a seamless live show, even with the new material they debuted at the Subterranean. 

They've Recently Taken on Producing Their Own Music

The band have been working away on new music that not only features a more developed sound, but a more in-depth process behind the scenes. Talking more about their current recording process, Rejdukowski says, "We record at my house. I’ve been building a studio for the past 6 years or so. We recorded at a few places before when we were younger and we kind of hated it." Echoing that sentiment, Kourafas says, "It took us a while to come to the realization that so much of a record’s sound actually has to do with the way it was recorded and produced and mixed. At the time when you’re younger, you don’t necessarily have the words to express what you’re trying to get down so you’re kind of at the mercy of the producer who’s recording you. That’s kind of what drove us to want to do the DIY thing." As far as who takes the lead in their production work, the band says it's a democratic system, each on them getting an input. "Yeah we kinda all just sit around the computer, and one person drives, and we all make our own comments," Romero describes their process. 

The band also discuss some of their favorite producers that they admire and look to for influence. "I really like the band Hoops, their production style. It’s not so much an inspiration for our music, but I admire that sort of lo-fi production. But we also like hi-fi, like super high fidelity electronic stuff. There's all sorts of different styles that we’re trying to mesh together,Kourafas says. "If I had a big influence...Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. He was the whole reason I wanted to record and build a studio, besides that I’m tired of hearing other producers tell us what to do. He opened my eyes,Rejdukowski chimed in. 

They Spent the Summer Locked Up in the Studio...and Other Places

The band have spent a large chunk of the summer recording and producing their upcoming EP. Talking more about the direction of the songwriting style for this new material, Romero says, "It’s slowly been evolving. Back in the day, one of us would write a song on acoustic guitar, bring it to the group, and figure out parts from them. Nowadays it’s more like ok we have a song pretty much written. For the most recent recordings, we had demos that we made ourselves and we brought them all together and kind of decided which one was gonna be the best and from there we opened up the doors. So anyone could add on anything they want." The amount of collaboration varies track by track with the band's best interest in mind. "A big thing with the technique we’re using now is we’re trying to get past our own personal egos and make music that we feel is the best possible music we could make. Being in the studio... it really lends itself to coming up with different sounds," Kourafas adds. 

So while the band has been working hard, remaining locked up in Steven's studio to get this new music complete, they did also have a scheduling conflict pop up, when Romero got literally locked up for getting caught with a little bit of Colorado's finest export at Bonnaroo Festival and didn't show up to his hearing. Consequently, he got sentenced to two weeks in jail in Coffee County, Tennessee. Despite the setback, Romero gained some wisdom from the experience. "The biggest lesson I learned besides don’t take drugs across state lines, is don’t stress the shit that you can’t control. Cause you can, especially in jail, go crazy. Like, I can’t do anything about the fact that I’m gonna be in here for two weeks. You just have to sit back and let the world do it’s thing. Control what you can and don’t kill yourself over the shit you can’t control," he says. 

The Subterranean Holds a Lot of History for Them

The band has played all around the city over the years, but the SubT holds a special place in their heart. Their show last week acted as one of several times they've played that stage. So what are some of their favorite memories from the Wicker Park venue? "There was that one time you ripped my shirt off [to James]. That was one of the first times I had my shirt off at a show," Romero recalls. He also describes another time he stage dove at their last EP release show, saying, "I was over on the front by the monitors. My friend who is like 6’5, pretty large guy like grabs me and picks me up. This was during 'The Count.' I’d never stage dove before. It was kind of scary cause I was like I still have to play these parts... I didn’t want want to hit anybody with the bass!" Griffin Shaw also played his very first show with the group on the SubT stage.

This most recent performance will most likely go down on their list of Subterranean memories, seeing as Romero did take his shirt off again at the end of their set, and they played one of their unreleased tracks. The experience of playing this new song already proved to be landmark for the band, Romero pointed out. "It’s weird because before when we wrote songs, we would play them all together before we would even record them. This is the first time we’ve flipped it around. So we recorded first and now we’re playing it." Kourafas agrees, saying, "It’s kind of goofy cause we had to like learn our own songs. At the time when we recorded, we lay down what we lay down and don’t necessarily think about it too much."

Their List of Dream Collaborators is a Cross-Genre Super Group

If the band could collaborate with anybody in the world, Rejdukowski says he'd love to work with Tame Impala, since Kevin Parker has inspired him as a musician and producer. Romero throws out The Weeknd as a personal bucket list collaboration, while Kourafas says Phoenix and Shaw named Hans Zimmer. Basically, their dream collaborators sounds like an ideal super group that needs to happen at one point in the future. The group also shout out their bucket list venues and festivals,  Rejdukowski saying, "Absolute dream place--kind of cliché, but Red Rocks!" Romero mentions Shaky Knees festival, which takes place every Spring in Atlanta.

Although they'd love to one day work with more established acts and work their way up to playing bigger shows, the band also have a lot of hometown appreciation. Talking about the Chicago scene, Romero says, "Rare is it that we’ve found people who are shitty. Everyone is pretty supportive honestly. The Chicago local scene...I’ve never really been around other local scenes, but from what I’ve heard it’s pretty large." Rejdukowski agrees, adding, "Even like a lot of the bands we play with, they don’t necessarily sound like our music, but that’s the best part about it. The people who come to the shows are exposed to more genres and everyone is just vibing on it." As far as their favorite fellow Chicago musicians, the band shout out Floral Couches. "They’re great. Last time we played here we got to meet them. We all really fuck with The Walters. I like the Symposium. Post Animal’s great. [Twin] Peaks..." Romero says. 

The band says we can expect a new 7-track Capital Soirée EP and some music videos before the end of the year. While we await the new music, check out photos from the band's show at Subterranean, including some Behind the Scenes shots. 

Follow Capital Soirée on Social Media:

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter.

Listen to the latest EP "Take Me Anywhere" Below:

Catching Up With: White Mystery

If you're at all familiar with the Chicago music scene, you've undoubtedly seen White Mystery out and about over the years. The sibling duo of Alex and Francis White still manage to pack a serious punch with all of their live performances, despite only being a two-piece band. In addition to developing a full live show between the two of them, Alex and Francis have remained completely hands on with all aspects of the band, from management to booking tours to sending press releases...they do it all. In between all of that hustle, the pair still find time to put out an album every year on April 20th. Their latest, Fuck Your Mouth Shut, marks their eighth studio album, and their ninth is on the way in 2018. In the midst of working on new music, playing shows, and gearing up for tour, the duo developed their own TV show called (you guessed it)... White Mystery TV! The show has featured artists from all corners of the local Chicago scene and just wrapped its first season (but more on that later). Before White Mystery start their tour along the east coast and midwest this Friday, we chatted with Miss Alex White after their set at The Slippery Slope Anniversary party last weekend. Here are six things you need to know to get caught up with White Mystery!

Photo Credit: Diane Alexander White

Photo Credit: Diane Alexander White

Their Influences Provided "Permission By Example" 

While strolling down memory lane trying to pinpoint what first inspired her to pick up an instrument, Alex White describes two distinct childhood memories. "When I was pretty young, my mom would take me to the dollar store, called Amazing Savings. And they had discount tape cassettes of oldies music. Like all the great one hit wonders from the 60's, and I really really loved those songs," Alex recalls. She continues describing her journey to rock 'n'roll, saying, "As far as the moment that inspired me to start playing rock 'n' roll….And I’ve said this a couple times too because it was just that distinct of a moment that I remember... I was in fourth grade, and my parents were repurchasing their old record collections on CDs 'cause CDs were like a new invention, you know? I heard The Who for the first time, and the album was Who’s Next by The Who. It’s the classic song “Baba O'Riley,” which is like [singing] 'Teenage Wasteland...' And that song just really connected with me. Where I was like I need to play guitar, this is so cool!"

The inspiration continued through Alex's teen years, where she found influence in other bands. "If you flash forward a little bit...Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth. I heard Sonic Youth and I was like I can do this! This is so great, this is so powerful. It’s a female singer, she’s playing guitar, it’s experimental...I really believe in permission by example. You see something and you’re like oh yeah, I could do that! Maybe better, or differently. And Sonic Youth really did that for me when I was about 14 or 15," Alex says. She also reveals that some of her artistic and musical talent stems from somewhere down her family tree. "My mom played piano as a very young person, but her job is being a photographer. My grandfather, who passed away when I was like 5, really young, he played mandolin. So he never showed me how to play, and I don’t even have memories of him playing...But, I’m convinced that I’m genetically predisposed to having really fast fingers and that kind of thing. So while I didn’t know him very well and he never taught me, I feel that the heritage lended to it," she says. 

They're Always Up for the DIY Hustle

In addition to rocking the stage all by themselves, Alex and Francis White know how to work the DIY system as a band...and man do they work hard! Talking about the benefits and challenges that they face being an independent band, taking on multiple roles, Alex says, "Well like anything there’s pros and cons to being DIY. The biggest pro is that when you take on multiple roles, like when you become the management, the licensing agent, the booking agent, and the art director... and the the creative force, you can make a career out of it." She continues to give major props to her brother Francis, saying it's very much a partnership. For any struggling musicians or music industry professionals, just remember Alex's "permission by example" principle and look at how she has earned a living with White Mystery. 

"This has been my job full time for 7 years. It’s a very bohemian lifestyle. I work really fucking hard and all day long, but in the comfort of my own home or on tour with a laptop," Alex continues, vouching for the DIY lifestyle.  However, she does also recognize the potential downfalls. "The disadvantage is that it can be very challenging to penetrate these very established systems. Something like Lollpalooza...While we play big ass shows in Chicago, we played in Japan, we’ve been in Sundance Film Festival movies. We’ve played with Patti Smith and The Stooges many times. We played Riot Fest...for some reason it’s been damn near impossible to get into Lolla, while we’ve put 8 albums out," Alex continues. She still manages to see the positive side of the situation and brace herself for the challenges, adding, "So there’s certain things, but I try to convince myself that everything happens for a reason, and I just kind of stick to my vision, and good things always happen when you do that. You’re gonna have challenges. Be prepared for the challenges."

Video Games Inspired White Mystery TV

Well kind of...For the past month, White Mystery have invited different artists and musicians around Chicago over to talk, play music, and play video games. All while broadcasting live; hence the name White Mystery TV. Talking about the origin of this clever concept, Alex says, " I have to give my brother Francis credit for it. He plays a lot of video games, and there’s this network called Twitch. It seems like a lot of people in the rock scene aren’t very familiar with it...It’s the second largest streaming service on planet earth. World wide." Alex continues on to say that there's been times on tour where she and Francis wished they could share their view with friends and family back home. "Before Facebook Live and Instagram was more like us driving through the Swiss Alps thinking this is so crazy and so beautiful, I wish we could show people back home what this looks like," she says.

The inspiration to launch WTV also stemmed from their past work on a White Mystery film, called "That Was Awesome." Alex says their past work on that film coupled with their desire to share their experiences beyond their live concerts helped push the project forward. "We’re realizing wow, our worldwide audience is able to watch us. So while there might be 100 people at the show, there might be 1000 people watching," she continued. Talking more about the show itself, Alex says, "It took a long time to develop it because of the technology required to make the infrastructure. It’s not like 'Hey I have an iPhone..” let me hold it up to something. It’s a little more sophisticated. So when people are watching they’re getting a little more of the Wayne’s World basement thing, but what we’ve done is bring all of our favorite musicians on. So people are like wow, that’s so great you have so many cool local musicians. Like The Orwells...Mario [Cuomo] was one episode one. Twin Peaks are freakin’ huge!" The show has also had rappers like ShowYouSuck, Joseph Chilliams, Mykele Deville, as well as newer buzzy bands like Bunny and Post Animal. "We’ve been trying to represent the city of Chicago so that we can share what’s going on here with our audience in like Germany and Japan. It’s been a really cool thing and they’re all archived on YouTube so you can watch them again. They’re like each 3 hours long," Alex concluded. Make sure you tune into Season 2 when it starts!

They've Witnessed the Peaks and Valleys of the Chicago Scene

Speaking of representing the local Chicago scene on White Mystery TV, Alex and I also discussed some of her favorite parts of the scene at the moment, and how it has gone through cycles. "Chicago is a very special place. I’m born and raised here in the city. Having gone to New York and LA and San Francisco...Chicago is a very supportive, cooperative scene. There’s a lot of idea exchange and support," Alex says. 

"I guess what I love most is the mutual support people give each other, and that goes across the arts. That goes to comedians. DJs. Actors and Actresses. Everybody is like 'I’d love to help you with that.' It’s not this cut throat thing. There’s friendly competition where we push each other higher. But the community is full of support," she continued. 

This principle of helping each other out and lifting each other up can be seen just on White Mystery TV alone, when genres are mixed and collaborations extend to poets and performing artists, not just musicians. It's also demonstrated in Lollapalooza performances here, like when Joey Purp showed up for a song with Whitney. "It’s genre bending," Alex says before shouting out her favorite venues in the city. "I love the Empty Bottle. The DIY scene is very, very strong. There’s a new one every time. I’m kind of older than a lot of people in the scene. So how you were saying 'Wow, Chicago’s really popping right now…” I’ve seen several cycles take place. There was a point when I was younger when a place like The Empty Bottle would not book rock shows. They would only book very kind of indie stuff. I’ve seen it with highs and lows. And it’s always good, and there’s always stuff happening, but there’s definitely times where it’s thriving and that’s cool to watch," she says.

I try to convince myself that everything happens for a reason, and I just kind of stick to my vision, and good things always happen when you do that. You’re gonna have challenges. Be prepared for the challenges.
— Alex White on Being a DIY Musician

They Stay Entertained on the Road By Reading Wikipedia Pages

Since they're gearing up for tour (starting tonight), Alex and Francis discussed how they stay entertained on the road and what they're looking forward to on this particular run. Although Francis had been loading out for most of the interview with Alex, he jumped in for this question. 

"Reading Wikipedias is a very interesting way to observe a story of a person or place or event," Francis chimed in about their road trip habits. Off the back of that, Alex says, "I read books to him for hours at a time. I recently read the entire Mount Everest Into Thin Air book to him. I read the whole thing. We read Wikipedias...He drives, and I’ll read. Hours will go by. We’ll be like oh my gosh, you know that was 3 hours. Sometimes you read these biographies of like James Brown and you’re like crying at the end. You’ve started with the moment they were born and gone through their whole life, to the moment they died. It’s very emotional to go on that trek."

Although they educate themselves on the road by reading, the biggest lesson from touring and playing music is unrelated to Wikipedia and books. "I never really had to learn this lesson, it was just something we knew, but don’t leave your guitar or money in the car. Don’t leave your passports. Or the stuff you need. Ever," Francis says. Alex and Francis both emphasized the importance of knowing when to stick together and not splitting up while on the road. 

As far as where they're most excited to play on this run? "Meltasia," both of them said in unison when I asked. "I’m looking forward to Meltasia, but I’m mostly looking forward to the drive into Meltasia cause for my sister and I, it’s always a really special drive where we blast Led Zeppelin...we’re going deep into the woods, further and further and further away. Usually all we have is a case of beer and that’s it. No tents, no water, and we just know we’re gonna hang as long as we can, and shotgun as many beers as we can. The build up to it is one of my favorite feelings throughout the whole year," Francis elaborated. "It’s the anticipation of getting there. It’s the journey. A lot of people have told that to me in my life, and now I really, really believe that," Alex chimed in. 

Despite Her Vintage Style, Alex Admits She's Bad at Thrifting

Again, if you've seen White Mystery around, chances are you've noticed Miss Alex White's incredible retro inspired style, and no one pulls it off as well as she does! Fortunately for Alex, she's able to acquire most of her clothes, she says, admitting that she's not actually that great at thrifting. "A lot of my stuff just comes from my friends. I get a lot of custom made clothing now. When I went to The Grammys I had this amazing custom made jumpsuit. I was the Vice President of the Recording Academy for the Midwest. So I’d go to the Grammys and get to walk the red carpet with all these cool clothes," Alex reveals.

Alex also gave her mom props for being a great thrifter, even though that didn't pass down to Alex.  "What I love shopping for is shoes. These shoes, they’re just really practical and comfy, just wood platforms...I’ve had so many versions of this kind of shoe. We were in Beverly Hills and we played on late night television, The Carson Daly Show. After we were walking around Beverly Hills. I was like oh, a shoe store, cool! I go in there and find these, they’re made in Portugal, I was like oh, I like ‘em...once in awhile treat yourself. So I bought these shoes, I left the store, and I look at the storefront and see this is like an old lady shoe store. I just bought shoes from like an orthopedic shoe store," she recalled. 

Alex's once last piece of style advice? "I don’t buy vintage shoes...vintage clothes, but never vintage shoes. I was crossing the street once in a vintage pair of shoes, and my heel broke, and I wiped out on the street. I was like never again!"

Check out all of White Mystery's tour dates below and keep up with them on social media.

White Mystery: Facebook. Twitter. Instagram

09/01/17   Experimental Procedures Chelsea, MI Details
09/02/17   Happy Dog Euclid Tavern Cleveland, OH Details
09/03/17   Arsenal Lanes Pittsburgh, PA Details
09/04/17   The Pharmacy Philadelphia, PA Details
09/07/17   St. Vitus Brooklyn, NY Details
09/10/17   Meltasia Fest East Durham, NY Details
09/11/17   Bug Jar Rochester, NY Details
09/13/17   State Street Pub Indianapolis, IN Details
09/15/17   Trumpet Blossom Iowa City, IA Details 
09/16/17   Farnam Fest Omaha, NE Details
09/22/17   Ingenuity Fest Cleveland, OH Details

Also- Listen to White Mystery's 8th album Fuck Your Mouth Shut below!

A Chat With: Farebrother

If you're looking for your next favorite rock band, look no further than Farebrother. Hailing from Bath, England, the quartet combines driving guitar riffs, boisterous sing-a-long choruses, and dynamic drum beats to craft their own refreshing style. Composed of Tom Hunt, Michael Vowell, Matt Day, and Owen Stephens, the band have just released their new single "Rewind" earlier this month, which served as a follow up to 2016's Rapture EP. As the group are gearing up to release even more new tunes, we chatted with with Tom, Michael, and Owen about the direction they're headed, UK Festivals, their favorite new bands...and even their hidden talents. Get to know more about the band and what's next for them in our chat with Farebrother!

Photo Courtesy of Farebrother

Photo Courtesy of Farebrother

ANCHR Magazine: When did each of you first get into writing and playing music, and how did you all come together to form Farebrother?

Tom Hunt: Well, myself and Michael (Lead guitar) have been writing and playing together since we were about 13 or 14. Matt (Drums) and Owen (Bass) have also been playing from a very young age individually, but it was only until, through another band, that myself and Michael met Matt. From then, after that former band had dissolved, we created Farebrother. Then about a year or so down the line, we'd heard from Owen who then made Farebrother the four-piece that it is today.

AM: Who and what are some of your biggest influences, both musically and non-musically?

Michael Vowell: Musically, I've always been a massive fan of The Eagles. Aesthetically, I really Ken Loach's films.
Tom Hunt: I'm a big film enthusiast, so I get a lot of good inspiration from film dialogue and soundtracks in particular.
Owen Stephen: I love The Maccabees, also a fan of Twin Atlantic... I've always tried to emulate people I like listening to in whatever I do really.

AM: What’s a fun fact about each of you that not many people know? Could be a hidden talent, a hobby, etc...

OS: I've been on a West End stage in full body lycra suit hahaha!
TH: I used to be, and still technically am, a tennis coach haha! So if you need a few tips from anyone in the band, I'm your guy.
MV: I really wish I had something interesting about me... I'm struggling to think haha... I'm related to the drummer in Mott the Hoople? Is that good enough?

AM: You recently released new single “Rewind,” which I love! It’s the first release since your debut EP last year, so is this song just a preview of a lot more to come? What other teasers can you give about upcoming releases?

TH: It is definitely much more of a progressive step for us. And more music that is yet to be released is just a step forward from "Rewind", as "Rewind" was from the first EP. We're always striving to better ourselves, and we're very hard-working in that respect. The new music and tracks we've got lined up, hopefully to be released inside this year, are so much more developed than anything we've put out so far, in our eyes. We have a lot more up our sleeve and can't wait to show off our full potential.

AM: You recorded in Rockfield Studios, which has hosted some pretty legendary acts (Oasis, The Pixies, Royal Blood). How was it to work in that studio, and do you have any interesting stories from your time spent there?

TH: It was pretty incredible working there. All the history, all the stories... it was crazy. We had a great set of people there with us that really helped make the most of our time there, and you know, with all the mad things that you hear of coming from the studios there, in hindsight, we really contradicted that, haha! For the time that we spent there we really knuckled down and worked hard to get the most out of the track. I wish I could say that we had some crazy rock'n'roll stories to tell, but we were so taken by the place that we just wanted to get the most out of it we could really.

AM: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would you want to work with and why?

TH: That's a hard one... For us, it would have to be with someone who we'd want to be mates with afterwards, the collaboration would just be a means of getting to that point. Elton John maybe, he'd be a good guy to hang out with.

AM: Earlier in the month you shared a Spotify playlist of some of your favorite songs. Are there any other new bands or new albums out recently that you can’t stop listening to?

TH: A band called Neon Waltz have just released their debut album, I've watched them a couple times in the past, and yeah their record doesn't disappoint at all.
OS: Flyte's debut album is so great. Also the Queen's of the Stone Age's new album is amazing.
MV: Yeah I agree, Flyte's is a brilliant album for me.

AM: You’ve got a couple of gigs announced, but any plans for an upcoming tour?

TH: There's always opportunities and ideas in the pipeline for us, we like to be ahead of ourselves as much as we can. I can't really say whether or not we do, but I definitely wouldn't rule out another tour this year or early next year. It's just a matter of how things fall into place really, at the moment.

AM: Speaking of gigs, you’ve played a few festivals this summer, including Dot To Dot Festival. What were some highlights of the festivals you played?

TH: Yeah Dot to Dot was great this year, we had such a great crowd and it's definitely been one of out favorite gigs of the year so far, there was such a great energy on that day. Another good one for us was Tramlines in Sheffield. It was only our second gig in Sheffield and it's always ace to make our way up there. The venue we played was great and we were well received, more so than we could have imagined!

AM:If you could perform anywhere in the world, which venue or festival would be at the top of your list?

TH: For me, it has to be the Royal Albert Hall in London. It's such an extravagant and massive place. That would be incredible.
OS: Obviously it's Glastonbury for me, as it probably is for most. But also the Bristol Downs Festival, that would be great as it's such a huge one, and even more local than Glastonbury!
MV: Yeah definitely Pyramid Stage haha, might as well aim for the top!

Keep up with Farebrother on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Listen to Farebrother's Looking To Friday playlist below!

A Chat With: Emily Warren

Although she just released her second solo single, called "Something to Hold on To," last month, singer-songwriter Emily Warren is well versed in the pop music scene. Your ears may recognize Warren as the vocalist behind the addictively catchy hook in Frenship's viral song "Capsize," or as the mysterious guest vocalist in The Chainsmokers' hit song "Paris," but most of her extensive resume stems from work done behind the scene. With songwriting credits for some of the biggest names in music, including Shawn Mendes, Charli XCX, and Melanie Martinez, there's no doubt that you've heard at least one of Warren's songs. She's toured the world with The Chainsmokers and even won a Grammy, but now Warren's focus has shifted to writing for her first solo album. While you await her debut album, check out our Q&A with Emily Warren for the scoop on her first ever song, her nomadic lifestyle, upcoming collaborations and more! 

Photo Credit: David O'Donohue

Photo Credit: David O'Donohue

ANCHR Magazine: How old were you when you wrote your very first song, and do you remember what it was about?

Emily Warren: Oh god, yes. I was 10 years old, I had just put it together in my head that people wrote songs and that was a possibility. I wrote it about the boy I had a crush on at the time, and it was called "Facing Confusion." It had a thunderstorm theme and I was simulating thunder, lightning and raindrops on the piano... no one ever needs to hear that song, haha!

AM: How does your writing process vary when you’re writing for somebody else and when you’re writing your own songs?

EW: At the end of the day, the processes are quite similar. Whether I'm writing for myself or with someone else, I'm really only interested in writing about the truth. My sessions typically begin with a long conversation - I want to make people comfortable to open up to me so that the song is meaningful to them. One, because there is something very rewarding in helping someone get their story out, but two, I believe that if you write about something honest and true, you will be touching on something that other people have felt, and that, to me, is the beauty of music.

AM: Between writing Grammy Award-winning music and touring with The Chainsmokers, you’ve already accomplished so much this year! What do you consider to be the biggest achievement to come out of your hard work in the industry?

EW: Aw thank you so much! The fact that I get to wake up and do what I love every day is my biggest achievement, the rest is bonus. 

AM: At the moment, which song of yours (that you’ve either written for someone else or yourself) is your favorite, and why does it stand out to you?

EW: I've got some things I'm really proud of that are not out yet, but of the things that are released, one of my favorites is a song I did with Astrid S. on her first EP called "I Don't Want to Know." At the time we wrote it, it was a story that was really resonating with the both of us and I remember getting the mix back and crying my eyes out in my bed. I'm really proud of the song, the lyrics, and the structure - I think none of us were concerned with any "rules" of songwriting which ended up making it quite quirky and strange but that's something I really love about it.

AM: With being born in New York and now working in Los Angeles and even spending some time in London, what have you learned about yourself as an artist by dabbling in those different music scenes? In relation to that, do you think that working in such culturally contrasting cities has influenced your songwriting?

EW: One hundred percent - I've always wanted to travel and see the world and the fact that I can do that with music, and meet like-minded people that I can create with in all these different cities is truly the most amazing thing. It is quite shocking how different the writing culture is from LA to London to Nashville to New York. I've picked up bits from each place and been inspired by the people and streets of the different cities so it has definitely influenced me as a person and therefore my writing.

AM: Where are you in the process of writing your own debut album, and can we expect an Emily Warren tour soon?

EW: All the songs are pretty much written for the album and we're now just finishing up recordings and productions. As for a tour, eventually yes - but nothing planned at the moment. I want to get some more music out first and then figure out what that would look like.  

AM: Do you have any other collaborations in the pipeline?

EW: I've got some stuff coming out with Melanie Martinez, and have been doing more work with Sean Paul, David Guetta, The Chainsmokers, and actually just went down to Nashville to work with a bunch of Country artists so I'm very excited to see what comes of that!

AM: If you could co-write a song with any artist, dead or alive, who would you work with?


AM: What’s your best piece of advice for someone trying their hand at songwriting?

EW: NEVER compromise what you believe in - if you have a gut feeling, you're probably right, and you should stick to it regardless of how much resistance or push back you have to face to make that happen.

AM: Lastly, who are some of your favorite new artists that you can’t stop listening to?

EW: Right now I can't get enough of the new albums from SZA, Harry Styles and Lorde. 

Keep up with Emily by following her on Twitter, Instagram, and Spotify.

A Chat With: Toothless

"Even toothless, she can still bite off a boy's head." This is the quote that inspired Ed Nash of Bombay Bicycle Club's newest project, Toothless. Following the project's inception, 2017 has already been a whirlwind for Nash. After releasing the collaboration-laced debut album from Toothless, The Pace of The Passing, back in January, Nash has already followed up with a six song EP, Palm's. The project has also been constantly expanding the live show, playing festivals like Secret Garden Party and the upcoming Reading and Leeds Festivals. Before Toothless hits the road to tour the UK and Europe, find out more about the inspiration and influences behind Toothless...including more on the quote that started it all. Nash also talks new music and his collaborations with the likes of Marika Hackman, The Staves, and Liz Lawrence. Get to know Toothless now!

Photo Courtesy of Toothless

Photo Courtesy of Toothless

ANCHR Magazine: When did you first decide to branch out to your own side project and start working on Toothless?

Ed Nash: I have always written and recorded my own music, and had intended to release it long before I got 'round to it. My commitment to Bombay Bicycle Club kept on growing over the years as the band got bigger, and as a result I didn’t have the time to put into my own project. It was only at the end of 2014 when we decided to take a break after touring the last Bombay record that I finally had enough time to do it! I had the name and a lot of the ideas beforehand just not the time.

AM: The story behind your moniker is quite interesting, with the inspiration stemming from a Raymond Pettibon drawing with the caption “Even toothless, she can still bite off a boy's head.” When you were writing for the debut Toothless album, The Pace of the Passing, did you find yourself drawing inspiration from different forms of art, and are there any particular influences that stand out?

EN: Absolutely! All of the album and single artwork was inspired by a Charles and Ray Eames show that I saw at the Barbican in London. There was a video called "The Power of Ten" that was my main focus. A lot of the songs on the record draw from Greek myths and The Odyssey. I like using preexisting stories in my own songs to help get my own points across.

AM: The album also featured a few different collaborations, like “Palm’s Backside” with Marika Hackman and “The Sirens” with The Staves. How did these working relationships with these artists come around and what was your favorite part about the collaborative songs?

EN: Most of the features on the album are people that I was lucky enough to have met through touring and playing shows over the past ten years, Liz Lawrence sang with my band throughout 2014, and we played multiple shows and shared studio time with Wild Beasts. That's not to say that I used these artists only because I knew them personally, they couldn’t be gratuitous or for the sake of getting cool people on the record. For example Tom from Wild Beasts has a beautiful baritone voice, the opposite to the way I sing, and the part he recorded really needed that style of singing.

AM: Who else would you love to work with in the future and why?

EN: I really want to work with my favorite producer Dave Fridmann. The timing’s never been right so far as he’s a busy man. I’m not going to stop trying.

AM: You just released the EP “Palm’s” earlier this Summer, following the debut LP released earlier this year, which is quite a quick turnaround! Have you already started writing for the next album or EP?

EN: People keep saying it's a quick turnaround but to me it feels quite slow… As this is the only thing I do I think I get very impatient. I’ve started writing and recording the next full Toothless album and hope to get that out at some point next year. I’ve also got an idea for another EP, I haven’t told anyone about that yet though!

AM: Taking the songs to the live sense then, what is the usual band setup for your shows and what are some of your favorite songs to play out live?

EN: It's taken the best part of a year to get the live show to a point where I’m fully happy with it. As I played almost everything on the record, it was very hard to adapt the songs to work with a live band. The live show now consists of a 5 piece band with two guitars, bass, keys, drums and a hell of a lot of singing. I absolutely love playing "Sisyphus" live, not only is it the most upbeat song in the set but we have added a Kraut Rock style outro that gets pretty wild!

AM: You’ve got some shows in the UK and Europe this fall, but any plans to tour stateside soon?

EN: We don’t have any plans to head to the US at the moment unfortunately, though I am incredibly keen to get back soon. We played two shows in New York and Los Angeles at the beginning of the summer which were some of the best shows we have done.

AM: On the same subject of tours, you’re playing a Sofar Sounds show on September 20th to support Amnesty International and Give a Home, which is such a great cause to be involved with! Are there any other charities or causes that you’re passionate about?

EN: Yeah, I’m really looking forward to the Amnesty show! Over the years I have done quite a lot of stuff for Amnesty International and I love the Sofar Sounds shows too. It’s going to be a great event. With Bombay we did quite a lot of shows for the Teenage Cancer Trust. They are a truly fantastic organization. I will always continue to support them.

AM: What new music are you listening to lately that you’d recommend to your listeners?

EN: This week I have been listening to the new Grizzly Bear record. I love it, though, I am probably biased… I fucking love Grizzly Bear.

AM: Anything else coming up in the next year that you’re looking forward to?

EN: I’ve decided I want to paint my next record cover which I’m super excited about. I painted the cover to the Bombay record Flaws but haven’t done anything proper since then. I have been painting small portraits over the past few months to get my technique up to scratch for the real thing.

Keep up with all the Toothless updates by liking the official Facebook Page, and listen to The Pace of The Passing in full below!

A Chat With: Canyon City

The multi-talented singer songwriter, producer, and musician Paul Johnson is gearing up to release his second album, Constellation, under the moniker Canyon CityBased in Nashville, Johnson stands out with his smooth, flowing vocals, which he weaves with indie-folk acoustic melodies. Out in October, Canyon City's new album will showcase a more layered and developed sound from Johnson. To celebrate the release of the newest single "Midnight Flight" and the onset of the sophomore album from Canyon City, we chatted with Johnson about his writing process, pushing his limits in recording, the story behind his viral cover, and what's next for him. Get to know Canyon City now!

Photo Credit: Jordan Merrigan

Photo Credit: Jordan Merrigan

ANCHR Magazine: When did you very first decide to start writing songs and make music as a full time profession?

Canyon City: I think the first time I decidedly went for it was probably about halfway through high school. Music has really been around most of my life...both my parents played in a folk trio when they were in their 20’s. I guess folk stuff was around growing up. I picked up the guitar when I was a really, really young kid, and did what I could to learn it. It probably was about halfway through high school that I started writing. I think that was the turning point, and I kind of started to find an early voice in that. Sort of a new level of expression and satisfaction of doing it. At that point I was sort of addicted. I kept that going, and then moved to Nashville when I was 18, kind of using the excuse of college to do it, but then dropped out of college after a year to play music. I’ve been here ever since.

AM: Nice, do you still remember the very first song you wrote?

CC: Sort of. I remember a handful of the first songs, neither of which do I have much desire to relisten to, but you gotta start somewhere!

AM: For sure. Now you’re gearing up to release the sophomore album. What have you noticed as some of the differences with the songwriting and recording process between this album and the debut?

CC: Well with this one, it expands a bit. I think part of the reason I went out into some new sonic territory and some new instrumentation experimentation is because the first record was right after I built up my studio, and I’d done a couple EPs. I was still kind of learning the ropes. The first album Midnight Waves was pretty folky, pretty acoustic...partially because I was just learning the ropes of my setup here, and also because I knew when it comes time to play that live, I wanted to be able to play solo sets in addition to full band sets. With this one, I felt a lot more confident in the studio and in the production. I felt like I had a workflow down. So things that might have taken me awhile to figure out with Midnight Waves, I already had down for this one. It sort of allowed me to find things that I didn’t know how to do again. In this case, there’s a lot of percussion in a way that I hadn’t before for Canyon City. I also opened up the opportunity to hash out some instrumentals so that I could bring a band on the road should there be the opportunity for it. I really...with feeling a little bit more confident in the work flow, I sought out challenges and things that would expand the sound further. Production wise, I think this album just experiments a bit more. It still has the same heart and soul; songs that can survive with just an instrument and a voice. I always want to make sure it’s not something where I couldn’t play it to a room of people with my guitar if I wanted to. There’s a little more room for it to blossom and grow outside of that.

AM: Very cool! Is there anybody musically or even non-musical influences that might have inspired you when you were writing?

CC: Yeah, I’m always pretty steep in folk and alt-folk guys. Jason Isbell is an incredible writer. David Ramirez... I really love his stuff. I also listen to a lot of stuff that’s totally out of my wheelhouse... I think people would be surprised. My recently played on Spotify is sort of all over the place. It was a lot of relationships that end up getting jumbled up in the writing process, a lot of what’s going on in life.

AM: Is there a common theme that threads through the album that you could pinpoint?

CC: For Constellation, the reason why it’s called Constellation is something that was a conscious and subconscious theme. Just sort of the contention of the life in your head and the life that you’re living in reality. As a musician, as a writer, you can feel that if you’re producing good work in your studio, that sort of counts as enough living, but you think 'I really need to get out of these four walls and engage with the world and write that story.' I think a lot of it is you take a look at yourself and the world, both being in your 20s and the world being in its current state, and you sort of see a lot of---I’m trying to find the right way to articulate it, but there’s a few points of light that you’re searching for. You sort of try to create a shape of what you’re hoping to make out of it, but most of the time, you spend in between those points of light. Those are the times, and sort of that unknown thing, which is where the constellation metaphor comes from. That’s the central metaphor, and every song goes into a mini story of that. There are songs like “Like I Did,” where that’s kind of like what a raw, real honest chunk of life looks like, and then there are other songs like “Satellite,” that talk all about the distance and being a little bit lost in the darkness between those points of light. If anything, that’s probably the most central theme across the record.

AM: Very cool, it’s sounds really relatable! So you mentioned a little bit when talking the recording process that you want to be able to strip the songs down or build them up for a full band, so do you have any plans for tour? I know you have two shows announced in October, in LA and NYC.

CC: Those are definitely the quickest coming up. I’m gonna do one in Nashville too with some friends, as sort of a release show. After that, the next route of touring will probably be early 2018, although I do want to tour this one out quite a bit. We’ll do those handful of shows...we just got back from an East Coast run that was kind of similar. It was a run of three shows up along the east coast, and also a stop to make a music video in Rhode Island. We’re trying out these first few runs, and once we have it down, we’ll hit it harder in 2018.

AM: What’s the current live setup with the band?

CC: There’s a couple configurations. One is it can just be me. When I’m out in LA in October at the Hotel Cafe, that will probably just be a solo show with me. Then when we’re doing full band stuff, it’s usually a three or four piece depending on who’s available. Usually drums and percussion and someone on keys. If we can, we’d like to get bass in there too, and me on guitar, switching back and forth between electric and acoustic. This fall will be sort of interesting, every show will be a version of one of those three shows. LA will be solo acoustic, New York will be a percussion and guitar thing, and Nashville will be full band.

AM: So being based in Nashville, what have been some of your favorite parts of the scene? What are the pros and cons of being a musician in a music city that can be saturated at times?

CC: Saturated is definitely a good word for it, but it’s something that I think a lot of musicians go through when they come here. It’s both exciting and seems weird to wherever people grew up or came from that doing music or pursuing music professionally is kind of commonplace here. I think pretty quickly people feel overwhelmed in just the sea of talent that is here. Inevitably, it’s a good thing cause it sort of forces everyone to get better. I definitely had to learn how to rise up and do this on a higher level. Nashville sort of forces you to do that. There’s also a lot of saturation, and music is everywhere. I think something I’ve come to peace with is that Nashville, although it’s my base and where all my friends are, I realize that musically, my audience is elsewhere. There’s definitely people in Nashville that follow Canyon City, but I find that the concentration of Canyon City’s audience tend to be other places. I live here, but I feel like an average Joe in the city. I think that’s the reason a lot of musicians like living here is because it doesn’t matter if you’re a musician or an’re treated the same way.

AM: Any Nashville based musicians that you would recommend to your listeners?

CC: There’s a group The Ten out of Tenn group. It’s been a minute since they put something out, but it’s a revolving group of Nashville artists. There’s some really good people, like Matthew Perryman Jones is a really solid dude that I’ve learned from in that group. Jason Isbell being out of Nashville too, I really love his stuff.

AM: Cool, any particular new music or new bands elsewhere that might not be a similar genre? Like you said, your recently listened to on Spotify might surprise some people…

CC: Weirdly, I go on--especially when I’m producing a Canyon City record...I’m not really trying to be folky, but it just sort of comes out. But because I spend so much time in it, I sometimes seek out stuff that’s totally different. Like I’ll drill out the new Jon Bellion record into the ground to get out of my sonic headspace and comfort zone. It’s kind a reset for me. I’ll go all over the place, regardless of genre.

AM: Yeah, totally! So the cover that you did of “Fix You” by Coldplay went pretty viral on Spotify. What was it about that song that drew you to create your own version of it? Any fun story behind it?

CC: It’s a great song, and it’s also a song that’s been around for a minute. When I thought of doing a cover, I didn’t want to do something that was just a flavor of the week thing. I thought that was an incredible tune. It wasn’t too premeditated...I was just writing one day and I think I was just taking a break. It initially was just for fun, and I decided to take a break and record someone else’s song. The funny thing about it was that I tried to take it down...not because I didn’t enjoy the song or the cover...I really enjoyed both, but I was afraid people were going to think of me as a cover artist because it was right before Midnight Waves came out. I always have and always will love that song, and I think I was overthinking it, but I was afraid people would peg me as a cover guy and I’m about to put out a new record. So I reached out to see if it was possible to at the very least temporarily take it down, and then two months later is when it started to go viral and pick up. It ended up being a huge boost to my original content, and that’s something I’m very grateful for. “Fix You” has been an entryway into Canyon City, and then people will actually explore the original content afterwards. I totally almost self-sabotaged, but I had a blast making the song.

AM: Anything else that you’re looking forward to this year besides potentially touring and the album coming out?

CC: Yeah, the album coming out, and there’s gonna be some videos that come with it too, which I’m really looking forward to. We don’t have a ton of video content, so I’m really excited that’s gonna be coming along with this record. Then next year, I’ll be putting together some plans for tour and even more new music and more writing. Because I have this home studio, I never stop, but I think I’m gonna be building a separate facility in the next six months or so, which I’m really looking forward to. But mainly just releasing music, playing some shows, and really getting face to face with the people that let me do this as my job, which is still kind of dumbfounding. I really enjoy that in-room interaction and being in the moment.

Keep up with Canyon City by liking the official Facebook page, and listen to the new single "Midnight Flight" below.