ANCHR Magazine

Holding you down with the best new music

Filtering by Tag: Preview

A Chat With: Together Pangea

LA-based band Together Pangea has been crafting catchy garage rock since 2009, delivering four full-length albums and a handful of EPs that each explore different sounds and offer a little something for everyone. Over their years together, the band has also become known for their infectiously energetic live presence—no Together Pangea show is ever quite complete without a mosh pit or some crowd surfing. In the past, Together Pangea has shared the stage with acts like Alkaline Trio, Ty Segall, and The Black Lips, just to name a few.

Most recently, the group just wrapped up a headlining West Coast tour run in celebration of their EP Dispassionate, and they are now gearing up to embark on the East Coast run, which kicks off here in Chicago. Ahead of the kick-off show at Lincoln Hall, I spoke with Danny Bengston of the band, discussing their recording process of the latest EPs, their music video for “Dispassionate,” and how they plan to spend their time in Chicago. Tune into our chat with Together Pangea below!



Your new EP Dispassionate just came out about a month ago now, which was a quick follow up from the Non Stop Paranoia EP released last year. When working on the two EPs, which have been described as opposites of each other, did you already have that theme in mind and write them in tandem? Or was Dispassionate more of a reflection after the fact?

We went into the studio and we recorded nine songs, plus some acoustic songs that we put out before the EPs. So I guess in total we did about fourteen songs all at once. When we went in to do it, we weren’t sure what it was gonna end up being because we had enough songs technically to do a full length, if we wanted to. But it just sort of happened that once we got into it and started getting mixes back and seeing how things were shaping up, there were four songs that made sense together and five songs that made sense together. So that’s how that happened.

Totally, so they just ended up as two halves of a whole piece. 

Yeah, there was no intention going in to make two separate EPs that had separate vibes, we just had a group of songs that happened to have two distinct sounds so we split it up that way.

Nice, then the four songs on Dispassionate are definitely more laid-back compared to some earlier material and sort of have that 50’s, 60’s vibes. What were some factors that influenced that shift?

We made the decision specifically to sort of go ahead and put out songs that we felt really good about, not necessarily songs that were reflective of our previous catalog so much. I think with Non Stop Paranoia there’s definitely a little bit more recognizable aesthetic sounds that are in the vein of Badillac or some of the older stuff, but all in all I think it was more of a choice that we made this batch of songs that we felt really good about. I think that was it! Even if it sounded different than before, it’s still us. We felt they were solid songs.

Were there any influences you can pinpoint? Maybe other art forms, like films, or other music you were listening to around that time? 

I know that the song “Moonlight Lately” specifically I wrote that one, I was listening to a lot of 60’s girl groups like The Shangri-Las or The Crystals…The Ronnettes. I was listening to The Crystals a lot when I wrote that song, and I wanted to make a song that sounded like one of those old girl group classic songs. So that’s why that song sounds that way. We also had just never really done anything like that where we just sort of went for it that hard. Like chose a sort of genre or style and just went for it. It started out just guitar, drums, and bass and then we ended up having more time and resources. I was just like fuck it, we called Max Kuehn, he’s the drummer for Fidlar, and he came in and played. We had two drum kits in the studio and he and Erik played together. Our friend Killian from the band No Parents did a bunch of hand percussion. The percussion take is two drums and also a lot of hand percussion. I told Danny, the producer, what I was going for specifically and we just went for it. Somebody at our record label knew somebody who played saxophone, so the saxophone was on it and I was like I want to add some piano…some glockenspiel, you know. It just spiraled out of control.

Yeah, that sounds like a fun recording session with lots of guest appearances.

Yeah it was a lot of fun. It was the first time we’ve ever done anything like it, where we got two drum kits in the studio at once.

I also really liked the video for “Dispassionate,” the EP’s title track. And speaking of No Parents, I laughed at the part with their t-shirt in the video. So as far as this music video concept, did you all work together to come up with the idea, or did you work with a specific director who had this concept in mind?

For the music video that was our friend Derek Perlman, he’s a photographer based in Los Angeles. It was his idea and he’s actually a really close friend of mine, we hang out fairly often when I’m back home. I know that he had sort of dipped his feet in the idea of wanting to make more music videos, and he had started this music video for this friend, but it never came out for other reasons. We were just looking for someone to do a video, and we were like why don’t we see if Derek is interested in trying it? And he totally killed it.

Wow so this was his first official music video?

Yeah! It’s technically his second, but the first one wasn’t 100% finished and never came out.

Wow that’s still impressive though! Shifting gears to your live shows, I know you’re in the middle of a huge cross country tour at the moment. What have been some highlights of it so far, or some favorite places? Maybe some places you’re looking forward to hitting soon?

I’m still pretty excited that Chicago is the kick off of the east coast run. That’ll be great. This first half of the tour has been pretty amazing, like every show. There hasn’t been a bad show...LA is always good because it’s our hometown. Yesterday we played Sacramento, which was very fun, aside from it being no air conditioning and being extremely hot. Denver is an amazing place for us...another tour highlight. We’re definitely looking forward to Chicago, that’s the first one of the second leg.

So as far as Chicago, is there anything you guys have plans to do outside of the show? Anything on your Chicago list?

Well we toured with Twin Peaks a couple years ago and we’re still very good friends with those guys. I was talking to Cadien about hopefully going to swim in the lake. He was saying it might not be warm enough. We’re also on tour with another Chicago band, Dehd. I’m just excited cause we have a lot of friends out there like Twin Peaks, Dehd and Lala Lala. If it’s warm enough we’ll go swim in the lake!

Yeah I think that might work out now! It’s been like 80 degrees this week, although yesterday it hailed a bunch, but it was sunny about ten minutes later. So hopefully the lake plans will follow through.

Yeah I’ve always wanted to do that. 

Are there any new bands or any albums that have been on heavy rotation while you’re on tour at the moment?

The No Parents record, which isn’t out yet, that’ll be out in September. Been listening to that a bunch. Lala Lala...Dehd. There’s always a lot of really good Chicago stuff. The new White Reaper song is really good. 

Nice, lots of good stuff! Anything else you guys are looking forward to this year besides the tour and new EP? Anything else coming soon, like videos or potentially even more new material?

Probably! As of now we just have these tours to wrap up and then we go to Europe…and maybe some more touring throughout the year. We’ll probably get to recording at some point in the next year, I’d imagine. I have a feeling we’ll be hitting Chicago at least twice this year though.

Together Pangea makes their Lincoln Hall debut on Thursday, July 11th. Get your tickets here.

Keep up with Together Pangea on Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

A Chat With: Black Belt Eagle Scout

Black Belt Eagle Scout is the creation of singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Katherine Paul. Paul first got into playing music at a young age as she grew up in the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and experienced native drumming, singing, and arts. Now based in Portland, where she moved in 2007, Paul started writing music for her own project after becoming immersed in the city’s music scene by playing drums and guitar for numerous other bands.

As an indigenous, queer woman and self-proclaimed radical feminist, Katherine Paul has worked hard and paved her own path to share her voice and her journey with the world. Paul’s debut album Mother of My Children clearly paints a picture of her stories, remaining transparent and honest from start to finish, and her stage presence possesses the same authenticity and composed intensity as her songwriting. Paul’s genuine nature and boundless talent as a creator continues to connect with listeners from different corners of the world, and this month, she will be joining Julia Jacklin on a tour across the country.

A couple of weeks ago when the tour was just beginning, Paul took some time to chat with me over the phone during a drive through the east coast. We talked about her current sources of inspiration, her new single “Loss & Relax,” elevating the underdogs, and what we can expect from her show at Schubas this Wednesday, May 8th. Tune in below to my chat with Black Belt Eagle Scout.

Black Belt Eagle Scout is Katherine Paul // Photo by Jason Quigley

Black Belt Eagle Scout is Katherine Paul // Photo by Jason Quigley

I wanted to start off talking about your early days. I know that you grew up in a small Indian reservation and you’ve said “Indigenous music is the foundation for all of my music.” In addition to your background and the music you learned with your family, what are some other sources of inspiration that you look to when writing now?

I’m currently in a van and we’re driving to New York City, and we’re playing shows. So I feel like at the moment, I’m inspired by the people that I meet and I’m inspired by this life that I have, where I get to drive all over this beautiful country. Right now we’re in Maryland I think. It’s so green and there are these really beautiful purple flowers that kind of look like cherry blossoms, but they’re purple. It’s just so beautiful here and I think that having this life is an inspiring thing for me right now. I feel really happy on tour and sometimes that doesn’t always happen to people. I don’t always feel happy on tour, but right now I’m having a really great time being on the road. And I think that having a healthy and happy tour life is really important for your mental health, and being able to keep your creativity flowing.

Yeah totally. Then in April you just shared “Loss & Relax” from the forthcoming 7” [out April 26th]. What was that creative process and your frame of mind like for this single, and how does it compare to the songs your wrote on your debut album?

Well “Loss & Relax” was written during the time I was recording Mother of My Children. I started writing the first guitar riff, and I wanted to put it on the album, but I just felt like it wasn’t finished and it wasn’t to a point where I wanted to share it. So I kept it in my back pocket and throughout the next year after recording Mother of My Children, I started playing with people and having a live band. I played with a bunch of friends and they helped me realize what that song could be and its potential. It was really interesting being able to play and flesh out a song in a live capacity. In terms of the intensity— I feel like that’s why the song is so intense is because I was able to have that experience of playing it with people. The song also was about the journey home to record Mother of My Children. It’s kind of a perspective song about what that was like and why I needed to go record that album. I think that the way the song is now in its recorded version, I’m very proud of it. I put a lot of effort into figuring out what parts go where and what additions need to be. Basically producing the song.

Yeah, it sounds great now. I’m glad it’s getting a proper release in its own time.

Yeah and that’s kind of why it’s on the 7” It was a lingering element that I don’t know if it would fit on an album in itself.

The music video [for “Loss & Relax”] is a perfect visualization of returning home, and what you’re describing in the song. It’s very cool to see you return to Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and to see you in your element.

I talk about my home a lot and I talk about where I’m from. I feel like besides people who I grew up with there and maybe my close friends who have gone back to visit with me, you don’t really know what that looks like. I wanted to be able to share that and to give a face to the name.

Yeah I think it definitely does that! I also wanted to mention while we’re on the subject of recording Mother of My Children, you played every instrument on the record. What were some of those challenges that you felt while recording and wearing so many different hats during the process, and what motivated you to continue down that path of being a multi-instrumentalist?

Before Mother of My Children, I had done this little demo where I also played all of the instruments, but it was done pretty much in a couple of takes per instrument, and it was very demo-ish sounding. So I already had this idea of “If I can do this myself, I can create an album myself.” I had that mentality going into Mother of My Children that I want to be able to do this myself… I know how to play all these instruments. I know how to put together songs. It’s something that I have knowledge about. So I was like why not just do it? I’m gonna do it!

Yeah I’m sure it gave you complete creative control then, which is important with a first release. And each instrument will come across on the record how you wanted it to.

It definitely is, but it’s also hard because you don’t have someone who you can bounce ideas off. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and rather than feeling validated about an idea, which that sort of thing can be hard for me— Just being able to be like oh, I’m not sure about this part, and then not having anyone to have that conversation with. I don’t work with any producers, so it’s basically just me and a recording engineer. I would do it all myself if I knew how to record, mix and master, and have it sound nice. That’s definitely a goal of mine down the road. The way that I work is I like to record into the night and I like to take breaks, and that doesn’t always work when you’re paying for studio time and you have a time limit. That was one thing that was difficult— being on a budget and trying to record the instruments by yourself. I paid for the whole thing all by myself and went in every day and played every instrument all by myself. At the end of every day, I was exhausted. I was trying to get as much done as I could. It’s not cheap to record in the studio, so I had my little savings and was like this is as much as I can spend, so let’s try to get this done in this amount of time.  I was fortunate enough to stay with my parents because I recorded in Anacortes, WA, which is where I was born and then I grew up 15 minutes outside of there at Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. So my mom was really helpful and she fed me and gave me food to take to the studio, and then I came home and could relax. If I didn’t have that, it would have been a lot more difficult having to create that album from scratch.

So speaking of your hard earned savings, I saw that article in Vulture where artists talked about their side hustles. You’ve worked in Portland in music venues as a talent buyer and in production. What’s something you’ve learned from being on both ends of the business as a performer and someone who books talent, or advice you’d give to other musicians who maybe haven’t been on the other side of it?

I’ve been working there for a long time. I still work there but not in the same capacity that I did before I decided to embark on a really long tour. I started working at Mississippi Studios after I graduated college. It was my first job out of college and they liked me enough that I’ve worked there for seven and a half years. I’ve done so many jobs there...I was production manager, then I was box office, then I’ve done ticket managing. I was the talent buyer, and then I was just like an office manager. So I feel like I’ve sort of lived the life of being in music venue production, and having that experience and while also being a musician….One of the things with Mississippi Studios is that it was established by a musician, so I was able to go on tour in other bands that I was in, and they let people take time off of work to go on tour, and then come back and work. They’re very understanding of that. Being a musician and also working at a venue, it feels like you get to be some sort of superhuman musician at times. Like you know what’s going on for your job side, and also you know what to do for being in a band. Being on the road, I’ve been advancing all of my shows. I’m essentially like my own tour manager— I have been putting in a lot of work to make sure the whole project is going along the schedule. So it’s an interesting thing to have this knowledge. I think that some people when they get to a certain point in their music career, they go on to tour and they go on album cycles, so they understand what it’s like. But as a musician that’s first starting out, you might not always have that knowledge. I don’t know what sort of advice I’d give in terms of your question.

It’s interesting still to hear your take on the benefits of knowing what’s going on from both sides. It’s good to be knowledgeable.

Yeah it just takes a huge amount of work to be a musician. It’s also interesting going around to different music venues. Sometimes I realize that not every music venue is the best venue to work with. Some sound engineers suck to work with. Some isn’t always perfect. So it’s always an interesting thing to realize.

Totally, then talking about your stage presence, I actually got to see you at SXSW this year for the first time. I loved your set and how there would be more mellow moments followed by you just shredding on the guitar. Who are some performers that you admire their stage presence or maybe look to for inspiration?

That’s a hard question! These questions I always have to think about them for a while, and I feel like I’m gonna have a good answer in like an hour. But I will say this— I love energy. And if there’s something that has energy, no matter what it is…it’s a certain kind of energy though. It’s this intensity. It’s like this love and this passion. I’m so drawn to seeing somebody who’s performing and they’re just getting so immersed into their performance because they’re feeling what they’re putting  out there.

Yeah like a genuine energy, and you can really tell when someone has that genuine energy, versus them just trying to put on a show.

For sure, and that’s my most favorite kind of performer. Exactly that. Someone who’s genuine, who’s putting out passion and energy. I love intensity, especially I love intense drummers who just get into it. One person that pops into my head, when I brought up drumming, is Janet Weiss. Her drumming intensity is what I’m totally into… that sort of element. Sleater-Kinney was one of my favorite bands growing up, and they definitely had a very intense stage presence and performance. So bands like that, I’m super into. I get bored when I see bands that are just kind of standing there not really feeling it. Coming from my music venue side, I’ve seen a ton of shows, I’ve worked a ton of shows, so I feel like there are certain shows where I’m like eh, not really into it. But then some of them, I’m like this is really amazing.

So this might be kind of another question that’s difficult to answer on the fly, but I’ve seen you’ve been asked a lot in other interviews about your identity as a queer, indigenous woman, and you’ve said “Having this identity—radical indigenous queer feminist—keeps me going.” You’ve also said how important it is for you to use your platform to elevate other voices in a music space that still is predominately male and predominately white, which I think is great and very much needed. What are some actions that you would you like to see from maybe venues or other artists moving forward to also help elevate these voices that are still seen as the “minority?”

One thing that really annoys me is when white indie rock musicians just don’t realize the importance of people of color. I think that more people need to be lifting up indigenous voices and queer voices if they don’t identify that way-- if they’re like cis, white, heteronormative people, I think that’s really important. It’s something that should be done a lot more. However you can… in the most respectful way of course. One person who is actually on my label, who I really respect and who I consider an awesome ally and accomplice is Elizabeth from Land of Talk. She is constantly in support of indigenous people and is showing that on social media and at her shows. She’s the kind of person where I feel like white people can learn by example. They can see her and see what sort of things they need to do. I don’t know…pay us more money too I guess!

Totally, just being more aware. I think that there are definitely some people that would want to help and be an ally, but they might not be sure how to take the first step, so giving that example of Elizabeth is a great start.

I mean also, first and foremost, just educate yourself. Like if you don’t know any people of color musicians or queer musicians, get on that and support that. And help uplift those voices if you have a certain platform, and if you see somebody that is doing an amazing job at whatever, just help raise that up.

Yeah keep sharing and supporting. Wrapping up then, you’re currently on tour with Julia Jacklin, who is also great! There’s a lot of sold out shows on this run and I’m excited for the Chicago show. What can we expect as far as your live set up? Will there be any new songs?

Yeah so tonight is our first show with Julia Jacklin, and I am so excited! I’m very excited to meet her and her band and to embark on this really long tour together. We are gonna be playing a couple new songs. “Loss & Relax” will be on the setlist, then we have another song called “Half Colored Hair” that’s the b-side of the 7-inch. We’re incorporating that into the set as well. Then for this tour, I have a 4-piece band, we have two guitarists and a bass and drums, so it will sound a lot more full. I’m really excited about that.

Black Belt Eagle Scout’s show with Julia Jacklin at Schubas on May 8th is sold out— but check out the rest of the tour dates here.

Keep up with Black Belt Eagle Scout on Facebook // Twitter // Instagram and tune into Mother of My Children below!

A Chat With: Jungle Green

Originally the moniker for solo songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Smith, Jungle Green is now a six-piece collective that creates timeless and genre-fluid music. Listening through the more than twenty releases on Jungle Green’s Bandcamp page, it’s impossible to pinpoint a specific style for Smith and his bandmates’ sound. There are some songs that sound like they were plucked right off a 1960’s hits compilation, while others play upon more modern elements; Some songs have a hint of twang, while others have a trace of jazz. Some of the recordings are more layered with a full band sound, and some are lo-fi recordings of Smith and his piano. The members of Jungle Green are jacks-of-all-trades, and their discography definitely reflects that. The extensive catalog also gives an insight to Smith’s boundless creative energy as a songwriter.

While I’ve been seeing Jungle Green’s name on bills around town for months now, I finally got my first chance to see them live earlier this month, when they opened up for Shy Boys at the Beat Kitchen. After their set, they took some time to chat with me about their evolution as a full band, touring with The Lemon Twigs, recording with Jonathan Rado and what’s next for them. Tune into Jungle Green and check out our conversation below!

Jungle Green is Adam Miller, Adam Obermeier, Alex Heaney, Andrew Smith, Emma Collins and Vivian McCall // Photo by Mitch Mitchell

Jungle Green is Adam Miller, Adam Obermeier, Alex Heaney, Andrew Smith, Emma Collins and Vivian McCall // Photo by Mitch Mitchell

So I know Jungle Green originally started as a solo project of Andrew’s, and now it’s evolved into a big old collective of six people. Can you talk a little bit about how that evolved and how you all met?

Andrew: Yeah totally! I first met Alex in an acting class. We became great friends and started kind of picking up shows every now and then. He would play guitar and we would do comedy bits. It was really not very good, but it was fun. And that’s what it’s all about, having fun! Then I just gradually met everyone else through school and you know, in 2015 and 2016. I just wanted to get shows and have a fuller sound, so I recruited people who were cool and I thought were talented and fun to be around.

Adam O: I met Andrew at a party, the same night I met Adam M. We hit it off and I got his number, and we had plans to see Angry Birds the movie— the Summer 2016 blockbuster. Shout out Angry Birds. And yeah he blew me off, and then I didn’t see him again until September and we got tacos together. I had the large popcorn cause I thought we could share…

Andrew: That’s true, but now we’re friends. Now we live together. It’s funny how things can start one way and fate will turn it another way.

Then Andrew, I know you’re not from Chicago. Is anyone originally from here?

Andrew: Yeah, I’m from Massachusetts.

Vivian: I’m from Texas. Everyone’s from all around. Texas, St. Louis, Kentucky….

What would you say is your favorite part of creating music in Chicago, versus your hometowns?

Andrew: These guys right here!

Adam M: It’s nice to be in a city where there’s just lots of people who are into music and lots of venues.

Andrew: I like the amount of venues. It’s nice! I like that I’ve met these guys.

Definitely! Then in the Fall you toured with the Lemon Twigs. How was that experience?

Andrew: That was really fun! That was in October.

Adam M: It was just really amazing that they asked us to play. We have mutual friends, but we didn’t know them super well. And they kind of just took a risk.

Andrew: You’re taking a big risk asking a band you’ve never met to tour cause it’s like you’re stuck with them for a month, they could be assholes.

Adam M: But it ended up going really well, and they’re great people. It was just a good time.

Andrew: It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.

Adam O: It just kind of came out the blue too.

Andrew: Yeah and we got really tight too, on the tour. We got our stride.

Yeah, I wanted to ask about your live show, and how you all switch instruments at different points and mix it up. When you were putting together the live show, is that something you decided to do from the start or is that more recent?

Andrew: That kind of came about because--We switch instruments, and we do it a lot cause we kind of play multiple things and people want to have a take on an instrument. It spices things up and also makes everyone happy.

Alex: It started more almost because we were forced to. It started with us recording different things cause we just did different stuff. Then when we went to make it a live show, we were like how are we gonna do this? So we just had to switch every song. It was kind of fun to do.

Andrew: I really like it! It’s really fun, and it keeps every song really unique.

Adam O: When we arrange, it’s kind of just like Oh, I sat down at this instrument when we were arranging this, so I guess I’m just gonna play that. It’s a fun, organic way to arrange.

Vivian: Yeah, everybody has a really different take from everyone else on each instrument. If you just mess with those combinations, you don’t really have to try that hard to get something that doesn’t sound like what you’ve done before.

Will you ever mix it up from show to show, or is it pretty much set at the current rotation in your live show?

Andrew: It’s set every show.

Yeah I saw you play a solo set last week, but I haven’t seen the full band until today.

Andrew: This didn’t really directly influence it, but there’s a band I like called Palberta. They switch every song--granted there’s only three [of them] playing guitar, bass, and drums, but they’re switching every song. I saw them and I was like oh, this is really cool. That maybe had some play in it.

Adam M: It helps when everyone is a Jack of All Trades.

Adam O: We all put a lot of effort into the instruments we’re not as good at.

Yeah it’s kind of like a band buffet.

Andrew: Yeah, a continental breakfast.

Emma: I think it also helps Andrew’s persona as the frontman. It makes what he does more exciting. He’s able to nail the drums and be the lead singer kind of hanging back, and then he comes forward.

Yeah, it’s very dynamic and interactive! And it’s not like you’re just going through the motions.

Vivian: It used to be, in comparison to what we do now. We all used to stick to one instrument and never ever switch, and Andrew was always behind the drums.

Andrew: It’s kind of boring [to stick to the same instrument]. It’s boring the way we did it. It’s not boring for every band.

Vivian: It was just missing out on how Andrew is a really good frontman and brings a really cool energy up there. It was like a waste when he was just at the drums.

Andrew: I’m trying to get to the point eventually where I’m just not really playing drums.

Yeah your stage presence is great! When you came off the stage and you were wandering around, it’s very much in your face and breaks the fourth wall. It felt very present. Is there anyone else besides Palberta that influences your stage presence or that you admire?

Andrew: Sure, yeah! There’s a lot. I really like people like Sam France of Foxygen. My favorite guys are like Sam, and David Yow of Jesus Lizard, who’s like the best. I like a lot of punk frontmen, I feel bad I don’t know his name, but the guy from Bad Brains who does back flips. I don’t know the band too well but I love that. I think a lot of punk frontmen, which I guess makes it kind of interesting cause we’re not really punk music.

Adam M: We’re not very tough at all.

Andrew: I have straight up run away from someone who looked remotely scary.

Switching gears to your recorded music, you’ve recently worked with Jonathan Rado as a producer. How did that experience go?

Andrew: Yeah that was a year ago, that was great! It was really fun.

Adam M: It was amazing. This probably goes for everyone, but I feel like my life is sort of pre-recording with Rado and post-recording with Rado. Just the way he approaches recording and he just keeps a really good attitude the whole time. He’s very encouraging but also it was just really inspiring to see how he works a song up from the beginning.

Vivian: He did really keep a lot of positivity— cause it’s hard when you have six people and everybody has their own opinions. You have firm opinions when you’re making final decisions about the arrangements and how these songs are supposed to sound [on the record]. Then you’re doing it for 12 hours for a week and a half.

Andrew: It’s hard to do but I think it was as smooth as it could have been.

Cool, then the last thing I wanted to talk about was the music video that Vivian mentioned you were recording over the weekend. Can you talk about it a bit?

Andrew: It was really fun, Alex directed it and he did a great job.

Alex: I went to film school, and I did really lame projects, but everyone was nice enough to let me take some creative liberties with it.

Andrew: He did a great job and he’s available for hire!

Alex: We’re editing it now and it’s gonna come out pretty soon.

Vivian: We just had a lot of fun with it.  I think we kind of tried to do a little bit of what we do onstage and keep it fun.

Andrew: It’s for a song called “Cryin’”

Photos of Jungle Green at Beat Kitchen, April 2019

Catch Jungle Green at our first showcase of the Summer with Jude Shuma and Fran at Sleeping Village on 6/25— tickets are only $5 and the beer is just $1.

Keep up with Jungle Green on Facebook + Instagram

A Chat With: Welles

From playing major festivals like Bonnaroo and ACL and sharing stages with the likes of Greta Van Fleet, Royal Blood, and The Regrettes to releasing his debut album Red Trees and White Trashes, Jesse Wells (AKA Welles) has been on a roll for the past couple of years. With his addictively gritty and emotive sound that’s reminiscent of 90’s grunge and classic rock’n’roll, while also refreshing and revitalizing at the same time, it’s no surprise that Welles continues to garner the attention of new listeners.

This month, Welles will head out on yet another tour, headlining shows across the country— including a stop at Schubas on February 20th. Ahead of the show, get to know more about the songwriter as he discusses his move to Nashville, covering The Cure, his tour essentials and more.

Photo Courtesy of No Big Deal PR/ By Mafalda Millies

Photo Courtesy of No Big Deal PR/ By Mafalda Millies

What was your first musical memory?

In the first grade I was walking down the sidewalk with the class singing Don McLean’s “American Pie.” I remember grabbing classmates on either side of me and getting ‘em to sing the chorus with me until the teacher finally came and asked me to not sing that. Picture of bunch of 6 year olds singing ‘them good ole boys were drinking whisky and rye,’ arm in arm, rolling down the sidewalk.

Congratulations on releasing your debut album Red Trees and White Trashes in June last year! What was your favorite moment during the writing and recording process of these songs?

I enjoyed writing them back on space mountain in AR. I used to stay out late, wake up and go and get coffee with my mom in the mornings. Then I’d go back to the apartment and write. Salad days for sure.

Since moving to Nashville from your hometown in Arkansas, what would you say is the biggest growth you’ve seen in your songwriting and artistry, or the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

I’ve written a few songs folks like, but I’ve gotten mostly negative feedback otherwise. I’ve stayed productive aside from being on tour 7-8 months out of the year. The most profound lesson, or at least just a consistent thing I’ve been aware of since coming to Nashville and touring the states is that everywhere is relatively the same. When I first moved up I found myself saying ‘oh just like Arkansas’ a lot. The more I traveled the more I found that everywhere is just like everywhere else.

Your sound has been compared to legends like Kurt Cobain and the more modern Ty Segall, but who are some musicians who have influenced you that people might not expect?

I grew up with a lot of CSNY and Simon and Garfunkel. I spent a lot of time with Dylan, still do. I like a guy who calls himself ‘Little Wings.’ Check out ‘Light Brang’ or ‘Boom’. Guy’s a poet.

I love the cover of “Lovesong” you recently did for Spotify Singles. What made you pick that song for your cover?

A buddy of mine reckoned I oughta give that Cure tune a try. I recorded a version down in my basement, folks agreed, and we went into the studio and did that. It was honestly my first encounter with new wave. I missed the 80’s. The aesthetic always seemed so inorganic to me. I’ve come around though.

When you’re writing, do you ever look to other art mediums like movies, books or visual art for inspiration? If so, what are some recent works that have inspired you?

There was a period of time that Apocalypse Now! was pretty much on repeat in my apartment. I want to capture the horror. I read some Ginsberg and Salinger too. Visual art is a bit frustrating for me, there’s a disconnect but I’ve got plenty of years to come around.

Who would you love to work with in the future (either touring with or collaborating on a song)?

I’d love to tour or to write with Ty Segall. He’s brilliant. I think Mac Demarco is the tops.

You’ve spent a lot of time on the road, playing music festivals and touring with bands like The Regrettes and Greta Van Fleet. What are the three things you can’t live without on tour?

I don’t roll nowhere without my off-white BPA- free walmart thermos. I hate the idea of using so much plastic all the time, it’s gross. I like to have Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap, I keep a little thing of it. And a lot of kombucha. I like the GTS gingerade brand.

Which cities or shows on your upcoming February/March tour are you most looking forward to, and how would you describe your live show in three words?

I’m stoked to be back on the west coast! And the east coast! Honestly when I’m in the van, I’m equally excited every day. It’s a wonderful life.




If you were entered into a talent show and couldn’t pick music as your talent, what would your special talent be?

I would tell em jokes till I lost.

There you have it! Welles will be down at SXSW this year, or if you’re in Chicago, catch him at Schubas Tavern February 20th. Tickets here.

Welles on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

A Chat With: Caroline Rose

With her monochrome outfits, quirky stage props, and straightforward stage banter, it’s impossible to forget a Caroline Rose show. Rose’s latest album Loner, released in February of this year via New West Records, creates its own little world in which Rose feeds listeners pop hooks and personal stories in an outlandish fashion. With this record, Rose establishes herself as an all around artist, not just another singer songwriter. It’s this passion, vision, and authenticity that has continued to catch the ears and eyes of music fans and led Rose to be on the road touring for the majority of this year. From playing multiple showcases a day back at SXSW in March to headline runs and support stints for Maggie Rogers and Rainbow Kitten Surprise, it’s been a whirlwind of a year for Caroline Rose.

Now, Rose is in the midst of another headlining national tour, and she’s stopping in Chicago tonight, November 8th, with And The Kids. Ahead of the show, she took some time to chat with me about finding her sound for Loner, her favorite movie directors, Kanye West’s mental breakdown, writing songs for Lana Del Rey and more. Turn on the record, tune into the full conversation with Caroline Rose below, and get to the gig tonight!

Photo Credit: CJ Harvey

Photo Credit: CJ Harvey

What do you remember as your first musical memory?

Oh that’s a good question! Well…ok yeah yeah yeah here’s a good one. When I was four or five, my funcle Randy, my fake uncle, he brought me a little acoustic guitar, and I remember jamming with him. He was playing piano and I was playing guitar to Dave Brubeck Quartet “Take Five” and that’s still one of my favorite songs. Of all time.

That’s awesome! So fast forwarding from that, you’ve since put out a few records, most recently Loner, in February of this year. I just love how straightforward and fearless you are on this album with satirical lyrics. I’ve seen you live too and when you talk about the songs, you just say it how it is. So what were some challenges you’ve faced with being so transparent and fearless with your writing? And then on the flip side, what do you find rewarding about not holding back at all and being honest?

I think being personal in music is something I’m trying to push even more. A lot of times I’ll use personification or blend stories together to make something new, but I’m always inspired by other artists who are even more personal in their music. It’s definitely something I’m continuing to push further. But I do think that the more personal the music is, the easier it is to relate to it, so that’s something that I find rewarding. When I’m listening to other artists, it’s the first thing that I gravitate towards, if someone’s being really open and upfront about what they’re trying to say. And at times being vulnerable. I think there’s a line to be drawn with being vulnerable, especially as a female songwriter. I think there’s a lot of stereotypes about female songwriters with guitars that are using their songs as a diary. It’s a stereotype I’m trying to break down a bit.

I definitely think you do a good job at keeping it fun and not sounding like it’s just another singer songwriter. You put a different spin on it. I’m sure that you find people voice their appreciation more when you’re honest in your songs.

Yeah and I think the more honest you can be, it pays off in the end. So it seems scary at first, but it does kind of pay off. It’s like if you’re being honest about who you are as a person even if you’re afraid of opening up, I think once you do it, you quickly realize that more people are gravitating towards it.

So I’m sure you’re somewhat sick of this kind of question, but there was a shift in your sound between your past albums and Loner. What growth did you see personally or what experiences did you have that helped you explore a different sound?

Well you’re right, I am sick of this question, but I also see why it’s important to bring it up. I think the first thing is five years passed between me making that album and this one, which is a long time. I was 21 when I made that last one, and it’s just been a long time. I think over the course of those years, I have just grown musically and my tastes have changed. I’ve kind of become more honest with myself, with what I want and what makes me happy. I think that kind of takes some time to figure out what you want and for me personally when I first started I really just wanted to write songs for other people. And be free and not be so much in the limelight. I just wanted to write a good song. Period. And I think once I started in that realm I realized that’s definitely not all I want to do. I have this boundless creative energy sometimes. I think that would be really limiting to me to just do that. It’s more challenging to me--I’ve realized over the year it’s way more challenging and I enjoy the challenge of creating my own world. Rather than creating a song, you can you know create the visuals and try to do something new. Instead of just trying something good. It’s just more interesting to me to maybe push the boundaries a little more. It’s definitely something I’m gonna do on the next record. I’m not gonna let that much time pass again, and a lot of that was really out of my control. I just hit a lot of roadblocks trying to get this album out. There’s a lot of material that never even came out because of label issues and switching my management and all the stuff that people don’t really know, or care about.

Yeah, all that behind the scenes stuff. I also read that for Loner, you met with a lot of different producers before ultimately deciding to co-produce it. What was the experience like producing your own work?

When I first started I had just signed with a new label and I wanted to get in the studio immediately and I had a short list of producers that I really wanted to work with. I was just gonna let them do it because at that point, I had all these songs but I didn’t really have the direction that I wanted to go in. Then I had all these kind of setbacks with producers and there was just so many setbacks and failed opportunities and not quite getting the songs right, or the label not liking what we did. Eventually a year passed and cause it takes so much time to schedule everything—it just takes months and months to schedule stuff—and by the end of the year I had really developed what I wanted to do, like a voice and narrative and the kind of direction I wanted to take it in. I’d gotten a lot better at using software and I was pretty well versed in Pro Tools so I was just teaching myself different formats to write and create string arrangements and all this stuff. By the time I found another producer, I was pretty much already producing a lot of it myself and all I really needed was help with a very specific set of things. That ended up being very useful to me because now I feel like I can do all that stuff that I once didn’t have as much confidence in. But now I’m pretty solid on all of those voids I’d had starting this record.

Circling back to your creative vision, you wear a monochrome wardrobe and your stage set up isn’t just you on a stage; You have that cat on your keyboard, you’ve had piñatas and flowers everywhere…Is there anybody that you found inspiring when you were trying to come up with your vision, or anyone else you think does visuals really well as an artist?

Oh yeah! I think most of the aesthetic is inspired by films, and I have a handful of directors that I’m obsessed with. Pedro Almodóvar is probably one of my favorite directors ever. And I’m inspired by his writing as well and you can kind of sense a lot of it in my own writing because there’s an element of whimsy in it, but all of his films are really serious. It’s very serious stories that are 9 times out of 10 really violent or there’s some sort of trauma that is experienced by the characters. But it’s also filled with these really bright, fun colors and the characters are very quirky and whimsical but they have a dark side to them, and I am hugely influenced by stuff like that. And David Lynch and a lot of the Coen brothers using drama and comedy, blending drama and comedy.

Yeah like that sense of dark humor.

Yeah, sometimes even blending horror with comedy. I love horror movies, like B horror movies that are one second terrifying and the next second they’re hilarious. I’m really inspired by stuff like that. I think you can tell when you go to see the show, especially our headlining show where we can decorate the stage however we want and I like that there’s kind of like a seedy porno vibe to it, but it’s also fun. I want people to walk away feeling like they experienced something special and you know blending that drama with whimsy is important I think.

Yeah totally, and I actually planned on bringing up David Lynch if you didn’t because I saw another interview when you talked about him and Wes Anderson specifically. Going off of that, what are some of your favorite films from either of those directors or other ones you’ve mentioned?

Well I think one of my favorite Almodóvar films, it translates as The Skin I Live In, and there’s another really great one called Bad Education. Volver is another one that people are probably familiar with. All of those include some sort of just like bizarre story line, just completely bizarre. The Skin I Live In is probably my favorite because it is just grotesque and completely unique, but the story is about this plastic surgeon whose daughter is allegedly raped by this boy. And he gets back at the boy by kidnapping him--this is like an insane story, but by kidnapping him and surgically altering him so he looks like his deceased wife. So the boy transforms into this plastic surgeon’s dead wife, and it turns out he didn’t actually do anything to the surgeon’s daughter. So it’s all this crazy fucking story, it’s an insane story, and it’s obviously really serious, but it’s whimsical. It’s so bizarre, so unique. So is David Lynch…Blue Velvet or Mulholland Drive. It’s like these really serious horror stories, but then there’s always this goofy character that comes out of nowhere for no apparent reason and is like wearing a cowboy hat in a casino. I think Tom Waits is a big influence too for that same kind of reason.

Yeah, just throwing in absurd references in a very serious plot line. I can see that connection for sure. Is there anything recent, like any new films or anything else as of late that’s inspired some new material?

Yeah! I’m really inspired by Kanye West’s mental breakdown in the public eye. It’s extremely inspiring.

Well I’ll be on the look out for the song or songs about that.

I’m also inspired by Britney Spears’ mental breakdown.

You should do like a parallel between the two!

I should! That’s a good idea.

Well I’d love to see what you’d do with it. So talking the headline tour, you mentioned you’ll have more control of the stage. Past times I’ve seen you, you’ve had a piñata and you’ve busted out a recorder to play some tunes. What kind of shenanigans can audiences expect this time around?

We’re gonna be playing some new songs! I may or may not have a new instrument on my pedal board next to my recorder. I actually broke my recorder yesterday so I have a new one.

Oh good, I was gonna say we’d have to bring one to you if not! So a little while back I interviewed Naked Giants and they were saying it’d be fun to start a New West Records super group with you and Ron Gallo…Besides your label mates, is there anyone you’d love to form a collaborative group with?

Oh man! Well besides Lana Del Rey or can I say Lana Del Rey?

You can say Lana!

I’m obsessed with her. I think she’s a genius.

Nice! Anyone else? Let’s say you had to pick at least two people for your hypothetical super group…

I can’t say that. Ok, I just wanna write a song for Lana Del Rey. I actually have written songs for her, but she hasn’t heard them yet. I haven’t sent them to anyone.

But they’re ready and waiting?

They’re ready! They’re pretty good though. So I might use them, but I would love to write a song for her one day. Supergroup though...that’s hard to say! That’s like putting myself on the same level as a lot of the people I admire.

Oh yeah, well don’t even think about it like that, it can be your dream collaboration!

I would say definitely Mitski and St. Vincent.

Oh, that would be amazing.

They really create their own little universe when you see them live, it’s very uniquely their thing.

Very true! So just wrapping up, anything else you’d like to share about the tour coming up or anything else you have planned for the rest of the year?

If there are people who have seen us--we’re just finishing up an opening tour this month--I guess I’d say if anybody hasn’t seen our headlining set, it’s a different experience. We add a lot to it. I’d encourage people to come to the headlining show if they haven’t seen it yet.

There you have it! Keep up with Caroline Rose on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram and snag tickets to the show at Lincoln Hall tonight here.

A Chat With: Dream Wife

At first listen, Dream Wife will catch your ear with their high energy, anthemic rock music; Whether it be the explosive introduction to “Let’s Make Out,” the singalong chorus to “Hey Heartbreaker,” or the head-bobbing melody in “Somebody,” it’s the kind of music that instantly demands the listener’s attention. After diving past the surface level though, it becomes obvious that this band has a message, and they’re not afraid to get in your face to deliver it. Their lyrics tell their story— In “Somebody” they make it clear they won’t stand for objectification of women, saying “I am not my body, I’m somebody.” And in the gritty anthem “F.U.U.” they let it be known that they’re really not messing around.

The women behind these songs, Rakel Mjöll, Alice Go, and Bella Podpadec, have had a whirlwind of a year after releasing their debut, self-titled album in January, delivering their message across the globe. They’ve played countless festivals around the world, from Summersonic in Japan to Lollapalooza right here in Chicago, they’ve toured the US supporting Sunflower Bean, they’ve toured Europe with Garbage, and now they’re in the midst of their first US headline run. On this tour, the trio enlisted local female and non-binary artists to open up each show, and tonight they’re playing with Chicago’s own Girl K at Schubas. Before the tour kicked off though, I spoke with bassist Bella Podpadec to find out what Dream Wife has in store for us at these shows. To find out what you can expect tonight and to also hear more about the band’s accomplishments this year, their creative process, and what they’re doing to make the industry a safer space for women and non-binary people, check out my conversation with Podpadec below.

Photo by Joanna Kiely

Photo by Joanna Kiely

Kicking things off, what was one of your first musical memories?

My first musical memory… Really honestly I think my first musical memory was grabbing my tambourine and dancing around as a really young child. When I was really small, like 3 maybe. My first memory of being in a band-- I met Alice, our guitarist, at Mid Somerset Battle of the Bands. So we lived in these little places in the countryside in England and there was this competition. Alice’s band played one year and my band played the next year, and we started playing shows together in Somerset. So that’s how we got to know each other.

Very cool, and then now since you’ve started Dream Wife together, this year has been huge for you. You released your debut album, you toured the States- I saw you with Sunflower Bean when you were in Chicago--

Oh cool!

Yeah, it was a great show! And then you came back for Lolla and you’ve played tons of festivals… you’re even touring with Garbage in Europe. With all of that going on, what have been some of your personal favorite moments or highlights from this year?

From this year? I think for all of us a number one lifelong sort of dream was going to Japan. We went and played Summersonic Festival in August and we managed to take a little holiday around it and explore. No one had been so that was really special. We’re so grateful just to play live shows cause that’s really what it’s all about for us. It’s been amazing to play so many shows to so many people.

Totally! So just from seeing you live or seeing your social media, it seems like you and Alice and Rakel are very close, and very good friends. What’s something you’d say that you’ve learned about each other from being on the road and touring so much?

I mean we’re all very different people and we all need very different things. It’s kind of allowing each other the different kinds of space that they need, as well as like the closeness. It’s understanding where you aren’t the same and learning best how to support each other on this whirlwind of a thing that we do together. It’s been a lot of understanding each other throughout the years.

One thing I really love about this tour you have coming up, you had female and non-binary artists submit their music and you picked a local artist to open the show in each city. What was that process like and how did you go through everybody, and were there any particular favorites that you remember listening to and loving their music?

It was super overwhelming! We got over 400 responses, it was so exciting to receive that kind of feedback from it. I’m really bad, I can’t remember the ones we picked from the US run. But we split up the bands between us, and yeah we kind of listened through a lot of them and gave them ratings. Then we went through the top rated ones together. It was a lot of figuring out where people were from and trying to fit them to where they need to be. A band called Bitchcraft was really cool. They were in LA.

So going off of that, what are some things you think venues, promoters, and other bands should be doing to use their platform to help artists who are maybe more marginalized in the industry and music scenes?

I think stuff like the venues making it known that sexual harassment will be spoken about with the people that work there. That there’s a line of communication and people are helping each other out. I think the main thing is everyone looking out for one another and questioning the standard. And elevating the voices of people who wouldn’t be heard otherwise.

Did you hear about what happened in Chicago with The Orwells recently? They had allegations made public about them and then ended up disbanding, so it’s been a big topic of conversation here.

Oh really? The Orwells? I don’t think I know that band at all. I’ll have to look into that.

Yeah, I actually just wrote about it…They had a Google Document that went public with sexual assault allegations, so it’s been a topic that’s very much being talked about here in Chicago at the moment. I appreciate you making sure that female and non-binary artists are a part of your show here and this tour. It’s very important to changing the culture. I also saw you had recently partnered with Girls Rock for a t-shirt, right?


Are there any other organizations that you’d like to work with?

We’ve been working with Girls Rock. We’ve been giving them some money from a t-shirt and also they’ve been helping work with the tour submission project as well. For our UK shows, we’re gonna do some kind of panels and conversations facilitated by Girls Rock. Having conversations with people there about what’s going on in the places they live in. It’d be really great to bring that out to America. There’s a group in the UK called Girls Against—

Oh I’ve heard of them

Yeah we’ve worked with them quite  a bit. They raise awareness of sexual harassment at gigs. They put posters out and send representatives out at gigs.

Yeah, we have a similar group here, they’re based in Chicago, but they travel around the US, called Our Music, My Body.

Oh let me write that down!

They’re actually partnered with the venue you’re playing in Chicago so they’ll have signs and information up there.

Oh yeah it’d be really good to get in touch with them. Thank you!

Of course! So backpedaling a little bit to another subject, you actually met Alice and Rakel when you were studying visual arts at university right?


So when you’re writing, and not even necessarily just songwriting, but when you’re working on stuff as a band, how do you utilize your visual arts skills? Do you find yourself ever envisioning the songs you write as visual artwork?

I think maybe from the artistic side it’s like seeing the whole project or the idea of a band being this very three dimensional, multi-faceted platform where there’s many different things within that and you can find ways to kind of elevate that. I think all of us are visual in different ways and it kind of feeds in. We talk about videos quite a lot and it’s like the music definitely comes first and the rest of it’s built around that. We’re a band first, but it’s understanding the myriad of things that a band is or could be. That’s way over the top.

Yeah, I get that! Then you kind of just touched on this a little bit, but this is your first US headline run in the States. So is there anything you’re planning as headliners that you might not have done when you were playing as the support band?

Oh for our show? It’s gonna be SO much better! I mean it was amazing playing with Sunflower Bean, and we got to play some shows with The Kills. But we’ve actually done some pre-production for the first time ever. We’ve been rehearsing new, much longer sets with loads more things that the US hasn’t seen yet. I think it’s gonna be really good. I’m really excited.

Are there any other bands or artists that you can pinpoint that you look up to from a stage presence aspect?

I think Sleigh Bells. Kind of seeing their work ethic...we played a couple of shows with them before. And they just treat it like such athletes. I think after seeing them play, we started looking after our bodies and the dedication to be able to provide a good show physically. Like their show is so high energy. It was really inspiring.

Yeah you already have such a high energy so I can’t wait to see the headline show. So then you’ve been to Chicago a few times now, playing with Sunflower Bean and coming back for Lolla.

Chicago is one of my favorite places!

Did you get to see much of the city when you were here?

Yeah! I was actually there for my birthday. We went to the Art Institute and spent almost all the time in the Medieval section.  

Is there anything on your list that you’re trying to do this time around?

Oh I don’t know! Do you have any must sees?

Did you go to The Bean and all that last time? If you did all the touristy things you should go to Chicago Music Exchange. A lot of bands go there when they play Schubas because it’s close by. Deep dish pizza is always a must if you’re in Chicago. It’s almost more of a cheese pie than pizza.

Yeah it’s completely like pie! But is it just a New York thing to say “pizza pie”? We find that very confusing when people say they’re gonna get a pie. But in Chicago it is like a pie!

It is! But there’s good food here, and if the weather is still nice, you can just walk around downtown and see all the architecture.

I wanna go up a really tall building!

Oh you should do the Skydeck and take a band photo up there! So wrapping things up on kind of a fun note, I saw in your KEXP performance, Rakel mentioned you all like collecting neon colored tape, which I thought was an interesting fact. Is there another random fact about the band or anything that fans could win you over instantly by bringing it to your shows, besides the tape.

I mean, neon colored anything to be honest!

Your shows will look like a rave now.

That’s the dream! We just want to bring it back! New Rave specifically. Did you have new rave in America? This was like when Indie and Rave met and flirted for a bit in 2006. In the UK specifically. We joke about that sometimes.

I think I missed out on that. I wish I had experienced it. But we’ll bring it back to be the newer wave. Anything else you want to share before we sign off? I know that’s a big open ended question to end on.

It is such a big open thing…So many things! I mean, I think live music is such an exciting thing because it brings people together in a real physical space. It’s just really great and the shows are really fun, and everyone should come!  

Get your tickets to see Dream Wife, Russo, and Girl K tonight here, and listen to Dream Wife in full below!

A Chat With: Night Riots

Over the past few years, Night Riots has toured relentlessly; from supporting the likes of The Maine and Andrew McMahon to their own headline runs, it seems like the five piece is constantly up on stage, engaging crowds in cities across the country. Night Riots' discography showcases a wide range of different musical styles, but their contagiously catchy melodies remain consistent, as does lead singer Travis Hawley's signature vocals, which have drawn frequent comparisons to The Cure's Robert Smith. Hawley's timeless vocals translate even more powerfully when he's up on the stage, charismatically commanding the room's attention with his magnetic stage presence and bond with the entire band. While their recorded music has this quality that makes it instantly like-able, Night Riots' live show only amplifies that quality, making their concerts a must see. 

If you still haven't found your way to one of their gigs, make sure you change that this month as they tour nationwide with Silent Rival and courtship. The tour swings through Chicago on Friday, June 22nd, but before they hit the Subterranean stage, get to know them as they discuss their ideal companion in an elevator outage, their favorite Ewoks, how they stay entertained on the road and more. 

Night Riots is Travis Hawley, Nick Fotinakes, Mikel Van Kranenburg, Matt DePauw and Rico Rodriguez

Night Riots is Travis Hawley, Nick Fotinakes, Mikel Van Kranenburg, Matt DePauw and Rico Rodriguez

You’ve been on tour with courtship. and Silent Rival since the start of the month. What’s your favorite part of touring with each of these bands?

It’s been awesome to be with bands that are good people.  It’s not always the case that you get along with everyone you tour with but both bands are awesome and really talented.  

Speaking of tour, you’ll be in Chicago again on June 22nd, and you’ve played in Chicago several times in the past. What are some of your favorite things to do here?

We try to make a point to stop by the Chicago Music Exchange.  That place is amazing...has so many guitars and synths and just rad music gear.  Also always gotta hit up a Pequod’s Pizza for that deep dish.

How would you describe your live show on this tour in 3 words?

Energetic, theatrical and transportive.

Your song “Breaking Free” was recently featured in the show 13 Reasons Why...If you could pick any other TV show to have your music on, what show would you pick and why?

I’d want to go back in time and get a song on Star Trek TNG.  Maybe even have us be like a holodeck band or something.

You’ve had a couple new singles out this year, which are both great! What other plans for new releases do you have this year?

We’ve kinda been releasing unconventionally.  We aren’t necessarily releasing songs as legit singles.  We just want to get new music out there...maybe we will compile it into an album this year.  

What are some of your favorite songs or albums from this year so far?

J. Cole’s new album KOD is rad.  Vacationer is putting out an album we are stoked for.  The new Kid Cudi/Kanye West album that just dropped is pretty tight too.

I saw your tweet the other day about the Gunslinger Series by Stephen King. What are some other books you’ve been into recently?

The Dark Tower series has been one of the best series I’ve read in a long time.  The scope and storytelling in it is remarkable. I think almost the whole band has read it at this point.  I just read The Stranger by Camus. I felt weird for a week.

Even though it seems like you’re constantly on tour and consistently working on new material, you guys are still really great with engaging fans on social media. What are some tips you have for managing your time with crazy tour schedules and how do you make sure to prioritize fan interaction?

At the end of the day the only reason we can continue what we do is because of the fans.  So I think it’s important to remember that. You need to be true to yourself and make art that is real but you also need to remember why you do it.  It’s fun and another way to be creative and think of new interesting ways to engage, entertain and help transport people out of their everyday lives... at least for a minute. Sticking to a schedule and consistency is key.

If you were stuck in an elevator with someone for a few hours, who would you want to be stuck with and why? (It could be anyone in the world.)

Probably Shaq because 1) He’d probably cradle you like a baby and calm you down 2) He could just rip the doors off and save you and 3) If it all goes to shit and you’re stuck, you could live off eating his body for like 6 months.

What’s one thing you’ve never been asked in an interview, but you’ve always wanted to talk about?

Who my five favorite Ewoks are.  Not in particular order they are: Chief Chirpa, Paploo, Teebo, Wicket, and Logray.

There you have it! Grab your tickets to see Night Riots at The SubT this Friday, June 22nd here, and follow them on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram. 

Can't get enough Night Riots? Check out our past coverage of them here

A Chat With: Mauno

Hailing from Novia Scotia, Mauno combines relaxed tones and soothing, harmonious vocals with melodies that'll keep you on your toes on their latest album Tuning. The sophomore record, which follows up 2016's Rough Master, threads 14 tracks together in one succinct package; each track existing in its own pocket, but working best when listened through in order. Following Tuning's October release date, Mauno are gearing up to hit the road next week, stopping by Chicago to play Schubas en route to SXSW. In advance of next Tuesday's show, we chatted with Nick Everett of the band to talk tour, SXSW, the process behind their record and more. Tune in below to our chat with Mauno!

Photo By Levi Manchak

Photo By Levi Manchak

Starting off, how did you all meet and decide to form Mauno?

Eliza and I met in the spring of 2014 and quickly started play music together, she on cello and me on guitar. We both nerded out about our love of The Books, but then the music we started playing asked to be taken in anther direction entirely, no matter what we wanted it to be. We expanded the sound when we brought in a drummer, Eliza moved to bass, and then we did a much needed lineup change to be where we're at now with Adam and Scott on guitar and drums. They're good guys who've been playing together for almost decades with an s.

Can you talk a little bit about the process behind your album Tuning? What was the writing and recording process like for the band?

We just try to make the noises. We try not to think about what it sounds like, so much as what the sounds are and what they need to be, to be more themselves. We don't come at it from a musicological perspective, so the usual references don't jive. The balance is a lot more pop-oriented than Rough Master, much more carefully crafted (we recorded the whole thing twice), and a lot more cohesive. Rough Master was about conflict and the clash of opposing ideas, and this one is much more about talking through the problems that arise in any creative project and then working together to make a whole. I think it sounds a lot more mature, but then I've listened to it about 10 thousand fucking times so I don't know anything about it anymore.  

Who and what are some musical and non-musical influences that inspire your writing? What about influences on your stage presence?

Definitely the work of R. Murray Schafer changed my life (Nick) and relationship to sound over the past couple of years. I read Soundscapes and moving through the world has never quite been the same since. The title is a reference to the subtitle of that book (The Tuning of the World). The background of the record is full of soundscapes, pieces from around Halifax, from around the house we recorded in there, and a couple Eliza recorded in Heidelberg and Berlin while she was living there last summer. They are little pieces of the places we lived in that have had an enormous effect on our sonic understanding and our sonic relationship to our environments. The collage of soundscapes on the record encapsulates this theme, as well as displacement-- ideas of associating home with aural landscapes and the cyclical return to them. There's a whole second soundscape record buried in there somewhere.

Other than that, the world of Christopher Small, especially Musicking has been really influential in the way we've talked about playing together and our relationship with the other people in the room while we're playing. To not think of music as a thing in itself, as not actually existing, but rather a series of dance steps-- an action performed in a room-has been really liberating.

As for stage presence, we just try to listen and look like a group of people listening.

What do you hope that an audience takes away from your live show?

Our album?

Which cities on your upcoming tour are you looking forward to playing in and visiting the most?

I have no idea! We've never traveled or played in the states, so we have no expectations. Excited to be in Chicago! We've driven by it a few times on our way to western Canada. American cities hold a huge place in our imaginations for sure.

What are three things you have to have with you on tour?

Instant coffee, free wifi, extra strings.  

You guys will also be down at SXSW next month...what are some of your best music festival survival tips?

Oh my god, skip whatever you think you need to go to and go to bed instead. Take care of yourself -- you've only got one.  

Are there any other bands you’re hoping to catch a show from while you’re down at SXSW?

Yes definitely! Look Vibrant and Girl Ray and Fenster are good pals who rule.

What else is on the horizon for Mauno in 2018?

Making a new record and more horizons.

Mauno will be at Schubas on March 6th and the show is FREE. Check out details here and get ready for the show by listening to Tuning in full 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: Middle Kids

With its relatable narrative-style lyrics and addictive, blaring dance-around-your-room guitar riffs, it's no wonder Middle Kids' song "Edge of Town" has racked up over 8 million Spotify plays. Fronted by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Hannah Joy, the Sydney based trio has been steadily picking up steam with their equally as catchy and relatable self-titled EP. Joy sings her stories with a sense of conviction and a hint of a twang, blurring the edges of the genres tagged to their music. In the middle of recording their debut full length album, which will undoubtedly expand on these existing themes, Joy and her bandmates Tim Fitz and Harry Day are taking a break to tour America, playing festivals and shows across the country. Before they hit Chicago next week, we talked to Joy about Elton John recommending their song, incorporating a banjo into their music, jet lag, and so much more! Tune in and get to know Middle Kids now. 

Credit: Maclay Heriot

Credit: Maclay Heriot

ANCHR Magazine: You’re in the middle of recording your debut album, and you’ve posted a bit on social media... that it will be all new material from the EP and you’re even putting banjo on some tracks! What else can you tell us about the new songs, and where did you find yourself drawing inspiration from?

Hannah Joy: Ha, yes the banjo does get a feature! It’s small but mighty. I’m really excited about the new songs, they are mostly quite intense. Sometimes I think I should chill out a bit, and I am trying, but I’m not sure how. There are some ballady, reflective moments though, so hopefully that will allow it to breathe some. A lot of the inspiration comes from my own experiences and stories I hear from friends. Musically though, many lines came actually from being on the tour and recording little sound bites on my phone.

AM: How has the recording process been so far? Any fun studio stories?

HJ: The process has been pretty intense, we’ve built this album in a really piecemeal kind of way. We recorded drums up at this country house so we could play away into the night. And so much was recorded in Tim's and my home, so for the last few months I have been living snaked in microphone chords and an endless stream of scraps of paper all through the house.

AM: You’ll be taking a break from recording to come tour the states this summer, including some major festivals like Lollapalooza and Osheaga Music Festival. Which cities are you most excited to visit and play in?

HJ: We are so very keen to hit the road. I’m excited to be in Chicago in the summer because it’s so beautiful, but we were there in the winter last time. Super keen for ACL because we consistently have extremely good times in Texas. AND Atlanta because we are playing at a venue called Purgatory and that intrigues me.

AM: Do you prefer playing festivals or smaller gigs, and why?

HJ: The smaller gigs are very special because it allows for a collective experience with us and the audience. But it is friggin fun to run around like a madman at a festival. But not really sure as to preference, they are both so good.

AM: Have you gotten a chance to check out the lineups for the festivals you’re playing? Are there any acts that are on the top of your list to try to watch during the festivals?

HJ: YES. Broken Social Scene and Liam Gallagher at Osheaga, Chance and The Lemon Twigs at Lolla, gosh so many, can’t breathe.  

AM: Since you’re coming all the way from Sydney for this summer tour, what are some of your tips for staying entertained on long haul flights and how do you deal with jetlag?

HJ: OK I have learned to equip myself with many activities for entertainment. Some are: Yahtzee, crochet, cards (we like to play 500, black maria and go fish), UNO. I also got a Kindle, which I was resisting for a long time, but now I have embraced it and it is rocking my world.

AM: Elton John added your music to his Beats 1 playlist, which I’m sure has got to be a career highlight, but what have been some other highlights since you released your debut single, “Edge of Town”?

HJ: I think touring has been the biggest highlight, I mean getting to travel to different parts of the world and connect with all different kinds of people is seriously amazing. Playing on Conan was very cool too because we don’t have television like that in Australia. We were wide eyed the whole time.

AM: You recently covered “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House and “Fill In The Blank” by Car Seat Headrest. What was it about these songs that made you want to create your own version of them?

HJ: I liked these songs for different reasons - I love the melody of "Don’t Dream It’s Over", it has sung to me for a very long time. "Fill in the Blank" is a special song in the way that it conveys existential angst, something I am very familiar with.

AM: Any ideas on what your next cover song will be?

HJ: We cover songs all the time because why only play our songs when there are thousands better out there to play. But not sure what we will release next.

AM: You’re one of our favorite new bands. Who are some of your favorite new acts?

HJ: Heh thank you. Some of my new favorites are a punk band from Ballarat called Good Boy, Andy Shauf is amazing...maybe not so new but still pretty fresh, The Lemon Twigs are tres cool.

Chicago, you have several chances to catch Middle Kids in August. In addition to a sold-out after show with Mac DeMarco at Concord Music Hall on August 5th, the trio will be performing in WKQX's Sound Lounge on August 1st. Finally, they'll also be playing twice at Lollapalooza-- once at the Pepsi Stage at 2:50 PM and again in the Toyota Music Den at 6PM on Thursday, August 3rd. 

See all of Middle Kid's upcoming tour dates hereand listen to their self-titled EP in full below!

A Chat With: Elliot Moss

The New York City based singer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Elliot Moss released his stunning new EP Boomerang in April. Layered and complex. the seven song EP takes its listeners on a dynamic journey. There's the seamless flow between the third through sixth song, with their blurred edges, and there's the James Blake-esque tune "99," as well as the rhythmic "Closedloop" which opens the EP. Essentially, Boomerang mimics the actions of its namesake; it keeps moving, but eventually it comes back to the core sound that Moss has developed. Moss will be taking these new songs out on the road this month, starting in DC today and ending in Chicago on July 1st. We'll be covering his hometown performance at the legendary Baby's All Right in Brooklyn this Saturday, June 24th. Before the show, we chatted with the multi-talented Moss about his creative vision, his tips for wearing multiple hats in the studio, and what's next for 2017. Get to know all of that and more in our chat with Elliot Moss!

Photo Courtesy of Elliot Moss

Photo Courtesy of Elliot Moss

ANCHR Mag: So I wanted to start off by talking a little bit about your new EP Boomerang. Congrats on the release! You’ve mentioned it’s best to listen to straight through, and the transitions are really strong. Did you map it out ahead of time or did it come together once you’d written some of the songs?

Elliot Moss: A bit of both, probably. When I wrote “Closedloop” I didn’t have the idea yet of having it have these sort of seamless moments. There is something nice about something stopping, and then a song coming in. So it has a bit of both of that. It goes in a particular order because it takes you through a certain experience of kind of removing yourself from the world around, and then sort of coming back into it. Dipping your feet in the water and then diving in. So the moments where they didn’t feel like they needed to be jarring, they’re not and they kind of move in a more fluid way. It just sort of seemed like the way to do it. I worked on the three tunes that are seamless all in the same session. It was like 300 tracks. It’s a lot of work to make things move seamlessly like that. To change keys without feeling forced or wrong. But yeah it was an idea that sort of developed after I wrote “Without The Lights.”

AM: So you’re writing your music, you’re playing multiple instruments, and producing your own music, which has got to be challenging. How do you deal with those challenges while you're recording, and were there any particular songs that were more challenging than others?

EM: “Without The Lights,” by far. That was the single hardest--producing it was tricky because there’s so many different parts to it, but the mix for that song, I’ve never worked harder on anything in my life. It was waking up every day for a couple of months and just trying to figure out how to make it feel like nothing was done, but everything is in order and presented to you as clearly and as discreetly as it can be. Cause you know when a song sounds mixed, it can almost take you out of it and sound overproduced. Giving it this maximalist approach, but having it be natural is a really tricky thing. Most of my music is not that dense. It’s hard when you’ve played everything, because every little part is your baby. I’m so grateful for the things here or there that I’d get friends of mine to add to the music. Like the bass lines on “Closedloop” and on “Falling Down and Getting Hurt.” It sort of takes the responsibility out of my hands a little bit and allows me to just enjoy what he played. And it’s somewhere I would have never gone. I think it just adds a dynamic to the song that wasn’t there before, that I couldn’t possibly generate.

AM: Do you have any tips then for managing it all or being able to handle producing and writing?

EM: I guess, just don’t get lazy. Don’t rely on what you’re good at to finish a song, and instead sort take a step back and ask yourself what it really needs and what you should do. Then put in the hours to make that happen.

AM: That’s great advice! So you also have some great music videos to go along with your songs. Are you really involved with the concepts behind the videos, and does that kind of come into play when you’re writing the songs?

EM: Almost too involved. Like standing on a mountain and flying drones involved. Actually for some of the shots in the “Closedloop” video...I’m not built to climb the side of a mountain holding a bunch of gear, so that was very challenging. But worth it in the end. It was freezing cold and you couldn’t find the light up there. We shot it all in Utah where you can just sort of drive into Nowheresville pretty easily. That song, the visual representation is sort of, it echoes a lot the same themes of what I tried to achieve in the production. Where it’s like these two worlds at odds almost, and “Closedloop” is about retreating to a place where you can process things at a safe... at a speed where you’ll be able to assess things and come up with a solution. So the light and the spotlight in “Closedloop” that we shot out of these drones, was just focusing on that piece of the world for the time, rather than everything at once. It also looked really cool.

AM: For sure! So you’re really into putting a deep meaning into your songs and just from talking to you now, it’s clear you’re passionate about the visual concepts in your videos as well. Do you look to other art forms besides music, like film or certain visual art for influence on your own projects and your music videos?

EM: Well sure, yeah. Art can put you in a particular mood and I guess after walking out of a movie or looking at a painting, you can paint in those colors, if that’s not too cheesy. I definitely try to keep my mind open and look at new things as much as I can because it keeps your gears turning. Definitely, I think I draw on all of what I’m consuming. More than just art too. Just lots going on in my life....books I’m reading, etc…

AM: Totally. Do you have a specific book you read or a movie that might have inspired a certain song on the Boomerang EP?

EM: Richard Ayoade directed a movie called The Double with Jesse Eisenberg that I thought was really, really cool. It sort of has this murky, shadowy vibe throughout. It’s coupled almost with this fluorescent blue every now and then. It looks almost electric. “Closedloop” feels that way to me, sort of wading through murky water and then suddenly there’s this fork-in-the-wall voltage right up in your face, which came from this synthesizer that was not processed in any way. It was as direct as I could possibly get it from synth to iPod earbuds.

AM: Taking these songs to the live sense, you’re starting tour this week. Are there any new songs you’re particularly excited to play, or any new arrangements?

EM: Yeah, we did a live in the studio video of the whole EP, that we’re kind of dropping one song at a time. There’s a really interesting arrangement that we did of the three songs that are seamless- “Boomerang,” “My Statue Sinking,” and “Dolly Zoom,” where I stay on the piano the whole time, and we start with my bass player actually on the piano with me. That was a lot of overdubs on that song, but live, there’s only one piano that can fit in the room. So we had to find a way to make that clunky, disjointed rhythm work in a way that it wasn’t weird sounding in a studio setting. We’re taking elements of what we learned from doing that live video to the stage. I get excited about “Falling Down and Getting Hurt” and “Without The Lights” because we didn’t have a lot of big, loud tunes to play. Live, depending on the room, sometimes this big mezzanine and all these seats demand that you play a little bit louder and faster because you want to fill the room with sound. I’m excited to have a few more tunes that do that.

AM: Are there any cities you’re particularly excited for?

EM: I actually like all of the cities that we’re doing this tour! I’ve played them all before and they’re really cool. DC is always really cool. DC9 is right around the corner from 930 club, which is one of my favorite venues we’ve ever played. And Montreal, I feel like I have absolutely no understanding of the layout of that city. I like getting to explore every time we play there.

AM: Yeah, awesome! Then are there any new artists that you’re really into, or new music from an older artist that you’re into?

EM: I could tell you that for sure. I’m probably the last person in the world to listen to it, but up until a couple of weeks ago, I’d never listened to Dummy by Portishead, and I’ve been completely obsessed with it now. It’s one of my favorite records now, it’s just too cool. Speaking of production that sounds natural, it’s exactly what Beth’s voice needed behind her. I think that will be a real source of inspiration in the future. I’m trying to make my music as effortless and as fluid as theirs is.

AM: Nice. When you’re on the road and on tour, what do you do to stay entertained besides listening to music? Any podcasts that you’re into?

EM: I like the Adam Buxton podcast. He interviews some interesting people. I try to make as much music as I can on the road. I have this makeshift desk thing in the van, that I try to stick a keyboard on and at least come up with an idea or two per day. My bass player, Evan, is just so prolific. It's hard to keep up. Just watching him work away on his computer makes me feel like I need to be working too. 

AM: Anything else you're looking forward to this year? Do you think you'll release more new music, with some of the stuff that you're working on on tour?

EM: I hope so, yeah! There's a lot done already. I'm just trying to get my bearings and understand what it means in terms of whether it's an album, or another EP, or some singles. I do want to get an LP2 out there and happening in the near future. I guess I'm really excited to just do some more touring too. Last year was a working year in terms of getting an EP and a lot of new songs done. This year marks the beginning of touring for us. Do the west coast, and some European dates. We get to see the world. 

New York, come dance with us on Saturday-- grab tickets to the Baby's All Right performance here! To check out Elliot Moss in a city near you, find all the tour dates here, and listen to Boomerang in full below!

A Chat With: Nightlands

While he may be best known for being the bassist in The War On Drugs and collaborating with many well-known musicians, the multitalented Philadelphian Dave Hartley released his third record under the Nightlands alias earlier this month. The album, I Can Feel The Night Around Me, embraces and enchants listeners with Hartley's layered vocals and soothing synths. Since the May 5th release of the album, Hartley has been on tour playing the new songs to venues around the country. Before the tour makes a stop at Schubas this Thursday, Hartley gave us some insight on the process behind the third album and chatted with us about his experience scoring a film soundtrack, how he balances being in multiple bands, his dream collaboration, and more. 

Photo Credit: Dustin Condren 

Photo Credit: Dustin Condren 

ANCHR Magazine: I’m loving the new album that came out earlier this month! Can you talk a little bit about the process behind writing and recording the record?

Dave Hartley: I write and record simultaneously, pretty much. I just devote a lot of time to... sonic exploration, for lack of a better term. I tinker with drum machines or loops or synths until I find something that feels like a mysterious path, and I'll follow that and try to work our a chord progression. Writing "Lost Moon" felt like the breakthrough, when I really hit a vein. I had been listening to Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman on repeat for days, and I sat down with my Roland TR-8 drum machine and just sort of put together a chord progression that I thought gave me that same melancholy feeling as Jimmy Webb's classic. Even though it came out sounding more CSN than Glen Campbell, Wichita Lineman was the inspiration. Once I had that song, it felt like my thesis statement had been written and I could finish the album.

AM: How is I Can Feel The Night Around Me different than your first two records, both from your songwriting standpoint and what differences do you notice sonically?

DH: Forget the Mantra was an aesthetic statement more than an exercise in songwriting, even though "300 Clouds" is a strong tune, in my impartial estimation. Oak Island sort of took that aesthetic out of the bedroom and into the outside world, a little bit... still some experimenting but starting to think in terms of songwriting, song craft, etc. I Can Feel the Night Around Me feels like the completion of a trilogy -- seeing the aesthetic vision of Forget the Mantra through to it's conclusion: harmonies, vocal layers, drum machines, dreamlike imagery, etc... but sort of stepping out of the mist a little bit. I came to terms with my voice more on this album, was more deliberate.

AM: What have been some of your favorite songs to play live from the new record, and what can we expect from the set at Schubas later this month? Will it be a mix of old and new material?

DH: I think "Only You Know" and "Depending on You" really take on a new life live... also some of my earlier songs have really morphed with the band. "So it Goes" is probably my favorite song... it's become radically, unrecognizably different than the album version. I should re-record it. At Schubas you'll see some old songs, some new songs... maybe a cover?

AM: Speaking of playing live, I saw you've got a show later on this month at The Andy Warhol museum, which is awesome! Do you find that other art forms ever influence your songwriting, and if so, what artists have inspired you?

DH: Very excited about that Warhol show... have been wanting to play there for a while. I'm 100% inspired by other media... maybe more than other music. I tend to insulate myself from music while I'm deep in the recording mode. I don't want to be influenced, I want to try to create in a vacuum. But I'll read a lot, find myself gravitating towards certain imagery. "This image makes me feel the way I want to feel." .... You're always looking for signposts to follow, you know? It could be something as simple as a photograph, or a book cover, or a phrase you read in a novel.

AM: What other gigs are you looking forward to on this tour? Any cities you're particularly excited for?

DH: Chicago is always a highlight--my sister lives there and it's one of my favorite cities in the US. Asheville is another that I'm pumped for--who can explain why certain geographic locations loom large in our legends? Of course Philadelphia, where I live, where my life is based. I'm excited to play in Philadelphia.

AM: Since you're also in The War On Drugs and there's new material coming out this year from that project, how do you balance being in two active bands at the same time?

DH: Well I don't really overlap the two.. The Drugs has always had a long gestation-release cycle... the albums take a while to make, and then we tour hard for years on them. So really I'll have downtime, and when I have downtime my idle hands gravitate towards the recording studio. But I don't think I'd be able to balance the two concurrently. Being in the Drugs is a full-time job. And vice versa, while Nightlands is a cottage-industry, so to speak, my obsession with recording my albums isn't proportional to my listening-base, if you get my drift. I go deep and long.

AM: How did the opportunity to score 2001: A Space Odyssey come around, and how was the experience of creating a score? Was your process a lot different than when you approach writing for Nightlands?

DH: A local promoter was doing a series where bands would play live and then screen their favorite film. They asked me to participate and I audaciously one-upped him and asked if I could write and perform a live score to 2001, the greatest film ever made. I profoundly regret not recording the evening.. I was scared. It was improvised, in part, and I was just worried it would be a train wreck and didn't allow it to be recorded. There were only 40 people there, or something, and I remember it as being really special. That could be rose-colored hindsight but I'm going with it. I enjoyed the process because it was structured, rigidly, in some ways and completely open in others. I used a massive house organ that I lugged to the venue, a sampler, and my acoustic guitar. Producer/synth-wizard Jeff Ziegler accompanied me. It was great. It can never be recreated.

AM: You also collaborate and work with so many other artists. Who’s another artist you'd love to work with that you haven't already?

DH: Cass McCombs. I'm a huge fan and he always plays with shit-tight musicians. I'd welcome the challenge of living up to his body of work.

AM: What other bands or artists have you been listening to recently?

DH: Andy Shauf's latest album stunned me. The Dove and the Wolf, from Paris-via-Philadelphia. Daniel Lanois' latest album is fucking amazing--next level ambient compositions.

Grab your tickets to Nightlands show at Schubas this Thursday, May 25th here, and listen to their new album I Can Feel The Night Around Me below.



A Chat With: Molly Burch

Austin-based (via Los Angeles) singer songwriter Molly Burch has been out on the road this past month, in support of her debut album Please Be Mine. Recorded live in just one day, the album really showcases Molly's retro-inspired, alluring vocals.  Prior to her show at The Empty Bottle this Thursday with Tim Darcy, we chatted with Molly about everything from her recording process to playing SXSW to her thoughts on The Backstreet Boys. Get to know all that and more in our chat with Molly Burch...

Photo Credit: Dailey Toliver

Photo Credit: Dailey Toliver

ANCHR Magazine: Congratulations on releasing your debut album Please Be Mine last month! How does it feel to have your first album out into the world, and what have been some highlights since the release?

Molly Burch: Thank you so much! It feels like a dream come true. Some of the highlights have been touring with my band and having a record release show in both my hometown of Austin and also my label's home, Brooklyn.

Please Be Mine  Album Artwork

Please Be Mine Album Artwork

AM: Where did you pull influence from for your songwriting on the record?

MB: My main influence has always been women vocalists. I've been singing all my life and when I started to write songs I would focus on the voice first above all else. Billie Holiday, Nancy Sinatra, Peggy Lee are all women I've been listening to since I was a kid. 

AM: Do you think that moving from LA to Austin had an effect on your writing and your sound?

MB: I think the act of moving to a new place and having the independence and solitary time had a big impact on my songwriting. 

AM: As far as recording, I know you recorded a lot of your album in a live setting in one day. What were some of the biggest challenges with recording in such a high-pressure scenario?

MB: I don't recall any challenges. It was a pretty simple and relaxed process. I wanted the recordings to reflect how we sounded live and my and I felt comfortable with the songs enough to track live. It was a really fun and relaxed day!

AM: I recently talked to Tim Darcy and he mentioned the tour has been going great. What have been some of your favorite shows and cities to play in while touring with Tim?

MB: Are you trying to make me blush? Ha! I adore him and his band. We're having such a great time. Every city has been super wonderful. I think we all really enjoyed playing D.C. 

AM: What’s your favorite way to stay entertained on the long drives during tour? Any new music, podcast, or book recommendations?

MB: We've been listening to a lot of music. To name a few, Hand Habits, John Andrew & The Yawns, lots of jazz, a couple podcasts here and there. This leg of tour I brought to read "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield and "The Girls" by Emma Cline. Also, my dear planner will keep my mind occupied. Couldn't live without my planner.

AM: You just played SXSW last week.  As an Austin resident, what are some of your tips for first time SXSW festival goers?

MB: Yes, we just played SXSW. Not sure I have any tips! Haha. As a performer it can be extremely overwhelming on the brain. I like to rest us much as possible between shows and not over do it. It is hard to stay sane with all of the stimulation. 

AM: On the same subject of SXSW, what are some of your other favorite bands that played the festival this year?

MB: Tim Darcy! WAND, Living Hour, Jay Som, Jess Williamson, Hand Habits and Mega Bog. Also, saw Kevin Morby play an acoustic set and was very happy about that!

AM: Since your bio mentions that you grew up with Hollywood musicals, what is your all-time favorite musical?

MB: Gypsy!

AM: So, this is kind of cheesy, but since your album is called Please Be Mine, I thought it might be cool to do a lightning round of “Please Be Mine or Decline” of some kind of polarizing things to get to know you better. 

MB: So fun! Would be happy to.

AM: Coffee?


AM: Scary movies?


AM: Snowy days?


AM: Nutella?


AM: Spicy food?


AM: Country music?


AM: Pineapple on pizza?


AM: The Backstreet Boys?


AM: Cilantro?


AM: Rom Coms?


Make sure you grab a copy of the beautiful album Please Be Mine hereIf you're in Chicago, you have two chances to see Molly in the upcoming weeks. She'll be playing with the equally awesome Jude Shuma and Tim Darcy this Thursday at the The Empty Bottle. Grab tickets, starting at just $10, here. You can also see her at Schubas on April 7th!