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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!

Catching Up With: Ten Fé

Way back in 2017, shortly after ANCHR was just starting, I talked to the duo Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan of Ten Fé over a spotty FaceTime audio connection in honor of their first full length album, Hit The Light. During our first conversation, I learned about their early days of busking in the London Underground, who some of their favorite bands were at the moment, and how they collaborate together.

Recently, Moorehouse and Duncan, along with their bandmates Johnny Drain, Greg Katsantonis, and Rob Shipley, made their first stop ever in Chicago to perform to a sold out Schubas Tavern. I sat down with the full band this time to catch up face-to-face and chat everything from their newest album Future Perfect, Present Tense to performing on JBTV and what they do to stay entertained on the road. For all that and more, catch up with Ten Fé below!

Ten Fé is Ben Moorhouse, Johnny Drain, Leo Duncan, Greg Katsantonis, and Rob Shipley (Left to Right, from standing to sitting)

Ten Fé is Ben Moorhouse, Johnny Drain, Leo Duncan, Greg Katsantonis, and Rob Shipley (Left to Right, from standing to sitting)

You just put your second album, Future Perfect, Present Tense out at the beginning of March, so first of all, congrats on that! What would you say are some of the biggest differences stylistically or as far as the process goes between this one and your first record?

Leo: The biggest difference is we did the first record completely just me and Ben. Rob played on a bit of it [the first one]. It was mostly me and Ben and then when we came to do this one, it was the five of us, although we had a different drummer. Greg’s just joined us. The process was different because it became more about capturing five people’s energy you know? Sometimes that works and sometimes we had to work in a way that we’d done on the first record. I think stylistically we wanted to make it a lot more rootsy and honest and less electronic, and break down any distance between the listener and us. I don’t know, can you tell that?

Yeah, I think so! This past week I was listening to Hit The Light and the new record, and I can definitely see that. Anyone else have anything to add about their mindset or stylistic goals going into this second album?

Ben: Yeah, I think we had just come back from tour, sort of what Leo was saying. We were back from tour and thinking of that in the time we had as a band and playing on the stages and the sound we were making. I think we were sort of excited by that and the prospect of then doing it again and making it grow and getting bigger. I think that was quite a driving force behind this album. We wanted it to sound more live and more kind of visceral I think. It’s like, it feels like it’s an ongoing thing is we want it to get more live and rootsy. We’re still sort of developing that now.

Yeah, there’s definitely that energy of being together and playing live that comes across. What would you say was your favorite moment or memory during the process of recording or writing this new record? Anything you look back on with a fond heart?

Leo: There’s been plenty of highs and lows during the making of it. We ran out of money. I lost my voice totally. So it hasn’t been the easiest to make, but the highs definitely outweigh the lows. My favorite memory probably is during the summer when we were coming to the end of it in London. We finished it in London and we collected everybody in our studio in Tottenham and we recorded a choir of about twenty of our friends. The football was on, it was the World Cup, and we had the BBQ on the roof the studio. Then we all went downstairs to record the vocals of the song “Superrich.” There’s loads of people singing on that song in the chorus, sort of a hard knock life style singalong. That just felt really good. It was a very hot day.

Nice! Then this is actually your first time in Chicago right? How has Chicago been treating you so far?

Rob: Well we haven’t had much time to explore. We sort of skimmed Chicago on the way up to Milwaukee. We went to Illinois state beach is it? It was coming down from Milwaukee about half way to Chicago, there’s like a strip of green and you get right up to the shore on Lake Michigan. Which was pretty wicked, we don’t really get horizons like that-- well you’ve got to go to the sea. That was pretty special. Last night we didn’t really have that much time to explore. We just sort of had to grab moments when we can.

Leo: We went to Greek Town. We went to a really nice restaurant. Greg is Greek.

Greg: Yeah we had really nice Greek food. I approved.

Then today you played JBTV in the afternoon, which is a staple in the music community here! How’d you like Jerry and the experience?

Leo: So cool man! It just seems like he’s got this thing that he believes in. And he’s just surrounded by all these interns, you know. He was saying he hasn’t been well lately, but he’s got so much energy. It’s just unbelievable so that’s amazing to see.

Yeah, he’s still always there despite having cancer. He’s a fighter!

Rob: Yeah he said he had his operation two weeks ago. He’s bouncing around still.

I know, his energy is great. So the show tonight is also sold out, which is pretty great for a first show here!

Leo: It’s amazing! To come so far away from home and have it sold out is the best feeling.

Do you have anything special planned for this show or this tour that people can look forward to?

Leo: Like Ben was saying, it’s a real process still. You know, it’s hard work but it’s also exciting. We’re really trying to do more with the vocals on this tour. It’s taking a bit of time to get it as right as we want it to be, but hopefully that will come through.

How was the rest of the tour been going so far? Have there been any other stand out shows?

Leo: Montreal was a real favorite of mine. It was like an oasis in a desert of America and Canada. But all the shows have been wicked in their own way.

How have you guys been staying entertained on the road? Any favorite podcasts or albums or shows you’ve been watching or listening to?

Greg: I’ve been watching loads of “Only Fools and Horses.” I don’t know if you know what that is. It’s a British sitcom.

Leo: Yeah, “Only Fools and Horses” has been keeping Greg happy, and the rest of us are just trying to keep--there’s a big bag of prunes in the back of the car. We’re trying to avoid eating too many of them.

So then the last time I interviewed you, which was just over two years ago, you talked about how you’re into Kevin Morby and Twin Peaks and some other Chicago bands. Are there any other new bands that have been on your heavy rotation lately?

Leo: Amen Dunes has released a great album. We listened to Delicate Steve’s new album in the car. The same people really, there’s no one really new that’s come along that I can think of. Kevin Morby, Whitney--

Oh some of the guys from Whitney were here yesterday for Stella Donnelly’s show.

Leo: Stella Donnelly played here last night? No way! Ewan Pearson, the person who mixed our first album mixed her album as well. That’s mad! So she’s touring the states at the moment?

Yeah, just missed her! It was a sold out show last night too, so a good weekend at Schubas.

Leo: Did you see her?

Yeah I was here! It was really good. It was one of the best shows I’ve been, so you have a lot to live up to. You know how you can get jaded, or maybe it’s just me, from going to shows all the time? But her show was so great, I just forgot about being tired and it being long week and the mood of the room was just so positive.

Leo: Oh so we’ll blame Stella if you haven’t got any energy tonight. But how come there seems to be a lot of bands [coming out of Chicago], like Whitney, Twin Peaks…?

Yeah there’s something in the water in Chicago. There’s just so many bands coming out of Chicago that might not be at the level of Whitney or Twin Peaks yet but they’ll sell out shows here and a bunch that went down to South By.

Leo: Oh can you give us a few names so you can check them out?

Well so I actually put on an ANCHR Magazine showcase at SXSW, so a few on that were Blue Dream, The Evening Attraction, Thompson Springs, Uma Bloo….I’ll just send you guys the flyer. There’s a lot of great local bands that play here at Schubas too. So wrapping up, anything else you guys are looking forward to this year or hoping to accomplish on this album cycle?

Leo: Stay in one piece by the end of this tour!

Don’t eat all the prunes in one day?

Leo: Finish all the prunes by the time we reach the west coast!

Rob: Hopefully we’ll be back out here in the autumn. We’re still quite early on with this new album. We’ve got this tour, we’ve got another big tour straight off the back in Europe. Then we’ll hopefully be back here as soon as possible.

Keep up with Ten Fé on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram

A Chat With: Madeline Kenney

Nowadays, with all of the behind the scenes work and promotion leading up to an album release, it’s become more and more rare for an artist to release a record two years in a row. But for singer songwriter Madeline Kenney, the feat of releasing her sophomore album just one year after her debut falls into place among an array of creative interests and achievements. Besides touring her first record, Night Night at the First Landing, and sharing stages with the likes of Wye Oak, Soccer Mommy, and Jay Som, Kenney also managed to run her own record label while writing Perfect Shapes and recording it with a new collaborator and producer, Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak.

Full of complexity on both a lyrical and sonic level, Perfect Shapes takes listeners on a comprehensive journey while weaving together layered and experimental sounds. It’s an album that showcases the creative triumph that can stem from stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging boundaries. When you hear more about Kenney’s background, like the fact that she studied dance and choreography for years before moving on to study Neuroscience in college, it’s no surprise that her songwriting and composition remain so intricate and thoughtful. Kenney’s unique range of passions blend together to form a multifaceted and diverse outcome on this record.

Shortly after the release of Perfect Shapes, Kenney took some time to speak with me on the phone as she prepared for her current headlining tour. “I’m in Austin and I just got real danky dank tacos,” she tells me at the start of our conversation. Although we joked about keeping the interview solely about tacos (“Talking Tacos with Madeline Kenney” does have a nice ring to it…), we spent the next half hour discussing her background, her different creative endeavors, how she manages her time, and what we can all do to make concerts a more diverse and safe space for everyone. Turn on Perfect Shapes, tune into the full conversation with Madeline Kenney below, and then come see her perform the new songs at Schubas Tavern this Friday, November 9th.

Photo By Cara Robbins

Photo By Cara Robbins

Your sophomore album Perfect Shapes just came out last Friday, so it’s been about a week now. How are you feeling at this point and what have been some of your favorite responses?

Oh boy, you know it feels good to have it out. It feels good that the wait is over. There’s a lot of fear and anticipation associated with an album rollout...Singles start to come out and you’re like oh god, is everyone gonna hate this? But yeah it’s been good. Favorite response is a strange question maybe because press responses are just so nerve-wracking. Pitchfork reviewed it. That’s fine, that’s cool. As any sort of fearful musician I sort of hate them a little bit. They’ve reviewed my friends’ records badly. Like leave my friends alone!

Yeah it’s like hey, if you don’t like it, just leave it alone!

If you don’t have anything nice to say...But no, I think my favorite response is it’s really nice to get texts from musicians and friends of mine, who I really respect their opinions. For somebody to just be like I listened to your record and the sounds are great, or the drums sound great…

Totally, a fellow musician telling you means the most?

Yeah, people who have done work that I really admire...I’m just like oh man. That’s been nice. Mostly I’m just like ok what’s next?

So for the album you worked with Jenn Wasner from Wye Oak. How was that experience working with Jenn and how did that feel to work with someone new as a producer, compared to your last record?

It was great! She’s an angel upon this earth. Just a boundlessly creative person. We were both trying a lot of new things. She’d never produced someone’s album that wasn’t her own and that she wasn’t a part of, like Flock of Dimes or Wye Oak. So there was a lot of experimentation, there was a lot of mistakes. Not a lot, but some. But we were all learning together and I think it was a really forgiving environment. It was-- we were very free to experiment and try new things. Just working with somebody different you know? I didn’t stop working with Chaz [Bundick] because I hate Chaz it’s just--

New ears?

Yeah, new ears! Exactly. We made this thing that was great, and what would happen if I made a thing with someone else, what would it sound like? And it sounds like Perfect Shapes.

Do you think you’ll continue then in the future to try other producers and partner with other musicians to keep the sound fresh and in a new perspective for each album?

I think that I’m ready now to produce my own. I think I needed to work with a woman and I needed to work in the space that we worked in to realize hey, maybe I can do this! I mean, I would work with Jenn any day again, of course. But I think it’s important for whatever I do next to maybe trust myself a little more. I just learned from this experience that I think I do know what I like. Yeah again, some really sweet people reached out after hearing the record and just made me feel like maybe my intuition can be trusted. I think that’s a skill to learn that about yourself.

Yeah sounds like this was overall a positive learning experience! Which is awesome, not everyone can say that! So you actually recorded in Durham, North Carolina right? Were you writing in North Carolina as well?

No, all of the songs, I wrote in Oakland. I wrote most of them like right after or during the roll out of Night, Night. The record came out in September of last year and then I was on tour in that month and I ended up sending demos to Jenn in December. Then I recorded them in January.

Nice, so no time off?

No time off! Why have time off when you could be making things? No, time off is actually important. Don’t learn from my workaholic tendencies please.

Do you think that the vibe of recording those songs in the new surroundings of Durham affected you when you were making the album?

Yeah for sure! We were out in the woods in this house that was converted into a studio by Sylvan Esso. I was like recording guitar tracks and looking outside at cardinals, which I’d never seen before. I’m a west coast girl so I was like wow cardinals! Oh my god! And yeah I think that the space that we were recording in made it into a little softer feeling, even though there’s some like distorted guitar, louder drums, I think the general vibe is you can kind of feel that it’s not made in a regular studio or my apartment in Oakland.

Yeah, it’s very layered and you can feel the thought and intention behind it, like it wasn’t recorded in someone’s bedroom.

Yeah and it also doesn’t sound like a studio which is strange. Which is another thing I’m interested in. I made a record in my bedroom. I made a record in a house studio, and now I’m kind of interested what would it sound like in a real studio.

Yeah to just keep experimenting?

Yeah I think that’s so important. It’s important to grow and learn.

So as far as taking this into the live show, has it been difficult to translate what you recorded on the album? Have you had to get creative with certain arrangements?

Heck yeah! It’s been super hard! I was like what did I do to myself? All these new sounds! I’m used to just having a regular band with two guitars, bass and drums. So we had to get kind of creative, but I’m excited. It’s really fun you know translating things onto different instruments. We’re using a lot of samples. Camille plays drums and does the samples, she’s just a multitalented force of mature. Her bandmate--they have a band in Austin called Dead Recipe which is incredible and you should listen to their music--

Oh I haven’t heard of them, but I will check them out!

Yeah, I run a very tiny label and we put out their EP. I say we, but I don’t have a staff, it’s just me.

That’s how I am with ANCHR so I can relate!

But yeah, Kyle and Camille are my rhythm section but they also multitask and do a lot more. There’s a guitar part on one of the songs that Kyle has translated onto bass and he does it with an effect that sounds cool and wacky. Mostly it’s just gonna be really fun. I’m very well aware that the record doesn’t have like one cohesive style. There’s a couple songs that are out there and different and that’s fine. It makes for a really fun set to play!

Totally, if you wanted to just hear the record, you wouldn’t go to the show. It’ll be fun to see how you come up with it and how it comes out on stage. So kind of switching gears, I read that you grew up dancing and you thought you were more geared towards doing choreography in your future. When did you decide to focus more on music? Was there a certain moment that it clicked?

Not really. You know, the dance world is kind of messed up. I was gonna go to college for choreography. I had applied to Columbia College-

In Chicago? That’s where I went!

Oh really?

I went for music business though.

I remember seeing one of their performances and I was like man, I would really like to do that. I applied and everything and I just realized I love eating a lot...And I don’t think all dance culture is that toxic, but a lot of it is. A lot of academic dance when you have to do crazy amounts of ballet, that’s a body negative environment. So I just realized that world wasn’t for me. It’s still something I’m interested in.  When I decided not to go to college for it, and I went to college for neuroscience, I was teaching classes at the college. Teaching modern dance. I’m still really interested in choreography and I try to incorporate it into music videos, but yeah it just wasn’t for me.

Yeah I was going to ask then when you’re songwriting, do you think you pull in your dancing-- like picturing yourself dancing to the melody you come up with?

Probably not. I think with anything, like when you’re writing if I can use you as an example. Like whatever your experiences and education or whatever you’re interested in in the moment or even what you’re reading or listening to, it’s such a subconscious amount of influence.

Yeah, like you don’t even realize it.

Yeah, so I think that--I get questions sometimes about neuroscience and I’m a baker too, so people are like do you think about bread when you’re writing? And I’m like well no, unless I’m hungry. But maybe in a way! I spend a lot of time doing really repetitive motions to make this one thing, so subconsciously I think that definitely contributes to how I think about music.

Like all of your different creative passions fuel into it?

Yeah if you can allow me to be a nerd for a second...I did study neuroscience. Neuroplasticity is like the most amazing concept; it’s the concept that thoughts physically change the layout of your brain, they really do. They can strengthen some connections and weaken others, so just the science behind Neuroplasticity that whatever you’re interested in or doing at the current moment is kind of changing your brain, so it’s changing you. So in that way, in that molecular way, it affects how I write!

Oh wow this is the most informational interview I’ve ever had. I didn’t even know about the label that you run when you’re not busy with your music and I didn’t know you studied neuroscience, so I’m just learning all kinds of things.

You know, I’ve got problems. I think I’m diagnosed ADD. It’s fine though!

So with the label then, what kind of artists are you looking for to help do a release?

I just helped this band--they’re kind of out of The Bay, kind of out of Japan. One of them lives in Japan and one of them lives in The Bay. They’re called Curling. My record label’s called Copper Mouth Records, you can go look it up if you want to. That record that they made is really good. Really amazing sounds, they are very dedicated to this idea of recording and mixing in mono to tape. It’s a very Beatles kind of thing in a way. So we just put out their record in August and what else? What’s next for Copper Mouth Records, I don’t know, but I kind of have a side project that I have yet to unveil at all. I might do something with Copper Mouth with that. I’m trying to get more production work. I’m producing this woman’s record in December and I think I might help her put out just the tape release. I want to work with more just not white dudes. I think I gotta take a little break from that demographic.

Totally! Kind of on that subject, I was going to ask you about, when I was researching you, I read that Billboard feature and one part that really stuck out to me was when you were talking about Perfect Shapes addressing certain expectations that are placed on women. You said that you’re placed on bills with other women who also have bangs and play guitar...simply for that reason that they have bangs and play guitar. I think you totally hit the nail on the head, so what would you like to see from venues and promoters and other music fans in the industry that can help stop those kind of patterns and the promoting mostly white dudes in bands?

Yeah, white dudes or white women... Like I’m part of the problem and I realize that. I think that everyone’s awareness helps and I don’t pretend to have the answer because I have one aspect of oppression, being a woman, but that stops there. So I think that what I would love to see is people getting creative with their bills. Like not being afraid to mix genres. Not being afraid to mix comedy and music. That’s a show that I would love to see. I did that when I played in Durham last year and I met the whole crew that I would be working with. It was a college and they were down to do something kind of weird, so I was like can you book a comedy act, preferably a woman? So they booked this female comedy duo that was totally goofy. It was such a fun night. I think it starts really small, and DIY venues are the answer a lot of the time cause they’re doing things that I think are really meaningful and maybe less commercially accessible but emotionally--

Like they’re able to be more creative, it’s not like a set venue. DIY venues can make their own rules.

Yeah, and I get it, a venue is a business and they need to make a profit. This is my first headlining tour and I’m terrified to play to empty rooms, not really for myself, but to let the promoter down or to let the opening band down. Like there’s so much pressure. But that pressure is absent in DIY venues because the point of those venues is not to make a profit, it’s to create a safe space to consume something important. I really think that thinking small is the key.

I really like your suggestion to either have comedy on the bill, or like you said, don’t be afraid to mix genres because yeah, some people might not or might not think they’re into comedy and they just want to go for music, but that kind of broadens the audience and they have draw from all sides.

Yeah, I would love to see a show that’s like a lady MC and a dude rock band. I listen to so much dude rock, I love it. I’m obsessed with that shit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like other genres or I think that they don’t influence each other in ways.

It’s cool to collaborate with different genres and have them learn from each other.

Yeah, just like you said, you might not know that you like it a lot. I went to a show in New York, it was Palm’s album release and they had, I wish I could remember her name, I feel kind of like a piece of shit for forgetting it, but she was like this sci-fi rapper. She wore a fake bionic arm and rapped about saving the planet. She was talking about onstage how you don’t often see women of color loving sci-fi, like it’s a very niche interest. She was just breaking all that down and that was before Palm! Which I would not associate with that genre at all, and it was so good. I was really taken aback by that combination.

I think everyone, like audiences too, can play a part in that. Being willing to check somebody out that you might not have gone to their show. Don’t miss the opener. Openers are people too!

Exactly! I love being an opener because there’s no pressure to sell tickets, but I know the pain of people being like, hey, missed your set but I’ll check you on Spotify! Like, sick, dude, that did nothing for me.

Yeah, I promote shows too through ANCHR and I’m actually doing the second anniversary show at Schubas where you’re playing. I totally can relate to the anxiety of selling tickets, like thinking no one will show up because there will be 5 tickets sold in advance. Everyone just wants to buy at the door.

Yeah with clubs this size, that’s what I’m hoping for that people will buy at door. I’m scared!

Yeah don’t worry, Schubas will have a lot of door sales.

I think that’s kind of the MO of clubs that size. So I’m taking a deep breath that people will show up.

I have faith! People will be there. So wrapping up, what are some of your self care tips, which I’m sure you don’t have too much time for with everything you have going on….But how do you stay sane when you’re traveling and now trying to do production for other artists and running a label while promoting your own record? Any tips for time management and not going completely insane with your to do list?

Oh man, yeah…First of all on tour, I have a couple key secrets. Witch Hazel and blotting sheets will save your face. We keep blotting sheets and witch hazel spray in the van so like halfway through a drive we’re like “ok we’re all gross we just have to clean up a little bit.” Baby wipes, you know you gotta keep laying around to keep yourself clean. But also, it’s easy to eat really poorly. So just being aware of that, and drinking water...As far as in general, I have a crazy amount of things that I’m doing, but I think for my personality that helps me stay sane. If I don’t do a bunch of things I start to lose myself a little bit. I have to find a balance cause I have workaholic tendencies and will overwork myself easily. But I think that if you’re balancing a whole bunch of things—Oh there’s this great book called You Are a Circle. It’s about being a creative person and making art. It’s a minimalist book where each page just has one or two sentences. Like little quips, little bits of advice and inspiration. I wish I had it on me and could read it, but if I can recall it, there was this one bit of advice that was like “have three things going for you. One to pay the bills, one that doesn’t pay the bills right now but could in the future, and one that is completely passion based.”  And if can balance these three things you can have a fulfilling life. Like you’re not needing money but you’re also creating and making things that matter to you.

Oh wow that’s great advice!

I hope I got that right! It’s You Are a Circle and then the follow up to that is called You Are a Message, which is about making your creative endeavors a business. It’s not like concrete advice like first make a spreadsheet. It’s like think of your audience and who are you trying to reach. It’s really good!

Keep up with Madeline Kenney on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram and grab tickets to Friday’s show 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!

Get To Know: Naked Giants

2018 has already been a whirlwind for the Seattle trio Naked GiantsBetween releasing their debut album, touring Europe with Car Seat Headrest, and playing new cities for the first time, it's certainly been a year of career landmarks, and things aren't slowing down for the band any time soon. 

Back in May, the group played Chicago for the first time, packing Schubas Tavern on a Saturday night. Just as the audience warmly welcomed Naked Giants to their city, the band made sure everyone in the crowd had a great time by periodically checking in to make sure everyone felt comfortable, promoting a completely safe space at their show. 

Before the show began that night, I had a chat with the band, talking everything from movie soundtracks, their bucket lists, starting a New West Records super group, and their proactive songwriting habits. For all that and more, get to know Naked Giants now. 

Naked Giants is Gianni Aiello, Grant Mullen, and Henry LaVallee

Naked Giants is Gianni Aiello, Grant Mullen, and Henry LaVallee

Their First Musical Memories Heavily Involve Movie Soundtracks

The three members of Naked Giants all remember getting into music at different ages, but there's a common thread in all of their introductions to music. Gianni Aiello says he remembers laying in his dad's bed with a green iPod listening to "Human" by The Killers, but adds "Before that I really liked the SpongeBob Movie soundtrack. That had some tunes on it. When I look back on it, it’s like Flaming Lips, Ween, Avril Lavigne, Wilco... It’s a pretty cool soundtrack." 

Drummer Henry LaVallee also had early memories of movie scores. "I remember this movie called Bedknobs and Broomsticks, with Angela Lansbury," LaVallee says, animatedly describing the film. "It’s like an old Disney movie from the 70’s, it took place in Britain during World War II. It was like a musical, but it was one of those trippy ones where the first act is all humans, and then at the start of the second act, they go into a cartoon world. So these humans are interacting with---it’s like Roger Rabbit. Then they get out of this cartoon world, but it follows this Medieval story book and it’s a really good movie honestly. These kids are orphaned from the war and then Angela Lansbury is like a witch and she takes them in." Aiello interjects at one point to ask if it's like Nanny McPhee, and LaVallee continues, "Little bit, little bit. Then the kids don’t believe in magic and they think Angela sucks, but then she’s actually badass. They also all sing together. And Angela doesn’t like the kids either, she’s forced to have them, but then they’re all really chummy by the end of it and they fight off the Nazis with magic at the very end and it’s really cool. But the music in that [inspired me]. So we used to watch that, it was a great summertime movie. Or Meatballs with Bill Murray and the songs in that!"

As for guitarist Grant Mullen's first musical memories, he recalls having a tiny Casio keyboard. "They’re really small and they sound really weird. I just remember playing really scary music, cause you know it’s really easy to play music like that when you have no idea what you’re doing. I was probably 4 or 5 when my parents got me that."

They've Played SXSW the Last Three Years

SXSW usually does quite the number on bands with schedules involving multiple shows a day all around town, but Naked Giants hasn't let that madness deter them from returning to Austin for the last three years in March. However, they all agree that this year had been the best by far, confirming that the third time really is a charm. "It was better in every way. We played better shows on average, there were people at the shows. We got to stay with our friends Ron Gallo. We had some good connections. We made some friends...The Do512 people who are all super nice. We’re actually gonna see one of them in New York cause their other coworkers [DoNYC] are there. Just in general it was a good vibe. Just like the flow and all of that," Aiello said. 

Mullen mentions that the group got to see their label-mate Caroline Rose for the first time at this past SXSW. "Meeting her was kind of like meeting a cousin. It was like oh, we’re probably gonna get along. You know? It weirdly reminded me of that. And we totally did, I thought," LaVallee added. 

They Want to Start a New West Records Super Group

Speaking of New West Records label-mates, if you've ever seen some of the label's artists like Naked Giants, Caroline Rose, and Ron Gallo perform live, you might have realized that they all have an unforgettable stage presence. Well, Naked Giants has also recognized that trait about themselves and their extended record label family too. "I realized after seeing Caroline, and after touring with Ron, that New West Records--what they really love is gimmicks. We have the whole smorgasbord of everything we do on stage. Ron’s got the whole trumpet thing and playing a guitar with a skateboard or whatever. Caroline and her band have the outfits and the end of her show where she pulls out the recorder. So New West wants something that people will remember," Aiello says. Mullen interjects to say, "People that don’t take themselves too seriously." Aiello continues, "Exactly, that. So I had this dream of forming a super group of all 3 of our bands. I don’t know what the music would sound like..."

While they may have no idea what it will sound like, they do have some idea of the band name, and how it could work. "What if the name was Mick and the Gimme Gimmes?" LaVallee suggests. "That’s good, gimme more! There’s this band called Superorganism and they’re like a collective thing, but they would send music across different countries. Like one of them lived in England and one of them lived in Greenland, I don’t know if anyone lives in Greenland... But I would imagine it would be something like that [where we send music to each other]," Aiello ponders about the structure of the group. 

Their Favorite Performers Range From The Lemon Twigs to Freddie Mercury

Speaking of memorable stage presence, the members of Naked Giants always seem to give 200 percent of their energy whenever they perform. So whose stage presence do they admire the most? "Freddie Mercury," LaVallee says, adding that he tries his best to be the "Freddie Mercury of the drum kit." 

"I was just talking to somebody yesterday about The Lemon Twigs," Aiello says. "I haven’t seen them live yet, but I’ve seen videos and that one kid’s got some really good kicks. So I started doing kicks after I saw that." 

Mullen adds, "I don’t think I’ve ever admitted this, but now that I think about it, early White Stripes, Jack White stage presence. Cause he just you know, looked so almost like, he had mixed emotions while he was playing. He didn't want the crowd to even look at him. Cause he didn’t like being there, but he really wanted to tell them something really important. Which was I’m a white guy singing the blues. Something about that, like he has this weird vibe that I remember thinking was really cool when I would watch them play. Now when I watch modern Jack White, I still like him, but it comes off as a little pretentious doing it twenty years." 

Aiello also mentions that the group caught [Thee] Oh Sees' set at Sasquatch festival and realized that’s where Grant gets all his stuff.  "[John Dwyer] looks like a lizard man too, but he surprisingly doesn’t move that much. He just does weird little gimmicks, like spits in the air and catches it in his mouth. Something I also steal from him is the mouth around the microphone. He really throats that thing," Mullen says. If you still have yet to see Naked Giants live, you can get a glimpse of their energetic stage presence from the photos below of their Schubas show.  

They're Not Procrastinators When it Comes to Album Writing

Naked Giants' debut album just came out in March this year, but despite their busy touring schedule, the band has already started working on new material. Rewinding back to the release of the first album, Mullen says, "It’s just good to get it out. So people can listen to twelve of our songs in a row now.... If they want to. They all sound pretty similar production wise...They’re all one package that you can experience our songs. Before everyone was like who is this band? Like I’ve heard of them, but they just have six songs on an EP, what’s the deal? And now we have an album." 

"The best response was a review on some online magazine, and it was a really nice review. They were like we really like this album, love all the tracks, and then they called the album Slush instead of Sluff," Aiello chimes in. While the group were happy to finally get out a cohesive catalog of their music that's been well received, rather than relishing in the debut, they're eager to get out even more material. "We actually just recorded nine demos in the week and a half we had off between tours. One actual song that’s gonna hopefully be a single in the fall or something like that," Aiello continues, highlighting the group's work ethic. 

Despite their eagerness to release new material, don't get too excited for their sophomore album just yet; Mullen disclaimed they potentially have sixteen months of promoting and touring backing their first record. "It’s never a bad idea to just have the next one done," Aiello says about their sophomore effort, mentioning that they're only that proactive when it comes to making music.  "In all other areas of life we are [procrastinators]. We like to make albums." 

Their Music Contains Easter Eggs 

The trio has even gone as far as constructing a loose common theme throughout the new material. "It’s secret though," Mullen says, but Aiello hints that their might be some clues in the last song of the first album. Going back to their love of film, the band admits they're fans of putting easter eggs in their work, which is a common factor in movie and tv series. "Once all the albums are out, if you really like our band, you’ll be able to find all these things and nerd out about [the Easter eggs]," Mullen reveals. At this point, LaVallee pointed to an Alfred Hitchcock book under the green room coffee table, saying the book was a good hint to their future work without using any words. Elaborating on the connection of film and their music, Mullen adds, "I feel like a lot of times I get inspired by the feeling I get from watching a movie. If it’s very dark, I might be in that place for a while. I don’t do it consciously." 

The group also says they've tossed around the idea of a TV show for the band. "Like a Naked Giants TV show, we're always thinking how to make that work. We might have to start it as a web series. Then for one of the future albums we have planned, we’re hoping to do a visual album."

They Perform Double Duty with Car Seat Headrest

This year, Naked Giants got the opportunity to not only open for Car Seat Headrest, but to join Will Toledo's live lineup during Car Seat's set on the tour. The gig has certainly added to the band's workload on tour, but it's also given them the opportunity to cross a lot of places and goals off their bucket list. This year, Naked Giants has already toured Europe and performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,  and they'll be continuing on another double duty tour this fall in The States. 

While the band is grateful for all the career-highlight opportunities they've had with Car Seat Headrest, they remain ambitious to achieve the same feats as Naked Giants too. This fall, they'll be playing their first major conventional festival when they return to Austin for Austin City Limits. "We’re doing this whole thing with Car Seat Headrest, going to Europe….but ACL is the kind of first big step that’s just Naked Giants. I mean of course we’ve done SX and that kind of stuff, but there’s a huge difference when you start doing the festival circuits. Then that gives me hope for next year, maybe in the summer, we’ll start doing Coachella, Lollapalooza, etc..." Aiello says. They're also keen to cross off all of the Seattle staples from their list, naming The Neptune and The Paramount Theatre as the ultimate goals. 

Check out Naked Giants' upcoming tour dates here (Chicago, they'll be at The Riviera on September 7th), and listen to Sluff in full below!

A Chat With: Honduras

Honduras is Pat Phillips, Tyson Moore, Josh Wehle, and Paul Lizarraga

Honduras is Pat Phillips, Tyson Moore, Josh Wehle, and Paul Lizarraga

Brooklyn's Honduras has been garnering buzz over the past few years with their fuzzy, lo-fi punk sound, which has seen them play festivals across the country, tour with the likes of Acid Dad and Public Access T.V., and even catch the attention of Tony Hawk. The band will soon be taking a little break from the road to finalize the follow up to their 2015 debut album, Rituals. 

While on their most recent national tour with Public Access T.V. last month, the band took some time to chat with us before their show at Schubas Tavern. Catch up with Honduras as they discuss their most recent SXSW experience, their go-to karaoke songs, their bartending skills and more! 

What was your first music memory from when you were younger?

Tyson Moore: My first thing was on road trips, like family trips, my parents had this Beach Boys live double album. We would just play that thing over and over. So I've loved the Beach Boys for forever. 

Pat Phillips: My parents divorced when I was like a baby, so they had split custody. My earliest memories of music are when I would visit my dad, just listening to the CDs he would have. It was like Tom Petty, The Cure, and Sonic Youth...those are like the three that I really remember hearing as a small kid. 

Paul Lizarraga: For me, my dad had all these records that he collected in high school. He’s a big music lover. So like David Bowie, The Cure, Pink Floyd. He had all kinds of music. Earth, Wind, and Fire…

Josh Wehle: I’m the youngest of four. Everyone in my family is very musical. So I just remember being in diapers and being on the drum set.

Pat PhillipsHe was always sneaking into shows at like Mercury Lounge when he was 13. He was that kid.

So basically your parents all had great taste in music! Fast forwarding to the present, you guys just played a bunch of shows down at SXSW. What were some of your favorite showcases? 

Tyson Moore: Yeah, it was intense. I think we all agree our hottest show was the AdHoc official show. We played with a bunch of really cool, fresh diverse artists. You could just be there all night and see every type of music.

Pat Phillips: Yeah, I agree that was the best one. Ten shows is a lot in four days though. So if you’re gonna do it you gotta be prepared to just like call it quits as early as you possibly can.

Any other SXSW Survival tips or hacks?

Pat Phillips: If you’re fortunate enough to have an aunt that has a condo in Downtown Austin, stay there. That’s where we stayed.

Then on this tour you’ve had the limited edition 7 inch record for "Need The Sun" and "Water Sign."  Can you tell me about those songs, and how it came together? 

Pat Phillips: They were just demos we recorded in our practice space. But then we had a friend who started his own record label and wanted to put it out on vinyl and wanted to do all the artwork and package it in a really unique way. Also, they came out sounding really better than we expected. Tyson recorded everything himself.

Do  you usually do the recordings yourself? [To Tyson]

Tyson Moore: Not in this band I haven’t. But this process, it was just demos, so we were like let’s just get these songs done. Then mixing them, they turned out pretty good. We were like these are worthy of release, and it’s vinyl only right now.

Pat Phillips: Those songs will be out soon. After this tour we’re gonna release it on Spotify and stuff. We just wanted this little run of only vinyl.

Do you have any other new music in the works?

Pat Phillips: Yeah, we got a records worth of material. We’re just waiting on the right opportunity. 

John Eatherly from Public Access T.V. is in green room and the band ask what he's drinking

Pat Phillips: We all work at bars at home.

What’s your favorite drink to make? You're all bartenders? 

Pat Phillips: Yeah we work at venues in New York where everyone just gets beers and shots though. So we don’t really make drinks...

You should create and name a drink after one of your songs

Pat Phillips: I had one drink I made, I forgot what it was called. It was Jameson, grapefruit juice and lime juice. I called it something...I call it Paulie’s backyard.

Paul Lizarraga: I enjoy an old fashion. Tyson makes really good cocktails...Gotta have the rye, gotta have the orange wedge, muddled with sugar cubes.

This is a new segment called Drinks with Honduras now

Pat Phillips: That would be a good segment cause we’re all bartenders!

Speaking of going out and having a good time, I saw you guys went out and did karaoke last night

Pat Phillips: Yeah, at Cafe Mustache!

Oh I didn’t recognize that’s where that was! Is this a regular occurrence to do karaoke on tour?

All: It has been on this tour!

Tyson Moore: There’s this place-- we were staying in Temecula, which is in Southern California, for a couple weeks. There’s this kind of locals, blue-collar dive bar...but they have karaoke every night. Except for one night. So we went there a couple times. It was a weird scene, really fun.

What are your go-to karaoke songs? 

Pat Phillips: I sang The Smiths last night, but I usually like The Strokes or Rolling Stones.

Paul Lizarraga: The Doors...Depeche Mode. More baritone vibes.

Tyson Moore: I didn’t do it this tour yet, but in the past I’ve done Johnny Cash.

Josh Wehle: I couldn’t figure it out last night. There was a moment of weakness, where it came into conversation [to do Smash Mouth "All Star"]. We did The Strokes in California. That was a nice one. I’m not really a karaoke guy, but I want to be. I need to find my song. I really do think Smash Mouth is the one. I’ve never done it, but I need to just break the seal and then I can be known as that guy.

What else do you guys like to do when you’re in Chicago?

Pat Phillips: We have friends here. We got here yesterday. So we had this really fun night out, with some friends’ bands that we’ve toured with. Like the band NE-HI, we were hanging out with the drummer [Alex Otake] today. Tyson also lived here for a bit.

Tyson Moore: Yeah, I lived here for like four years. I went to Columbia College. I only went for two years, for the last two and then I lived here for two more. I was gonna go there [for music business] when I was a freshman, but I decided not to. Then I got into the recording side of things, so then I went for audio engineering.

Nice! Anything else you guys like to do while out on the road? Are you podcast people?

Pat Phillips: We love podcasts! We love The Daily, the New York Times podcast. 

Tyson Moore:  We’ve been on the Pod Save America political stuff. Marc Maron, 99% Invisible. That’s a really cool podcast. 20,000 Hertz is a really cool podcast. It’s audio based.

Any new music that you’re into?

Tyson Moore: Deeper is pretty sick!

Paul Lizarraga: The new Total Control album is pretty good. 

Pat Phillips: I really like the band Sextile. We saw them in LA and listen to their record nonstop. They’re an LA kind of post-punk kind of band. I love that band, they’re really rad. I listen to a lot of Deerhunter. Total Control. We did a lot of Rolling Stones earlier in the tour. Just kind of revisiting all those records! We always love Beach House. Then we listen to a lot of Afro Soul kind of music too.

Tyson MooreWe’ve been listening to the Kanye podcast. Not hosted by Kanye. It’s this podcast called Dissect and the dude breaks down My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy like he talks about the samples and the notes…

Pat Phillips:  It’s 16 hours long!

Any favorite NYC based bands?

Pat Phillips: Parquet Courts. Bodega. Sunflower Bean

Paul Lizarraga: I really like Haram, a punk band coming out of New York, they’re friends of ours.

Josh Wehle: There is a sick rapper named SAMMUS that we discovered down in Austin.

Anything else you’re looking forward to this year?

Pat Phillips: Yeah, this was the long tour. We have some cool shows in New York coming up and some things on the horizon. We had two days of recording out in LA where we recorded two or three new songs and it really inspired us to complete this new material that’s been floating around. So I feel like that’s really what we’re gonna be focusing on the next couple months. Hopefully try to record that by the end of the year. 

 You can now grab your own copy of "Need The Sun" and "Water Sign" online here, and keep up with Honduras on Facebook and Instagram. 

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: Cut Worms

The brainchild of Max Clarke, Cut Worms combines a lo-fi process with timeless, harmonious vocals reminiscent of 1960's singer songwriters, the storytelling element of folk music, and a touch of psych rock. Following the October release of his debut EP Alien Sunset via Jagjaguwar Records, Clarke and his bandmates will be coming to Chicago next week to perform as part of the annual TNK Fest. The show acts as a homecoming of sorts, as Clarke attended Columbia College here in the city, but now resides in Brooklyn. For more on what you can expect from his set at Tomorrow Never Knows, what's in the books for 2018, the biggest lesson he learned at Columbia, and more, tune into our chat with Cut Worms now!

Photo Credit: Caroline Gohlke

Photo Credit: Caroline Gohlke

ANCHR Magazine: So starting off, what was your first musical memory from when you first got into music?

Cut Worms: My first musical memory would probably be just singing along to stuff on the radio as a kid. Or listening to my dad’s CDs that I found, like his Bruce Springsteen’s Greatest Hits.

AM: Did that then inspire you to want to make music yourself?

Cut Worms: Yeah, in a sort of subliminal way that I didn’t really recognize yet. But I didn’t really start thinking about that I wanted to try to make music until I was 12 probably. Two of my uncles played guitar, and at family gatherings I would see them play, and just wanted to be able to do that.

AM: Nice, so then you started making music as Cut Worms when you were at Columbia College right?

Cut Worms: Right, I’ve been writing my own stuff, or trying to, since I was in middle school or high school. I didn’t ever actually get my own band or anything together until the end of college.

AM: Nice, I went to Columbia too!

Cut Worms: What did  you go for?

AM: Music Business, what was your major?

Cut Worms: Mine was illustration.

AM: What do you think was the most valuable lesson you learned from going to Columbia? Did you take anything away about the music business, even though that wasn’t your major?

Cut Worms: Not really as far as music, but it did give me a sense of developing a process for my work, whether that was illustration or music. Imposing deadlines on yourself, and I had some good professors there in the illustration department who were illustrators or cartoonists....Especially in Chicago, they tend to be kind of dark people. They just like sit inside all the time and draw, but they have really good work ethic. So I always admired that and took that away from them.

AM: For sure. I was reading a little bit about your writing process and that you’d try to release two songs a month online, so it seems that you definitely took that process away. So what were some of your favorite responses after you released your debut EP, Alien Sunset?

Cut Worms: It was just nice to get responses from people all over the place. Especially since signing with Jagjaguwar and them putting it out, they have a much wider reach obviously. So getting like a message from somebody in Norway saying that they were into it, that’s pretty wild to me.

AM: So where did you pull influences from for the songs on that EP? Did you look to other art forms like visual arts or films and what not?

Cut Worms: Yeah, my girlfriend and I always watch a lot of movies and TV shows, so I’m sure a lot of that is in there. I don’t really know where anything comes from. It’s kind of like listening to the news and getting angry, and trying to deal with it.

AM: Do you have a particular story about any of the songs on the EP and the process behind how it came together?

Cut Worms: I kind of just did it as I went along. I didn’t think about it too much before hand. “Curious Man,” that song on there, was the only one that I kind of had an idea and kind of wanted it to be like a sci-fi ghost story thing. That’s kind of one of the only times I’ve tried to write a certain type of song.

AM: So you’re originally from Ohio, and now you’re based in Brooklyn after living in Chicago. Do you find yourself pulling influence from the location you’re based in, and does it affect your writing habits?

Cut Worms: Oh yeah. Living in different places...I guess, since living in New York, I’ve started traveling a lot more than I ever did before. Even just to go home for holidays and stuff, just driving a lot. You kind of get more of a sense of the differences between different places and the atmosphere and the vibe. Just the pace of life. That was always kind of just like a meaningless cliche to me, but it really is kind of true.

AM: What are some of your favorite parts of the Brooklyn music scene, compared to Chicago?

Cut Worms: I don’t know. I’ve never really felt like I was part of a scene per se. In Chicago I guess I kind of was. There’s a garage rock scene there, at least there was...I think there still is. I was in a garage/punk band there and that kind of got me...that was the first band I was ever in. I’d never really experienced what it was to be in a scene before that. Since moving to New York, I don’t go out that much. I’ll go see my friends’ bands.

AM: Do you have any favorite NYC venues?

Cut Worms: To play at, yeah. Any of the bigger ones. It’s always good to play places with good sound, like Music Hall of Williamsburg. We got to open for The Growlers one time at Webster Hall. After spending years of just playing in shitty bars, not really being able to hear yourself, or when you could hear it, you know that it sounds’s just kind of depressing. So finally getting to play places where they know what they’re doing with sound, and they make you sound better. It’s more exciting to play, and I think it feeds off each other. Some of the places I like to go see shows are like Union Pool. Small rooms like that are cool.

AM: Nice, what about some of your favorite bands? You mentioned you like to go see your friends’ bands, so anyone you want to shout out?

Cut Worms: Yeah, EZTV. John Andrews and the Yawns. He actually plays in my band now. People from Woods. This band called Pavo Pavo. The guy Oliver is a good friend of mine who I met by playing shows with him. He moved out to LA, but when I met him he was a Brooklyn band.

AM: So speaking so playing live, you’ll be coming out to Chicago to play Tomorrow Never Knows Fest. What’s your live set up usually?

Cut Worms: So I play guitar, and then John Andrews plays keyboards and also sings harmonies. It’s really exciting for me to finally get someone to sing with, who’s good and gets it. Then Jarvis from Woods is gonna be playing bass with me, and my friend Noah Bond, he plays with a bunch of different people, he plays drums. It’ll be just a four piece, and that’s been the set up lately. Occasionally if I can pin him down, I’ll have my friend John, he plays in a ton of other bands, so he’s not always available. But it’s always good to have him when I can.

AM: For sure. Do you get to stick around and see any of the other bands playing TNK Fest?

Cut Worms: I’ll stick around for that night, but we’re flying back to New York the next day. The day after that we have a show at Brooklyn Steel with Allah Lahs. We need to get a rehearsal in since that’s a pretty big venue.

AM: Anyone on the line up that you’re into, if you got a chance to check it out?

Cut Worms: I’m getting to play with my friend, the band opening for us, Cafe Racer. One of the guys in the band used to play bass for me when I lived in Chicago. I know Sonny and the Sunsets are cool, so I’m pretty psyched on the show that I’m playing. I can’t remember, I know I was looking at the line up.

AM: Yeah your show is pretty stacked though, you have a good lineup! Do you have any other artists that you look up to in terms of stage presence, or anyone else you’d love to share the stage with?

Cut Worms: There’s a lot of people who I admire for their stage presence. I feel like I’ve never been that big of a...I don’t have that big of a presence. Or I don’t do a whole lot of moving around. I mean, The Lemon Twigs, who we’ve played with before, they have a pretty amazing stage presence. I admire that. I’ll probably never get there.

AM: What other goals do you have for 2018?

Cut Worms: I’m going to Europe for the first time in February so I’m excited about that. Then my record will be coming out in May. That will be like the first real release, and I’m excited to see what happens with that. I’m mainly trying to write new stuff.

AM: What can you tell us about the album?

Cut Worms: I just want it to speak for itself and for people to take what they want from it.

Grab your tickets here to Cut Worms show at TNK Fest to make sure you don't miss out...5 day passes are now sold out! Listen to Alien Sunset in full below to get ready for the show!

A Chat With: Molly Parden

Nashville based singer songwriter Molly Parden has perfected her craft of harmony-heavy folk songs throughout the years, taking her time on follow ups to her 2011 debut album Time Is Medicine, which include the 2016 EP With Me In The Summer and the brand new single "Sail on the Water." When she's not carefully finessing and honing in on her own music, the multitalented Parden also lends her stunning vocals to fellow Nashville musicians, or takes her skills on the road, recently touring as part of Faye Webster's band. On December 2nd, Molly Parden will return to Schubas (where she just played with Faye Webster) to support David Ramirez with her own material. Before the show, we chatted to Parden about everything from growing up with eight siblings, her favorite studio projects, and her 2018 goals. Tune in and get to know Molly Parden now!

Photo by Mark Cluney

Photo by Mark Cluney

ANCHR Magazine: As I understand it, you grew up with 8 other siblings and didn’t have much exposure to music at a young age. Do you remember what it was that sparked your interest to start playing music, and who some of your first influences were?

Molly Parden: Honestly I don’t remember what it was that sparked my interest in music, except that my life has always had a soundtrack. There was music every Sunday at church, a CD of worship music playing in our living room every day, and we listened to the radio as a family any time we piled into the van. Growing up in the church, Hillsong was a huge influence at first. When I began listening to secular music, it was Coldplay that led me to Radiohead that led me to Björk that led me to Feist. Feist (and probably Radiohead) played a large role in shaping my penchant for delicate vocals and jazz-flavored chords. 

AM: Speaking of all of your siblings, what’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from growing up with so many siblings? 

Molly Parden Biggest lesson: life is meant to be shared. Not that I always operate in that fashion, but when I sense that someone is freely giving me their time, talent or just something of theirs that means a lot to them, I am just undone. I try to remind myself that every little thing that I “own” is a gift.  Sure I work hard, but things are just things; they can easily be lost. I feel freedom when I loosen my grip on life; on possessions, on relationships. Growing up surrounded by people helped me understand this. 

AM: What are some of your favorite projects that you worked on as a studio vocalist when you first moved to Nashville?

Molly Parden: Two months after moving to town, I was invited to record harmony vocals on Caleb Groh’s record “Ocelot” and later on Joseph LeMay’s “Seventeen Acres”. I have listened to these records so many times. Chad Wahlbrink engineered both projects in (what was at the time) his home studio in Sylvan Park at The Pink Mailbox. 

AM: Can you talk a little bit about your transition into the spotlight when you started working on your own music, instead of being a studio vocalist? What were some of the challenges and what have been some of the biggest rewards? 

Molly Parden: I was stuck in a writing rut when I moved to Nashville. I had no idea what to write about. I would invent song ideas, record them on my iPhone, and try later to chip away at them ... to no avail. It was awful; I felt like maybe I had lost my knack for making songs. Singing harmony on records and at live shows was nice. I didn’t have the pressure of being the face of the band, but I was definitely being heard. I met so many artists and songwriters this way, by being a supporting vocalist. This role lent itself well to my very supportive personality. I truly don’t mind being beside the spotlight. 

I’ve played small shows regularly (once every 2 months) from the time I moved to Nashville in 2013, but I’ve never cared much for recording my own music. The pressure of time and money can feel harsh, making me want to wrap things up in the studio maybe too quickly. Being my own label, manager, lawyer and agent, I make my own timelines... and that’s probably why there was a 5 year gap between my first record Time Is Medicine to my 2016 EP With Me in the Summer

AM: What are some of your favorite aspects of the Nashville music scene right now, from venues to other artists and just the overall vibe?

Molly Parden: Hmm. I’ve been here just over four years. One of the things I love about Nashville is how many different people can rotate in and out of bands. I’ve played shows with 8 different electric guitar players, 3 bassists, and 2 drummers. It is pretty awesome to have 4 backups in case your #1 and #2 are both booked. I love the variety of club sizes here in town and I will always love playing Grimey’s dingy little precious venue underneath his record store, The Basement. Always. 

AM: You’ve been on tour this month, and you’ll be out throughout the first half of December. What have been some highlights, and what other cities are you looking forward to?

Molly Parden: I’ve been a David Ramirez fan ever since he beat me at an open mic contest at Eddie’s Attic back in 2010, so the fact that I get to share a stage with him for 45 shows is a rather wonderful thing to me. I had a great time in NYC at Mercury Lounge, Toronto at The Drake and in LA at Bootleg. New York is always so dreamy, in an exhausting way. We stayed in Montana on the way to Spokane, and I really enjoyed waking up to a mountainous backdrop. I’m really pumped about playing my tunes at Schuba's and 7th Street in Minneapolis. I played bass with Faye Webster at Schuba's on November 17th; it sounds so great in that room. And you know, I’m kind of excited about touring Florida. I don’t know why, but I am. 

AM: What are some of your favorite ways to stay entertained on the road during long drives? 

Molly Parden: I have one really boring one: the ABC game where you find (and shout) a word 4-or-more-letters outside of the car that begins with each letter of the Roman alphabet in sequential order. My sister Hannah and I are really good at it. My van BFF Matt (David’s keys player) played with me one time and hasn’t suggested we play since, so... I’m going to assume he’s not a fan. I don’t have any other good activities. If any of your readers have some, please. Email me. 

AM: I love your latest single, “Sail on the Water.” Where are you in the process of your next album, and when can we expect more new music?

Molly Parden: Thank you! I love it too. Took me about 18 months to write that bugger. Juan Solorzano (the producer and multi-instrumentalist) really breathed life into it. 

I am 3 songs in to creating a full-length record. 10 songs? 11? I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, after David’s tour ends in mid-December. I’ll hop back in the studio with Juan, Zachary Dyke, our drummer Tommy, Ben on strings and hopefully Matt Wright on keys for four or five days and knock out the rest of the record in Madison, TN. I’ve no clue when this one can be expected. Crossing my fingers for 2018. My fans are patient, as we’ve established earlier (re: five-year recording hiatus). Perhaps I’ll test their patience, make this five-year thing a trend.

AM: What else are you looking forward to in 2018?

Molly Parden: Every year you learn something new. Same goes for each tour, and I’m ready for the next one. A couple are in the works already for spring...can’t wait to see where the wind will blow me. I’m excited for baseball season; Nashville has a minor league team, the Sounds, which is cute, but I didn’t make it to a single Braves game in 2017 and I hope to change that next year. 

Chicago! Grab tickets to see Molly Parden at Schubas on 12/2 right here, and follow her on social media below!

Molly Parden: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

A Chat With: Public

Public just wants to get to know you. In fact, even on their Facebook page, under the category "band interests," the only thing listed is "You." If you attended one of the trio's recent tour dates on their Sweet Lemonade Tour or follow them on other social media, you'll be quick to find out that's a genuine statement from them. 

As an unsigned band, Public have still managed to put out top quality recordings of their indie pop tunes over the years, full of sticky, sing-a-long choruses and upbeat melodies. They just have to work a lot harder to get those radio-ready songs out to their fans, old and new, but don't underestimate them. John Vaughn, Ben Lapps, and Matt Alvarado have never been more ready to roll up their sleeves and build their foundation from the ground up. After already opening for fellow Ohioans Twenty One Pilots and racking up more than a million Spotify plays on their song "Pretty Face," the band have already reaped some reward from their hard work, but their momentum only continues to grow. 

If you're looking for great music made by authentic musicians and even more genuine people, look no further than Public. In our chat with them last month, Vaughn, Lapps, and Alvarado have some fun revealing interesting facts about each other, but they also clearly communicate the message behind their music. In this interview, you'll not only find out Public's pet peeves and their last Google search, but you'll get an insider's perspective of their vision and their mission as a band. Get to know your new favorite band, Public, now. 


Public at Schubas Tavern last month

Public at Schubas Tavern last month

ANCHR Magazine: Let's start things off with some tour talk then. Since being in the van with each other, what have you learned are each others’ biggest pet peeves?

Matt Alvarado: Ben hates dabbing.

Ben Lapps: I don’t dab.

MA: So I dab just to bug him.

BL: Now it’s more of like a game between us. Matt dabs cause he knows I’ll roll my eyes, and then I roll my eyes cause he dabbed!

MA: I know for me, I hate when people put away my stuff.

John Vaughn: No, we’re supposed to say something for you!

Matt: Oh, you say for me?

JV: Matt hates when people move his stuff. Matt hates when something that he organized gets arranged a different way.

MA: Usually I’m very odd about where I put things. I could put my phone inside a refrigerator and I’d know exactly where it is. Someone could be like oh, this is Matt’s phone. In the fridge. I should give this to him, and then I’ll go back and be like where’s my phone?

BL: John identifies every single smell that he comes into contact with.

MA: That’s not a pet peeve!

BL: This is a very interesting thing.

MA: What annoys John?

BL: Smells, I think! 

JV: I’m very very descriptive. I really, really dissect a smell. I shout it to the band...

AM: You guys just did a tour diary video, part one. John you had said in it that you want people to come to the show and find something of value in the live show that you don’t have on the record. How do you arrange the songs then, or format the set? Is there anything you consciously do to add that value?

JV: I think from my perspective, we have a lot of little moments either in the beginning of a song, or in the middle of a song, or after the song where there’s space to add something that we think will highlight that song. I think it’s cool when someone does like a weird intro and then it goes into that song that you know. I think this is one of the first times where we’re crafting and building a set where we’ve tried to do a lot of that. We’ve got some instrumental jamming that we do that we haven’t done since we started. We kind of brought that back. Personally I love when a band can sound like their record, but I also like to go to a show and be surprised by the things they do. That’s the way I would describe it.

AM: Is there an artist that you think can do that really well? Like a show you’ve been to recently where you could pinpoint that?

BL: In my experience lately, the guy who’s doing that best is Jon Bellion. His live show is SO different than what’s on the record, just in like the most fun way. Have you seen his live show?

AM: Yes!

BL: His band is like just this incredible group of musicians and they just play, and they kill it. That’s my vote!

MA: I was just gonna say about the live set...a lot of the people who initially started liking us and our music is because we had fun onstage. I think that’s something that we can like really, really do onstage. We’re musicians first and foremost. A lot of what’s on the record is kind of compressed into a more pop format, where everything sounds a certain way and has a certain space. When we’re doing it live, John is a great guitarist, Ben is a great drummer, I’m a very okay bass player--

BL: He’s very good!

MA: We just have so much fun playing our instruments the way we want to play them. People resonate with that. They see we’re having fun and they wanna have fun too!

JV: Not to get too in depth on this one question, but just to add on what [Matt's] saying….On this tour, we’re musicians first. That’s how we were trained. We get a lot of joy from jamming and feeding off each other. Now what we’re really adding to this set is just engaging with the crowd a lot more. Even just these first few shows, it’s been a blast. That’s something you maybe get from our album, but it’s a nice change. It feels like the whole event is just collaborative with everybody. It’s like if we’re gonna have fun, we gotta all have fun! We’re gonna force you to have fun.

AM: Ok so shifting gears a little bit...If you could be stuck in a elevator with anybody, they could be famous, dead or alive, who would you pick?

MA: How long are you stuck?

AM: A couple hours, maybe. 

BL: Are you stuck just to have a conversation and then we get out, or do we want someone that can help us get out?

JV: I would say the guy who invented the elevator cause he’d probably know how to get out.

MA: Maybe Tom Cruise cause he’s in a lot of action movies.

AM: It could be someone you’d just want to have a conversation with too!

J: I might have a different answer later, but probably J. R. R. Tolkien. I just watched all of the Lord of the Rings movies again. All of them, they’re amazing. I hadn’t watched them in a while, and being older I think I took a lot more from them this time. I read into them a lot more. So I would love to just talk to the person who wrote all of that, and pick his brain.

MA: I think I’d pick my brother.

BL: I was gonna say my mom!

MA: We’ve been calling back and forth every two, three weeks, but it’d be nice to sit down and just talk. He’s also small so he wouldn’t take up a lot of space.

AM: So you guys are working hard as an unsigned band. I know a lot of bands now are gearing more towards being independent so they can have more control over their artistry. What do you guys see the pros and cons of being an unsigned artists, and the struggles and rewards come with it?

MA: I think our mindset has changed drastically from when we were first starting as a band. We just started working with new management. We have a new team. A lot of the cons I saw being an unsigned band are kind of pros. Just the organic growth that we’re going through now seems so much more up our alley as ways we want to grow as a band, than if we just got signed to a label and got funneled money. This tour that we’re doing is a perfect example, we’re doing all these stops that we haven’t hit or we haven’t hit in three years. We’re just seeing who enjoys our music, who’s heard of us before from maybe radio or Spotify. Then just growing through them instead of just having a song on a radio promotion. It just feels so much more genuine. To see these people face to face.

JV: I agree. Early on, I think with every band, the Golden Carrot is to get signed. When you’re young, sure whatever. You don’t even know what that means... You’re like heck yeah! I think Matt’s right. The past 6 months we’ve had a rebirth of the band. Building a completely new team that we’re super happy with, and the new music as well... it’s really given us a respect and a hunger to get to know the people that like our music. It’s not many people right now. So grinding like we are on the Sweet Lemonade’s really fun cause like every person that comes out it’s like man, that person said yes tonight. They like that one song that they like however much to pay $10 to come see us in Chicago. That’s huge! It’s an opportunity now to let them know that. We make it a point to thank them. Also to what Matt said, if we had gotten signed early, and I’m not saying there’s only one way to do things once you get signed...but if we had been given an advance early, and they just shoved our songs on the radio, and we didn’t have to go through that trial by fire… it’d be like oh you have a song on radio, people are gonna hear you just because they’re in their cars. We didn’t get that. So we kind of had to find different and interesting ways to do that. It’s kind of like it builds character. It’s almost like when you’re a kid and your parents make you do a job or chores...there’s a reason you do that. I feel like that’s what it’s like.

AM: Yeah that’s exactly what I like about having my own blog! So on the same track of new music, Ben I saw on Twitter you had asked fans for new music recommendations. What are some of the favorite recommendations from your followers, or just songs you guys are already into at the moment?

BL: We listened to the new Sir Sly record. Especially like the first few tracks. That was really dope. Let me check what else…

MA: Someone brought up Skott!

JV: I’ve had a music crush on her for a while!

BL: Who’s the British guy everyone brought up?

JV: Simon Cowell?

BL: Young guy!

JV: Declan McKenna! It’s cool to see him doing well.

BL: Besides that...who else? I tried to listen to at least one song from everyone that recommended something.

AM: Yeah, that’s great you guys are open to that!

BL: Absolutely, I love swapping music recommendations. Everyone’s got a little bit of different taste, but odds are if you like our music, we’re gonna overlap at some point. You probably like the same things as us.

AM: While you have your phones out, what’s the last thing you Googled?

JV: I usually have weird stuff!

BL: “Video Juegos”-- Video Games in Spanish! Matt and I were talking about it, we couldn’t remember what the Spanish word for video games was!

JV: How did you do it so fast?

BL: I have the Google app!

JV: Oh- what the word “SKRT” means in Urban Dictionary...SKRT.

MA: Mine is Quincy Jones! It goes Rashida Jones...Rashida Jones' Dad...Quincy Jones.

BL: Really? They’re related? I didn’t know that!

AM: So if you guys formed a cover band, which band would you exclusively cover and what would you call it?

JV: I bet we could actually---and I don’t want to bring this up because I think it’s such an oversaturated thing with musicians to bring this up and laugh about it, but I think we could actually kill as a Nickelback cover band. I mean that seriously.

BL: He does a really funny-- it’s funny cause it’s so accurate-- Chad Kroeger impression.

JV: I think we would actually kill it

MA: What would our name be?

AM: Some pun on nickels or change?

JV: Pennyfront?

BL & MA (in unison): Pennyfront!

AM: Forget Nickelback, it’s all about Pennyfront! So if you weren’t making music, what would your dream job be?

BL: Baseball player.

JV: Acting!

BL: No wait, chef! Baseball chef. The chef for the Cincinnati Reds, and sometimes they’d let me play!

MA: I don’t know… I haven’t really thought about that. It used to be the other way around. I went to school for engineering and I wanted to be a musician. Now I’m a musician and I want to to go back to school for engineering. I’ve never thought about that! Probably some sort of athlete, but my body is broken so that dream died a long time ago.

AM: So what else are you guys looking forward to this year?

JV: I’m just excited to do more of exactly what we’re doing tonight. I just wanna keep touring. Because every show, there’s just something different--this is our first headlining tour, maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s just that simple, but it just really feels like we’re playing for keeps now. We’re really going for it and it’s really cool. I’m excited to literally keep going. I want to release new music and go tour off it again. I’m not looking for any shortcuts, or like a song to go viral. I just want to go meet the people that listen to us.

BL: And make like friend fans.

JV: Yeah, like make them feel like they want to really get behind what’s happening. We want to recognize that we can’t do it without them.

MA: I’m excited to see what comes out of the rest of these shows. Who comes to what many people. How many we’ve seen before, how many people are new. Stay off, recuperate for a month, then go right back on and see if the same people come out. See if anything grows, if anybody resonates with it. I think that’s gonna be our new route for a while now. Just headline a bunch of shows. I could not be more excited.

JV: It’s just like an adventure. It hasn’t necessarily felt like that in the past. There’s just something in the air.

Public still has one more date of their Sweet Lemonade Tour, but keep up with all future tour dates hereand listen to their EP Sweet Lemonade in full below!

Can't get enough of Public? Check out our review and photo gallery of their show at Schuba's last month here. 

A Chat With: Lola Marsh

Israeli duo Gil Landau and Yael Shoshana Cohen of Lola Marsh have just released their debut album Remember Roses on June 9th, and they'll soon be touring in America, bringing the new songs to life on the stage. The album contains a wide range of layered, dreamy indie tunes combining Cohen's lush vocals with retro vibes and addicting melodies. Prior to their show in Chicago on June 29th, we chatted with the pair about the music scene in Tel Aviv, their upcoming tour, their party playlists and more. Get to know them now in our chat with Lola Marsh. 

Photo Courtesy of Lola Marsh

Photo Courtesy of Lola Marsh

ANCHR Magazine: Your debut album is out now! What can you tell us about the writing and recording process behind it?

Lola Marsh: Well it was a long journey. The process of recording the album, for us, brought about so many mixed feelings. It was exciting, frustrating, emotional, and stressful... and we learned so much along the way. Most of the songs were written a few years ago when we just met each other. Some on the road, and some of them were written actually during the recordings, and the last minute we decided to add them to the album.

AM: Where did you pull inspiration from for the album? Are you mostly inspired by other musical influences, or do you look to other art forms too?

LM: We get inspired by artists such as Elvis Presley, Edith Piaf, the moody blues, Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, Pink Floyd and many more. We love soundtracks from old and new movies, such as For a Few Dollars More, Star Track, Amelie, and all the Wes Anderson movies.

Also places, people, instruments, and new experiences are inspirations. 

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

LM: A few months ago we added a new keyboard player to the band, and we made a few changes in the arrangements, so actually almost every song has a new part/sound/vibe, we're very happy about it! Also we'll play some new songs that are in the album that have never been played before. 

AM: Are there any cities on this tour that you’re most excited to play in?

LM: This tour is kinda intense! Every day we're performing in a different city in Europe and The States! We're looking forward to all of our shows! It will be our second time in the US, so we are super excited about that! 

AM: What can you tell us about the music scene in Tel Aviv? Any bands that we all need to check out?

LM: The music scene in Tel Aviv is very broad. You have everything! Folk, electronic, hip hop, pop, rock...all combine east and west colors and vibes. We really love an Israeli singer-songwriter named Evyatar Banai, his songs are deep, beautiful, and edgy. Also you should check out Israeli bands like Less Acrobats, Tzlil Danin, and Daniela Spector.

AM: Since you two met at a party, what are some tunes that are a must-have for your party playlist?

LM:  Tunes that are a must-have for our party playlist..hmm

  • Tame impala: "Let It Happen"
  • Electric Guests: "Troubleman"
  • Kanye West: "No Church in the Wild"
  • Temples:  "Move With The Seasons" 
  • Chance The Rapper/ Francis and the Lights:  "May I Have This Dance"

AM: How do you stay entertained on the road? Any new books, podcasts, or shows that you’re into?

LM: Sometimes Gil likes to make new tracks on his laptop. Yaeli likes to document funny moments on the road and sometimes writes a journal. We read books, listen to music, play cards, and watch movies.

AM: What else are you looking forward to this year?

LM: We're looking forward to our new album Remember Roses! It took us some time to create it and we're thrilled that our fans can finally hold it in their hands

Check out Lola Marsh's debut album Remember Roses below and go see them on tour in a city near you! Chicago, they'll be Schubas on 6/29. Grab tickets here

A Chat With: Gang of Youths

Australian rock group Gang of Youths are back in The States this month, touring in support of their upcoming album. After releasing their successful debut album The Positions in 2015 and following up with an EP in 2016, the band are set to release their second full length album Go Farther In Lightness on August 18th. As a teaser, the band released the new single "Let Me Down Easy" on May 26th, a rhythmic narrative that's perfect for a summertime drive. Before their North American tour hits Schubas Tavern in Chicago, the band took some time for quick Q&A about the new music, their tour, and their favorite new music. Check it out and go see Gang Of Youths in a city near you!

Photo Courtesy of Gang Of Youths

Photo Courtesy of Gang Of Youths

ANCHR Magazine: What first inspired you to start making music, and how did you eventually all meet and form a band?

Gang of Youths: We met in a large evangelical church as children, and played music together throughout adolescence. Our first record The Positions came about as a result of a pretty traumatic relationship I was in with a woman who had terminal cancer.

AM: You’ve cited U2 and Sonic Youth as some of your influences, but what are some of your other musical and nonmusical (i.e film or other art forms) influences?

GoY: Possibly too many to name, to be honest. I’ve always felt that Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Hegel and Heidegger had a profound influence on my work in a philosophical sense -- I like Lacan, Deleuze too. I’ve tried to contort and mangle our music in a way that it could sort of appeal to the ear the same way a Chagall or a Degas looks to the eye. Possibly a nonsensical idea, I know.

AM: What have been some highlights for you guys as a band since you released your debut album just a little over two years ago?

GoY: We managed to stay together, and grew together. That’s the most extraordinary one for me personally.

AM: The new animated video for your single “What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?” is great! What was the inspiration behind going the animated route for this video, instead of sticking with live action?

GoY: We have this friend of ours named Thomas Rawle who’s a pretty gifted animator. We wanted to create a sense of kinetic chaos combined with a surreal kind of storytelling that wouldn’t have been possible with a live action clip.

AM: Speaking of your new music, what can fans expect from the new album?

GoY:  It’s 78 minutes spread over 16 tracks.

AM: What teasers can you give about the set this tour, and are you planning on testing out any new material on the road?

GoY: The only teaser I can give you is that we are certainly road testing new material.

AM: Are there any cities on the U.S tour that you’re looking forward to playing the most?

GoY: Chicago! It’s our guitarist/keyboardist Jung’s home town. He hasn’t been back for 11 years!

AM: What’s one of the biggest differences that you guys notice between playing shows back home in Australia and playing in Europe and America?

GoY: The size of the shows is significantly different. Which is a good thing. I prefer small rooms.

AM: What are some of your favorite new bands at the moment?

GoY: Whitney, Camp Cope, Luca Brasi and Trophy Eyes.

Chicago, do not miss Jung's hometown return! You can grab tickets to Gang of Youths show tonight here, starting at $10. We'll also be covering their show in Minneapolis tomorrow night- stay tuned for a full photo gallery, and get pumped for the shows by listening to Gang of Youths' first album.

A Chat With: Alex Lahey

Last week we chatted with Australian rocker Alex Lahey, known for her infectious indie sound and relatable, narrative style lyrics. Currently on tour promoting her debut EP B Grade University, Alex has just wrapped up supporting Tegan and Sara int the UK. Soon she'll be heading over to America for her first tour over here, including a stop at Schubas Tavern in Chicago on Monday, March 20th. Before the start of her tour, we chatted with the down-to-earth singer-songwriter about her touring, SXSW festival, long haul flights, David Lynch films and more. Don't miss our chat with Alex Lahey...

The authentic Aussie, Alex Lahey (say that 5 times fast)  Photo Credit: Kane Hibberd

The authentic Aussie, Alex Lahey (say that 5 times fast)

Photo Credit: Kane Hibberd

ANCHR Magazine: I know you just recently toured Europe with Tegan and Sara, so how was that tour? Do you have any crazy stories from it?

Alex Lahey: Yeah, I mean it was short. But sweet. We were only on the ground for about 8 days I think. So very brief, but it was so much fun. Nothing really crazy kind of happened. We only came at the end of it, but they’d been on tour for three weeks. So they were already kind of over it...not over it, but like they were sort of in the rhythm of it and we got there like “Awesome!” while everyone else was just business as usual. It was still amazing. I think the craziest thing for me is that Tegan and Sara are world class, but like their drummer plays for Shakira, the keyboard player plays for No Doubt and Gwen Stefani, and their bass player plays for like Jordan Sparks and Sean Paul. Their production manager just came off tour with Rihanna, like she’s like “Rihanna is just such a sweet girl” and we’re just like what the hell? You know? It’s all this stuff, this weird world that you don’t actually think exists, but you know, it does. And so that’s probably the craziest thing that came out of it for me.  Apart from that, it was pretty...I think for us we were very much deer in headlights. We were taking it all in stride. We were trying to stay healthy and me in particular looking after my voice. When you’re doing four shows in a row sort of thing, like that’s something we don’t really do in Australia. Touring like that doesn’t really happen there. You sort of just tour on the weekends and you’re at home during the week. Whereas in Europe and the US because there are so many people and so many places to play, you tour through the week, and there’s always people there to see you. So that was sort of an adjustment for me in the way I manage myself in a way that was more sustainable. Which basically meant I just had to drink less. And sleep more.

AM: So that was actually your first time playing playing out of Australia, right? Then you’re coming to the States...are you here already?

Alex Lahey: No, not yet I fly out next Friday

AM: Cool, so what are you most excited to see while you’re over here? Any cities in particular that you’re looking forward to playing?

Alex Lahey: I mean SXSW is like a pilgrimage.  So that’ll be pretty special I think. It sort of seems like one of those things- have you been before, to South By?

AM: I have not and I keep meaning to go, but it’s such a long festival and getting the time to go-

Alex Lahey: Where do you live?

AM: Chicago!

Alex Lahey: Yeah, so you’ve probably heard some stories that it’s sort of like you go there and you have a schedule of things to do and you go there and all this other stuff happens. Like you just don’t know what to expect. I think that’s gonna be really fun. I’m really excited to play... Playing in New York is just a bucket list sort of thing. Playing in London is as well. I’m really excited to actually come to Chicago, I’ve never been there before. Yeah I think it’s gonna be really cold, but it’ll be fun. My mom’s actually going to be there! She’s scheduled in a holiday around the tour. So she’s going to be at the Chicago show and the New York show. One place I really want to play at, which isn’t on this tour, but hopefully will be on future tours, is Nashville. I’m a big fan of country music.  I would love to go and let alone play, so that’d be really fun.

AM: Oh yeah so you haven’t been there at all? It’s very cool, so much to do there!

Alex Lahey: Yeah I’d really love to. I got super obsessed with that show Nashville. It’s like a guilty pleasure...everyone’s like [whispering] “do you watch Nashville?”

AM: Yeah for sure.  So talking more about SXSW, are there any artists that you’re hoping to catch? I know it’s always crazy and things will change, but is there anyone you saw that’s showcasing that you’re a fan of?

Alex Lahey: Yeah to be honest I haven’t really looked into it all that much. I know that there’s a lot of my friends coming from Australia to showcase.  To be honest I haven’t really explored it all that much. I’m kind of looking forward to just letting it happen, but at the same time it sounds like you need to be pretty organized. So maybe that’s something I’ll do when I get off this call is just go through everything. Have you got any hot tips?

AM: Yeah I just made a playlist for ANCHR for some bands playing...there’s a couple bands from Chicago called NE-HI and then Post Animal. They’re really cool, check them out if you can!

Alex Lahey: Yeah cool. I just saw a poster of a gig, I think BANKS was on it and Sleigh Bells-

AM: Yeah I just saw that today! BANKS is really good live, have you seen her?

Alex Lahey: I haven’t, but she’s pretty popular in Australia. I’ll definitely try to catch her. Sleigh Bells are definitely a band that I grew up with.  I mean it just seems to be spoiled for choice really. That’s a good point though, I need to make the most of it. I’ve just been worried about playing and that sort of thing, but I should just be more in the moment and enjoy it a bit more probably!

AM: I saw you recently also announced an Australian tour. The flight between The States and your home is pretty huge, so how do you stay entertained on those long haul flights without losing your mind?

Alex Lahey: Well actually--I’m not too bad with long flights. The thing that I love about it is that in a job where there’s always stuff going on, when you’re on one of those long haul flights, you can just be like I’m supposed sit here and let people feed me and watch movies for the next 25 hours to London. And like that’s exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. So just allowing yourself to do that is actually really nice. So I think having an attitude like that is important...taking advantages of the movies for sure. Maybe bringing a book.  As for jetlag, I don’t really have any tips. I think you just need to struggle through it. I was actually just talking to Tegan and Sara about the jetlag thing. I was like does it ever get any easier?  They were like, "you just learn how to manage it.”  It’s literally like, I think Sara said jetlag is literally your body thinking it’s asleep when you’re supposed to be awake. You know, you feel nauseous, you can’t shit, you don’t wanna eat. And you wanna go to sleep, but you can’t sleep and it’s like fuck, you just have to deal with it. I think just sort of trying to manage that a bit better is something I’m currently exploring. We’ve only done it once before so bring on round 2!

AM: So talking about movies, you brought it up that you like to watch them on flights...I really like your video for “Wes Anderson” and obviously you have the nod to Mulholland Drive in “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me,” so I’m guessing you’re really into movies then?

Alex Lahey: I’m actually not hugely into movies. I get a lot out of watching them, but I don’t watch enough or that many. I went through a phase a couple of weeks ago where I was plowing through a few movies. I find that for some reason when I watch movies I start making notes and things that find themselves into songs. A movie that I watched recently that I was writing a lot of notes was Reality Bites. I’ve never seen that before. You know the old Winona Ryder one? I just thought it was really interesting. It’s the first movie that I’ve seen ever, that actually had a sharehouse in it. That’s what sharehouses are like, people are in and know, everyone sort of  knows each other and has this weird relationship. I just thought that was really interesting, but I don’t watch a lot of films. You know, I’ve never seen Mulholland Drive. I’ve never actually seen it. It’s really funny, a family friend gave me a copy of it when the song kind of broke on radio on Australia. So I was like maybe I’ll actually finally watch it, and I put the DVD in the DVD player, and it turned out to be a wrong region code so I couldn’t actually watch it. I’m like maybe I’m never supposed to actually watch this movie. 

AM:That’s so funny, I’m a huge David Lynch fan... Have you seen any other Lynch films?

Alex Lahey: I don’t think so. It was really funny I was talking to my friend the other day and I made a reference to Twin Peaks. She was like “Have you actually seen Twin Peaks?” I have not... I know enough about it and the aesthetic is so iconic.  David Lynch’s and Wes Anderson’s’s synonymous with the name. I’ve never actually engaged in much David Lynch stuff and I know what it is. I’m not a huge a movie buff...I definitely enjoy watching movies, but I definitely haven’t seen any that have the Oscar nominations or anything like that. I do love going back and watching old shit and I love watching documentaries as well. That’s what I gravitate towards.  

AM: Very cool! Do you have an all-time favorite movie? Or a couple? I know picking a favorite is always the hardest!

Alex Lahey: I love Shawshank Redemption, [it’s] one I tend to come back to.  I think that’s a really good film. There’s an Australian movie called Muriel's Wedding, which is like a classic. It’s a very early Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths film.  Back when they were super young, and it’s just this incredible depiction of your lowest socioeconomic Australian culture. The story and the friendship that takes place, which is this beautiful, beautiful friendship which takes place between these two the core of it is a mutual love for ABBA. So there’s a lot of ABBA in it. I was reading this really interesting piece by Clementine Ford, who’s a writer in Australia and she was saying that the film Muriel's Wedding is a real centerpiece for feminist conversation because the nature of the friendship between these two women is so strong and they never hold being a woman against each other.  It was a really weird sort of reading into this film. Which is hilarious. And Clementine Ford is like actually it’s a feminist masterpiece. I thought that was really cool. I actually tend to watch more TV shows to be honest. Like I love Broad City.  I love, I grew up on The Simpsons. I love Seinfeld.  What else? The OC shaped me as a teenager. I love all that shit. Funnily enough when I was on the plane I actually watched the entire season 1 of Westworld.  It was pretty good! I think I actually watch more TV shows than movies, but I love film as an art form. I love what I can get out of film as a songwriter.

AM: Yeah, so speaking more about your songwriting, I love the sort of subtle humor and the realness and relatable lyrics that you have. So do you have any sort of songwriting habits or rituals? Or does it just kind of flow out whenever?

Alex Lahey: It’s actually been really difficult lately because of the touring demands to sit down and find time to write. Writing was always one of those things I just sort of did for fun, and it wasn’t one of those things like making time to do it. It was like I’m just hanging out at home, I’m gonna write a song. It’s happening less and less now because touring schedules and demands, which is a good problem to have.  But I definitely, I think most songwriters have the iPhone notes, snippets of stuff here and there.  That’s definitely something that I do. I guess writing collaboratively is something that I’m starting to play around with. Not necessarily for my own project, but just for fun.  I generally write on the computer. I write through Logic and I usually write entire arrangements. Funnily enough I usually tend to start with the drum beat, rather than the melody. That’s sort of the way I do it. Also just listening to good music. I think listening to good music is a skill in itself in certain ways. You know learning from other people is a humbling experience, and you do need to allow yourself to do it. I really enjoy it. If I really love a song by someone else, then the first thing I do is go and learn how to play it.  Because then you sort of understand it more.  That’s probably something that has seeped into my writing.

AM: That’s so cool, so are there any bands specifically that you’re listening to at the moment?

Alex Lahey: I’ve been listening to the new Marika Hackman song. She’s a singer songwriter from the UK and she just released a song called “Boyfriend.” Which is really, really cool. The film clip for it is awesome, and this great British band called The Big Moon actually back her on it. They’re really cool, they’re four girls from London. Big Moon is sick. Really cool, really great musicians. Awesome songs, really cool tones. Marika has got them backing her and the song’s really cool cause it’s… I remember I read this Pitchfork review of it. It said “Marika Hackman is out to steal your boyfriend,” but the song’s actually about hooking up with a girl who has a boyfriend.  So I was like wow, that’s an interesting take on it considering it’s so blatantly not that. I’ve actually been going back into some Tegan and Sara back catalog since doing that tour...listening to the So Jealous album and The Con and all that sort of stuff. There’s just some amazing songs on there. There’s an awesome band in Australia called Camp Cope, who are mates of mine. Georgia, who fronts it, writes amazing songs about cutting your hair or 911 conspiracies theories. You know, just the weirdest stuff, but she does it so poetically and beautifully. And so simply. I think that that’s a real art. Umm my girlfriend and I have been listening to a band called MUNA lately.

AM: Oh I love them!

Alex Lahey: Yeah which is really cool. My girlfriend is like these guys are like, there’s like this full on like HAIM and Prince thing going on, but it’s really ballsy and we’ve been listening to their record a lot. Umm and Margaret Glaspy, she’s awesome.  She’s really sick. Julien Baker is a friend of mine, who writes beautiful music.  The thing I love about Julien is she does something that I don’t, but that I probably wouldn’t...she does something with her music that I’m not really able to do with the way that I write my songs and the way that I express myself, but I connect with her songs so much. Which I think is like a really beautiful thing to have, especially as an artist.  When you really connect with something that maybe actually isn’t necessarily what you would do yourself. Julia Jacklin is also a really great Australian artist who I love. I’ve just realized I’ve just named all these shit hot women who are just like killing it, which is awesome. Which is great. That makes me feel really cool.

AM: Yeah these all really good bands! Last question, your EP came out last year. What has been the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do since it came out? Like a TV appearance or a show that you’ve played.

Alex Lahey: Oh, that’s a good question. So when the song ["You Don't Think You Like People Like Me"] broke on radio and just as the EP was about to come out, I won a competition to play Splendour on the Grass, which is like the biggest festival in Australia. It’s like 30,000 people, which is nothing compared to some of the festivals around the world, but in Australia it’s massive. Anyways I was really lucky and I got invited to open the main stage on the first day and it was incredible, so much fun. When I was at Splendour in the Grass, I met Tegan and Sara cause they were on the line up. We just met and they had no idea who I was. I was just a kid who went up and said thanks for teaching me how to play guitar through your records and I’m here now because of you guys, like I wouldn’t have learned guitar or how to write songs if I didn’t learn through listening to your stuff. And it was just this full circle thing. From there, they were like cool thanks and asked me to support them in the UK. I think that’s a really interesting and weird thing. I think it goes to show you just don’t know where one thing is gonna lead. I think that’s the most exciting thing about this job.  It just reminds you to always be grateful and kind and give people time. It’s something I’ll never forget.

Chicago, definitely go see Alex perform at Schubas in two weeks. It's guaranteed to be a night of great tunes and good vibes.  If you're going to SXSW, also check her out! See Alex's full tour schedule here, and stream B Grade University here.  

A Chat With: Splashh

Almost every time a writer describes a band, the band's hometown or current location is brought into play (i.e. "the British band" or "the LA-based duo," etc.) Well, with this band, it's difficult to pinpoint an adjective based on their geographic ties, seeing as two members live in London, a couple of them live in NYC, and their newest member resides in Berlin...but they're all from Australia or New Zealand.  Nonetheless, we caught up with the worldly rock group Splashh during their tour with Public Access T.V, while all of the band members resided together in a van currently traveling cross country.  Although it's been over three years since Splashh's debut album Comfort first made waves, the band just recently announced their sophomore album's release on April 14th. We chatted with keyboardist Jaie Gonzalez all about the new album, the recent inauguration, staying sane on tour, and what's to come this year, prior to their show this Thursday at Schubas Tavern. 

ANCHR Magazine: So let's talk a little bit about the new album and how tour is going so far. You kicked off tour the other day, in Washington D.C., right?

Jaie Gonzalez: Our first date was in Boston, and then Washington the day after that.

AM: How crazy was it to be in DC when the inauguration was going on?

JG: I mean, it was an amazing experience.  It was really cool to be there at that time.  We went to the march the next day...The Public Access dudes made a nice little event out of it, smashed a was good!

AM: Nice! What were some of the best signs that you saw at the march?

JG: Ah, some of the good signs…”Viva La Vulva” was pretty good.  There’s so many good ones!

New single "Rings" from Splashh's new album Waiting a Lifetime

AM: I actually interviewed John from Public Access T.V a couple of weeks ago, and he mentioned that you guys would be doing this tour all together in a van.

JG: Oh yea, we’re in it right now…

AM: So how has that been going so far? Has anyone lost their mind yet?

JG: *laughs* Mostly, sanity is intact.  Eleven boys in a’s pretty calm actually at the moment. There’s been some cabin fever moments, definitely. The driving from Boston to DC was, just cause of all the traffic, a good 12 hours in the van.  There was some loopy moments.  We had a day off yesterday, though.

AM: Did you get up to anything cool on the day off?

JG: It was another long van day.  We ended up at a middle-of-nowhere rest stop in North Carolina or something.

AM: How do you guys usually keep occupied during the long drives? Do you have a good playlist?

JG: Max from PATV has been doing a bulk of the DJing. Toto is making a flyer for our China tour right now.  A lot of people with headphones and their phones.

AM: Nice! Talking a little more about the album now, you guys just announced last week that Waiting a Lifetime is the follow up to 2013’s Comfort. How does it feel to finally be getting a new album out after a few years?

JG: It feels great to have the record done. To just have a finished thing that we can listen to now, and don’t have to think about. We put a lot of love and time into it, so now that it’s finished we’re kicking into touring mode.

AM: Can you talk a little bit about the recording and writing process?

JG: Yea, well we recorded it at Rare Book Room Studios with Nicolas Vernhes. That’s been our first choice of where to make the record for a few years now. It was really great to have the opportunity to work there. Nico...we’d kind of been hassling him for years, getting him to come out to the shows.  I guess we could just never afford him, but then we got this deal with the Cinematic Music Group and we could finally afford Nicolas... and we got him. He made the record that we hoped he would and it came out great.  That’s been his studio for like twenty years, he lives above’s a nice little place in Greenpoint. He made all the Deerhunter records there. A lot of records that we love were made there.

AM: Oh cool. So what was the songwriting process like, was it kind of spread out?

JG: Yea, the songs on the record are written pretty much over the past three years.  The first single “Rings” was one of the first songs that me and Sasha wrote together.  Basically when Sasha first came over to New York a couple years ago, we started writing songs and we would send them over to London to Toto and kind of bounce them back and forth between New York and London. Then some of the songs were written like a month before we went into the studio, and one was even written on the spot in the studio.  It’s kind of like a greater sense of our past three years of writing.

AM: You just mentioned now that you some of you are based in New York now, and you have someone based in London...and originally you’re all from Australia and New Zealand.  So do you think that the change in locations has had an impact on how you write, or even just your sound?

JG: Oh yeah, big time.  It’s cool, I like that the past few years have kind of turned into a nowhere or an everywhere band.  We’ve got a brand new drummer and he lives in Berlin.  I live in New York, Toto and [Tom]Beal live in London, and Sasha is just a gypsy so he floats in between.  I mean, now that we’re getting so deep into this touring we’re all kind of living together in this van.

AM: So you’ve got a lot of touring booked for this year and the new there any other big news your fans can expect this year?

JG: Anything other than touring the world and putting out a record? Well...maybe. Stay tuned! There’ll be things. We’re gonna play in China, and hopefully Australia, our homeland.  It should be cool. We’re excited to go back to Europe and play.

AM: What places are you most excited to head back to that you’ve already announced?

JG: Well we’re doing a big UK tour, and our London show is gonna be at a pretty interesting place.  Somewhere down in Peckham in South London. I’m excited to play in Paris.

AM: For sure, that’s always a great city to go to! So what are some other bands that you’re listening to at the moment?

JG: Gee, Public Access T.V is pretty good.  Any new records you’re into, Toto?  Oh yeah, Promise Land. Best band in New York City.

AM: Cool, and what was the first concert you ever went to?

JG: The first concert I ever went to 12 years old, my friend and I bought tickets to No Doubt.

AM: That’s an amazing first concert.  Ok what about the last concert you went to, that wasn’t your own?

JG: That wasn’t my own... Hold on, let me think about this one second. I’m gonna say I saw Promise Land actually!

Splashh plays Schubas this Thursday, with the show kicking off at 8PM.  Grab your tickets here to make sure you see this killer show.  If you're feeling lucky, enter our Twitter contest to win a pair, courtesy of Schubas.

A Chat With: Public Access T.V

Talking TV drama, studio-hopping, and festival lineups with New York City’s Public Access T.V.  

New York rockers Public Access T.V mix old-school punk vibes with a youthful and refreshing energy that makes them stand out in the crowd. After playing music with other bands, lead singer John Eatherly branched off on his own to form PATV with bandmates Xan Aird, Max Pebbles, and Peter Sustarsic in 2014.  The post punk four piece released their debut album Never Enough on September 30th, 2016. Since then,the album has been steadily gaining traction, proving that kids still do like rock’n’roll, despite the opening lyrics to the band's track “End of an Era.”  In support of the debut album, Public Access T.V will embark on their first US headline tour this month.  Prior to their show at Schubas Tavern in Chicago, John chatted with us about the recording process for the album, life on the road, and what’s in the works for 2017.  

Official video for "End of an Era"

ANCHR Magazine: So first let’s talk about the debut album you released at the end of September.  How did it feel to get that work out there, and what has the response been?

John Eatherly: Well it feels like a great detachment from a lot of accumulated work over many years of songs and writing.  So if anything it just feels good putting your precious babies out there in the world and seeing what happens. We’re about to go on tour in a week, so we’ll see more reactions.  The record was a crazy experience, finally making it to the finish line of it being mixed and done.  It took a lot to get there, so it feels like I’m not so attached to it anymore because it’s out there already.  Like there’s no more old ideas to pick from as far as writing songs.  It’s like a clean slate.

AM: So you mentioned some of these songs have been around for years, and I know you played with other bands and artists before you formed Public Access T.V, so how long have some of the songs been around for, and have any of them evolved and taken on a new meaning since you wrote them?

JE: Maybe some of the songs like “In Love and Alone” and “Careful” I probably made a demo of when I was like 20, in 2010, and then kind of...I don’t know, I wasn’t really making it for any reason other than just to have fun and for myself. I wasn’t ever trying to introduce it to anyone I was playing with or anything like that, I just kind of kept it to myself. Some of them took on a new feeling because some of those songs that were older we ended up playing live as a band when we recorded the record.  So some of the songs that are older definitely have a different energy and drive behind them, just from being a unit playing it all together.  But as far as the span of time, it’s crazy, cause maybe I had a demo that I made five years ago.  Then some of the songs on the record I was recording last minute, while mixing the record. So some of it’s like really, really, really new and some of it is older.  So it’s really like this accumulation of kind of years of trying to figure it out.  That’s why it feels like such a relief.

AM: For sure. So can you talk a little bit about the actual recording process?  I know you mentioned you recorded some songs when you were already mixing, but did you pretty much do the album all in one go? Did you record in one studio?

JE: It was pretty crazy actually.  Our record credits are like movie credits, it’s really long.  So part of it’s recorded in New York, part of it’s recorded in Jersey, one song was recorded in Nashville.  Then like six songs are recorded at two different studios in London.  The reason it was so all over the place is because we were never, we never had uh, the luxury, I guess, knowing that we had two weeks at a studio and going in with that time to complete it.  It was always like two days here and maybe three days here, and then go and bang out as many songs as we could.  And then I’d like two of them, you know?

AM: Yeah, and that’s kind of cool then because the songs take on a different meaning, you know, you’ll associate it like “oh we recorded this in London,” so it’s got that aspect.

JE: Yeah, the stuff that we recorded in London was tracked as a band. Because we had been playing the songs live for quite a few tours.  So some of those ones, like “In Love and Alone,” that version that’s on the record is just like the first take that we did.  It was just a live take, there was no multi-tracking.

AM: Wow so it was just one take as a live band?

JE: Yeah, so some of it’s like that, and then some of it is like the opposite. Like really tracked and-

AM: broken out?

JE: Yeah!

Public Access T.V is John Eatherly Xan Aird, Max Pebbles, and Peter Sustarsic

Public Access T.V is John Eatherly Xan Aird, Max Pebbles, and Peter Sustarsic

AM: So talking more about your tour, is there anything you’re planning as a new aspect to the show now that you’re headlining? 

JE: I don’t know...maybe how we think about the setlist might be a little bit different.  I tend to not want to play any slower songs as an opening band.  So it might be a little more dynamic.  But this tour is gonna be real fun because we’re going on tour with our friends, this band called Splashh, and we’re all sharing a van together. It’s gonna be like 12 people crammed into one van. I’ve never been in a van with that many people before, so it’s gonna be real crazy.

AM: Yeah, definitely document that!

JE: Yeah we have a friend coming to film the ridiculousness of it.  

AM: Oh cool! So what cities and venues are you looking forward to playing?

JE: Certainly Chicago.  I’m originally from Tennessee before I moved to New York in like 2008, so we haven’t really played any shows in Nashville- we played one.  We’re gonna go there, so that will be a cool vibe, and maybe some family going to the show. Then, I’m excited to play Bowery Ballroom in New York, and we’re playing Schubas in Chicago...that’ll be really cool.  The bigger cities I guess.

AM: Have you planned anything outside of the gigs, like touristy things at all?

JE: Not really, I think we’ll just kind of see what we get into.  It’s gonna be so many of us together in a confined space, so I’m sure everyone will be really antsy to run around and do things.  We just kind of roam around, probably like in the neighborhood that the venue’s in, and just kind of see what we can find.

AM: You recently were announced to play Shaky Knees Festival.  Are there any other festivals that are on your bucket list to play?

JE: A big one that I always wanted to play was Bonnaroo.  We did that last summer, and that was like a checklist for me because I’d always have friends as a teenager going to Bonnaroo. So that was like a cool way to go. Coachella? I’ve never been.  Festivals are just like insane. Like, I’m not dying to go to any festivals as a festival-goer, but I would certainly love to go and play them.

AM: For sure! If you could pick any 3-5 bands to headline a festival, dead or alive, who would you want?

JE: David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, John Lennon...and Public Access!

AM: Sounds like a great festival! Do you have any other goals or resolutions for this year?

JE: Just hopefully staying busy and recording more.  Just trying to stay as busy as we can working on being a band and being friends.

AM: Are there any other bands that you’re really into at the moment?

JE: I’ve been listening a lot to the band Sparks from LA.  I don’t know...I’m always kind of like- I don’t really know what I’m listening to.  I’m in a phase where I’m not really listening to too much of anything, other than like background music.I’m not feeling particularly in tune.

AM: Yeah, I’m sure it’s hard when you’re invested in your own music to get into other stuff.  Last question- not related to your music at all, but since you’re called Public Access T.V, what’s your favorite TV show at the moment?

JE: Well I don’t have a TV or cable, but my favorite TV that I recently have been watching, is a very dramatic show called Nashville.  It’s kind of like a soap opera.  It’s jam packed with all the drama you could ever need in your life.


Public Access TV will be at Schubas on Thursday, January 26th.  Grab your tickets here, and listen to Never Enough here!