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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?

Yeah!

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?

Yeah!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chicago is one of my favorite places!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wanna go up a really tall building!

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

I mean, neon colored anything to be honest!

Your shows will look like a rave now.

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

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

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


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

A Chat With: Hudson Taylor

Hailing from Ireland, brothers Harry and Alfie Hudson Taylor have been garnering attention all over Europe since releasing their debut album in 2015. Earlier this year, the pair made their North American debut, touring with Gabrielle Aplin, and this month they'll be returning with singer-songwriter Hozier as he makes his long-awaited return to The States. Ahead of their show in Chicago on September 21st, get to know more about Hudson Taylor as they talk their early days of busking, their favorite fellow Irish musicians, and new music!

Photo Credit Brandon Harrell

Photo Credit Brandon Harrell

What do you remember as your first musical memory when you were younger? 

Our first musical memory was probably a nursery rhyme but can’t remember which one. What first came to mind when we read the question was traditional Irish dancing music from our years spent as young Irish dancers. 

You’ll be heading back to The States soon to support Hozier on tour this month. What are you most looking forward to during your time over here? Any cities you’re particularly excited about?

We are so excited altogether for the North American tour with Hozier! It’s a huge step up from anything we’ve done over there before and we’ll be playing in lots of new places supporting Hozier and on our own headline tour. We have fond memories of playing New York, Seattle and Chicago.  

What’s the biggest culture shock you experienced when first playing music in America?

There’s not much of a noticeable difference onstage or in venues but when you travel around you do notice things and how munch bigger a country it is to Ireland. 

How would you describe your live show in three words for anyone who might be coming to one of the shows? 

Energetic, eclectic, harmony. 

As I understand it, you used to busk a lot before you started touring. Where were some of your favorite spots to busk and do you have any interesting stories about your busking experience? 

We started busking on Grafton street in Dublin when we were 15 and 16. We grew up watching buskers there. Every Christmas Eve loads of Irish musicians make their way here to raise money for the homeless, it really inspired us. We used to stand up on street bollards, bins and signs with our guitars to catch people’s eyes whilst playing covers. We had and still have a lot of fun busking and met some wonderful people doing so. 

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned since releasing your debut album in 2015?

The biggest lesson was simply making and releasing the album. We had never done that before so everything was new to us and like most things it involves a lot of trial and error before you find out what you like or maybe don't like.

Following your latest EP “Feel It Again”, which you put out earlier this year, can we expect any more new music from you this year? 

Following our EP "Feel it Again" we’re releasing a new album called Bear Creek to Dame Street featuring four new tunes we recorded in Bear Creek studio in Seattle and four tunes we recorded live at our hometown gig at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin.

After selling out shows back home and getting to tour internationally, what else is on your bucket list to achieve as a band? Any certain venues you’re keen to perform in or any collaborations you’re hoping to make happen? 

When we started would have never imagined we would get to the level we are at now, of course we have dreams but overall we are very happy and grateful to be in the fortunate position to be touring, writing and doing music full time.

Lastly, who are some of your favorite new Irish bands or musicians that we should check out? 
So much great music coming out of Ireland a the moment. Would highly recommend checking out fellow Irish band The Academic. Lovely lads, great tunes and brilliant live show.


You can pre-order Hudson Taylor's new album Bear Creek to Dame Street here and keep up with them on Facebook + Instagram

A Chat With: Bob Schneider

This weekend, we'll be out in Waynesville, Ohio covering Bellwether Festival. The festival lineup includes the Austin-based singer-songwriter and visual artist Bob Schneider, who just released his seventh studio album Blood & Bones on June 8th. Ahead of his 5PM set on Friday, get to know Bob a bit better by checking out our chat below.

Photo Credit: Charles Reagan

Photo Credit: Charles Reagan

You recently put out your seventh studio album Blood and Bones earlier this summer. What would you say is the main difference between this album and your past work?

All of these songs were written after the birth of my daughter. I've noticed that since she's been born, there's been a bit of a shift in how I approach romantic songs. Before this album, the songs were basically, 'you're hot and I'd like to get together with you'. Now they're more like, 'I love you and I want to take care of you.' So I tend to write sweeter songs than I did before. 

Going back to your early days, I read that you were born in Michigan, and grew up in Germany before moving to Texas. Do you think that your time in Germany has shaped you as a songwriter and musician?

For sure. Mainly, I ended up hearing a lot of early new wave music overseas. I listened to a lot of British, German and American music, but the British and German stuff I probably wouldn't have been exposed to if I was living in the states. It doesn't necessarily show in terms of what I end up putting out, but I really do love quirky, strange-sounding music.

How do you usually split your time between creating music and your visual art? Is it sometimes difficult to find time to balance both passions in your busy schedule?

I love doing both. I've found myself devoting more time to art than to music the last couple of years, mainly because it takes more time to make art than to write songs. You can write a song in a few hours, but sometimes it takes days or weeks to make a single piece of art. I don't think i'll ever stop making music though. I really love writing songs and getting the chance to play them live is the most exciting thing I get to do.

In all your years of creating both music and art, what has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

The best thing you can do when you're making any kind of art, whether it's visual, music or anything creative really, is to not try to make anything that's 'the best.' Nothing stops you from creating faster than the critical part of your brain. If you're trying to make the best song ever, or the greatest piece of art in the world, you'll never get anywhere, because that voice in your head will constantly be telling you, 'it's not good enough.' The creative part of your brain is like a little kid that wants to play and have fun. If you can get the critical part of your brain to leave that part of your brain alone, you'll never have any problem writing and creating. You can always go back afterwards and figure out if the thing that you made is good or not, but that shouldn't be part of the creative process.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Austin music scene at the moment, from the best bands to the best venues?

I don't really know. I'm sort of out of the scene. I used to go out all the time and see music, when I was younger and single. Mainly, just to get laid, but also to see live music. Nowadays, though, I don't go out at all. I'm either playing or staying home and hanging out with my family. It's much more interesting and fun for me than to go out and see stuff. Of course, there's always SXSW every year, as well as the 150-200 shows I play throughout the year where I get to see and hear music and meet other songwriters, but I guess that's about it. I do have a favorite Austin songwriter, Danny Malone. Just an amazing songwriter. Max Frost is also doing great work here as well.

I like that on your website, you have a section called “Some of My Favorite Things” where you shout out everything from your favorite books, movies, food, etc… I noticed most of the posts were made in 2015, so do you have any more recent favorites that you’d like to shout out now?

I was talked into hosting an online magazine three years ago and they wanted me to interview my favorite artists and talk about my favorite things, so that's where that came from. It was weird contacting people that I didn't know very well - or at all, in some cases - and asking them questions about their art. I would never do anything like that, and probably won't be doing that again anytime soon. I do have some recommendations though: in film - 8th GradeFirst ReformedGhost StoryDen of ThievesBlockers (this list can go on and on). Books - The Overstory by Richard Powers, The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmins. Poetry - Ted Kooser and Frank Stanford. Graphic novels - The Saga series. Podcasts - Philosophize This. TV - The Great British Baking ShowScott and BaileyBarry (this list could go on as well).

This weekend you’ll be playing at Bellwether Music Festival, and the lineup is incredible! Are there any other sets at the festival you’re hoping to catch?

There are some incredible bands playing. Two of my all time favorites included, The Flaming Lips and Psychedelic Furs, but I'll miss both of them, because I have a gig the next day...

What can we expect from your show at the festival? Will you mostly be playing the new songs or a mix of your discography?

It'll be mostly new songs with a few of the older songs thrown in for any fans of mine that might be in attendance.

Lastly, what else are you looking forward to this year?

GOMFT! (that stands for "Game of Mother Fucking Thrones"), but I think that's actually not coming out till next year, for some reason. Either way, Im looking forward to it!


There's still time to get tickets for Bellwether Festival. Head here to snag yours, starting at only $65 for single day. Bob plays Friday at 5PM on the Sunset Stage. 

 

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: Derrival

Vancouver's Derrival have steadily gained traction recently with their incredibly catchy singles like "Ice Cream" and "Ghosts of our Past." Last week, the buzzed about band released their self-titled debut full length, laden with dreamy and upbeat pop melodies and addictive hooks. In celebration of the album release, we chatted with the band to get to know more about them; from their influences to the stories behind their music videos and what we can expect from Derrival in 2018, tune in below!

Derrival is Adam Mah, Glen Jackson, Dan Kozlowski, Deven Azevedo, and Shane Stephenson

Derrival is Adam Mah, Glen Jackson, Dan Kozlowski, Deven Azevedo, and Shane Stephenson


Congrats on your album coming out last week! How does it feel to finally have it out into the world? 

Thank you! It feels like this huge weight has been lifted off of us in a way. We’ve had it done and under wraps for so long that it’s exciting to finally share it with everyone and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, which is great. Every band only has so many albums and this is our debut so it’s a milestone for us. 

How was the process of writing and recording your debut? Any songs particularly that were your favorite to write or record? 

The process was different than our past recordings in a good way. In the past, most of our songs were jammed out in a traditional garage band sort of way. With this record we were very conscious of the sound we wanted to achieve, which was more polished and clean and pop forward. So I spent a lot of time working on skeletons of songs with Shane (keyboardist) in Ableton and then we would bring the ideas to the rest of the guys to create parts separately. One of my favourite songs on the record is Hollywood, Shane stuck this quote from Audrey Hepburn in the middle of the song that just fit perfectly so we had an actress friend of ours named Carmen who spoke the part overtop for us and she nailed it. 

I love that the album starts with a David Bowie quote. Besides Bowie and that quote, where else did you find yourself drawing influence from when writing the record, both musically and non-musically? 

I found myself drawing influence from other art I was consuming at the time, mostly films and books, many of which took place in the 1950’s/60’s and centered around old Hollywood. That’s why the record is so heavily immersed in it. I think a lot of people romanticize that time, myself included. 

I also love the duet with Sarah Jeffery on “Ghosts of our Past.” How did that opportunity come up to work with her, and how was it working with her?

A couple of us went to high school with Sarah for a bit and sung in choir with her. We needed some female vocals for some harmonies on a handful of songs from the album so I was looking through my Facebook friends list and she came up. We had her come in and she nailed all the harmonies. I was blown away and wished we had a song that featured her on the record but we were nearing the end of recording. Me and Shane wrote the basis for Ghosts of Our Past over the next couple days, sent it her way and then recorded it. Sarah has been amazing to work with, she’s so talented. 

The video for that track is also really great and cinematic. How involved are you in the concepts for your videos, and what’s the story behind this one?

I got inspired after writing the track and started thinking about music video concepts. I came up with a rough concept for the video and then we approached Nelson and Graham Talbot, who we’d also gone to high school with and they took the concept and fleshed it out. I was really excited and we weren’t sure if it was going to happen because Sarah was in the middle of shooting the X-Files but we did it over the course of a couple days. I think it’s my favorite video we’ve done so far. 

If you could collaborate with anyone else, who would you pick?

It’d be really cool to collaborate with Kimbra, she’s got such a unique sound and is an amazing writer. 

What are some of your favorite parts of the music scene in Vancouver? Any insider secrets you can give about the best venues and maybe the best local bands?

I feel like it’s a very tight-nit community in Vancouver, it’s like every band knows each other. One of our favourite local bands is We Are the City, we’ve been long-time fans and they’re always doing crazy/unique things. Check out the film Violent that they made if you haven’t yet. 

What are some albums you’ve had on repeat lately? 

I started digging into the new Son Lux record “Brighter Wounds”. It’s pretty great, also the Black Panther Soundtrack. 

 Do you have any plans to tour soon in support of the album?

We are in the midst of working on it as we speak! Our album release show in Vancouver is March 17th at the Biltmore Cabaret. 

What else do you have planned for 2018?

We’ll be playing JUNOFest in Vancouver, releasing more music videos and lots more. Stay tuned.


There you have it! Keep up with Derrival on social media, and listen to their self-titled debut LP below!

Derrival: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

A Chat With: Soft Glas

If you're like me, you might have first seen Joao Gonzalez on stage this year with Overcoats. Gonzalez has spent the better part of 2017 on the road, playing drums for the electro-folk Brooklyn based duo, all while also mixing his own sophomore album. Under the moniker Soft Glas, Gonzalez crafted Orange Earth; a dreamy, nostalgic haze of an album that contains both groovy and tranquil melodies which he wrote, recorded, and produced himself. It's a record full of candid narratives and hometown memories, and one that vividly paints colors with its emotions and tones. 

Last week, I met up with Gonzalez before the final Soft Glas show of the year, following a nearly month long stint with Sports, during which he learned to perform his songs as a one-man band. During his set, Gonzalez explained some of his inspiration and the nostalgic nods behind certain songs, saying "The past is rose colored and romanticized." This presence of hues in his stories weaves throughout Orange Earth as a common theme, as does Gonzalez's willingness to be vulnerable and transparent with his lyrics. To find about more about the journey behind Orange Earth, the story of Soft Glas collaborators, what's next in 2018 for the project, and even how Gonzalez prefers to spend his New Years Eves, tune into our chat with Soft Glas now!

Soft Glas at Schubas Tavern 12.18

Soft Glas at Schubas Tavern 12.18


ANCHR Magazine: Do you remember what your first musical memory was, and what made you fall in love with music?

Soft Glas: My family is extremely musical. My dad plays piano, his dad played piano...I remember being three and my dad getting me this baby drum set, and just being extremely drawn to the drums. I remember playing a beat or something and just knowing this is what I want to do.

AM: Wow, from age three! So you had your sophomore album out this year. What was the process behind it, how long did it take to write, and where did you record?

Soft Glas: So I actually started conceptualizing it almost exactly a year from now. I was home for the holidays in south Florida where I grew up, and I remember just being overcome by all this nostalgia. Being in my hometown...A year ago I started working on it. I did most of it in my bedroom, my home studio. Then the last couple sessions were with my audio engineer named Adam Straus , and we housed ourselves in this old church in Boston, and made this impromptu studio. We recorded a lot of the live instrumentation, so the strings, and the drums, and all the orchestral stuff and the piano. It was like an 8 month long process cause after that... I had to mix it and master it.

AM: Oh wow, so you did all that yourself?

Soft Glas: Yeah, I was actually on tour with Overcoats at the time. So we would mix in hotel rooms after the show. We’d come back to the hotel and mix.

AM: So how do you balance being your own artist, working on your own material, and then touring with Overcoats so much? Besides mixing in hotel rooms…

Soft Glas: It actually almost helps, as weird as that sounds. It’s like having a lot to do makes you appreciate what you’re doing in the moment. So I never got bored of working on the album, or frustrated because whenever I did come back to it...whether it was mixing or recording or writing, it was always really exciting. Cause it was like I have x amount of time to work on it. Having a lot to do helped me focus a lot more.

AM: Cool, and then you also have a a few collaborations on the album, like "Glass House" with Sunni Colon.  How did those collaborators come around...was it just friendships, or how did you decide who to work with?

Soft Glas: I think every collaboration I’ve ever done is with a friend of some sort. So I always love to have an actual relationship with people before sending ideas and stuff. With Sunni specifically it was funny, cause I had just put out my first project. This album called Late Bloom, and he had randomly reached out and was like “Hey man, I really liked this album, I’m Sunni!” It was like through Twitter or something. Then literally the day after he messaged me, a mutual friend of ours asked if I wanted to help him shoot Sunni. So the following day we were like what’s up, guess we’re friends now! Then that was just how it usually goes. I have a friendship with people and it just becomes a given that we’re eventually going to work together on something.

AM: Is there anyone on the top of your list to collaborate with next? Whether it be more realistic, or a fantasy Beyonce collaboration?

Soft Glas: It’s funny that you say Beyonce because top of my list is Solange. I’d say Solange and Frank Ocean. 

AM: I was gonna say, I pick up some Blonde vibes in Orange Earth. 

Soft Glas: Oh my gosh, Blonde is my favorite album! It’s incredible! Also, Radiohead [is on my list] to work with. 

AM: Yeah, it’s cool that you pull from different genres, and I can definitely pick up on a little bit of overlap. So, now talking about playing live, you’ve been on this tour with Sports for a few weeks. How did you translate something that you recorded and mixed and produced yourself into a live show? Was it a challenge?

Soft Glas: Yeah, it was so daunting. Just because while I was working on the album, I was simultaneously learning how to play guitar. I taught myself so that I could record guitar.

AM: Oh wow, so rather than get someone else you decided to do it yourself?

Soft Glas: Exactly, which is most of process. I don’t want to wait on people, so I just learn myself. When I’m recording though, I have unlimited takes. The biggest thing for me, especially with guitar and my voice, was I have one shot to get it on stage. That’s been kind of a crazy adjustment. Having that focus...and I’ve had to practice a lot.

AM: Has it been okay so far on the tour?

Soft Glas: I think so! I’m having fun, but I’m my biggest critic by far. So I come off the stage every night just like ahh, I missed that one note on that one song, or I messed up the timing on this.

AM: Everyone’s in the moment though so they probably don’t even notice! If you’re having a good time that’s always better than a perfect, rigid musician. So what about tour highlights with Overcoats? Any favorite moments?

Soft Glas: Touring with Overcoats has been the most absurd experience of my life. The touring itself was so intense. Literally we would do a 4 week run and have a total of 3 off days. It was so intense, and as a result we’re all stuck in this van together for the entire day.

AM: Yeah, I see their Instagram stories. They’re pretty entertaining...

Soft Glas: Yeah, you kind of lose touch with reality and how to interact with people. I’d say the whole thing was a crazy experience. It’s one big haze.

AM: So we’re coming up on New Years Eve. Do you have any best and worst NYE experiences you want to share?

Soft Glas: It’s actually--So best New Years moments, my family is very family-centric. We value family a lot. So New Years in my household has always been a very intimate event, where we want to bring in the new year together. So I don’t have too many crazy stories, since I’m usually with my parents, chilling at home and counting down together. There have been a couple times, like New Years in New York 4 years ago, where it was kind of crazy. I remember just seeing this DJ... It was the most ridiculous night because everyone was like let’s see how absurd we can make tonight. People were wearing the craziest stuff, we were in Bushwick in Brooklyn. I barely remember it.

AM: So that would be the craziest one?

Soft Glas: Yeah, I’m boring by the way! I’m so boring.

AM: That’s cool though, just hanging out. Do you have any advice about how to have a safe NYE?

Soft Glas: I would never tell anyone to be boring like me, but I would say ring it in with people you love. Do whatever you want to do, but just make sure you’re surrounded by people you love.

AM: What are your goals for next year then?

Soft Glas: I think I want to tour this album a lot more. I’m just now kind of scratching the surface of what the show could be. I could get my band together and have a bigger ensemble on stage, rather than just be me myself.

AM: Oh wow, so it’s currently a one man band? So hopefully you can get some touring members together.

Soft Glas: For sure. Also, I’m working on new stuff, so I’m sure I’ll record an album at some point next year.

AM: Last question, I always like to hear what my favorite new artists are listening to as their new favorites, so what are some of your recommendations on what to listen to?

Soft Glas: I’ve been listening to a lot of Nick Hakim. Nick Hakim was probably one of my favorite albums of the year. Moses Sumney is incredible.  I’ve been listening to a lot of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. They’re inspiring. A lot of my friends, like Zack Villere, you should check out. Alex Szotak. Cheryl. J'Von. Mulherin. Check all these people out! Honestly, they make my favorite music right now.

AM: Cool, any last closing remarks?


Soft Glas: I’m very happy to be in Chicago! It’s one of my favorite cities!


There you have it! Check out photos from Soft Glas's show at Schubas, featuring Dream Version and Sports as well. 

Keep up with Soft Glas on social media and listen to Orange Earth in full below.

Soft Glas: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Get To Know: Liz Cooper & The Stampede

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


Liz Cooper & The Stampede at Audiotree Music Festival

Liz Cooper & The Stampede at Audiotree Music Festival

They Inherited Their Great Music Taste From Their Parents

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

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

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

They're Collaborative With Other Nashville Musicians

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

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

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

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

The New Album Was Recorded In Less Than a Week

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

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

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

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

They Plot Out Their Setlist Carefully

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

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

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

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

They All Have Hidden Talents

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

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

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


Liz Cooper & The Stampede at Audiotree Music Festival

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

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

 

Get To Know: Capital Soirée

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

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

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


They've Changed Roles Since the Band Started

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

They've Recently Taken on Producing Their Own Music

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

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

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

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

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

The Subterranean Holds a Lot of History for Them

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

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

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

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

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


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


Follow Capital Soirée on Social Media:

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter.

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

Get to Know: DEM YUUT

It's a Friday night in July, and Chicago's trademark humidity hangs in the air as Minneapolis band Now, Now are set to take the stage in Chicago for one of their first performances in over three years. Supporting the duo, fellow Minnesotans DEM YUUT will take the stage first to perform their experimental, alt-electronic tunes. Although the members of the quartet are each seasoned veterans in the music business, the DEM YUUT project only kicked off last year.  "We’ve all been in a lot of bands," says lead singer and songwriter Danny O'Brien. Elaborating on the band's formation, O'Brien continues, "We’ve all been friends for a long time. It was just kind of--I had this thing that I was gonna do as a solo project. I wrote a bunch of songs while my kids were napping, and showed them to everybody. They were like yeah you should make a band out of this thing, so that’s the gist of it." O'Brien also reveals that the origin of his musical inclination dates all the way back to young age of eleven years old, remembering that his song-writing father gave him a guitar and a chord book for his birthday. The rest is history. 

Bandmate Jef Sundquist interjects with his memories of the band's creation, saying, "My favorite thing is [Danny was] like 'I don’t wanna play guitar', and I was like 'I don’t wanna play bass', and that kind of changed the organization of the band. To where he was just singing, and I was playing samples and synth." Sundquist and O'Brien further demonstrated their adaptability as musicians when they later took the stage again to back Now, Now after their support slot. 

DEM YUUT is Danny O'Brien, Don House, Jeremy Hanson, and Jef Sundquist   Photo courtesy of Middle West Management

DEM YUUT is Danny O'Brien, Don House, Jeremy Hanson, and Jef Sundquist 

Photo courtesy of Middle West Management

Although the band have traded hats so to speak for the DEM YUUT project, their years of experience came into the play when the band recorded their debut album, tracking a lot of it live. With only one song "Dawn/Sea" officially released, the band express their itch to release more of it, but they don't have a definite timeline in place. "It's done, done. Recorded and mastered," O'Brien confirms. Talking more about the recording process and live tracking, O'Brien says, "We did some of it at my place. I have a studio in my house. We live tracked a bunch of the record, which is pretty sweet, for this genre of music cause it’s not all sequenced. We kind of went about it as if we were still a rock band, as far as tracking goes. We were all in the room together, making it happen. So the only overdubs were a couple acoustic guitar parts and my vocals. Everything else was cut together." By playing the songs out live, rather than focusing on overdubs and splitting up their parts, the group managed to save some time. "It was pretty much 9 songs in 10 days. A song a day to kind of get the vibe," Sundquist recalls. 

The recording process that the band settled on has made for an easy transition when it comes to performing their songs live, O'Brien says. Sundquist agrees, adding, "A couple of them were tricky, but it was always just like 'make it work'. It doesn’t have to be like the demo. The demo is just the idea....we get to make it work in a live setting." Speaking of playing live, DEM YUUT recently got the chance to perform at a concert that kicked off Eaux Claires Festival at The Oxbow Hotel, headlined by The Shouting Matches (You can revisit our recap of the show here). Guitarist Don House says the opportunity popped up because their manager is good friends with festival curator Justin Vernon. Remembering their time at the festival, House says Sylvan Esso's set sticks out as a highlight, while Sundquist favors the John Prine Tribute that featured countless artists from Vernon to Jenny Lewis, This Is The Kit, and Prine himself. 

It's no secret that Eaux Claires Festival evokes a strong sense of collaboration and improvisation every year, and DEM YUUT fit in perfectly with that common thread, having recently remixed The Staves. A staple of the Eaux Claires lineup, The Staves also fit right into DEM YUUT's circle. "I guitar tech for them. They kind of lived at my house last summer, and we became friends. Through that, they asked us to remix it," House explains. "That whole remix thing was just to kill time cause the record was done and we were not doing anything," O'Brien adds. As far as potential future collaborations, O'Brien says he's open to working with anyone, while Sundquist throws out Twigs, Kendrick, and Sza as suggestions. 

DEM YUUT and Now, Now's tour wraps up this weekend in San Francisco on July 16th, but O'Brien and Sundquist seemed set out to make the most of our while we chatted--both from an artistic standpoint and a personal level. Artistically, the band reveal they are able to stay creative and working on new material, even while they are still mastering their current live roster of songs. "I feel like I can write kind of anywhere," O'Brien says, while Sundquist adds in that they were both writing in the van that afternoon. The Chicago show was only the second show of the tour, followed up by a hometown performance for both bands on the bill. Despite the hiccups that any "first of the tour" show usually contains, Sundquist says, "There was a great sports movie comeback moment, where a song fell apart and we had to get it back together. It came back together and it was amazing." On a personal level, O'Brien says, "We’ve got a day off in New York City that’s gonna be pretty fun. Then like a half day off in LA. We should be able to do some fun stuff. I wanna go to a beach, I don’t care which coast. I love the ocean," also revealing that he won't get caught swimming in Lake Michigan, though.


The remainder of 2017 is still a bit up in the air for this rookie project composed of music veterans, but hopefully a new tour announcement and new music releases are just around the corner. Stay up to date with DEM YUUT by following their Facebook page, and get ready for the new music by listening to their single "Dawn/Sea" below!

Can't get enough DEM YUUT? Also check out of photo galleries of their show in Chicago on 7/7 here. 

A Chat With: Michigander

Hailing from (you guessed it) Michigan, the outfit Michigander is fronted by lead singer and songwriter Jason Singer. Much like the literal band name and frontman’s surname, the handful of singles that have come out of the Michigander project possess a certain quality of straightforwardness. Narratives told in Singer’s soothing vocals hook listeners in; relatable stories and layered melodies keeping them enthralled. Following the streaming success of his debut single “Ninties,” Singer and his band have toured with other acclaimed Michigan acts like Flint Eastwood, and performed live sessions at studios like Daytrotter in Davenport and Audiotree in Chicago. After being introduced to them at Daytrotter Downs Festival in March, we couldn’t wait to catch up with Singer during Michigander’s show at Township on Friday, June 23rd. During our chat, Singer talked about being inspired by Coldplay, why he dislikes albums, their upcoming tour schedule, and more. Get to know Michigander now!

Credit: Adam Podboy

Credit: Adam Podboy


ANCHR Magazine: What first got you interested in making music? When did you go from being a fan of music to actually writing your own?

Jason Singer: I think 2009 I saw Coldplay play a massive show in Detroit. I think that was like, holy crap, I wanna do that. That’s what I’ve been thinking lately has sparked it. I’ve always been kind of fascinated with stages and sound systems and all that. It was always just really exciting to be around.

AM: So talking about new music from you, I saw you were recently asking your Twitter followers if you should keep releasing singles or an EP. I think EP won...are you going to end up doing that?

JS: I don’t know, the producer I’m working with wants me to do an EP. I kind of agree with him, but the singles kind of like take a life of their own. I think that is cool because you spend money making the stuff. So putting it together [in a EP], something might get looked over. I think putting singles out helps solidify each song. Gives them a life of their own. Getting a lot of plays on individual songs is cooler to me.

AM: So you mentioned you’re working with a producer now Is that who you always work with?

JS: I just started working with him, so we just did the last single “Fears” with him. I have another one that’s recorded that’ll probably be out in September. Then probably two more early next year.

AM: Nice, so how’s the recording process with him?

JS: It’s awesome. I just go there and he really knows his system. That’s the coolest part, just going and everything is set up. Everything is already mic’d and he’s like play, anything you want. Right now. So it’s just me and him. I can play everything except the drums, so we have a drummer come in. Everything else on the record I usually play.

AM: As far as playing live, you just did Audiotree today--

JS: Yeah, that was really cool! That was a total bucket list dream come true. They were great, they were super nice. Same with Daytrotter! Those sessions are what I thrive for. Since we only have a few live songs, the session helps us have stuff. Then we have the shows. Having people show up to shows is awesome for having one or two songs.

AM: Yeah, and then you’re doing Mo Pop this summer. Who else are you looking forward to seeing there?

JS: I’m a really big Alt-J fan, and Foster The People. I love both those bands. Also, the Solange record is great. I just listened to them recently for the first time. There’s a band called Middle Kids. They’re from Australia, they’re really small, but their songs are so good. I hope to connect with them.

AM: Are there any surprises or anything special you’re planning since it’s a festival performance?

JS: I wish! I don’t know if I’m allowed to bring friends. What I’d really love to do is a bring a bunch of friends. It’s cool we have the opportunity to play it... Our friend Leo, who’s in Rival Summers, he’s playing tonight. I just have all these guys from around Detroit that I’d love to bring.

AM: Any other bands from around Detroit we should check out?

JS: Flint Eastwood. We just got off tour with her. We played at Subterranean here.

AM: How was that tour, any highlights?

JS: We played her hometown Detroit show to like 1200 people. It was in like an old building lobby in Detroit, like all art deco. It was beautiful. It was the biggest show we’ve played.

AM: Then you’re touring a little bit in the fall right?

JS: Yeah! We’ll hit up Atlanta, Nashville, Lexington, Columbus, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Pittsburgh. So part of it will be solo in like listening rooms. I’m really just looking forward to--the first half is just me going alone on the road, which I’ve never done. I just want to do it. That’s the cool thing behind it. The main thing is I just wanted to see friends, and I also wanted to play shows. So that’s what we did.

AM: Do you do anything special to stay entertained on the road?

JS: I am a podcast person. They have a podcast called Song Exploder. They take the master files from the studio of like The National, and they show each individual part and the bands talk about it. Then they throw it all together. It’s so inspiring and exciting to hear.

AM: Nice! Then just in general, any other bands you’re really into? I see on Twitter you’re always recommending new music.

JS: There’s a band-- Dave Bazon. He was in a band called Pedro The Lion, and he has this new band Lo Tom. They’re amazing. They have like singles out. And The Manchester Orchestra Album. I’m excited for that.

AM: Anything else you’re looking forward to this year?

JS: I think this year is gonna be a really big building year. Everything that’s happening has just been incredible. Tomorrow we do a hometown headliner. Next month we’re playing with Bad Bad Hats and Mo Pop.

Keep up with Jason on his Twitter, and check out the gallery of Michigander's performance on Friday night at Township below. 


A Chat With Twinsmith

Omaha-based indie rock band Twinsmith return with stripped back and chilled out tunes for their third record, Stay Cool, out next month. Singles like "Matters" and "You & I" boost infectious and mellow melodies, perfect for driving around with the windows down on a summer day. Originally formed by the duo Matt Regner and Jordan Smith, the band has grown to include Bill Sharp on the bass and drummer Jake Newbold while on tour. Last Thursday, Twinsmith played Chicago as the third show of the Ultrasonic Summer Tour with Rooney and Run River North, following a hometown gig in Omaha. Before they hit the stage at Lincoln Hall, we caught up with the guys to talk about their simplified recording process, Jason Derulo, and Red Roof Inns...among other things. Get to know Twinsmith now! 

Twinsmith at Lincoln Hall on June 22nd, 2017  Left to Right: Jake Newbold, Matt Regner, Bill Sharp, and Jordan Smith.

Twinsmith at Lincoln Hall on June 22nd, 2017

Left to Right: Jake Newbold, Matt Regner, Bill Sharp, and Jordan Smith.

ANCHR Magazine: Your single “You & I” just came out this week. How does it feel to get your new music out there in advance of the new record?

Matt Regner: It’s always great. Especially in this day and age where that whole process takes forever. Especially if you’re pressing vinyl. Basically you finish the recording, you finish mastering, then you’re just hanging out with the songs by yourself for a few months.

Jordan Smith: Yeah, it definitely feels good. It feels good to play new songs. That’s what we’re most excited for. We were rehearsing these songs as a band. We’d written and recorded them before we started playing them live. So the whole process was just like a long process of being able to start playing these. We’re excited to keep releasing music and keep writing.

AM: How was the recording process for this album then, compared to your past records?

MR: It was awesome. Basically that whole album came together in our house. We recorded it in our dining room. We didn’t really need--for all of these songs we didn’t need a big studio. We didn’t spend a ton of money. We could just find some cool gear and make it happen. Having complete control over everything and not like five people running around the studio, doing this and that, you start forgetting names. It was just for the most part Jordan and I, and then Graham Ulicny who produced it, showing up at 11 a.m. and working. 

AM: So for the first two records, was it similar or you did actually record those in a studio?

MR: Yeah, in the studio you’re just rushed. So we weren’t on a time crunch with this. That’s when you start making mistakes.

AM: I think that comes across in the mood when you’re listening to the new record.

MR: There’s definitely more of a relaxed mood with this album. Maybe that goes back to the actual process, or our moods when we wrote the songs. Not having that studio rush, or worrying about the money, like the hours that you’re putting in…

AM: So I know tour just started a couple nights ago, but how have the new songs been going in the live setting so far?

MR: Great. There’s still just enough rust on them. They’re always fun to play, and we’re still making mistakes on them--

JS: But that’s good! I’d rather have that than be really bored. 

MR: The Alligator [Years] album, we played those songs 100 times over the course of a year. You get burnt out on that. I don’t know how The Rolling Stones do it.

JS: They get millions of dollars.

MR: I’d play “Start Me Up” that much for a million dollars.

AM: What have been some of your favorite new ones then?

JS: I think “Defend Yourself”--

MR: Which actually, we planned on having it as a single, but we didn’t release it. I think that’s just the most fun to play live. It’s a fun groove. We always play it towards the end of the set.

AM: So you guys just had the hometown gig in Omaha last night, but is there anywhere else you’re really looking forward to playing?

JS: I’m interested to see what Davenport is gonna be like, cause I’ve never played in Davenport. I think we’ve played everywhere else. 7th Street Entry’s always fun.

AM: So you guys made a Spotify Playlist that for "songs to crack open a cold one to”--

MR: That’s all Bill!

AM: Then there was the “Stay Cool” one, which had all songs with “Stay” or “Cool” in the title, so how do you guys decide who gets the aux cord on the road?

MR: I’m the only one with a Spotify Premium account, but I have that damn new iPhone that doesn’t have the thing, and the van doesn’t have bluetooth. We’re not there yet as a band.

JS: We were there last week, but now we had to downgrade. Last tour, we listened to a podcast that was like 8 hours long when we drove from Chicago to Omaha.

MR: We listened to the entirety of S-Town. It was mind-blowing.

JS: We wanted the drive to be longer cause there was an episode and a half we still hadn’t listened to . That was the first time ever we were like “man I wish this drive was longer!” For the first five hours today, I don’t think we played a single thing.

MR: We usually just scan for a Top 40 radio station and keep it on a low volume.

JS: Unless it’s Jason Derulo.

MR: Derulo comes up! Everything else stays low.

AM: Do you guys tend to write while you’re on the road?

JS: You were writing [to Jake]--

Jake Newbold:  It was a grocery list.

MR: He does all his grocery shopping in Chicago. 

AM: Any other new bands you’re really into at the moment? 

JS: We were talking about Kevin Morby on the way up here.

MR: He’s got a really good new album.

JS: Jake knows what’s hot!

JN: I’ve been listening to Chris Weisman.Tigerwine just put out a new record.

AM: Nice! So was there anyone you pinpointed as influences for the record?

MR: Not super specifically. Actually, yes, super specifically in the sense that there’d be one part in a song where I’d try to get behind the mindset of the guitar licks. Like “what were they thinking when they wrote that?” But there wasn’t like one band you could put an umbrella over the album. Which is definitely a good thing. You never want that to happen. I think all of us, for as long as we’ve been in the band, or been in bands period, we just all listen to stuff that isn’t anything like our music.

AM: Then you can pick up on the moods or certain emotions, or even like you said certain guitar pickings and stylize that to your own music.

MR: Yeah, totally.

AM: Cool, anything else this year you’re really looking forward to besides this tour and the album coming out? Anything planned for the fall?

JS: I think we’re looking forward to kind of just seeing what’s next. We’re just seeing what happens, and I think we’re ready for whatever.

AM: Maybe some bluetooth in the van?

JS: Yeah, get back to that! That’d be awesome.

AM: Oh and did you get a week of free rooms at Red Roof Inn that you Tweeted about? 

MR: That was all [Jordan]

JS: I tried! 

MR: We're big fans of Red Roof Inns.

JS: We stay there a lot.

AM: Any last minute words of advice?

MR: Don’t use Apple Maps to get through Chicago. We just figured that out today. It wasn’t lost, it was just using all these alternate routes. We basically got off the highway in Iowa and took side streets.


So, Red Roof Inn, if you’re reading this, help a band out! Everyone else, help yourself out and pre-order Stay Cool here, out July 14th on Saddle Creek records. You can check out  Twinsmith's upcoming tour dates here, and see the gallery from their show at Lincoln Hall below! 

Catching Up With Stonefield

It’s Saturday night at a completely packed Metro, and Australian band Stonefield are set to play their final night on tour with fellow Melbourne musicians King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Orb. Prior to their last performance, the four Findlay sisters of Stonefield filled me on all the happenings on tour and what’s next for them in 2017.

Stonefield is Amy, Hannah, Sarah, and Holly Findlay.  Photo Credit: Sheva Kafai

Stonefield is Amy, Hannah, Sarah, and Holly Findlay.

Photo Credit: Sheva Kafai

Our conversation starts with the sisters telling me they’d been to Chicago before, but never as tourists. This tour so far sounds like it’s been pretty relentless, with not much time off, and on top of that, the schedule for this last day of tour is already running late for everyone. While I chat with Stonefield, King Gizzard’s crew are doing a makeshift soundcheck, since the band members themselves have skipped in order to do a signing at Shuga Records.

The conversation progresses through the haphazard soundcheck, and we shift back to how the four sisters got started as musicians. Although they’ve been playing together since 2006, the Findlay sisters are still quite young, and surprisingly, the music gene doesn’t run direct through their family. “Our parents don’t play music, but they love listening to it,” guitarist Hannah says. She continues on to say that their love of playing music stemmed from growing up around the music their parents listens to, while the eldest sister, Amy, adds, “Mum and dad have this really weird connection where both of their brothers played in a band together, so that’s how they met. So we’ve got the music on both sides, but it’s actually kind of strange that mum and dad don’t play themselves.” Elaborating on the music they grew up with, Holly chimes in, “Dad is obsessed with Frank Zappa. So that’s obviously an influence. But like all of the classics, like Fleetwood Mac, Zeppelin, Hendrix, Pink Floyd. All of that.”

Circling back to their young age and picking up instruments as kids, Holly says the bass was like a toy for her. She's the baby of the family, and started playing as young as age 7. The girls say they’ve all learned a lot since they started, but Amy reckons the biggest lesson involves staying true to themselves. “Because we were so young, when we started, and we’ve been doing it for so long, I think our experience in the music industry has been quite different because we have kind of grown up with it. I think starting young, you’re also sort of--” Amy pauses, and Hannah jumps in with “easily influenced” to finish her sister’s thought. “You’re influenced by people’s opinions and I guess, advice. I think at the end of the day the biggest thing we’ve learned is that at the end of the day, music is a really personal thing,” Amy continued. “You don’t always have to take people’s advice. Like sometimes it’s great, but sometimes it’s better to leave it. It’s all about what you think. Trusting your instincts,” Hannah added. As the sisters bounce their concurring thoughts off one another, Amy concludes this topic by saying, “Music is kind of like a selfish thing. Like at the end of the day, what works best is doing it for yourself and not worrying about anything else. Which sound super corny. But it does kind of, when you’re so young, take a while to realize that you know what’s best for you.”

The Findlays also admit that they’ve learned valuable lessons as musicians just on their current tour with Orb and King Gizzard. Discussing the differences between these shows and touring in their home country, Amy says, “You really feel the love, like it’s easier to get a response. There is a slightly different energy. It’s kind of like having a fresh slate. We’re kind of starting from the bottom, which is exciting. It’s an exciting thing to kind of wanna win people over. To get on this tour and to be able to do it to this many people….It’s been really fun,” about playing in America. One of tour highlights, besides doing a “drive-by” of Times Square and The Statue of Liberty, was their two nights at Webster Hall. All four sisters say those shows were their favorite, with Holly recalling, “At one of the New York shows we had a huge...what do they call those? Circle pits!”

Music is kind of like a selfish thing. Like at the end of the day, what works best is doing it for yourself and not worrying about anything else. Which sound super corny. But it does kind of, when you’re so young, take a while to realize that you know what’s best for you.
— Amy Findlay on staying true to yourself in the music industry

For most Australian musicians, touring really only happens on the weekend, whereas in America, all three of these Australian bands have been playing a new city every night. The Findlay sisters weigh in on this change too, Holly confessing she prefers touring over here. “Once you get into the swing of things, I reckon it’s better cause it’s cool that you can play every night and drive not too far and be in a whole new city,” she says. Amy adds that they’re fortunate at home to get gigs in country towns, but says for a lot of bands it doesn’t work out and they’ll only play shows on the weekends.

Another big difference between the American and Australian music industry? Album release cycles. Stonefield released their second studio album As Above, So Below in July 2016 back home, but they’ve only just released the first single from that record in The States. “We’re kind of in a weird spot, because we released that album in Australia last year, but it’s kind of fresh here,” Hannah says, while Amy says she hopes that they’ll get everyone on the same page for their third album. As far as new material for the next record, Hannah says they’re constantly writing. “I feel like our music progresses quite quickly, probably because we are still young, I guess. I think our new stuff is a bit... sort of spacey. [We’re] experimenting more with synthy sounds and stuff like that. But not really like 80’s synth. Like good synth...no offense to 80’s synth. It’s definitely developed. We’ve been playing a few new songs on this tour, which has been good,” Amy revealed about the new material.

Before heading off to soundcheck, the Findlay sisters also recommend some other great material coming from Oz, including their tourmates. “They’re the band that we would be like 'they’re the next best thing',” Amy gushed about Orb. The sisters also tipped me off about White Bleaches, who supported them on a recent tour, and Noire, a band from Sydney. “They have some really amazing, really beautiful songs,” Hannah says of the latter. Amy agrees, adding, “Yeah, I don’t get why they’re not bigger. They’re not big in Australia, but they’re really good. They write really good songs and she has a beautiful voice.”  


Less than two hours later, the sisters completely rocked their dynamic and energetic set in front of a backdrop of psychedelic graphics, once again getting a great response from the crowd. The setlist contained a mix of old and new songs, and Amy managed to deliver powerful lead vocals while completely smashing it on the drums. Check out photos from their epic set below!

Stonefield at Metro 4/8/2017

The Setlist

  1. Sister
  2. Dream
  3. Far From
  4. Earth
  5. Delusion
  6. Changes
  7. In the Eve
  8. Eyes

Keep up with all the Stonefield news on their Facebook page, and listen to their single "Stranger" from their sophomore album here: