Category Archives: Interviews

Blitzen Trapper “American Goldwing” [NEW MUSIC]

I want a porch.  I want a friggin’ porch so bad.  If I had my way I would move out of my Hollywood apartment away from my homeless neighbors who live on the stoop and the drunk assholes ready to kill someone over a double double from In and Out real fast.  I want a porch.  I want to sit on it and I want to listen to music and relax and drink a lot of beer without a care in the world.  I would have massive speakers and a rocking chair.  That to me at the moment is “the life”.  With Blitzen Trapper as my band of choice and their newest record “American Goldwing” as the soundtrack to my laid back afternoon I think I’m on to something here.

Might Find It Cheap – Blitzen Trapper

Indie rock, folk rock, southern rock, call it what you will Blitzen Trapper is a rock band.  They call Portland, Oregon home and have been touring heavily for the last few years.  They just released “American Goldwing.”  It’s one part rock and roll guitar laden, drum heavy grooves and one part distinct cool vocals with a southern twist.  Blitzen Trapper have created a sound all their own and I’m sold 100% on what they are selling.  Next track is called “Fletcher” which is one of my favortie tracks on the record.

Fletcher – Blitzen Trapper

After releasing Furr in 2008 Blitzen Trapper fell onto my radar.  After seeing them at Coachella Music and Arts Fest later that year (or in 09, I can’t remember) I couldn’t get them out of my head.  I have been following them on and off since then.  They released an awesome record called “Destroyer of The Void” in 2010 and now American Goldwing is just solidifying what I saw years ago.  These guys are tight and have honed this music and are perfecting it.

Your Crying Eyes – Blitzen Trapper

Despite being from Portland Blitzen Trapper has a little bit of a southern twang to them and then they just kick you right in the junk with a tune like Your Crying Eyes.  I think thats what I like most about these guys.  They have that southern influence that eases you into the music with familiarity and then they turn up the volume.

The band currently has six members with Eric Early on guitar and vocals with Brian Adrian Koch and Marty Marquis on drums and vocals and guitar and keyboards respectively.  The vocal duties are supported Erik Menteer on Guitar and Keyboards, Michael VanPelt on bass.

Girl In A Coat – Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper is currently on tour.  Lucky for me they are wrapping up their tour on November 17th at the Music Box in Hollywood.  Tour dates page is HERE.  Their new album “American Goldwing” is available anywhere where people care about good music, so basically the internet and Amoeba Music on Sunset Blvd.  Here are a couple final tracks from “American Goldwing.”  One rockin’ and the last track which is not so rockin’ but a great way to end the record.  Check these guys out when they are in your town.  In fact go out of your way by hours and hundreds of miles to see these dudes.  It’s worth it.

Astronaut – Blitzen Trapper

Stranger In A Strange Land – Blitzen Trapper

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Scott Bartenhagen [Interview] [Free Download]

There’s a lot to like about Scott Bartenhagen, a 22 year old singer/songwriter from Lathrop, California.  He’s not your typical singer/songwriter: he’s 6’7” for starters, loves Sci-Fi and draws inspiration from movie soundtracks and 20th century classical music.  A friend of mine suggested I watch a video of his song Delta Fog, and I am forever grateful that I did.  Scott’s jazz-influenced guitar playing along with his beautifully deep, soul shaking voice make for an astounding combination.  When I met Scott I was immediately drawn to his warm and quirky personality and quiet demeanor.  It was a privilege to interview such a young talent, and it’s my pleasure to help spread the word about this rising star.  Check out the video of Delta Fog below, courtesy of YouTube, and if you liked what you hear (which I know you will) you can download the song for free via the player below.

 

MF: When I first saw your video for Delta Fog I was immediately awe struck and completely blown away by the hauntingly deep and poetic sound of your voice.  I feel that you have one of the best voices of our generation, I know bold statement, but every time I listen to your songs I am instantly inspired, and amazed.  When did you start your singing career?

Scott:  Pretty freaking bold statement man, and thank you so much.  I sang “Great Balls of Fire” my junior year of high school for a 70’s school dance that the high school band put on.  Then I started writing songs, so I’ve been singing for I guess that would be about five years now, I didn’t ever sing before that I was always too afraid.

MF: Have you ever had singing lessons?

Scott:  No, I’ve never taking formal singing lessons, but I’ve had good guidance from friends that were great singers that really helped me out. 

MF:  Like I said, I feel like you have an incredible voice.  I remember the first time I watched Delta Fog, your voice gave me chills.  It was almost hard for me to believe that that voice was coming from you, it really blew me away.

Scott:  Wow man, thank you I really appreciate it that’s awesome.

MF:  I feel that writing lyrics is the hardest part of creating great songs, and you nail it on every song. Where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics?

Scott:  I get the inspiration from my lyrics from personal experience, or nerding out on something.  It also comes from my general love of storytelling.  My lyrics have to sound good coming out before anything else.  That’s kind of the David Byrne theory of lyric writing.  I find words that I think sound great then I use my imagination to put them into situations that make sense when they are spoken aloud.  So it comes melody first, then how the words sound, then what kind of words can I fit around those syllables that still makes a great song, and that’s why its kind of a bigger puzzle than if you were just writing lyrics. 

MF:  In my personal experience with writing songs, I feel that lyrics are the toughest part of writing any song.  If you don’t have solid lyrics then it’s going to be harder for the listener to connect to you.

Scott:  Oh yeah.  I could write like a dozen songs a day, but it takes me a week to write the words for the songs sometimes.

MF:  Yeah, that’s understandable I think it’s very hard to write solid lyrics and you do a great job writing great lyrics.

Scott:  Thanks man, As long as they’re not too contrived, or as long as they’re honest enough, even if they’re not true if they’re honest and they’re not contrived and trying to sound cool, I like it.

 

MF: What are your musical influences, and what artists inspire you to create your music?

Scott: Um, my musical influences would be, movie soundtracks, Joni Mitchell, and Jazz.  Those are the big three, but I also like singer-songwriters that influence me a lot, like my good friend Travis Vick, a local Sacramento artist. His music has a big effect on me. Also, Bluegrass players and anybody who excels at their instruments inspire me as well. That’s a tough question, because I have a whole lot of influences from a lot of different things.  Movie soundtracks are a big one.  As well as orchestral music, and 20th Century classical music is where I get a lot of my melodies.  So that’s a little bit of an idea of how I get inspired.

MF:  As far as movie soundtracks do you have a favorite composer?

Scott:  I like uh, I really like Joe Hisaishi, Hans Zimmer’s pretty cool, he’s kind of a hack, and I like John Williams as well.  Anyone who puts music to motion, I admire, because it’s all about the emotion other than the notes, it’s about evoking a feeling, which I’m a big fan of.

MF:  Is there anything outside of music that inspires you to write your songs?

Scott:  Yeah definitely. Various novels, stories that my dad tells me, great Science Fiction, um, trying to get a handle on politics.  Not that my songs are too political.  I’m not too crazy politically but politics definitely make me angry, and anger definitely inspires me.

MF:  As far as Science Fiction is concerned what specifically about Sci-Fi inspires you?

Scott:  I like all types of science fiction, usually get inspired by near future science fiction, like Blade Runner, or people like William Gibson who write Cyber Punk. It really gets my mind racing, I really enjoy it. I’ve written some songs based off of stuff like that.  A decent amount of my songs have a Sci-Fi twist on them. 


 

MF: You are a phenomenal guitar player, how long have you been playing the guitar, and what inspired you to start playing?

Scott:  I’ve been playing the guitar since about, eighth grade, probably a little bit before that.  Probably ten years.  My mom is a great guitar player so I listened to her a lot and got inspired.  Also, I think a friend of mine got a guitar down the street, and that made me really want one.  I was already playing trumpet in a band, so I figured I could move onto guitar from there.  I didn’t really get into songwriting for a long time, but learning jazz guitar definitely helped keep the fire and passion for the instrument.

MF: Have you had any professional training?

Scott:  I was a music major at Sac State, before I left.  I took three years of schooling as a jazz studies major.  I am a big proponent of taking lessons and learning as much as you possibly can, shedding ego as a guitar player and just wanting to learn.  I took lessons from a really great jazz guitar player, and I learned to play with other people in groups for a long time as well. 

MF:  Also, you mentioned you played trumpet, do you play any other instruments?

Scott:  Yeah, trumpet and tuba were my first instruments and then I moved onto the piano and guitar.  Those are the main instruments that I can play. 

MF:  I notice you have a lot of songs ready to go, are you coming out with an EP or a new album in the near future, and if so will Delta Fog be included?

Scott:  No.  I’m over the idea of albums.  Like every year you make your one album, and then you put an EP out and then you make an album that has twelve songs on it or something and then a whole year passes.  That whole cycle is formulaic and I don’t think it works any more with the way people buy albums.  So I’m kind of into smaller releases but more often.  I think that’s a pretty cool idea.  I have a few releases coming up, I have a five song project that I’m working on called Speeches, that I’m working on at the moment, still recording.  It should be done in the next couple weeks.  Then I have another small project on the way that should come out within a couple weeks as well.  So within this month I’m hopefully going to have a bunch of new stuff done for the world to see.

And I have a new group as well, with three girls from Sac State, a drummer and a bassist. The three girls are singing three part harmonies as well as playing the violin.  I’ve added six people to my group.

MF:  Wow, that’s exciting I can’t wait to hear you play with the new band.

Scott:  Yeah, I’ve already got to play some shows with this new band and they are really freaking good man, they’re really tight.  These two girls sing some amazing harmonies, and we have this bitching violin player who’s incredible, it’s tight man. I can’t wait to play some shows in Los Angeles so you guys can hear it.

MF:  What are you thoughts on the current state of the music industry, and where do you see it going?

Scott:  I think that there’s a lot of music out there. I think the music industry is pretty oversaturated with the Internet now and I think it’s high time for bands to get more creative with the way they do things and how we get music out there, and what it means to have art.  I think there are a lot of creative ways to distribute music, play shows and collaborate.  I think it’s a good thing and I think it’s going the right direction. I just need people to start giving a crap, but I guess we need to make them start giving a crap. 

MF:  As an independent artist, do you find it difficult to accumulate new fans and to be heard amidst the overwhelming amount of music that is out there?

Scott:  I do feel it’s really hard to be heard.  I feel there are so many different avenues for me to put my music out that nobody bites.  I get a good response when I play shows, but it’s hard playing venues when you don’t have a fan base.  Promoters don’t promote anymore, venues don’t want to get people in the door themselves, it all falls on the shoulders of the bands, which is I think criminal.  Live performance is not geared to help bands.  It’s hard finding fans, and it’s hard finding places that want to help musicians get fans instead of just wanting to take their money.

MF:  So which one do you think is more difficult?  Trying to accumulate new fans, or to be heard?

Scott:  I think they’re pretty much the same thing. I would like to hope/think if someone hears my music they’d become a fan.  I can’t force them to become a fan. I would say it’s harder to show my music to people in the right context.  It’s hard for people to find my music and want to listen to it, as opposed to they have to either actually search for it or they find it on some obscure online radio station that never actually works.  So I think they’re both related: it’s hard to find fans and it’s hard to try to get the people who aren’t fans yet to listen to your music to become fans. 

MF:  I absolutely agree.  It was really great to learn more about you as a musician as well as a person.  I enjoyed talking about your music, what you’re working on, and the thoughts you have about being an independent artist, as well as your thoughts as the current state of the music industry.  I am looking forward to your upcoming projects and attending your shows with your new band.

Scott:  Thanks man, I really enjoyed it as well, and I will keep you updated with the projects I am currently working on.  Great talking with you, and I will talk to you soon.

By: Mason Frank|L.A. Ambassador|MasonFrankMWL|Beat-Play & Music Without Labels LLC

 

The Barr Brothers “The Barr Brothers” [NEW MUSIC]

I’m going to start this blog off by saying I love music. I love the sounds I love being a part of thriving music scene here in LA, seeing shows and being a small part of the creativity.  Back in the day in college I went the standard college radio station route to put myself right smack frickin dab in the middle of arguably one of the most diverse and ever changing music scenes in the country, Boston Massachusetts.  Little WERS 88.9 fm has literally made me the music fan I am today and my dad, can’t forget him either.  I have been to hundreds of shows and in those early years where I discovered it’s always better in a small club rather than a giant arena I got a glimpse of amazing real talent.  This band I’m about to introduce you to is one of those groups whose members bring music and love of music full circle on a personal level.  They are the Barr Brothers and their new record is something that I honestly don’t want to share with anyone and keep all to myself, but we all know I can’t keep a secret to save my life.

Beggar In The Morning – The Barr Brothers

Brad and Andrew Barr are from Boston Massachusetts.  They live in Canada now.  They have a band which are called The Slip they share with bassist Marc Friedman and now they are The Barr Brother which the share with harpist and neighbor Sarah Page and Andres Vial who fills the void by playing bass, keys and percussion.  My first introduction to these gentlemen was when they were part of The Slip when they were touring behind their amazing album Eisenhower.  I remember doing two in studio mixes with the guys one was fully plugged in and the other was acoustic.  The first mix was all material from Eisenhower, but the second they shared with me a couple new songs and I gave them my mixes to use as demos to make a new record with.  This was about 5 years ago.

I have a amazing treat for this blog.  One of the demos I recorded back in the day made it on the Barr Brothers newest release.  To clarify my version didn’t make it on, but the song did.  I’m going to post both of them.  The first version of the song was recorded with Brad playing his acoustic guitar and Andrew playing the studios Steinway grand piano.  The second is the second track off the Barr Brother’s self titled release.  Same song, years apart.

O0h, Belle (Live at WERS) – The Barr Brothers

Ooh, Belle – The Barr Brothers

Pretty cool huh?  I don’t know how to play music very well but I’m pretty sure they changed the key.  I’d love to know what you guys think in the comments section below.  This is one of my favorite songs I was given the opportunity to record during my stay at WERS and as far as the record the music on this release is diverse and something that I could only see coming from the musicians that made it.  I think it is truly listeners music.  The nuances in it and the light additions of keys and the harp just bring light to the whole thing.  Not every song is as light a lullaby as Ooh, Belle after all they were in an experimental rock/ jazz outfit for many years.  Try this one on for size.

Give The Devil Back His Heart – The Barr Brothers

They still have the rock in them.  I love the guitar and vocal pairing on this song.  Brad Barr is an amazing guitar player and with the effects used on his vocals with his style of singing on this song it’s a little bit of a wake up and just shows how diverse these musicians really are.

There is a little blues element a little middle eastern rhythm and of course a jazzy element to this tune that really grabbed me and is definitely the standout on a record of standouts.  I think tune will drive all the points I just made home.  The next two tracks after Give The Devil Back His Heart are quiet acoustic songs, amazing, but then  we get to the 7th track on the record called Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Cryin’.  Welcome to the delta…

Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Cryin’ – The Barr Brothers

I can’t boast about these guys enough.  They are amazing musicians and from my limited interaction with them over the years, they are amazing people always generous to share new music and try new things.  I think this record is a testament to their efforts to try new styles of music and play the music that inspires them.  From the quietest notes of Ooh Belle to the loudest grittiest notes of Lord I Just Can’t… the dynamic range on this record is really one to be admired.  As a music fan I think I can recommend this band and this music to just about any one.

Deacons Son – The Barr Brothers

The Barr Brothers are currently touring on their new self titled release and will be making stops in Los Angeles on November 2nd at the Hotel Cafe.  Do your selves 2 favors.  Get your hands on this record.  It is available on Amazon and iTunes.  It is also available to listen to on Spotify.  Here is the last track from The Barr Brother’s self titled release.  Next time I’m going to write about the Muppets, yes the Muppets.

Let There Be Horses – The Barr Brothers

Interview with Beat-Play CEO – Dante Cullari

Beat-Play just announced their official public Beta launch. We’re here today with Beat-Play’s founder and CEO, Dante Cullari, to tell us some more about the company.

Dante, what is the goal of Beat-Play?

Beat-Play’s aim is to provide an optimized digital infrastructure to the music industry as a whole. We want our tools to encompass a full spectrum of opportunities for artists and fans to create, promote, distribute, monetize, organize and listen to music. We understand that there is no one perfect solution that will work for everybody, so our goal is really to provide a number of options for each of the different components of the music industry I just mentioned. All of this is now made significantly easier with digital, online and social technologies, and we feel that centralizing these solutions by defragmenting music into one rich community will also be beneficial for everyone. We want to help create the foundation for a long lasting, sustainable and prosperous world music industry online, as we move forward into the future.

What does Beat-Play offer artists and fans right now?

Our first and current product addresses promotion and distribution for artists (or discovery and sharing for fans), organization and playback. Right now, Beat-Play is a streaming player that promotes music to fans with something we call Bump, which is a search based on tags, or keywords that the user enters. Listeners can use Moods, Locations, Artist Names, Genres, Activities or really almost anything, to describe the music that they want to hear. Beat-Play then creates a custom playlist for the listener consisting of both music and videos (via Souncloud, Youtube and Beat-Play itself) based on matches to the user’s tags. These playlists are updated in real time as music is continually added to the service and tagged. Fans can then save the music that they find and like into playlists, and share these playlists with their friends through Facebook.

While the current product currently offers limited functionality, our next product will focus on adding in new options, as well as improving current ones.

What are you working on for the future?

Our next product will address several issues. We’re working on mobile to improve access. The next product will also be socially integrated which again will aid in promotion and distribution, or sharing and discovery, and we hope to also include some more options for user customization. We want to make organizing and managing your listening experience better, with more custom presets, which again, will help in discovery and also fan retention.

The next big step for us then is really artist monetization. As mentioned before, we realize that one option will not be sufficient for every artist, so we’re planning on introducing things like music and merch stores, ticketing and show booking, commercial music license stores or auctions, and even advertising opportunities.

Advertising is actually something I want to briefly touch on – To quote the Facebook movie, “Advertising isn’t cool.”  In the movie that’s really all they needed to say about it before just turning their backs on it. I feel that this is an attitude that most companies have towards advertising, but nobody really wants to be the one to challenge it. On Beat-Play, we’ve come up with a way around this.

First of all, artists on Beat-Play will own their own ad space, and they can leverage their statistics on Beat-Play and on Facebook to negotiate better rates with sponsors. As far as the ads themselves, you wont see annoying and interruptive commercials, or huge flashy banners. Our ads will instead be designed to actually add to the listener’s experience by offering pieces of bonus content relevant to the artist or the music itself. It could be a music video, a cool app, or even a video game. If it’s Skrillex, maybe it’s a Dj app. If it’s Slightly Stoopid, maybe it’s a surfing game you can play while listening to the music. Also, the listeners won’t be distracted by these ads. On the player itself we’ll use something that we call postage stamp ads, because they’re just about the size of a postage stamp. If the user doesn’t want to engage with the ads, they don’t have to, and they won’t be interrupted by them. For the people who do choose to engage with the ads, they’ll get some additional content that they couldn’t have gotten otherwise, creating incentive to actually share ad content. This provides a great revenue stream to the artists, allows the fans to continue to listen to their favorite music for free potentially, and also provides some great cred for the sponsors involved. Everybody really wins, and this even has some great potential to curb piracy for artists. These are the kinds of solutions that we’re looking forward to making available to the music industry in the near future, using digital technologies to make it happen.

How can people help?

Get on board now. It’s only going to get better, and for artists especially, it’s a good idea to start gaining their fan-base here so they can get their statistics up. Even if they’re not on Beat-Play though, building Facebook statistics will still help them out, and Beat-Play could still help promote an artist if their music is on Soundcloud, Youtube or Jamendo right now. So not being on Beat-Play doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t still benefit from it, but it’s a good idea to get on there now as we’ll really be able to offer the fans a better experience with their music on Beat-Play if they do. It’s completely free, so there’s nothing lost by trying it, and for fans right now we really offer some great discovery and organization options, along with unlimited, uninterrupted free streaming. Mobile is obviously something we’re really excited about pushing out next.

As we continue to grow, we will really need help from the artists and fans to support and build this community. We need artists to upload their music and tell their friends and their fans. We also need artists to work together in helping to support and promote each other by tagging fellow artists in their own songs. Most of all though, we need artists and fans to really take ownership of this community, and take advantage of the free options we’re putting out there. This really does need to be a team effort, and I think we have the strength and the ability as indie artists to build something huge, so that we can have the kind of impact that we need in order to benefit all of the incredibly talented independent artists out there that are struggling right now, and also to impact the fans that are missing out on a lot of great music because of it. We’ve had a great response from artists so far, and we’re confident that these solutions will bring some big changes to the way the music industry operates in the coming years.

You can go to Beatplay.com right now to sign up, and you’ll be asked to login with your Facebook account. We don’t auto-post to anybody’s walls, or publish any user information, not even on the Beat-Play player itself right now, so your account will still be completely secure.

If you have issues or suggestions, please contact us! We are still in beta so we understand there’s a lot of room for us to grow, but we’re working really hard with our small team to keep up with the demand for more features. The player is best used with Firefox right now also. Again, we really appreciate the support of the independent music community that we’re getting, from both artists and fans, and we’re extremely excited to get to the next level!

Dante, thank you so much for the interview.

Absolutely, Thank you!

To get you started, here are some awesome playlists courtesy of the Beat-Play team – over 6 hours of great tunes:

Beat-Play Launch Mixtape (dubstep, house, indie, hip hop, r&b, electro, other)

 

Mellow Music Mix (Reggae, Indie, Dub)

 

 

Kendrick Lamar Mix (Hip hop)

 

 

Interview by: Kian Bardikalaie

PUJOL from Nashville, TN [MUSIC]

Alright, it’s time for some more music from Nashville’s indie music scene. PUJOL is a southern gothic rock band from Nashville, TN.  The band was started by Daniel Pujol after he moved to Nashville and began writing songs about life, theology, and family.  After growing up in Tallahoma, TN, Daniel is now a very talented punk singer/songwriter in Music City who has made a name for himself the last couple years.  His band consists of Adam Tanaka on drums, Sean Thompson on lead guitar, and Joey Scala on bass.  They’ve been described as “buds bonded by the brain.”  Other members include Dan Burns, Mitch Jones, Steward Copeland, Forever Young, Angelbaby, and The Wez.  Check out this song by PUJOL called “Black Rabbit.”

As you can hear, PUJOL has developed their own distinct sound.  From the intricate guitar riffs to the scratchy vocals, their music has true originality.  It also doesn’t hurt to have Jack White producing songs for your band.  In an interview with SPIN Magazine, Pujol said, “Jack White was very polite and professional.  It felt good to finally be in a situation where knowing what you wanted to sound like was just normal and not high maintenance. Everyone involved respected my judgment as an artist, and we all worked together to help mutually refine the single as a satisfactory meeting ground between the Third Man aesthetic and my own.”  The music is a great new take on the punky garage rock music that has been coming back with a strong underground following in major cities like Nashville.  This is a band that you should definitely see live if you haven’t already.  Here’s another one of their songs (by Stewart Copeland) called “Too Safe.”  The song is “a b-side from PUJOL’s “Black Rabbit” 7-inch, which is being released by Jack White’s Third Man Records.”  You can download it here: DOWNLOAD MP3

Daniel Pujol is an advocate for vinyl records and “almost exclusively releases music on tape, vinyl or digitally.”  In an interview done by Nashville SCENE last year, Daniel describes his very intriguing view on CDs and why he chooses not to release music in the CD format.  He has some great points that I think should be discussed by any independent band thinking about releasing an album these days.  His main ideology on the topic is basically something like “CDs blow, they’re overpriced and nobody cares.”  It’s definitely something I haven’t thought about much, and I can’t really argue with the stunning truth in his argument.  Check out this video from the interview:

Pretty interesting huh?  If you like the music and like the discussion, check out PUJOL’s music here, buy one of their albums, or move to Nashville and come see for yourself some awesome concerts.  Live music has really been coming back the last couple years, so continue to support local music in your hometown and don’t be afraid to go to a concert even if you have never heard of the band.  If you’re an optimistic adventurous music lover, you’ll usually find something that you like about the music.  Thanks for listening!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play, Music Without Labels, LLC

Interview with Double Adapter [INTERVIEW]

Double Adapter

Recently I was lucky enough to be be able to interview Double Adapter, a thrash electro band out of South Africa.  The Johannesburg based duo has played at venues across South Africa, and just completed their European tour Adapt or Die.  Dan and Tim are fun loving, extremely talented artists, who are passionate about both their music and visual art.  Read on to learn more…

When did you start playing musical instruments and how many do you play?
Dan: I’m a bit musically challenged to be honest. I tried my hand at drums and guitar when I was younger but nothing really stuck, I guess I’m visually minded. I do however play a mean Ukulele.

Tim: I play quite a few instruments, but generally stick to the basics of guitar/bass/piano/drums…

How do you describe the genre of thrash electro and what inspires you to create this type of music?

Dan: Thrash electro was kind of a progression for me, I love indie electro, pop, hard rock and metal respectively, and all those elements together do give you a sense of what thrash electro is. It gets me excited and I think that’s the goal of dance music.

Tim: Yeah trash and thrash electro definitely inspires me in that is crosses a lot of boundaries – I love it that is bridges the gap between rock and dance music, it basically joins people from different music styles together.

What drove you to pursue a career in music and what is it that fosters your creativity?

Dan: Double Adapter is a passion; we love doing what we do. I am actually studying Film and Fine Art, as I said I’m visually minded and film, photography and art in all forms inspires me equally to music.

Tim: I also work in visual mediums too, owning a film production company, but I think the music thing bit pretty early for me and was hard to get away from – it’s quite an addiction. I’m really inspired by all new music I hear, strangely especially by pop music, which has strong reliance on melody – I love melody.
Where did the idea of a documentary come from?  Was the process what you expected?

Tim: Well coming from my film side, the documentary kinda just happened because we knew we could pull it off… after the tour had been booked we kind of just had this realization that documenting it would be a rally fun and interesting project. Luckily my good friend Matthew Stonier from Mustard Post Production was able to come along for the trip, and create the awesome visuals you see in the documentary. I think the goal was to figure out how different the European and South African scenes are, and I think SA came off looking really strong.
What were some highlights from your European tour?

Dan: I loved Holland, its always been a dream to go there, traveling to a festival in Italy through the Alps was amazing and hanging out in Munich, my Joburg away from Joburg, was a really great experience.

Tim: I love German beer! Haha

Double Adapter

What kind of things do you do to promote yourself?

Dan: I guess at the end of the day performing is the best way to promote yourself, and the most fun.

Tim: But that said, we’re also pretty active on twitter and facebook, we do as many interviews as we possibly can, and we LOVE creating little video clips and taking photo’s of things we’re doing…
What are your thoughts on the future of the music industry and where do you see it going?

Dan: I believe collaboration is definitely the way forward, which is something that we love doing. The SA music scene is constantly growing and changing and it really exciting to see and be a part of.

Tim: Its a good future, but its not what a lot of record labels and major artists thought it was going to be 10 years ago I think, the real future for musicians is in gigging and being seen, and creating music to be heard, almost as advertising rather than a profit stream. The whole industry is also moving away from commercial studios and into bedrooms and home studios, which is awesome, because we’re seeing talent come from places where it wouldn’t have survived in the old formal music industry.
What are your reasons for being an independent artist?

Tim: We haven’t been signed yet! Haha. That’s not strictly true – we take it one step at a time. I don’t think we’re dead set on being independent, we’re just dead set on doing our best to make the right choices when we can, not let people that like what we’re doing down, and get our show and sounds into the ears of new people – if that’s with a label, or independently, its something we take seriously.
What struggles have you faced with getting your music heard and getting your name recognized by outside markets?

Tim: Luckily for us, we haven’t really faced any, because we haven’t really tried! Double Adapter is about us doing what we love – we’ll keep doing it regardless of any growth rate or crowd sizes or other hurdles. This isn’t about fame, this isn’t about glory, its about playing the most fun parties we can, and making the people at those parties happy – luckily, it seems that that passion has opened some doors, so we’ll sit tight, be patient and see what comes our way! That said, we do have amazing support from our manager, Dominique Gawlowski at Griet and our publicist Rachelle Crous at Rachelle Crous Publicity – without them recognizing something they like in us, we totally wouldn’t be doing most of the things we’re doing right now…

Check out part 1 of their documentary here.

By: Elizabeth Stene | Beat-Play Ambassador South Africa | @LizMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

 

Stroked “Is This It” [ALBUM REVIEW]

One of the best parts about writing this blog is the music.  Learning about new music and constantly listening to new bands and sharing it with you is a major perk.  Thinking you have your finger on the pulse of the Los Angeles music scene is also nice and completely unrealistic in this massive behemoth of a musical metropolis.  LA has so much to offer music wise and the ever changing musical landscape here is mind boggling but there are certain things that are definitive and one hundred percent accurate and one of them is popularity.  Good or bad popularity of a rock and roll act can’t be denied.  This blog is about one of the my favorite bands of all time and a very popular one at that.  They are called The Strokes.  Now your probably ready to punch me in the face for writing about something so mainstream?  Hold your horses cowboy and let me explain.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Stroke’s seminal album “Is This It.”  It’s a hit fest from start to finish.  Stereogum has put together a special tribute to “Is This It” with major and non major indie artists doing takes on the songs.  Get excited.

Peter Bjorn and John – Is This It

I don’t know or have heard a lot of the bands on this awesome tribute but I will highlight some of the best.  The opening tracks guitar laden effects slathered and the awesome vocal stylings of Peter Bjorn and John of “Young Folks” fame brings some major indie cred and star power to this record.  “Is This It” is one of the best / my favorite Strokes songs ever.  As a fitting introduction to the band ten years ago it has now become yet again a fitting introduction to “Stroked.”  For those keeping score I’m going to skip “Modern Age” and move into the third track on the record.  This version of “Soma” by Frankie Rose is a completely mellowed out pseudo electronic version of the original.

Soma – Frankie Rose

Pretty awesome version if I do say so myself.  A lot of these artists are new to me so perk up and leave a comment if you know more or can suggest something I should listen to.  This next track is The Strokes most famous and popular song.  It’s called “Last Night” and it’s done by a great band called The Morning Benders.  Recently The Strokes have toured the festival circut and released a new record of great music as well as efforts after “Is This It,” but for whatever reason I can’t get enough of this pop gem.  People (mostly me) go nuts when they play it on a nightly basis and it has defined the band since it was released 10 years ago.

Last Night – The Morning Benders

Awesome cover, awesome song.  Deep breaths, I’m getting all worked up.  The synth in that version kills it (kills it in a good way).  There is just enough of the original, great melody mixed with a quick pop beat, awesome cover.  Ok moving on.  This is where it get’s interesting.  I said earlier this record is a complete and utter hit fest.  Obviously I wouldn’t lie to you.  Many of the concert staples The Strokes play come off this record and from what I’ve read they actually enjoy playing them on a nightly basis.  On of the tunes I love so much is called “Hard To Explain.”  For me it’s the iconic example of how good of a singer Julian Casablancas actually is.  The tribute version keeps that in mind giving it the acoustic treatment, more specifically the string quartet treatment.  It’s a light touch with heavily effected vocals and I think it does the trick while keeping in mind how good the original is.

Hard To Explain – Owen Pallett

Gorgeous composition and great vocals from Owen Pallett that track is a stand out in the second half.  The next song is “New York City Cops.”  Yet another fan favorite and live staple.  The version on this compilation is, in a word, interesting?  It’s a hip hop song.  SAYYYY WHATTTTT?????  But, Steve “NYC Cops” is one of the most rockin’ tracks on the whole record why would they give it the hip hop treatment?  To be honest I have no idea, but its a pretty cool version of the song using a sample of Julian’s vocal as the chorus.  Check it out here.  I won’t judge if you won’t.

New York City Cops – Heems

This brings us to the end of the record.  We’ll skip over “Trying Your Luck” and get right after it with “Take it or Leave It.”  This epic show closer tells you like it is and that’s the way The Stroked have been since day one.  They make their music and quite frankly don’t give an f-bomb what anyone else thinks.  They have made some of my favorite music of all time and this tribute Stereogum put together is a fitting tribute to a great record and a greater band.  Enjoy The Strokes.  Enjoy this entire compilation for FREE HERE, take it or leave it.

Take It Or Leave It – Computer Magic

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Simon Raymonde – Cocteau Twins / Bella Union Label Owner [Interview]

Q01 Who are you, What do you do & where are you based?
You know who I am, silly! I run a record label in London called Bella Union. I was in a band before I started the label, called Cocteau Twins and we made some records on 4AD and then,foolishly, some records for Fontana (Mercury)!
Q02 What album,track,gig or producer inspired you to end up behind a mixing board
I havent been inspired solely in that way, and as I do a few different things in music, I am not perpetually behind the mixing desk. As a young boy, my father who produced many artists and wrote string arrangements for people like The Walker Brothers, would take me to the studios in London sometimes and hearing him talk about Joe Meek, I was always fascinated by his approach and think in many ways, the fundamentals of what Joe practised still apply today in all scenarios. My dad was one of Joe’s favourite arrangers and when I found myself in later life running studios of my own, rediscovering Joe Meek was highly inspirational to me. His use of reverb, delays and compression, tape loops and distortion, echoes and other strange sounds saw him as way ahead of his peers and for the kind of music we were making, there seemed to be parallels.
With a household full of music from a very early age, it might seem like I was destined for a life in music but to be honest, the music I heard as a young teen, from my brother’s room, mostly heavy rock stuff and proggie stuff wasn’t remotely exciting to me, and I was happiest playing football and hanging out with friends, until 1976 arrived and I heard the Sex Pistols and from that moment everything changed. I think the records that blew my mind just AFTER punk were Metal Box by Public Image Limited and The Associates’s Sulk, both wildly different but with an astonishing IDENTITY that was partly production and mostly coming from within the band’s themselves. On ‘Sulk’ Mike Hedges who had earlier produced the first 2 Cure albums, had the gift of not diluting the wonderful spirit and exuberance of the band’s music and Billy’s voice, and yet also making a terrificly modern ‘pop’ record, one that still stands up today. As for PiL, their ability to put two fingers up to the industry was never in dispute, let’s face it, Lydon was THE iconic figure in music for the last half of the 70s, and yet instead of playing up to the cartoon he was in danger of becoming -he was too smart for that- the arrival of Metal Box, blew everything else that was stale and tired about the end of punk out of the water. It was a wake-up call, and one that affected many of us at that time. The D-I-Y nature of the recordings was inspirational and as well as being a brilliantly produced record, the sense of FUN and excitement during the recordings is evident in the finished record.
Q03 Where did you study your trade?’
Never studied but in Cocteau Twins we always had our own studio set up from the early days. Every advance we got we’d buy a little bit more gear and eventually we had a studio’s worth, probably two.  We started our own studio in North Acton in the mid 80s, by renting an empty shell in a light industrial estate and with our friends in Dif Juz, who had labouring skills and bigger muscles, we built the skin of our own 24 track studio. Doing something from scratch like that was actually pretty thrilling. I did have one rather tricky moment. We had a false ceiling and above it we had to fill it with rockwool, that horrid orangey roof insuation stuff that works also as a sound absorber. I was up in the ceiling, carefully walking across the joists, stuffing this rockwool around the ‘roof’, when my foot slipped off the joist and disappeared through the ceiling, made of plasterboard! Luckily we hadnt decorated or put the lights in but it made a helluva mess of my leg and the ceiling. When we’d finished building it all, we had a live room and an office and a tuck cupboard (there was a cash n carry in the same premises so we could buy shop-sized boxes of Minstrels and Galaxy bars!), and it was the first time we were able to make a record in our own studio on our own ‘clock’ where we recorded from start to finish. Blue Bell Knoll was that record. We didn’t rent the studio out during this period but we lent it to friends and Robin did some productions there of course. Pump Up The Volume by M.A.R.R.S was recorded and mixed there. That was, until Fleet Foxes success, the only gold disc I ever had !
In 1991 we moved into Pete Townsend’s Eel Pie Studios building and stayed there for 13 years, eventually running 2 commercial recording studios. And then… the studio went bust, and we had nothin again!  I learnt a lot by watching Cenzo Townsend, Phill Brown, and Robin Guthrie of course who was way more experienced than me, but to be honest, having your own studio and living 5 minutes away, I really had no excuse not to learn and I mostly learnt by trial and error and making my own records, a solo lp, the first release on Bella Union, and producing the Nanaco album that I co-wrote. The last record I worked on at these beautiful riverside studios was the Lift To Experience album ‘The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads’, which I feel was the catalyst for me believing in my own ability finally, as a ‘pair of ears’, both as a label dude and as a ‘producer’. The studio was about to go out of business, we were losing a load of money each month, our band had long-since broken up, the rent was very high and the studio business in general was utterly depressed. Bands werent using studios to make albums any more, they were using them to do string overdubs or drums only and we had this amazing place and not enough clients. We probably werent ‘selling’ it well, cos well we were not business folks, we were musicians and it had suddenly become this massive burden. I was mixing the record all day and all night, by day the receivers would be coming in and taking away the gear around me, and by night I was jumping around the control room in delight at this incredible music I was working on so intimately. Very weird time. So yeah, all these recordings gave me a grounding for the future, but I still would never describe myself as a “record producer”. I occasionally produce records but it doesn’t define me.
Q04 What advice do you have for any budding label owners/engineers out there?
I am not so good at dole-ing out advice as I don’t feel I have the knowledge to advise but given the over-population of most sectors of the music community, I feel that knowing what you want your music, your recordings to sound like before you start, is a key first step. Knowing what you want then it should be slightly easier to find out how to get there. Having realistic targets and expectations is important but then like everything, if you approach your work with love and passion, then these two things should override any other initial inadequacies. When I listen to old recordings of ours, like say the Echoes In A Shallow Bay and Tiny Dynamine which was predominantly recorded in a room we rented in William Orbit’s flat in St Johns Wood on a 16 track recorder, it’s clear that no amount of ‘gear’ makes a great sounding record, it is what you do with the gear that ya got!
Q05 What people in the biz inspire you to do what you do. past heroes and modern upstarts?
From the label side, Geoff Travis is for me the man. I don’t remotely want to emulate him, or copy him or for that matter BE him, but  having seen Geoff come through a myriad of trials and tribulations during the long and dramatic history of Rough Trade, I can comfort myself knowing that simply if you love what you do, then you will come through the wringers and out the other side, and straighten yourself out, and move forward again.  On the audio/studio side of things Dave Wrench, an engineer/producer/musician is an example to us all. He works at Bryn Derwen Studios in North Wales and is an incredible person to work with, with exquisite taste, and immaculate pro tools skills. He also knows how to mic things up superbly and has worked for years in the analog domain so he has multi-skills and he is an amazing guy to sit next to for 6 weeks on a production! That inspires me. Even if I am producing up there, Dave is part of the reason I am there. The studio is close to a quarry, and incredible waterfalls within a few minutes walk from the studio. Its like an old country manor house that’s wonderfully unkempt and bands feel so at home there. The prices of studios in London are beyond many of the bands I work with, and Bryn Derwen is a residential studio with plenty of room for 6-8 , a wonderful mix board a DDA AMR24, a lovely old grand piano, great outboard, and a brilliant engineer, Dave Wrench on tap. I produced the Lucas Renney record here, and the Duke Spirit lp ‘Cuts Across The Land’, and my own Snowbird record ( a new band with Stephanie Dosen)
Q06 Analog or Digital? Tape or DAW? Outboard or Plugin?
Whatever and wherever, but out of choice I love the sound of analog recordings. Our own studio was mostly during the pre-computer  period and I learnt what little I know using 2″ tape, on an Otari 24 track with Dolby SR, and Otari half-inch mastering. We did  buy a lot of lovely old vintage gear, but it all went with the receivers and it’s best not to think about it!!
Q07 What 3 pieces of gear could you not live without?
Roland Space Echo, Roland CR78 drum machine and AKAI MPC-60 (its limitations are its strength) and I am using them ALL on the Snowbird LP!
Q08 What do you think is the best mixed record of all time?
Either Innervisions by Stevie Wonder or Remain in Light by Talking Heads
Q09 What do you do on your downtime from Label/Studio?
Downtime??????????
Q10 If you werent an producer/musician , what would you be doing instead?
Dogwalker.

Q11 What was your 1st professional album, mix/master job?
First job outside of my own solo and band stuff was Billy Mackenzie’s posthumous release on Nude Records called Beyond The Sun. A privilege to be involved as co-producer. As I had loved The Associates, to get a phonecall out of the blue, asking if I’d like co-produce the record blew my mind, and then to sit with the music of this sadly-missed beautiful man who I had met as a naïve 18 year old and be able to put something of my self into it was emotional and super special.
 
Q12 What is some of the recent/future works you been part of?
I am co-producing an album I have co-written for a band called Snowbird, with Stephanie Dosen (Chemical Brothers, etc), this will be  released in 2012 on Bella Union and I recently produced the debut lp on Brille Records by Lucas Renney, ex-Golden Virgins. I brought Paul and Mckenzie from Midlake over from Texas to record with Lucas and that was a great fun experience in Bryn Derwen wirth Dave Wrench.  At that point, I realised that Mckenzie was probably the best drummer around. Hearing him on record and seeing him at gigs is one thing, but seeing him in action was something else. Literally. Two things I wont EVER forget. On one take I was watching through the control room window, he was texting with one hand and playing the drums with the other..that was THE take we used and it was genius! Then on a new song that he and Paul had never heard before, they played it through for the first time and as is usual, Dave and I were recording everything anyway, just in case, and at one point in the song, a very straightforward 4-4 verse chorus arrangement, BOTH Paul and Mckenzie at EXACTLY the same moment did this weird off-beat fill thing that was so unexpected Dave and I just looked at each other and were like “WOAH! Did you hear that?!!” How could they have known to do that at the same time on a song they had only just heard!! When I spoke to them on the headphones after the take, I asked them how the fuck that could have happened, and Paul just laughed and said ‘we’ve been playing together every day for like 7 years, we have an instinctive thing going on ….” Yeah, too right they do. Moments like this are priceless and why I am so grateful for the life I have.
By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Will Gray – Broke* Documentary – “Introducing Will Gray” [FILM & MUSIC]

Every single aspiring independent artist, band, producer, or musician should pay close attention.  We all know that the music industry has undergone extreme changes, and it continues to change in this current age of transition.  Labels are folding, music is free, and the digital age is upon us.  What do we do?  Can artists still do this, be happy, and support themselves?  All these questions and more are discussed in Will Gray’s Broke* Documentary.  However, Will didn’t just wake up one day and decide to do a documentary about the struggles of emerging artists.  He has been living it for over a decade.  Broke* is about the music industry, and what it takes to thrive as an independent artist or music executive in search of their big break.  The documentary features interviews from industry names like Don Was, John Legend, Isaac Slade from The Fray, Seth Godin, Kelly Clarkson, and many more.  After sifting through 300+ hours of footage and more than 60 interviews, Broke* has been created and directed with perfection.  In fact, the film won the Special Jury Prize at the Nashville Film Festival this spring.  “The film digs beneath the clichés and standard storylines to reveal an industry struggling to find a new identity and an artist who’s simply trying to establish one.”  The question: “Can a new act be “broken”?”

Will Gray is not only a great director for his documentary Broke*, but he is an amazing musician that combines folk and hip-hop to create some truly incredible, fresh, and intelligent music.  His influences range from jazz greats like Miles Davis to pop icons like Michael Jackson.  “Will Gray is an independent Hip-Hop/Americana artist who has shared the stage with acts ranging from Erykah Badu, Twista, and Jurassic 5, to Justin Townes Earle and Los Lonely Boys. His original songs have been licensed by MTV, Ford Motor Co., Warner Bros. Records, Playstation, and Motorola.”  This is music that I feel speaks to everyone musically, and conceptually.  Will Gray released his debut album “Introducing Will Gray” under the production of Grammy Award-winning producer T Bone Burnett.  Check out one of my favorite songs from the album called “Back to the Wall:”

Will Gray may be one of the most influential artists of this generation; not because his music is number one on the charts (although it certainly could be), but because he is grabbing the industry by the horns and showing the world what it takes.  As the industry continues through a transitional period, this film gives an inside look at how music executives, producers, and artists feel about its current and future status.  Will music survive the digital age?  Will true and significant art be able to endure pop culture?  What is the breaking point, if it still exists?  As music continues to thrive upon the feel-good listener, Will Gray’s music explores new musical concepts as well as lyrical concepts untouched by the mainstream.   Please explore what this artist has to offer at willgraymusic.com.  Check out the Broke* Documentary, and buy “Introducing Will Gray.”

By: Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Trevor Menear “Some Kind Of Sunshine” [NEW MUSIC]

It’s been just over a week since my last blog post.  Sorry.  Had to go visit the lady in North Carolina.  Thought I’d use my trip to discover some cool local bands out there, but instead I found hippie jam band drum circles and people playing homemade instruments (the terrible sounding kind) in the street.  Kinda cool if your deaf, but not really my cup of tea.  There is a time and place for hippie jam band drum circles and a romantic evening with the lady you haven’t seen in a couple months is not the time and in my ear drums wasn’t the place.  Instead I stumbled upon this awesome new artist named Trevor Menear.  I signed up for his mailing list at The Satellite Lounge in LA right before I left and he gave me his CD for free.  I listened to it on the plane ride back to LA and I wish I knew it was this good because honestly would have paid 20 bones.

River Blues – Trevor Menear

Chicago native Menear is a blues man.  His most recent and second full length offering “Some Kid Of Sunshine” he features the blues with a small hint of pop mixed in just for fun.  Two things hit me right off the bat.  His guitar work and the originality and distinctness of Trevor’s voice.  Both are the stars of the show on this record.  His take on the blues is fresh and his acoustic picking is just awesome.  This record has a good mix of heavy and light.  A good example to contrast that first track “River Blues” is the track “Better On The Way”.

Better On The Way – Trevor Menear

It’s pretty awesome when you stumble on an artist with this kind of range.  He keeps the same general tone throughout the record, but each song is very different and the mix between his acoustic picking and the electric guitar is awesome to listen to.  All that acoustic light stuff is nice, but lets be serious this guy can wail so lets hear some more.  Here’s an original off the record and a video of Trevor and band covering “Champagne and Reefer” by the legendary Muddy Waters.

Make Me Howl- Trevor Menear

That’s my favorite song on this record.  Come to think of it maybe “Blues River” is.  Eh, whatever they are both awesome tunes and as the starting two tracks on this record needless to say my attention was grabbed in a big way.  There are other little gems on this record as well.  One tune in particular is the track “Giver Her a Name” It’s kind if buried near the end of the record, but the haunting melodies and the strings are really cool especially after the heavy distortion of the guitar on the previous tracks.

Give Her a Name – Trevor Menear

Now for the good part.  Here’s where I get to tell you that Trevor lives locally in LA and has played and is playing a bunch of local free shows namely the Venice Beach Music Festival on August 13th.  I guess it’s really only good for me and the rest of the Californians, sorry.  His tour page is here and he’s playing The Foundry on Melrose tomorrow night from 8:30 to 11:30 for FREE.  I’ll see you there.

Now for the second good part.  On his website Trevor’s new record “Some Kind Of Sunshine” is available in the “pay what you want” format.  Do yourself a favor and throw him a 5 or a 10, whatever you can afford.  You won’t be disappointed
and you’ll get to hear the rest of the tracks I wasn’t able to fit above.

Here’s the last track as usual.  There are 13 tracks on this record.  Seriously buy it, I honestly think its worth a 20…

November (a long way from here) – Trevor Menear

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC