5 Questions With: The Maine [SXSW/SBSW Edition]

The guys of The Maine have been crazy busy lately, performing at both South By Southwest and South By So What?!, releasing their new album in just a few days, and heading out on the American Candy tour. We caught up with guitarist, Jared Monaco, about what they’ve been up to, what it was like performing at both South By festivals, and the band’s new album! Check out the interview below!

So we talked with you guys a while back, on the Anberlin tour. Other than the album, what’s new?
Right now we’re at home preparing for the American Candy tour! As I write this, I’m in the middle of fixing up a couple of my guitars to bring on the road.

Not only did you play South By So What?! this past weekend, but you also played South By Southwest. What is the difference in atmosphere between the two
festivals? Do you have a preference in which you prefer playing?
I think South by Southwest has become this weird blend of music and branding and tech stuff and corporate sponsors and yada yada. It’s cool to be there and play a show, but I don’t think we have any interest in impressing labels or agents or any of the industry related stuff that goes with it. Our goal is to play a show for anyone willing to
watch. We were lucky enough to play at Emo’s in Austin, which is isolated from
the hustle and bustle of the main events. It was a great show! South by So What
was cool too! It was rainy and outdoors and messy, but it was punk rock, it was
just a throw-and-go kind of show. I think I lean more towards club shows, but I
don’t mind a rainy festival too.

People seem pretty excited for the new record and singles that have been released thus far. How have you all felt about the initial reaction?
Personally, I’m fired up. It’s nice to be releasing new material, and it’s a bonus to see it received so well. I’ve had such a positive attitude towards these songs ever since we finished the album in Joshua Tree. To me, I felt like I could sense how our fans would react
to the new stuff. After releasing 2 tracks already, I just want to keep this momentum and keep moving forward. All good vibes.

Since both South By So What?! and South By Southwest is filled with tons of incredible acts, were you excited to catch any artists in particular? Did you stumble across any new artists that you are now a fan of?
Yeah! I watched Title Fight at South By So What. It was rad. I love their new album. Also, our good friends in Mayday Parade! Love running into that group of hunks.

American Candy is being released in just a few days. Is there one song on the new album that you’re most proud of or you’re the most excited for people to hear? If so, what song is it and why?
I really love the title track, “American Candy”. It started out as a mid-tempo, piano-based tune, and we had this idea to make it as loud and as rocking as possible. It became more of an anthemic vibe instead, and I think lyrically it conveys one of the strongest messages on the album.

5 Questions With: Michael McQuaid [SXSW Edition]

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We spoke with Michael McQuaid about his first timeperforming at South By Southwest, new music, and the best advice he’s received!

Check out our interview with him below!
Continue reading 5 Questions With: Michael McQuaid [SXSW Edition]

5 Questions With: Fire From The Gods [SBSW Edition]

We spoke with Austin natives, Fire From The Gods, about their experience at South By So What?!, The Alumni Tour, and the best advice they’ve been given! Below is our interview with vocalist, AJ Channer!

You guys are actually
from Austin, TX, so South By So What?! is almost like a hometown show for you
guys. Was there any pressure in putting together a better performance because
of this?
The show totally felt like a hometown
show. There were so many bands on the bill that we have played with on the
past. We each had to step it up when we played in front of our friends as well
the folks from Texas that know the music but haven’t seen fire live!

For those that aren’t aware, Fire From The Gods was chosen to join The Alumni
Tour from over 1000 unsigned bands. Can you tell us a little about the tour and
what your reaction was to learning that you guys had been chosen as the tours
headliner?
It was a huge honour. We played the
first leg of the Alumni tour earlier this year so we were pumped to play the
2nd leg as well. We have been involved in the headbang program for about a year
now and there are some incredible local artist involved in the headbang set up.
So it was huge for us to get the slot.

What act were you most excited to catch at South By So What?! and did they meet
your expectations?
Oh man there were a lot of bands I
wanted to see all weekend but I was most stoked for Norma Jean and  Beartooth. Perfect blend of heavy with
hardcore roots.

You guys are all about diversity and not fitting into any cookie-cutter mold,
which definitely plays a role into how successful you guys have been thus far.
Everyone has a different way of defining how and when they make it, whether it’s
a radio single or playing sold-out shows. How do you measure your success?
We are pumped on everything right now
as well as all the buzz surrounding the band.
We are still just scratching surface with a lot more to go. Diversity is
a huge part of fire from the gods but we will see in a few years where the
sound is and how that impacts our success.

The list of performers you have played alongside is extremely impressive and
includes acts such as Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Of Mice and Men, The Devil
Wears Prada, Five Finger Death Punch, etc. What is the best advice that one of
those bands has given you?
Great question. Chris met Corey
Taylor at Knotfest and he told Chris to just smile and wave. Most of the dudes
you meet in bigger bands always say the same thing stay humble and  stay busy.

5 Questions With: Dylan Gardner [SXSW Edition]

We’ve been fans of Dylan Gardner for over a year now and the talent this kid has is incredibly impressive. At only 18, Dylan is currently signed to Warner Bros. Records and will be taking over the world by storm; we don’t doubt it one bit. We spoke with Dylan about what got him into music, some performances he was able to catch at SXSW, and the struggles of being a young performer! Check out our interview with Dylan below!

We’ve been huge fans
since we first received your album last summer and were absolutely intrigued
with how passionate you are about music. What first gave you the push to begin
writing and playing music?
Thank you! Well, I’ve been performing
music since I was a non-lucid child! I started my musical journey as a drummer
wanting to be like my brother and as I grew up I was attracted to more melodic
instruments like guitar and piano. When I moved to Arizona in 2010, I just sat
down and wrote my first fully realized song in the first couple days I lived
there, for no reason. When the family heard the song through the door, they
encouraged me to keep writing. Ever since then I’ve been writing as many songs
as I can imagine!

Since South By Southwest is filled with tons of incredible acts, were you
excited to catch any artists in particular? Did you stumble across any new
artists that you are now a fan of?
Of course. This is my first time at
SXSW and just looking at the bills of the shows I’m playing on I wanted to see
the bands before and after me. I wanted to catch acts like Spoon, Win Butler,
the Zombies, the Residents etc. but on the road with my schedule unfortunately
there’s just no time. *sad face* Next time though!

Not only are you a singer, but you’re also a songwriter and
multi-instrumentalist AND you signed to Warner Bros. Records shortly after your
album was released independently. Everyone has a different way of defining how
and when they make it, whether it’s a radio single or playing sold-out shows.
How do you measure your success?
Success to me is when someone who
hasn’t heard the record has an opinion on it. But honestly I don’t try to
justify or measure any kind of success; I just hope people will hear the record
and come have a fun experience with me at the shows! Sometimes unsuccessful
bands have radio singles, and bands that play sold out shows don’t have a radio
single. I say save yourself the headache and instead worry about what kind of
string arrangements you want on your next record.

Being that you are only 18 and there are tons of venues that do have age
restrictions, have you ever had any issues with getting into one of your own
shows?
I have this issue all the time haha
I’ve also missed a shameful amount of legendary shows do to my age. I hate it.
I hate age restricted shows. No, I don’t want your stupid liquor I just want to
watch Grouplove burn down the Crescent Ballroom on stage, is that such a
problem? Even some shows on this tour have been 21+, so technically I’m not
allowed to be at my own show!

Though you released your album initially in May of 2014, it was released via
Warner Bros. Records in October of 2014. Are you currently working on a new
album? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
As a songwriter, I’m constantly thinking
about the future and the next album to the nth power. Yes, a second album is in
the works. I look forward to making the next record more than anything else in
my life. Growing up, I’ve always known of the responsibility that comes with
making your second record. People say you get your whole life to make your
first record. I say for me it’s the second.

5 Questions With: Redlands [SBSW Edition]

Redlands recently released the first track off their
upcoming EP, Adventurer, and it’s absolutely addicting. Don’t believe us?
Listen to it
for yourself. The band had an impressive 2014 with releasing
their debut EP, performing at a few dates of the Vans Warped Tour and recording
their sophomore EP (to be released this June). This year is shaping up to be just as great with the band playing South By So What?! – needless to say, this is a band you want to keep on your radar. We spoke with the guys about
their new music, their motivation to tour, and their experience at South By So
What?!. Check out the interview below!

In addition to South
By So What?!, you guys have also performed at the Vans Warped Tour. Do you guys
prepare differently for festivals versus any other shows you would normally
play?
Yes and no, there’s not the usual
allotted amount of time like you get when you play a regular theater show so
you have to pretty much be ready to throw your stuff on stage and go.

What act were you most excited to catch at South By So What?! and did they meet
your expectations?
We all love Circa Survive from our
high school days and I don’t think any of us anticipated the show and
performance they would put on. They’re incredible musicians and performers.

It’s been over a year since you guys have released an EP, but you’ve announced
that your new EP, Adventurer, will be
released this June. What sound can fans expect to hear and what else can you
tell us about it?
Some of the songs on this EP are very
different from The Lonewolf EP, but at the same I think there’s similarities
you’ll see tying it together. Expect to hear more indie pop influences, big
guitars, tasteful acoustics, and driving drums. This album showcases yet
another side of our art which we’re very capable of and we can’t be more pumped
to share it.

On top of performing at South By and releasing some new music, you guys just
finished a short tour. What keeps you guys motivated to stay so busy?
You know, we simply love what we do
and we treat this more than just a hobby or any kind of job. This band is a
life for us and continuously pushing it forward is something that helps us feel
like we have meaning to our lives. Making a year plan on a shared google
document is definitely something that keeps us working towards greater things,
staying motivated, and realistic at the same time.

What can fans expect to see next from Redlands?
Well besides our new release
Adventurer coming out, we’ll be heading out on a summer west coast tour in
June/July followed by a fall tour out east. We have a few other things in
between for the inter-webs we’ll be working on as well. Come late fall we plan
on working on a few singles with two different producers we all envy, so it’ll
be a busy year for us nonetheless.

5 Questions With: Hotel Books [SBSW Edition]

It’s rare to come across a new band nowadays that will make
you think “damn – these guys are so different, but so damn great!” Well, that’s
where Hotel Books came in. A spoken word, indie rock band out of Porterville,
CA, Hotel Books has become one of my new favorite bands. We got to chat with
vocalist, Cam Smith, about their new album their writing process, and their experience
at South By So What?!. Check out our interview with Cam below!

You guys are one of
the more unique bands that we’ve heard in a while for the very reason that
you’re a spoken word, indie rock band. What gave you guys the push to form a
not so average band?

First off, thank you! I don’t think we
ever sat down and said “Let’s do something different.” I just loved writing
poetry and decided to use music and concerts as the platform in which I share
my poetry. Through the years, the musicians have come and gone, and I think
this latest installment of Hotel Books is the most diverse band we’ve ever
been. Dan comes from an emo/ indie background, Kaleb comes from heavy music,
and Andy comes from alternative country. I guess the uniqueness comes more from
synergy than anything else.

On top of the new album, you guys
recently toured with Hearts Like Lions before playing at South By So What?! and
you’re about to hit the road with Defeater for a month-long nationwide tour. Do
you guys prepare differently for festivals versus any other shows you would
normally play?

Yes and no. With SBSW, it was tough going
from playing forty minutes each night to a twenty minute set. As far as our
mindsets go, we try to approach every show the exact same way; Let’s play the
best we can and communicate our message of Love as honestly as we can.

You will be releasing your new album,
Run Wild, Young Beauty, on April 7th via InVogue Records. What track is your
favorite or most meaningful to you and why?

This is a very hard question to answer.
My favorite song changes quite often as I grow and face different
circumstances. As of right now, my favorite song would probably be “Constant
Conclusions” but I think the most meaningful song to me would be “I Died With
You”. That song meant a lot to us when we wrote it, and now that I have grown,
I have found even more meaning in it.

What act were you most excited to catch
at South By So What?! and did they meet your expectations?

We were very excited to see Hawthorne
Heights play “The Silence in Black and White” in full. I caught that set a
couple times last year and could not wait to see it again. I was very excited
to catch Cartel, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and The Maine. All those bands put
on a great set, even in the pouring rain. We caught a few bands that we weren’t
expecting to see but really enjoyed; Roam, Dear You, and Chon being a few!

I think my favorite aspect to you guys’
music is how you can really hear your emotions in a song – whether it be anger
or passion or love, etc. What is the process like for putting together a spoken
word song?

I write the lyrics. Dan, Kaleb and Andy
write the music. Sometimes I take a poem to them and they work out
instrumentals around it, and sometimes I hear an instrumental and think “I have
the perfect poem for this” while other times I am so moved by a song that I
write brand new lyrics. When recording, we try to do all vocals in one take. On
Run Wild, Young Beauty, nine of the twelve songs were tracked in one vocal
take. I like to get into the zone, channel the emotions as honestly as I can,
and pour it out steadily. I feel it’s a lot easier to capture the emotion when
all we focus on is emotion, rather than melodies, staying in key, and other
elements that singers deal with.

For more on Hotel Books: Website | Facebook | Twitter

5 Questions With:: Youngblood Hawke [Bumbershoot Edition]

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Interview conducted by Kristen Schell.

It’s a small world after all! Now this isn’t something I would normally say unless I were on the Disney ride, but here’s a fun story for you. Iglu and Hartly was the name of a band that formed prior to Young Blood Hawke. Back in 2008, I was a student of Ms. Martin(aka singer Sam of Young Blood Hawke’s mother)’s keyboard class. I had first hand sneak previews of Iglu and Hartley’s music when Ms. Martin would promote the band via background music to frantic typing. Flash forward and now this duo have moved on to bigger and better things, creating the amazing band we know as Young Blood Hawke!

For those who already know this band (and even for those of you who don’t), here is some exclusive insight to the band’s name origin, creative process, and long-term goals! 

How’d you all meet?

We started writing songs and after a few months we had about 100 songs.

What were the origins for your name “Young Blood Hawke”?

“Sam had read the book, it’s about a young writer from Kentucky who moves to New York and makes a name for himself. We all read it and agreed we shared similar experiences.”

What bands were you previously apart of?

Iglu and H

artly.

What are your future plans?

“Hunker down and start writing for our new record, it will hopefully be released by next year!”

What’s does creative process look like for you as a band?

“Start the instrumentals out and play it for Sam, if it has a good feeling everyone starts adding their perspective instruments and pieces”

Young Blood Hawke’s long-term goal is “do this for the rest of our lives, writing the best possible record we can, hopefully we can accomplish that.” 

Watch out for amazing things with this group, they have a creative vision that is sure to end up making it big time and even your pickiest friends will enjoy a couple songs from their album! 

5 Questions With:: Kins [Bumbershoot Edition]

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Interview conducted by Kristen Schell.

Serendipity brought them together and creativity has made them flourish. Kins are an indie-rock band based in the UK. Alex Knight and Thomas Savage met in Australia while their previous bands were on tour. Alex moved to England where they found the remaining two members of the band. We chatted about making mixed tapes and their creative process. While I only spoke with two of the four they were a pleasure to converse with.

Their set [at Bumbershoot] was a masterful blend of both high and low energy songs. Heads were bobbing and hands were clapping. The music was outstanding live, which is always a plus for any bands.

Are there going to be any new songs as teasers from your upcoming album?

 

“Seattle’s going to hear the first live version of one of songs on the next record,” said drummer, Alex.

Where do have you been spending the majority of time touring/playing?

“Every time we leave North America it’s always too soon, I’m never ready to leave”

How do you go about creating new music?

“Mostly me [Thomas Savage] noodling around and the live versions are adapted so they are more exciting. There are no rules, especially being in bands before. We aren’t concerned about image because we just try to have no boundaries.”

Tell me a little bit about your album artwork? What made you select the image of the ape carrying the dog?

“It’s definitely related to our personalities.  It’s a two species interacting that clearly wouldn’t happen.”

What are your plans for the future?

“The huge focus is this second record… longevity is the plan, to build a catalog and sustain a career making music” 

After our interview, Kins noted how Americans are “peachy about life,“ at least when it comes to music. I guess we can say that both Kins and Lucy Out Loud love, share, and get excited about new music!

5 Questions With:: Gregory Alan Isakov [Bumbershoot Edition]

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Interview conducted by Kristen Schell.

Gregory Alan Isakov is both humble and hilarious; this is a rare find and indeed a treat to speak with. He is a creative visionary combining both his experiences and craft of story telling into his music. There is a richness that cannot be mimicked in his vocals and the fluid harmonies that guide you through the story often places you somewhere unexpected. 

The day after his performance at Bumbershoot, I was able to chat with him about his his sound, how his performance went, and what we can expect next from him!  

How was bumbershoot?

 

“I never know what to expect with festivals, it was really exciting”

I like to start interviews with a brief origins type story, can you tell me how you began making music and when you decided it was a career?

“I’ve always played music for myself and it became like eating dinner just a part of my day. I went to school for horticulture and played for myself mostly. I began booking random shows and it started having a mind of its own”

“Second Chances”, is my favorite from your last album Weatherman, could you tell me a little bit about that track and how it came to be?

“That song totally was going to ruin my life we had like sixteen versions. I wrote that song with my little brother. That’s so nice to hear… you could have like two records of versions of that song.”

Do you feel your sound has changed since the start of your music career? I’m noticing a newfound richness in your vocals?

“For me everything feels so different. It’s kind of hard to get away from yourself. We did a lot of it on tape, which we haven’t really done before.”

What’re your plans for the future, more albums, any plans for collaborations in the future?

“Yeah, I have friends all over we try to hangout and work on things together. It’s one of my favorite things.”

If you have some free time on your hands, please, please, please take the time to listen to him and his newest album “The Weatherman.“ It is by far his most powerful and moving album. His talent will carry him through far beyond three albums and we cannot wait to see what else he has in store.

5 Questions With:: The Weather (Previously known as Campfire OK) [Bumbershoot Edition]

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Interview conducted by Kristen Schell.

This band is definitely going places and we had the chance to chat with the mastermind behind The Weather/Campfire OK, Mychal Cohen, a cool easy-going fellow.

They all met sporadically, slowly piecing together their sound. The band (who performed as Campfire OK) played their second Bumbershoot since coming together in 2010. Their performance was AMAZING, both old and new songs (mostly new from their recently released album “Infinite Loop”). 

Campfire OK, now going by the name The Weather, knows how to move a crowd and at Bumbershoot they blew the lid off of my expectations! Excitement for the band, they are changing their sound and also their name, let me add in their new stuff is beyond incredible!

What are your plans for the future?

“That’s a funny question because it’s not necessarily up to us. We’d love to play at more festivals and we’d love to travel a lot more. All we can do is make music and be kind to the people who are on our team, and hope people will receive it well.”

Anyone you’re looking forward to hearing at Bumbershoot?

“We’re looking forward to hearing Foster the people, Elvis Costello, and of course, Wu Tang Clan”

How would you describe your sound?

“Our new music has less folk, we are moving toward a more energetic electric feel. Still remaining true to our style, much more developed”

Can we expect any collaborations or touring in the near future?

“It’s definitely a dream of ours to tour with Foster the People, if it does it does and if it doesn’t that’s ok. We’ll just keep making music”

What is a must have for living in Seattle?

“Coffee!”