Get To Know:: Blacktop Queen


Members: Evan Ambrose (Vocals), Omar Ahmed (bass), Nate Lotz (drums)
Genre: Garage Rock
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Recent ReleaseEverybody

When LA rockers Blacktop Queen released their debut single a few weeks ago, we were completely into it. Filled with gritty vocals and catchy riffs, the track (which was self-produced and recorded in one take) is a relatable one to those who have been in toxic relationships and just can’t seem to stay away. Though a new band, Blacktop Queen is no stranger to the scene. Lotz plays drums for Halsey and Ryan Adams (yes – you read that correctly) and Ahmed plays bass in Youngblood Hawke and Kitten. So basically, Blacktop Queen is the band we’ve all been waiting to come to life and now our prayers have been answered. Get to know Blacktop Queen below!

How did Blacktop Queen form and come to be what it is today?
Blacktop Queen came from the death of a lot of previous project and bands. We had all known each other from playing music in the past, and it just so happened that we were all free’d up around the same time, it was a pretty a natural thing.

Who are some of your musical influences – both as a band and individually?
Omar – Radiohead, Chance The Rapper, BRMC
Evan– Oasis, the La’s, the cars, Nas
Nate – the pixies , refused, the clash

What do you enjoy most about playing shows?
I really enjoy the energy, from the crowd and from my band mates on stage. I love the interaction between everyone, trying to push yourself and your bandmates musically, its really fun having musicians that can all pull people in certain directions depending on the moment.

What do you do when you’re not playing music?
Omar – I love TV series, podcasts, and video games
Evan– play with my dogs, drink wine, listen to podcasts, and watch fail videos
Nate – go out to eat, go to museums, lay on the couch, play star wars video games

For more on Blacktop Queen: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Get To Know:: The Christopher Brothers


Members: Cameron, Charles, & Ethan Christopher
Genre: Pop/Rock
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Recent Release: Dog Daze

It’s been a while since we’ve been crazy about a band of brothers until The Christopher Brothers entered the picture. At only 14, 17 and 19, the trio of brothers write, play AND produce their own music. The trio may seem familiar for those of you who watched the X Factor back in 2013 when they made it to the top 20 of the group category. Since then, the band has toured nonstop at a variety of locations (Six Flags, malls, festivals, clubs, etc) and recently released their latest album, Dog Daze, on February 11th which we are a huge fan of. Get to know more about The Christopher Brothers below!

How did The Christopher Brothers form and come to be what it is today?
Each of us were playing our instruments on our own just because we liked them. We didn’t start out trying to be a band. Cameron was in a band with some friends and they told him he wasn’t very good so our mom suggested we all try playing together and it just worked. Within a month we wrote our first song.

Who are some of your musical influences – both as a band and individually?
We all love Green Day, The Beatles, Blur, The Hives, All American Rejects, The Beach Boys & The Who.

What do you enjoy most about playing shows?
Meeting our fans and having people enjoying our music in front of us! We love performing live!

What do you do when you’re not playing music?
All three of us do acting jobs in TV, commercials & films and we love playing video games as well as playing basketball and baseball and hanging with our friends.

For more on The Christopher Brothers: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Get To Know:: Night Lights


Members: Mau (Vocals/Guitar), Yusuke (Guitar), Jeff (Bass), Dag (Drums)
Genre: Indie pop/rock
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Recent Release: “Take My Hand”

Angeles indie-rockers, Night Lights, are planning to make 2016 a year full of
new music! As a band that is from all over the world (Mexico, Japan, United States and Norway), fans can expect the new music to touch on their experiences of heartache, joy, fear and love. Having
just released their newest music video for “Take My Hand,” their music has been
described by Baeble Music as “a warm
blast of dance pop
,and we couldn’t agree with them more! Get to know Night Lights in our interview below!

How did Night Lights form and come to be what it is today?
The idea of Night Lights started in conversation around a lunch table in Boston. 3 of us got together to jam one day, and the chemistry was there. As we started writing together, we also started talking about band names, which wasn’t easy, but Night Lights was the outcome. We’re all international, so thinking about that, it’s crazy how we all ended up meeting right after we all moved to Boston for college, and now we’re best friends doing music for a living.

Who are some of your musical influences – both as a band and individually?
Jeff: As a band, we find common ground in our love for bands like MuteMath and Phoenix. Individually, our influences are pretty diverse. I’m a fan of just about everything from the likes of Michael Jackson to Justin Timberlake to D’Angelo to Raphael Saadiq to Kimbra to Sufjan Stevens to Silversun Pickups (I’m sure each of us could go on for days, we listen to a lot of different things). I know Dag is a really big fan of *Nsync, Mau draws the majority of his lyrical influence from his favorite band, Nickelback, and Yusuke considers Tool to be the biggest influence on his guitar playing as far as I know.

What do you enjoy most about playing shows?
I think my favorite thing about playing shows is the unique experiences in each one. The reactions and the creative stuff we get to output whenever we play. For example, Jeff and I love to be silly and I’m notoriously dorky so I always have some sort of silly awkward thing to say and Jeff is so quick on his feet that he makes it into a punch line. Another example is that every concert there is a song that strikes an emotional chord for every one of us that may be different every time, and its great to see what it brings out of each one of us and by extension, how that influences and elevates the room. #fitness

What do you do when you’re not playing music?
When I’m not playing music I love to drink good coffee and cook with friends. 🙂

For more on Night Lights: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Get To Know:: Sci-Fi Romance


Members: Vance Kotrla
Genre: Steampunk Folk
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Recent Release: Dust Among The Stars

It’s not every day that you get to speak with someone who is a musician, an author, a video producer, a film scorer, and a film critic – which is why we were thrilled to speak with Vance Kotrla. Kotrla is the mastermind behind the alternative-folk (or “steamfolk”) band, Sci-Fi Romance. With a blank slate to work with, Kotrla turned the band into everything he wanted it to be: one that gained inspiration from a handful of genres from punk to folk to rock with a dark yet retro vibe to it. The band recently released their third studio album, Dust Among The Stars. Get to know more about Sci-Fi Romance below!

How did Sci-Fi Romance form and come to be what it is today?
It started off as just me, and after I did the first record on my own and it was more widely and warmly received than I could’ve hoped, I felt like I had a blank slate to make the band I wanted. So I got a cellist and a drummer, and tried to make the band I heard in my head. I think our new record is the closest we’ve come to that. There are folk, rock, and punk influences in there, and percussion is very prominent (which makes sense to me, since I started out as a drummer), but with a more lyrical, melodic texture that the cello brings in.

Who are some of your musical influences – both as a band and individually?
When it comes to songwriting, I try to draw influence from as many places as I can. There’s obviously Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and Tom Waits in there, but there are also maybe some lesser-known people that have meant a lot to me over the years, like Dax Riggs and Jason Webley. In terms of the band’s sound, I think it really has less to do with anybody I’m trying to emulate, and more with the musical path I’ve followed. If you take all the different bands I’ve played in over the years, and the more adventurous things we tried in terms of lineups and sounds and textures, Sci-Fi Romance just grew naturally out of that. To me, it’s just what sounded right.

What do you enjoy most about playing shows?
I think it’s the idea of surprising people. Usually, we’re the only band on the bill with a cello, so when Jody starts setting up, people perk up a little bit, realizing they might get to hear something new. And often we put the sets together in a way that allows the sound to evolve from song to song, so where we’re starting out with me on acoustic guitar, we might play something like “Steam Drill Blues” (off our album The Ghost of John Henry), which is acoustic but pretty loud and intense, and then by the end of the sets we’re usually playing pretty loud. I like trying to craft an experience for the people listening that will hopefully be something they weren’t expecting when they left the house.

What do you do when you’re not playing music?
Nobody who listens to our music will be very surprised to hear that I spend a lot of time watching sci-fi and classic horror movies when I can. I’m a big movie fan, and write cult film reviews for and co-edit the blog Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together, so I stay pretty busy apart from the band.

For more on Sci-Fi Romance: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Get To Know:: Awake At Last


Members: Vincent Torres (Vocals) Eric Blackway (Guitar), Imran Xhelili (Guitar), Jon Finney(Drums) and Tyler Greene (Bass/Backing Vocals)
Genre: Theatrical Rock or Alternative Rock
Location: Dover, DE
Recent Release: “Never Be A Memory”

Melodic rockers, Awake At Last, have practically done nothing but release music and tour since the band’s formation back in 2011. After numerous tours sharing the stage with acts including Hawthorne Heights, Framing Hanley and Emery, the band is starting to release new music! Just last month, the band put out a new music video for their song “Never Be A Memory,” the first bit of music that fans have heard since they released their last single “Questions” back in September. Get to know Awake At Last in our interview below!

How did Awake At Last form and come to be what it is today?
Awake At Last was formed in 2011 me and guitarist Eric Blackway came together to start the project in Dover, DE. We’d known each other from previous bands and we all came up in the Delaware music scene. Our bassist Tyler joined in 2012 and we began touring in the group with our previous drummer. I actually used to play rhythm guitar as well as sing up until 2014 when Imran joined as our second guitarist and I stepped into the frontman role. Our current drummer Finney joined in 2015

Who are some of your musical influences – both as a band and individually?  
As a group we all grew up with bands like My Chemical Romance, Emery, The Used, Killswitch Engage, and some other elements were provided by renown musicians like Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and Randy Rhodes, but as a group we wanted to do our own thing.  The music we play is reminiscent of that era of music but very different as we’ve blended in elements of metal, pop, and even some post modern classical theatrics.  We continue to try and innovate our sound and challenge ourselves as musicians.

What do you enjoy most about playing shows?  
The people. After touring as much as we do, we’ve seen all kinds of beautiful places and aesthetically pleasing environment changes. The real adventure of being a traveling musician is definitely the friends we’ve made on the road.  You wouldn’t believe how beyond expectations people have gone for us and that is truly the most rewarding part about doing what we do.

What do you do when you’re not playing music?  
We all work different jobs while we are at home! We all just went on a band ski trip recently. We all love playing and creating music and we try to catch both local and national shows while we are at home.

For more on Awake At Last: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Get To Know:: The Commuters

Members: Zeeshan Zaidi, Uri Djemal, Paul Amorese, Ben Zwerin
Genre: Alternative
Location: New York, NY
Recently Released“You’ll Stay Right Here”

New York alternative rockers, The Commuters, are starting off 2016 in an amazing way. The band recently teamed up with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to raise awareness through their latest video for their song “You’ll Stay Right Here,” with all proceeds from the sales being donated to the organization. With plans to release a new EP this spring (with the remastered version of “You’ll Stay Right Here” on it), we can only expect even more amazing things from the band. Get to know more about the Commuters below!

How did The Commuters form and come to be what it is today?
I had written a bunch of songs over the years, recorded and produced demos, and performed them at open mics, but never did much else with them.  

Uri is a good friend from childhood (we’ve been classmates since the first grade) and a producer in New York.  His studio was several blocks away from where I was living for a long time.  He heard my songs long time ago and for years kept encouraging me to come work on them at his studio.

I always wanted to do more with my music – had always been my dream to be a professional musician – and would occasionally feel antsy about the fact that time was slipping by and it was just languishing.  So one day I called him up, walked over with my demos and we got to work recording, not knowing what the outcome would be.  A lot of people (Uri included!) were encouraging me to be a solo artist, because the songs had a singer-songwriter feel, but I had always wanted to start a band, and there was no question that Uri had to be in it. The few songs turned into an album’s worth of material.    

Uri knew Ben from the music scene in NY, and so Ben played on the album.  We had an amazing session musician named Lorne Entress play drums on the album, but when the time came to start playing live Uri and I auditioned a bunch of drummers and when Paul walked in we knew he was the guy.  And coincidentally it turned out that Paul and Ben had played a couple of gigs together before.

So it all sort of came together that way!

Who are some of your musical influences – both as a band and individually?
A whole wide range. I guess if you listen to the band it’s a lot of indie, alternative and melodic rock.

As far as what we listen to, everything from 70s rock to 90s indie rock to everything from the past couple of decades to world music and jazz.  It all must find its way in subconsciously somehow.

In general, I’m a big fan of any musician who can write an amazing melody and weave choice words into a compelling story or an emotional journey. Some examples that come to mind (by no means exhaustive): Radiohead, Bob Mould, Smashing Pumpkins, Bon Iver, Peter Gabriel, Florence and the Machine — just to name a few.  

What do you enjoy most about playing shows?
The energy. It’s such a massive thrill playing live – it’s always electrifying to play for a packed audience in a club that knows your music and are pumped to see you play. Greater than the sum of the parts in the room.  Love it.

What do you do when you’re not playing music?
Writing music! And marketing our music! It’s like a 24×7 job.

But besides that we all have families. And other interests too, I’m a huge politics and public affairs junkie myself, as well as a sports nut.

For more on The Commuters: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Get To Know:: Worth Taking


Members: Jerod McBrayer (Vocals/Guitar), Chris Self (Bass), Chase Kossack (Drums)
Genre: Alternative Rock
Location: San Francisco, CA
Recent Release: Hangman (2.12.16)

San Francisco pop rockers, Worth Taking, will be releasing their
newest album, Hangman, in just a few
days. According to the band, the album is meant to resonate with those who are
facing troubled times and give them hope. For this reason, as the album
progresses, the music becomes more uplifting. This is the band’s first release
since their 2014 album, Art Imitates Art,
and fans should be excited to hear what these guys can bring to the table! Get
to know Worth Taking below!

How did Worth Taking form and come to be what it is today?
I started the band as a solo project in 2011 and put out an EP.
I formed a band when I moved to San Francisco that same year and have been
touring and growing as a band ever since.

Who are some of your musical influences – both as a band and

As a band, it would definitely be Jimmy Eat World, blink-182,
and New Found Glory. Chris is into Social Distortion and U2. Chase loves
Incubus and the Foo Fighters. I’m just a really big Taylor Swift fan.

What do you enjoy most about playing shows?
We get to create
something special every night while traveling the world with our best friends.
What’s not to love?

do you do when you’re not playing music?

Chris runs the trails of Marin, Chase
is a licensed Civil Engineer specializing in fine architecture and building
structures, and I produce and master music.

For more on Worth Taking: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Get To Know:: The Life Electric


Members: Joey Chehade, Ben Leang, Cory Bean, Joel Silloway
Genre: Rock, Electro-rock
Location: Boston, MA
Recent Release: The Real You (3.25.16)

Boston rockers, The Life Electric, have big things planned this year when it comes to new music! Last month they released their second single, “Heartbeat,” which is an important song to the band as it was the first song they recorded with producer Brian Charles. The song comes from the band’s second full-length, The Real You, which is scheduled to be released on March 25th. Having previously opened for artists including Neon Trees, Cracker, and Marcy Playground, the band draw in attention with their indie-rock-meets-electro-pop sound (basically they seriously kick ass). Get to know more about The Life Electric below!

How did The Life Electric form and come to be what it is today?
Ben: Cory and I were in a band that was dissolving right as Joey’s former band was, and our mutual audio engineer was like, “Hey, you guys should get together!”

Happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right folks.

Who are some of your musical influences – both as a band and individually?
Joey: For me, Pearl Jam, The Wrens, U2, Elvis, The National, The Cars, Broken Social Scene and on and on.

Ben: The Beatles and U2 for sure.  I know that’s not the cool answer, but I grew up on that music, and it’s the archetype for a rock band to me.  But almost anything and everything under the sun; I’ll absorb it and use it somehow.  

What do you enjoy most about playing shows?
Joey: It’s a very specific and very addictive feeling to succeed at something that on it’s face feels so unnatural.  You’re standing up in front of a bunch of people you likely don’t know and you’re singing songs to them.  There’s a moment where that weirdness disappears, usually after the first or second song.  You’re left with what I would call exhilaration.  I think that comes from connecting with an audience you just met, like we’re all gonna be ok and we know you’ll like this ride we’re going to take you on.  The closest experience I can compare it to is skydiving.  The moment after you pull that ripcord.  There’s a split second of uncertainty and then an internal celebration that you’re succeeding at this crazy task.  And that’s goes for playing in front of 5 to 5,000.

Ben: There’s just a unique joy that’s playing your songs live.  When the band is really on it and the audience is giving it right back at you, it just takes you to such an amazing place, emotionally.   Not so much skydiving for me as it is just pure freedom.  Like the end of Free Willy!

What do you do when you’re not playing music?
Ben: Um… planning to play more shows?  But really, there’s always a lot to do behind the scenes, whether it’s writing more songs, planning a tour, figuring out album art.  I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else though.  But if it’s not music, I love the other arts as well.  Reading.  Cooking.  Oh, and there’s that show called Game of Thrones coming soon.

Joey:  Music has been the focus for a while now.  Outside of that, I’m a random grab bag of interests.  I’ve done this that and the other for a long time. I’ve been lucky in my life to be able to explore and do whatever feels right at any given time.

For more on The Life Electric: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Get To Know:: Grayscale


Members: Derek Parker (Bass),
Andrew Kyne (Guitar), Collin Walsh (Vocals), Dallas Molster (Guitar/Vocals) and
Nick Veno (Drums)
Genre: Pop Punk, Alternative
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Recent Release: “August Love”

Philly pop-punkers Grayscale have
caught the attention of…well…pretty much everyone. Having recently premiered
singles on Alternative Press and Substream, Grayscale is set to release their
brand new album, What We’re Missing,
on February 12th! This is a much more personal album for the band
who are bringing both happy and sad events in a brutally honest. Get to know
Grayscale below by checking out our interview with vocalist Dallas Molster!

How did Grayscale form and come to
be what it is today?

Collin, Nick, and I (Dallas)
started writing music for this band during our junior and senior years of high
school. We knew of Andy and Derek because of another local band so we messaged
them on Facebook, to come hang out with us and jam some of the songs we started
writing. That was back in 2011. It’s been the 5 of us since then so our
songwriting practices have grown and developed with one another since then.
It’s been a long road and we still have a lot ahead of us but I think at this
point we have a really solid group of people backing us between our label,
Anchor Eighty Four Records, and our Producer Gary Cioffi (Transit, Misser).
Without them we wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are right now. We have a lot
of love for those people for their support and help.

Who are some of your musical
influences – both as a band and individually?
Our influences are bands like The
Starting Line, Jimmy Eat World, Brand New, and plenty more. Individually its
still those same bands and that style. Derek is really into some serious grind
core stuff though which definitely does have an impact on our songwriting.

What do you enjoy most about
playing shows?
I think for me my favorite part
about playing shows is having people who have never seen us come up to us after
a show and compliment our songs or our vibe on stage. It’s a really cool
feeling knowing you had some sort of impact on someone, great enough for them
to want to come and tell us that. It may not seem like much but for me it means
a lot.

What do you do when you’re not
playing music?

Besides finishing school and
working full time jobs, We don’t do much. We’re all a bunch of nerds honestly.
We spend a bunch of time playing video games like NHL, Destiny, Battlefront
etc. We do tend to watch a lot of Hockey and WWE too. #AmbroseAsylum

For more on Grayscale: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Get To Know:: The Hip Abduction


Members: David New (lead vocals, guitar), Pat Klemawesch (kamale
ngoni, guitar, vocals), Chris Powers (bass), Dave Johnson (baritone and tenor
sax), Paul Chlapowski (keyboards), and Matt Poynter (drums, vocals)
Genre: Alt Pop
Location: St Petersburg
Recent Release: Gold Under The Glow (3.11.16)

over two years, St. Petersburg afro-pop indie-rockers, The Hip Abduction, are
finally releasing new music! Their self-titled debut album was released back in
2013 and received nationwide attention, even gaining a top 5 spot on the
Billboard reggae charts. Back at it again, the band’s newest album, Gold Under The Glow, is sure to rack up
attention from pretty much everywhere, but unfortunately fans will have to wait
until March before they get to give it a listen (it’ll be worth it, we
promise!). Get to know more about The Hip Abduction below!

How did The Hip Abduction form and come to be what it is
We all met in one way or another
around our mutual respect for West African music and early Jamaican reggae/dub.
I started off doing the singer-songwriter thing and realized there was much
more going on in my head than just an acoustic guitar. It has since turned into
a 7-piece and it sure is amazing to have a collective of guys who are all on
the same wavelength musically.

Who are some of your musical influences – both as a band and
Paul Simon, Ali Farka
Toure, Peter Gabriel, any early reggae/dub, St. Lucia, etc.

What do you enjoy most about playing shows?  
Watching new people sing your songs is
probably the most rewarding part. And the ability to connect with someone
you’ve never met.

do you do when you’re not playing music?

Surf, travel, camp, climb, coffee, and long walks on the beach with the

For more on The Hip Abduction: Website | Facebook | Twitter