Ali Jacko: The Working Man’s Musician  by Eileen Shapiro

After becoming the first Asian to win British, European, Intercontinental and The World Full-Contact Kickboxing championships, British born Ali Jacko woke up one morning and became a rock star sensation. “I had never even sung, even in the bathroom before. My own family cannot believe I can sing. I don’t blame them as I still don’t believe I can sing myself, I’m going to wake up from this dream I am having”.

Ali Jacko can sing….and he has written some of the most emotional and passionate romantic, heart felt love songs, as well as powerful anthemic, message revealing, and thought provoking expressions of today. Pouring his soul into his compositions, Ali Jacko is creating a buzz globally, having his kaleidoscope of tunes featured in films, gaining a huge YouTube audience who loves what he is doing. 

I spoke in depth with the English born anomaly regarding his compelling music and his intentions for the future. His audacious air of confidence and positive energetic spirit causes him to delve deeply into anything he tries, and arise victoriously. The essence of his music and lyrics makes him stand out and be recognized as a special force in the music world…

 

You’re songs are awesome!

Thank you. Which ones did you like?

 

There’s not a bad one in the bunch. I love “Working Man”, it’s an anthem. I love the video.

That’s definitely an anthem. 

https://youtu.be/4T91R6HQglk

 

I also am in love with the song that you wrote for your daughters, “You are the Reason”

Both of the girls in the video are my daughters. They’re my actual daughters. 

https://youtu.be/BC55PgsODKk

 

When will your new album come out?

Basically I’m releasing a song every month all the way to November. December I’m going to have a break…..I think I deserve a break….so come January or February I’ll release all the songs I’ve released into an album. So it’s 11 songs, plus I’m going to have 3 other songs added to the album. A total of 14 or 15 songs. It’s going to be called, “Love Rocks”. 

 

You also are involved in lots of sports? And then you’ve decided to sing, what’s that about?

I’ve done sports all my life. It’s just one of those things that happened. Whatever I do I put 100% into it. I believe in it. I believe in my songs, I believe in my lyrics. Most of my lyrics relate to my life and are inspired by myself. All the songs are a true story. 

 

For example what was your motivation for “Working Man”?

I’m just trying to find different angles of my life that I can expose in the form of music in order for people to see and relate to. “Working Man” is a song that everyone can relate to. Men can relate to it, the women, the family can actually appreciate it. When a man goes into work he works for his family. The video shows this one person, but in three minutes you can only show so much. 

Have you seen the video of the song, “What If I Loved You Like That?”

https://youtu.be/nGWniVP5maI

Yes I did. That’s a great song as well.

All of my songs I’m very attached to. I’ve put a lot of work into them. Even the ones I’m releasing I believe you’re going to like. Similar kind of influence, similar kind of stories….different melodies, different hook lines…all of my songs have a story. 

 

Where are you from?

I’m from East London. I live in Stratford, where the Olympics were. My parents are from Bangladesh. My father was the first generation in the UK, I’m the second generation. I was born British. I’m definitely British. Through my fighting all my life I represented England. I won the world championship five times. I’ve only lost one fight and that was due to a cut. Then I beat the guy again next fight.

 

You were a champion kick-boxer speaking of the Olympics?

I was a kick-boxer, yeah.

 

What do you want to do with your music?

Well, I want to win a Grammy. That’s what I want to do. My background is Asian. My parents are from Bangladesh. I was born and brought up in the U.K. …so I want to be the first Asian singer to win a Grammy. That’s my mission. I’m still writing, I work with some really good producers…I’ve got some really good stuff coming out. 

 

Do you write all of your songs?

Yeah, I write all of my songs. There’s some collaborating with other writers just to tidy them up and finish them. They’re all directed, technically composed by myself as well. I’m not a musician but obviously I know how I want some melodies, and I want my songs catchy. Even through my videos you can see I put a lot of effort into it in terms of exposing the story and the song.

 

They are like short films.

Yeah. I’ve only started doing this for the last couple of years. I’ve not been in it for very long.

 

Do you play any live gigs around London?

I’ve done a couple of gigs, but I’m quite selective what gigs I want to do and what I don’t want to do. I love to do festivals, I’d like to do some decent shows. I’m a solo artist so I don’t perform with the band, I perform with the dancers. I’ve got a group of dancers who work for me. 

 

Do you plan to go to New York?

I can just picture myself going up on stage and pretending I’m an Indian but-but-ding-ding stuff, and then I start singing rock songs. That’d be crazy, wouldn’t it?

 

Yes, it would definitely be different. I’m not sure about the crowd you’d get…

It doesn’t really matter, people would remember it. No one’s ever done it. Just make it look like you’re a proper Indian, go to the microphone, speak like an Indian and sing rock songs…To be honest with you, there’s a film releasing in India on the 15th of June, Two days ago they released a trailer of the film. The trailer has hit more than 50 million views. A friend of mine is an actor. He’s using one of my songs called “I Found Love”. That video, I shot it with my wife. She’s French. He’s taken that song and converted part of it into Indian, so it’s Indian and English. That song is basically the main song of the film. I’m hoping to get hundreds of millions of listeners. Not just 1 million, but millions and millions…. his last song received 1.5 billion views. The name of the film is called Race 3. The song is called “Army of Angels”. 

 

https://youtu.be/r0aayPdnDV0

https://www.AliJacko.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/ajackorocksVEVO

https://www.Twitter.com/TheAliJacko

Actor, singer, songwriter, cage-fighter and stuntman, Tom Proctor is currently best known for his role as Horuz in Guardians of the Galaxy and the role of Bidee in 12 Years A Slave, however he will be acclaimed shortly for his superb and overwhelming singing and prolific songwriting artistry. Occasionally in life you come across a rare individual who shines above others for their kindness or unparalleled distinctiveness, such is that of Tom Proctor.

With 70 IMDB credits to his name, Proctor has appeared in many films and television series including: Nashville, Lawless, Justified, Django Unchained, and Westworld. In 2014 he won Best Actor in a Short Film at the Northeast Film Festival. He also won Best Actor in a short film at the 2018 Chandler International Film Festival.

Currently Tom is engaged in three unique projects. There’s an album soon to be released entitled “Tom Proctor & the A-Listers WORKING MAN”, a release with some of the most heartwarming, story-telling songs on the planet. His genre defying songs and harmonious vocals are not only impressive, but compelling and addicting. The album was recorded in the famous “Dark Horse Recording Studio”, an establishment that has seen the likes of: Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Jeff Beck, Matchbook 20, Reliant K, Alice In Chains and many others…

He, along with Creative Producer & Editor Margie Rogers and Creative Producer and Director Trudy Sargent are also creating a TV show that will be called, “Tom Proctor & the A-Listers WORKING MAN TOUR”, “where the music hits the road”. The concerts of “The Working Man” tour and the television program features Tom riding cross-country on his Harley with his very cool biker friends, and performing at Back Yard BBQs. Proctor will do this in hopes of giving back to all of the hard working people who have inspired him to write and record his music.

Lastly, there will be a break-out, stand-alone, 1-hour Documentary: “Making of Tom Proctor & the A-Listers WORKING MAN”, which is also being helmed by Creative Producer, Director and Editor Margie Rogers. The A-Listers are Billy “Thunder” Mason, Geoff Butterworth, Mark Corradetti, and Mark Thomas.

The A-Listers are a group of seasoned, talented musicians who have worked with the biggest names in the history of music, and have collectively worked with Tim McGraw, George Strait, Luke Combs, Zakk Wylde, Travis Tritt, Martina McBride, Tanya Tucker, Florida Georgia Line, and many, many more. Tom Proctor and the A-Listers are getting ready to take the Country Music world by storm.

I had an in depth, very intimate and personal heart to heart with Tom Proctor, and by the time we were finished I felt as if I knew him all of my life. Aside from his endearing talent and warm heart, Tom is also quite candid and very funny…..

I’m in love with your songs.

It’s kind of amazing. They worked out really well. They’re a good band.

There was a good singer in there too.

I don’t really know what chords I’m playing. I won the guitar in an arm wrestling match like six years ago. I just started playing. I was gonna sell it, but then when I started just messing around with it, I found it relaxed me a lot, and if I play guitar all the time I don’t yank as many people out of the car. It sounds crazy but it’s true. It’s like therapy of some kind. I don’t know.

I knew you’d be funny.

Funny, the people I yank out of the cars usually aren’t laughing. I’m glad you found it funny.

So, do you write these very passionate and prolific songs?

Yeah. Well…I kind of wrote them. The guy that did write them is buried somewhere in between Texas and Louisiana so he can’t prove it.

What inspires you when you write these songs?

Ok…the song “Lost in New Orleans” about the stripper…it really wasn’t a song about a stripper. When I was down in Louisiana I had some accidents doing stunt work and stuff that put me out of work. Literally with that guitar I played on the street and was able to make a living. There was a girl in my apartment complex who was the best mom in the whole world. So I made up the story about her being a stripper. Maybe deep down inside I wanted her to be. But she was just a really, really good mom. Then I played her the song and told her I wrote this song about her. She loved the song. Then I left New Orleans for a couple of years and came back to meet some investors and she was working in this real high-end restaurant waitressing. She came over to me and looked at me as if she had seen a ghost. Then I got up to go to the bathroom when she cut me off and asked to talk to me for a minute. I asked her what’s up? She asked me to please not tell anybody that she was a stripper. I told her I didn’t know she was a stripper. And she said “but you wrote that song, and you knew about Johnny.” I said, “I knew about who?” She said “I would have never dated a client, except for your song”. I said, “Who the fuck is Johnny” she told me that now he was her husband.

So you guessed all that kind of?

Yeah…that inspired that song. “Delete You” is very obvious what inspired that. I broke up with a woman who was really good with computers and everything. I couldn’t figure out how pictures came off my phone and then I would come back and they would be back on my phone. How did she do that?

So you’re a singer, a songwriter, an actor, a stunt man, you ride a Harley, you’re a dad….is there anything that you still dream of accomplishing?

I’ll probably wind up doing it…whatever it is. I’ve been really fortunate in my life. I was convinced that I was going to die before I was 30 because I have a bad heart valve. So I decided to live fast and furiously. So I’ve always just done what I did. I broke horses, I have won film awards for stunts with horses I’ve trained, I made a quarter-mile drag record back in the day when I crossed the finish line facing the starting line, I fought full contact fights, heavy weight and super-heavyweight. My grandma was just my absolute love. I loved her to death when I was a kid. She was the one who encouraged me to tell stories and sing. She liked me to sing for her. I didn’t play guitar at the time so I would make up songs….”I love my grandma and my grandma loves me”… She was an amazing woman, and a psychic. She was a real psychic, she talked to dead people …she’d tell your fortune. Her last day she told me to always sing, “your voice and your songs ….your ability to sing…just make sure that that’s what you do”. So when she died, I started playing drums and my older brother played guitar, and we played together.

You are like a superhero…nothing is going to stop you….

You know everybody has their thing, Superman has kryptonite and I have cigarette smoke. That’s the only thing that can kill me. We used to play the clubs and I would be back there drumming, with a bucket to throw up in during the break. I just couldn’t do it. It was making me deathly sick. So I gave it up. Then it resurfaced again when I won the guitar in an arm wrestle. I should have known it would because my grandmother has never told anybody something that has not been true.

She sounds amazing and here you are.

Yes, she was a wonderful woman, and this is where we are now, it’s very exciting.

How many kids do you have?

I’ve got nine.

You’ve had a very interesting life thus far.

I don’t think my wives would have picked me.

Well how many wives have you had?

There’s some I shouldn’t count. Do the ones that got annulled count?

Yep!

Then I have to go with seven. One of the last ones all I remember was I was sitting at a blackjack table in Battle Mountain Nevada, which happened to be a whore house, so how I wound up married I don’t know. It definitely wasn’t a get laid thing…. The last thing I remember I had won $1700 and I wanted another wild turkey in water, woke up in Reno, with my cars radio all full of sage brush. I apparently got off the road somewhere along the way and left my best buddy in a phone booth. But it turned out to be OK because the next day he was still in the phone booth.

So you’re a real authentic cowboy?

Yep.

So what do you hope to do with your music? Do you intend to play stadiums?

Actually I like to play backyard barbecues. That’s what we’re going to set up. Where I just load the guitar and go on Harley’s across America and go to backyard barbecues. You meet great people at backyard barbecues.

I love that idea.

Then they could set up stations for the band. I have a big disconnect here in Hollywood because I’m use to people saying exactly what they mean. I didn’t know that “good luck with that” means that “I hope you and your project rot in hell”. I thought that “good luck with that means”….good luck with that …somebody should have told me.

This is going to be the wildest interview I’ve ever done.

Oh, this is an interview? When I do an interview I’m usually on my good behavior.

No need to, you’re perfect just the way you are.

Well then instead of saying “I” said this…can you say “a friend of mine said”… I had a film company who I had a falling out with. They didn’t follow up with the stuff they said they would. Then all of a sudden they realized they had a contract with me. It was a short film where I won best actor. Instead of them being happy that I won best actor it was pinned and posted on Facebook that I won best actor because of the writing. It was nominated for the best woman’s film, but it was not a woman’s film. All of the actors in it were male. The only one that was female was the writer. The other films were all really female. So we got to talking and I suggested we just go by the contract. Then he put out a claim that I grabbed his wife’s butt on the Red Carpet. So his attorney told my manager that if I didn’t drop their contract they were going to pursue that and ruin my reputation. I started laughing. I told him that they can’t ruin my reputation. I told him that if “I am on the red carpet and someone said that I didn’t grab their ass, then that would ruin my reputation”…..which I absolutely did not.

Jeez!

This is the Gods honest truth…. I have beat up more bullies than anyone I know. I hate bullies. In school I would beat up the bullies especially those who bullied handicapped kids. It was terrible at our school. But I figured out that my beating up bullies was in fact bullying. It wasn’t the right way to handle it. I have a Facebook friend that mis-took me for Mark Boone from The Sons of Anarchy. He offered me $500 to go down to his nephew’s school, grade school and pick up his nephew on my bike from school. I said “why would you do that”? He said the kid had autism and he’s never talked but when he finally did talk they kept bullying the boy. He threatened them by saying “My uncle is the Son of Anarchy.” Of course they all laughed. I said, ” ok, you don’t owe me a dime but make sure the kid has all of my pictures and videos. I pulled down there with 39 motorcycles, and me looking like the friendliest one of the bunch. We had not even finished parking when 6 cop cars showed up. When the cops asked me what I was doing I told him I was there to pick up my nephew. He asked me what was really going on so I told him. And the cop said to me, ” if this works I’ve got another school to send you to”. So the kids came out along with one of the bullies with the kid that had autism. This kid is an adorable little kind of chubby redhead with eyes of an angel. One of the kids yells, ” holy shit it is the Sons of Anarchy”. That little kid put his hands on his hips in a superman pose and stepped off the sidewalk and said, “and he’s a Guardian of the Galaxy”. Then he comes running over yelling, “Uncle Tom, Uncle Tom”… and jumped on the motorcycle.

That’s the cutest story ever!

To kick off the stories of the backyard barbecues, there’s just things that happen there that right themselves. I have a pilot license. And I had this friend growing up which was one of the people I wouldn’t let people bully. His name was Terry. And Terry had something wrong in his brain and his heart. He wanted to be a cowboy so bad that he would show up in these Australian outback costumes with a cowboy hat. Everything that a dime store cowboy could buy. His dad was always threatening me, telling me that he was going to die and that he didn’t want him on horses and things like that. Terry wanted to go up in the plane. I wanted to take him up in the plane, but his dad said if you take him up he was going to sue me because he has a bad heart and he’s going to die. I told his dad he is dying anyway. He was 34 years old, and that we were all dying one day at a time. I’ll only live till I die. But I will live right until I die! So I took him up in the plane and had him call his dad from a cell phone. We were riding over him while he was in the tractor. I told him to tell his dad to step out of the tractor and look up. I put the plane into a full on spin….well Terry did finally pass away. It wasn’t in a plane, or on one of my horses. He was doing nothing which was a damn shame. We weren’t meant to die in a bed. A man should die fucking or fighting….that’s the way we were meant to go out.

I love you !

Thank you. I’m just me and I never really fit in anywhere. It’s just like my songs, nobody knows what they are. These aren’t country, they aren’t rock…what are they ? These are fucking songs!

You’re songs can’t really be labeled to a genre I think.

If you’re listening to it and trying to categorize it you would be wasting your day. You just listen to it with your heart and you’ll have a good day.

When is the album coming out?

Ok, the whole album… we recorded 10 tracks, and the last one we got back there was a story behind too. Sometimes in my songs I think I might’ve gotten a little of my grandmothers psychic ability to see future and stuff.

They say it’s hereditary.

The thing with the stripper turned out to be a true story. My sister damn sure got it. There was one song called, “When Did You Put it in A Song.” I had had a real bad surgery and I couldn’t do any movie work at all. I was literally living on the streets in New Orleans. I lived under a bridge, that’s where this song, “Why Don’t You Go Home,” came from. That song, I did not write it, I dreamt it. I woke up and really quickly played what I heard. I recorded it on my phone so I wouldn’t forget it. So I went to play it down by the Royal Oyster House and these guys were all impressed and thought I sounded like Bob Seger. Well, I packed up and I was going home and I went past this one bar there and some of the guys that had been there saw me and asked me to come in and play a song. That’s a no-no in Louisiana. Musicians just don’t go in bars. But the bartender was getting huge money everywhere. So the bartender told me to come in and play one song. So as I’m walking up there I saw this couple sitting at this table with some paperwork. I always think of paperwork as being a script. I always think of it as a movie thing that I can get in. I was looking for work. So I was kind of looking to try and see if it was a script. But then I figured out….. no, these guys are getting a divorce. But neither one of them were happy about it. If you’re getting married you should be happy about it, and if you’re getting a divorce you should be happy. Neither one of them were happy about it. So this song started coming in my head. I was paid $150 to play “Simple Man”. But when I got to that stage, “Simple Man” just wouldn’t come out. This other song did.

I think you’re giving me the psychic chills.

It was called “When Did You Put it in A Song”. The lyrics in it say,

“It was at that café bar when we got our start, we were saying our final goodbyes. The lawyers had the papers drawn up and mine were already signed, to leave it all behind. He walked to the stage, picked up his guitar and a shot and he started to tune. He looked in my eyes like he knew who I was and said son this one’s for you, but I hope it isn’t true.” Then it says, “Much to my surprise, tears soon filled their eyes, and the pain came flying off those strings. And the next thing I know we were holding each other tight, and putting back on those wedding rings.” The chorus says: ” How did you know about me and my wife, how did you know about my whole damn life? How did you know about all the things I’ve done wrong, and when did you put it in a song?” Then the verse came up: “He knew about the day my little boy was born, and the way that I felt when they sent him off to war. The way that I lost my mind when he didn’t make it home, and how I left her all alone. And he knew I took my pain to another woman’s bed, he knew word for word everything I had said. But somehow from his song she understood, and it was all good.” The last verse said, “I don’t know who you are, but it seems that we’ve been down the same road or two, but I’d hoped it wasn’t true.” In the last chorus the singer said, “Cause I was just singing about me and my ex-wife, I was singing about me and my whole life. I wanted to stop someone from doing what I’d done wrong, and that’s when I put it in a song.”

Wow…

Bit for bit, including the son that went to war, and the marriage fell apart was all true for that couple. I don’t know about now but as of five years after I wrote that song they were still together. Kind of funny, huh?

You’re really a Psychic song writer.

I have 5 sisters, 5 daughters and every one of them have a world that looks like a shrine to me. I learned to fight, I have a black belt in five different systems and I wanted to come up with a way to make sure nobody could hurt my sisters or my daughters. I have this really protective thing for women because at the point you’ll see me in the picture on my grandmother’s lap…. my grandmother had made a mistake by marrying this guy that was grandpa Jesse. He was an alcoholic. And grandpa Jesse would get drunk and beat her up. At that age I pushed a chair across the room and slammed it into his knees. He was beating up my grandmother. He hit me and knocked me out cold. When I came to my grandmother had been beaten up really bad and had to be taken to the hospital. I felt at that point no one would ever knock me out again. I would never be knocked out no matter what. And after 250 full contact fights, and how many bar fights, and all the stunt work I’ve done, I ain’t been knocked out since.

You’re some kind of anomaly. In the best possible way….

Well sometimes it’s a good way. Sometimes it’s a way that people don’t understand. I make deals on a handshake and expect people to stick to it. I must be doing something right because look at this band that dropped in my lap….. this is Tim McGraw’s goddamn band. The reason I named them the A-Listers, is because they are the A-Listers….of Nashville. Everybody thinks my songs and all are good, but you could put a trained monkey on with these guys and he would sound good. They’re amazing! They are all on board and they want to be part of the “Working Man Tour.”

Twitter @TomProctor
Twitter @A_ListersBand
https://www.facebook.com/officialtomproctor/
https://www.facebook.com/actortomproctor/

Listen to Tom Proctor and the A-Listers first single from “Working Man” called “In Hollywood” on Reverbnation here:

Paolo Fosso: “Armonite” by Eileen Shapiro

One of the most modern and prolific composers to arrive on the music scene is Paolo Fosso and , “Armonite”, an audacious and vibrant electronic band consisting of keyboards and violin. A compelling duo, “Armonite” is about to unveil their newest release entitled: “And The Stars Above”. The album is set to release this May via Cleopatra Records.

The duo consists of Paolo Fosso, the mastermind of “Armonite”, who has also composed the entire album, and is the keyboardist and Jacopo Bigi, on violin. The album is marked by a massive orgasmic rush of electronic instrumentals and some atmospheric vocals, and genre all it’s own, although some would identify it as progressive rock. It’s more of a sonic revelation, combined with an earthly sensibility.

I spoke with keyboardist and composer, Paolo Fosso, who is based in Milan, Italy. He was not only brilliant, but passionate about his artistry, and proud of his new release…..

 

As a trained and relevant composer, what promoted you or inspired you to choose the music industry, a very tough field, and then to record the very unique music that you release?


It’s both a matter of attitude and technique. I’ve always been a keen observer and a frequent thinker, I take a giant step back into myself and watch everyone else go by, like from a window. Everything puts my mind in motion and when there’s something worth of special attention, I need to portray it with music, which is the language I feel closer to. Then comes the technique, because I want to sound original but also transparent and comprehensible.

 


What influences your music the most?


Movies, technology, videogames, books, philosophy, travels. This is the most of me. When you read a book or watch a movie, imagination is stimulated and new ideas come to mind in a sort of domino effect. I’m a great lover of movies and TV series. Thinking of music like a sort of movie sequence helps me a lot when it comes to composition.

 

Whom are your own personal musical influences both now and growing up?


The Beatles, Deep Purple, Yes, Rush, EL&P, Jethro Tull, Queen, Metallica, Pantera, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Dream Theater, Queensryche, Spock’s Beard, Porcupine Tree, Yanni, Vangelis, Andrew Lloyd Weber – just to name a few that spring to mind, plus classical and world music as well. When I was 16, I listened to Dream Theater’s ‘Images and Words’ for the first time. I’d been into classical music for more than 10 years at the time, and that was something new to me, a perfectly-fitting listen for my teenage years. That music totally changed my perspective.

 

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?


I have a really clear idea about this: Don’t lose your time. Understand what you love the most, what you think you do best, and work hard to reach your goals. This is the trickiest part though, because everyday life will try to push you away from your natural gifts and talent is rarely sufficient to open the way for a career as a professional artist.


 

Tell me about your new release about to be unleashed to the world.


As with the previous album, ‘And the Stars Above’ is an instrumental mix of electric violin, keyboards, bass, and drums. It’s a journey through 12 tracks, starting with “The March of the Stars” inspired by Dante’s Paradise and ending with “Ghosts”. The album also features two bonus tracks – a polyrhythmic piece for piano solo, ‘The Fire Dancer’, and the String Quartet “A Playful Day”. Throughout the album, lingers a ghostly female voice, appearing and disappearing here and there before fully emerging in our first song with lyrics, “Clouds collide”. I’m confident this is going to be a great release, with a rather peculiar view.

 

What makes this new album different than the other music you’ve released?


The sound is more oriented to soundtrack music with textures that feel very immediate. ‘The Sun is New Each Day’ had a heavy compact sound… ‘And the Stars Above’ is groovy, with different vibes across a bunch of genres. There’s something indie in this new sound that we’ve never explored before.

 

If you could tell your fans and followers anything, what would that be?


Support the music underground. Today’s emerging bands need your attention more than before. Ten years ago, live clubs and venues were full of people. Now people prefer to watch a band on YouTube, many venues shut down, promoters are cautious, and the entire gigs market became uncertain. If you like a band, please follow their social networks, try to interact with them, and help them out with a concert maybe.


You have written all of the songs on your new album, what motivates your song writing?


Life and people offer a boundless supply of inspiration. Channeling concepts without the support of lyrics might be hard, but it’s also very universal. Silence is a great enabler. The more you keep quiet and observe, the more you have something to say. I believe in the power of compression. All the forces supposed to be used externally first need to gather internally, so that they mature by compression and then, at a certain point, they blow up with maximum energy.

 

Is there a next project in the works yet?


Currently, I’m producing a few demo tracks for the movie industry. Scoring for film and TV is my absolute dream job. After the release of the new album, we’re going to tour to promote our music. Then I will start composing for the next Armonite work.

 

What is your favorite thing about playing live?


Create a connection with your audience, vehicle yourself, talk about your feelings and your ideas behind music, and share it with your public. This is the most important thing for any artist.

 

ARMONITE

Website: http://www.armonite.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/armonitemusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/armonitemusic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/armonitemusic

Bandcamp: https://armonite.bandcamp.com

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/armonite

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc2jTstKBeJe0BI6o1pLGLA

Electro-pop with a flair of DIY Punk attitude, @RichAucoin travels the globe preaching the power of now and the joy of community. With confetti cannons and a technicolor parachute, Rich Aucoin engulfs even the most cynical with an irresistible presence and a playful affirmation of life.

On March 16, Rich Aucoin released the new Hold EP, and announced his PRESS ON tour. As part of the tour, Aucoin is bicycling across the United States, to raise awareness for mental health by donating 100% of tour proceeds to Mental Health America and The Canadian Mental Health Association. Aucoin will be joined by bandmates in each city as he pedals across the deserts, mountains, and forests of America.

@MusicNews360 corresponded with Aucoin as he biked across Southern California (hopefully, he was not typing while on the bike!). We chatted about Eckharte Tolle, Koala Bears, and Fabreezing the Parachute. Check below for excerpts from our conversation.

Website // Bandcamp // SoundCloud // Instagram // Twitter

 

Rich Aucoin – The Middle (Official Video)

MN360° – What is your astrological sign?

Virgo

MN360° – What is your spirit animal? How does it manifest in daily life?

Koala stay calm

MN360° – If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

The ability to know what people are listening to on their headphone while they walk by.

MN360° – How does Canada produce such great music?

Ketchup flavoured chips

 

 

MN360° – Have you noticed more Americans moving to Canada, as of late?

No but welcome !

MN360° – What first sparked your interest in music?

Seeing a symphony play Rhapsody in Blue at 5 had a big impact on me for sure.

MN360° – What was your first instrument? Did someone gift it to you?

I think recorder might have been before I started piano at 6. My parents gave me the recorder. Mom still has the piano.

MN360° – Who is your least obvious musical influence?

Wu Tang

MN360° – What is your favorite Beach Boys song? Why? Where can we hear it in your music?

Good Vibrations. Just such an ambitious recording attempt. There are hours of cutting room floor versions of the song too. I’ve heard a bunch of those too. You can hear its theremin melody replayed on theremin in my song Brian Wilson Is ALiVE.

MN360° – What is your process for writing/recording new music?

I score my songs to movies.

MN360° – When was the first time you brought out the parachute during a performance? What inspired its introduction?

2009 NXNE. Saw it online while buying something on EBay and then thought it’d be fun to do in the show.

MN360° – How do you keep the parachute from not smelling stinky?

Fabreeze

MN360° – How do you decide on the movie clips you show during performance?

Look for scenes with the same emotional content.

MN360° – What is the story behind your ‘Gender is Over’ shirt?

It’s a great fundraiser for trangsgender equality groups. Check them out at www.genderisover.com

MN360° – Are you a fan of Eckharte Tolle?

I’ve looked at his books at my mom’s.

 

MN360° – How often do you have to reload the confetti cannons?

Every shot!

MN360° – What is your ‘truth’?

“Don’t be a dick”

MN360° – Do you believe in magic? Can you give an example?

Yes. The feels you get from Can You Get To That by Funkadelic

 

MN360° – What percentage of your songs would you say are autobiographical?

42%

MN360° – Can you tell us more about your bike tour across the US?

LA to NYC. starting with getting some kicks on 66.

MN360° – What is the furthest you’ve ridden your bike in a single day?

170km

MN360° – Any dreams/visions/insights experienced while riding for that length of time?

Please get off the highway before the sunset.

MN360° – Do you see a connection between performance and religious experience? Does rhythm play a role in that?

Both are communal joy.

MN360° – How did you meet your band mates? How did you ask them to join your band?

Various ways. There have been about 260 people that have backed me up at this point.

MN360° – What is the strangest thing you’ve experienced on tour?

touring

MN360° – What do you do to occupy yourself between shows while on tour?

Planning the next shows.

MN360° – How about strangest place you’ve crashed while on tour, or bike tour?

Slept in the parachute a few times in some odds spots.

MN360° – What will music sound like in 100 years?

It’ll continue to expand in all directions like a web spreading outward and with more intersections of various strains of genres.

MN360° – If you had to describe your music as a color, what color would it be?

teal

MN360° – If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it say?

Gender is over, if you want it!

http://www.genderisover.com/

Jacob Needham & The Blue Trees: “Southern Americana Groove Rock” by Eileen Shapiro

Nashville based Alabama raised band, “Jacob Needham & The Blue Trees” have recently released a sexy, bluesy, rock n’ roll single via Spectra Music Group, entitled “Alabama Baby”, which is accompanied by a salaciously fun-loving video. “Alabama Baby” is the first single off their debut album being released on April 6th  called, “Procrastinated Memoirs”.

I spoke with the band as they explained their music in depth and why it’s so much fun…they not only have a lot to offer the world musically, but also came up with some of the best conversation I’ve ever had with a band…

Why don’t we begin by you all properly introducing yourselves?

Jacob: My name is Jacob Needham, I’m the singer and the rhythm guitar player.

Ben: Ben Trexel, the leader of the pack so to speak. I co-produce and play the bass.

James: James Cody, I’m the lead guitar player, co-writer, co- producer.

RaShaun: I’m RaShaun Whetstone, and I play the drums.

How’d you all get started?

Jacob: We formed I guess around three years ago. The band has been together for two, but I met James and we started playing and doing some songwriting stuff. Then Ben the producer came on but also played the bass, and then RaShaun came on, and it’s been a steady climb ever since.

Who wrote “Alabama Baby”, its very sexy and a lot of fun?

Ben: We all pretty much write together. Someone will have a seed of an idea, and we just work it out organically. I feel that that’s sort of one of our unique qualities. We are able to bring all our influences to the table when we write a song, so it comes out sort of unique.

What influenced this particular one?

Jacob: “Alabama Baby”, …we were in Cleveland Ohio, and we were playing a show there. It was cold, and it snowed, and we were in the room one night…and some of our songs come spontaneously. Someone will play a riff, and we’ll tell them to keep playing it. So, it just kind of came. We were all jamming, and the idea of Alabama just came into my mind. Lyrically I was thinking of another way of thinking “Sweet Home Alabama”. Not that it takes the place of “Sweet Home Alabama”, but just something that gives something to Alabama again, and Alabama has beautiful women and we’re all from Alabama. So, then I thought, “why don’t I write something about that”? That’s kind of how that song came into our playing rotation.

James:  Yeah, Jacob and the band…how we write is very unique. We’re able to just get in a room and can write a song in about 5 to 10 minutes. We are just very fortunate to have that magic, and that cohesiveness among all four of us. We just gel, we’re very fortunate to have that in today’s world.

Ben: Each of our songs have a different type of feel to it. “Alabama Baby” is sort of fun, and light. We like to share that side of our band, but we also have a more serious side. We have a pop side, we have a harder edge side, we just allow different songs to embody the different approaches. I think when our album comes out it’s going to take people to listen to it more than once to really get a full idea of what we are. If you listen only to “Alabama Baby” you won’t get a full picture of what the band is, but then that’s the case with almost every song, so you have to sort of hear a combination of songs to hear where we’re coming from. That’s why we were so proud of this first album.

“Procrastinated Memoirs” is your debut album?

Jacob: We had done a little demo album a year and a half ago, and we never did anything with it. Then Spectra Music came a long and wanted to work with us, so we signed with them and this is going to be our debut. So, we are really excited, we’ve been working really hard just to get to this point.

Ben: We also realize that in today’s world a record is just a part of your product, but it’s not your entire product. So, we’re going to have to play for everyone over the country and sort of take our product out there and let people know who we are. That’s our goal.

Do you plan on heavily touring?

Ben: We plan on lots of touring this year. Lots of touring.

You guys have really cool accents…

James: We are all from Birmingham Alabama. We moved to Nashville this past February, so we’ve been up here about a year. It’s been really cool, I would say about half of our album we wrote within the span of the year. Just being in Nashville and how the different environment effected our growth as musicians and our sound. We call our genre, “Southern Americana Groove Rock”. We have a little southern influence, a little rock influence, a little groove influence…we like to have fun, we like to rock out, so it’s just sort of our self-pinned genre.

According to that video, looks like you like to have fun.

Jacob: It’s a lot of freshness from moving into Nashville….We did some recoding in Fort Knox studio…. just a lot of good things have happened here…I’m really excited about it.

What do you enjoy most about playing live?

RaShaun: Really, the freedom of playing live is just like not having to stick to the one particular script all the time. As long as we just get the music to fit the song and hope that everything else will. I pretty much have the freedom to have as much fun as I want, and I like the energy of live crowds, even though sometimes it makes me a little nervous, I still feed off it. That’s one of the things I like about it.

If you guys could say anything to your fans and followers, what would it be?

Jacob: I would definitely say to get ready for this album, get ready to fall in love with what we’re doing, what we’re creating and get ready this year for seeing some awesome live shows. Just thank you to everybody that is supporting us already, and pushing for us…and to the new people that come on and are following us…we thank you for your support. You’re a blessing to us …without you guys we would not be able to do what we do.

James: I just want to add that when our fans come to see us, we want them to know that we really are an organic, legitimate rock band. We do what we do because you chose us, and we didn’t choose you. We do actually have the passion to be able to pursue what we really want to do, and we are really very blessed to be able to do that. We want the fans to know that it’s completely real and genuine, it’s The Blue Trees.

Jacob Needham & The Blue Trees new single “Alabama Baby” is available now at iTunes, Amazon, Google Music, Spotify and more! Check out the music video for their latest single on You Tube. “Procrastinated Memoirs” will be available worldwide on April 6th, 2018.

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/alabama-baby-single/1318001646

Visit their website at: https://www.bluetreenation.com

Follow Jacob Needham & The Blue Trees on Twitter @JNandTBT

For interviews and radio airplay, please visit www.spectramusicgroup.com

Paisley Field: “Glitter and Sawdust” by Eileen Shapiro

On April 27th, the new release from Paisley Field will be officially unleashed to the entire world. The country sensation and front man James Wilson will be celebrating its release with the band and a host of many at C’Mon Everybody, and you’re all invited…

 

The album has one of the coolest names on the planet, “Glitter and  Sawdust”, as well as many great new country tunes.  In support of the album the band will be heading out on tour and also will be playing Detroit Pride. 

 

I spoke with James and below is a full itinerary of his whereabouts, or how you can find him aside from playing piano at some of New York’s finest clubs and bars. 

 

With your album coming out so soon, what do you have planned for an album release party?


We’re throwing a big party at C’Mon Everybody April 12th with our good friends Karen & the Sorrows and Mylo! It’s a night to celebrate the album with everyone, play some music and have a good time. The album officially comes out April 27th, but you can hear the new songs live and pre-order a copy of the record at the show. Tickets are available now: 
https://cmoneverybody.ticketfly.com/event/1662706-paisley-fields-glitter-brooklyn/

How are you preparing for Chicago Pride?


It’s actually Detroit Pride! Listening to a lot of Smokey Robinson. Detroit has such a rich musical history. 

 

Since we last spoke what have you been up to?


We just finished up a residency at Hank’s Saloon which was amazing. I love that place and it was a thrill to have our first NYC residency be at Hank’s. We put out “The Door”, the first single from Glitter & Sawdust, and we started taking pre-orders. Now we’re gearing up for April 12th and preparing for our tours this spring and summer.

Are you planning to tour in support of the album?


Yes! We start touring the end of April with dates in Toronto, Rochester, Ottawa and Kingston. In May we are heading to California to play with some of our musical inspirations Lavender Country. They were the first band to put out a gay country album and it’s revolutionary. You need to hear it if you haven’t. Our good friend Eli Conley hosts the Queer Country West Coast shows at El Rio where we’ll be playing in San Francisco. This concert series was created by Karen Pittelman and it’s really grown. We’re thrilled to be a part of it. We have a whole bunch of other dates including a big queer music festival I’m putting on June 2nd at Drom in NYC. You can find a full list of dates in the tour section on our website.

 

 http://www.thepaisleyfields.com/show/

 



Who named the album and what was the inspiration?

I’ve been thinking a lot about gender identity and gender roles lately. Glitter & Sawdust is about embracing both the masculine and feminine sides of yourself. There are always those people who want to put you in a box and say you’ve got to be this way, or you’ve got to be that way. I’ve always felt like a bit of an enigma and I’ve never really fit into one category. And I don’t think as humans we are meant to fit into one category. Even when it comes to the gay community. Like as a gay dude you’re expected to be a twink or a bear or a theater queen or whatever. I never identified with any of that. I always thought, can’t I just be me? Glitter & Sawdust is my clumsy way of trying to explain that. I came up with the title, but the album itself is very collaborative. 

 

I loved your behind the scenes video, where can someone view it?


Thank you!! You can see it on our youtube channel. Subscribe while you’re there!

 

 youtube.com/jameswilsonmusic

What will your next single be off the album?


The next single is “Keep Swimming,” the first track on Glitter & Sawdust. I’m excited to be working with director Matthew Pandolfe for the first time. We’re coming up with some really fun ideas for the video.  

Anything I forgot?

 

I think that pretty much covers it! We are ready to get out on the road and for people to hear Glitter & Sawdust. 

 

 

Follow Paisley Fields on Twitter @ThePaisleyField

 

www.thepaisleyfields.com

@ReedTurchi is a producer, label head, band leader and solo artist. He’s also a master of guitar driven blues that shapeshift seamlessly between acoustic slide, electric juke joint boogie, and the improvisational, groove-driven, massive sound of his Nashville based Kudzu Orkestra. @MusicNews360 caught up with Reed returning from a trek deep within the Grand Canyon. Through many twists and turns, we discussed ManateeVans, beagle poop, putting the social back into music, and high proof corn liquor. Below are excerpts from our conversation.

BTW, Reed and his Kudzu Choir will be in NYC promoting their forthcoming album, Just a Little More Faith, this April, 2018. Catch them at one of the performances below.

  • April 17th – The Bitter End
  • April 18th – Leesta Vall Direct to Vinyl Live Session
  • April 18th – Paste Magazine Live Video Session 

Website // Bandcamp // SoundCloud // Instagram // Twitter

Reed Turchi – Full Performance (Paste Studio NYC)

Reed Turchi – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

MN360° – What is your astrological sign?

RT – Gemini.

MN360° – What is your spirit animal?

RT – Manatee, the Manatee Van.

MN360° – If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

RT – Perfect pitch. A lot of people have that, but I count it as a superpower.

“Perfect pitch. A lot of people have that, but I count it as a superpower.” – @ReedTurchi

MN360° – If you had to describe your music as a color, what would it be?

RT – Dark Blue.

 

MN360° – So when does the new record come out?

RT – The record comes out July 2018, though you will start to hear about it in April. I’ll be in NYC with the Kudzu Choir performing at The Bitter End, as well as doing a Paste Live Session and a Leesta Vall Direct to Lathe Session, to help show off the band, and the new record.

MN360° – When did you first get into music?

RT – Haha! Well…in different forms, pretty much most of my life. In terms of playing…My mom rounded up me and two of my elementary school friends and forced us into piano lessons. So that was my first non-recorder music class, pre-k musical learning. Then different versions of piano is what got me up until college, which is when the slide guitar bug bit and proved contagious.

MN360° – Your first musical instrument was the piano?

RT – Yep. Once I had the technical proficiency to be able to, I went down a more narrow piano path, and found stuff that I like, which was almost all boogie woogie piano stuff. Somewhere between Professor Longhair New Orleans stuff and the Pete Johnson Kansas City Blues stuff. All that is real rhythm left hand and more ornamental right hand. I love that stuff, but when I got into Fred McDowell and Hill Country world, I ran out of ways to fake that on piano…

I see a link between establishing musical proficiency with piano, diving more specialized within piano, and then realizing that was the wrong instrument for what I wanted.

You know, I can’t really play the guitar, but the reason I picked up the guitar was to play that particular sound, ignore the rest. The narrow method has proved somewhat useful.

“The reason I picked up the guitar was to play that particular sound, ignore the rest. The narrow method has proved somewhat useful.” – @ReedTurchi

MN360° – So you arrived at the blues while playing the piano?

RT – That’s definitely the case. Slightly a different blues, though I would say the same feeling. If you really nerd out about the way the Fred McDowell stuff works with the rhythmic thumb and single note melody line…There are a lot of parallels between that and the way, on the boogie woogie piano stuff, how the left hand is the rhythmic monster and the right hand is the melody. That’s not quite a clean comparison, but I see the connection there.

MN360° – You studied slide guitar with Kenny Brown. Can you tell us about your apprenticeship?

RT – One story that comes to mind … Kenny boarded all of his neighbors hunting beagles, as well as his own. So Kenny being the resourceful man that he is built about a 15 foot by 50 foot cement slab, and partition runs within that. All the dogs would be in there and still separated within these narrow rectangles. And that was fenced in. But then Kenny also not wanting to deal with the amount of beagle shit being produced by like 15 beagles, especially in summer heat…he would just take a pressure hose and hose all of that beagle defecation off the back end of the slab.

Unfortunately there was a point at which the immense mound that was being created along the back end of the slab was solidified and dense enough that the pressure washer could no longer push the beagle shit past a certain point. So in effect a shit mound about two feet tall, two feet wide, and fifty feet long had formed along the back end of the cement slab.

Kenny’s idea to deal with that, since it was on the edge of a hill, was to take a big PVC pipe…like a 12 inch diameter pipe…saw it in half, and then lay that behind, doing it at an angle so it could run off the back of the hill. Only problem…and my task…was to dig the trench for the pipe. But in order to dig the trench, and before you got to the ground…one had to dig through the approximate two foot by two foot by fifty foot mound of two year old beagle shit.

So I got about three shovelfuls in, and that was about all I could take before the project was aborted. I did end up burning those shoes.

The most telling moment of all was…when I walked back down to where Kenny was, after he had left me with the shovel and the…hm, informal blueprint. When he saw me walk back down after having stood two feet deep in beagle shit…Kenny said, “Oh…I guess I had some boots I could have lent you!”

The real blues experience is just that last little bit.

“When he saw me walk back down after having stood two feet deep in beagle shit…Kenny said, ‘Oh…I guess I had some boots I could have lent you!'” – @ReedTurchi

MN360° – Right on! Any other insights from your tutelage with Mr. Brown?

RT – Park headed out…

“Park headed out…” – @ReedTurchi

Thanks to that intimate time, that lasted about 2 – 2.5 years, he did not directly teach me that much guitar, but I was certainly exposed and hands-on in that type of guitar playing much more than any healthy human should have been. You know, like any non academic tradition, it was definitely more of an informal passing of information, but a passing of information, nonetheless.

Kenny always told me he had the idea for a blues tour where you’d get a bunch of people on the bus from the airport in Memphis. You take them all down on the bus to whatever half functioning music venue Duwayne Burnside is running. Drop them all off. Take their bags, wallets, and just leave them.

So that would be the blues tour–everyone trying to figure out what they could do to get out of there while they were stranded without a wallet or bags, somewhere between Holly Springs, Potts Camp, and Oxford.

“That would be the blues tour–everyone trying to figure out what they could do to get out of there while they were stranded without a wallet or bags, somewhere between Holly Springs, Potts Camp, and Oxford.” – @ReedTurchi

MN360° – So how has your experience in North Mississippi influenced where you are today?

RT – Well I don’t think I realized this until years later…there just aren’t that many people in the world who have been crazy enough to spend a significant amount of time there. It’s definitely its own world. After spending a decent amount of time there, you realize that what from afar looks like giant genre of musical legends is basically this tiny area where a bunch of dudes just played the same stuff and didn’t have anything better to do…

“After spending a decent amount of time there, you realize that what from afar looks like giant genre of musical legends is basically this tiny area where a bunch of dudes just played the same stuff and didn’t have anything better to do” – @ReedTurchi

MN360° – What is the blues?

RT – Well, it’s a folk music and an oral tradition, which is fun. Beyond that, the artists who seem to get it and ring true understand that the blues is a celebration of life and also admitting difficulties in life. If it becomes about guitar work, or it becomes about gear…you know all the blues doctors and lawyers in the world…then you’ve kind of missed the boat. And if it’s just about being sad, then that’s not quite right either.

“The blues is a celebration of life and also admitting difficulties in life” – @ReedTurchi

It’s a social music. I think we have less and less social music in the world because we consume music in our earbuds or as background music in a coffee shop, which is social music of a type, but kind of a social music meant to be ignored. So like all kinds of other music, a lot Latin music…anywhere where the audience and the performers are riding the same wavelength…instead of performers on a stage pretending like the world should worship them–that’s not the experience I’m talking about. Where the music just comes out of daily life, that’s the essence of where blues comes from. That essence or feeling of it coming from life is what matters.

“It’s a social music. I think we have less and less social music in the world because we consume music in our earbuds” – @ReedTurchi

“That essence or feeling of it coming from life is what matters.” – @ReedTurchi

MN360° – What keeps the blues alive?

RT – The way it looks will constantly change. As long as people are genuinely expressing themselves in music and not just turning it into some sort of anonymous sound or expression for marketability, then that same feeling will live on.

MN360° – What is the connection between blues and spirituality?

RT – Well you know…all the jokes about playing blues music Saturday night and gospel music Sunday morning ring pretty true. Blues at its best is willing to accept that there are great unknowns. There is definitely appeals to a greater or all powerful God that is built within the blues, so I think they are all related.

“Blues at its best is willing to accept that there are great unknowns.”@ReedTurchi

You know there is a Fred McDowell quote that goes something like, “Most people go through their lives and they do not even feel anything until someone they know dies, and then it is too late.”

One reason I liked Fred so much is he would play everything. He would play from 4pm to 2am every single Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon, because that was the gig. He played everything, sometimes it’s spirituals and sometimes it’s blues. It just depends on what the setting is, or who is listening, or what mood he is in. It’s all music.

MN360° – What do you see as the importance of rhythm in blues music?

RT – Rhythm is all there is in music. That’s why we have it. You can hear the different rhythms that are seen as the pillars of blues rhythms come from the situations they are being played in. Whether it is fife and drum rhythmic background in Hill Country music, or the Texas Shuffle that is closer to western dance. And then, Chicago Blues, having a more homogenized rhythm and structure, although sometimes boring, was the key to keeping those guys playing together, and the key to making Willie Dixon a ton of money when he standardized the songs into 12 bar formats that could be sold to publishing companies.

“Rhythm is all there is in music. That’s why we have it.” – @ReedTurchi

The rhythm is all that really matters, and you can hear each geographic rhythm just comes from the setting it’s being performed in and…the state of the listener. You know, Luther Dickinson says the key to Hill Country blues is the hypnotic properties of corn liquor. If you have high proof enough corn liquor, the way you play and the way the listeners react kind of take a left turn.

“If you have high proof enough corn liquor, the way you play and the way the listeners react kind of take a left turn.” – @ReedTurchi

MN360° – What do you think about drummers?

RT – Usually how it goes is if I get along with the drummer, I can’t stand how they drum, and if I barely get along with the drummer, I love the way they drum. Thankfully, Wallace (new drummer) breaks that mold. He is in his 60s, maybe 50s, and plays drums in order to play music, rather than playing drums to hit things, kind of like Anthony Cole from that amazing Greyhounds lineup–it’s a much more musical type of drumming than just hitting things.

“It’s a much more musical type of drumming than just hitting things.” – @ReedTurchi

I don’t know anything about drumming…But when I’m trying to play with a drummer, if it doesn’t work right off the bat, I can never get it to work. No matter how much we break down songs, no matter how much I try to speak drummer vocabulary. When it’s just off, it’s totally off.

“I don’t know why, but 9 out of 10 drummers totally shit the bed on Hill Country style drumming. They want to tame it back…” – @ReedTurchi

I don’t know why, but 9 out of 10 drummers totally shit the bed on Hill Country style drumming. They want to tame it back…You know, instead of attacking on the upbeat, they want to flip it over. You lose all the energy that way. I’m very lucky right now to have Wallace here, because…poof…I have trouble with drummers.

MN360° – What are some of the insights you gained from the time spent at Ardent Studios, being around folks like John Fry and John Hampton?

RT – If I was a better audio engineer, I would have more specific lessons learned from that time. John Fry and John Hampton, they…the way they shaped what was being played and recorded wasn’t sort of the producer role we think of today–like polishing something or turning something into a more marketable version of a rougher demo, which is what we kind of assume the process to be now. Rather, they would make pretty amazing artistic and musical choices to enhance the music.

So if it were a Chris Bell song, like “You and Your Sister”… John would get the strings and would be able to make a heartbreaking string section, and he knew how to bring them in and make a perfect mix. Or if you would take some falling apart as it comes together…Big Star “Third” type of stuff. John would treat unintentional guitar feedback as just as vital a piece of a song as someone’s vocal. All the pieces were equal and all the things were musicals. In my mind, the best engineers are able to do that.

“All the pieces were equal and all the things were musicals. In my mind, the best engineers are able to do that.” – @ReedTurchi

Obviously, Memphis has a huge rhythmic background. But if you think about those studios working together in the heyday, between the Stax empire…and all of the string, overdub work, and mixing being done at Ardent, because of the high tech gear and because of Fry…and then using the Swampers rhythm in Muscle ShoalsYou start to get an idea that each of these places were contributing a very special part to making probably some of the best music ever made. Memphis’s heyday was that whole region’s heyday.

So those are the things I try to think about because otherwise you can get a little too enamored with a particular time or a particular place. I mean there are circumstances historically that make that possible, but it’s not like…Yeah, if I go cut a record… I mean you can make believe whatever you want, but at the end of the day, those people with those skill sets made those things happen. It wasn’t just like…there may have been some circumstances that made it seem like it was just “in the water”, but you know there’s a reason why there is a hot period and then a not so hot period–you need the right people.

“There’s a reason why there is a hot period and then a not so hot period–you need the right people.” – @ReedTurchi

MN360° – So you went from North Mississippi to Memphis to Nashville?

RT – Well, one piece of the puzzle that doesn’t fit geographically is meeting, touring, and making the Scrapyard record with Adriano Viterbini … Because, the intensity and the rhythm he uses when playing guitar, and also he’s such an omnivore of styles, a master of learning things and incorporating them, you know, blew my mind sideways. Having someone like that even interested in the least of what I was doing… so to some extent you know validating the very small and narrow approach I had was a big deal for me and a signal to keep going.

And now in Nashville…I’ve got a lot of people that I love making music with all around. Now with Wallace, the drummer, across the street… With the Kudzu Orkestra, I used to start “Going Down South” and just call out the key. Now I call out “Going Down South”, and Wallace asks “Who’s version?” I don’t know how many drummers in the world–the answer is probably about three–have played with as many Hill Country guys.

“Now I call out ‘Going Down South’, and Wallace asks ‘Who’s version?'” – @ReedTurchi

So having Wallace here, and Kathleen to sing and keep me in tune, which is very nice. And then you know Heather, from Caterwauls, who lives about three or four houses away, on piano. I mean, yeah, Nashville is full of great musicians, but these specific people are people that I love recording with and playing with. I feel a real resonance with them. So that really helps me just be able to make music that I love.

“I feel a real resonance with them. So that really helps me just be able to make music that I love.” – @ReedTurchi

You know one of my least favorite things about Memphis, and whoever wants to can kill me for this, but there’s a real pressure to worship the Gods of Memphis’ golden age. I’m into that and I love that music, but that’s not who I am. I’ll try to learn from that and incorporate parts of it, but I can’t get into some pissing contest about who can play the most Stax guitar licks. I mean it is not going to get me anywhere.

“There’s a real pressure to worship the Gods of Memphis’ golden age.” – @ReedTurchi

 

“I can’t get into some pissing contest about who can play the most Stax guitar licks.” – @ReedTurchi

So it’s refreshing to be somewhere where…like if I was here in Nashville trying to do country or country pop or even Americana, wherever that is…I think there would be a lot of a similar weight. I don’t care about that stuff. I feel like I’m a little more free in the music I can make because of what’s going on and also being surrounded by some of my favorite musicians within walking distance of the house, or in the house. So that’s the best case scenario for me. And now I get to practice all the time since I actually live somewhere–that makes a big difference!

MN360° – What is the biggest misnomer about Nashville?

RT – The biggest misnomer is that it’s all country. Though, in truth, it is the country empire, so that is only partly a misnomer. I would say that for a lot of those genres it is really shitty and hyper competitive, or even worse, passive-aggressive competitive. It is also true that there are a lot of great musicians in the woodworks, not just guys that have had a country hit. It’s a town that right now is in that sweet spot of affordability and creativity. I’m sure that won’t last…and I’m sure I’m part of the problem. It’s a nice place to be right now…there are interesting things happening. When that door closes or when we all get priced out of the neighborhood, we will all look back on it as a special moment and scene. And I’m not talking about people moving here from Portland with their Stetsons to be part of a scene.

“Nashville’s a town that right now is in that sweet spot of affordability and creativity.” – @ReedTurchi

MN360° – Can you tell us a bit about the Kudzu Orkestra?

Kudzu Orkestra is a totally open invitation, recurring gig, that happens on average once a month. I lead the songs and get them started. It’s a mix of Hill Country classics and the simplest “Reed” songs, so almost no chord changes, or no chord changes at all–best case. People who are into that, having a somewhat led but otherwise pretty free interpretation chance to perform without an ego trip and without, you know, a lot of money worries involved love it, and they come back and maybe bring a friend or play whenever they’re in town, stuff like that. So it’s incredible.

I mean the group of people that play in it are pretty spread out in who they are and how professional they are with their music. But the music we make is some of the best. There are a lot of people now who say it’s the most fun gig and their favorite band they’ve ever heard in Nashville. It’s just a party. We play in a room about the size of your living room kitchen, and there will be 14 people playing.

It’s just about sharing rhythm. We do it the last Wednesday of every month at the Inglewood Lounge.

“It’s just about sharing rhythm. We do it the last Wednesday of every month at the Inglewood Lounge.” – @ReedTurchi

There’s no pressure. There’s no judgement. Especially in a town where everyone is always being begged to come to everyone else’s show, so they can get the right number of people at the door. There is none of that. It’s just a good time. And I think people are just starting to recognize that that feeling that seems like it should be so basic in music is actually absent most of the time. So they’re kind of refreshed by it.

MN360° – How are these Kudzu Orkestra gigs informing the new album?

RT – The album morphed more out of my solo touring over the last year and a half, which has been the most gigs I have played in my life. I did about 100 gigs in 2017 and will aim for about the same number in 2018. So the album really grew out of that.

The relationships for the people on the album came from the Orkestra. I experiment with some stuff but it’s more fun…The Orkestra really experiments on me. I start songs and then just see where they go.

We recorded the album all live in the same room together with no headphones, no computer overdubs, no computer edits, none of that. On the new album there’s a lot of vocal heavy stuff, in large part thanks to Kathleen’s harmony abilities. She can help me get vocals together and figure out parts, because I have no ear for that.

The album is me and my Kudzu Choir. It’s not a Kudzu Orkestra record, like the last one. It’s Kathleen singing. Wallace playing drums. Heather playing piano and singing. Then Lee playing bass and also singing. So we have got four singers, and instruments. I’m playing slide guitar through a tiny little amp. We’re all together in the same room doing it live, all the vocals at the same time. So volume is really important.

“We’re all together in the same room doing it live, all the vocals at the same time.” – @ReedTurchi

MN360° – Can you tell us more about recording with the Kudzu Choir?

RT – The strength of the album is that it is obviously a recording of people in a room sharing a certain moment and mood. We recorded the entire album on Saturday, mixed the entire album on Sunday, and sent it off to be mastered on Monday. We rehearsed for it, and I had spent 100 some gigs playing these songs–it’s not like this was totally off the cuff. But the beauty is in how it came together, and how the personalities came together.

“It’s not the musicianship so much as it is the combination of personalities and characters. I really think you can hear that on the record. There is just a feeling to that you recognize is a very special, and rare, trait.” – @ReedTurchi

You know, Lee is from Tupelo, MS. Heather is from Woodbury, TN. Wallace has spent the last 12 years in Holly Springs. The only rehearsal everyone attended was the Friday night before the session. Everyone came over, and had dinner. As soon as everyone sat down, it was obvious that this was the group. It’s not the musicianship so much as it is the combination of personalities and characters. I really think you can hear that on the record. There is just a feeling to that you recognize is a very special, and rare, trait.

@TheCrowleysBand are four good boys that enjoy looking for an Old Milwaukee Ice sponsorship, playing D&D in the van between gigs, and writing love songs. @MusicNews360 caught up with The Crowleys from their dungeon-like lair in Hamilton, Ontario. We mused about pugs, cabin fever, fusilli, and the color pink. Below are excerpts from our conversation.

 

Music News 360° Interview – The Crowleys

The Crowleys – “L.A. Sunset”

 

MN360° – What is your astrological sign?

The sign of the Zodiac killer. Nah, just kidding Gemini…such a Gemini thing to say.

 

MN360° – What is your spirit animal? How does it manifest in daily life?

The pug, girls think we’re so ugly we’re cute, and we have difficulty breathing.

 

“Girls think we’re so ugly we’re cute, and we have difficulty breathing.” – @TheCrowleysBand

 

MN360° – If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

The power to butter toast with our minds.

 

MN360° – How does Canada produce such great music?

Must be something in the water. Or the fact that we are trapped indoors for 5 months of the year.

“We are trapped indoors for 5 months of the year.” – @TheCrowleysBand

 

 

 

MN360° – Have you noticed more Americans moving to Canada, as of late?

We don’t notice Americans, but we hear that most of them get to Minnesota and think they’ve made it, so that could be why.

 

MN360° – What first sparked your interest in music?

Pink Floyd in the womb.

 

MN360° – What was your first instrument? Did someone gift it to you?

Probably a pink super-shredder recorder, Satan’s gift to parents everywhere.

 

MN360° – Who is your least obvious musical influence?

Bob Ross. We try to emulate the smoothness of his voice with all our work. Also P!nk.

 

MN360° – What is your process for writing/recording new music?

All different ways and shapes and sizes and colours. Sometimes someone will just start playing a random progression or riff and we will all just put a part to it and see where it goes. Sometimes someone will bring something a little more structured. Sometimes we write while recording.

 

MN360° – What is your ‘truth’?

T-tell no lies

R-remain honest

U-under no circumstance should you lie

T-tell the truth

H-honesty

 

MN360° – Whose basement did you practice in? Did it have concrete walls, or was it a finished basement?

We’ve hopped around from basement to basement (literally). From dungeon to decorated.

 

 

MN360° – How did the basement smell?

Like creative genius and freedom, aka stale beer.

 

MN360° – To the extent it does/does not matter, what do your parents think of your music?

It does not matter. Just kidding ma/pa, love you.

 

MN360° – Favorite psychedelic bands from the 60s/70s?

The Monkees, Willie Nelson. Are The Wiggles from the 60’s? They certainly have a vibe.

 

MN360° – Tell us the background behind LA Sunset? From what vantage point are we watching the sunset?

 

Stu, drummer, brought the song to the band and it evolved into something totally different with everyone else adding things in. A beautiful mosaic, just like Canadian culture, eh. The sunset is being watched from the Moon. Is that possible? During an eclipse?

 

MN360° – Do you believe in magic? Can you give an example?
No, but this one time I didn’t want to get up from the couch so I tried to jedi telekinesis the remote from the table but just ended up peeing a little.

 

“This one time I didn’t want to get up from the couch so I tried to jedi telekinesis the remote from the table but just ended up peeing a little.” – @TheCrowleysBand

 

MN360° – What percentage of your songs would you say are autobiographical?

All of them, but also none. 60%

 

MN360° – For each primary color, can you tell us what kind of amplifier and effects rig the color would be, I️.e. tone?

Red – Whatever rig slayer uses

Blue – BB kings guitar with a ring modulator

Pink – Our tone!

 

MN360° – Any dreams/visions/insights experienced while in the studio?

The dream of being able to do it all the time, it feels like a second home.

 

MN360° – Did your sensei require you to perform special tasks while in the studio? Any stories?

Michael Keire had us on a strict schedule of 4am starts, raw egg shakes for breakfast, 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats, and a 10km run. Everyday. We all went bald.

 

“Michael Keire had us on a strict schedule of 4am starts, raw egg shakes for breakfast, 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats, and a 10km run. Everyday. We all went bald.” – @TheCrowleysBand

 

But really, Mike’s great. He brings the best out of any type of musician. You should go and make your own stories.

 

MN360° – Is a pink rainbow only pink? What happens to the other colors?

Aren’t all colours just different hues of pink, man?

 

MN360° – Do you see a connection between performance and religious experience?

Stuart’s a God on the drums so…that.

MN360° – How did you meet your band mates? How did you ask them to join your band?

We all met in high school, and Justyn met Kaulin when he was born cause they are brothers. We stole Stuart from another band, we didn’t ask, he just came over once and never left. We bonded over our love of fusilli.

“We bonded over our love of fusilli.” – @TheCrowleysBand

 

MN360° – What were your most/least favorite classes in high school?
Favourite:
Stuart: Math because he’s a nerd
Everyone else: Lunch because they’re meat-heads

Least Favourite:
Stuart: Lunch because the meat-heads would steal his lunch money because he is a nerd.
Everyone else: Math because they are meat-heads

 

MN360° – What is the strangest thing you’ve experienced on tour?
A guitarist got naked during his band’s set and only had a guitar to cover his bits. Then the lead vocalist got naked…he didn’t have a guitar. Pinky winky.

“A guitarist got naked during his band’s set and only had a guitar to cover his bits. Then the lead vocalist got naked…he didn’t have a guitar.” – @TheCrowleysBand

 

MN360° – What do you do to occupy yourself between shows while on tour?
We play DnD in the van!

 

“We play DnD in the van!” – @TheCrowleysBand

 

MN360° – How about strangest place you’ve crashed while on tour?
We’ve never crashed, we’re all pretty good drivers.

 

MN360° – What will music sound like in 100 years?

Birds and crickets cause we’ll all be dead, or whatever our robot overlords are into.

MN360° – If you had to describe your music as a color, what color would it be?
See, I know you’re looking for a theme throughout this interview so you probably want me to say pink. But I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna give you the satisfaction.

 

MN360° – If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it say?
Nothing. This world is too full of crappy ads as it is. Give the peoples minds a break!

@FalconJaneMusic (Sara May) is the front-woman in the plez-rock band, Falcon Jane. She makes music that is inspired by nature, truth, peace, and magic! @MusicNews360 caught up with Sara on the tennis court, practicing her swing for the release of the third full-length record, “Feelin’ Freaky”. Below are excerpts from our, dare we say, “Freaky” conversation.

Music News 360° Interview – Falcon Jane

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Tour Dates

Falcon Jane – “Go with the Flow”

MN360° – What is your astrological sign?

FJ – Virgo! Can’t you tell?

“Virgo!” – @FalconJaneMusic

MN360° – What is your spirit animal?

FJ – Probably a deer. Sorry falcons! 

MN360° – If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

FJ – It would be cool to be able to control water / air with my mind – like water- or air-bending in Avatar. 

MN360° – You live in Canada, Orangeville, ON, eh? How’s that?

FJ – It’s amazing! I live in this little village out in the countryside and it’s super quiet and chill. I love my backyard. 

“I live in this little village out in the countryside and it’s super quiet and chill. I love my backyard.” – @FalconJaneMusic 

MN360° – What kinds of things do you do to ‘relax and feel cool’?

FJ – Be outside, go for walks, play music, swim, make food, eat food, laugh with my friends, write, chill by a fire, play tennis or frisbee, paint. 

MN360° – What sparked your interest in music?

FJ – The power it has – I’ve always been very affected by music, and it amazed me that I could have an affect on other people with the music I create. 

“I’ve always been very affected by music, and it amazed me that I could have an affect on other people with the music I create.” – @FalconJaneMusic

MN360° – Who is your least obvious musical influence?

FJ – Hmm probably Geoffrey Oryema.

MN360° – What was the process for writing/recording ‘Go With The Flow’?

FJ – I wrote ‘Go With The Flow’ immediately after writing a very sad/emotional song called ‘Pure Pain’ – so it was kind of like embodying that airy, blissful feeling of release you get after crying really hard. We recorded the song as a band up at Wildlife Sanctuary Sound – a recording studio out in the countryside of Ontario. It was a pleasure to record and came together really naturally. 

“It was kind of like embodying that airy, blissful feeling of release you get after crying really hard.” – @FalconJaneMusic

MN360° – How do you make your music feel so ‘Flowy’ and ‘Slow’?

FJ – I really like slow, flowy music, so I’m drawn to create it. Whenever my band starts playing too hard I’m like “hey come on, let’s chill out a bit.” I think because my mind is constantly running, analyzing and stressing, I find balance with my music being so slow and calm. I didn’t realize how slow ‘Go With The Flow’ actually is until blogs started writing about it.

“Because my mind is constantly running, analyzing and stressing, I find balance with my music being so slow and calm.”  –@FalconJaneMusic

MN360° – What can you tell us about your forthcoming album, ‘Feelin’ Freaky?

FJ – I think it’s a really well done album – it sounds really amazing. It’s the best thing I’ve ever made! There’s a lot of variety in the songs; some slow-burners, some upbeat jams, some poetic masterpieces, something for everyone!

MN360° – To you, what does it mean to feel ‘Freaky’?

FJ – Being freaky is all about being your true self – tapping into your pure, raw expression. And sometimes that can be pretty strange, but humans are unusual beings. I think we are consistently encouraged to fit in or be ‘normal’, but it feels good to be weird and express what you’re truly feeling on the inside. We’re all a little freaky, or at least feel freaky sometimes, and it’s great! 

“Being freaky is all about being your true self – tapping into your pure, raw expression.” – @FalconJaneMusic

“Humans are unusual beings. I think we are consistently encouraged to fit in or be ‘normal’, but it feels good to be weird and express what you’re truly feeling on the inside. We’re all a little freaky, or at least feel freaky sometimes, and it’s great!” – @FalconJaneMusic

 

MN360° – What is your ‘truth’?

FJ – I think truth is relative, but I am constantly seeking it. My truth changes day to day, but I’m always asking myself: “How do I really feel? What do I truly think? What is real and what is an illusion?” One thing that trips me out about truth is that the present moment is the only thing that exists. I am too often caught up in the past or future, and it takes practice to stay present and look around and realize that what you see is what you get. 

“One thing that trips me out about truth is that the present moment is the only thing that exists. I am too often caught up in the past or future, and it takes practice to stay present and look around and realize that what you see is what you get.” – @FalconJaneMusic

MN360° – Do you believe in magic? Can you give an example?

FJ – I believe in some kind of magic – maybe others wouldn’t call it ‘magic’ but I do. It’s like when you’re thinking about someone who you haven’t talked to in a while and then they send you a message out of the blue. Or when you’re talking about a band and all of a sudden it comes on the radio. My bandmate, Rocky, has a lot of magic things happen to her, and I feel like our whole friendship has been pretty magical. We met each other in a cafe like ten minutes after she bought my first album – she was like “Are you Falcon Jane?” and now she’s in the band and plays on the new album. Apparently that’s called a ‘divine appointment.’ 

“It’s like when you’re thinking about someone who you haven’t talked to in a while and then they send you a message out of the blue. Or when you’re talking about a band and all of a sudden it comes on the radio.” – @FalconJaneMusic

MN360° – What percentage of your songs would you say are autobiographical?

FJ – 100% !!!

MN360° – How was your time on tour in Eastern Canada?

FJ – It was crazy! It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. Definitely a big learning experience. Touring with Little Coyote was so great because they are so fun and nice – and now they’re our best friends! 

MN360° – Do you plan on touring in the States? If so, when?

FJ – Would love to tour in the States but don’t have any concrete plans yet! 

MN360° – What is the strangest thing you’ve experienced on tour?

FJ – We had a few strange, delirious moments on tour, but the strangest was probably when we all measured the depth of our belly buttons. Or when Rocky and I dressed the same and went to the empty hotel restaurant, sat on the same side of the table and shared everything we ordered. It was spooky. We felt like the twins from The Shining.  

“We had a few strange, delirious moments on tour, but the strangest was probably when we all measured the depth of our belly buttons.” – @FalconJaneMusic

MN360° – How about strangest place you’ve crashed while on tour?

FJ – We rolled in luxury on our tour last year and stayed in some pretty nice places – we always had a comfy bed every night. There really wasn’t anything strange about it. One morning I woke up in a hotel in Moncton, New Brunswick and chilled in the steam room and hot tub for a while. 

“One morning I woke up in a hotel in Moncton, New Brunswick and chilled in the steam room and hot tub for a while.” – @FalconJaneMusic 

MN360° – If you had to describe your music as a color, what color would it be?

FJ – I asked the band and they said ‘coral pink’. I’d agree with that. 

MN360° – If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it say?

FJ – “BE PLEZ!” 

@DarylHance is an artist whose music is steeped in the spirit of blues, funk, and rock n roll, fortified with vintage tones, bottom-end, and transcendental messages high on life. @MusicNews360 caught up with Daryl in the process of building a back porch, and meditating on a forthcoming fourth album. We talked about lot lizards, meth heads, gardening (or lack thereof), and corn snakes. Below are excerpts from our conversation, as well as the WORLD PREMIERE of the video for ‘Inside’.

Music News 360°: Interview – Daryl Hance

 

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Discography

Wild Blue Iris (2016)

Land of Trembling Earth (2014)

Hallowed Ground (2011)

 

 

WOLRD PREMIERE: DARYL HANCE – ‘INSIDE’


MN360° – What is your astrological sign?

DH – Sagittarius

 

MN360° – What is your spirit animal?

DH – Oh I don’t know…I recently had a dream in which a Seagull appeared.

 

MN360° – If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

DH – Teleportation , that would be cool. Load up my gear, and teleport to the gig.

 

MN360° – You live in the swamp?

DH – Ahhh…More pine forest. The Okefenokee Swamp is about a half hour north of where I live. Though, the whole area is swampy. Pretty much all around me there is water.

 

“Pretty much all around me there is water”

@DarylHance

 

Lots of wildlife. Deer, turkey, wild boar. There some wild boar out there. They’re around.

A lot of snakes in my yard, too.

 

MN360° – Does living out among nature influence your music?

DH – It has an effect…definitely, it has an effect. I have a yard full of animals. I don’t have a well groomed lawn–I just let everything grow. I don’t use any pesticide or spray or any of that shit. I let my lawn grow and grow, so all the animals flock to my yard.

 

“I let my lawn grow and grow, so all the animals flock to my yard”

@DarylHance

 

I found a 5 foot snake in the yard this year.

Corn snakes, garden snakes…haven’t seen any rattlesnakes recently. Well…actually, I found one pygmy rattler about 4 or 5 inches long. Lizards. Every once in a while you will hear an owl. Hawks all the time. Buzzards. Ground dwelling critters…Moles. Rabbits. Foxes, around there.

I try to keep them outside. Every once in a while, one of the animals makes it inside. I went out the screen door one time, and a snake fell on my head. I felt something slide down my neck…it was a corn snake. I had a frog explosion at my house too, right after the first hurricane this year. Lot of frogs. When you get frogs, here come the snakes. But yeah…all that gets into the music, somewhere or another.

 

“Every once in a while, one of the animals makes it inside”

@DarylHance

 

MN360° – What sparked your interest in music?

DH – When I was eleven or twelve years old, I had a friend that had a drum set. I would go over to his house, and he used to play the drums. One day I sat behind the set and kicked a beat. Something snapped. From that moment, I wanted to have a drum set and get into drums.

My first infatuation was with the beat and the groove. I used to do a lot of air drumming.

So I did that for a little bit. Then when I was 17, I got a guitar, and started playing with friends. We had a band right after high school. Went from there… There was a bass around, so started playing bass too. I picked up singing in my mid to late 20s.

I would say early on that I knew I wanted to do music. Of course, back then when I was 14, it was more like, “I want to be a rockstar”, because that was the only point of reference. Then over the years, you start peeling back the layers and discovering more and more things….It’s a process, I guess.

I always knew from an early age I wanted to be a musician. As far as which capacity that would be…for a time I thought I would be a drummer, and then I thought I would be a guitar player. I had no idea I could even sing or write songs. So it has been self discovery…

 

MN360° – Who is your least obvious musical influence?

DH – I would say Miles Davis. I gravitate towards music with space–atmospheric music, you know, on top, though underneath the rhythm part is a big thing too. I’m not total ambient, but somewhere in between. That makes the music sound alive, when you add some space to it.

 

“That makes the music sound alive, when you add some space to it”

@DarylHance

 

MN360° – We hear that on your latest record, Wild Blue Iris. How did you create that space?

DH – I am beginning to get a better handle on the recording process, and a lot of that comes through on Wild Blue Iris. Also, we mixed the album through a Neve. That’s why it sounds more vibey and cohesive.

 

MN360° – Where did you record Wild Blue Iris? What was the process?

DH – I recorded the album at JJ’s house, at his studio. I tracked most all of the instruments. Reed Turchi played slide guitar on a couple of tracks. Cameron Weeks played drums on about half the tracks. I played drums on the other half, and some songs have two drum tracks.

I usually start with a rhythm ace drum machine or a metronome, and then cut three takes of the backing track. Pick which rhythm track feels the best. From there, I add lead guitar and vocals.

 

MN360° – What percentage of your songs would you say are autobiographical?

DH – I’d say all of them are, to a certain degree. Or, at least, all of them that have been on the records, thus far. I am getting out into some other areas, more into social commentary. I’ve had social commentary kind of songs for years, but haven’t put them out there…It’s kind of like, you meet someone new and he starts making social commentary right off the bat–it could throw you off.

A lot of the music just comes out of thin air…Sure, I’m guiding it, though it is coming to me from somewhere. I don’t sit down and write a song. Most of the songs come over the course of months and years. For instance, I have a song I started writing back in 2000 and just finished.

 

“A lot of music just comes out of thin air…Sure, I’m guiding it, though it is coming to me from somewhere”

@DarylHance

MN360° – What is the background to the song ‘The Secret’?

DH – Everything is interconnected, that’s what the song is saying…that tree, the squirrel, the chair you’re sitting in, the air you’re breathing, you, your friends, Mt. Rushmore…It’s all interconnected. It’s all God, and everything else is illusion.

 

“That tree, the squirrel, the chair you’re sitting in, the air you’re breathing, you, you friends, Mt. Rushmore…It’s all interconnected. It’s all God, and everything else is illusion”

@DarylHance

 

To me, I was trying to pour all the positive thoughts I could muster into that kind of premise. Even from the music…I remember coming up with the guitar riff. That’s actually one of the hardest guitar parts I have recorded–just picking two notes in succession for that long. That two string picking thing is hard–it gives me a newfound respect for The Edge.

 

MN360° – What do you see as the connection between the blues and spirituality?

DH – Well, the blues comes from real life experiences. It’s about spilling your guts, and not trying to produce hits, necessarily. Lots of modern music has lost what makes the blues great: its realness. Steering music towards money can throw the ship into the rocks, so to speak.

I’ve been fortunate enough, or unfortunate enough, to have not been hugely successful. Having just a little taste of success can really shift your focus. That shit can change you real quick.

 

“I’ve been fortunate enough, or unfortunate enough, to have not been hugely successful”

@DarylHance

 

Back in the 60s, the artists had the freedom to express themselves and experiment. The Beatles had the freedom to go into Abbey Road anytime they wanted, to record any song they could think of…With the music I’m doing, I have the freedom to record what I want. It’s an organic thing.

 

MN360° – What is the strangest thing you’ve experienced on tour?

DH – While on tour with @JJGREYandMOFRO there would be chicks going around to each dude in the band asking us to come back to their place…She would be with her man, and he is kind of off to the side. She would be practically all over you. You’re kind of caught off guard, and the dude is looking at you all excited. It’s like, I don’t think I want to go anywhere with these people, I don’t want to end up being fitted with a ball-gag or something. That’s happened a couple of times… Not the being fitted with a ball-gag part, but the part about being awkwardly propositioned after a show. It can get weird sometimes…

 

MN360° – How about strangest place you’ve crashed while on tour?

DH – Well, we often sleep in the van at truck stops. There is a truck stop around Kennewick, WA…somewhere around there. You just get this weird vibe when you go there. There is always some kind of shady shit going on. You can tell there is something shady going on but you don’t know exactly what it is….people acting weird.

For instance, you are standing in line to get a shower, and one of those trucker guys comes along and starts chatting you up and says to you, “Gettin’ a shower, huh?”

 

“One of those trucker guys comes along and starts chatting you up and says to you ‘ Gettin’ a shower, huh? ’ ”

@DarylHance

Another night, we were actually looking for a hotel, around Kent, OH. I go into this EconoLodge. There is some dude just kind of pacing around, in the lobby. There were two chicks behind the counter. Then another girl walks out from the back, and she has these sores all over her chest and upper neck. The chick at the register…I was asking her about a room, and it took forever for her to compute. She ended up asking me, ‘May I see your debit card’, while having the money drawer open, counting the money over and over. She kept screwing up and having to start over again. I ended up saying, ‘I left my wallet out in the van’, and went across the street to the other hotel.

There had to be some kind of meth situation going on there. Funny thing was, when we went across the street to the Super 8 and asked the girl behind the desk there, she was like, ‘Yeah, the cops are always going over to the EconoLodge.’

MN360° – What are the essential items that you carry while on tour?

DH – I bring a coffee maker. You know, one of those Keurig things. At the end of a tour, a Starbucks bill can add up…One time on a three week tour, we spent almost $150 at Starbucks. That adds up.

Also, might get a stun gun, or something. We don’t run into too many problems, though. We just stay moving.

 

“We don’t run into too many problems, though. We just stay moving”

@DarylHance

 

MN360° – If you had to describe your music as a color, what color would it be?

DH – Purple or blue.

 

MN360° – If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it say?

DH – It would be plexiglass, so you could see right through it…

 

 @MusicNews360 caught up with @JohnCraigie between two nights of recording a forthcoming live album in Portland, OR (@MississippiStud & @DougFirLounge). We talked about the apocalypse, fractals, astrology, and hanging out with @JackJohnson. Below are excerpts from our conversation.

 

Website

Instagram

Twitter

Spotify

Tour Dates

Discography

Live

Studio

Capricorn in Retrograde… Just Kidding… Live in Portland (2016) No Rain, No Rose (2017)
Make Your Own Legend (2011) Working on My Farewell (2015)
Live in the Living Room (2008) The Apocalypse is Over (2013)
October is the Kindest Month (2011)
Montana Tale (2009)

MN360° – Your performance is both song and narrative. How did storytelling become part of your act?

JC – The storytelling was around way before the music. Growing up, I was the class clown. I was the guy who would tell the stories. So that’s older than the music and came way more naturally. The music was a lot harder for me.

“Growing up, I was the class clown. I was the guy who would tell the stories.”

@JohnCraigie

MN360° – What sparked your interest in music?

JC – One of my friends, a dear friend who I credit for having a huge influence on me. He was a little out of the box, really artistic. He had a different way about him. He wasn’t buying into the normal, suburban way, you know?

So he got a guitar when we were about 15 years old. He was really talented, playing the guitar a lot…I looked up to him. One day, he showed me…He was like, ‘It’s not that hard!’ He showed me some chords. That was the pivotal moment for me. The moment I knew it was possible. It changed everything.

I think that a lot of times you just need someone to be like, ‘Yeah, you can do this!’

“I think that a lot of times you just need someone to be like, ‘Yeah, you can do this!’”

– @JohnCraigie

 

 

Credit: @littlegreeneyes

Also, in the early 90s, Bob Dylan was not cool. I knew Dylan in the sense of a historical figure, but I had not heard his music. It wasn’t until someone gave me a copy of Freewheelin’ … that was the catalyst for my songwriting.

“It wasn’t until someone gave me a copy of Freewheelin’ … that was the catalyst for my songwriting.

@JohnCraigie

MN360° – You have been quoted as saying, “I know that the purpose of music is not to make people feel better, but to make them feel like they are not alone.” Can you elaborate?

JC – People listen to sad songs when they are sad. Why do we do that? It doesn’t cheer us up, but that’s not the point. The point is…What we are really seeking with art is connection. To feel like, ‘Oh, they get it.’

If you’re bummed out, ‘Walking On Sunshine’ is not going to work for you. That doesn’t do it, and we all know that… It’s funny that we disregard that reality.

The best music is relatable, it makes us feel like we are not alone. That’s what I have always thought the purpose of music is… on all levels, whether it is a happy song or a funny song or a sad song.

“People listen to sad songs when they are sad. Why do we do that? It doesn’t cheer us up, but that’s not the point. The point is…What we are really seeking with art is connection. To feel like, ‘Oh, they get it.’”

@JohnCraigie

MN360° – You studied math in college. How does math influence your creative process?

JC – I was at UC Santa Cruz, so it was more of a hippie kind of math. Lot of fractals. Lot of looking at pineapples, you know, getting high. Lot of looking at ferns…Storytelling is somewhat mathematical. Not so much in what we think about as math, like algebra. More so in putting things together–structure.

“Storytelling is somewhat mathematical. Not so much in what we think about as math, like algebra. More so in putting things together–structure.”

@JohnCraigie

On structure, songwriting and architecture…How crazy is it to visualize how a building is going to look before you make it? Songwriting is similar in that you hear the general vibe you want before laying the foundation.

MN360° – Is the Apocalypse over?

JC – That was a metaphor for all the hippies who were talking about 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar. Remember that? They were like, “Cool, Babylon will crumble! I won’t have to work my stupid job anymore.” So the lyric is a reference to that. I guess I should have put quotes around “Apocalypse.”

Credit: @danielnjohnson

“I guess I should have put quotes around ‘Apocalypse.’”

@JohnCraigie

MN360° – What is the most uncomfortable place you have slept while on tour?

JC – Many years ago, I was playing in this town called Winter Park, Colorado, up in the mountains. I finished the gig and was going to sleep in my Astrovan. Then, I looked at my phone, and the app said it was 1° outside…fahrenheit. I was like, “I’ll die…I’m from California. I’ll die sleeping outside.”

Went back to the bartender and said, ‘Hey man, I don’t mean to seem pushy, but do you have a couch I could crash on? It’s 1° outside, and I’m afraid I’ll die if I sleep outside tonight.’ Luckily, he said, ‘Sure, I’ve got to close up the bar. It’s going to be another few hours. Here’s the address. The door is unlocked. You can sleep in the guest room.’

‘Awesome!’

I get to the place, and it’s freezing in the guest room. Though, I was like, ‘It’s better than sleeping outside.’ Got in the bed, curled up, and went to sleep. Hours later, I woke up covered in snow–there was snow all over the bed. One of the windows…the blinds were down, but the window was open. Snow had been blowing in on me all night.

So I would have been better off sleeping in my car.Though, I just went over and closed the window.

That was a weird night, for sure…

MN360° – Do you follow astrology? Is there significance to your album titled ‘Capricorn in Retrograde… Just Kidding… Live in Portland’?

JC – I am into astrology because I lived in Santa Cruz for 5 years. Originally, the title was going to be ‘Mercury in Retrograde… Just kidding’. After talking to some friends, I thought it would be even funnier and maybe a little less intense if I made up something that doesn’t exist, ‘Capricorn in Retrograde’, which is not a thing, you know.

MN360° – What is your astrological sign?

JC – Gemini.

MN360° – How was the time you spent on tour with @JackJohnson?

JC – We had a lot of fun. Probably the funnest thing we did…we had a night off and went to see @JohnMayer perform at The Gorge. You know, I would not normally go to see John Mayer in concert, so it was a trip to go to that show with Jack, sitting there with these two elder statesmen of modern songwriting. That was a surreal night.

MN360° – What percentage of the time do you perform with your eyes open?

JC –  I’d say 2 percent–when I’m making a joke about having my eyes open.

(Referring to the song titled “I Wrote Mr. Tambourine Man”, featured on the Music News 360° – October 2017 Playlist).

Credit: @jayblakesberg

MN360° – If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it say?

JC – ‘Be nice to each other’. That’s probably cliche, but that’s what I would say.

“Be nice to each other.”

@JohnCraigie

Credit: Maria Davey