HEAR IT NOW: Celebrate Your Life with the New Track by Phases

Photo courtesy of the band's website.
Photo courtesy of the band’s website.

Phases has released what may be one of the most enjoyable songs of all time with “I’m in Love with My Life.” The song includes a range of different influences, but the song is still very much their own. Right from the beginning, the band gives the listener a funky bassline and rhythm that almost sounds like a sped up version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” Behind that, a snare hits the downbeats like something from a Joy Division song. Phases throws in beats here and there to liven up the song before the sound goes full on disco.

Phases doesn’t stop there. Other elements found in the track include dance rhythms one would hear in house music as well as noises reminiscent of Talking Heads. The chorus throws in the vocal qualities of The Cardigans’s “Lovefool” with the disco and funk sound already established. The entire song has a Blondie feel to it, but also a Vengaboys feeling. “I’m in Love with My Life” takes so much from every decade, but in true artistic fashion builds on the sounds of the past to create a present track unlike anything else. By all means, this amalgamation should result in a crazy mess, but that’s no so for this track. The combination of sounds and influences works well together. At no point does the song ever feel like it has too much going on, nor does it feel like it has too little. The track has no missteps or awkward moments.

While the rhythm has quite a bit going on, the same cannot be said about the lyrics, but that perhaps is the point. The message is simple: life is fun and we should enjoy it. The way singers Alex Greenwald and Z Berg bring the lyrics out fits perfectly with the song. Although the lyrics are repetitious, they manage not to annoy. Instead, the vocalists enhance the music behind them, much like Daft Punk’s “One More Time.” The band proves that lyrics do not need to be deep to make a listening experience great.

The emergence of this jubilant, carefree track may surprise some given the group’s recent artistic endeavors. The last thing these musicians recorded together was JJAMZ’s album Suicide Pact, quite a bit away from the life-affirming “I’m in Love with My Life.” JJAMZ was a side project for all the members (and Maroon 5’s James Valentine) to step away from their main projects. Once Valentine stepped out, the group almost split. Hard work and luck kept the band together. The group often refers to their string of good fortune as “serendipitous.” Berg says, “For us to work involves another six hours of us not working,” which involves Tron, Total Recall, and Mario Kart. Greenwald notes that they spend a lot of that time admiring sounds from the movies and games.

Based on their new working habits, the change from Suicide Pact to “I’m in Love with My Life” is not surprising. Rather than working tirelessly writing music, the members are having fun while working on new music, bringing a whole new life to their sound. Their work habit of listening for sounds in different mediums shows in their new track. The band is having fun, and because of that, listeners have fun, too.

Interested in more from Phases? Follow them with the below links!

Facebook

Website

Twitter

Interview: DOROTHY Is Bringing True Rock’n’Roll Back To The Masses

You could throw a rock in Los Angeles and are practically guaranteed to hit someone trying to make it in the business. When someone comes out of L.A., you know that there’s something about them that makes them special. Dorothy is special. Nowadays, everyone calls themselves a “rock” band, but Dorothy really fits the bill. Reminiscent of Joan Jett and AC/DC, they’ve been named #14 on Rolling Stone’s “50 Best New Artists of 2014” and they’ve got the charisma to match. Dorothy is made up of Dorothy Martin (vocals), Zac Morris (drums), Gregg Cash (bass) and Mark Jackson (guitars). I got to catch up with the band after their superb set at The Ride Festival, and boy, are they fun.

Photo Credit: DOROTHY

If I were to read your resumes, what’s going to be under special skills?

Zac: I used to be a mascot, so I’m an incredible dancer. Like an unbelievable dancer.

Dorothy: He should be a male stripper.

Zac: If I wasn’t a drummer, I’d be a dancer.

Dorothy: If this doesn’t work out, he’s going to be Chippendales.

So you’re going to be in Magic Mike XXXL?

Zac: Yeah, mmhmm, that’s reality.

Dorothy: Yep.

Gregg: Magic Mike, Puff Puff Pass.

Any other particular skills you’d like to discuss?

Zac: No, I pretty much suck at everything else.

Dorothy: I know Gregg has some. C’mon Gregg.

Gregg: I was president of the chess club in elementary and middle school

Zac: Were you?

Dorothy: So your skill is…being president or chess?

Gregg: Chess.

Zac: And he’s really good at Boggle.

Gregg: And I’m really good at Boggle and Scrabble. Bring it.

Zac: I’ve learned this.

Is that how you guys write songs? Play Boggle, and whatever comes up?

Zac: Laughs Just come up with the words and throw them together.

Gregg: While they write the songs, I play Scrabble. I’m not really a great wordsmith. It’s all numbers.

Dorothy: I play a mean triangle.

Zac: She does. I’ve seen it.

Dorothy: I play the f*ck out of the triangle.

Whose song are you going to guest star on?

Dorothy: I’m going to play the triangle on a song with…I was thinking like Ariana Grande, One Direction, Miley Cyrus.

Zac: One Direction is good.

Dorothy: I think they need more triangle in their music.

Absolutely. Everyone needs more triangle.

Gregg: Yep, it’s true.

DSC06012

So you guys have been named as one of the “Artists You Need To Know” on Rolling Stone. What did your parents say when you told them?

Dorothy: She didn’t say anything. I think she just dissolved into a puddle of tears. All laugh. And I was like, “Why are you crying?”

Zac: That is your mom.

Gregg: Yeah.

Zac: She’d totally do that.

Dorothy: But she was laughing at the same time, and she had this psycho look in her eyes. Like, is that good?

Gregg: Mom, are you happy? Are you mad at me? Are you mad, Mom?

Dorothy: No, she was super happy.

Zac: My parents freaked out. My mom’s like the sweetest lady in the world, so she goes into the household mom. In a high-pitched voice: “Sweetheart, that is so good. I’m so proud of you.” But everything we do, she’s proud of. I could’ve been a trash man.

Dorothy: Cash’s [Gregg] mom, too. F*cking rock and roll. She’s my second mom.

Gregg: Yeah, Momma Cash. She just comes in like a train. Like, oh look.

Dorothy: She has tattoos. She’s badass.

Gregg: My mom and my dad, they’re just super…they’re all over Facebook.

Dorothy: What’d she do when you told her?

Gregg: It was just, like, getting blasted all over the Newsfeed. It was like, in a high-pitched voice, “Oh my son is in Rolling Stone.” She was so stoked, and my dad’s like in a low voice “Oh, my son’s in Rolling Stone.”

Dorothy: I think they can transcribe any of that.

Zac: The motion, they can.

It’ll just be…

Zac: Gibber, gibber, gibber.

Yeah. (To Mark) What did your parents say?

Mark: Oh, my mom was stoked. She has a book club. All laugh. Everyone at Book Club has Dorothy CDs, and they know everything. They have like a Dorothy segment where they talk about Dorothy. She’s proud.

You guys have super awesome music videos. How important is the visual component of the music to you?

Dorothy: Super important because it shows another aspect of our imaginations. Plus, people want to see who they’re listening to, and people who can’t make it out to the shows…it’s a kind of like a little fantasy for them as well. So, the visuals are super important. I’m a big fan of film and music videos. I actually…”After Midnight”, we shot an actual live rehearsal at Swing House Studios with the lights off and a spotlight camera. It just came out looking really cool and gritty. That was all George Robinson, our manager. It’s all him. George.

Zac: Visual mastermind.

Dorothy: He’s secretly Spike Jones.

Mark: AKA “The King of Cool.”

Dorothy: At night, he just turns into Spike Jones. Zach laughs.

Do you agree that a lot of the videos are the artist’s interpretation of the song?

Dorothy: No. I think a lot of artists have a big creative team…and that’s fine, you know? There are a lot of people that are too busy to be involved in a video. Personally, for me, and I think the band agrees and George agrees, that we like to be really hands-on and kind of DIY, which is very punk rock by the way.

Fitting, very fitting.

Dorothy: But, I’m sure as things progress and change, we’ll have different teams of people come in. It’s always great to collaborate because they think of things you might not ever think of. But, I will always have a finger in the pie, and I will always give my two-sense. I write treatments for the videos and send them to the guys all the time. Our “Wicked Ones” video…That should come down. Zach chuckles. We need to take that down because we actually want to reshoot it with something that’s really a lot more cinematic.

Zac: That was fun though.

All: It was fun.

Zac: Up at the Madonna Inn.

Dorothy: That was in Santa Barbara, which is f*cking haunted, by the way.

Zac: Yeah, it was pretty haunted.

Mark: I don’t know how to explain that hotel. Every room has a different theme…

Dorothy: It looks like a 70s porno den.

Mark: It looks like it was shot in a porno cave den.

Dorothy: Mixed with a maple log cabin.

Mark: And then the leprechaun is sitting in the corner.

All laugh.

Dorothy: I think he was alive; he was real.

Zac: And then we got kicked out.

Dorothy: We got kicked out for being too loud.

That’s very punk rock.

Gregg: But we didn’t get kicked out until the end. We did all the shooting all night, and then right at the end after we wrapped and were eating pizza, we got kicked out.

Dorothy: We tried to bribe them with the pizza, but they wouldn’t listen.

Zac: They weren’t having it.

Gregg: We’re shooting guerilla-style, like…George’s got the camera, somebody else has a camera, and we’re just shooting…and there’s like playback. And [Zach’s] trying not to hit his drums, but he’s kind of hitting his drums. It’s nighttime. And even through all that, no complaints. And we’re eating pizza, laughing, cackling, that was when we got kicked out.

Zac: That was when we got it.

Gregg: Which just goes to show you how loud we are.

Dorothy: I have to sleep with earplugs. If I could fit two pairs of earplugs, I would.

Gregg: We’re loud; we have a good time.

Zac: We have a great time.

Gregg: We have a great time, actually. He’s right.

So what’s your favorite thing about the Los Angeles music scene?

Dorothy: I’ll go out to a piano bar, and there will be a country band with an upright bass and an electric guitar…

Zac: The diversity.

Dorothy: It’s amazing what you can find if you look for it. It doesn’t all have to be mainstream or one way. I know there was a huge wave of indie music that had a lot of bands sounding the same. You kind of have to dig, but you can find some cool shit out in LA.

Zac: And there’s something every single night. Tuesday night, you’ll find a show. Wednesday night, you’ll find a show…

Dorothy: Contrary to popular belief,  the cool night to go out in L.A. is like a Tuesday night not a Friday night.

All: Yeah.

What has been your favorite thing about Ride?

Dorothy: The people are so nice, and the views…oh my god. I feel like I’m tripping on shrooms.

Zac: It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Mark: I even forgot I was playing for a second. I was looking out…

Dorothy: I did, too. I was staring…there was a moment during my favorite song, “Medicine Man,” and I’ll tell you the story. When I stepped out it was cloudy and it was in the peak of the song where it gets more intense, and I shit you not, the clouds parted and the sunshine broke through. I had like the Truman Show…I had a movie moment playing in my head, and I look over and I wasn’t even singing at that moment. It was amazing. I wanted a whole choir of angels. That would’ve been nice.

Zac: Except if we all had oxygen tanks. That would’ve been better cause we were all dying.

Gregg: Yeah, like help in between songs.

Zac: 8,750 feet in the air. That’s a lot higher than sea level.

Dorothy: I almost passed out.

Gregg: Isn’t it 60?

Zac: Oh, really?

Dorothy: I’m surprised Zach didn’t pass out. I almost passed out three times.

Gregg: Oh, it is 50. I was wrong. The drummer is always right. Never listen to a bass player.

Dorothy: Says the bass player.

Zac: My internal barometer is always on point.

And the obligatory last question, what can we expect from you in the next year?

Dorothy: Mark.

Mark: Our next thing is, we’re going out on tour with an artist named Miguel.

Dorothy: He’s Grammy nominated!

Mark: Grammy nominated Miguel. He came to one of our shows at Satellite in L.A. and he fell in love with us. He hand-picked us to be his supporting act. So, we’re doing his North American tour. It’s, I think, 30 shows in 45 days starts July 23 or 24. 24th in Austin.

Dorothy: Austin, Texas!

Mark: Houston, Dallas, Atlanta…

Gregg: Everywhere.

Mark: Just doing a big circle up the country, basically.

Dorothy: It’s an international tour. Three Canada dates. We always thank Skullcandy and Bitsweet for being so supportive. They actually jumped in and supported us on this tour so we could go out and make it. We got a bus.

Zac: A pirate ship.

Dorothy: Yes, a pirate ship. Full of booty.

Zac: Fulllll of booty.

One more question. What has been the most memorable moment?

Dorothy: Probably this one just cause the view is so awesome.

Zac: Yeah, it was pretty incredible.

Dorothy: It was really a fun show. I could really tell everyone was having a good time. We have also gone to Europe and stuff, but none of the shows felt like this. It was so gorgeous.

Zac: Be-a-u-tiful. Literally one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Dorothy: I think I died and went to heaven.

Zac: Yeah.

You’re not actually here. This is a dream. This a green screen.

Dorothy: I’m in an alternate universe.

 

Make sure to catch their on their upcoming tour with Miguel!

You can check out all their music here:

iTunes | Spotify | YouTube | SoundCloud

Keep tabs on all the band’s adventures through their social media:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Interview: If You’re Not Riding the Moon Taxi, Make Sure to Hop On Before It’s Too Late

I was lucky enough to sit down with Nashville band, Moon Taxi, before their set at The Ride Festival. The five-piece met while attending Belmont University in 2006. Nine years and two studio albums later, the band has appeared on late night talk shows, played numerous festivals across the world, and stayed devoted to the music. It’s uncommon for college bands to successfully make the transition from jamming in dorm rooms to playing in front of thousands. But then again, they’re not really your common band. Moon Taxi consists of Trevor Terndrup (vocals, guitar), Tommy Putnam (bass), Spencer Thomson (guitar), Tyler Ritter (drums) and Wes Bailey (keys).

Photo Credit: Moon Taxi

When I interviewed Trevor, Spencer and Wes, I wore a shirt from another band out of Nashville, Sol Cat. Admittedly, I wore it as a talking point because as Sol Cat mentioned when I interviewed them last month, the Nashville music scene is very inclusive. My choice in attire became quite the talking point throughout the interview,* as well as Bonnaroo and the amazing band, Gates.

 

P.S. Pardon my overuse of awesome.

 

*Interview is a loosely used term since questions were asked by both sides. It more closely resembles a conversation with an overly interested party (me) trying to find out all about someone’s journey (Moon Taxi).

 

Trevor: Sweet Sol Cat shirt.

Oh, thank you. I loved you guys at Bonnaroo, by the way. You guys were great.

All: Thanks.

Trevor: (About Sol Cat) They’re from Nashville…What’s your favorite Sol Cat song?

I like “Dirty Glasses.” What about you?

Trevor: There’s too many to pick from, really.

So is it true that the Nashville crowd, everyone’s friends with each other?

Trevor: It is true. Where did you hear that?

From Sol Cat.

Trevor: When did Sol Cat tell you that? All laugh.

Bonnaroo. Have things changed since then?

All laugh.

Trevor: What do you think?

I don’t think that it would have, but based on your answer, maybe.

Trevor: Things are cool with us and the Cat. Very cool.

So, if I were to read your resumes, what’s going to be under special skills?

Trevor: I fancy myself…I can cook really good breakfasts.

Tyler: Six years as a barista.

So you can make a really good cappuccino? Is there a trick to it?

Tyler: Ancient Chinese secrets.

Trevor: Spencer. Your turn, with the morning…cause breakfast, coffee…

What kind of breakfast do you make?

Trevor: Anything. Anything your heart desires.

Spencer: I can, uh, make the bed really well.

Trevor: So, we kill it in the morning.

Spencer: Yeah, I can put the sheets and the pillows in the right places.

Trevor: We’re super domestic.

When does this morning start? Is it a brunch time?

All: Very early.

Trevor: At the crack of dawn.

Tyler: 4 [A.M.]

Now, when you guys were starting out, you guys were really known for your lives shows and not as much the recorded music. Do you think you’ve made the transition?

Spencer: Now, we’re not known for our live shows anymore.

All laugh.

Trevor: Now, we’ve seemed to successfully messed up the live shows. But we’re really good at putting out records.

Do you guys like trying out new songs live and seeing how it goes…What comes first: live or recording?

Spencer: Recently, we’ve just been recording first. We used to do it the other way around. We just recorded the record, and we, maybe, played one or two before we recorded them…Plus, it’s kind of nice to give the fans something brand new that they haven’t heard any of. I like that. I like when I haven’t heard, when I know I’m getting a whole new experience at once, as a fan.

Have you guys gotten to explore the festival much?

All: Yeah.

Trevor: Yeah, we’ve been walking around. We walked down the main strip. Telluride is beautiful.

So what do you think sets this festival apart from other festivals like Bonnaroo or Wakarusa?

Tyler: The setting.

Trevor: Definitely the setting.

The opening band, Mike Farris, can be heard backstage.

Tyler: What band is this?

Spencer: Is this Mike Farris?

Trevor: Looks at lineup. This is Gates.

Tyler: Oh, okay.

Trevor: Oh no, wait.

Spencer: Gates is when the festival opens.

All laugh.

Spencer: We should go on tour with Gates.

Tyler: Gates is freaking gnarly.

They were really quiet for a while.

Tyler: They actually played a three hour set. The first hour is just silence.

So, I read somewhere that you guys wanted to see a D’Angelo/Moon Taxi collaboration. Did you guys get to meet him at Bonnaroo and make it happen?

Trevor: No, we didn’t get to make it out to the SuperJam. Did not make it out. Did you?

Um, the sound was so bad that I ended up leaving. That’s honestly one of the things about Bonnaroo. If you’re not in the pit, you can barely hear anything.

Spencer: Was that in one of the tents, the SuperJam?

Yeah, it was in…

Trevor: It was like 1 A.M. in the That Tent or This Tent.

Whatever tent is the worst tent, that’s the tent that it was in.

Trevor: Oh, The Other Tent?

Yeah, that’s the tent it was in.

Trevor: That is the worst tent. So how did it sound for our show?

Your show [at the Which Stage] sounded really good, but I was also in the pit area…As long as you’re in that core group that’s pushed up against the fence, that’s pushed up against the barriers, you can hear pretty well…So your new album is set to come out this year, this fall.

Spencer: Yep.

Do you think that this will sound more mature? I’ve heard that your songwriting has matured throughout the years…Is this a better reflection of who you’ve become as a band?

Trevor: Yeah, absolutely. I think it reflects our lives, too. We’ve grown up a little bit over the years. The songs are less about, like, you know us traveling the road and doing crazy shit, and more about our relationships…that are sustaining, have sustained over the years…I think it’s definitely a step in the right, mature direction.

What has been the most memorable moment for you guys thus far?

Trevor: Ever?

Ever. Well, as a band.

Trevor: Oh.

Well, whatever is the most interesting answer.

Trevor: Well, last night we saw three shooting stars and the Northern Lights.

Spencer: Yeahhhhh.

Wow, I’m so jealous.

Trevor: The Northern Lights may or may not have been the Widespread Panic set.

Spencer: I think it was after Panic.

Trevor: Yeah, I think it was the Northern Lights.

That is awesome.

Spencer: We’re going with the Northern Lights.

Trevor: We discovered this new star called, what was it? Lyra?

Tyler: Vega. Vega was really, really bright last night.

How did you discover it?

Trevor: We just looked it up. We were star gazing.

[Telluride] is a good place for it.

Trevor: That’s, in most recent history, the most memorable moment.

That’s actually really cool. And who would headline your dream festival?

Trevor: Ooh, can the bands be resurrected?

Yep, dead or alive.

Trevor: Three nights of Sol Cat, dude.

Tyler: Sol Cat all the way.

I asked them that question, and they said Sol Cat too.

All laugh.

Spencer: Two nights of Sol Cat and one night of Jerry [Garcia].

Trevor: Jerry, him sitting in with Sol Cat. Sol Cat with Jerry Garcia.

That would be awesome.

Trevor: That’d be great.

Did you guys see The Grateful Dead on their tour?

Trevor: Yeah, Wes and I went to Chicago last weekend.

Oh, wow. How was it?

Trevor: It was amazing. It was incredible. It was the last night; it was Sunday. So, it was fun to be a part of.

So what’s on your summer playlist? Other than Sol Cat, obviously.

Spencer: I think we have a summer playlist. Why don’t we just tell you?

Do you guys have any dreams festivals you’d like to play?

Trevor: I wanna do that Fuji one.

Spencer: Fuji, in Japan. I heard they just got Wi-Fi on all of Mt. Fuji. You can go to the top and be connected.

So what is it about that festival [Fuji Rock Fest]?

Spencer: It’s at the base of Mt. Fuji, which is a volcano that’s going to erupt any minute.

What can we expect from you the rest of the year?

Spencer: We just put a new song out…We’re going to put out one or two more throughout the summer leading up to the album. Then we’ll be touring the album September and October. Then, do it all over.

 

Moon Taxi’s new song, “Make Your Mind Up” is out now.

You can find all of Moon Taxi’s music on:

Spotify | iTunes | Amazon | YouTube | SoundCloud

Make sure to keep up to date with their upcoming tour dates.

You can find out more about Moon Taxi and all the wonderful things they have to offer on their website and social media:

FacebookTwitter | Instagram

 

Interview: Ayron Jones and The Way, The “Inner City” Rock Band You’ve Been Waiting For

Ayron Jones and The Way is a three-piece rock band out of Seattle, Washington. Finally coming together in 2013, the last couple years have been full of exciting adventures for the band. They’ve opened up for the likes of B.B. King, had their debut album produced by the legendary rapper, Sir Mix A-Lot and played the main stage at Washington’s own Sasquatch! Festival. It was a pleasure getting to meet with Ayron Jones, DeAndre Enrico, and Kai Van De Pitte after their first of two shows at The Ride Festival.

Photo Credit: Ayron Jones and The Way

If I were to read your resumes, what’s going to be under special skills?

Kai: Special skills? Idiocy. I’m a ballerina with my fingers.

Ayron: I’m like a finger god is what I’d say…It’s a hard question to answer. Special skills…

DeAndre: My resume actually a special skill section and it’s a bunch of IT stuff under it. Like server administration, stupid stuff that’s boring.

Ayron: Listening to him talk about that shit. It doesn’t matter…The one thing I’d say that the crowd gets from us…they leave refreshed. It’s like an energetic cleansing. They come in with whatever on their mind; they leave just feeling like that’s not on their mind anyway. It’s been lifted. I don’t know. We play a sound of music that just gets down deep and pulls it out of you. It’s almost healing in a way. Our special skill is healing through music.

Kai: Healing. Our special skills are healing through music. Laughs

Do you think that works the same way for you? Do you get that same feeling from the crowd?

Ayron: Hell no. Laughs  No. It’s the same exact way, actually. I don’t care what I’m going through. If I’m sitting in a packed-out crowd in a tight ass club, I’ll forget the world.

Kai: That’s true.

DeAndre: That’s mostly true. I feel way better now than before we played. I felt terrible all day, but now I feel good.

Ayron: He hates everything. He hates the world.

DeAndre: I do hate a lot of things.

Ayron: Most stuff. He hates most things.

DeAndre: Three of the things I hate the most are sitting in this room.

All laugh

Kai: (To me) …and he barely knows you. That’s how much he hates people.

Seattle is no doubt a music city. Did you guys grow up around music? Did you always know that this was going to be your path?

Ayron: I can’t say that I always knew this was going to be my path. I’d say that, for me, I always knew that I was going to do something great, you know? It was either going to be in music or something else. Music was the talent that I was gifted with, so it ended up, ultimately being, that music was my gift. So…eventually, I thought that, for sure. Originally, I just thought that I was going to be good at something, and that was it. But, I grew up around a musical family, so it only seemed natural that I would end up playing music for a living. But now, I’m the only person that plays music for a living in my family, which is funny. That’s that. DeAndre, go!

DeAndre: I grew up in a musical family. Everyone in my family plays music. I was not planning to play music. It was my goal to not play music.

You got into IT?

DeAndre: Yeah, that’s part of the reason I ended up going into IT.

Ayron: At our very first gig, he literally tells this to me, he goes…

DeAndre: I did not say this. He always says I say this…I’m tired of you putting words into my mouth.

Ayron: He said, “Just so you guys know, I have a career. I have a job. Music is just a hobby for me. I’m not going to do this for a living.” He said this to me.

DeAndre: What I said was, “I have a career that I am focusing on, and I am not going to let music jeopardize my career.” Once I had ten years of IT experience under my belt, and I knew I had that safety net…then I could be more free to focus on music. But, I did recently get another IT job, which is part of the reason why I could just get a good job is because I have that experience.

Kai: (in a mocking voice) I can get a real good job. Ayron laughs.

DeAndre: See why I hate them? Anyway, my mom forced me to play guitar in this program called “Blues in the Schools,” which Ayron was in as well. It’s a really cool program where these Blues musicians travel all over the world, and they teach kids mostly, inner-city kids, kids who are living in poverty, they teach them about blues and the history of the blues. [They teach them] about how it’s influenced all American music. It’s like the foundation of all American music. So, I learned a lot of guitar stuff in that. It just kind of went from that. I played a family band with my mom, my grandfather, my aunts and uncles for a while. And so yeah, that’s what happened there…

Kai: I did not grow up playing music at all. At all. I grew up playing baseball all my life, up until my senior year in high school. I had no family that plays music. My mom’s a hula dancer. That was the closest thing I had to any type of musical expression going on.

DeAndre: Not a hula hooper.

Kai: Not a hula hooper, Mackenzie [their manager].

She’s probably pretty good at hula hooping as well, right?

Kai: Yeah, actually. My family moved from San Jose, CA to Newman, CA my senior year in high school, and I got super rebellious and pissed. I pretty much stopped playing baseball and stopped pursuing going to college for that because my dad wanted me to do that, and I was angry at him. I started playing drums because one of my friends was in a punk rock band that needed a drummer. I bought a drum kit. Two months later, I played my first show with them, and it’s just kind of excelled from there. So, I’ve been playing drums for about 12 years now.

When did you start learning all your [drumstick] tricks?

Kai: There’s a dude named Eric Moore that plays for Suicidal Tendencies. Me and him are actually really good friends back from the Stockton area.

Ayron: You lived in Stockton, dawg?

Kai: Near Stockton, not in the city…

Ayron: That’s the hood.

Kai: That’s where I met my wife.

Ayron: Dude, you’re Chinese and from the hood?

All laugh

Kai: Anyways, he was a huge influence to me as I started, and he does all that stuff. He was the biggest inspiration for me, at first. He’s a big showman, and that’s where I got the twirling going on.

 

Later in the interview, the band asked their tour manager Mackenzie McAninch why he represented them. In a truly touching sentiment, he stated that he “wanted everyone to know about the band.” That’s the role of a publicist, to promote the band. It’s doubly helpful when the publicist fills multiple roles and genuinely cares about the band that they represent. Ayron Jones and The Way are planning to continue their tour, opening up for Slipknot later this summer. Their debut album, Dream, was released in 2013, and you can look forward to more new music in the near future. They’ve got plans to start on their second album, mentioning that they made a statement with their first album. However, the guys out of the Pacific Northwest have much more in store with album number two.

 

Make sure to catch the unique blend of rock, metal and blues that is Ayron Jones and The Way on their upcoming summer tour.

You can also find them via their website and social media:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Be sure to check out their music on iTunes, YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify.

Interview: Current Swell Swells With Talent At The Ride Festival

When’s the last time you heard the use of a harmonica in modern-day rock music? Yes, Bob Dylan was a harmonica advocate, but lately, it’s few and far between. Canadian band out of British Columbia, Current Swell, is one of the few. It’s difficult to figure out what box to check when describing Current Swell’s music, but one thing is certain: they’re good. They’ve released five studio albums since their inception in 2005, with their latest, Ulysses, in 2014. Much of their success can be attributed through its online fan base and the ever-under appreciated value of word of mouth. They’ve found a great amount of success in their endeavors, making appearances at the 2010 Winter Olympics and winning more than $100K at Vancouver’s Peak Performance. Despite all the success, they’re still just a group of guys that play music, and that’s what the fans care about. Current Swell is made up of Scott Stanton (vocals/lead guitar/slide guitar), Dave Lang (vocals/guitar/harmonica), Ghosty Boy (bass) and Chris Petersen (drums). I got to sit down with Dave and Ghosty after their appearance at Telluride’s Ride Festival. Personable, entertaining, and kind, they’re the type of band that makes you love music just a little bit more.

Photo Credit: Current Swell
Photo Credit: Current Swell

So if I was to read your resume, what’s going to be under special skills?

Ghosty: Now, is this a musical resume? Or is this about the jobs we had before we were musicians?

Whatever. Whatever you consider a special skill.

Dave: I think an ability to do a lot of work on a little sleep.

Ghosty: That’s quite recent. I have an actual skill of radioactive hazardous waste management from my early days.

How has your experience [in Telluride] been? How does Ride compare to other festivals?

Dave: So far, it’s pretty cool. I mean, they got us a private jet from the airport and brought us in an hour before we played.

Ghosty: Jokingly Happens all the time.

Dave: Pretty f*cking cool.

Ghosty: Totally standard.

Dave: They’ve one-upped every other festival with that one.

Ghosty: Yep. Absolutely.

Did they have a full bar on the plane?

Dave: To some degree. In terms of storytelling…yeah, it was a fully-loaded bar.

Ghosty: Yeah.

Dave: And self-serve.

So you guys just drank an entire bottle of Dom Perginon, right?

Laughs.

Dave: Something like that. But, no it’s pretty good…In festivals, the magic really happens later into the evening, you know? Daytime slot, you’re there to try to pull the people off the grass in the heat. So, we do a lot of that during the summer. You get a slot in the day, and you’re like, “C’mon, people! We can do this! Let’s pretend.” And when you see them loosen up and start to sway and get that hip-y thing going on, it becomes…you get your own little bit of magic.

Anything to add?

Ghosty: My impression of the festival…we did play very shortly after we got flown in. So, it’s like fly in, private jet, bam, gorgeous mountains, you’re on stage, audience is great…I feel like I’ve been here two hours. It’s a little bit of sensory overload. It’s really a very fantastic thing they’ve got going here.

A lot of your support has come from social media and streaming services. How important do you think the availability for bands to have their music on all these services is?

Ghosty: You know, I think it, maybe, kind of gets forgotten that at the end of the day, when you leave all the business stuff behind…songs just want to be heard. I think that it’s crucial that, not even just from a business standpoint, but from a being in a band standpoint…the whole point of making music is cause people want to hear music. So getting it onto as many platforms as possible is the name of the game.

I’ve heard that your music is described as surf rock. Have you heard that before? Do you guys surf?

Dave: I came…from a skateboard/snowboard culture and dove into surf culture 10 or 15 years ago and traveled the world and surfed more countries than I can count…Scott and I did that together a bit. And that’s around the time that we started writing music. So, we were writing a little bit about surfing. But…surf rock used to be Dick Dale and the Ventures and stuff. When Jack Johnson came along, everyone was like, “Oh, he’s an ex-pro surfer. He lives in Hawaii. He’s popular, and he plays an acoustic guitar. That’s now what surf rock is.” So, as our stuff was getting popularity on the internet, it was right around that time that Jack Johnson was having his moment. So, they were just like, “Oh yeah, great. Now, we have a name for it…if someone plays an acoustic guitar…”

Now we have a label for you.

Both: Yeah.

Dave: Just like people with banjos, now, get compared to Mumford & Sons. Oh, it’s folk-indie. It’s just a label.

Just like “alternative”. Everything is alternative.

Dave: Yeah, alternative is the new indie…I think there’s still an element of that, uh, will to explore, that lust for adventure that we still keep from our original surf inspiration that stays with the music…

Ghosty: It’s hard to quantify your band like that. When we’re actually playing together, we don’t spend any time with labels. We never sit there, and go, “You know, man. I think we should start going down the route of folk-alternative-scramble.” We get asked that a lot, and it’s always of question of, “What kind of music do you play?”

I feel like when I was just watching your show, if you’d never heard of Current Swell before, you wouldn’t be able to place it. Every single song feels a little bit different. It still feels like one cohesive thing, but the pieces are different.

Ghosty: That’s nice.

I’ve also read that you guys are fans of coffee and beer. Favorite place for coffee? Favorite place for beer?  You’ve traveled the world; is there anything that stands out for you?

Dave: The Pacific Northwest has really, really been leading the hop explosion, IPA revolution of five years ago. We really enjoy all the West Coast – the beer culture. I think, for coffee…we had this stint a while back where we did two nights in Montreal, back-to-back. Three days. So, we’re parked in the rig for three days, and we found this coffee shop called Pikolo. It’s Montreal, and you can order in your broken French. So, yeah.

Ghosty: Picking a winner for the coffee is a hard one.

Dave: We’re kind of foodies. We considered starting a food blog at one time. Like, “Why don’t we start a food and beverage blog?” And we talk about food and other stuff like that constantly.

 

When asked about the video aspect of their music, Ghosty mentioned that each band member would have a different take, stating that you’d have to “listen to it with headphones and imagine your own scenario without the video.” However, it gives you something to look at visually. Dave mentioned that most of the time, the video is usually in someone else’s hands. Directors approach them with an idea for the video, and they’ll choose whichever they like the best. He also said that he was a fan of Jose Gonzalez’s “Every Age” video concept, where a hot air balloon was released into the atmosphere and the video documented the whole journey. Both agreed that they’d like to be more hands-on in the future.

 

Current Swell is currently on tour, so make sure to find out when they’re coming to your town.

You can also find out more about them on their website and social media:

Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

Check out all their music on:

iTunes | Spotify | SoundCloud | YouTube | Amazon

All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove
%d bloggers like this: