Category Archives: OBSESSIONS

INTERVIEW: THE MAN BEHIND THE MUSIC, SETH LAEL

SETH LAEL

Talented San Francisco singer-songwriter Seth Lael has dropped a new highly anticipated full-length album, Bird Strings. Through his 12-songs he brings Americana, Jazz, Folk, Pop and Indie Rock to life with his impressive talent on the guitar, mandolin, banjo and his modern vocals.  Seth shares with us what inspired him on this album and some very cool techniques that he learned while creating it, as well as some of his current passions in life.

What drew you to playing strings like the banjo, guitar, and mandolin? When did you start playing them or even realize that you could?

Seth: Well, my first guitar was a nylon guitar that I got from my older brother who I think broke up with his girlfriend and he didn’t play that anymore, so I started playing that.  And then, I got a banjo because my other brother was going to get married, and got this free banjo, and they didn’t get married so I got that banjo. Then I just bought a mandolin this year, just kinda’ filling parts on the record. All happenstance kinda’ got lucky.

Who’s the producer?

Seth: McKay Garner. He was in LA and had a studio there for a while, he has done some TV. I know he wrote the music to when a girl gets kicked off Americas Next Top Model. He’s done some mix in with some other bands.

Who inspired you? Who are you listening to now?

Seth: When I was working at a bakery, a friend introduced me to Greg Brown and I thought his songs were really cool. When I was waiting tables, another friend introduced me to John Harper. He’s a really good picker, kind of an older dude. I’m also really into EMOR. I heard him from KEXP radio; I think I just heard him on the radio when I was living in Seattle. But I go through music and artists listening to them like candy bars or ice cream. I like to listen to a bunch of stuff. I like to listen to a lot of rock and modern things.

What’s your favorite song out of the 12 from Bird Strings, like which one was your favorite to work on that you would call your favorite song?

Seth: “Big Country” was fun because that only took about fifteen minutes, but “All Hours,” I think I rewrote that song with McKay, probably twenty-five times. I really like how it came out. I like playing it live. It’s a little bit challenging to play. It came alive with what McKay did with the drums and he used the snare sound from tapping on a keyboard like an old apple keyboard. I like how we finally finished that one up; it came out really cool.”

For those who are just reading about you for the first time what would you like them to know about you? Do you have a message for you listeners?

Seth: I would say if you’re into songs, musicianship and a little bit of humor you might want to put me in your CD player. (Laughs).  Or you could look at my naked pictures online if you want, whatever; I usually put pictures on Instagram with like swim suits and stuff. I actually just photoshopped my face on Selena Gomez’s body to try to sell more records. I think it’s still on Instagram…it is (Laughs).

Do you have any other hobbies besides music?

Seth: I do a lot of baking. I have been making breakfast. I love cooking for friends. Yeah, I think I am trying to be more of a community-focused artist, so if I can have people over and cook for them and also play some music for them that sounds like a good night for me. Food and music are two things you shouldn’t live without.

Whats next? Are there any events projects, live performances we can look forward to? If so where and when?

Seth: I [just finished] a  tour in the beginning of [November]. One of the songs on the record is called “Jimmy’s Dream” and it’s about my friend who was telling me about his situation. He bought this house and it started falling a part right away and he saved up a bunch of money to pay for it and realized his house needed a lot more work than he thought. So we have this music video that’s out now for [the single]. It’s pretty political, which I don’t think too many people do, but it looks good and was good doing it. A music video about the housing occurrences, there’s definitely a crisis going on.  I just dropped Bird Strings on the October 1st. I am also in another band called The Wyatt act and we are playing at the Oddville festival on Nov 13th in Oakland, California, there will be about five thousand people there it’s a big festival. I’ll also have another video coming out after “Jimmy’s Dream” in the beginning of November for the track “On the Road,” that’s also on the album. Switching up from music to video.

To learn more about Seth visit his website: www.SethLael.com and follow him Instagram @sethlael and add him on Facebook.

EXCLUSIVE: THE CITY SOUND’S “VOLUME ONE” IS A NEW BEGINNING

The City Sound, formerly known as The Artillery, is set to release a new album on May 19. However, this is just the first of a total of three albums that The City Sound plans to release this year. While using the name The Artillery, the group produced music for 12 years. Due to the leaving of one member and the later addition of another, the group has donned a new name.

The reasoning behind it, according to the group’s guitarist and vocalist, Dean Danger, is simple. “It wouldn’t be fair to continue calling ourselves something we no longer were. To put it simply, we were different,” Danger explained. The City Sound, who have opened for bands such as Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Johny Craig, Emery and Alien Ant Farm, hit the ground running with the first of their projected albums, Volume One.

The opening song, which serves as the band’s first single, “Keeping Me From Me,” begins on a quiet, melancholic note, but opens into an explosive beat of drums and guitar.

“Break the Mold,” as the name implies, is a rock anthem for freedom and uniqueness. One of the most poignant lyrics cries, “Draw the line, redefine, it keeps us alive on the inside.” In “Almsman Circuit,” a chant begins to rise, as the band repeats, “I just need a little bit of change to pull me out” to the tune of an infectious drum beat. The theme of change, and keeping oneself unique in today’s world truly shines through in each of the songs on the album.

In “Live It Again,” they declare, “We’ll do whatever it takes to make our voices be heard.” “Just Like Everyone” is not quite as powerful as the others, but the message that this track carried works well with it. It highlights the trap of following fads just to fit in and losing oneself in that.

The City Sound’s upcoming album definitely accomplishes its purpose. The theme of standing out and refusing to become trapped in the monotony of society is apparent in each of their songs, and the result is an empowering album that inspires the listener. Volume One works because the fierce rock of the tracks melds well with the rebellious idea of standing out from the crowd. What really makes this album inspiring, though, is the fact that the rebellion called for here isn’t just for people willing to break the law or dismiss all of their friends; the rebellion here is just to be unique and make your own path to follow. Listen to “Keeping Me From Me” below!

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: DEAN DANGER OF THE CITY SOUND TALKS REFORMING THE BAND, SONGWRITING

TheCitySound-38

The City Sound, made up of Dean Danger, Kris Ross, Chris Reyes, and Chris Ellis is ambitiously planning on releasing three albums this year, the first of which will drop on May 19. The City Sound was formerly known as The Artillery for twelve years, but due to the departure of a member and the entrance of member Kris Ross last year, The Artillery decided to re-brand themselves in order to represent their current sound.

The band describes their upcoming album, called Volume One, as, “This album is all about the trial by fire nature of the music industry. The lyrics contain everything from hopes and dreams of where we want to be to what writing a song is like to me, and the struggle we have seen as a band throughout our years.” With a lot of experience under their belts, along with new line-up and a new name, The City Sound plans to make a splash into the music scene this year.

I got the chance to interview The City Sound’s vocalist Dean Danger about the band, highlights of his musical career and songwriting.

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in music? Was there a specific incident that really impacted you?

Dean: Back in high school, bands would rent out this duck pond pavilion and play free shows. The first show we ever played there, was absolutely packed. I say “packed,” meaning 300 plus fellow high school students. That was the moment I decided that it’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I guess you could say that seeing the audience gave me a high, and now I’m addicted. I think I always knew that there wasn’t much money in pursuing a career as a musician, but that has never deterred me from trying to make it.

What does your family think of your decision to pursue a career in the music industry? Were they supportive?

Dean:  My family has been behind me every step of the way. They all believe that someday I will make enough money to buy them all new cars, well, at least my mother does. Whether that is true or not, they all have been incredibly supportive. I might say I was spoiled as a child with instruments, but only due to my parents’ belief that I could really do something with music in my life. My parents still to this day try to make it out to every local performance.

When did you start learning how to play an instrument?

Dean: I learned how to play my first instrument around age eight when I started playing the drums. I actually wasn’t too bad. If it wasn’t for me not being able to find a band to play with, I would probably still be a drummer today. Toward the end of middle school, I began to pick up the guitar. I never really took guitar lessons, I just played along to Lenny Kravitz’s greatest hits album over and over again. During that time I was in a short-lived punk band called The Autumn System, but we broke up when middle school was over. Then in high school, in search of a band, Chris Ellis asked me if I could sing. I said yes, even though I knew I couldn’t. I was determined to be in a band enough that I would learn. 13 years later I’m still with that band, and I still have no idea why they didn’t kick me out at our first practice.

How did all of you meet and decide to form a band together?

Dean:  13 years ago, I started high school and literally knew no one at my school. Chris Ellis and Chris Reyes asked me to sing in their band, Next Friday (no relation to the movie, although it would make a better story). After a few years, we decided to change the name to The Artillery. Three albums and 10 years later an original member, Jonathan Macias, left to pursue his dreams of traveling, we then gained Kris Ross, and changed our name to The City Sound. If you kept count there are now three Chrises, (one spelled Kris), in the band

What was your happiest/worst moment in your career thus far?

Dean: We were playing a show in Austin with Jonny Craig in October 2013. My grandmother had passed away the day before my performance, and I chose to stay for the performance and fly out for her funeral immediately after. It was a very tough decision to make, but I believe that it was a decision she would’ve approved of. We were playing our song, “Just Like Everyone,” for the first time ever, and in the last few lines of the song, I got this overwhelming feeling of peace and it truly felt like my grandmother was watching over me proudly.

Those lyrics impacted me even more than when I wrote them: “After all this effort you would think we’d catch a break. Eleven years and all the names on the walls have changed. I can only speak for us when I say to you that holding out was the only option that we knew. My father told me don’t you ever give up, son, because if you do you’ll be just like everyone.”

What is your favorite part of a concert? Do you have a particular show that you really enjoyed for a specific reason?

Dean: My absolute favorite moment during a show is the instant you finish your first song. That’s the moment where the crowd lets you know that it’s real. You play the last note into a brief silence that’s interrupted by the loudest cheer the audience can manage, and you know the night is going to go well. Every show is like a dream to me. When I wake up the morning of a show, I wake up anticipating how the night will play out. It’s on my mind all day as it nears, and once it begins, it’s gone in a flash. Because of that, every performance means so much to me.

What are some of your favorite activities/hobbies aside from music?

Dean: It might make me less interesting, but music honestly consumes everything I do. If I’m not performing, I’m writing. If I’m not writing, I’m recording. If I’m not recording, I’m sleeping. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Does the band have a main songwriter?

Dean: We all bring a lot to the table when it comes to shaping and molding new songs, but I am the weird one that gets melodies and music stuck in my head, which I present to the guys. From there we jam and write together. Jamming for us usually ends in a funk or blues song, but we can be productive from time to time. Lyrics are the tough part for me, only because I don’t consider myself a lyricist, which makes me second guess everything I write. The one thing that helps me write lyrics is feeling as if the lyrics are already written, I just have to find them, if that isn’t weird. What I mean is that I only feel comfortable with a lyric when I feel it is meant to be.

How does your music affect your lyrics and vice versa?

Dean:  I always write lyrics last, because I want to hear my boundaries first, and then try to tie the emotion of the music into the lyrics. That is not to say I haven’t woken up with a melody on loop in my head, which I wrote a full song around. Either way, when a song is written everything must correlate or else you leave everyone confused.

Do you attend a lot of concerts by other bands? Which concert has been your favorite so far?

Dean: Oddly enough, I don’t attend as many concerts as I should. The ones I go to are for the bands I idolize: Manchester Orchestra, Thrice, Envy on the Coast. My favorite show so far would be Thrice’s Farewell Tour in 2013.

For more information on The City Sound, please visit:

Website: thecitysound.net

Twitter: twitter.com/thecitysoundtx

Facebook: facebook.com/thecitysoundtx

ReverbNation: reverbnation.com/thecitysound

CONTEST: WIN A FREE TICKET TO VANS WARPED TOUR 2015

See dozens of the best indie, alternative, electronica and punk bands this summer at the Vans Warped Tour – and you could go FOR FREE!

We’re partnering up with the guys over at Infectious Magazine to make for one killer summer. All you have to do is Photoshop yourself hanging out with your favorite indie band, on stage, backstage, at a water park, a restaurant, whatever! Have fun, be creative, and go crazy. When you’re done, post your pic on your Instagram account.

We will select ONE winner based on their submission’s humor and creativity.

Here are the rules:

  1. Like both Limerence Magazine & Infectious Magazine’s Facebook page.
  2. Upload your Photoshop picture (500x500px) to your Instagram account. Tag/Mention Limerence Mag and Infectious Mag in the photo.
  3. Tweet us that you have submitted your photo to our contest.

(Just DON’T include any personal information, offensive material, or copyrighted/promotional materials in your submission!) 

Don’t forget The deadline for submissions on March 20th. We will announce the winner on the 23rd!

Contest is now CLOSED

 

Connect with us:

Limerence Magazine on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LimerenceMag

Limerence on Instagram: instagram.com/limerencemag 

Limerence on Twitter: twitter.com/limmagazine

 

Infectious Magazine: www.infectiousmagazine.com

Infectious on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InfectiousMag

Infectious on Twitter: twitter.com/infectiousmag

HEAR IT NOW: “DO YOU STILL LOVE ME” BY THE WELL REDS

THE WELL REDS

The Well Reds are one band that you should probably start paying attention to.  This Atlanta-based quartet has a sound that is very specific and upbeat, almost reminiscent of a Maroon 5 and Panic! At The Disco blend. Established in 2008, this band is only getting bigger. They have shared bills with Hot Chelle Rae, Parachute, and Automatic Love Letter, and have sold out shows in prominent Atlanta music venues.

The band really started to take off after winning the New Music Seminar “Live At Roxy” competition and being a finalist on the web-series “The Ourstage Panel,” and have since performed in both Los Angeles and New York. Their debut EP Violet, garnered coverage nationwide and gave them plans to perform at various Universities and Colleges throughout the late summer and fall. The Well Reds will also be releasing their new album Volume in November, and have already released a hit single from it called, “Do you Still Love Me.”

Their single “Do You Still Love Me” is one song that you won’t want to stop listening to. It’s the perfect medley of alternative rock and pop that will make you want to jam along. The lead vocalist’s raspy tone really draws the listener in from the very beginning. The lyrics are paired perfectly with impeccable guitar skills throughout the ballad, creating a catchy, sing-along ready tune. The lyrics resonate with any listener who has ever experienced a rocky relationship, and the idea of going back and forth but still wanting to fight for their relationship. While the lyrics have a somewhat heavy message, it’s still matched perfectly by the pop-y tones in the music. We definitely look forward to hearing more from this group.

Listen to “Do You Still Love Me” on Soundcloud below:

For more information on The Well Reads, visit:

Website: http://www.reverbnation.com/thewellreds

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheWellReds

MEL ALSTON JR. GOES “PURPLE” ON HIS PREMIERE

Born and raised in Philadelphia, rhythm and blues singer and songwriter Mel Alston Jr. released his official video of his smash hit single “Purple” on February 22. Coming a long way from his first mixtape “Waking Up Vol. 1,” Alston began his journey in music as a child learning how to play several instruments including the piano, trumpet, and trombone. He then attended Howard University where he played the trumpet for the Showtime Marching Band. After graduating from the university, he began to act and sing in local plays, which began his interest in starting a solo career. Limerence Magazine is ready to hear more from Alston considering that his debut “Movie Muzik” will be released this March.

“Purple” is the first single off his forthcoming mixtape “Movie Muzik.” With sultry and passionate lyrics, Alston paints a vivid picture of being with his dream girl in a blissful world. With soft beats and smooth rhythm, Alston has his audience dream of passion and the true meaning of love. To make the song more eloquent, Alston starred in his own official video with his dream girl appearing and disappearing in different scenes.  With more than 500 hits on Youtube, “Purple” is slowly making its way to the music scene.

The neo-soul singer has come a long way for being an independent musician. His songs have always given a sense of serenity and passion especially with the dynamics behind the lyrics. “Purple” is a video that any fan of rhythm and blues should watch at least once. The story behind Alston’s passionate lyrics has anyone relax in a way where one will be stuck in a serene dream with their true love.

Get Social:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mel.alston

Twitter: https://twitter.com/melalstonjr

SIX QUESTIONS FOR CARLY JO JACKSON

CARLY JO JACKSON

Carly Jo Jackson is a new indie artist from Florida with a dream to achieve and a message to share.  Just a young woman, Carly is wise beyond her years.  The self-proclaimed acoustic pop songstress just released her first CD, The World at My Feet, which is full of songs based on her real experiences with life, loss, and love. Often, people compare her to Colbie Caillat or Taylor Swift, but she has her own style with a more bluesy sound to add to the mix.  When she’s not singing, writing great music, or jamming on her guitar, she is a student at Florida Atlantic University. Carly is above the pressure of trying to sound, look, or be a certain way in the music industry; she is making her own lane creating music that she loves and really connect with. Carly is pure talent.

I got the chance to speak with Carly Jo about her CD, The World at My Feet, her experience on The Voice, and what’s next for her.

Lawanda Johnson: Congratulations on releasing your first CD. It is quite impressive.  Let’s talk about the preparation for World at My Feet and some of your inspiration behind the project.

Carly Jo: I feel like I have been preparing for this CD all my life!  I have been composing lyrics since I was able to write – my childhood journals are full of lyrics and dreams of being a singer.  But the songs in World at My Feet were all written right after getting my first guitar for my 16th birthday in 2009, which was a very emotional time in my life.  The guitar was therapy for me, allowing me to pour my heart out in song.

I had the great fortune of being discovered by start-up record label, Arch Productions, just a year after getting my guitar when I was singing at a friend of my parents’ birthday party.  They were looking for a young artist that they could record and mentor and I was the lucky person in the right place at the right time!  I was very fortunate that they found me and were willing to invest in me; not many artists get this opportunity so quickly and at such a young age. The lesson learned – get yourself out there and perform, no matter how small or unimportant the event, you never know who is listening!
 
LJ: My favorite song is This is Goodbye. Describe your thoughts when writing this song.

CJ: Thank you, I am so glad you like it!  I wrote this song in the middle of recording when we already had 5 songs picked for the CD, but Arch Productions thought it was powerful so we did the last minute switch.  Writing this song was the ultimate therapy session.  I found out the night before writing it that my boyfriend of almost two years cheated on me.  I got up early the next morning and just let all my anger pour out in the song.  I know the lyrics are a little vicious, but writing them helped me come to grips with my feelings and emotions and made me strong so that I could move on with my life.  As angry as the song is, in the bridge, it speaks to one of the toughest things when ending a relationship.  Over the course of the years, I had also become close to the boyfriend’s family and it was heartbreaking that the relationship with the family was going to have to end also.  I think any “girl done wrong” can relate to the lyrics of this song.

LJ: You were an Orlando finalist for The Voice. Talk more about your experience.

CJ: Actually I had to sign an agreement to not discuss the details, but the overall experience was amazing and it was a great honor to make it as far as I did – the step just before the Blind Auditions – and to be recognized for my singing.  I got to skip to the front of the line, so to speak, because they found me on the internet and invited me in for an audition. So I didn’t have to wait in the long lines and go through some of the grueling first stages of the audition.  This really speaks to the power of the internet and the importance it is to create a presence on the web.

LJ: What was the last concert that you’ve been to in the past month?

CJ: I haven’t been to a concert in the last month, but my last concert was one of my old favorites — Blink 182.   I really enjoy and am influenced by a wide range of music genres. One of the most influential concerts I have been to lately, about 4 or 5 months ago, was Bonnie Raitt.  I love her bluesy style and the way she commands the stage and interacts with the audience.  I hope to have a career like hers that stands the test of time.

Even though not a concert, earlier this month I took a trip to Nashville and was able to enjoy some incredible indie music.  I also got to sing at Writer’s Nights at the Bluebird Café and the Commodore Grill. That trip made me realize that there a lot of incredibly talented people out there trying to do the same thing I want to do and that to make it, I am going to really have to stand out and be myself.

LJ: If you could make a playlist of your favorite 5 songs, what would they be?

This list definitely changes every day (maybe even every hour) depending on my mood!  But at this moment that list would be:

Tracy Chapman- Fast Car
Andy Grammar- Head Up
Caitlyn Smith- Come Alive
Sublime- Sweet Honey
Slightly Stoopid- Closer to the Sun

LJ: What’s next for you?

CJ: I am in college and plan to continue, but my heart is really in my music, performing, and making a name for myself in the business.  The sensible side of me says to finish college but my heart wants me to focus 100 percent on my music.  I plan to spend this summer working on my music, and hopefully get a band to back me up when performing live, then make a decision about the fall.  I am taking it all one day at a time and will see where things go from there.  From my lyrics in my song Oh Yeah: “I am young and I got the world at my feet!”

Check out Carly Jo Jackson’s music, updates, and shows here: http://www.carlyjojackson.com