Music – Vents Magazine Music and Entertainment Magazine Sat, 04 Apr 2020 00:58:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 INTERVIEW: FLAVIA Sat, 04 Apr 2020 00:58:35 +0000 Hi FLAVIA, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! I’m actually doing pretty great, considering the apocalyptic state we’re all living in. I feel very lucky to be a creative in a time like this. I’ve been spending this time creating a lot of new music, poetry, digesting books, and looking inward working on my mind, body, and soul. It was so exciting to have such a positive, uplifting release like “Them” during such an uncertain and scary time. I hope that it brought some light and love to peoples day/week/life!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Them”?

I released “Them” in support of trans rights on Trans Day of Visibility. I wanted to use my voice and my platform as a creative person in the LGBTQ+ community to be a better ally. But as a cisgender female, it was important that I was sensitive not to speak for a community that I myself am not a part of, but instead made my goal through the video to let the trans/GNC/NB community shine and represent themselves. The T in LGBTQ+ is so often wildly under/mis-represented in media, therefore I wanted to shed light and help raise awareness for the trans community specifically. It is so important that cis allies support and help lift up the gender nonconforming communities that haven’t been afforded the same opportunities as binary folks. It’s with strength in numbers, and using our own resources to help others, that we can truly make a change.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

“Them” was inspired by a specific romance I had with a trans-masculine person, but the video’s intentions were to be inclusive of the entire trans/gender nonconforming/non-binary community. Through my relationship with this person, my eyes were opened up to how little I knew about the trans community beyond the surface. I became so much more aware of how underrepresented they were in popular media and that I wanted to help change that. I’m very grateful for my time and experiences with this person, as I learned through their openness and my own now seeing how powerful language truly is, and how impactful a word choice can be for someone. Whether it’s delineating between the use of ‘chest’ instead of ‘breasts’, or using someone’s correct pronouns, it can be the tiniest shift in our language that makes someone feel seen, validated and respected.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Wow. My entire life for over 3 weeks went into producing this video. Given that we were only a small team producing this (myself, Basil Mironer, and Kai Wes – a trans/NB producer, actor and trans activist), we had our work cut out for us. Bringing almost 50 of the most diverse, beautiful humans together into a room and creating a safe space and sense of community was a magical feeling, and shooting the day of was an incredibly profound experience for me. I am truly grateful for all the people that came together to make this video possible.

How was the recording and writing process?

I couldn’t shake this feeling that I wanted to make an art piece in honor and support of the trans/GNC community. But being a cisgender woman, I wanted to do it respectfully. I wrote the song with some pals of mine: Katie Hargrove, Aaron Berton and Matt Crawford. After that I finished producing it over time with Matt and Aaron, who I co-produce a lot of my music with. The song kept coming to life more and more until it was finished. We knew we had something special.

Was it easy for you to translate your vision into the video?

After finished the song, I brought it to my creative visual partner, Basil Mironer, who directed the music video. Having been creative collaborators for the last 5 years on everything from music videos and single covers, to visual projections during my live show, there’s definitely an artistic magic between us. He is incredibly brilliant and talented, and after hearing his initial concept for the “Them” video, I was immediately stunned and on board. I am so lucky to have had his brain and talents to collaborate with once again, this time for our most important project together to date. Given that I’m an independent artist with small budgets to execute our big ideas, I feel so grateful for our wildly talented artist community. We all come through for each other’s projects and pool resources to make the near-impossible happen and somehow bring our very ambitious ideas to life every time. I’m always impressed.

What would you call the most challenging aspect of shooting the video?

Definitely casting this video was a beast of a task. I did most of my casting through social media, and asking friends of friends of friends, word of mouth. But also LA-based Transgender Talent Agency and the Los Angeles LGBTQ center were extremely helpful in connecting me with additional talent. It was incredible to see how many people were willing to help, and donate their time and expertise to a cause like this.


Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes! I’ll be releasing a Pride EP in June featuring entirely queer content and have already been set to perform at various prides around the country. Hopefully we’ll be out of quarantine just in time for us all to emerge as beautiful butterflies and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community together!

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Both are still up in the air…I’ll take title submissions though. 😉

Any plans to hit the road?

I had many plans to hit the road and unfortunately it’s all had to be cancelled due to the world’s current affairs. Hoping to still get some touring in as soon as we’re allowed out! I’m playing Wonderstruck Festival in Cleveland as well as various Pride Festivals!

What else is happening next in FLAVIA’s world?

Other than the EP, I’m also finishing up an album set to release in the Fall! I think music has the power to change the world. When I create music, it’s really important for me to make art that positively impacts people, that can bring us all closer together, even from a distance. All my songs have a cause behind them that is important to me, bottled into a fun, relatable pop song. My first single, “Hateful”, was accompanied by an anti-bullying, #BeKind campaign, “Gotta Let You Go” was in support of addiction and mental health awareness, “Til I Die” was my coming out publicly as Queer on Billboard Pride, “Does She Like It Rough?” was addressing my being polyamorous and talking about alternative relationship lifestyles, and of course “Them” is in support of trans rights and the GNC community. You may or may not be able to expect another new single next month. 😉


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Tips for Working in the Studio from Gervais Maillard Fri, 03 Apr 2020 22:00:12 +0000 A musical workspace

For many decades, the recording studio has become synonymous with the work of professional musicians.

Whether you’re an instrumentalist, a studio engineer, a composer, or a member of one or more bands, you’ll be spending a large chunk of your career in a recording studio space of some kind.

It’s almost the musical equivalent of an office workspace. It’s where the nitty-gritty work actually happens. It’s where ideas are put to the test.

If you’re a younger musician and you’ve never even stepped into a recording studio before, we’d like to provide a straightforward introduction to the studio environment. That way, when you do find yourself going in for a recording session, you’ll be better prepared and less intimidated.

In addition, many of the tips you’ll find below apply just as strongly to home studios. The focus here is on getting everything that you want and more from your time spent recording.

For veteran musicians, this will serve as a helpful reminder of what makes a recording session successful and creatively satisfying.

To help us do all this, we’d like to introduce you to Gervais Maillard, an in-demand professional composer, instrumentalist, and all-around music-lover who lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

Intimidation turns to fun

Maillard has logged many, many hours in professional recording studios, but there was a time when studios felt foreign and almost mythical.

Maillard’s very first experience working in a studio environment was with a funk cover band in Brussels. As he recalled to us, even the processes and the workflow being used were a first to him. This led to an understandable sense of hesitation, which, over the course of the session, faded away.

“Everything about the flow of a full band recording session was absolutely new to me, from setting up for a couple of hours to overdubs and individual punch-ins. I was a little apprehensive and didn’t know what to expect, but we ended up having a really good recording day.”

You don’t need to know everything about the recording process the first time you’re in a studio. Understanding this can really help to cut back on your pre-session anxiety.

Someone else will be running the console and deciding what to do next. Your job, as a musician, is just to know your parts and be ready to work when you’re called on.

This will change later on in your career, but for your first time, if you’re able to relax and focus on the task at hand, it’s way more likely that your feelings of fear and intimidation will fall away. Who knows, you might even start to have fun.

Working together, enhancing ideas

One of the hard truths of working in a professional recording studio is that you’ll be working with other people, including a few full-time studio employees you’ve never met before.

You’re going to need to work well with all of them. You’ll need to be creative together and solve tough problems on the spot.

Even if one person is leading the session and bringing the most ideas to the table, everyone else needs to contribute in some way.

It’s the tug-of-war concept: if everyone on your team is pulling as hard as they can in the same direction, you’re way more likely to accomplish your goals.

‘But hold on Vents,’ you might say. ‘There were tons of great artists who were total tyrants in the studio. Why can’t I be the same way?’

For starters, this is true. The 20th century saw many famous artists leading studio sessions like military dictatorships (Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart come to mind), but this approach is often ineffective, and what’s more, it has long since fallen out of style.

Even if you think that bossy artists created some great work, you have to admit that they made the people working with them very unhappy.

Maillard supports a much more creative and collaborative approach.

“I absolutely love collaborating in and out of the studio. The studio is definitely conducive to creativity and inspiration. It’s designed to enhance your workflow and your ideas by providing you with all the tools you need. With everyone working together, it’s just a pleasure.”

by Giorgio Chang

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INTERVIEW: Born Animal Fri, 03 Apr 2020 18:30:11 +0000 Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey VENTS! We’re doing great – trying not to go stir crazy during shelter-in-place. But hey, now we’ve got lots of time to make more sweet music for your ears.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “15 Seconds”?

15 Seconds is our response to the question “how can we bring the raw, rockin’ energy of our stage performances to the listeners at home?”. We worked really hard to capture the key elements of our live sound to make you shake your booty and bop your head. –Stephen

I’ve loved this song from the second we started creating it. I think it shows a lot of growth from our previous releases, and everything on the track feels intentional. We thought about all the tiny details, but we weren’t afraid to let the ‘studio magic’ happen and keep those moments of spontaneity. Combine that with the creativity of our producer (Alex Carter) and mix engineer (Ben O’Neil), and we made something we’re really proud of. – Ryan

It’s a throwback to what I really like about rock music – dancing and having fun. Playing a beat I like and hearing a guitar riff I like and putting those things together really excites me. And the lyrical content of the song is something we can all relate to. I just love playing this song! – Adam

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

It sure sounds like it huh? The unfaithful lover in the song isn’t a real person, but some of the details in the song are very real. Like the picture of the guy wearing my shirt – that actually happened to me. But I was also inspired by my friends’ romantic lives, as well as my obsession with reddit’s r/relationshipadvice page. If you’re looking for some good drama, I can’t recommend it enough.  – Ryan

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

It was a lot of hard work, but it was a lot of fun too. We worked with Aaron and Ashley from Scotty Films who are amazing filmmakers and people. They really understood the vision behind the video and we’re really proud of the final result. – Stephen

It was totally seamless. The people we worked with were just so amazing. They made our jobs so easy and just let us perform. They also made our last video for our song ‘What You Got’ and we’re thankful to be able to work with them again. – Adam

How was the recording and writing process?

We recorded the song at a studio called Alex The Great in Nashville. It’s in a vibey old house full of old pianos and amps – a lot of which are featured on the song. It’s the same studio where Soccer Mommy recorded their newest album. I firmly believe vibe is at least 50% of what makes a studio great. – Ryan

Recording a song is so much easier with talented people because they make you better. Everyone we worked with elevated our sound. Writing with Ryan is just a blast – we wrote that song in the best way possible, just by having fun and doing the things that made us smile and feel good. – Adam

What role does Nashville play in your music?

There’s plenty of talented musicians and bands in town that inspire us and play a role in how we make music. Nashville has such a supportive and fostering community, and we’re very grateful to call this city our home! –Stephen

It’s pretty amazing how Nashville still feels small. I actually met Ben O’Neil, the mixing engineer on the track, by happenstance outside a coffee shop I frequent. It’s great to be surrounded by such talent – you never know who you’re going to meet. – Ryan

It’s put me together with the people I want to make music with. When you’re a small fish in a big pond, there’s plenty of bigger fish to work with. Nashville definitely still has that natural rock sound that’s missing from the world right now, and we’re happy to represent. – Adam

Which artists have had the biggest influences on your writing?

Some of my favorite songwriters are Matt Berninger, Dave Grohl, Matt Schultz, Julian Casablancas, and Justin Vernon. For this track, I was listening to a lot of Black Keys, Cage the Elephant, and Trophy Eyes. – Ryan

I have a very eclectic taste but I love artists like Thundercat, Snarky Puppy, Cage the Elephant and Alvvays! I take a lot of my bass playing influences from Victor Wooten, Jon Paul Jones, and Michael League. – Stephen

Ben Rector has always been a personal favorite mine. I also love Nashville’s own Colony House, and I always keep it funky and fresh with some Vulfpuck. – Adam

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

The bright side of being practically locked inside for a while is that we get more time to focus on writing. We’ve got a couple of songs we’re working on right now that we think have some serious potential. Once we give them the finishing touches and find the right people to work with… watch out! – Stephen

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

We’d love to give away some secret information, but everything’s so uncertain right now. Some things can be done at home, but others can’t. The second we can get in a studio, you’ll find us there. – Ryan

Any plans to hit the road?

We had an awesome show in Atlanta earlier this year and we can’t wait to get back! Shout out to our ATL homies if you’re reading this! – Ryan

Hopefully things will clear up soon in this crazy world and we can get on the road and meet some new people and visit some old friends we’ve made! -Stephen

What else is happening next in Born Animal’s world?

Quarantine is allowing us to grow in a really unique way and we’re leaning into that. We’re experimenting with new sounds and arrangements, and really excited to see where it leads us. – Ryan


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PREMIERE: Kaya Black Releases New Music Video For “Burn From You” Fri, 03 Apr 2020 16:53:56 +0000 As we wrapped up another series of premieres, we are teaming up with the great Kaya Black for the release of his new music video for “Burn From You,” a visual directed by Jamielyn Lippman that captures the romance and laid back nature of the song itself.

About the song, Black comments “As Matchbox is one of my biggest musical inspirations, Getting to work with Kyle Cook (guitarist from Matchbox Twenty) on a song, I constantly have to pinch myself and ask did that really just happen?”

Born in Kingston Jamaica, Kaya’s musical influences range from reggae acts such as Bob Marley & The Wailers, Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, Maxi Priest, Barrington Levy, Beres Hammond, Gregory Isaacs, Black Uhuru & Steel Pulse to American 90’s pop rock bands & artists like Matchbox Twenty, John Mayer & Fuel. Currently calling Raleigh North Carolina home, his new single Burn From You is a blend of pop rock, soul & reggae and is where Kaya says he is starting to feel more comfortable with who he is as an artist. Growing up listening to Matchbox Twenty and having them influence his music, having met Kyle Cook and having him play on his new album was nothing short of a dream come true for Kaya.

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INTERVIEW: Stepping Sideways Fri, 03 Apr 2020 16:26:05 +0000 Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey Vents! Thanks for having us. We’ve been great. We are focused on remaining healthy and productive while dealing with this strange time together.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Solace”?

Solace is our first release in a series of preludes leading up to the beginning of our cosmic story Chronicles: The Secret War. While the video projects a story connected to our concept, the meaning of the song remains very personal.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Personal events dealing with intense depression, anxiety and ultimately the realizations that we didn’t have to be stuck within the same cycle, that we could become more than what we give ourselves credit for. Those were giant inspirations in the fulfillment of this track.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The filming process itself was incredibly difficult yet massively satisfying and fun! Our guitarist, Joey Vasatka directed the video and we really pushed ourselves with grand ideas while trying to keep it under-budget. We worked fully in house with a hand picked crew by our own production company, “Dreamseeker Productions” (which we shoot everything through). We were blessed to be able to work with industry professionals in every department and it shone in our abilities to create stunning VFX and massive stunts. The experience overall was amazing. The whole band stepped up. It really offered us the next step in fulfilling our dreams of not only being successful musicians, but innovative and unique filmmakers.

How was the recording and writing process?

We wrote this song with Jonathan Dolese of Konkrete Studios in Kenner, LA. He really took the time necessary to help us shape this new sound. So much credit goes to Jonathan for dealing with our craziness and specificity when it comes to the crafting of our sound. This is truly Stepping Sideways and we couldn’t be happier with it.

What was it like to work with Lee McKinney and how did that relationship develop?

Working with Lee was a breeze. He’s such a pro and a true pleasure to work with. He was the only guitarist that we really wanted featured on this song. Our relationship developed through a friend and Kiesel Guitars Endorsee, Kenny Gerbick. He’s known Lee for a long time and we were able to connect on that note.

How much did he get to influence the song?

After hearing Lee’s solo record we REALLY wanted to get him on a track. We needed a guitar solo for Solace so we sent him a message! Once he listened, he was extremely confident so we gave him full creative reign. He got us the solo within a few days and we loved it so much that we went with his first take!

What role does New Orleans play in your music?

New Orleans is a special city. It’s so full of creative, talented people and that really motivates us to keep moving and continue creating the best possible product that we can.

How does sci-fi and fantasy influence your writing?

While the lyrical content of our songs remain somewhat personal, sci-fi/Fantasy influence plays a huge role in our concept. We have some REALLY special things to announce this year and in this video, we hint at the release of our first graphic novel, “Betrayal” which will tell the origins of our Novel, “Chronicles” also set to release this year.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new album – how’s that coming along?

The album is finished! It’s our first full-length and we can’t be more excited considering we will have 5-6 singles to release off of it. We will be releasing content all year and are already working on getting our next EP/LP recorded.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Tentatively, the album is called “Rebirth”. We are looking into fall of 2020 for the full release. However, you can expect a new single every month leading up to the release.

Any plans to hit the road?

Obviously, right now everything is on hold since we are all kind of in “limbo” but we are looking into fall dates at the moment. We think people will be itching to get out after this quarantine!

What else is happening next in Stepping Sideways’ world?

Next is more filming/writing. We have some big plans to fit into our live show. We are working with some big names to ensure that the quality of our content is right where it should be. Everything is in the works. You can expect Stepping Sideways to be around for a long, long time.

Check out “Solace” (feat. Lee McKinney) here:

Keep up with Stepping Sideways here:

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INTERVIEW: Cri du Coeur Fri, 03 Apr 2020 15:52:59 +0000 Hi Cri du Coeur, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi guys. These moments are pretty strange. Even if you are not sick, you feel sick staying confined home checking carefully what messages your body gives you, but I think i don’t have to complain compared to other people who have real problems

Can you talk to us more about your latest release “Diaphragm“?

This release is the first page of a new book. I mean … I was quiet in the music scene for several years. but in the summer 2019, I have lost my mother very brutally. So I thought a lot about what my life means and decided to take back some musical projects I had a few years before. Then, diaphragm (and other tracks) were born, but also my own label “arkham audio”.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this track?

Of course. My mood at that time, with my mother’s death, offered me the chance to dig deep into my soul. That’s why this track has a special hypnotic and sad atmosphere. I was not especially in a good shape at that time. Its not the most funny track of the year, lol

How was the recording and writing process?

At the moment, the process is to begin tracks with hardwares and software in my homestudio here in Liège. And then, when I can not go further or when I’m blocked, I fly to Berlin to work with my friends from CYRK (Sam Goossens and Psacal Hetzel) in their studio and finalize everything with them. Its good to have other artists ideas and skills. And honestly, Berlin has that special dark face that fits perfectly my tracks. its always inspiring to go there and make a 5 days session in a basement.

Would you call this a departure from your previous musical work?

Yes, for sure. I always wanted to release tracks in the past. But as my life was not focused exclusively on music, I didn’t took the right time to finish tracks or finish musical projects. My motivation fell down very quickly. Now, I’m more motivated than ever.

How would you say you have grown as an artist throughout the past two decades and a half?

mmmmm. I always float between laugh and sadness. I’m a melancholic person. My music grew in several waves depending on events in my life. Sometimes I was strong, sometimes I was nearly depressed and ready to stop music. It was not a constant thing. But when I was into music, I was 100% invested and focused. That’s why all the artists I met in my parties or when I played in festivals inspired me, each time. It allowed me to discover a lot of musical things. But now I come back to my first love, dark techno and raves. That sound always stay in your mind. You always live with it.

Can you tell us some things about your label Arkham Audio? 

I use to have a minimal techno label nearly 10 years ago I think. Kombo muzik. But as mentioned in your last question, my motivation came and has left fast. That remained as a failure and that was not possible to keep this in me. I had to transform this with a positive project. My motivation came back, and i’m older, normally more thoughtful, lol. That’s why I have created Arkham Audio, as the foundation of this new musical book. I want it to represent exactly my mind, my body and my soul.

What role does Belgium play in your music?

Hahaha. Belgium is THE key of my music. I felt into electronic music when I was 11 years old with that musical bomb we call New Beat. It was a Belgian style of electronic music. It was dark and hypnotic. And I think that music never quit me now. After, when I was 16, I had the right age to go out. I met that older guy who was into the scene and who initiate me with the belgian raves. The rave sound is the continuity of the new beat sound. That’s pretty the same elements in my music.

Where else did you find the inspiration for your music?

You know, I listen to a lot of musical styles. You take the best of it. it can come from a led zeppelin or the doors old track. That guys were genious, they invented the hypnotic modern music that brings you to another level. As some techno tracks. But the bass/subbass inspiration can come from a hip hop track also. I’m very open minded. But as you can read, it comes from old stuffs.

Any plans to hit the road in the summer?

Honestly, all plans made are broken or cancelled with the world situation at the moment. Lets see what the close future will offer us. No definite roadplans for now. but I’m ready to burn the dancefloors for sure.

What else is happening next in Cri du Coeur’s world?

Full focus on my Arkham Audio recordings. I’m finishing the plans for the next releases. Planning some label nights and label showcases in special places. A release is also planed on Florian Meindl’s label, flash records. And of course  doing new sounds and hopefully can see my Berlin friends.

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PREMIERE: St. Levi Releases New Single “For the Better” Fri, 03 Apr 2020 11:37:46 +0000 Tel Aviv-based Indie Pop artist, St. Levi , is thrilled to share his new single “For The Better,​” due April 3rd, 2020. The song explores a universal ache of helplessness- a path first started down on his latest single releases “Play No Games” and “All Over Again”.

Written and arranged by Levi Schwartz, “For the Better” considers the feeling of being passionate for real love, and what the ideal relationship is to the artist. The track has a chilly vibe to it and the hook immerses you deep into the track to where you catch yourself singing the lyrics and bobbing your head.

Every single track has a different cover art which shows a bit of the big and final picture of me walking down the street with a cardboard sign that says the title of the EP “hey, can you ease my pain?”. We wanted to make it look almost like a homeless person asking for help because it’s about asking for help from your closest ones, and that’s why the background is so blurry, because none of the strangers can heal pain or maybe even ease it.

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INTERVIEW: Lloyd James Fay Fri, 03 Apr 2020 11:31:03 +0000 Hi Lloyd, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi, thanks for having me. I’m okay, but I think like many people I’m starting to get fed up with being stuck in doors so much. I’m not the most social person but when you have your daily interactions taken away you start to feel it. Like it or not we are social animals. As if the past few of years haven’t felt historic enough. Now we have this pandemic to contend with.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Idiocracy”?

Sure. I pretty much wrote it on the spot. My friend had just bought a new acoustic guitar and when he handed it to me it was the first thing I played. The music for the verse and chorus and the chorus melody just came straight out of me. Once I had the chorus and the concept of the song it was then quite a laborious matter of trying to write the best lyrics I could to convey the message of the song. It went through many drafts. 

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I don’t think it was one event in particular. More a combination or accumulation of events and feeling like I’d been on the losing side, for example on a string of important votes. I’ll let you guess what they were. So maybe that feeling of not being listened to or maybe even a small tantrum of not getting my way. The whole turkeys voting for Christmas type thing. But also just the general growing division online, everyone calling each other idiots. I thought I might as well join in. The chorus wouldn’t exist without Mike Judge’s film “Idiocracy” as it wouldn’t have been in my vocabulary without that.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Yes, I’ve just released the video for it. Here’s the link:

The single comes off your new album Fake Depth – what’s the story behind the title?

I wanted to use a term that touched on modern technology and the internet that suggested a negative connotation. The working title was Deep Fake, but some friends suggested that was too literal and maybe had too many real-life negative connotations so it mutated to Fake Depth which I think is more esoteric but has a ring to it. You could say it touches on the superficiality and shallowness of a lot of internet culture. 

How was the recording and writing process?

The songs weren’t all written in one batch, they were written over the past four or five years and at some point I realized I had been writing some songs around a similar theme. Internet culture and identity amongst other linked topics. I knew I had a general concept to work with, it was then a matter of deciding which songs, trying to choose the best ones or the right balance, at least. The EP was recorded at Gargleblast Studios in Hamilton with Andy Miller who has worked with many of my heroes, like Arab Strap and De Rosa, in December of last year and January of this year. In many ways it feels like something that happened to me rather than something I did, which might sound strange but there you go.

What role does Glasgow play in your music?

Definitely a positive one, but it is hard to quantify as I probably take it for granted. I’d probably notice it if I moved away. First of all, there have been so many great bands from or based in Glasgow and the surrounding areas that have been a massive influence on me like Aereogramme and Mogwai amongst so many others. Then there’s the scene itself. There are just so many venues and places to play and most folk are so nice and accommodating. So you could say it has played a nurturing role.

How has Father John Misty influenced your writing?

I wouldn’t say in any primary sense, he’s not a formative influence but I’m a fan and I think we share some key influences. When I heard “Total Entertainment Forever” for the first time I loved the fact that someone was combining a 70s singer-songwriter style with a take on modern culture, so it was like an affirmation that it can work and to stick to my plans to try to do something similar. I’ve been listening to him a lot recently.

What aspect of the internet and social media did you get to explore on this record?

I think I explored my own personal journey from internet utopian to somewhat dystopian. I think there’s an element of my disappointment that this tool containing all of the knowledge accumulated throughout history is causing, in many cases, for us to be so lazily dumb and ignorant, share bullshit and technology that should be making us feel closer and more connected than ever before is in many ways dividing us like never before.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

They were also inspired by a run of books I read about the internet, weird stories and to some extent conspiracy theories. You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and Them by Jon Ronson, You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney, Heretics by Will Storr and The Internet Is Not The Answer by Andrew Keen.

Any plans to hit the road?

I had before the coronavirus hit. I’ve had to cancel the EP launch gig and tour in May and I’ve had some spring and summer festivals cancel or be postponed. All being well I’ll be playing some festivals in November. Everything else is up in the air. We’ll see what happens but I don’t want to rush booking anything that has to be cancelled again, we just don’t when it will be safe again. But I think we’re all missing live music. I’m losing count of the gigs I was supposed to be going to that have been postponed or cancelled. There is going to be such a big wave of joy at the first gigs after the restrictions are lifted. I’m trying to think of how I can make mine more celebratory rather than just my depressing music.

What else is happening next in Lloyd James Fay’s world?

I’ll be releasing the next single from the EP on the 17th of April. Then the EP is out on the 8th of May. I’ll be releasing another video once we can get back to being around other people and relative normality again because it hasn’t actually been filmed yet. And folks can keep an eye on my social media or website for updates on gigs and festivals.

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INTERVIEW: Broken Field Runner Talks (And Premieres) New Single “MOUTH” + More Fri, 03 Apr 2020 11:30:39 +0000 Broken Field Runner‘s Tony Bucci has always woven pop sensibilities into his songwriting. It’s present on 2017 EP Heavy Hanging Fruit, intertwined with the midwestern emo melodies and heart-breaking narrative, and propels the wavering indie rock on 2019’s Lay My Head Down. Bucci applies that same pop sensibility to a different sound on BROKEN, the first in a series of three EPs showcasing his broad musical style. Working closely with Jo-Jo Rose (who has played bass in Broken Field Runner performs solo as Nxnes), Bucci combines electronic beats with politically-minded lyrics and shimmering guitars to create a darker pop aura on the stuttering “MOUTHS” and the  kicky “511s/501s”—and even a swooning KD Lang cover (called “CNSTNT CRVNG” on the EP). The result feels industrial, shadowy, and undeniably haunting.

We get to sit with him to talk about the single, video and what else is next in stores!

Hi Tony, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’m hanging in there. California is almost completely in lock-down right now so I’m holed up in my apartment in L.A. with my wife, a dozen bottles of wine, and my cats. I hope everyone over at VENTS is safe and sound.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Mouths”?

In the Spring of 2016 I went to an LCD Soundsystem inspired event called “Dance Yrself Clean” at a venue called the Satellite when my now wife and I were still trying to figure out whether or not we were going to move to Los Angeles. I perhaps enjoyed myself a bit too much and got separated from my friends in a city I was only visiting at that point. I don’t remember much of how I got back to where we were staying, but I vividly remember Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” coming on at the peak of my inebriation. The feeling of panic, loneliness, and isolation I felt stumbling around the bar looking for my friends to that soundtrack left an imprint. Years later when Nxnes and I were in the thick of working on this EP and I was at the home studio of Emily Howard and Tommy Meehan (The Manx/Uncle Grandpa/Sweatband Records)  in North Hollywood working on this song, I wanted to channel the energy of that song and the feelings of that night.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I typically write in fits and starts. I can go months or even years without writing anything I think is worth listening to only to bang out a complete idea in just a few hours. Sometimes it is a specific event or topic that gets my juices flowing, but in this case it happened as a stream of consciousness. I’m a huge fan of Self Defense Family’s Island Sessions and was turning over the lyrics to “Self-Immolation Family” off of their Scotland 7-inch, specifically: “tune with no balls / tune with no teeth / tune with no bite / tune with no reach.” I found myself with my own “words with soft gums don’t have teeth / words spoken in tongues don’t mean much of anything” and worked in both directions from there. When discussing this song with Emily Goldstein who did the music video, I found myself realizing that the song is about opulence. It’s about purposefully ignoring boundaries, societally or personally, and just taking and taking. Consumption is encouraged on all sides in American society and it truly seems that any real attempt at curbing consumption is met with jeers or outright hostility. I’m a huge lyrics person and I can understand that the average person is not, but it is interesting that this song will be coming out during these horrifying and truly unprecedented times.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

I saw a video for one of the singles from Anthony Savino’s (Half Hearted Hero/Dream Job) new record “Good Job” that had all of this dope archival footage of folks working in factories and standing in breadlines that worked perfectly for his song. I found out that his partner Emily did the video using only footage she found from digging through a ton of fair use digital archives. My only direction to her was to somehow show a dichotomy between different styles of dancing synced up Tik-Tok style to modern music and the overall messaging of consumer culture that has been pedaled in the United States for generations. She went off and absolutely crushed it in my opinion.

The single comes off your new album BROKEN – what’s the story behind the title?

I had something like 15 finished songs and a ton of demos left over after our last LP LAY MY HEAD DOWN was finished. I thought many of them were worth recording but was unsure of how to organize the material as the styles of music from song to song were so variable and each track may have come from anywhere across a span of like 5 years. Ultimately we decided that we would organize the songs into three separate EPs: the first being “Broken.”

How was the recording and writing process?

Nxnes is my longest running collaborator and writing partner. He’s played on every Broken Field Runner release, is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, and is an incredible producer and composer in his own right. Since our first LP when I brought the bare bones of songs to the studio and he wrote accompaniment on the spot, he’s pitched the idea of true collaboration: to write together, have him bring songs to the table, or reverse our previous relationship and add my accompaniment to his song ideas. We were initially going to call it “NxRunners” until Knxwledge and Anderson.Pak dropped the NxWorries record a few years ago. We’ve always lived in separate places (Nxnes is currently based in Upstate NY but was living in New Bedford, MA when I lived in the Northeast) so our collaborations have almost always been remotely, through voice memos, dropbox, and text messages. Songs like “eTERNAL moNOLOGUE” were supposedly found on an external hard drive in Nxnes’ mom’s basement and originally intended for beat tapes. Others like “Mouths” were written by me and then made into what they are by Nxnes deft hands.

What role does the Midwest play in your music?

It’s interesting, I wasn’t sure how to answer this question or where it came from when I first saw it because none of the members of Broken Field Runner are from or currently live in the Midwest. That said, this EP would not have been possible without the influence of Detroit music, especially J. Dilla’s production style. Nxnes has long been a proponent of the Dilla style of drum tracking where hits are not always quantized. There were times on this EP where Nxnes wanted the percussion to sound like fingers on sample pads rather than samples laid on a grid, if that makes sense. There is a direct line from this style of production to J. Dilla and the “dance” music that came out of Detroit as early as the late 1970s. Other than that, I’ve already jokingly referred to this EP as my “Digital Ash” so I guess there is some Midwest influence there.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I could talk your ear off about what influenced every single line. On this record alone, lyrical influence is drawn from everything from Radiohead to Ramshackle Glory to K.D. Lang and beyond. One of the songs is a response to the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland a few years back and another was written accidentally when I was trying to learn a track from one of Matt Skiba’s solo records. Interview me again on just the lyrical content on our records and I’d be happy to deep dive.

Any plans to hit the road?

We had several weeks’ worth of Westcoast/Southwest shows lined up for early April that were cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak worldwide. There was also some talk of doing some shows in Guadalajara, Mexico that don’t seem possible right now either. We will do all we can to rebook the places we were planning to hit, but with no definitive end in sight and the safety of band and showgoer in mind, there are no plans at present to play out anytime soon. Those who are interested should keep an eye on our social media for updates regardless.

What else is happening next in Broken Field Runner’s world?

I would keep an ear to the ground for the other two EPs that will be released when social distancing allows me access to more studio time. The plan is for all of releases to be out by the end of 2020, but we will see if the universe has other plans.

Pre-order album here

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PREMIERE: Steve Ray Ladson blends R&B and smooth hip-hop on single “Calling Your Name” Fri, 03 Apr 2020 11:30:05 +0000 As we wrapped up another series of premieres, we are pleased to team up with Steve Ray Ladson premieres his new single “Calling Your Name,” a wonderfully catchy song that captures the 90s, especially the R&B sound of the decade, while maintining it a bit modern.

About the song, Ladson comments “This song is relating between R&B, and pop. This song was inspired and created down in Muscle Shoals, Alabama one evening after a recording session at a friends home around the table where writing sessions are a norm. I picked up the guitar and began to play and sing “I’ve had my share of loves ups and downs, I once was lost but now I’m found” I played the song and sang my lyrics then a good friend of mine, Noah Shell added to the selection with his touching second verse quoting “I used to lay awake and wonder, if I’d ever find another.” It’s about realizing that love is universal and is hard to find, especially when you’re a touring musician who spends most of the time on the road traveling.

I want people to hear my music and say, its authentic and that’s the way music should be. Remind them of how it used to be and the way it used to sound. Bring back what could feel and when love and music was real. That’s my goal to bring back the real feel.”

Steve Ray Ladson was born and raised in Hopkins, SC on October 9, 1989. Steve Ray is a producer, songwriter, arranger, and musician. His musical talents include the piano, Hammond organ, lead guitar, bass guitar, and recently began playing the harmonica. He has traveled the world and is currently touring with 5-time Grammy award winners and Grammy Lifetime Achievement award winners The Blind Boys Of Alabama. He also plays bass guitar with Grammy nominee Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Steve Ray received a position with the Blind Boys through their musical director Joey Williams. Since then, he has made appearances on the Don Imus TV show, CTV, BET Canadian TV, AudioTree TV, and many more.

When not touring or on the road, he dedicates most of his time to the studio and is producing records for many different artists. He quickly received a nickname from the west coast, “Youngsta,” being that he was the youngest to travel in the crews with veteran stars and artists. Although his roots are quartet gospel, he has set himself to be well-rounded in all genres of music including blues, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, country, and bluegrass. He attended college for a short amount of time but he dropped out to pursue his musical career in 2009. He first began singing and playing in 1996 forming a quartet gospel group with his brother and cousins. They have performed along with gospel greats such as the Joe Ligon and The Mighty Clouds Of Joy, The Swannee Quintet, The Canton Spirituals, Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s, Rance Allen, Tamela Mann, Tye Tribett and many more. He was brought up in a Christian home and played in church where his father pastored and his grandfather co-pastored. Although he is a “youngsta” he’s steadily traveling and working hard to do what he has set out to do which is, “bring back the funk.”


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