An interview with Project Mantra

Today, we are speaking with Leigh Bursey (singer and guitar player) and Justin Steacy (drummer) of Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) band Project Mantra. 

Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

Leigh: Justin and I started jamming while he was in high school. The earliest versions of this group started while I was still a teenager. I had a way with words and a lot of opinions but I still needed to learn how to use my voice. Music was my platform, and for Justin it was very much the same. We set up an old Ludwig drum kit on the front lawn of my apartment building and jammed with my cheap acoustic until we knew we had something. And it’s been an up and down creative process ever since.

Justin: I learned how to perform with Project Mantra. I cut my teeth on that front lawn, and in basements and back room venues across the province.

You have just released a new single – Scream for Me. What was the writing/creative and recording process for the track like? How’d it differ from the rest of your new album, Moonlight Over Vagabond?

Leigh: I wrote the shell for Scream For Me. It was heavily inspired by some of David Lynch’s work with Twin Peaks. I related the indigenous firewalk ceremony and the tale of multiple realities to the common western God complex. This song isn’t just about existentialism but also about contempt for modern suffering that is so often ignored by societal hierarchies. It’s one of my favourite pieces of work and surprisingly simple and fluid. We’ve all met a Laura Palmer type character who’s circumstances could have been prevented and were ignored. The story is universal and multi-layered. Whiskey and a lonely night produced that song.

Justin: As for the recording process, we worked with Scott Burniston on that track at his home studio, and we hammered out as much of it as we could in a studio live format. The effects are minimal. The integrity of the song is intact. And it definitely revisits the grunge era.

Leigh: That one was approached the same way many of our favourite songs have been. Create and deliver. Produce and combine. Perform until it sounds right.

How does an acoustic performance from Project Mantra differ from the traditional band’s sound?

Justin: to be honest, they’ve often been one and the same. Right now for our next record, we are focusing on going back to the drawing board and reinventing ourselves a little. Going back to our roots.

Leigh: While we can often get loud and be eccentric and energetic and punky and artsy, at our core we were a folk punk band that loved the Pixies and wrote basic songs and lyrical monologues on acoustic guitars.

How supportive is the Ottawa music scene in furthering your career (e.g. radio stations, magazine, venues)?

Leigh: Ottawa is basically our home base. So much love for the city and its music. We have so many friends that we enjoy sharing the stage with, and we are lucky enough to do so with inspiring artists from all types of styles backgrounds. Brandon Bird and the Diamond Mine Agency have been great to us. As has Project Mantra alumni Alex Hodges and Pandamonium Promotions.

Justin: But we shouldn’t stop there. There are so many people to thank along the way. From Danika Villeneuve doing Leigh’s make up, to Art and Landmark, to our loyal fans and followers, and Jon MacDougall and Brandon Mead who sport Project Mantra themed tattoos. All members past and present. Ottawa is definitely our home.

Politics is a big part of your music. What sort of issues are of greatest importance to you? What is your ultimate political goal that you would like to achieve with your music?

Leigh: Everything is political. We might draw our music comparisons to the Pixies Smashing Pumpkins, and we might share the stage with the Rural Alberta Advantage, but at our core we are Clash and Against Me! fans. I’m a two term Brockville city councillor. I’m a social justice activist and have dragged the band into many political discussions over the years. From mental health to Lgbtq issues. Standing up against oppression, advocating for affordable housing investment, and absolutely no shortage of fundraisers, socio political conversation is an immense part of our band’s fabric. I don’t apologize for that for a second.

What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)?

Justin: As minimalistic as possible. If we can’t duplicate it live then we aren’t doing ourselves or our audience any favours.

Leigh: At one point whiskey was my favourite tool. Now a great producer. That simple.

Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance?

Justin: Pixies, July Talk, Rural Alberta Advantage and Against Me!

Leigh: and the White Stripes. We could probably go all day long on this one.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize?

Leigh: We are still developing our online product and presence. But so far the universal approach has been Facebook. We love interacting with people directly. That said, I still buy CDs. You should too. At the very least, they make attractive coasters.

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?

Justin: Bands will fight and visions will change, but remember that in the end you’re family. If you’re not a family, you’re not a band.

Leigh: Never apologize for who you are. Give em Hell kids. Sometimes the best songs come after the breakdowns. 

Checking in with Palm Baker

Today, we are speaking with Toronto performer Palm Baker. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

Yeah, uh, I guess a bit about me – I’m a singer, songwriter, producer, & DJ working out of Toronto. I was born in Mississauga, but grew up in Brampton. No one outside of the GTA knows/cares that Brampton exists though, & if they do they just sort of roll their eyes – it’s cool though, I get it, but much love (haha).

I was always down with music. I played a bunch of instruments growing up – some better than others – but I don’t think it was until 2013 or 2014 when I built my first studio in my basement apartment in London, ON. that I started trying to at least figure something out.

I’ve since worked with artists across Canada, & the U.S., & even one set of homies out in Sweden. It got things moving for me. In January of 2017, I released my first ep Wayside (EP) & that got things rolling in Toronto. A couple show promoters got in contact with me & I got a chance to play The Mod Club, Revival Bar, & The Opera House all pretty soon out the gate. Presstown PR contacted me shortly after that, & asked to represent the work I was putting out & helped me network it to the right people. I started recording singles & producing with new sounds, & I guess two months after Wayside hit Toronto, I had already started planning my new album, Faces (EP).

Faces (EP) released in September, & went farther than I really could have hoped. The first single released from the album “L.A.” passed 22k on YouTube in just under a month & helped me land support from Skilly Mag, Rude Boy Lifestyle Mag, & Stencil Magazine. With the second release from the album, “Cocktails” I’m hoping to keep momentum going & share a bit more of a creative side with my fans. I’ve got a lot of people to thank, & a lot of people I’m still just in the process of meeting, but I have some new projects in the works & I’m stoked for whats next.

You have been deep at work on your next release. What sort of work have you put into the recording and creative processes for this release?

This time around, the projects are bigger, the videos are higher quality, & budgets for promo are going up – I’m stoked. A lot of time and emotion went into the making of the songs on this upcoming album & I’m feeling good about them. I can’t say much about it yet, but it will be my first full length (LP) CD & it’s set to release in 2018.

Two mix-tapes are currently in the works as well with a number of local artists and producers. 2018 should be a fun year.

What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)? 

I actually just got my first bit of analogue in the studio about a month ago. I’m hype! Right now it’s rigged with a Lexicon studio delay/reverb, ART tube vocal preamp, & dbx comp/gate/limiter with an American Audio circuit breaker up top to keep them all safe. I’ve been working in the box since I started producing/recording so I’ll always know my way around in the dark, but the rack mounts are definitely a new favourite.

In terms of my digital setup, I produce, mix & master in Ableton Live suite, with VST’s & plug-ins from Waves, Native Instrument, Xfer, etc. It’s a nice list, I wont lie, but it’s also about how you use it all, right?

My in-house studio mic for both Wayside & Faces has been the Rode NT2. I love the sound it has when running through the ART preamp & dbx comp – it’s nerdy (haha), one-hundred percent, but that stuff matters on an album. I mix & master my work using Yorkville 8” studio monitors, & I honestly love the sound. I know a lot of people go hard for the Rokit KRKs, but I find them notoriously bass-heavy.

When producing, I have a couple go-to gadgets. I’m low-key ride or die with the MPC drum pads – The sounds are unreal, & as a musician, I like being able to play out my ideas. Another studio favourite is the Ableton Push. It let’s me jam & throw out quick ideas & layers. Other than that, a midi keyboard & a handful of fender guitars, a handful of sample packs, & a couple Shure SM 57’s & 58’s.

Tell us a bit more about your latest video for Cocktails. I understand you’ve just released a promo video for the track.

The video for Cocktails was released as a halloween special. It was kind of inspired by “The Shining” but if Jack Nicholson was a wolf man & I was Wendy – or something like that. It was something really fun for the team to shoot & the first time I brought a good friend on set to act. We got to use some new gear & play around on set with fake blood & masks, so it was good vibes. Like “L.A.”, I edited this music video too.

For my upcoming projects I have developed my media team & have an new editor on board, Andrew Budden of Budden Media, which is cool. I think it’ll free me up to focus on creating & putting out new music & performing in the city. I like to support the local scene, & the homie can shoot, so get stoked for 2018.

Cocktails comes from the Faces EP. How do the tracks from the release combine to tell a story about Palm Baker? How is Cocktails different than L.A.?

L.A. is all about the hustle & the good life. “The livin’ ain’t bad now,” right? Cocktails is probably the polar opposite. It is when you’re tweaky, & caught up in paranoia & bad vibes. It’s drowning. That’s not to say life is about paranoia or feeling shitty, but it happens, & Faces (EP) is all about the different sides of self & others. It’s less glamorous, but it’s human to feel shit sometimes.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize?

IG: @palm.baker

I started on IG. Love it. Kinda late to that game, but I like to think fashionably so. It was a new wave of IG, & I was creating solid & consistent media content with beats I whipped together the day before. I’m glad I’m not still caught in that everyday rat race, but it was crazy & fun, & it helped get attention before anyone had any reason to pay attention (haha).

YouTube: Palm Baker T.V.

Lately it has been YouTube for me. With L.A passing 22k & Cocktails at 12k & climbing, I have already begun working with local artists, videographers, & YouTubers to bring much more & higher quality content.

To me, it’s all about the process. I like being able to share the weird hours in the studio, & all-nighters with the fans as well as the big projects.

What should listeners expect from your music in the future? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music? How has the radio response been for your music?

I’m currently putting final touches on my next album. I’m really excited – I’m trying to act cool about it though. It happened over the summer & into Sept./Oct. I got producing, & working for other artists across a lot of genres & ended up getting carried away I guess. I had been writing over a couple months & testing new songs at shows, & bought some new gear for the studio to keep things exciting. The rest just happened.

Aside from that, I’ve got my own mix-tape with local artists that I’m producing to sponsor the scene, & (the house producer) II70 picked me up as the feature artist on his mix-tape (dropping 2018), which is hype. It’s a new sound for me to work with & the first time I’m not going to be hands on with the beats – I mean, features are kinda like that, but it’s different with a whole album. But he’s an unreal producer & really easy to work with, so we’re going h.a.m.

What does the rest of 2017 hold for your music and tour date wise?

Summer ’17 was unreal, I traveled out to Montreal to DJ & perform at MTL Uncovered, & was performing big shows in Toronto. To be honest, I took a second, & invested in my studio, brushed up on the basics & not so basics, & hibernated in the studio for a minute after that. I’ve been dying to get back out on stage, & have been DJ-ing in the city, but I’ve been spending most of my time meeting publishers & agents & trying to land the right gigs & shake the right hands, that sort of thing. My hopes set up with 2018 being a very successful year for Baker Music.

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?

Stay a while

 

https://www.facebook.com/palmbakermusic/

An interview with Jerelle

We are talking to Jerelle today. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? For our U.S. readers, can you give us a little education about Kitchener-Waterloo?

Kitchener-Waterloo is a small city of 200,000 people. Just an hour away from Toronto. Always had hometown love for this city but was always wanting to push my music outside of just that city. I grew up in this city. Born and raised by my single mother, helping raise my younger two younger brothers. Continue reading “An interview with Jerelle”

Antherius Talks About “Distant Christmas”

Today, we are speaking with Antherius. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music? 

I’ve always been fond of music, all kinds but mostly Pop.  When I was in grade school my parents bought me a Hammond Organ, and I banged away on that (and the occasional piano outside of home), playing mostly by ear.  In my adult life I learned how to break composite things including machines, circuits, software applications, etc. into their fundamental (more simpler) parts, and decomposing music is no different (e.g. discern out the unique instruments and notes in a recording).  I could hear that arrangements were really nothing more than a clever collection of notes and sounds that complimented each other when played together, and I told myself “I think I can compose and arrange musical works” —  then started applying baby-step efforts to achieve that.  For me, it took latter-day technologies including inexpensive synthesizers and sophisticated sequencing software to enable my creative goal.

You have just released a seasonal album Distant Christmas; what was the writing/creative and recording process for the album like? 

Well, it is certainly challenging to work on Christmas music outside of the holiday season (especially during the Houston’s hot summer months), so this project took me several years to complete.  The process of building a recording is cumulative, that is you start with simple passages, and add instruments (it’s somewhat analogous to creating a great dinner in the kitchen, LOL) – and at key point in this multi-track process, the “magic” occurs when everything seemingly blends itself into a smoother and more sophisticated recording, almost attaining a life of its own.  The efforts to reach this final mix is the long pole in the process – after that the refinement and final mastering steps in the recording are more procedural and iterative (engineering creative as opposed to composition/arrangement creative).

The album art is fascinating; what significance does the hand/design hold for you?  How does Distant Christmas differ from your previous music? What sort of things are a hold-over from earlier recordings? 

The image on the cover is a photo I took of the belfry of the Methodist Church I’ve belonged to for many years in Houston.  A little image manipulation to layer some motion effects (to accentuate the bell itself), along with the stars and sparkles provided by another designer that helped me along created that image.  Insofar as my prior work, the compositions of those early albums were original works, where all but one track in the Distant Christmas album are cover songs, mostly traditionals.  The title track of the album (also called “Distant Christmas”) is an original composition.  The arrangements and instrumentation are similar to my other songs, namely a mix of string sections, modern bass guitars, ambient textures and New Age sound effects.  The album has three upbeat tracks that have percussion instruments added.

How supportive is the Houston music scene in furthering your career (e.g. radio stations, magazine, venues)? 

I’m just a studio/recording artist, not performing live or working with any bands at the moment.  I feel somewhat removed from the general music scene of the city, which is something I need to spend more time with.  I have a few friends in aspects of the music industry, some performers, some mixing engineers, and I have routine meet ups with them to audition tracks and brainstorm ideas for all of the moving parts.

What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)? 

The studio setup for single-artist folks like myself has evolved tremendously in the past two decades.  In the 1980’s, my setup was primarily that of analog equipment and tape recorders.  Today, my setup is a couple of racks with my favorite tone generators from Yamaha and Roland, along with some effects processors; although, the most significant hardware is a high-powered Windows PC with sequencing software from SONAR and audio editing tools from Adobe.  I have several favorite “soft-synths” that plug into SONAR, namely Omnisphere and Addictive Drums.  Everything from composition to final mastering is executed by yours truly in that environment.

Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance? 

For me, there have been many, many influences – Moby, Enya, ELO, the Moody Blues, 2002 … although the most pivotal artist for me was discovering Chris Spheeris back in the 1990’s, seemingly a solo performer and composing New Age recordings.  If my work could somehow influence or find some favor from one or more of my musical influencers (or even that of another artist), well that would be a bigger stroke for me than actually performing with them.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize? 

Of course, I leverage social media sites including FB, Twitter, to get the word out, and to further develop a fanbase, although I could be better at it.  My extended team is helping me here.  On the interaction front, I prefer F2F; however, newer technologies including email, WebEx meetings, texting, and yes, even voice calls work when in-person meetings are difficult.

What should listeners expect from your music in the future? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music?

Everyone should expect me to continue to crank out songs, and for the quality of my work to improve along the way.  Samples of my work can be previewed at SoundCloud, Spotify, and ReverbNation.  The Antherius YouTube site has a couple music videos as well, and I hope to add more there in the coming years.  The best site to follow me on would be FB (facebook.com/antheriusmusic) as it points to all other sites.

What does the rest of 2017 hold for your music and tour date wise? 

The balance of 2017 will find me completing more covers of favorite instrumental hits from the 1960’s and 1970’s, which will be released as singles as they are completed.  There are several original compositions in various stages of development as well for a future album.  There are no plans for touring in the coming year.

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers? 

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you, I’ve enjoyed it and truly hope this was found interesting by all.  Final thoughts?  Well, my mantra on life in general is to exist in reality, listen more than you speak, laugh often, push your boundaries, believe in God, and to find peace.

 

I, Symptom Interview

Today, we are speaking with I, Symptom. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

Hello to you and all the readers, greetings from Budapest, Hungary. The short introduction of I, Symptom is “electronic rock and roll outlaw”. I’m a rock and roll addict, got my first guitar when I was 14, and I have been playing ever since. I’ve had a variety of projects ranging from art rock to comedy pop, and in this project I’m experimenting with hybrid music. Continue reading “I, Symptom Interview”

Donnell Isaac Interview

What’s your story? I am a husband and a father of 5 beautiful children, who happens to be crazy in love with soul music!

How’d you fall into music? I was exposed to music at an early age. I was only 9 years old when I joined my family gospel group. They nurtured my gift as a singer. Being raised in a musically inclined family, where everyone is either a musician or singer. Inspired my gift of songwriting and singing. This led to me launching my solo career as Donnie C. As my career sailed and matured. I was inspired my growth to change my stage name. Now I go Donnell Isaac

Who are you listening to right now? Angie Stone, Dream album

How has your style evolved and changed over the time since you first started? Over the years I have been told you have a unique sound but it gives a church vibe. I manage to challenge my roots in infusing RnB soul, gospel music together. Where do you think that your songs will go to in the months and years in the future? I believe that my songs will be the type of songs that will live around for many years to come. The music I write and sing, speaks a universal language that allows my listeners to relate, connect and heal.

Loving You is your latest single. What have people had to say about the release so far? Yes, Loving You is my latest single and listeners are saying, yes please bring back this kind of message and sound in RnB. Love conquers when you truly understand love.

What differences in terms of lifestyle, music, or anything have you seen between Portsmouth/Norfolk and the other areas that you have visited? Music has a way of changing lives and bringing people together.

How have you gotten more of your fans – social media (e.g. Snapchat, IG, Facebook, Twitter) or traditional word of mouth? Have you noticed anything different between these types of fans? Most of my fans have been because of social media. Facebook has played a major role in connecting me with my music lovers and supporters.

How should people find your music? Are there any singles or albums coming out that they should consider buying? I am listed in all your online retail outlets including social media. I have a new album in the works. I am truly excited about this project. My new album Love Changes slated for release 2018.

 

 

Sitting down with Shay-D Kid

What’s your story? How’d you fall into rap?

I’m approaching on the two year mark of my debut. I’d been writing music privately since about the age of 15 and doing ‘rap battles’ in high school. It wasn’t until my dad got us tickets in 2014 for the ‘Monster Tour’ to see Eminem & Rihanna in Detroit that changed my life! The opportunity to see Eminem in concert close up was inspirational, not to mention driving around 8 mile, checking out the neighbourhood where he grew up and getting a glimpse of his new crib outside the city was an experience and trip I’ll never forget! Then, while driving back to Canada my dad mentioned he was going to write me a rap song about the experience, I laughed and said “yeah right”! Well a few months later he shocked me! The song comprised of the months leading up to the concert, him gaining an understanding of Eminem’s music and his creative genius, the Hip Hop culture in general, the landscape of the day and the crazy events afterward all packaged into one amazing track. It was at that moment I decided I wasn’t going to keep my stories hidden and showcase my thirst for writing.

 

Who are you listening to right now?

I’m currently listening to Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone, A Boogie, Kodak Black, Wiz Kalifa, Scarlxrd, XXXTentacion, Gucci Mane, Playboi Carti, Nav, Future, Ugly God, Migos, Hopsin, Eminem and I also listen to a lot of unknown artists as well.

 

How has your style evolved and changed over the time since you first started? Where do you think that your flow will go to in the months and years in the future?

My sound has evolved very quickly! Right after my first two tracks there is a definitive style transition into my third single ‘Make Money’. This song really started to define who I was as an artist and has continued into my latest three singles ‘Stylin’ On You’, ‘Finessa’ and the current release ‘Flossin’, which showcase todays new school trend while creating a one-of-a-kind ‘wavy’ vibe.

 

Flossin is your latest single. What have people had to say about the release so far?

My fans completely love the new single and the rest of my music portfolio. I’ve had a number of Dj’s, online radio stations, bloggers, websites, mixtapes and A&R’s support the new release (as well as all of my previous work). I’ve also been selected for a number of high profile music campaigns and was the cover feature artist on YoungMoney Unsign Hype Vol.18 where ‘Flossin’ scored the #1 spot on the mixtape through Grind Nation. I’m always trying to showcase a unique sound and listening experience which is important in today’s industry in order to separate myself from the pack. As mentioned earlier, I like to try and incorporate the new school feel while adding some old school vibe delivering it in a way like no other artist. I use creative concepts, unique hooks and showcase everything through the process of my writing abilities. The feedback and support I’ve received through social media has been insane and I’m ‘Thankful’ for the support, which ironically is the title for the song my dad wrote me!

 

What differences in terms of lifestyle, music, or anything have you seen between Toronto and the other areas that you have visited?

As mentioned I’m approaching on the two year mark now of my debut come this November. The initial game plan laid out by my manager was to achieve a social media presence, get my music onto as many music platforms as possible, see how well it was received and really establish an online foundation with a core following first. The intention was that we structure this over a two year period and then add the dimension of live performances to further make a name for myself, which would be to perform locally at nightclubs, bars etc, and then look into other Canadian and US markets. Part of the reason for this being I’m only 18, turn 19 at the end of October, so getting gigs at the age of 17 and 18 didn’t make much sense with the age of majority in Canada being 19. Now that I’m 19 (later this month) the plan is to start networking these exact avenues. We’ve recently linked up with LME (Landmark Events) and I’m scheduled as a featured artist this winter for some of their Toronto and Montreal shows – so I’m very excited for the opportunity, and grateful to my manager for having made this connection and appreciative to the team over at LME. I’ve also had a few local venues and promoters reach out inviting me to perform, but we respectfully declined as not to deviate from our development plan. My manager also wanted to make sure that I did my due-diligence with performance training including rehearsals with Dj’s so that I was prepared professionally for live shows. I also had a Booking Agency, Kangaroo Bookings, based in France ask me to join their artist roster (and did), but currently have them on hold until we give the green light to start booking me for International events. I’ve also had a number of high profile A&R’s who have worked with major artists select my music for a number of different campaigns including radio placement, sync licensing opportunities etc. I’ve had talent agencies ask me to join their artist roster and also signed a 1 year deal with Bentley Records, an International Record Label based in New York City. So again, things have been moving really quickly with my music all around the world and establishing a presence online. Therefore I haven’t seen any ‘differences’ in other areas compared to Toronto because we haven’t physically ventured into other cities but I’m sure as my music career develops I’ll be excited for those future experiences.

How have you gotten more of your fans – social media (e.g. Snapchat, IG, Facebook, Twitter) or traditional word of mouth? Have you noticed anything different between these types of fans?

The majority of my fans have come through Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud. I’m also on ReverbNation where we recently hit #1 Worldwide on the Hip Hop Charts. We’ve also spent a lot of time concentrating within the Spotify space as it seems to be one of the more popular cutting edge streaming platforms and obviously on iTUNES. We’re in 280+ stores around the world but it really comes down to which of these preferred music platforms fans prefer listening on.

How should people find your music? Are there any singles or mixtapes coming out that they should look into buying?

My music can pretty much be found everywhere as mentioned earlier including Spotify, iTUNES, Amazon Music, Google Play, Soundcloud, YouTube, ReverbNation, my Website, Twitter (which has links redirecting you to certain sites) and when you’re on my Soundcloud, ReverbNation or YouTube they all have links to all of the other platforms. Just simply search ‘Shay-D Kid’.

 

SPOTIFY ARTIST PAGE:

https://open.spotify.com/artist/6AHbQCIv9o9p0fcsPhKHSe

 

iTUNES ARTIST PAGE:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/shay-d-kid/id1160538104

 

SOUNDCLOUD:

https://soundcloud.com/shay-d-kid

 

YOUTUBE:

http://www.youtube.com/c/ShayDKid

 

TWITTER:

https://twitter.com/ShayD_Kid

 

ARTIST WEBSITE:

http://www.shay-dkid.com/

 

FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/shaydkid/

 

INSTAGRAM:

https://www.instagram.com/shayd_kid/

 

REVERBNATION:

https://www.reverbnation.com/shaydkid

 

We’re also looking to put together an EP, ready this winter so definitely keep an eye out but all of my last four tracks have been released within the year so have a listen. Previously, our game plan had been to focus on singles, trying to get one song out every 3-5 months giving each track their respective promotional attention. So, during this time period I’ve been writing a ton and now have a library of songs waiting, so my manager feels this is the right time to release an EP and get those tracks out! So I’m excited to be working on this project over the next few months.

 

Do you have any final thoughts for NeuFutur readers?

To the NeuFutur readers I’m grateful to have this platform to showcase my music and have you as a potential fan through the creative expression of writing which is something I love to do. I truly appreciate each and every fan and if you follow me on social media you will understand. I try my best to stay in touch with each and every person and as often as possible. I truly appreciate the support, much love always Shay-D!

Gerry Dantone of UniversalDice sits down with NeuFutur

Today, we are speaking with UniversalDice. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

I’ve played music since I was 5 years old; in elementary school, my family was offered a choice of instruments for my musical education – accordion or guitar.  Of course, they chose that I learn the accordion.  I always joke to myself that if they had chosen guitar for me, I’d be Pete Townshend today.

Accordion did not turn out to be the answer for me but in a few years, I was in the school orchestra playing 1st violin.  I was not the best violinist in the school but I was OK.  At some point, I suffered 3 broken arms and that was it for regularly playing violin.   That was probably it for being a virtuoso string instrument player as well.  I broke my left arm one more time as an adult for good measure.

In late high school and early college years I started fooling around with an old acoustic guitar I found in my parent’s house and eventually bought a really cheap Univox guitar while in college with money I won playing pinochle.  Almost immediately it was obvious I wanted to write songs even before I knew how to play.  The rest is history, such as it is.

You have just released a rock album, birth, love, hate, death; what was the writing/creative and recording process for the album like?

The process begins with ideas; I had written some songs over the years that suggested some characters, a young man and a young woman who interacted in an interesting way.  The idea was to grow these couple of songs into a rock opera and tell a story about love; in this case from birth to death and all the love and hate in between, hence “birth, love, hate, death.”  It was going to be a tragedy because it’s more compelling and more real, in my opinion.   After writing more songs, it became apparent what gaps existed in the story; when that happens you then become motivated to fill the gaps and complete the story.  Telling a story definitely (for me) makes writing songs easier.  Having a story to tell brings focus to the writing process.

We’ve recorded all of the UniversalDice albums ourselves.  The first two CDs, bassist Sam Cimino and I shared the writing, recording and production duties with help from keyboardist Tom Beckner.  I’ve handled the production of the last two CDS myself with help from lead guiatarist Bob Barcus on many songs and on “blhd” from Vin Crici on 4 tunes.  The first two CDs were analog, the 3rd was both analog and digital, and “birth, love, hate, death” entirely digital.  We did it all from recording, mixing and mastering.  Bob and I usually handle the artwork, with Bob handling the more technical aspects. Sam played bass on much of the first 3 CDs, and Eddie Canova has handled it since then.  On “blhd” both Vin Crici and Walt Sargent handled the keys.  Thank goodness for digital; you can do so much more without breaking the bank.

The album art is fascinating; what significance does the hand/design hold for you?  How does birth, love, hate, death differ from your previous music? What sort of things are a hold-over from earlier recordings?

The hand imprint of the cover represents “birth.”  It’s the imprint of an infant.  It seemed to be a good way to start the experience of the rock opera, “birth, love, hate, death.”  It happens to be my daughter’s imprint.

This album is different because it’s about love, and pretty much only love.  Previous albums dealt with faith, reason, religion, social issues, war, peace, etc. with some loves songs scattered about incidentally.  This is about love.

What will always be the same in UniversalDice albums is humanism; the theme of caring about what happens to others will always be the philosophical underpinning.  This may seem typical, but it really isn’t.  These songs are NOT obeying a god, a moral code, scripture, social norms or other commonly held beliefs; they are about caring about others, what happens to others and trying to contribute somehow to a better world.  In this album, the point is that love is NOT something you merely feel; love is a pattern of behavior of helping the ones you love.

How supportive is the Long Island/NYC music scene in furthering your career (e.g. radio stations, magazine, venues)?

One local magazine, Good Times Magazine, has always been nice to us but generally it is most difficult to get something going in the local music scene with original music.  People need to know your songs before they come to see you and additionally our material is not well suited for playing the bars and clubs.  It may rock but there’s a little too much going on.  Part of what we do is provoke thought – that’s difficult in a club setting.

I’ve played clubs – CBGBs to Malibu Beach Club to Great Gilversleeves to My Father’s Place in the NY metro area.  It’s just not our optimal setting.

 What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)?

I use a PC running SONAR for recording and use SoundForge to master.  I have all kinds of effects from Waves and other companies.  I use the POD and SansAmp for guitar sound and Bob uses a miked boutique amp for his sounds.  We used a SansAmp for bass with Eddie to go direct.  I know Vinny uses a Korg for his keyboards and I have other various modules for keys with Walter.  I also use a Seck mixer for routing my set up and the whole thing occupies about 30 or 40 square feet in my den.  I own only 2 electric guitars and one acoustic – I am not a collector.

Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance?

The Beatles, the Who, Pink Floyd, Cream, Simon & Garfunkel and other bands from the ‘60s and ‘70s form the basis of my musical education.  I love bands like Muse, the Killers, Green Day and Radiohead from more recent times.  I would love to play with the Who, but I am not worthy.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize?

Facebook seems to be the best format for me to communicate with potential fans.  Twitter’s 140 characters would be totally inadequate.  I am not visually oriented so other photo/video based social media is not my strong point.

What should listeners expect from your music in the future? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music?

We have a 5th album in our future – it will be about “family.”  It will rock.

Our music is everywhere it can be, iTunes, Amazon. Spotify, CDBaby and 20 or more other outlets.  Our first 3 albums may be attributed to “UniversalDice.com”, which are “My Name is Thomas…”, also a rock opera, “mostly True Stories” and “Out of Many, One.”   Our latest CD, “birth, love, hate, death” will be listed under “UniversalDice.”  You can get physical CDs via CDBaby and digital everywhere.  The best starting point is our web site; www.UniversalDice.com .

What does the rest of 2017 hold for your music and tour date wise?

Since our rock opera is best enjoyed as a rock opera, we are working with a local theater/performance art school to get it staged and take it on the road to appropriate venues as a real production.  To get that done would be a dream come true.

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?

Our new CD begins:

I’m sure you want to know where did we all come from
You want to know what comes after this?
The secret’s in the way you live, not in kingdom come
May you live to taste your love’s sweet kiss
My sweet darling, my sweet child
The road is winding and the weather’s wild

And it ends:

Love is the warm embrace
Love is the saving grace
We need to love each other…
Now truth is a mystery and love is the clue

Person Natalie Interviewed

Today, we are speaking with California saxophonist Person Natalie. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

My family is very musical. My grandfather was a trumpet player and band leader. When I was very young, I used to sing duets with him; he’d play his guitar and I’d sing along. The violin was his favorite instrument. He use to collect them and he gave me one when I was around 5 or 6 and encouraged me to play. My parents got me and my sister violin lessons
and that’s how it all started. I always loved the sound of the saxophone though, and the intrigue and energy of jazz as well as the contributions of the sax to pop and rock music. So I switched to saxophone at around 12. My Dad played guitar and bass; he played professionally for a number of years. And my Aunt is a professional vocalist with an amazing voice..so I would play gigs with their bands.

You have just released a new album, Gypsy Dance; what was the writing/creative and recording process for the album like?

I had been working on Gypsy Dance off and on for a couple years – re-writes;edits; finding guest musicians etc – letting the stew marinate, so to speak, until finally I felt like the recipe was ready. Everything had been simmering on slow-cook and I didn’t want to over-cook it. Dennis, my dad, was my co-producer on most of these tracks. My Dad and I are both really strong minded and determined in our own respective ways – so that was a challenge in recording this and agreeing to disagree at times. For me a song usually starts with a bass line, then either chord structure or melody and/or lyrics if applicable. For this project, I wanted to leave plenty of space for guest improvisors and allow for their perspective. In that sense, we were all the songwriters. I do not underestimate Dennis’ help with most of these songs as well, even though he does not want credit for his work. Gypsy Dance is not something he would produce for
himself, not his thing. But he went along with the program even though he would have done things differently. He deferred to how I wanted things.

 

What’s your favorite track off of the album (and why?).

The title track of the album I really wanted to drive home – hence, the 3 different versions of it. It’s like Night in Tunisia by Dizzy meets “Let it whip” by the Dazz Band. I wrote a pronounced synth-bass heavy sound – like many 80’s R & B dance stuff. For the sax melody, a simple repeated motif over a dominant 7 flat6 chord and not too many changes in keeping with a modal-fusion context yet the alt. chord at turnaround for an exotic Indian quarter-tone dissonant vibe. That being said, Mill Creek Ballad is my favorite song on the album. It’s just a few tracks. I was working on this particular chord sequence on my keyboard and I really love Miles Davis “Sketches of Spain” album so it’s a blues ballad born out of love for that Miles Davis album. I also love Trane’s version of “Afro Blue on his soprano. Then last summer I went to hear Super Nova in concert. I heard a live version of Afro Blue performed by Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana. That concert really moved me. Soon after I recorded the melody and improvisation for Mill Creek and the first take captured the vibe, the “moment” I was feeling when I heard those guys play. Plus it reminds me of something you’d hear at a country-side renaissance faire.

How does Gypsy Dance build off of (or expand upon) your 2014 EP?

Gypsy Dance builds off of the EP Off the Grid, by expanding a little further into jazz and the art of improvisation; at the same time referencing other genres that have been crucial to my musical background. The title itself is pretty self-descriptive as far as the nomadic wanderer and freedom aspect of the definition of gypsy. We’ve got a disco-swing tune with a retro-feel
bass line in “Best in Show”, some edgier jazz-rock fusion in “Parachutes and Butterflies” and “Derailed then Track Again”, and a funky down-home feel-good song in “Billie Hill’s Bossa”. From my perspective, Gypsy Dance is a very colorful almost polarizing album. There’s nothing bland about it. It’s like extra-sharp cheddar or roquefort blue – you either love it or you hate it. And either way, that’s Ok. Crazy like a fox or just plain crazy, it sounds good to me and I’m proud of it.

Jazz is a storied genre; what do you add to jazz with your new release?

I’d like to start by saying this is not entirely jazz. But you’re right, jazz is a storied genre. I’d like to think that what I’m adding is another layer, another perspective using the beautiful art form or jazz as one of the major sources to paint a portrait that is unique and compelling.

What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)?

We worked with an older model Mac DAWS and then an upgraded version on many of the tracks. I enjoy working on a budget and seeing how creative I can get using just the basic tools too. I like my trusty workhorse mic the SM57, adjusting the positioning of the mic after
acoustically treating my work space. I tend to favor a “hot” recording of my horn so I’ll mess around with that til I get the signal I want. For some of the tracking, I love my little Tascam 8-track pocket studio recorder and an old Yamaha keyboard I play. I’ve been laughed at “that’s
ludicrous you use that” or “get yourself a Danish Pro Audio mic” or some other fancy pants recording equipment which is all fine as the sky is the limit when it comes to sophisticated gear, software and recording equipment. But for this project, I use what works for me and I’m making
some interesting and imaginative stuff with my set-up so different strokes for different folks is how I view it. I’m really independent and not keen on consumerism just for the sake of it. Plus I don’t like micro-management especially when it comes to the subjectivity of art. It’s stifling.

Gypsy Dance has a number of guest performers, including Aisha Ewell, Kye Palmer, and Ron Sanchez. Who did what and how did everyone contribute to the overall sound of the release?

Every single one of my guest musicians was invaluable in completing the project. Ms. Aiisha Ewell is a talented, soulful singer with a powerful captivating voice and can be heard on the vocal version of Gypsy Dance. Kye Palmer is an extremely talented studio musician/trumpet
player who can be heard on “Best in Show” and “Parachutes and Butterflies” with his improvisational and arrangement skills, really lending to a dramatic take on the latter song. Mr. Palmer being referred to me by my former Jazz Studies Director, Joey Sellers, who is an incredible improvisor himself so I definitely trusted his referral. And last but not least, is Ron Sanchez. Ron is a seasoned jazz musician/keyboardist and family friend who I’ve known for many years and played with in the past. His contributions and improv can be heard on Gypsy Dance Instrumental and Derailed then Track Again. Ron is an amazing musician and I really enjoy his energy and perspective, he’s great to work with.

Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance?

There are many rock, R&B and a couple country artists that have influenced me over the years but with this particular album I was moved by Miles Davis in particular “Sketches of Spain” and also Freddie Hubbard’s “Sky Dive”. Stylistically not even in the same ball park, but both these albums I can’t get enough of. As far as performing with who is out there nowadays – I love Norah Jones, Alison Krauss and Christian Scott is incredible too.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize?

I like Facebook the best. It’s been established the longest and has I think 2 billion users so the most widely known and used by a wide range of age groups too. Navigating around all the social media outlets that are available can be very distracting and time consuming, but I do my
best. I’m vintage era Generation X. That being said, no amount of social media will ever replace a face-to-face meeting or real-voice phone conversation. At least not for me anyways.

What should listeners expect from your music in the future? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music and purchase their own copy of Gypsy Dance? What does the rest of 2017 hold for you (what live dates do you have)?

I have a couple country-jazz tunes that I’ve written, and some other stuff. I need to write a horn arrangement for one so we’ll see how that goes. I am on the major outlets like amazon or i-tunes. I also have my stuff on videos on youtube and have a website
www.personnataliemusic.com

I’ve played a couple of live shows so far in 2017, and currently working on getting out there more. Nothing set in stone yet, but getting out there more is the goal.

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?

Thank-you so much for your interest and for listening to my music. As far as any thoughts on life and the universe in general…Take the time to appreciate every moment and be grateful for everything, little or big. I am very grateful to everyone who has helped me in any way for this album, but I am most grateful to the Creator for giving me the wonderful gift of music. And finally a closing thought from my first video “Moonlighting at JPL” …”Please enjoy…”

An afternoon with Morningblind

  • Today, we are speaking with European act Morningblind. Can you both give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

Sandi: I started out as a dancer and actress, first here in Catalunya and then in Britain, in London. I went from dancing to singing after a break. I got fed up with the musical theatre world – it wasn’t the right kind of thing for me, all the endless bullshit and rounds of auditions and the falseness of it all. I’d always sung and loved singing. But in the late 90s I got a nodule on my vocal chords and that’s when I picked up a guitar for the first time. And it went from there, starting with covers and then starting to write my own songs, because doing covers is never enough. And then, the whole process of finding your voice, which when you finally find it, you’ve arrived. You can be yourself, you can defend your own work, it’s authentic, truthful. Continue reading “An afternoon with Morningblind”