High Park Society Interview

Today, we are speaking with Frank Babic from the Mississauga project High Park Society. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

High Park Society is my music project that was driven by a love of classic rock and alt-80s.  It was started as a side project around 2015 out of another outfit I perform with in Toronto (Poor Man’s High) with songs for that band that came together to be the first releases by High Park Society.

I’ve been a musician all of my life, starting early at age 8 with taking organ lessons.  I began teaching music (organ, piano and guitar) in my teens.  I’d joined a soul/R&B cover band (Soulhammer) in the 90s while attending university for engineering (where my day job is an acoustic engineer).  I then focused on writing and home recording during the early 2000s for my personal benefit and pleasure.  Around 2010 I started picking up live music performance again with a Toronto outfit (The Better Lates), and now with my band Poor Man’s High.  High Park Society came about as a project that I can produce and record at home, with a signature style all my own, with contributions from musicians from all over the world.

 

You have been at work on your music for a number of years. What sort of work have you put into the recording and creative processes for this release?

On Your Mind started as a demo on a rented four-track in early 2000s, which sat dormant until now.  I’d finished my other singles “Indecision” and “When Bowie Died”, and resurrected it and redid the demo.  I really liked how it came together with the new demo, and started polishing it.  I brought on Emily Dolan Davies (UK session drummer with Howard Jones and Thompon Twins), and a trumpet player DJMAGIC85 out of Baltimore through Airgigs.com.  Lastly, I brought the mix to my engineer/producer Andre Mina, who does all of my music, to polish the song as you hear it now.

 

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

To start the demo process, I use Steinberg’s Sequel 3 program.  It’s like Garage Band, and allows me to easily capture snippets of music, and put things down quickly.  Then, I can setup sections and start building the song structure.

When I’m looking to polish the song, I re-record in Steinberg’s Cubase (currently using version 5).  I don’t do a lot of mixing/production myself, as I leave that to Andre to do for me.  I work to really hone down my takes and balance the mix, but leave it to Andre to put the final touches on it.

For equipment, I use a MXL 9000 microphone for all vocals, and I do all the lead and background vocals myself.  I also use a blue Gretch Electromatic (2016) or my black/white Mexican Strat (92) guitars with a Boss GT-8 multi-effects unit.  I use a few programs for keyboards, but it’s mainly HALion.  This is all fed through a Seinberg UR44 interface to a laptop.

All recording is done at home, late night after everyone is asleep.  Ironically, I have not done any significant acoustic treatment for the space, but have the room open up to a large rec room which give vocals some nice reverberation without any significant standing wave issues.

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

On Your Mind is a song about trying to understand those that you love, even when difficult decisions have to be made.  I reworked some of the original lyrics, leaning away from a “does she like me or not?” theme to a more mature “you are not the person I knew, and what should I do about it”.

I found the director through Fiverr, and a great young filmmaker in Haily MacIsaach.  She’s a student in Toronto at OCAD, and put this together for me, including developing the story imagery and the theme of the letter floating down the river.  You can see this video on our High Park Society YouTube channel.

 

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?

Artists that were the greatest influences on me are by far The Smiths and The Cure, as well as The Beatles, U2 and the Velvet Underground.  I think you can hear this in my music, especially in the song On Your Mind.

For my dream lineup, I’d love to play with Morrissey, Robert Smith and Bono.  As a guitarist, I’d love to have Johnny Marr, The Edge (and Mick Ronson if he were with us) in the lineup as well.  For bass and drums, it would have to be a combination with Andy Rourke and Larry Mullen Jr.   If they were still with us, I’d polish it off with David Bowie and Lou Reed.

 

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’m most successful with Facebook, as it is the best way to find those fans that are interested in music similar to High Park Society, and we are growing our fanbase there.  On Facebook, I’m able to connect with fans on the music, with interest pieces behind the music we are making, and musical anecdotes of common interests in our posts.  I see this as an effective communication method for our fanbase.

We are also on Reverbnation, which has allowed us to reach out to other indie artists.  This has really great to hear other artists, and I listen to it regularly to hear about music you don’t get on regular channels like radio or Spotify playlists.  Also, artists find us and become fans, which is really exciting.

As a DIY musician, I’m focusing on a social media approach to find and connect with fans.  I’m finding High Park Society music has a worldwide appeal, as to any specific local scene when face to face performances may be more appropriate.

 

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

We are finalizing our singles from this first set of work, again focusing on an alt-80s/classic rock sound with bass/drums/guitar/keys and trumpet.  I’ll be going into a writing phase in early 2018, and looking to explore some new song ideas, including forms and instrumentation, and continuing to expand lyrical themes.

NeuFutur readers can sign up on our mailing list at www.highparksociety.com to keep up with our newest music.  They can also follow us on Facebook, where we are keeping in constant touch with our fans (www.facebook.com/highparksociety).

You can find our catalog on Spotify, and we expect to focus on this in 2018 to grow and find new fans there.  I’m in Canada so I don’t have access to Pandora, but I understand we are on there.  I haven’t plugged much radio, but I’m looking to do so more with future releases.

 

What does the rest of 2017 (and early 2018) hold for your music?

High Park Society has put together a Christmas release titled “Home For Christmas” for 2017, which is a low-key take on the holiday season, trying to identify with those people that don’t really want to be part of the festivities.

There is also a new video being completed for When Bowie Died, set to release in January 2018 to commemorate the anniversary of Bowie’s passing.

Expect a new single and possible EP compilation for 2018.

 

 

 

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

Thanks so much for the interview.  I appreciate taking the time to listen to me, and talk about High Park Society.  I think it’s a great time for music – both in the listening and creating – and I think we can see great things in the future that bring artists and fans closer together than ever before.

Left Arm Tan Interview

Today, we are speaking with Fort Worth band Left Arm Tan. Can you give us a little background information about yourselves? How did you get into music?

Well, Left Arm Tan has been a band for about 7 years.  The three original members, Troy Austin, Tim Manders and Daniel Hines, got together to record an album for the fun of it in 2009.  We rehearsed five times and then went in the studio to record.  We really didn’t have any big plans or hopes for the album, which was called “Jim”, but we sent three copies out to the press.  Saving Country Music gave us Song of the Year in 2010 and Fort Worth Star Telegram called us a “band to watch.”  We sort of wish they had called us “band to pay” so we could have more money for gas and bandaids. Continue reading “Left Arm Tan Interview”

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