Collins and Streiss Interview

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

From early childhood, we both loved music and wanted to play and sing. For both of us, at the age of eight, Anton started on piano and Mark got his first guitar. Anton was encouraged to take lessons because of his natural musical ability. Mark heard the Beatles “She Loves You” and sung it as a toddler. Continue reading “Collins and Streiss Interview”

DownTown Mystic Talks “On E Street”

Today, we are speaking with Robert from DownTown Mystic. Can you give us a little background information about the band?

DownTown Mystic started about 20 years ago as a side project for myself. I was managing a few artists at the time and working with them in the studio. I had started as a writer/musician/artist and put it all aside when I started my company Sha-La Music, Inc. in 1987. Working with young bands made me miss my creative side, so I decided to record some of my songs with the bands I managed. I would finish a track when I had some down time and put it on a music industry CD sampler that would go to Radio. More often than not, some Tastemaker would hear the track and play it on their show, which was very cool for me. Eventually I got out of artist management and decided to go back to being an artist again full time. You could call it a mid-life crisis I guess. (LOL) I started writing and recording albums again and started to put out cds as DownTown Mystic. My 1st cd “Standing Still” was released in the US in 2010 and was largely ignored but made the EuroAmericana Top 25 Chart. Suddenly I was on the musical map! I got a Licensing Deal in Germany the following year and released “Standing Still” to critical acclaim in Europe and was on my way.
You have just released a new EP, “On E Street”. How does it add to the body of music that DownTown Mystic has created in the past?
First of all, the full title of the EP is “On E Street featuring Max Weinberg & Garry Tallent”.  I don’t know why you music journos seem to omit that in the reviews. (Editor’s Note: Features typically are excluded from album titles) Max and Garry are of course, the rhythm section (drums & bass) for Bruce Springsteen’s world famous E Street Band, who are stars in their own right. The reason I’m featuring Max & Garry in the title of the EP is because the 4 songs they play on are kind of rare for them. They’ve backed Bruce for over 40 years but have only played together on a handful of outside projects, including Ian Hunter after he left Mott The Hoople. I think there’s only been a total of 4 projects including mine, so this is a pretty big deal. There’s no other artist in the world right now (including Mr. Springsteen) who can say they have these 2 E Streeters on their project, which is why it deserves to be promoted as such. 3 of the tracks are on the Rock’n’Roll Romantic album, so they figure prominently with the music I’ve already created. They also add to my mission of bringing Rock’n’Roll into the 21st Century.
How did you become friends with Garry and Max [Weinberg]?
I met Garry via a 45 single that the band I was in had put out. We were playing a club in NYC where Garry’s girlfriend was a waitress. She came up to me after the show and asked if she could have a copy of the 45 for her boyfriend. I gave her the 45 and as an afterthought, asked her who her boyfriend was. She said Garry Tallent and I  choked out ”from the E Street Band”? The next time we played the club she came up to me and said Garry wanted to meet me. The rest is history. Actually, Garry became our defacto bass player for about 8 months and recorded with us on a production deal we had. After the group broke up we stayed in touch and continued to work together.
The funny thing with Max is that I didn’t meet him until Garry brought him down for the first session we did together. I say funny because I went to high school with Max (Columbia HS in Maplewood, NJ) and had friends that knew him. Max is a year older than me and I had friends in his class. When he came to the session I started to rattle off names to him, which he knew. He asked me to give him more names and it was like a high school reunion. Then he looked at me and said “do you remember this girl…” and simultaneously we both said her name! Garry’s watching all this and he can’t believe what he’s hearing. (LOL) She was the hottest girl in the school and we went on about her for like 10 minutes and Garry goes “I’ve got to meet this girl!” (LOL) As I look back, the ironic thing is that we were about to record “Hard Enough” and I probably modeled the girl in the song after this girl in our high school.
How has the popular response been for the songs on this EP?
The EP was just released in the UK and Europe via another Licensing Deal I signed last year with a UK label and so far the response has been very surprising and successful. Over 60 radio stations in the UK and Europe are playing the single “Way To Know” and it’s hit the Top 20 on 2 charts! I think a big part of the response is that the songs live up to the billing. What I mean is that you have 2 well known E Streeters playing on this project and I think listeners and fans expect to hear them playing on the kind of songs that are on the EP. I also think people are surprised by the songs because they’re probably expecting something along the lines of Bruce’s style and 3 of the 4 tracks are more up-tempo and in your face.
How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of the On E Street EP?
The EP can be heard on Spotify: https://tinyurl.com/yaolhgc3
and also on SoundCloud: https://tinyurl.com/yazwhaa6
We’ve asked you previously about your recording set up. Have you had any new additions to what you use to record? Have you any new favorite tools to use during your recording process?
Not really. I demo my music on a digital 8-Track Tascam recorder to work out ideas and vocals before I go in the studio. I keep it old school as much as possible.  The 8-Track forces me to keep it to only the essentials and refine the ideas I have.
Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with lately?
I primarily use Twitter, which gets sent to other sites like FaceBook. I’ll eventually use Instagram more when I start using more photos.
We heard that And You Know Why was chosen for television. Can you go into a bit more detail?
I have a very good friend/ business associate in LA named Eddie Caldwell, who needed tracks for the short-lived TV series “The Carrie Diaries” (the pre-quel to “Sex And The City”). The music supervisor for the show, Alexandra Patsavas, is considered to be one of the top music supervisors working in LA. So this was a very big deal for Eddie as well as me. Alexandra P. was looking specifically for tracks that had been recorded in 1984 when the show takes place (talk about authenticity!). Eddie emailed me to see if I had any tracks recorded back then and I just happened to have some—what are the odds?! I sent Eddie like 6 tracks, one of which was “And You Know Why” with a female singer. I wrote the song and recorded the track in 1984 and it never saw the light of day until I recorded it with Max and Garry. Alexandra P. must have liked what Eddie sent her because she picked 3 of my songs for the show and one was the female version of “And You Know Why”, 30 years after the fact. You can’t make that up!
What does 2018 hold for your music; do you have any singles or releases that are on the horizon?
I’m currently working on the follow-up to “Rock’n’Roll Romantic”. It’s called “Lost and Found” which was a project I started in 2011 and abandoned. It’s got a more positive vibe overall and I think we all could use more positive vibes out there right now. It raises the bar musically for me and I’ll probably release some singles as a lead-up to releasing the full album later this year.
Thank you so much for your time.
Thank you James, always a pleasure.

Sitting down with Brendan McMahon

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

 

I’m a country boy born in a town of 900 people about 50 miles north of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. I lived in that area for the first half of my life.

I recall loving music from when I was very young and at the age of around 10 I convinced my parents that we needed a record player… it grew from there. My first album way a compilation of Australian music and from there it went from glam rock, Slade & The Sweet, to harder rock, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Van Halen, Queensryche, Warrant etc. These days I listen to all sorts of music.

At 15 years of age I begged my mother to lend me $60 to buy an electric guitar and amp that a mate of mine was selling… not sure I ever paid her back but I hope so. 12 months later I’d upgraded to a new guitar and big loud amp and found 2 mates to start a band with. Our first gig of note was on the front porch of our old house which was in the centre of town and up on a hill. It was a very still night at around 7:00pm and after about 30 minutes of belting out some Beatles songs, the local Police turned up and to book us for noise pollution… must’ve sounded pretty bad…!

What sort of work have you put into the recording and creative processes for your new EP, Universalist?

I recorded my first solo album through 2014 & released it in March 2015… back then I was using the name Satellite Gods for my releases as I had always intended to put a band together rather than be a solo act. As soon as I had started the 1st album, Falling To Earth, I decided that I loved the creative nature of recording music so much that I would follow up my first album immediately with a 2nd full length release… in fact, I started recording the second album before I had released the first. Things grew from there and song ideas kept flowing so once again I started recording my 3rd album before I had finished my second, Marker 7-58. My third full length album is now complete, On This Fine Occasion, but prior to its completion I decided to take 5 tracks from it and release them on an EP called Universalist.

As far as the work I’ve put in to this release, I have to start by saying that I associate the word work with something you have to do rather than something you choose to do… I love every minute of the recording process, from the minute I strum the first chord on my guitar to write the song, to the moment I pick up the pressed CD’s or upload the songs to digital platforms.

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

I record at a studio on the outskirts of Melbourne called Soggy Dog Recording. I stumbled on the studio in 2014 through a web search of local recording studios… I really liked the name so I made a call and went and had a look at the studio. A guy called Steve Vertigan owns the studio and it resides if the front half his large house in a suburb called Upway, Steve is a trained multi-instrumentalist and has been working in the music industry all his life… his father was also a sound engineer working on live television and in recording studios . The DAW we use is Cubase, we also use a myriad of amazing software plug-ins that are easily available these days. I’ve recently moved on to using a Fractal AX-8 amp simulator for electric guitar recording as it’s easy and produces very high quality guitar sounds.

Tell us a bit more about the titles to the songs on Universalist.  How do each of these tracks provide listeners with information about yourself that had not been provided in your prior releases?

I enjoy bushwalking and there is a national park behind where I live so I quite often walk up through that park. At the centre of the park there’s a look out with a trail marker erected on it… it stands about 12 to 14 foot tall and has a tag hanging from it which has “Marker 7-58” on it. It’s a very peaceful spot and it has amazing 360 degree view from it. Marker 7-58 was the inspiration for the title of my second album and also for the opening track on the Universalist.

Hotel Hemingway’s inspiration came from the Ambos Mundos Hotel in Havana, Cuba. Earnest Hemingway spent quite a bit of time in Cuba in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, he also wrote 3 of his novels in a room in the hotel. The room has been kept as Hemingway left it in 1961, his bed, fishing rods & typewriter are all still in the room as it’s been set up as a memorial to him. I visited Cuba a couple of years ago and wrote the song about Earnest and the hotel.

Friday’s In December’s inspiration came from Peter Maslen (Maz) who is the drummer on all of my music. We were sitting in the studio between takes and we started reminiscing about the freedom of youth and the importance music played in both of our young lives… there’s even a reference to one of Maz’s bands, Boom Crash Opera, in the lyrics… “hands up in the air” which is a Boom Crash song.

I don’t think there would be too many questions about the inspiration for the song Mother once listened to. I wrote this song in memory of my mother for my 3 sisters and myself… she passed away many years ago at a very young age. I also intended for this song to be one of utmost respect for everyone who has lost their own mother. It’s a very personal song and I remember the night I was writing the lyrics as it’s the only song I’ve written with tears flowing freely down my face.

Beat is a song about the experience of recording my first solo album. I found myself in Soggy Dog Recording studios working with some of the finest musicians in Australia… musicians that I’d grown up listening to and admiring. The experience was somewhat surreal but the musicians were great people and I’m very happy to regard them as friends these days… I’m still recording with many of them.

 

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?

In the early days my heroes were guitar legends like Hendrix and Van Halen and then added to this were vocalists such as Jani Lane from Warrant & Geoff Tate from Qeensryche. These days the greatest influence comes from the story tellers and there are lots of good ones, I tend to listen to music that takes me on a journey through the lyrics and the delivery of them. Artists like Harry Manx, Richard Thompson, John Mellencamp… I could go on for quite some time with the list.

As far as a dream line up on stage… the musos I record with would be great as they are all part of the sound of Brendan McMahon… they have all added so much to my music, particularly Peter Maslen (drummer) & Jason Vorherr (bass player & backing vocalist)

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?

Social media is probably my Kryptonite as I’m yet to really work out what works best. I play around with SoundCloud, Instagram, Spotify, ReverbNation, Number 1 Music, Spotify and Facebook. The great thing about the social sites is that I have fans of my music in a lot of different countries… I get a lot of people contacting me saying that they enjoy my music which is very satisfying and very humbling. I still prefer the spontaneous nature of live performance and the opportunity it gives me to speak to people face to face.

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/other online response been for your music?

I’d be lying if I said that I’m going to focus on fitting in to a single music genre in the future as I think that’s a bit boring. There’s a strong likelihood of my music spreading in even more directions in the future judging by the stuff I’m writing at the moment… I look at it kind of like going to a good restaurant, the more flavors the better.

As far as Spotify & Pandora, I’m starting to get people find me on them in recent times… I’m hoping that grows over time.

What does 2018 hold for your music?

2018 is going to be very busy as I’ve just gone back in to the studio with 2 albums of new tracks. Half way through 2017 I had already written enough material for my 4th album but the ideas kept flowing so I kept writing. I had a goal back in 2015 after the release of my first album to record 3 albums in 3 years… that soon changed to 5 albums in 5 years… I may need to reassess as the way things are going it may turn out to be 5 albums in 4 years.

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

I released my first solo album at 52 years of age, by the time I’m 56 I’ll have 5 solo albums out. I now have fans of my music that range in age from 15 to 75 in all parts of the world… don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re too old to achieve your dreams because all they will do is steal them from you.

 

 

 

Sitting down with Yajur

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

My name’s Yajur. I’m 16 years old. I’m a singer-songwriter from India. I’m currently living in Singapore finishing high school. I’ve been involved with music since the age of 3. The decision to do this as a career happened in September 2016.

You are releasing a new record shortly. What was the writing/creative and recording process like? Continue reading “Sitting down with Yajur”

DJ NoMis Interview

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

Sure! I’m currently a sophomore at Syracuse University studying Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises, and I plan on minoring in Music Industry in the future. I’ve been working with music ever since I was 11 years old, but I’ve also done Boy Scouts, Karate and high school musical productions. I’ve made it to Eagle Scout, 1st degree black belt and had various leading roles in school. Continue reading “DJ NoMis Interview”

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

 

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