sábado, 27 de noviembre de 2010

Stay Tuned

What's the meaning behind the band's name: Stay Tuned? Does it have anything to be with your music covering tracks?
PHIL: It does indeed. It's a nod to the often overused phrase typically delivered just before going to a commercial break. Or as a hook during a commercial or informercial. "Stay tuned for some important information...", "Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of Columbo", etc.

WILL: I remember that the first name that popped into my head was, "As Seen On…" or something clunky of that nature. "Stay Tuned" popped up as an option and I think we both nodded that, yeah, that would work.

How did you guys get started with all this?
PHIL: It's origin goes all the way back to '98. I (Phil) was a double major at California Institute of the Arts - majoring in Music Composition for Multimedia and Jazz Piano Performance. I decided that for my graduation recital, I was going to do a full concert of jazz arrangements of classic T.V. themes. We performed a wide variety of tunes and styles including a free jazz interpretation of The Twilight Zone and a modal version of Charlie's Angels. My reasoning behind it was that some of the T.V. themes we all knew and grew up with were actually good songs. Most classic jazz standards that people are all too familiar with had their origins in popular music - at the time they were musicals and the like. So I saw no real difference between taking a popular music such as T.V. themes and adapting them to a jazz ensemble. The concert was fun to put together and was well received.

Flash forward to 2001 and I'm in my car driving up the 5 Freeway with my good friend, and future Stay Tuned bass player, Will Lanni in the passenger seat. We're planning on moving to Seattle, and are heading up to find an apartment. I had had more than enough of Los Angeles, having spent most of my formidable years there and given it every opportunity, and had decided to move to Seattle. Will and I had known each other since high school when we were in a garage band together called Assorted Nuts. We played primarily instrumental songs in bizarre time signatures (17/8, 15/8, etc. - anything to keep ourselves entertained) with only a single vocal song - a country song about inbreeding called The Imbred One - in our set rotation. We were in the mountains between Oregon and California and it was the middle of the night when a thought occurred to me. I woke Will up and explained to him my brilliant idea. We would create a rock band that performed original rock arrangements of T.V. themes. We wouldn't be a prototypical "cover" or "tribute" band in that we wouldn't try to emulate the original material but, rather, put our own spin on it. Will grumbled and fell back asleep. But the idea took hold.

Once we were fully settled into Seattle, we found a practice space and a web engineer named Don Davis who used to play drums, had a full kit, but hadn't played in a long time. We got together and just started cranking out arrangements. Pretty soon we had enough material for 2 full sets and were spreading the good word of T.V. themes.

WILL: I was sound asleep in the car on our drive to Seattle when Phil yells, "I GOT IT!" and I woke up in a panic, thinking he had been aiming for squirrels or something. He told me about his idea and hummed an approximation of 'Greatest American Hero' like it was a heavy metal song. I think that was the moment when I told him we could name the band "As Heard On TV" or… "Stay Tuned!"

THEN I grumbled and went back to sleep.

What's the message to transmit with your music??
PHIL: Ultimately, I hope that we're doing two things with our music:

1) Keeping alive what has effectively become a dying artform. T.V. themes as a songwriting platform have pretty much become a thing of the past. Most modern T.V. shows use existing pop material or a very forgettable instrumental theme. When I was growing up, every sitcom had a catchy song associated with it - Family Ties (Who can forget that Sha-na-na-naaaaa...), Perfect Strangers (Standin' tall....), Growing Pains (As long as we've got each other...), Silver Spoons (Together - we're gonna find our way...) - and even the reruns I saw as a kid had great themes. Some with lyrics, some instrumentals. Three's Company, Taxi, Barney Miller, Gilligan's Island, The Munsters, etc. It's great music. It just happens to be music that is 30 seconds long. You don't find the same sort of artistry in theme songs for T.V. shows nowadays. I think the most recent song we perform is King of the Hill and that's a great theme song. But it's more the exception and not the rule. So I hope, to some extent, that we're keeping some familiar songs from certainly my youth alive. And maybe bringing a bit of nostalgia to those meddling kids who are watching the shows on cable reruns.

2) Related to that, I think the nostalgia factor plays into the emotional connection we seem to make with people who see us perform or listen to our CDs. And that's been a great thing to see. There are a million Led Zeppelin tribute bands out there. And another million AC/DC tribute bands. Not everyone is a fan of Led Zeppelin. Not everyone is a fan of AC/DC. But almost everyone has watched television. I've seen guys who look like college football linebacker fratboys go crazy when we kick into our version of Silver Spoons, punk guys with mohawks and tattered leather jackets request The Munsters, and "Indie Rock" girls fawn over Growing Pains. With cable / satellite there's an ungodly amount of channels playing an ungodly amount of television nowadays - most of it bad. Quantity vs. quality. Not to mention the other mediums people have at their disposal like mind-blowing video games and all the media available over the web or now via mobile devices. But growing up - people of my generation and generations prior, you had only a small handful of channels and television had more cultural resonance. It wasn't that long ago, really, that families would sit around together and watch The Wonder Years or Star Trek. So I think when people hear the themes associated with those T.V. shows from their youth, we make a real connection with those people. While we definitely have fun doing what we do, we're not like "Weird" Al. We're not a comedy band. We have a genuine appreciation for the music we perform and I think our audiences get that.

WILL: Wait, what? We're not a comedy band? :P Whenever we're playing shows, the message I'm intending to transmit is, "HAVE FUN, DAMN YOU." Though we do enjoy the music we're creating, I think one of our band's primary purposes is to entertain the crap out of our audience, really leave them with a memorable, fun evening, and inspire high bar tabs for the venue we're playing. We sound pretty good sober, but we sound AWESOME after you've had a beer or two.

What's your method at the time of writing a song??
PHIL: Sometimes, I'll simply write up a basic chart of the song and we'll work through an arrangement in the studio - throw around ideas, jam on specific parts for a while, etc. - until it starts sounding good. Most of the time, however, one of us will come up with either a concept for the song or a riff / arrangement and bring the completed arrangement into the studio and work through it. Our version of Growing Pains (a ska rock style tune) and F-Troop (inspired by The Presidents of the United States - a pop-rock / pop-punk style arrangement), for example, I remember coming up with the riffs / arrangement in my head on a plane flight from Seattle to L.A. to visit my family. I scribbled down some notes so I wouldn't forget my ideas and then flushed out the arrangement when I got back to Seattle. Gilligan's Island - which combines the original theme with elements from Iron Maiden's Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Styx's Come Sail Away into one epic rock arrangement - was truly a collaborative effort amongst us. Will (bass) came up with the idea of trying to integrate Gilligan's Island with Rime of the Ancient Mariner so I sat down one day and started working out the arrangement as I had never listened to Iron Maiden before - Will is slightly older than me and has an older brother. So he grew up under the influence of 80's metal whereas I was the oldest in my family and, instead, grew up under the influence of 80's pop music and 60's - 70's classic rock. As I started merging Gilligan's Island with Rime of the Ancient Mariner, I saw an opportunity to work in Styx's Come Sail Away as an appropriate ending. When I brought the arrangement in we didn't know if we were going to be able to perform it for one - being a trio without any guitars makes it difficult to perform Iron Maiden - and we weren't sure it was going to work. But we worked at it and now it's one of our most popular arrangements and closes out our new album The Last T.V. Dinner

We try our best to pick material that we feel we can put a creative spin on. We wouldn't be happy just playing the themes "as-is". There are songs out there like Barney Miller or Taxi or Sanford and Son that are just great "as-is". Why would we want to do anything to them? We still might, someday, integrate them into our songlist but why mess with perfection?

WILL: I've noticed that we put a lot of emphasis into entertaining ourselves when we're playing our music. If our own songs don't feel fun to us, then something's wrong, and they stay off the set list. We've got a couple of tracks that have seen multiple revisions and still haven't quite worked. Greatest American Hero, for example; we just cannot make that song be entertaining to us in practice, and thus it hasn't made it out live or on a recording yet. On the other hand, WKRP In Cincinnati is a great example of a song we started playing early on (it may have been one of the first 5 songs we played as a band), that saw multiple arrangements and styles and finally made it not only into live sets but recorded as the opening track of The Last T.V. Dinner.

As Phil mentioned, we usually discuss songs we want to perform, and put them on a list of future songs to play. Then we start talking about styles to play them as, or other popular songs that we can infuse them with. Phil then writes up charts, and we start hammering them out in practice.

How would you define your music?
PHIL: "Epic rock". That's been the term I've always used. We pride ourselves on being loud and full sounding for "only" a trio. It's big. Someone did a piece on us at one point where they said something to the effect of, "... they're having fun without poking fun ..." and that's very fitting. What we do is fun. There's nothing better than hearing 1,200 people singing along to Cheers at a show. Big and fun.

WILL: A sound engineer named Dave Hageage once described Stay Tuned as "like sausage." I'm not sure what that meant, but I like to think that our music is tasty, as long as you don't think about what exactly is in it.

Who are your music influences??
PHIL: We really do listen to and integrate a diverse amount of musical styles and influences into our arrangements. Bands like The Presidents of the United States, Weezer, Phish, and Cake would certainly be more modern bands that have influenced our approach. I think you can also very easily see influences from more classic rock bands like Cheap Trick, Rush, Boston, Deep Purple, and The Ramones in our arrangements as well. Because our sound is defined, in many ways, by the keyboards - which are vintage overdriven electric pianos / keytars and Hammond B-3 - many people associate us with early 70's rock. I would say in terms of performance, The Presidents of the United States - whom I've seen a number of times up here in the NorthWest - and Cheap Trick are huge inspirations. Those two bands put on killer performances and everyone should go see them if given the chance.

WILL: My own musical influences include Radiohead, Red Hot Chile Peppers, Crosby Stills and Nash. And I don't think you could really hear any of that in any of Stay Tuned's songs, except for some of the slap bass stuff. When I first started singing backup vocals, I started paying more attention to classic rock singing arrangements like Crosby, Stills and Nash, Boston, Kansas. My bass playing in Stay Tuned is also more influenced by classic rock -- as Phil mentions, we've got a pretty full sound with the keyboard parts, which doesn't leave a lot of room for complex bass lines, or for bass lines that enter into higher ranges. So I really started paying attention to what some of the classic rock bass guys were doing to fill whatever remaining frequencies there were after guitars, keyboards and vocals.

What plans do you guys have for the future??
PHIL: We would like to do more touring and branch out beyond the West Coast. We're looking to do so in 2011. We spent much of 2010 working on our new album and plan on spending 2011 working on playing dates all over the country if we can.

WILL: I'd like to see a more wide-spread consumption of fruit infused waffles. Oh, wait, you meant Stay Tuned. I'd love to see Stay Tuned gain a little more attention. The music is great, the concept is fun, and we are really entertaining to watch. I'd love to tour around the country a bit more.

What has been the greatest day in the band?
PHIL: The day a lovely young lady took her top off for Airwolf. I'm not entirely sure that can be topped. Although performing in front of 1,200+ at The Showbox in Seattle is pretty outstanding.

WILL: Hahahahahaha oh yeah! I forgot about that girl! For me, the day we were featured on the tv show Evening Magazine.

What's the song or album you can't take out of your head (Stop listening)? 
PHIL: Recently I've been listening to Medeski, Martin & Wood: Uninvisible and Bill Cosby & Quincy Jones: The Original Jam Sessions 1969. I like the MMW stuff generally. Being a keyboardist who plays vintage keyboards in a trio, I can totally relate and appreciate what they do.

WILL: Recently I have Local Natives' song "Wide Eyes" stuck in my head. They're a local band out of L.A., really fantastic.

What has been the funniest prank you guys have been or took part while on tour or after a show??
PHIL: I can't think of a singular event but when we've been on the road the conversations always go into highly inappropriate territory fairly quickly. In the car. At the hotel. At the gig. Our mothers are a common target. And I've always brought along bags of nuts from Trader Joes to snack on. So there is an onslaught of jokes about snacking on my nuts, my big sack of nuts, a handful of my nuts, etc. Good times.

WILL: Whenever we do a show on or around April Fools, we open up for ourselves as some other comedic tribute band. The first time we did it, we opened up for Portland's The Misfats as Barely Manilow: A Barry Manilow Experience and we performed Mandy. Later, we dressed up in doctor's scrubs and did a version of Jesse's Girl as the fictitious Rick Springfield tribute band Dr. Drake. Most recently we opened up for a local comedy night, and Phil had a stroke of genius for a fake tribute band: we were "AC/Richie" and we did a combined version of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" and Lionel Richie's "All Night Long." We had to do some serious shopping for Catholic School Boy shorts and funny hats. I'm lobbying for our next fake tribute to be Iron Money, and combine Iron Maiden's "Two Minutes to Midnight"  and Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise."

If you guys were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour. The help is 65 miles away from where you guys are, ¿Who would you guys send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, ¿Who would you eat first?
PHIL: To answer the last question first, I think I'd probably be the first person to be cooked and eaten. I have a nice layer of fat that would sear nicely. And, according to Emeril, fat equals flavor. So I'd be tasty. As far as who I'd send to look for help? Probably the drummer. In the big scheme of things, he's easier to replace by modern machinery than the rest of us.

WILL: I don't know if I could eat Phil. He'd be way too spicy, with the amount of Tabasco, spicy chili, and jalapeños that man eats. I'd probably be sent for help, as Phil is notorious for his lack of sense of direction (almost 10 years in Seattle and he still can't find his way to Greenlake from our studio in SoDo.) And, as Phil mentioned, the drummer is the most expendable, so we'd eat the drummer. 
"How many drummers does it take to screw in a light-bulb? –None, they have machines that do that now."

What are your hobbies?
PHIL: This is my hobby :). I walk a lot. Love to walk, hate to drive. I am a big baseball fan in spite of the Mariners performance. I lead a fairly boring lifestyle if I can manage it.

WILL: I started an originals band called Altin Jimbiz last year. So between Stay Tuned and Altin Jimbiz, I'd say music borders between hobby and part time job. I'm also an artist, I draw and paint a bit. And I'm pretty good at playing darts.

What country you guys would love to play?
PHIL: Japan. I am convinced that we would be big in Japan. They seem to have very eclectic tastes and we're a pretty eclectic band. Seems like the perfect match.

WILL: New Jersey. At least, NJ seems like an exotic 'other' country. Australia. I'd love to play Australia. I think the Aborigines would totally get us.

With what bands you guys would love to share stage??
PHIL: The Presidents of the United States. Cheap Trick. Weezer. Phish. Those would probably be my top four. I feel like they share our approach to music. They have fun. And they - as well as their audience - would appreciate what we're doing. Plus I would love to meet those guys.

WILL: Honestly, anyone who would put up with our amazing B.O.

Are you guys OK, with the direction the band is moving so far?
PHIL: I think our goal is to get bigger. Play all over. We've accomplished a lot on our own and are really looking to partner up with a label or agency to help take us to the next level. So that's one of our primary goals over the next year is to work at playing more shows, in more cities, and spread the good word of television.

WILL: Yes, and my gut says that our immediate direction isn't too clear. Phil and I have a pretty good sense of what we want to have happen, and can envision where we want to be, but we're having difficulty getting there. We have some work cut out for us to keep on track. But as Phil mentions, playing more shows in more cities, and for larger audiences.

Check out more: http://www.reverbnation.com/staytunedtheband


What's the meaning behind your name?
I got the name A-Block aka The B.C.H. Veteran when my uncle was in jail for a few years as well as some friends of mine. That’s the story behind my name. The 2nd meaning of it comes from my labels Black City Hustla (B.C.H.) Records and I really work hard for the label and act like a veteran. That’s why I go by A-Block The B.C.H. Veteran

How did you get started with all this?
When I was 6 years old I would listen to rap and hip-hop. When I first heard it I started to like it because the music was so creative and I liked the way it flowed together and the beats and what they would talk about. The taste of rap was good and I would rap lots of songs from 2 Pac, Biggie Smalls, Snoop Dogg, Dr.Dre ect. So one day a dude told me "Hey you got talent and you’re good too. You should record and write your own songs“. I started to think about his statement and after giving it some though, I decided to give it a try. So I started to write some bars/lyrics. Nowadays I rep my label „Black City Hustla Records“ till my death.

What's the message to transmit with your music?
I want to send a message to people and encourage them not to give up in life, just keep your head up and do your thang. Turn your dreams into reality and keep it 500% & stay true to yourself. Also I want to let people know that you can turn violence into lyrics and you dont need to pull a trigger to solve your problems. Write lyrics and solve your problems with a pen and paper. Don't be a offender, be a SONG WRITER.

What's your method at the time of writting a song?
Well, sometimes when I get in my zone, I start writing my flows down or I when I have thoughts in my mind for a beat, I start putting them together like a puzzle.

Who are your music influences?
My influences in the rap game are the legendary 2 Pac, Biggie Smalls, Big L, Dr.Dre, Guru, Outlawz, Snoop, Crooked I, The Game, Young Buck, ect.

What plans do you guys have for the future?
My main plan is trying to make it big with my label and move to the next level. I also want to be an inspiration to the youth and to my fans as well as bring a new generation and style to the rap game.

What has been the greatest day as a musician?
The greatest day as a musician was having my music played on the radio

What are your hobbies?
I love playing basketball, baseball, soccer, writing music, promoting my music and working with my label

What country would you guys love to play in?
Everywhere North and South America, Asia, Europe, ect.

With what bands would you guys love to share the stage with?
Crooked I, Outlawz, The Game, Young Buck, G-Unit, Twista ect.

Are you guys happy with the direction the band is going?
Yes. I'm confident with the direction we’re going in. We're steady grinding and getting things done the B.C.H way. I'm doing pretty good with my music, I'm still writing songs for my fans out there and trying to make a difference in my community. We're just taking care of business step by step. 

The Sour Notes

What's the meaning behind the band's name?
A few years ago, before I started the band... I used to write these little notes to myself on scraps of paper or notebooks lying around that said things like "Pay attention when people are talking to you", "Don't bite your nails", "Stop exaggerating stories or outright lying"... etc...  I used to call them my Sour Notes, as they were usually reflective negatively or bitter to some regard.  The first image I ever associated with The Sour Notes' music was a bunch of these crumpled up notes lying around a trash can that 'missed the bucket'...  

How did you guys get started with all this??
It started out as a bedroom recording project in Houston, Texas initially.  Then when I finished a collection of my first songs (The Meat of the Fruit, 2008), I decided I wanted to play them live with a band.  So I quit my job and moved to Austin, Texas where a like-minded musician friend of mine (Chris) lived and asked him if he would start a band with me.  We moved into a house together in East Austin and started recording our first real album in my opinion, (Received in Bitterness, 2009) and met some mutual friends (Brandi & Travis) to join on bass and drums.

What's the message to transmit with your music??
I'd like to think it's therapeutic for the lonely and/or down and out, but at the same has a real catchiness that can easily disguise all those feelings.  Most of the songs I write are usually self-reflective, like I tend to say the words 'Love, I, and You' to an absurd amount... but I'm working on extending my vocabulary.

What's your method at the time of writting a song??
It used to be that I would try and translate the feelings and/or scenarios I watched in old movies in a kind of 'summed up' pop-sensible 2 or three minute song... I used to particularly call upon the films of Ingmar Bergman for my darker songs and Jean Luc Godard for my more playful tunes.  I few of my song titles and lyrics use words, dialogue or even audio samples taken directly from these films.  More recently, I find myself just waiting around till a verse or chorus pops into my head.  It might sound unusual, but I rarely pick up a guitar or play the piano unless I have an idea for a song that I've already been humming for a week or so.

Who are your music influences??
Lyrically, I like the simplistic views in songs by '60s girl groups like The Ronnettes, I'm also a big fan of Francoise Hardy.  If you were to associate The Sour Notes' musical style to more modern bands, I would admit to listening to alot of Spiritualized and Slowdive.  When I first started forming my own musical opinions about what I liked and felt comfortable with in my teens, I really loved bands like Jawbreaker, Chisel, and Joan of Arc.  Those were probably the first bands I was exposed to that I understood.

What plans do you guys have for the future??
We've got a new 7-inch record coming out on New Years Eve, then heading out on our 4th tour up the East Coast and into Canada for a couple weeks, before returning to Austin to release our 4th album 'Last Looks'.  

What has been the greatest day in the band?
The band has grown and changed so much from the beginning and I've shared so many experiences with the different members of the band that I couldn't pick just one.  The days I'm most excited about sharing with the band are 'recording sessions', because when everyone starts to hear how new songs start to unfold and solidify, everyone just gets really excited and there's a burst of productivity for a while that carries us further.

What has been the funniest prank you guys have been or took part while on tour or after a show??
Everyone in the band is pretty reserved.  Though, there are/have been a few 'wise-guys' in the band, nobody's really tryied to pull a fast one, or at least they haven't on me.  We have gotten into some weird situations on tour... partying after shows with 'hosting bands', being involved in after-hours altercations, danger, etc, but no pranks... Like EPMD, "We're strictly business."

If you guys were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour. The help is 65 miles away from where you guys are, ¿Who would you guys send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, ¿Who would you eat first?
Well, this being the 'smart-phone' generation of touring, I think we would just find the nearest helping hand and wait for their arrival.  I can't imagine what touring was like without GPS navigation systems or using physical maps. 

What are your hobbies?
I really don't do anything but work on the band non-stop.  There's always something to do everyday.  Making flyers, driving around town hanging flyers, recording, booking shows/tours, fixing what's wrong with the van and working full-time to support the band.  It's a full-time job.  There isn't really time for much more.

What country you guys would love to play?
We'd love to tour any country.

With what bands you guys would love to share stage??
I'd love to share the stage with Radiohead.  Other than that, we've had the opportunity to play with loads of talented bands across the country.  My favorite bands to play with here in Austin are Ume & White Dress.

Are you guys OK, with the direction the band is moving so far?
I don't really know where we're going, but the choices have been made.

Grand Hotel

What's the meaning behind the band's name?
The name comes from the 1932 film Grand Hotel, the only movie to win Best Picture without being nominated in any other category.

 How did you guys get started with all this??
 The core of the band began playing together in high school. Aaron LaChance (drums), Jason Elvin (bass), and Glen Capen (guitar) had been a part of several bands throughout high school and wrote music together in college and afterwards. Kyle Gervais (vocals/guitar) became introduced to group through mutual friends. Kyle and Glen have always had a knack for writing and composing and we figured out pretty quick that there was definitely some musical chemistry between them, as well as the group as a whole. Six months after becoming a unit, we wrote and recorded a six song debut EP (released in August 2009). Almost a year later, we decided to add a fifth member, Michael Reid, for extra color and character. 
 What's the message to transmit with your music??
The message we're trying to transmit? Raunchy Sexytime.
 What's your method at the time of writting a song??
Kyle, Glen and Michael are the creative jump-starts to any song constructed by GRAND HOTEL. The three will individually, or cooperatively, bring 3 to 6 song ideas to the table. Aaron and Jason will then throw a groove under the form while guitars and vocals fill out the melodies. 
 Who are your music influences??
We each come from very different areas but I would say altogether, our influence would be music in general.
 What plans do you guys have for the future??
 GRAND HOTEL’s immediate plan is to keep writing music and producing albums. In a year or so, we plan on touring the Northeast and eventually expanding the trek to run from Maine
 to Florida.

 What has been the funniest prank you guys have been or took part while on tour or after a show??
While playing a 3-day festival, we started spreading the rumor that Justin Bieber was playing "secret sets" at 2:45, AM and PM, but to keep it on the down low. Eventually, we started hearing people asking if anyone had seen Bieber's set because they had missed it and heard it was sweet.
If you guys were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour. The help is 65 miles away from where you guys are, ¿Who would you guys send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, ¿Who would you eat first?
 We’d send Aaron... he can walk faster since there is very little air resistance.
 We’d eat Michael... because he's the new guy... he’d probably taste like whisky... and we could build a debris hut out of his beard to keep us warm.

 What country you guys would love to play?
 Brazil. Kyle has been obsessed with learning Portuguese and moving there for far too long. Playing there would give him an excuse to do so.

 With what bands you guys would love to share stage??
Like play with at the same time? Nobody. Kyle doesn't have enough room to move around as is. But together at the same show? Oh, the usual giants. Radiohead,GorillazFlaming LipsGrizzly Bear, Phoenix, U2. To be honest, we'll play with just about anybody as long as they aren't named Chad Kroeger or on the stage with us at the same time. We really need to make that clear.

 Are you guys OK, with the direction the band is moving so far?
Absolutely. We keep trying to push ourselves further as musicians but also have as much fun as possible with the songs we're writing and playing. Plus, we really want our audiences to have a good time so we're always working to make it as much of a party as possible for everyone involved. And we feel, if we're having fun, they're having fun. We think, at least. 

Check out more: www.myspace.com/grandhotel

jueves, 18 de noviembre de 2010

The Evangenitals

What's the meaning behind the band's name?  The name “Evangenitals” is a spirit soup combination of the concepts of “Evangelism” and “Genitals.”  According to Webster’s Dictionary this simply means that we are “passionately zealous” about the “origins of creation.” We like to think of the band name as a beacon (and a warning) that absolutely ANYTHING can happen in our world: no topic is too far out, no idea is too challenging, no musical genre is off-limits, and no lyrics are too sacred or profane to be sweetly crooned or howled at the top of our lungs. Being in a band called the Evangenitals gives us the freedom to explore and express whatever comes our way, and anyone coming to see a band called the Evangenitals is definitely agreeing to take a wild trip.

How did you guys get started with all this??  The real band "moment" happened one late December night on a long drive home from Ventura County, where Lisa and I had spent the day playing Dance Dance Revolution and eating tacos on the beach. We were lost and trying to stay warm in my topless 1988 Suzuki Samurai jeep by singing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs until our voices were ragged. Laughing uncontrollably we said, "Wouldn't it be hysterical if we signed up for Arlo's open mike at Mr. T's Bowl (in Highland Park) and did our version of O Holy Night?" And we did. The rest is history.

What's the message you try to transmit with your music??  Love. It has a lot to do with the embracing of all things between heaven and earth, from the sublime to the profane, and having mad love for all of it.
The guiding principles of our art and our action are, in short:

  • An expansive, relentless love of everyone and everything, from the sublime to the profane. 
  • A joyous getting down with the all of it all, with no topic being too taboo.
  • A fiercely beautiful, holy, and kick ass irreverence for Being.

The goal is creative freedom, and sharing as much of ourselves as possible with an audience. Putting the commune back in communication.

What's your method at the time of writing a song?? Every song is different, and I can’t say that there is a specific “method” that has emerged. Half of the songs I write seem to start in the shower, or in the car. Sometimes it will start with the chords, and I’ll fall in love with some rhythm or progression that gives birth to the tune. Sometimes I’ll be singing random things in the shower/car and come up with the chorus, or just a melodic line I like. Sometimes I set out to really address something specific, like when I wrote “The Lee Shore”… which is based on Chapter 26 of Moby Dick.  Mostly I just stay open to whatever method shows up. Openness is key!  In the beginning I’d have to privately play my songs to Lisa Dee before sharing with the group, because I was really shy. I still do that most of the time.

What are your musical influences?? Our influences are all over the place, as are we. In no particular order, we have been DEEPLY influenced by Bob Marley, Frank Zappa, Otis Redding, Richard Strauss, the Ramones, the Muppets, Kris Kristofferson, David Bowie, Dead Milkmen, the Beatles, MC Chris, Ween, Stevie Wonder, Janis Joplin, ABBA, Sesame Street, Low, DJ Quik, Frank Black & The Pixies, Patsy Cline, Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Captain Beefheart, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash & June Carter, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Eric McFadden, Charles Mingus, Willie Nelson, Francoise Hardy, Eydie Gorme, Curtis Mayfield, Fleetwood Mac, Bill Withers, Band of Horses, Mitch Hedberg, Nina Simone, Steve Martin, Jackson 5, Bill Cosby and way too many others to list. We love music. LOVE. And we’re going to be kicking ourselves for months thinking of everyone we left out of this list. It is endless.

What plans do you guys have for the future?? Having ludicrous amounts of fun, making ridiculous amounts of music, traveling to an obscene amount of countries, and touching a lot of people’s secret places inside.

Which has been the funniest prank you guys have been or took part while on tour or after a show?? We’re not really pranksters. We have trust issues. But you could ask our drummer Kristy McInnis about the “spider incident”…  we’re sworn to secrecy. (But we think it was Andrea… maybe Nathan)

If you guys were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour, and the help is 65 miles away from where you guys are: Who would you guys send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, who would you eat first? Wow. Okay. We asked this question to the group at a rehearsal and I will honestly report exactly what was said: Lisa: “Who says we need help?”, Andrea: “We would start a hippie commune.”. Henry: “(Silence. Henry is a man of few words. But he’s smiling.)” Anonymous: “Eat? Like oral sex?”  (okay, that was Andrea); Super Anonymous: “The women folk would spontaneously begin to produce soy breast milk and feed the others.” (okay, that was Juli), Nathan: “I love soy milk!” Kristy: “Hey-yo! (ba dum bum… she’s the drummer)” Yes, that’s how we roll.

What country you guys would love to play? All of them. Repeatedly. Starting with getting back to the UK. And soon!

With what bands you guys would love to share stage?? See influences above… All of them. And Madonna. And U2. And Gogol Bordello. And anyone else who is awesome. We like awesome.

Are you guys OK, with the direction the band is going so far??  Yes!!! Wait… Where are we going????

Check out more: http://www.evangenitals.com/

lunes, 15 de noviembre de 2010


What's the meaning behind the band's name?
Troubadour means:
one of a class of medieval lyric poets who flourishedprincipally in southern France from the 11th to 13thcenturies, and wrote songs and poems of a complex metricalform in langue d'oc, chiefly on themes of courtly love.

We're two songwriters writing about love and life and came together. Two Troubadours just wasn't a solid enough name so Jill said "What about Troubaduo"? And we laughed and said that's great!

How did you guys get started with all this??
I moved from Arkansas to Los Angeles to find some solid musicians and start another band and hopefully obtain a deal where I could create my art freely and not get ripped off by the label. Jill moved to L.A. from the small beach town of Carpinteria, California to do music also but she never really cared about getting a record deal and just wanted to perform and do her music in L.A. with other great artists. L.A. really kind of went pop techno, and we felt like their was no place for our music. When we'd both met we had had three record deal offers between us and an offer for "Rockstar Season 2" but we declined all because none of it fit with our path. The musical styles and lack of artistic control wasn't an interest to us so we ended up meeting at the same very cool PRG Acoustically Speaking Showcase at the Room 5 Lounge (PRG for Poet Roni Girl). Roni had been booking both Jill and I for a while but we'd always seem to perform on different nights. Roni got some great artists in the venue over the years and when we saw each other perform in February 2008 we were hooked on each other. We met in February 2008 and by September we were in a relationship and had vowed to leave our leases and become homeless to hit the road in April when both of our leases were up. In late 2008 we began booking our first Western U.S. tour and had become Troubaduo. Before that we were writing and performing as solo artists and in bands for 10 years seriously pursuing music as a career and artistic lifestyle.

What's the message to transmit with your music??
Peace, hope, life situations and not the same ol' topic every tune. The music's about being songwriters so the style can vary a bit from tune to tune. We're trying to cut to the soul of a person with our words and relate so they can get out of the mud easier. We want to spread a non-judgemental message with our music and openly admit that we also like learning through others no matter their age, race, sex, etc. At first we had some heavier subject songs but we've let go of the past now. We're really focussing on positive life messages with rock, Americana, folk, blues, vintage soul, jazz and performing all of this acoustically, while we still write a lot of songs that feature full bands in the studio. This will be the case on our upcoming "We Live in the Gray" album with bassist Al Aguilar and world-renown drummer "Curt Bisquera". Then of course we do some gospel tunes as well so we're in the Mavis Staples/Gillian Welch vein of gospel. That's a huge difference but we're somewhere in there with our gospel wailing and an occasional mandolin or harmonica with the message we believe Jesus is God and Psalm 22 said so 1000 years before He came, but we're not going to thump anyone on the head with our Bibles nor force our beliefs anywhere. Because we're not ashamed of our beliefs doesn't give us the right to judge and force our opinions on others. I had a tumor in my head God took out in April (story at www.troubaduo.blogspot.com) and am forever grateful for his mercy and healing hand in my life. So knowing we're not going to force our opinion everyone gives us the option of not being a gospel only artist, and we write tons of Americana to rock to psychedelic music, but it all has a positive message that most people can directly relate to no matter their background in almost every tune.

What's your method at the time of writting a song??
Just let it be, let it happen. We're spiritual so we'll meditate and know the Higher Power's helping us and writing through us, but as for the method, we're far from the modern day Nashville way to write. Jill can do that and write really nice songs, but she prefers to just wait and let the best art come naturally like me. Man, I've tried to co-write with others before, but Jill's the only one I've had success with. We like to take time for a song to flourish with good melody and purpose.

Which is your music influences??
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Tracy Chapman, Van Morrison, Chris Whitley, Mavis Staples, Ella Fitzgerald, Willie Nelson, Johnny and June Carter Cash, Malcolm Holcombe, SRV, Ryan Adams, the Allman Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Ryan Bingham, Buddy Holly, Otis Redding, Elvis, Lonnie Johnson, Darrell Evans, Robert Johnson, Slash, David Crowder, Fiona Apple, The Avett Brothers, Ray Charles, Steve Earle, Tom Waits, and of course the Beatles. Even great comedians such as Mitch Hedberg influence us on the stage and Peter Schiff when insulted. Like the Peter Schiff youtube videos as he stands up for his purpose/art to help. Most everyone on Fox news laughs at him and calls him crazy in 2006 when he said we were headed for economic disaster and in 2007 or 08 CNN even cut him off while he was speaking dropping his feed when he tried to warn the other side of the government prolonged recession. Whoever believes in something for a purpose that results in helping all people (our neighbors) influences us.

What plans do you guys have for the future??
Continue to tour Nationally and begin to tour Internationally. We've also rejected the labels and idea of signing for so long but it looks like we could go with a three album indie deal by late 2011 if the offer is right. We just know the offer includes full free artistic control concerning the songwriting and that's a big plus to know they're going to let the artists be artists.

Which has been the greatest day in the band?
We really like performing the Hope Mountain Barter Faire every year in Cave Junction, Oregon with a community of folks we just feel like is our extended family. There's only about 5,000-10,000 in attendance but there's a lot of truly friendly people and we have some nice fans there.

What has been the funniest prank you guys have been or took part while on tour or after a show??
I almost went to jail for a prank in high school and learned to stop because my pranks were too intense. If it's cool with you, I'm going to venture from this exact question into a story that is more so the most intense equipment breakdown we ever had. We'd been performing in front of no more than 300 person crowds for a while and all of a sudden got an invite to go perform on Time Warner Cable TV's Local Access Channel program Mallet's Place TV. It's local access to New York City and Los Angeles in from the Staten Island broadcast center reaching up to 900,000 viewers. We booked the show and the night before we were performing, I decided we had to both change strings (and we each only had one guitar on the road with us at this point because we were traveling in our personal truck still and had yet to achieve van or tour bus status.) When I was changing Jill's guitar strings I was replacing her broken pegs in her Martin with the cheapest package of acoustic pegs Guitar Center has to offer. They were completely too big and I ended up getting the peg stuck, then ripping the bridge off of the the body of the guitar. I had some old Gorilla Glue in the truck and it was late so we opted to go with it for a try. Jill prayed over it and glued it down without even using a clamp and played the show the next day with the Martin, and it worked like a Martin. The glue lasted about 10 more shows for the rest of our tour before we came home and got it professionally repaired. Don't buy the cheap acoustic pegs at GC though if you book a gig in front of 900,000 viewers... spend the extra $.

If you guys were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour. The help is 65 miles away from where you guys are, ¿Who would you guys send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, ¿Who would you eat first?

65 miles is a beast but we'd hack it. You may not like this answer but we're not even going to go there on human eating human. We're that rare happy married couple because we're exactly alike and not opposites. We're just two pretty road experienced young songwriters who would get out and walk 65 miles if needed to, just hope it wouldn't be in the Mountains of Chile.

What are your hobbies?
Camping, hiking, fishing. And besides the fishing we do the other stuff frequently being on the road we like to say at campgrounds a lot and have really got to see some beautiful country and National Parks in the Continental U.S. so far. We like picture taking and have taken a lot of natural shots around this beautiful country while touring from SoCal to Washington and Florida to Maine. Our Facebook photo albums have many photos listed if you'd like to view them at www.facebook.com/troubaduo

What country you guys would love to play?
New Zealand

With what bands you guys would love to share stage??

Mavis Staples, Dave Matthews, Slash, Gillian Welch, Counting Crows, Willie Nelson and Malcolm Holcombe, and if they were alive Shannon Hoon with Blind Melon, Layne Stayley with Alice & Chains, S.R.V. and Chris Whitley who in our opinion is one of the greatest poetic and unique songwriters to walk the earth.

Are you guys OK, with the direction the band is moving so far?
Oh man, dude, so happy. A lot of peace songwriters throughout history whether successful or not have wanted to do the "change the world" thing, and we do as well. It's nice that we've been able to do it through four tours now for 2-3 people at a time at some bars and many more at the festivals we've been blessed to perform at. If one person is a new fan after a show that means so much to us because we've touched their spirit. We don't care about age, it's a number and not how you have to act so we'll straight up tell you our age always throughout our career because we hope to be able to do this full time when we're 77 years old like Willie Nelson. I'm 31 and Jill's 26. We've both been doing this seriously now for almost 12 years. We've gone through almost any situation a songwriter from a small town to Los Angeles could from being a solo artist to having a band. When we met in 2008 it was like finding the promised land because we get along so well mentally, spiritually, socially, emotionally, artistically and so on...

After just 2 years of touring now we are extremely content with the direction of Troubaduo. Long live art for a purpose and forget the facades of the pop world. It's a beautiful ride we're getting to take right now and we're thankful to God for it. Not doing what your heart says is suicide. If you feel called to do something for a greater cause go for it in this one life and one chance we get.

Peace to all and thank you so much Rafa and Vents Magazine for taking the time to talk to us.

Check out more: www.troubaduo.com