Interview: Winterbeach

Band Members:

Vocals: Tiam

Synth: Angel

Drums: Baz

WinterBeach are a Norwegian Dark-Wave, Synth-Pop, and EDM band whose orchestral songs combine melancholic Electronic sounds with majestic pop refrains focusing on monumental struggles. Their expansive and icily cinematic soundscapes are as extreme as the weather in Bergen. This seems appropriate as all 3 band members grew up in Bergen, Norway and met in primary school. At first, they went down separate paths delving into Black Metal, Eurodisco projects, and synthesizer wizardry, before realizing that they should combine their myriad of influences. They have a sound similar to bands such as Muse only without guitars and Depeche Mode with some great pop refrains. I asked them a few questions about their music recently so I hope you enjoy what they have to say.

What got you into making music?

Tiam: I have always loved music and especially pop music! Ever since I was a little boy, I have posed in front of the mirror and played air guitar while singing in a comb. First I wanted to be Paul McCartney, then Morten Harket and eventually Blackie Lawless.

Angel: I started with music already as a 4-year-old kid when I first discovered a piano and asked my parents to give me the manual so that I could learn how to play it. After that it was more classical music playing the trumpet before giving all my attention to the synths.

Baz: I’ve always been obsessed with drums and rhythms but didn’t actually start playing drums until I was 19 years old! But the learning curve was fun and steep …

Who inspired you to make music?

Tiam: We all have our own sources of inspiration, but for me, I believe seeing the great success of fellow Norwegians Aha, fueled my flame to start playing in bands. I must admit that also the Samantha Fox posters in my boys’ room inspired me a lot…

Baz: I was always inspired by drummers like Phil Collins, Lars Ulrich, Jeff Porcaro, and Randy Castillo to buy my first drum kit.

Angel: I always dreamed of becoming a kind of Gene Simmons on synthesizers! For that simple reason, my tongue is naturally a little longer than those found in other synth players.

What is your creative process?

Tiam: Angel has his own ability to unstoppably come up with new synth themes that Baz and I taste, wiggle and twist before we put them together as a band into complete WB compositions. I can be inspired by everything and anything and constantly write down interesting text ideas, fascinating song titles, and tone sequences that appear spontaneously in my head. Some of them pair with Angel’s ideas and end up like WinterBeach songs while other ideas fit best in my own solo project; Tiam.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

Tiam: I would love to collaborate with Max Martin or Flood 😊 or any really dedicated producer who gets a vision of how to make our musical expression even stronger.

What does Your Band Name Mean?

Tiam: I feel the band name is quite descriptive of how our music sounds. Like an icy beach. Alluring to the eyes, yet still too cold to enjoy? Well, really, our music is a constant dragon battle between summer and winter, light and dark, heat and cold. Therefore, the sum of all the influencing forces might feel like a winter beach.

What is your favourite song to perform?

Tiam: Oh, playing live in front of an audience is just a vague memory right now, but I always love playing “Star Wars”, as the vocal line suits me perfectly! Actually, we have never performed our new singles (Sky & Stars and Playing Dead), but I expect these to be fantastic to play live!

Angel: But judging by what is fun to play in rehearsals, I would say that I am really looking forward to performing Playing Dead – live!

What are you working on right now?

Angel: Right now we are finishing the music video for “Playing Dead”. We were so lucky to find a secret catacomb hidden under a church! We secretly sneaked into the underground armed with floodlights, smoke machines and cameras. Think it’s going to be a raw, dark and evocative video.


Website: https://www.winterbeach.net

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/WinterBeachMusic/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/winterbeach_no/

YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCPjB9uwasBIwqDAeCd6xNZg

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Single Reviews #27

Ashley Stacey – We’re All Going Mad

Label: Unsigned

Release Date: May 14, 2021

Ashley Stacey is a singer/songwriter and guitarist from Sidcup who draws his inspiration from 90’s Britpop and artists such as Oasis, Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines. Ashley’s music has garnered much interest from BBC Radio, Indie Rocks UK & various FM stations nationwide. This has lead to appearences on BBC Radio shows performing live tracks & discussing his songwriting. The East Londoner released his debut album titled ‘The Sun Still Shines On You’ in September of 2020. However today we are taking a look at his latest single ‘We’re All Going Mad’ which is set to be part of his forthcoming EP due for release in September 2021.

This is a very upbeat track and you can really hear those Britpop influences as well as some Beatles which is expected due to the impact they had on many bands like Oasis. On hearing the opening drums and guitar this is clearly quintessential of that Britpop sound. I can’t get enough of that lead guitar in the opening that tone is just awesome. Then the vocals come in and I think they can be best described as an amalgamation of Liam Gallagher of Oasis and George Harrison from the Beatles.

As the the song begins to build we get some brass instrumentation thrown in while the drums add that sense of anticipation. Then the Chorus hits and the brass instrumentation really takes more of a central role and plays off the guitar to create this real feeling of joy and happiness. It does have a catchy feel to it and I can imagine a large crowd singing along to this. The drums also don’t overpower other instruments in the mix which I feel can happen sometimes. If I was to try and find a fault I would say perhaps the second verse could have mixed things up a little from the first but that’s only very minor and probably isn’t necessary.

The track also includes an immense solo with a killer sound and is really my favorite part of the song. It may be in part due to the fact I’m a guitarist but the tone especially on the lead guitar is so British and timeless. I am perhaps not the biggest fan of the vocal effects used in this section but it does add some interesting variation. That awesome lead guitar then leads us out to end the song in a grand and powerful manner.

There is some great lyricism in this song that has a way of drawing you in, and keeps you hanging to every word. Ashley sings of politics and it’s lack of “Harmony”references to the weather and the COVID situation. Which I think is why the track is quite aptly named ‘We’re All Going Mad’ which I think we can all relate too. This last year We have all been stuck inside not really allowed to leave our homes going crazy not knowing what to do with ourselves. I think this does something again that is very Britpop as all the instrumentation has this much more upbeat feel but the lyrics in contrast are more serious discussing some important issues but delivering it in a very entertaining way.

This track has a great feel to it and has some clear influences from Britpop as well as fantastic instrumentation. There are only a few minor points that I mentioned but other than that the vocals and guitar were fantastic and gave me a real Oasis throwback. This song is a extremely great listen you should definitely go and download it on Spotify or on other streaming platforms. I’m awarding this 4 stars as I’m fussy with some little things but it is a really awesome tune!!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Interview: CK Smile Lead Singer Of Chaoseum

Band Members:

Vocals: CK Smile

Guitar: Valery Veings

Guitar/Bass: Loic Durus

Drums: Greg Turini

Chaosuem are a Swiss Symphonic Metal band, founded in 2018 by Loic Duruz and Valery Veings who were both former guitarists of the symphonic metal band Elferya. They released first album ‘First Step To Hell’ in September of February 2019. The band also joined Nu-Metal group Soufly in the USA for a seven concert tour of the east coast. Their first singer then left the band and so CK Smile joined them. CK answered some questions for us not so long ago about himself the band and what they are currently working on.

What got you into making music?

Playing with my dad on stage when I was 5 or 6 years old and few years after discovering many grunge bands.

Who inspired you to make music?

Some nu metal bands, grunge, movies soundtrack, trip-hop music and old albums by the Cure.

What is your creative process?

We do the instrumentals first and then I add the vocals. I need to catch what I feel with the track to find the subject.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

So many haha! I wouldn’t know where to start, sorry.

What does Your Band Name Mean?

Val [Veings] and Loïc [Durus] wanted to find something that sounded like a horror movie, and that name suited us well I think, we don’t stay with the same sound every time like many people think so we are a bit similar to the chaos.

What is your favourite song to perform?

That’s a Hard question… randomly… I would say ‘First Step to Hell’. It’s a track where I can interact a lot with the crowd

What are you working on right now?

We finished an acoustic album that will be available very soon and we are already working on our third album.


Website: http://www.chaoseum.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chaoseum/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chaoseum/

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/chaoseumband

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Single Reviews #26

Katie Drives – Why Fall In Love When You Can Feel Asleep?

Label: unsigned

Release Date: June 11, 2021

Some of you may remember when I previously reviewed Katie’s first single ‘Maniac’. Well now the German Pop/Punk Alternative artist has released her second track ‘Why Fall In Love When You Can Feel Asleep?’. For those of you who didn’t read my previous review I’ll just give a brief overview of the artist. Her music draws influence from artists such as Paramore, Avril Lavigne and PVRIS among other artists. She also has a somewhat unique vocal style for this particular genre and is almost like a Pop Rock amalgamation of Celine Dion and Cranberries vocalist Dolores O’Riordan.

The track gets us with some punchy electric guitar accompanied by an acoustic playing a similar strumming pattern to Oasis’ ‘Wondewall’. The guitar does have that proper punk attitude with intermittent palm muting just to complete that full affect. Then the drums come in joined by the vocals which as I said are not necessarily in the style you’d expect from this genre. Which is a good thing in my opinion as I feel there are far to many female vocalist in this genre who just feel like they are trying to impersonate Hailey Williams of Paramore so I very much enjoy her more unique style.

Afterwards we get this mini sort of breakdown and then everything comes back in with full force for the chorus. There is also rather faintly the inclusion of a piano which adds a little more texture to this section. You might notice that it is mainly the higher frequencies of the note being picked in the mix which really gives the chorus that bit more feel and emotion. She also pushes her vocals more here and we get some awesome higher notes that combine so well with piano and also showcase her talent as a singer. The bridge is probably my favorite part of the whole track with some great guitar work and her vocals are layered on multiple different tracks creating this awesome medley of sound. It also then fades into this beautiful acoustic guitar which plays through part of the chorus before the electric kicks in again.

This new song feels like it’s track about moving on or feeling content about being alone and not in love. This is someone who doesn’t have the desire for a ‘Spouse, House Kids’ and that perhaps love isn’t worth the effort. So as the title says ‘Why Fall In Love When You Can Fall Asleep’ as someone who loves to sleep as many people do I can see the desire. On a more serious note I do think this does talk about something important although in a relatively light hearted manor. There are some people who may feel like they have to fit into that ‘normal’ lifestyle that everyone expects but its fine to not have a partner you shouldn’t have to live your life in line with anyone else’s expectations.

I feel that my rating of 3 and a half stars which I chose to give this was perhaps a little harsh as once I listened a couple of times I really started to get into it. I just feel that this is the sort of track where some people may not be completely sure about it on the first listen but as I said when you really get into it this is an awesome track. I also greatly enjoyed the bridge section particularly. This track is just a bit of fun and is well worth a listen. As well as that you can also take some important lessons about life from it about not going with peoples expectations and living life the way you want to. So check out the track!!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Is This The Best Cover Ever?

“Johnny Cash, Bremen, September 1972” by Heinrich Klaffs is licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Original

The track that we are discussing today is ‘Hurt’, originally written by Trent Reznor of the Rock band Nine Inch Nails which appeared on their second album The Downward Spiral. It was first released as a single on April 17 1995 and received a Grammy nomination in 1996 for Best Rock Song. The track is considered by many as his most “staggering piece of work” which really speaks volumes on just how good the cover is as the original rarely the version one thinks of upon hearing the name.

The meaning behind the song is somewhat up for debate, there are allusions to self-harm and heroin addiction. There is also the clear indication of depression that led some listeners to assume it was a suicide note from the song’s protagonist. Alternatively, there is also the view that I go along with that it represents a person’s search for a reason to live in spite of their depression.

“Cantor country Johnny Cash em 1970” Dillan Stradlin is licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Cover

I think most of you probably know who performed this cover of ‘Hurt’ or maybe you weren’t aware that the cover was not the original. Anyway for those of you who don’t know and if the picture hasn’t given it away already, it was the American Country singer/songwriter Johnny Cash.

When Reznor was asked if Cash could cover his song, and obviously he was “flattered” but was hesitant feeling that it “sounded a bit gimmicky.” However once he heard the track and saw the music video he soon changed his mind and became a fan of Cash’s version.

“I pop the video in, and wow… Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps… Wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn’t mine anymore… It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning – different, but every bit as pure.

Trent Reznor, Alternative Press No. 194. September 2004.

The music video was actually directed by a former Nine Inch Nails collaborator Mark Romanek, who aimed to capture the essence of Cash, both in his youth and in his later years. He created a montage of shots from Cash’s youth and used the imagery of fruit and flowers in varying phases of decay. The intention I feel was to capture his legendary past when he was young and full of life, and to contrast it against the stark and ostensibly cruel reality of age. It demonstrates the fleeting nature of youth and how age can wither both the body and the soul.

Why Is It The Best Cover?

So, why do I think that this is one of, if not the best cover ever made. The main reason is that it he reinvented it and made it his own. I think that this is first and foremost the most important prerequisite for deciding on what makes a cover song great. Anyone can just play a song the same way as they heard it, we all learn the ability to copy all the way back to our childhood.

However a straight copy often falls short, primarily as many people may not have the same emotional connection to the song as the artist. There is also the fact that many covers get stuck with the label “yeah it’s good but it’s not as good as the original”. Really, I can see only one way you can make your cover great or better than the original, and that is to tell your own story through their words and music, incorporating your own style into the performance. I personally think there are only a few covers better than the original, this being one of them. The fact that the original artist themselves states “this is no longer my song” is the biggest testament that you have made one of the best covers ever.

Johnny cash took this song about a young guy at a bleak point in life feeling desperate and alone and turned it into a track about an old man looking back on his life. He sees at all the mistakes he’s made, the things he could have changed, thinking “what have I become” and “everyone I know goes away in the end”. This is the tragedy of age the loss of all your friends and everyone you knew. This is the key difference to the original as it’s about a young guy who’s made mistakes but, he can still change his life. The old man can’t change his life is finished and all he can do is look back and see what his life has become.

This point is hit home even further when you learn his wife June Carter Cash died shortly before he released this song. He had lost that which was closest to him forever. You can hear the sadness and the crack of his voice brought on by both age and emotion at the loss of his wife, it really makes you feel this is his song. Johnny Cash seemingly unable to go on after his wife’s passing died not long after the release of the single, somewhat similar to that of Bowie’s passing after the release of his album Blackstar.

“Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash” Joel Baldwin sourced from LOOK Magazine, April 29, 1969. p.72 is licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0

I’m sorry if these dark themes have brought you down in any way, but it is one of the key components as to why this is one of the best covers ever made. I do also feel the style in which this song is played works better than the original even though I know they are telling different stories. The Nine Inch Nails original has this haunting presence which I can understand given the genre and the themes. However then you look at Cash’s version, it strips back everything to just an acoustic guitar to really encapsulate the essence of the track.

In addition to this the fact it’s just one old man and his guitar singing about the pain of aging and losing those closest to you, rather than a just a group of young guys in a band singing about being depressed, it does really aid the message of the song. Although I would like to add that I don’t have a problem with those guys singing about being depressed and addicted as they are relatable subjects for many of us. The messages in both versions are very powerful, however it just doesn’t beat the story presented in Cash’s version as it’s something we all will face at one point in our lives we will look back and say did I do everything I always wanted. This is an alarming thought for anyone because we often don’t consider if we are using our time wisely until it is too late to do anything about it.

So now you know why I think ‘Hurt’ by Johnny Cash is one of the best covers ever made. Due to the dark themes we have discussed today I would just like to end everything on a positive note. Why not go and do something new, it doesn’t have to a be anything big but maybe create a new memory or live some new experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. Make sure you make the most of your life I’m going to try to with mine!!

Feel free to comment whether you agree with my thoughts on the track or to suggest what you think is the best cover.


Sources

 Alternative Press No. 194. September 2004.

Davidson, Adam (March, 2018) “Performing “Hurt”: Aging, disability, and popular music as mediated product and lived-experience in Johnny Cash’s final recordings,” University of South Florida

Schnakenberg, K (June 24, 2016) “Video Vault 104: Johnny Cash, ‘Hurt’,” 333sound.com

Sharples, K “Johnny Cash, ‘Hurt’ & Trent Reznor”. Stagepass News 

Rickly, Geoff (June 26, 2004). “Geoff Rickly Interviews Trent Reznor”

Taysom, Joe (February 26, 2021) “How Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor wrote ‘Hurt'” Far Out Magazine

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Interview: Matt And Conor From Next Stop Olympus

Band Members:

Vocals: Conor McEniry

Guitar/Backing Vocals: Harry

Guitar: Skips

Bass: Matt Gray

Drums: Josh Williams

Next Stop Olympus are a band based in Salisbury that combines heavy breakdowns and hard screaming metalcore vocals with immense guitar solos and massive rock n’ roll choruses. They first formed in 2017 with a style in a similar vane of Escape the Fate and Of Mice and Men. This groups aim when creating music particularly for live situations is ensure everyone in the crowd is having as much fun watching the show as they do playing. Their first Ep Heart, Mind & Hell released in April of this year and has some powerful tracks. We spoke to the band recently and this is what they had to say.

What got you into making music?

Nothing in particular got us into making music, we’ve all always been into music and obviously watching other bands on stage is normally the stepping stone, so I suppose after seeing someone else on a stage you think about what it’s got to be like and we started from there, we’ve all been in other bands before NSO but never taken any of them as seriously as we have this one so we decided to give it a real go with NSO.

Who inspired you to make music?

Again, nothing in particular, just being into music for most of our lives and watching bands we enjoy. However this EP was inspired by our lives so it was a really personal release because everything on this EP is actually something one of us had gone through or is going through so it’s very emotional in that aspect but it was also very cathartic for us.

What is your creative process?

We all write or are involved in the process, normally someone will bring a skeleton of a song, lyrics or even just an idea and then we build it together from there.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

We’ve all probably got our own individual dreams of who we’d like to collaborate with but I think as a band The Amity Affliction would be the best because we wouldn’t be a band without them or just another band that has inspired us.

Matt: For myself I’d probably go for Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandria), Dani Winter-Bates (Bury Tomorrow) or Ahren Stringer (The Amity Affliction) because they’re properly some of my all time favourite vocalists.

Conor: I’d probably go with Harry styles because I really like his latest stuff and he seems like he’d be great to have a pint with so maybe we’d be able to work a few nights out into our collaboration.

What does Your Band Name Mean?

It doesn’t have a particular meaning, we got it from Disney’s Hercules, we’d been throwing names around for a little while and couldn’t decide on one and Conor was watching the film, heard the line and thought it sounded cool and stood out so messaged all the guys and we came from that. Naming a band is such a difficult thing to do in this day and age with the need for it not just to stand out and be memorable but also the name really needs to be search engine friendly and we feel like we have very luckily stumbled upon that with Next Stop Olympus.

What is your favourite song to perform?

Matt: For me personally at the moment it’s ‘The Dirt’ however we haven’t had a chance to play our new EP live yet due to the pandemic and I think ‘My Affliction’ will soon become my favourite.

Conor: ‘The Dirt’ is a song I love playing live because even people hearing it for the first time end up getting involved in the chorus.

We haven’t had the chance to perform anything from our latest release just yet so we will have to wait and see if either of our answers are changed, practicing the new material definitely brings a new sense of life to rehearsals so hopefully that will translate well when we can finally get back on stage.

What are you working on right now?

We’ve just released our brand new EP Heart, Mind & Hell, so we’ll be pushing that as much as possible now and hoping to get it out to as many new people as possible, other than that we’re all always constantly working and writing new stuff so there’s a lot of stuff in the works already for the next release whenever or whatever that may be but for now ‘Heart, Mind & Hell’ is still our main focus.


Website: https://nextstopolympus.bigcartel.com

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/WeAreNSO/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nextstopolympus/

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/wearenso

YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/c/nextstopolympus

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Single Reviews #25

The Arthur Brothers – Watson, Pt. 1

Label: Declared Goods/Clearlight Records

Release Date: May 27, 2021

The Arthur Brothers are an artistic group from London comprising of brothers Matt and Danny Arthur as well as the producer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist J. C. Wright. Their sound can best be described as psychedelic, intergalactic rock. The band have released a collection of eclectic singles over the past two years to much acclaim. The Arthur Brothers really don’t have boundaries in terms of what to expect from the music they create, it’s definitely an exciting journey listening to their tracks. They recently released their first album Nine created during the time spent in lockdown. However today we are looking at their new single ‘Watson, Pt. 1’ so let’s get into it.

The song centers on Artificial Intelligence asking questions such as the possibility of man-made machines developing complex human emotions. It then makes you ponder what kind of conflict it would cause between the two. The story is relayed to us through the voice of Watson a confused sentient being unsure of what or who he is.

Instantly we are hit with the vocals and the word ‘metal’ hinting towards the themes of the track, along with some very atmospheric and interesting synth effects. This is also accompanied by a piano playing some chords alongside. When this is soon combined with the backing vocals it creates a sound eerily reminiscent to that of Queen using a very similar effect to the vocals used in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. It uses some quite heavy reverb and some delay which gives off this slight electronic feel to the vocal quality. There is a slight hint of Bowie in his voice combined with that of Ric Ocasek from The Cars. One of the most enjoyable features of this song are by far the vocals in my opinion.

However they do also like to mix things up when it comes to rhythm. The band could have used a straightforward drum pattern but they decided to go down a different route. They create percussion through some everyday objects the most significant being a typewriter as well as the sound of winding something up to represent the building up of the track. Eventually a regular drum does come in but I derive much joy from this invention to percussion.

The second verse then brings in the bass more prominently along with a guitar playing the same chord progression as the piano in the previous section. This really showcases what the band is all about with this huge mix of instrumentation with the guitar talking over from the piano and the bass becoming much more vital leading us through the verse. Then the Chorus comes in erupting with a more powerful guitar and atmospheric effects with some wonderfully harmonious backing vocals.

After this everything just fades out and we hear another instrument the acoustic guitar playing alongside some more fantastic vocals. Everything then slowly drifts away like voices on the wind and the acoustic Guitar plays this beautiful ending solo bringing this sense of calm with an almost this medieval feel to it.

This song really takes the listener on an interesting journey using fantastic vocals combined with unique percussion and fascinating melodies. There is a broad use of instrumentation but it doesn’t feel like it’s too much as it can do sometimes when a track incorporates many different instruments. Maybe this song may take some a few listens to really get everything out of it, but I feel it is definitely worth it. This is a 4 star track for me I would highly recommend you give this rather unique song a listen or several!!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Interview: Vanilla Sugar

Band Members:

Vocals/Guitar/Synth: Vanilla Sugar

Hailing from Los Angeles Vanilla Sugar brings us a unique blend of intense beats, keyboard, synths and guitar. She brings high energy to her eclectic mix of genres, so much it is actually difficult to put her music into one exact style. I would say she has an Electro Pop sound with hints of Alternative Rock and even slight Metal influences. Her music is very personal and she seems to use it as many artists do to open up about her darker feelings and emotions. She has recently released her first album She in 2020 and answered some questions and lets us know what we can expect next.

What got you into making music?

I wanted to create music that mixed all the genres I love to listen to. I am really into Nu-Metal, EDM, Witch House, and Alternative Pop. My debut album, She, really has all of that mixed together. I find a lot of musical inspiration from Grimes, Alison Wonderland, and Mindless Self Indulgence. Music saved my life when I was a pre-teen. I was depressed most of the time and didn’t really know how to handle it. I got into KoRn, and felt like I could really connect with their lyrical content. They talked about deep, dark things I had never heard someone else be so open about before. I want to do that for people who listen to my music. I want them to know that they are not alone; that there is someone else out there they can relate to.

Who inspired you to make music?

I was originally inspired to start writing music by my dad! He is a drummer and was playing shows when I was a kid. It was so cool to see him on stage performing. I started taking piano lessons from his piano instructor when I was 4.

What is your creative process?

The songs usually start off as a musical idea. Typically it begins with a synth melody, followed by beats and then filling out the rest with different instruments and sounds. The vocals are added last. Sometimes I will go in to the vocal booth and just free style. Occasionally full lines will make the cut, but there are times where just a certain phrase sticks out and I’ll go with that. I also have a tendency to write lyrical ideas and melodies while stuck in LA traffic.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

I would absolutely love to do a collaboration with Grimes. We could definitely make some cool jams happen with our creepy and dark synth based styles. I feel like we would end up being friends as well!

What does Your Band Name Mean?

The PG13 version is that Vanilla Sugar seems like such a cute, fun name – when the music is in your face and powerful. I love throwing off new audience members. They never know what to expect. The X rated (and completely true) version is this…I wanted a name for this that somehow had my name tied in all at once and not at all. My nickname is JP Vanilla. Hence the “Vanilla” in Vanilla Sugar….the “Sugar” comes from the term “Kitty sugar” (NSFW). Put those two together and you’ll see what Vanilla Sugar means!

What is your favourite song to perform?

I love playing “SoPretty”. It’s very fun and upbeat – full of energy! I get lost in that song and just let everything out.

What are you working on right now?

I am so excited to get back into the studio to start working on album #2. I am also scheduled to shoot music videos for more songs from my debut album, She. I have tour preparations coming up as well for a UK tour with The Birthday Massacre in 2022. I can’t wait to get back on the road!


Website: https://vanillasugarmusic.com

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/vanillasugarmusic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vanillasugarmusic

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/iamvanillasugar

YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/user/VanillaSugarMusic

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Single Reviews #24

Martin Leary – Eminence

Label: Unsigned

Release Date: May 14, 2021

Martin Leary is a solo Alternative and Indie Rock artist based in Glasgow. His sound is similar to that of bands like Travis or Oasis, one can also hear the influence of the Beatles too. He originally got into music through the Rock band Guns N’ Roses where after hearing them he got a guitar for Christmas. He then realized their songs were too difficult learn as a beginner so he began playing Oasis songs. Martin then played in a band in his early 20’s but it didn’t go to plan. However when he get a new guitar on his 30th Birthday he began writing again and decided to become a solo artist with the aim of creating or joining a band after. So, he released his first EP The Fear on November 19 2020 and has now been recording even more great material for us to hear. Today we are reviewing his most recent track titled ‘Eminence’.

The opening of the track comes straight in with an acoustic guitar and a spacey reverberating electric guitar playing an accompanying line. The chord progression does have that very Beatles feel especially their later albums like The Magical Mystery Tour or Yellow Submarine. Carrying on with the Beatles influence the recording style of the vocals have this slightly pushed reverb that is very reminiscent of perhaps a less well known track ‘It’s All Too Much’. Although moving away from the Beatles motif his tone does have a unique quality they float very effortlessly almost like a wave going up and down. A sound perhaps partially aided by some vocal processing but whose isn’t these days.

Then the drums make themselves more prominent in the track leading the progression of the song as more elements fall in to place. There is an accompanying synth which almost sounds like a choir blended with an organ. I really enjoyed the Chorus here and again some of that Beatles influence can be heard, his voice goes slightly higher than in the Verse and I think the tracks are doubled to create more of a presence. It does almost feel like there are multiple vocalists despite the fact there is clearly just one. The synth plays off the vocals exceptionally as well which is what really grabs at your emotion and makes you feel the emotion of his vocal performance. The accompanying guitar also helps to add depth and colour even getting its own short but very compelling solo.

The song then continues into the second Verse then Chorus before hitting us with another solo. Martin could have made things easier on himself and played something similar to the previous solo, and I wouldn’t have had a problem with that. Alternatively though we are given a much more extended solo that has a slight ring of Oasis to it. There is this entrancing quality you can almost feel yourself swaying along to this extremely engaging solo.

Lyrically the track talks of “searching for a revolution” something that could be taken down two main paths of thought, in my view. Either it’s his search for something to believe in maybe something new to discover, or it’s about a lack of belief in the political system and searching for some revolutionary change. This is one of the reasons why I have such a great passion for music, because it can be interpreted in so many numerous ways. There are some people who enjoy music just because it’s something to dance to, but when the lyrics have some kind of meaning to you personally it really enhances the listening experience.

Well now it’s time to get into the rating, again this has been another quality track. There is some great vocal work the guitar has a great tone and a compelling solo. The synth is used soaringly but when it used it’s used to great affect. Perhaps it borrows a little too much from the Beatles but can that really be considered a bad thing. Also the bass could have contributed a little more to the performance but that’s only a minor complaint. Overall though this is a very enjoyable track and deserves 4 stars!!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Interview: Manou From Ivy Gold

Band Members:

Vocals: Manou

Guitar: Sebastian Eder

Bass: Kevin Moore

Keyboard: Anders Olinder

Drums: Tal Bergman

A Female fronted Blues Rock Band with an AllStar cast. The drummer Tal has played with Blues Rock artist Joe Bonamassa and prominent Punk Rocker Billy Idol among others. Sebastian was the guitarist in the Progressive Metal group Avalon, bassist Kevin worked with Jennifer Rush and keyboardist Anders also performed with Peter Gabriel and Amy Winehouse. So I think it’s fair to say these guys know what they’re doing.

However taking centre stage as lead vocalist is the striking Manou with a fantastic range from beautiful and feminine sometimes vulnerable to explosive and aggressive. She answered some questions for us recently about this relatively new group and let us know what they are currently working on.

What got you into making music?

It was actually my personal intuition that got me into music. It was just a feeling and I decided to go for it 🙂

Who inspired you to make music?

I really liked Sheryl Crow a lot many years ago and got inspired to take vocal lessons. Initially I took classical lessons for a couple of years which gave me the opportunity to work on a good singing technique. I considered singing somehow to be my own personal therapy, a way to stay healthy and in a positive overall condition. So over the years things developed and I started to participate in different gospel projects, local bands and finally ended up writing my own songs with Sebastian.

What is your creative process?

The creative process varies of course as writing music is not a linear process. Sometimes I have something on my mind and bits and pieces of lyrics just arise. Oftentimes Sebastian comes up with some great guitar riffs and plays it to me. Sometimes there is a melody right in my ear, sometimes not. At times the lyrics are the beginning. So it’s a mixture of it all. After we have some sort of a structure, we go into the fine tuning of the song. And in the end – get the band together to make it sound real good!

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

I would love to work with Joe Bonamassa!

What does Your Band Name Mean?

The band name kind of fits our musical path just so good. My path as an artist as well as how the band got together was never really a straight path. We experienced twists and turns, ups and downs but we always followed our hearts. So the “Ivy” part of the band name represents exactly that path in a way … and GOLD stands for my golden boys and also the golden times coming up in the future! I have always been optimistic and I have always believed in good fortune and destiny. So Ivy Gold is a combination of all of my beliefs and values!

What is your favourite song to perform?

Ivy Gold is a newly formed band and unfortunately we were not able to perform live yet due to the pandemic. Our brand new debut album “Six Dusty Winds” was released in March and we are really hoping to be able to hit the road this fall.

What are you working on right now?

Right now we are working on the booking and also promotion of the album. As we are a completely independent band we really appreciate every support we get from the crowds!! We take care of everything by ourselves because we didn’t sign to a label even after getting a few offers. We wanted to stay true to ourselves and be in charge of our musical path. So it would be great if all the fans and readers of this interview out there support handmade and honest music by buying our cd, subscribing to our social media channels, spreading the word and simply enjoying our music!!


Website: https://ivygold.net

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