Saturday, March 27, 2010

Preview from the rest of the Emptiness!

The Emptiness tour just came to an end last night in Florida, and by following Justin, the new drummer of the Word Alive on twitter, I found this gem. I was lucky enough to interview the four opening bands on this tour with Skylit Drive, Of Mice & Men, The Word Alive and We Came As Romans with those last two interviews coming your way soon! This tour was a great group of guys and bands that I will definitely be catching again in the future!
It is a bit of a segue into my now weekly updates on Saturday mornings here at Mix and Mark. I'm now writing for three different publications along with maintaining this blog so look for some action at MusicRemedy and Shred as well. Emptiness news wise, everyone is tweeting away as they work on their long journeys home (some have 36 hour rides still left!), besides The Word Alive who have just made it back to Ocala, Florida where they recorded their last EP Empire to record their debut full length! I don't know about you but I'm hoping for a visit to Judy's House!
Besides that, these next two days are full of interviews and today the plans are to put up our new interview with Hit The Lights so watch for that one!
I'll also be back out on the scene on 4/12&4/13 reviewing two sets and interviewing some of your favorite bands so watch for updates on that as well as the dates come closer along with lots more we are planning!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Sing it Loud track!

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Pat Brown, the lead vocalist for the talented quintet Sing It Loud when we talked at length about their sophomore album coming out May 11th of this year. Lucky for us, the first single "Sugar Sweet" has been released exclusively on Alternative Press but sneaky deeky me, I've embedded it here as well.
Sing It Loud - Sugar Sweet by altpress
Initially, it definitely seems a bit poppier then the tracks from the first album for the most part, but that's something Pat disclosed to me. Still, the track is definitely a sweet taste of what is to come for the band!

Check it out and let me know what you think! You can also catch the boys out on their upcoming tour as support for Motion City Soundtrack along with personal favorites Fun. and A Rocket To The Moon!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Take a chance on Days Difference!

In spirit of a new project I am starting with the record label known for boy bands (ahem NSYNC and Backstreet Boys) with Jive, I bring you the next band Days Difference! You never know what you're going to find here and this is just another example. One day I'll be interviewing a screamo rock band and only hours later I'll be with a pop artist but that's something that I love about what I do. I try not to stick myself in one box of music coverage and hopefully it has been something that has been enjoyed so far.

They may not be too common of a name yet but Days Difference is quickly moving as a band on the cusp of dropping their sophomore album and having shared the stage with Paramore and Jacks Mannequin along with recently performing at Popcon with the likes of Justin Bie ber and Selena Gomez. The band is composed of two sets of brothers that came from Texas and Virginia to meet in Virginia when Jeremy and Johnathon stepped in for a band performance that Micah and Jeremiah were doing at their school's talent show. The boys only officially met on stage and since then in 2004 have come amazingly far!

Recently I got the chance to sit down with Jeremy who provides the lead vocals for the band and we talked about everything from the craziest place they've ever played to the back story behind how two boys from Texas got to Virginia and became who they are today.

What's the craziest place you have ever played or recorded in?
We've played so many like hole in the wall places. There was this one place we played. It's called the Sandbar, it's kind of close to where we live now. It was this smoky, gross bad. The crazy thing about it was the fact that like six months earlier, a car had like ran into the side of the building and like caved the well in. Instead of putting up a new wall, they just kind of like put up some hardwood so like that's where the stage was. Right behind us was just the hardwood between the outside and where we were. The place was like the most crazy and seedy place I've played in my life. It was pretty nuts!

I know you're playing PopCon on February 20t
h and the headliners are Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez, two pretty big names. What are you most excited for?
I'm excited to finally get back on the road and play to a show, to be able to kind of meet people and meet our fans. We had so many people that are coming out to the show who just want to hang out with us and meet us. So we're excited about that and we want to get out there play in front of people getting to hang out afterwards. Also, I'm so excited to see Selena Gomez play and Justin Bieber as well. I just want to be able to see them live because they're really cool, even Push Play and Sean Kingston too. I'm excited for that!
Sean Kingston is playing?
Yeah! I'm second guessing myself now. I mean maybe not. I thought that he was. I'm excited to sing along to that song (starts singing) 'Shorty fire burning on the dance floor, woahhh' For sure.

I know you've opened for a lot of big bands like Paramore and Jack's Mannequin when they came to Virginia. If you could could on the road with any three acts, who would they be and why?
Oh man, okay bands we would like to tour with. We would like to tour with artists like Justin Bieber or Demi Lovato or Selena Gomez or Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, bands like that that just have those huge audiences. I think that would be incredible. And then more like guilty pleasures like Coldplay or U2 or Muse. Those would just be incredible because those guys are our musical heroes.

I always wonder, your brother is in the band and its another set of brothers. How did two brothers from Texas and Virginia come together. Did you meet each other when you were young?
Yeah, my brother and I were born in Texas and lived in Ecuador for six years after we were in Texas. Our parents were missionaries there so we lived there and then we moved from Ecuador to Virginia. I'd say five years after we were living here, we moved to a school where Jeremiah was in a band and the piano player and drummer didn't show up so John and I covered for them. We actually met on stage!

Oh wow, you didn't know each other before you started playing?
No, we had never met each other. We were like 'hey my names Jeremy, nice to meet you'. We had like five minutes to prepare before the show. It was crazy.

I read somewhere that you're kind of the chief songwriter of the band so how do you guys go about the songwriting process? Is it sometimes collective or is it normally just one person?
In the past, I usually wrote everything like the lyrics and all the elements, the important stuff then the band and I got down and figured out how it should sound and everything. Mostly though, I was doing everything by myself. Now I like collaborating with people with really great writers, it's so much fun! I'd sit down and have an idea and then we would just do the song from there so I loved it.
And you worked with the former bassist of One Republic for a few of the songs.
Yeah he was incredible. He and I wrote about half the album together. We really connected together and it was incredible.

Awesome! I know when your first album 'Numbers' came out, you did some pretty extensive touring for it and through the exp
erience there were broken collarbones, a promoter even got hit by a car. What's the craziest thing that has happened to you while you were on the road?
The craziest thing that has happened has to be our trailer tire falling off a trailer and the axle breaking. We were driving on the road and the right tired just flew off like side to side. We were like 'oh man have to pull over soon' because the tire is about to fall off and when we finally pulled over, the whole tire just slammed to the ground. There was like this tank full of gas and it just cracked open. We were completely bummed because we had to buy a new one while we were on the road. It was crazy!

That's insane. We kind of went over this before with the new album release, but when you did 'Numbers', it was more on your own and then now you had cowriters and you were signed to a major record label when you got to that second album. So, was it incredibly different or was it the still
same basic process?
It's funny, when you're on a label everything is rushed and the situation is rushed. You have to meet deadlines to make you finish the stuff, everything moves quickly and then you wait a year. But with 'Numbers', when we made that album, it was all self produced. We wrote everything ourselves. It was pretty 100 % me writing and then us just putting together what we could. On our most recent album, we really got to do work with people in the industry who really knew what they were doing, which I just loved. You know that was much more of like a collaboration with other people and I think it really shows on the album.

I know you've been kind of involved with the Disney Channel. You, Michael and I believe your brother were in the Hannah Mont
ana movie as the backing band. Do you feel that some might have a prejudice against your music because of the disney stereotype. Do you feel that from some people and how do you react to that?
I think our demographic is like 14 to 24 year olds which is what you want to go for anyways and it's mostly female (laughs). Like on our facebook, we have statistics of like the numbers and stuff, like 95% are female. It's kind of what we appeal to from what we've been doing but for the most part, really people haven't been giving us too much beef about it. I think the people that do are just jealous and a ton of people that just hate on people that are successful. It's like we opened for Owl City at a college show, and the audience was completely all of college age like there was no one really younger at all. Kids would be watching, and they just loved it. We had the same reaction from them that we had gotten from people that would be watching the disney channel. I feel like our music definitely has a broader appeal then Disney, but we definitely do well with that, so like why not you know? The bigger, the better.

For sure, and one of the last ones is do you ever find it hard working with your brother so closely a challenge or is it different because he's going through the same thing?

Oh it's a great thing! My brother and I are best friends. We're actually like taking boxing together and stuff like that. We have a lot of camaraderie between the two of and us and we work on vocals and harmonies and things like that so I love it, I wouldn't have it any other way. I really enjoy having someone like that. I feel like we're really like minded so it just feels like you're in a group of people in a band, it's really like you're a family. I mean, my brother is my family but I mean even Jeremiah and Michael. We all are similar in the same way, we just all like come together in that sense. We do get on each other's nerves once in a while but really rarely. My brother, man, he can annoy me but knowing him like no one else, we work it out. It's just little stuff.

Besides PopCon, what can fans look forward to in 2010? Will you be back on the road?

Yes, our first single Sunrise will be releasing in mid February to top forty radio and from there we're working on a lot of tours. So touring in March, April, May to the end of the year really. That's really our goal. So, radio in February and touring from March to beyond. Thank you to Jeremy from Days Difference for taking the time to do this interview and get your fix from the band here on their myspace.
Since our interview, the band has been announced as support on the new Jordin Sparks tour and hopefully we see a lot more of this band on the road this year!

A Rendition of Passion Pits Little Secrets by NFG, STD, HGB, and Fireworks from YouCantGetRidOfmeThatEasy on Vimeo.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Snarfing with Of Mice and Men- Our Interview.

Over the past year or so that I have been actively writing about the music industry and the scene, I have began to listen to genres that I never thought I would, and one of those is screamo/hardcore. Most often the music choices I make in that genre in particular are ones that aren't just screaming through out but those who also balance singing into it and a few that have been particulary successful in that way are Breathe Carolina, A Skylit Drive and this next band of Mice and Men. I've been lucky enough to sit down with all three of them and these guys in particular blew me away.
After a whole lot of waiting and promises of good things, the debut album for Of Mice and Men dropped on March 9th. It's something that both the fans and the band have been waiting for a long time, and from listening to it I believe both would be satisfied.

With stand out tracks like YDG and Those in Glass Houses amongst many others, their live shows are finally not the only thing fans can listen to and experience to really know the band. I talked to the group while they were on the second day of Alesana's 'The Emptiness tour' and they let me in on many different things. They explained to me what snarf is and gave me the insider edge on what is sure to be an insanely popular genre come the end of this year with farmcore. On a more serious note, they also gave me an in depth look at their songwriting process that has made them something different in the scene today and so much more.

How did Of Mice and Men first come together?
Jaxin: Well when the band first started out, it was Austin who was living in Columbus, Ohio and he has just finished his prveious music project and was looking for something else and I was looking for one as well. So we decided to get togther and with Rise and Artery backing us, we moved out to California and picked up these two guys and basically started writing music straight away and went into the recording studio a few months later, recorded our album and just started touring right after that so its (laughs) basically how it happened.

Who would you say are some of your bigger musical influences as a band and for the sound?
Shayley: I'm pretty opposite from what they listen to. I'm more of a nu metal kid, classic rock kid and that's pretty much my influences a lot for vocals. Inclubus, all of those really meaningful and emotional content filled songs. Not so much agressive. That's my influences anyways. Tino's a rapper for sure.

Tino: Definitely listen to a lot of rap. I feel like I developed my style of drumming back when I was listening to music and growing up in the music industry and going to shows and stuff. Definitely like I obviously don't play rap drums but I love breakdowns and I feel like I kind of bring a faster, more aggressive style of drumming from the stuff I listened to. August Burns Red, Misery Signals, Poison The Well, As I Lay Dying, Underoath, Prada. I feel that we all kind of listen to our own kind of stuff and it really brings a different background and a different element which really makes us unique but in the sense of how well it all come stogether and how well we can make everything gel.

And the brand new CD is coming out less then a mont
h from now. How long has this album been in the process?
Jaxin: We arrived in California in March and basically we went straight into the writign studio and we worked all the way up to like four or five days a week. At least five days a week in the writing. Right up until July we were mostly in the recording studio so I guess it started in March. We finished recording in September and we headed out on the road on our first tour. So we've been patiently waiting since September to be able to show to everybody what we've been doing.

So um yeah since March already, so it's been a long time coming and I've never been so anxious to get everything out because being a band without a album and kids being able to listen to your music and really get into and to create a following because the kids like your songs is a hard thing. We only had one song on our myspace and really two songs but one of them was a cover song so it was hard for us to be able to share with everybody who's like following us what we were actually doing so that was probably the hardest part in waiting but we finished in September.

Tino: And we've been touring since then, just kind of in addition to what Jaxin is saying. To tour with no music is really, really difficult and the release date was originally supposed to be February 23rd so that seemed like a long time away from the time that we finished recording. So we tried to figure out how to get the music to the kids you know earlier and to let them hear what we've been doing other than live because that's all we had because we didn't get our tracks back until after they're mixed and mastered. It's definitely been a long time coming so we couldn't be more excited for it to come out.

And how did you go about the writing process since it is your first debut into kids listening to you?
Jaxin: Phil, want to answer that one? How do we go about the songwriting process?
Phil: Oh man, Tino and I would just jam. We just you know would fiddle something out at home and then demo that 'oh that sounds cool, maybe we'll work that out at practice'. We just keep moving on and that's how it all worked out. Just how the energy keeps flowing, just fast paced and that's basically how it happens.
Tino: Shay ends up coming into the process maybe a week before we went into the studio and he just kind of was into it and maybe do you want to talk about how you join in the writing process?
Shay: I basically you know, they told me what kind of music that in
spired them sound wise with our own influences but in that genre which is you know like post hardcore or whatever genre we are. I always wrote about the meaningful stuff, just putting a message out there but in a really well read way. I guess with the melody, I just pretty much did what my heart told me and whatever they told me, sucked it all in.

Tino: He probably had the hardest time because Shay's old band doesn't sound like us that much and his background and his music isn't exactly what our background was so him coming in, while we were recording, and starting to write was once we started getting the songs finished. That's when he came in and did vocals. He had to come in and be
like 'hey is this good? is this good' and we'd be like 'Yeah! Let's do it! More of it!'. He had to take the most criticism because we had never really heard him sing before. I mean he had showed us demos and stuff but when he started laying down the vocals, I feel that his voice brought the record in an almost completely different direction but we loved it even more then we expected to because his voice carries. You can really feel the passion in the way he sings and with his meaningful lyrics and it really brings a whole different element that I don't feel like many bands in our genre really have. There is singing and screaming but his singing, like is not something that you would expect over like breakdowns or even rock.

Jaxin: It's a good contrast. It's like a positive contrast. It's extreme, but it's a positive contrast to what Austin's doing. Austin's got his like screams and stuff and Shay comes in with this really unique sounding voice, so we were super suprised and stoked to h
ave this development through this cd which was like a crash course in music like we said. You know it happened once we got to the recording studio and it worked.

Shay: There were times though, since where we were recording there was no like rehearsal booth or practice space so I had to go in the van and actually sit there, blast hte music, sing my melodies and after that there would be times where I go into the van, twenty minutes later we're recording the song, the melody that I just wrote and I'm like 'Oh Shoot, that's going to sound so dumb', play it back with the harmonies on it, and actually think 'Wow, when I'm under pressure, I do well'.

And then this is kind of goofy, it's only the second day but you're probably familiar with the other bands styles. If you could collaborate with another band on this tour, and what do you think the song would be about?
Jaxin: It's hard because we're actually really all the same in a kind of way. We're all pretty similar as far as our music kind of goes. I guess probably I'd personally want to do it with A Skylit Drive because it's like Jag's voice is so different then anything we do so it would be cool to do something with those guys. We've been friends with those guys for a long time.
Tino: Especially like Nick and Joey for such a long time like from when Skylit Drive played their first show like ever and they're just such good guys. I think everybody in that band is such a talented musician. Not that everybody else in any of the other bands aren't you know but they would definitely be a great band do something with. I'm down!
Jaxin: Snarf!
What is Snarf? I follow most of you on twitter just to get an idea of what to expect and the last five tweets from Nick are snarfing.
Jaxin: We want to collaborate together to make a band called Snarf which is a crazy melodic death metal pig band. Basically, like have real pigs on stage and just play music with pig squeals done by real pigs.
I had no idea what that was.
Tino:Now it's a musical project, idea, adjective.
Jaxin: Man that was so snarf! Snarf is the new thing. Farmcore.

I know you're playing both Warped and Bamboozle. What are you most excited for?
All(at the same time): Warped!
Jaxin: They're both really huge but warped is like you know two months long, like a million bands.
Tino: It's like summer camp!
Shay: Being a band, not many bands get to actually be on the Warped Tour. It's such a good feeling.
Tino: I was going to Warped Tour like when I was thirteen or fourteen and finding out about bands. Being like "Oh! This guy wants me to go check out this band at this time and I'd go to the stage and be like "He's in the band!" Just being so awestruck. That's how warped tour is you know. All the bands are all there, hanging out, trying to show all thsee kids that go to this. It's a really cool time to really promote your band and get to know your fans because it's hard to get their attention with so many bands on a tour like that!
Shay: I'm really excited to be hanging out with kids and to be at the merch and you know. Mark my words for saying this or regret my words but being in the sun and outside..Watch, it gets old after like four days, sunburned like a lobster or something.
Jaxin: When I came to America, I got picked up, went straight to the first day of Warped Tour and I was teching for a band called The Higher. Every single day, for the whole tour, I would stand on stage and watch the band play and wish that I was doing it. Just being like, 'Man this would be so cool. It's such an awesome experience to be there' and now that I'm going to have the opportunity to do that. It's just that dream that you wish you could be doing what they're doing and now we are so its' been awesome.

And now the last one since I know the show is getting close. What was the first show you went to as a kid?
Shay: The first show I went to was Three Dog Night.
Phil: Oh Wow.
Tino: My first show that I wanted to go to was Rage Against The Machine but my dad didn't let me go and so then for my fourteenth birthday he took me to go see CAKE and that was ten years ago to this day. That was my first concert like that. I think one of my first shows that like I really listened to was probably like Bleeding Through and Underoath, Darkest Hour and Atreyu something like that and the venue was probably like a fifth the size of this one like a 250 capacity venue that wasn't sold out and I was probably like 'Man! These bands are so heavy!'.
Jaxin: My first was 5ive! (laughs)

I've got birds in my ears and a devil on my shoulder.

An excuse to listen to Cute Is What We Aim For was just given to me with one of the most surprising announcements I have heard this year so far. They have come off their hiatus/break up/whatever they were doing with their lives and will be back on the road this spring!

This is one show I will not be missing this year, and opening it are The Friday Night Boys, The Bigger Lights and Down With Webster. I remember back in high school, I would be over playing their songs way too much and it's a definite blast from the past. Through all those years, I always dreamed of going to a show from them but never found the chance.

I'll be covering the show and hope to see you out there as well! Here are all the dates and now it's time to blast Moan.

05.11 Cambridge, MA
 @ Middle East
05.12 New York, NY
 @ Highline Ballroom
05.13 Pittsburgh, PA
 @ Diesel
05.14 Philadelphia, PA 
@ First Unitarian Church
05.15 South Hackensack, NJ @ 
School Of Rock
05.16 Townson, MD
 @ The Recher Theatre
05.18 Richmond, VA
 @ The Canal Club
05.19 Charlotte, NC
 @ The Casbah
05.20 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
05.21 Orlando, FL
 @ The Social
05.22 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 
@ The Culture Room
05.23 St. Petersburg, FL @ State Theatre
05.25 Houston, TX
 @ Meridian Red Room
05.26 Austin, TX 
@ Antone’s
05.27 Dallas, TX
 @ The Loft
05.28 Albuquerque, NM 
@ Launchpad
05.29 Tempe, AZ
 @ Clubhouse
05.30 San Diego, CA @ Soma
06.01 Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
06.02 Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
06.03 San Luis Obispo, CA @ Downtown Brew
06.04 San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
06.05 Orangevale, CA @ The Boardwalk
06.07 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
06.08 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
06.10 Salt Lake City, UT @ Murray Theatre
06.11 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre
06.12 Colorado Springs, CO @ Black Sheep
06.14 St. Paul, MN @ Station 4
06.15 Chicago, IL @ Reggies Rock Club
06.16 Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
06.17 Pontiac, MI @ Eagle Theater
06.18 Columbus, OH @ The Basement
06.19 Cleveland, OH @ The Grog Shop

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Semester Abroad farewell & Rocket hometown show 3/12

Nick Santino of A Rocket To The Moon acoustic, Semester Abroad, Lannen Fall, Stay, The Bay State and The Blue Pages

Last night, The First Congregational Church in Braintree was the place to be. Not only was it the farewell show for local fan favorite Semester Abroad, but it was also a hometown show for Nick Santino of A Rocket To The Moon! Along with those two talented acts, local main stays like Lannen Fall, The Bay State and The Blue Pages rocked the crowd along with a surprise acoustic set from Anthony of Stay! There couldn't be a more energetic crowd anywhere else last night!
The night started off on the right foot with the electronic french pop dance party that The Blue Pages bring to a show. From what they told me in our interview earlier on in the day, this is a new direction from them but it's a goldmine. With the set they played last night, it is obvious why they are touring with Cash Cash in a few months, and why they will definitely be making some new fans on that tour.

The front man's energy along with the band altogether is exciting and strongly reminds me of Jean Paul Marklouf, the front man of Cash Cash. Overall, it was a great set! Not that I didn't enjoy the last show I saw from Portland band The Bay State, but their set last night was much more of a stand out show in my opinion. The crowd was really into it, and Drew even said he recognized at least a hundred kids tonight. With the last time I caught this talented quartet, it was actually their album release show for their latest EP 'Haunted' and after a few months of practice, they have carved them into their set list beautifully. Three stand out tracks from the album were present in the set with "Liars", "Haunted" and "Hey Hey Glamour Kills".

Something that I've enjoyed about this act in particular is how there are both female and male lead vocals (Susanne and Tom respectively) and it started out early tonight. Susanne got her chance to shine with the second track of the set with "Liars" which the crowd was extremely receptive of. Then both Susanne and Tom rocked their current big hit Haunted and ended their set on the theme song they wrote for Glamour Kills which to Evan was incredibly into. I walked away completely impressed and it's always a good time with these guys!

After The Bay State left the stage, Anthony from Stay did an impromptu acoustic performance. Through out my experiences so far, I know that this band is one of the hardest working groups in Boston so it was great to get a little sneak peak of their live experience! Personally, my favorite part of the set was the genius cover of "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus. The few songs Tony played last night seemed effortless and I'm definitely excited about the possibility of the band being part of the alternative music showcase series we're planning this summer for the Cape!

The last few times I've covered local shows, I always miss Lannen Fall's set completely or I catch the last song and don't really get to experience a true and blue set from the guys. Last night was my chance and they absolutely rocked it. I wish I had been able to see them play before last night but now it will just encourage me to get out to more of their shows! Prior to the show, I sat down with Jay and Danny from the group and they joked that there was probably no one there that even knew them which was completely untrue. From the fan reaction alone and kids in line, they were definitely a buzz word.

They proved the rumors and talk in their set that night, and from the first song I knew I was in for a treat. Since the last EP, due to some throat problems Jay experienced, Danny has come in as the lead singer and front man for the band it seems to come to him effortlessly. From the first chorus, he was on fire and the crowd was definitely eating it up. Smoothly transitioning into one of their more popular tracks, "Holly Hospital" which is a bit more of a dancy track the crowd and band quickly became extremely energetic and kept it up through the entire set. The girls at least, which made up about 95% of the people in attendance got even more swooped into it when Danny dedicated a track to all the cute girls in the audience! They definitely put the power behind the rumors I've heard about their live show and I'll be sure to check them out once again sometime soon!
And now to the reason why kids were treated to such a great line up of bands last night, the boys of Semester Abroad. The band has been together for three years now and recently announced that they will be going different ways, which prompted them to put together the show we all saw last night and it was great! To be honest, I had never been to a live show from them before and I was sold pretty quickly considering. Their pop punk is something we have seen in the past a few times over but there is something fresh about their lyrics and music that really make them different from the others.
They had some definite fans in the audience starting right from the beginning and kids were definitely pumped. I'd say the biggest crowd reaction was for their tunes 'Skyline' and 'Scene Girls Are Overrated' with the first being a much slower ballad that ended on their show on a great night and the latter definitely being much more dance-y. The show was a great end to their careers as Semester Abroad!

Last but definitely not least, Nick Santino of A Rocket To The Moon came out to do an acoustic set of both old and new songs from his band. Being a band that doesn't typically tour MA often due to what they can't control, most Rocket fans in the area come out in huge numbers to catch his home town shows while they can and he seemed to understand that. Maybe that's why he went all the way back to the 'Greetings From...' EP even opening his set with "If Only They Knew". Through out the set he played lots of music off of his band's debut album 'On Your Side' including 'She's Killing Me', 'Give A Damn', 'Mr.Right', 'Like We Used To', 'Dakota' and my personal favorite 'Baby Blue Eyes'.
Overall it was a great set, and made for a great end to the night that we say goodbye to Semester Abroad!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Little update!

I'm not a fan of these posts but I feel like it's needed every once in a while to update you all on what's going on lately!

There are a few things actually. I just started as the editor in chief of Shred News which is a great local music website. So far in my short first few days there, we have done a new layout and I have arranged interviews with Attack Attack, Asking Alexandria, Envy on the Coast & Four Year Strong so it is going pretty well and in the past they have interviewed bands like Skylit, Mayday Parade and The Rocket Summer! I'm still around as well which I'll be doing interviews with You Me At Six and OkGo for so look for those as well!

I also have started working with a slew of RoadRunner artists in this special new project so look for those as well! Music show wise, this weekend I'll be heading out to interview my first country artist, that should be wild with Bucky Covington at the Calvin Theater and the same night I'll be headed to both a hometown Rocket To The Moon/last Semester Abroad show ever and I'll most likely be out on the scene this weekend as well, so hopefully check out those shows and have a great musically enhanced week!

I'll be posting these little updates every Sunday, so check back next week! :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Want a taste of the new Audition album?

On Mix and Mark, you know there are five albums that I literally cannot wait for and will only be able to buy in physical form. The bands are Jack's Mannequin, Rooney, Augustana, She & Him and The Audition and the first one off that list is coming out March 16th!
I had known the name The Audition for a long time but hadn't seen them live until the last Cobra Starship headlining tour and had the pleasure of meeting Danny Stevens which led to an interview but their third album 'Self Titled' quickly took over my itunes playlist and I couldn't be more excited for the new one which leads me to the point of this post.

They will be streaming a new track off of the album every day on their website and go over there quick because today they just posted the meaning behind the second track (along the stream of it!): The Art of Living. From what I've heard so far from these guys, it looks like they are going a little more rock then pop and I couldn't be more excited about it!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The continuation of the know your canadian indie scene..kind of. The MIdway State!

They may have been the topic of my last post on the Canadian Indie Series on Mix and Mark (believe me, there are more interviews coming with Stereos, The Artist Life and The Envy to whet your appetites) but they have just been incredibly active lately.
That includes working on their next record and like the last time they were making new music, they have begun to do that again. The musical genius that I got a closer look thru the interview Kalli and Sarah did with Nathan at their last date in Montreal makes me more excited every day for what is to come from their time in the studio. Hopefully time that brings them back to Boston so maybe I can actually talk face to face to the person I've interviewed throughout my time as Mix and Mark multiple times.
Cross your fingers & check out the update below:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our interview with Green River Ordinance!

At the last minute, I sat down to experience a band I've known about for a while now. Green River Ordinance have just reached the ten year mark as a band which makes this group of 24 and 25 year olds something magical. Being together since they were freshman and sophomores in high school, they have been winning over audiences everywhere with their sweet southern soul pop rock and have recently released their latest effort 'Out Of My Hands'.

The band initially came together ten years ago and even then back in high school, they were just as serious about their music as they are today. "I had only been in the band for like a couple months and Jamey, he asked me where I was planning to go to college because we were considering doing it full time and he was like 'I just want to make sure that you're going to be doing this as a career," said Joshua Wilkerson when we discussed if the band ever imagined they would still be this energized about a being a band together ever ten years. From their energy on stage and through their music, it seems obvious.

It's crazy to think that this album is only their sophomore full length considering how much touring they have put in and with bands like Switchfoot, Third Eye Blind and Collective Soul but the boys are very humble about their success as a band which showed when I asked about their three dream bands to tour with. Instead they named bands like U2 and Coldplay since they have been lucky enough to play with most, if not all of their heroes.

Our interview happened a few hours before they played their sold out show at Harper's Ferry two weeks ago and Jamey Ice, Joshua Perkins, Joshua Wilkerson and Denton Hunker talked about everything from their favorite part of being on the road to some of the craziest things they have experienced. There are quite a few of those stories!

How did Green River Ordinance first come together?
Joshua Perkins(lead vox): We've been a band since high school. Jamey and Geoff, they were brothers and they started the band when Geoff was thirteen and Jamey was fifteen. They were a blues rock band in their parents' garage so that's how it kind of got it's start. I was just fifteen when I joined and Joshua (Wilkerson) started shortly after that. We went to high school together and met Denton in college so we were just doing school while we were playing music together and then we dropped out of school two years into college and just bought a van and trailer and toured the country so now we're here. Have been a band for ten years.

Ten years! Really, that's huge. Did you ever think that you would reach that level?
Joshua Wilkerson(guitar): Um, it's actually kind of funny because in high school whenever we would talk about going to college, I had only been in the band for a few months and Jamey, he asked me where I was planning to go to college because we were considering doing it full time and he was like 'I just want to make sure that you're going to be doing this as a career". That was whenever we were fifteen or seventeen you know. We're all twenty four, twenty five now so there was some hope back then at a young age.
Josh P: But we never thought we would be doing this full time for this long.
Denton(drums): I sure didn't.
Josh P: We were hoping for it!

How do you go about the songwriting process? Is it one person, more collective?

Denton: Every song is different. We really don't have like a set way of writing songs. Sometimes someone will come up with an idea, sometimes two people will bring an idea, sometimes we'll be in the practice room and all five people will be pitching in. It sounds strange, but it's really different for every song.
Jamey(guitar): There really isn't any set formula.

You've been on this tour for a little bit now I believe. How has it been going so far?
Joshua P: It's been good! We've known the Sleeperstar guys for a few years, those Dallas boys, Waco guys and it's been awesome. I mean, our first show we played, we were supposed to play in DC, got rescheduled because of the blizzard but it's been a lot of fun! It feels like more of a road trip right now then it has been a tour. We've just been hanging out with them a lot and stuff so it's awesome to play with your friends you know. It's always great.

If you could go on the road with any three dream bands, maybe that are realistic for you guys or a dream, who do you think they would be?
Josh W: U2 would be a dream. Or Coldplay, that would be dream.
Joshua P: Um, but realistic?
Denton: Jimmy Eat World.
Jamey: We've gotten to play with most of our dream bands and heroes.
Josh W: Third Eye Blind is a group we grew up listening to and we got to play with them a few times.

Okay so would be on the list if it didn't already happen. What would you say is your favorite part of being on the road and playing shows?
Jamey: I think getting to meet people.
Joshua P: Getting to see different towns and cultures.
Denton: Um, I think getting to play music every night.
Jamey: You meet so many people and that's probably one of our favorite things. I mean in between the driving, the driving can probably be one of the least favorite parts of the road.
Josh W: Not all the driving. I think our least favorite part of driving is in terms of figuring out in the Northeast which highway we can get on with the trailer.

Always good to
know. I know you guys have been together for a really long time for about ten years now but what do you think you would be doing if you weren't in GRO?

Josh W: Entrepreneurship for me.
Denton: I'd be, uh, bodybuilding.
Jamey: Ah, I would be in school for sure, back in school.
Joshua P: I'd be a ventriloquist for sure.
Josh W: You'd be good at it, you have the right lips.

Have you ever had any crazy experiences with fans over the years or pretty low key?
Josh W: We went on tour with David Cook for a while and it was great. You know, we met so many people every night we were playing in front of people. Like Jamey was saying, you get to meet a lot of people. One of the coolest things is they bring you food. So, it would depend on the location but some people bring in like Amish food.
Jamey: Two nights ago, we got a pound and a half of amish jerky.
Denton: Yeah! Like we got a warm thing of brownies then the other night got like four bags of cookies all in one night.
Joshua P: We get flowers a lot.
Josh W: Some girl gave me a flower one time and said 'Get Better'.
Joshua P: I don't know about crazy though. We're not cool enough for crazy fans. We just like to hang out and meet lovely people. We get magnets. Somehow, we got on this kick where we wanted to put magnets on our trailer.
Josh W: We bought on at this gas station that says 'Pimpin'. It's purple. It's not so much crazy, it's just on one tour we collected a lot. Like I mean, hundreds.
Denton: Some of them are falling off though.
Jamey: Yeah, they're falling off but then people us them like one or two nights ago.
Josh W: We tweeted about it once and just said 'hey if you want to bring any magnets, we're collecting magnets on the back of our trailer' and now people
just bring them all the time.
Joshua P: We had a sweet band aid. We had a huge dent in the front of the van and had a big huge band aid for a car and um, somebody stole that!

That's a bummer! Now people are going to come out and steal your magnets. Who would you say are some of your bigger musical influences maybe for the band or growing up?

Joshua P: As far as the band goes?
Jamey: Probably some of those bands that we'd like to tour with.
Joshua P: Collective Soul, bands like that we love! You know, Jamey and Geoff grew up playing kind of blues rock and I grew up kind of in the country world and Joshua's dad toured with the Beach Boys. So growing up, all of us were kind of eclectic in our style and taste so it's a pretty cool environment when you're writing songs. You kind of pull from different chains of thought.
Josh W: A natural train of thought. It's like a brainstorm technique.

If you were to collaborate with any artist that you maybe personally know from touring with in the past, who would they be and what would the song be about?
Jamey: I'd say Collective Soul, but we've already collaborated with them a little bit like vocals.
Joshua P: Probably Collective Soul.
Josh W: I'd say Collective Soul.
Denton: Yeah, we'd probably do like a ska remix slash hip hop of Run or something.
Josh W: No! (laughs) Collective Soul would be fun, we actually got a chance to write with Ed a little bit but as far as what song we'd like to write about, I'd say an organic relative thing. It would be like what we were feeling that day.
Joshua P: Yeah, it's pretty hard to force a song. It's way easier to write a song about whatever comes to your mind!

Thank you to the boys of Green River Ordinance and Paul for doing this interview. The boys have some rumored happenings going on, so check out all the details coming on their myspace.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Goal for 2010: Interview the bands that you should know in 2010..according to Alt Press!

I've been talking for the last few months about how I really believe that if I put the work in, this can truly be my year and I think it's already happening! To think that it hasn't even been a year that I have seriously been putting in the effort...Warped Tour was actually my first in person interview experience ever and I have been lucky enough to sit down with so many bands since including just yesterday talking to Alex and Toby from Sparks The Rescue. I have interviewed bands like The Maine, A Rocket To The Moon, Hellogoodbye, Lights, The Millionaires, Breathe Carolina, Cash Cash and just so many more!

Lately I've been listening to past recordings I have on my trusty little recorder. It has 96 recordings on it and dates back to August 15th which besides Warped Tour is when I really started getting into doing in person interviews and learning the effort it takes to set these all up for myself. Since then has definitely been a learning experience, but I taught myself that if I take the iniative, I can do whatever I want to do. That has led me to my goal for 2010 and that is to interview at least fifty (be it email, in person or phone) of Alternative Press's bands you need to know in 2010. It's not an easy task considering the level of bands on it (the list includes acts like There for Tomorrow, Sum 41, Hey Monday and NeverShoutNever!) but I believe that with the help of Music Remedy and Eastscene which are the two other publications I work with, it could definitely happen!
I've also decided to do video updates of my progress which can be found on a youtube channel I am working on right now so keep updated on the going ons and besides those interviews, I will also be out at other shows as well!

Free Music in exchange for climate change?

Bonaroo and politics seem to be of similar nature when it comes to climate change and trying to help/fix the world and the people in charge of the festival and the great charitable organization Head Count are for the first time offering a completley free compilation of live performances at Bonnaroo. You can find the download at and I strongly suggest that you take their suggestion and contact your local senators and government officials about the problem!

Either way the music is free and you can find the track listing below:

Best of Bonnaroo Track List

Wilco Bull Black Nova

Pearl Jam Animal

Jack Johnson Inaudible Melodies

Dave Mathews Band Rapunzel

Death Cab for Cutie Cath...

Ani DiFranco Fuel

Phish Kill Devil Falls

Gov't Mule Banks of the Deep End

O.A.R. Delicate Few

moe. Not Coming Down

Raphael Saadiq 100 Yard Dash

Bob Weir & RatDog Throwing Stones

The Disco Biscuits And The Ladies Were the Rest of the Night

The Decemberists The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid

My Morning Jacket Oh! Sweet Nuthin’

Guster Happier

Phil Lesh and Friends Box of Rain