Biscay

Biscay are a six-piece from UK. The band’s name derives from the location they are based. Biscay are fronted by the exciting young French singer Elea may. The sextuplet are a hybrid of Funk, Jazz and World Music. The award-winning outfit enjoyed a successful 2018 winning five songwriting competitions combined with May’s sweet voice is accompanied by an accomplished rhythm section that plays a combustion of upbeat funk and rich jazz textures.

http://biscay.co.uk/

This is a basic account with an attractive image of the band set in the background. The white colour seems to be an easy backdrop to the material you will find. There is a nice Bio section, alongside a link to Biscay’s latest music video. You will find a link to a music player alongside a lovely gallery of colourful snaps of the band. There is also A press release section with links to magazine articles and reviews of the band.

https://www.facebook.com/biscaymusic/

This is a helpful site for anybody interested in the band. There are regular post updates from the studio, as well as photos and videos of recordings. This idea of giving visitors exclusive behind the scene footage conveys itself as professional.

 

Four Trips Ahead

Four Trips Ahead is a Prog/Metal act from New York formed in 2003 by Lead singer/songwriter Pete Wilson. The band have steadily forged a hard-working reputation with extensive tours across the States and Europe, including the UK. They have also featured in several Musical publications and received national airplay. Wilson’s strong and impassioned vocals are matched by the intricate guitar solos and pounding drums that are reminiscent of American act Black Label Society.

Four Trips Ahead recently released Latest Album “... And the Fire Within” last Spring.

Four Trips Ahead are;

Pete Wilson - Vocals

Brian Eisenpresser- Guitars

Dan Cassidy- Bass

Ken Candelas- Drums

http://fourtripsahead.com/

This is a very professional site with an attractive logo, and a large background photo of the band. I felt this gave the impression of a renowned rock act. There are some nice quotes about the music from reputable Music publications, as well as an extensive bio on FTA’s latest album “… And the Fire Within”. There is a link to the band’s YouTube account, as well as a photo gallery. The news section promises exciting upcoming releases, but it is not regularly updated.

https://www.facebook.com/fourtripsahead/

This is another well managed account by the band. There are regular posts on media promo, gigs etc. They seem to interact on each post with the fans, which is always a plus for any music fan. There are links to other social media accounts, plus videos that gain behind the scenes access, as well as an extensive photo gallery. I felt impressed with the overall feeling that they enjoy interacting with the fans.

Explorers

Explorers are a Synth/pop act from Chesterfield, England. The two -piece were inspired to form the band through a bond of 80’s cinema, Nostalgia and “a DIY spirit”. They derived their name from a Joe Dante film. The duo previously appeared in several indie bands, including MYbe ;which outsoled Maximo Park and Placebo in the charts. The duo produces warm and atmospheric music replete with synths and hazy vocals.

Explorers are;

Jez Dennis – Drums, Vocals

Rob Bannister- Synths, vocals

https://www.weareexplorers.co.uk/

This is another attractive site with a backdrop of sunset that gives the impressions of a warm welcome. There is an extensive bio on the duo, a music player, which includes new single “Waiting for the sun”, plus a section dedicated to the Explorers’ social media activity. The only negative is there is no photo gallery to peruse.

https://www.facebook.com/weareexplorers/

This is a good FB page from Explorers. The outfit have formed an engaging page that interacts with new fans. They regularly post updates in regards to music promotion. There are some colourful pictures of the band on stage, plus sneak peek of new music recorded in the studio

Sirsy

Sirsy are a rock and soul duet from New York. The duo is Lead singer/ Drummer Melanie Krahmer, who has previously featured in Modern Drummer Magazine, and guitarist Rich Libutti.

They have performed over 200 shows annually over a ten-year span that includes opening slots for established acts like Maroon 5, Cheap Trick etc. Krahmer’s vocals are powerful and energetic with the sardonic grooves of Libutti’s guitar lines.

Sirsy are currently working on a follow up to 2015 EP “ Sketches and Ghosts”

https://www.sirsy.com/

This is a very well- organized site that has been done to professional standard. The duo’s hard work ethic has been transposed into creating a vibrant and compelling webpage that is worth a browse if you have a few minutes. The strong colour scheme is instantly attractive with a slideshow effect informing visitors of the band’s recent achievements. The sections are categorized with a dropdown menu for any subject of interest. There is an updated gig schedule, MP3 links to Sirsy’s back catalogue alongside an option to read through the lyrics, too. The video sections feature a link to their YouTube channel.

Also, the photo section is divided into separate pictures such as press, live, Instagram etc. The about section concludes with an extensive biography, alongside a press kit.

https://www.facebook.com/sirsyband/

This is another fun and entertaining site designed to engage with listeners. The profile picture of the band as caricatures highlights their personality, which is a warm gesture for visitors. There are regular posts of their recent tour, photos of the band enjoying themselves across the states plus videos that act as a diary as they drive from coast to coast. This gives the impression that they enjoy what they do.

Sandoval Band

Sandoval Band is Jean Sandoval, A guitarist/singer/songwriter from Meridian, CT, USA. He enjoys creating different sounds to form unique ones and has toured extensively alongside with fellow musicians. Sandoval writes soulful tunes blended with blues, jazz, country and Latin flavour. Sandoval shares similarities with Santana and Jeff Healy.

Sandoval recently released new EP “Sound of It All: Part A” in January.

https://www.sandovalband.com/

This is another professional site. The viewer is greeted by a large photo of Sandoval, alongside an instant player of his latest EP. There are some pictures of the guitarist in the studio, as well as some with his gear. There is also a video of the guitarist performing live on a local TV show.

https://www.facebook.com/sandovalband

This is another well managed FB page that engages with the audience. The posts show how Sandoval values his listeners with regular updates on his personal life, as well as tours and new music. There are videos that offer sneak previews of the new album, as well of the band working hard in the studio. I feel this is another positive for new fans interested in learning more about the guitarist.

Chrysalis

Chrysalis are an underground Indie/ Heavy metal outfit from Barstow, CA. The band have experienced something of a meteoric rise since the days when they self- released their debut album in College. Since then, they have featured in several notable music publications such as Revolver and Metal Hammer, as well as toured with acts like Ill Nino and A Day to Remember.

Chrysalis have gone on to release a further two albums to date, including a successful crowdfund campaign in support of the second one.

The band create atmospheric sounds via crushing guitars and pounding drums. They write progressive music with thought provoking lyrics.

Chrysalis are:

Yessi Burton - Vocals / Guitar / Keys
Chris Norris - Guitar / Backing Vocals
Gabe Gallego - Guitar / Backing Vocals
Jared Sturgis - Bass
Billy Norris – Drums

https://chrysalisband.com

This is a pleasant site to visit with an attractive overhead and a nice blend of colours that reflects the emotional and calming aura of Chrysalis. There is certainly no lack of music for the regular site browsers. There is a full catalogue; which includes videos of the singles, too. I found that you need to scroll down to discover this, as well as several social media links, and information on the band. There is a comprehensive bio, which seems outdated. Overall, this is an interesting insight for fans none too familiar with their sound.

https://www.facebook.com/ChrysalisBand/

This seems like a site managed by the band themselves in order to promote their material. There are regular updates on their music, plus interaction with their fans. Also, the pictures seem like music posters from their gigs, with the exception of a few. Th videos seem like guitar breakdowns for the fans. My only criticism is that the site has not been active for over a year.


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Ramshackle

Ramshackle are a Punk rock act from Sydney, Australia, comprising of friends from England, Australia and China. The band were originally formed as a three piece by two high school friends, who had competed together in Battle of the Bands competitions. They were joined by an English bassist, whose family moved to Sydney when he was 9 years old. The band were finally converted into a four piece in 2013 following the arrival of a music producer from China on drums.

Ramshackle have regularly toured across Australia at some big venues, as well as local festivals.

The band play high energy guitar orientated music with melodic vocals and powerful lyrics.

Ramshackle are:

Lead Vocals & bass: Tony Austin

Guitar & vocals: Jared Montgomery

Guitar & vocals: James Wall

Drums: Jack Gao

https://ramshackle.com.au/

This is another well managed site with some great on-stage pictures of the group in performance, an extensive about section, and lyrics. There is a music player for those interested in their sound, alongside a couple of videos of the band on stage. The only criticism is it would have been nice to see a few more videos of the band.

https://www.facebook.com/ramshackleband/

This is another good facebook page with posts on upcoming gigs, a comprehensive collection of photos of the band in rehearsal, as well as performing on stage. The videos are an insight into the band in rehearsal, which feels like it really involves the fans. My only criticism is that the posts haven’t been updated since May.

Wild Horse

Wild Horse are a four-piece hard rock act from East Sussex, England formed by brothers, Jack and Henry Baldwin. The band have been compared to The Rolling Stones and Arctic Monkeys, and have appeared at notable venues across London and Southern England.

The hard working outfit were recognized in 2014 as “Rock the House” nominees, They have released two albums &3 EP’s to date.

Wild Horse recently released second album “Songs About Last Night” in June. They are currently working on a new EP

http://www.wildhorse-rockband.com/home

This is another attractive site with an intent to promote the act’s credentials. There are various links to Wild Horse Music via various established online music platforms, some sharp images of the band, as well as an extensive bio. I feel this is a good introduction to Wild Horse.

https://www.facebook.com/wildhorseuk/

This is a great site that embodies the band’s hard work ethic. I feel this reflects the band’s personality with in-depth posts that regularly update fans on gigs and music promos. There are tons of photos of the band onstage, as well as videos of the band onstage, and latest music tracks. This is a professional site managed to appeal to fans.

Mitch Dalton and the Studio kings

Mitch Dalton and The Studio kings are a British supergroup formed by revered guitarist Mitch Dalton, whose played with Robbie Williams and Melody Gardot. The band are completed by Pianist David Arch, best known for his work on TV show “Strictly Come Dancing”, and in the Oscar winning film “The King’s speech”, Bassist Steve Pearce (Van Morrison) and drummer Ian Thomas (Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton). The band play melodious grooves and have featured music on several films and tv shows.

Mitch Dalton and The Super kings have a debut album called “...Meet Mitch Dalton and the Studio Kings”

http://www.mitchdalton.co.uk/

This is another well managed site with a stylish font and colourful pictures on the home page.

There are snippets of reviews, as well as a bio and a link to the band’s new album. The pictures contain images of the band in the studio, as well as videos’ too. I felt this was an interesting look into the band, which gave an insight into their music.

https://www.facebook.com/MitchDaltonandTheStudioKings/

This site doesn’t offer much information on the band. There are posts on the band’s shows with a promo photo. There are no videos, and the last update was in March.

Black Olives

Black Olives are a hard rock act from London, England. The band debuted headlining the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 with the support of BBC Music live.

The band have continued to set the bar with high profile appearances at notable venues and festivals in England, which includes a performance in Moldova to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Black olives have also supported Joss Stone at the Royal Philharmonic too. The band fuse Brit pop with classic rock music to creates well-crafted melodies.

Black Olives have released 3 albums to date to much critical acclaim. Their latest “Double Standards” came out in 2017.

https://www.blackolivesmusic.com/home

This is a nicely organized site with a link to that latest album plus a compelling bio on Black Olives, plus a music player that covers a majority of their albums, plus photos from their past European tours. There is also a nicely updated schedule page,too. I feel this is another site apt for new fans.

https://www.facebook.com/blackolivesmusic/

This is a rather informative page with regular posts updating readers on airplay submissions, upcoming gigs, and photos of them, too. The photo section provides intricately taken snaps of the band on stage via colour /black & white. I also found the video section to be different from your usual FB band pages, in which we get insight into the recording of various tracks. Overall, a fully insightful introduction for new fans.

Attic Theory

Attic Theory are the amalgamation of former members of Matchstickmen and Rain May fall. The Liverpool- Based outfit play self- proclaimed “Sexy Groovy Rock”

Attic Theory derived the name from an episode of CBS TV series Elementary, and have performed at venues like the 02 Academy, alongside high-profile support slots for established artists like Graham Bonnett, Quireboys and DiamondHead.

Attic Theory will soon embark on a tour in support of The Soap Girls and Saving Abel. They will soon be releasing new material, too.

Attic Theory are;

Peter Donnelly - Guitar

Tim Cunningham - Guitar & Backing Vocals

Lewis Wright - Vocals

Kenneth McArthur - Bass

'25 hours & 5 minutes Party' Dave Hornby – Drums

http://www.attictheory.co.uk/home

This is another attractive site to the all-conquering eye. The opening page features a large graphic with the enticement to watch their new video. There is a much-detailed biography, as well as a Spotify link to the band’s latest track “Saints Amongst Us”. I feel it would have been nice to hear more because they sound good. There is only one video to view. It certainly is a site in development. However, it is a good start.

https://www.facebook.com/AtticTheory/

This is another fully informative site. There are regular updates on the band’s latest news, Gigs, plus they share another act’s material, which shows the band’s kindness. The photo section details the act’s sense of humor, alongside festival appearances, and music posters. This reflects the impression the act is down to earth and feel comfortable engaging with a new audience.


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.... we would like to inform you about The Old School Project's operation. Over time, the number of people interested in The Old School Project has steadily increased. Unlike other websites and online media, the core of The Old School Project is not the well-known journalists and radio producers, but the young people in the field of journalism who nevertheless worthy of their place. Therefore, the resources for running The Old School Project, which requires time, money and hard work, come only from its physical place, the coffeehouse.

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Written by Anselm Anderson - UK / Lancaster

My name is Anselm and I have a strong passion for music. I host two rock radio shows for the internet on a weekly basis. Also, I have experience in the past year of writing music reviews and conducting interviews with upcoming artists for several online music magazines. My main goal is to continue to write for thse interested in learning about what is new in the musical world.

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Monday, 03 December 2018 16:31

Interview with Tiê Alves

The urban troubadour: why Tiê Alves is one of the most interesting artists of the new Brazilian popular music.

Tiê Alves updates the concept of the troubadour blending the best of the MPB (the Brazilian popular music) tradition with a urban touch, which in this case means the mega metropolis of São Paulo. The cultural melting pot of the city and its oppressive immensity are the background for inventive melodies and original lyrics performed with a blasé-yet-shy allure simply impossible to resist.

(GF) When did your contact with music start?

(TA) I began when I was a child. My mother played guitar and sang to me and my father was always very musical. At home, we heard a lot of music, mainly Brazilian music, but also The Beatles among other genres. My sister plays, as well: flute, percussion and double bass, but she works with graphic design. By the way, she developed the cover and all the artwork of my first album. I was 16 when I became interested in playing the guitar and decided to take classes. By that time, I was a huge fan of rock bands such as Nirvana and Pink Floyd. So I set up a band with my high school friends, started playing and never stopped since then. The guitar seduced me right from the start because of its versatility, but also because it is a very intimate instrument that must be kept very close to the body. It is said that the guitar “searches” for the most introspective personalities, for the shy people.

(GF) How about your musical education? Who were your mentors and influences?

(TA) I went to college and got a degree in Music at the Faculty of Arts Alcântara Machado. I also studied singing and Brazilian folk guitar, that we call “viola caipira”. I did this training as a musician, but in parallel I composed regularly. Creation has always been very important to me. Gradually, I joined other partners and developed my composition, but it all started in a very intuitive way. I was mainly influenced by Brazilian musicians, such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento. After I have built a repertoire of original songs, in 2014 I recorded my first album: O Rio e a Lua (The River and the Moon).

(GF) And how was the production of your debut album?

(TA) It was a great learning experience. Since it was my first one, I literally learned by doing. Fortunately, I had a super talented producer named Ana Rodrigues, who understood my concept and brought a lot of information in terms of arrangements.

(GF) Any coming projects?

(TA) I'm producing my second album, “Tá Osso” (Tough Break, on a free translation) produced by guitarist Luiz Cláudio Sousa. This album has been crowdfunded and it has a strong influence of Jazz. The idea for the name came from an idiom usually used in Brazil to describe financial problems, but in the song, it describes a person who is head-over-heels.

Follow Tiê Alves on Social Media

Contact at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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.... we would like to inform you about The Old School Project's operation. Over time, the number of people interested in The Old School Project has steadily increased. Unlike other websites and online media, the core of The Old School Project is not the well-known journalists and radio producers, but the young people in the field of journalism who nevertheless worthy of their place. Therefore, the resources for running The Old School Project, which requires time, money and hard work, come only from its physical place, the coffeehouse.

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Written by Geisa Fernandes - Brasil / Rio de Janeiro

The repertoire of this jazz singer and awarded songwriter from Rio de Janeiro reveals influences of Brazilian popular music, the French chanson and Latin American rhythms, but most of all, Geisa Fernandes is a jazz singer. Billie Holiday aficionada (back in college folks used to call her "Lady Doc"), this PhD holder and Comics researcher was a former vocalist of several bands in São Paulo. 

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(GF) How did your relationship with music start?

(EF) Since an early age, I´ve listened and enjoyed music. My father, an amateur musician himself, played tambourine and always had a lot of fun. I associate music with joy and positive vibes this day. At 13 I started to learn guitar and electric bass. I decided to pursue my career as a musician, when I was around 15. I even started a technical degree, but soon realized that was not what I wanted for me.

(GF) What are your main musical references?

(EF) I simply have to mention firstly the Brazilian music. Its tradition is so rich and strong that provides me a lot of material to deal with, so I am constantly researching on current and old composers and performers. I admire Hermeto Pascoal, Hamilton de Hollanda, Yamandú Costa, Tom Jobim, Pipoquinha, among many others. I was also got in touch with jazz and experimental music during my studies. In the jazz field, I admire the Bill Evans's Trio and the brilliant double bass player Scott LaFaro and John Coltrane's Quartet. In experimental music, I like Webern and Steve Reich very much. Frank Zappa is also a great reference!

 

(GF) What is it like working with a Brazilian tradition genre, such as Choro, in Europe?

(EF) I think it's really cool to be able to work with Choro and Brazilian Music here. I live since 2015 in Brussels, a very interesting, multicultural city. Here I was able to meet many musicians, also Brazilians, who are very interested and talented, and who play Brazilian music very well. People here are also very interested in our music and in our culture in general and so I could build an engaged fan base. Learning French and Dutch help me a lot, too.

 

(GF) Tell us about your latest album, ‘Burocrático’ (Bureaucratic)

(EF) Burocrático is the third album of the Everton Firmeza Trio. I started it in 2014, when I was still living in Belo Horizonte, because I wanted to have a project of mine, in which I would take the lead and make all the important decisions. Usually as a bass player I work on other musicians' projects, and I'm always subject to their decisions. I then invited Fred Selva, vibraphonist, and Felipe Bastos, drummer and percussionist, to record the album ‘Firmeza!’ and promote it in some gigs in the city. Later, when I came to Brussels in 2015, I invited Italian pianist Piergiorgio Pirro and drummer Josaphat Hounnou from Benin, a West African country that has many cultural similarities with Brazil to continue the project. Piergiorgio studied classical music, jazz and experimental music, while Josaphat thoroughly studied Benin and African rhythms, but also jazz and pop music. Since then we have done several presentations and recorded two albums: Younger ‘Brother’ (2018) and ‘Burocrático’ (2019), which has been recorded in a single day.

Written by Geisa Fernandes - Brasil / Rio de Janeiro

The repertoire of this jazz singer and awarded songwriter from Rio de Janeiro reveals influences of Brazilian popular music, the French chanson and Latin American rhythms, but most of all, Geisa Fernandes is a jazz singer. Billie Holiday aficionada (back in college folks used to call her "Lady Doc"), this PhD holder and Comics researcher was a former vocalist of several bands in São Paulo. 

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Hello, River, thanks so much for speaking with me. I appreciate you taking time out of your day. I promise there aren't too many questions; shall we begin?

Cliché, I know, but can you tell our avid readers how River Lynch and The Spiritmakers came together and how you came up with the name of the band?

It started in 2015 when I decided to record a four-song EP of my originals. These songs were begging to be played with a band. Through a mutual friend, I met our bassist, Schuyler Skuse, and was re-introduced to our drummer, Tim Leverett. After a really successful set at the EP release show in 2016, we felt like we had something good and just started booking shows from there. The name Spiritmakers comes from my song of the same name. My definition of Spiritmaker is 'someone who lifts the human spirit through the power of rock ‘n’ roll music'.

River, you began your musical career as a solo artist before 'rallying the band' - a direct quote from your Facebook. Do you find being in a band more challenging or easier than performing on your own? How so?

‘Rallying the band’ is code for ‘Let's roll!’. I wouldn’t say there are more challenges being in a band compared to performing as a solo artist, just different challenges. With the band, it’s things like working around each person’s schedule and making time to accomplish everything we hope to. When performing solo, not having the band there to rely on can be tough at times. They’re different but I really enjoy both. My introverted self is a solo artist, and my extroverted self is the frontman of a rock ‘n’ roll band.

Do any of the band members have a musical background?

Schuyler began playing upright bass in 3rd grade, and electric bass in 5th. After performing throughout high school in an orchestra, jazz band, and the rock band The Absolutes, he went on to pursue a degree in Music Management at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. At Hartt, Schuyler studied the bass with world-renowned jazz bassist, Nat Reeves, and graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Music.

Tim is a multi-instrumentalist, played piano since he was 5, picked up the drums at 13, and guitar at 18. Tim is also a composer and songwriter who has created full-length orchestral ballets and instrumental pieces for TV and film, as well as writing over 100 songs.

As for myself, my musical experience started with the trumpet in 4th grade playing in the school band. Around 12 years old I got my first electric guitar and was part of a rock ‘n’ roll band in high school. At 17, I wrote my first song.

You are releasing a new single in March called 'This World Now'. What can you tell me about it?


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It’s the heaviest song we have recorded so far. I hear it as a ‘psychedelic-western’.

  What was the inspiration behind the new track?

   The inspiration for 'This World Now' originated with an overwhelming feeling of personal injustice. Wanting to help someone who needed it, but not actually being able to help them. I see the song as sort of a thriller short film. There are three characters: the victim, the                     assailant, and the anti-hero. It’s dark and heavy, but speaks to the side of human nature that just wants things to be right. I’m really excited for people to hear this one. It’s a different side of us.

  What was the recording process like for 'This World Now'? Did you experience any problems?

   No serious problems while recording, fortunately. A while back, the guys and I laid down the foundation for the song; bass, drums and some rhythm guitar. More recently, I went back with our producer, Doug Zogby at GFI Studios, and began filling in the colours with vocals and       lead guitar parts. We’ve been playing this song live since our first show, so it’s been a lot of fun to bring it into         the   studio and really explore its full potential. I am really pleased with the way this song turned out.

  Could you briefly describe your song-writing process for us? Does each band member have a set role or is it a big ol' jam session?

   I write the songs and then bring them to practice and show the band. I’ll play them through a few times so they can get a feel for the structure, and then they start playing along to see what feels right. In most cases, it only takes a few practices for a song to be stage ready. It’s       all about the song with our band. Whatever we are playing, it’s to serve the original vision of the song.

 When you mention rock 'n' roll to someone, the associations range from Elvis to Nirvana or Deep Purple and Guns 'N Roses. What is your definition of rock 'n' roll?

  For me, rock ‘n’ roll should be dangerous, rebellious, loud, and dirty. It should have grit, passion and attitude. It should swing, boom and groove. It should make you move, make you feel, and make you think. It’s a mystical force that lives in your soul and is available to everyone.

  Rock ‘n’ roll is a symbol of freedom. Any band or artist that creates a genuine display of that, I would call rock ‘n’ roll. Chuck Berry, Elvis, Little Richard, the Stones, Hendrix, they are all prime examples of just that.

  How do you feel rock 'n' roll has changed over the years and has the change influenced your music?

The basic fundamentals of rock ‘n’ roll really haven’t changed much since its birth in the 1950s. I personally think in the past few decades it began to lose it’s ‘roll’, becoming stiff and uninspired. Of course, there has always been a handful of great artists keeping the flame burning in every generation.

Right now, I hear a lot of bands with similar influences as myself. I’ve noticed that a lot of people my age grew up listening to music from the 60s and 70s, and I think that is reflected in today’s rock ‘n’ roll. There are some really great bands right now that capture that genuine rock ‘n’ roll sound. It keeps me hopeful for the future. It’s not heard that often on terrestrial radio or in the mainstream. Fortunately, there are so many other ways to discover new music today.

Are there any bands or artists that inspire your sound?

We have a wide range of influences from all different times and all different artists. With that said, our sound has a 60s and 70s vibe for sure, so we are heavily influenced by a lot of bands from that time period. On a playlist, we are placed with bands like The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Alabama Shakes, Ryan Adams, and Gary Clark Jr. to name a few. We’re just trying to do our own thing in our own time.

Grassroots music receives more promotion now than in previous years with the help of the internet, so what is it like being an independent band in the 21st century?

Being an independent band in the 21st century is empowering but also very challenging. You have to do a lot of things you never thought you would have to do - one part musician, one part businessman. On the other hand, you have complete freedom with your creative path. There are also more resources for independent bands to use now, than ever before. That makes some stuff easier, but also brings along an entirely new set of challenges.

It’s good though, there are a lot of opportunities. I also think the general public is much more aware and supportive of independent artists nowadays. It’s all about building a fan base of your own.

What advice would you give new bands?

Remain true to your creative vision. It’s easy to forget why you’re doing all this in the first place.


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Other than the upcoming single, 'This World Now', what can we expect from River Lynch and The Spiritmakers in 2019?

We’re focusing on playing in new places. Over the past two years, we’ve done multiple 3-day tours in Canada and on the East coast. We would like to do more of that. We’re also working on booking more festival shows, and we will have even more new music as the year goes on. We have had some good fortune come our way since we started. We’re taking that with us as we head out through 2019.

Thanks so much for speaking with me, River. Wishing you the best for your new release and all your future endeavours!

Written by Nicole Mendes / Germany - Norden

My name is Nicole and I am a South African-born music writer currently based in Norden, Germany. For several years I have worked with award-winning indie music blogs conducting reviews, reported on breaking festival news, but my specialism is interviewing.  I currently work as editor-in-chief for an indie music blog I founded where I specialise in interviews with independent artists.

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Son of an amateur musician, Sulimar Rass began his career at a very early age performing at festivals and bars in his hometown, Dom Pedrito, in Rio Grande do Sul, almost at the border with Uruguay. Based in Pelotas, he opened the RASS School of Music and graduated in Phonographic Production. 2016 he released "Absurd Conclusions", his first album. Far from the Gaucho stereotype, Rass lyrics are philosophic and romantic, while his arrangements mix Brazilian urban influences and rhythms from the River de la Plata Region. Still waters run deep.

(GF) When did your relationship to music?

I was born in an extremely musical family that has always encouraged me a lot, my father was an amateur musician and until now music aficionado. At the age of fourteen I received my first payment as a musician. Since then I never stopped dealing with music. My life was practically all dedicated to music, living from her and for her.

(GF) How would you define the kind of music you do?

(SR) I often say that my three strongest influences are the Brazilian southern folk music, instrumental music (from all genres) and Brazilian popular music, but I am also influenced by jazz, bossa nova, classic, rock. I think the sound I make is universal. It can be played and enjoyed everywhere.

(GF) What about your new album "Canções Inerentes" (Inherent Songs)?

It will be released on all digital platforms in September 2018 and in physical format in October. It is heavily influenced by rhythms and themes pertinent to the region southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina with modern arrangements and strong jazz and classic influences. I recorded part of it in Argentina, produced by Sebastián Perkal, winner of a Latin Grammy in 2010. The musical production is signed by composer and arranger Edu Martins. Edu has worked as a musician, producer and arranger over the last few decades alongside Brazilian music artists such as Cesar Mariano, Guinga, Milton Nascimento and Gal Costa, among others and also international artists like George Benson and Dave Liebman. In addition to Edu Martins, the pianist Mauro Filho takes part in the album. Mauro is a member of Edu Martins Trio and has performed with saxophonist David Lieberman, Débora Blando and Geraldo Flach. Mariano Cantero was in charge of the percussions. Mariano is also a teacher at the La Plata Graduate Conservatory in Argentina. He coordinates workshops in Córdoba, Tucumán, Mendoza and Rosario. He is also a member of the "Acá Seca Trio" and the prestigious percussion ensemble "La Bomba of Time ", directed by Santiago Vázquez.

(GF) Future projects?

After the release of the album, I will dedicate my time to conclude and release my online course for musicians who seek to improve their musical knowledge. I also want to publish my first book. It will be called "The surprises of the alter ego". A compilation of short stories that portray everyday´s life in a humorous way.


Since you've come so far ...

.... we would like to inform you about The Old School Project's operation. Over time, the number of people interested in The Old School Project has steadily increased. Unlike other websites and online media, the core of The Old School Project is not the well-known journalists and radio producers, but the young people in the field of journalism who nevertheless worthy of their place. Therefore, the resources for running The Old School Project, which requires time, money and hard work, come only from its physical place, the coffeehouse.

So to continue to provide our services to upcoming bands / artists, giving the opportunity to new journalists publish their articles, and to develop our innovative ideas, we ask you to devote a minute of your time and become a part of The Old School Project.


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Written by Geisa Fernandes - Brasil / Rio de Janeiro

The repertoire of this jazz singer and awarded songwriter from Rio de Janeiro reveals influences of Brazilian popular music, the French chanson and Latin American rhythms, but most of all, Geisa Fernandes is a jazz singer. Billie Holiday aficionada (back in college folks used to call her "Lady Doc"), this PhD holder and Comics researcher was a former vocalist of several bands in São Paulo. 

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Published in South America Section
Tuesday, 12 March 2019 10:25

Presenting Nora Murray From Los Angeles

Born and bred in Nashville, Tennessee, Nora Murray lived in a city filled with music. She fell in love the minute she first laid eyes on a six string and knew that she would have one in her arms one day. Her dream of owning one finally came true as she found a brand new guitar hidden away in her garage. She didn’t know where it came from or why it was hidden but knew that it was planted there for her to find. She started spending her time tucked away in the garage singing and playing the wrong notes but it was the therapy she needed in the dysfunctional household that she grew up in. Pouring herself out in her writing, sharing all the feelings she bottled up while no one was listening.
As time moved on music was somewhat forgotten as it was not a path she was allowed to pursue but secretly the love for it all never faded. It wasn't until moving to California in 2015 that she picked up her guitar and started writing once again. She found a healing space to pour out her heart and share her stories. This time her relationship with music entered a more serious stage. Nora slowly inched towards her fear of playing on stage and booked her first show summer 2018. Sharing her sweet soothing melodies in any venue that allowed her to take the stage, Nora continues to sing as she is determined to give the world the therapy it needs in dark times. She has since played multiple venues around Los Angeles including a recent main stage set at The Viper Room. Her live show is captivating and she has that natural ability to draw the crowd into her world.
Nora has been working continuously over the last year writing and recording and currently has a single in the works to be released early 2019. She also just recently teamed up with mgmt. company Rav Medic and together they are working hard putting the strongest foot forward for Nora.
2019 is set to be a huge year for this rising artist.
Follow Nora on : Facebook / Youtube / ReverbNation / Instagram

Since you've come so far ...

.... we would like to inform you about The Old School Project's operation. Over time, the number of people interested in The Old School Project has steadily increased. Unlike other websites and online media, the core of The Old School Project is not the well-known journalists and radio producers, but the young people in the field of journalism who nevertheless worthy of their place. Therefore, the resources for running The Old School Project, which requires time, money and hard work, come only from its physical place, the coffeehouse.

So to continue to provide our services to upcoming bands / artists, giving the opportunity to new journalists publish their articles, and to develop our innovative ideas, we ask you to devote a minute of your time and become a part of The Old School Project.


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Published in USA Section
Tuesday, 29 January 2019 21:24

Reviewing 'Blame' And Interviewing MaWayy

The internet is a dominant force in almost every person's life nowadays. If you really think about it, people are spending more time online than ever before for both personal and professional reasons. Just yesterday I was researching online ballet classes; ballet classes, who'd have thought it? So, why should I be fascinated by musicians producing material without ever being in the same place at the same time? I don't know, but I am.

Now the boring introduction is over, let me get to the meat of this review - MaWayy. A dance-pop duo who have never met in the flesh. All their production is done online and, get this; they aren't even in the same time zones! Brain Wayy lives in Los Angeles and Masoud Fouladi Moghaddam is in Bandar-e Anzali (that's in Iran). Intrigued? I was...am...whatever.

Each a music industry professional with an impressive history, Masoud and Wayy eventually found themselves connecting in 2015. Their initial release as MaWayy was 'Wrong' in 2017 which held the number 42 position on the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart for three weeks, but I'm here to chat about the latest single 'Blame'.

'Blame' is one of the traditional dance-style tracks, which could account for its popularity on the Billboard charts. It is well-produced with the synths carefully placed to not only emphasise the vocals but take the listener on a rollercoaster of a ride. The vocals, on the other hand, are quite calming with a smooth and delicate pitch. Despite the sombre lyrics, I have to say I find 'Blame' a breath of fresh air. Maybe it's because I don't hear much dance-pop or perhaps it's because a man is saying we can blame bad relationships on him. Watch yourselves, boys, we're holding you to it!

'Blame' was released in October 2018 and my only disappointment is that it took so long to reach my ears. The MaWayy duo has captivated me, and I will be keeping my eyes open for more of their work. 'Blame' can be streamed via Soundcloud or you can view the official video on their YouTube channel.

'Blame' video
'Blame' SoundCloud

 

 

For more MaWayy, check out their socials and official website.

Facebook / Twitter / Website

 


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.... we would like to inform you about The Old School Project's operation. Over time, the number of people interested in The Old School Project has steadily increased. Unlike other websites and online media, the core of The Old School Project is not the well-known journalists and radio producers, but the young people in the field of journalism who nevertheless worthy of their place. Therefore, the resources for running The Old School Project, which requires time, money and hard work, come only from its physical place, the coffeehouse.

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Interview with MaWay

 

Good day, gentlemen. I hope you are well. Thanks for chatting with me, I appreciate it. Shall we begin?

Now, we can see that MaWayy is a combination of your names Masoud and Wayy, but did you throw about any other names for your group before settling on MaWayy?

Not really. We’ve been thinking about it for a while, but Brian’s 13-year-old daughter said: 'Hey Dad, what’s your partner’s name?' He said Masoud, and she immediately replied: 'how about MaWayy.' We both loved it!

Something I find particularly fascinating about MaWayy is that you produce music without having met each other and living in separate countries. What are the challenges of this?

It can make it a little difficult because we cannot sit together and play some chords or have fun with it 'til we find the magical chord progression. Since there is a big latency in communication, between two sides of the world, we can’t play live behind our computers and even FaceTime gets boring after a while. So, it has to be sent by email to get the stems.

It isn’t a bad thing because when we get up in the morning, we’re always expecting an exciting email or text from each other since the other party was working while one’s sleeping. Sometimes it is a solid instrumental, and sometimes it’s a new playlist placement!

While there may be challenges, are there any benefits to having a long-distance music relationship, if we could call it that?

It gives us time to really think about what we both want to create. The best part is that we get surprised every time by one another- new inspirations require patience. Distance has really taught us both that.

Living on other sides of the world, how did you 'meet' each other?

Brian Wayy released a CD called XCultures, and Masoud Fuladi got a hold of the CD in Iran then emailed Brian saying he was a huge fan of his music. Brian asked Masoud what he did and asked him to make music, which then grabbed his attention due to the quality of performance. Masoud started composing music for television with Brian. A year later, Brian asked him if he wanted to start a project together. They went out and found lyrics writers and singers that fit their brand, which then created MaWayy.

Each of you has a strong background in the music industry, can you tell us about your history?

Brian was a live musician and toured with major ska and pop bands, also remixing pop artists into the dance club mixes. When he met Masoud, he found that creating dance music truly was something that sparked passion back into his soul.

After Masoud's underground music career, producing trance and progressive, supported by stars like Armin van Buuren, he wanted to expand his musical vision and knew that collaborating long-term with Brian would be the best opportunity. This became the foundation which began their journey with MaWayy.

You released a single called 'Blame' in 2018, what can you tell me about the track? What inspired the track?

We started an instrumental like a progressive. A big room kind of sound, and collaborated with LaVoyce - a singer/songwriter from Dallas. The song happened to be so good that we wanted to match a better style with it. So we tried to change the production a little bit, but it didn't go well; then we changed it completely to bass music.

LaVoyce told us: 'when I wrote the song I was just thinking about love and how complicated it can be, and that’s what came out. I have an organic way of writing where I don’t write anything. I only record right in the moment, so everything that comes out is authentic and true.'

Living in two countries - I know I come back to this, but how do you feel the separate cultures influence your music, if at all?

We’re making international music which does not have much influence from any country. It sounds like pop-dance genre or this day’s EDM, so we don’t think there’s cultural influences in our music. Yeah, maybe in some chords somewhere in our songs, but not in general.

Do you have any specific artists that influence your sound?

Definitely, today's Top 40 chart music helps our career as a group, but individually we stick to the old tunes that give us goosebumps! Brian is influenced by any great music. Masoud is influenced by Vangelis, Pink Floyd, and Late Night Alumni.

Can you describe your recording process for 'Blame'? How does it all work from a digital perspective?

In general, we compose tracks and send them to top-liners, and usually, they come up with lyrics. Once we approve the lyrics, they record their vocals and email them to us. We then fix any vocal flaws and modify the music a little, and then mix and master them for the final release. We record many songs before we release our favourite.

MaWayy also released a lyrical music video for 'Blame'. Who created the video and how did you come up with the idea?

Well, lyrics videos are popular these days, and we decided to try it on 'Blame'. We found this amazing company called Red Cat Motion in Vietnam, and we connected with them. We knew it should be more than only lyrics, so we asked Leo DINH (the director) to make a 2D-3D animated lyrics video for us, and he was so passionate about this project. As you see, there is a car chasing scene, and even our vectored pictures are in the video. We had many brainstorming sessions, and the relationship between us made this video stand out compared to other videos.

Your first single 'Wrong' was released in 2017, then 'Blame' in 2018. Can we expect another single this year?

We have recorded at least ten tracks and have a completed video that has not been released to the public. Currently, we have ten songs in the pipeline. Since we are now signed to Kobalt Distribution, we are going to be releasing more new songs in the near future quicker than our previously.

'Wrong' reached #42 on the Billboard Dance Charts, and now 'Blame' is steadily rising (#18 at the time of this interview). What was your reaction when you saw you were on Billboard again?

Yeah, we peaked #18 on the Billboard Dance Charts! That has been really exciting for us! One of the best feelings in the entire world is knowing that we are making an impact on our listeners and people dancing in clubs to our songs. We hope to continue to accomplish that.

So, what are your plans for 2019? Do you think there will ever be a meeting of Ma and Wayy?

We truly hope so! You never know what may be in store for us next - we may be touring. ;)

And that's it! Thanks so much, once again. Wishing you all the best with your endeavours, and I'm certainly going to keep my ears open for more from MaWayy.


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Written by Nicole Mendes / Germany - Norden

My name is Nicole and I am a South African-born music writer currently based in Norden, Germany. For several years I have worked with award-winning indie music blogs conducting reviews, reported on breaking festival news, but my specialism is interviewing.  I currently work as editor-in-chief for an indie music blog I founded where I specialise in interviews with independent artists.

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As a writer, I like to think artists enjoy answering interview questions as much as I enjoy reading the responses. Yes, I know I'm only another bunch of questions from a chick they don't know and will forget immediately. If there's a follow-up asking for the responses, I progress to an annoying lil' shit with stupid questions which they forget immediately. Luckily, there are those that allow me to revel in my delusional bliss of thinking I'm special, even if it's only for a few moments.

Despite being on tour, Offended By Everything's frontman Zak Howe dealt with an onslaught of questions without making me feel like too much of an annoying lil' shit (or at least he hid it exceptionally well!). Talking about their new EP, tours and tuna eyeballs, here is what he had to say:

Hey Zak, thanks for speaking with me. I know you're busy, so I'll attempt to keep this short. Shall we begin?

I hate asking this question, but people coming across this interview might not know who you or OBE are. So, who are you and who are Offended By Everything?

We’re a group of guys who’d probably never have met each other or be friends if it weren’t for music. I think that’s our message somewhat. Just let go and let life take its course! As for me, I’m just a dude who likes cheap beer and fun shows with the people I love.

How did OBE come together?

Jarrett and our ex-bassist Jason started the project with an intent of just playing a few local shows, coincidentally! I found out about them after I saw an Instagram ad and shot my shot with an audition! We then filled the rest of our line-up with the help of Craigslist online, funny enough.

You recently released an EP called Evergreen. What can you tell me about it?

Evergreen is a really fun record in the way that it kind of created the sound we’ve always been trying to find and be comfortable with. It’s definitely something different, and we’re all incredibly proud of it.

What was the recording process of Evergreen like?

Recording it was a looooong process; took almost a year for five songs. We were definitely our biggest critics during the whole ordeal, but that's because we wanted something no one else had! We’d spend a ton of time arguing and tweaking the SMALLEST things, and ultimately the end product was totally worth it.

Does the EP have a central theme on which it's built or do the tracks have separate meanings?

There’s not really a central theme that I can confidently say exists. What I have gathered through my own personal experience writing the record with my buddies is that it’s about how rough things can be at any point of your life. You can wallow in it forever, or you can move on and realise you’ve got at least a few years left in your life, can’t waste it on anything that doesn’t work for you!

Your EP made the Billboard charts at the end of Jan. What was your reaction when you saw that?

Seeing us on Billboard was NUTS. In the upcoming days of the release, we all had a discussion on how we wanted that to happen and how we’d do it. Plus, seeing our name above The Smashing Pumpkins was TIGHT.

Evergreen is a bit heavier than Never Too Late To Start Again incorporating more metal, screamo, and alternative rock along with pop-punk. How do you find your fans are reacting to this change, and can we expect more of this amalgamation of genres from OBE?

I think our fans love the change, maybe because we do. I think when bands put out music that’s more in their 'wheelhouse', the fans and friends notice it too, and it makes it even more special. My grandma’s face during 'Deadweight' was priceless though when I showed her.

Now musicians often say they love all the songs on an EP or have a favorite, but which is your least favorite on Evergreen and why that one?

I think my least favorite song is 'I’m Gone'. Not because it's bad by any means, we just sat on that song for SO LONG while we put our ducks in a row. I’ve probably heard it at least 400 times. *laughs*

You're currently on tour with Chin Up, Kid. What can people expect from the performances?

People that have seen us before know what to expect - high energy, a plethora of 'dad jokes', and a lot of smiles. To those that haven’t seen us yet, they’ll see what I mean!

What is the most exciting thing about being in a band?

The most exciting part of being in a band is when people at a show, on the internet, or even in person tell you how much your music means to them. It’s the best feeling in the world. I’ve never really been exceedingly talented my entire life, so hearing these affirmations from people that I’ve helped in some way is honestly the best.


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I heard you're a bit of a foodie, so I did a little research and found some "interesting" food items. Tell me if you'd eat them.

- Barbeque bat?

BBQ Bat? Depends on the sauce.

- Oreo cookie pancakes?

How could I not know something as beautiful as this exists? I’ll eat 50.

- Spaghetti tacos?

Don’t get me started on spaghetti tacos. When I lived alone in my apartment when I was 19 all I seemed to have was taco shells and spaghetti. So, yeah, I guess I may have already tried them. *laughs*

- Pickled pig feet?

Isn’t that an Irish dish or something? I mean if it just tastes like pickles with pork, I might be down to give it a shot.

- Tuna eyeballs?

Miss me with that one, dude. I HATE SEAFOOD and I can’t imagine eating an eyeball would help me get over that.

How would your bandmates describe you?

Probably a little over dramatic with decision making, but apparently they know I have good intentions (I HOPE). I am known to be more of a dad figure on tour because these goofballs love to come up with the worst 'would you rather?' questions on the road. At home though? Not so much. *laughs*

How do you deal with performance anxiety?

Luckily, I’ve never had to deal with anxiety too bad when on stage. I mean, the way I see it, I’m proud of our songs. I have nothing to hide on stage!

If you could play any venue with any artist, where and with who?

I’d love to play Chain Reaction in Los Angeles, California with The Story So Far. It’s their hometown, and I know it’d be awesome.

Finally, many inquiring minds want to know, how did you become so charming?

*laughs* That credit goes to my mother. She raised me to treat everyone with love and respect. She’s also my biggest supporter. Love you, Mama!

And that's it! Thanks so much for speaking with me, Zak. Good luck with the tour and can't wait to see you when you get to Europe!

Thank you so much. Hopefully, we’ll see you soon!


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Written by Nicole Mendes / Germany - Norden

My name is Nicole and I am a South African-born music writer currently based in Norden, Germany. For several years I have worked with award-winning indie music blogs conducting reviews, reported on breaking festival news, but my specialism is interviewing.  I currently work as editor-in-chief for an indie music blog I founded where I specialise in interviews with independent artists.

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Wednesday, 27 March 2019 10:17

Skinner's Lane New Release "Once Again"

Back with a bang, the up and coming Skinner's Lane released their latest single “Once Again” on March 22nd. Similar to their previous tracks, their latest release has caused ripples in the rock scene due to it’s heartfelt message and heavy guitar riffs that are reminiscent of the early punk scene in England. There is also a hint of Indie/Alternative vibes throughout the song, which could be a nod towards the likes of The Arctic Monkeys, who started out playing similar gig circuits to Skinner's Lane.

Once Again begins with a catchy Riff that immediately becomes entwined into your head, the almost mesmerising sound is only heightened by the explosive drums and hard hitting bass line. The song itself is perhaps an oxymoron. The wild and upbeat sound creates a happy and positive vibe while the emotive lyrics add a layer of depth which showcases the talent the boys have at its best. Each instrument works together to compliment the severity of the lyrics, and not one outdoes the other. Drummer Sander Valset works hard to keep the upbeat tempo, while Zak croons away in the way that only he can. Perhaps it’s the accent that keeps the listeners

interested or maybe it’s the way he words things, either way, all I can say is that he keeps us hooked. Bassist Chris Jones provides the stability throughout the song which makes this an easy and exciting song to listen too.

“It’s not okay the way you talk to me”. I’m sure that this line made you think of someone who doesn't treat you how you should be treated. It’s witty one liners like this that capture the attention of the listeners and evoke emotion from them, whether in be sadness or something else all together. The way that these lyrics were crafted immediately makes them memorable and intoxicating to listen too.

Overall, Skinner's Lane did not come to play with their latest single “Once Again”. The slightly more punk sound propels this hit into another level all together. The way that this band so easily flits between more than one genre of music makes it easily popular with people who have a wider variety of taste. Another great song delivered- when will the next be released?

Rai Kah Mercury fell in love with a feeling, and I fell in love with their song. Does that mean I fell in love with a feeling? Yes, I guess...I think. Anyway, it wasn't after the chorus or the first couple of verses, but immediately when Tomas Crean started singing. A voice far mature than his years (he's only 18) and reminiscent of Alex Turner or old-school Jon Fratelli. However, it's not just his voice that will make you do a double-take, it's the band's skilful handling of their instruments.

I'm getting ahead of myself; let me first introduce you to this talented rock and roll band from Staffordshire. Led by Tomas Crean on guitar and vocals, Reece Shaefer (bass), Joshua Anthony Lowe (drums) and Nathan De Giorgi (keys) started navigating the world of blues-rock in 2016. In the past three years, Rai Kah Mercury released a single called 'Terror Incognita', received airplay from BBC Introducing West Midlands and Switch Radio, and have been added to Spotify's 'Discover Weekly'. Fans constantly praise RKM for their live performances, which explains their packed gigs.

As you can sense, I'm quite a fan of 'I Fell In Love With A Feeling' from the beginning to end; however, it's the final minutes that truly astound me. A seven-minute-long song, it's surprising I made it to the end given my short attention span. The thing is, you need to keep listening to enjoy the pure joy that is Tom Crean's guitar. I mean him playing the guitar, of course, although I'm sure the guitar itself is lovely. He's no Santana or Eric Clapton, but the expertise with which he plays that instrument is mesmerising. It's hard to believe Crean and his clan are so young based on the maturity of their sound. If this song is anything to go by, in a few years they'll be a true force of nature.

 


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So to continue to provide our services to upcoming bands / artists, giving the opportunity to new journalists publish their articles, and to develop our innovative ideas, we ask you to devote a minute of your time and become a part of The Old School Project.


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Chatting With Rai Kah Mercury

 

Hello gentlemen, I hope everyone's enjoying their week. Thanks for chatting with me. I appreciate the time out. So, shall we begin?

Yes, thanks so much for inviting us.

Firstly, how did you choose the band name, Rai Kah Mercury? It's quite an unusual one.

Nothing magical. We didn't go through any meaningful process or any divine inspiration, just threw a few things out and this one stuck. I guess we were looking for something that didn't define us by the name. Some band names immediately clue you into what genre of music you are likely to get, and as our music is going to be fairly broad in appeal we didn't want a name that defined us from day one.

How did RKM come together?

We are now a four-piece having recently introduced keys, which has really helped in the studio and live. Tomas (guitar/vocal), Reece (bass) and Nathan (keys) went to school together since the age of four up to sixteen. That means we are like brothers, you know, loving each other but irritating the hell out of each other too!

We had a primary school band called Toxic Crocodiles and played a couple of gigs at school, at a local festival and at parties. ToxCrocs fizzled out when we went on to high school, but we'd put down a marker and knew we wanted to continue somehow. We would jam together in the high school studio, cranked up so loud that our ears are still paying the price today. Many of the songs now in our set were born there.

Tomas had a job after school, and that's where he met Josh (drums). The guys booked some studio time together, and Rai Kah Mercury was born. We played a number of open mic evenings before our very first booked gig supporting Rascalton in Coventry in November 2017.

You're a young band, not only in the time you've been together but also young in age. Do you think that your youth is a benefit or disadvantage when it comes to making music?

That's a really tough question! We don't dwell too much on it, but we take a mature approach to our music and audience. We find ourselves at home with the indie crowd as much as with mature rock audiences.

It is a disadvantage to the extent that three of us are university students and one works all over the place, so it's harder to get together, but we tend to turn that to our advantage by being more focused and selective about when we rehearse and increasingly with the gigs we play.

When we were starting out we would surprise people who were expecting something different from a young band, but that advantage doesn't last long. We look back at bands we like, and some of them were as young as us when they were making successful albums. You think of Free, for instance, who had 'All Right Now' off their third album and were the same ages as we are now. We want no excuses made for our age.

Have any of you performed in bands previously or have a musical background?

As mentioned, three of us had a primary school band that morphed into RKM. Tomas also recorded some solo stuff from before his voice broke which was a great experience of working in a studio. Josh had played percussion for his church ensemble and also had some experience of live production work with them.

Nathan is the A* virtuoso, or primo uomo of the band; he has performed in musical theatre and can play a variety of instruments to grade 8 standard. Oh, and he’s a music student at the University of Oxford, so it's great to have that different angle in the creative process.

The single 'Terror Incognita' was released last year. Did you have any challenges when it came to writing and recording the track?

We were recommended to work with Ryan Pinson of RML Studios in Wolverhampton, and working with him on 'Terror Incognita' was a breath of fresh air. He 'gets' us and is very hands-on while also being receptive and creative. We wouldn't change a thing with that track.

Initially intended as an acoustic track, Tomas had written the riff a number of years prior to bringing it to the band; however, in one session roughly a year ago, the song entirely transformed into the energy that is recognisable in how it sounds today.

When we hit the studio, it was all about getting the sound right, creating the ambience we wanted, and our luck was in with Ryan. It makes us realise how important the producer is to the process.

Now let's talk about your single, 'I Fell In Love With A Feeling'. What can you tell me about the song; what's the meaning behind it and how did it come about?

This is a fresher tune conceived more recently and very different to 'Terror Incognita'. It is more upbeat, funky and melodic; the instruments are more separated than on Terror. A feature of our live performances is that many of our songs develop from verses and choruses into explosive jams, and this song perfectly showcases that.

Lyrically it has a dreamlike, stream of consciousness quality, nothing too deep; but it’s about taking a step back and generally appreciating the things that the pace of life has made so easy to overlook.

Do you feel it was easier to record the new single after gaining experience from 'Terror Incognita'?

To an extent. Working with Ryan on Terror gave us confidence that it would be a good outcome, but the studio process was perhaps more challenging than the experience with Terror. We arrived at the studio only a matter of days after first practising the track, so the studio process was really about us starting from scratch and shaping how we wanted the track to sound, as opposed to the preconceived ideas present with 'Terror Incognita'.

I've listened to the track, and the first thing I notice is it's almost seven minutes long. Do you think it wise to release something that length considering people are all about immediate gratification nowadays?

The track length doesn't concern us at all. Many of our influences put out tracks much longer, and their fans relish that. When we play it live it seems to go by in a flash. The length of the track wasn’t discussed beforehand, and it only found itself to be 6:40 after a spontaneous one-take guitar solo that we loved and didn’t have the heart to cut. It’s all about the integrity of the music and doing justice to any given song. We have been asked for a radio edit for the new song, and we've had to do that as it's too important at this stage not to say no and not have the track aired, so we have had to compromise and fade out the closing jam which hurts, but a necessary evil at the moment.

The guitar solo in 'I Fell In Love With A Feeling' is truly mesmerising, something I'd expect from a far more experienced guitarist. Tomas, was it difficult to compose and record the solo? Also, how long have you been playing the guitar (so that I can be more flabbergasted)?

Thank you for that! I’d be lying if I said that the solo was composed, I don’t know if I could even play the same solo twice. We recorded a long outro rhythm section with the intention of the solo fading out much earlier, but one spontaneous solo take later, and the track was 6:40 minutes long.

We'll speak for Tomas in saying that playing the solo is probably the easiest thing he has to do; it just flows out of him. He first picked up a guitar when he was around six years old, and is self-taught, concentrating on feel as much as, if not more, than technique.

Who would you say are your greatest musical inspirations?

We have some common influences among the members. Those that resonate with us all are Free, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Radiohead, The Verve and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Truthfully speaking, our tastes are far more broad then those stated, but what navigates what we want to achieve is the spirit that these artists encapsulate. None of them are particularly ‘showy’, it's all about the music: timeless and meaningful.

If you were planning a headline tour, who would you like to have as your supporting acts?

That's a really tough one, especially when you're trying to move up from the bottom rung of the ladder We'd love to say bands like Shame or IDLES, but let's not get above ourselves! Looking at bands we've played with who are maybe one or two steps up, then we'd love to put any of Ivory Wave, Valeras, Rascalton and our mates at Violet on the bill.

I've read that RKM is quite a formidable live act, so what advice would you give to a band that is just beginning to do gigs?

Invest in suitable gear, that doesn't mean expensive, just suitable. You need to be self-reliant when the occasion demands, and make sure you've got spares (guitar, strings, sticks etc.).

Turn up on time for sound check and don't let the sound guy ruin your night. Know what you want and how to get it without pissing off the engineer; they can be your best friend or your worst nightmare.

Have everything sorted with the promoter well in advance as you want to spend the time after the show talking with fans not remonstrating with the promoter about any misunderstandings.

So, 'I Fell In Love With A Feeling' has been released, but what else does 2019 hold for Rai Kah Mercury?

We have another single mixed and ready to release. It’s something that many wouldn’t expect, but hopefully, it’s our first marker of intent that we’re a band wanting to venture into multiple avenues while retaining a distinctive sound throughout the music.

We have countless tunes ready to record when we are able to get back in the studio; it's just a question of prioritising them. So, hopefully, there'll be a few more singles this year. At the moment we are taking that route rather than an EP.

There will be gigs of course, and we are looking to break out of our home base of the Birmingham scene, starting with a gig in Manchester on 27 April.

That's it! Thanks so much for chatting me with guys, and I wish you all the best for the rest of the year.

Thank you too, your support means a lot to us, and it's great having you along for the ride, let's see where we can take it!

To enjoy more of Rai Kah Mercury's music, check out their Facebook or Reverbnation.

*links: https://www.reverbnation.com/rpk/raikahmercury
https://www.facebook.com/raikahmercury/


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Written by Nicole Mendes / Germany - Norden

My name is Nicole and I am a South African-born music writer currently based in Norden, Germany. For several years I have worked with award-winning indie music blogs conducting reviews, reported on breaking festival news, but my specialism is interviewing.  I currently work as editor-in-chief for an indie music blog I founded where I specialise in interviews with independent artists.

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