Category: Interviews

April 5th, 2019

Photo by Pooneh Ghana

Lennon Stella is best known for playing Maddie Conrad on Nashville. This young artist comes from a musical family. Her parents are Brad and MaryLynne Stella who are known as the duo, The Stellas.

With the ending of Nashville, Lennon Stella signed a recording contract and released her EP Love, me. The EP includes songs “La Di Da”, “Breakaway” “Bad” and more. Her latest song is “Bitch”

Stella is on her headlining tour now and will be touring with The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds to Summer this Fall. Stella is a new voice to a younger generation of country fans. For info visit https://www.lennonstella.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Love, me EP?

LS: I’m such a perfectionist, and I put a bunch of pressure on myself to make the perfect first impression and project.

FEMMUSIC: What did you learn while making Love, me that you would do differently the next time around?

LS: Looking back now after seeing how the world reacted to Love, me, I would have a little more trust in myself and my instincts.

FEMMUSIC: What made you sign with Records LLC/Columbia Records? What benefits has it brought? How are they to work with?

LS: To me, equally as important if not more important than the business side of things, is that I surround myself with a solid group of humans. I instantly felt like that was the case with RECORDS/Columbia Records. Signing with them has allowed me to share my music with more people than I would have had the ability to reach on my own.

FEMMUSIC: What advice have your parents given you about being a solo artist and touring?

LS: To always stay true to myself and trust in my instincts.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? Can you tell me about your song writing retreat in Nicaragua? What did it bring out that might not have happened elsewhere?

LS: My songwriting technique depends on how I’m feeling that day, typically I write with one producer and one co-writer. The writing retreat in Nicaragua were some of my favorite days of my life, it was the most inspiring trip. Being surrounded by the most talented and amazing people was so special. That writing trip felt like there was less pressure than other writing sessions. It was more like friends hanging out and creating music for the fun of it, which led to me writing two of the five songs on my EP (“La Di Da” and “Breakaway”).

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

LS: “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. This song, no matter how many times I listen to it, re-inspires me every time.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

LS: I personally haven’t struggled, but I know a lot of people who have and I think it’s important we support one another.

FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?

LS: Stevie Nicks, because she’s always been a massive inspiration to me as a strong woman and as an artist.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

LS: If I could change anything about the music industry right now, it would be to have more trust in artists and their vision. And no more liners. : )

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March 7th, 2019

rosie_carney

Struggle. Perseverance. Challenge. These are just a few words to describe what Rosie Carney has been through to make music. She was discovered at 16 by Universal Music’s Polydor. She faced an industry machine that wanted her co-write, change her name and be remade. At 18 she left the label and walked away. What followed was years of depression, anxiety and trauma.

In January she released Bare on Akira Records. The album is minimalist and soaked in emotion. Instead of walking away Carney has emerged a better songwriter, musician and is on a track to success. The album includes tracks “Orchid”, “Zoey” and “Thousand.”

This Irish artist fills the craving for Joni Mitchell and Laura Marling fans. For info visit https://rosiecarney.com/

FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Bare?

RC: Some of the experiences that inspired the songs were very challenging, to say the least, but I’m so happy I could take each one and turn it into this body of work.

rosie_carney album cover

FEMMUSIC: What made you want to return to music and what role does music play in your life?

RC: Music has always been a constant in my life—it plays an essential role. I feel it makes me who I am. Not just the creative aspect, but even listening to it. Music is in my life every day. Whether I’m listening to it or creating it. It shapes most of my day.

FEMMUSIC: The last 8 years sound like an incredible arc in your life. How do you view that time and how have you overcome it?

RC: Obviously at the time, it was all very hard, and sometimes very amazing. I think it’s all played such a crucial part in who I am now. I am grateful for every experience I’ve had to endure, mostly the negative ones. They’ve given me strength and taught me so many valuable lessons I’ve been lucky enough to learn at such a young age. Not to say that I’m lucky to have gone through very hard times, I just feel that it was important and I’m lucky to have gained the perspective I have now.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

RC: Lighting is a very important part of my songwriting. I usually try to create an ambience of sorts in whatever environment I’m in. It’s usually dark with a very faint, soft light, then I’ll come up with a melody, usually on the guitar, to which I will sing and record some gibberish over. Usually then when I listen back, I can make sense of it. It’s like I allow thoughts to just flow freely straight from my subconscious.

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

RC: Although it might sound rather pretentious, “Clair De Lune” by Claude Debussy is definitely one of them. I just remember hearing it for the first time, I felt so taken aback by the fact that I could connect so strongly with a piece of music. It taught me how important a melody is and that how sometimes instrumentals have the power to say so much without using a single word.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

RC: Being consistently undermined in terms of ability and contribution to a conversation, whether it be writing, singing or recording music. When confidence and belief in your work is construed as bossy or hysterical. Feeling patronized in terms of originality of ideas that are taken into the studio. Specifically as a young women, being treated as an object i.e. being persuaded to use our physical image as a means to success.

FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?

RC: Justin Vernon, because he is just amazing.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

RC: Sexism.

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March 1st, 2019

Jesse Palter

Jesse Palter has had a long evolution for someone so young. Originally from Detroit, Palter is now an LA artist. She comes from jazz roots and is expanding to new frontiers quickly. She has worked with her Jesse Palter and the Palter Ego, and also had a previous release. She recently released The Paper Trail EP, which will be released as a full album at a later time. One stunning track from the album is “Heavy Is the Crown”

FEMMUSIC spoke to her about the release, LA and things to come. For info visit http://www.jessepalter.com/

FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making The Paper Trail EP?

JP: The biggest challenge was actually getting the record deal, which made the entire project possible. Although the label had been following my career for a long time, we only began serious conversations about becoming an artist on their roster in early 2015. At that time, I had just completed a record of my original compositions with my jazz quartet and I intended to release that record. But then the label approached me with the idea of writing a solo singer/songwriter record, and it was something I always hoped I’d do so I saw it as a huge opportunity. I had the label’s ear, but they didn’t want to sign anything until they heard the music. I made a promise to myself that I was going to write music every day and I wasn’t going to stop until they offered me a deal, but I don’t have a recording rig, so I had to find a way to get this music recorded on a shoestring budget. At first, I was paying friends to record demos, but I hit a prolific stride and the label kept wanting to hear more. So in an effort to keep funneling them music, I began to do more co-writes with friends who had studios so I could record the demos. I wrote so many songs and recorded so many demos over the course of that year, that they finally they offered the deal in 2016. Once signatures were on the paper, they were very supportive of my vision, it just took a lot of proving to get to that place. We recorded a full album (12 songs) but the label decided to start off by releasing an EP (so there’s more where that came from!).

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Doug Petty. How did you meet? What made you decide to have him produce the EP? How was he to work with?

JP: An A&R at the label had mentioned Doug’s name as a producer he thought I might collaborate well. I took it upon myself to do my research and reached out to see if he would take a meeting with me. I actually found out he was playing a gig at a venue close by and I showed up to introduce myself. After a nice chat, he offered to listen to my music and give some feedback and I went to his studio the next day. I think halfway into the first song he said “I’m in!”. So he was a part of the picture before the deal was even on the table, and I think having a producer in place helped the label actualize the vision. Doug is very much a scientist with his approach to production. He brought a lot of sonic ideas to the table and he helped elevate my ideas. My concepts are definitely steeped in my love of songwriting – the story of the song, the intention behind the song, what it’s supposed to feel like in my bones and soul when I sing it and when I listen to it. It took us a second to find our collaborative groove, but we got there and it was great. I learned a lot from watching him in the studio, he’s very cool, calm and collected. I now try to carry some of that energy with me when I’m in sessions. When we were making the record, it helped with morale and putting everybody involved in the project at ease.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Artisty Music and Mack Avenue Records. What made you decide to sign with them? How are they to work with?

JP: I have strong jazz roots and a good chunk of my professional career as a performer has been in a straight-ahead jazz setting, and they are a jazz label in the process of expanding their roster to other genres. It made sense to me to sign with a label that understands all facets of me as a musician and a writer, and they do. They place a strong emphasis on being artist friendly and that was very appealing to me too.

FEMMUSIC: How do you think you’ve evolved as an artist from your prior works with Palter Ego, and from Beginning to See the Light? Is there anything you wish you’d learned earlier?

JP: I’m always working on learning and getting better at all aspects of this craft. I’ve done a lot of growing since the days of Palter Ego, though that band is also a huge part of my story and I wouldn’t be the musician or person I am today if Sam Barsh and I hadn’t worked so closely together on both that music and the business side of the hustle as well. He continues to be a big source of inspiration for me and we still write and perform music together, which I’m grateful for. Beginning To See The Light was actually sort of a glorified demo. We went into the studio to record some music to send to venues to book gigs, and we ended up keeping the tape rolling and ultimately played enough songs to make an album. I didn’t know at the time of recording we were going to release it (and that it was going to live on the internet for eternity). I would’ve done things differently if I would’ve known that, but I’m thankful that people relate to that record and that I got to document a moment with those musicians who are also my dear friends. It opened up a lot of doors for me. As far as what I wish I learned earlier, there’s no real rulebook to being successful in this industry. I think the people that learn that early on, and aren’t afraid to think outside the box, ask for help and guidance and put themselves out there are the ones who are killing it. Nobody wants it more than you, you are your best advocate. Find your lane and go go go.

FEMMUSIC: You’ve been in LA for coming on a decade. How has the scene changed you and your music?

JP: Whoa, that’s crazy! I didn’t realize until now it has been almost a decade! I remember moving out here like it was yesterday. I was super young, I had never lived so far from home and I came out here on a mission. I remember right when I got here I went to see The Belle Brigade (Ethan and Barbara Gruska’s band at the time) at Satellite. There was a line wrapped around the venue to get in and I thought “holy crap! People are REALLY doing it out here!” People are making art at a very high level, and anything goes. The music I was hearing in my head expanded when I got out here, genre lines blurred, scenes melded together – there’s no ceiling. No gigs are throwaways. Even playing background music in dark lit corners, you don’t know who’s listening because it’s Los Angeles! If you make one good connection a night, you’re moving the needle.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

JP: I can’t say I have one technique, though maybe it’d make my job easier if I did. Whatever it takes to get the song out really. I have tricks if I feel stuck in a rut. I’ll go for a run or go hiking to be in nature. I like to sit at coffee shops in LA and do a bit of people watching (errrrr, eavesdropping). It’s different if I’m writing by myself or in a collaborative setting. If I’m cowriting, I try to be open-minded and check my ego at the door for the sake of making the best song possible. I’ve learned not to be afraid to share my ideas out loud, even when I feel like they might be bad (I’ve also learned there’s really no such thing as a bad idea, just a better one). That can be a very vulnerable aspect of cowriting. When I’m writing by myself, anything goes. The piano is my tool to help me get it out, but sometimes I need to step away from the piano so my fingers don’t go to a place of comfort. The only common denominator every time I write, which is both daunting and thrilling, is that it starts with a blank page. That’s really all I’m certain of after all this time of doing it! And that’s partly what keeps me coming back, is this element of magic, a mysterious blend of hard work and muse and quite frankly I’m addicted to the feeling when it’s finished. The feeling of: “I just did that! This thing that started out as an idea, or a thought, or a feeling turned into a melody and a chord structure, and it all works in tandem to make me feel things at a far more heightened sense than if melody, harmony and lyric weren’t all firing off at the same time to tell this story. And how did that even happen?” I think the lyric is just as important as the melody, and the melody is just as important as the groove, and so on and so forth and it doesn’t come to me in any particular order. It feels most natural to me when I’m not overthinking it, so I actually guess the technique is getting out of my own way and allowing the music to do the talking.

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

JP: I don’t think I could pick one. I can tell you I felt destroyed the first time I heard “Blue” by Joni Mitchell. I had a boyfriend at the time who was sick with cancer and I was having a difficult time processing all of my feelings. I must’ve been 15 and it felt like too much real life stuff for a teenager. And then his mom actually played me “Blue” and I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. I felt like I wasn’t alone for the first time in a while and I remember thinking “okay, how can I do THAT?”. I wore that CD out that summer. I also felt that same feeling when I was in middle school and heard “Kind Of Blue” by Miles Davis for the first time. My band instructor let me borrow his trumpet and I spent the summer learning to play so I could be in the jazz band. Similar thing when I heard “Songs In The Key Of Life” and “Abbey Road”. Different songs make me think of different markers in my life and at this point it is clearly impossible for me to pick one.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

JP: I have had my share of powerful male types flexing their egos, making inappropriate comments and gestures, mansplaining, etc. When I was coming up in the scene, I would often reach out to other musicians to network and sometimes that drive would be misconstrued. It wasn’t always easy and I still come across it. Just the other day, I reached out to someone I thought I was establishing a professional relationship with, and the conversation went south because I wasn’t willing to get to know him outside of music. But screw that, we can’t let that get in our way and we all know now more than ever the future is female!

FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?

JP: I think about this all of the time and again, it’s hard to pick just one. Jon Brion, Greg Kurstin, Blake Mills, Linda Perry – I love all of their writing and production. I think my music would work really well opening for an artist like John Mayer, and I just think he’s a phenomenal writer and rad guitarist. Like if John Mayer co-wrote and played some rhythm guitar on a song with me! Wew! That’d be fire.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

JP: I’d like to see more people being kind to each other, lifting each other up, being honest with one another about the challenges we face as creative professionals, and being genuinely happy for one another for our accomplishments. We’re all in this together and our greatest power is in community!

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March 1st, 2019
alex lilly

Photo by David Black

Alex Lilly released 2% Milk in January. It has the striking quality of being released under her own name. You may not have heard Lilly’s name but guaranteed you’ve seen her on tour with artists including Beck, Lorde, the bird and the bee. She has also been playing with a number of bands including Obi Best, Touché, Zero DeZire, and The Living Sisters.

2% Milk includes the singles “Distracting Me” and “Pornographic Mind”

The songs have pop hooks mixed with sharp lyrics that entice and excite. The album was produced by Andy Bauer and Jacob Bercovici. It is released on Inara George’s Release Me Records. Lilly is currently touring opening for The Kolars. For info visit https://www.alexlillyland.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making 2% Milk?

AL: Mixing the record was tricky because there were a lot of parts, both soft synths and real instruments. We started with my demos and added to them. I like doing this because then you maintain the original vibe of the song. The downside is maybe some of those tracks you recorded earlier are not high fidelity (I.E. recording in a cabin in Canada on your laptop) and so it makes the mixing of the record more challenging.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Inara George. I see you’ve toured with her in The Bird and the Bee. You’re obviously signed to her label Release Me Records. She also directed the video for “Pornographic Mind.” How has your relationship grown with her? What made you decide to join Release Me Records?

AL: Inara and I have had so many experiences together – it’s pretty goddamn special. I joined the bird and the bee’s touring band as a youngster and then we wrote and sang together in The Living Sisters, started a lewd theatrical band called Zero DeZire, and so much more. Not to mention all the personal stuff (like going on trips and getting to know her kids and her family) Inara is a brilliant songwriter and singer but she has multiple sides. She has an entrepreneurial streak for sure. She’s a curious and creative person and I think she started this label to sign her friends but also to see how the experiment would play out. I teamed up with her because she’s a wizard.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your producers Andy Bauer & Jacob Bercovici. How did you meet them? What made you decide to work with them on the album?

AL: I knew Andy from the band Twin Shadow. We worked together on my song “Firefly” when I was staying in New York for a few months. I trust his aesthetic sense and he’s a really sweet, interesting dude. Jacob Bercovici I’ve known for many years and I’ve always liked his music. He’s not a shy producer which I value. In the past I’ve worked with pretty hands-off kinds of musicians. Jake gets his hands dirty and is creative and there’s not too much pressure to be perfect. I can get easily stressed in the studio so I appreciated his mentality.

FEMMUSIC: How important is it to you to release an album under your own name? Did you approach this project differently because it was?

AL: Well I wanted to go under an alias and I had it all picked out but Inara said, “No! Go under your name”. She’s a ballbuster, that one. I’m glad I did because I don’t think there’s a need for a line of separation between this particular music and other musical ventures. To me it feels like so much exposure but to everyone else, it’s just a name.

alex lilly 2 percent milk

FEMMUSIC: You’ve toured with a number of big name acts. What did that touring teach you as a musician?

AL: Performances are not end products. They happen and then they’re done. Even if they’re on video, everything is captured nowadays so things being captured means less. You can always change it up for the next show. The most important thing you should do is be completely present. You can make mistakes- it’s amazing what a little charm can do.

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

AL: Oh nooooo, you are cruel to ask this of me. Can I say the main theme from the opera “Carmen”? My mom heard me outside on my swing set singing this as a 5-year-old. So I think my love of music started here. That exotic descending chromatic line and then the really triumphant B section. I think the sensation of those opposite sounding sections had a big impact.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

AL: When you’re a woman, you’re often not given the benefit of the doubt. You start at a deficit and have to work your way up to the status of an intelligent, competent human being. Of course, there is a large sector of the population that are not idiots and don’t require this and those are the people I’m around most of the time but you can’t always avoid this shit. I’ll give you a perfect and very common example: I was touring with the bird and the bee maybe four years back (it was an all female band at the time) and we were sound checking. There was feedback and the lead singer, Inara, was politely trying to work it out with the sound guy who was convinced it wasn’t his problem. He was incredibly rude and condescending, implying it was our first rodeo (yeah right!) I got a strong feeling he wouldn’t have been dismissive like this to a group of male musicians. Finally, the guitarist, Wendy Wang, shouted out the exact frequency, like 2 K or something, that had to come down. He did it on his board and the problem was solved. Of course, he never acknowledged it. It just gets exhausting to be presumed wrong from the very start. And while I do feel a high level of respect should be earned, it shouldn’t be such an uphill battle.

FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?

AL: Oh man, I’d love to open up for Feist or U.S. Girls or Puddles the Clown. They do what they do and very well. I like beautiful things, interesting music, and complicated people.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

AL: More money, baby!

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December 6th, 2018
PRINCESS DEWCLAW LIVE
 
GLASSS Records
 
Amanda Gostomski
 
Princess Dewclaw is a band to be experienced not watched. A clash of art rock, glam rock and alternative with the fronting performance of Amanda Gostomski. Princess Dewclaw has one album out called Walk of Shame, and is working on its sequel.
 
In addition to Princess Dewclaw Gostomski is co-founder of Glasss Records, an independent label with a growing roster of artists in all genres including RAREBYRD$, Pearls & Perils, and Gold Trash .TheGlasss Records label is a collective where cross pollenization is having from studio to stage.  Glasss Records has been doing Glasss Records Presents shows all year which showcase their artists to a wider audience. For info visit http://www.princessdewclaw.com & https://glasssrecords.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Walk of Shame?
 
AG: Having the ability to play an instrument. Half of Dewclaw came into the band with never having picked up an instrument to play. So having the patience to learn how to play, write a song, and listen to each other, while having a fully formed vision that had to go on the back-burner. Like we could hear the songs and we could describe what we wanted but we didn’t have the ability to produce the vision.
 
Honestly, our new album that we are working on will be much closer to what we collectively heard in our heads.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Princess Dewclaw. How did the band form? Do you get into a persona to go on stage?
 
AG: Amanda Baker (synth player and vocals, Brandon Reyes (guitar player), and myself wanted to start band after seeing so many lackluster performances. Also, a bunch of guys kept telling me that I couldn’t. A lot of my personal motivation comes from proving men wrong.
 
Then Will Schaaf was asked to join cause of his musical talent and bright-eyed enthusiasm. We have had the “drummer problem”. Each one of three has brought their flavor to the band. Vahco Before Horses has now filled the role. His intensity (passion and machine-like rhythm) has been pushing us to grow.
 
When I am on stage, my persona is just myself exaggerated. I try to always perform with a raw and true emotion. An authenticity of feeling is important to me as a front person.
PRINCESSDEWCLAW ALBUM COVER

artwork painted by Veronica Gene Nichols

 
FEMMUSIC: I understand you met Vahco Before Horses in 2016. What made you decide to work with him on both your own album and forming Glasss Records?
 
AG: Vahco is a builder. He is also obsessive and a workaholic. A perfect partner in any venture. When I feel too exhausted to put out any more creative pursuits, he’s conjuring up the next show, the websites, the tours, the zine, etc.
I’m a burst of energy and I burn out real fast.
 
I felt like Princess Dewclaw was over, and he got us into an abandoned school house and we recorded an album with him.
 
I have a lot of ideas that could of just died, but Vahco made them into Glasss Records.
 
GLASSS RECORDS LOGO
 
FEMMUSIC: Glasss Records has so many areas of collaboration and overlap. What was your vision for the label?
 
AG: Musicians cannot just be musicians in 2018. You need to be a visual artist, a website designer, a filmmaker, etc. in order to stand out and to sell your music. I wanted to bring together a group of musicians/artists so that they could commiserate over the pressure, and eventually collaborate through any obstacles.
 
FEMMUSIC: I’ve been noticing a lot of Glasss Records’ Presents shows at various venues. Tell me why you wanted to do them? What do you get out of them?
 
AG: A lot of venues will not ask an artist they are not familiar with to open for a national  touring act. You have to get through that door to even open. By using Glasss’ name we are able to bring visibility to artists who may of only been able to play the underground scene or are just newer, working on their craft.
 
FEMMUSIC: It is one thing to be an artist and bandleader, in running the label, you’re also signing other bands. What do you look for in signing a band? What are your criteria?
 
AG: Pro-active artists. You need to know what you need to do and what you may lack. And be actively pursuing ways to better your art, and to put it out there to the best of your personal ability. That to me is more important than talent.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
AG: I write lyrics that fit thematically into a larger narrative. Walk of Shame‘s song loosely base around a teenage girl who gets attacked and changed into a werewolf; think Gingersnaps, the Canadian horror film. We used the theme to even choose textures and scales to write the songs in.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
AG: “Not in Lov” by The Crystal Castles Feat. Robert Smith. Just the simplicity of the concrete lyrics makes me super melancholic. Alice Glass is good at writing deceivingly simple lyrics.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
AG: There are external pressures that I have internalized from our culture that have held me back. I was really worried about being a shitty band cause then I would let all of fem-kind down. But I was able let that go real fast, and be okay with sucking for a while. More fems need to be okay to be in a beginning band and not worry about have that pressure to be the best, the prettiest, the most political. Shitty guy bands saturate the scene, and we give them the time to develop. When you’re in a band with fems, more eyes will be on you and people will want you to fail. Just keep sucking in spite of everyone.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
AG: HMLTD. They are the future of rock music.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
AG: More fems working in venues; talent buyers, sound people, door staff, bartenders, etc. It would make the environment more comfortable. A lot of times it’s all men with one fem on staff when we are touring. The numbers need to change.

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November 23rd, 2018
Lea Luna, Queen Beats and Ginger Perry at Larimer Lounge
Denver, CO 
November 18, 2018
 
Lea Luna
 
By Justine Johnson
 
FEMMUSIC: Do you think there is any positive light of promoting an all female event?
 
LL: I did want. I tried. I feel like for Valentine’s Day, we (women) are pretty and feminine, there’s some sort of Aphrodite… Something going on, I just tried to do it the right way. Show love for women by women; that was right after the #metoo movement, and Valentine’s with messages I was trying to be supportive.
 
FEMMUSIC:  How do you feel about women that capitalize on being a sexual object?
 
LL: When we live in a culture that continues to buy into that and we live in a booking structure where image is still a huge thing… Where you win, or don’t win. There are always going to be people that say, “Alright, well I can do the sexy thing”…And it’s a ballsy thing to do. A lot of people will say it’s career suicide… Some people say it’s a fast track to the top.. I’m here to say we should change the narrative entirely. Stop picking it a part in that way, and say this woman is a sexy woman, who DJ’s! Not this sex branded DJ.
 
FEMMUSIC: I’m talking more about women who aren’t in it for the music. Like prerecorded sets, totally back there to be another model.
 
 
LL: See, That’s another thing I’m going to put right back on culture. Honestly, if it’s even possible for someone who doesn’t care about music to get gigs, we need to look at what is selling, and pull that apart instead. It’s not a great intention for someone to want to be a DJ and they don’t truly care. But consistently bringing up this idea that being talented, and being sexy are mutually exclusive traits in women is a healthy conversation. And I’m going to stick to that. 
 

Posted in Interviews, Live Photos Tagged with: , , ,

November 6th, 2018
Heartthrob Chassis
Margaret Dollrod
 
Nicholas Winding Refn presents….Heartthrob Chassis’ Arrthmia. In late September Refn, known for such films as Drive, presented an album by a Detroit band. Heartthrob Chassis is the latest project from Margaret Dollrod. She is previously known for the Demolition Doll Rods and Heartthrob Chassis naturally takes off from there. The album is called Arrythmia. Although no singles were released you can get a look at their raw band performance at:
 

 
FEMMUSIC spoke with Dollrod in a blunt interview about the album. For more info visit https://www.facebook.com/heartthrobchassis/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Arrythmia?
 
MDR: Finding an artist for the album cover who could create an intergalactic girl out of my face and Ben’s.  Once we found Ava East, BAM! The fun began!
 
FEMMUSIC: You are known for the Demolition Doll Rods, what made you decide to start Heartthrob Chassis? How is the band different than the Demolition Doll Rods? 
 
MDR: My heart is still throbbing with such a passion and without sharing that music I’m just an empty chassis. 
 
I am who I am, I haven’t changed so much.  Ben has a completely different sound than Dan.  I think it will be more fun if you discover the difference.  Christine still sends all her love to us and with each drummer and drum beat I feel the love!  Drummers are like heart beats!  The music still takes me where I need to go when I need to be there with more than I could possibly imagine
 
FEMMUSIC: Please tell me about how Nicholas Winding Refn both met you and became involved in the project.
 
MDR: I still haven’t actually met Nicolas.  We have had just a few potent and exhilarating phone conversations.  I love his movies’ colors and intensity–and he feels strongly enough about our music to share it with you.
 
FEMMUSIC: The album was released by Milan Records. What made you decide to work with them as opposed to other labels you’ve worked with in the past?
 
MDR: Milan is amazing!  We love what they do, the music they put out!  Music is the soundtrack of life and we are very fortunate that they are sharing Arrhythmia with you. 
Heartthrob Chassis
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
MDR: My song writing technique is so easy.  We play–and record what we play.  It flows through us, we listen to the recording and write down the words that came through me.  It is so fun and sometimes wowing to realize what I said!
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
MDR: “Real Cool Time” by the Stooges. A little bit of love goes a long way.  I feel having a real cool time is a political stance one can only dare and dream to take.
 
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
 
MDR: It is challenging for people to hear somebody without a penis.  Maybe it is an antenna or something…and even though I have never seen a man play an instrument or sing with his penis, it is hard for people to understand it possible without one.  Also sex appeal has been confused with freedom of expression.  It feels so good to laugh.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
MDR: When I first began playing the thrill of discovery was everything, and I still feel that way.  I don’t know who is out there, but I believe we will meet each other soon and create and share a thrill beyond our wildest imaginations! 
If I ask my band mates this what they say…
Tame Impala
Foo Fighters
Queens of the Stone Age
Kendrick Lamar
Nine Inch Nails
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Arctic Monkeys
Joe Walsh
ZZ Top
Joan Jett
Eminem
Snoop Dog
Stevie Wonder
Robert Plant
John Fogerty
Black Lips
Willie Nelson
Bob Dylan
Mavis Staples
Tina Turner
Rihanna
Thee Oh Sees
Billy Childish
Eric Clapton
Travis Scott
ASAP Rocky
Rocky Erickson
Damo Suzuki
Wolf Eyes
Naz
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
MDR: I would like music to be for everyone.  Relax a bit and let it flow through you.  It’s odd–somehow those two words don’t go together for me: “music industry.”

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November 6th, 2018
Tangerine
Mariko Justad
 
When FEMMUSIC first met Tangerine, they were a 3 piece band from Seattle touring on their EP Sugar Teeth. They are still a 3 piece of sisters Mariko & Miro Justad and Toby Kuhn. On October 19 they released their new EP White Dove which brings Tangerine into a whole new world of big producers in their new LA home. The latest single is “Cherry Red”
 

FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with Mariko about the new EP and their process. For info visit http://www.tangerineband.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making White Dove?
 
MJ: The biggest challenge in making White Dove was learning how to release it totally independently in a new city. In the past we have released music independently but with either more structure provided by someone or with the help of our home town.
 
FEMMUSIC: You worked with Sanj & Luca Buccellati as producers on the album. How were they to work with? What did they bring to the project?
 
MJ: Both brothers have a very fluid and easygoing way of working in the studio- ideas that we would bounce off each other seemed to come together very quickly. We worked with Sanj on three out of the four tracks. He’s good at creating an atmosphere where you feel comfortable being vulnerable creatively and trying out new ideas which is really important to us.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the White Dove EP? How was that different from Sugar Teeth?
 
MJ: For White Dove, we wanted to take our favorite elements about our old music – some of the 60s doo wop, some of the surfy twang, and mix that with some of the vintage 80s and 90s music we’ve been listening to lately like Kate Bush or early Ray of Light era Madonna. I don’t know if it’s the kind of thing that fits perfectly into a playlist algorithm but it feels right to us (: 
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about the move to LA. How did that change your music & the band? What has been the good and bad?
 
MJ: Some people say it’s good to leave home and we think that’s true. We’ll always love Seattle and who knows maybe we’ll live there again someday but right now it feels like the right decision to try something new. The water tastes bad here and it never rains but there’s a certain energy in the air.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
MJ: Most of the time, I’ll think of a melody and play it for Toby and Miro and we’ll figure out the composition from there. That’s how most of White Dove was written, although in the case of “Local Mall,” Toby created the chord progressions and bass line first. It was actually kind of spooky because he showed me the chords and I had just written a melody that fit perfectly over it while driving home late the night before. That’s how I write a lot of my melodies lately actually- during long drives between West Hollywood and our home on the east side of Los Angeles.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
MJ: Probably “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush. Her drums, the treatment of her vocals, the weird and wacky way that she approaches pop music all had a huge influence on us while making this album.
 
Tangerine-White Dove Album
 
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as women in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
 
MJ: As women in music we face all the usual challenges- sound engineers who assume we’re not even in the band let alone know what we’re doing, feeling unsafe on tour, people talking over us or not respecting our authority over our career, people pigeon-holing our music as though “female” was a genre. Being mixed-race, we also often feel unsure of how safe or welcome we will feel in different spaces on tour. I don’t think it’s possible for individual women to overcome the obstacles that we face- for things to be different, it really requires more of a sea change and it requires that men change more than women. We’re seeing some of that in the world right now but we obviously have a long way to go.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
MJ: Oh man so many artists inspire us. It would be a dream to go on tour with Lykke Li, Japanese Breakfast, St. Vincent, and so many others.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
MJ: Festivals should book more female-fronted bands.

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November 6th, 2018
Grace Pitts
Grace Pitts
 
Australian singer-songwriter Graace released her EP Self Sabotage on October 19. The artist, real name Grace Pitts, has evolved quickly with a pop sound as characterized by her song “Last Night”
 

 
 
INSERT VIDEO HERE
 
Graace is singed to Song Music Australia and has worked with Hayden James on his song “Numb”, a turning point in her career. FEMMUSIC is enthusiastic to present this interview. For info visit http://graacemusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Self Sabotage EP?
 
GP: The biggest challenge making ‘Self Sabotage’ would have to be coming to the realization that I had been doing it for 5 years subconsciously. It’s a different thing bottling up your feelings and interlining then compared to verbalising all your flaws for potentially a lot of people to hear and judge you for.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Hayden James and “Numb.” How did you get involved with song? What happened to your life after the song came out?
 
GP: Within about 2 weeks of randomly uploading the track on Triple J Unearthed I had found Falcona, my management company, who happened to also take care of Hayden James. I was always a huge fan of him so when he sent a track over to write with him I freaked out. No joke on the way to the studio to meet up with him I ended up writing the whole top line in the taxi, thinking nothing of it. By the end of the night the song was ready to go and was released just a few months later. I can’t even describe how much it’s changed my view and confidence in myself as a writer. Hayden is also like my big brother in the industry now and having him for advice now is something I’ll never take for granted.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your signings to both Sony Music Australia & Falcona Management. What made you decide to sign as opposed to being independent? What do both groups bring to the table?
 
GP: Leon, from Falcona believed in me when I didn’t even back my own talent. It was crazy how nurturing he was to me in the industry so early on. Getting me sessions with amazing writers, honestly I wouldn’t have grown so much in the past year with my writing if I had signed with any other manager.
 
Signing to a major was something that Leon and I didn’t put much thought into as we initially were thinking to sign independent. The independent label was incredible for so many things but I think seeing where I wanted to go within the next 3 years musically. I see myself venturing into the pop world so I wasn’t much like the artists on the roster they had which kinda scared me cause I’d be putting all my eggs in their basket. Sony’s enthusiasm from the get go was pretty crazy though. I met with my A&R who had actually wanted to sign me since I was 18 years old, so everything came together too perfect not to go with them because it felt like a family already who really do believe in me, which is hard to find.
Graace
 
FEMMUSIC: Let’s talk about the singles from Self Sabotage – “Last Night”, Kissing Boys” and “SOS.” How did the songs evolve? What happened to them in studio?
 
GP: I actually wrote half of “Kissing Boys” and “Last Night” in my room not a studio. I find a lot of my songs come out more genuine when I’m alone with no barrier of somebody else’s opinion since most of the time I’m just singing about how I feel. I ended up finishing them both with Xavier in my bedroom not long after which turned into my second home the whole making of this EP. I wrote “SOS” purely alone in my room one night within about 20 minutes. I was so sick of being in situations where I was forced to ‘be happy’ ‘be presentable’ and inside be wanting to scream out like ‘FUCK IM NOT OK’ haha.
 
I struggle to verbalise a lot of my emotions to loved ones so it was my first time kinda saying stuff out loud. It all flowed out so quick because it was just a genuine rant about society’s expectations to act ok all the time in public.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
GP: It’s evolved a lot from when I was 14, from guitar to piano. I find now I have a pretty solid foundation for myself that works a lot of the time. Candles are the first step, always. Then I start by finding chords on piano I like, followed by usually riffing some lyrics and melody to see what my brain wants to write about and get off my chest that day. I’ll keep doing this while recording on voice memo and then writing down and tweaking what I’m singing as I go.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
GP: “Worst in Me”- Julia Micheal’s. This woman is CRAZY at song writing as we already all know. But when I heard this song in particular I connected so hard. Whenever I write honestly is the one thing I always stay true to and this song just slaps you in the face with raw emotion without covering it with glitter and crazy production. It gave me so much more confidence to own my story and music without cutting corners.
 
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as women in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
 
GP: Meeting a lot of people in the industry I’ve gotten mistaken SO many times as ‘an artist’s girlfriend’ at all of these music events. I just have to laugh a lot of the time that people assume that girls at a concert are groupies. It’s funny to jump up on stage after and be like, nah I’m an artist too bro haha. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
GP: Someone I’ve wanted to collaborate with for the past year is Daniel Caesar. I’ve abused the repeat button on Spotify way too many times listening to his album Freudian. His voice, writing and production is literally heaven to my ears.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
GP: Having to wait so long between writing a song and releasing it because of all the behind the scenes work is something that always makes me sooo impatient. It of course always ends up for the best because a good song should always have love behind it to make sure you can maximize how many people get to experience your music. But damn, sometimes I write a song one night and wish I could release it an hour later because I’m so excited by it.

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October 17th, 2018

Mr. Atomic Band

Denver band Mr. Atomic is a wild ride of alt rock with a hint of 80’s retro. Their songs have social meaning such as their single “Made For TV”

The band recently released their full length album Spectator Sport.
 
Mr Atomic - Spectator Sport Album Art
 
The band is led by Boneth Ahaneku, who does double duty of also running At Night Group, an artist management company. At Night Group has a small roster that is growing. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/mratomicmusic/ &  https://www.atnightgroup.org/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Spectator Sport?
 
BA: The biggest challenge we faced in making Spectator Sport was time.  The whole process took over a year, and we recorded everything in three separate sessions.  I think this led to the songs sounding like they could have each individually been a part of three separate albums.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the album?
 
BA: Our vision for this album was to touch on the topics that we saw people argue over all the time — shitty friends, discrimination, fighting “The Man”, etc.  To be honest, the idea behind Spectator Sport really stems from Facebook and Twitter comments.  I spend a lot of time, more than I care to admit, on social media.  One common theme that struck me during my browsing was that many of the individuals who would make these comments always seemed to stop replying when rebuffed on their negative stances in relation to topics like these.  My thought was, “Maybe if we actually question these people more, they’ll stop talking!” The whole album is a response to that idea.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Mr. Atomic. How did you find your bandmates? Where did the name come from?
 
BA: Believe it or not, we actually all met on Craigslist.  I put out an ad looking for people to play with, and Matt answered.  It turned out we both went to the same university and had some mutual friends, so we bonded over that as well.  After that, Mitch came along and we spent quite a few weeks as a three-piece working on stuff I had written years ago in order to get a feel for how we all worked with each other.  These songs ended up basically becoming our demo, save one song that Matt wrote (“Heading Out”).  After a rotation of drummers, we added Mike into the band and recorded our first EP, Avert the Skies, with our friend Nick Schmidt.  Mike left for Japan later that year and we found Ryan!
 
A month or so before we played our first show, we realized we had enough material to open for another band and things actually became serious.  One night on the way to practice, we all came up with a list of band names that we thought would work well with our sound and style.  Mr. Atomic was added to the list because of our collective love for comic books (Captain Atom) and my personal love of the band Blondie (stemming from their 1979 single “Atomic”).  We sent out the list to some of our friends and “Mr. Atomic” was the name that was most consistently on everyone’s list, so we chose it!
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re currently an independent band. Would you ever sign to a label? What criteria would you have to sign to one?
 
BA: I think remaining independent so far has allowed us to have more freedom with experimentation, something that I think at this stage is very helpful to us.  I do believe that if the cards were right and it made sense, we would be open to signing to a label.  As far as criteria go, I think the biggest point would be not signing to a label that we would feel like 1 in 1 million in.  I personally would prefer if we signed to an independent label because I think the idea of getting lost in a corporation is less likely with those types of labels.  Additionally, many of the labels that run off of values that we hold important are independent.  Signing on to a label that has the same vision and ethics as we do is extremely important, as I think it should be for any musician.
 
 
FEMMUSIC: Besides running your own band, you’re also co-owner of At Night Group Artist Management. How did At Night Group start?
BA: When At Night Group started back in 2014, it was just my friend Bryan’s idea of a company to house his EDM project, Hyperion, and eventually add more artists too.  He and I worked together throwing shows at CU and I asked to be the manager of his project Hyperion.  He said yes.  Not long after, our friend Nyall joined on to help us brainstorm ways to create ANG into a more solid business and push it past just an “idea”.  The company itself formed in fall of 2016 with three artists — Hyperion, Jerney, and Mr. Atomic.
 
FEMMUSIC: What is the biggest challenge managing bands in At Night Group?
 
BA: The biggest challenge is scheduling. My calendar right now is pretty hectic and some days I find myself with no social time. I think Google Calendar can probably be credited with saving my life and keeping me sane because I don’t know how I’d keep everything straight without color coding and such.
 
Something that can be a challenge for us, partially due to our scheduling being so crazy, is keeping up our social media presence. We try to do as much as we can for our artists on the backend and sometimes Nyall and I forget that people also need to know about these cool things our artists are doing. We are definitely working this fall to find someone who can dedicate their time to our brand and put our artists out there.
 
FEMMUSIC: What are your criteria at At Night Group for signing a new band? What do you look for?
 
BA: We look for bands that have a sense of direction and vision. I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to work with individuals who have that insight and just need some help accomplishing it. It really sets the tone for the relationship and also helps keep us on task. Additionally, we love good music with some sort of focus. I’m huge on “concept projects” and I think it is cool to see the headspace that an artist is in with projects like that.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
BA: I usually start with a riff in my head and work in a chord structure to go with it. It’s kind of crazy but most times as I’m thinking of the chord structure the melody comes automatically. I typically write the lyrics for the first verse and chorus next and then take a break for a day or two two let it sink in. I’ve found that sometimes if I write a song in one sitting it can turn out sounding very repetitive so I need that space from it to rethink what still works aka if I still like what I wrote. I usually have a bass line in mind and a drum beat that could work with it. Once it’s brought to practice, we usually play through it as is and then the guys add their own flourishes and parts to it! It ends up being a cool way to workshop the song and has worked for us so far. I’m not above writing in a different fashion though and sometimes I like to challenge myself by doing things outside of my comfort zone.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
BA: This is a very hard question to answer! I tend to have many different influences during my stages of writing. Most recently it has been Paramore’s most recent album After Laughter. I love the idea of an 80s-esque dance beat with some rock. That’s a feel our band as a whole has always loved.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
BA: I feel like I could give you the same generic answer that any female has to this question, which would be yes. I think it’s something that won’t change until people realize the worth of femme artists. I was listing to the radio station the other day and noticed that in a single two hours session of me having it on in the background, not a single female artist was played. I hate that. I go to a venue and have individuals chat with our band about the music and are always surprised that I write the songs or play an instrument. I had someone who I told about my band ask me if we played “chick rock”. What is that?
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
BA: I would love to go on tour with Speedy Ortiz. They are one of my favorite bands and I had the pleasure of meeting Sadie Dupuis a few times when they toured through Denver and San Francisco. I really like the off-kilter with hints of pop vibe that they have and their most recent album is amazing. They are also incredible humans and seem like they have a lot of fun with each other!
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
BA: I think the biggest thing for me would be to change the idea in people’s heads about how women should be represented in music. I love the idea of making the music industry an equal sum game when it come to gender representation and it seems like for some individuals it sounds like too tall of a task for anyone to ask them to do. My answer to that is to think outside of the box! I think we should give as much respect to women for their talent and ability as we seem to give to their outfits or to men. We aren’t all just here for the show.

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October 16th, 2018
Fickle Friends

Photo by Daniel Harris

Fickle Friends is a 5 piece pop band from Brighton consisting of Natassja Shiner, Jack Wilson, Jack Herrington, Sam Morris, and Chris Hall. The band formed in 2013 and released EP’s Velvet in 2015, and Glue in 2017 before releasing their full-length album You Are Someone Else this year. You Are Someone Else includes the recent single “Say No More”

Fickle Friends has a pop sound that is fun and bubbly with lyrics that stick with you The band just completed a US tour and now European dates through November. For info visit https://www.ficklefriends.co.uk/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making You Are Someone Else?
 
NS: I think it was how ping it took. We went to record the record in LA quite early on and ended up writing loads more when we were out there. This meant when we came back to the U.K. we only had half an album recorded because we wanted to put all on the new songs on it. We did the rest either by ourselves or with various producers and it was all quite stressful and chaotic ha. But we got there in the end.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the album vs your EP’s?
 
NS: Because the songs in the album range from 6 years old to 2 months there wasn’t a specific vision from the get go. It’s just a collection of songs about life over that time period. Being a millennial, the shit you go through in your 20’s ya know?
 
FEMMUSIC: You worked with Mike Crossey, Mark Ralph, and Mike Spencer on the album. What do you look for in a producer for a song? What made you choose these producers?
 
NS: They’re all amazing producers. It was all collaborative and tbh it was a lot about who was available at the time. Was great having each of them put their on spin on things, especially mixes. There are other people who worked in the record with us too, Andy Hall Hall, Dan Lancaster…. we just look for people who are passionate about our music.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Polydor Records. What made you decide to sign to a label? What benefits has it given you?
 
NS: We actually left Polydor and have started our own label Palmeira Music. Polydor was great for a while but we didn’t wanna have to compromise on stuff anymore. Doing things DIY is a lot less stress and more rewarding.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
NS: We record and produce up a track as we write it on logic normally. Sings usually start with a beat or a loop we find. Splice is super great for songwriting. I keep loads of voice notes and lyrics/poems on my phone so there’s always stuff to draw from.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
NS: Ha not sure we could pick just one but “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore is been a big influence, particularly on our song “Swim.” The rhythmic words and overall sound of the track is awesome.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
NS: I don’t think so. The only thing really is that people assume you don’t have anything to do with the writing process etc. I’ve been made to feel that because I’m a girl, obviously I’m just a singer and nothing more. I hate that.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
NS: Paramore to tour with. Matt Healy to collaborate with. I think he’s a genius.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
NS: Would be nice to get paid more for streaming ha. And for radio to be much more open to playing new up and coming bands on daytime other than just “what’s hot right now” and the big names. It just gets a bit boring hearing the same stuff all the time.

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October 16th, 2018
Eloise
Eloise is Eloise Flora, a UK artist with an affinity to pop culture and horror. She has released 2 singles in the past few months:
 

She is working on her follow-up to her debut EP Marie Antoinette with an assortment of producers. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to her about her process. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/EloiseFloraOfficial/
 
FEMMUSIC: Let’s begin with “Drop Dead Gorgeous.”  I’ve heard you describe the song as both a reaction to violence against women and also taking the role of the damsel in distress and making her the murderer. How did the song evolve for you both lyrically and musically? Did it change working with Mikko Gordon in the studio?
 
E: The song is built from ideas and phrases that I’d been playing with for a while, I keep a list of ideas I want to work with on my phone and often they are more aesthetically driven. When I went into the studio with Mikko and started writing, the ideas kind of merged into one, I found links between things I hadn’t seen at first and it was only listening back to the song after the session that I was struck by what I was really talking about, it was more than a bunch of phrases inspired by vintage pulp illustrations.
 
FEMMUSIC: Your previous single “Suckers” takes on vampires. How did that song come about? How much did you change it in the studio working with Lewis Gardiner?
 
E: I hadn’t seen it that way but I guess it’s about emotional vampires haha! I first wrote the chorus for Suckers on piano and it was quite light, I originally saw it as being kind of happy and sarcastic, but when Lewis made the dark beat in the studio Suckers just fit.
 
FEMMUSIC: I understand you’re working on a new EP due out next year. How has working on this EP been different than Marie Antoinette? What is your vision for this EP?
 
E: I think my life and worldview has just shifted a lot, I wrote most of the tracks from my last EP when I was 17/18 and still at school. I think Marie Antoinette was much more trapped in other worlds and metaphorical concepts, my music is becoming far more personal and honest which I hope comes through on the EP.
 
FEMMUSIC: I’ve already mentioned Mikko Gordon & Lewis Gardiner. What other producers have you been working on the EP with? What do you look for in a producer?
 
E: When I was out in LA I had a great session with AG, writing a track which is due for release at the end of October. That was a fun session because working with women is often very different, not to say it’s better or worse, it just brings out something different I think. I definitely look for people who are open to my ideas, a lot of the stuff I come up with is weird and nonsensical so I definitely need to work with people who are willing to stick with me when I’m coming up with weird imagery and help tailor it.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
E: It’s not very structured! I am a bit all over the place creatively, I get very excited and inspired by things visually and sonically so songs come to me from different places. Sometimes I’ll see some vintage picture online and think of 50 phrases I want to write about and other times I will hear a song and want to replicate the way it made me feel sonically. Mainly though, lyrics are at the forefront for me and that is usually where I start,
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
E: Definitely ‘Video Games’ by Lana Del Rey, I just remember the first time I heard it and how much it struck me. I’d never heard something that sounded so much like the inside of my own brain. It influenced me through my admiration for her dedication to the imagery and visual worlds that she loves, which is something I can see in my writing from when I first started in my early teens.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
E: I think it’s just tricky sometimes when it comes to writing, I’ve definitely worked with men who saw me as a voice and not a writer which is frustrating as someone who puts their lyrical agenda first.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
I would love to write with Kate Bush. She has such a dominant presence in her own music and I can imagine writing something really weird and nuts with her which is my plan most of the time. I also love how successful she’s been as a woman writing intellectual songs, I am a fan of anyone who writes a smash hit named after a C19 novel.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
E: For me it’s more that I’d like to change the way people consume music. I think like social media people like things to be easily accessible and fast and that makes the more creatively indulgent and offbeat music elitist; people stick with the weird music from major artists but they don’t give as much of a chance to artists starting out with things that are a bit offbeat and not big radio tunes.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

October 16th, 2018
Tancred
Tancred
 
Jess Abbott
 
Globe Hall
 
Denver, CO
 
October 31, 2018
 
 
Tancred came to our attention with the track “Queen of New York”
 

The video and the lyrics drew us in like a bee to honey. Nightstand is Tancred’s sophomore album and it has a musical maturity that stands out. Produced by Lewis Pesacov, the album had ups and downs before production. Jess Abbott, formerly of Now, Now, is the voice of Tancred. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with her about the album. For info visit https://tancredmusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Nightstand?
 
JA: Picking which songs to release as singles was so tricky because the album contains a few different themes, and I was concerned releasing certain singles might give the wrong impression of the album overall. Honestly sometimes I still lie awake at night wondering if we picked the right ones.
 
FEMMUSIC:   I understand you had the songs chosen before going to the studio. How did you go about your song choice? What else did you do for pre-production?
 
JA: I spent about a year writing songs for this album and I went through so many revisions within in each song, and ultimately scrapped half the album and started over. I guess what ultimately decided the songs was the theme of vulnerability. It cut a lot of more aggressive songs I had written before settling on that theme. We had a few days of preproduction before we started tracking where in the studio we played through the songs and discussed them all.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Lewis Pesacov. How did you meet? Why did you choose him to be producer for the album? How was he to work with?
 
JA: Lewis and I were set up to cowrite together but we hit it off so well that we decided to have him produce the whole thing. He felt so open to my creative direction and aesthetic ideas it made working together so easy. But he also challenged me where I needed to be challenged in the studio. It was a great balance.  
 
Tancred album cover
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about some of your backing musicians. I noticed the names Samira Winter & Jenny Owen Youngs. You’re doing more instrumentation with the album. How did you choose these artists? How was the studio experience?
 
JA:  Kevin Medina and Terrence Vitali recorded bass and drums on Nightstand and on my previous album, Out Of the Garden. Samira is a mutual friend of Lewis and I (I was also subletting her apartment while I was tracking Nightstand) and we thought it would be fun to have her do some vocals on the album. Her band Winter is incredible. Jenny and I had been friends for awhile and we’d collaborated around that time on some of her work, so while I was in LA in her neck of the woods I asked her to come sing on something of mine. I carried around a disposable camera the whole trip and I have some great photos of them singing in the studio. Working with friends is so fun.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
JA: I basically just pick up a guitar and lie around humming things until I find things I like. Or if I’m out in the world and an idea pops into my head I’ll write it out in a note on my phone or record a voice memo for later. Once I have the basic outline for a song done I’ll record each track in a demo and layer on programmed drums and bass and strings so I have an image of my vision for the song to take into the studio.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
JA: “Demon Rock” by Letters to Cleo shook my world. I’d already dreamed of playing music professionally almost my whole life but listening to that album (Demon Rock is track one) was the first time it felt like it was something I could make real. I connected to the guitar lines, the vocals, the lyrics. I remember lying down in bed and listening to it on repeat all night. I couldn’t sleep.
 
FEMMUSIIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
JA:  Yeah, of course. But I think communicating calmly about things that make me uncomfortable and having some understanding for the context of the moment are tools that have helped me ensure I’m working in a comfortable environment. It took me awhile to not get so mad about it. It’s fair to be mad, shit sucks. But I think it’s detrimental to not leave room for some understanding in any situation.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
JA: I have been deathly into Chelsea Wolfe’s new album Hiss Spun since it came out. Her live show is so sick, her Audio Tree was sick, her tones are sick, her Instagram is sick. I dream of a CW collab or tour.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
JA: The cost of making records (recording, distribution, PR, management, booking) hasn’t gone down but record sales have, so it becomes incredibly difficult to be an artist making everything yet with little coming back financially to support it all. It’s like inflation isn’t accounted for. Making music isn’t about money, but music, like anything, takes time and work. You still gotta eat and pay rent. And then you have people who think it’s ethically wrong to want to profit off your art.. It becomes a snake eating its own tail. At my career peaks I was still scraping by. The infrastructure of the music industry is broken. Short answer: I wish there was enough left of the pie for artists, the people actually creating the music, to support themselves comfortably.

 

Posted in Interviews, Previews Tagged with: ,

October 1st, 2018
Gina Chavez
Gina Chavez
Goostown Tavern
Denver, CO
October 12, 2018
 
Gina Chavez is an 8 time Austin Music Award winner whom the city declared a “Gina Chavez Day” in 2015. She is bilingual singer-songwriter with multiple albums and a new EP called Lightbeam. Her latest single is “Let It Out.” The latest video from the album is “Heaven Knows”

FEMMUSIC is honored to speak to her before her Denver appearance.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Lightbeam?
 
GC: We ended up having to re-imagine the beat for the first single, “Heaven Knows.” The first one we laid down was solid, but landed a little too far on the folk side and I wanted a more contemporary feel. Dwight, who used to tour as the drummer for Enrique Iglesias, ended up re-recording the drums for the track, something he hasn’t done in years!
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the EP?
 
GC: The past couple years I took some time off to write. My only vision was to dive into the art of songwriting; to let go of boundaries, genres, and just spend time with pen, paper and my guitar. I was pretty surprised when these soul-tinged love songs bubbled up. It was exciting to explore a different side of my sound and lyrical themes of faith and love, sacrifice and wholeness as my wife and I approached our wedding day after twelve years together.
 
FEMMUSIC: Dwight A Baker was your producer for the EP. How did you meet him? Why did you choose him produce? What was he like to work with?
 
GC: I had been impressed with Dwight’s work from afar (MISSIO, Alpha Rev, The Wind and The Wave, Josh Abbott Band). We were introduced through a mutual friend, and I had these five tracks in need of production, so it was a natural fit. I liked his vision for the EP, mainly keeping it tied to the live sound with simple instrumentation featuring the vocal. He enlisted some of Austin’s finest — Conrad Choucroun (drums), Steve Terebecki (bass) and David Boyle (keys) — and they knocked it out of the park! We tracked bass and drums in two days, barely running each song more than 3 times before David added his magic on keys and synth. Dwight is a great vocal coach and so beast on the mix! I had a finished EP in eight days. Boom!
 
FEMMUSIC: What lessons did you learn making Up-Rooted? How did that change how you approached Lightbeam?
 
GC: I consider Michael Ramos, who produced Up.Rooted, a true mentor. He taught me how to write to my voice, especially that there is more depth in the lower-end of my vocal register and empowered me to trust my instincts in the studio by listening to my ideas and helping me bring them to life. The recording process for Up.Rooted was a true labor of love, and one that lasted 10 months on and off. That experience and everything I’ve learned in the years since, prepared me to head into the studio with Dwight and bring Lightbeam to life with few challenges.
Gina Chavez
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your songwriting technique.
 
GC: I tend to start with rhythm and melody. Many times, I’ll sing nonsensical words or sounds over a chord progression and then find the words that seem to fall into place. That’s what happened with “Heaven Knows.” 
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
GC: Ooh this is a tough one. I feel like I take little, subtle things from so many songs that it’s hard for me to think of one that’s had a huge influence. The third song on this new EP, “Let It Out,” is a fusion of Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Blondie and I had no idea those influences were even in there!
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
GC: Honestly, I have been very blessed in my career. I mean there have definitely been moments where men have mistaken me for someone’s intern or a “merch girl” or don’t take me seriously until I’m ready for the show in contacts, a dress and makeup. The double standards are annoying and frankly ridiculous, but I tend to put that energy into my show instead of getting upset. And the men in my band are truly thoughtful people, constantly working to better themselves as musicians and in their personal lives. We have some great conversations on the road.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
GC: I would love to tour with Natalia Lafourcade! She is a Latin Grammy winner with incredible songwriting, musicality and uses her platform to speak for justice. We had the chance to open for her in Austin and I had the chance to hang out with her backstage. She is pure grace and class and has built a career on her own terms.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
GC: Ooh another good one. Hmm… I’m struggle with questions like this because I’m a pretty practical person, so I know I can’t just change inequities or lack of access with a magic wand. I also know that I myself am very privileged and I’ve had incredible opportunities to tour the world and share music with people’s everywhere. But if I did have that magic wand, I’d want to change something that permeates music and every other sector, that is present in every culture throughout the world — the fact that women and girls who speak up are seen as “bossy” and “difficult,” whereas men and boys who do so are seen as “leaders.” Women are expected to be quiet, subservient. It’s the one thing that every culture in the world shares and it’s time for a change.

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October 1st, 2018

Moda Spira

There are few times a song comes across our desk that has an instant visceral reaction. Moda Spira’s “Bang” is one.

The song has is a painful narrative wrapped in a soulful package. The pain and process is the focus of Moda Spira, real name Latifah Alattas, sophomore album Divorce. The album and podcast focus on her end of nearly a decade long marriage. The album has a richness in the arrangements including layered vocals that add a majestic property to tracks like “Four Letter Word.” The album begins with a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” that morphs the song into a wonderfully different creature. It ends with a song named “Forgive.” The 11 tracks resonate with emotional power. Divorce will be out on October 26, 2018. For info visit http://www.modaspira.com/

 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Bang.” How did that song come about & evolve?
 
LA: “Bang”, is the second track on my album. I was up late one night, restless, staring at the walls of my quiet and still home grieving. I was oscillating between shock, anger and sadness. As I was staring the imagery of a gun shot came to mind as I was recounting the moment my ex and laid it all out there. It was after 11pm and I walked to my piano and the lyric “It went off like a bang…” popped into my mind and verse one and two came right out. I captured that moment in my Instagram if you scroll back and watch the videos.  It wasn’t until February that I finished the last section of the song. I waited ‘til I had its lyric and melody mates because I didn’t want to force it, I know it would reveal itself if I was patient and it did.
Moda_Spira
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Divorce?
 
LA: Living the experience to be honest. Writing about it was cathartic, healing, hard and helpful.
 
FEMMUSIC: How did you approach Divorce differently than your self-titled debut? What did you learn from making your first album that helped on the 2nd?
 
LA: Divorce was a true outpouring from beginning to end. I didn’t write anything unless it felt like it had to flow out of me, like a caged bird I had to set free. The first album had a lot of that, but I was also exploring a lot of sonic guilty pleasures as I was making the first one. This album was only about writing and then producing a record that married the sounds to the sentiment of the lyrics. Nothing else mattered. The main question was, “Does it communicate clearly what is being said?” Whether it was a guitar tone or a drum beat. I also almost solely used all analog sounds as compared to the first record which relies heavily on synths and sounds in the box.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me how making Divorce affected you? The breakup of a relationship is always difficult but you were processing one that had gone on for nearly a decade.
 
LA: Making this album was a true capturing of my process in real time. It was helpful to articulate the deep well of emotions as I was having them. Emotions are energy in our bodies that need to be moved. The actually act of singing painful lyrics helped to move that grieving energy out of my lungs into another space and so on. When things get stuck it’s easy to feel trapped and hopeless. Any movement, even the smallest can create kinetic energy which then creates more and more movement. This album was a grace to make for the grieving process of the first year of loss. If I tried to make it today it would be a totally different album and I felt convinced to capture the real time process of the initial year of grief. I am glad I did it.
 
Moda Spira
 
FEMMUSIC: How do you think you are the most changed by making the album?
 
LA: I feel more free. I feel more at peace. I feel grateful.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
LA: I believe in the craft of songwriting, but in the last few years I only write if I am first inspired. If a song isn’t finishing out instead of forcing it, I table it and wait for inspiration for the other part later on. Trusting it will come.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
LA: In the last year in particular it’s been “Solitude” by Billie Holiday. The honesty of her despair. The sense of it in the tone and quality of her vocal. The simplicity. It feels comforting and sad and like a sonic hug.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
LA: Sometimes for sure. Not all the time. I have been championed by wonderful people as well. But yes. The general reality is when I walk into a space the baseline assumption is that I do not understand engineering, signal flow, sonics etc. So I have to come up from behind my male counterparts who don’t function under that same assumption.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
LA: Imogen Heap. I think she is a genius. She inspired me to originally learn about engineering.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
LA: I would like to continue to be able to find better formats of listening to music that truly support artists getting the financial benefit of who listens to their music and how much. This would grant more freedom for indie artists to keep dedicating more time to their artistry.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

October 1st, 2018

Wildermiss

Denver band Wildermiss has exploded this summer from a local act to a national act on the rise. They’ve appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly, played Hotel Café and festivals nationwide. Wildermiss is Emma Cole, Joshua Hester, Seth Beamer, and Caleb Thoemke. They started off as a synthpop act and have evolved quickly into the pop field with songs like “Carry Your Heart”

They have released an EP called Lost With You. Their live music is as infectious as their recordings. They are an independent band who will quickly be making label appeal. For info visit https://www.wildermiss.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge in making Lost With You?
 
EC: The biggest challenge in making our first EP Lost With You was knowing that there was a certain pressure of this being our first recorded music that would “define” our sound. The recording/production process as a band was fun and a great learning experience.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Joe Richmond & Caleb Thoemke. How did you choose them to be involved with the EP? What did they bring to the project?
 
EC: Joe Richmond is someone we’ve known in the scene for a while. We asked him to be a part of our first EP for producing, recording, mixing, mastering and he was such a gem to work with. Caleb Thoemke is the drummer of Wildermiss. He has a degree in Audio Engineering and helps run a studio, so it made perfect sense for him to lead us into recording our first single Keep It Simple.
 
FEMMUSIC: I see you’re now signed to 7s Management. They are a big name. How did that happen? What benefits does management give you?
 
EC: 7s is a great team of people. In addition to day-to-day management, there are touring departments, marketing departments, etc. Our manager joined their team brought us into this new circle of people who are helping us launch into this new season of Wildermiss. We are very excited and grateful.
Wildermiss - Lost with yhou
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re currently an independent band. Do you have goals to sign with a label? Why or why not? What would you look for in a label?
 
EC: We are happily independent, but if the right contract from a label comes along we will happily consider it. We are not looking to be a radio band with a short shelf life, but develop the band to create a sustainable musical career for us.
 
FEMMUSIC: his summer has been you’ve blown up. How has the added attention and national shows affected you? Good & Bad?
 
EC: This summer has been one for the books. We are excited that hard work and dedication keeps showing us that anything is possible. The attention gain has been great and we can’t wait to get back onto the road to meet new fans.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
EC: Our songwriting process is very collaborative and is different every time. I personally tend to begin writing songs with a drum beat or with a rhythmic element – something that makes me bob back and forth. I experiment with melodies over rhythms.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
EC: I absolutely love anything by Born Ruffians, one of my favorites is their song “Needle”. I am heavily influenced by drums like I said in the question before. I love how this song hits but still has space.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
EC: In my experience so far, I usually do not feel discriminated against. However, I have encountered some rude jaded men that just don’t get it.
Also, I do notice a general over-awareness of female fronted bands. Does that make sense? I appreciate those who are trying to make things better and more equal, but sometimes it comes across as a hot commodity… like “let’s place only female fronted bands/artists on the same stage” at festivals. Why?…
Overall, there are plenty of things around this topic I could talk about. I would not be surprised if I have been discriminated against without knowing it.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
EC: I do love Young The Giant and Sylvan Esso and would love to tour with either of them. They are two currently-touring bands that I really enjoy and I think their fans would connect with our music too.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
EC: I want people to understand the value of music in this world. Music is such an integral part of our lives: in the car, in the store, funerals, celebrations, evoking emotion, etc… yet it is seen as a lesser-valued job or as something that is unimportant by so many. Which leads to changing the monetary value of music. Streaming platforms are a big part of that. These platforms have decreased the monetary value of music and have made it harder for musicians to keep afloat. Of course, this industry is always evolving so I am intrigued to see where we place our value in the future.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

October 1st, 2018

Folly Rae

British performer Folly Rae has followed up her debut EP with a new EP called Karma Club. The EP includes the song “Sniper”

Rae has a pop sound with a touch of brass highlighted in “Sniper.” Rae is signed to Black Butter, who also handles Zara Larsson. She comes from Norwegian descent and has a history of dancing. She is still a new and emerging force. Look for more to come. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/Follyrae/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Karma Club?
 
FR: If I’m honest, the biggest challenge was finding a happy medium between my musical sound and the poppy direction in which I was travelling…   it was a natural progression just one that I wasn’t used to. I was scared about the musical world I about to enter!
 
FEMMUSIC: How was your approach different in making Karma Club vs From Money to Power?
 
FR: I was going through a toxic relationship that consumed me at the time of working on the Karma Club EP.
 
It was like I needed to write this EP too make myself feel better.
 
I wanted to have fun with it, instead of feeling sad.
 
It was a care free and fun experience- like a therapy session really. I also had a co-writer on 3 of the songs, which I haven’t really done before.
 
 
FEMMUSIC: You worked with Jake Gosling writing songs for other performers. What did that experience teach you about songwriting for yourself?
 
FR: I worked down at Sticky Studios for a while, yeah.  It was great to see how others worked.
I learnt that the best songs are written from an honest place.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
FR: I starts with chords, the melodies come while I’m mumbling random words and I recording everything because I find the best melodies only come once, so you need to capture them or they are lost forever.
Then we subtly add to the production to add to the vibe.
Lyrics come last, usually ideas come from the mumbled words I’ve been singing.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Black Butter. What made you decide to sign to a label? What benefits do they bring?
 
FR: Even before I signed with them, I loved what they did and what they stood for. They let the artist express themselves and they help enhance that. They often say no to my outrageous ideas, they keep me grounded! haha
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
FR: Wow, there are so many. At the moment, “Depth over distance” by Ben Howard reminds me that music can be simple and beautiful and not too over complicated.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
FR: Discriminated against, no, not that I can think of.
I am quite dismissive of people’s negative comments but no, discrimination I haven’t dealt with.
Tho, there have been people who tried to take advantage of my ‘newness’ to the industry, but luckily I have a great bull shit radar and a great team around me now!
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
FR: I would love to tour with Ann Marie or Dua they both have such great energy and I think we’d have lots of girly fun.
I would love to collaborate with Lana and Sia (queens) also and 6lack, Kendrick Lamar.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
FR: The one thing I would change about the music industry is… hmm ask me in a few years!

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

September 26th, 2018
 
Lucy-Spraggan_credit_Ollie-Ali

Photo by Ollie Ali

Lost Lake
Denver, CO
October 1, 2018
 
Lucy Spraggan’s latest single “Stick the Kettle On” is a joyous mixing of folk and rock, and a collaboration with Scouting for Girls.
 

Spraggan is an industrious songwriter with 4 studio albums and a compilation album to her name. Her latest albums are I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing and Introducing Lucy Spraggan, a compilation. She is already working on her next studio album. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to her about her process.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Stick the Kettle On.” How did that song evolve?
 
LS: I’d wanted to collaborate with Scouting For Girls for a long time, I’d met Roy at a few festivals and he’s a great guy. I sent him a text one day asking if he’d like to write together and that’s what we did!
 
When we got into the studio we decided we wanted to write something about the importance of friendship – there are many duets that revolve around love and relationships but we decided to keep it real and honest, and STKO is what came out of it!
 
FEMMUSIC: I see you signed to Cooking Vinyl this Spring. Why did you decide to sign after running CTRL Records for so long?
 
LS: I think it was a natural progression; running my own label had lots of pros but also cons, in the way that I had a lot more work to do. I learned a lot about the industry and it’s given me a great deal of knowledge for moving forward and being involved in the work that CV do.
I feel like they can offer that added extra that I couldn’t reach on my own, I’m excited to see what happens.
 
FEMMUSIC: I hear you’re now working on your 5th studio album. What have you learned over time on making albums? Pre-production? Song choice? Producer choice?
 
LS: I record the demos initially when I write the song, I tend to play them live for a while to get the tempos right and make sure any final changes are done before getting into the studio. Song choice is down to me, as I am 100% my biggest critic, so I end up ‘trimming the fat’ pretty early. I have a huge catalogue of songs that never made it.
 
Jon Maguire will be producing this record in Newport, Wales – he produced my last one and I felt it really captured exactly what I asked for. He’s a great friend of mine too, so working together is always a great deal of fun.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
LS: See it, write it! I often get a line or idea and throw it into my iPhone notes. From there it’ll either naturally develop into something else or stay floating in The Cloud for the rest of time.
It’s always lyrics first for me.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
LS: “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks. She wrote that song when she felt her band had taken another hit, another failure and she didn’t know whether to stick at it or settle for something else. It really speaks to me; I’m glad she didn’t give up.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
LS: Yeah, I think so. Rates of pay, not being taken seriously, or described as ‘twee’.
 
It’s frustrating, and I’ve read comment threads on the topic from other male musicians who just don’t get it, which pisses me off.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
LS: I’d love to tour with Watsky. I just love his music. Lyrically he is a genius.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
LS: The politics and elitism. It’s boring. The majority of the industry is run by cliques, and it doesn’t matter how many tickets you sell, or if the public like you, if the industry doesn’t like you they’ll make it very difficult for you.
 
I know this from experience!

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

September 14th, 2018
XYLO-credit-Nikko-Lamare

XYLO – photo by Nikko Lamare

We were first introduced to XYL0 in 2015 with their EP America. At that time the band was the siblings Paige and Chase Duddy. They toured nationally.
 
Now XYL0 is a new creation marking the solo career of Paige Duddy. The music is a fun synth pop that is highly addictive. She’s been releasing singles recently including “I Don’t Want To See You Anymore”, “Heaven Only Knows”, and “Don’t Panic”

 

 
She is releasing her new song “Tears and Tantrums” this week. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to her about the new songs, solo career and connection to another artist we know. http://www.xylo-music.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: I know XYLØ as you and Chase. I wanted to ask what made you want to go solo and keep the same name?
 
PD: It was an awesome experience being in a duo with my sibling and learning so much about an industry I had no experience in, but ultimately we are 10 years apart and wanted different things in our life. I was lucky enough to continue ( because I was not ready to stop what I had worked so hard for) and he was able to move forward with new things he had been wanting to do for a while. XYLØ is how I’ve always identified myself as an artist. When I decided to release music back in 2014 I knew I wanted to go by XYLØ because I had that name set aside to use for a project for years Chase and I decided to stick with the name when we became a duo. When we parted ways… it felt natural to continue with the project as it is a big part of who I am. Its become my entire life.
 
FEMMUSIC: I see Zolita directed the “Heaven Only Knows” video. I know you were also writing with her. I interviewed her here (http://femmusic.com/wp/index.php/2017/09/01/zolita/ ). As I recall you were sharing the same management. What has Zolita contributed to your music? What have you taught her and what have you learned from her?
 
PD: Yes I met Zolita when my manager asked me and Lee Newell (who has written/produced most of my music with me) to write a badass confident anthemic song for Zoe and that’s where “Fight Like A Girl” started… Then from there she flew back from New York to work more with us for her project and we ended up writing most of her EP Sappho with her! From that we became close friends and I asked her to direct some videos for me since her own are so amazing! Since you asked, I texted her and asked her to answer for me haha-
 
She said, “Working with you has taught me so much about the songwriting process and musical collaboration. You’ve also set an incredible example of how to be a self-made female in the music industry.” (Very kind of her to say).
 
I have also learned a lot more from Zoe about the LGBTQ community than I did before and that has been really amazing and eye opening. She is a really hard working female who isn’t afraid to go out and make something happen. That has inspired me a lot because she is one of my only female friends who is trying to pursue a career as an artist. It’s nice to be able to confide in someone who understand the
 
FEMMUSIC: How has your songwriting changed being a solo artist?
 
PD: As a solo artist I am free to talk about whatever I want. I feel so much more confident in the studio and opening up about topics I didn’t feel so comfortable talk about before. It also feels really great to show my feminine side. That was something I was afraid of doing too much before.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve now released 3 singles, “Heaven Only Knows,” “Don’t Panic,” and “I Don’t Want to See You Anymore.” What’s coming next? EP, Album, Tour?
 
PD: More singles, music videos and some tour dates up soon!!
 
I would love to release an album next year (:
 
FEMMUSIC: Who produced the songs? With “America” you produced yourself. What do you look for in a producer?
 
PD: I worked with some amazing producers :
The Electric/ Lee Newell- IDWSYA,
Jimmy Harry/ Lee Newell- Don’t Panic,
Lee Newell- Heaven Only Knows,
Tears and Tantrums- SIBA
and another song called “Freak” that is coming out later, produced by:Frank Colucci/ Lee Newell.
 
I look for someone who is willing to experiment and step out of their comfort zone in the studio with me. I totally want the song to reflect their own style but I also don’t want it to sound like every other song they wrote that week. Also a clean studio is a PLUS!
 

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September 7th, 2018
grace savage

Photo by Jade Anouka

UK Beatboxer, actor and singer-songwriter Grace Savage has the dual privilege of having the life you want as a musician, and the life you would never want. Before 2016 she was trapped in a deal with a producer. After 2016 she was reborn first with her EP Savage Grace which received critical acclaim, and then with Control Freak. One of her latest singles is “Running Under Water”

Grace Savage will be appearing at the 3rd Annual Loud Women Festival on September 15.
The Dome, Tufnell Park, Boston Music Room
London, UK
 
FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with her as a preview to the festival. For into visit https://gracesavageofficial.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Reading your own bio it sounds like you’ve become 2 different people. One before 2016 and one after. How do you think your legal battles changed you as a person and a musician?
 
GS: It was a horrible situation to be in at the time but I see it as a blessing in disguise now. It was one of the scariest and best decisions I’ve ever made…it’s kind of like leaving a relationship that isn’t working – it’s so hard to rip yourself away from your comfort zone, even though you know deep down it’s not good for you. I didn’t know if I could do it alone but I knew I had to try. Once I walked away from that deal and all those songs I finally started to write music that was really and truly from me, I was turning into the artist I wanted to be – a much wiser and savvy artist too.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Control Freak?
 
GS: The biggest challenge was making a follow up EP to my debut – kind of like “second album syndrome” but on a smaller scale. I was surprised by how well received Savage Grace was and so really felt the pressure on the second EP. So the biggest challenge was not listening to the critical voice in my head and worrying about what people would think of the music.
 
FEMMUSIC: How was making Control Freak different from making Savage Grace? What lessons did you learn in-between?
 
GS: Control Freak has a bit more of an solid sound stamp than the previous EP. I feel like it’s a collection of songs that show how I have grown in confidence in every aspect – production, lyrics, vocal delivery, concepts. I had no funding for this EP and I couldn’t bring myself to crowd fund again so I had to be a bit more savvy with my finances and ask for a lot of favours! I learned how to create, market and release an EP with Savage Grace and definitely made a few mistakes, so the second time round everything felt a lot easier and smoother.
grace savage

photo by Jade Anouka

 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Running Under Water.” How did the song come together?
 
GS: This song is about falling for someone with depression and feeling apprehensive about the emotional difficulty that might entail but at the same time, knowing there is nothing you can do about it as the love is addictive and the falling, inevitable….all under the guise of a summer banger you can dance to 😉
 
I wrote it with Ben Cartwright and Jason Julian at odd child studios and I had the lyrics pretty much written before I went into the session, the whole thing happened really organically and we wrote it in a few hours.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
GS: I write poetry and lyrics on my laptop, I create little melody ideas in my iPhone and I create little musical sketches in logic so that every time I go into the studio I have a concept, a beat or a melody to get things going. Sometimes I topline to an existing beat but usually I like to work from scratch and be in the room with a producer so we are all on the same page and it sonically suits my savage style 😉
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
GS: It’s hard to pin it down to one song but growing up I listened to P!nk’s albums religiously. My parents split up when I was 13 and that album was very therapeutic for me. Some grungy emo pop bangers was exactly what I needed and every time I listen to those songs it take me right back to that time.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
GS: Nothing I can pinpoint but if you watch my TED talk – I go into some of my experiences as a female beatboxer 

 

 
 FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
GS: I’ve recently discovered this band called Sylvan Esso and I’m obsessed with them. I would love to collaborate or tour with them.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
GS: Opportunities and support at grass roots level for emerging artists – funding is extremely competitive, and the system is currently designed to benefit those who have access to money and can finance their own careers. It’s seriously hard to maintain a steady full time career in music and there are a lot of people out there willing to take advantage!
 
 

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