Category: Interviews

September 5th, 2018
Elise Davis
Elise Davis brought us back to country music in 2015 with her album The Token. It featured songs that emulated the country trope of one night stand & hot nights in songs “I Go To Bars And Get Drunk”, “Make the Kill” , and “Motel Room.”
Davis released her new album Cactus on September 7, 2018. It is a different mature creature based as much in rock as country with songs “Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, “Hold Me Like A Gun”, “Married Young”, and “Lone Wolf.”
 

Cactus brings a larger soundscape of instrumentation. It is a welcome change to standard country. For info visit http://www.elisedavis.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Cactus
 
ED: To me, overall making an album doesn’t feel like a challenge. Don’t get me wrong it is a lot of hard work, and stressful in moments, but the task of making an album is one of my favorite parts about being a musician. Because there are no rules. I guess I would say the biggest challenge of it for me before recording- making sure I have chosen the exact right songs for the record. When it comes time to make an album I look at the collection of songs written since I last recorded. Then I choose a group of about 20-25 songs and whittle it down until it feels like the right songs for the album. Saying what I want to say. That can be the most challenging part because I am so particular. But, after I solidify and feel good about the songs, the actual process of recording is so much fun to me. Because like I said there are no rules, and if you try something and it doesn’t work, you just try something else. It’s fun to hear things different ways even if you don’t end up going that direction.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the album?
 
ED: I had been obsessively listening to Tom Petty’s Wildflowers, and Aimee Mann’s Mental Illness, before going into making this album. I was very inspired by elements of both of those albums and referenced them when working with my producer on the direction. I wanted heavier harmonies, more acoustic guitars (than my last album), and for the first time ever full string arrangements on most the album.
 
FEMMUSIC: What lessons did you learn when making The Token that changed how you made Cactus?
 
ED: Every time going into the studio I feel I come out in the end having learned more about myself as a singer, a songwriter, and artist. The Token was exactly what it should have been. I call it my late night boozy mid-twenties album. Raw electric guitars, mostly recorded live, more elements of rock throughout the whole album. With The Token I wanted to make an album primarily electric guitars, bass, drums, keys, and something I could emulate live with a 4 piece band.
By the time I was getting ready to make Cactus I realized I wanted to go a totally different direction production wise. Not worrying myself with something I could exactly pull off live. Making The Token the way we did was right for the time and for that album.  What I learned was that I didn’t want to make another album in the same way. And I know in the next album I make I will want to go a different direction than both The Token and Cactus. That’s part of the fun of it! 🙂
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Jordan Lehning. How did you meet? Why did you decide to have him produce the album? What did he bring to the project? What do you look for in a producer?
 
ED: My last manager introduced me to Jordan Lehning. He had known him for years before and been a long time fan of his work. He sent me several records he produced. I was looking into several producers at the time but there was something about Jordan’s work that I was especially drawn to. In particular Jasmin Kaset’s (of Birdcloud) album Quiet Machine.  I must have listened down to that album 200 times. I love the way her vocals sound, the quirky and creative production, just all in all a great album.
 
We decided to meet for drinks and talk music and I knew by the end that he was the guy. He pointed out a couple songs I had sent him (Lone Wolf, Man) that I wanted to record and made comments about them that let me know he understands me as an artist.
In a producer I look for someone who is creative, not afraid of trying out different things, someone who thinks outside of the box and doesn’t feel there is any format we have to try and stay in. On top of someone who I vibe with and will drink whiskey with me and be patient if I end up asking to do 25 vocal takes of a song.
 
Elise Davis
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
ED: I wrote my first song when I was 12 years old. I didn’t plan on it beforehand, I had never thought about being a songwriter, I had been learning guitar and knew a handful of chords. My parents grounded me from going to see a rock concert (Bush) in downtown Little Rock, (I was really just wanting to go drink beer with 16 year old boys), and I was so upset I ran away. Eventually I came home to realize no one had cared or even noticed I had left. I was so angry I ran up to my room and my guitar was on my bed. I locked myself in the bathroom and wrote a song called “Big House” about feeling alone in a big house. (haha).  And truly from that day on I was hooked. I had found my outlet for emotion and its never changed. Since I was 12, anything I am feeling or going through, the main way to feel better or cope with my crazy brain is writing songs. So, I would say my technique really just revolves around trying to get truths out that I experience, to tell stories, and to express how I feel about a certain situation. That’s my main rule to myself as a songwriter. Trying to write what’s real. 
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
ED: This is a really tough question because there have been so many. So rather than messing with all the songs that have influenced me as an adult, I am going to say the one that I remember as being the very first. When I was 10 I became obsessed with Jewel’s hit album Pieces Of You. I know it was an influence to me as a 12 year old writing songs. But in particular I will never forget as a kid hearing the song “Daddy”on that album. It’s dark and weird and intense, and funny that I loved it so much at that age. I was in awe over the way someone can express such deep emotion in the words and phrasing of a song. Hearing that song and realizing I could let out my emotion that way too was a beautiful thing.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
ED: Yes and no. I’ve just chosen to not think about that too much. I am sure I have been more than I realize, haha, but I am just going to say what I want to say and make the albums I want to make. My albums talk a lot about sex, and in particular the freedom in being a sexually liberated woman. When I put out The Token I got some flack on the internet about a song called “Penny” and some dude calling me a slut, having daddy issues, etc. A man could literally be singing the line “I screwed her, and then another chick the next night, and I’m awesome because I have sex all the time” and that same dude criticizing me would be like “Hell yeah!”.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
ED: There are a lot of people I would like to collaborate with but the first one that comes to my mind is Blake Mills. He is an incredible guitar player, producer, singer, and I love his albums. I think it would be awesome to hear him play guitar with some songs I have written.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
ED: I would like the new age of streaming music to be more fair in paying the artists for their work.

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September 5th, 2018
Mothers
Mothers
Kristine Leschper
 
Mothers lives in a world filled with dreampop, ethereal, and rock. Listening to their music is a dive into an ocean of images and dreams. Originally from Georgia, Mothers released their debut album When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired in 2016. They are now back with a sophomore album Render Another Ugly Method due out September 7, 2018, and a new tour. It features songs like “Beauty Routine:

FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with Kristine Leschper about the new album. For info visit http://mothersband.us/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Render Another Ugly Method?
 
KL: I was writing these songs during what I would consider a time of general personal upheaval – suddenly we were touring really extensively and I wasn’t taking my health seriously, because I didn’t really know how to do that yet in the context of constant travel. I’m a person who is easily overstimulated by crowded or noisy environments, so I found myself feeling totally overwhelmed most of the time. At the same time, it was extremely positive, in that I was being introduced to a ton of new music (mostly by my bandmates on long drives) which absolutely informed the record. There was a lot of discovery. I just mean to say that during this time I felt extremely scattered – influenced by a ton of disparate sources and experimenting to better understand how those sources could inform and interact with my own sensibilities. This record was decidedly more deconstructive than the first record, in the sense that whatever was initially written went through many stages of being torn apart and reassembled. The process was much more visual, like collage, than earlier songs which were written very quickly and intuitively. It was sometime difficult to visualize the locus of the collection during the process of constantly cutting things up and reimagining them.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about John Congleton. How did you meet? Why did you decide to have him produce the album? What did he bring to the project?
 
KL: From the handful of records I was familiar with that were produced by John, I could tell that he was perhaps as scattered as I was – or that he wasn’t interested in any one particular thing. I was most familiar with the self-titled St. Vincent record, To Be Kind by Swans, and Burn Your Fire For No Witness by Angel Olsen, which all exist in totally different sonic environments. This ability to adapt made sense to me and felt especially relevant to the attitude I had while working on the songs that would become Render Another Ugly Method.
 
FEMMUSIC: What do you look for in a producer? What has your experience been working with 2 (John Congleton & Drew Vanderberg)?
 
KL: For When You Walk, I was really looking for guidance. It was my first recording experience (outside of quickly-assembled home recordings) and there was a lot I didn’t know about production. Drew has an ear for nuance – he always worked towards bringing out these small beautiful moments within the greater whole. For Render, I was looking for someone who would challenge my ideas – I sort of hoped to collide and that the music would come out more complete on the other side, having been put through the wringer so to speak. There were several things that John and I disagreed about, so there was this push and pull that happened, shaping the music as it went.
 
Mothers
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re releasing the album through Anti Records. This is not the same label you released When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired on. What made you decide to sign with Anti? What benefits do they bring to the project?
 
KL: What I first noticed about Anti was that their roster was sprawling and diverse – there are a number of strong women, and especially women of color, who have put out records with them. I like that they don’t try to curate a specific sound as a label, but rather release records they’re really passionate about, that are super different from each other and shine in their own ways. Consequently, they’ve released music by the likes of Kate Bush, Mavis Staples, Elliott Smith, Busdriver, The Locust, Os Mutantes, Tom Waits, Yann Tiersen, etc. I get the feeling that their work is hugely intuitive – it’s definitely a label run by artists, for artists, but they’re also going on 20 years as a label and have the benefits of being quite established. I’ll propose an idea of how I’d like to go about something, and they’re like “ok great, it sounds like you totally have a vision for this, let us know if you need anything to facilitate that”, so they’re supportive with their resources but are simultaneously accommodating to artists who want to have total control of their work, representation, etc.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your songwriting technique.
 
KL: It’s always changing. The songs on When You Walk were written extremely quickly, without much fuss. I’ve always been interested in abstracted structures, so those songs are quite linear. Writing Render was much more about challenging whatever was initially written, perhaps discarding the majority of the song and rewriting it around one particular section. I feel that it relates back to the cut-up techniques of the Dadaists and William Burroughs. It’s a practice I’ve used often in writing poetry, as well as in my visual works.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
KL: “Nothing On” by Flaming Tunes, and really the Flaming Tunes music in general. They’re incredibly raw, human songs from Gareth Williams, who recorded music as Flaming Tunes after he left experimental rock canon This Heat. I feel that Flaming Tunes has been the impetus for this shift I’ve been experiencing in my songwriting recently (post-render), sort of away from dark postmodernist cynicism and towards something more like new sincerity. I suppose I have been feeling generally less skeptical – ready for tenderness to take over.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
KL: Sure, I definitely have memories of being condescended to – but I do feel really hopeful about the language that’s being developed to discuss the complexities of racism, sexism, transphobia, etc within music and within our culture at large. There seems to be this structure of accountability that is forming as more people refuse to be complacent with these issues.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
KL: I would love to collaborate and/or tour with Cate Le Bon – I think she’s such an incredible writer and player. I feel that her songs are an example of perfectly married noise and pop/songwriter sensibilities. I find it really special when artists are able to do this – it’s one thing to be entirely experimental, or exclusively a good songwriter – so few artists can do both. “Love Is Not Love” is masterful. There’s also a totally lovely video on YouTube of her performing a cover of a white fence song, “Chairs In The Dark” that I recommend.
 
FEMMUSIC: What is one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
KL: I feel that I’m still trying to understand how I exist in relation to it, or how being a part of it impacts what I do and similarly, the ways in which I can interact with the industry to hopefully shape it in some small way. It seems that change is about accountability, and about grassroots revisions – that interpersonal relationships are some of the most realistic and important in harnessing revolution. I think any industry that operates within the confines of imperialist capitalism has to contend with that existing structure, and that it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that people who are consistently marginalized within capitalism are not silenced or discredited. I think that this means making a point to collaborate with, hire, recommend/speak highly of, buy records from, go on tour with, ETC, artists who are women, people of color, gender non-conforming, disabled, etc, who tend to be marginalized and ignored by the industry.

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August 17th, 2018
Madison Cunningham by Alex Teitz
 
Madison Cunningham is on tour with Punch Brothers even as we speak. This 21 year-old country artist has been attracting attention with her songs “So Long Frank Wright”, a Paul Simon cover, and “Beauty Into Cliches.”
Madison Cunningham
 

She released an EP in 2017 called Love, Lose Remember and recently signed to Verve Forecast. Cunningham brings a storied canvas to her lyrics with a voice that has a hint of Alanis Morissette. She released “All at Once” today:

 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about “So Long Frank Lloyd Wright.” What attracted you to cover that song?
 
MC: I was asked to play a song for a Paul Simon tribute and I figured all of the hits were already taken, so I chose from the B-side.  When I gave it a closer listen I realized the lyrics were simply profound. The chorus goes, “architects may come and architects may go and never change your point of view”
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Beauty Into Cliches.” How did the song develop?
 
MC: I was driving to Walmart and the first line of the song jumped in my head.  Then I finished the rest of it that day on my parent’s piano.  It was a quick one.  Songs don’t usually come that easily for me.
 
FEMMUSIC: With both “Song Long Frank Lloyd Wright” & “Beauty Into Cliches” you worked with Tyler Chester. How was he to work with? What did he bring to the project?
 
MC: Tyler is one of my favorite people on the planet to work with.  He’s been my producer since I was fifteen and has proven to be one of the most talented folks I know over and over!
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve recently signed to Verve Forecast. What made you decide to sign? What benefits to they bring?
 
MC: When I first met the A&R at Verve (Mike Viola), I felt like I already knew him.  Being an artist himself he seemed to get it and bring a perspective from the label side that was in favor of the artist.  I was persuaded to keep the conversation going. And then when I met the rest of the team and the president of the label (Danny Bennet) and saw how genuine they all were I was convinced.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re touring with the Punch Brothers. What are you most looking forward to on the tour? Tell me about working with Chris Thile?
 
MC: Working with Chris is totally inspiring.  He’s a hard worker, inclusive, genuine, and the truest form of talent there is. Glad to know him! One of the things I look forward to every night is watching their set.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
MC: The technique is: wake up, coffee, give it your best, sleep, repeat.
 
Making a routine out of song writing seems to be the only thing that truly works for me.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
MC: That’s a hard question.   I think I’ll name a body of work.  Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell was the first record I was able to see myself in. Still my favorite to this day!
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
MC: I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been discriminated against in an overt way.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful men and women who care about my well being more than my music, which I know isn’t everyone’s story.  It’s reared its head in more minor ways. In the instrument store employee who can make you feel small for being a woman asking for guitar strings, or in the expectation an audience can subconsciously project onto you for walking out with an electric guitar.  All and all it’s a male-dominated industry which can be discouraging for any woman, but I have many men to thank for building me up and believing in me more than I ever believed In myself. It’s a two sided coin in the end. We all still have plenty of room to improve as both men and women on how to treat each other as equals. It’s not an easy feat, but we need each other.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
MC: Rufus WainWright or Fiona Apple.  I’m a huge fan of both.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
MC: There will always be a good and bad side to the industry.  I wish it wasn’t designed to be a product to consumer type of business, but more of a gift to the receiver.  Maybe I’d rather have a life of music where it wasn’t just money making but simply for the joy of it. That may be wishful thinking.  I try to focus on making honest music myself and hope that it will land on the right ears.

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August 2nd, 2018
by Alex Teitz
 
Wild Mocassins
 
            Zahira Guiterrez and Cody Swann are the songwriting duo that make the core of Wild Moccasins. Their newest album Look Together is a departure from everything before. The album deals with a break-up, specifically Guiterrez & Swann’s. After a decade together their relationship dissolved. Where most bands would break up at this, Wild Moccasins made a new album with producer Ben H Allen.
 
            Seeing Wild Moccasins live there is no hint of the maelstrom that ensued and how the band stays grounded. They are an electric force live. If every break-up made such great music, we would wish for a lot of single musicians. For info visit https://www.wildmoccasins.net/
 
FEMMUSIC:  I’m sure your hearing this 100 times already. Most bands don’t survive a breakup after a decade. What made you decide to? Why make an album about it?
 
ZG: We knew that the music we made throughout the process would be worth it. Not only was it therapeutic, but it is some of the most honest songs we have ever written. It was quite painful at times, but I’m grateful that we got through it.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Look Together?
 
ZG: In the beginning, there was a lot of tension between Cody and I. And because there were a lot of emotions going around, the songwriting process became harder. We knew we had to stay 100% honest with each other but you never knew how the other would react to a lyric. It was always difficult getting over the initial blow of telling each other how we felt, but it helped us heal a lot faster.
 
FEMMUSIC: How was it working with Ben H Allen? How did you find him? What made you decide to work with on the album?
 
ZG: Working with Ben was an incredible experience. We kept seeing his name pop up on records we loved by Deerhunter, Belle and Sebastian, Cut Copy and many others so we thought: “What the hell? Let’s ask him if he’d be interested!” To be honest, I didn’t expect anything to come of it, but after meeting him things clicked. We worked with him on writing for over a year and he took us out of our comfort zone. It was an amazing learning experience and it changed the way we wrote music.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “No Muse” the song. There is the classic myth of the woman muse. What did you seek to change with the song?
 
ZG: A lot of women have had the experience of being taken advantage of or had men in power try to take control of what they do, so this song encourages women to be their own muses.
 
FEMMUSIC: Let’s talk about “No Muse” – the video. I understand you sought out Rachel Bays to be the cinematographer for the video. How was she to work with? Are you looking at working with her again?
 

ZG: It was very important for me that the cinematographer for the “No Muse” video was a woman. I had known Rachel for a while, and she was super easy to work it. She, like many other women, could relate to the song. We actually worked with her on our latest video “Longtime Listener” and plan to continue working with her and her crew.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
ZG: Cody and I have very different songwriting methods. I usually begin with a lyric and a melody and then write the chords around it. I also like to keep all of my lyrics in case Cody has the music to a song so that I never run out of material. For a song like “Waterless Cup” I wrote the lyrics, then melody, then chords. For a song like “Longtime Listener,” Cody wrote the music and I came in with the words and melody and helped with the song structure.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
ZG: It seems like every other week I find a new song that influences me deeply. A song like Prince’s “Purple Rain” or Bjork’s “Hyperballad” inspires me to be more vulnerable while Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” or Annie’s “Heartbeat” makes me want to write a perfect pop son.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
ZG: Absolutely. Especially when I was younger. I used to have to prove I was in the band to get into some venues. One time, after arguing with someone at a venue that I was in the band, he proceeded to tell the rest of the band that their “girlfriends” weren’t allowed in the green room. Things have changed a lot since then. I definitely see a lot more women in bands, and I hope more people think twice before making sexist assumptions.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
ZG: There are so many wonderful women in music at the moment I’d love to collaborate with or tour with. I’d been listening to a lot of Empress Of, Japanese Breakfast, and Nedelle Torrisi. I love how honest their music is.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
ZG: There are a million problems with the music industry. I deal with a lot of sexism, ageism, and racism, but every artist has their own struggle. The only way to change things is by continuing to make music on your own terms.

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July 31st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
 
            Adron’s music is like a breeze from the ocean filling the senses. It is primary Tropicalia but has elements of dream built in. It is walking on the beach on vacation. Her album Water Music comes out August 17 on Tribo Records. Her newest single is “Be Like the Sea:
 

            Adron worked with an artist collection, the ATL Collective for the album. They can be found at http://atl-collective.com/
 
            The album is being crowdfunded at Pledgemusic and can be ordered here https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/adronwatermusic
 
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Water Music?
 
A: Well, honestly, making the album was a joy. Everything that happened inside the studio was good. Hard work, definitely, and often frustrating, but good for the soul. Finding a way to release the album was a near-heartbreaking struggle that dragged on for years. We made use of the time, taking opportunities to re-evaluate and polish the tracks as my ears matured… but outside the studio it felt like the music world kept building brick walls in front of us, one after another. I lost track of how many deals we started with labels and investors only to have them fall apart when people either break their promises or stop communicating altogether. The music industry, at least the industry most independent artists encounter, is incredibly fickle and flaky. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I’m having, finally getting this record out. Let’s just say… the word “release” carries extra significance for me right now.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about pre-production on Water Music. How was it different from you other albums?
 
A: I came into this project having built a really strong musical rapport with my main collaborator, Colin Agnew (drummer, percussionist and co-arranger on Water Music). For the previous record, Organismo, our approach was much more along the lines of, “throw it at the wall and see if it sticks.” This time the songs were mostly full-grown adults by the time we brought them into the studio, and we had a much more articulate plan for how they’d sound. There’s a whole lot going on in these productions; stacks and stacks of instrument tracks on these sessions. But I’m proud at how coherently and confidently it all came together. We were reaching for the studio sound of the mid 1970s, thinking always of records like Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark,” and Roberta Flack’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love”… records with a broad palette of sounds but always clear, crystalline, communicative. Never letting sonic opulence drown out the actual song itself. Shout out to Martin Kearns, producer and engineer on Water Music, who devoted countless hours to realizing this vision with us.
 
FEMMUSIC: I understand you worked with ATL Collective on Water Music. Tell me about the Collective and what they contributed to the album.
 
A: ATL Collective is a loose group of badass musicians who unite to put on cover shows, usually presenting an entire classic album, front to back. I’ve performed with them tons of times, doing Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Billy Joel… more than I can name. It’s great fun for the audiences (which grow with every show!) but I don’t even know if they realize how much it does for the artists, just to be a part of these shows. The experience is incredibly strengthening and educational for a growing artist like myself. Imagine getting up in front of a packed audience to sing Marvin Gaye, to people who don’t know who you are, but are fiercely devoted fans of Gaye’s music. It can be terrifying. If you survive it, you’re a thousand times stronger than you were before. These are great bonding experiences with genius players, and I can’t imagine how many other fruitful collaborations have come as a result of Collective shows. So… I met many of the genius players on Water Music through ATL Collective shows, including bassist Robby Handley and keyboardist Rhett Huffman, who I still play with as often as possible.
 
Adron
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Tribo Records. Why did you sign with them? What benefits have they brought to the project?
 
A: Tribo is owned by my old friend, Rafael Pereira. He’s a brilliant musician and a hardworking businessman, and pretty much everyone in Atlanta loves him. I can’t overstate the importance of working with people you trust, who understand what you need, and what you mean to say with the music you make. Tribo is helping me finally get this album out of the studio and into the world, something I couldn’t do independently, on my minimum-wage income, and needing to compensate the investment in time and energy of other partners who worked on the record. The relationship with Tribo feels like a mutual blast-off, both of us strengthening each others’ radius of influence in the world with a record we’re all really excited about.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
A: I can try! I’ve been trying to harness the muse in a more deliberate way over the last couple years, because in the past it’s always felt sort of accidental. I’m sitting there, screwing around on guitar, and suddenly kablooie, there’s a song. But I want to be more communicative. I want the person listening to understand me. That’s actually pretty rare these days, I think! I want to tell a story, and have the person listening be like “Omg same.” But at the same time I want to articulate weird, squirmy feelings and experiences that don’t get nailed down in songs very often. So I’m taking a much more considered approach to lyrics these days. And letting music kinda summon itself up around the story, which, now that I’m a more seasoned writer, happens more and more naturally these days. Melody and harmony is pretty second nature to me now; what I want to master is communication.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
A: Holy shit, how do I even answer this question?!! I really can’t isolate one single Caetano Veloso song, but I can’t overstate his influence on me. Same with the Beatles. Same with Marcos Valle. I’m just gonna sidestep all these colossal figures in my musical life and cherrypick this one song: “Grilos” by Erasmo Carlos. It’s perfection. It’s a desert-island, can’t-live-without-it song. I might never write or record anything that perfect, and I’m okay with it. Go listen.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
A: Sure. We all have. Sound engineers, when I’m on tour, still offer to show me how to wrap my own cables. I do my best to shrug it off, because my energy is better spent elsewhere. The thing that actually bugs me more, though, is when I’m asked to participate in festivals and showcases that are aggressively female- or female-identifying-only. I don’t feel like my music has all that much to do with my gender, except that my voice is pretty feminine and I make the most of that. I don’t like to perform in contexts where male listeners either don’t feel welcome or don’t feel like the event is relevant to them; I don’t feel like that’s germane to what I’m about as an artist, and I think it’s often harmful to the genuine pursuit of cross-gender friendship and community. I think for different groups to make peace, we need to spend time together. I.e., no one has ever become less racist by isolating themselves from other races, right?
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
A: Caetano Veloso, because he might be the single greatest influence on me as a songwriter besides maybe Paul McCartney. I suppose a part of me just wants to show him what I’ve done, and offer it up to him. Because I feel like a part of it all belongs to him, and I like to think he’d appreciate it. I also think we’d make a terrific double bill, and I’m pretty certain if we ever sang together it’d be gorgeous.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
A: Another tough one! I suppose I’d like to see music labels get braver, and try harder to discover new and developing artists whose styles aren’t easily definable, or don’t have a clear formula for how to market them, and take bigger risks with these types of artists. Put money into it. Let’s try to make the next generation of standout artists really, truly memorable. Fewer colossally expensive spectacle acts, more memorable, cherishable songs from passionate artists.
 
Adron
 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 31st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
 
            Lola Kirke is best known for playing Hailey Rutledge on Mozart in the Jungle. Her story is much larger than the role and her music caught us at first listen. As we dug deeper we found a community of musicians from Cornelia Murr (see our interview) to Amo Amo.
            Kirke has previously released an EP in 2016 of Spirit House and is releasing Heart Head West on August 10 on Downtown Records. The album includes singles “Supposed To”, “Monsters” and “Sexy Song”
 

 
            The album is tracked live and is filled with brilliant introspective lyrics. We look forward to seeing Kirke’s story evolve on the road and among a community of artists. For info visit  https://www.lolakirkemusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Heart Head West?
 
LK: The biggest challenge was some really boring technical stuff that goes right over my head and had to do with mixing. The creative side was much much easier, as was the interpersonal side. I made this record with the help of many people I’m honored to call friends. They’re so talented!
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the album?
 
LK: Ultimately I just wanted the songs to sound the best they could and like they were all in conversation with each other, even though they’re about a range of things that aren’t necessarily. They’re really personal and honest songs and recording them in the honest way was important to me. I wanted them to look like photographs of people with no make up on. Neil Young’s Hawks and Doves was a sonic reference for us for that reason. That whole album is tracked live. You can almost hear the floorboards of the barn, it sounds like they’re about to burn to the ground!
 
FEMMUSIC: How did making Heart Head West differ from making your EP? What lessons did you learn making the EP?
 
LK: On the EP, Wyndham, my partner and producer and our dear friend Omar Velasco of Amo Amo basically play everything (with the exception of some searing lead guitar sounds by Lilah Larson and Jack Byrne, some keys by Mitchell Robe, and a little twelve string action by me). I had a ball making it but wanted to take a different approach altogether for the full length. So we tracked live to tape with a full band. It was so so fun. You can really hear the difference between those things though!
 
Lola Kirke album cover
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Wyndham Garnett. How was he to work with? What did he bring to the project?
 
LK: Besides being one of my favorite musicians, Wyndham has also been a huge support to me as a musician. I’d been playing a long time but he really encouraged me to get out there and record my own stuff. I love working with him because he’s relentless and perfectionistic but also kind and even tempered. He communicates with other musicians so well and won’t stop until it sounds right. And we have similar taste in music so there isn’t any misunderstanding in that way. I really trust him.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Downtown Records. Why did you sign with them? How are they to work with?
 
LK: I put out my EP through Portland based Spirit House and loved the community of powerful femme musicians it aligned me with and had similar intentions with this record. I honestly never fathomed that an actual record deal would materialize. So when Downtown came knocking, I was pretty surprised. Their passion for the project and hands off approach creatively were both compelling and moving to me.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re most well known for Mozart in the Jungle. How has working at Mozart in the Jungle effected and influenced your own music?
 
LK: My music is very far from anything classical but there was a strange overlap where my characters confidence as a musician was growing at the same rate as my own. All those conducting scenes were really good practice!
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
LK: Typically I’ll start writing a song out of nowhere or at a really inconvenient time. Like on the subway or when I’m about to fall asleep. I’ll get excited by a new melody or a phrase that feels true and also like nothing I’ve ever written before. I’ll write them down or record them on my phone and them come back to it, usually late at with a glass or two of whiskey. It’s one of my most favorite past times.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
LK: This is an almost impossible question but I’m gonna say maybe “Angel from Montgomery” because it was the first song I could play on guitar and sing at the same time. It made me feel comfortable with myself as a musician in a way no song prior to it had.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
LK: Not that I know of! I’m also just so grateful to be coming into the industry at a time when so many other women artists are blooming and taking hold of their power.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
LK: Oh so many people! I am surrounded by the most incredible musicians. My pal and frequent collaborator Cornelia Murr, Lilah Larson, Cassandra Jenkins, Lily McQueen, Greta Morgan, Johanna Warren, my sister Domino Kirke, Amo Amo, Wyndham again and forever! I also love Bedouine, Hand Habits, and Courtney Marie Andrews. And I adore Sturgill Simpson. That would be fun. I’d be more than happy making music with any of these people.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
LK: Well I guess I’d like to see it based more on talent than on Instagram and who you know but that’s all industries. There are so many ridiculously talented artists out there who we don’t hear. I’d like that to change!
 
Lola

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 31st, 2018
Opening for The Cult, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bush
 
 
             BONES is a London band now LA based made of Rosie Bones and Carmen Vandenverg. BONES has been labeled everything from hard rock to alternative. They are a band that defies labels with a sound called “Future Rock” that blends rock and blues in a gritty aggressive combination. They first caught our attention with the video “Beautiful is Boring”
 

 
            The band made an impact at SXSW and plays Lollapalooza before this show. They are known to everyone from Jeff Beck to PVRIS. For info visit https://www.bonesuk.com/
 
Rosie Bones – interview by Alex Teitz
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re originally from London and now live in the US. I spotlight some of the Music Venue Trust events. I was curious of what you thought of the London venue scene. What do you see done differently in the US?
 
RB: There’s more rain. It’s generally a little grottier and fuller. More fights and pints.
 
FEMMUSIC: You worked with Jeff Beck on his album Loud Hailer. How was it to work with him? What were the biggest challenges? Is Beck reciprocating by being involved with your album? What is the best thing you learned from him?
 
RB: Jeff came to see BONES play when we first started the band. And then he took us for an Indian meal, said he had a tour with ‘Buddy Guy’ booked, and needed an album to support the tour. So we went to his house for 3 weeks and wrote Loud Hailer. It was a very easy, relaxing and fun experience. Lots of booze and open fires.
 
The best thing we learned from him is to continue taking risks no matter what age you are. Never sit back in the arm chair. He had no need at his age to work with an unknown couple of twenty-somethings. But he did. And that’s rock and roll. He’s a bad arse.
 
bones
 
FEMMUSIC: Let me ask you about your style of music. You’ve called it “Future Rock.” When I saw you live I was amazed how much blues is in it. I understand Rosie has more of a rock background, and Carmen has more of a blues. How does play out in your creative process?
 
RB: We just bash brains together and see what comes out. Lets us be instinctive and exciting.
 
FEMMUSIC: Rosie, besides designing all the band merch, you also have done some other visual art projects. How does the visual art mix with the music? When you are creating music do you “see” it with a visual memory?
 
RB: Yep. I always see with a visual memory. I’ve usually got an idea of what I want the video to look like while we’re writing the song. The whole ‘BONES VISUAL WORLD’ is so important to us. I enjoy creating it very much.
 
FEMMUSIC: I’ve noticed in other interviews you shy away from calling yourselves feminist, or portraying a specific platform. Your songs are empowering, and your videos are thought provoking. Since you avoid terms like feminist and platform, do you see them being a negative to being an artist today? Why or why not?
 
RB: We just don’t want to be seen as a ‘girl band’- we’re a band… with two girls in it.
 
It’s like as soon as you are putting that label on yourselves you’re adding to the problem. Feminism is about EQUALITY. As soon as you start separating the girls and the boys into different clubs, “‘boy bands’ over here and ‘girl bands’ over there”, you’re creating another imbalance. The ‘girl bands’ are just getting compared to the other ‘girl bands’ and that’s just not the level playing field that we see our kind of ‘feminism’ manifesting itself as. We want to be in the ring with EVERYONE scrapping it out. Best man/woman wins.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
RB: The Beach Boys “God Only Knows” is my favorite song in the WORLD. Just genius, simple song writing. Anything by Aerosmith has a huge influence on how I write and why I wanted to start writing
 
For Carmen… it’s probably anything BLUES related.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
RB: Prince. Cos he’s the one.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
RB: More free chocolate.
 
bones

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 23rd, 2018
by Alex Teitz
 
            “Phantastic Ferniture’s Christmas Extravaganza First and Final Gig” promised to be what it sounded like. A one-time shot of 4 friends in Sydney. Now they are releasing the self-titled album. The band is Julia Jacklin, Elizabeth Hughes, Ryan K Brennan & Tom Stephens.
 
            The band members have worked on each other’s projects since. Julia Jacklin released Don’t Let the Kids Win in 2016. There has also been Elizabeth Hughes Emily and a band called Salta. Throughout it all this core group of friends have held this project. Now it is getting its worldwide release on July 27 on Polyvinyl Records. The band has an indie pop sound mixed with a touch of dream. The latest single is “Bad Timing”
 

 
            FEMMUSIC was thrilled to speak to both Julia Jacklin & Elizabeth Hughes about Phantastic Ferniture. For info visit http://phantasticferniture.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about South America and how you met?
 
Liz: Julia and I knew of each other while we were growing up in the Blue Mountains but we never properly met. I was backpacking through Peru when I was 18 and did some volunteering in Lima. She heard I was there and emailed me to see if she could come along to join me. We worked with some kids playing music and it was there we realized our voices went well together, singing harmonies. When we got back to Aus we decided to start a band.
 
Julia: I think the first song we played there was Angus and Julia stones “Mango Tree”, a pretty classic Australian teenage folk duo beginning.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Phantastic Ferniture album?
 
Liz: Like any band we’ve had our fair share of challenges. I think the biggest thing was getting it this far. There were many moments along the way where it could have fallen by the wayside, but there was always one of us (not always the same person) who got it back on the road in some format. Time-wise there were moments where we’d struggle. If one of us was struggling to make it work, the others would pull the weight. It’s a miracle we have an album out – I think we are all grateful these songs have been able to see the light of day!
 
Julia: Yeah definitely just getting it done before we all became grandparents. It was looking that way but through our powers combined we managed to get it over the line.
 
Phantastic Ferniture
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the album?
 
Liz: The initial vision was to be able to get on stage and have fun, and not overthink it. Again – the vision for the album was to have ideas and not get bogged down in rationality or self-doubt. If the pun makes you laugh, post it on insta and don’t worry about people thinking you’re stupid. If the outfit feels good, wear it on stage and remember tomorrow is another day. We’ve made many dubious outfit choices and played some pretty average shows and I don’t regret a single choice we made. It’s all part of the journey.
 
Julia:  Just wanting to capture the last 4 years of work really, in a way that would make us proud to put out into the world. Not much thinking about an overall vision for the record, just wanting to pay tribute to this time in our lives.
 
FEMMUSIC: You both have separate projects as well as coming together for both Salta & Phantastic Ferniture. It sounds like Phantastic Ferniture has been a more relaxed and spontaneous project. Why did you want to give it a worldwide release?
 
Liz: To be honest, we are just super lucky. I think there’s a lot of talented artists out there just like us, but we happened to be able to release our album worldwide. In a way, Phantastic Ferniture really took on a life of its own and I think we are all just along for the ride. Sometimes things just work. I think it’s a real team effort, and in that way, no one feels a huge sense of ownership over it which is refreshing.
 
Julia: Yeah I think we were just presented with the opportunity to do it and thought why not. It never felt like a project that would have a long life, so it’s nice to be able to know we are giving it all we can in the time we have.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve described Phantastic Ferniture as a Sydney band. I’ve known the Sydney scene for the lockout laws. I was surprised to see Keep Sydney Open turning into a political party. How has the scene changed in your eyes?
 
Liz: It’s a tricky one. They say it takes 10 years and 10,000 hours to master something. Can we expect Sydney to be this burgeoning hub of culture if everyone just talks it down and bails? Not really. I’m really proud of our music community and I think so much talent comes out of Sydney and exists within Sydney. I’m so behind supporting each other and being role models for each other because I’ve seen it work. If you have someone lead by example, other people are inspired to do the same.
 
FEMMUSIC: Ryan K Brennan acted as producer on the album. I’ve noticed he’s taken many roles in both your projects (Emily, Don’t Let the Kids Win). How is he to work with? What does he bring to your projects?
 
Liz: Ryan is a critical backbone to the Sydney music scene. He has worked on SO many of our friends projects. It’s for countless reasons. He works hard, is really organized and reliable and provides an achievable way for musicians with a way to share their music with the rest of the world. He has made a really significant impact on the scene here and I think it would look really different if he hadn’t moved to Sydney.
 
Julia: The first time I ever recorded anything was with Ryan. He was my new mysterious housemate just over from Perth and I used to walk down the hall and stand at his door and self-consciously whisper, “Hey ah if you have a second would you mind ah recording this little thing I wrote?” We both learnt a lot together over the years. He used to ride around Sydney on his bike with a crate full of gear and guitars on both handlebars, risking his life and his gear to record people like me and Liz in their bedrooms for no money.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
Liz: Basically we would just jam on something and then it would turn into a song. Usually it would start with a riff or a bassline, or a vocal part and the rest of the band would build on that. I think it shows how useful collaboration is. One of the best things was playing something that you might skim over and forget about and someone else in the room would just yell out “repeat that bit!” and you’d resurrect it and then it would become the hook.
 
Julia: Yeah a lot of everyone scrolling through their phone voice memos and being like, “what about this?” and then everyone giving it a go.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
Liz: In terms of Phan Fern, It’s pretty hard to say. We all bring a lot of different musical influences to the table. In all honesty, my friend’s music has the biggest influence on me. It’s what I find most inspiring and really keeps me going in any times of doubt.
 
Julia: For this project ‘Spinning Around’ by Kylie Minogue. It’s fun and sexy and makes you feel 20 shades of great.
 
FEMMUSIC: As women in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
Liz: Ah yeah, I mean, as women in life we have been discriminated against. It can feel fairly pronounced in musical settings. I think one of the biggest challenges overcoming this is realizing that to be strong and honest and to stick to your guns can mean you’ll ruffle feathers, and that doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
Liz: I’d love to write some songs with Courtney Barnett. Or just be a fly on the wall while she is recording or writing. It would be pretty ace to tour with her too.
 
Julia: Melbourne band RVG. Seeing them live is life affirming.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
Liz: People’s reactions. A lot of people treat music like a hobby that should be abandoned once you become an adult. To be able to persevere in anything requires not only personal confidence and resilience, it also requires a community of people who support you. If you know a musician, maybe it’s time to tell them they are doing just as good a job as your friend who has a more defined and secure career path that’s been tried and tested. Songwriting generally doesn’t have one method or path and that’s what makes it both difficult and beautiful.
 
Julia: It being so youth focused, especially for women.Phantastic Ferniture
 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 23rd, 2018
by Alex Teitz
 
            The Overcoats are a NY based electro-pop band with rock overtones and memorable harmonies. They are Hana Elion & JJ Mitchell. In 2015 they released an EP, and in 2017 they released their debut album, Young. “I Don’t Believe in Us” is one of the singles from the album
 

            FEMMUSIC was honored to have an e-mail interview with The Overcoats. Since neither woman specified whom was answering the question, we assume both and are listing all answers as The Overcoats. The Overcoats will be on the main stage at the Underground Music Showcase in Denver this weekend. For info visit https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com &http://www.overcoatsmusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Young?
 
O: I think the biggest challenge for us was really crafting the sound. We knew in our heads what we wanted it to sound like, but since it was our first album, it was our first attempt trying to turn that sound into a reality. It took a lot of trial and error, and experimentation, figuring out what we liked and didn’t like.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about Nicholas Verhas & Autre Ne Veut. How were they to work with? How did you meet them? Why did decide to have them produce the album?
 
O: Nicolas and Arthur (Autre Ne Veut) were wonderful to work with. They are both so talented, and come from really different production backgrounds. Nicolas had done some of our favorite rock records, whereas Arthur was more versed in electronics. We wanted to combine both of their aesthetics into something that was both folky and electronic at the same time — that’s why we wanted them both!
 
FEMMUSIC:  How was your approach different doing Young vs your EP? What did you learn making the album?
 
O: Our EP did not have much of an approach! It was the first 4 songs we had ever written. However, limitation definitely breeds creativity – and not being able to have tons of players, crazy production, etc definitely made us be really intentional about our style and the sounds we chose. The album was different — being in a real studio, with tons and tons of instruments and sounds at your disposal — it was way harder to narrow down!
 
FEMMUSIC:  You’re signed to Arts & Crafts. Why did you sign with them? How are they to work with?
 
O: Arts & Crafts are such lovely human beings. We grew up listening to Feist and Broken Social Scene, so having them in the Arts & Crafts family was very inspiring.
overcoats
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
O: We like to sit down and talk to one another about an idea, lyric, feeling, experience, and start writing from there. The first step is to get on the same page and empathize with each other so we can both attempt to write honestly and in a way that helps heal.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
O: “The Scientist” by Coldplay is probably one of the most inspiring songs to us these days. We simply cannot get over how vague the lyrics are but how the song evokes such a particular feeling.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As women in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
O: Yes. It happens in overt ways as well as very subtle ingrained ways. Whether it’s not getting booked for festivals (most festival lineups contain under 25% female artists), or the way we’re spoken to or the way our art is treated…
 
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
O: We want to tour with Coldplay! Stadium tour…YES PLEASE. We want to collaborate with Feist. She’s just one of the most unique and talented artists we’ve ever heard. She was/is a big influence for us and to be able to work with her and share creative ideas would be a dream come true.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
O: Would love more female producers. Which means creating a space where women are invited to, and feel comfortable, learning about music production.
 
overcoats

Photo by Gaby Alvarez

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 20th, 2018
by Alex Teitz
Black Hole Single Artwork
 
            Jour came to our attention with the song “American Nightmare.”

            JOUR is Jourdan Myers from the Twin Cities. “American Nightmare” is the beginning of new material from her upcoming album Chiaroscuro. Myers has a background is banking and finance and co-founded The Good Arts Collective http://www.goodartscollective.com/
 
            She also had a history of visual arts. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to this emerging presence in the arts and we look forward to more music. On July 20 she releases “Black Hole.”
 

For info visit https://jourmusic.xyz/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Chiaroscuro?
 
J: I think the most challenging part was following through with a goal I had for myself, which was to write music that was both artistic yet accessible. The music I’m inclined to write can fall on a spectrum from avant garde to Top 40 pop, and I worked really hard to find something that could pull my obscure artistic tendencies more toward the center, while not compromising my integrity as a writer by creating cheap insincere pop to get streams. I used a number of people as sounding boards in this process to help me stay focused on my goals. The producer of my record, Matt Patrick, was a great resource and he helped me simplify my ideas so that they could be more easily digested by my audience.
 
FEMMUSIC: How has your visual art influenced your music and vice-versa?
 
J: In a sense, one builds upon the other. When I envisioned my record, the first thing that came to mind was “space.” Not like outer space, but the distance between things. It was a sort of vague notion but it highly informed the production on the album. As I completed the songs, I then used the space in the music to inform the creative visual output associated with it. This turned into quite an obsession with the Bauhaus movement, simplicity and space used in art, and form found in geometric shapes and the human body. As I worked with these elements in photography and design, I then was captivated with the tension found in the contrast of light and dark. I felt that this was very present in an aural sense in my music, and so I began to build and grow a visual aesthetic rooted in heavy contrast. I imagine my future music will grow out of these current obsessions to morph into a new aesthetic. I anticipate that one will continue to influence the other in a cyclical way forever. 
 
FEMMUSIC: I understand you have a background in banking & finance. How did you move from that to pursuing music?
 
J: The tension of hating my job really forced me to write music because I needed to release my angst in some form. Eventually, as dramatic as it sounds, the collapse of my very soul was imminent and I quit my job in finance, took a few months to recover from the burnout, and then entered the music scene in my hometown with a fiery ambition to make music and never return to my former way of life.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me more about The Good Arts Collective (I’ve visited the website). How did you become involved with them?
 
J: I co-founded the Good Arts Collective with another member, Benjamin Kelly, in 2015. We were both looking for space to work on our various forms of art, and an old church in downtown Minneapolis opened its doors to us to use their abandoned youth room in whatever way we wanted. We refinished the room as we added more and more member artists and now it is a vibrant space used for rehearsals, meetings, photo shoots, performances, recording, and any number of other ways our members can think to use it. We also have a recording studio in a separate room called SideTown Studios. I did not record this album there, although many of our members use the space as artists and producers to record their work.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
J: I think it’s all over the map. Sometimes the chords come first on piano, sometimes I pluck at a guitar mindlessly and hear a melody that inspires me. Sometimes I write down a thought or something I overheard and sit on it for months before extrapolating on it to make more verses. Usually, however, I write many songs, and then I cut and paste parts of them and mix and match them to make each song better. One time I wrote a whole song and stole only one line from it to include it in my newest single “Black Hole”. The line was “Why not let the grave keep her dead? You dig me up instead.” The rest of that song was never used or recorded. Certainly not a waste, though – I needed to write that whole song so I could complete “Black Hole”! 
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
J: Undoubtedly the song “Anti-Pioneer” by Feist. Someone showed me this song from her record Metals in 2013 and it changed the way I wrote. It made me hear music as a three-dimensional space, with depth and width and height. It showed me how you can pour emotion and feeling into that space like water from a pitcher and fill it all the way up. It taught me how to use my voice like a paintbrush to create a painting, more than just communicate words. Every time I hear that song it is a spiritual experience.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
J: I can’t say that I’ve been particularly discriminated against, but I have had a number of uncomfortable encounters with men. Once I was sitting in for a band playing keys and when I went back stage the lead singer asked me if I could hear myself play alright. When I answered, he told me I was cute and he walked up to me and kissed me on the mouth in front of everyone. It was both unexpected and upsetting, because it made me wonder if I was sitting in for my own merits or because he thought I was “cute”. Another time I was hired to perform for a well-paying concert series out of town and when I thanked him for confirming my performance, the man told me it helped that he had a thing for redheads. Later, after I performed and I asked for my check, he said he didn’t have it with him and I could meet him for breakfast in the morning to get paid. I flatly refused and left town and gave him my mailing address. It took him over a month to send me the money and I had to remind him a number of times to send it. He never asked me back.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
J: I think the music industry is as ripe as ever for people to be successful in their own unique way because there is endless access to fans through social media and music streaming, and surely there is a tribe for everyone just waiting out there to be found. While there is still a lot that could be changed about the industry, I think I would change something particular about myself and the way I work within this “New Music Business” (to borrow a term from my friend Ari Herstand’s book). I would love to have a stroke of brilliance that enables me to find and reach my specific audience more effectively, because I know they are out there. The tools exist, but I am still learning how to use them effectively. 
 
La_Famos_JOUR

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 20th, 2018
by Alex Teitz
Miranda Glory
 
            Miranda Glory’s resume reads like a good book. It includes Professional Performing Arts School in NYC, Berklee College of Music, Neverland Songwriting Retreat in Costa Rica. She has worked with producers including Autumn Rowe, Sheppard Soloman, Zac Poor, David Brook, to name a small few. She is signed to Tommy Boy Entertainment where she released singles “Blue Eyes Featuring Matty Owens” and “Take.” She also co-wrote RYNX’s single “Want You.” Today she releases her single “Hypochondriac”
 

 
            Miranda Glory is a songwriter who has established herself on both coasts as a professional. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to Glory about “Hypochondriac” and her songwriting. For info visit https://mirandaglory.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Hypochondriac.” How did the song develop?  
 
MG: The idea for this song came from the fact that I’ve always been a huge hypochondriac. I was on Web MD on day (as I often am) and I thought it would be a cool idea to relate being a hypochondriac to a relationship. I’ve definitely been in relationships where I started to overthink every little detail to the point where I was paranoid about something that other people thought was nothing. I told this idea to some of my best friends that I wrote the song with and they quickly understood what I was talking about and the song kind of happened super quick from there.
 
FEMMUSIC:  You’ve worked with a number of songwriters and producers. What do you look for in a producer? 
 
MG: I look for producers that are willing to go outside the box in terms of sounds and also really try to cater to what the song needs. Some of my songs I like to keep super minimal production so that the song really stands out and isn’t overshadowed by the production. I also love when producers do something I didn’t expect and surprise me with their creativity. It’s different for every song really but it’s always fun finding that production that matches perfectly.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Tommy Boy Entertainment. Why did you sign with them? How did you meet them?
 
MG: I did a 2-song deal with them and it was a great experience. They are very passionate about what they do and about discovering new artists. It’s actually a funny story how I met them. My Dad used to submit my music to different labels using a website and he actually submit my songs to Tommy Boy and I had no idea. Brian Delaney (an A&R at Tommy Boy) heard it and asked me to come in for a meeting. It was really funny because he told me he’s never found anyone from that website before but he was so glad he continued to use it because he found me. They’re all so sweet there!  
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
MG: I personally like to start with a concept or song title, which is what I did for ‘Hypochondriac’. From there I like to start with some chords and a vibe and just come up with melodies and lyrics together. I try to write the hook first and work backwards because that usually works the best for me but I also keep it open based on what my co-writers/producer likes to do.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
MG: I think “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” by John Mayer made me want to write songs. I think I was probably going through my first heartbreak and I cried to that song many times (lol). But something about how it was crafted felt like he was describing exactly how I was feeling and I just remember thinking that I wanted to do that for other people.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
MG: I can remember one experience while in music school where I felt very discriminated against. I did a minor in music technology and I was the only woman in all of my classes. I remember one of the (male) Masters students that was supposed to be helping out with the undergrads made an extremely condescending comment to me in which he called me “honey” and I knew that he wouldn’t have said anything like this to the other male students. From that moment on I knew this industry wasn’t going to be easy being a woman but I am super lucky to have a badass female manager, female video directors, female co-writers and a female PR team right now. So I feel very proud of that fact and I know I have a lot of people looking out for me.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
MG: I would love to collaborate with Frank Ocean. I feel like our sounds would compliment each other’s so nicely and I just love his music so much.  Going on tour with Drake is probably my dream because I just really respect him as a songwriter and an artist and it’d be insane to get to see him perform live every night!
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry? 
 
 
MG: I think right now it’s extremely hard for undiscovered artist’s music to be found. It seems like there’s a small circle of the same people that are getting all the plays but there are so many dope independent artists out there doing their thing and I wish there was a way for them to be heard more easily. This industry is so tough that I think people that are so talented often times give up because they aren’t getting recognized and that’s really sad to me. 
 
Miranda Glory

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 1st, 2018
Madge

Photo by Danny Lane

by Alex Teitz
 
            Madge is an LA producer and songwriter. She has released 3 singles so far and is working on EP. Her music has a definitive edge that sticks out and hits hard. They are wrapped in lyrics that are evocative and emotional. We are waiting for her EP. Madge will be at the Underground Music Showcase July 26-29, 2018. For more info visit https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com &https://www.facebook.com/madge.tunes/
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
M: All of my songs start with beats. I think in rhythms rather than chord structures. And a lot of my melodies start out as rhythmic hooks rather than notes. After I’ve crafted a basic beat I usually start throwing in hooks and melody ideas. Sometimes lyrics come first, sometimes last. I definitely keep a notebook of lyrical ideas and often pull from that. Although in general, I would say that lyrics are the easiest part for me.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about “Fight or Fight Club.” The song is very provocative in asking why someone is beating up someone else. How did you come up with the song? What challenges did it have?
 
M: That’s exactly how I came up with it. I was frustrated with how dreamy the track was and I decided I needed to throw in a little provocation. It certainly deals in themes of abuse but also my own masochistic tendencies. I beat myself up all the time and I guess I must like it because I keep doing it again and again. The biggest challenge with that song was making it fit with my general aesthetic of loud, raw sound. In the end I think it’s the lyrics that make it work. 
 

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Red James.” The song has 2 distinct characters of Old Madge & Red James. What is the story behind this song?
 
M: It’s an Irish folktale that I’ve become mildly obsessed with. Madge is a witch, Red James is her lover. It stood out to me because Madge chose to save him from death and eventually made him her partner in crime. She was the one with the political and social power to do that. It’s an unusual story compared to other modern narratives and it immediately resonated with me. So badass.
 

FEMMUSIC:  “Alice” is your latest song. It is less of a love song and more of lust song. Tell me how this song evolved.
 
M: Alice is a poltergeist that I know. She clung to me for years. This song has turned her into something campy and almost silly, which is reflective of my relationship with her now. Although I still deal with major shame issues around lust and I’m sure it’s somehow connected to her.
 

 
FEMMUSIC: Now that you have 3 singles out, what are your plans for an EP or album?
 
M: I’ll have at least one more single and an EP out later this year! So stay tuned!
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
M: This is such a difficult question. A lot of pop songs from the 60s have been highly influential on my songwriting. I think the song “Georgy Girl” by The Seekers is up there. And also “Baby Pop” by France Gall. There’s something incredible about the nursery rhyme style melodies from that era.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
M: It’s not quite that black and white. I definitely discriminate against myself. I question my own judgment and value my opinions as lesser. But there is certainly a boys’ club attitude among the production world and I find it very intimidating.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
M: I would die to work with Dev Hynes or Yaeji. They both have been pushing genre boundaries and breaking production rules while remaining accessible. It’s inspiring to me.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
M: Hmmmm… I would love to figure out how to make a living from it. Any ideas?
Madge

Photo by Danny Lane

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

July 1st, 2018

Bloods

by Alex Teitz
 
            Bloods is an Australian 4 piece. They are Dirk, MC, Mike Morgan Sweetie. They met in Sydney and are coming out with their sophomore album, Feelings. They’ve been around since 2011 and released their first full length, Work It Out.
            Now they are working with a new nonprofit label, Share It Music, to release Feelings. Bloods has a strong melodic lead to their songs that is reminiscent of 80’s group as characterized by the lead single:
 
https://bloods.bandcamp.com/track/feelings
 
            Feelings was released in Australia early this year and comes to the US August 17. For info visit http://www.bloodsband.com & https://www.shareitmusic.org/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Feelings album?
 
MC: Getting it finished! We started recording it in about early 2016 with our friend Liam, but shortly after I went through a pretty devastating break up, which meant I was unfocused for the better part of a year. We had to fight writer’s block, emotional breakdowns and being too broke to record to see the album finally finished.
 
FEMMUSIC: How was making Feelings different from Work It Out?
 
MC: With Work It Out, we essentially set out to make an album that was completely live and sounded like us at our rawest. With Feelings, we wanted to make something a little bit more sophisticated, I guess. We had to learn how to play our instruments and write on them when we started Bloods and now, five years on, we have become better players and songwriters. We wanted to push ourselves further with every song on Feelings.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Shane Stoneback. How did you meet? How was he to work with in the studio?
 
MC: We were introduced to Shane through our friend Andrea, who lives in Seattle. When we were thinking about producers, I had said how much I loved Sleigh Bells and she put him forward as a potential collaborator. We actually never met in person! We would record the tracks here in Australia with Liam and then send Shane the files and then he and I would talk through what we wanted to achieve with it. Email is amazing for music in 2018, that’s for sure. He was really fun to work with. Always had great ideas and made me laugh a lot.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Share It Music. What made you sign with them? What did they bring to the project?
 
MC: We know Cayle who runs Share It Music, through Sub Pop Publishing, our music publisher. He’s always been the most encouraging supporter of ours and when he told us about his label we couldn’t think of anyone we’d rather work with. The set up as a non-profit is also just perfect. Cayle will bring his unrelenting passion and enthusiasm to the project and in a world where music can often be transactional, it warms our hearts to have a company like Share it Music on our team.
 
Bloods
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
MC: Generally it starts with me sitting on my bed, in my pajamas, with headphones on, playing an acoustic guitar into my computer over some programmed beats on Garage Band. I usually come up with the tune in a crude form and take it into Dirk and Sweetie and we jam and flesh it out. On this record, there are a couple of songs that Dirk wrote, which involved him sending me demos and me coming up with lyrics to go over them. However we write them initially, the result is always us in a room together, fleshing out the ideas, focusing on what works and ditching what doesn’t.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
MC: I have no idea how to answer this! I was recently asked to list my top 10 albums and I think I ended up listing about eighteen. I love songs that people might not regard as ‘masterpieces’, but that I think are the perfect storm of emotion and attitude. I think a few of the most perfect songs I can think of right now are: Wreckless Erick ‘Whole Wide World’, Sleater Kinney ‘Milkshake and Honey’ and Gossip “Firesign’.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
MC: Yep. So many times, but in general we like to ignore those idiots and just do our thing.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
MC: We’ve been pretty lucky to have played with heroes of ours like Sleater-Kinney and Veruca Salt already. Maybe Beck or Weezer? Yeah, that seems about right.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
MC: I can only really comment on the Australian industry, so I’d say for there to be greater diversity across all forms of music media. The general public is smarter than they’re given credit for and can handle hearing an array of different voices and perspectives.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

July 1st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
 
Bets

Photo by Kanya Iwana

                Bets first caught our attention with the release of “Don’t Give a F#ck” 3 years ago. This NYC singer-songwriter surprised everyone with her release of Project Violet Femmes, a cover album of the Violent Femmes first album. Now she is working on a new album called Future Color. Bets is an artist willing to take risks. It makes her an artist to watch. FEMMUSIC was able to do an e-mail interview with her about everything that is going on. Bets is coming to the Underground Music Showcase in July 2018. For info visit http://www.betsmusic.com/ & https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Project Violent Femmes?
 
B: I had sort of a mental block because I had never recorded a cover song before. I wanted to do this out of my love for the record but also wanted to make it true to myself..so finding the balance was a challenge. It’s basically a love letter to the Violent Femmes and to the memories this album holds for me. When I was growing up my brothers introduced me to this record, and so something about it will always make me feel super young.
 
FEMMUSIC:  I understand that the decision to make the album was spontaneous. What challenges did that create for you?
 
B: Yes, it was completely spontaneous. And not a part of my original plan at all. I was following my gut and not my sense of logic. I had to make it very quickly, that was probably the biggest challenge of all. Usually when I make music, everything takes longer than I think it will, and I let the music decide when it’s done. But with this project there was a timeline that I couldn’t go over because I had scheduled recording sessions on my original album that I was making…which comes out soon!!
 
FEMMUSIC: The obvious question. Why the Violent Femmes? Are there any other artists or albums you would cover?
 
B: I love this particular album of theirs, I really love every song on it and think every song is solid. One day I was geeking out over the album and then made a joke about doing a cover of the whole thing. Then it just dawned on me that it was actually a great idea and that I had to do it. I love the fact that the content of the lyrics in these songs are such a contrast to the sound of my voice. At the moment I’m so deep in my own music I can’t imagine doing another cover album, but you never know!
 
FEMMUSIC: How do you approach a cover album vs an album of original material?
 
B: It’s not that different, other than the starting point is different, of course. Both carry their own pressures, though I try not to focus on that. It’s cool to inhabit someone else’s lyrics for a while and really go inside this world someone else created. With my own stuff it’s more like creating a world for myself.
 
FEMMUSIC: I understand you are working on another album of original music. Is your approach to it any different after doing Project Violent Femmes? What else can you tell me about it?
 
B: My new album is called Future Color and is coming out this fall! First single will come out in July, which is when I’ll be playing at Underground Music Showcase in Denver – so, ideal timing! I love this record. I intentionally focused on making an album that would be really fun to perform live. When I first started recording music in LA I had never played live before, so I wasn’t really taking that aspect into consideration. Now that I know what’s fun to do on stage, that’s really important to me. I can’t wait to play this record for you all. Stay in touch here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1UKb8fKzb3cCbapXoaMbqH
 and www.instagram.com/betsmusic if you want to be the first to hear the new songs!
 
Bets
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
B: Songwriting just happens to me rather than me having a formula, really. Songs come to me often. Like in the bathtub, car, subway, anywhere and all the time. So I just write and record the ideas and then let it grow from there. It feels very natural, just the way my brain works. I also love writing with other people, collaborating and expanding on each other’s ideas is always a good time.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
B: This choice feels impossible…every aspect of my life has different answers to this question but here are two. The song “Metal Heart” by Cat Power has had a huge impact on me because it’s just so incredible, so sad but so beautiful at the same time. Everyone should listen to this song.  Ain’t No Mountain High Enough sticks with me from my early years, I just remember my mom dancing around with cans of tomatoes to that song and it made me happy that music could make her so happy.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
B: Well, I laughed when I read this question. I guess because, of course, the answer is yes. And I can’t imagine you’d find a woman who wouldn’t say the same. Although, I’m hopeful that will change, and I believe things are changing and it won’t be like this for future generations.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
B: At the moment I’d love to collaborate/tour with St Vincent, Alvvays, Middle Kids, Warpaint and Angel Olsen. Because I love what they’re creating, and that’s what I want to be around and creating with.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
B: Well, this is really just about society as a whole – but you can see it reflected in the music industry – I would change the way that art and music are appreciated in our society if I could. From the largest level down to the smallest. You can see how they are not appreciated in the music industry by how little artists get paid on streaming platforms. Or how music/arts programs are the first ones cut in our schools. It just doesn’t feel like a system that is valuing music, and I find that heartbreaking because I feel music is essential to humankind.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

June 21st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
 
            The first thing that may attract you to Taleen Kali may not be Kali herself, but the fact that her EP was produced by Kristin Kontrol. Don’t be fooled. Kali’s Soul Songs may be one of the best releases this year. It is a clash of experimental and synth with a raw edge as demonstrated by “Half Lie”
 

 
            Kali comes the band TULIPS. Miles Marsico from TULIPS plays bass on Soul Songs, and Rhys Hastings from Gothic Tropic is on drums. The EP can be ordered at and comes out June 22, 2018:
 
 
She also has a limited number of California dates coming up:
 
06.26 – Los Angeles, CA @ Resident (Record Release show)
07.01 – New York, NY @ Pianos
07.13 – Los Angeles, CA @ Lot 1 Cafe (punk covers)
08.24 – San Francisco, CA @ Brick and Mortar
 
               The EP comes out June 22, 2018 and can be ordered at 
 
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Soul Songs?
 
TK: Soul Songs had more instruments and overdubs than any other project I’ve recorded. I started hearing more arrangements with the guitars, as well as working with synths and sound healing instruments for the first time. It was an interesting experiment to see what guitar overdubs would work, or which to scrap. Sometimes a synth did a better job of defining a motif than a certain guitar part I had written for so long, so it took a lot of trust, trust in the team and trust in the new instruments I was becoming infatuated with. I learned how to allow the different instruments to serve the music in new and mind-expanding ways.
 
FEMMUSIC: How was making Soul Songs different from your other albums? What were your goals with the album?
 
TK: The goal with Soul Songs was to marry together the concept of a true blue punk record with complex arrangements in psych-pop music. How would we be able to achieve both, without compromising the other? It was an amazing challenge to bring a feeling of darkness while having ethereal, transcendent vibes.
Taleen Kali soul songs
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Lolipop Records. This is the same label you worked with TÜLIPS. How are they to work with that you returned to them with the new project?
 
TK: Lolipop is such an amazing supportive label that when I decided to go solo, Wyatt Blair is the first person I called.
 
FEMMUSIC: How was it to work with Kristin Kontrol? How did you meet her and what did she bring to the project?
 
TK: Kristin and I had been in each others’ creative orbits since 2010. When I decided to go solo, I was talking to a few different femme producers in L.A. and couldn’t find the right fit. Then all of a sudden I read on Pitchfork that she was moving back to L.A. to work on a film score, so I thought she might be interested in producing bands. It made perfect sense.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
TK: I always hear the words and sounds in my head first. Depending on the vibe and my mood that day, I either take it to a vocal voice memo, bass riff, or guitar chord jams. Sometimes I hear certain lyrics or musical parts indisputably loud and clear and make sure to notate those before free jams. Once I have an idea of what I’ve heard, I spend some time jamming on it with guitar and scat some words. The song tells me what it’s about thematically at that stage, and I’ll usually draw in some inspiration from a poetry book and rhymes to help it find its form.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
TK: Madonna’s “Ray Of Light” was the North Star of this album. It’s the perfect psych song!
Taleen Kali
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
TK: I experience discrimination, misogyny, and prejudice as a queer femme woman of color in every waking hour. I am learning how to turn that fire into creativity and becoming more skilled at it every day. I am learning how to accept the setbacks with a certain irreverence or grace. We are all learning.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? 
 
TK: Iggy Pop!!!! I feel very connected to him like he is my musical father.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
TK: The nepotism.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

June 20th, 2018
by Alex Teitz
 
            Cornelia Murr has some friends everyone would like to meet. Her new album Lake Tear of the Clouds was produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. It also features Bo Kester of MMJ. It features Shane and Justin from Amo Amo, and a little known artist Lola Kirke is also there.
 
            Beyond having good friends, Murr has an album with a voice all its own. It delves fully into that area between ethereal and dream pop. The songs transport the listener to a dreamlike state while wrapping them in a bed of woven lyrics. As example of this is “Tokyo Kyoto”

 
            Lake Tear of the Clouds comes out on July 13. For info visit https://www.corneliamurr.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  Lake Tear of the Clouds was originally going to be a 4 song EP. What made you decide to make it more? What standard did you use for a song to make the album?
 
CM: We had a very finite amount of studio time that initially seemed like it would only allow for an EP, so that was the plan. But then when I was going through demos trying to decide which songs to record, there were just so many more than 4 calling out. I had been writing for so long without ever releasing any of it so I just had a lot of material stored up. In the end it was Jim who said what the hell – why don’t we try to bust out a few more songs in the days we have and make a full length, so that’s just what we did. It wasn’t a leisurely few days in the studio but it ended being actually the perfect amount of time, not allowing me to overthink things too much. (Though I did the vocals at home and took my time with those.) The songs that ended up on there are a mixture of old songs that were most dear to me and seemed to get along with some new ones that I knew I wanted on there. The Yoko Ono cover was just a song I was enjoying singing to myself around that time that my friend Audrey had introduced me to. It’s such a great song that didn’t seem as well known to the world as it should be.
 
Cornelia Murr
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Lake Tear of the Clouds?
 
CM: I’d say equal parts self-doubt and tuning trouble, haha. I had never really had anyone pay attention to my songs before because I wasn’t confident they were worthy, so just getting over the paranoia that I was wasting everyone’s time was a big internal challenge. And then the Omnichord has a mind of its own when it comes to tuning – it definitely is out of tune with some other instruments on some tracks which made the vocals VERY hard to do. But in the end I think some of that weird tuning creates a good kind of tension.
 
FEMMUSIC: You worked with both Jim James & Bo Koster of My Morning Jacket on the album. How did you meet? What made you decide to have James produce?
 
CM: I had met Jim over the years in a couple of different musical scenarios but then we properly met one night at a mutual friend’s party. He walked in the door when I was singing a Supremes cover with my friend Lola Kirke, and we just hit if off that night. I met Bo through Jim and just asked if he would lay some stuff down when we were recording, and he very graciously agreed.
 
FEMMUSIC: James is also producing Amo Amo’s album. I see you were working with Shane & Justin for Lake Tear of the Clouds. How was it to work with them? What did they bring to the project?
 
CM: Those guys are the best rhythm section around. It’s crazy to go from hardly ever playing my songs with anyone to then having those guys in my band. I’m just so lucky. They’re impeccable players but yet love to get weird and groovy and are dear friends of mine on top of that. They comprehended my songs on a level that I never knew was possible – like on a song called “Cicada” for instance, it’s very strange and in a jazzy time signature that has the potential to sound really forced and awkward, but they just made it so fun to play and brought the best out of everything.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Autumn Tone Records. Why did you sign with them? How is it working with them?
 
CM: Autumn Tone was the first offer I got. I was just happy to get one at all and I really respect Justin’s taste in music (Justin Gage that is, who runs Autumn Tone and Aquarium Drunkard). Also my friend Greta (Springtime Carnivore) is on that label and had nice things to say about working with them, so that was that!
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
CM: Hmmm I don’t think I will ever be able to answer this question well. Either a song appears in a few minutes or it takes me years and endless re-writes to consider it worthwhile. Usually it’s the latter. I don’t really ever consider something finished, that part is very hard for me. One thing I pretty much always do is record while working out a song, for better or worse. I have thousands of voice memos and garageband files that I shudder to think about anyone ever discovering, because it’s mostly just me playing things over and over with different lyrics or parts, trying out so many ideas that will end up getting rejected. I gotta make some plan about what to do with all that haha… But I just like having it all recorded however haphazardly so I can remember ideas and bring in old ones if they want to come back. Also changing instruments helps sometimes, if I’m feeling stuck on guitar I’ll bring in my friend the omnichord or keys or something. I never really use beats, but I love recording shakers and claps and banging on walls and things for percussion ideas, that can also really open up a song when it’s lagging. Harmonies too. My songs tend to rely heavily on them.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
CM: Right now I’m going to say Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker” – because I remember singing that at the top of my lungs in 1999 and realizing that not only did I really love to sing but I could, like, hit some of those high notes and that made me feel pretty special.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
CM: I mean – of course. I’m sure most women can attest to getting weird vibes in, say, a music store for example. You often either get hit on or ignored. Both obstacles to just getting what you need in there. Sound check is another scenario where some serious dick swinging often goes down. My dear friend (and magical singer), Becky Stark, recently gave me a super helpful (and hilarious) feminist guide to soundcheck over the course of a few very long text messages. I employed this guide at my last show and it did really help. Just certain ways of making sure your voice is optimally heard (no compression on the mid range for example, this the heart center frequency of your voice!). That’s the most common drag for me I guess – saying very deliberately to the (usually male) sound person how I want the levels to be on my voice and on every other element, and then of course at the show my voice ends up buried and the electric guitar is all jacked. 
 
Cornelia Murr
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
CM: Well, I love Meg Duffy of Hand Habits for one – would love to work with her in any capacity because she’s the best guitar player around, has such great songs, and is a sweet person. Touring with my friend Lola will probably happen and would be a blast because she’s my best friend. I guess dream scenario collab would probably be Kate Bush, if I’m allowed to dream here. I don’t think I need to say why.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
CM: The percentage that artists are paid through streaming services. It’s pretty criminal…

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

June 1st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
The Interrupters
                The Interrupters return to Vans Warped Tour with a new album called Fight The Good Fight, out June 29. This 4 piece punk ska band from California has marked their territory as the fun and wild side of rhythm. Working from their first album to now with Tim Armstrong of Rancid, and with Hellcat Records, The Interrupters have established a voice and style uniquely their own. FEMMUSIC continues to profile the women acts playing Vans Warped Tour with our interview with Aimee Interrupter. For info visit  http://www.wearetheinterrupters.com/  & https://vanswarpedtour.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Fight The Good Fight?
 
AI: This time around we recorded to tape. Each reel of tape only holds 30 minutes of music and we only had a few so we only got two takes to get each song right. If we didn’t nail it in two we had to record over them. It was a very different method than we were used to but everybody in the band rose to the occasion and I think you can hear the urgency in the music. A lot of my main vocals were done live with the band to tape and those were the takes we used.
 
FEMMUSIC: I was reading a prior interview of yours that said that everything you’d learned from touring you to put to use in making Say It Out Loud. What do you think you’ve learned since then? How are you applying it in the new record?
 
AI: We are always challenging ourselves to be the best we can. We have done a lot more touring since the last album. We were lucky enough to play stadiums and arenas supporting Green Day as well as big festivals like Coachella and Punk Rock Bowling. We went right into the studio after two years of straight touring and everyone in the band was at the top of their game. We had a lot of ideas written already but also developed a lot of ideas in the studio with Tim Armstrong. We wrote and recorded around 30 songs and picked the best 12 just to make sure we were absolutely happy with the album as whole and there was no filler. We put a lot of love into it and we are all super proud of it.
 
FEMMUSIC: Fight the Good Fight continues your tradition of working with Tim Armstrong & Hellcat Records. Why keep coming back? What contributions do they bring to the band? Has there ever been a question of working with anyone else?
 
AI: We’ve said it before, Tim is the fifth Interrupter. He’s the best producer for us because we have all worked on so much music with him throughout the years even outside The Interrupters. He understands us as musicians and always challenges us to elevate our songwriting while not overthinking it. We have built such a great bond with him and Hellcat. That’s our home and always will be.
 
FEMMUSIC: The Interrupters is one of handful of woman led acts on the final Vans Warped Tour. In past years there have been up to 25% of the bands being women led. This is not your first time on Warped Tour. I was wondering if you think there is a backlash against women in aggressive genres of music by the industry?
 
AI: I think being in a band and being able to go on the Warped Tour is a great accomplishment regardless of gender. I’m not aware of those percentages and I don’t usually check the line-ups of the shows I play and count how many bands are female led or not. Some bands have female drummers, guitar players, bass players, or keyboard players. I don’t really see a difference. The entire Warped production office is run by women. I have never thought of Warped Tour was a tour that would subscribe to any sort of “industry backlash against women in aggressive genres of music”, whether such a thing exists or not.
 
The Interrupters
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
AI: We don’t have any singular songwriting technique. Songs come about in so many different ways. The only thing we try to do is follow the creativity. Sometimes you go into the studio with an idea and you walk out of there with something completely different than you had in mind. Especially when collaborating, it’s like having a ball of passion everyone passes around until you have a song.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
AI: “I Love Rock n Roll” by Joan Jett. My parents used to take my Joan Jett cassette away from me as punishment and I learned to sing every word loud and proud as my act of rebellion against such an injustice. It helped shape the way I sing and to taught me to use music as my form of protest.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
AI: Yes, of course. No industry is perfect and I’m certain that you can find discrimination in all of them. The music industry is no different. I’ve been singing my whole life so I’m sure you can imagine I’ve run into it a time or ten.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
AI: Right now I’d love to tour with the Skints. I think our two bands together would be a super fun show. I absolutely adore Marcia plus I could watch the Skints every night.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
AI: Every record executive should have to go on tour and sleep on the floor for a week at least once a year.
 

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June 1st, 2018
by Alex Teitz  
BEGINNERS
Do you know Beginners? This Los Angeles trio broke out with 2 EP’s in the past couple of years, and touring nationwide. Led by Samantha Barbera this electro-pop band has combined a bold stage presence mixed with catchy songs that appeal to the audience. Now they are beginning a new chapter. They are releasing a new record called CREAM. One of the first singles off the album is “Let That Money Talk” which has a video that grabs your attention and doesn’t stop
 

 
INSERT VIDEO HERE 
 
We were honored to catch up with Samantha/ Sam to talk about the new album, video and where the band is going. For info visit http://beginners.band/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making CREAM?
 
SB: The biggest challenge has been narrowing down the songs!  We have a bunch of song options for the record, but we want to make sure the record feels like a strong cohesive piece.  To do so, we have to leave a lot of songs that we love off the record. Maybe we’ll do a B-sides record down the line with some of these misfit songs!
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your trip to Berlin and how it influenced making CREAM.
 
SB: In 2017, I spent a month in Berlin working on CREAM and it had a huge impact on the record.  For the first time in my life, I was doing music full-time and had the flexibility to travel and write with different artists around the world. I had toured through Berlin in the past, but had never spent significant time there. I fell completely in love with the city. Berlin has become this nesting ground to so many artists from around the world, because it’s one of the only major cities that’s still affordable for artists to live in (even though that’s changing).  There is a palpable spirit of freedom and lack of judgement. Maybe that’s just me glamorizing the city, but that was my experience at least. You can definitely hear the European influence on the record production, as well as a sexual mischievousness that Berlin is famous for.
 
FEMMUSIC:  How do you think you’ve evolved as an artist from Holy Fever, and the past 2 EP’s? What do you wish you’d learned earlier?
 
SB: In Holy Fever, I shared front person responsibilities with a male singer, so I was able to play off of him versus leading a crowd entirely on my own.  In Beginners it’s all on me. That was a big transition. At the same time I went from always being a bass or guitar player in a band to having some songs where I don’t play an instrument at all. Sometimes the best performance is just running around the stage going apeshit singing pop songs like you’re Madonna.  I took me a long time to feel comfortable with that. I wish I had been more comfortable stepping outside of my punk rock comfort zone sooner.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Let’s talk about “Let that Money Talk.” Tell me about making the video. How was it to work with Verluxe, Eva Dubovoy & Caroline Blaike? How did it feel to recreate that scene and feeling from Jumbo’s Clown Room? What scared you most about doing it? What excited you?
 
SB: “Let That Money Talk” is by far the biggest budget production I’ve done for a video.  The song and story behind it are so special to me. I knew I had to bring it to life the right way.  Part of that included getting Caroline Blaike, a stunning queer dancer from Jumbo’s, on board. It’s funny because I knew there would be make out scenes and I was actually kind of worried that I wouldn’t be able to get into the mood and be convincing with 30 crew members hovering over us.  But she is so incredibly magnetic. One look from her made everyone in the room disappear. I also didn’t know Caroline very well prior to shooting the video so I wasn’t sure if we’d get along, much less have chemistry. But getting to know her made me that much more attracted to her. By the end of the day, when we were in full make out scene mode, I think we were both having a lot of fun.  It also helped immensely having a woman directing us. Eva Dubovoy has a naturally edgy and sensual eye. Her direction was essential in pulling off such a sexually charged video so artfully.
 
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
SB: I almost always have the same process when it comes to writing.  Get a good vibe going instrumentally and then I get on the mic and record all my initial gibberish melody ideas in real time.  I just keep doing that until my subconscious pushes words to the front.  My subconscious really decides what each song is going to be about ultimately, because those words just start coming out! It’s the most therapeutic and revelatory experience. Sometimes I even record all the harmony parts to a song in gibberish as well. Just to get the idea down how I want to hear it. Then later I go in and fill in any lyric gaps.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
 
SB: Oh man that’s a tough one.  I can’t think of a particular song, but definitely other bands have had an enormous influence on me. Even though BEGINNERS is super poppy, I came up in the punk/hardcore scene so a lot of my influences are artists like Fugazi, Black Flag, The Cramps etc.  Also The Beatles, always The Beatles. Frank Ocean really inspired a lot of my writing style on this upcoming record as well.  I love his stream of conscious lyrics and melodies.
 
BEGINNERS – Samantha Barbera
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
SB: As I’ve become more successful, I’ve noticed that when working with men on videos, mixes, whatever the case, sometimes I’m treated as though I’m being difficult to work with, when in fact I’m just being professional and confident in what I want.  As a woman, if you have too strong of an opinion, even when you’re knowledgeable in the field and paying for the work, you’re “difficult to work with”.  I’ve been in bands with men who had far less experience than I have, and never saw them questioned like this. It’s a big part of why I try my best to work with women as much as possible.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
SB: Well I always really wanted to collaborate with Kanye, but now that he’s on his Trump rant I think I’m out. Haha.  This is sounds like a weird one but there’s this heavier rock band Metz that I love. It would be crazy and amazing to be able to collaborate with people doing stuff so different from us.
 
I’d love to be able to tour with Santigold or Tegan and Sara.  I feel like those are within the realm of possibility. Someone hook it up!
 
FEMMUSIC: What’s one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
SB: Wow this is a tough one.  There’s a lot I’d like to change. Lol.  I guess the biggest thing I would change is the ageist, sexist way that women artists are commodified and trapped. Much more so than men, women have this ticking timebomb hanging over us.  Like as soon as we’re not 20 years old and a sex symbol for men, we’re worthless and our art is irrelevant.  I don’t think fans feel that way, but the record industry does and they hold the key to getting your music out for the world to see.  

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May 25th, 2018
by Alex Teitz
Tami Neilson
 
            Describing Tami Neilson is difficult. The music can be traditional country, rockabilly and even playful to the point of Carmen Miranda with a song called “Bananas.” Neilson is New Zealand based and has strong ties to Canada including her record label, Outside Music. SASSAFRASS! Is the name of her 3rd album. It is a wonderfully wild creature filled with surprises. Neilson recently released a video from it:
 

            SASSAFRASS! comes out on June 1. For info visit http://www.tamineilson.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making SASSAFRASS!?
 
TN: Lack of time is always a challenge, especially since becoming a parent and juggling both music and motherhood. Being on tour for a large part of last year meant that I wrote a lot of this album on the run, noise-canceling headphones on, writing in my notebook while the rest of the band listened to music or made endless Snapchat videos, giggling in the seat behind me!
 
Tami Neilson
 
FEMMUSIC: What were your goals making SASSAFRASS!?
 
TN: SASSAFRASS! is the mouthy love-child of a series of events that led to its conception. Becoming a parent, losing a parent, turning 40…all these things drastically change your perspective and priorities. I suddenly realized that life is too short to take the judgments of others who don’t have your best interest at heart and decided to stop trying to please those people. It happened to coincide with a huge movement for the equality of women around the world and all those ingredients really emboldened me. I guess it’s all about coming into my confidence and the goal was to share that with other women, celebrate that freedom and hope it emboldens them to do the same!
 
FEMMUSIC: You worked with Ben Edwards again on this album. What does he bring to project?
 
TN: Ben brings loads of talent and great ears, but, he also brings a real gentle spirit, he’s part diplomatic peacekeeper when stress and tensions arise in the studio, but he’s always a straight-shooter and will hold fast to what is right for the song and the album as a whole project. I trust him with my music completely.
 
FEMMUSIC: This is your second album with Outside Music. Why did you sign with them? How are they to work with?
 
TN: I looked at Outside Music’s roster of artists, and a large portion of them are female- the fact that they represent mature women who are also mothers said to me that they are in it for the long-haul and not just looking for overnight success from young artists that can tour endlessly and cheaply (and exhaustively!) until they can break them. They are clearly used to working around those challenges and the fact that they believed in my music enough to take on a 40-year-old mother who lives on the other side of the world showed me they are passionate enough about my music to overcome those obstacles, but very grounded in reality. For me, that’s a great combo. It felt more like a committed relationship than a racy fling with the latest hot ticket.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
TN: These days I tend to write in stolen moments. I don’t have the luxury of time that I used to have. Most of my songs begin with a melody sung into my phone as it sits on the passenger’s seat, hitting the steering wheel with a beat as the kids chatter in the back seat. I collect snippets of lyrics and song titles and melodies this way and then when I’ve booked in studio time to give myself a deadline, I dig through my little pile of ingredients that I’ve accumulated and set aside time to start cooking!
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
TN: Of course- the usual stuff you encounter when it comes to age and appearance have always been there, but, nothing hit me as hard as when I became a mother and dared to think I could continue to tour and work as a musician. I was on tour a lot last year and had people criticizing me on a nightly basis for leaving my children at home and not taking them with me, “How can you leave your children? They need their mother!”. It was a very hard time and I had to do a lot of work on breaking the cycle of guilt and shame society places on mothers who work. I had an epiphany one day while reading a blog of another musician mother who takes her children with her on tour- and she was getting the same criticism every night after her shows, but, in this instance, it was “How can you drag them around with you on tour? They need routine- they should be in bed!” I suddenly realized that no matter what you do in this life, you will be judged and criticized, so, you may as well do what is best for you and your family and what makes you all happy.
Tami Neilson
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
 
TN: Mavis Staples. She is my absolute hero. I got to open for her last year and she just radiates joy- and a gentle power. This woman walked alongside Martin Luther King and was an integral part of the Civil Rights movement- one she is still fighting today. She is incredibly inspiring. It would be a dream to tour with her, just soak in all her stories and watch her work. Not to mention listen to her sing every night!
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
TN: The one thing I’d like to change the world over- equal opportunity. The fact that “Tomato-Gate” (where a radio consultant recently advised country music radio programmers across the USA that if they wanted a successful radio station, “take the women out.” and that “…men are the lettuce in our salad, women are the tomatoes.”) can still occur baffles the mind and it needs to change.

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May 25th, 2018
by Alex Teitz
trout steak revival
 
            Trout Steak Revival is a Colorado band known for its mix of indie folk and bluegrass style. Their music blends country, bluegrass and folk into a sound that is both majestic and airy. They came to prominence winning the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band competition is 2014. They’ve put out 3 albums with the latest being Spirit to the Sea.
            Colorado Native Bevin Foley is the fiddle player and vocals in the band. She brings the spirit to the music and a keen songwriting sense. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to Foley about Trout Steak Revival and how the scene has changed. For info visit http://www.troutsteak.com/
 
Trout Steak Revival will be at People’s Fair Art & Music Festival June 1-3, 2018 in Denver. For info visit https://peoplesfair.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:   What was the biggest challenge making Spirit to the Sea?
 
BF: The biggest challenge for me personally was the fact that my Father began losing his battle with cancer as we started recording this album.  We made this album and released it during the hardest six months of my life so far.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What were your goals with Spirit to the Sea
 
BF: To put out our new songs in a way that reflected the ways that we have grown as a band over the last few years.  To stay genuine to ourselves and our experiences
 
Trout Steak Revival - Spirit to the Sea
 
FEMMUSIC: You worked with Chris Pandolfi again on Spirit to the Sea. What does he bring to the project?
 
BF: He brings an outside voice and opinion that is really valuable.  He helped us put together the final arrangements of the songs for the album and helped us take chances and explore new sonic territory with our sound.
 
FEMMUSIC: How has your music changed over time? What do you wish you’d learned earlier? 
 
BF: I think that our music has become more and more genuine over time.  We continue to learn who we are and are able to express things we want to say in authentic ways.  Writing our own music in our own voices.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re a native of Colorado. How has the music scene changed? Are there any things you miss?
 
BF: The music scene has blown up in the last few years.  It is a great time to be a musician in Colorado.  The community is growing and full of inspiring and talented people.  Denver feels like it has become a hub for amazing musicians to live and perform.  I wouldn’t change that. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
BF: Melodies come easier to me than chords and lyrics, so most of my songs start with a melodic idea.  I know I have something special if I can get some chorus words added to the melody that get stuck in my head.  Song writing is not an easy or natural process for me, so I take my time and keep chugging along.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why? 
 
BF: I’m not sure that I could name just one song that I have been most influenced by. I’m sorry. 
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against? 
 
BF: I think that every woman, no matter what industry they are in, has experienced some form of discrimination.  Intentional or just as a symptom of societal norms.  So yes. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why? 
 
BF: We have a lot of friends that we get to see as we travel around touring the US.  There are amazing bands that I would love to do some shows with.  Fruition, Front Country, The Lowest Pair, Mandolin Orange, and The Little Smokies, to name a few.  I have so much respect for the bands coming up in the acoustic music scene right now and it is always really special when you get to collaborate and/or tour with creative people that you are inspired by and respect as performers and artists. 
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
BF: I would like to see more women on show and music festival lineups.  There are so many incredibly talented females creating amazing music right now. 

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