An Interview With Ella Gregg

Interview by Melody J. Myers

When accidentally falling into artist management, Ella Gregg has achieved so much at such a small amount of time. Creating her own management company, 321 Artists, managing up and coming band Blushes, and while making an appearance at The A&R Feedback Centre at this year’s BBC Introducing Live, she’s taking every opportunity by storm and making big things happen. With her determined attitude, and big plans Ella proves that anything is possible, but also that we can stumble upon our calling at any time, or anywhere. Her story is inspiring, and hopeful. We chatted about all things artist management, Blushes, and so much more.

Before we start, I just wanted to say congratulations on everything you’ve achieved so far, it’s so inspiring! Thank you for taking the time and answering my questions. First off, how are you?

Thank you so so much! It’s always really strange when people congratulate me or say what I’ve done is inspiring, as sometimes I think we don’t really stop and realise what we’ve achieved, we’re all so focused on working towards the next thing, but if I sit and think how mad the past couple of years have been, I have achieved a lot!

I’m doing really well thank you! We recently unfortunately had to cancel Blushes’ tour midway through due to illness within the band which was gutting, but it’s only made us all so determined to work harder to come back next year with BIG things. So the excitement levels at the moment are high.

A lot of people must wonder what you do as an artist manager, what’s a day like for you on the job? Is it different when you are on tour, or is it the same?

So as an artist manager, I do all of the things you would expect – organising the band’s schedule, booking the gigs, being the voice of the band to others in the industry, dancing in the front row at gigs, working on new releases, but also just being a human being – going with them to doctors appointments, congratulating their personal successes, being someone to call on when things aren’t so great. Being an artist manager is basically being another member of the band, without playing in the band.

I always say that my job is to sell myself, before I sell Blushes, because if people trust me, they will trust who I work with. So most of my day is sending emails, it’s networking and introducing myself.

I’m not in a position where I can be an artist manager full time, so I spend a lot of my time behind a reception in a trampoline park. I’m very lucky in how portable being an artist manager is, I can access my emails from my phone, and all the assets I could need are all on the Google Drive app, so I can literally do everything on the go.

When we’re on tour, I can still work whilst we’re driving (unless I’m on Sat Nav duty, in which I am focused on the task in hand), but I do see gigs as a reward for all the hard work I’ve put into organising each show, so I do take some time away from emails and make the most of spending time with the band, as that to me is just as important.
You’ve become apart of The A&R Feedback Centre at this year’s BBC Introducing Live which is huge, how does this make you feel? From accidentally falling into artist management to being apart of something as big as BBC Introducing Live.

 

It’s absolutely ridiculous. I am extremely lucky. To me, I still feel as if I am constantly learning every single day, and when I saw BBC Introducing Live, I couldn’t believe that such an event had been put together, what a dream?! All of those people in one space, and I knew I could benefit so much from attending. I would never in a million years think I’d be considered to sit in a Feedback Centre, along with industry professionals from the craziest companies and labels and careers. I feel incredibly privileged to be trusted to be able to give emerging artists feedback and advice, because I know how vital that opportunity will be to them. It’s reminded me that there’s always someone watching what you’re doing! I’ve completely made the most of it already, and connected with all the individuals (153!) part of the Feedback Centre on Linkedin and social media, and have already organised meetings and had some interesting conversations.

What was it like being an intern at Secret Sessions? It really opened a whole new world for you, and introduced you to Blushes!
Secret Sessions is such a beautiful thing. For those who don’t know, Secret Sessions is a free platform for emerging artists, and they give artists live and sync opportunities. I was scouted by the founder of Secret Sessions when I was 17 to do an 8 week internship and after that period, I became the Community Manager and in the 18 months I spent there, I signed up over 1000 artists and gave many of them career changing opportunities. If I didn’t get that chance from Secret Sessions, would I even be in the music industry now?

Blushes was indeed one of the bands I discovered through Secret Sessions. I found so many gems through Secret Sessions, but there was something about Blushes which I just knew I couldn’t not explore further, and I’m so glad I did.

Speaking of Blushes who happen to be my new favorites, how did you become their manager? What’s it like working with them? Do we see an album coming out in the near future?

(Blushes are my favourites too). It’s actually quite a funny story, because I had absolutely no intention of becoming their music, or even working in the music industry for that matter. (I spent 5 years as a police cadet, and was convinced I was going to join the police force.) When I first discovered Blushes whilst I was at Secret Sessions, I was introduced to their manager at the time, who was interested in what Secret Sessions did, so I met up with them and went through it in more detail. After the meeting, they told me that they could really see my passion and enthusiasm and they wanted me to start working with Blushes under their management company.

At first, I was helping them really informally just with their social media, and then after a month, I was asked to book their gigs. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I was completely out of my depth, I had never booked gigs before. Looking back, the first gigs I got Blushes were a bit disastrous (sorry guys), they just weren’t the best quality, or in the best venues, but I was still learning and I managed to book them a tour which I was pretty proud of.

During this time, their manager began to fade and I was starting to take on a lot more responsibilities when it came to the band, without really realising if I’m honest. Due to circumstances, their manager was no longer able to manage Blushes and I decided that, with the help of Blushes, I would step up to the plate and give it a go at managing them. Within 6 months, they had been played on BBC Radio 1 and featured by NME, appeared on London Live and BBC Introducing.
Being the founder of 321 Artists is an amazing accomplishment. Can you tell us the process of how that happened, and why you wanted to go about creating your own company?
That’s really kind thank you! When I started managing Blushes properly, I knew I didn’t want to manage them under someone else’s company and name. If I was going to manage them, I wanted to do it under my own name, and put my own stamp on it. So I knew I had to create my own company, and I’m so proud of what 321 Artists is, and it’s values, and what it will continue to achieve.

How did you come up with the name 321 Artists?
So I always knew I wanted to focus on emerging artists with 321 Artists, and I wanted it to be a platform that helped artists ‘launch’ or ‘accelerate’, 321 is like a countdown, to something launching, for example a rocket (hence why our logo is a rocket), or something accelerating with support, like a career.

When looking for artists to represent is there anything you look for in particular?
I don’t really look for anything in particular. I will always see the artist perform live before anything. If I stand during your set in complete awe, or you make me want to dance the room regardless of the people around me, you’re a winner. They’ve got to be unforgettable.

You recently did a talk at a school about being an artist manager, what was that like? I’ve noticed that there isn’t really information about what you can do in the music industry, (besides being in bands) is that important to you to share information like that?
I did! And I was absolutely terrified, but I remembered when I was in school, and when we used to have guest speakers in, I was always so interested, especially when they were young. I had a really great time speaking with the students, there were a couple of students who were actually in successful emerging bands, so it was really interesting to hear their perspectives. These students were 15-18, and it was so heartwarming to hear them asking questions about what I do, and what they can do in the industry. You’re completely right, I still don’t think I have come across every single career option in the music industry yet. It’s about listing the skills and hobbies you have, and I am certain you could link at least one to a role in the music industry. There definitely is more to be done in terms of education around the music industry for young people, it’s on my to do list!

What are you most looking forward to in your career/new year? Even if you’ve accomplished so much already!
Well next for me is Introducing Live so I’m hoping I make some new connections there, and learn a lot that I can take into the new year! Next year I hope I can start working with even more artists, especially when we launch a new avenue to 321 Artists which I am SO excited about! I’m so ready for 2019, and who knows what’s to come!

I read that you don’t particularly make a big deal about your age/gender when it comes to being an artist manager, although of course many people do. How do you keep your head up with all the ridicule women get in the music industry?
That’s completely true. I don’t see the need for my gender or age to make any difference when we are discussing an artist, for example. People can’t see who is behind an email, so as long as I remain professional and get the job done to a high standard, my age is irrelevant. I remain very focused and there has only been a small handful of times where I have felt my age or gender has been taken advantage of, of which I have always commented on immediately. I’m very strong willed, and not afraid of voicing my opinion when necessary. But most of the time, I just want to get the job done, that’s my priority.

What advice would you give girls/women who want to be in the industry?
My main piece of advice to anyone wanting to be involved with the industry, is to educate yourself, don’t be afraid of learning. Because the industry is a complicated thing, that most of us are still figuring out, so education is key. Networking is the most important thing, if you enjoy writing, find journalists on social media and drop them a message or email and ask them their story, ask them if they have any advice or if they know of any opportunities you can get involved with. Don’t be afraid to get yourself out there, ask questions, and ask for favours. Even if they say no, you haven’t lost anything, but you can definitely gain a lot from introducing yourself to the right people.

Thank you again for answering all my questions, Ella! We support you 300%, and we can’t wait to see what you do next!
You are absolutely more than welcome. Thank you for giving people the opportunity to share their story and voice.
Keep up with Ella’s journey here :

 

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Inner Wave Interview + Photos

Interview and words by Corynne Fernandez

On the day they released their third album, Underwater Pipe Dreams, we sat down and chatted with the guys of Inner Wave, who have been quickly making a name for themselves and gaining a dedicated group of fans all over. Read below as we talk about their sold-out album release show, the process of making their long-awaited album, and favorite records at the moment.

Pictured above left to right: Luis Portillo (drummer), Elijah Trujillo (lead guitarist), Chris Runners (keyboardist), Jean-Pierre Narvaez (bassist), Pablo Sotelo (vocals and rhythm guitar)

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You guys have been together since you were teenagers, how was the band formed and what’s the meaning behind the name ‘Inner Wave?’ 

Elijah: In 6th grade, Pablo and I both played guitar and we met Jean-Pierre and Alex (old drummer). Jean got a bass and Alex got a drum set which resulted to jamming.
Pablo: As for the name, I made a list of like two hundred names and I showed all my friends the list of potential band names. Inner Wave was the one everyone liked the most.

This album was three years in the making, how did you guys come to the decision it was complete?

Pablo: We ran out of money. Haha no— we finished it once before about a year ago, it was completely done and mastered in the studio ready to go, but something was off. We had this really strong idea on how the process should be, we wanted it to become very collaborative — it was, but we also wanted that in the recording process, so we worked with somebody new, but we became too focused on the process instead of the music. By the end of it we did what we wanted to do but it wasn’t the vibe we were hoping for so we redid it again in the garage.

Why the name Underwater Pipe Dreams?

Pablo:It was initially a joke, for the playlist of songs that we had. Then I felt like it made sense with the themes that were happening with the album. The expression of ‘pipe dreams’ is something that will probably be a long shot and not work out. That’s how the process for the album started to feel like after a long time. On a personal level, we all went through a lot of different things within the three years, so it’s like we slowly morphed into the name that started off as a joke. With ‘underwater’ it was kinda like an ode to Lil Ugly Mane, (rapper from Virginia) his work is really low-fi but also interesting. His whole persona and how he does things musically is very intriguing.

Your new record is reminiscent of the alt rock sound that defined the early 2000’s, like that of The Strokes, making it a shift from your other material. Lyrically and musically what inspired you this time around?

Pablo: Initially we listened to a lot of Marvin Gaye—I don’t think a lot of people would think that because inspirations don’t always translate through our songs. The lyrics come from personal experiences, this summer I tried a bit – not that I didn’t try harder before I wanted to improve that aspect of it more. It was the first time where I wrote the lyrics before the music; they would end up as poems.

What song are you most proud of off the album, and what are you all most excited to play live?
Chris: There is this song called ‘Conversations’ that Jean mostly wrote. It has a Bohemian Rhapsody vibe to it; it’s a really long song with many moving parts. It’s one of those songs where you have to listen to and understand all the elements in the song.
Luis:I would go with ‘Discipline’;that’s a track with a heavier Tom Groove in it and that part specifically, is one of the most challenging for me to play.
Elijah:I also agree with ‘Discipline’—that one for me is a banger. It gets so intense and it makes me extremely excited to play live.
Pablo: For me, it would either be ‘Discipline’ or ‘Conversations’ because I think those are the two songs that have a lot of moving parts and have the potential to be amazing live.

A lot has been leading up to today, have you guys done anything special to prep for it tonight?
Everyone: We like to do some ritual sacrifices.
Pablo: We tried to do something special with the stage production for the show, so hopefully it all works out the way we planned. *

*Update: It did! 

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Can you give us a day in the life of Inner Wave?
Chris: We meet up every day at 8:30pm and practice, no matter what we do in that day we always meet up at that time.
What venue would you love to play in the near future?
Chris: The El Rey, because I’ve been going to that venue ever since I was a kid.
Everyone: Red Rocks would be tight, the atmosphere is absolutely crazy.

What are your guy’s all-time favorite albums?
Elijah: Marvin Gaye’s “In Our Lifetime”
Luis: “InnerSpeaker” by Tame Impala
Pablo: That one record from Madvillain.
Chris: “Blonde” by Frank Ocean and “Mista Thug Isolation” by Lil Ugly Mane

Out of all the places you’ve toured, what would be your most memorable gig to date and why?
Everyone: The Rickshaw.
Chris: The crowd was packed; the venue had air conditioning and let us smoke in the greenroom. Also, when we were waiting to play, there was a line going around the block.

First concert?
Pablo:The first concert I was brought to was this contemporary Christian Latin American guy named Marcos Witt, but the first concert I bought tickets for was Queens of the Stone Age. It was actually a benefit concert, and so they had other acts like the Last Shadow Puppets and some other surprise guest.
Luis:I grew up around punk music, so my brother would play shows at The Knitting Factory in LA and I would always hang around him.
Chris: The first concert I got brought to was Maroon 5; it was when Songs About Jane came out and the first time I ever smelled weed before. The first one I bought tickets to was Erykah Badu.
Elijah: The first one, my dad took me to see a Led Zeppelin cover band. The first one that I paid for was FYF Fest a few years ago, the year that The Strokes played.

Now that the album’s out, what are you guys looking forward to come this year and into next year?
Pablo: Long naps and a lot of sleep—maybe take my dog for a walk.
Everyone: SXSW!

A message to all your fans?

Pablo: Keep on rockin
Chris: Y’all thanks!
Elijah: Huge thank you to everyone!
Pablo: Felt a lot of love this year—it’s intense, so thank you!

Gallery of the Inner Wave Album Release Show below:

(All photographs by Kayla Fernandez)

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Night Moves Interview

By Corynne and Kayla Fernandez

Cover photo by Graham Images and Photography

Contrary to their name, Night Moves is far from a Bob Seger tribute band, and are producing cosmic folk-rock, reminiscent of influences like Neil Young and The Flaming Lips with their own added distinct style. Read below as John Pelant, lead singer and guitarist, chatted with us about their high school beginnings, dream festival line-ups, and the progress on album #3.

First off, how are you?

Doing well!  Just got back from playing a festival in Appleton, WI.  We had a blast, in what is apparently, “The Drunkest City In America” ???!?? Yeah, I didn’t believe it either…

The relationship between the band appears to be pretty close-knit. How did you all meet and form what is now, Night Moves? 

Micky and I met in high school and kinda bonded over skateboarding. We eventually played in bands that would perform together from time to time and whatnot, so we grew closer that way. We also had a similar taste in music- Flaming Lips, The Band, George Harrison, Elliott Smith, Neil Young, which kind of turned us into even better friends.  Our current live show band members are all dudes we met years later here in Minneapolis from playing out and about. I think growing up in such a formidable time as high school will inevitably bring you together as Micky and I.

You guys have been together since 2009, and put out your debut album in 2012. How would you say you’ve evolved from Colored Emotions to Pennied Days? 

I think the writing has gotten stronger. I’m better at self recording these days, which is important because a lot of self recorded/demo stuff makes it into the albums. We’ve matured a bit in terms of the bands sound and presentation, although I still have a tough time taking the social media thing seriously.  The multitude of tours we’ve gone on has given a fair amount of knowledge about how the live thing works for us as well as against us. There are business aspects to this band thing I would have never imagined when I started out that I think we are much more adept at these days, but who am I kidding, I’m still learning and figuring it all out.

You’ve been characterized by your 70’s-esque guitar riffs and melodic folky vocal pairing. Musically and lyrically, where do you find inspiration?

I think the band name falsely informs people of this idea that we’re a homage to Seger/70’s rock band music.  That was never the intention, and it still isn’t. We just take stuff from anything we like and that moves us. The name kinda just fit the vibe at the time when we put out the 1st record.  Inspiration is constantly changing.   Lyrics always seem to come from a strange place.  They’re inspired from a variety of experiences and they are usually the last thing to come in the song writing process.  All in all, inspiration is always coming to me in ways I’d never expect.  I’m still trying to figure that all out as well.

Fans interpret music in a rainbow of ways, is there anything you’d like your listeners to take away from your material?

No, I let them continue to interpret it in a myriad of ways.  It’s best if you can get lost and find some element of yourself in the music.

 

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Photo by Erin Pederson

 

What is a day in the life of Night Moves? 

Make coffee/tea. Breakfast, which is usually these days a bagel with egg and turkey and greens.  Go through the damn internet stops, shower, go to work, come home listen to music and work on new songs, crack some wine and continue to tinker with the tunes.  Still trying to finish album #3!

If we’re on tour: Just trying to not die, drink water, hit various gas stations and grocery stores, sound check, show, after party, sleep.

What records have shaped you most as artists? 

“All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison is a big one, Micky borrowed me a copy in Driver’s Ed in high school and it has been a beacon ever since. “Highway 61 Revisited” and “The Freewheelin Bob Dylan” are both very important records that I listened to a lot growing up while learning to play guitar.

Ideal environment for a gig?

Somewhere by a body of water, but also indoors because we’ve had a lot of live sound issues outdoors.  Let’s say with lots of lights and strobes/lasers/fog, that whole thing, I’m talkin a NASA level production of fog and lasers, the big stuff that will make you blackout.  So maybe a mansion that has an indoor pool, but that is also oceanside with a giant veranda full of snacks and tequila? That’s got to exist somewhere, right?  Honestly, as long as there’s good atmosphere you could be in some jack den in the sticks and it’d be fine.

You guys have had played to a variety of audiences, what would be your most memorable gig and why?

It so hard to choose, so I will just mention one.  We played in Ohio back in 2013, right after our first album came out, and only 1 girl showed up along with her dad and brother.  She was wasted and kept calling out for the song “Colored Emotions,” even after we played it 2nd in the set. It was as if she didn’t know we even played it.  The promoter revealed to us later in the night he lost a lot of money on the show and seemed pretty unhappy about it.  He let us stay at his house, but insisted several times we “make beds” before we hit the night life, which felt very odd.  Every place he took us to he seemed to be in poor standing with the folks there and that further gave us a weird feeling about everything, as in this guy is not well regarded around these parts, fuck, what do we do? I guess it didn’t matter because no one showed up to the gig.  We ended up staying out all night and morning in this Ohio town and left at 9am. As we headed out the promoter gave us 5 big pussy willows he stole from his neighbor’s porch, stuffed them in the van. Must have been quite the assemblage to be witnessing rolling down the interstate at 9am looking like a busted, bloated, and broken Pottery Barn prop.

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At the moment you’ve been touring the mid-west. Are there any plans to venture out to the West coast or the East coast in the near future?

Unfortunately, not at the moment. Hopefully, soon though!

If you were given the chance to re-score a soundtrack what film would it be?

Plains, Trains, and Automobiles- it already has some cool tracks, but I love the vibe of what they got going on and I’d love to embellish it a little.

With festival season in full swing, who would make up your dream festival line-up?

ACDC, D’Angelo, Flaming Lips, The James Gang, Mick Taylor era Stones, Mamas and Papas Hologram set

There have been many great albums released this year. What would be your favorite record of 2017?

Maybe 1 of these 4: Thundercat-Drunk, MacDemarco- This Old Dog, or Father John Misty-Pure Comedy, War On Drugs-A Deeper Understanding

Lastly, what can fans and those new to your music, expect from Night Moves this year and perhaps into next year?

Album #3, we’re hoping to start recording it in the fall so we can to put it out next summer~

 

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Video Interview: Blossoms

Interview by Coco and Kayla Fernandez | @corynnne @snappedbykay

Interview: Awkward Prom Dates

After only being together for roughly three years, southern California natives, Awkward Prom Dates, just released their third record, Hellvetica. The foursome made up of James(vocals/guitar), Eli(vocals/guitar), Nico(bass/vocals), and Parker(drums) delved into new waters with their release by composing songs with fast pace tempos and sudden interjections of slow melodies. While keeping true to their dreamy, shoe-gaze roots—a genre that seems to have taken the music community by storm—APD audibly progress as a band, and give their listeners warmly vague tunes that are reminiscent of any slow-motion dream to be had. With songs like, Everglade, I am instantly reminded of one of my favorite Cure songs, Fascination Street, with the eerie strums of each guitar string and synth backing accompanied by a shadowy voice. Even with three contributing vocalists, there is a fluidity among them all and a haunting rawness. Overall, Hellvetica is nine songs of pure ecstasy and emits prismatic effects throughout, making it a more than ideal listen for anything to mindless wanderings to a lover’s dream soundtrack.

We had the chance to sit down with the guys of Awkward Prom Dates ahead of their release, and chatted about all things music while also getting the scoop on some upcoming gigs promoting, Hellvetica.

LD: Eli and James, you guys were the founding members of the band what initially made you want to start APD?

James: We didn’t want to be a band at first; we just wanted to write songs for ourselves. We didn’t have any intentions of showing anyone.

Eli: Then I showed my friend, Chris, Won’t Stop and Marjorie, and he really liked it, so we started showing our material to more people. We needed to build more confidence before we put ourselves out there.

LD: How did you all meet to form APD?

Eli: James and I met in another band; after a few months, we got a manager who started to take control of the band and stopped us from writing original music so we could be more like a cover band. I wasn’t about that so I left, and then James left. From there, we started making music together on the weekends and that’s how we got to where we are. We met Nico and Parker at a backyard show last summer and instantly knew we wanted to recruit them from their band to our band. Then, over the next few months their band faded away and we brought in Parker, and eventually, we could bring in Nico.

LD: ‘Awkward Prom Dates’ is a unique name, how did that come about?

Eli: It took us a long time to figure out a name, and eventually my sister started throwing out names and Awkward Prom Dates was the product of that.

LD: You released two albums in the past year and you are about to release your third album, which is unlike the timing that most bands put out their material. Are you afraid that putting out that much material will leave you without much to explore in the future?

Eli: Sometimes, but the way we’ve always ran our music, writing wise, is casual and was born out of our love to write it. We never get bored. I mean, we’re going to take a break after the release of Hellvetica, but that’s not going to stop us from continuing to write and make new material.

LD: Do you guys write based on your personal experiences or the perspective of others?

James: [laughing] I don’t. If I wrote about myself, it’d probably suck. I’ll notice some patterns in my writing, where I’ll listen to a song and realize in hindsight that it was about a certain situation but never intentionally.

Eli: For me, we started writing with a concept in mind. More recently, I’ve delved into exploring lyrics on a more personal note; I feel it adds more emotion to the piece.

Nico: It’s hard for me not write based on personal experiences and I often do it subconsciously. Initially I think I am writing lyrics about something random, but I’ll go back to it and see it was something I was going through at the time.

LD: Do lyrics or music come first in the recording progression?

Eli: The music usually. Music almost always comes first and then we decide what goes along with it. For this album, it’s conceptual, so every song is from a different perspective but there are still personal ties to each one.

LD: While making each song, is it a collaborative process?

James: It used to be more collaborative. The way it would work is, Eli would write the lyrics while I would do the music but with time we started swaying in to different things. On this upcoming album, I would say we each wrote about half the album and then maybe collaborated on one song. In the future, we are planning to collaborate more as a group [Eli, James, Nico, and Parker]. Overall, our focus is putting the best songs on the record no matter who originated it.

LD: Parker, being that your 6 months new to the band, do you actively add to the recording process?

I contribute more to the live performances as the drummer; I like playing really loud and being energetic, so sometimes the sound changes a bit but we kind of just roll with it. It tends to get more collaborative when we are practicing.

LD: Your sound is very reminiscent of artists like Wild Nothing, DIIV and could easily fall into the shoe-gaze category. Do those musicians/genre have an influence on you, or when you first formed the band was that the sound you made instinctually?

Eli: For James and I, in the beginning, we set out to write a dream-pop album and that’s what we did. The newer stuff, we were trying to set out to make a shoe-gaze record, but we pulled inspiration from our older projects so it’s sort of one big melting pot. It happened for a reason because it’s the music we love and what enjoy playing.

LD: What artists specifically  inspire your sound?

James: Well, as far as the first album of ours, we borrowed sounds from Joy Division, keeping to the bare essentials—guitar, bass, drums, and raw vocals.

Nico: I remember when James and Eli first started out, James said to me a couple of times he wanted them to be as big as Radiohead but by way of their own sound; I thought it was very admirable.

LD: What can we expect from the new album, Hellvetica?

Parker: I didn’t really help with writing as much this time around, but I did give them some ideas as I was listening to the album. What I can say is that it’s different from the other two records, but if you liked the previous material, you’ll probably like our new release even more. We don’t stray too far away from our old sound, but on the new album we took the best aspects of the last ones and combined them.

Eli: I agree. The new record, Hellvetica, flushes out a bit of what we did on the second album and takes pieces from the first while exploring new avenues and going on a tangent of its own.

LD: Was there any band, album or song that made you realize that you wanted to learn and create music?

James: mmm… not really.

Eli: When I was little, I really liked the Red Hot Chili Peppers and I wanted to play bass and be cool like Flea. Overall, music really interested me and that spiraled into me learning a whole bunch of stuff.

Parker: Well, I have ADHD and as a kid I was always tapping on everything, so my mom just threw me into drum lessons and IT WORKED. I picked it up relatively fast and kept wanting to learn more. My favorite musician would have to be Dave Grohl.

Nico: I’ve been playing trumpet for 8 years now, and around my junior year I started really getting into John Coltrane. Hearing some of the stuff he did and getting into other artists in that genre, like Charles Mingus, made me want to pick up bass, as well the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

LD: Being that you are quite a new band, is it hard getting used to the feeling of performing in front of people?

Eli: At first. I really enjoyed our first show, but it took a while to figure out how to get a crowd going. Now, I deal with being awkward and having fun with that.

James: Performing versus writing songs is very different for me. I like writing songs and trying to articulate them to make them a masterpiece, whereas playing shows, I realized people want loud music they can dance to a sing along with. It varies for me; I’ll always get a bit nervous before a show, even playing in front of my grandma of all people.

LD: What’s your favorite song to perform live?

Parker: For sure, Black Blizzard. It starts off at a good tempo that’s fun to dance to, but then it picks up and gets really heavy.

Nico: My favorite to play live would probably have to be Loosen Up because I love the bass line paired with James’ vocals on it. Annabelle is fun too—I love the way the crowd responds to it.

James: Even though we’ve only played it twice, Night Ride, has always been one of my favorites. As far as right now, it would most likely be Annabelle, because towards the end, Eli sings and I can take a break.

Eli: For me, Annabelle is also my favorite. We all love Anabelle because that was the first song we played that ever had a mosh pit.

James: The thing about that song, is that we have a good energy in it. The first time we played it, I went in the mosh pit with my guitar, and when I got out, it was crazy out of tune and I had to play the rest of the song with it sounding horrible. I was cringing after we finished, but then I looked over at the guys, and they all said it was the best song we’ve ever played.

LD: If you could curate a festival, who would make up your dream festival headliners?

James: Radiohead, Paul McCartney, and Smashing Pumpkins if they play their old stuff.

Eli: Gorillaz, My Bloody Valentine,

Parker: Twitch, Space Dot [James’ side project], and Nico Alter Ego (insert heavy sarcasm)

James to Parker: You just blew my mind.

Nico: Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Growlers, and Miles Davis.

LD: With the upcoming release of your new album, do you have any gigs lined up?

Eli: We currently have one we’re about to start promoting, but for now it’s under wraps.

James: We’ve got a lot more planned, so stay tuned.

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Ardyn Interview

By Corynne Fernandez 

 

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Emerging brother-sister-duo, Ardyn, have released 2 acclaimed EP’s and are currently working on more material–expanding their organic, while equally melancholic, growing discography. Writer, Corynne Fernandez, had the chance to catch up with the pair in midst of their dedicated studio sessions.

Answers by Rob and Katy.

How are you both doing? Are you excited about your upcoming show at Hoxton Hall after selling out your show back in December? 

Very well, thank you. we’re so excited for the show,  to be able to play such a beautiful room, well, we can’t ask for more. it should be a wonderful evening!

For those who don’t know, how did you collectively come up the fronting name, ARDYN? What meaning does it hold, if any?

We named the band after our cousin, Ardyn. she’s also an artist. we spent a while looking for a name and this one just made sense to us.

As brother and sister, did you find it natural to partner musically? Is it simpler to communicate where you want to take the group because of the relationship you share?

Yes it did feel quite natural. We’ve always written together, we never really took it that seriously though. It was only when we began performing our own songs live and started getting decent reactions from outside our family unit that we began to take it more seriously. We often check we’re still on the same page when it comes to ambition, sometimes it’s easy to talk about it, sometimes it really isn’t.  We’re very good at ignoring each other if we want to, but that’s just siblings, right?

You’ve released two acclaimed EP’s since 2015, are there plans to release a debut album this year?

We’re taking our time to get the right songs and get some more experience as writers and performers, to release an album this year would be amazing.

I read that your latest EP, The Valley, was produced by, James Ford (Florence & The Machine, Arctic Monkeys) and Mike Crossey (Foals, The 1975). Can you describe how it was working with them and how it was you all met? 

Working on that particular song, The Valley, was a lot of fun because everything was live, which we like. When it came to recording the song with James Ford we used the demo, it had a great energy that we didn’t think we’d be able to capture again. Mike Crossey mixed that one. The rest of the EP was actually recorded with Rodaidh Mcdonald who did the first EP, Universe.

What were the inspirations behind Universe and The Valley EP’s? How would you say your sound and lyrics have evolved between releases?

The Universe EP came from a very natural place, inspiration came from our surroundings in Gloucestershire. The film Pride and Prejudice inspired me to write The Garden. Call Up was about love and loss. The lyrics especially in songs like Universe and Help Me On My Way are more abstract and inspired by more mysterious and often philosophical feelings about the world and our place in it, I suppose. The Valley EP has a slightly clearer sentiment all the way through. We were still inspired by our surroundings and abstract concepts but this time we tried mixing this with more relatable subjects, I think this method of writing is best shown on our track Shadow Light (live From The Pool). The sound on The Valley EP is more electronic in places however that’s something that excited us and that we intend to explore further for sure.

Katy, you have a haunting vocal delivery, that is equally serene and unique. Do you have anyone that you look to for inspiration, or been compared to anyone? 

I would say I’m definitely drawn to artists like Beach House and Kate Bush because of their powerful and instinctive vocal deliveries.

As a band, who are your favorite artists?  

We really love Kate Bush because of her total originality. We’re big fans of Kings Of Leon, we’re hoping to see them in July. More recently, Maggie Rogers.

You are also going to be playing Kendall Calling for the first time! Is it nerve-racking knowing you’ll be performing to a larger audience or are you eager to play to a sea of new faces?

We’re really happy to be playing and always excited to play to new people. It’s very rewarding and fun winning people over!

Speaking of festivals, who would make-up your ideal lineup?

 Air, Zero 7, Interpol, R.E.M, Coldplay, Kings Of Leon, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Kate Bush, Beach House and The Roots. There are some amazing lineups this summer!

Lastly, what are you most looking forward to in the coming year? 

Releasing new music and lots of gigs!

 

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Phoebe Green Interview

Interview by Corynne and Kayla Fernandez

Emerging artist, Phoebe Green, hailing all the way from Manchester, is currently prepping for her very first show. We had the chance to catch up with Phoebe and talk about what inspired her to be a musician and the ins and outs of the making of her debut album, 02:00 AM.

Lucid Dreams: Hi Phoebe! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Phoebe Green: I’m 19 and I’m from a small seaside town called Lytham, but I live in Manchester at the moment and go to music school there. I have a mum and a dad, two sisters (the younger is 15 and plays synth for me) and my nan lives with me and is my best mate.

LD: When making your debut album, ’02:00 AM,’ what was the process like? Did you have any doubts along the way or did it come naturally?

PG: The process was dead fast but also excruciatingly slow! I write songs in about half an hour; it’s a pretty natural thing to me as my songs are heavily based on experiences and people I know, so I don’t have to spend ages thinking of concepts. The thing that takes time is recording and producing and mastering the songs. I had quite a few doubts to be honest. As soon as I wrote a new song I would hate the previous one, I change my mind so often about things, and I’m so opposed to cheesiness that I always feel that my older songs are cheesy because I wrote them when I was younger (even by a month or something). It took me a while to be completely happy with the album because I kept re-writing lyrics, but at this point I have no doubts.

LD: Being that this is your first album, what made you want to pursue music?

PG: Oh God, the dreaded question. It was actually the Jonas Brothers! When I was little I was obsessed, I read everything about them and when they discussed songwriting I was completely fixated with this idea of putting my thoughts and feelings to music. I was always an attention-seeking kid though, always wanted to be in the spotlight, I’ve wanted to be a performer for as long as I can remember, so a fusion of those two factors is what encouraged me to try writing and performing my own stuff.

LD: Out of all the tracks, what would you say is your favorite and why?

PG: Jesus, what a tough one. Literally the most intense ones: Maniac, Pure Blue, High and A Phonecall. And Nosebleed. And Watercolour Envy…

LD: How did the album artwork and title come about?

PG: The artwork was created by a good friend of mine, Amy. We met in a concert queue and have been friends since then. I named the album ’02:00 AM’ because I always think a lot when I can’t sleep, and so I would always record voice notes on my phone around the 02:00 AM mark and then write them in the morning. I wanted a cover that reflected insomnia and fatigue at the same time, so I sent Amy a picture of me rolling my eyes back, asking for it in watercolour (because of Watercolour Envy) and she created that!

LD: What or who were the inspirations for your album?

PG: People and experiences. I’m not very good at writing about things I can’t completely analyse and go into masses of detail about. I like to create imagery with my lyrics and make people see and feel what I saw and felt in those moments. I really like capturing memories in that way and I guess the album is just a diary of the past couple of years, which have simultaneously been the best and worst of my life. Very dramatic!

LD: Given Manchester’s history and its reputation in the music scene (Producing the likes of The Smiths, Oasis, The Stone Roses etc.), would you say you have been shaped by those acts and aspired similar success?

PG: Oh, definitely! I love good old British indie bands. Manchester is so culturally rich when it comes to music and art, it’s incredible. Yeah, I definitely hope to reach their level of influence on the music industry.

LD: One word to sum up your record?

PG: Honest.

LD: Your album release show is approaching, have you done any preparation? What are you most looking forward to?

PG: Soooo much preparation, mostly in the last week! I’m mostly excited for all of my friends and family to have a few drinks and celebrate with me, all my mates are home for Christmas and I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of the album in person. I’m so excited.

LD: A personal favorite of ours at Lucid Dreams Magazine is, ‘Isobel’. What was the musical and lyrical process like, and was it a conscious decision put that song as the final track of the album?

PG: My best mate is called Isobel, and she was just having one of those nights, so I wrote her a song. She’s honestly one of the most fascinating, beautiful people I have ever known and we have shaped each other as people so much. It was written before we moved away to uni, and the “don’t forget about me” was because I was terrified that things wouldn’t be the same when we saw each other again. Nothing has changed though, thank god! I put it as the last track because I’ve always thought it sounded like the bittersweet ending of a film. I just think it fits perfectly at the end.

LD: If you had the chance to create your dream festival lineup, who would be your 3 headliners?

PG: Shirley Temple aged 5, Catfish and the Bottlemen and HAIM.

LD: What artist or album changed the way you thought about music and impacted you in an exponential way?

PG: A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out by Panic! At the Disco. That is one of the most incredibly written albums I have ever heard in my life; the lyrics are so complex and poetic and subtly vulgar, it’s absolutely mental. Absolutely nothing is sugar-coated and yet it sounds so beautifully poetic. I cannot praise Ryan Ross’ ability to write songs enough. He truly is a genius.

LD: What do you want your fans and new listeners to take away from your album?

PG: I think we need to really engage with people and moments and appreciate people for their intriguing mannerisms and flaws. I don’t know if that’s something that comes across in my songs or not but I’m literally always drawn to weirdos! Appreciate peoples’ differences, people are art! Haha, that’s all.

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