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Opening Act

Pom Pom Squad

PomPomSquadFeatured

Artist/Band: Pom Pom Squad

Members: Mia Berrin

Website: pompomsquad.bandcamp.com

Hometown: New York, NY by way of Orlando, FL

Latest Album/Release: The “Hate It Here” EP

Bonus: “Cherry Candy” for the Grey Estates’ Sugar Rush II

Influences: Bikini Kill, Perfect Pussy, Mitski,

TrunkSpace: How do you describe your music?
Berrin: Sad girl music!

TrunkSpace: Your EP “Hate It Here” was released about a year ago. Now that there’s been some separation, how do you view what you created with it? Have you grown more happy with it or have you found yourself dissecting it and identifying things you would do differently?
Berrin: On one hand, I think there are definitely some things I would change in hindsight, but on the other hand, I truly don’t think it could have turned out any other way. Dissecting old stuff is a natural part of the process, especially because I know a lot more about making music now than I did a year ago. For me, “Hate It Here” is always going to be a time capsule of a really specific moment in my life, but getting to play these songs on stage for a year has also allowed them each to live a couple of different lives. I think ultimately I’m really proud of what “Hate It Here” has become, and I’m also ready to keep growing.

TrunkSpace: There’s a great undercurrent of ‘60s era pop to the EP. For example, “Protection Spells” is at times rock doo wop, which is just downright awesome. How long did it take you to develop your sound?
Berrin: That’s so interesting! No one has ever said that before, so that’s really cool. I think that probably made its way in subconsciously. I love ‘60s pop and girl groups! I’ve been making music as Pom Pom Squad since high school, so the sound has definitely gone through a lot of phases, most of which only I know about. At one point it was going to be a lo-fi surf rock project – I desperately wanted to be on Burger Records – which I think you can still hear in the “Teenage Girls” demo. There are a lot of layers of influence that lead to the sound on “Hate It Here.” That was also the first time I had collaborated with another person on my music. My friend Alex Carr produced it, and he definitely brought some elements to it that I probably wouldn’t have thought of.

TrunkSpace: Is the material that you’re writing now similar to what you created on “Hate It Here” and if not, where is the musical growth most apparent? What are you doing now that you weren’t doing then?
Berrin: I think it has a similar heart, but it feels really different to me. It’s a little darker. I think I’ve also been writing with the intent of playing these songs live, just because over the course of this year I’ve realized that I love performing, which is not something I really had in mind when I wrote “Hate It Here.”

TrunkSpace: Are you comfortable in your own songwriting skin? If so, can you pinpoint the moment you found your voice?
Berrin: I’m constantly finding and re-finding my voice. I feel very lucky to have a pretty strong sense of myself as a writer – even if what I’m writing doesn’t feel comfortable or cohesive it’s easy for me to tell when something I write feels good. A friend told me a long time ago that the stuff that scares you is the stuff that’s worth writing about, so I try to follow fear. I think if I ever felt really comfortable with my songwriting I would like, disintegrate or transcend or something.

TrunkSpace: What does your writing process look like? How does a song go from inception to completion?
Berrin: I wish I had a concrete process. Usually my favorite stuff comes to me when I’m taking a walk or when I’m in class. I try to follow my impulses. If I hear something in my head, I’ll immediately jot it down in a notebook or hum it into my voice memos. “Hate It Here” was a very impulsive writing process – I wrote the chorus of “Protection Spells” when I was driving through the desert with my best friend the summer after my freshman year of college and didn’t write the verses until probably two weeks later. “You/ Him” basically didn’t come together until it was recorded, and I wrote “He Never Shows” in one night.

TrunkSpace: What is your favorite part of the songwriting process? What gives you the biggest thrill?
Berrin: I think maybe when I feel comfortable enough to share a new song with someone.

TrunkSpace: Many songwriters have said that the process is a bit like therapy for them. Do you find that to be the case with your own songwriting?
Berrin: Sometimes. To me, a really good performance feels more like therapy – or maybe more like catharsis. Weirdly I’m pretty shy and a little closed off in my day-to-day life, but I have really big, intense feelings. Performing allows me to turn myself inside out for a little while. It’s a full body commitment to the things I’m feeling inside.

TrunkSpace: Creative people are infamous for being extremely hard on themselves in the creative process. Does that apply to you, and if so, where are you hardest on yourself?
Berrin: Oh yeah, I am crazy hard on myself. I’m realizing that I’m kind of a control freak, so I have a hard time just letting things come together. I’m usually hardest on myself when I first start something. I really have to fight the impulse to kill a song before it can become even partially realized.

TrunkSpace: You’re based in NYC, home to hundreds upon hundreds of artists all trying to have their art be seen and/or heard. What are the benefits to being a creative fish in a big pond like NYC?
Berrin: There are endless people to meet and collaborate with. Everyone is just so active in the scene and there’s always someone doing something you’re not. Some of my biggest inspirations are my best friends, and they’re all people I’ve met because I’ve been playing music.

TrunkSpace: You bring flowers out to every show. Where did that tradition originate and what does it symbolize for you?
Berrin: I originally started bringing them to shows sort of as a good luck charm, but people reacted really strongly to them. When I was a teenager I remember always wishing that shows I went to were a little more interactive, and now that I’m on stage it gets hard not to see the audience as, like a big amorphous faceless blob. I think having a tangible thing that I can play with when I’m on stage and then give to the audience makes me feel a little more connected to the people in the crowd. People come up to me after shows and ask for them, which is really nice. I think bringing flowers changes the space.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Pom Pom Squad for the rest of 2018?
Berrin: Lots of new stuff, hopefully.

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Opening Act

Ellisa Sun

EllisaYoungFeatured

Artist/Band: Ellisa Sun

Website: www.ellisasun.com

Hometown: Seal Beach, CA

Latest Album/Release: Moon & Sun/April 2017

Influences: Amy Winehouse, Lake Street Dive, Lauryn Hill, Norah Jones, Alabama Shakes

TrunkSpace: How do you describe your music?
Sun: Ah, such a difficult question! When people ask me this question I generally say “jazz/soul”. My band and I create a sound that’s equal parts easy listening and rockin’. Let’s say Norah Jones and Alabama Shakes had a baby, but then the baby was raised in a chaotic household by Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill. The baby was also heavily influenced by her godmothers Alicia Keys and Brazilian singer Elis Regina. Simple enough, right?

TrunkSpace: When we first heard the remix for “Past Noon,” we said to ourselves, “This is has a very sexy vibe to it.” After listening, we went to your Twitter page and saw in your self-description section that you wrote, “I make sexy music.” We were right! Do you view “sexy” as a genre or is it a component of what you create?
Sun: This question makes me so happy. I constantly use the word “sexy” to describe how I want my music to sound, and it drives my bass player Niko crazy. He literally just gave me shit a couple months ago and said, “You need to come up with adjectives other than ‘sexy’ to describe music!” Now my band and I try to use the word as much as possible. I grew up listening to a lot of R&B/Neo-Soul, which is the sexiest music. Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and Alicia Keys’ first album “Songs in A Minor” were the first CDs I bought, and the element of sexiness is undeniable. The feeling I get from listening to R&B/Neo-Soul heavily influenced my musical tastes. In my opinion, “sexy” is both a genre and a component of what I create. It’s a way to describe music that really turns people on (figuratively, of course), and everyone has different ideas of what that means. It’s that moment when you’re watching or listening to a performance and you say “UH!” or physically respond with your body without being aware of it.

TrunkSpace: We can hear so many different styles of music within your own signature sound. Is bringing in those different elements a conscious effort or is what we decipher just a natural blending of who you are creatively?
Sun: It’s definitely not a conscious effort. Lately this has felt like both a problem and a gift – my band and I are influenced by many different types of music, and we want to convey that in our performances. As I continue to “build my brand” and navigate the music business on my own (I am my own manager, publicist, etc.) a lot of people have told me to pick one genre and stay there for continuity and success. I understand this perspective, but have a difficult time putting it into motion since I’m so passionate about simply creating the best art that I can, and sometimes that art doesn’t fit into one box.

TrunkSpace: Are you comfortable in your own songwriting skin? If so, can you pinpoint the moment you found your voice?
Sun: Here’s a fun fact about me: it was my dream to be a singer and musician since I was 10 years old, but I didn’t start writing songs or singing in front of people until I was 23. I’m 29 now, so I still feel like this is only the beginning. My songwriting is an ever-evolving process, and I think it will continue to be a process for the rest of my life – and that’s the beauty in it! If I was done growing, then my music wouldn’t grow.

TrunkSpace: What does your writing process look like? How does a song go from inception to
completion?
Sun: Usually I write my songs on guitar, coming up with a melody and lyrics either at the same time or separately. When I feel comfortable performing it, I’ll play it for my band and they add parts. It’s truly a collaborative effort and takes lots of open minds, communication, and love. Quincy (drums), Niko (bass), Ethan (trombone/trumpet), Daniel (saxophone), Chuck (lead guitar), and David (keys) are such talented, creative, hilarious guys and I am so, so lucky to have them – we work together really well and we truly have fun! After several rehearsals and lots of trial and error, we decide it feels ready and we perform it live to get a pulse on how people respond. Then we go back to rehearsals and make changes as necessary.

Late last year and in 2018 we’ve started writing songs a little differently – right now we’re working on a song that started with a guitar part Chuck wrote, and a song that started with Niko writing the chord progression and feel.

TrunkSpace: What is your favorite part of the songwriting process? What gives you the biggest thrill?
Sun: I’d say there are two favorite parts for me: The first is when I finish the song on my own – when I sing and play it on guitar and it feels more or less complete. The second is when I bring it to my band and they start adding their parts/ideas. Watching them play around with parts at the beginning of the process is so much fun because they’re not taking themselves too seriously and they’re simply feeling the “sexiness” of it.

TrunkSpace: Many songwriters have said that the process is a bit like therapy for them. Do you find that to be the case with your own songwriting?
Sun: Absolutely. I feel so lucky to have found songwriting as a form of therapy. I think everyone needs something to process their crazy, whether that’s singing or dancing or writing or drawing or running or knitting or playing Scrabble. Songwriting is a way to get something out of me. If I didn’t have it, I’d probably be locked up in a room somewhere.

TrunkSpace: Creative people are infamous for being extremely hard on themselves in the creative process. Does that apply to you, and if so, where are you hardest on yourself?
Sun: Ah, yes. This most definitely applies to me. I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself sometimes but I think it’s been built into me – might have something to do with my childhood but that’s another story! I tend to be hardest on myself when I first perform a new song in front of my friends or bandmates. I’m always critical of the quality of writing and my vocals, and I worry a lot about what people will think. We all have our inner critic, and mine is definitely mean sometimes, but I try to use it to make my music better and improve my work.

Another fun fact about me: I have several day jobs to make ends meet – I’m a Yoga instructor and a private voice coach. I am essentially running three businesses at once: my music, my yoga classes and my voice classes. I am incredibly busy and running around from job to job, and it can be very difficult to make time for my music. My inner critic tends to make its way into my brain during those moments, telling me I’m not working hard enough or doing enough for my art. But alas, I must work to make ends meet, especially in the expensive Bay Area.

TrunkSpace: You released your debut album “Moon & Sun” about a year ago. Are you creatively a different person than when you wrote those songs? Has your musical POV changed?
Sun: Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost a year! I don’t think I’m a different person now, but I do think I’ve grown creatively a great deal over the past year. I’ve been taking guitar lessons to improve my chops. One of my biggest idols is Lianne La Havas (if you don’t know her you better look her up NOW!) and she is a badass guitarist in addition to singer/songwriter. I’ve been listening to a lot of her music and hoping to get to that level someday. It’s also important to me that I stay a good guitarist because I play a lot of solo shows in addition to full band shows. I’m also collaborating with a couple producers on electronic music. Meanwhile, my band is more solid than ever, and it feels so good to have a group of people dedicated to my music.

TrunkSpace: What do you want people to take from your music? What messages do you hope they uncover and decipher in a way that they can apply to their own lives?
Sun: Above all, I want people to be inspired by my music. I honestly never thought I’d have the guts to do what I’m doing now. When I was growing up, the thought of singing in front of people paralyzed me with fear. But it was my dream to share my voice. I finally found it, and I hope my fans can find theirs too. Whether “finding your voice” means to literally write a song and sing it yourself, or maybe just finding some other creative outlet for yourself, do it. Don’t doubt yourself – just “jump and the net will appear!”

That’s not my saying by the way. (Laughter) I believe that’s some famous quote from someone I can’t remember right now. (Laughter)

Music has always been a really cathartic tool for me to process what I’m feeling – you can go to a therapist, talk to your friends, or drink as much alcohol as you want, but nothing helps me work through my thoughts and feelings more than listening to a really good song or album. I hope my music can do that for people.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Ellisa Sun for the rest of 2018?
Sun: Big, big things are coming in 2018! I don’t want to disclose too much, but let’s just say I’ll be doing A LOT of touring in 2018. Right now me and my band are recording a 5-track EP entitled “Just A Little More”. We hope to release it by the summer. Stay updated with me by following me on all the things – i.e. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – to know exactly what I’m doing and where I’ll be.

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Opening Act

Tory Silver

TorySilverFeatured

Artist/Band: Tory Silver

Websitewww.torysilver.com

Hometown: Cleveland, OH/Boston, MA

Latest Album: Observere (2017), Live at Pete’s (2017)

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Silver: I usually tell people it’s a rocky, blues sound. Someone once described it as great highway driving music.

TrunkSpace: You’re from Cleveland but based out of Boston. From the city that is home to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to one known for having a Hall of Fame-level music scene. Beyond your musical influences, did these two cities have a distinct say in your musical journey?
Silver: I’ve always felt some pride in the fact coming from a city that’s known to be the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, so growing up I had a genuine interest in rock. My parents were fans themselves, so I was surrounded by it at an early age. Later on I’ve discovered a love for jazz and bossa nova and blues, and Boston has been great for facilitating that love. I wouldn’t say it’s because of the two cities that I love these kinds of music, but they’ve supported my interest.

TrunkSpace: When you first began performing in and around Boston, what was your first impression of the scene there and has that POV changed in terms of how you see and experience it today?
Silver: I played my first show in October of 2016, and, at the time, had no idea how expansive the scene is. It wasn’t until I played my first house show in December of that year that I realized how supportive and great the community is. My perspective has changed mostly in terms of music not being a competition so much as it is supporting each other. In my experience, playing around here means that you’re going to meet wonderful musicians and kind people that want to help you out.

TrunkSpace: When we first heard your music, we were instantly drawn to your guitar play. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey with the instrument and how you discovered your “voice” with it?
Silver: It was never my intention to play guitar. I wanted to learn drums. Luckily, some smarter, cool music teacher handed me a guitar instead of drums sticks. My little reluctant heart was upset, but it turned into a sort of romance with the instrument. I learned the basics by taking lessons for a few years, and then really discovered my own sound when I started listening to Sondre Lerche. He’s all over the place with his playing. I saw him in concert for the first time when I was 16, and I was so inspired by his musicality. All these strange chords and weird time changes – I loved it. He’s had a lot of influence to the way I play.

TrunkSpace: We also fell in love with your actual voice, which seems to marry so perfectly with your unique style of guitar play. Is singing an area that you’re comfortable with and is it something that comes natural to you?
Silver: I’ve been singing since I was little, and I think singing along to The Beatles in the car is how I really fell in love with it. I was an incredibly shy kid, but, somehow despite that, I could always sing in front of people. It was natural to me, and I knew it was something I wasn’t bad at, so I liked sharing.

TrunkSpace: How long did it take you to discover your songwriter’s voice? Is it a piece of the process that you have always felt comfortable with?
Silver: That took awhile to grapple with. In my awkward teen phase, I tried writing songs, but nothing came from it. I knew it was something I wanted to do, but I just figured I wasn’t good at it. Toward the end of my freshman year of college, one of my friends gave me a piece of paper with a quote… something along the lines of, “My song is sung for you.” I was so inspired by the quote, that I went back to my room and wrote a full length song it 10 minutes. That song is the last track off my album “Observere,” and still one of my favorite ones I’ve written. It’s called “I Feel Like.”

TrunkSpace: What does your songwriting process look like? How do most of your songs go from inception to completion?
Silver: It starts with the guitar. I’ll start practicing scales or playing chords and if something rings in my ear that I like, I’ll grow the song from that. I like to put songs together like puzzles almost, trying to get parts to fit together. Once I have a verse or two down, I’ll start writing lyrics. I sort of let the music tell me what the song is going to be about. Sometimes the lyrics come right away, other times I’ll be on a walk or eating pancakes and then the perfect line will run into my head.

TrunkSpace: You released two albums in 2017, the studio-born “Observere” and then “Live at Pete’s,” both of which have a very different and distinct feel entirely their own. Do you prefer one area over the other – the studio or the stage?
Silver: It was a new experience for me working in a studio with a professional sound engineer. It was a fun process, and something I look forward to doing again. “Live at Pete’s” was fun, but in a different way. I’m known for being joyful and enthusiastic on stage, and “Live at Pete’s” captures that. Both of the albums were fun to do, and I don’t think I prefer one over the other. Both have their unique quirks.

TrunkSpace: Playing off of the title of your album “Observere,” are you someone, especially from a songwriter’s perspective, who likes to sit back and observe those around you? Are you a voyeur of human nature, and in turn, does that fuel your creativity?
Silver: I think so. I take walks frequently to get my mind working, and I love to make myself just sit. Not necessarily meditate, but just think about what’s going on around me. Like I said before, sometimes song lyrics fly into my head, and it’s when I’m walking or just thinking when they come.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist?
Silver: After performances, which I think happens to a lot of artists. You know your music better than anyone else, and if you miss something or something comes out wrong, it can be a downer. On the flip side, I have had some accidentals during a performance that turned into something better than how I played it originally, so sometimes messing up is in my favor.

TrunkSpace: What is your favorite aspect of creating music? Is it writing? Recording? Performing? Something else entirely?
Silver: The feeling after a song is written and it’s good – ahhh. I love that. Songwriting can take a lot out of you sometimes, so when something finally comes from the grueling effort, it’s just a gentle reminder that I do have a talent worthwhile and to keep going at it.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Tory Silver in 2018?
Silver: Toward the end of the year I want to start the process of recording my next album. Expecting it to be out spring of next year!

Featured image by: Carter Howe

 

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Opening Act

Emily Perry

EmilyPerry_OpeningAct
Photo By: Bobby Quillard

Artist/Band: Emily Perry

Website: www.emilyperry.me

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Latest Album/Release: Latest Single: “Walk in Silence”

Influences: Lorde, Pink, Dua Lipa

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Perry: As an artist I would describe myself as current, relatable and hopefully inspirational. Definitely passionate as well! I think music is all about passion. My goal is to make people feel something. I want them to be able to vibe out and relate lyrically when listening to my music. I like to think I have a unique tone that translates across different genres… which is really cool because I love so many different genres! Ultimately I want my music to reach each individual listening. I want to create all different kinds of music. I want my music to grow with me.

TrunkSpace: Your new single “Walk in Silence” just dropped. As you gear up for new music to reach the masses, what kind of emotions do you go through? Is it a combination of excitement and nervousness?
Perry: Yes, my new single did just drop! I am already so grateful for the response it is getting. It definitely is a combination of both excitement and nervousness. Obviously I am very keen to start performing it but every time you release new music, you’re obviously nervous about what kind of response it will get. But at the end of the day it’s most important that you love your own music. If anything I am feeling determined. Determined for what’s ahead and eager to release more music soon.

TrunkSpace: How does “Walk in Silence” differ from your previous single “Boom?” Was the process of it coming together a new experience for you or did it follow a similar inception path as your previous tracks?
Perry: I think with each producer and collaboration, a shift in energy and direction takes a life of its own. “Walk in Silence” is completely different to my last single “Boom”. If anything it actually reminds me of my very first single “Sugarcoated”. For instance, “Walk in Silence” was a collaboration with producers Joe Cruz and Cindy Valentine. I wrote “Boom” with Grammy-winning producers The Jackie Boyz as well as The Further and Cindy Valentine. It was a high-energy collaboration, the room was vibin’ and it was so much fun! “Boom” reflects that energy and is upbeat with an acoustic undertone and a clean pop sound, whereas “Sugarcoated” is definitely a mellow mid tempo contemporary electronic song, much like this new single.

TrunkSpace: From what we understand, you have your first full-length album due out later this year. Can you give us a bit of insight into what to expect from the album and what your personal experience has been like seeing it all come together?
Perry: This will be my first full-length album release. I’ve been working on this album for a while now. With it being my first album, I’m working hard to make sure it’s the best possible representation of my music. I’ve worked with a lot of different people on this album. I believe it’s important for an album to have layers. I want each song to be different from the one before. I want you to be surprised, to not know what’s coming next. I’ve learnt a lot and grown a lot throughout the creation of this album. This process has been so fun and I can’t wait till it’s finally out there for everyone to hear!

TrunkSpace: We read that you’re always writing, jotting down ideas that ultimately become parts and pieces of songs. Are you someone who has a hard time shutting off the creative part of your brain?
Perry: I think I was 11 the first time I started using a writing journal. Now I have stacks and stacks of them. I have songs in these books from years ago and songs from yesterday. Everything I’ve ever felt or thought or seen, I’ve written down. I carry one of my songbooks with me everywhere I go. I am a bit of a creative nut – I’m always moving or listening to music or writing – it’s even what I do to relax!

TrunkSpace: From a lyrical standpoint, what approach do you like to take with your music? Are you hoping that listeners can hit play and go on the same journey with you, or do you prefer that people extract something different from your music through their own individual interpretation?
Perry: Honestly both would make me happy. If the story in my song is someone else’s story at that time, then I’m so thankful that I can help them to express what they’re feeling. But if someone pulls something different from my lyrics, something that speaks to them about an experience in their life, something that makes them feel and helps them to make sense of those feelings, then I’m just as happy.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist? Is it in the songwriting? In performance? Something else entirely?
Perry: As an artist – and a person – I think I’m always hard on myself. I work super hard to always be the best representation of myself and I want my work to reflect that. Performing is always hard for an artist as you’re laying your soul bare when you’re up on that stage. The people right in front of you have the power to lift your spirit or bruise it. It’s a lot of pressure but ultimately it’s my passion and it’s all I have ever wanted to do. But as corny as it is, no one is perfect. I don’t want people to think that I am. I make mistakes, I mess up but at the end of the day it’s real. It’s organic. It has made me and continues to make me into the artist that I am.

TrunkSpace: You grew up in Australia. Do you think that your upbringing directly impacted your musical point of view, and if so, how?
Perry: Growing up in Australia is a big part of who I am, and I wouldn’t want to change that at all. Coming over here is definitely surreal and such an incredible experience but Australia is my roots and it’s nice to have two places I can call home. Australia was a beautiful place to grow up. It has a really laid-back, relaxed culture. I think the people and the experiences back home have definitely given me a different writing style.

TrunkSpace: You’ve worked with some great producers/collaborators over the course of your career thus far. What do you enjoy most about seeing a creatively living and breathing thing like a song come to life in a collaborative atmosphere?
Perry: I definitely have and I am so grateful for those experiences. Working in groups is always a great way to work on a record. If you’re stuck on how to make something better, another person on the team may think of an idea that you love. To see a note… or a beat… or an idea transform into a whole is a beautiful experience and when you’re working collaboratively it becomes a celebration. It’s the joy, the gratitude, the love… and the music!

TrunkSpace: Beyond the music itself, what is your favorite part about a career in music? Is there an aspect of it that people might not know about that you pull happiness from?
Perry: To be honest, to wake up every morning and know that I will spend the day doing all the things I’m most passionate about is my very favorite part of my life. Whether it’s a dance class, spending some time on my own reflecting on lyrics, recording in studio, fittings with a stylist, being stuck on a plane for hours or rehearsals. How can it be work if I love it this much?

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Emily Perry in 2018?
Perry: I am feeling very inspired for the year ahead. I’m currently in New York preparing for my upcoming Pre-Grammy event “The Soiree”. As well as gearing up for New York Fashion Week. I will be doing a lot of traveling and performances. I’ve a lot more music that I’m excited to release along with visuals and other projects. You can keep up with everything I’m doing on all social media under @theemilyperry.

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Opening Act

Gun Outfit

GunOutfitFeature

Artist/Band: Gun Outfit

Members: Carrie Keith, Dylan Sharp, Daniel Swire, Adam Payne, Henry Barnes

Website: Our website got taken over by a weird pro-gun algorithm and now we don’t have one.
Instagram here.
Twitter here.

 

Hometown: Olympia, WA, Carnation, WA, Newton, MA, LA, Claremont, CA. We’re from Los Angeles.

Latest Album/Release: “Out of Range”

Influences: Don’t want to say.

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Keith: Western Expanse.

TrunkSpace: Your latest album “Out of Range” was released in November of last year. What we loved about the album is that it really has a “feel” to it. Was creating a sort of audible environment something you set out to do when putting the album together?
Keith: Of course, that’s why we recorded at Gauchos and pay for tape and went broke mixing it – we are an actual real band writing original romantic songs.

TrunkSpace: As a band you have plenty of previous recordings under your collective belts, but was there something that you set out to do differently with “Out of Range” that you hadn’t tackled in the past, either creatively or through the process itself?
Keith: I think this is why they don’t give me the interviews because I’m like, “What the hell kind of question is this?” and they’re like, “That’s the most common interview question.”

TrunkSpace: It many ways, it’s almost like we can hear the landscape through your music, as if you have somehow connected the world around you to the notes themselves. Do you believe that an artist’s surroundings can directly impact the art being created?
Keith: Thank you. No, I don’t think so. I think it’s about the interiors.

TrunkSpace: The Gun Outfit sound has gone through a lot of changes since you first started writing music together. Internally, where do you hear those changes the most?
Keith: I just threw away a box of “Dim Light” and sent another box to Croatia to a fan just so I don’t have to look at them again. I don’t like looking back.

TrunkSpace: Has the band already moved on from “Out of Range” creatively to new material, and if so, will we hear even more changes to the sound between that album and what comes next?
Keith: I mean, we did get J.J. Cale’s drum machine and a euro agent but we haven’t even played GO “Out of Range” outside Los Angeles county so it’s not like we are moved on from it, that wouldn’t be proper. We are about to tour it in the UK and Europe.

TrunkSpace: What does your songwriting process look like? How do most Gun Outfit songs go from inception to completion?
Keith: Roll the dice, make a little poem, get the band together, get the money together to go into the studio – voila.

TrunkSpace: What has been a personal highlight for you from your Gun Outfit journey thus far? What has the experience given you that you never thought you’d find when it all first came together?
Keith: I never thought we’d stay a band. That’s the best part. And when we hit the city we stayed together and it wasn’t easy but it’s love.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular aspect of the process that you enjoy most? Is it songwriting? Recording? Performing? Something else entirely?
Keith: Just depends. I mean, you try really hard to make it happen and it usually doesn’t work out but sometimes it does and that makes you want to keep it going – whatever it is.

TrunkSpace: Social media makes it possible to reach anybody anywhere these days, but at the same time, it seems more difficult than ever to get people engaged. How do you approach getting the word out about Gun Outfit and to break through all of the surrounding noise that seems to inundate people on a daily basis?
Keith: Just post it and don’t worry, which is probably why we aren’t popular with promoters because we don’t really care about focusing on that so much.

TrunkSpace: As you look towards the future, where do you hope to see Gun Outfit go? What do you hope to accomplish together moving forward?
Keith: I pray we get through this tour without catching the plague. I’d like to play more college radio… I like going on air.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Gun Outfit in 2018?
Keith: Only hits.

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Opening Act

Gentle Temper

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Artist/Band: Gentle Temper

Members: Ryan Meier, Marion Earley

Website: www.gentletemper.com

Hometown: Boston, MA

Latest Album/Release: “Sleep It Off – The Live EP”

Check it out here and here.

Influences: Henry Jamison, Hozier, From Indian Lakes, Bahamas, Shakey Graves

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Meier: Ocean-folk with a blues tide.

TrunkSpace: Your debut EP, “Sleep It Off,” was released a few weeks ago. How did the process of putting together the EP alter or change the two of you? Did it force you to look at things differently or take a different approach at all?
Meier: To be honest, we put so much time into planning everything for this EP, if anything did change we haven’t really noticed. If nothing else, it opened our eyes to how many different directions something like this can go.

TrunkSpace: “Sleep It Off” is a live EP. Was it important for you to capture particular aspects of your live performance on the recording, and if so, how did you set out to achieve those goals?
Meier: The original goal was actually to do a fully live Audiotree-style EP – there’s something super honest and also flawed about a fully live performance like that. For various reasons we decided to make it more of a documentary style video, while still keeping the fully live takes of the songs. Neither of us had ever done something this raw prior to GT_. It’s sort of like a benchmark for where we’re starting from. We wanted people to get a little peek into who we are and what we do while still staying true to what our live shows are like. Our manager, Becca, organized the whole thing. We brought her the rough idea back in September, she found the perfect people for the task, and kept us all moving. We owe this whole thing to her for sure.

TrunkSpace: Was there a specific reason why you chose a live performance to be your first EP? Do you feel that the vibe of what you two create together is better suited for a stage than a recording studio?
Meier: Studios and stages are completely different animals. Some of our favorite artists are solo artists who stack and stack and stack in the studio until there ain’t no turning back, but still manage to produce raw and honest live performances of those same songs. A friend and mentor of ours had a solid piece of advice for us about recording: “You can get away with recording about 15 percent more than you can perform live.”

We love both atmospheres, really. With there only being two of us, we’re a bit limited in our live performance – it’s a challenge we’re taking head on and we’ve been having a lot of fun making as much noise as we can between the two of us. We just finished recording our first full length and we definitely had some fun playing around with the room we had to get creative in the studio, while still staying within that 15 percent.

TrunkSpace: How did the two of you first come together to form your creative partnership?
Meier: Marion and I had been going to school together for three years and the only words that had been said between the two of us were something along the lines of, “Hey, nice guitar..”. In our fourth year, we landed in the same ensemble. One day, Marion brought in “Those Shoes” by The Eagles – she’s a big fan of Joe Walsh. Before the semester ended Joe came to our school to give a talk. They sold out of tickets, but we snuck in anyway and listened to the man wax philosophical. We started hanging out, listening to music together, and it snowballed from there. We formed our duo in August 2016.

TrunkSpace: How has Gentle Temper changed the most since you two first started writing music together to where you are today?
Meier: When we started about a year and a half ago, we were one vocalist, and one vocalist/guitarist. Now we are one vocalist/bassist/percussionist, and one vocalist/guitarist/percussionist. We also just recently got haircuts.

TrunkSpace: What does your songwriting process look like? How do most Gentle Temper songs go from inception to completion?
Meier: We write in many different ways, it’s a pretty sporadic process. The first song we played together (“Heavy Handed”) I had written entirely and Marion added some very beautiful harmonies and later a bass line. We write poems, or parts of songs, or full songs separately and then bring them together. Sometimes we write entirely together. We’re really at the mercy of ourselves when it comes to writing.

TrunkSpace: You guys are Boston-based, which is a city rich in folk music history. Do you believe that a songwriter’s surroundings directly impact their art, and if so, how has Boston influenced you?
Meier: We definitely draw a lot from the current scene. Maybe not Boston’s folk history specifically, but by the way it’s formed everything that’s here now, we owe a lot to it. Our friends and family have lived and still live in Boston and they’re all involved in the music scene in one way or another. It’s hard to live in such a musically rich community and not be influenced by it.

TrunkSpace: Boston is also known for being a creative city filled with artists of all flavors. Does that creative vibe inspire your own internal creativity?
Meier: Absolutely. We are surrounded by amazing artists and friends who we admire. They make a variety of different styles of music and art and it’s immensely inspiring. The creativity flowing through this city is truly boundless.

TrunkSpace: Social media makes it possible to reach anybody anywhere these days, but at the same time, it seems more difficult than ever to get people engaged. How do the two of you approach getting the word out about Gentle Temper and to break through all of the surrounding noise that seems to inundate people on a daily basis?
Meier: Social media isn’t a very straight forward platform, I think it needs to be taken with a grain of salt on all fronts. For us, honesty is the best policy and we do our best to stick by that and not take ourselves too seriously. In terms of getting the word out about GT_, this is our first big release and we’ve been doing our best to get it onto as many platforms as we can. We’ve also been releasing a couple of covers and plan to keep them rolling as long as we can.

TrunkSpace: As you look towards the future, where do you hope to see Gentle Temper go? What do you hope to accomplish together?
Meier: After putting out our first two releases late last year with Northeastern’s Green Line Records, we’re just trying to keep the momentum going. We’re currently working on a full length album that we finished recording in December at Red Bull Studios NYC with our friend and phenom Peter Geiser.

While we have a five year plan, it helps to also have a “tomorrow” plan and to just keep at it, get enough sleep, drink plenty of fluids, and enjoy all of it as it comes at us. We’d love to break into the festival circuit and start branching out from Boston toward Portland and further south, eventually stretching our musical limbs across the US to the west coast. We’re big on traveling and visiting family, so those are huge perks of becoming touring musicians as well.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Gentle Temper in 2018?
Meier: Lots more shows in and around the greater Boston area, our first full length studio album, a few more videos, and a couple of surprises along the way!

Sign up to our email list to keep up with all things GT_!

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Opening Act

Dana Cooper

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Artist/Band: Dana Cooper

Website: www.danacoopermusic.com

Hometown: I grew up in two hometowns, Kansas City and Independence, Missouri

Latest Album/Release: “Incendiary Kid” (Travianna Records)

Influences: Cole Porter, Hank Williams, Ray Charles, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Cooper: Eclectic, humanist, folk and roll

TrunkSpace: You signed with Travianna Records for the release of your latest album, “Incendiary Kid.” Did partnering with the label change up the process for you at all?
Cooper: Being part of a team of people who believe in what I do is a luxury all artists dream of. The folks at Travianna Records handle radio promotion and publicity as well as manufacturing and distribution. Their efforts help enormously in building awareness of my music and building a larger audience.

TrunkSpace: If we were to sit down with your very first recorded material and “Incendiary Kid” side by side, where would we hear the biggest differences in your songwriting and musical point of view? Where have you changed most as an artist between then and now?
Cooper: My first songs were recorded on a small reel to reel. They were adolescent love songs with an occasional protest song about the Vietnam War or the Civil Rights Movement. Now I tend to write fewer love songs and more about the human condition. Since those early days, I’ve continued to challenge myself on guitar and a variety of musical instruments, which offers me more choices in what I write and how I perform.

TrunkSpace: When it comes to songwriting, what is your lyrical approach? Are you writing from experience or are you writing more as a storyteller?
Cooper: My approach to lyric writing is all over the place. I record snippets of ideas on a digital recorder or jot lines down in an ever-present notebook. I travel a lot and write about things I see and experience along the way. Mostly I take more time with the entire process now, accumulating stories and taking whatever time necessary to see it through.

TrunkSpace: Is a song ever truly finished or are you constantly tweaking and retweaking? If a song does receive its curtain call, how do you know when it’s time to move on to the next one?
Cooper: There is a certain amount of tweaking, rewriting, and rearranging with most of my songs. Many endure, some fall off the set list. I still perform a few songs I wrote as a teenager. It is a challenge to keep up with the hundreds of songs I’ve written. Once in a while I revisit neglected ones to relearn and add them back into my shows. At this point it all seems a bit insurmountable. So, the most recent songs tend to dominate the list. Those that lose their resonance with the audience fall into oblivion.

TrunkSpace: We read that you “dedicated yourself to a life of music over 40 years ago.” What has that dedication looked like? Have you chosen to walk away from other passions or interests to commit yourself to music?
Cooper: I wrestled with self doubt, the drive for financial success on and off for a long time. There was an exact moment of realization many years ago when I knew without a doubt that I would pursue a life of music regardless of success or failure. I swore to myself that I would pursue a life of music even if it meant I wound up sleeping under a bridge. So far I still have a roof over my head. This commitment meant walking away from two stints in college, one in art, another in horticulture. I still dabble in both but music remains my passion.

TrunkSpace: You began writing songs at age 13. Teenagers often see life from a different set of lenses than adults do. Sometimes the small things seem so big and the big things seem so small. What did beginning your songwriting journey at such a young age teach you about the craft and process? Is there anything that you learned during those early days that you still apply to your career today?
Cooper: My father George was a lover of songs and the people who sang them. He encouraged me to sing along with the radio from the time I was two years old. He loved all kinds of music, from big band to pop to country to rock. And there was always an LP or a 45 spinning on the little record player. Dad took me to my first concert when I was three. We went to see Ernest Tubb and I believe I knew that night what I wanted to do the rest of my life. By the time I wrote my first song I had already paid deep attention to songwriters and how songs were written. Like most artists, I strive to return to that childlike place where the music began. Honesty, simplicity, and vulnerability are key to writing songs that resonate with the listener.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist/songwriter?
Cooper: I’ve wrestled with self doubt from the beginning. I take a critical look at my performances, pacing of the sets, how I communicate with the audience, which songs make people laugh or cry, what stories work and which ones fall flat. I push to keep growing as a writer, a guitarist, a singer, and a performer. And I’m never completely satisfied.

TrunkSpace: You have dozens of albums under your musical belt. Is there a particular collection of songs that is the most memorable, and not for the songs themselves, but for the experience of writing and recording them? And if so, why?
Cooper: Every recording project has been memorable for one reason or another. Undoubtedly my first album on Elektra Records in 1973 was the most profound and exciting. At 21 I was granted artistic control of the production and I got to work with my choice of musicians. I chose people whose work I admired, Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, Joe Osborne, Jim Gordon, Jim Horn, Michael O’Martian, Al Perkins, Milt Holland, Gary Coleman, Lee Holdridge. Through the years, I’ve been fortunate to always work with exceptional musicians, engineers, and producers. But this was my first experience and the memory is indelible.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Dana Cooper headed into 2018?
Cooper: This new year I have plans to expand my tour base in the U.S. and in Canada and Ireland. I’m currently in the planning stages of some music videos. For the past few years I’ve been writing more poetry and prose, which I hope to publish in book form. And, of course, I continue to write songs in preparation for the next recording project.

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Opening Act

Francesca Milazzo

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Photo By: Jessie English

Artist/Band: Francesca Milazzo

Website: www.FrancescaMilazzo.com

Hometown: Edison, NJ (Currently NYC)

Latest Album/Release: “Be Alright” Live Version

Influences: Nina Simone, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Francesca: Soulful, honest, evolving.

TrunkSpace: You have a diverse list of influences who have left a mark on your creative POV. When you listen to your music, who do you hear coming through the most?
Francesca: I think it depends on the record. Certain songs you can hear my heavy soul influence (Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone). On the other hand sometimes I write up-tempo pop songs and it becomes obvious I was a kid who grew up listening to Britney Spears and Hilary Duff.

TrunkSpace: As someone who has admired other artists and has been inspired by them, how do you feel about your own art inspiring future generations? Is that something that you ever think about, creating something that will live on forever through other musicians/songwriters?
Francesca: When I write songs I don’t think about whether it will be a hit or if people will be singing it 10 years from now. I focus on the emotion or experience I’m writing about and try to convey it in the most honest way I can. I always ask myself, “Could this song stand up with just a piano and vocal?” I think that’s what makes a great song and great songs live on for a while! As far as getting into the studio and consciously thinking about it – that doesn’t really happen. But of course, I hope to make music that resonates with people for years to come.

TrunkSpace: When someone unfamiliar to your music hears it for the first time, what do you hope they take from the experience? Beyond the music itself, what do you want them to hear and connect to?
Francesca: I hope that the listener walks away feeling something. It’s a huge compliment when people say, “I love your voice,” but it’s an even bigger compliment when people say, “I love your song.” The emotions that I am able to elicit are important. I want the listener to connect to the lyric/melody.

TrunkSpace: How has your art changed the most since you first started pursuing music professionally to where you are today?
Francesca: The music I’m making today genuinely comes from me. I have the final say in everything we write, how the songs are produced, mixed, etc. When I first started making music, there were always third party people telling me how I should sound or what type of music to make. At the time I didn’t really know who I was as an artist so I just let it happen. Luckily, I don’t have that anymore and I’ve really figured out what I want, so overall the music just feels more genuine to who I am as a person.

TrunkSpace: What does your songwriting process look like? How do most of your songs go from inception to completion?
Francesca: I start a lot of my songs on the piano or guitar. Then I usually like to bring the ideas or songs to other co-writers/producers. I’ve also been writing to tracks, which is super fun.

TrunkSpace: You’re not afraid to tackle heavy subject matter in your lyrics. In your opinion, how important is it to be truthful, both with yourself and with your audience, by way of your music?
Francesca: For me, songwriting is a form of therapy. If I’m not writing from a genuine and honest place the music does not feel real to me. There’s nothing worse than going up on stage and singing a song you don’t even like. For the audience, I genuinely believe that people gravitate towards honesty. A listener has to relate and if you’re writing from a dishonest place, they’ll never get on your level.

TrunkSpace: How long did it take you to discover your songwriter’s voice? Is it a piece of the process that you have always felt comfortable with?
Francesca: It took me years. I experimented with a lot of different sounds, and worked with different producers. It wasn’t until I decided that I wanted to manage myself and my music that I found my sound. I put together a team of songwriters and producers who I really believed in. Together we’ve been making music I really love. I think it’s because we’re creating from a genuine place.

Photo By: Gaurav Simha

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist?
Francesca: I’m really tough on myself as a vocalist. I’ll re-sing a line 20 times if I have to, just to get it right. If I have a pitchy moment I beat myself up over it for a while. I just have to remind myself that I’m human and that imperfect moments make art more personal.

TrunkSpace: What is your favorite aspect of creating music? Is it writing? Recording? Performing? Something else entirely?
Francesca: The overall creative process is my favorite part. Starting with an idea, turning it into a full song, recording, and producing – this is when I feel best.

TrunkSpace: When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered as an artist? What do you hope to accomplish through your music both personally and professionally?
Francesca: I hope I’m lucky enough to make music that resonates with a lot of people. I want people to feel some type of way when they hear my music. Of course I have big goals, but I like to take it step by step. Since right now I’m still recording and developing my main focus is to put together the best project I can. If I’m able to do that, everything else will fall into place.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Francesca Milazzo in 2018?
Francesca: Music, lots of music.

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Opening Act

Kimié Miner

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Photo By: Brooke Dombroski

Artist/Band: Kimié Miner

Website: www.KimieMiner.com

Hometown: Kona, Hawai’i

Latest Album/Release: “Proud as the Sun”

Influences: I grew listening to Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Miner: Acoustic soul & pop with a twist of island reggae.

TrunkSpace: Where did your musical journey begin? Did it start with a love for listening to music and then turn into a love for writing/performing?
Miner: I’ve always loved music! I didn’t realize how much I loved writing and performing my own music until college, although I started writing music on my ‘ukulele in middle school.

TrunkSpace: How long did it take you to find your voice as a singer/songwriter? Was it a long journey to discover what your musical POV was?
Miner: Singing always felt very natural for me growing up. I loved journaling, so they went together perfectly. But I’m still on a journey of discovery. Hopefully I can continue to grow until I leave this earth. My albums are like little souvenirs of a time in my life. Each one represents a different point of view for me and a different element I related to at the time. My first EP, “To the Sea,” was themed around water and my stories as a traveler. My second self-titled album was themed around land and my return home to my roots. “Proud as the Sun” is themed around air, seeing things from a new perspective, a bird’s eye view and becoming a mother.

TrunkSpace: How important was your upbringing and your surroundings during those formative years in becoming the songwriter you are today?
Miner: Oh man, it’s so important! I’m an emotional person and I feed off of my environment – it’s like I can feel every vibration coming at me. So I think growing up in paradise, as opposed to a big city, raised me to be a grateful, mellow, pretty down-to-earth person. My music reflects that sultry exotic happy island environment I felt around me.

TrunkSpace: When it comes to songwriting, what is your lyrical approach? Are you writing from experience or are you writing more as a storyteller?
Miner: I like to approach each new song as it comes. I’ve written songs while tears still dripped from my cheeks and stained the paper. But I’ve also written songs inspired by other people’s stories. I have a friend who told me her crazy life’s story of addiction, homelessness, and prostitution. I went home and wrote my song “New Day” about recovery and what that means to a broken girl. I think as long as I can relate to the song, it is therapeutic for me, whether it’s my story or not.

TrunkSpace: Your music as a whole has an uncanny ability to make us feel! You just can’t help but participate in the individual journeys when you’re within earshot of it. Do you set out to elicit an emotional response when you’re writing new material?
Miner: I really try to create my songs for myself first. The fact that others can relate is such a bonus for me! I didn’t even realize how important music could be until I saw the impact it can have on people, myself included. We all just want to be able to relate to each other.

TrunkSpace: Your new album “Proud as the Sun” was released in October. Looking at the various songs on that album, how far back do they go in terms of when they were written to when they were ultimately recorded? Did any of the tracks have a particularly long journey to get where they are in their current form?
Miner: I would say they spanned over the last three years of being written. It was amazing to see which songs fit on this album and how quickly it all came together once I realized I was hapai, pregnant. This was the quickest album I’ve put together in terms of song choice and artwork, visuals, etc., because I knew exactly what I wanted to say on it.

TrunkSpace: What do you think the album says about you in terms of who you are today? Does the collection of songs give any insight into the Kimié Miner of 2017?
Miner: I’ve grown into my own as a woman, especially on this new journey of motherhood. I feel empowered, beautiful, and full of a greater purpose. I want to share the joy I feel with others and bring their own light that they possess out of them!

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist/songwriter?
Miner: I can be a real perfectionist when it comes to my music. I can sit in the studio and record the same verse 100 times if you let me. I want the whole performance to be just right. But I realized with this last album that perfectionism is really just a fancy form of fear. Discovering the news of my pregnancy just made me realize that our time is precious and I can’t keep putting off projects because I want it to be “perfect.” I want to encourage my daughter to be her authentic self always and not let perfectionism hold her back. Being flawed is beautiful.

TrunkSpace: In your opinion, what is the best way to break through all of the noise of the times and connect with new listeners? How do you share your music with people and build fans?
Miner: You know, I’m still figuring this all out. But I notice that when I open up to my fans and let them in on some of the things I normally wouldn’t share, that’s when they really connect and engage with me, whether it be at a show or on social media. I’m still learning to open up more and just be my true, authentic self no matter what. We are all beautiful unique beings created for a purpose. We just need to get out of our own ways and let our light shine.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Kimié Miner heading into 2018?
Miner: I’ve already started working on a few projects in different genres than my last album. I’ve been feeling so creative during this time and just allowing myself to experiment. I’m continuing to build my company Haku Hawai’i (Hakuhawaii.com) and even working on a Christmas album. But if you follow me on social media you’ll most likely see my new journey as a mama bird in 2018. I’m looking forward to it.

“Proud as the Sun” is available now.

Featured image by: Brooke Dombroski

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Opening Act

Radio Macbeth

RadioMacbethFeatured

Artist/Band: Radio Macbeth

Members: Darien Campo, Declan Hertel

Website: www.radiomacbeth.com

Hometown: Monmouth, OR

Latest Album/Release: Bubblegum Wasteland (2017)

Influences: Neutral Milk Hotel, Radiohead, Ween

TrunkSpace: How do you describe your music?
Campo: We ask ourselves that question all the time. I think “eclectic” is a good word for it. We draw from a large pool of influences, so our music tends to reflect that. We market ourselves as “Lo-Fi Indie Pop-Rock,” which feels like the most condensed description of our sound.
Hertel: We kind of decided on indie pop-rock just to have something to say when this question comes up. But while the foundation is guitar/bass/drums/vocals for the most part, we also do a lot of synths and glitchy stuff, string and horn sections, not to mention the occasional bit of musique concrete. We do a lot of “kitchen-sink maximalism” type stuff, just throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.

TrunkSpace: You have this great tagline that reads, “Your friends have never heard of us.” You’re right, but let’s change that. In your opinion, what should we tell them about WHY they should check you out? What are the Radio Macbeth bullet points?
Hertel: We’re too experimental to be indie and too indie to be experimental. We’re like every band you’ve ever heard, but also like no band you’ve ever heard. I hope that’s what we are, anyway. We’ve been told that there are a couple of vicious earworms on “Bubblegum Wasteland,” so we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.
Campo: Yeah, it’s nice.

TrunkSpace: You just dropped some Radio Macbeth positivity on us, but on the opposite side of that coin, where are you guys hardest on yourself as a band?
Campo: This brings a light on an interesting conundrum of mine. Projects like Radio Macbeth are a constant learning process for me. I’m always watching tutorials, reading books and forums, and talking with other musicians. I want to make sure that every day I’m a little bit better than I was the day before. The problem is anything we make very quickly gets swept back as “not as good as I can do now.” As soon as I finish a project, “Bubblegum Wasteland” for example, I can immediately look at it and see what I can do better. On one hand, I think it shows that I am still growing as a musician. But on the other hand, it makes it really hard to be content with something I’ve made. It’s like I’m constantly trying to outdo my past self, it’s a never-ending competition.
Hertel: One of the biggest issues for me is that we currently live about fifty miles apart, and without a serious sense of immediacy in place it can be hard for me to stay motivated to write and learn. It’s so easy to let real life get in the way of what really matters, you know?

TrunkSpace: Your debut album “Bubblegum Wasteland” was released in September. In your opinion, does it represent a different side of the band that didn’t exist prior to it? Did the recording process change the band itself?
Campo: To be honest, prior to “Bubblegum Wasteland” Radio Macbeth didn’t really exist either. I think we’re still figuring out who we are as a duo and as individuals, so I’m not sure yet which side of Radio Macbeth made an appearance on this record – that’s probably something we’ll have to figure out in retrospect.
Hertel: The album literally brought us into being! Until that point we were just two dudes who had done some shitty demos together and occasionally jammed through Neutral Milk Hotel songs. Then at some point in the summer, we kind of looked at each other and said, “If not now, when?”

TrunkSpace: You recorded it in an apartment living room. What kind of acoustics did the room have? Did you do anything to the space to get it record-ready?
Hertel: I’ll let Darien handle this one, as he was wholly responsible for the construction of Mustard Music Mk II, Spider-Man blankets and all.
Campo: Acoustics? Terrible. I had blankets pinned up on the walls and ceiling, and even a couple hanging down from the ceiling to form a makeshift “booth” to record in. It was the jankiest shit you’ve ever seen. A lot of the production process was massaging some of the quirks of the recording space out of the tracks. It wasn’t the easiest space to record in, but we figure it’s better to record whatever we can whenever we can instead of waiting until we have the perfect space and equipment. I feel it’s important for us to just keep making music, no matter what equipment or space we have to use. We’ll be able to record in a better space someday, for now we’ll just focus on the music.

TrunkSpace: What is your favorite track off of the album and why?
Campo: Declan’s track “Ophelia” is such a beautiful song. It’s one of the more raw, honest tracks on the album. I love the build on it, and the subtlety – especially in an album of songs that are so dense and intricate – it’s cool to have something more sparse.
Hertel: That’s such a hard call to make. “Godless, Faithless, Weightless” I think is the best example of our creative bond, which is to say, I gave Darien vague, figurative direction on the production of the song (“gross”), and he somehow ended up reading my mind exactly. On the other hand, “Vapor Trails,” one of Darien’s, is never not stuck in my head. I think “Vapor Trails” is our “what we’re about” song, just perfectly encapsulating our love of broken pop.

TrunkSpace: What does the Radio Macbeth writing process look like? How does a song go from inception to completion?
Campo: On “Bubblegum Wasteland” we each wrote songs separately and then came together to mash them into a record. Declan and I are constantly writing in our free time and we’re always sending little demos back and forth online. BW was the first time we tried to find some common thread in our songs and put an album together. It’s a lot of fun incubating these tracks in private, and then bringing them together and saying, “Okay, now how do we make this into a Radio Macbeth song?”
Hertel: “Ophelia” was written as just me singing over acoustic power chords. I sent the demo to Darien, he said, “Gimme a minute,” and something like an hour later, he sent me back, essentially, the song you hear on the record. The process of Bubbadub was pretty much like that: one of us would write a song, bring it to the other, and together we’d turn it into a Radio Macbeth song.

TrunkSpace: Are the songs written from a first person perspective or are they approached more as a storyteller looking at the world and those who inhabit it? What is the creative point of view?
Campo: My songs are usually first-person. I sing about pretty personal stuff, so I typically use heavy metaphor and try to abstract my song’s meaning to the point that only I know what it’s about anymore. I find it easier to sing about difficult subjects if I can turn it into a story. I come up with characters and a world to use to express myself more eloquently. It’s really hard for me to be honest in my music, but I know that honesty is what makes good art, so turning my experiences and emotions into basically short stories makes it a little easier.
Hertel: Speaking for myself, 100 percent first person. They have fantastical contexts, but all my songs on the record are from my perspective. I’m trying to write more from the perspective of characters as time goes on, but my songwriting background/inspiration came from folk punk and emo, which are both intensely personal, first person genres.

TrunkSpace: Again, going back to your “Your friends have never heard of us” line, what if the opposite were true. If everyone knew who Radio Macbeth was and you were one of the most popular acts writing and recording music, would you be comfortable with that? Is the possibility of fame welcome or feared?
Campo: Oh geez, that’s a big hypothetical for me. Honestly, I have no idea. We’re just so focused on working on ourselves and our music that the idea of becoming “one of the most popular acts” is such an alien idea to me. We’re still developing our musical voice, so we’re just happy that anybody is listening to us. Maybe later down the line we’ll get to a place where we want to start gathering more outside acclaim. But for right now, Radio Macbeth still feels like such a bedroom project of ours.
Hertel: Welcome as fuck. To a point. Like, I don’t think international superstardom is for us, but if we had a dedicated and large-enough fan base for us to do this until it kills us, that would be ideal. Or like how K.Flay has been making dope shit for years and years, and now that she’s used to and into the grind, she’s kinda blowing up? Lovin’ it. Though I’d love to be a cult band. But like Darien said, that’s such a far-off, foreign idea at the moment that’s it’s difficult to answer with any perspective other than the abstract idea of success.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight for the band thus far? What has been the most memorable experience or most unforgettable aspect of being a part of Radio Macbeth?
Campo: We’re so small-time at the moment, that every time we get a new download, or someone sends us a message saying they liked the record it feels like an accomplishment. I love when folks reach out to us, I make sure to reply to every message we get. Just knowing that people are actually listening to this shit is so great.
Hertel: Exactly. Our first positive review, our first blog acceptance, whenever anyone says, “Hey, I really love your stuff,” it’s all been great. Even the rejections have been kinda fun. Someone even made up a word to diss us! I think it was “sucroseness.” Good times.

TrunkSpace: With that said, what do you hope to accomplish moving forward? What does the band want to check off of its collective bucket list?
Campo: We’re still thinking small at the moment. We want to start playing shows around our area and getting our name out in the open. We’re also working real hard on getting more and more music online for folks to hear. But we’re very careful about our product, and we want to make sure we’re only putting out the best work we can do. We’ve been putting a lot of time into getting our live act together.
Hertel: I want to tour at some point. Even if it was just playing Oregon. That sounds like the scariest, best thing we could end up doing. Then we can think about taking over the world.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Radio Macbeth as we creep closer to 2018? What does the new year hold?
Campo: More music. Always more music. Everyday we’re writing and recording, and I cannot wait for people to hear our newer material. I think it’s going to blow “Bubblegum Wasteland” out of the water.
Hertel: We’ve done a huge amount of writing for the next record, and we’re working on the live act, getting it ready for the stage. I think we’re already head and shoulders past “Bubblegum Wasteland,” and it’s gonna be great when people can hear what we’ve got.

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