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Opening Act

Grave Danger

GraveDangerFeatured

Artist/Band: Grave Danger

Members: Dave Schwantes (guitars, bass, keys, tenor sax, bari sax, backing vocals), Dane Erbach (drums), Alan Erbach (lead vocals), Margret Miller (trombone), Andy Miller (trumpet), Emily Erbach (synth), Chris Marcanti (backing vocals), Josh Marcanti (backing vocals), Elliot Schwantes (backing vocals), Eileen Hays-Schwantes (backing vocals)

Socials: Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

Hometown: Berkeley, California

Latest Album/Release: Let ‘er Rip

TrunkSpace: Though Grave Danger has a lighthearted, macabre persona of a “Skath” band, it’s clear that underneath that mask is a group of extremely talented musicians. How did this idea take hold and manifest from a daydream into a reality?
Schwantes: Dane and I have known each other since high school and one of our favorite pastimes was making up fake bands (when we weren’t playing together in real bands). Our shared love of wordplay led us to the idea of “skath” a few years ago, but it never amounted to anything. Then sometime last year Dane texted me, “Ok, dude. Let’s do it: Let’s write a couple of skath songs.” (Dane is very good with punctuation, even in his texts.) We started coming up with song names and I wrote most of the lyrics to “Grave Danger” that afternoon. It was a lot of fun so we brought in other people to flesh out the band and decided to see this thing through.

TrunkSpace: Which came first? The Ska or the Goth? And what other musical entities influenced your sound that you were looking to achieve?
Schwantes: I think it’s safe to say, the ska came first for us. Several of us were in a ska band called Captain Supreme back in college. Ska is such a light-hearted genre that it was a lot of fun to mix in an element of macabre.

One of the first artists we thought about when finding a sound and style was Oingo Boingo. Danny Elfman is obviously a brilliant composer and musician and Oingo Boingo’s stuff just has a great reckless weirdness to it. Reel Big Fish was certainly a big influence for the type of goofy ska we wanted to write and I was listening to a lot of Streetlight Manifesto when writing horn parts. They were a big reason why I was insistent on having a four-piece horn section.

TrunkSpace: What blew our minds like a zombie on the receiving end of a head shot was that Grave Danger is comprised of a group of family and friends. This isn’t your Branson family band, but how is it that you all are so musically inclined? Does the musical vein run deep in the family? Or did you simply make a deal with a cloven-hoofed figure on a dark road in the middle of the night?
Schwantes: It turns out that you can get a much better deal with the devil if you’re willing to go in on a group rate, plus Satan spent most of the ‘90s following Less Than Jake around on tour so he has a soft spot for ska.

TrunkSpace: When we were digging up info on how Grave Danger came to be, we couldn’t help but identify with the story of using gym class to come up with creative endeavors instead of taking a dodge ball to the face. Do you feel that those early creative endeavors laid the ground work for what would later become Grave Danger?
Schwantes: Sure. Grave Danger came into existence because some old friends wanted to keep making fun music together and the kind of music we made was really shaped by our shared appreciation for well-executed preposterousness. Back in high school, our fake death metal band, Throbbing Reaper, actually played a few shows. An impressive feat, considering we never practiced or wrote any songs.

It takes a lifelong commitment to ridiculousness to put in the time and energy needed to make a skath band a reality.

TrunkSpace: Another interesting morsel to us was that Grave Danger came together only after founding members David Schwantes and Dane Erbach moved apart from one another. What was it about being cleaved apart that made you guys come together to form Grave Danger? And what was that long-distance creative partnership like?
Schwantes: I think that living a few thousand miles away from each other made us really miss making music together in the way we were able to in the past.

The collaboration involved a lot of emails, phone calls, and texting. I’d record demos and send them to Dane for feedback. We’d have long email and text threads about potential band names and song ideas.

As we started doing the final recordings, we worked in a similarly distributed way, sending isolated tracks and mixes back and forth.

It was actually a pretty weird way to make a record. In the past we were always in the same room while playing or recording songs so working like this resulted in a much longer feedback loop. It was an interesting way to work but there were certainly times where it would have been nice to just sit down and work through an idea together.

TrunkSpace: Dave, you played guitars, bass, keys, tenor sax, bari sax and backing vocals for “Let ‘er Rip!”. We picture you looking like the guy in the Hormel Pepperoni commercials playing six instruments at once and singing, which is beyond impressive! How did you come to be so well-versed in so many instruments? And do you have a favorite that you enjoy the most?
Schwantes: I had a TON of fun playing lots of instruments on this record. I’ve always enjoyed learning new instruments and a ska band is a great place to use a lot of them. I probably had the most fun with the bass and saxophone parts.

Ska bass is always fun to play and with the style of this band I was able to build some cool little lines around simple minor scale ideas.

The saxophone work was great because I had been away from the instrument for a long time and I really enjoyed getting back into it. I spent a lot of time hanging out in my garage getting my saxophone chops back up to snuff and just getting reacquainted with the instrument. Doing the bari parts was particularly rad just because I really enjoy blatting out those loud low notes. I actually had a hard time tracking down a bari for this record and ended up having to drive about an hour out of Berkeley to rent one.

TrunkSpace: What has been most rewarding about putting together not only your EP but the creation of Grave Danger in and of itself?
Schwantes: It’s been fantastic to get to make music with old friends again. We went out of our way to involve lots of people. (My 1 1/2 year old son does some vocals in one of the songs!) Working together and hearing these songs come together has been really rewarding. We all have kids and jobs and lots of other things in life that require our attention and I love that we were able to take the time to try something crazy and weird and made it a reality.

TrunkSpace: Halloween is nearly upon us! What sort of frightful festivities will fans find Grave Danger doing on this night?
Schwantes: On Halloween night I’ll probably be eating all the Twix that I should be handing out to neighborhood kids and then I’ll be hosting a record release/late Halloween party this weekend.

TrunkSpace: What’s next for Grave Danger now that you’ve released your EP into the dark of the night? Are there more new songs or a tour in store for all the ghastly boils and ghouls out there that dig your groovy Ska and Goth brew?
Schwantes: I really want to just enjoy the release of this EP. We all put a lot of work into making it happen and it’s fun to get it out into the world. That said, I’ve started laying down the bones for some new songs. I’d love to do a full length record. I think now, more than ever, the world could use more skath.

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Opening Act

Ruby the RabbitFoot

RubyTheRabbitfoot
PHOTOGRAPHY: Mike Gonzalez (IG: @mikegonzalezstudio)/STYLIST: Maya Yogev/Bureau9 (IG: @maya_yogev)/MAKE-UP & HAIR: Alisha Bailey( IG: @alishahairmakeup)/PRODUCTION: Bureau 9 (IG: @bureau9)/STUDIO: Bureau 9 Studio (IG: @bureau9studio)

Artist/Band: Ruby the RabbitFoot

Members: Ruby Kendrick (rotating cast: Ziona Riley, Will Hicks, Austin Hoke, Paul Rogers, Nicolas Dobbratz)

Website: www.rubytherabbitfoot.com

Hometown: Athens, GA > Nashville, TN

Latest Album/Release: “Divorce Party” (2016)

Influences: Most everything

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Kendrick: I try not to ever describe it if poss. Lyrically driven?

TrunkSpace: Not only has your music captured our attention, but the visual element of the Ruby the RabbitFoot experience is a big part of the journey for us. How important is it for you to be able to bring that visual angle to your craft? Is it something you give equal weight to in the process?
Kendrick: Thank you for noticing. The visual aspect of my work feels as much a part of me as the music. I don’t think they could be separated. I would say the weight is equal.

TrunkSpace: Your sound has gone through some sonic shifts since you first began writing and performing as Ruby the RabbitFoot. Where do you personally hear the biggest growth?
Kendrick: I suppose the one constant throughout the albums is that I am singing and writing the songs. I believe my voice has become more of my own and less of my influences. When I hear songs from my first album, I am a little embarrassed because I can hear myself imitating others in the way I sing. It’s sweet to hear the progress though.

TrunkSpace: Within that musical evolution of your sound, has the process in which it all comes together changed at all? Do you write differently now than when you first started out?
Kendrick: I definitely do. I write a capella now. It’s more convenient while traveling and more spontaneous. One drawback is that my guitar chops are rusty to say the least. I would actually like to start writing on guitar again.

TrunkSpace: Your last album, “Divorce Party,” dropped in 2016. Is there a new album on the horizon and what can fans expect?
Kendrick: Of course! I can’t wait to share what I’ve been working on! I have no idea what to expect ever so I wouldn’t know what to tell them.

TrunkSpace: As an artist, are you someone who prefers your time creating and recording in the studio or is the stage, performing in front of a live audience, where you pull your biggest personal fulfillment from?
Kendrick: For me touring and performing live are so challenging on so many levels. It’s not an easy thing to do and therefore feels extremely rewarding when it’s done. I prefer creating at home most definitely because it is relaxing and fulfilling. I feel lucky to be able to do both.

TrunkSpace: Speaking of performing, you’re currently in the midst of a pretty extensive U.S. tour. With a number of dates still ahead of you, what are you most looking forward to the rest of the way, and… we saw that you’re playing The Rabbithole in Charlotte, NC. Given the RabbitFoot in your name, was this by design or coincidence?
Kendrick: That is a fabulous coincidence! We also played a place called White Rabbit Cabaret in Indianapolis and it’s been my favorite show so far. We need that bunny luck on the road. I’m looking forward to Spirit Lodge in Pittsburgh and Atlanta, of course.

TrunkSpace: If you could sit down and have a conversation with 16-year-old you, would that version of yourself be happy with the artist that you have become today? Would she be surprised?
Kendrick: Wow. I think she would be relieved and surprised about the outcome of her life for sure. Great question.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Ruby the RabbitFoot for the rest of 2018?
Kendrick: I’ll be making an album! I’m excited for a Tennessee summer. But again, I never know what’s going to happen.

Featured Image Credits: PHOTOGRAPHY: Mike Gonzalez (IG: @mikegonzalezstudio)/STYLIST: Maya Yogev/Bureau9 (IG: @maya_yogev)/MAKE-UP & HAIR: Alisha Bailey( IG: @alishahairmakeup)/PRODUCTION: Bureau 9 (IG: @bureau9)/STUDIO: Bureau 9 Studio (IG: @bureau9studio)

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Opening Act

Los Elk

LosElkFeatured

Artist/Band: Los Elk

Members: Slam (Amir Rivera, guitar/vox), Bondi (Ryan Bondell, drums), Moose (Gabe Follettie, bass), & Nash (Justin Fisher, guitar)

Website: www.loselkband.com
Facebook/Instagram/YouTube

Hometown: Boston, MA

Latest Album/Release: New single, “Deja Voodoo” streaming now!

Influences: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kooks, Kings of Leon, The Strokes, D’Angelo, John Mayer, Two Door Cinema Club, and countless more.

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Los Elk: Ah, the classic question. Ironically, also one of the hardest. In a nutshell, we write Indie Rock tunes that pull deep influence from the melodies and rhythms of Funk and RnB. That said, any song or artist that a band member has on blast is fair game to melt into the songwriting process. Between the four of us there is a tornado of inspiration ranging from classic jazz to hard trap. The soundtrack of our travels jumps from Flatbush Zombies to John Mayer, from the latest J. Cole record to the deepest Red Hot Chili Peppers cut there is. Overall though, our songs reflect who we are as people, and right now that means high energy performances filled with jumping, dancing, sweating and some ratchet debauchery.

TrunkSpace: Your music is crafted in such a way that it’s difficult to NOT want to get up and dance. How interactive are your live performances with fans working their bodies to the rhythm that you’re putting out there into the world?
Los Elk: In many ways, we pride ourselves on being a community band. Without the wonderful people who support us in the audience (and beyond), this amazing journey comes to a crashing halt. Attending a Los Elk set will never mean watching some jaded musicians going through the motions. We’re putting our lives on the line with this shit, and performances are the battlefield. When people choose to spend their precious life moments watching us do our thing, we honor that sacrifice by giving it everything we’ve got. We let the energy of the room naturally lead certain aspects of the vibe, so no two shows are the same. Who knows, if the energy is lit enough, it may be the night that we literally take off all our clothes and crowd surf face down. Hah! Kidding (maybe), but you know what we mean.

TrunkSpace: Just in listening to your music, there seems to be a diverse list of genre-based influences that play a part in your particular sound. It’s hard to define Los Elk, even in a day and age where there are so many sub-genres of music. Is that something that the band takes pride in, being able to bring a little bit of everything to the fold and still making it all work sonically?
Los Elk: Absolutely. As we mentioned before, there is a constant barrage of new influences working their way into the songwriting process. If Bondi has been listening to a lot of D’Angelo, he’s going to want to lay down a thick pocket groove. At the same time, Slam might shred a West African-influenced guitar melody because he’s been jamming to the Niger artist, Bombino. The same goes for Moose and Nash with whatever is heavy in their rotation. Of course, this is simplified description of the actual process, but the result is a crazy mashup of soundscapes and vibes that melt into a completely new creation. It’s a huge reason why we all love Los Elk. As long as it grooves and can theoretically make sense, nothing is off the table.

TrunkSpace: The band released the single “Dèjá Voodoo” back in late 2017. What’s up next for Los Elk as far as the studio is concerned?
Los Elk: We’re planning to re-enter the studio this summer and record a three-song EP. Until it makes sense to dive into recording our first full length album, we’ve been digging three-song EPs. It’s enough to sink your teeth into and get a sense of where the band is musically, but it’s also not an overwhelming amount of material that requires vast budgets and huge timelines. We have so many songs that can currently only be heard at a live show, and we’re trying to change that.

TrunkSpace: You recently returned from a tour with Ripe. Does being on the road allow you guys to approach music from a different POV, because in many ways, you’re getting to step away from the day to day of life to focus entirely on music, correct? Does the band get any writing done while on the road?
Los Elk: Being on the road is a completely different way of living. How and when you eat, sleep, shower, change, relax… everything changes. Suddenly the only mission is the next show. Even when it’s a travel day and you’re spending 10 hours in a car, you’re doing it for that next show… that next opportunity to really connect with someone and bring the heat. Writing definitely happens on the road, but in two different ways. One is literal, in which you break out your instruments and give it a go. The second is more macro, in that you’re accruing all these crazy experiences and moments that will feed into the songwriting one way or another.

TrunkSpace: The band came together at Skidmore College back in 2011. When you look back, how has the sound changed the most since those early days together? Where have you seen (or heard) the most growth?
Los Elk: It’s been a long journey since Skidmore. In many ways, you may say that our sound has become more refined. The purpose behind our playing, and goals as a band, have become so much more focused since graduation, and the music reflects that. Back at school, we had no idea what Los Elk would become or what we wanted it to become, for that matter. You just need time to figure that all out. Looking back on old footage and recordings from the very early days is a total trip. There’s a frantic energy surrounding the whole thing, almost like the abundance of residual energy surrounding the explosive birth of a new entity, like the BIG BANG. As time moved forward, that frantic energy became more focused and refined, laced with purpose and passion. We’re no longer a college band, and we’ve got a hell of a lot more experience under our belts to bring to the table.

TrunkSpace: Is there something creatively inspiring about working within a band atmosphere? Does the creative drive of each individual member fuel the unit as a whole?
Los Elk: Being in Los Elk is like being in a four-way marriage. Except nobody is sleeping with each other. At least, not like that. Being in a band means coming together and attempting to do something larger than life. It requires immense sacrifice, self growth, and the ability to lay individual desire to the side for the vision of a greater good. This is where the idea of “laying our lives on the line” comes from. There are no promises in this industry. It’s almost like placing a bet in a casino. Our wager is the incredible amount of time, energy and sacrifice put forth into this one thing. The potential payoff is entrance into an incredible way of life, in which we are able to do what we love every day. So, do ya feel lucky, punk?

TrunkSpace: We love great music, but within great music we are particularly drawn to great lines, the kind that make us curse the universe for not coming up with them ourselves. What is one of your personal favorite Los Elk lyrics and why?
Los Elk: Oh, man! We know the feeling. Of course, people are going to be drawn to different lyrics depending on how their life has unfolded. You have the current pleasure of chatting with Bondi, and one of my favorite lines comes from the chorus of our song “Hands.” It asks, “Who are you, where’d you go? Used to know but now I don’t // Are you better are you worse, was I a gift was I a curse? // Are you filled with regrets, do you still smoke cigarettes? I want to know.”

There are no right or wrong interpretations of song lyrics, but, to me, this chorus digs at the existential curiosity of how we affect other people’s lives. We become so deeply connected with people, and then for whatever reason, they are removed from your life in that way. At the end of the day, you can’t help but wonder how you may have changed their lives… for better or for worse.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Los Elk for the rest of 2018?
Los Elk: We’re constantly trying to push the boundaries, and do the next big bad thing. In addition to getting back into the studio and releasing a new music video for “Deja Voodoo,” we have some incredible shows and festivals booked. We’re particularly excited for our hometown show in Boston on May 19th at the Paradise Rock Club. We’ll be supporting our good friends in Lawrence, an incredibly talented band we’ve shared bills with in the past. We encourage everyone to connect with us on our socials so that we can stay in touch and see what you goons are up to.

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Opening Act

Whiskey Daredevils

WhiskeyDaredevilsFeatured

Band: Whiskey Daredevils

Members: Leo P Love (drums) Hector Mattos (guitar) Greg Miller (vocals), Sugar Wildman (bass)

Website: www.whiskeydaredevils.com

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Latest Album: “The Good Fight,” with a new release expected July 2018

Influences: Johnny Cash, Link Wray, and the Dead Kennedys

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Miller: We try to take conventional American roots music forms like country and rockabilly and apply our own vision to them. One of the most annoying things to me is when bands take on a genre like rockabilly, for example, and then have lyrical content as if they were living in 1957. Writing about switchblades and soda shops and drag races and other bullshit you’ve never experienced is going to ring hollow. We write about some whacked out stories and people we meet bumping around the seedy underbelly of the American Midwest in 2018. We are America’s finest cowpunkabilly band. Whatever that is…

TrunkSpace: The Whiskey Daredevils have been pounding the cowpunk pavement for nearly 15 years now. Outside of the scene itself, how has the band changed within that time frame? Do you guys approach any aspects of the process or sound differently now than you did back in 2004 when you first came together?
Miller: I think that when we first launched the Daredevils, I was too preoccupied with not being like The Cowslingers, our previous band from 1990-2004. Instead of letting each song find its own voice, I was too concerned about not repeating myself or letting the band slip into the comfortable arrangement or vibe. It became evident though that our songwriting and sound is this warped version of what we think of as American roots music. I think we also are more willing to let the song develop into what it is by allowing each band member to find their spot in it. I completely stopped caring about what expectations were and just tried to make the songs sound good to us.

TrunkSpace: Even prior to the Whiskey Daredevils forming, some of you played together in other projects. Did that familiarity with each other, both personally and musically, allow you to just hit the ground running from a creation standpoint?
Miller: Yes. Having Ken and Leo so road tested and used to each other’s idiosyncrasies saved a tremendous amount of time. It put Bobby and Dave in a weird spot at first in that the three of us had an unshakable bond of being in a hard touring band for a decade together. The crazy shit we have all been through makes us like a street gang. That creates a scenario where the three of us are all on the same page with “this is how we do things.” Luckily those two guys were very easy to play with/hang out with, so it made the transition very quick. I had always been the guy with the initial song ideas, and those kept coming after the Cowslingers ended. Bobby Lanphier was easy and fun to write with so it was like a burst of creative energy.

TrunkSpace: Your last album, “The Good Fight,” dropped in late 2016. Is there a new album on the horizon and what can fans expect?
Miller: We recorded a new record with Gary last summer and it has been completed since the late fall. Gary had suddenly started touring with the Shackshakers without warning. This greatly limited our live dates, which really put us in an unforeseen and unplanned financial position. That put us behind the eight ball to pay some regular band bills and we are just getting out of that hole now that Hector is up and running on guitar. I hope we can get that new record out by July. It’s mixed/mastered. We just need to finish the art and pay for a pressing. I think the record is really good. I am proud of it. It’s a strong group of songs we had been playing live for a bit like “101 Gram Man Bracelet,” “Big Wheel,” “Last Train To Berlin,” “Bad Times” and some others that people will recognize that come see us play. The band played great on it. It’s just us plugging in and doing the songs with John Smerek behind the board. We just went in and knocked it out.

TrunkSpace: From our count, the next offering will be your 11th studio album, which is an impressive feat. Do you consider yourselves to be prolific on the songwriting front or is it something that just feels natural to the dynamic of the band?
Miller: I don’t really think about us being prolific as much as the albums sort of stack up when you write songs consistently. We record when we have a group of songs together that seem to fit as a whole. I believe that if you aren’t moving ahead, you are falling behind. I start to feel stagnant if we are not creating and performing new material. I have no idea how someone like The Eagles get the energy to play “New Kid In Town” or whatever ‘70s FM radio war horse song they play every show for the last 40 years. I like to play music that represents where our collective heads are at right now as opposed to regurgitating something from 15 years ago. I recognize that sometimes we have moved ahead of the audience in regards to our set lists at shows. It must be a drag to sit there sometimes hoping we will play certain songs and we plop 14 songs we have been working on down on your head. Then again, it’s not like we wrote a monster hit like “Life In The Fast Lane” people are clamoring for, so maybe the new stuff is better anyway. If we aren’t energized by the material, how can anyone else listening be excited?

TrunkSpace: You’re decades into your music career. What keeps you going? Is the draw the same for you in 2018 as it was when you first started writing and recording?
Miller: I just keep having songs enter my skull. I can be taking a shower and all of a sudden a musical phrase enters my head. What am I going to do if that doesn’t have an outlet? I will be no different than the homeless guy mumbling to himself walking the streets in pants crusted with his own feces. Well, I could probably focus on not shitting my pants while I hum these songs to myself, but is that worth the risk? I don’t think so. Besides, playing rock and roll music for the people is fun. It is much better than being on a softball team or golf league. I don’t think I get to drive in a van with Leo to Nashville on a softball team. I also question Sugar’s bat speed and arm strength in the outfield. Hector might be a middle of the lineup hitter. I’m not sure yet. We will stick with the band I think.

TrunkSpace: When all is said and done and you hang up your cowpunk hat for good, what do you hope you’re remembered for? What do you want the Whiskey Daredevils legacy to be?:
Miller: I have no idea if we will be remembered at all. You know, when I started making records with the Cowslingers in the early ‘90s, I thought the coolest thing ever would be to have songs end up on one of those compilations like “Nuggets.” It is much better for someone to say, “Yeah, I was the drummer for Syndicate of Sound and played on ‘Hey Little Girl’” than it is to have been Seals from Seals and Crofts. Sure, if you were Seals you probably did lots of cocaine with Captain & Tennille but that pales in comparison to “Hey Little Girl.”

We don’t have many contemporaries left standing. Our little subgenre, whatever it is, has gone in and out of fashion four times since the Whiskey Daredevils started. Maybe it comes back into fashion and people start bands doing covers of “Trucker Bomb” and “Wichita Buzzcut.” Maybe we become Seals and Crofts. Who the hell knows? I do know that I am proud of our catalogue and the music all the Daredevils past and present have done. There are good songs in there for intrepid explorers to discover.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from the Whiskey Daredevils for the rest of 2018?
Miller: We are coming together with Hector on guitar now. We have written a new album on top of the one we haven’t released from last year. We are going to Europe to tour this Fall. We have a fairly active gig schedule this summer. Things are good. It has been eye opening for the band to have Hector join. He is a very positive and warm guy. I have had a great time writing with him and discovering what we can do now that we couldn’t do before musically. Gary is a fabulous guitar player and can technically do anything he chooses, but the emotional element of Hector’s playing combined with his West Coast Scene roots are something that plays to our collective strengths. We all grew up digging the same records, you know? You can just see Leo and Sugar lock in with him. We are looking forward to pushing ahead as a team.

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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

GentleTemperFeature

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!

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