Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Natalie McCool

With the recent release of her Black Sun EP, Natalie McCool has earned a lot of success. From a small town in Cheshire, England, McCool studied at a performing arts school in Liverpool and played with Sir Paul McCartney. Her music is alternative pop with an edgy side.

Influences include: Paul McCartney, PJ Harvey, Sting, Jeff Buckley, Bat For Lashes and Warpaint.

Website: http://www.nataliemccool.co.uk/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nataliemccoolofficial
EP on itunes: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/natalie-mccool-black-sun-ep/id435364024

Click "Read More" for the interview.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Goldtrip is a rock band from England that formed during the band member’s college years in Bristol. The band got their start in June of 2010. Its biggest success has been able to open for  Bon Jovi, which it is doing this summer.

“In Goldtrip, the one thing we share is a passion for songs that are well structured and enjoyable for everyone,” said Alex Brisland, who plays drums, percussion and bass guitar for the band. “The greatest bands could stun a totally mixed crowd, anywhere in the world. That’s the sort of music I would like to play.”

The future looks bright for the band.

 “We love writing and piecing together new songs so, hopefully, we can release a single and then another EP or album,” said Dom Little, who plays piano, guitar, vocals and lyrics. “We have a load of gigs over the summer and, obviously, are pumped for supporting Bon Jovi on the 27th of June at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol. Hopefully we can keep doing what we want to do.”

Band members include:
Joe Rawnsley: Lead Guitar
Dom Little: Piano, Guitar, Vocals, Lyrics
Alex Brisland: Drums, Percussion, Bass Guitar

Click "Read More" for the interview.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Leisure is an up and coming pop rock band from Brighton, England. Their influences range from Elastica and Supergrass to BRMC and Elvis Costello.

Click "Read More" for the interview.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Contacting Bands

I enjoy interviewing bands, you never know what you'll learn!

The last interview I had was with The Van Doos. Their responses were very neat and it inspired me to create a  5-minute show on the WRST radio station at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. The show will help me inform our listeners about new and upcoming bands. It will feature the bands I'm able to interview. There will be a total of 15 shows or more, it depends on how many bands I am able to contact. It is a bit nerve racking, but exciting all the same.

Interviewing updates:

I was able to get a hold of Sam Beeton, an alternative folk rock singer. He then started following me on twitter and I will hopefully be able to do a phone interview with him for the show.
Yesterday, I emailed the manager of Patch William and I was surprised to find out I am able to interview Natalie McCool and Goldtrip as well.

Lets hope all goes well! I will keep you up to date.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Van Doos

The Van Doos are a pop rock group from Helmsley, England, which is a small market town in North Yorkshire. Louis, the guitarist, said they came up with their name by watching “an infantry parade on TV” and found “the Canadian Army’s Royal 22nd regiment are nicknamed the Van Doos.” They got their start by meeting two girls who run an indie label called Young and Lost Club, which helped them get their first gig in 2010. They said they feel their music is “about wanting to play the things you love hearing, and want to hear develop and push forward.”

Simon - singer, guitar
Louis - guitar
Dom - drums
Jack - bass

To read the entire interview, click “Read More” below their music video.


I caught up with the band Brother, who is known for the song “Still Here” and here is the interview:

Where is the band from originally?

A small town from West London called Slough. It's an industrial town. Nobody there wants to be there, and our band is a product of wanting to get out.

Who are the members of your band and what do they play? Are they all original?

I sing and play guitar, Josh on bass, Sam on guitar and Frank on drums. All original, all there from the start.

When did the band form?

About two years ago we got together, but we've only been playing live for 8 months. We made sure we had enough good songs before people heard us for the first time.

How did you come up with your name?

At the start it was fairly throwaway, but as our band grew and we continued it gained more meaning. It would look good at the top of a festival bill...

Who are your major influences?

Everything from The Smiths to The Stone Roses to MIA to Chemical Bros.

How did you get a record deal?

We made sure we had good songs before anyone heard us. We spoke our mind and didn't hide away in the background!

How do you guys come up with the music you play?

It all comes about quite naturally. We get into the room with each other and play, it's not until we're about 70% into the music do we know what it's about. We let it come to us.

What has been the band’s biggest success?

Everyday is a success. Everyday we haven't killed each other is a success. Playing Letterman was a highlight, playing Glastonbury will be another one. Something amazing happens everyday.

What was the most interesting experience you’ve had on the road? Has that affected your music at all?

I'm not sure what I can say on here so I will keep it clean. We met Bill Murray the other day. He was amazing. It hasn't exactly affected our music, but it was a great moment.

How many albums do you have out?

None until the 5th of July. It's called Famous First Words and it's next level.

What are your future plans?

Touring the world, taking over the world and eventually headlining the world.


Shortly after joining Twitter, I came across a great band called the Locomotives. Their song “Lights Out (The Best Night of It)” was excellent. I was able to talk to Greg Watson, their bassist.

They are a Rock band originally from Bedford, England. The band started when “Chris and Valdis bumped into each other in Brighton and recognized each other from back home and started putting the songs and the lineup together. Greg joined not long after.”

Their influences include the Beatles, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones, as well as various Disney songs, the Rat Pack and more.

When starting the band, they started performing in different venues. Their most memorable one was performing “to about five people in a black metal club in Manchester,” Watson said. “Manchester’s done a lot for British music and I don’t think any of us were expecting our first experience of playing there to be like that! It didn’t do anything for our music but I think we learnt a lesson about booking gigs in towns where nobody knows us!”

The band’s biggest success was working with “Adrian Bushby to record the start of” their first album. He worked with successful bands such as Muse and the Foo Fighers.

The Locomotives consist of:

Valdis Stekelis - Singer and rhythm guitarist
Chris Payne - Lead guitar
Greg Watson - Bass
George Stekelis - Drums

Click "Read More" below to see the interview.

See Me Escape

See Me Escape is a local band from Luxemburg, which is near Green Bay. Their music is a mix of pop and punk and their major influences are All Time Low and Blink 182. I interviewed the Singer, Brandon Kinnard, and here is the complete interview:

Q: Where is the band from originally?

A: Luxemburg. It's just southeast of Germany. Just kidding! It's just about 15 miles east of the great city of Green Bay, WI.

Q: Who are the members of your band and what do they play?

A: Brandon Kinnard-Vocals/Guitar, Justin Anderson-Bass, Brook Luedtke-Drums

Q: How did you guys meet?

A: We were bound together in the womb of a medieval dragon, born in the cold hills of Nunavut! Nah, we went to high school together.

Q: When did the band form?

A: June of 2010.

Q: How did you come up with your name?

A: One of our favorite TV shows is Futurama, and in a certain episode, Dr. Zoidberg says, “Did you see me escaping, I was all like ‘whooooop, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop!” And the rest, my dear friends, is history!

Q: Who are your major influences?

A: We all have very different individual influences, which we feel helps the band as a whole. 

Brandon’s main influences are: All Time Low, Yellowcard The Rocket Summer, The Wonder Years, Fall Out Boy, Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, Say Anything, old punk bands like The Ramones, The Stooges, and The Sex Pistols, and even some pop influences like Katy Perry and Lady GaGa.
Justin: Nirvana, All Time Low, blink-182, The Offspring, and Neil Diamond.
Brook: blink-182, Fall Out Boy, Simple Plan, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and All Time Low.

Q: How did you know what type of music you wanted to play?

A: We all love pop-punk with the entirety of our hearts. Nothing else makes sense.

Q: Who writes your music and how do you come up with the songs you write?

A: Brandon is the primary song writer and the lyricist.  Song ideas usually stem from inspiration from a life experience, then lyrics, and finally a catchy vocal melody.  Then the lyrics are put to chords, and a rough version of the song is introduced to the rest of the band during practice. Then we all work together to complete the song!

Q: Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues?

A: We’ve performed at several local places, including the Titan Underground in Reeve Union, a few local bars, and some coffee shops.  Our favorite venue is a tie between the Rendezvous, a bar in our hometown of Luxemburg, and the Titan Underground.  Our least favorite would have to be the Copper Rock, a coffee shop in Appleton.  Nothing against the venue, but we just feel that coffee shops don’t really suit the energy of our live show.

Q: If you could play in any arena in the world, what would it be?

A: The overall venue that we would most like to play in would have to be The Rave in Milwaukee, just because we all grew up going to shows there and it holds sentimental value.  But if you mean arena, it would have to be the Roman Coliseum.  Because, you know, when in Rome…

Q: How has your music evolved since you first started making music?

A: Brandon began writing music at age 15 on nothing but an acoustic guitar.  It was awful.  Lyrically, vocally, instrumentally…terrible.  It’s been fun to experience progression throughout the years.  As a band, the first two songs we wrote last summer are no longer even in our arsenal, even though back then we thought they were great.  It really goes to show how much we’ve progressed since we started working together.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had as a band? Have you been able to overcome it?

A: Our biggest challenge has been finding shows that suit us in the metal-dominated Wisconsin music scene.  Don’t get us wrong, we love this state, but it’s tough to group up with optimal bands, especially when venues are limited.  Our friends in A Familiar Voice and Thank You, The Management have helped us out and asked us to play with them for a few shows, that helps.  Overall, finding shows is really all about knowing the right people, and we’re on track.

Q: How many albums do you guys have out?

A: None yet, but we are in the process of recording a six song EP!!  If everything goes right, it will be released on August 27, 2011!

Q: Do you have a website future fans can check out?

A: We have a Facebook page, which you can find at www.facebook.com/seemeescape! Go there, “like” us, and stay tuned for updates regarding the EP and what shows we will be playing this summer.

Q: What are your future goals as a band?

A: Our short term goals are to continue to make beautiful pop-punk music, to release a successful EP, and to get as many shows as possible. Long term, our goals are to release at least one full-length album and to go on at least one tour, no matter how short it may be! If everything goes right, maybe a goal of ours would even be to sign a record deal and make a beautiful career out of this.

Q: What do you do on your free time outside of being in the band?

A:We like to be lazy! We all hang out together, most nights. Watching sports or movies or How I Met Your Mother. Brandon and Justin play a lot of video games. We’re all college students, so we spend a fair amount of time studying.  Brook and Justin are both nursing majors, so they spend lots of time “studying” each other’s anatomy. Wink wink!  Did I mention they were dating?  Oh yeah, that’s kind of important.  Brandon’s first love is sports, and he serves as the Sports Director at WRST, hoping to make it as a sportscaster one day.  Overall, we enjoy hanging out, watching sports, playing video games, and eating as much Taco Bell as possible.

One Night Only

One Night Only is an ‘80s pop-rock influenced band originally from Helmsley, Yorkshire in England. They were inspired by bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Blink 182, and decided to “put some music up on Myspace.” This created popularity from different record labels.

“We signed a record deal and started to make an album,” George Craig, the lead singer of One Night Only said in a recent interview. “Was pretty amazing really as we were only 16 at the time!

“First ever gig we did, (we did) not have a name and the promoter just used ‘One Night Only.’ It sort of stuck from there.”

Their popularity spread throughout the U.K. soon after the release of their single, “Say You Don’t Want It” and began touring with some of their favorite artists, such as NERD. The band’s biggest success has been their new album.

“Making the second album, we had been under a lot of pressure from the record company to make a copy of the 1st album,” Craig said. “We ended up making a record that we felt represented where we wanted to go as opposed to where we were at the time. We are very proud of it.”

The band said they like performing in the United States.

“We fitted in nicely,” Craig said. “It’s our kinda place and people are amazing. We would like to be here for a very, very long time.”

The band has released two albums, Started A Fire and their self-titled, One Night Only. The second is not available in the U.S. yet. They released “Can You Feel It” for the 125th Anniversary of Coca-Cola, which has become an international hit. Craig said their goal is to release the second album and tour a lot.

Band members include:

George - Guitar and vocals
James - Drums
Jack - Keys
Mark - Guitar
Dan - Bass

Click "Read More" below for the interview.

Josh Woodward

Josh Woodward is an Ohio native who plays alternative music. I was able to interview him about his music and how he got his start. The conversation follows:

How did you get your start?

I've been making music since I was tiny, but my first real experience came in high school, with a punk/funk band. I just played guitar at first, but I got roped into singing because we couldn't find a singer in time for our first gig. I was terrible, but it was so much fun that I committed myself to getting less terrible.

Who are your influences? Have you been able to contact or play with those artists?

I have a lot of varied influences - I started as a metalhead in the 80s, then morphed into a folk-rock phase in the 90s, and the past decade I've been into a lot of indie rock. Some of my biggest influences, in roughly chronological order, are They Might Be Giants, Barenaked Ladies, Moxy Fruvous, Peter Mulvey, Nick Drake, Grandaddy, Elliott Smith, Death Cab For Cutie and The Decemberists. I don't really gig anymore, so I haven't been able to play with any of them, sadly.

How did you know what type of music you wanted to play? Have you played other music genres?
I don't worry too much about genre, honestly. That can get me into trouble, when someone stumbles across, say, my very light and funny Sunny Side of the Street CD and then downloads my darker, harder rock from Dirty Wings. But one of the biggest benefits of being indie is that I don't have to worry about molding my music into a narrow genre.

What was the most interesting experience you have had on the road? Has that affected your music at all?

I like my own bed too much to go out on the road. YouTube smells a lot better than a bar bathroom at 2am.

What are your future plans?

I've been starting to put more focus on the video side of things lately. I recently reorganized my studio to streamline the process of making videosongs, which are music videos documenting the recording process of a song. I'm hoping to make videosongs for all of my next album.

I'm also planning on releasing a CD of classical piano pieces, as well as an instrumental post-rock CD. But those keep hitting the back burner when I go on a songwriting streak.

How many albums do you have out?

Depends how you count, but I'd say 9. I've been putting out one or two CDs per year since 2004. It's a hectic pace, but I worry that if I take a break, I'll never get started again. Plus, another advantage of being a non-touring solo indie musician is that the music creation and releasing process is very streamlined, so a CD a year is entirely practical.

How do you come up with the songs you write?

My songs almost always start with a guitar hook. I hit record when I'm noodling and find something cool, and I try to make up nonsense words to find a melody and a song structure. From there, I usually pick out a few of the random mumbled words that sound cool, and figure out what the song wants to be about, and I plug lyrics into the structure I've formed. In other words, they come out of thin air. Every song I write feels like the last one I have left inside of me, but 170 songs later, I haven't been right about that yet.

What made you choose to put your CDs online for free? And how do you make a living through this?

I'd been writing songs in my bedroom and doing nothing with them for the better part of a decade when I came across a website called SongFight, which is a weekly online songwriting and recording competition. That inspired me to share my music with those people. I started winning many of the fights I entered, so I decided to start sharing my music with people. When it was time for my first CD, most of the songs on it were already released for free on SongFight, and I didn't think anyone would want to pay for them anyway, so I gave it away for free. This decision led to a lot more listeners than I'd normally have had, along with a lot of people who were willing to support my music financially. By my second or third CD, rather than doing it because I didn't think anyone would pay, it was because it was getting more people to pay - it was exposing my music to a wider audience of potential buyers.

As for making a living through this, I'm to the point where I could eke out a basic existence, but I'm still keeping my day job because I'm not a huge fan of Ramen noodles. That said, I'm putting more effort into licensing deals recently, which has been a good way of earning money without feeling like one of those chumps who sends spam to their fans every hour, trying to sell them this or that. I've never been comfortable with self-promotion.

Website: http://JoshWoodward.com/

Civil Twilight

Civil Twilight’s music inspired me after listening to “Letters from the Sky” from their self titled debut album. Their lyrical ballads and piano pieces bring a strong message of love, loss and hope. The three members, Richard Wouters (Drums), and brothers Steven (Vocals, Keyboard) and Andrew (Guitar) Mckellar originated from Cape Town, South Africa, during high school. In an interview with Wouters,  he said they named their band after an aviation term from the U.S. Naval Observatory:

"Civil twilight is defined to begin in the morning, and to end in the evening when the center of the Sun is geometrically 6 degrees below the horizon. This is the limit at which twilight illumination is sufficient, under good weather conditions, for terrestrial objects to be clearly distinguished; at the beginning of morning civil twilight, or end of evening civil twilight, the horizon is clearly defined and the brightest stars are visible under good atmospheric conditions in the absence of moonlight or other illumination."

When starting the band,  Wouters said they “would just come up with stuff that made (them) feel good and excited about music and life (and) that's what (they) still try and do.

”Being originally from Cape Town, the band has been through cultural differences, because “America is so diverse,”  Wouters said. When the band arrived in L.A. they thought, “It was the weirdest, most bizarre place imaginable! It was nothing like (they) expected” and “it’s SO much bigger-the country and the business. There's way more of an infrastructure around it here. In South Africa, there are only a handful of radio stations that could play (their) music and (the) audience size is very limited because the entire country is only about the size of Texas.” 

 The band plans to stay in the U.S. as a permanent home. Some of Civil Twilight’s influences include Radiohead, Oasis, The Verve and Led Zeppelin, which are recognized throughout their music. The band is now residing in New York and is finding success. Their video “Letters from the Sky” has been recently released on their Myspace, which is shown below.

Cedar Avenue

Cedar Avenue is a goal driven acoustic rock band. “Someday Soon I’ll do the things I been saying…but all I need is a possibility” is the main focus of the debut album Someday Soon. Originating from Minneapolis MN, the band got their first gig in a Tiffany Sports lounge, a college bar in St. Paul, getting a percentage of the door according to Shawn Burtis, drummer of the band. This helped guide the band to where they wanted to be, realizing they didn’t excel in the bar scene, but found that their music was pleasing to listen to. The band opened for Augustana, one of their influences, to a sold out crowd. And ever since, they have been working towards their goals.

Cedar Avenue’s members are:

Kyle Wacther - Bass, tenor bass
Jesse Mathews - Acoustic guitar vocals
Shawn Burtis - Drums
Derrin Mathews - Keys vocals
Jarod Evans - Guitars, keys
Chad Copelin - Organ, keys

Similar artists include: Augustana, This World Fair, Snow Patrol, and Civil Twilight

Excerpt of Radio from Cedar Avenue on Vimeo.

Italian Japanese

After the release of “The Lush, Romantic Weirdness”, I haven’t been able to stop listening. Italian Japanese’s music style is not like your average alternative band. Their vocalist draws the listener in, making you want more, while the drums and bass create a soothing melody. Originating from Silver Lake Calif., Chris (lead guitar/keys), Allen (vocals/guitar), JG (drums/percussion), Sean (guitar/keys/fx), and Noah (bass) have been on a strong rise in popularity. They recently posted their music video “Le Pony” on Myspace and the album, “The Lush, Romantic Weirdness” is available on itunes for your listening pleasure.

Familiar artists include Phoenix, Band of Horses, Silversun Pickups, and MGMT

Italian Japanese, "Le Pony" from Boa Simon on Vimeo.

Welcome to my blog

I will be posting reviews and interviews from new and up and coming bands on this site. Feel free to post your comments and suggestions, so I can make this site fun for all.