Interview – Bloke & Bird

DSC06387 (1)

I’m so excited to be speaking to the beautiful Jennifer Åkerman, half of one of my favourite new bands, Bloke & Bird. Best friends since 2010, Jennifer and Lars (or Lorenzo!) put their creative heads together, and the result? A seriously cool sound, inspired by their travel, cultural and personal life experiences.

If you love Indie-pop in all its various forms, you’ll love Bloke & Bird. Taking huge influence from the Californian Indie scene, the duo offer a simple sound but its well and truly enough, driven by vocals, guitar and percussion. Jennifer’s vocals scream sexy rock ‘n’ roll, a perfect contrast to Lars’s multi-instrumental, mellow but rich accompaniment.

Releasing track by track of their debut EP is a genius way of getting their music out there in a personal way, offering listeners the chance to take their time in discovering the Bloke & Bird concept. What I love about the EP so far, is that each track really does have its own identity. I love the chilled vibes of ‘Bon Voyage‘. you can really hear the Californian, easy breezy lifestyle influence behind the track. ‘Animal Style‘ and ‘No Fucking Game‘ bring more depth to the EP, but you can still feel their simplicity throughout, with elements of rock and pop, tearing electric guitar, solid bass lines, catchy choruses.

What I love most about Bloke & Bird though, is that their project was born out of friendship. In their live videos, you can see the chemistry between Jennifer and Lars – its genuine, wholesome and at the end of it all, these guys are just two best friends having a good time doing what they love. And it works. Bring on the rest of that EP. And a UK tour, thanks guys.

blokebird

 

Jennifer and I caught up:

Hey Jennifer, welcome to Meander!

Hey! Thank you for having me! 

So tell us a little bit about yourself and Lars. Jennifer, you were born in Sweden, Lars was was born in Mexico. How did your paths cross?! 

Well, yes Lars was born in Mexico but moved to Sweden when he was just a couple months old. So, Lars is actually his Swedish name, his name at birth was Lorenzo and that’s what I call him! Our paths didn’t cross until much later 🙂

Aha, I see! So, when was Bloke & Bird born? 

We met in LA I think… 2010? I was singing in my first band called Bella Tech, and Lorenzo came and saw one of our shows at the Viper Room. Or was it House of Blues? One or the other 😉

Anyway, we started writing music together and instantly had a connection but it wasn’t until maybe 2013 we decided to become a duo.

And boy am I glad you did! The music you’ve released so far, I love. The tracks seem to carry the essence of what you’re all about, like your duo name. It does what it says on the tin. You are what we hear.  Mellow but catchy. Would you say that’s pretty accurate? 

Thank you! Yes, totally and that’s what we want to hear from people! We have a strong identity and we want that to be heard through our music. 

 

 

You’ve both had pretty colourful cultural experiences. Jennifer you’ve split your time between LA, NYC and London with your modelling and music career, Lorenzo lived in Sweden for many years and immersed himself in the Swedish music scene. Have your experiences within travel, culture and meeting new people inspired your lyrics and sound? 

For sure. I think we mainly get our inspiration from traveling, I definitely do. I need life experience to write lyrics. Musically we get a lot of inspo from California and the US. Even if we would be in Sweden, we would write songs with titles like “New York City” or “Brooklyn Kid”.

Screen-Shot-2014-09-18-at-1.55.20-PM

What music/artists have specifically inspired you throughout your years in the music industry? 

I think it’s a lot of rock (specially guitar riffs) mixed with the California indie band scene and Swedish pop. 

Tell us about your debut EP, what can we expect?

Since this is our debut release, we decided to release the songs individually as singles. We wanted to give people the time to discover and get to know us. One thing we’ve definitely learnt is to be patient, I wish we could share all of our music with the world right away, but we just have to take our time with it. But I promise you, they’ll be a lot more to come and you won’t get disappointed 🙂 There’ll still be fun and catchy tunes with some rock n roll!

 

Don’t take too long, I’m so excited! Though I completely see where you’re coming from, its great a listening to slowly get introduced to your style and versatility as a duo. How is it to perform live as a duo, do you feel exposed, or do you feel really comfortable up on stage? Do you get nervous before shows? 

I think the best thing about being a duo is that you become so tight and comfortable with each other. Especially for us as we write the music together. And if one of us fucks up during a song, we know that we have each other’s backs so nobody would even know that we’d slip up! Knowing that calms the nerves 🙂

Who should we be listening to at moment on the Meander playlist?

We love the band Kaleo, they are a great band from Iceland!

Sweet. We want a good night out with music, beer and lights in California. We want to be shown a damn cool time. Where are you taking us? 

Venice! Board walk. The Doors cover band, beer and sunshine. My favourite thing!

We’re game! Tell us something about yourselves that not many people know…

Oh there is a lot..! We’ve spent a lot of time together.. Living under the same roof, traveling, studios etc. We have exactly the same humor. We’ve had a lot of good laughs. 

What has been your top musical highlights so far in both your careers? 

Just finally being able to release music, showing the world who we are and getting awesome feedback from it. That’s all we ever wanted! We’ve also been lucky to feature some of our music in commercial for big companies like Nordstroms. That was fun!

Awesome! If you could perform with any act in the world, who would you pick and why? 

Ah good question! I think we both would love to tour with a bands like Black Keys or The Kills. They’re cool duos 🙂

Love Black Keys! What’s coming up for you guys this Summer? More live shows? I hope you have plans to hop across the pond to the UK? We could do with a little Californian sunshine this summer through your music! 

Yes that would be amazing! At the moment we’re still in the middle of release the EP but will announce shows on social media during the summer. @blokeandbird

 

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Advertisements

Billie – Interview

billie3

 

Indie folk singer/songwriter Billie is a musical gem, hailing from lucky Nottingham. With honey-dipped vocals (slightly reminiscent of early Gabrielle Aplin and even perhaps Birdy) and beautifully raw original songs, she is one to watch on the acoustic scene. Her songwriting  maturity is hugely impressive and and leaves you wanting much, much more!

I think it takes a lot for an artist to put themselves out there through a recorded track or live on stage with just a guitar, its exposing and sometimes doesn’t quite come through without the support of a full band, but that is far from the case with Billie – her tracks offer intimacy, provoke emotion and are rich in sound execution,  she does just fine on her own! Super excited to see where Billie’s  music takes her, she stands out from the crowd and carries a real sense of humbleness with her, which is so refreshing and even more appealing.

Here’s our chat below:

 

Hey Billie! Thanks for coming on Meander, how are you doing? 

I’m doing great, thanks for having me!

 

So tell us a little bit about yourself – how did you get into the singer/songwriter scene?

I started writing songs when I was around 13, and knew I wanted to be a singer/songwriter for most of my life so I started to research venues around Nottingham and got my first gig at The Maze – then it sort of just went from there.

 

Have you always sung? Love your voice, it kinds of reminds me of the early Gabrielle Aplin days, with a slight edge. 

Thank you – yes I have! I grew up doing theatre and did quite a few musicals so my singing started from around 3/4.

 

You call yourself an Indie and Folk singer/songwriter – why these two particular genres? Are there particular artists within the genres that you were drawn to for inspiration?

 

Indie folk is one of my favourite genres, and has always been something I’ve been drawn to – It’s a style of songwriting that has always come naturally. Daughter have massively inspired me, more as a person than a songwriter I feel. They create beautiful music that really connects with people and I’ve always wanted to get to that level of connection with a listener, and provoke some sort of emotion.
billie

 

Who is on your current playlist? Any up and coming artists you think we should be listening to? 

 

My playlist is always full with bands and artists, but I’m really into Foals and Kagoule at the moment. Kagoule’s “Made of concrete” and Foals’ live version of  “Red Socks Pugie” are so so good!! Definitely keep an eye out for Billie Marten, she is an incredible singer/songwriter and her vocals are angelic – she also has a pretty cool name;)

Ha! It is a great name. I found you through the powers of social media (lucky me!) – do you feel that as an independent singer/songwriter social media is a huge part of the process for networking, getting your music “out there”? 

 

Yes social media is a massive part of getting your music heard, but playing regular gigs is the most vital part of it all. You gain contacts, confidence, life experience, knowledge and most importantly you get to play your music to people which is an amazing feeling!
billie1
Now about your music – where do your ideas stem from? So many artists draw inspiration, naturally, from personal experience and memory, is this the same for you when you write? 
My ideas mostly stem from personal experiences, friends experiences or even pictures that may give me a lyric idea. My first few songs I wrote were not based on personal things, but the older I’ve become most of my songs are based on personal experiences.
What’s Silhouettes about? (a Meander fave!)

Silhouettes is a song about mental illness, and is basically one huge metaphor about it – it’s one of my favourite songs I’ve written. It is one of the first ever songs I wrote and actually the first original I played live.

The tracks you’ve released are all acoustic – love that. Do you have plans down the line to record tracks with a full band or do you consider yourself solely as an acoustic artist?

I love the simplicity and raw emotion behind acoustic music, but I’d also love to add instruments to my music and create a bigger sound – I definitely have ideas and plans to do so in the future.

 

Are you totally comfortable playing live with just you and your guitar? I guess it can feel exposing, but the experience with your audience must be really nice and intimate. 

Yes I feel very comfortable on stage –  When I first performed my song “Him” live it was the first time I felt exposed on stage but was also a huge relief to let my emotions out.

Who’s the best band/artist you’ve seen live and why?

I saw both Foals and Daughter live earlier this year, and were hands down the best gigs I’ve ever been to. They are both very different genres so it was a different experience for both but they both create incredible music that holds a special place in my heart.

 

What plans do you have coming up in the near future?

I’ve recently finished recording my debut EP and hope to release it later this year, along with playing a lot of gigs and a couple small festivals.

 

Thanks so much for chatting on Meander!

Thanks for having me!

billie2

AyseDeniz – Interview

aysedeniz1

Hailing from Turkey, classical pianist AyseDeniz is nothing less than a musical genius. Her talent undeniable, her originality admirable. Following the major success of her Pink Floyd Classical Concept album, AyseDeniz has returned with a project that has, and no doubt will continue to blow the minds of music appreciators across the globe.

‘The Nirvana Project’ is a stunning interpretation of a number of grunge-band Nirvana’s most famous tracks, cleverly incorporating her own traditional, classical technique in the most authentic and nostalgic way. Grabbing inspiration from Kurt Cobain’s personal journals and musical motifs, AyseDeniz’s project reflects the last five years of Kurt Cobain’s life, symbolising his spirit, through to his wife, child and characters in the music he wrote. At the age of 27, which just so happens to be the same age as Cobain’s when he ended his life, AyseDeniz has dedicated this entire project to celebrate Cobain’s legacy through the connection of classical music, rock and grunge. When listening to ‘The Nirvana Project’, the clarity in what AyseDeniz is trying to achieve is easy to hear. Her passion for the project, for her music and what inspires her is portrayed so strongly in this album, you feel so connected to it. The album is not just a tribute to Nirvana, but also a project that conveys human interest, a dedicated concentration on the human mind and demonstrates the power of music.

AyseDeniz’s use of classical techniques is beautifully infiltrated throughout the album, from the polyphonic baroque style in ‘Come As You Are’, to a style reminiscent of Prokofiev in ‘In Bloom’ and even similarities with Chopin’s Funeral March in ‘Something In The Way’, this album is a stroke of genius and once you finish the album, you feel like you’ve taken a huge journey spanning across Cobain’s final years that were dark and full of mystery. This record is mesmerizing and I couldn’t think of anyone better to interpret Cobain’s last five years as thoroughly, creatively and beautifully as AyseDeniz.

I had a chat with the beautiful AyseDeniz below, see what she had to say!

Hello AyseDeniz! Welcome to Meander, thanks so much for coming on the blog.

It’s a pleasure for me to be on your blog.

For the readers that may not be so familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How old were you when you started playing the piano and compose music? 

I started playing with my piano as a baby, and I would spend a lot of time singing and banging notes on it. Since I was 4 my mother would take me to a piano duo in Ankara, a Turkish couple educated at Eastman & Juilliard. The wife was the main teacher for all the kids and if you were good enough you would get the chance to study with the husband.

They were both very disciplined, however, they refused to take me on until I was 5 and a half, saying my hands were too small to start professional training. I was very keen on the piano and with my mother’s help in between her medical career (during lunch times she would call to have me play for her over the phone and then fix my mistakes), I started an accelerated programme and quickly upgraded to the same class as students double my age. When I performed JS Bach’s 5th Keyboard Concerto with an orchestra at 9, it was clear that I would be taking the path to become a concert pianist.

Regarding composing: it was actually a way for me to take a break from the pressure and perfection of classical music. I would seek mental escape from all the structure and discipline, by improvising whatever I wanted.

In middle school I took some jazz lessons and played with a band occasionally, learning about different scales and styles. When I chose GCSE Music Composition, this made me familiar with writing scores on Sibelius and later in university, when I got an Apple computer, it came with Garage Band, on which I wrote many 80’s-sounding pop songs, fuelled by failed romantic endeavours. In fact the lyrics to this day are in secret folders never to be opened!!

Generally until now, I treated composing as my diary – it was not something I wanted the public to hear. It was a way to channel my thoughts, express my craziness, my faults, my wishes and guilty pleasures. I could break all the rules of my education secretly and no one could tell me what to do.

Yet, as I grew up, the part of me that wanted to bring more personal ways to my performance style began dominating my thoughts so I started doing rock arrangements for piano, in order to merge the music I listened to growing up, with music I admired as a performer. I realised these had the potential to bring audiences together, and to attract younger people – especially those who are my age, for a change!! So I took my chance and released three Pink Floyd arrangements that I arranged in the style of Franz Liszt – who was the rock star of his time. This attracted surprising amount to interest from both Prog Rock and classical audiences that people wanted more. Thus came the Pink Floyd Classical Concept Album, followed by Nirvana Classical Album.


When did you begin to explore the idea of taking your classical techniques and 
applying them to alternative music? 

After graduating from university, I was very excited to finally have the skills and technique to experiment with the non-classical music that I listened to growing up. Mostly in my teenage years I had difficulty communicating with my friends of the same age, as they did not have any interest in classical music. I would be hanging out with their grandparents after my concerts… I had to find a way to bridge the gap between old and young people. I also thought classical performers were very strict, formal and unapproachable. I did not find most going to classical performances fun as a kid, although I absolutely loved performing. I preferred listening to CDs at home, where I could be myself without the formalities. I could dance to it, accompany it or turn it on so loud that the neighbours would complain.

I wanted to bring back the traditions of making music that people can relate to, and enjoy while they can actively hear what is going on. If you think about it, all famous composers were also great performers: Mozart, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Paganini… They drew so many inspirations from visual arts to folk songs, from street music to ballroom dances in their compositions that their audiences could follow what they were trying to explain with notes.

As part of my Masters at Royal Academy of Music, I began searching for a new idea in which I could do the same. One day while practising I thought of how Liszt turned Dante’s Inferno into a musical work, which criticised society and talked about the wrongdoings of the people who then suffered in Hell. Victor Hugo’s interpretation of the book in his poem “After Reading Dante” emphasised how this was in fact all existent in the real world and that the whole concept was a metaphor by Dante. It clicked: the music of Pink Floyd had the same underlining messages especially in their philosophical film “The Wall” – criticising humanity, faulty education system, war and consumer culture. Liszt’s use of the chant: Dies Irae in Totentanz was so similar to Another Brick In The Wall’s theme that I started with this arrangement and continued with other songs.

 

aysedeniz

 

Your previous album was a Pink Floyd Classical Concept record – a huge triumph. Have you always taken inspiration from this kind of progressive rock and grunge genre? Were these the kind of bands you listened to growing up? 

I listened to a lot or Rock and Pop music in my teens because of my classmates who introduced me to Aerosmith, RHCP, Metallica, System of a Down, Offspring, Nirvana and Pink Floyd… I always thought of them as the post-romantic composers full of energy and contrast. I also listened to a lot of Cat Stevens, Freddie Mercury, Beatles, Supertramp, ABBA, and musicals like Grease, Hair and Cats because my parents loved them. MJ was my favourite artist of all time, and I also listened to some Turkish Rock and Pop artists: Tarkan, Duman, Mor ve Otesi and Teoman.

Just to add, Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Destiny’s Child, Madonna, Cher, Celine Dion, Atomic Kitten, Mr. Big, Elton John and Britney Spears were pretty big in my playlist as well! I guess this is why I became a confused pianist!!

Haha, Atomic Kitten! Now that takes us back to the good old days! Now your latest record release is the Nirvana Project. As a listener, I felt strangely attached to a few of the tracks. Its quite an intimate experience, is that what you aimed to create? 

I really wanted to create a new experience of listening to the same melodies of Nirvana but from a much more personal perspective – from Kurt Cobain’s own imagined mind during his last years. As I would be 27, this was a perfect time to try to relate to him and understand what difficulties he went through. I also wanted to include his feminist, anti-racist and anti-consumerist social messages in the album.

I also composed a suite for him, with many sounds symbolising his struggle with drug addiction.

aysedeniz2

The Nirvana Project was a live experience too, involving not only yourself on the piano, but also using electronic music, and choreography – was this something you envisioned from the start of creating your project?

Although the core of the project is the Nirvana Classical tracks which are only for piano, the Nirvana Project developed into a collaborative work. I was always dreaming of collaborating with a dancer and a DJ. This was the perfect excuse to start, so I asked Ekin Bernay if she wanted to make a music video. Meanwhile I got in touch with Ivan Shopov, who was very keen on the project, and we began working on the whole album together. I learned a lot from them during our sessions.

You must have had to do a lot of research into Kurt Cobain’s personal life, I bet that was fascinating? 

I learned so much about him by reading his journals – he was so creative, unique and sensitive. The more I read, the more I was inspired by him. Too bad the media only focuses on his death – there are so many more important stories of his life that need to be emphasised – especially what he lived for and his social messages.

I imagine a few of the lyrics from Nirvana’s tracks were a personal inspiration for you when composing the music? 

The lyrics of Kurt’s songs were actually not that direct and he also did not like explaining their meanings. Most are almost surrealist and there are many different takes on what people think they symbolise. I think he was a wonderful poet, and because of his talent of being vague, he makes one question and think for herself/himself.

What really captivated me personally whilst listening to the album (many times!) was that you really do stay true to your classical roots, and adapt all your technique into creating something that a true music fan would appreciate as a tribute to Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. ‘Come As You Are’ for example, you can clearly distinguish the use of baroque style, then hugely washed over by the depth of romantic playing. The album is an incredible theatrical experience! How on earth did you do it?! Haha! 

Thanks :)) My roots are classical, and it would be dishonest if I tried to destroy those. I did, after all, have Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev in the same playlist as Nirvana, and whenever I was frustrated with the world I would do headbands in my room as a teenager listening to them. After many years I loved reconnecting with my past, and the journey of trying to link classical to grunge music.

Another thing I really love is the fact that you’ve reiterated Cobain’s viewpoint through this album. Watching the live experience version of ‘Rape Me’ is incredibly powerful, especially with his quote at the beginning, only to then translate this through the use of choreography and, of course your musical interpretation. Did you feel emotionally connected to this album through the creation process?

Coming from the Middle East, I have witnessed oppression of women and the amount of sacrifice they make in order to sustain peace and love in this world. I arranged “Rape Me” which is an anti-rape song, to be deliberately aggressive. The clusters and the crying ethnic voice represent the cries of women, facing terrible crimes such as rape, honour killings and child brides. Kurt was a feminist, and I thought the best way was really going for it.

That is so incredibly powerful, and effective. Its unbelievable, and actually soul destroying to think that it is still such a major global issue. Thank you so much for talking to Meander, and for giving us an insight into your world when creating the Nirvana Project. What’s coming up next for you, AyseDeniz? 

I have released the unplugged versions of the tracks as Nirvana Classical – they are available as well as my Pink Floyd Classical Concept on my website aysedeniz.org in signed edition!

I will spend most of May recording new albums, which include Classical Hits, as well as my own compositions that I have never released before. There are also a few Coldplay covers as well as jazzy surprises, so stay tuned! I will also be playing some of these pieces at Piano City Milano on May 22nd, which is really exciting! You are invited!

We’ll be there!! We wish you all the best and hope to see you on Meander again soon!

Thanks for the wonderful questions!

Kate Copeland – Interview

World, meet Kate Copeland.
kate-copeland
Not only is she one of the sweetest artists I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to throughout my blogging days, but she’s also one of the most versatile, heartfelt and honest singer-songwriters I’ve come across on my music blogging journey. A native New Yorker, Kate represents fine musicianship as a singer-songwriter, composer, producer and arranger – she does it all, the works. With a strong family musical background, it’s clear that Kate’s talent, work ethic and passion stems through upbringing, experience and really comes from the heart.

Recollection Room (released June, 2015) is a super record, and above anything else, really demonstrates Kate’s ability to create music that appeals to all, full to the brim of versatility, telling stories and sharing experiences that we can all absolutely relate to. But her latest releases, in particular ‘Unpuzzle me’, are something else.  Kate has taken her talent to the next level with these releases, seriously showcasing her vocal skill with depth and harmony. These tracks, along with others coming up on her new EP ‘Red and Blue’ I think will be Kate’s best work to date, giving listeners the chance to hear her music through her own perspective, as if you’re taking a step right into own mind through her music;  feeling what she’s feeling,  seeing what she’s seeing. Counting down those days to the EP release, baby!

 

Kate’s sincerity is completely refreshing and I think Meander has found someone really special; a gem of musical discovery. Read our chat below:

 

Hey Kate, how’s it going?
It’s going well, thanks!

 

 

Great! For the readers of Meander who may not be familiar with you, can you give us a little introduction?
I am a New York City-born singer-songwriter who also likes to compose, produce, and arrange. I actively engage with many different styles and genres of music, and try my best not to be pigeon-holed into sounding a certain way. I like to stay busy with several different projects at any given time, whether I’m writing songs, composing chamber music, working on a film score, or collaborating with another artist as a producer in the recording studio.

 

 

 I know you were brought up in a musical home, especially as your father was a composer and singer/songwriter, that must have been super inspirational?
He definitely supported my musical development from an early age and made sure that I took piano lessons and sang in choir. When my interest in composition took hold he found me someone to study with privately and encouraged me to apply to a music conservatory when the time came to look at colleges. My mom played flute and tenor sax, and used to sit on the couch with her eyes closed while I improvised on the piano for hours. They both believed in me and my musical potential immensely, right from the beginning, and to this day still. I don’t think I ever deliberately intended to follow in my father’s footsteps – it certainly wasn’t a decision I made at any point – I think it just happened naturally, and he was a wonderful resource and mentor. There was a lot of music in the house during my childhood and it had an effect on me. As a family we were always singing along to something, and my parents used to sing me and my sister lullabies at night.

 

 

That’s so beautiful, it sounds like those intimate days of the past have really stuck with you. When did you decide to make music your full time thing? Was there a certain moment or experience that triggered you to think ‘this is what I want to do’, or did you just always know?
I think it happened pretty organically. When I was younger I really loved to act, draw, paint, dance, and write fiction. For a long time I couldn’t decide which of these things I wanted to pursue as a vocation, but little by little, over time, my interest in everything else wore away until music was the obvious winner. I still enjoy those other things, but I know now that when I’m engaging with music I become energized in a very special, specific way, and that’s how I know it’s what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.

 

 

You’re a singer/songwriter, composer and arranger – what would you consider yourself most comfortable with? Lyric writing? Melody writing? You seem to take to all roles really comfortably! And not to mention the fact that you’re a multi-instrumentalist…
When I write songs I almost always start with a feel/groove and a chord progression. These can change and evolve as the rest of the song comes into focus, but instinctively that’s where I tend to begin. Lyrics are probably the trickiest part for me. I am always trying to avoid clichés but it can be so difficult! I also struggle with writing humorous songs, even though I’m always cracking jokes in my day-to-day interactions with people. Overall, I think that melody comes the most naturally to me, even if I don’t always begin a song with one. I love finding melodies that feel good in my voice, and I tend to let my gut guide me to the right notes.

 

 

I adore your LP ‘Recollection Room’, released in the summer of 2015, particularly ‘Leave You To The Sea’, what is your favourite track of the record and why?
It really changes, to be honest. The album has so much variety on it, my favourite track tends to shift with my mood. ‘Sarah Walks’ was perhaps the greatest accomplishment because it went through so many versions and metamorphoses, so I like it for that reason. But sometimes I just want to get lost in the deep, tremulous bass line of ‘Wintersong.’ ‘Ten Silver Apples’ also holds a special place in my heart – I get chills when I listen to Doug Wieselman and Steven Bernstein on clarinet and trumpet!

 

 

 

 

 I’m listening to your latest releases from your upcoming EP ‘Red and Blue’  as I type, and the music itself feels like a much more raw and intimate experience – was that the aim of this EP? To create something more intimate?
 Yes, I was trying to create something that felt more like a direct line of communication from me to the listener, without the complex electro-orchestral arrangements of Recollection Room. I write most of my songs on mandolin these days, and it seemed strange to me that there wasn’t any mandolin on my first album. None. I wanted to create something that felt a little bit more like what I have to offer in a live setting, and ideally, I want Red and Blue to give listeners the impression that they are hearing my songs as they sounded in my head when I first sat down to write them.

 

 

I think your EP has absolutely delivered the above and then some, from the tracks you’ve released so far! It also sounds like you love a good harmony too?
 Oh yes!!! I have adored singing harmonies and coming up with vocal arrangements since I was a little girl. I have sung in choirs my whole life and grew up singing harmonies at the campfires of the Oregon Country Fair & beyond. Voices singing together is one of my very favourite sounds – I think it’s truly medicine for the mind and body!

 

 

Couldn’t agree more! The best remedy! Unpuzzle Me is a dream. What was the inspiration behind this track?
 I had recently entered a period of restlessness and uncertainty, something that affects a lot of twenty-somethings I think. I had been splitting my time between New York City and Port Townsend, WA for about 3 years and was beginning to feel like I didn’t have roots anywhere because my life was straddling the continent. The song is an attempt at describing the feeling of drifting through time and space without a clear sense of direction, while searching for greater purpose and human connection.

 

Wow that is so beautiful, Kate. What is your lyric writing process? Following your above question, I guess a lot of what you sing about reflects real life experiences…
Nearly all of my songs are at least partly auto-biographical, most of them heavily so. Even still, writing lyrics is a really tricky process for me, and usually the ones I like best are the ones that come to me when I’m not really thinking about it. If I have to work on a line for more than a minute or two, then I’ll probably never like it. It’s funny – sometimes I write a song, put the lyrics in my notebook, open it up the next day, and think to myself “gee, I don’t remember coming up with those words at all!” It’s almost as if I can only write lyrics if my brain gets out of the way. Otherwise I’m too busy second-guessing myself!

 

 

 What are your plans for 2016? More EP releases? A tour? A 2016 LP would be pretty damn neat… just putting it out there!
 I am definitely planning on releasing the remaining three tracks of the Red and Blue EP, but I don’t have another LP in the cards. I will be working on projects with a few different singer/songwriters though, in the role of producer and arranger, and I’m very excited to get back into the studio for that! I may do some touring during the summer and fall, but nothing has been solidified just yet. I’ll let you know as things unfold though! In the meantime, I’ll keep playing shows around the New York area while also rehearsing/performing with a few artists as a side-woman on mandolin and keys (and singing harmonies, of course!). There’s plenty to keep me busy!

 

 

 Absolutely! Finally, for anyone new to your music, describe it in 3 words!
 Whimsical, Intimate, Melodic.

 

kate copeland1

Sincere Deceivers – Autumnal Dreams EP (Review & Interview)

Sincere Deceivers Twitter | Sincere Deceivers Facebook | Sincere Deceivers Website

I recently had a lovely blast from the past pop into my inbox. Sincere Deceivers‘ Matt and I go way back to the days of my old music blog, and he reached out to share not only the exciting news that the boys have released a new EP, but also that they have undergone a bit of an expansion! I was super excited to hear from an old pal, and to review their absolutely stunning EP.

Now I have always been a Sincere Deceivers fan, their debut EP ‘Once More Unto’, was a beautifully put together set of tracks with soft guitar undertones that complimented Matt’s raw, folky vocals. It was the perfect starter for Matt and Tim; a solid representation of the sound they sought to create, but with a sense of vulnerability through deep, honest lyrics. ‘Miss the Days’ is still one of my favourite tracks to this day, I still listen to it often.

Autumnal Dreams though…this EP is absolute dream to listen to. It’s a beautiful 3-tracker that more than anything, demonstrates the evolution of Sincere Deceivers. Its mature, its wise, its mellow and it’s  full bodied across the board,  from Matt’s organically strong vocals and the soft harmonies, to the production and quality of the EP. It’s a sign of growth and development. ‘For Himself’ hits a nerve, undoubtedly the most powerful and intense track of the EP, with three-part layered vocals towards the end of the song. But each track brings a different story to the mini-record, making it an all-rounded stunner. I think the permanent arrival of cellist and vocalist Dom was such a clever move. If there ever was a missing element, Dom was it. Autumnal Dreams feels like it’s the product of Sincere Deceivers really finding their feet in terms of the sound they want to produce, and the band they want to be. I’m so incredibly proud and excited, and just can’t wait to hear more. It’s an EP for all seasons, and for anyone who appreciates great sounds and musicianship.

I had a chat with Matt, here’s what he had to say! Why not have a listen to the gorgeous EP while you read?

 

Well hello, this is somewhat of a reunion! How are we doing chaps? I believe the last time we had the pleasure of chatting was on my old music blog. How have you been?

Hello! We’ve been well thanks. Everything and nothing has changed. Yes, we missed your initial migration to Meander, but we’re happy to be reunited. We hope you liked our new musical offering.

As am I, super happy. You seem to have been quite busy over the last year…when we last spoke, Sincere Deceivers were a duo, and now, you have a new band member! How did the come about? Did you both feel as though you were ready to evolve your sound by adding an extra set of vocals and a cello?

Yeah. Matt and Tim had been playing together in London for a couple of years already. Dom and Matt are friends from Uni and Dom was roped in to add some cello to a couple of tracks on our last EP, Once More Unto. We’d also got him involved on vocals when we gathered everybody in the room round one mic to put some harmonies on Arches.   He’s good musician and it also was great fun having him play with us, and so we managed to put in a few shows together, initially with him on vocals. We’d hired a cello for him to use during the recording, so once he’d dug his out of his parent’s loft, we got him involved on both. Over time we worked on arrangements for all of the existing tracks and then finally we started working together on new material, at which point his addition felt permanent. There’s no turning back now for Dom….  We’ve always been open to the idea of expanding, but it just ended up happening very naturally on this occasion.

Huge congrats on the launch of your lovely new EP ‘Autmnal Dreams’. How was it to launch it at such a beautiful, intimate venue (St Pancras Old Church)? Was it well received?

Awesome. It’s such a stunning space, both visually and the acoustics. We were a little nervous, because we’d been working on the tracks and artwork since the end of 2014 and it all came together quite quickly in May/June, with us deciding to launch in July. We looked at a few venues and when we found out St Pancras was available, we just went for it. It worked out really well though and to pretty much fill it out was amazing. We had awesome support from Izzie Yardley and Richard Maule – two great singer-songwriters that we’ve bumped into on our travels.  It was a special evening, probably our favourite show so far.

Where did the title of the EP come from? It sounds like it’s an ‘all-season’ friendly mini record to me!

Of course! Great all year round. It’s taken from the opening track on the EP, Autumnal Dreams, which is actually a kind of part 2. The original revolved around only two chords, which feature again in the chorus. The original Autumnal Dreams was one of the first songs Matt and Tim wrote together; a song about potential and the possibilities that lay ahead. This part 2 is a bit of revisit. Older, wiser, more accomplished? We’re not sure.

How do you feel ‘Autumnal Dreams’ really differs to your earlier music? 

The sound has kept changing, but not always consciously. Tim swapped his acoustic guitar for an electric during the writing for the previous EP, which added a bit more space and texture. The addition of Dom on cello and vocals has allowed us to add another layer and write with it in mind.

What were the creative processes behind the making of the EP? Was it fun to make?

It was fun in the main! At the outset we weren’t exactly sure how many tracks would be on the EP and we had thought about adding a live version of one or two older ones. We recorded at Butcher Row Studios with Leaf Troup, initially with some sessions in late 2014 to work on Autumnal Dreams and Don’t Mistake Me. In the New Year, we spoke with an artist, Anna Connor, who created the EP artwork, which we love. We were trying to decide what else to put on the EP, when we wrote ‘For Himself’ in January. It just felt right for it to sit with the other two, so we headed back into the studio in March. We’d done a first mix of Autumnal Dreams and Don’t Mistake Me in January with Bruce McLaren, who has done all the mixing on both our EPs, but when we came to mix For Himself it seemed to change the whole feel and we ended up remixing both the others!

Who writes the lyrics? And where does inspiration stem from?

Matt writes the lyrics mostly, but sometimes arrives with half-finished lyrics, or we’ll discuss the stories and themes that we’re trying to roll into a song. Tim and Dom are mainly on quality control! Inspiration comes in many forms, but we usually take snippets of the world around us and blow them up, magnify or dramatise them. If we run out of external influence, we can always turn to our own flawed attempts at being humans…

Would you say that your folk driven sound is a reflection of where you’re from, the rolling hills of Yorkshire?

It might be an accident! We’ve moved a little further away from that over time, though the melodies still incorporate a lot of the kind of inflections you might find in folk music. Nature and places obviously have a strong home in traditional folk music, which have always snuck into our writing.  Tim and Matt have listened to a lot of music with folk influence and it does have a local tradition with contemporary folk singers like Kate Rusby, so maybe.

One thing I’ve always loved about Sincere Deceivers is your ability to tell stories through your music – do you fit the music around the stories you tell and use it more as a soundtrack to that story, or do you work the other way around?

Tricky to pinpoint, but it happens both ways!  We’re always listing potential new subjects for writing, or unattached couplets might spring to mind and get scribbled down. Occasionally a specific event happens, which naturally lends itself to writing. Those songs are normally the fastest to get finished.  Sometimes we’ll just be working around some new chord progression that Matt or Tim has arrived at, which brings a certain mood with it, and then lyrics and melodies get added later. The cello parts are now on our minds early on in the process too.  There’s often a lot of toing and froing in there before songs get finished.

As we know you’ve had a hugely busy year – what do you guys do when you’re not gigging, writing or recording?

Day jobs! Dom’s a medicine student. Tim got married this summer! Matt quite likes playing cricket.

Oh congrats Tim!! For those who aren’t so familiar with your music, describe what people can expect from ‘Autumnal Dream’s in three words. 

“A decent effort”.

Way too modest, come on now. What’s coming up next for you? An album? A UK tour?

All of these things would be great. Getting the EP out and about. We’d like to head further afield than London and we’re discussing a potential new video. Dom gets back from two months away in late September, so we’re busy plotting ahead of his return.

Exclusive – Peur Unveil New EP ‘Future Architects’

Peur Twitter | Peur Facebook | Peur Soundcloud

 Alternative Rock is a genre that I feel is looking for ‘the next big thing’.  Manchester based ‘Peur’ ( Joseph Lomax, Ryan Clarke Greenhalgh and Samuel Tempest) have recently released ‘Future Architects’ – an outstanding EP that delivers outrageous noise, energy and melodies. As you’ll read below, bands like Lostprophets initially  influenced these boys in the style of music, but they’ve made this EP entirely their own with beautifully clear, distinctive vocals with huge range, catchy riffs and deep lyrics. As far as this blog is concerned, Peur are the answer to Alternative Rock’s next big thing in the UK. Meander is lucky enough to have the official, exclusive interview for the band post EP release:

 

Hi! How’s it going? What have you been getting up to?

It’s all good in camp Peur, we’ve been trying our best to gig as much as possible while organising some pretty awesome things behind the scenes!

Share a bit of your background with us, how and when did Peur come about?

We all met at primary school (about 10 years old) and were great friends. We only started playing music together when we were around 16, we always knew we would form a band just took us a while to pull our fingers out.

Where did the name Peur [meaning ‘fear’ in French] come from?

During the creation of our first E.P we engaged in a yearlong name war. Eventually, after we thought we had exhausted every possible option, Joe pulled “Peur” from the clouds and we ran with it.

Describe your music in a sentence.

Loud as God.

 

 

What’s your journey been like so far as an independent band? Do you feel like you’ve received support both on and offline from the start?

It’s been pretty wild, I’m fascinated we have received as much press on and offline as we have. We really are indebted to all of our fans who have shared and shouted about our music, without all the people who have helped us along the way we wouldn’t be were we are now.

I know Huw Stephens has played your music on BBCR1…what was it like receive support through an outlet with such a huge circulation?

Absolutely amazing, we were so chuffed when they announced it. We’ve been able to tick “get played on radio 1” off our band bucket list.

Your new EP ‘Future Architects’ came out on June 1st congrats!  – how do you feel it’s been received?

Very well it seems. Loads more people have bought it than I expected, and we’ve had lots of kind messages from everyone who’s picked it up. We’ve been sat on the E.P for a while so its great that people can finally get their hands on it and let us know what they think.

How does it differ to previously released music? From a listeners’ perspective it really sounds like your music has evolved in a big way and that you’ve explored different genres during the creation of the EP…

We have definitely matured a bit as musicians and we really wanted to experiment with sounds and time signatures more than we did in WCBA. We spent more time in the studio getting everything perfect from recording techniques to mixing and mastering. Overall we are really happy with what came out at the end of the process.

What is/are your personal favourite track(s) from the EP?

Explosions. I just love the heavy riffs and its so much fun to play live.

Who are your greatest musical influences?

Lostprophets, Biffy Clyro, 65daysofstatic, to name a few. I would say Lostprophets are the band that got us all into the ‘rock band’ lark.

If you could collaborate with any artist/band who would it be with and why?

65daysofstatic, just because they are outrageously talented. I bet recording in the studio with them would be incredible, plus I would love to see their writing process.

What do you all get up to in your spare time?

We all play video games and watch B-movies, fairly mundane really.

What would your advice be to anyone who is considering a career as an independent artist with the music industry more competitive than ever?

It’s the most rewarding thing you will ever do but don’t expect it to be easy. Also try not to take yourself too seriously, there’s nothing worse than a band that are so serious they clearly aren’t even enjoying what they are doing. Closing statement: Money is your worst enemy.