My goal is to introduce you to music that doesn’t fit in your “I only like pop/country/rock etc genre”. There are so many songs & artists to explore that are waiting for you to discover them. I am here to help. Let me be “Your Music Stylist”
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Stay tuned for artist interviews… and catch me on my Instagram @music_stylist for more updates on new music.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Fulton Lee and ask him a few questions, here’s what he had to say…..
Q: So congratulations on being the champ of Music City Mayhem…it’s a huge radio station contest in Nashville. Tell us about the contest and what was it like when they announced you were as the winner.
A: The Mayhem contest was a HUGE deal for us. Everyone in the band spent several full days reaching out to every family member and friend asking them to vote. Many of us went name by name through our list of contacts in our shamelessly asking people we haven’t spoken to in years to vote for us. It was thrilling and exhausting an anxiety inducing. When we were announced as the winner it was surreal. I sincerely never realistically imagined that we would win. I’ve been a fan of Nashville in 2016, so it felt like a movie, like it wasn’t real. Still kind of feels like that…
Q: At 23, you’re living in Nashville, a city rich in music history, has to be sometimes difficult for a musician with so many people moving here hoping for a big break….how has it been for you and your success so far?
A: Nashville is definitely over saturated with musicians but that hasn’t been too much of an obstacle for us. I think we have a pretty unique genre for Nashville. We make funk/pop/R&B music, which isn’t super common here, that’s allowed us to exist in a smaller niche community within the ocean of musicians in the city. The more “non-commercial”, non-country indie R&B scene in Nashville is very awesome and I believe is thriving! It’s helped the big city feel like a small town to me.
Q: You started your career trying to pay tribute to the sounds of James Brown and Little Richard but then evolved into your own unique sound. What do you want people to feel when they hear your music for the first time?
A: Wow, what a question. I think for me, I’d like people to feel like they’re hearing a sound with distinct personality. One of the things I love most as a listener is feeling like a style of songwriting and production or performance is a unique natural outgrowth of the artist. Like some artists just have they’re own kind of musical language or personality that comes forth in their tracks, like you can recognize a Beatles song just by hearing the melody because it has that “Beatles” signature style in it, I don’t know what that is, but it makes me feel like I’m seeing a more profound picture of the person behind the art thank could see just though conversation or spoken word. It’s like when an artist taps into their own signature sound, they’re showing some distilled part of themselves that can only be revealed through art. That makes me feel connected to them and inspired. So that’s what I want people to feel, I’d say…inspired and connected with.
Q: Your music definitely has smooth soulful harmonically type of vibes..really love your EP Baby Blue released in 2018…so many great tracks including…The Wire, Baby Blue, Water…Kirkwood Sessions EP is a live album of those songs and my fave that’s on repeat is Call You Mine released in 2019… Lie Down & Sunshine released this yr…almost sound a bit like Mika on Sunshine…..talk about each album and the process of what went into each..
A: I’m so glad you’re digging the music! Baby Blue was an EP I wrote with my collaborator and drummer, August Pappas. I had been writing music like mad since moving to Nashville in 2016 and eventually landed on making music in a doo wop 50’s style. That style mixed in with my modern ear turned into the songs on that record. August and I produced the EP ourselves and worked with an engineer named Max Rubel. He’s awesome. We made demos of all the tracks at my house on my laptop for almost a year before we actually went into the studio. We had no idea what we were doing. I had no idea how to use the Logic software on my laptop as we were making demos, we had no idea how to arrange and produce songs. We were just learning completely on instincts and feel. We really locked in together on the vision for the tracks as a bright, soulful, vintage pop vibe and just tried to make the tracks into a distinct color/flavor that touched on our vision. Since then, we’ve worked with a producer on our song Feed Me, his name is Quinn Redmon and he helped us a ton making that song as funky as possible. That was a similar process, we demo’d that song for a long time at home and then brought it to Quinn and he gave us a lot of insight and changed a lot of parts/sounds for us to make the track everything it needed to be. It was a learning experience working with a producer, we again had to rely on our instincts more than anything. Our lack of experience has forced us to do that on many occasions, it’s probably a blessing in disguise. For our single, Call You Mine a year later, we worked with an engineer named Maccabee. That song again was fully self produced by me and August. We spent almost a full year with a demo of that song. It went through many changes. It was originally written for a drum kit and piano and foo wooo backup vocals and a samba drum beat, but it wasn’t just wasn’t quite clicking, so over the year we experimented with so many things that we landed on that bright acoustic guitar and a kind of Paul Simon jungle vibe for the second half of the song. It’s probably my favorite track we’ve made to this day. Now August and our guitar player, Jake Schweinsberg, have created their own instrumental funk band as a side project called The Sugalumps. Sunshine, our latest single, was an instrumental track they created that I wrote melody and lyrics over. Looking forward, we’re working on our first full length record. A concept album called Sonny Boy. It’s a wacky rock opera – storytelling concept album about a character called Sonny Boy. It makes me feel ultra-inspired and also completely insane and out of touch. That’s probably a good 0lace to be I think. It’s a pretty far ways off, but we’ll have several other singles and small EP projects come out in the meantime.
Q: How has COVID challenged you in performing? Have you been able to do any live performances through social media or locally but socially distanced?
A: I haven’t done much live performing at all since the pandemic. I did one livestream charity event with This Wonderful World Magazine, it was very fun. I’m looking to get into more writers rounds now that things are opening up a little.
Q: What do you do for fun when not writing music?
A: I love NFL Football! I’m pretty into Fantasy Football, which my band mates August and Jake are in as well. I also love chillin’ with my wife and my 3 month old daughter, She’s started babbling lately, it’s very cute.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: Our music is everywhere music streamed! Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon, Tidal and anywhere e,see you can think of! Follow me on Instagram @fultonleemusic for updates on shows, releases, videos, interviews and everything else! I am also running a Patreon account, Fulton Lee, where I upload songs while I’m demoing them and talk about how I’m crafting the track so people get to see the full journey a song takes from conception in real time!
Thanks Fulton! Stayed tuned for upcoming interviews with Callum Lacey, Jenna Rae, Ranky Tanky, Mipso, Peezy & Lala to name a few..
A few weeks ago, I got to speak to Hana and JJ about their band, Overcoats…
Q: First off, I wanted to tell you how much I love your voices together, the harmonies are so beautiful. It’s like a whole lot of Lucius, some Joseph and a bit of Sleigh Bells mixed together…when did you first meet and how soon after did you decide to form the band?
A: We met in college, almost 9 years ago! We formed our band in 2015 after 4 years of singing covers together and being friends. We decided to try writing a song together and pretty soon after that, we decided to form Overcoats.
Q: I think I’ve read your music falls in the electro pop bluegrass infused folk genre. I love bands that just make good music whether it’s pop, folk, indie and not a certain “genre” that fans become accustomed to. … when you’re making music, is there any type of vibe you’re trying to convey?
A: We definitely subscribe to that same ethos. We love genre bending songs that are hard to define. To us, the songwriting is most important, and the sonic backdrop is often there to help the listener hear the words. We both have many different musical influences and we like to reflect that mixture in our work.
Q: One of my favorite things to do is shop at thrift stores (pre COVID), I haven’t done much of that lately. But I hear that both of you are big thrift store junkies. You can really find some awesome stuff. What have been some of your best finds?
A: We are so in love with thrift stores. We’ve had some really magical finds throughout the years. Amazing faux fur coats, some of our best black boots and all the comfy oversized t-shirts a girl could ask for.
Q: When not on the road, NYC/DC is your home base & obviously with COVID, it has been so tough on the music industry & smaller independent venues…cancelling tours & appearances… but the music industry has come up with some clever ways to bring music to the fans.. On your webpage,,, you have Fight Club. Give fans some info on what that is all about.
A: Yes! Fight Club is our Patreon page that allows fans to access lots of unreleased music, behind the scenes photos, song tutorials and more. We record special covers once a month for patrons and wish individual members happy birthday. It’s $5-$10 per month subscription and keeps our listeners endlessly entertained as we try survive quarantine, and provides an online community for all of us! Here’s the link: https://www.patreon.com/thisisovercoats
Q: The band has released 2 albums..YOUNG in 2017 & The Fight in 2020….both albums are great. I have Leave The Light On repeat & I’ll Be There reminds me of Imogen Heap’s vocoder sound on Hide & Seek..but my absolute favorite is Fire & Fury. I’ve been adding this on friends’ playlists I make for them.. how do you feel you’ve progressed lyrically and/or vocally from the album in ‘17 to this year’s release?
A: Thanks for your kind words. We believe that progression between albums is natural and also what we strive for; we want to evolve our sound and push the limits of our song writing each time we go to make a new project. Young, being our first album, was the first time we were writing music and lyrics for other people. We didn’t really have our own patterns to follow yet. The lyrics were honest and vulnerable. Going into making The Fight, we wanted to make something that was more about strength. This required us to stretch into more inspiring lyrics, maybe directed at some universal “You” rather than focused on ourselves. It also required more soaring melodies and more anger in our voices. Fire and Fury is one of our favorites too because it really embodies our strength.
Q: In less than 2 weeks, this country will be electing a President, what are your hopes for 2021?
A: We’re not incredibly hopeful for 2021. Whoever wins this election, Coronavirus is likely to rage on for some time, and structural changes that will make our country a better place will not happen overnight. That being said, we do hope this election and the current events that we’ve experienced in 2020 have woken people up to be more politically engaged and more aware of the necessity of our participation. We hope that people can stay engaged in creating a better future and themselves and those around them.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: All the usual spots! Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, etc.. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at @thisisovercoats
You can also catch them on 11/19 on https://lpr.tv/ at 9pm EST.. this is a virtual show.. I already have my ticket.. So go check them out!
I have interviews coming up from Fulton Lee, Callum Lacey and many more.. if you have new music or would like an interview, please send me a message..
Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist, Linda Dias
I interviewed sisters Sasha & Sonja Zagorc about their all female heavy metal rock band, Hellcats, all the way from Slovenia… here’s what they had to say..
Q: So one of the biggest accolades of the band is that you are the first female rock metal band from Slovenia. What reception does the band get when you are performing in your country?
Sonja: With some people is easier, with some not. We had some bad experiences at one festival we performed, that they did not want to help us with equipment, but they helped other male bands. They were rude to us and said, “Let your fans help you!” Usually, we meet people who treat us good. It is not easy to form a female band, especially in the country of 2 million people. There are not a lot of girls who play instruments such as drums, electrical guitar and bass. We are the first and still only all-female metal band in our country and it was not always easy. We have a lot of supporters but in the past there were some skeptics who thought that women can’t be as good musicians as men. We are proving that they were wrong. But sometimes you can still find some skeptics among metal people here. Rockers are more enthusiastic about everything we do. But as we can see, things are getting better in Europe, there is many more female musicians and our supporters, especially in the northern countries.
Q: Hellcats’ original members are sisters Sonja and Sasha Zagorc.. when did both of you become interested in performing Metal? And how easy was it find other members of the band in Slovenia, that also happen to play metal music? Who are the current members of the band?
Sasha: We started to perform together in early childhood when we were still in music school. I played classical guitar and Sonja flute. Later on Sonja switched to drums and I switched to bass guitar. We started searching for the other band members in 2003, but we needed some time to make the realization of it and in 2006, we had our first gig and that was the real start for us. Due to the small size of Slovenian music space, it wasn’t easy to find female musicians, especially in rock and metal music. But we never gave up and the main thing, besides we are sisters, we are best friends. We are motivating each other and always listening to each other & talk about everything we do. Our current line up besides Sonya and me is: Karmen Klinc on vocals and Aleksandra Stamenkovic on guitar. Since Aleksandra lives in Serbia, which is far away and cannot come often to Ljubljana, another guitarist, Stasa Zadravec steps in.
Q: Of course I need to ask this..1 out of 200 people in Slovenia are beekeepers. Is that really a big part of your culture? I’m not a fan of bees, I usually am running away from them.
Sonja: Yes, it is true. Slovenia is a country of apiaries, bees and beekeepers, as they are part of the Slovenian culture and a way of life. Sasha and I actuallylived by one apiary source our neighbor was a beekeeper. Slovenians wish to remind the global public that bees are vital for the provision of food security, biodiversity conservation and protection of the natural environment.
Q: Who are some of the band’s biggest musical influences?
A: AC/DC, Judas Priest, Pantera, Rock Goddess, Metallica, Iron Maiden, KISS, Doro and many more.
Q: When not playing music, what do each of you do for downtime/fun?
Sonja: Since I am a dance teacher, I have a group of people that meet every week and learn how to dance, so even Sasha and Karmen dance in my group. When not working, playing, dancing and spending time with our families, we like to hang out with our friends from the music industry with whom we connect the most.
Sasha: Whenever I can, I go to the seaside and enjoy sailing in a small sailboat.
Q: COVID-19 has really hit the music industry pretty hard with some small independent venues closing in the US, what has it been like in a Slovenia regarding how it has been fetching musicians’ livelihoods?
Sasha: In Slovenia, it is the same. COVID-19 has really affected musicians & everyone in the music industry. Big events are cancelled all the time and we just hope all this will end ASAP so it will not affect the music industry long term.
Q: The band has 2 albums: Divja Pot released in 2013 & Warrior Princess released in 2024 & a single Naprej in 2016. After listening to both albums, am I correct in saying that Warrior a princess is the English version of the 2013 album? Do you prefer singing in your native language or in English?
Sonja: When we started to create songs, we had some songs in Slovenian and some in English. Since we have a lot of fans here and in other countries, we decided to make everything in both languages. It became important to us to be able to create music in the Slovenian languageand show it to the world. We are proud to have our own language since we are a small nation. Some fans prefer English, some Slovene. The meaning of the songs in both languages are the same. Slovene version of our album, “Divja pot” was released on October ‘13 in Ljubljana (Slovenia), English one “Warrior Princess” in ‘14 in Milan, Italy where we were on tour.We also do videos in both languages and we intend to continue doing it. The new album will also be in both languages. We like to perform in both languages as well. Every language has its own magic and people have accepted them both. Our first release was actually the EP Hellcats in 2011 and it sold out almost immediately.
Q: When can your fans expect to see an album? And where can they find your music on social media?
Awesome!! Thanks to both of you for speaking with me and can’t wait to hear the new album!!
Some interviews coming up with Tik Tok Star Callum Lacey, Overcoats, Fulton Lee and many more, If you would like your new music promoted or would like an interview, send me a message through my a Instagram @Music_Stylist or send me an email through IG as well.
Until next time, I am Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias.
Q: Siblings Max and Alex Karafillis make up the band Beyond Chaotic..when did both of you start seriously thinking about forming the band?
Alex: It kinda just happened. We went to a rock band camp one summer. They put 6 of us together to form a band. We played an actual gig at a club after the camp ended and did so well that one of the parents asked us if we wanted to stick together and keep things going. We were like, “sure”!
Max: We didn’t (hahaha). It all happened during a rock band camp. After it was over, we all decided to stay together.
Q: You guys seem to play a wide variety of instruments. Max: guitar, drums, vocals; Alex: violins, piano, guitar….Which is your favorite instrument to play & what instrument would you love to learn?
Alex: My favorite instrument right now is the bass, so lucky me.. I was going to say I’d love to learn the bassoon (don’t ask)but if I ever get serious about something else, it will probably be the drums.
Max: Drums were my first instrument and are still my favorite. If I were going to pick up something new, it might be the saxophone.
Q: Tampa Bay seems like a cool place to live. You have great weather, beaches, Busch Gardens, water parks and now our Tom Brady. What do you like to do for fun when not performing/writing music?
Alex: I like to sit in my room, watch movies, FaceTime with my friends – because we are all too lazy to actually go out and do stuff. When we have the energy, though, we try to day trip it to Busch Gardens (if we can find a ride)
Max: Hanging with my friends, playing video games and going to Busch Gardens.
Q: If you each had to a choose a musician you’d love to perform with, who would it be and why?
Alex: Alive or dead? I’m guessing alive? Billie Joe Armstrong because Green Day has always been one of my favorite bands.
Max: This is a tough one. There are a lot of famous musicians I’d like to meet but to play with? I’d have to say Evan Thibeault. There’s something about being on stage with Evan — he does his thing — I do mine — and man, it just clicks. ***
Q: In 2019, you released the album, This Can’t Be Good, which ironically describes 2020 perfectly but the song, You Don’t Even Know (Kung Fu) recently won 1st place in the Teen Category at the Unsigned Only competition in September. What was your first reactions when you found out you won? This obviously gives the band much more exposure..
Alex: I was excited, but I never really thought we had a chance…There were so many people, and so many great songs, that it didn’t seem possible.
Max: It kinda freaked me out. The song was actually a finalist in both the Teen and overall Rock category (where it got an Honorable Mention) and I never thought it would win either one..there were just so many good songs out there, and music is so subjective to begin with.
5 questions; 1 answer from each of you.
A: Nirvana or Foo Fighters
Alex: Nirvana; Max: Foo Fighters
B: Gibson, Fender or Yamaha
Alex: Fender; Max: Fender
C: Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime
Alex: Netflix; Max: Pass
D: Snapchat, Tik Tok or Instagram
Alex: Instagram; Max: Instagram
E: Lumpia, Pancit or Chicken Adobo
Alex: What?; Max: What? Seriously, what? ****
Q: What’s up next for the band and where can fans find your music?
Alex: I have no idea, we’re kind of just winging it. You can find our music almost anywhere online.
Max: More new music (we’re writing at the moment). Our stuff is already on Spotify, Amazon, Apple, ITunes, Deezer, SoundCloud, Pandora, you name it. There’s a list of more than 30 services on our website, https://www.beyondchaotic.com/ but that just what we’re aware of.
*** Evan Thibeault, Max’s drum teacher (Max no longer takes lessons) and instructor at the band camp the kids attended. Evan Thibeault on drums
**** I thought I read that the family was Filipino so one of the 5 questions was asking about Filipino food dishes.. I obviously was incorrect, hence the confusion from the band.
Thanks to Alex and Max for speaking with me..if you have a chance to listen to them on their numerous streaming outlets, please do so.. very talented teens, who I am sure will be hearing more from in the near future..
Up next, we have interviews from Hellcats, Overcoats and more I’m working on. If you have a new song being released or would like to get your band some recognition, please send me a msg on IG and we can set something up. I’m all about helping indie artists promote their music in anyway I can.
So I’m speaking with J. Scott Gavin of The Thieves About…thanks for joining me…
Q: So the band is from the west coast, San Diego area, to be more exact.. how and when did the band get together?
JSG: Well, I kept running into this guy at all the same Thai massage parlors around the airport and one day I caught his IPod playlist and it was the same as mine! We started talking music and turns out he plays drums. So that’s how I met Brian. Then we heard about this dude who was playing Bark At a The Moon on a kids’ guitar in the Wagyu beef section in the Carlsbad Costco, so we got a membership and convinced him to join our band. Then Brian met Andrew while bonding over Alkaline Trio tattoos, so there ya have it. Band Formation 101.
Q: Critics have compared you to the likes of The Foo Fighters & Jimmy Eat World…those are some really good bands to be compared to… what artists do you feel the band is most in sync with? Who are some bands you’d love to collaborate with?
JSG: Well, I am definitely flattered by the comparisons. Obviously two great bands that we’ve been influenced by, as well as the Goo Goo Dolls, Gin Blossoms, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20…basically all those bands you jammed in your dorm room in the 90’s, while your crazy roommate dyed your hair and drank some Zimas. I’ve really been into Jim Adkins Songwriting Series on Youtube and I’d love to sit down with him someday and write. I’m currently working with my best friend from high school, Jae Daniel of Black Rock EPS, on some new stuff and that’s been a life long goal of mine. Honestly though, who in their right mind wouldn’t want to sit down with Dave Grohl and talk shop & crush beers?
Q: Your latest EP, A Joyful Terrorizing Ride, was just released this August. The track, Hurt Me Sometimes, immediately hits me with vocal comparison’s to John Linnell if They Might Be Giants so it definitely brings me back to the 90’s a bit. We Go Down’s guitar riff right off the bat sounds like something out of the 80’s then breaks into the Goo Goo Dolls “Long Way Down” sound. Torn Down reminds me of the band Live vocally. So you have all these musical influences coming at me and yet I love how each track sounds so different. Take me through some of the song writing process on he EP….and where did you come with the name?
JSG: First off, thanks so much because so much of what you’ve said hits hard. All big influences and again, I’m stoked on the comparisons. I grew up in a small town outside of Buffalo, NY and the Goo Goo Dolls were my first inspiration to write my own stuff. I was in the 10th grade, rocking Super Star Carwash on repeat and I decided right then that I wanted to do what they were doing. Hurt Me Sometimes spewed forth because I was sitting in my kitchen, fuming over the pile of dishes that was left behind and I started thinking about why the F would I keep putting up with it? And then it hit me like a dead fish thrown at me outta Lake Erie (true story) – maybe, just maybe, I liked it. Like I enjoyed the frustration and anger so I tolerate it. And then I started thinking back on some shitty relationships that I stayed in for way too long, and it made me realize that sometimes we stay, because we like getting hurt. Kinda masochistic, right? So, I left dishes in the sink and sat down and wrote that almost immediately. Take Me On was actually written a while ago, shockingly about a girl (I know right?) but I very much wanted it to be like Name from the Goo’s. Big chorus, same tuning, desperate vocals, tons of emotion. We Go Down was actually taken from the very first song I wrote – Serena – in the aforementioned 10th grade. I’d grown weary of it after playing it for 20 years, but it was always a crowd favorite. Fun to play, lots of energy.. So we started mixing it up at rehearsal and I decided to rewrite the lyrics to shake it up a little. Then John sends us the intro outta nowhere, probably Costco actually, and is like “ok, just give me this is a listen and let me know what you think”. We were all blown away and while part of us thought, “is this a little cheeseball?” the other part of us was like, “who gives a flying rip, it rocks!” So we kept it and then John absolutely destroys the solo, so that song should be on everyone’s playlist. Oh and the Joyful Terrorizing Ride comes from a line in that song. It was my thought of how sometimes we have to get a little crazy, go absolutely wild, in order to experience complete joy. Perhaps it would have been a Joyful Terrifying Ride, like when you’re doing 105 on the freeway and you’re scared out of your mind, but it’s such a rush. But then I thought maybe part of the joy is in terrorizing the pedestrians on the sidewalk as you jump the curb and almost wipe out their rovers cart. Torn Down was also written awhile ago, but has been revamped with some lyrical changes and more depth. I know it starts a bit like “Freshmen” by The Verve Pipe but I wanted the verse to build a but more than the original. The chorus is about empowerment and building myself up after a breakup beat down.
Q: You have 2 other releases, The Chaos Theory (2019) and your self titled EP (2018).. Btw, the beginning of Sideways sounds so much like Dropkick Murphy’s, Shipping Up To Boston, it’s great. Any chances you will put together more of a full length album rather than an EP soon?
JSG: I’m glad you asked. I have at least 20 songs in the hopper and I’m excited to be working with these guys to explore a bunch of options expanding our range. (One song is about getting sick at Christmas, it’s a true story). The interesting thing about today’s music climate is that singles are the rage. If we come out with a new single a month and keep plugging on the socials, then we keep thing interesting. I’m not saying we won’t do a full length album because they’re super key at live shows and the collection of tunes together, like if we did a greatest hits disc, it’s fun to have. But right now, attention spans are dwindling and we need to keep our fans interested.
Q: What type of merch does the band sell besides EP’s?
JSG: We’ve got a couple of t-shirt options, stickers & EP’s. Unfortunately our unlimited supply of free hugs is completely worthless since Covid started.
Q: When any type of music award shows are on tv, does the band tend to watch them or do you think they are a waste of time? Because basically you almost never see any alternative/rock bands on there and the VMA’s were on August 30th.
JSG: I haven’t really been interested in any of the award shows since the bass player from Rage Against The Machine climbed the scaffolding during Limp Bizkit’s acceptance speech in 2000. Here’s the thing, I love music. All kinds of music but there’s so much over produced hype out there that I’m not personally into it. I’d rather spend that time trying to work through some new tunes or spend time with the guys talking music instead of watching it. I’d rather watch a full concert via a band’s live stream then the VMA’s.
Q: And as far as COVID-19 goes, do you think the music industry can recover especially the independent music venues? It’s been really tough for many of them to stay open.
JSG: That’s such a difficult question. I know so many people (ourselves included) are really anxious to get on stage, or go out and see live music. But what will the new guidelines be? Will groups of friends and fans be willing to stand shoulder to shoulder, belting out their favorite lyrics without worrying about catching it? Will we as musicians be restricted by face shields or plexiglass to keep us from accentually spitting while singing? I think recovery is going to take some time. It’s super sad to see some of our favorite venues struggling. Our only hope is that some of the relief packages get passed and these places can stay open. These are places where magic happens. Where real life, unforgettable memories take place. We can’t let them disappear.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
JSG: On all major streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora etc), at www.thethievesabout.com, in my car, Lou’s Records in Encinitas and Spin Records in Carlsbad. You can also connect with us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we will send you an EP or some merch. We’d love to hear from you, so sneak into our DM’s.
Thanks for the interview.. coming soon we have interviews from Sixela, The Hellcats and many more..
Q: XI:XI is the band’s name, do you refer to yourself as 11:11 or am I pronouncing that incorrectly?
Destin: We pronounce it like 11:11, like the time of day where you’re supposed to look at the clock and make a wish. Those numbers have personal significance for the two of us. It’s a long story but if you catch us at a showtime we’ll tell you the unabridged version.
Q: You guys happen to be married, Destin and Madi. Did you perform together before you got together or is this something new?
Madi: Yes, we performed together multiple times. I didn’t know at the time, but Destin was just trying to get more rehearsal time in to see me more….but I enjoyed it.
Destin: Madi and I have both been playing music for years so when we met each other it was an easy point of common interest. I may have parlayed our love for music into a reason to hang out with Madi before we started dating as well.
Q: You’re from the Springfield, MO area. What is the music scene like in Springfield? Did you do any busking on street corners to get noticed? Favorite places to perform in the area?
Madi: I’m originally from San Diego, but when I started performing in Springfield, I mostly went to Walkabout Coffee’s open mic nights with my cousin. I also played a gig at the Cardinals’ stadium with my short-lived rock band Sugar High.
Destin: I remember busking quite a bit as a kid. I would set up on street corners and play for strangers until I had enough money to buy a box of cereal. For some reason cereal was always my go-to post-performance snack. One time I got into some legal trouble while busking on top of the fountain at Missouri State University but that’s another story. Thankfully, we’ve upgraded from street corners to larger stages since then. We’re partial to Lindbergh’s because we live close by and they have a cozy stage and a neat environment. We play a lot in the Kansas City and St Louis areas as well.
Q: How would you define your sound? Pop? Indie? Grunge? Combo?
Madi: Pop-grunge! We do like to dip into some acoustic sounds from time to time, but we enjoy upbeat music for live gigs.
Destin: I think we’re a grunge band that got distracted by all of the cool sounds you can create these days. Old 90’s rock music has always had a special place in our hearts but we also get excited by the prospect of creating something new.
Q: You’ve released 3 songs. Tonic & For The Record in 2019 and you’re latest released in August, California, which I absolutely love. I can’t put my finger on it but it has this familiar best just reminds me of the 80’s synth pop sound… bands like Yaz, Erasure or The Monroes. Talk about your new song California… Is this song about anyone is particular?
Madi: I feel like everyone always asks if we write songs about particular people, but that’s normally not the case. This was was mostly Destin’s creation about church girls and all the silliness before me.
Destin: I usually write songs about themes rather than individuals. There are several people who inspired the feeling behind the song but I won’t name any names. This song was originally more satirical than anything. We used to play it as an intro to our cover of All The Small Things by Blink-182. I think the lyrics mostly came from situations I found myself in back when I was dating around before I met Madi — at the time they seemed fairly dire, but in retrospect, they’re all fairly funny stories.
Q: From mid March to now, things are still kind if restrictive across the US, how have you coped during this time of uncertainty & how do you see it affecting the music business in the future?
Madi: Unfortunately, a lot of shows have been cancelled. It’s not fun. But I think, once all is said and done, there are going to be more parties than ever before, and we’ll be there to play them!
Destin: I think this unpredictable season has necessitated a little more creativity from the music industry. It has definitely shifted things around, but I think with enough time we’ll see a resurgence of cool new music and fun new shows, but with a little more variety. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.
Quick hits: Only 1 answer
A: Facebook, Instagram or Twitter
Destin: Social media is just a necessary evil
B: Cotton Candy, Twizzlers or Swedish Fish
Destin: I don’t eat sugar. Sorry, I’m not much fun.
C: The Big Biscuit, Black Sheep Burgers or The Wheelhouse
Destin: Blacksheep but barely. I’m partial to The Wheelhouse as well because I’ve known the owners for a couple of decades.
D: Ripped jeans, acid washed jeans or camo jeans
Madi: Probably ripped
Destin: Ripped jeans are grungy!
E: P!nk, Lady Gaga or Billie Eilish
Madi: That’s hard. P!nk?
Destin: I’m a big fan of Billie’s style. Tough question though!
Q: When can we expect see an album/EP? And where can fans find your music?
Destin: Magicians can never reveal their secrets but we can guarantee new material will be coming before too long. Look us up on Instagram @officialxixi to keep in touch and look for XI:XI tunes wherever you get your music — although if you use any platform other than Spotify, you’re missing out.
Thank you to Madi & Destin for speaking with me. Be sure to stream their latest single California on Spotify or wherever music is heard..
Coming soon interviews from The Thieves About, Hellcats, Sixela and more.. Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda
Q: As you know by now, I’m a huge fan of the band and love your sound, which I often compare you to The Ballroom Thieves but you have a new single releasing Friday September 4th and it’s completely different from the usual songs you’ve recorded. Take me through the writing and recording process on this one:
Erika: Sirens came to life under the circumstances of the a Covid 19 pandemic. It was also around the time of my kidney transplant when this song sprouted new branches. Though Ryan wrote it about a year ago on his guitar, based off one of his poems, and though we planned to record it with just an acoustic and both of us singing, fate had other plans for its final passage. I put down drum tracks before my surgery. We were actually planning to do a whole album, mostly acoustic, but time got funky and making music became less a priority, especially after my transplant. While I was recovering, Ryan began to mess around with piano and additional beats just to build an arrangement map. He was really just biding his time, waiting for me to get better so we could continue to work on the album.
Ryan: I was exploring a new direction in composition, letting my creative guard down, arranging and composing everything from pure emotion, using sound and color as my guide. As I worked, I would concentrate on thoughts of Erika healing and growing strong again. It became a mantra in all my decisions and actions. I would work on it alone while Erika was resting, I wasn’t really trying to get anywhere with it but eventually it started to sound really good, yet totally different than our usual sound. Since we were doing everything backwards, we still didn’t have vocals, so I just kept messing around with the music. I pulled my original guitar tracks out and recorded into a reverse effect and sprinkled parts throughout. About three weeks or so after Erika’s surgery, she was able to lay down the vocals. I had bought a really nice tube mic for her and we used it for the first time on Sirens. I remember the moment she first began singing into that mic, standing in the middle of our bedroom in just her underwear because it was so unbearably hot in the early August heat wave and you can’t run a noisy AC when you record. It was heaven to my ears. She sounded so good, I decided I didn’t need to sing on this one, so we kept it as is. In the end, it really came together in such a different way than we intended, but it felt natural, transcending into a song that definitely reflects common emotion and abstract perception, that we all share one way or another, especially these days. Like all our songs, Sirens took on its own life, reflecting our perception about the times we live in. We hope people find a positive connection with this one. For me it’s very meditative, almost trance-like. This song was obviously meant for Erika’s voice. It has so much color, hence the track art. In the face of this pandemic, we’ve all experienced tragedy but hopefully some miracles and blessing as well. I feel very thankful and hopeful despite not knowing what the future holds. I could say more, but it’s all in the lyrics, in her voice and in the colors.
Q: You also have a couple of other songs you released in December 2019, Footsteps and Let Go in May of this year. Are you working on a full length album?
Erika: Footsteps and Let Go are on the album “Let Go” which was released on May 15, 2020. All the songs on that album are a compilation of singles we released over the last year. Sirens is part of a new album we are working on.
Q: For those of you who do not know, Muddy Ruckus consists of 2 members, Ryan Flaherty and Erika Stahl. What I love about you as musicians is that so many songs sound so different and I attribute that to the numerous amount of instruments you guys can play. Who plays what instrument and talk about that drum set?
Erika: Ryan plays guitar and banjo and I’m the percussionist. The drum kit is definitely not the standard set up. It consists of a snare, floor Tom, high-hat and a suitcase kick drum. The suitcase is an old American Tourister hard shell. It’s one tough cookie! It’s held up pretty well considering 5 years of touring packed with equipment and me pounding on it.
Q: 2020 has been a not so great year for musicians but has been a good year for both of you as far as Erika’s health is concerned. How did going through this health scare make the both of you stronger?
Erika: The start of the year was rough for us. I would up in the hospital right after Christmas – for kidney failure. I had to have a catheter put in my chest so I could begin receiving dialysis treatments right away. Despite being on dialysis, I wanted to continue performing and touring so we set out in February on our scheduled tour through Florida and Texas, doing daily dialysis along the way. While in Florida, I got the phone call that a friend was approved to donate one of her kidneys to me and surgery was scheduled for April. This was amazing news and such a huge blessing. Of course, Covid-19 happened and my surgery was pushed back a month but I was able to have the surgery on May 26th. My donor and I had to go through surgery and recovery in the hospital alone because of the virus. It was hard for Ryan and I, my donor and her husband, not being able to be with our loved ones as we went through this but everything went well and she and I were both out of the hospital after three days. Ryan and my son took care of me as I recovered the first few weeks after the transplant. Don’t know what I would have done without them! It’s now been three months since the transplant and I’m doing great! I’ve fully recovered from surgery and the new kidney is functioning at 100%! I think I can speak for both of us and say that going through all this in addition to dealing with Covid mentally and spiritually prepared us to handle whatever else may come our way and we are much stronger in our relationship and life in general.
Q: The impact of Covid-19 has had on small independent music venues has been devastating. What are your hopes of how the music industry & these smaller venues might be able to survive?
Erika: It’s so sad what’s happening to these venues. We lost Port City Music Hall here in Maine and that’s just one of many across the country. Our hopes are that Congress will step up and come through with support for small independent venues so they can get through this time and that local communities will continue to support their local venues in any way possible.
Q: What was your favorite quarantine “go to” snack, restaurant and drink?
A: Carl’s Meat Market in Kittery, Maine has definitely been our Go To. It’s really close to home and they make the best sandwiches and breakfast sandwiches around.
Q: Will we see another online music show/concert from you soon?
Erika: We’re actually playing an outdoor socially distanced show on September 5th at Maine Craft Distilling. As far as online shows go, we do plan on doing more of those but don’t have any dates set as of now.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: You can find our music and merch through our website muddyruckus.com , SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Music.
Thanks Erika and Ryan! Make sure you go check out their single out today!! Stay tuned for more interviews with XI:XI; The Thieves About and The Hellcats..
Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias
A: I’ve actually been releasing solo music for as long as I can remember. I fronted a band in high school and released a few SoundCloud EP’s my first few years of college. I took a break once I started joining other bands and stepped into a side man role. After a few years in MB&T, I had such a backlog of songs that I wanted to put a few out there.
Q: When did you start playing the piano? And who are some keys players you admire?
A: My mom is a piano teacher, so I grew up with the piano in my home. She started teaching me around the age of 5. In terms of pianists that I admire, I’ve always loved Greta Salpeter from The Hush Sound and Landed by Ben Folds is one of the most beautiful pop piano compositions of all time. Period.
Q: Any favorite songs to perform? I see you’re a fan of Taylor Swift’s, “New Year’s Day”. What are your impressions of her new album, Folklore? And name some artists that you admire lyrically? Who do you consider a great songwriter?
A: I’m actually not much of a Swiftie. Haha! My wife is though and I hear a lot of T-Swift’s music through osmosis. That song – New Year’s Day – really stuck with me when I heard it. Folklore is my favorite Taylor Swift album, just because it sounds the least T-Swift. Haha! T-Swift is an excellent songwriter, but I feel like lyrically it’s pretty hit or miss. A lot of strong ideas that could have been improved with some rewrites. Pete Wentz is one of my all time favorite lyricists. I love how he uses self deprecating humor and puns, but they never come across as humorous. And everything is super ambiguous. I think that ambiguity has kept Fall Out Boy relevant. My next favorite lyricist is Charlie Fink of Noah and The Whale. The way he can tell succinct stories that resonate emotionally in a single verse is incredible. I think John Mayer, Colbie Caillat and Shawn Mendes are excellent songwriters. Catchy hooks with solid arrangements, great vocals and solid lyrics. I love performing “Sing Me Something New” with MB&T and “This Isn’t Love” as a solo artist. “This Love” by Maroon 5 and “Waiting on The World To Change” by John Mayer are my favorites to cover.
Q: If you had to say if there was any “silver lining” in quarantining at home, what would it be for you?
A: That silver lining has definitely been more time with family. I played 50 shows across the west last year with MB&T. I was gone a LOT. It’s been good to have movie nights with my wife and kids and go on walks together every night. Quarantine has also been great for songwriting. I wrote a zachisatourist record this year and will be recording it once MB&T wraps production on our new full length record. MB&T also made a TON of stuff this year because of quarantine. We released a lo-fi jams record earlier this year on YouTube, we have a remix record coming out in September, and we’ve put out way more videos than usual. Haha.. It has been a lot of fun to just make stuff again.
Q: Your latest single, You Love Me Anyway, released this year.. it reminds me lyrically of one my favorite performers, Ben Folds. This song is about your wife, correct? How has she changed your life for the better?
A: That comparison is super flattering. I love Ben Folds!! It is about my wife. We’ve been married for almost 6 years and we’ve been through a lot. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, trying to balance all of my roles as a musician, provider, dad and husband. But she’s supportive and has always picked me up when I’m down. Like most artists, I’ve wrestled with a lot of insecurity. She’s my biggest fan. Always having someone in my corner has been huge for me.
Q: Can your fans expect any more music released from you soon?
A: Most definitely! I’m hoping to get one more song out by the end of 2020. You’ll also hear some MB&T songs that I remixed for our next EP. I should have a record out in 2021.
Q: Your new single, Thriving, was just released. What’s the song about?
A: I didn’t write this song about a ‘guy’ — I wrote it about the feeling I often get second guessing myself for making a choice and owning it and about the desire to be unafraid of being perceived as intimidating just because I’m succeeding in something. I hope this song empowers everyone who hears it to own their choices and to stop feeling like they have to dumb themselves down or make themselves smaller to make others comfortable. And to have fun with it.
Q: Have you been working on an album/EP? Will it be out this year?
A: Yes! I have a full album sequenced. Hopefully it will be out later this year or early next.
From time to time, I promote new music by independent artists & I spoke to The Faux about his new release out Friday 8/21.
Q: New song out tomorrow 8/21 called Sad Song..what/who is this song about?
A: Yes! I am very excited to be able to share it with everyone. This song is really about losing someone close to you, whether it be a friend or lover and just feeling lost without them. I had a friend that I was very close with in high school, but after high school we ended up just not friends anymore, which is really where this song came from.
Q: When did The Faux first start writing & recording music?
A: So I started writing & recording music in 2018 kinda as a hobby, the first song I worked on that I put out there was a remix for a competition on a song called, Know This Love by KREAM, remixing it really just showed me how much fun making music is and the different possibilities in it.
Q: Name some artists that would be a dream to collaborate with.
A: Well one of the first EDM artists I started listening to was Dabin so working with him would definitely be a dream come true. I also feel like working with Ghastly would be an awesome collaboration especially since he is from Arizona like me!
Q: When can we expect to see an album/EP come out?
A: At this point, I’m shooting for next year with an EP which will feature “Sad Days” on it.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: All of my music is on https://soundcloud.com/thefauxx and then all the singles I’ve released are also on major platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon and so on. I have done quite a few songs for remix competitions so I wasn’t allowed to release those songs officially but they are on my SoundCloud and can be listened to there!
So tomorrow Friday 8/21 , Sad Song will be out… make sure to go to The Faux’s Instagram for more info.. The Faux Official