New York State of Mind

Hennessey feat. EJ O’Hara & Leah Hennessey

When I am looking for indie artists to interview I thoroughly scour over every article I can find on new music releases, emerging artists, upcoming livestreams, etc. So when I discovered the band Hennessey, I thought, Holy Shit!! This is some of the best music I’ve heard in a very long time, how can I get in touch with them? And Ta da!!, here it is!!

Q: When looking up some research for your band, one of the most common things written was that you are a “hipster band from NY”..Is that how you see yourself? How would you define the “hipster sound”? The band consists of Leah Hennessey on vocals & EJ O’Hara on keyboards..whose idea was it to get the band together?

A: When we were in high school, there was simply no greater pleasure than railing against “these fucking hipsters” or “those fucking hipsters”, constantly pointing the finger, while knowing full well that three fingers were always pointing back at us. Now I think in this post-hipster era, there’s something perversely satisfying about admitting that our band is a fucking hipster band. There is a clear lineage of snarky, poetic, arty freaks making clever music to dance to – from Le Tigre and LCD Soundsystem back to The B-52’s or anything on Factory Records or Ze Records — and I think we’re part of the lineage, and what else do you call but hipster music? I had been in bands before but never writing my own songs. EJ was always my favorite producer and maker of music on the computer and it was a dream for many years to get him to have a real band with me, ding my songs. The band is also really our two guitar players, Noah Chevan and Malachy O’Neil, who we play with live (rarely simultaneously though) and on recordings, but in this new quarantined situation the core of the band has really been me and EJ.

Q: I watched some of your videos on Facebook & I’m really excited for you guys in terms of where your band is going. You really have that uniqueness with the electronic, rock, 80’s new wave style & the way you command the stage…it’s just refreshing..What does the band miss the most about performing live in front of an audience?

A: I live to perform live and after a few months of not performing, I start to wonder if I exist. There is a certain self in me that cannot speak or move without the performance mode, and that self is currently in some kind of teenage angst with the door slammed shut, and I have to just give it space to sulk and wait till it’s safe for it to come out again.

8 Men

Q: New single coming out today, Jan 29th.. what is the story behind the song? Where do you get a lot of your inspiration for your lyrics?

A: The new song is called, “8 Men” and it’s about how the eight richest men in the world have more money than everyone else in the world combined. That number and ranking continues to fluctuate (now I think Elon Musk has more money than all of them) but the situation is the same. The wealth inequality on the planet is unfathomable – it’s too vast and drastic and brutal for me to even wrap my mind around. This handful of guys has enough money to feed and house and educate and provide healthcare for every single one of us – it’s not a shortage of resources that condemns so many of us to poverty and starvation. I was looking at some oversimplified info graphic about the eight richest men and I thought about reposting it and I was just hit with such a wave of nausea at the futility and hypocrisy of posting something so obvious and reductive (and on Mark Zuckerberg’s own platform – ultimately generating more revenue for Facebook/Instagram)….so I said fuck it and wrote a song instead, which I think expresses some of the absurdity I feel about even talking about this stuff. And I’m still going to post the song on Instagram.

Q: What have you guys been doing during this crazy stay at home/quarantining type of atmosphere?

A: My friends and I started a songwriting workshop and every Thursday we have to bring in a new song and play it for the group. The critique is very insightful and inspiring but the best thing is the discipline we’ve all developed just by forcing a song a week. That’s how I wrote this song and I never would have recorded it if my friends hadn’t been so receptive and amused.

Top L – R clockwise: Macy Rodman, Jarvis Cocker & Brighde Chaimbeul

Q: Scenario: The band is going on a national tour… you have to pick 1 artist/band to open for you, 1 band/artist to come on stage and sing with you and 1 band/artist to hang/party with you after the show. You also get to choose the venue to start the tour….

A: I can’t imagine a world where she would be opening for us and not the other way around but it would be my dream to have Macy Rodman open for us. I’m also thinking practically, because she doesn’t usually play with a band, she just has tracks and her own superstar self, but I feel like she could tour the world with a Bluetooth speaker and cardboard guitar in a Swarovski catsuit & get any crowd screaming in heat.

Right now my new obsession is this Scottish bagpipe/small pipe player is Brighde Chaimbeul. Her album, The Reeling, has been on repeat for me while I bike up the freezing bike path along the Hudson. I have a fantasy about her playing on a Hennessey song, and maybe when we start putting the album together, I’ll work up the nerve to ask her.

Maybe this is just the 2020 homebody blues talking but my dream for after a show would be to be whispered to sleep by Jarvis Cocker. I’m not big on podcasts but when I can’t sleep, I listen to Jarvis’ Wireless Nights – it’s the exact mix of banal comfort and subtle eroticism I need to cross the threshold into the land of nod. He’s one of my all time favorite heroes and if we could hang out after a shoe, whether that entailed “partying”, chatting or just passing out, I would die a happy fan girl.

Q: I want people to be clear, you are Hennessey (the band) but if you Google the Band Hennessey, you’ll get an entirely different band and sound….since you are a relatively new band, has there been any confusion with this other band with the similar name?

A: I know it’s crazy to call the band Hennessey — I always have to specify that there’s an e at the end so it’s not like the cognac – and there are so many other Hennessey artists, but it’s what feels right to me.

The Waterboys: We Will Not Be Lovers vice We Will Not Be Lovers by Hennessey

Q: We Will Not Be Lovers is a cover by The Waterboys. I love what you did with their song. Any more plans on covering other artists & adding it to your next album?

A: We have been talking about a prog-disco cover of a certain folk song but I don’t want to jinx it.

Q: Where can fans listen to your music and buy your merch?

A: Here’s a link to our music on all platforms… https://sl.onerom.com/8men. We usually do small batches of T- shirts which I post on Instagram @hennessey_the_band.

Go check out their new single, 8 Men, out today wherever you stream music.

Make sure to check out my blog, where I have quite a few interviews lined up. Reach out through Instagram if interested in an interview.

Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias.

Leave it to June Cleaver & The Steak Knives

There are some bands that have interesting names & there’s usually some long story or unique incident how it came to fruition.. but by far one of the best names for a band that I’ve come across is, June Cleaver & The Steak Knives.. for those of you who are too young to remember the TV show, Leave it To Beaver, trust me it’s clever. So here’s my interview…

Q: So the band consists of brothers Chris and Pat Bradley..and you literally play every single instrument, do all the arrangements, editing, mixing, engineering, album artwork & shoot your music videos. Is there anything you can’t do?

A: Plenty. Balancing a checkbook, marketing, self-promotion, taxes. We’ve always produced our own music, partly out of the love for the experimentation involved in multi-tracking and also of wanting to be involved in every step of the process, but probably mostly out of necessity. We’ve been recording ourselves since we got our hands on a 4 track tape machine back in 1996. We’ve never been a traditional band that would rehearse and then pay for studio time. Maybe we’re control freaks, but we’ve never wanted to hand over the production reigns to anyone else. We’ve tried it before, but could never really find anyone who could do it quite right. However, we usually do have a trusted party master our records for us.

Chris & Pat Bradley

Q: The style of music you create really cannot be put into one or two genres..it really has so many layers & facets to it… it’s like experimental indie punk dreamlike fusion…how would you best describe the sound you are creating?

A: Actually, your description sounds pretty accurate. We’ve always had a very difficult time trying to categorize our sound. We’ve tried a few different boxes on for size, including “demented pop”, “schizophrenic ambient” and “dystopian art rock” but nothing really seems to encapsulate our overall sound completely. A very astute group of progressive rock fans (from a forum called Prog Archives http://www.progarchives.com/ had a lengthy, theoretical discussion about is on the matter about a decade ago. They finally settled on “eclectic prog” and I think that suits us. Our early music was a lot more experimental, creating mostly instrumentals. It evolved into more traditional structures over the years while retaining the same overall flavor we’ve had since the beginning.

Find Merch on http://cleavermusic.com

Q: Whose idea was it for the band name?

A: Chris came up with it in a moment of deep clarity and vision. He had suggested the name for one of his bands when he was living in Florida, but they rejected it. It is at least a memorable name, and it seems that people either love it or hate it. It has conceptually been a deep well of inspiration for our visual ideas and branding.

Q: Deep Cuts & True Confessions.. good idea or bad idea? Are you running out of stories?

A: Never! But we’re always running out of time. Our focus has been on our newest project that will be both a full length album that comes with a beautifully illustrated book that seems to harken back to a time when people actually listened to records while studying the album artwork. There will be a huge amount of stories and characters to sift through. The Deep Cuts videos are fun, but we’ve got bigger fish to fry (or knives or sharpen) right now.

Top to Bottom: The Residents; They Might Be Giants

Q: I hear so many band similarities in your sound.. The Modern Lovers, The B-52’s, The Dead Milkmen, Talking Heads, Blitzen Trapper, The Cure.. I really could on and on but if you had to choose a few bands that you emulate sound from, who would it be?

A: It depends on the day, really. But I guess if we were to name a couple of bands that were huge influencers on us, first and foremost, we would have to acknowledge The Beatles. When we were little kids, we even started a band called The Crickets (not knowing much about Buddy Holly), where we tried to play along to Beatles’ albums and put on a few concerts for family members. Their music has been imprinted onto our DNA for years. We were also heavily influenced by The Doors, Radiohead to a degree, Frank Zappa. And then I think the most important bands that made us want to what we do would be The Residents & They Might Be Giants. And as far as what we actually sound like when all is said and done, we have heard from several varying sources that liken us to Echo and The Bunnymen, Talking Heads and King Crimson and a surprisingly long list of others.

A Place Where Nobody Goes on Spotify

A: How long did it take you to complete your last album, A Place Where Nobody Goes, from start to finish including album cover?

Q: Some of the songs go as far back as 2011, so about 8 years! Raising kids really got in the way. Also, our mother became sick with cancer and died in the midst of working on it – the album is dedicated to her. Since releasing that album, we’ve had a much more steady stream of musical output.

Mr Bungle
D D Dumbo

Q: For both of you, name a concert, other than your own, that you are looking forward to seeing in a post-COVID world.

Chris: a toss up between Primus covering Rush’s Farewell to the Kings album and Mr Bungle.

Pat: Lennon/Claypool Delirium or March Forth Marching Band or D D Dumbo.

Q: Where can fans buy your merch & stream your music?

A: http://cleavermusic.com We love to send people free music. We have a newsletter that comes out once or twice a month, chock full of artwork and links to songs and videos.

Well, I’m definitely signing up for that newsletter!! Thanks again to Chris and Pat for speaking with me. Make sure to check out their IG at: juneccleaverandthesteakknives.

I have several interviews coming up including Maddie Olds, Carrigan Nelson, Lainey Dionne, The Break Plans and many more in the works..

If interested in an interview or have new music you’d like me to hear, send me a message on my IG music_stylist.

Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias.

Disparate Youth

Alex Simmons

I really wanted to explore the local music scene from a younger person’s point of view so why not start with the teens in Rhode Island, where I live, more specifically on Aquidneck Island. AI is made up of 3 towns, Portsmouth, Middletown and Newport. So I want to introduce you to a very talented young man, at 14 years old, he started a hardcore punk band called Bullet Proof Backpack & his own record label, Youth Distribute.. this is Alex Simmons….

Q: Why do you think you relate so much to hardcore punk music? What is it about the music that you find so relatable?

A: I don’t know what draws me to punk, probably the community of people alike or the sense of no direction and chaos that it holds. The aggression and passion that is put into the music is another thing that I really like about punk.

Top to Bottom: We Own Land; Never Coming Home

Q: The Aquidneck Island local punk scene has some pretty good well known bands such as We Own Land & Never Coming Home but not so much hardcore punk like Bulletproof Backpack, the band you founded this year…..Who are the members of your band, what instruments do you play & who are some of the bands that you enjoy and find inspiration from?

A: We’re actually in the middle of transitioning members at the moment but it is me on vocals and guitar, Aidan, my sister on bass then our two friends Marie and Rob. Marie is on guitar and Rob is on drums. The music we play definitely takes a lot of inspiration from Black Flag, Poison Idea, SOA, Rampage, Boston Strangler, Infest and bands of that more harsh and fast style.

Clockwise L – R: Negative Approach, Black Flag, Boston Strangler,
Minor Threat

Q: I was a pretty big listener of punk music growing up in the 80’s and often would go back to listening to Repo Man Soundtrack and the band 7 Seconds and The Sex Pistols…if you had a chance to perform with any band of your choice, who would it be?

A: There’s a good range of bands BPB could fit in with, I think the dream show would be Minor Threat, Necros, Negative Approach and Black Flag, then on the other hand, Infest, Boston Strangler, Rival Mob and Siege.

Q: Talk about your 2 EP’s; Total Lockdown released in May ‘20 & the just recently released Never Obey.. I think TL is obvious what that refers to but talk about your writing process….are you constantly finding inspiration in everyday situations or using personal experiences for motivation for your lyrics?

A: The writing process is all over the place, I’d write some riffs, put them together, add drums and vocals then record. There’s not much to it haha. For lyrics, I just write down whatever comes to me at the time, most of the time, it is an emotion or experience I had or am going through.

Q: What kind of things besides music are you into?

A: I do a lot of art, play video games and watch tv, regular things I guess..

Youth Distribute

Q: Did Youth Distribute come soon after Bullet Proof Backpack? What type of projects is the label working on?

A: Youth Distribute did in fact come after BPB, I’m working on a compilation of a bunch of newer and younger bands and I needed somewhere to put it out, so I started Youth Distribute, but I also release music of my friends and my own,

Q: I always thought Aquidneck Island could use a good punk music festival…I think when COVID is under control, Youth Distribute might be able to sponsor something of a local event…Are those type of events something the label is looking to see more of on Aquidneck Island and particularly in Rhode Island?

A: I would love to see more shows on Aquidneck Island, bigger fests like Sound and Fury I’m really not into. I, personally, love small basement shows, that’s where more of the shows I go to are. But a bigger fest on Aquidneck Island, depending on location and bands, I’d be interested in, most likely I wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that.

Q: Where do you see hardcore punk music going in the next 5 years?

A: I could see punk in the same spot it is now, punk won’t die out as long as there are people who are interested, but I definitely plan to be doing the same things in five years. I’ll only be 19 at that point & I don’t think my love for punk can change in that little of time.

Q: Where can your fans find your merch & music to stream?

A: People can find our merch and music at https://bpbhc.bandcamp.com/ & https://youthdistribute.bandcamp.com/ Bullet Proof Backpack is also on most streaming platforms.

Thanks Alex for speaking with me & I can’t wait to catch a basement show!!

I wanted to give a shout-out to all the bands that I interviewed last year, I appreciate them taking time out to speak with me. I hope to bring you even more interviews & music reviews in 2021..

Until then, I am Your Music Stylist — Linda Dias.

Starman

Van Hunt, singer & songwriter

I first heard Van’s music when I was listening to multiple playlists on Spotify & was impressed by a cover of The Stooges, which I’ll ask him about later but for now let me introduce you to Van Hunt…

Q: You seem to have quite the musical ear..You started playing drums at age 7 and soon after learned to play the sax, bass and keyboards. How many instruments can you actually play? And are there any out there that you’d love to learn?

A: Haha! My biography makes my musicianship seem much more impressive than it is: i can get around on multiple instruments, but only out of necessity — in order to record my songs. I’m not by any means a virtuoso on any instrument. I am, however, confident I can play my songs differently than anyone else, and I can play other people’s songs in ways they never imagine. Lol.

Van Hunt & Randy Jackson at the Grammys in 2007

Q: The Grammy nominations were just announced & you’re pretty familiar with getting the call. In ‘04, your single Dust was nominated for Best Urban/Alternative Performance; favorite song on the album btw and you won in ‘07 for Best Performance by a Duo or Group for the remake collab on Sly & The Family Stone’s ‘Family Affair’. What are the first words that pop into your brain when you hear your name announced as the winner? Any predictions on which artist will be the big artist of the night?

A: My first thought upon hearing my name announced was, “Oh, shit! You mean I gotta get up and talk in front of these people now?” I’m glad you like Dust.. it was the first song I wrote that I predicted would be popular with listeners. It seemed catchy but most of my songs become popular despite my predictions. Lol.. As for this year’s Grammys winner predictions, I didn’t even know the nominations had been announced…but since you asked I tasked myself with skimming over the list; I predict the night’s big winner will be Megan Thee Stallion.

hopeless (penny witta hole in it)

Q: hopeless was just released in November but you actually wrote this song for Dionne Farris in ‘97. Why did you decide to record the song with your vocals & release?

A: ‘hopeless’ was my first song on the radio. It was such a special moment to write a song that’s being played, seemingly, everywhere. It was like a happy avalanche; where you’re buried under this acknowledgment from peers and listening public. There just aren’t many songs like that that a lot of songwriters have in their catalogue and the reason I recorded the song myself was simply because I felt I had something to contribute to its story. The version I released, “hopeless (penny witta a hole in it)’, is actually closer to the arrangement I had originally in my head before it was recorded back in ‘97.

Top L – R: Don Raye, Chuck Berry, Bobby Debarge, Molly Sarle Bottom L – R: Kurt Vile, Sly Stone, Bach, Billy Strayhorn

Q: Who are some of your favorite songwriters? And which ones have had the greatest influence in your career so far?

A: Some of my favorite songwriters are Don Raye, Chuck Berry, Bobby Debarge, Molly Sarle, Kurt Vile…. the biggest influences have probably been Bach, Sly Stone and Billy Strayhorn..

Q: Lots of time in isolation in 2020, what type of hobbies, non-related, do you do to keep yourself busy?

A: I love boxing, I watch boxing, I shadowbox, I talk boxing…I also love doing research into the mysteries of the paranormal, ufology, ancient megalithic structures. I’ve done research work for a few episodes of Think Anamalous Channel on YouTube . You can see one of them on the Great Pyramid here: https://youtube.com/c/ThinkAnomalous.

Amrit Singh & Van Hunt on Spectrum 1’s Music Diaries

Q: You appeared on Music Diaries in February of this year & spoke about rediscovering your passion for music. Talk a little bit about finding that passion again & why music draws you in emotionally while performing. Vocally & instrumentally, your music is so raw & moving.

A: Well, thank you. I separate songwriting into two parts: the art of storytelling – which is the work of the living, gathering material from the pieces of life, trauma, anxiety, etc. and then there’s the craftsmanship of songwriting – music production, arrangement, performance, engineering. I never lose passion for picking up instruments and making sound and rhythms, but it is the drool of music production and engineering that kills me. It’s a medium that’s subject to workflow issues and it can just kill a vibe…and then if I haven’t been bottled up – if I haven’t been absorbing information and processing without emotional release – then I don’t have this loaded creative force and when I am low on that then I am passionless. When I don’t bullshit myself- when I listen to the creativity working thru me and I pick up that instrument because I really have something to say, then the results can be “raw and moving”.

The Stooges feat Iggy Pop

Q: You released a cover of The Stooges’ No Sense of Crime… your version reminds me of the musical style of Lenny Kravitz’s first album, Let Love Rule …. do you feel like you emulate other artists vocally?

A: I’m a HUGE fan of The Stooges, thru following Iggy Pop’s output, I found the collaboration with James Williamson on Kill City, the album ‘No Sense of Crime’ is on. I’m sure my rhythm and blues and gospel quartet influences show up like Sly Stone, Prince and The Williams Brothers.. I’m afraid I’m not well-versed on Lenny Kravitz’s catalogue but I know he is an iconic figure – so it is an honor to be mentioned alongside him.

Q: Where can fans find your music?

A: Most of my official album catalogue is on Spotify and Apple Music and anywhere music is streamed, under Van Hunt. Rarer items, EPs, singles and playlists can be downloaded for name-your-price at https://vanhunt.bandcamp.com/music.. you can also find those cool shirts on https://vanhunt.bandcamp.com/merch.

Thanks Van for taking the time to speak with me. Be sure to check out the links in the interview and listen to his music, he’s a very talented artist, don’t miss out!

More interviews coming up with Ranky Tanky, Jenna Rae, Madison Olds.. also will be featuring a local teen series of talent artists from Rhode Island..

Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias

More about Mipso

I really have gotten into this band from Spotify making me daily playlists & the one they keep choosing for me is Mipso so I had to find out more about them..

Q: In 2011, the band formed at UNC & started as a trio, when did you decide to bring a Libby in & solidify the group as a quartet?

Jacob: Libby was deep in Mipso world from the very beginning. Even our first EP, technically a trio record, featured her on fiddle. We were all in school and the band was very much a weekend passion – a place to learn and escape and express ourselves. None of us knew it was what we were going to be doing after we wrapped up our degrees. Joseph, Wood and I graduated a year ahead of Libby and decided we wanted to see what was possible when we devoted all of ourselves to the music. We started touring nationally (and in Japan), recorded an album, and liked what our lives were becoming. Libby was on that album, played shows whenever she could and thought she might like this life too. So to us it doesn’t really feel like she ever wasn’t solidly a part of the group. But I guess 2024 was when she started being in the van as much as the rest of us.

Q: There are a few stories floating around out there how Mipso got its name…Set the record straight & tell me the true story behind the band’s name.

Libby: Yes, this has been a matter of confusion for far too long now, not just in the public consciousness but also in my own. Seeing I wasn’t there when the secret meeting occurred, I can’t shed any light on the subject matter whatsoever. After all these years, it’s the one thing those three boys have remained tight lipped about.

Jacob: That’s right.

Q: Mipso’s style is a mesh of bluegrass, indie and alt-country w/superb blended harmonies (reminding me of Ghost of Paul Revere & Birdtalker)….do you feel like your sound is evolving with each album?

Libby: I think it’s very natural as you go on living, whatever it is that make evolves in roughly parallel way, responding to the way your experiences have shaped your perspective. I imagine it would actually take more effort to keep churning out the same kind of music as you yourself inevitably change. We started doing this when we were 19 or 20, and for most of us it was the first real band we’d been in, so we were figuring out how to play music, and we leaned into one genre or another as a part of that learning process. In the early days, we were getting into old string band music and trying out those roles, which seemed natural given our instrumentation. I’m really nostalgic about that phase, that tentativeness and curiosity, those little forays out from your little home base of musical knowledge. But it’s also been very fulfilling both to expand the scope of thst home base and to feel more comfortable venturing afield. Now when we arrange a song by our arranging vocabulary is much bigger than it used to be. We lean into sounds or concepts that are feeling good to us at a given time, and I think we’re less concerned than we used to be about whether or not they’ll feel that way to us forever.

Q: With COVID quarantine, I’m assuming you had more time to work on your self-titled album released this October…Some of my fave tracks are Your Body, Hourglass and Just Want To Be Loved…Did you intend for the album to be released this year? How did the extra time spent together keep the creative process flowing.

Jacob: Actually we had less ability to create together this year than any other year. We toured in January and then went to our respective homes around the country for a two-month breather before kicking into high gear with a record release planned. With COVID hit we holed up at home, pushed the release date back a few months, and collaborated from afar on a deeper dive into the final production stages of the record. We were much more involved with the mixing and mastering of this record, albeit from afar, than previous records. And I think that finishing the production of the album in quarantine was a good preparation for releasing it in this strange new pandemic world. As we put the final touches on it we were aware it would be released devoid of the context we had known on previous albums, but that the emotional ground we covered in the music needed to come out this year no matter how strange the surrounding circumstances.

Q: You guys are really into skateboarding. How fun was it to make that video? Was that shot all in one day? How long did it take?

Libby: Ha! No, we are not really into skateboarding. Joseph and Wood can remember their middle school moves decently well, but Jacob and I are truly hopeless. The concept of the video was for us to be bad at skateboarding but have fun anyway. It was relatively fun to make, mostly just because we enlisted some actual good skateboarders and got to watch them. We shot it over a couple of very warm summer afternoons.

Jacob: Yeah, I don’t like to skateboard at all! But I admire those who do – and to me the most fun aspect of this video was learning about the diverse and super cool skate scene in Durham.

Q: On 10/29, you live streamed a concert, The Mipso Show Vol 1 & on 11/28 Vol 2.. What can fans expect to see? Any surprises? Where can fans watch the show?

Jacob: A highlight of this wild ride of a year was getting the band back together safely to be able to create. We tested, quarantined and bubbled up for two different 2 weeks chunks. It was like band camp.. The Mipso Show was the result of the second, along with a cover of the song “Arthur McBride” that was just released. They aired already, but we’ll be making the performances available again in the new year so keep an eye out.

Q: Where is the best place fans can stream, watch and buy merch from Mipso?

Jacob: All of our music is streamable on all of the places music streams – and you can find merch and some fun updates from the band at our website or Instagram/Facebook. http://www.mipsomusic.com or @mipsomusic

Thanks to Jacob and Libby for answering my questions… up next for interviews are Van Hunt, Jenna Rae, Alex Simmons and many more…

Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias.

Britain’s Got Talent

Callum Lacey

Q: So I first saw you on Tik Tok in my search for music artists to interview.. What is your take on social media apps on being the 21st century avenues for new artists like yourself trying to get discovered? Do you have any preference? Tik Tok, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch etc?

A: I love social media & I think it’s a great way to help grow as an artist and show people more about yourself. Before, social media was about you, you couldn’t just swipe through someone’s page and find out what their interests are or stay updated with what what they’re up to day to day. Me personally, I’ve always loved Instagram but I think that Tik Tok is the new thing! Tik Tok is like no other platform. It allows you to go right from the bottom all the way to the top. That’s why I love about it.

Q: Tell me a little bit about Callum Lacey. When did you realize that music was going to be your thing? Any musical influences? Who would you love to perform with one day?

A: I always loved music and I have been writing and singing for as long as I can remember! When I was young, I always used to put on my headphones and listen to Ed Sheeran’s ‘plus’ album on repeat. I remember going to one of his gigs at the 02 Shepherd’s Bush and feeling the bass shake through my body whilst everyone sang back his lyrics! It was the most amazing feeling. In 2018, when I was 16, I wrote my first ever song called ‘Life Story’. I took a lot of inspiration from Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes when I was writing this record. I remember trying to save up enough money so I could get in the studio, record it and release it, Eventually, I had enough, got into the studio and released the song on Spotify and Apple Music September 5th, 2018. Since then, I have been working on a lot of new material and have worked with some really cool people. I just can’t wait to show you guys what I’ve got in store for you next!

Q: What is a hidden talent that your fans don’t know about?

A: I do a lot of ice skating! At the moment, it’s hard because none of the ice rinks are open so I really do miss it. But when they open back up again, I’m sure that I’ll be back on the ice! I’m also really good at eating Nando’s. If anyone wants to challenge me and my Nando’s eating talent then get at my socials!

Never Let You Go

Q: You have a new song out, Never Let You Go…give us a little background on the track..is there a whole stash of songs somewhere that are just waiting to be released? And what made you choose to decide to release this song first?

A: I wrote, Never Let You Go, this year so it’s still feeling really fresh and it’s exciting to watch the song grow. All the people who I showed it to before the release gave me positive feedback and couldn’t stop singing the chorus, so I felt like that was the right track to release first. I’ve got a lot of songs written and recorded too but I’m at a stage in my career where I have to be even more of a perfectionist when choosing my new release. I only want to release songs that are real and that think not only myself but the fans will connect with, it always ends up being my best work. I’m constantly learning and developing my writing and performing skills and everything I release I want the fans to know I’ve put my heart into it.

Q: What is an average day for Callum Lacey?

A: I usually wake up about 8:30am and have a shower and get ready for my day! Then I’ll typically sit down at my desk and crack on with making music. I like to go out in the evenings, whether it’s just for food or to see some friends…not too sure how that’s going to work with the lockdown!

Q: So the world has kind of been on a roller coaster in 2020….how has this year been for you? What have you done to stay positive?

A: It’s been really hard. I’ve got to be honest! But I’ve been going on lots of walks, going to the gym and doing as much exercise as I possibly can because a healthy body is a healthy mind. I’ve been doing a lot of writing which helps to make the days feel shorter and is also a way to put into words how I’m feeling – it’s so important to check in with yourself regularly, let alone during a national lockdown. I also try to speak to my friends as much as I can even if it’s just on FaceTime. I think it’s really important to speak to people about how you’re feeling.

Q: So Will your fans see an EP out anytime soon? Where can fans find your music?

A: At the moment, I only have 2 songs out on all major platforms, “Never Let You Go” and “Life Story” but I promise you guys, I’ll be releasing bigger and better stuff soon. I can’t wait!

We can’t wait Callum… stay tuned for more interviews including Mipso, Jenna Rae, Ranky Tanky, Van Hunt, Peezy and Lala plus much more..

Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias

Welcome to Fulton

Lightning 100 Radio

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.

James Brown; Little Richard

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..

Until then, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias

Time for Overcoats

Hana Elion & JJ Mitchell are Overcoats

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.

Salvation Army Thrift Store

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.

Fight Club

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

The Fight

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

Highway to Hellcats

Hellcats – Halloween 2020

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.

Sonja and Sasha Zagorc of Hellcats

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.

Beekeeping in Slovenia is one of the oldest traditional activities & an important part of their cultural heritage.

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 actually lived 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.

Clockwise L – R: Rock Goddess; Judas Priest; Doro; Pantera

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.

Socially distanced outdoor event in Slovenia

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 language and 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?

Sasha: We are working on new songs and the new album now.. you can find our music on Facebook; Instragram; iTunes

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.

Teenage Kicks

L to R: Alex & Max Karafillis of Beyond Chaotic

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.

Tampa Bay, Florida

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.

Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day

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. ***

Unsigned Only winners list

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.

Until then, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias.