ME & MUNICH – ‘Knives Of The Sun’

(ScreamLite)

Me & Munich EP Cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Earlier this year, experienced musicians Jan Petersen and Marco BØgehØj decided to further develop the melodic noise rock sound that has already given them much success in their native Denmark, and ‘Knives Of The Sun’, the duo’s debut release as Me & Munich, is the result.

While the sound remains relatively melodic, energetic, and uncomplicated, it is clear throughout the five tracks that a few tweaks have been made, for example, the two-piece have taken a fresher approach towards their songwriting, and are better able to combine elements of post-rock, noise rock, and ambient rock to create tunes that are more cohesive, atmospheric, and better guaranteed to get the toes tapping.

These are ably aided by a vocal delivery that is a clearer representation of the lyrical content, dealing with the complexities of the human psyche, and can also compliment the musical compositions with further ease.

All in all, ‘Knives Of The Sun’ is not the perfect EP, however, it provides a more effective showcase of how Jan and Marco have matured as musicians and songwriters since their last release, and it will be interesting to see where they go next.

TOP TRACK: ‘Knives Of The Sun’

(3/5)

Me & Munich band photo

FURTHER INFO ON THE EP, AND ME & MUNICH, CAN BE FOUND HERE.

 

 

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POP-PUNK NEWCOMERS DOWNCAST ANNOUNCE DEBUT EP AND UNVEIL NEW LYRIC VIDEO

Downcast EP Photo

Pop-punk newcomers Downcast drop their ultra-magnetic self-titled debut EP on Friday 11th January 2019. In anticipation, the fledgling outfit have just revealed a lyric video for their blistering debut track, ‘Anthurium’.

Channelling emotive drive with addictive melodies, Downcast wear their hearts on their sleeves. Drawing influence from everyone from seasoned luminaries such as The Wonder Years and Alkaline Trio, to highly-rated UK stewards ROAM and Neck Deep, the band’s reach is notably diverse, and their sound is intoxicating.

Downcast were only formed this year, however, the trio have wasted no time perfecting their set and working tirelessly on their debut EP with revered producer Ian Sadler (Anavae, ROAM).

The band’s lead vocalist, Liam Edwards, commented: “We wrote and demoed the EP in our bedrooms over the course of about five months. I wanted to write something honest…I hope that this EP will resonate with anyone who is going through a hard time and helps them to feel less alone. I’ve used putting my thoughts and feelings into songs as a way of coping with negative emotions for a while now; it gives them a long-term purpose. I feel that negative things in your life often reveal positive meanings over time. If the things I’ve written about never happened, these five songs wouldn’t exist today.”

Downcast don’t reveal their debut EP until January next year, but it is certainly worth the wait. Expressing five slabs of truly engaging heartfelt melodic punk, this is a band that are destined to break out to a national audience.

Over the coming months, the industrious tunesmiths will release a series of singles and videos, as well as announcing their first UK tour. Big things lay ahead for the band.

‘ANTHURIUM’, THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM DOWNCAST, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S SELF-TITLED FIRST EP WILL BE RELEASED ON JANUARY 11 2019.

FURTHER INFO ON DOWNCAST CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

AUDREY

Audrey band photo

AUDREY (from l-r): Tom Small (drums), Ben Farr (lead guitar/backing vocals), Ben Stephenson (bass/backing vocals), Josh Darby (vocals/guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by LUMA CINEMA

Having formed two years ago, four-piece Audrey have firmly established themselves on their home city of Hull’s music scene with their own brand of rock n’ roll, accompanied by live sets that are engaging and energetic.

Now, the emerging outfit are looking to branch out of Humberside, and one of the first steps they are taking towards this is with a debut EP, coming out next month.

To tell me about that, and more, was the quartet’s frontman, Josh Darby.

How did the band form?

Tom and myself met at an open mic night around three years ago. I wasn’t playing in a band, but had a whole bunch of original songs, and we started jamming.

Tom already knew Ben Stephenson, so we quickly got him involved, and worked as a three-piece for a short time, searching for someone to come and play lead guitar, and eventually, we found Ben Farr through Facebook, and we’ve all been playing together ever since.

From where did the name Audrey originate?

Audrey was the name of the winning snail I used in the Humber and District regional snail racing championships in 2014. We named the band in her honour (RIP).

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

I tend to come with the songs as shells, then as a band, we build them up, rearrange them, add or take bits out, and make them into what they are, but then again, some songs are made in the rehearsal room out of spontaneous jams, so nothing’s ever ruled out.

What inspires the band lyrically?

I think, lyrically, it has been influenced by all of the experiences I’ve ever had really.

I don’t tend to write about a given thing, I get a hook or a line stuck in my head, and sort of see where it leads, but once a song’s written, when I look back on the lyrics or the feelings in there, it almost always relates to some sort of emotions I was feeling at some time in my life.

Next month, you will be bringing out a debut EP. How has the recording process been for that?

It was great. We recorded it earlier in the year at LOOM Studios in Birstall with Grant Henderson, who has had a lot of experience with big name bands and labels, and seemed to really understand where we are coming from as a band, and also how to get the best out of us all.

We rented a house just down the road from the studio for the week, so it was great to be away from home and any distractions, and to just be able to focus on the music.

We couldn’t have been happier with the result, either!

And what can be expected from the upcoming offering?

Well, the single ‘She Says’ is out now, with our first ever music video, and the reaction so far has been awesome! People have been really positive, and we can’t wait to get the full EP out for them!

It’s only four tracks, but each one has something quite different about it. We like to put on a good, energetic live show as well, so we definitely tried to capture a bit of that in there too.

The band have taken the Hull music scene by storm this past year with engaging and entertaining live shows. How is the experience, for you all, of performing on stage?

Absolutely great, as a band, we always put all of our energy into playing live, and to see and feel the energy coming back from an audience, dancing to music you’ve written together and created yourselves, it’s what we live for.

What are your plans for the rest of 2018, following the release of the EP?

I think we just want to have our music heard by as many people as possible, and to play as many gigs as we can really, the same modus operandi we’ve always had.

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

Just to keep progressing to the next level I guess, wherever that is.

‘SHE SAYS’, THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM AUDREY, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S FIRST EP WILL BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH.

FURTHER INFO ON AUDREY CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

SOUNDCLOUD

YOUTUBE

 

ROZU

Rozu band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

An emerging four-piece from Colorado, Rozu, comprising of vocalist Tim Graham, guitarist David Sundine, bassist Henry Navarre, and drummer Brian Robertson, are aiming to take the post-hardcore world by storm with an eclectic, hard-hitting but melodic sound.

The two singles, including latest release, ‘Fearless’, the band have brought out so far have been positively received, which bodes well for when they bring out their debut EP towards the end of this year.

The Denver quartet told me more about that, as well as themselves, when we spoke recently.

How did the band get together?

We came together back in January this year. We had all been playing in bands around the Denver area for years, we all had this vision on how a band should operate, and the pieces just kind of fell into place.

We all have this drive and ethic to us that just has everyone grinding and pushing this band forward.

How did the name Rozu come about?

The name came from the idea of a rose blooming, a kind of metaphor for the band. We also wanted something that was short and sweet, only one or two syllables, and our guitarist brought Rozu to the table, as it is the Japanese word for rose. We polled it around, and people really liked it, so from the other five names we were considering, Rozu was the one that was chosen.

How would you describe your sound?

Our music is pretty much all over the place, but rooted within our love of post-hardcore.

The songs can be straight-up acoustic, jazzy, or heavy, as we don’t want to just keep writing the same track over and over again, resulting in our sound becoming rather formulaic, but no matter what it is, it’s always going to be driving and very melodic.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

We are all over the board with our influences, but our main ones are Underoath, Every Time I Die, Saosin, and Taking Back Sunday.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Our approach is really just depending on how we are feeling on that given day, hence our diversity in sounds. We live in such a beautifully digital age and have these abilities to share ideas over the web, so we really write first, then jam them out in a practice space.

What inspires the band lyrically?

With the lyrics, Tim always really tries to find positives in the negatives. In a very unique and kind of straightforward way, he talks about his own personal hardships or problems within our society, trying to fight the light in the situation and preaching hope for everyone.

How is the experience, for you all, of playing live?

We are working on some of our first shows right now, but it will be an experience with high energy. We don’t just want to be that band that plugs in and plays, we really want to put on a show with production value.

What are the band’s plans for the near future?

Currently, we are still writing and have about 16 songs done and ready to go now, so we are going to continue to just keep putting singles out there to continue growing our fan base while trying to formulate an album.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

For us, we just love/need music in our life, so our long-term plan is to just continue to grind and write and create art to share with the world.

Rozu Single Cover

‘FACELESS’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM ROZU, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S DEBUT EP WILL BE RELEASED TOWARDS THE END OF 2018.

FURTHER INFO ON ROZU CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

SYLAR

Sylar band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Taking their name from the primary villain of late 2000’s sci-fi drama Heroes, Sylar are a five-piece from New York City.

Having formed in 2011 from members of various bands on the Big Apple’s post-hardcore scene, the outfit have truly gone from strength to strength ever since, redefining the rap-metal genre, and positioning themselves as a champion of the underdog, with a sound full of unrestrained energy and huge anthemic choruses.

Currently supporting pals Beartooth on a US tour, the quintet’s frontman, Jayden Panesso, spoke to me about their upcoming third album, ‘Seasons’, how that was put together, what the fan base can expect from it, and much more.

How did the band form?

Funnily enough, we formed on the internet. I was already playing bass and doing backing vocals in another local band in New York, but I wanted more.

I wanted to tour the world and write the music I really wanted to write as a lyricist, so I set out with a goal, and went out looking for people online.

It was so hard, but after some trial and error, here we are. It’s wild to think about how close we are now, not only as a band, but as a family.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

To be honest, it has been different for each record. This time around, though, we took our time with it. We were able to go in the studio with lots of material already written, and it made the process a lot smoother.

Before going to California to fully finalise the record, Miguel and I would send each other ideas back and forth while we were off tour. He would write instrumentals, send them over, and I would brainstorm and send my ideas back.

Thank you modern technology for stuff like FaceTime, as that always helped us be more in touch with each other while we were putting this record together.

What inspires the band lyrically?

I take a lot of pride in my lyrics, it’s something that I’m very picky with. I guess it also doesn’t help that I’m a massive perfectionist, as at times, I’ll sit down with a lyric for days just because one word bothers me (laughs). It’s a blessing, but also a curse.

For ‘Seasons’, I wanted to be very straightforward. I want people to understand the theme and message of each song with the first listen, you won’t have to read between the lines for this one.

I always find inspiration lyrically by just writing about my personal emotions. When I put a record together, it’s like an open diary.

Speaking of ‘Seasons’, coming out next month, how was the recording process for that?

Like I mentioned earlier, it was a more relaxed working environment this time around. We knew exactly what we wanted with this album, so that was already a massive plus. We’ve also grown more mature as musicians, so us coming in prepared with much more material than previously just made everything a whole lot easier.

And how will it differ from the work that the band have put out up to now?

I think people have already weighed in their opinion on the new stuff thus far, as we’ve already released two singles off ‘Seasons’, and fans can tell the difference. Like I said, it is more straight to the point, and it’s easier to listen to vocally than it ever was before.

You’ve supported bands such as Issues and Memphis May Fire, as well as playing at festivals such as the Vans Warped Tour and Slam Dunk. How, for you all, is it performing live?

Performing live is hands down my favourite part of being in the band. I can go on a limb and say the rest of the band feel the same.

Our set time, whether it’s 25 minutes, 45 minutes – is ALWAYS sacred. We take our live performance really seriously, and we always want to be the BEST on every stage, so I think it’s very important to go into shows with that mentality as artists.

And the band have also toured Europe with Of Mice & Men, and Australia with Miss May I. How were they as experiences?

Honestly, playing in different countries is probably my favourite, especially as I used to daydream about being in a successful band that would play shows over the world. It’s amazing. When I step out on stage for things like that, I always talk to myself and give myself pep talks, like, “soak this in Jayden, this is what you always wanted“.

You have a following around the world, had over four million views for your videos, and have also had approval from the likes of Corey Taylor. When the band started, did any of you expect all of this to happen?

It’s crazy because we were working so hard, while also sacrificing tons of things to be able to get this band up on its feet, but even in the midst of all of that, all the things we’ve accomplished already seemed so far out of reach, you know? It’s like you gotta see it to believe it.

I’m just thankful and proud to see our hard work paying off, and it’s only just the beginning.

What are the band’s plans once ‘Seasons’ has been released?

Well, we’ll already be on tour by then, so we’ll be playing new songs and supporting the album. My goal always is to bring our new music to as many places as possible worldwide.

And finally, what advice would you all give to any bands/artists that are just starting out?

Man, I could write a never-ending list of mistakes I’ve made (laughs).

My best advice to any artists trying to do this would be to be patient, and take your time. Things get scary, and exciting, but the best bet is to always take your time.

Also, make sure that you’re happy with what you’re putting out to the world, and lastly, just be yourself, as only you know yourself, and it’s never worth it to be something that you’re not. Real recognises real, and people relate with that the most.

Sylar Album Cover

‘SEASONS’, THE THIRD ALBUM FROM SYLAR, WILL BE RELEASED ON OCTOBER 5, VIA HOPELESS RECORDS.

THE BAND ARE CURRENTLY ON A US TOUR SUPPORTING BEARTOOTH, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Sylar tour poster

MORE INFO ON SYLAR, AND THEIR UPCOMING RELEASE, CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

BANDCAMP

YOUTUBE

 

J.E.F.F. II

J.E.F.F. II photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Jefferson “Jeff” Fichou is currently best known for being the lead guitarist for Los Angeles-based, French-originated indie-rock/folk six-piece Charly & Faust, but now, he hopes to be recognised as a solo artist with a new musical project, J.E.F.F. II.

Having already released a debut single, entitled ‘Sleepless’, with the video for that currently getting much coverage on social media, and with his first album coming out soon, Jeff went into further detail about the project with me, as well as what he hopes to get from it.

How did this project come about?

I’ve been playing in bands for many years. I still do, but I needed to release my own music at some point. I had a lot of pre-written material in my computer, but it took me a few months to settle down and start to work on my tracks.

It takes some time to develop your identity as a solo musician, but there’s no better feeling than releasing music that is your own.

From where did the name J.E.F.F. II originate?

Well, my high school friends used to call me “J-E-2“, because they listened to a lot of hip-hop, and I was the only rock dude in the group.

I wanted to keep the name simple and catchy, and everybody has been calling me “Jeff” for years, so it was a natural choice for me.

I use the number II (two in Roman numerals) for aesthetic reasons, it also looks dope as a logo, and it’s easy to include in the merch.

I initially wanted to keep my real family name, but then, I figured out that it would be impossible for English speakers to pronounce.

I’m from France originally, but now I live in Los Angeles, so I’m trying to fit in!

How would you describe your sound?

It’s a blend of electronic music and guitar-driven rock n’ roll, with a bit of pop as well, and I think my music can appeal to electro fans, hard rockers, pop-punk guys, and guitar nerds.

It’s hard to put a label on it, as it’s too electronic to be considered as pure rock, but it has too much of a rock vibe to really be described as electronic dance music (EDM), and the riffs and energy are both similar to pop-punk.

What are your main musical influences?

As a producer, I like bands such as The Prodigy, for their beats and energy, and The Glitch Mob, for their very chiseled and interesting production.

As a guitarist and rock n’ roll fan in general, I like Jimi Hendrix, The Stooges, Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, I also like punk rock, with its high tempo and high energy, and I also play funk and blues guitar, so I try to throw a few Fender Stratocaster licks into the songs.

My favourite guitarists are John Frusciante and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and I spent a few years playing with jazz musicians, so I do sometimes like to play some old be-bop tunes, but the jazz aspect isn’t really obvious in my music.

What is your approach to songwriting?

I usually start by writing a riff on the guitar, then I will record it with a synthesizer. From there, I will add a groove or a beat, then mess around with some effects and samples, and later on, I will throw some lead guitar licks into the mix, as for me, it’s all about vibes and textures.

There are no specific messages in my songs, I just want to write a good instrumental track that people will either enjoy in the comfort of their own homes, or during a live performance.

I like to play with dynamics a lot, my songs, with their ups and downs, are like a journey.

How is the experience, for yourself, of playing live?

At the moment, I’m actually rehearsing, to get ready for touring next year. I have done some solo gigs in the past, but never with the current formula, as I’ve been too busy being a guitarist for other bands/artists all of my life, and it’s going to be exciting to lead, as well as to showcase what I’ve been working on for months now.

Initially, it wasn’t easy for me trying to figure out a way to play my music live, but eventually, I started to build this concept of me DJing and playing guitar at the same time, with a bassist and drummer behind me. It’s like a rock band with a DJ/guitarist up front, instead of a singer.

Touring aside, what have you got lined up for the near future?

I will be bringing out a new album soon, and of course, there will be a lot of gigs to support that. Also, there’s a new music video, and single, in the works, maybe even a collaboration with someone, as well as some re-mixes, so for me, it’s going to be a very busy few months ahead!

The video for my last track, ‘Sleepless’, has been doing quite well on social media, so I will try to contact as many people as I can, to help my project move forward.

You mentioned a new album then. How has the recording process been for that?

It was a blast! I usually record some demos very quickly, then I will spend weeks and weeks editing them, adding some effects, some extra instruments, some vocals, but when you’re doing this kind of music, you need to set some deadlines, otherwise, you’ll be tweaking knobs and making constant changes to your tracks until the end of time.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

Tour as much as possible, and to grow as big as possible! Also try to reach a new audience and to bring more people along on this journey.

To be honest, this is a tricky question to answer, as many musicians, in my experience, don’t really think long-term, and not a lot of bands can predict where they’re going to be in 10, even five, years, as the industry moves so fast, and we, the music makers, have to try to adapt very quickly.

‘SLEEPLESS’, THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM J.E.F.F. II, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND HIS FIRST ALBUM WILL BE RELEASED SOON.

FURTHER INFO CAN BE FOUND THROUGH J.E.F.F. II’S INSTAGRAM AND YOUTUBE PAGES.

 

FILMSPEED

Filmspeed band photo

FILMSPEED (from l-r): Nick Stout (guitar/bass/backing vocals), Craig Broomba (vocals/guitar), Oliver Dobrian (drums/backing vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Originally from Detroit, but now based in Los Angeles, Filmspeed are a three-piece that have dedicatedly combined melodic hooks, soulful grooves, and anthems guaranteed to get the blood pumping, to create a indie-rock sound that they can truly call their own.

This, in addition to a thriving stage presence, has resulted in the band gaining a devoted fan base, as well as much critical praise.

Having recently been on a US tour, promoting well-received third album, ‘Hexadecimal’, Craig Broomba, the frontman of Filmspeed, spoke to me about the successes, as well as some of the trials and tribulations, that he and his band mates have had up to now.

How did the band form initially?

It has pretty deep roots just outside of Detroit, Michigan. The bassist, Nick, and I grew up in the same town, went to the same high school, worked at the same grocery store etc.

We started Filmspeed with the drummer from the project that took us all out to Los Angeles, a pop-punk power trio with keyboards and loud hair called No One Goes Home.

The first Filmspeed record was put together remotely while each of us had lives away from each other (laughs).

Unfortunately, life takes precedent sometimes, and the original drummer decided to leave, therefore, the second record was a massive purge of material once we welcomed our next drummer.

Now, here we are on album number three, and it’s the first to feature our newest and most bestest drummer/singer/guitar/piano/ degree holding musician/ hell of a great guy, Oliver.

Okay, so now I’ve told you what has gone on in the last two years in this whirlwind of a band, we’re caught up.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Typically, I’ll get an idea somewhere around the 70% complete range and present it to the band. We’ll jam on it, destroy, rebuild, and polish, until we all love it as a Filmspeed future hit.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Life. There’s so many stories to tell, so the music almost always comes first. Once we have a clear idea of what that is, it gets really easy to know which story goes with which vibe.

A few years back, two of you relocated from Detroit to California. What were the reasons behind the move?

We had a motto, which was also the name of the band we moved out here with, “No One Goes Home“. It was about making a career in music our top priority.

Detroit is the greatest place to have as your hometown, as you’ll never find a more honest, loyal, passionate, and tough group of people anywhere, however, as a young pop-punk trio, though, we decided to jump in to a sea of people, and make as big a splash as possible.

And how was it trying to establish yourselves in a new settlement?

It was tough before we got here, and tougher every day, but luckily for us, there’s music fans everywhere you go, and so long as you’re doing something real, they’ll find you.

Also, the biggest advantage to planting a band in Los Angeles is that you have a daily opportunity to busk outside the Capitol Records building! (laughs)

Recently, the band released an album, entitled ‘Hexadecimal’. How was the recording process for that?

This record has two drummers featured on it, with just over half of it written and performed with Oliver, as the songs are written over the course of about four years.

The original plan was to put out an EP by mid 2016, but of course, life happens.  We had a solid batch of nine tracks to choose from, all done on our own with help from our great buddies at AEA.

However, during the talks about how and when to release them, we amicably split with James, our previous drummer, so obviously, we had some retooling to do, therefore, we took time to play live and get a groove, but then, we had to go on hiatus for a few months, during which Nick lost his father, and my mother passed away not long after that. #fuckcancer

Once we got back, we made sure we were settled, unshook, and ready for anything, and we quickly make the decision to make it an LP, so it was back to the studio at AEA, and then, we turned it into a real product at Manifest Music in Santa Monica.

With Oliver at the drum kit, another 11 songs exploded out of us, with the final count being 19 jams, all totally different, fresh, raw, and handmade.

And how has the reaction been to the album so far?

Pretty fucking rad!  We got added to some great Spotify spots, got two videos featured with some killer magazines, and have been singing along with the crowds all year long, so it’s been awesome.

How is the experience, for the band, playing live?

It’s everything, as we see ourselves as a live band. No matter what stage it may be, we’ll leave it all there every time.

Now that the album has come out, what are your plans for the near future?

We’re currently preparing for the release of our next single, ‘Bless My Soul’.

It’s coming up quickly to a year since the LP first came out, so we’ve got a video to make and support the new track, so we’re most likely looking at an October release, and after that, we’ll probably bring out one more single before the new year, and then we’ll be hitting the road and planning an EP.

Meanwhile, we got new episodes of our podcast, ‘Consistently Off’, as well as the ‘#NailedIt w/ @CraigBroomba’ vlog constantly renewing on our Facebook page.

And finally, what advice would you give to any emerging bands/artists out there?

Whatever it is that you do, do what you love, and don’t let anything stop you.

Filmspeed Album Cover

‘HEXADECIMAL’, THE THIRD ALBUM FROM FILMSPEED, IS AVAILABLE NOW, VIA AWFULLY GOOD RECORDS.

FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE