Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reuben Koops || Los Angeles Q&A

I am a firm lover of three things: music, Tasmania and travel. And this post has essence of all three.

I first listened to Reuben Koops after his audition for a popular Australian music reality show was passed amongst my friend group. Hailing from my own home state, it was an impressive feat, we thought, to be up in front of the nation.

Since then he's clearly had a lot on his plate and he's stopped by Love 'Em to fill us in!

The Telstra Road to Discovery is a prestigious competition to be finalised in. Why did you decide to enter this experience?
It was a bit of a no-brainer being such a great opportunity to learn from heaps of industry professionals and extend myself as an artist. [I] loved it.

What was it like as support act on the Two Strong Hearts Tour?
It was so great. Massive stages and massive crowds and supporting two huge artists who have had long successful careers.

Tell me, do support acts actually get to rub shoulders with the headline artists?
I maybe wouldn't say rub shoulders - haha. I definitely got to meet and chat with both of them, which was great!

You released your Slate EP in March, how do you feel dropping an EP compared to a single? Is there a difference?
With an EP, I get to offer more than one track. I this gives the listener a better insight and context to me as an artist; more so than if I was to release a single.

But really we've gotta talk about Los Angeles! How has this trip come to be?
We have been planning it for a while now. It has always been a dream of mine to work with David Ryan Harris so we made it happen and I'm just so stoked to be over here doing it!

What are you hoping to come away with from your time working with David Ryan Harris?
On top of a handful of newly recorded tracks, the experience of working with David and the band he has put together has been unimaginable. I'm hoping to come away with a great new release for my fans!

What are you going to be working on during your time in the US?
I'm working between a couple of different studios here in LA on my next release. Working with producer David Ryan Harris on the songs and spending time recording them in the studios.

Will there be some exciting new music after this trip?
For sure. Keep and eye out!

What else will you be getting up to in LA? Is there any sightseeing planned or just work?
Yeah, I had a little time to check out the LA sights but [I] am also checking out San Francisco and NYC while I'm here.

I know that you have a very beautiful wife, is she jetting off with you or are you bringing her home a little something?
She is here with me and we are having the best time!

Buy the EP || Visit Reuben's Website

Friday, May 22, 2015

Evangeline || New Artist Interview

The Greek name Evangeline means to bring good news, and let me tell you, Evie's music is only good news. This nineteen-year-old has some seriously enviable vocal cords and the musical backing to match. And CHEMICVL is a standout debut single and I'm certain that you'll want more music from this girl too.

But before we can get our hands on whatever sensational piece of music this girl is blessing the world with, she's stopped by Love 'Em. So meet Evangeline, I'm sure she'll do a much better job of introducing herself than I can.

CHEMICVL is a strong debut track, was it what you wanted to kick-start your music?
Thank you! It was so important for me that CHEMICVL was my first contribution to the world of music. I wrote this song roughly a year ago, it was really written as a way to let go of a certain time in my past and I couldn't think of any way better to begin a journey and in another way end another period of time in my life. CHEMICVL has always been a song I have been completely possessive with; I hold such a personal attachment to it.

Electro-pop is such a fun genre, have you always been drawn to this side of music?
I have always enjoyed electro-pop but [I] never really imagined I would be writing and performing it! I had really seen myself as a rock musician because I had more influences coming from that genre. I think I am still experimenting and getting deeper into the genre the more I write.  

Speaking of, how early is 'this early on'? How long have you been working towards this debut?
[It's] still very early. I have been writing and performing music most of my life but it was last year when everything started moving along with more of a purpose. I think the pivotal moment was when I collaborated with Gavin Campbell on his dance track The Saboteurs.

I've been told that you like writing about things that matter - what matters to you?
A lot of my writing has been based on a few topics. I am not sure whether this was the music I was listening to that triggered my attachment to these topics or whether it was the mix of experiences I had personally been through. These experiences really revolve around depression/anxiety and drug use (other [peoples'] drug use that is; I don't use drugs). Music has, and always will be, my best way to vent these experiences, highlighting good and bad moments I have had. Every song is personal - I am yet to write a song based on a character.

Is there anything that you've wanted to write about but don't think it'd work as a song?
Well, I do feel passionate about tacos...Not sure if it would be a sassy track though.

You're a classically trained singer, how does this translate to the music you're working on currently?
I think that being a classically trained singer really translates more to some songs more than others. I think it's really cool being able to put it through my heavier electronic songs because it is quite a distinctive sound. It can give me more range and separate my tracks from other electro-pop sounds. It's fun being that little bit different from the stereotypical form.

Evie's Facebook || Triple J Jukebox
Single Released May 29

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Marianne Digs || Meet the Artist

 When I was little all I really wanted was to be able to play the harmonica. I mean, you can buy them for $2 at discount shop and some people just make them sound amazing. (And I was never encouraged to play the ever-screeching recorder...Sorry Mum.) I never quite mastered the harmonica, but Marianne Digs would put me to shame either way. The Australiana feel, harmonica playing and killer lyrics is a recipe for amazingness (sorry to my English teachers for the made up word). Take a deep breath, it's getting real.

Marianne Digs is a pretty unusual stage name for a group, where'd it come from?
It's actually one of the songs off the upcoming EP. We should probably invent a mythos rich back-story about why we chose to also make it the name of the band, but honestly it just came down to 1) We liked the way it sounded and 2) When we Googled it the only thing that came up was a list of things Marianne Faithfull likes ("Marlon Brando, Woodbine cigarettes, poetry, going to the ballet and wearing long evening dresses"). We thought that was a good sign.

What about the actual group? How did it start?
It was the fusing of two separate groups who used to gig together, blue-rock band The Velvets and The Thrusts. When The Thrusts broke up, songwriters Brendan and Tom (the guy writing all this) wanted to keep writing and playing songs, but they had become more interested in singing catchy love songs than screaming at punters' faces. Though to be fair we still sometimes find an excuse to scream.

I Will Love You Till I Don't Love You Anymore has quite an Australiana-feel to it. Is this the type of music you listen to and are inspired by?

We definitely listen to a lot of Australian music (The Go-Betweens and The Drones are definitely big influences) but honestly I think we sound that way because we're Australians, who don't feel the need to sound like anything else. We speak with Australian accents about Australian places. To do otherwise would seem kind of pointless.

 Do you have a favourite lyric from this song - why is it important to you?
Probably "I know the book it tells us that it's easy to be kind/But it's easier to fail and gets easier every time". I didn't want to write a breakup song of heroes and villains. There are a million songs where the singer has been irrecoverably wronged by their lover and so they leave righteously and gloriously. There's fewer about the day to day struggle of not just loving, but being kind to the person you love. Even when it's all falling apart.

Is it hard to put relationship anxiety into a song?
If I'm honest it's hard not to write about relationship anxiety of one kind or another. I'm an anxious guy. So the writing part's not hard. The releasing part is a little dicey, though. Makes me kind of anxious.

When you're writing a song, where do you start?
There's no one answer. When I started this song I had this opening verse written about a couple running through these suburban streets, then the song veered into this relationship breakdown. So for weeks I kept trying to change the first verse, but for some reason it never worked. It wasn't until I gave up on fixing it that I realised it was actually the perfect opening. This couple in love and on the run.

Which is your favourite part of the writing process?
The part where you finish and dopamine floods your brain because you didn't f*ck it up. Often when I'm writing it feels like there's an unseen countdown clock. You'll be in the middle of fixing the bridge when you realise the song [has] died an irreversible death. You're just left with disjointed, embarrassing couplets that haunt your notebook. So when you realise an idea has survived to become a song, it's pretty gratifying.

How do you personally know when a song is finished?
Me personally? Brendan tells me to stop f*cking with the lyrics.

Is there anything you can share about your upcoming EP?
It'll be out in early July and it's got stuff to dance/drive/cry to. Honestly, we could've chosen any of the five songs to be the lead single. We're crazy proud of it. Like us on Facebook if you want updates on upcoming gigs/film clips/news about the EP. Like us telepathically if you want some good vibes.

What else should we know about Marianne Digs?
We don't really believe in telepathy, but we do love you very much. Also, you can buy I Will Love You Till I Don't Love You Anymore at http://mariannedigs.bandcamp.com/releases for a buck (!) or for slightly more on iTunes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Shelley Segal || Interview

I mentioned this in my previous post but Shelley Segal is the big sister every girl needs. Her songs are filled with the body positivity, relationship, mental health, and general empowering advice that I kind of want to bottle her up as my personal advice-giving genie.

Sidelined is a pretty amazing song, is it a recent tune or have you been working on it for a while?
Thank you. The track has been in the works for a while. I wrote it back in 2011 yet we only started recording it late last year. It was fantastic to hear it come to life in the studio. I'd been looking forward to getting down. The clip we shot this February.

Body image is such a big topic for so many people, but it isn't very often covered in music in such a real way. What inspired Sidelined?
I wrote the song after a romantic liaison where my lover said that he wanted me to change the way that I looked for him - that I was perfect for him except in my weight. I wanted this song to describe how I felt after this situation, and after other scenarios where the way I looked affected the nature of my outcomes.
A lot of discussions on body image tend to proclaim that 'it's what's inside that counts'. While I agree to a certain extent - character is more important to me than looks, the reality is that the way you look, and the extent to which you subscribe to or reject society's expectations of beauty will have a major impact on your life. The song for me is accepting this reality, reflecting on it while questioning whether it is something we can overcome.

How did you feel about yourself after you wrote this song? Did it change your perspective on your own body?
It was definitely empowering to be able to sing so explicitly about my body and someone else's impositions on it. It helped me to gain a clearer understanding and acceptance of my thoughts on the issue.

Can listeners expect a similar sound throughout your new EP?
The whole EP was recorded at Birdland Studios with Robert Upward and Lindsay Gravina. The band was the same throughout the project (except for a couple of feature players). We really wanted to keep the sound consistent throughout the record. For one session we had a live recording over Skype as the keys player, Luke Howard, was in Iceland and we wanted him to play on all the tracks. No escape!
The content of the songs is similar in that they are true to experience. They are my reflections and emotions, a perspective that is composed through my experiences and create a space to engage with ideas relating to the everyday.

How do you know when you want to write a song about something? How do you pick the topics you sing about?
Occasionally something will happen to me and even before it's over I'll know that I'm going to write about it. Other times an idea or topic will brew in the back of my mind until the first musical part of it comes out. I like to write about what engages me, what is taking up my attention at that time. After my first album , An Atheist Album where I wrote an entire album after leaving my religion, I decided I liked the idea of completely immersing myself in a topic and writing a whole album about it. I'm looking forward to creating something like that again.

Do you have a song (from this album or a previous release) that you're especially proud of? Why this song?
From this EP, I'm quite proud of Sidelined. I really wanted to put across an idea that was more observational [than] judgemental which is hard when you're, in a way, sticking up for your own body. I think I managed to do that. Another song on the EP I'm really proud of is Background Noises. It was written about some close friends of mine getting divorced. I tried to put myself so completely in that situation, to look around me and imagine what would be different from my life. It's always scary writing about someone else's experience. You want to get it perfect but don't want to be presumptuous. My other favourite tracks are Eve (discussing Jewish and Christian liturgy's taken on woman's roles) and Apocalyptic Love Song (discovering there is no meaning to life).

I hear you're a veteran on the touring circuit; do you still get nervous before debuting new tracks live?
I'm lucky that I have gotten to tour quite a bit! 3 tours at home, eight tours of the US and my first English tour last year. You're spot on - it can be hard to share new tracks, regardless of how comfortable you are on stage! It's different with each new track. Sometimes you're so excited about a track, you're just bursting to play it. Other songs can take a few runs before you feel confident with the response.

Thanks so much for having a chat with Love 'Em!
Thanks so much for having me and for sharing my music!  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Reviews || Music Recommendations

It's Up To Me - the latest single from Melbournites The Colour Code - makes me seriously happy; I've been dancing away to it all afternoon. The grungey, rock-esque bass line doesn't let you down (I was ready for the repeat button before the song had even finished) and can I just take a moment in appreciation of those vocals? Thanks to these talented guys, I'm already excited for the next track!

I can't really tell you why, but Reuben Koops' Slate EP makes me think of weddings. Maybe it's the slow, folky ballads or the simple guitar playing, I'm not really sure. But I do know that this offering is oozing with talent, class and some seriously breathtaking love songs. Just seriously, listen to it. Koops won't disappoint - and I am not just saying that because he's Tasmanian. Slate might just be the sweetest EP I've heard this year.

Oh my, oh my. Morgan Bain you are insane! (Okay, sorry I just couldn't help myself..) I am so unbelievably lucky to get to talk about people like this guy. I mean seriously, the talent that Bain shows on his What You Believe EP is just stealing all my words - and that's not something I really have to worry about very often. The rocky feel is amazing no matter what, but I could love it purely for the nostalgia it brings me. Growing up a total daddy's girl, I spent a lot of time listening to Aussie rock and this just brings all of that back. Kudos.

Shelley Segal's Strange Feeling EP is like the older sister I've needed my whole life. Tackling everything in an upfront, straight-to-the-point kind of way, I was starting to wonder if Shelley had been perusing my own thoughts. The music itself is so unique and easy to listen to. I don't know exactly how to explain the sound - you should just listen to it maybe?? - but just trust me when I say it's all good!

I mean at first I was confused because my iTunes thinks I'm listening to Country & Western, but we all make mistakes. The Hounds EP, whatever it may be mislabeled as, is definitely not a mistake. It's deliberately amazing (I mean who sets out to make bad music..?) and I've been a fan of these guys since I first listened to them. Check it out.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Colour Code || Interview

After their last stop here at Love 'Em - in which they shared a hilarious Day in the Life - these four musos from the self-described "best city in the world" have been busily working on their follow-up single It's Up To Me and working on a potential music video.

But more importantly they've bought a Nutri-ninja. Which I had to google to find out what it actually was, but I kind of want one now. So with that being said, welcome back The Colour Code.

Hey, it's... Mike S. from The Colour Code.

We'd describe ourselves as... four happy-go-lucky guys from the best city in the world, just trying to make a splash in the enormous ocean that is the Melbourne music scene.

Our music is usually... big, full and crammed with hooks. Although sometimes we like to bring it down to flex our slow-jam muscle.

We wouldn't mind being compared to... whoever/whatever: from The Killers to Frank Ocean, or from Death Cab For Cutie to Hall & Oates. All of which we have actually been compared to!

Our new single is called It's Up To Me because... I think people forget how much 
influence they have on themselves, their partners, and their peers. Everyone. People give you a lot, and as a member

It's  the perfect follow up to Alibi because... it's more accessible. We've shown this song to many people of all ages and demographics. The beat is killer, the hook is contagious but not in a 'throwaway pop' sense, and it makes people at our live shows dance.

It's mainly about... the internal struggle between your selfless and selfish side.

Lyrically we're inspired by... the likes of Brandon Flowers, Andre 3000, Chris Cornell and John Mayer, as well as the lyrics on the latest Father John Misty record. Intense!

And musically... I can honestly say everything. Our drummer Dave has a hardcore background, our bassist Scott is [into] House, Ryan on guitar grew up listening to Jeff Buckley and I love a whole lot of R'n'B and Hip Hop.

We became a band when... we road tripped to Sydney. We spent 20 hours in a car together to play one show. We learnt a lot about each others' awkward sexual encounters, got super inebriated together, and played an amazing set to a venue full of strangers somewhere in-between.

Since then, we've... been writing some absolute gold and polishing our live set. Also, I bought a Nutri-ninja. It's fantastic!

We're currently working on... a potential music video and a live YouTube session.

By the end of the year, we're hoping that... we have an official EP released with our best music to date!

At a The Colour Code gig, you can expect... something you've never heard or seen at a live show before. Don't expect hipster beards, ironic trendiness or high-strapped Telecasters.

We'd love to headline... a tour. We'd love to have the fan base to warrant one. And we'd love to play with some killer Aussie bands that are down to earth and create good honest music.

The most thing about music is... remembering why you started it in the first place. Remembering that initial spark that gave you goose bumps and trying to keep that feeling alive.

The most important thing about our music is... that it's fresh, unique and that it's all ours!

One last note... give our single It's Up To Me a spin. It's just the tip of the iceberg...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Morgan Bain || Interview

You know how some people just get it? They might be young but they're doing what they want to do and they're totally killing it already.

Well, let me introduce you to twenty-year-old Morgan Bain. He's killing it in all the right ways. 

After taking home Song of the Year in the WAM contest, Bain is making waves and has some seriously exciting things coming for the rest of they year.

And because what's a new artist without a quick stop by at Love 'Em?! So don't be shy, say hey to Morgan.

It's seriously hard to believe by listening to your music that you're only twenty, how long have you been working on song writing?
I wrote my first song when I was 10 years old. It was about a homeless man that I saw one day and I had strong feelings about seeing him in that situation, but I wanted to know what other people thought so I wrote a tune about it. I've been writing ever since!

So for those who mightn't know, what is WAM? What does your win mean?
WAM stands for West Australian Music Industry and winning an award in their Song of the Year competition feels great because you're getting recognition from your peers in the Industry and it reassures you that you're on the track.

Now you're heading off on a national tour, what should we expect if we head along to a show?
The new single Why Don't You Stay is an alternative moody soul sound but generally it will be a pretty upbeat show with some fun jams in there too! I'll also be doing some tunes from my current EP What You Believe and also my previous EP.

Is there any show that you're particularly excited to be playing?
Hard to pick one. I'm excited for all of it really. I'm keen to play Adelaide because I've never been there and I'm interested to see how the shows in Melbourne go. I'm also looking forward to playing in Hobart with my band for the first time and Launceston too. Tassie is one of my favourite places!

How did you decide on Why Don't You Stay as your newest single?
I think Why Don't You Stay perfectly explains where I'm at in my journey of music, so to speak. It's different from what I've written before and I knew as soon as I'd written it that it would be the new single.

Can you share how this song came about - what's the story behind it?
It's a song I wrote about giving your everything to someone and the anxiety you experience because of that. You don't want those anxieties to get in the way or take over how you feel in your relationship, so you are constantly fighting for it...   

When did you realise that music was something you could do as a job?
I guess when I was about 15 and you have to focus on the whole career thing and I never thought of doing anything else but music. I tried to think of other things that might interest me but I just wasn't able to come up with anything. Hahaha

What happened from there? What've you been doing to get to where you are now?
[I've] just been working constantly writing songs, playing shows, recording and trying to get my music out to as many people as I can. I've entered song writing competitions along the way too, which has given me some success and I've been lucky enough to support some really amazing artists.

What's the rest of 2015 got in store for you?
The National Tour runs from April 17 to May 17 from Perth to Adelaide, Melbourne, Tasmania and then as soon as I get back I've got an overseas invitation to a huge Conference/Festival (that I can't announce yet) and then loads of WA shows, as well as more recording, etc. It's going to be a busy year! 
Buy What You Believe EP: iTunes || Visit Morgan's website