Interview: Jonathan Something

I do love music. I know that much. Something else I know is that it is not everyday that I hear a song (or in this case multiple songs from the same artist) that one after the next, stop me in my tracks. That, “Who is this and how have I not heard it yet?!” moment. Brooklyn, Connecticut-born Jonathan Something snagged my ears immediately. Yep, both ears. The first track I heard was “Heartbreaker.” Equal parts soulful and cynical, “Heartbreaker” features Jonathan Something’s insane ability to write crazily catchy tunes both lyrically and instrumentally. Somehow, he found time in his songwriting frenzy to answer a few questions I threw at him. Check it out:

 

 

MFL: It seems like you unashamedly have the best time creating music wrought in satire. How did this become the kind of music you felt comfortable settling into?

Jonathan Something (JS): I think my writing style spawned out of an inability to take anything or even myself particularly seriously. I like music where the writer’s personality is palpable within the writing or even within the sonic palette and I think my personality is most importantly linked to my sense of humor.

MFL: Your debut album, Outlandish Poetica, was released in 2018. Clearly much has happened musically since then, although 2018 was just yesterday. If you were to recap the time since that release in one sentence, what would it be?

JS: It’s been an eye opening ¾ of a year.

MFL: Where do you pull your lyrical material from and what does that writing process look like for you?

JS: Usually all over the place. Sometimes biblical, other times personal, most times my ass.

MFL: When do you feel the most creative and how do you harness that creativity?

JS: Ironically enough I find inspiration striking most when driving in the car listening to music other than my own. Something about having all my senses on full alert jump-starts my brain.

MFL: You very clearly have a knack for meshing your lyrical AND instrumental capabilities. What is the origin of these skills and how have these skills developed with time?

JS: It’s easy when it’s basically all you do with your free time. Instrumental capabilities came from necessity more than anything else. I’m not much of socialite so I don’t have a deep well of capable musicians I could call on to come play on my records. I had to get good enough to get by on most instruments. As far as lyrics go, unless you’re some well read natural born poet, you’ve just got write a lot of sh*t lyrics, have some self awareness, really know your tastes and eventually it starts sort of making sense some of the time and the rest of the time you’re stressed out with a killer guitar lick but nowhere to go.

MFL: Rewind to age 17. What role did music have at that time during your life?

JS: I was on my way to college to study music production. Didn’t quite pan out how I dreamed it would. Was making more electronic music at the time. Had only finished a handful of songs at that point.

MFL: Is there any one song that you have written thus far that you feel embodies what you do as a musician? If so, why?
JS: It’s difficult to pin down to one song because I don’t plan on keeping the same sound around for too long. I’d say my first album embodies me holistically because I originally released it as scrap material placing little confidence in it but apparently people saw more in it than I did in myself.

 

Special thanks to Dan Rutman at Solitaire Recordings for coordinating and JS himself for participating! Follow JS on Facebook, Spotify and Instagram.

Latest single from Terence Jack: “Found It”

Terence Jack and his band are back with a new sound for 2019. Their same captivating and insanely catchy energy is now wrapped in a more electronic fashion; reinvented. “Found It” was released earlier this year and is the first single off of the upcoming album titled, Bloom. TJ’s grounded voice is flushed out with lovely harmonies and instrumentals that build as the song progresses. The track reflects on TJ’s awareness that throughout the journey in life in which we are trying to find ourselves, sometimes we already have. And, acknowledging those times in which you become a “stranger” to yourself due to whatever ragged form life has put you in, that you can find the strength and wherewithal within yourself to come out on the other side.

 

 

About the track, TJ shared with me:

“‘Found It’ started with a drum loop I made on an OP1, a small portable synthesizer / sampler. I sort of belted “two strangers” as the first thing that came to mind with the loop blasting in my home studio. From there I had the verse ideas and brought them into the studio with the producer and long time friend Daniel Klenner. We built on it from there. This was one of those songs that got us up out of our chairs during the “aha” moments. I’m really pleased to have written my first positive happy song in a while. It’s harder to do for me.”

Listen to the new single and more on all your favorite streaming platforms and follow TJ on his official website. AND, if you want more, check out an interview I got to do with TJ last year before he passed through Montana.

Interview: London’s, ONUR

ONUR’s music is instantly captivating. It’s complex and layered, driven by sexy, dance-heavy beats and shimmers with a young energy that was also palpable in his answers to my interview questions. London-based currently and highly inspired, ONUR is off to an insane start as a musician, already playing sold out shows after the release of his debut EP, A Millennial RhapsodyCheck out our discussion below and be sure to keep up with him as he’s got “an absolutely hefty pile of music” he is finishing up now!

 

 

MFL: A Millennial Rhapsody has three bold and unique tracks. How and when did you know that these were the three tracks you wanted to represent your debut EP?

ONUR: They all represented different facets of my life, in the most me way music could.
Each of them also pushed my production and songwriting capabilities, and I think they stand as three incredibly great tracks.

It’s weird, like you just know… I can’t really describe it, other than, it just made so much sense at the time.

MFL: What sort of feedback have you received for A Millennial Rhapsody and has the release of the EP lead to any shows this past spring and current summer?

ONUR: I mean, the feedback has been amazing so far, from critics and regular listeners alike.
After playing a sold out EP launch, I had about 6 more shows lined up. They were all packed, some even sold out. That was an insane feeling, given that I’m not anywhere near stardom yet haha.

I’ve got two Sofar Sounds gigs coming up and a couple more venues to be confirmed by August for the start of the new semester, but that’s about it on the gig front for now! If you follow my Spotify page, my gigs get updated regularly!

 

MFL: You mention that you grew up in a white middle class school and stuck out because you were of a different ethnic background. Where is your family from and how do you feel your ethnic origins influenced your music?

ONUR: My family is Turkish. So you can imagine I’m the abomination of the family, gone in to do music with my life haha.

I don’t really think my ethnic origins have affected my music in such an obvious way. I was born and raised in England, therefore most of the culture I’m drawn to is British. But I’m naturally drawn to more haunting sounding things and music with minor melodies, I think there could be a link between the melancholy that Turkish music has, which is a mixture of Arabic, flamenco, western traditional and so many other genres. As opposed to the more happy melodies you hear in Brit pop.

MFL: Do you recall any particular moment in your life when you knew music was going to be part of it?

ONUR: Honestly, not really hahaha.

It was ALWAYS there. My mum distilled a love for art in me from such a young age that I couldn’t pin point a particular time in which I knew music would be a part of it. However, after I wrote my first ever good song around the age of 18, I decided that I actually might have a chance at this professionally.

MFL: Who have you collaborated with for mixing and recording and how did these collaborations begin?

ONUR: Well the entirety of my last EP I collaborated with an extremely talented producer/writer called LJ. He initially started following me because of a Sofar Sounds gig I did a while ago, but because he kept popping up in my stories on Insta, I did some digging, only to find a link to his Soundcloud. After hearing the first song on there, I DM’ed him and we pretty much hit it off straight away.

MFL: How did the remix of “Beamin” come about and how do you feel about having one of your tracks remixed?

ONUR: Haha it’s funny, a lot of my mates are also music producers, so usually I’m really hesitant to give them anything cuz I don’t want them to do a better job at producing my song than me haha.

But of course it’s very humbling that someone would actually spend time doing that. So I’m very grateful for it.

MFL: Are there any musicians or albums that you could say are the “soundtrack” to your summer?

ONUR: Hmmmm, not any album in particular no. I don’t listen to new music that much haha.

I pretty much listen to obscure electronic music, or flamenco if I’m not listening to more commercial stuff. But I’ll always go back to my favourite albums :

D’Angelo – Voodoo
Disclosure – Caracal
Prince – Purple Rain
Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/LoveSounds

MFL: Finally, what have you been up to since the release of the EP and what is in the pipeline?

ONUR: I’ve been gigging!
I’ve played a few shows so far with my band, and a lot more to be played, I’ve got two Sofar Sounds gigs coming up and a couple more live gigs to be announced (follow the insta @onursevigen to find out more 😉)

I’ve got an absolute hefty pile of new music that I’m just trying to finish up at the moment. All I know, is that my trajectory has been straight up so far, and I plan to keep it that way. So the next releases have to be as good, if not better than my previous releases.

 

Big thanks to ONUR for taking the time to dig into my questions! Keep track of him on Facebook, Spotify and Instagram!

Interview: Rachael Cardiello of ZINNIA

The moment “Bullets” hit my ears, I knew I was going need more. More information, more music. An explanation. Zinnia‘s commanding vocals soar flawlessly above a stunning blend of folk and mellow pop/electronic. For some reason, this song struck a chord with me. I dug a little deeper and learned that the song was written a few years ago in my home state of Montana, adding another layer of depth. Lucky for me, I was able to ask Rachael Cardiello, the woman behind Zinnia, how, what, where and why. Check out the single, “Bullets”, off of her upcoming debut album, Sensations in Two Dot and read more about it all below:

 

 

MFL: Where are you from originally and how did your life land you in Toronto?

Rachael Cardiello (RC): I grew up in Helena, Montana and moved to Victoria, BC  to study classical music when I was seventeen. What I had thought would be a four year stint in Canada just kept extending – I fell in love and eventually my partner and I  took root in Toronto which has been a very inspiring homebase. I’ve been lucky to collaborate, tour and record with some truly sensational artists here and find the energy of this massive, multicultural centre very exciting.

My heart will always lie in the mountains though. I don’t think I could be a full time city kid without a solid dose of Montana every so often.

 

MFL: When did music become part of your life and has its role in your life changed over time?

RC: Oh jeeze, music just seems to have been part of everything forever. Feel like I could get rambly here.

Creativity was a constant in my childhood – our house was always strewn with instruments and art supplies. I was equally involved in dance, visual art and music but gradually music took precedence. In high school music began to split between a formal education and a very personal emotional-outlet. One had me me playing in the symphony, competing in concerto competitions, and earning scholarships to University – while the other had me pouring my heart into songwriting – spending hours alone with the piano –  as a way to understand some difficult things happening in my life. The following years came with such destabilizing chaos – I lost my father and wrestled with severe mental illness. I’m not sure how I would have gotten through that time period had I not been processing through music.

In more recent years, music has become the professional vehicle that allowed me to collaborate, record and tour with truly wonderful artists throughout North America and Europe both as a side-player and with my own music.

 

MFL: As “Bullets” builds, in its stunning crescendo, the lyrics get more desperate, I can hear the pain in your voice. Can you divulge a bit more into what “Bullets” is about and how/why it came to you when you were in Montana?

RC: There are statistics I heard when I was young – particularly involving domestic violence and sexual assault – that seemed extreme. Yet through the years these statistics very much become a reality for people (particularly women) in my life. Bullets was written one summer – staying with my mom in Montana – when I was feeling the collective weight of these experiences become overwhelming. It sometimes seemed impossible that each person would have the strength to carry on through their pain. I’ve been astounded at their resilience.

 

MFL: You mention that you carried “Bullets” with you for four years before you settled on a final arrangement. How did the arrangement change over time and when did you know it was finished?

RC: Leading up to ZINNIA, I toured with many of the same musicians under my own name – Rachael Cardiello. In those years our sound morphed from chamber folk to a retro sound with Motown-inspired arrangements. The material I was writing for this album – starting with Bullets – had such an intensity to it, that it was difficult to find a sound with depth enough to contain both the intimate and furious moments. It’s a precarious balance and I found the smallest differences in synth tones or bass lines could undermine the directness of the lyrics.I was especially precious about Bullets. I really needed to get this one right –  and a huge amount of thanks goes to my producer David Brandwein and my partner James Burrows for pushing me to find the sound that could hold it.

 

MFL: Where do you seek inspiration when writing your music and do the lyrics or melody come to you first?

RC: Lyrics and melody seem to come intertwined. Lately I need movement to write – usually biking around Toronto – and I’ll roll around a phrase and melody as I go. I can usually sense the chords and underlying rhythms. When I have time with a guitar or piano, I’ll search around til I find them. Sometimes the trick is pushing beyond what my head first heard as those are usually the safe, expected chords. In my side project TIDAL MOUTH (a collaboration with writer Daccia Bloomfield) I purposely reach beyond any sound or structure that is familiar. Though ZINNIA is more rooted in pop, it’s been hugely affected by the creative, experimental process of TIDAL MOUTH.

 

MFL: Can you get a handle on what it is about songs you listen to personally that really grab you and get you to listen to them over and over again? Do you strive to put these same elements into your music?

RC: I’m very drawn to the rougher edges of sounds and voices. That split-second crunch where the bow draws across the string, the breaks and warbles where the voice is less comfortable. Influences on that realm are Bill Callahan, Lucinda Williams and certain recordings of Shostakovich.

I’m mesmerized by movement and get especially hooked on music that is rooted in dance and the journey through a soundscape and idea. Everything is better when it moves.

The music that really catches me has something to say. For all the time and money one pours into creation, I think it’s a waste not to think through what you’re trying to say to the world. Either on a larger, political scale – artists like Hurray for the Riff Raff and Bruce Springsteen – or on a deeply personal level like Mount Eerie.

Those are the most essential elements in the music I’m drawn to and I think they definitely inform how I make music – sometimes subconsciously just in letting me embrace those aspects of my writing.

 

MFL: I’ve got to know, is your upcoming debut, Sensations in Two Dot, named after Two Dot, Montana? I can’t say I know very many people who know Two Dot. It is only a couple hours from where I live, in Bozeman!

RC: Ha yes! I grew up in Helena and always got a kick out of the name Two Dot on that Montana map. Also, sometimes Toronto is referred to as T-Dot and I like the juxtaposition between how incredibly different these two places are – population 67 verses 5.9 million.

 

MFL: What can we expect on Sensations in Two Dot? Does it tell a story or have a concept? Feel free to lump this answer with the above question.

RC: Sensations in Two Dot focuses on moments of doubt – creative, societal, and personal – exploring what it means to hold compassion through the grey areas of life. Whether in Two Dot or Toronto these nine songs probe the complex, sometimes unsettling similarities found in the human experience: the hauntings of unrelenting dreams, tensions and tender triumphs in relationships, systems of abuse threaded through communities, and the search for compassion and visibility in everyday interactions.

 

MFL: Finally, beyond releasing your debut album (no big deal…;o)), what sort of goals do you have for 2019?

RC: Oh jeeze we just want to be playing as much as possible. Our live shows have been wildly fun – explosive and giant – and we’ll be taking our crew on the road for a slew of shows across Canada with a few in the USA including Montana! Sensations in Two Dot will be out in the Fall and followed with European and North American tours.

 

Big thanks to the lovely Rachael for answering my questions and to Auteur Research for connecting us.

And before you go, PLEASE check out her latest single, “Black Bark, Yellow Leaves”, out today!

 

 

Summer time vibes from Copenhagen: “24/7” by Scarlet Pleasure

Within seconds, this song totally got snagged on my ear waves. The poolside vibes feel like summer sun blasting its way through those gray spring clouds that are hanging heavy right now. “24/7” is the newest single from Copenhagen trio, Scarlet Pleasure.

Check it out:

 

The trio is made up of Alexander Malone (bass), Emil Goll (vocals & guitar) and
Joachim Dencker (drums). Goll had this to say about the track:
“We’ve been portraying our very own generation on several songs. Searched for the truth, why we try to escape or at least bend reality with second life social media and endless partying combined with alcohol and drugs. On ‘24/7’ we confront the ultimate drug of them all – love! – and how easily it can effect and distort your life in so many ways.”

 

Featured Image PC: Märta Thisner