Interview: Temple Haze + Narou

Today, Temple Haze and Narou release their Reflections EP. But first, in case you missed this gem from the collaboration between Temple Haze and Narou, please check it out before we go on:

 

 

Temple Haze and Narou teamed up recently to create “If I Could Be Yours” and I got to ask both of them questions about how they came to work together, what music means to them and much more. Check it out!

MFL: How did you two come to work together and what do you bring to the table as individual musicians?

 Temple Haze (TH): We met through mutual friends in Berlin, I really dug Nico’s production style and we worked on ideas for most of 2018. As a composer and songwriter it’s really great to meet a producer like Narou to help put the songs together.

 

MFL: Where did each of you grow up and how/when did music become a permanent fixture in your lives?

TH:  I was born in Washington D.C. and spent the majority of my childhood listening to my mothers vinyl records – classics like the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Elton John, etc. My mother has always been a singer so I learned everything from her. I knew I wanted to make music from about the time I was 14, and spent ages in my basement learning and trying things out.

Narou (N): I grew up in Vienna Austria. Music played a big role in my life from an early age since my dad used to have his own music studio. I move to Amsterdam to study sound engineering right after Highschool so I would say it became a permanent fixture around that time.

MFL: Outside of music, what do your lives look like?

TH: Me and Nicos both believe in living healthy. I do yoga everyday, and work on improving my meditation practice. Otherwise I do a lot of work with Soneiro Collective – a Berlin based project holding space for sound meditations, combining yoga and music, curating festival stages.

N: I love sports and nutrition so whenever I am not making music I am outside moving my body or in the kitchen exploring.

MFL: “If I Could be Yours” is such a subdued track. How did you know you were done with it and was there ever a time where it was perhaps over-engineered?

N: It actually took us a very long time to finish it cause we really wanted the track to evolve in an unexpected way to give the listener a unique listening experience. I sometimes felt it was overengineerd for sure since it has been the biggest project I worked on to date. We recorded so many different musicians and instruments so it was hard to get everything organized the way we wanted.

MFL: Do you have a specific goal in mind when writing music (a message to be conveyed to listeners etc) or do you prefer to let listeners perceive/understand your music uniquely?

TH: Great Questions. I always have a deeper meaning behind my lyrics that adapt to my personal situation but, yes, I prefer to let the audience create their own view of it, how it affects their own lives. That is the beauty of music and lyric – it creates memories. I find listening a song will bring me back to the place I was when I first listened to it, and I can tap into that memory vividly, put myself back in that space. Otherwise it’s all about love – I try to purposefully evoke positivity and deeper metaphors through my lyrics, always coming back to love.

N: Personally, like many of us, I always try to deal with real life situations when writing songs. However I feel like the way I say and write things it might not always seem obvious what exactly it is I am saying. So I’d say I kind of like the idea that the listeners might interpret my lyrics differently.

MFL: What is coming down the pipeline from you two and how much longer will you be collaborating?

N: We have two more tracks coming end of March that will be the last tracks of our collaborative EP, Reflections.

MFL: What does it mean to you to have “If I Could be Yours” highlighted as one of Spotify’s fresh finds?

TH: Stoked! Especially because we never hired a PR agency or paid promo, so glad to see that music can still spread and make waves on its own, outside of industry money motivating it.

N: It was the first real release I had on Spotify. So having it put in an editorial playlist was huge for me.

MFL: Because we are at the beginning of a new year and I love reflecting on musical favorites of the past year, list one or two favorite releases (full records or tracks) that you could not have gotten through 2018 without.

TH: -All Night Sedans – Leif Vollebekk : Heard it maybe 1000 times in 2018, the whole album, Twin Solitude is genius.

-Forest Green – Big Red Machine

N: –Daniel Caesar – who hurt you

 –6lack – east Atlanta love letter (album)

 –Octavian – little

Big thank you to Temple Haze and Narou taking time out of writing music to share their thoughts with MFL! Look out for more from them as the year goes on!

 

 

 

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

NEW Playlist: Spring Vol I

Now that we’ve had a decent stretch of decent weather and it’s probably going to snow, I will reveal the first installment of the spring playlists! I have to say this one may be the best yet. It is PACKED. Be sure to listen to it to the bitter end. Coming in at almost five hours, it may be the longest. Spring is a bountiful time for music so enjoy.

 

Interview: Jeppe Gade of Favor

Danish singer/songwriter/storyteller, Jeppe Gade, has been sharing his music with anyone who will listen since 2015. This desire to share music began on the streets of Rio, Sydney, London and New York and his musical project, Favor, is now catching ears across the globe. Below, Jeppe opens up about why his music sounds the way it does, the motivation behind his art and what it’s like to be vulnerable as an artist and musician.

 

MFL: You’ve only officially started releasing music over the last couple of years but I imagine songwriting began much before we started hearing you! Tell me how Favor started and what the impetus was for beginning your own project.

Jeppe Gade – Favor (JG): I still remember the chords for the first song I wrote and if I try really hard I think I can remember the first couple of lines as well. It’s kind of crazy, cause I think I was like 11 or 12 when I wrote my first song. Needless to say, it’s something I’ve been doing almost my entire life. That doesn’t mean that I’ve been doing it well all the way through though. I took a lot of detours along the way, moving through different genres and expressions before ending up with Favor. I think I took a long time to figure out how I wanted Favor to sound because I simply like a lot of genres. Sometimes I still waver when I need to describe what Favor sounds like. It’s hard when you’ve taken everything you like from your past and put it in the mix to sound what you sound like. What really made a difference was something that happened during a self-proclaimed world tour in 2014-2016. I always feel really inspired when I travel. Not really because of where I am going, but more what I am travelling away from. It has always felt easier to look at the life I am living in Copenhagen, when I’m not in Copenhagen. So this time I was playing in New York City at something called The Bitter End and I was playing on a Sunday, I remember. I’d long been wanting to write songs that was more for me than they were for everybody else. I’d found a 1985 Phil Collins album “No Jacket Required” a few months earlier and that kind of changed something in the way I wrote songs. I started going back to where it all started, which was the music I’d been brought up with. My mum loves the 1980s and all the really pompous popstars from that period and my dad is 1970s kind of folkrock guy. And that Phil Collins record just reminded me of that. So I’d started writing songs that had those two decades as inspiration and because I love well oiled pop-tunes, it became this special little thing. A kind of alternative throwback pop project. Back to New York. This was the first place where I started playing these songs and I just felt how it resonated so well with a live audience, which was interesting, cause really it was just something that I made for my own. I needed to explore this and that’s how Favor initially started.

MFL: Your music makes me want to move, ha! What is the drive behind creating music with such dance-able feel and do you foresee yourself exploring other less dance-able tracks?

JP: Before I started Favor I’d been travelling around playing tons of gigs where it was just me and an acoustic guitar. This is still something that I love to do. I was almost two years on the road – playing streets, bars, small venues, big venues, warm-up-and cool-down shows. Going through Copenhagen, Rome, Istanbul, New York, Rio, Hamburg and a lot of other places. Something that you learn when you are just you and an acoustic guitar is how to make a groove with very limited means. But I was always trying to really get people to dance, even though I only had this guitar and my voice. But I just really wanted, and still want, people to move to my music. So when we went into the studio to record the first Favor EP, I knew that this was something that I wanted to make even clearer with the Favor songs. So every time I start working on a new song, I instantly think; “okay, so how is going to translate in to a concert setting, what is going make people want to groove, move, scream and dance.” That being said, we are working on tracks that is less dancey than my previous stuff and if you go back and listen to my first EP a song like “Cold Summer Love” is also much more mellow than my other stuff. So it’s definitely something that I explore.

MFL: List three to five of the most influential albums or artists for you. They can be from the past or present.

Phil Collins / No Jacket Required:
​My mum played this records to death when I was growing up, so they are kind of a soundtrack to my childhood. I bloody love these albums.

Blood Orange / Cupid Deluxe.
​Dev Hynes is wizard and I think this album was the best case of taking retro-sounds from 80s and 90s and just making killer popsongs out of them. Saw him live last year and he’s extremely captivating on stage.

Wham! / Fantastic. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Neil Young / Harvest 
​I know the lyrics to this entire album

Kanye West / 808s & Heartbreak 
​He’s a mad dog but this is still one of the best concept albums of the past 20 years. I love a consistent expression in visuals and in concept for artists and it’s something that I really try to do with Favor. I think this is one of the purest examples of exactly that.

MFL: Who else is behind Favor in terms of instrumentals, recording, mixing/mastering and how did you find them/bring them on board?

JP: After my self-proclaimed world tour I came back to Copenhagen. I’d been home a couple of weeks, when I got a message from two musicians – Daniel Brandt and Mark Laursen (Kill J) – that had some tracks that they thought would be fun to try and have me sing on. I knew Daniel from a previous project. We starting working on a few different things but never really made something that I could see myself in. Then one day I was sitting at Daniel’s place having a coffee and just chatting away. We started talking about music that in some way – at least at that time – really wasn’t cool or at least not seen as something you should reference when making contemporary songs. I mentioned some of my 80s influences, I think actually underlining the Phil Collins album, and Daniel asked me to sing along to one of the tracks on that record and so I did. After that he went “we should really do something as sticky and completely over the top as this.” After that I pulled out some of the stuff I’d written and played in New York. After a while we had 3 or 4 songs and we went to another producer called Søren Christensen (M.I.L.K, Nabiha, Fallulah) and he completely understood what I was trying to do with the project. So since the start of 2017 these guys have been musical playmates and we all share the passion for uncool pop, ha ha.

MFL: Your music has a deliciously 80s-inspired sound. What is it about this kind of music that appeals to you?

JP: Musically I draw a lot on the 70s and the 80s. In regards to the 70s I go there for groove and instrumentation. That’s both disco vibes but also kind of folk-rocky things. I go to the 80s for my sense of melodies and that sort of pompous pop-feel. I just really like how things can be very much in your face in the 80s era. It was just very much over the top.

MFL: I hear such incredible music coming out of Copenhagen these days. Describe the music scene there from your perspective and tell me what it’s like cultivating your own music among such a rich environment of musicians.

JP: I definitely feel some sort of vibrant thing going on in Copenhagen these years. There’s so much great stuff happening and tons of extremely talented artist and bands. Something probably happened after acts like MØ and Lukas Graham made it on the international scene and thereby “taking Copenhagen” with them out there. That has definitely made a lot of artist go “hey man, the world is watching, so let’s make the best music we possibly can and let’s try and be ourselves in it.” That’s what both MØ and Lukas did and therefore we don’t just have good artists in Copenhagen, we have artists that are also doing it in their own way. I think that’s really something that cultivates an amazing indie scene. Now, this is just my own assumption and completely subjective. But if you compare CPH to Stockholm for instance. In Stockholm they are brilliant at making effective, catchy and out of this world pop songs. That’s their focus. But in CPH the focus is more on creating a unique sound as an artist and try to find your own place to stand.

MFL: I’ve read that “Call My Name” was sort of a ‘confession box’ for you and an exploration with different instrumentation. How did writing and releasing this song feel different than writing/releasing your previous tracks both from an emotional AND stylistic standpoint?

 

 

JP: It felt terrifying! But the response has been crazy good. After I released my first EP and started playing more and more shows and getting more attention I also started comparing myself to other acts. And you can always find someone who has bigger crowds, more plays, more followers and so on. And I always ended up comparing myself to unrealistic standards, acts like Paul McCartney or Michael Jackson, which is just plain dumb. So I wanted do something drastic to change this. I took all my vain thoughts: “I can do this and this if you want to just recognize me.” I hate that I have these thoughts. So I took all of them, put them on paper and really didn’t want anyone to ever read them. I was working on this song that had a kind of indie-disco vibe and couldn’t really find the lyrics for it. Then one guy in the studio said something like; “well, let’s just write down every line that we never would put into a song.” That made me think; “well, how about an entire story that I never wanted to tell anyone?” And that’s how it came about. The funny thing is, that this song is what made me get a record deal and I never really wanted anyone to hear it in the first place.

MFL: I’m sure you have other activities besides music in your life. What are your other passions and how do they influence your music (if at all)?

JP: I’ve been telling stories all my life. I use to speak up at family parties and just tell stories, having people look at me, laughing and paying attention. I realized pretty early that it was something that I bloody loved and something that I was really good at. So I started writing stories, poetry, small essays and also began making small videos to support this. And this sounds kind of strange, but that’s also how I see for example my Instagram profile and especially the Instagram stories. I wanna tell a clear story there too. I think it’s also something that was supported by the years I spent as this kind of travelling troubadour. When you play in the streets of Rio you need to stand out. Everyone is playing well, so I also started telling a lot of stories between songs. And it’s rare that you see a guy just telling stories in the streets, so that made me stand out. And now I’m taking a lot of those stores into my music as well.

 

Big thank you to Jeppe for taking the time to share his thoughts with us. You can follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.

Debut EP from Rockaway Beach’s, Patsy

Friday March 1st brought the EP release of an up and coming favorite of Rockaway Beach, Patsy. Not only did Patsy release a five-track EP of pure nostalgia-pop, in a collaboration with his wife and film maker, Laura Nesci, they released a visual for each track. The visuals were recently premiered at the Rockaway Beach Film Festival.

Through the fuzzy nostalgia that taints each track, Patsy’s voice shines through crystal clear. My favorite example of this is on “Why Am I Waiting on You?”:

 

The simplicity of the tracks is brilliantly approachable and easy to relate to, offering a place for listeners to settle in very easily. No overthinking or over interpreting. “Fucking Amazing” is the perfect example of this. Though the track has to be handed out to the public with the EXPLICIT stamp in all caps because of the repeated F bombs, the track captures the essence of those moments when all other words escape besides “fucking amazing!” On “Call That Love”, his recurring howl gives the title of the track a very literal, but perfectly playful, meaning. The EP is sweet, clever, concise and delicious.

Laura Nesci coincidentally created the accompanying visuals for the EP the very year that Patsy was writing the EP, accidentally capturing the unique process. Nesci had this to say about the visuals:

It’s a love letter to our hometown of Rockaway, the people we love here, the recurring memories and repetition of everyday life and work superimposed over the magic of people working together in creative process.

and Patsy had this to say about the visuals and his wife ❤ :

The visual companion my wife made just couldn’t fit nicer with the music and the message and I’m very lucky to have her.

The EP is available on Spotify now and please enjoy the visuals on Patsy’s YouTube Channel.

 

Interview: Katey Brooks

Upon first listen of Katey Brooks’ newest single, “Never Gonna Let Her Go”, I was instantly captivated by her raw passion for song and her ability to share this so extensively with her listeners. Brooks’ career is intercontinental, collaborative and fueled by not only her love for music, but the winding, but sometimes painful, path her life has taken. I had the absolute pleasure of having Brooks answer some of my questions. Read all about it below.

 

 

MFL: You said that a “couple of years ago I just thought screw it; I want to sing completely honestly. It felt like a weight lifted.” What were the events leading up to this moment and do you look back on it with a sigh of relief?

Katey Brooks (KB): I think moving to London really helped.  London is so intensely diverse and so vast that you feel a sense of anonymity, and a safety to be you. And then I met and fell in love with someone a lot younger than me who just wasn’t phased or afraid by it at all – I was inspired by that.   Slowly but surely, my fears fell away.  I think yes, it’s been a massive sigh of relief.  I’m very grateful I can be out and free.

 

MFL: How did you find music amidst your chaotic upbringing in the cult and when did you realize music was something you could count on?

 KB: There was music everywhere when I was growing up.  Both of my parents were huge music fans – my father previously a singer-songwriter, and my mother a dance teacher in later life.  I was fascinated with songs, artists, instruments, singing, you name it, from a young age, and I was always encouraged to pursue those fascinations.  I don’t think I realized just how much of a saving grace music was to me until I started songwriting properly when I was sixteen.  Then the penny dropped, and I haven’t stopped since.

 

MFL: Tell me about the EP, I Shall Be Released, that you recorded with Tom Moriarty. How did you two come together and what was that recording experience like? Your voices are truly stunning together.

 KB: Thank you!  One night we both played a show together in Bristol, my hometown.  I had started covering Dylan’s song “I Shall Be Released”, and I asked him if he fancied doing a duet with me.  He happily agreed and we had about 5 minutes to rehearse before performing it.  It went down a storm and we both loved it, and so afterwards we said, “Hey, why not make an EP!”  3 years later we followed through haha.  We recorded it with the wonderful Tristan Longworth in London.  He produced it so my job was super easy, I just came in and sung!  We had fun, I love Tom he’s a lovely and talented man.

 

MFL: Is there a particular audience you want to reach the most with your music? If so, who/what is that audience?

KB: Not especially, no, just anyone who connects.  But if I had to choose, someone who felt a strong need for connection in their life, and someone who would take some peace, catharsis and or solace from the music and the words.


MFL: Some of your music has a powerful gospel sound to it. Where does this sound come from for you personally and how does singing music with gospel undertones make you feel compared to music that has a more folk undertone?

 KB: That’s such a great question and not one I’ve been asked before.  My mum played a lot of gospel or gospel-esque music when I was growing up and we’d go to concerts and singing workshops.  We loved it.  There’s something so raw about it, I can’t help but be moved.   I’m not religious, but singing to something bigger than me (for me I guess it’s universal love) is beautifully powerful and moving.  I feel that singing my folky songs too though.  Anything feels good if I mean it.

 

MFL: Your new record is under construction! Do you have an album title or a taste of a story line you can share with us?

 KB: I do!!  Oh go on then… 😉  It’s going to be called Revolute

 

MFL: When you are not writing, recording or performing, what are you doing?

KB: Eating pizza, drinking red wine, hanging out and laughing (as much as I can) with friends, watching movies (Netflix addict) and making plans to go climbing and never getting round to it.

 

MFL: Where are some of your favorite places you’ve lived and how do you think they’ve influenced your music?

 KB: Wales.  I just love Wales.  It feels like my adult homeland these days.  My folks have a house in the countryside and I based myself over there for a while during long periods of touring.  It’s so peaceful and picturesque in parts.  The people are also lovely.  I think the peace and scenery really help my writing.

 

MFL: Besides the release of your new record, what does 2019 hold for you as a musician?

KB: Some special shows in some beautiful venues, more writing, and I’m going to start other side projects I’ve been meaning to start for years!  Very excited about that.

 

Featured Image PC: Johnny Morgan

 

Big thanks to Lydia Reed for coordinating the interview and Katey for taking the time to answer my questions so thoughtfully. Follow Katey on Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify.

Something sweet for Valentine’s Day: “All This Time” by Van Bellman

Something just sweet enough, not overly decadent, the perfect Valentine’s Day treat comes to us in the form of a new single from Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, Van Bellman (Zac Taylor). “All This Time” is broad, expansive and sparkling and features a truly adorable video of a cat fascinated by a record player surrounded by jars of those famous Necco candy hearts that are tragically missing from the shelves of our favorite grocery stores this year. Although, TBH, “All This Time” is tastier than those funny candy hearts.

 

Zac Taylor on the instrumentals we hear on “All This Time”:

“I’m mainly a guitarist but I love writing on piano because I can come across some happy accidents. That’s where the piano riff came from: a toy piano gathering dust in the corner of Mission Sound studio with one broken key, which you can hear in the track if you listen closely. I composed the string section digitally and had my friends Marie Kim (currently playing keys for Mitski) and Andy Baldwin (acclaimed mixing engineer for Björk, Cat Power, St Lucia, yours truly) replace it with actual cello and violin, which is truly a sonic treat in today’s digital age.”

 

Stay tuned for more from Van Bellman and Happy Valentine’s Day ❤