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A glimpse into the inspiration for Joakim’s new album, “Samurai”

Joakim is an incredibly special musician. His musical abilites reach far beyond just making and sharing his music. I cannot summarize this better than was done by his PR representatives at Pitch Perfect PR so here is a direct copy and paste of his incredibly rich list of his talents:

a musician with five albums under his belt; an outstanding DJ with a huge musical spectrum; a label founder and manager (Tigersushi and the recent vinyl-only Crowdspacer imprint); a self-taught graphic designer (he designs his record covers and most of the label’s artworks); a producer (for Panico, Poni Hoax, Zombie Zombie, Y.O.U., Montevideo…); a high-profile remixer (Antena, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Todd Terje etc…); a fashion enthusiast (he launched Tigersushi Furs with his cousin); a sound designer for catwalks (Chanel, Margiela, Balenciaga); and a step into contemporary art, working on Camille Henrot’s installations and videos (who won the Silver Lion at the 2013 Venice Biennale with the video Grosse Fatigue) or making his own sound installations (Gwangju Biennale in 2014 curated by Jessica Morgan).

To Joakim, his new record, Samurai, is something geographical, it’s a location, a place he can go and where his listeners can go to get lost. While simultaneously being somewhere unfamiliar, he believes there are times on the record where you will stumble upon things that are familiar. Not only is the album inspired by his past years in New York City and his nightly wanderings through the always bustling city, it is also inspired by the Japanese culture and the samurai. While writing the record, he was reading Mishima’s ‘Hagakure : Samurai Ethics & Modern Japan.’ Joakim created a playlist that offers us a peek into what inspired the sounds and ideas that make up his new record, Samurai, due out March 17th of this year on Tigersushi/Because. Check out the playlist:

 

 

Photocredit: The Posternaks

New music video from duo, LACEI: “Sufferer”

A few months back, I got to talk music with Jessica Lombardozzi and Viktor Ahlgren the duo better known as, LACEI. The two met in a music business class during college and hit it off musically and now have released their first EP, 11:11, which you can find on iTunes now. Recently, they showcased another level of their artistic capabilities by releasing their debut music video for their track, “Sufferer.” LACEI together with video director, Andrew Choi, created a colorful and honest visual representation of the song, and the meaning behind it. About the song, vocalist Jessica Lombardozzi says:

“The song came from the idea that when you’re hurt or feel guilty about something, you make yourself suffer intentionally as a means of punishment and coping.”

LACEI and Choi  focused on utilizing wild visuals and colors overlayed on the two of them in their element (playing music) and interpretive dance. Check it out:

 

 

Follow LACEI on Facebook and Soundcloud.

YouTube Playlist: Sites and Sounds of 2017

I’ll be honest, the first video on this playlist (“Man’s Man” by SWIMM….whom I’ve covered extensively on MFL and is playing in Provo, UT February 18th if you’re near) is from 2016…but everything else is fresh 2017 goodness!

 

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Interview:Country singer/songwriter, Hayes Peebles

Hayes Peebles has almost reached a quarter of a century in age but his voice sings tunes that are mature beyond his years. Peebles’ voice was made for music and his mind for writing songs as he’s been at it since he was in high school. Originally from Greenwich Village, Peebles pursued a philosophy degree in Boston while at the same time, writing music that would set the groundwork for his first EP.

Check out his delightfully upbeat but perfectly melancholic country single, “Home”, while you read more about him. I hope you enjoy his charming, heartfelt and genuine answers to my questions as much as I do!

 

MFL: Your EP release is just around the corner! What is left to be done before release and do you have any events lined up to celebrate the release?

I’ve been so used to cooking up demos in my bedroom and circulating them the very same day, so going through a proper recording and release process has definitely tested my patience, but has been well worth it.

Fortunately, I think the only thing that needs to be done over the course of the next week or two is make sure that Tim, Nate, Abe and I don’t all wear the exact same shirt to the release show we’re playing, which will be at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 on February 23rd.

 MFL: Was there a core inspiration for the Ghosts EP or is it a collection of tracks that are not necessarily connected to one another?

On my end, the most difficult part of making this EP was probably the song selection. That’s in part because the folks who played on and helped imagine this record with me are super talented and make life easy, but also because I’ve been writing songs for a long time now and my “songbook” contains things I love from totally different phases that sound and think totally differently. In the end, I went for a little bit of everything, two oldies and two newer tunes that’ll hopefully display a few different sides so you all can get to know me. I would love to make some sort of continuous-playing concept album that comes in an immersive double LP set, but I’m going to have to wait until people trust me enough and until somebody’s willing to pay for the studio time to do it.

 

MFL: Musically, who do you draw inspiration from? 

I am shamefully weak in the face of a good melody and will go in for pretty much any well-thought out song. That takes me to some very different places as far as genre, content and sound are concerned. The other day Yves Montand shuffled into Action Bronson and it made sense to me. But I know that it’s no fun to play the “I like everything” card so I’ll admit that I’m going to see Julia Jacklin and Andy Shauf share a bill this spring and am probably going to be the most embarrassing fanboy in the crowd, those two have gotten a lot of spin time in the Peebles household lately.

 

MFL: What is the source of your lyrical material? Do you prefer to draw from personal experiences or create fictional material? Feel free to comment on your two released singles, “Ghosts” and “Home.”

The majority of my lyrics come from my own experiences. I write mainly about the things that make an impression on me and these things usually end up being personal and cliche but hopefully relatable, too. “Ghosts” is that kind of song.

The past year or so I’ve gotten out of my own head more and have tried to work more on storytelling and characters- which probably has to do with my increased intake of Country and Americana and because it’s honestly more fun. “Home” is that kind of song. Not accidentally, there’s a bit of both of those approaches on the EP.

MFL: How and when did music make its way into your life?

I always loved singing along to my parents’ music in the car and as early as I could I started taking piano lessons. At that age most kids didn’t really want to practice piano or show up to lessons and resented it but I pretty much loved it since day one and never found any good reason to stop.

MFL: What did you gain from your college experience in Boston besides a degree in Philosophy?

Most importantly, I gained a really excellent and inspiring set of friends (cue that Vitamin C song) who have given me the confidence to do what I’m doing now. Many of them are now in New York entertaining my bullshit on a weekly basis and it’s great, having smart people to spend time with cannot be taken for granted.

Stepping out of the Hallmark aisle for a moment, I also got to spend some time away from New York City, which is almost always good for one’s perspective. There’s a great DIY scene in Boston and its suburbs and my time there led me to appreciate just how incredible those bands (hearing Pile for the first time was a revelation) and those spaces and the people supporting them are. For all its diversity, the sceney-ness of New York can feel really constrictive and priorities get way out of line. Spending time in Boston I learned that it’s possible and important to function differently, and tried to bring that back with me.

MLF: Do you have any plans to tour in the near future and what would be some top destinations?

I would love nothing more than to go on a mini-tour of sorts. But before I jump into all that, I have to first make sure that Tim, Nate, Abe and I are not all wearing the same exact shirt at the Ghosts EP release show at Rockwood Music Hall on February 23rd.

 

MFL: If you were to make a mix CD for me, what would five of the tracks on it be?

Townes van Zandt- Tower Song

Julia Jacklin- Hay Plain

Pile- The Jones

Songs:Ohia- Farewell Transmission

R. Kelly- Sex Weed

 MFL: What does making music do for you, personally and are you artistic in other ways?

I tried painting once or twice but all that did was waste canvas and reinforce the fact that music was always the thing for me. My sister stole all of the visual art talent from the gene pool.

I could go on about how songwriting is some mix of therapy and catharsis, an opportunity to define myself in my own eyes and the eyes of others and how it’s the easiest way to frame the world and communicate with the people in it. That stuff is all true to a certain extent, but the simplest truth is that it’s the thing I love the most, am most comfortable doing and the thing I want to spend my life working on.

 

MFL: After the release of the Ghosts EP, what is next for you?

The hope is to do it all: put out some sort of a full-length record, travel around playing it for people I’ve never met, find some time to sleep and write in between and then do it all over again.

 

Follow Hayes Peebles on Facebook and keep your eyes and ears peeled for his upcoming EP, Ghosts, due out February 10th! Thanks to Hayes Peebles for answering my questions and Theresa Montgomery of 24West for making the interview possible!

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Colorful video from Secret Company: “Alive”

Secret Company is a dynamic pop foursome originally from Chelmsford. The group is set to release their debut record, The World Lit Up and Filled With Colour, March 10th of this year. In advance of their record release, they’ve shared a gorgeous single and video titled, “Alive”, filled with heart thumping drums, soaring vocals and a colorful video to match.

 

 

Follow the group on Facebook and pre-order their debut record on iTunes now.

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Interview: Synth-poppers, Twist Helix

Twist Helix is a three-piece synth-pop group based out of Newcastle upon Tyne (Vocals & Keys: Bea Garcia, Bass: Michael Humble, Drums: James Walker). They are deeply influenced by the music that surrounds them at their homebase but are simultaneously concerned about its future. I asked them some questions about the origin of Twist Helix, their creative process and their upcoming single, “Pulse.”
MFL: What inspired the name Twist Helix for your musical project?
We took the inspiration for the name from the double helix model for DNA (a twist being the same thing as a helix); we are fascinated by concepts of evolution, change and identity.
MFL: Tell me about your upcoming record, Ouseburn. What is this story and why do you wish to tell it through music?
Music is an integral part of the Ouseburn Valley, it is the creative heart of the city of Newcastle, so to tell its story in music was only fitting.
Ouseburn [the album] is as much about a place as it is a person. It is about one individual’s rise and the corresponding decline of an area. The story is a fiction but is rooted in a real threat that the artistic spaces of the Ouseburn Valley will eventually be swept aside to make room for new building developments… The protagonist, [and ourselves as authors] are of course to an extent complicit in this process of gentrification, giving the narrative a bitter-sweetness and irony.
 
MFL: How and where did the three of you come together to make Twist Helix?
I (Bea) am originally from Alicante in Spain. I came to Britain to find work (as a result of the financial crisis) and eventually met James and we began writing songs together. A demo we recorded was picked up by our local BBC station. Not long after that we found Michael; grew from a recording project into a touring band and have been Twist Helix ever since.
 
 PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Murray
MFL: Are there any particular musicians that inspire your sound?
For us inspiration is different to influence; while our sound is influenced by many internationally known synth-pop groups, what inspires us has always been closer to home. We write from experience and are inspired by our community; the underground, unsigned and undervalued avant-garde that makes our city so unique.
MFL: What is it about the track, “Pulse”, that made you choose this to be the single that was released in advance of the full record? 
Pulse was not the obvious choice for a single; no chorus, sparse lyrics, jagged percussion and industrial rock bass on what is ostensibly a ‘pop’ song… And yet it is a song people remember. In live shows it is the song which people have always came to talk to us about. Moreover, being in Ouseburn as I write this, in the depths of this sea of change, I know Pulse to have a significance and a resonance which elevates it above all we have written before.
MFL: How is Ouseburn different than your previous release, Manifesto, in terms of both sound and content?
Ouseburn marks a significant shift in direction for us. The absence of guitar on the new record has given us a greater clarity and focus in terms of sound and composition. And while this album in parts taps into the energy and optimism of Manifesto, we do so knowing we must first build our home in order to tear it down.
MFL: How have the first shows of 2017 gone so far? Any highlights?
This year has gotten off to an incredible start. We started our tour in London at the New Cross Inn on the 04th of January before going on to Middlesbrough, then returning home to a Sold Out concert on the main stage of Newcastle’s iconic Cluny music venue [see pictures]… The Cluny has always held a special place in our hearts and that night with a new sound and lighting rig behind us, the atmosphere was electric.
MFL: Are there plans to make a music video for any of the tracks on the new record?
Yes! We’re happy to announce we’ve already shot the video for “Pulse” on location in the Ouseburn Valley under the direction of Ian and Matt Brown of Flashlight Films. The video is being edited and will be available for streaming in the run up to the single launch on 2nd Aprilat the Tyne Bar (Newcastle).
Thank you to Twist Helix for reaching out to MFL and agreeing to let me pick their musical brains! Follow them on Facebook and look out for their new record, Ouseburn.

Playlist: New Year, New Sounds

30 new songs for your starving ears: