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!

 

 

 

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 ❤

Playlist: Winter Vol. II

Below, find 2.5 hours of tunes to keep you cozy during this chilly, albeit beautiful, time ❤

Interview: Jesper Braae Madsen of Echo Me

Jesper Braae Madsen is the man behind Danish band, Echo Me. He is also a husband and a father of two children under the age of four. His third full length, Sleep is Key, came out four years after his previous release, Towards the Sunset. In the interim, Madsen had two children, many sleepless nights and a new perspective of his musical process. Below, Madsen and I discuss this process, how it has changed, what music and his family mean to him and much more. Enjoy one of my favorites from the new record while you read:

 

 

MFL: Touch on what happened sound-wise between Towards the Sunset in 2014 and Sleep is Key in 2018.

Jesper Braae Madsen (JBM): My second album Towards the Sunset was recorded in a studio that was run by the singer from Kellermensch, and he had all the right mics, compressors, pre-amps and stuff like that. It was the old-school way, and I felt that was the right thing to do at that moment.

With Sleep is Key, I just sat down with my laptop, 1 mic and an interface, and started recording. The big difference was the whole setting. I just focused on getting the right ideas and takes recorded rather than worrying too much about how the mic was placed. I got some help from Søren Buhl Lassen, who also mixed the album. He helped steer me in a different direction than originally planned. Instead of building everything around the acoustic guitar, I’ve been focusing more on synths and electric guitars.

 

MFL: Along those lines, what was life like between those two releases and how did it impact the content and journey of creating Sleep is Key?

JBM: I wrote the songs for Towards the Sunset In Berlin, where I lived for about a year. I lived there alone and I could basically do whatever I wanted. Now I live in a small town in Denmark with only 30,000 inhabitants. I’m married and have two kids, and that’s a completely different scenario.

 After we got our first kid in 2016, I couldn’t really tour a lot, so I only played a few Echo Me shows here and there. A couple of months before we got our second child in 2017 I was contacted by the guys from the Hamburg based label Backseat. Long story short we agreed to release a new Echo Me album one year later in fall 2018.

 First thing I did was to go through a lot of old, semi-old and new demos, and we choose “What They Say” as the first single. From there I just started recording on a super tight schedule, and meanwhile I had a newborn child at home. Without comparison the most stressful time of my life so far, but I just felt an extreme urge to make this happen, and I knew that it couldn’t wait.

 

MFL: Sleep is Key was released end of October of 2018 and I know you had a run of concerts in the fall of 2018 post-release. Discuss some of your favorite locations of the tour and some unexpected highlights if you can remember!

JBM: I did 13 concerts after the release in Denmark and Germany. Germany has always been my favorite place to tour. The best show was definitely at Prinz Willy in Kiel. The owner has managed to build a really nice thing there. I have played there a bunch of times, and it was completely packed. There were also many new spots on the list, and especially Q in Marburg was a nice surprise. Fairly new place, but again the owner has really put his heart in it, so there was a great atmosphere.

 

 

MFL: As a husband and father of two, how does your family add to your musical life and how do you hope your children view music given it is probably a large part of their life because of you?

JSB: I have always written songs about the things that I’m facing at the given time. Having kids is a very extreme lifechanging event, so there is a lot of good inspiration to get out of all that hustle.

…Also it can be very inspiring to watch how kids play. They are so curious and they investigate all possibilities with whatever it is they are playing with, and as soon as they have it figured out, they just lose interest. I think adults often do the opposite. I guess we are more afraid to fail, and therefore try to figure out the “right” way instead. Kind of limits the creativity.

 I hope my kids will have music as a big part of their lives, but it doesn’t mean a lot to me if they will ever play an instrument. There are several guitars, keyboards and percussion among their toys, but I don’t want to push it. For me it has become such an obsession, and I sure hope my kids will have a “healthier” relationship to it than I have.

 

MFL: I love understanding how a record was written from start to finish. Which song was written first and which song was written last? Feel free to share some details of the in between.

JSB: Sleep is Key is really a collection of songs written over a timespan of 10 years or so. I gathered a lot of demos in a folder and shared it with the label, and we picked the best songs. One of the favorites was “When It’s Time”, and I wrote that way back in 2008. It just didn’t fit onto my earlier releases, but this time it made perfect sense. The three newest songs are “You Know Me Well”, “LaLaLa” and “Zombies”, but actually I came up with the main riff for “Zombies” when I was in high school around 2002. That’s crazy and it is so much fun to work with that kind of material. Some of the in between songs are “All of the Time” and “I Know What You Mean”. They kind of sum up the difficulties I had when I was deciding what, if any, form and shape Echo Me should take in the future.

 

MFL: Where were you born and raised and how did it bring music into your life?

JFB: I grew up in the countryside in Jylland, Denmark, and there were only few other kids nearby, so I remember spending a lot of time on my own. My mother was a hobby guitarist, and also made me attend guitar lessons from I was 8 years old. Since I didn’t have much else to do with my time, I was practicing every day, and it became a big part of my identity as most of the other kids played either football or computer games. 

 

MFL: Did you learn anything new while creating Sleep is Key that you had not had the chance to learn during the process of your previous releases?

JSB: I very much relied on my respective producers on my earlier releases, and this time I had to do everything myself. I would just look it up whenever I ran into problems. There are no technical issues you can’t learn to fix very quickly these days, so the trickiest part is to know when a song is done, and to learn to trust your ears. If you have that confidence, you can go nuts and experiment, and at some point it will feel right.

 

MFL: When can we expect to hear new material from Echo Me?

JSB: Right now I’m on a two months paternity leave, and when my daughter takes her daily nap, I’m coming up with new ideas for songs. In March I will start recording again and the plan is to release 3 new singles in 2019. So pretty soon…

 

Follow Echo Me on Spotify and Facebook. Big thanks to Jesper for the interview ❤

 

New single from Blaenavon: “Catatonic Skingbag”

English independent rock three-piece, Blaenavon, is back with their first single off of their sophomore record. The single titled, “Catatonic Skinbag”, is off of Everything That Makes You Happy which is due out later this year and produced by Catherine Marks. Based out of Hampshire, UK, Blaenavon is composed of Ben Gregory (vocals), Frank Wright(bass) and Harris McMillan (drums). The quintessential indie rock single is weighted with the honesty that is not unfamiliar to those who listen to Blaenavon but this time, their sound and content is fleshed out even more. Gregory describes it as a song that is about what we all can be at times (….a catatonic skinbag…maybe you’ve never thought of yourself quite like this but it is true!) especially when it is so damn easy to just wrap yourself up in your own self doubt and succumb to your own routine when you know it is not the best place for you.  The single came out not too long after Gregory released an open letter to his fan base updating us all on the happenings of the band and his mental health. We are all glad he is doing better ❤

Gregory says:

“The song is about isolation. Cutting oneself off from the world to engage in fruitless sensual pleasures and pretending everything is ok. Watching fucking Netflix and drinking a bottle of wine when you should probably instead be in therapy. But there’s a way out. Art, friendship, love. You don’t have to be a catatonic skinbag. Lol.”

 

 

Keep your ears peeled for more from Blaenavon in the coming months and in the meantime, follow them on Spotify, Facebook and their official website.