Author: deannsn

I love music.

Interview: Intercontinental band, Maven Grace

You think it’s a challenge having two musicians collaborate from across the world? Try four musicians in four different places, scattered all over the wold. Maven Grace is a collaboration between four musicians in Ireland, Hong Kong, Rome and London. Regardless of the incredible distances between them, they create incredible music and I was lucky enough to get Jason and Henry to answer a handful of questions for me! First off, check out their new single and accompanying music video:

 

 

It is my understanding that Maven Grace unites members from Hong Kong, Ireland, Rome AND London. How on earth did you all find each other?

 Henry: Jason and I have actually known each other since we were children. Jason spent some time in the UK as a child, and we were drawn to each other at school because we were both obsessed by music.

 Jason: And we both had terrible shoes.

 Henry: Mary and I have also known each other for ages. Our paths used to cross on the gig circuit, and we always said that one day we’d end up working together.

 Jason: Mia and I met in Rome as teenagers. She was the coolest girl in town, and it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. So, even though we’re scattered all over the world now, our ties to each other go way back. That makes everything much easier to deal with.

 

Touch on some of your individual projects before you came together as Maven Grace.

 Henry: I was in a band called Psychid that ended up supporting Radiohead at a big homecoming show in Oxford. I was so excited and then reality struck when I hit the stage – endless rows of people looking at their watches. By about the third song, a Japanese girl right at the front of the barriers had had time to create a big sign which she waved at us. It said “How long are you playing for?”

 Jason: I’ve always wanted to bridge the gap between east and west and after going to college in the US I ended up back in Beijing putting on a big festival. The Beijing Pop Festival was the first of its kind, and it was pretty insane introducing acts like Nine Inch Nails to a Chinese audience. Although it’s probably a good thing that they didn’t want to put Fist Fuck in their set.

 

Do you work together in one place or remotely?

 Henry: We work all over the place. Often we end up having to work remotely, but it’s great when we’re all in the same place. Mia just got in from Rome this morning for a rehearsal, and she was practising her parts on a small keyboard during the flight.

Jason: Writing at a distance can have real advantages, too. I love coming up with an idea in Hong Kong and winging it through cyberspace to the other side of the world.

 Henry: Because of the time difference, I have more time to work out how to say ‘I don’t like this’.

 

Tell me about your songwriting process. 

 Jason: Every song is different. Innocent Dreams all flowed from that opening line – ‘Innocent dreams don’t disappear’. Henry and I were just sitting there together playing guitar, and I don’t even remember why those words came into my head. But we just developed the whole song then and there from that opening idea.

 Henry: It’s great to have lots of different writers and processes all going on at once. The only constant is that we all rely on each other to get things finished.

 

How and when did music become part of your lives?

 Henry: My mother is a singer, so I can’t remember a time when music wasn’t a central part of family life as I was growing up. And she loved everything from Bach to The Beatles. She actually sang with the Rolling Stones on the Let It Bleed album.

 

Who were some of the most influential people musically, be it friends, family or celebrity?

 Jason: I’ve always loved Springsteen and that classic strain of American songwriting. But as a kid I was also into some fairly extreme metal, actually! So my influences were all over the place.

 Henry: Let’s be honest – they still are.

 

What is the story behind the band name, Maven Grace?

 Henry: I’ve always loved the word ‘grace’. It has so many interesting and powerful connotations, so I knew that if I started a new musical project Grace would have to be in there somewhere.

Jason: The word Maven just feels like it belongs in front of it, though. You can spend forever analysing these things, but when you’ve got it right, you just know.

Name a few musicians/bands out there today that you really respect and who are doing things musically that are inspiring and important to you. 

Jason: Funnily enough we’ve just been thinking a lot about the artists in Beijing who mean the most to us, and I have to mention Howie Lee. He’s like the Chinese Aphex Twin and his videos are insanely imaginative and beautiful. Dead J is another Beijing-based musician I can’t get enough of. They’re not so well known in the West, but you should definitely check them out.

Henry: Whatever you think of their beards, it’s impossible not to respect ZZ Top. Next year will be their fiftieth anniversary without a single line-up change. That is truly inspiring. As someone once said, bands often form by accident, but they don’t stay together by accident. And when we need a shot of something coming from a completely different universe, Hot, Blue and Righteous off their Tres Hombres album works every time.

 

Is an EP for full length in the future for Maven Grace and when can we expect another release from you?

 Jason: We’re planning to get another song out there before the end of July. SEE “Something Strange” above! 

Is performing live/touring something you all would like to do and how difficult will that be to achieve given the distances between you?

 Henry: We’ll be performing live and touring, for sure. In fact, we’re playing a great festival at the end of the month, Standon Calling, alongside Goldfrapp, Bryan Ferry and Gaz Coombes. Rehearsing is a bit of a challenge when we’re thousands of miles apart, but nothing worthwhile is ever that easy, is it?

Jason: And I don’t really need to rehearse as much as the others anyway. I’ve got it all down.

 

Big thanks to Lewis Fromberg for setting this up and for the band finding time in their busy schedules to answer my questions! You can follow the band on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

Good Girl and the Bad Times delivers a dark and beautiful cover: “My Own Home” – The Jungle Book

Good Girl and the Bad Times is a long time favorite of MFL. They continually deliver dark and delicious electro-pop tracks and this time, they’ve done it with a cause in mind. They chose to cover the song “My Own Home” from Disney’s The Jungle Book and all proceeds will go to providing legal services for children who have been detained at the US border.

Please listen and donate. Here is one way to do so. 

 

 

Keep up with GGBT via Soundcloud, Facebook and their official website.

A delicate piece from Another Juggle: “Shield”

“Shield” was actually born quite some time ago, back when Danish dream-poppers, Another Juggle, were working on their previous album. However, the band being the musical perfectionists they are, found patience with the track and decided that they needed to spend more time with it since unlike their other tracks, it was written in 6/8 time. Band member, Thomas Haar, told me this about how the track came to be one of the first nights in their new recording studio:

“I brought a cheesy vintage piano with me which I had just picked up (I have a habit of collecting old keyboards and synths). To begin with we used its rhythm box as a starting point for the song which helped the 6/8 to make sense without being cheesy.”

 

And what they created is anything but cheesy. This track is oozing with everything soothing that I love about Another Juggle: delicious melody, beautiful lyrics, perfect musical layering, and an overall dizzy-ingly dreamy track. “Shield” is the latest single off of Another Juggle’s upcoming record. Check it out and keep up with Another Juggle via their Facebook and Soundcloud pages.

 

 

 

Interview: Chloe Kay

Chloe Kay is a young songstress with a steady voice that will instantly envelope you in its richness. Currently based out of Atlanta, GA, Chloe released her debut record, That Time, just this year. The album holds 12 heartfelt tracks that capture a very specific time in her life. Check out my favorite track from the record and read more below:

 

 

MFL: When and how did music become part of your life?

Chloe Kay (CK): Music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember, honestly, but the relationship I have with it now was a gradual development.  I was one of those kids who was just always singing, always wanted to sing, always raised my hand for the solos in music class.  Then when I got to middle school I started to discover that music could really speak to how I felt, and that was also when mp3’s were new and exciting so there was a lot of music available in a way it hadn’t been before.  There was a lot of discovery in those years.  Then by high school I was writing my own songs with my friends, but college was when music and writing songs really became a huge part of my every day life and self expression.  

 

MFL: Who were your musical influences growing up?

CK: There was a lot of doo-wop and music from the 50’s and 60’s played in the car on the way to school that had a big influence on me.  There are a handful of specific songs that I heard over and over, one of them I do a short a capella cover of the first track on my album, “Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler.  I was also always drawn to any female voice I heard that had that rich full tone of another time.  I discovered Ella Fitzgerald from her rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on a Christmas album we had, and I was really mesmerized by her vocal quality.  She, and a few others like her, became voices I would seek out throughout my childhood and into high school.  

 

MFL: It looks like your record, That Time, was released this year. Tell me about the writing process and what is behind this record.

CK: The record is named really for the time that I wrote it in.  What I mean is, I wrote almost all of the songs on the record in the space of about two years that were really pivotal to my growth as a person so far.  It was my last year in college, going on to starting my life on my own for the first time, and in that time I faced some heavy challenges in my home life that I speak to at points on the record as well as experienced heartbreak for the first time.  So there were new spaces within myself emotionally that I was discovering and figuring out how to put into words.  Songwriting, and really writing in general are healing tools for me.  So I wrote a lot of the songs as a part of that process. 

 

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MFL: What are you doing now to share this record with the music-sphere and how has it been received?

CK: My main goal is to play as many shows as I can moving forward.  Of course it’s great to be able to share everything on social media and through technology but I’m still a believer that the best thing I can do to get people to appreciate my music is to just get into a room and sing the songs to people live.  We played a show to celebrate the record drop in Atlanta that was a fantastic night, and the record seems to be well received thus far, but there is a lot left to do.

MFL: Who are your current musical influences? Current as in who is influencing you in this moment. They can be artists of the past or present!

CK: Ella, always, Julie London, Sarah Vaughan.  Also Patsy Cline is a big one, as is Brenda Lee and Johnny Cash.  There are definitely some present artists that influence me as well: Angel Olsen, Daughter, K. Flay, SZA, Arctic Monkeys to name a few.  I listen to a lot of new music with so much out there to discover, to be fair there are a lot of artists coming into my world and giving me inspiration.  

 

MFL: What are you doing when you are not writing/recording music?

CK: I’m usually probably reading iction, non-fiction, or poetry, or at rehearsal (I’m an actor as well).  On my days off you can find me at a coffee shop.  

 

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MFL: Where are you based out of now and what is the musical environment like there? How do your musical surroundings shape your music?

CK: These days I’m based out of Atlanta, GA and it’s a wonderful city to be in as an artist.  There is a lot of really authentic character and appreciation for art in all forms throughout the city.  The music scene is really cool and I’m excited to delve further into it, there are different pockets of the city that offer different genres/types of shows/etc.  Being in a creatively charged city is definitely gift when it comes to creating and writing.  

 

MFL: What does 2018 hold for you as a musician?

CK: Hopefully a lot more shows and as always, more creating.  

 

Big thanks to Chloe for taking the time to answer my questions and to Viktor Ahlgren of Lacei for introducing us! You can follow Chloe on Facebook.

 

Soulful electronic from C.O.W. 牛 ft. Alxndr London: “Glitch”

C.O.W. 牛 always brings something a bit unexpected to the table, whether it’s sonic or visual. The German-Chinese electronic duo has an incredible way of merging beats with bizarrely rich visuals of gaudy indulgences. Characters in their videos are often decked out with over-the-top jewelry, moving in slow motion to whatever juicy track C.O.W. 牛 created. The most recent release, “Glitch”, was a major collaboration with both acclaimed electronic musician, Alxndr London, and dancer, Amie Georgsson Jammeh. Alxndr London just released his latest EP, 2023, and it’s already receiving a lot of attention. Clash says 2023 “merges murky electronics with future soul to create something incredible, and truly other-worldly.”

In my opinion (may be biased as I am a dancer myself), Swedish/German dancer, Amie, makes the video. Her movements are not inspired by the music, they make the music. Each jolt, pop and glitch comes from her body. Her freedom of movement mixes flawlessly with the wild beats; smooth and melancholic, sharp and natural. Amie had this to say about what dance means to her:

“Dance is something so essential to all living creatures, and I never really thought about why I do it. It just happens. Because why not. Why not express yourself through dance and movements. It’s just another language really. Another voice. And it opens up so many possibilities. Possibilities to express, explore and discover new things. It’s a great way to test the limits in all aspects of life.”

 

You can follow C.O.W. 牛 on Facebook, their official website and all those other ways we do social media.

A piece of Copenhagen in Bozeman: Iceage to play at Rialto June 15th

Danish four-piece, Iceage, is scheduled to play at The Rialto here in Bozeman this June 15th as part of their tour for their latest record, Beyondless, out now on Matador Records. The band’s sound has morphed since the release of their first record, New Brigade, in 2011. With this evolution, came a raw sense of maturity and ownership of what their music is, ultimately allowing them freedom to write and create. Regardless of whether you’ve heard Iceage’s music before, you can witness them for yourself. The Rialto promises perfect sound, an ideal setting and an intimate environment to experience Iceage up close.

The band is composed of Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (vocals, lyrics), Jakob Tvilling Pless (bass), Dan Kjær Nielsen (drums), and Johan Wieth (guitar). Together, they write music that is chaotic, brilliant and full of witty jargon that only the most well-read may appreciate. Check out their single, “Catch It”:

 

 

You can listen to their new record, Beyondless, on all major streaming platforms and can score yourself a copy at the show this Friday!

Featured Image Photo Credit: Steve Gullick

NEW PLAYLIST: Spring Vol II

Dig in, folks! The suns shining and so is this music!