Author: deannsn

I love music.

Album Review: “Keep Your Batteries Warm” by Josa Barck

The space-time that Danish musician, Josa Barck, lives, breathes and creates within is one of vibrant sound and color. Thankfully for us, he is willing to share that universe and invites us to find a place for ourselves within it. Josa Barck is the anagram for musician/producer, Jacob Rask, who following nearly a decade of working with other Danish musicians like Alphabeat and The Broken Beats, has sought out a new niche. For him, creating music is not only his passion but a need/void he must fill.

 

Jacob Rask: “To me, it is about taking responsibility to create the world I demand to live in, and taking control over the culture. I make the music that I feel is missing and that I wish to hear. It wasn’t there before, so I had to make it myself.”

 

The classically trained musician spent five of his 15-year career with his saxophone at the Royal Danish Academy of music and in 2015, Rask released his debut record, Eurkea, in which he swapped out his saxophone for a guitar. Eureka is a collection of eight subdued and thoughtfully created tracks with gentle vocals and introspective lyrics. Race forward to 2018 where we all anxiously await the release of his sophomore full length, Keep Your Batteries Warm. This record is built from the same scaffolding of Eureka but is reinforced, decorated and draped in new rich, exciting and decadent colors that celebrate this life we live within despite the trying times we all face. When Rask was asked about the title of this new record, he gave both a short and a long answer. The short answer was simple, he liked the way those words fit and flowed together. On the contrary, the title also goes below the surface.

 

Jacob Rask: “’Keep Your Batteries Warm’ is really just my own little 2018 updated version of the old saying ‘Keep Your Powder Dry’. To be prepared for battles ahead. But to me it’s a bit more two sided. I definitely believe there is battles ahead of us, if we hope to create a better world. Not necessarily fighting in the street and such, but one way or the other…At the same time, ‘Keep Your Batteries Warm’ is about optimism and hope. And that something good is on its way. Like: ‘Hang in there, everything will be all right.’”

 

Earlier this year, he released the second single off the album, “Everybody Everywhere.” It’s a fast-paced rolling track that features a completely different vocal quality from Rask compared to Eureka. His voice demands your attention not only to the sounds he’s creating but also the lyrics and the message he is conveying to you. Over and over again he says:

“That’s what everybody wants,

That’s what everybody hunts.”

 

 

The single is the second track on the record, following “Pattern Pageantry”, a pulsing instrumental introduction. It is about the lifelong search we all endure for love and how we all feel that we need to be everywhere at once, experiencing everything all at once in order to succeed. In the words of Rask, “I recognize the search for love as a driving force behind everything I do, but I am beginning to learn, that the search of love, is not so much about chasing something I lack in my life, as it is about perceiving the love that I am slowly realizing, is everywhere all the time too.”

 

Following “Everybody Everywhere” is “Salute”, which was the first single Rask released after Eureka. These two tracks give listeners who know Josa Barck’s music something familiar to suck them into the record before he launches them unforgivingly into the rest of the album. “Clandestine” is a celebratory and trilling track, while “Everywhere at Once” is a nod back to the single, “Everyone Everywhere.” It has overlap in mood, lyricism and concept but it is a slightly more restrained iteration. It is a reminder to the listeners of the message Josa Barck is trying to convey: keep looking for love, everywhere and you will find it because it is already there.

Other tracks like “Neverhours” and “Bantam” are adventurous, dream-like works of art that pull you deep into this effervescent universe that Rask has created on Keeping Your Batteries Warm. Repetitive lyrics, chants sung in harmonies and rounds, and whimsical sound effects bring a childlike sense of joy and revel to the record. Rask really taps into that sense of wonder on “People Reflect the Weather.” The track builds slowly to a most glorious place where it hovers, and gently returns to where it started.

Keep Your Batteries Warm is due out October 19th through Tangleville Records in cooperation with Wonderwhy Music Company and Pop-Up Records. You can follow Josa Barck on Facebook, Spotify, and his official website.

Interview: Synthedelic rockers, Eldren

Pysch-pop synthedelic rockers, Eldren, are back with their sophomore record, Miss Information Aged. The record was released on September 21st of this year following an eventful few years since the release of their debut, Welcome to Deathville, and an exciting season of sharing the stage with the likes of Cold War Kids, The Black Angels, Imagine Dragons, Dr. Dog and others. Get a glimpse into who the band Eldren is, their creative process and much more below! Have a listen to the new record while you read:

 

MFL: Who makes up Eldren?

 Eldren: Eldren is a collective of musicians, composed of:

Nasir Malik
Tyler Imbrogno
Josh Lee
Mason Shelmire
Trey Tafoya

 

 MFL: What or who is the band named after and why are you named after it/them/they?

 Eldren: We made up the name. It is a portmanteau of the words ‘elders’ and ‘children’. This reflects our desire to create music that is futuristic but rooted in the past in a way. 

 

MFL: Miss Information Aged seems to be a play on words in multiple ways and the record has a fabulously futuristic feel to it. Tell me about how you came to name the record and if it influenced the sound of the record or the other way around!

 Eldren: There is sort of a three-fold meaning in the title. The first referring to the difficulty in finding truth in our internet-driven “age of misinformation.” The second entendre imagines life after our goddess (“Miss Information”) “ages”-or we are forced to start over without the information technologies to which we have grown accustomed. The third meaning would be the abbreviation M.I.A. (Missing in Action). This points to the sentiment of feeling personally and socially lost or missing within the context of today’s world. The sounds used on the record as well as the recording and songwriting techniques both influenced and were influenced by the title. We wanted to create an album reminiscent of classic/progressive rock albums that used both modern and traditional instruments and sounds.

MFL: How do you all go about writing songs and who did you record/produce the record with?

 Eldren: We produced and recorded the entire album ourselves in various basements. Tyler and Nasir are the songwriters. We write the songs both individually and as a collective on a song-by-song basis.

 

Eldren (PC Amanda Piela, 2018)

 

MFL: When listening to your new record, I hear hints of Empire of Suns, Tame Impala, Pond, Temples and even a tiny bit of Daft Punk. Who are your big influences out there right now and is there anyone in particular you feel you share some common sounds with?

 Eldren: Our musical influences are pretty varied. Tyler and Nasir came together over a shared love for Elliott Smith and The Beatles years ago (I think we met 8 years ago). We definitely have elements of synth pop and electronica from bands like the ones you mentioned, but we don’t feel our sound is limited to that world. We have a pretty strong foundation in all types of rock, and want to keep evolving our sound by pushing the boundaries of the genre.


MFL: What are the biggest differences between your previous record, Welcome to Deathville, and your new record, in both a sonic and conceptual sense?

 Eldren: Welcome to Deathville was less of a cohesive concept than Miss Information Aged, it ended up fitting together pretty well, it just wasn’t created as an album, more of a compilation of the songs we were playing at the time. The new album was more of a re-imagining of the sonic and artistic direction of the band whilst keeping a cohesive idea as an album.

 

MFL: Where were you all and what were you up to between the release of Welcome to Deathville in 2015 and the release of Miss Information Aged last week?

 Eldren: Since the time we released Welcome to Deathville, we have been touring regularly, and writing and recording the album, along with a plethora of material that wasn’t the right fit for Miss Information Aged. We have gone through a lot of hardships in that time. From the passing of our founding bass player Steve Holloway, along with the tragic loss of Tyler’s father, to band members coming and going and our van constantly breaking down across the country. It’s been a journey to say the least, but throughout all of these trials and tribulations, we have learned a lot about ourselves, and about how the world around us impacts our art.

 

Eldren (PC Amanda Piela 2018)

 

 

MFL: What is on the schedule for Eldren with the release of the new record now and what is coming in 2019?

Eldren: We are going to be releasing new music videos, new music, a spring tour and more!

 Follow the band on Facebook and Spotify to see what they are up to next and hopefully catch them on tour. 

Featured image by Jake Mulhern

Other photos by Amanda Piela

Thanks to Jeremy Theall for coordinating and the band for taking time to answer my questions ❤

Playlist: Fall Vol I

The colors are changing and the temps are dropping! Cozy up to some new tunes:

Interview: Dark synth band, Favours

Favours is an up and coming dark synth rock band based out of Toronto. They recently released their debut single and music video, “In the Night.” Check out our discussion below!

MFL: Who is in Favours and how did you come together?

 Favours: Favours are a group made up of Alex, Jackie, Parth and Dan.   We came together through different musical projects (Invasions. Pet Sun) having played shows together in the past, as well as film projects that we collaborated on.

 

MFL: Are there any bands out there currently that you can’t stop listening to? Who are they?!

 Favours: Lately we’ve definitely been diggin deep into The Marias, Johnny Smith Quintet, Jungle, and The Zolas pretty hard! Can’t stop, won’t stop, baby!

 

MFL: Tell me about “In the Night.” What is it about and how does the music video connect with the story?

 Favours: The way we like to think about “In the Night” is sort of that feeling where when you’re growing up, you have all these dreams about what life is going to be like, and then the slow realization that that’s not what life is. Our video hooks onto that idea by giving you that beginning glamorous look into a cult life – before that glamour comes crashing down when you realize how whack cults always are.

 

 

MFL: How did you come to work with Josh Korody and what has that been like?

 Favours: Josh had recorded some of our favourite bands like Dilly Dally, WEAVES, and he had recorded some of our previous projects. Recording with Josh is kind of like having Darth Vader as your best friend, but then you realize that you’re still on the Death Star. So you could say he’s a Synth Lord. (Like a Sith Lord, get it? haha)

 

MFL: What is the writing process like for you? Is there a main songwriting or is it something you do together?

 Favours: Right now a lot of the time, Alex will come forward with an idea for a song, and then as a band we work it all out together and get it to a point we all dig it. If you think about it, its like cooking up a little musical baby. As we’re just starting out, who knows what the future holds as we go and grow as a band!

 

MFL: I love hearing about musicians’ musical backgrounds and how/why music became such an important part of their lives. Can each of you give me a brief synopsis?

 

Favours1

 

Jac : Since I was a kid my dad would always be singing karaoke in the basement, and my brother always played in a bunch of bands. So music was always around my house, with someone either singing or playing drums.

Alex : My uncle was in a band called Chicklet and he gave me a bunch of guitars, drums and recording gear in elementary school. After that I started the band Invasions, which I was in for 10 years, and then went on to Favours!

Parth : My dad would always make me do math tables every day after school, but one day my mom made a huge mistake – she bought me a drum kit. After that I never looked at a math table the same way again.

Dan : My pal Ben invited me to come jam when I was 18, and I fell in love with the bass. We started a band, I joined some other bands, kept playing bass, joining more bands. The rest is history. Or present. Probably future too?

 

 

MFL: Where are you based out of and how does the local music scene influence your music?

 Favrous: Right now, we’re based out of the west end of Toronto, in a special little place called “Mimico”. Seeing and playing with other locals always manages to give us some killer insights in to things we can do and ways we can improve our own music and performances.

 

MFL: Finally, what is in store beyond your single, “In the Night?”

 Favours: For all the good kids out there, we’ve got some treats coming your way. We’ve got a brand new single coming your way in October, and after that, we’re gonna be working on putting out an EP – dedicated to all the beautiful people.

 

 

 

 

Interview: Viktor Ahlgren

Viktor Ahlgren and I have been going back and forth for a couple of years now. He originally reached out to Music For Lunch for his duo collaboration, LACEI. Check out the interview we did here. Now, Vik is up to his ears in musical projects, just the way he likes it. Not only is he still writing music for LACEI, he’s also divulging in mixing, producing and engineering for his own solo work in addition to working with some prominent DJs and producers out there. We discuss all of this below!

 

MFL: Do you recall the moment in your life when you knew music would become a permanent part of it?

 

  • It’s hard to describe, but I’ve always felt a special calling to music. I’ve always felt that it has been a huge part of who I am. When I was younger, it was pretty obvious to my parents that music was extremely intriguing to me. For instance, at the age of four, I was dying to have a Beatles album. And at the age of nine, I cried so hard because my parents wouldn’t buy me a Britney Spears album haha!

 

MFL: You are from Sweden originally. Does culture influence your music today? If so, how?

 

  • I believe so. I listen to a lot of music from Sweden (both globally known Swedish artists as well as artists that are only famous in Sweden) and I’m definitely influenced by them. I also often find myself making dark, melancholic music. Maybe that’s because I’m from a place where its cold and dark for 8 months out of the year lol…

 

MFL: In addition to writing/recording music, I know you have gotten into producing and engineering. How is this kind of work different from just writing music if it is different at all?

 

  • It is a little bit different as it’s more focused on sound design, programming, mixing, etc. Instead of writing the song you are tweaking a song that’s already been finished (ie. changing sounds, mixing them, etc.). I have also engineered (recorded) other people’s sessions.

 

lexia Connor

PC: Alexia Connor

MFL: I know you have been working with some up and coming producers and DJs recently. Who are they and how did you connect with them?

 

  • I have been working with Grammy winning songwriter/producer DJ Dahi, Grammy nominated songwriter/producer Brian Alexander Morgan, and recently, I’ve been doing some music programming with the rapper King Mez.
  • I met Dahi in 2010. He was working at my school and my friend told me that he was a music producer. One day I decided to walk up to him during lunch and ask for some tips to get started with making music. At that time, he had not broken through the music business yet but I asked him to help me get started and he did. Ever since then, we have kept in contact. Once he started to gain success he asked me to work with him. He was the resident director at the school, so every time I got in trouble at the dorms I had to go and speak with him lol. I thought that was pretty funny.
  • I met Brian through Dahi. He was in a session with Dahi and saw the work I was doing. From there, he asked me to come and do the same work for him. His engineer had just moved away so the timing was perfect! I met King Mez through Brian. It’s crazy how one thing can lead to another… You never know who the person you meet will end up becoming.

 

 

MFL: What have you learned this far from these esteemed producers and how have you applied this knowledge to your current projects?

 

  • I learn so much every day, and I love it! Working with established artists and producers and watching how they work and think about music is so educating and inspiring. It can be all from how to program better drums, to how to build more interesting chords with unique voicings, etc. Everything I learn from the people I work with I try to incorporate into my own music making; lately I can see how it has improved me as a musician. Since the people I work for are songwriters and producers, they also work with a lot of well-known and talented artists. I get to meet some really cool people and gain inspiration from their work too.

 

MFL: I know you are also working on a solo project. Why did you decide to take on a project of your own and how do you plan to keep it unique from your collaboration, LACEI?

 

  • I think because I’m such a diverse music listener, I feel the urge to create different types of music. LACEI is my main focus which is more rock infused, but I also have other projects. Deeps is another project I’m working on with a friend of mine from Sweden which is more folk and soul infused. Vik Mikael is my solo project which showcases more of my songwriting and producing abilities, basically I’m gonna be making whatever music I feel like (no particular genre). Fourthly, I have also created music scores for tv and film as well as doing programming and sound designing for other people. All this music express facets of myself. They are all a part of me.

 

 

MFL: Do you have an opinion on music streaming and how it has changed the way people buy and listen to music?  

 

  • I believe that the idea of streaming music is great as it is more accessible and affordable for people to consume and discover. Playlists are great too. However, I do feel that the distribution of money to the artists are not yet fair, so they need to sort that out.

 

MFL: Finally, 2018 will be coming to a close before we know it, what are your major goals as a musician for 2019?

 

  • Release music! I have been working on so many different projects lately that I cannot wait to put out. It’s gonna be LACEI stuff, Deeps Stuff, my own solo stuff, and other artists stuff that I will be credited on. Let’s hope it will be a good year =) and hit me up if you want to collab! I love working with new people!!

 

You can follow all of Vik’s projects on Instagram: Vik Mikael, Deeps, LACEI.

 

Featured Image PC: Guthrie Melchiade

 

Debut EP from A Box of Stars: “Days Drunk Off Heat”

A Box of Stars hails from a college town in Western Vermont where four of the five band members live. Despite their proximity, the record was born of isolation. One of the lead vocalists and main drivers of the band, Macaulay Lerman, would visit each of the other members’ homes to focus on their part of each track, rather than have the entire band get together to work. This method created something very different than their initial expectations of what was to become, Days Drunk Off Heat. Just like the band’s name, their debut EP is a shimmering collection of stars. Each track just as sparkling as the last but each glimmers in its own color, pulses with its own beat. I feel that this is the result of the bands’ unique creative process. The band is made up of Macaulay Lerman (guitar and vocals), Claire Londagin (vocals), Jens Hybertson (violin), Eben Schumacher (bass, piano, and guitar), and Tim Halteman (drums). The EP was mixed by Josh Druckman.

 

The record is a carefully curated collection of seven tracks that are built on the idea that life is in constant migration, evolution and motion. It is a record that acknowledges our existence in this perpetual motion machine that is life, constantly pushing us forward but also recognizes that we can and will always look back no matter how quickly we are moving into the future. More specifically, the record is a reflection on a period of Lerman’s life where he hopped on freight trains and hitch hiked across the US in his late teens, early twenties. He let the motion of life settle him in some towns for several days, others for several months. Days Drunk Off Heat is Lerman looking back on this period of his life, wondering if he had stayed forever at any one of his stops, what would his life be like today? A question many of us ask ourselves throughout our lives about daily decisions regarding life, lovers, and our occupations.

 

The album opens with my personal favorite on the album, “Cornfields.”

 

 

Within seconds, I knew this was a record I wanted to spend some time with. It simultaneously sounded like something I had heard before, some combination of bands already out there, but also something completely novel. I could not and still cannot decide if Lerman and Londagin’s voices are perfectly similar or completely different. I cycle back and forth between hearing their voices overlap so flawlessly that it seems like both voices are coming from the same body while at other moments, their voices could not sound more dichotomous, almost dissonant at moments. “Cornfields” is a hazy lullaby intertwined with lyrics that are thick with that summer heat that leaves you feeling dazed. The following track, “Sunshivers”, picks the tempo up and is lazily playful, just like those insanely hot summer days that leave you unsure of what to do with yourself. You never completely wake up. That is how Days Drunk Off Heat leaves you feeling.

 

“Tongue Tied” is a lilting waltz that seems to highlight specific memories or moments from Lerman’s travels. Specific stops along the journey, tastes, smells, sights and scenes are captured in this track perfectly laced with Hybertson’s longing violin. Each instrument has its place in each song and I find myself having moments throughout each song with each instrument. The record also highlights Lerman and Longadin individually. “Migratory Birds” lets you get drunk off Lerman’s husky, whispering voice while “The Leaving” highlights Longadin’s pure, rich and soaring voice. On “The Leaving”, Longadin sings of how sweet is to leave, her voice the perfect means of conveying this message.

 

 

The record closes with, “Static Companion”, another favorite of mine, leaving you just as dazed as you began. Days Drunk Off Heat is meant to be listened to slowly. It’s like honey. It’s sweet and it can’t be rushed. This dreamy EP is out now and can be found on Bandcamp, Spotify,  and Amazon.

 

New single from Danish singer, Alex Vargas: “Silent Treatment”

Danish singer Alex Vargas brings us his latest track, “Silent Treatment.” The sultry and soulful track features his velvet-clad voice and an undeniably sexy beat. Last spring, Vargas released his debut record, “Cohere”, and based on this new single, the upcoming record brings a new level of intensity and soul.

Check it out:

 

 

Listen for more from Vargas via Facebook, Spotify and his official website.

Featured Image PC: Seth Nicolas