Decadent electronic from Denmark: New record and single from SAVEUS

“Greatness or Madness” is one of those songs that you have to listen to all of the way through…several times. There is so much going on this track. It’s aggressive, thick, and in your face all the while Martin Hedegaard still delivers some pretty gorgeous vocals in there. Hedegaard performs under the name SAVEUS, a name that has been gathering attention in Denmark for his rich electronic sound that can be both dark and magnificent.

 

 

His debut record, Neuro, is out now on all your favorite streaming/purchasing platforms.

 

Album Review: Sam Evian – “You, Forever”

Sam Owens, stage name Sam Evian, brings us his sophomore record. You, Forever is a collection of gentle and supple tracks that easily nudge their way into your mind. Nothing on the record is overtly complex, just the way Owens wanted it. You, Forever is an ode to you, to all of us and the fact that we are who we are, forever. In the words of Owen:

 

“This is you, forever: deal with yourself,” he says. “It’s about accepting that you are responsible, that you are in charge of your actions. Everything that happens to you is because of you; no matter what happens, go there and learn from it.”

 

He approached writing and recording the album in parallel with the over all meaning of the record. Embracing who he was as a musician, he grabbed his family’s old instruments and wrote the entire album in his hometown in North Carolina. Just the way Owens describes owning up to your actions and accepting responsibility, he went about recording the album. In a rented house in upstate New York, his band mates Brian Betancourt (bass), Austin Vaughn (drums), Adam Brisbin (guitar), and Hannah Cohen (backup vocals) recorded You, Forever sans pedal tuning. Again, falling in line with the theme of the record, Owens made everyone in his band own up to their standards as musicians by removing a device that he felt made everything just sound too good and not real enough. The result is a work of art that is honest and approachable but not superficial.

 

The album opens with my favorite track on the record, “IDGAF.” I am not one to keep up with all the acronyms kids use these days but I get this one. If you don’t know what it stands for, listen to the song, it’s implied in the chorus. The track introduces you do the entire notion of the record, of accepting and owning yourself. Throwing your hands up, giving into yourself and saying:

 

I don’t care, I don’t care anymore,

Not like before

I don’t care, I don’t have to care anymore!

 

My one qualm with the track is that it’s over too soon. That being said, he IS able to pack in a fantastic underlying guitar melody that reels you in, a gentle build with chiming classic keys and a message that resonates. He certainly leaves you wanting more.

 

 

 

 

In stark contrast is “Health Machine” a head bobbing, rhythmic piece that is fully equipped with a gnarly saxophone exit. Comedically, the track is centered on our bodies and the chaos we put them through. About the track Owens says:

 

“It’s about the unattainable health that I would like to imagine for myself on tour. The line ‘We slither out on a Tuesday feeling tired and hopeless’ is such a hilarious picture: four people in a minivan slithering out of Atlanta, Georgia, stopping at a CVS and getting a bunch of Zicam. Health is your job if you’re touring as a musician, although it’s a job I don’t do so well.”

 

In todays world, we’re all trying to be good at a million things or maybe one thing, like being in a successful touring band like Owens. Regardless, we end up driving our poor bodies into the ground and if we’re lucky, we can keep our minds above the surface! “Health Machine” is another prominent example of how Owens can bring your attention to mundane topics of life like health and self-responsibility but do it in a way that makes you want to take some extra time to consider these topics.

 

Continuing to keep his listeners on their toes on this record, Owens delivers a nearly 5 minute ballad that slowly dissolves into an organized mess of instruments in the form of the track, “Anybody.” Immediately following is a delicate piece titled, “Apple”, not even two minutes in length. And from there he tugs you into “Country.” The track literally sounds like a road trip or a train chugging along down the tracks and that is just what it’s about. Many of the tracks on the album were lyrically inspired by a road trip him and his girlfriend (Hannah Cohen – back up vocals) took across the country.

 

Photo Credit Clockwise: Josh Coleman, Shervin Lainez, Josh Coleman

The latter half of the record is more swaying than the top of the album. It includes pieces like the title track, “You, Forever.” The meat of the track opens up to a glorious instrumental jam and that’s where it stays for the rest of the track. It’s the instrumental representation of, “This is you forever, deal with yourself.”

 

You, Forever is out on June 1st on Saddle Creek and you can catch him touring this June:

 

Sam Evian Tour Dates:
Thu. June 7 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott *^
Fri. June 8 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade *^
Sat. June 9 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd ^
Sun. June 10 – Durham, NC @ The Pinhook ^
Tue. June 12 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt ^
Wed. June 13 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
Thu. June 14 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas
Fri. June 15 – Millville, PA @ Mr. Small’s ^
Sat. June 16 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s ^

* = with Katie Von Schleicher
^ = with Buck Meek

New music from Duke Bluebeard

Duke Bluebeard, the stage name for Adam Lukacs, delivers two short and sweet tracks wrapped in a package titled, 4:20. The two tracks together add up to be exactly 4 minutes and 20 seconds, each one exactly 2 minutes and 10 seconds. The tracks are composed of simple lyrics revolving around loneliness, perhaps post-relationship?

“On My Own”

I was sleeping all alone

Now I’m waking up on my own

So now I’m working this out on my own

I’m on my own

This is left up to the listener to decide as the tracks are over so quickly, there isn’t time to dig too deep. I love this aspect because he allows the listener to own the songs meaning. You’re not force fed a six minute tragedy that’s boring and obvious (though that has it’s place and time!). Despite their short-lived nature, there is time for all those essential bits of a song: a quiet start, slow build and a gentle, smoldering finish. The vocals lovingly remind me of a favorite artist of mine, Amen Dunes. The tracks on 4:20 are titled “Waiting” and “On My Own” and are available on Spotify and many other streaming platforms.

 

New single from Maximillian: “Hollow Days”

19 year old Maximillian may be young but he is no stranger to the pop music scene in Copenhagen. His honey soaked voice has gifted us tracks like “Higher” and “Strangers” which have already made waves. His new single, “Hollow Days” is drenched in the honesty of a young heart. It’s an indulgent pop piece that’s both steamy and dance-able. Check it out:

 

 

 

It’s no wonder Maximillian is turning heads in Scandinavia. Follow him on Facebook  and Spotify.

New music video from The Woods: “Armchair Expert”

“Armchair Expert” comes to us from Scottish-born Johnny McFadzean who makes music under the name, The Woods. Johnny spent his childhood as a classically trained member of a world class choir and is now making hypnotically stunning electronic music. “Armchair Expert” is an excellent example of this. The accompanying music video tips you sideways. You’re not quite sure whether the armchair is laying on the floor or propped up against a wall with a carpet behind it. Neither really makes sense until objects start to appear, unfolding, crawling and making bizarre shapes. The track builds in complexity throughout with McFadzean’s mesmerizing voice hovering above.

This is what McFadzean had to say about the track:

“The song is a wee response to all the ‘armchair experts’ who tell you what you can and can’t do, that it’s a terrible idea to step out and take a chance for fear of failing. I don’t mind falling out of trees because it turns out I love climbing them.” 

Now check it out for yourself:

 

Follow The Woods on Facebook and Spotify.

Interview: Currin

Olivia Currin Duell is an electronic musician originally from Ithaca but now based out of central Pennsylvania. Her music is both rich and layered but simultaneously uncomplicated and tangible and she does it all herself. Check out her track, “Sunshine”:

 

 

I sent Olivia some questions regarding her musical influences, musical process and much more.

MFL: What kind of music did you grow up listening to and how did it influence the music you write today?

 Olivia Currin Duell (OD): I joke that the first CD my parents gave me was VH1 Divas Live album, featuring Celine, Mariah, Gloria, Shania, and Aretha, and that the album solidified my love of pop music queens. I unabashedly and non-ironically love pop music and actually wrote about it in college and grad school. There’s always something underground that’s being pushed into the mainstream, and pop music is where a lot of those culture clashes occur. It makes for some interesting messaging and symbolism.

 I had a phase in the mid 2000s where I actually stopped listening to women entirely. I’d only listen to alt-rock bands comprised only of male musicians. Think Dashboard Confessional, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Green Day, and other pop punk bands. In high school, I would hang out in a free local music studio making covers, and it was then when it hit me that I’m a female musician who was swallowing some serious internalized misogyny. Around the same time, I began listening to Cat Power and Joanna Newsom. I revisited Destiny’s Child. I learned about riot grrrl culture. I reignited my love for Britney. I stopped pretending I hated top 40. I let myself enjoy listening to music.

 Now I think I have a rather broad and deep knowledge of various styles of music. However, I now listen to primarily female music artists as a conscious choice.

 

MFL: How did you find yourself writing electronic music?

 OD: I have piano training, and it’s pretty easy to make a quick demo on Garage Band if you know how to work a keyboard. In college, I would make electronic covers in my bedroom while home on breaks. I was in a grungey folk-rock band later in college, and liked the music we were making, but always found it frustrating to explain to a bandmate how I wanted a guitar lick to sound. I know a lot of music theory, and the musicians I’ve worked with sometimes know not as much. With electronic music, I can quickly lay down a melody. If I don’t like the rhythm or if I want to change the key, I can adjust each note in the electronic score. Logic Pro and Garage Band make it really easy for musicians to navigate.  As a result, I find that electronic music gives me total control. Since what I want out of my music projects gets really specific, electronic music offers me a lot of range to do what I want.

 

MFL: I have only heard “Sunshine” and “Don’t Do It Again.” I hear so much of Crystal Castles and Poliça in these songs. Are you inspired by these musicians or perhaps others that I don’t know?

 OD: I’m definitely a huge fan of Alice Glass. I’ve followed her court case and am no longer a fan of Ethan Kath, but Crystal Castles music did mean a lot to me. I’m closely following her new solo project with a hopeful excitement.

 I haven’t listened to Poliça too much, but I just checked out their newer tracks and do hear the comparison between vocals.

 Currently, music I’ve been most excited about has been coming out of PC Music, a collective out of the UK. AG Cook is one of the main producers within the collective, and he’s been putting out really interesting, experimental pop music for awhile now.  Sophie is another producer and artist associated with the collective. They have both collaborated with Charli XCX on her past two mixtapes, Number 1 Angel and Pop 2.

 Charli XCX is someone who really inspires me, too. She has a clear social media presence and I remember her tweeting something about (I’m heavily paraphrasing here) how she doesn’t even know if albums are the future for an artist like her. That actually really motivated me to just start writing and recording. Like, I don’t need a label. I can create a project I’m proud of on my own, and collaborate with who I’d like when I’d like, and release something whenever I feel like it’s ready. Whether it makes money is another story. But seeing artists collaborate on experimental projects in ways that undercut the regular channels of the music industry is really cool and exciting.

 

MFL: What is the source of material for your lyrics? Along those lines, do you write lyrics first, melody first or do they happen simultaneously?

 OD: I usually have a certain image or conversation in mind when writing. Sometimes the words and melody happen first. Lately I find myself starting with a drum track, manipulating that until it has the sound I’d like, and then start layering bass parts, arpeggiators, synth melodies, vocal harmonies, and so on, whatever sounds right. I have a really strong musical ear and can feel when the sound works.

 My lyrics usually mean something pretty specific to me, but I think a lot of people can relate to the feelings and images the lyrics and sounds convey.

 

currinredgreen

 

MFL: Tell me about the name of your project, Currin. Where did that come from and what does it represent?

 OD: Currin is my middle name. It was my great grandmother’s middle name and her mother’s maiden name.

 

MFL: Where did you grow up and where are you based out of now? If you moved, tell me how you ended up where you are now.

 OD: I grew up in Ithaca, NY, and stayed there for college. I went to Milwaukee for grad school, and now I’m in central Pennsylvania, around 3 hours south of my hometown. My partner is a software engineer and we’re currently here for his job.

 

MFL: Are there others involved in your project or do you write, record, mix all of your music yourself?

OD: I’m doing everything by myself so far. I am really passionate about pursuing a solo project because I think it’s really easy for me to lose my own voice and vision when someone else adds their work into the mix. I’m teaching myself how to be a better sound engineer, and might need someone more professional down the line, but for right now, all sounds, edits, graphics, etc, are done by me.

 

MFL: What is your plan for the coming year and can we expect some more releases from you?

 OD: I’m working on an EP right now. I have a few tracks that feel close to being finished, and several other tracks where the instrumentals are set, and I just need vocals and lyrics. A big goal is a music video. This is something I’m also planning to do myself so it might take awhile. But I’d love to have a video release by the fall. Currently, my music is only hosted on Soundcloud, but will soon be hosted on other streaming platforms, as well.

 

MFL: Finally, why did you choose Patreon as your platform? I had only just heard of Patreon when I was looking you up!

OD: Patreon is something I noticed other creatives tapping into. For me, it feels like a way to build a community of artists and creators and people who are excited about that. It’s connected me to acquaintances I didn’t expect to follow me, which is really cool. It provides a little extra cash, but more so I’m just hoping to find any opportunities to connect with likeminded people.

 

pinkcurrin

 

You can follow Currin on Patreon and Facebook. If you’re curious about how Patreon works, check them out here! Thank you, Olivia for giving us all a peek into your musical life and thank you to Adam Hachey for connecting us ❤

 

Interview: Up and coming electronic artist, Make & Model

Album artwork: Tim Meskers

When I hear some music, I need more than just the music. I need background, answers and explanations. I need to give the music another dimension. That’s how I felt when I listened to Make & Model’s first single, “Change of Heart.”

 

 

I’m lucky enough to get to the bottom of the music I love and get all those unanswered questions answered, on a regular basis. Brian Hall is the man behind the electronic project, Make & Model and a handful of other creative projects he will tell you more about below! His secret to successfully committing to and completing all of these projects? Also below!

 

MFL: Tell me about your musical beginnings. Where did you grow up, how and when did music become part of your life and who influenced you musically?

Brian Hall (BH): I’ve lived in Philadelphia all my adult life, grew up not far from here in a town called Wyomissing. And I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. My parents had me taking piano lessons ever since I was a little kid, long before I ever really made that choice consciously for myself. And then I picked up the guitar when I was in middle school. I think the musicians who have influenced me the most would have to be my bandmates. Donnie Felton is the other songwriter in Grubby Little Hands (GLH) and the primary vocalist. We’ve been collaborating for more years than I might admit in this interview because I’m still pretending to be young. Donnie and I met at Wake Forest where we both studied Theory & Composition and he’s had a huge influence on me because we’re just constantly sharing ideas with one another. Also, Joe Primavera, who’s the lead guitarist in GLH and a very skilled engineer – he actually mixed and mastered this Make & Model EP –  we’ve been in bands together for a very long time as well. Nothing I do ever makes it to the rest of the world without being shaped in some way, shape, or form by those two.

 

MM Stickers

 

MFL: I’ve been listening to Grubby Little Hands this morning. How and why did you move from that project to Make & Model? They seem polar opposite!

BH: Yea, Make & Model is pretty different from Grubby Little Hands. I also put out a 7” back in the day of this weird lo-fi, kinda dark stuff under the name Desert Car. And I’ve got a batch of material cooking right now that’s off on yet another tangent, so that will probably need a whole new artist identity whenever it comes to fruition. So definitely a bit all over the place, but I don’t think that’s unusual necessarily. I imagine most artists will find themselves exploring a few different directions. I feel like each individual artistic project should have a clear identity, but I don’t think any one particular project is ever going to be fully representative of the person or people who create it.

 

MFL: Are you still part of Grubby Little Hands and how will you balance both projects?

BH: Ah, balance. Great question! And not just multiple musical projects, either. I have to balance my family, my job, I have a podcast I love making, and I help run a small label/collective… it’s definitely tricky. But everyone has a lot going on. Balance is just part of life. I don’t know, you just gotta find it. Fortunately Make & Model isn’t too time consuming. Honestly this EP came together in about a month. But yea we’re full steam ahead with Grubby Little Hands and putting the finishing touches on a new album. I’d be lying if I said GLH doesn’t occupy a huge portion of our time, resources, and energy. We’re being more meticulous with this album than ever, it’s been over a year in the making, but it’s sounding great…  we’ll still probably blow it up and start over though, because we’re crazy.

 

MFL: I feel like there are similarities between what I’ve heard of Make & Model and Daft Punk. Do you agree and has Daft Punk inspired your sound?

BH: Totally. I get the Daft Punk comparison a lot, also Air.  Which are definitely flattering comparisons because those bands are both amazing. I think it’s the vocoder… that’s obviously a very distinct attribute. So, yea, I definitely agree in that sense. But obviously Daft Punk (and Air) are like gods and Make & Model is just a mere mortal.

 

MM Headphones

 

MFL: What is “Change of Heart” about and how will it fall in line with the other tracks on your upcoming EP, Channel Surfing?

BH: “Change of Heart” is about two people falling out of love. Which sounds sad, but isn’t necessarily meant to be. It’s just something that happens sometimes. All of the songs on the EP touch on some aspect of human relationships, connections, or behaviors, and I think the robotic vocals create this weird juxtaposition of real human emotion being processed through this artificially intelligent filter. The music always struck me as sounding like a piece of technology – like a radio, or TV, or computer, or phone – came to life, and its entire understanding of the human experience was based on the vast amounts of mass media that funneled through it. That’s why I set all the songs to found footage from various decades and sources, and named the EP Channel Surfing.

 

MFL: How are you preparing for the release of your debut EP as Make & Model?

BH: Hmm… I’ll be drafting a text message to my friends and guilting them into listening to it. Just kidding. Well, that’s probably true actually. But the better answer is I’ll be playing an EP release show at a DIY venue in Philly called Crouch House on Friday, May 11 with some amazing artists, Berndsen, Raindeer, & Blood Sound. Berndsen is a really popular 80s-inspired electro-pop artist in Iceland and this is their first U.S. tour.  Raindeer is a band from Baltimore that I’m friends with and fans of – they’re honestly one of my favorite bands on the indie circuit right now. Blood Sound is also from Philly and I’ve actually never met them, but we have some mutual friends, and I love what I’ve heard of their music, so I look forward to meeting them at the show. Should be a fun night!  

 

MFL: If you could perform with any musician(s) out there, who would it be?

BH: For some reason when I entertain hypotheticals like this my mind always goes to artists who have passed, like Prince or Freddie Mercury or David Bowie. I guess just because those scenarios require an extra layer of magic and fantasy. But truthfully, ‘performing’ with them would just be me sitting down on the stage and watching them in awe.

 

MFL: There is so much music out there. It blows my mind sometimes. With all of that music out there, how do you define success for yourself as a musician?

BH: Success is just keeping my sanity.  If I can continue doing what I’m doing and not lose my mind (or push away any loved ones) then I’ll be happy. And when I’m old and I look back at all the music I made, hopefully I’ll like some of it. And that will be success.

 

Major thank you to Brian Hall for taking the time to dish out the most thoughtful answers! And to Jeremy Theall for connecting us. Don’t miss the release of Make & Model’s debut EP, Channel Surfing, May 11th via Good Behavior Records! You can keep track via Facebook and his website through Post-Echo.