debut EP

Interview: Danish duo, ARES

Line Mortensen and Louise Andersen are based out of Copenhagen, a place in my opinion that is absolutely bursting at the seams with fresh musical talent. The duo releases their music under the name ARES and have slowly been releasing bits and pieces from their debut EP. We discussed their music, upcoming EP due out November 30th and much more in the interview below! Their excitement and passion for creating music is palpable!

 

MFL: Who is in ARES and when did you come together to form this project?

ARES: We are duo that consists of Line Mortensen and Louise Andersen. We met when we attended a music school some years back, where we lived in the rooms next to each other and quickly became friends. After we finished the courses at the school, we both moved to Copenhagen, and after some time of writing songs for fun, we decided that we wanted to start a band. After trying out some different things, writing a lot of songs and playing some concerts, we wanted to release our debut EP as ARES, and now it’s finally ready.

 

MFL: I know it can be difficult to pinpoint your “genre” of music but if you were to try, what genre would you call your music?

ARES: It seems that a lot of artist sometimes are afraid to be labelled as “pop artists”, but we most certainly are not. We love pop music, and we write pop music. Each song has its own specific sound, but overall we call it pop, and definitely with a big electronic influence.

 

MFL: You mentioned that “All I See” was showing a new side of ARES. What is it about “All I See” that feels or sounds different than your previous releases?

ARES: Before “All I See” we had already released the two singles “Strangers” and “Lost My Mind” which was both kind of dark and heavy. Both of those singles circled around the subjects of heartbreak and darkness, and with “All I See” we took a chance and released a light, catchy and romantic song about love. We don’t write a lot of “positive” songs, but we really had fun with this one, and wanted to show that ARES is not just about heartbreak and sadness, haha!

 

MFL: Where in Denmark are you based out of and how does your location/local music scene influence your sound?

ARES: None of us are from Copenhagen, but we both moved here about five years ago, and we love it here. There’s a big upcoming music scene with lots of opportunities for bands like us. Right now a lot of artists who are writing in Danish are becoming popular, but writing in Danish just does not come that easily to us (yet!), so we will stick to English for now. We try to stand out from the rest of the upcoming bands and do not have a fear of sounding too “pop”-ish.

 

MFL: What can we expect from your forthcoming EP?

ARES: You can expect an emotional ride in our lyrical universe and soundscape. We strive to be very honest in our songs and in our musical vision in general, and we hope our listeners can hear how much time and love we poured into this EP.

 

 

 

 

MFL: Who are some of the most influential Danish musicians out there for you right now?

ARES: Uh, there’s so many! Right now we’re very inspired by the crazy talented Kwamie Liv, who just released her debut-album. Her voice and songs always delivers so much nerve and her musical universe is so simple yet at the same time extremely powerful and we love that!

 

MFL: Who do you go to for recording/mixing and why did you choose them for your sound?

ARES: We are working with the amazing danish producer Frederik Falk, who not only loves the same music as we do, but also has a gift of translating the sounds we describe from inside our heads. He really just gets our sound universe and always listens to us even though we sometimes might be a bit hard to work with because we’re both extreme perfectionists.

 

MFL: Finally, what does 2019 hold for ARES?

ARES: Uhh, so many plans. we’re very excited about 2019. We are ready to work our asses off to share our music and project with as many as possible. We’re gonna play a lot of concerts and probably work on both visuals and more releases. We’re both filled with so many ambitious ideas for the project and we can’t wait to get started on creating more!

 

You can follow ARES on Facebook and Spotify.

PHOTO CREDIT: Louise Mortensen

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.

 

Interview: LA duo, LACEI

LACEI is a musical duo based out of LA. Viktor Ahlgren and Jessica Lombardozzi came together after meeting in business class, both bringing unique musical aspects to their project. Their music merges musical concepts, genres and styles that give LACEI a truly novel sound. Viktor (Vik) and Jessica (Jess) took the time to answer some questions about the origin of LACEI, their debut EP, 11:11, and their concert venue wishlists. Check it out!

 

 

MFL: How did the two of you come together to make LACEI and what is the meaning of your musical project’s name?

Jess and ViK (J&V): First, it’s great to be connecting with Music For Lunch; always amazing to be involved with supporters of the arts and upcoming artists. 

 ViK: We met in a music business class at our university and started to collaborate. I believe the initial origin of the name Lacei may have been inspired from Jessica’s obsession with Flyleaf lol, but then it definitely just fit the persona of the music we were creating.

 

MFL: I love the unique sounds that you have merged in LACEI. There is something gentle and folk-like about the vocals but it is meshed flawlessly with the kind of electronic music that is flooding the music sphere right now, creating something so innovative. I feel like “Cold Moon” is the perfect example of this. What kind of music-listeners are you trying to reach with this new sound?

Jess: Thank you very much. It seems that you understand what it is we are doing. We do not like to create boundaries or categorize, therefore we want to reach anyone and everyone that can relate to our stuff.

 

MFL: What is the overarching story you are telling with 11:11 and what is the significance of the EP title? 11:11 was always the time that I would make a wish when I was growing up!

Jess: We kept on seeing the numbers 11:11 everywhere, and I mean everywhere lol. In fact, the night we were discussing EP titles Viktor randomly looked at his phone and there it was again. So, we figured that was a sign haha. The spiritual meaning of 11:11 is that it is a sign of doing something right and being on the right path. 

 

 

 

MFL: In your opinions, who are the musicians that are making waves today and how do they differ in sound and content compared to the musicians you grew up with?

J&V: Bon Iver. His latest album is a master piece. Vernon was able to create something unique and innovative with all this new sound and texture while at the same time keeping the ‘folky feeling’ as Bon Iver is known for. The album is also very short, only 34 min, which also is not very common, and the songs titles are crazy.

 Another artist that is making waves is DJ Dahi who we have been privileged to work with. Dahi is an amazing producer and his tracks are always very interesting. He can bring out something different and unique in the artists he is working with and his beats always stands out from the rest.

 

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MFL: Are there other songs in your musical treasure chest besides the four that appear on the 11:11 EP? If so, why didn’t they make it onto the EP?

Viktor: Yes! We have a huge repertoire of songs. But we thought these four records were enough to get the listeners an idea of what LACEI is while not revealing too much, leaving them interested in hearing more.

 

MFL: What do each of you bring to LACEI that is unique?

VIktor: Jess is amazing with topline, I’m working the tracks… we meet in the middle on melodies.  Also, I’m a male, she’s a female; that always brings unique perspectives. 

 

MFL: Why is LA your musical hub and how, if at all, does the culture influence your music?

J&V: LA is where we met, live and go to school. We are hitting the road to explore the world. We love to travel!

 

MFL: If you could pick your top 5 cities/venues to play in the world, where/what would they be?

 J&V:

  • Coachella – because it’s Coachella haha.
  • Glastonbury (England) – Looks like a super dope festival.
  • Way Out West (Sweden) – because Viktor is from Sweden and he has always wanted to play back home.
  • Hollywood Bowl – because it is such a chill venue and we saw Bon Iver there and it was absolutely amazing.
  • Red Rocks Amphitheater – it just looks crazy.

 

MFL: If I were to dig through the music you listen to personally, what do you think would be the most surprising find?

Jess: Binary beats. Does that count as music? lol

 ViK: That I am a huge fan of folk music haha. 

 

MFL: Where and when can your fans find you playing live in the next couple of months? 

J&V: Currently in the studio working hard on the album and hitting the road in the new year. 

 

Thank you to Vik and Jess and their lovely PR agent, Theresa Montgomery of 24West for making this interview possible! You can find 11:11 on iTunes now and follow them on Facebook and Soundcloud.

EP Review: “EP One” by Swedish duo, Newtimers

Newtimers is the work of Swedish duo Andreas Britton Cavaco (vocals) and Tim Lundblad (drums, production). The two have honed in on a kind a musical genre they can call their own. They merge elements of R & B, 80s synth pop and I have to say it, Michael Jackson. There is a subtly seductive sound to their debut EP, EP One, which was released June of 2016 on Cosmos Music.

The EP was written at a time of heartbreak for both Andreas and Tim but the guys didn’t want heartbreak to the theme. Despite the melancholic material, the EP is laced with an uplifting sense of power and the human broken heart’s ability to move forward. The opening cut, “The Best of Me” instantly sucked me in. It’s sexy and catchy without the over-production that comes with some mainstream music from the same vein. Andreas’ smooth vocals hover above melodies that hark back to 80’s and 90’s pop R & B. “The Best of Me” is about as amplified as the EP gets. Check out the music video:

 

 

Following is, “Flower on the Moon”, another velvety gem, perfectly produced. The moment the track begins, you can sense the lights going down. It’s the epitome of that subtle seductive sound I mentioned. The closing track is the single, “Perfect Ten”, which received a great deal of attention upon release for obvious reasons. The EP also features two remixes of “Best of Me”, one by the acclaimed Monsierur Adi and another by Sailor & I.

Since the release of their debut EP, they’ve released the new spunky single, “She’s a Gun.” Check it out:

 

New single from up and coming blues boy, Ethan Burns: “22 Knots”

Something about Ethan Burns’ voice speaks more than you would imagine coming from someone the age of 25. There is a maturity and a thick, rich quality to Burns’ vocals that absolutely make his music what it is. As a young boy, he grew up primarily on gospel music but music took on an entirely new meaning to him  when he discovered “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. It was then that he discovered his knack for learning music by ear. The rest is history.

Last month he released his latest single, “22 Knots”, a track Burns says is “about a lonely man taking to the emotional high seas to try and escape his worries, then has second thoughts.” The single is off of his upcoming EP which is due out on Fairfax Recordings on September 30th. “22 Knots” is blues, it’s pop, it’s retro and modern all a the same time. The track encompasses a vast spectrum of genres, gluing them together with his one of a kind voice. 

 

 

Lovely piece and sweet music video from Munroe: “Nothing is Funny”

Kathleen Munroe is a brightly talented singer/songwriter and actress originally form Hamilton, ON. Between acting and writing music she has found time to release her debut self-titled EP and first real solo effort. The EP was co-produced by Michael Keire and features friends and fellow musicians Noah Fralick, Ben Munoz, Julie Fader, Billy Holmes, and Steve McKay, among others. The EP came out May 12th on Hidden Pony and is available on iTunes now.

My first taste of Munroe was the track, “Nothing is Funny” and its accompanying music video. The track is simple, supple and beautiful, as is the music video. You can hear the creaking of the piano and its pedals while she plays, adding to the beauty of the track. “Nothing is Funny” is the concluidng piece on her EP. About the song and music video, Kathleen Munroe said:

“We shot this at the natural history museum in LA. Dioramas like those are so strange and sad because the whole point is to make the scenes and the animals in them look as life-like as possible –implying movement, relationships, behaviour, vitality–but the subjects in them are 100% dead. I got stuck on the idea of suggesting life where it doesn’t exist, and holding onto hope in a scenario that is clearly hopeless. That’s not really what the song is about, but it is a song about waiting, so I thought it would be cool to throw the thoughts together and push the idea of waiting to a point of absurd impossibility. Waiting for something that’s already been precluded.”

 

Music video and debut EP from German-Chinese beatmakers, C.O.W. 牛

C.O.W.  牛 is the collaboration of four beatmakers, bridging the geographic and musical gap between Germany and China. Bringing Beijing and Berlin together in sonic symmetry, C.O.W.  牛 creates electronic music that is sexy, surreal, hip and holistic. The quartet releasd their debut EP June 24th of this year. The five track EP captures the essence of C.O.W.  牛 and serves as an excellent introduction to the group’s potential.

Check out the music video for the track, “White” and purchase the EP on iTunes now. You can also find the EP on the group’s webite.