Tag Archives: Interview

The Scandals – O2 Academy Glasgow & Jared Hart Interview

The Scandals & The GasLight Anthem, 02 Academy Glasgow, 9th June 2015.

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Playing Glasgow as part of their recent UK, Ireland & European Tour supporting The Gaslight Anthem, Cat and I were lucky enough to meet with The Scandals front man Jared Hart before he went on stage at the iconic 02 Academy. From New Jersey, U.S , The Scandals are a four piece punk rock band who formed back in 2004. They are currently on their second trip to Europe following initial success in 2014.  Amongst other things we chatted about music, touring and I discovered Jared was a keen photographer who is both a pretty interesting and charismatic man. He kindly agreed to connect  with us again post tour and answer a few questions for BeardedRadio.

The Scandals

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

The Scandals

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

After completing their second European tour and having time to catch his breath, I emailed Jared a few questions about how 2015 is turning out for The Scandals.

Joe – You have such a powerful, presence, sound and energy on stage. Which musicians or bands have inspired you most?

Jared – There are tons of bands that have influenced the live show we try to put on every night. Bands like The Bouncing Souls, Lifetime, AFI, The Adicts, etc. are some of the bands that really stand out in terms of performance for me. Each one possesses the same if not more energy than their already hard hitting records.

Joe – You’ve now toured here a couple of times, how do the European audiences differ to your home crowd?

Jared – We’re extremely lucky to have the crowds that we have here back in the states. The real differences can be seen when you get to areas of the country where you’ve never really been. People pick and choose the shows they come out to and it’s a lot harder to draw people in when they’ve never heard of you. In Europe it seems that people are interested in finding and watching new bands and experiencing new music. We’ve been very fortunate on both sides of the water.

Joe – What home comforts do you wish you could take with you on tour?

Jared – I think my bed is the one thing I wish I could take with me. It’s a pillow top and it’s very comfortable.

Joe – What would be your 3 Desert Island albums?

Jared – Wow. This is intense. Rancid – And Out Come the Wolves, Far From Finished – Living in the Fallout, The Wallflowers – Bringing Down the Horse

Joe – Apart from songwriting and making music when you’re not touring and gigging, what do you like to do in your down time?

Jared – Sleeping is probably one of my favorite things to do when I’m not working or playing. Other than that I enjoy a good book, long walks on the beach, and Atlantic City.

Joe – And finally, whats next for The Scandals and for Jared Hart?

Jared – We’re gearing up to release our new EP as well as a split 7″ with Plow United. We’ll be doing some touring over the summer and the fall including a trip down to Fest in Florida. Hopefully we’ll be back in Europe within the year!

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Visit The Scandals website for gig information and tour dates, social media, music streaming and store, videos and merchandise.

Joe.

 

Sonia Stein – Interview

I first came across ‘Friendly Ghost’ by Sonia Stein earlier this year and instantly fell in love with the engaging, exotic feel of it. She has recently released her first EP, Symbol. I was so captured that I got in touch with her and was lucky enough to get my first ever interview!

How do you begin to write a song?

When I write alone, it usually starts with a phrase that I really want to use. It’s usually some sort of idiom or cliché that I reverse or breakdown and find clever. I’ll usually sit down at my keyboard and build the song around that. Sometimes it ends up being just a small line in a verse, sometimes it ends up being the main lyric or idea of the song.

Do you see you see yourself as a singer/songwriter or do you find that an old fashioned term?

I definitely see myself as a singer/songwriter. The term used in the sense of a ‘genre’ is as confusing as the term ‘pop’ but just the fact that I sing and write my songs means that by definition, that is what I am.

How important do you think image is in the modern day or do you think that songs speak for themselves?

Unfortunately image has become more and more important, as everything we consume is now visual. I wish it wasn’t and personally try to keep the visual statements minimal, as an enhancement to the music as oppose to a whole other element. Identity should feel fluid but in the music industry one has to define it very early on, in order to stand out. It is very hard to pick exactly what you want to be seen as and feel comfortable with it for years to come.

Is it important for you to be a good role model for young girls?

To be honest, I haven’t thought about it in a bigger sense yet. Looking back at people I used to listen to, I always wanted to be a lot like them so it would be great to look back at my track record and feel like young girls could do what I did without having any regrets.

Do you think that being in a good relationship is essential for happiness?

No, I don ‘t think it is essential. I think the people you surround yourself with are a huge part of happiness and that includes family and friends and sometimes, a relationship.

A lot of your songs are about relationships, do you see yourself as a strong female?

Great question. I do feel like a strong female. There is a power and bravery that comes with letting yourself be vulnerable and it’s important not to confuse the now so prevalent term ‘feminism’ with being less sensitive and less in touch with your feelings. Music has always revolved around love and relationships, and I don’t think that women should feel like they can’t express that in the same way as men just to appear strong and independent. You can be strong and independent and still be affected by feelings of love and want.

Who did you listen to when you were in your teens?

I wasn’t as cool as I see teens today, listening to old 60’s and 70’s music. I remember being very into the first two Avril Lavigne records haha. And the band A Fine Frenzy really sent me on my first writing spree at 15.

Other than music, what do you feel passionate about?

I feel very passionate about food and nutrition. I love cooking and eating and knowing what is in my food.

Symbol has strong lyrics about someone not fulfilling their potential. Is this based on a family member or friend?

Symbol is actually aimed at politicians. It was inspired by the hope that a candidate symbolises at the time of a campaign, all the things that they promise, and the choice they make to either fulfil those promises once elected, or disappoint people who’s fate is dependant on them. I do like that it can be interpreted in terms of a friendship, family member or relationship too.

How important is it to be ambitious and fulfil your dreams?

It is very important to aim towards fulfilling your dreams and make sure you stick to your own definition of being ambitious.

Friendly Ghost is my favourite, will it be on the album?

I’m so happy to hear that, I love that song as well. I don’t know if it will make the album, I like the idea of having as many unheard tracks on a new release as I can and since it’s been online for over a year and available to download I might just leave it at that.

A huge thank you to Sonia Stein for being such a great interviewee, I can’t wait to hear the new album in 2015. I’m really hoping to go to her next London gig, and review it!

Kira

Links below to SoundCloud, FaceBook, YouTube(video for “Waiting”) and the Amazon link to purchase:

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Offworld Recordings – LM1 – Interview

Allan Cowie
Producer, Radio and Club DJ, label boss Allan Cowie AKA LM1 is making music to get people moving and has been for some time now.

Hi Allan.
What is you earliest memory of Drum and Bass music and how did you like it?

In 1996 I was making my first progressive house tunes and dabbling in other genres. I used to be a regular listener of local radio and DJ’s like Pete Tong,  Jeff Young. I listened to an Essential Mix from LTJ Bukem and was instantly hooked. The amens annoyed me at the time but I love them now. Here I found the perfect marriage of ambient and beats and I bought the progression session CD’s as soon as I could. ‘Horizons’ by LTJ Bukem was and is one of my favourite Drum and Bass tunes.
Back then I had no internet until 2001, I had no idea how big Drum and Bass was, so I continued making Trance, like many, I had the illusion Drum and Bass was mostly jump up. I found Drum and Bass in 2007 by listening to Asc and Indigo Sync mixes, it was then I found the sound I’d been looking for and wanted to make. I took my Ambient and Trance influences to Drum and Bass and somehow made it work haha. I think it gave me a unique angle.

What makes a good Drum and Bass track?

I like many styles of Drum and Bass and I am willing to overlook production which Isn’t the highest quality, if I like the track in question. I’ve worked with artists in the past to help them clean up tracks and make them better for release. I do this because I remember being a struggling n00b with the genre, producing it, scratching my head at how artists make these twisting basslines, phat beats and insanely loud masters.
I’m instantly drawn to more melodic styles of Drum and Bass, as It’s always been what I like musically in general, so that’s something I look for in demos. You can tell a lot about a producer by listening to how much melodic content is played and arranged in a track.
I don’t know if I’m unique in this respect but I like tracks with ‘hooks’ and really nice sounds that draw you in.

Your Offworld label has been running for five years now, was starting the label something you had always hoped to do or just the next logical step to move on from your Bassdrive radio show?

I started Offworld before I started on Bassdrive as an avenue to release my tunes first and foremost, without being at the behest of another label who could take forever to release the tracks. I liked the aspect of being in control. Of course, back then I didn’t know if it would last, but it attracted some great like minded artists and snowballed from there. I’m quite proud looking back at the catalogue, I’ve had some great releases and I get emails from all over the globe saying they love the sounds. I really appreciate that, it makes it all worth while.
Offworld has taken on a life of it`s own now and I see people in photos donning Offworld tee shirts – love it!.
I had to give up the Bassdrive show as I had to undertake study along with my job and the show unfortunately was a big time sink. I  would spend three days preparing a two hour show – picking tunes, working out keys, planning the build up from easy rollers to more energetic tunes, before mixing it all live.
I certainly miss doing the show and may consider a return somewhere, but once a month is quite enough for me. Running a label, producing, working and DJing is quite enough to do!

What are your top three non Offworld tracks this year and who are they by?

1) Keosz & Cruel Culture – Sorrows (Protect audio)
I think it takes a lot of talent to produce subtle Drum and Bass and this is still one of my favourites. Lots of lovely melodic elements and beautiful interplay of the basses. Class.

Sorrow (Original Mix)

2) Actraiser – Cosmic Shift (Celsius)
This guy is going to be huge, he keeps making tunes that just gets better and better. Exciting melodic Drum and Bass with huge reeses and attitude. Always loved Actraiser since his début EP on Offworld.

Cosmic Shift (Original Mix)

3) S.P.Y – (feat. Diane Charlemane) – Airstrike Remix
This is currently part of a remix competition so I’ve no idea if it will get released, but this is stunning and has been stuck in my head for weeks. It sounded massive at the recent Offworld gig when I dropped it.
Mike (Airstrike) is a brilliant Offworld artist and a totally safe dude. I won’t make any predictions about him getting popular, I don’t want to be known as the Jimmy Hill of Drum and Bass fortune telling.

Dusty Fingers (feat. Diane Charlemagne)

Do you have strict criteria to keep Offworld quality control excellent, what would go against musical policy?

It’s always at the forefront on my mind. If a track sounds poorly produced, It`s going to reflect badly on the label. All the guys I’ve released on Offworld are producers who are at a very good standard.
I’m a bit ‘Simon Cowell’ when it comes to demos and follow my instincts to quickly process whether the track in question is well produced, has all the elements sitting nice and is straight up a track I like.
New guys will often sound rough in all areas, I tell them to keep sending tunes over and wait until their sound is better. It takes a good 2-3 years before you get your sound honed I think, but many new guys are impatient and want to be on a label in 6 months. I totally respect fellas who wait until they think their sound is good enough, before approaching labels.
Other than that, it`s strictly Drum and Bass I release (apart from Antibreak’s amazing LP ‘Advent Star’). I do like dark DnB as well, but no clownstep!

Tell us about up and coming producers on your label and their styles.

I have a Nelver LP coming up next in December (out now!) on Offworld which is going to be on CD and digital with some wicked art by Mike Kenny. I’m really excited about it as I think this guy has talent in excess for making melodic and exciting club music. My mind is boggled he hasn’t been picked up by bigger, mainstream labels. I’d much rather listen to his music than some of the crap I’ve heard from big labels.
After the year I’m excited to say, It’s a return to roots for the Offworld sound. It’s leaning back towards the melodic, atmospheric sounds of yesteryear with a contemporary feel. This is why I started the label really.
If I’d had my way, Offworld would be all this type of sound, but I don’t get enough quality tunes of this sort sent over. It’s no surprise I guess as you have to really love this sound to produce it, instead of say, making liquid rollers.
I’ve signed up a fellow Scot Patience for an atmospheric and contemporary sounding EP, and Deskai for a great EP along the same lines as the Parhelia I released earlier this year. I’ll also release another EP from the amazing Silence Groove. Everything this guy makes turns to gold. I’m currently harassing him regularly to make me an LP.
There’s been a few moments where I wasn’t sure I’d even have enough of the music I like to continue to run Offworld, but music finds its way to me at the right time. It’s been tough competing with the likes of triple vision who run three labels, but I like to think Offworld is more unique and doesn’t release so often it becomes less about the music.

With the current resurgence in ‘vinyl chic’ happening on the high streets and Drum and Bass vinyl facing a tough time of late with distribution issues, have you noticed any change in the popularity of vinyl and is there much demand for it in today’s Drum and Bass music?

I’m sure you’ve read of a ‘resurgence’ in vinyl online, but this is more to do with band music and is not equating to Drum and Bass. Many distros have gone down, record stores have closed up, prices have gone up for limited runs and postage has put many djs off buying them in the first place.
I’m sure bigger labels will continue with smaller runs, but I’m not certain about smaller indies.  I’ve considered vinyl releases many times over the years for Offworld and despite people asking for it, you have to consider the type of music I release. The typical way to start vinyl was to get a well known artist to front the A side and get away with something else on the B.
I wouldn’t for one thing, pay a fortune for a ‘well known’ artist to release on vinyl if I didn’t even like the music. If I did, it would be Drum and Bass music I love, quite possibly from an unknown artist. It’s all about the music for me.
It’s well known you’re lucky to make costs back on vinyl runs, my fear is to be left with a big amount unsold with the type of music I release. Look at Glr, they shut up shop recently. I might do a special one off in the future to test the waters. I used to be a vinyl junkie back in the days. I played in clubs and would forgo eating to get that latest record but times have changed. You have Traktor and Serato which allow you to play vinyl without the massive expense. The one thing that pisses me off, is not being able to buy MP3s of a tune if it’s a vinyl only release. There’s many tunes I would buy from the past if it was a good quality WAV.
The more worrying thing these days is people understandably are moving to streaming rather than buying music and the cut is much less than actual digital sales. Artists get little enough money without this new model. Since I’m paying for mastering now, I may have to run the label at a loss to pay artists and keep it going. Offworld is my baby though so I will keep on.

When can we expect the full artwork boxed made from bare recycled card five plate 12” LP from LM1?

Haha, you know I was thinking, It’s about time for LP number 2 for me. I’ve been writing sporadically the past year. I had three vinyl releases this year which was great and a few EPs are getting attention. I have a bunch of collabs on the go and five tracks already done, so i’m hoping to gather more than enough for an album and pick the best ones. Again it will be Drum and Bass focused, with no minimal DnB.
It’s a shame ‘minimal’ has dropped out of focus in Drum and Bass, I loved the sound, but it was more a listening music than club material. I wish more Drum and Bass producers didn’t go off tangent with albums ie vocalists and different genres as this often doesn’t work in a style you know them for.

Do you have any upcoming releases or tour dates, club nights?

The last Offworld night in Redditch with Sublime DnB (Scenic & Advisory) was a blast, there’s going to be another hopefully in summer 2015. I’m making enquiries into starting an Offworld night in Edinburgh so fingers crossed! I also need to get a new passport lol I’ve had to turn down some gigs for this reason. Thanks for the interview Andy, peace!

FIN

Andy

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