Jammin’ In July: My Musical Alphabet

Greetings readers,

Today I’m taking inspiration from fellow music-blogger Daria, from The Music Wonderland, who created her own musical alphabet. I thought it was a great way to share your favourite artists, so I asked if I could upload my own version and she said yes. So, I’ve combed my ITunes, album collection, and previous blogs to bring you my favourite artists for each letter of the alphabet – complete with some throwbacks in there too.

(There are a few gaps towards the end though, sorry!)

 

A – Against The Current

One of my favourite bands at the moment, New Yorkers Against The Current also dropped one of my favourite albums of 2016 with their debut release, ‘In Our Bones’. They have a lot of different elements to their sound, from danceable pop-driven tracks to dark, brooding rock vibes, which all combine to make something undeniably addictive.

To see my review of ATC’s debut album ‘In Our Bones’, click here.

 

B – Bring Me The Horizon

BMTH have been around since my early teens but, admittedly, I have only really gotten into their music recently. Whilst I liked the rough and raw screamo sound of previous releases, I couldn’t listen to it for too long; I couldn’t understand the lyrics, I couldn’t sing along, it just didn’t hit me in the same way that bands like Bullet For My Valentine did at the time, with their darkly twisted debut album ‘The Poison’. However, with their newest release ‘That’s The Spirit’ came a new sound that I’m totally into. Gone are the undecipherable lyrics and discordant arrangements, to be replaced by a melodic stadium-rock vibe. Their trademark ferocity is still there, but has evolved into something different – a change for the better in my opinion.

To see my review of Bring Me The Horizon’s newest release ‘That’s The Spirit’, click here.

 

C – Cassadee Pope

If you were into the pop-punk scene in early 2007 when the female fronted era exploded, then you may recognise ex Hey Monday front woman Cassadee Pope. Having been a fan of the band since their formation in 2008, I was crushed when they decided to go on hiatus with only one album to their name – 2008’s ‘Hold On Tight’. Following their short-lived time as a band, I was beyond intrigued when I found that Pope went on to become a contestant on The Voice USA; following her journey through the competition, which ultimately saw her crowned the winner. She has since released her debut album ‘Frame By Frame’, which reached #1 in the US Country music chart.

To see my article on Cassadee Pope following her win on The Voice USA, click here.

 

D – Demi Lovato

Quite simply, I absolutely adore Demi Lovato. From her musical ability and captivating power-house vocals, to her confidence to speak candidly about her personal struggles, I think that she is someone to be admired.

For more about why I like Demi Lovato, and why she is #1 on my ‘Top 10 Interview Wish-List, click here.

 

E – Ed Sheeran

Simply put? Ed Sheeran is amazing. I truly believe that he is one of the biggest icons of my generation. He has gone from strength to strength within the industry over the years, not just with his own albums but working behind the scenes on hits for other artists, including Justin Bieber, Major Lazer and One Direction. Everything he has done, to this day, has been absolute fire; with one chart hit after another. And, since the release of his newest album ‘Divide’, 2017 has so far been another massive year for our favourite red-head – already having made history by occupying both the #1 and #2 spot in the charts with ‘comeback’ singles ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’ respectively. He gets better and better with each album.

To see my review of ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’, click here.

 

F – Francheschi (Elissa)

I’ve been a fan of Elissa Franceschi’s music since my late teens. Introduced to her after she did guest vocals on You Me At Six track ‘Always Attract’, I then went on to check out her solo music – and fell in love. The soulful songstress has a beautifully delicate, yet powerful, quality to her vocals and her music is always mesmerising; full of honesty and overflowing with poignancy. She is currently on a musical hiatus, as she has been for the last few years, but there have been some little signs online that could hint at a possible return to music soon – here’s hoping! It’s been far too long.

To see my review of Elissa Franceschi’s EP ‘Devoid of Rue’, click here.

 

G – Green Day

One of my first favourite bands back when I first discovered rock music, Green Day were a huge part of the soundtrack to my early teens. Admittedly, I don’t listen to them nowadays, but there will always be a special place in my heart for them.

 

H – Hobbie Stuart

Honey-voiced heart-throb Hobbie Stuart, is a pop singer-songwriter and vlogger. Having built an online following via YouTube over the last six years, Stuart uploads both cover videos and original material to his channel. His smooth, r’n’b-tinged vocals seem to be able to wrap themselves around any song; leaving their own stamp on existing tracks and giving life to his own songs. Having seen him play a short set in Brighton, where he also turned on the town’s Christmas lights, it’s fair to say that he’s just as good live as he is on record – a rare quality nowadays. As well as his hypnotising vocals, Stewart’s hilariously candid personality also comes across in his vlogs, making them even more entertaining. You just can’t help but love him, really.

To check out my initial ‘One to Watch’ on Hobbie Stuart, click here.

For my live review of Stuart’s short set at Brighton’s Christmas light’s switch on, click here.

 

I – Issues

I discovered this metalcore six-piece after recommendation from a friend of mine, and I’m so glad I gave them a listen. Their thrashing yet melodic sound draws on a multitude of different genres, from heavy rock to electronic, and even some R&B. There is a brutal heaviness running through every track, which is lifted by honey-voiced vocalist Tyler Carter’s melodic tone as it drizzles over the gravelly sounds of Michael Bohn’s aggressive screams. This provides a great contrast and incorporating elements of other genres also brings something different to the table, keeping things interesting.

To see my introductory ‘One To Watch’ on Issues, click here.

 

J – Justin Timberlake

Sorry, I’m not sorry. Justin Timberlake is up there with some of the best male vocalists in the pop scene. From the curly-haired kid in boyband Nsync to the suave pin-up that girls fantasize over, JT and his music continue to stand the test of time – his smooth brand of r’n’b drenched pop still winning hearts, and awards, worldwide.

 

K – Kelly Clarkson

Again, another artist whose vocals continue to always cause a stir in the pop charts, fifteen years after she became the first ever winner of American Idol. Kelly Clarkson has an amazing voice; strong, bold and powerful, both on and off record. The majority of her music centres on themes such as heart-break, self-empowerment and independence, much of which really speaks to me. Her second studio album ‘Breakaway’ was a big part of the soundtrack to my early teens, with its pop-rock sound and dark undertones.

 

L – Luke Pickett

Luke Pickett is an artist that, I don’t think, gets as much recognition as he should. I discovered Pickett’s music 10 years ago, thanks to my friend using his track ‘Empty Corridors’ as her profile song on Myspace – remember those days?! I fell in love with it and soon became addicted to other songs such as ‘Going Down With This Ship’, ‘Dream Love Cure’ and ‘Cruel Love’. I even came close to interviewing him for this blog at the very beginning, after emailing his management, but somehow it fell through. I still go back and listen to those old songs from time to time, and I’m always keeping an eye on his new stuff. With his level of talent, impeccable, addictive vocals and ability to craft a captivating, poignant song, I can’t understand how he’s not a mainstream artist!

 

M – My Chemical Romance

The mouth-piece for an entire musical movement, and responsible for starting a conversation about the misunderstanding of subcultures, My Chemical Romance became the voice of a generation of misfit teens and in the process became revered; seen almost like heroes. Their music spoke to so many people (including myself) and created a community. Over the years, and the many colours/styles of Gerard Way’s hair, they created so many iconic moments that will always be remembered. I’m so glad I got to see them live before they split; it still hurts my heart a little that they’re not together anymore.

 

N – Nirvana

Another band that I, admittedly, don’t listen to anymore, but who influenced my music tastes back in the day. When I started listening to rock music in my mid-teens, Nirvana were a band that I inevitably came across; I say inevitably because you can’t have not heard of them if you’re into rock, I mean everybody knows who Kurt Cobain is, right? I loved the overall vibe of their music, (I used to be into the heavier stuff!) Kurt’s gruff and gravelly vocals, and I’ve always been interested in their/his compelling story. It’s not at all surprising to me that their music continues to influence musicians and have an effect on people, to this day.

 

O – Out Of Sight

Having disbanded quite a few years ago, you might think it’s weird that I chose to include pop-punk band Out Of Sight. However, after seeing them supporting You Me At Six live back in 2009, they were a band that left a lasting impression and I loved their music. Luckily, when I did work experience for Kerrang! that same year, I was given a copy of their demo CD by Katie P after I told her how much I liked them. To this day, I’m still so thankful to her for that because, if she hadn’t, their music would be 100% lost to me – and I’m so glad that it isn’t. I still listen to it from time to time and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

 

P – Panic! At The Disco

Another band that were a big part of the 2007 explosion of ‘emo’/pop-punk artists in the rock scene, you couldn’t not like Panic! At The Disco. Their single ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ is now a cult favourite among people of that era – there was a time when everyone was singing along to that chorus!. Over the years they’ve headlined the likes of Reading Festival and gained national airplay on Radio One, and continue to sell out arenas to this day.

 

Q – Queen

Not a band that I listen to regularly, but Queen is an absolute classic – there’s no doubt about it. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘I Want To Break Free’… everyone knows at least one of their songs, and they’re great to dance to!

 

R – Room 94

I discovered Room 94 thanks to Twitter back in 2012, and they quickly went on to become one of my favourite bands at the time. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you may know that I tried for an entire year to get an interview with the boys and, after meeting them at multiple shows, luckily got that chance at the Brighton date of their 2013 ‘Three Brothers and One Kit’ summer tour. It’s still one of the most fun interviews I’ve ever done and they’re really lovely and funny guys – I’d interview them again in a heartbeat!

To see my interview with Room 94, click here.

 

S – Set It Off

This Floridian foursome have been one of my favourite bands for a few years, after discovering them when I was invited to interview them at a show. I’d never listened to them, or seen them live, but their stage presence and show changed that irrevocably. So taken was I that I went straight to their merch desk after their set and bought their debut – and at the time, only – album ‘Cinematics’, which I listened to in its entirety for months. I’ve kept up to date with their releases ever since, and seen their sound evolve from dark and twisted orchestral pop-rock, to something lighter and increasingly pop-based, all whilst retaining that certain Set It Off something.

To see my review of Set It Off’s second album ‘Duality’ click here.
I’ve also done short reviews of a handful of their songs from newest album ‘Upside Down’. To see those, click here (Uncontainable), here (Something New) and here (Crutch).

 

T – The Summer Set

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you’ll know that The Summer Set are one of my Top 5 favourite bands ever! I try to see them live every time they come to the UK and each time is always more fun than the last; they never fail to put on an amazing show, it’s like a party that nobody wants to end. I love their unique brand of inspirational, poignant, summery, feel good pop-rock, made even more distinctive by Brian Dales’ original vocal tone. I’ve bought every album they’ve ever released and their music just gets better and better over the years. Their newest release ‘Stories For Monday’ was one of my top albums of last year and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next!

I’ve actually been lucky enough to chat to John Gomez, Jess Bowen and Brian Dales on separate occasions and they’re all lovely (the latter I even managed to interview before a show at Kingston Peel, despite him being a little worse for wear!)

To see my review of the band’s newest album ‘Stories For Monday’, click here.
And, to see my review of the last time I saw them live, at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms, click here.

U – —–

 

V – Versaemerge

Another great band that, sadly, aren’t together in this format currently, Versaemerge were part of the second wave of the pop-punk/emo scene. When the likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco were established they paved the way for similar bands to breakout, one of them being Versaemerge. After being signed by the front-running label of the era, Fuelled By Ramen, Versaemerge released their debut – and sadly only – album ‘Fixed At Zero’. Over the years they battled a lot of obstacles, including significant line-up changes, as well as the long wait between releases. By the time a second album looked to be forming it came with a change of sound, gone was the dark melodic rock, in favour of an electronic vibe; times and the scene had changed. Shortly after, remaining members, Sierra Kusterbeck and Blake Harnage decided to reinvent themselves as Versa, an entirely new entity. However, the status of the band is unclear as no new material has been released, and vocalist Sierra now fronts new musical project ‘Neaux’. One thing’s for sure, I hope they revive Versa at some point because I’d be so sad if they just faded away.

As a female, Sierra was one of my main inspirations of that time, and while I was at university I was actually lucky enough to interview Blake Harnage for an article I was working on about fan-funding. To see that article, click here.

 

W – Waltzz

A young aspiring rapper that reached out to me for a review back in 2015, Waltzz is now a name that you’ll definitely be familiar with if you follow my blog regularly. Full of passion and unrivalled drive, Waltzz – real name Liam Stewart – is an artist that I really admire. From his music (and his passion for it) to the overall message he tries to convey, he is definitely worth checking out. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting him and he’s a really great, down to earth guy too – which is always a plus!

To see my review of Waltzz’s most recent single ‘I’m Alright’, click here.

 

X – —-

 

Y – You Me At Six

You Me At Six have been one of my favourite bands since I was seventeen and, now in my mid-twenties, they still are. Over the years I’ve seen them grow with their music and, in turn, I have grown up with it. So many of their songs serve as a reminder of many different events and happenings, and I have nothing but fond memories of seeing them live – all 10+ times! They have yet to make an album that I dislike, and my only hope is that they continue making music for a long time yet!

To read my review of You Me At Six’s latest album ‘Night People’, click here.

 

Z – —-

 

And there you have it – if you got this far, to you I give the biggest of high-fives. I hope that I inspired you to give some of these artists a try, if you’ve not heard of them. What did you think of my choices? If you’ve got any recommendations for the letters I missed feel free to let me know in a comment.

As always, thank you for reading! I’m uploading twice a week throughout July so, If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

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With a Little Help From My Friends (The Rise of Fan-Funding.)

Greetings readers,

I wrote this article a while ago to feature on my other website, Music Is Love, which was part of a university project. Since graduating MIL isn’t something I’ve continued with, as I already had this blog for three years by that point, so I thought it’d be cool to share the pieces, on this site, from time to time.

Enjoy.

 

In recent years technology like social media has been a big help in allowing musicians build a fan-base without the help of a record label.

In the music industry today, alongside the mega-stars like soulful crooner Adele and the extremely over-rated Rihanna, there are the smaller artists who have yet to get the superstar break, but work extremely hard making chart-worthy music and networking to build a fan-base. Yet these acts are constantly overlooked in the eyes of the mainstream. Unless you actively seek out these lesser known artists you may never get the chance to hear them, yet if you do you’d be floored by the camaraderie and sense of community among their fans.

There is an endearing quality in artists who remain grounded and humble, that don’t put themselves above their fans, and refuse to compromise their artistic integrity to fit somebody else’s vision.

R94 Tweet

This genuine attitude seems to elicit a loveable fierceness among fans who take these bands to their hearts, and want to help them succeed simply because they deserve it. Many take to popular social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook, to create online communities for fans whether it be geographically specific or general.

For example, Versaemerge fan Gita helps to run the Twitter team for the band in Indonesia where she is from. After being approached by a friend who set up the profile, Gita has been helping to run the site for just over a year. They also have a Tumblr page and physically pass out flyers at shows, which has led to band member Blake Harnage offering to supply them with official flyers from their record label. Gita says, “pop-punk and alternative rock bands aren’t as famous as other mainstream pop bands and singers in my country and they are so overrated. We want people out there realize that there is loads of great music instead of mainstream music.” She says specifically of the street team,we made this street team for Indonesian VersaEmerge fans so we could talk as fan-base, share new updates and promote them.” She goes on to say that, “social media really helps us keep in touch and interact with the band… Blake and Sierra love to talk with fans via messages, and often also help if we need life advice or just someone to talk to.”

When asked why she feels so strongly about the band Gita replies, “they deserve loads of fans because they have such a great music.” She also says that part of the appeal is because they are so friendly, “it feels really good to know that the band we support is grateful and appreciate their fans, and if they do it just makes us love them more than ever. We are lucky, because Blake and Sierra appreciate us and treat us like friends.”

versa fan page

When asked how the band feel about these fan groups, one half of the Versaemerge duo, Blake Harnage answers, “it still amazes us to see our music reaching around the world to places like Brazil, Indonesia, Argentina and the Philippines to name a few, and we still have not been there.” Harnage continues, “I remember my friends always turning me onto new artists. Word-of-mouth, as well as social network sites, are both massive in helping new artists gain recognition. Both are driven by the fans.” Harnage says of their Versa Vultures – the affectionate pet name for Versaemerge fans – “Sierra and I are so privileged to have such a ridiculously amazing fan base. We’ve always tried the best that we can to connect with them by taking time to talk. It’s not always easy, but we know that going the extra mile helps to creates loyal, long-lasting fans. Also, we enjoy making so many new friends.” He concludes, “the fans will always be the most important part of the equation. Without them, we simply wouldn’t be able to do what we do on such a scale.”

Sierra Kusterbeck and Blake Harnage are Versaemerge

Sierra Kusterbeck and Blake Harnage are Versaemerge

Technology like social media has been a huge helping hand in allowing musicians get their work out there and build a fan-base without the help, or often disheartening hassle, of appealing to record labels and managers, even going back to the days of MySpace. This way of networking has become a lifeline for many aspiring or emerging talents, so much so that the fans have almost replaced the A&R division (the side of the record label that is responsible for sourcing new artists.) Though it could be said that this is part of the appeal, because a record label is not going to want to sign a band that isn’t generating any interest, however, if an artist already has an extensive and loyal fan-base they are seen as a valuable asset rather than a risk.

One of the bands that know all too well the importance and power of the internet, are upcoming Vancouver based pop-rockers Marianas Trench. Manager Jonathan Simkin says of their online presence, “this is one of the first bands that I have ever seen break first via online media.” He explains, “We built a fan base worldwide because of the band’s ability to connect with fans via social media; they were very good at creating funny clips and posting them online.” Simkin concludes, “social media and internet has been crucial to this band’s success.”

Marketing student Tracey also runs an online fan group; the UK online Street team for Las Vegas based band The Cab. She says of the platform, “it does help the fans connect with bands easier. Twitter is an amazing tool which helps us connect with fans and the band themselves. Without these platforms, it would be more difficult to communicate with people and getting the word out.” She explains, “social media is a given when it comes to promotion of bands. Free promotion is the best way of getting your message across; you can say what you want, give out the message you want and hopefully, it gets heard, people take note and listen.” Along with her friend Steph, they consider themselves two of the biggest fans in the UK. “We spend time, going into our own pockets to see, support and promote the band, we don’t get paid for running the Street Team – it’s completely voluntary. We do this out of our spare time and love and I would not change it for anything else in the world.”

The Cab fan page

And these girls are dedicated, both having travelled overseas to see and meet the band. “Personally, if you have so much love and passion for a band, it should be well known.” Tracey continues, “plus, having been lucky and met both Alex’s, they appreciate the work, effort and everything you do to promote them.” Speaking of appreciation, Tracey also says that she thinks mutuality is vital. “It gives a band their meaning, whether it’s a tweet saying Thank You or when meeting them a physical hug or photo – it doesn’t matter, if there is mutual love there it’s really worthwhile.” She concludes, “with The Cab, they are the most humble, nicest human beings on the planet and they deserve more recognition and that is why we are here.”

However, not all fans are as lucky when it comes to gratitude, as there are bands out there that forget where they started. Charlotte and Janine, who run a Twitter profile for You Me At Six fans, have experienced being taken for granted and say that it can affect a band’s appeal. “We think it’s extremely important that the bands are grateful and appreciative of their fans as without us they wouldn’t be where they are today. We’ve met bands who don’t really even look at you when you meet them and have no interest, it really put me off.” But luckily they’ve never received the same treatment from their idols. “We’ve met You Me At Six a few times, they’ve always been extremely grateful, talkative and genuinely interested in what we and other fans have to say.” So even though there are some rotten apples with delusions of grandeur, they’re not all bad.

You Me At Six

You Me At Six

Another way that fans can support musicians, particularly regarding the production of their albums, are fan-funding schemes like Pledge Music and Slicethepie. “We don’t see the fans as venture capitalists, who are investing in our records,” says Benji Rogers, founder of London-based Pledge Music. Instead, he wants listeners to feel “part of the process that gets a record into their hands.”

pledge

Pledge Music is an online platform, which helps artists fund their work, through fans pledging money towards the funding of an album or EP, in exchange for certain rewards decided by the band. In the past these have been known to include private living room gigs, song-writing sessions, and dinner-dates. “I believe, in their hearts, the fans want to do the right thing,” says Rogers. “We can’t convince teenagers to buy CDs. The quest for me is to give meaning to it, so they don’t want to steal it.”

Whether it’s due to being an emerging group, financial strain, lack of freedom or absence of a record label, many people join sites like these, including acts like rock group Madina lake, The Blackout and more recently, popular folk group The Lumineers. After parting ways with their record label, Welsh rockers The Blackout used Pledge to fund their third album Hope.

Welsh rockers The Blackout

Welsh rockers The Blackout

Guitarist James Davies says of this, “it definitely gave us a newfound drive, belief and momentum. The phenomenal response we had to the Pledge initiative really showed us how many people still cared about us.” He concludes, “without the people who pledged, this album literally would not have happened, so we can only thank everyone involved for helping us keep this band going.”

But it could be said that schemes like Pledge may not work for bands who are just starting out, true, bands like The Blackout are far from mainstream but they already had a solid fan-base who would follow them, would it work for an emerging artist? Elissa Franceschi is living proof of the answer, having surpassed her goal in just three months. When asked her thoughts on the idea behind Pledge and how it helps emerging artists like herself she responds, “it’s a fantastic platform and possibly the future of music making for under the radar artists, or those in-between deals.”

Rising talent Austin Nivarel also agrees, and says that he would consider doing a fan-funded campaign himself. “It’s a good alternative when you’re not on a label, and it’s a great way to get the fans involved in the process.” He also says that while he thinks it’s “really cool” that fans increasingly appear to be the propellant behind most musicians nowadays, he knows how dedicated the fans have to be to make an impact. “It’s very expensive for bands to tour and record,” he says, “so without a label backing them financially it’s important that the fans be extremely supportive and can go to the shows and/or buy merch/CDs.”

Judging by the passion and dedication shown by just the fans I’ve mentioned, support is never in doubt; if you look close enough you’ll always find it. And even if they’re not necessarily big mainstream artists with the help of all the behind-the-scenes forces, these bands are big to the people that know and love them, and even though it might take a little longer to break through that’s okay, because it’s more than just fans and bands, It’s a family.

 

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Happy New Year: Thank You’s and Here’s To 2014!

Hey everyone,

Here’s another slightly overdue blog post for you. Again, ideally I wanted to get this posted on New Year’s Day but things just got away from me. But, as it is the new year I just wanted to take a moment to talk about my highlights of 2013 and say thank you to the people who made those experiences possible.

In all honesty blogging took a backseat this year, I was in my last year of university and so all my time and energy was focused on that. January to February saw me working on my dissertation, and February through to April I was working on my final major project (which I’ll talk a bit about later in this post.) I graduated from university in June and by the end of May right through to the beginning of September I was enjoying some long overdue chill-out time, without the little voice in my head saying ‘you should be doing this, you should be doing that’, so as a result I didn’t post as much this year.

However, during the summer and at the tail end of this year, I’ve done some things and had some great opportunities that I’m really thankful  for.

I went to some amazing gigs, particularly The Summer Set on their first ever UK headlining tour in May, Room 94 on their sell-out UK tour in April, and Set It Off during their stint supporting Aussie Pop/rockers Tonight Alive in October.

These gigs were all standout to me for a host of different reasons, which I can’t really explain fully because it’s more to do with the experience and the atmosphere, and it’s hard to convey how being in a live environment truly feels unless you’ve experienced it. The excitement, the anticipation, the mutual appreciation and – as cheesy as it sounds – the love in the room.

The Summer Set always deliver a knockout show and it was their first ever UK headliner. The crowd lapped it up and the atmosphere in the room was nothing short of electric. It was one big party no body wanted to end.

Click to see the review

Click to see the review

Likewise with Room 94, their shows are always bursting with energy and fun, but it was Set It Off that caught me completely off guard. Like I said in my ‘Top 3 Albums of 2013’, I’d never listened to them before so I didn’t really have any expectations going into this show. But OH. MY. GOSH, it completely knocked me for six. Their live show was/is immense, energetic as hell, chaotic and really fun!
At shows I’m not usually in the crowd or the pit, and in this instance I was. It was really great to be in the thick of it and see everyone around you – as well as the people onstage – really feeling it.

The show its self was very theatrical, and the music lends its self to that 100%. There were also some memorable moments that have stayed with me. For instance, before playing their song ‘Dream Catcher’, vocalist Cody Carson gave this really heartfelt and inspirational speech before asking the audience to shout ‘I am not alone’. This intro and the audience’s reaction, the feeling in the room during that moment, had me in tears. This is a band that I would tell everyone to go and see for themselves, because it is truly something to be experienced. Now whenever I listen to the album it takes me back to that night, how much fun I had, and it always puts a huge smile on my face.

I also got to do a quick interview with Cody that night, and he was such a sweetheart about it considering that we had to stand outside the venue in the cold. Despite that, it was a lot of fun, he was really down-to-earth and easy to talk to, and we laughed pretty much the entire time. I really hope that I get to speak to him, and Set It Off, again in the future.

screenshots

Click to see our interview

Speaking of interviews, after a year of trying, I finally got to interview pop/rock party animals Room 94. Yes, it took a year of tweeting, emailing, I even chatted to, singer, Kieran Lemon about it being a possibility when I met them at shows. But you know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed…. And at long last my persistence paid off and I finally got through to management.

Despite some initial confusion when I turned up, everything was fine, and it was probably the most fun I’ve had doing an interview to date. The lads are such characters and they were really lovely. The whole thing was pretty hilarious really, I’d interview them again in a heartbeat.

Click to see the interview

Click to see the interview

Aside from this, I also created a start-up online magazine called ‘Music Is Love’ as part of my final major project for university. I’m not going to go into detail about the site because I’ve talked about it in the past, but I did want to mention it because in doing so I got to talk to some artists that I really admire. Some that I’ve spoken to before, like Elissa Franceschi, and others that I haven’t, like Austin Nivarel and Versaemerge’s Blake Harnage.

I also had the freedom – and time – to come up with, research, and write some interesting features that engaged me as a writer and put me in touch with certain people who I now consider friends. Such as, the breakdown of the divide between the artist and the audience, and the decline of the live music scene. (click to see each article.)  Even though it was a lot of work, I’m very pleased with the website and proud of how it turned out.

So really, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who was involved in any way, whether it be the band members themselves, the managers or the PR reps. Particularly, in regards to interviews because without people agreeing to do interviews, or agreeing to let me interview their artists I wouldn’t get to do it, and the fact that I do means a lot to me because this is what I love. So thank you.

I want to get back into the habit of blogging, at least, twice a week in 2014 and catch up on the ideas for posts that I have accumulating in a list on my desktop. I’ll be doing a few more discussion type blogs as well, because writing reviews and interviews can get tiring when you’re constantly re-drafting and trying to make sure everything is polished and professional. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit down and say what’s on your mind. That being said, I also want to start writing more features because it’s something new to get your teeth into, and I enjoyed doing them for Music Is Love because it got me talking to different people and doing something a little different.

Also, I want to continue and complete my weekly ‘Throwback Thursday’ series that I started back in August, charting the evolution of my music taste. I started it with the intention to post every Thursday in the hope that it would get me blogging more regularly again, but things just got in the way. As I said, I’ve got a lot of ideas for posts backed up on my computer so I don’t know when I’ll pick this back up, but I will.

So there we have it. If you’ve made it this far, well done. 🙂 I know this blog was quite long and rambly but I don’t get to say a proper thank you often, and seeing as it’s the new year I thought it was fitting to do so, and to show that I don’t take these opportunities for granted.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have a fantastic 2014. 🙂