Interview: Saint Motel

SAINT MOTEL!!!!

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I am officially declaring their single “My Type” as the Official GGTS Song of 2015!

The band includes A/J Jackson, Aaron Sharp, Greg Erwin, and Dak. They joined forces in Los Angeles in film school in 2009. They have absolutely blown up this year with “My Type” and will only continue to gain fame and accolades, in my opinion.

I was thrilled when they agreed to do a Q&A after the 97X Next Big Thing.  Enjoy!

Q: Thank you for agreeing to interview with me! You guys were absolutely awesome at 97X Next Big Thing. Did y’all have fun in Tampa?

A: We did!  First show ever in Florida and it was a truly memorable experience for us.


Q: In your own words, can you describe your sound.
A: We’ve come to realize that not being able to pin down our sound into a specific genre has been a benefit for the band.  We like mixing stuff together.  According to one site we’re the #1 Lounge Pop band in the country.  Not sure what that means though?


Q: What bands or artists help influence your music?
 A: Everything influences us.


Q: How did everyone meet and how did you decide to start making music together?
A: The band started in film school in southern California.  I met Sharp shortly after I arrived at school and we bonded over shared taste in music and cinema.


Q: How do you think your sound has changed since Voyeur and ForPlay?
A: When we started producing ourselves half-way through Voyeur we started experimenting with different sounds, instrumentations, rhythms, and it was a very liberating experience.  You can hear the results of where that would lead us on the My Type EP.


Q: You guys have blown up since releasing “My Type”. You probably get this all of the time, but what is your type?
A: The living.


Q: It’s an excellent single and one of my favorite songs of the year. “Cold Cold Man” is another great single! Can we expect more new music soon?
A: You can bet your bottom dollar.  We are extremely excited to get the full length out early 2016.


Q: A/J, you have directed multiple of the band’s music videos, including “My Type”. Are you planning to continue to direct, and how is it having a different artistic perspective of your songs?
A: I definitely would like to do another video for the band in 2016.  I miss it.  Also, there’s a couple of the new songs that I already have very vivid ideas for.


Q: Are their any other creative projects that you could see Saint Motel taking on (i.e. scoring a movie, etc)?
A: I could see Saint Motel creating a feature film this coming year.


Q: Where do you see the band this time next year? In 5 years?
A: Hopefully playing music in outer space.


Q: Is there anything else that should be mentioned?
A: New music video for Cold Cold Man!

Thanks again to the gentlemen of Saint Motel!

Interview: The Mercury Program

If you are, by chance, luckier than this girl, you may be at New World Brewery right now, anxiously awaiting The Mercury Program to take the stage!
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These guys have been making incredible music since the 90’s and are on a mini-reunion tour.
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Drummer Dave Lebleu was kinda enough to answer a few questions for Girl Goes To Shows, read below!
Q: Welcome to Tampa! Are you excited to be touring so close to the band’s hometown?
A: We always love playing Tampa. It’s been great every time we’ve played for as long as I can remember.  Also now we are spread out from Gainesville as a hometown.  Tom lives there, but Whit is in south Florida and Sander and I are in New York. 

Q: Tell readers about your history as a band. What have been some monumental moments since your 1997 inception?

A: Well we started playing together as Mercury Program in 1997, and released our first record in 99.  That was a monumental moment as It was our first mature full length on our friends label and that was a big achievement for us at that time. Since then all of the records have become milestones in our personal growth both musically and personally. 
All of our recording sessions for our records have been monumental The amount of positivity that has come from them has been quite a rewarding feeling   In 2003 we went to Japan and were received warmer than any American audience at that time in our bands existence.  That was a shock, and a strong cultural difference.
Q: For readers that may be unfamiliar, how would you describe your sound? What inspires you musically and lyrically?
A: We just get together and our sound happens.  We don’t try to sound like anything at this point.  Early on we were inspired by  the D.C. scene and were influenced by many of those bands so sounding like them was inevitable in our early maturation.  We were experimenting with vocals early on our first couple records but stopped and became completely instrumental.  I think at the time we felt like as a band you needed to have vocals to be accessible, but eventually we followed what felt right for us and that meant being completely instrumental.  Our writing method has always been to be in the same room together making sound and then allowing that to evolve into a song.  We almost never would have a written part that someone brings to practice, it’s always a collaborative effort among us. 

Q: How has the tour been going? It is just as exciting as it was back in the late 90’s?
A: Well this is really just a run of a few shows, not a formal tour.  We did most of out extensive touring from 00-04.  Aside from that the shows have been going really well! its really energizing to still be able to rock a room after 18 years of being a band.
Q: How has your music matured over the years?
A: Well, aside from the aforementioned vocals being axed, we added a member to play vibraphone and rhodes after our first self titled record as we added new instrumentation that we weren’t able to pull off as a 3 piece.  That member was Sander’s brother Whitney, and he’s been with us ever since.  We really stepped into a new realm when Whitney joined the band, and our sound really began to mature with him.  We have always tried to keep the elements of rock and experiment at the forefront of our writing and will likely continue that tradition.
Q: What would you recommend to bands that hope to have similarly long lasting careers?
A: Well, it is extremely difficult to keep a relationship with 4 people lasting as long as it has, but I think we decided early on we were all friends before the band so we would continue to be after it ended whenever that may happen.  So far we still like each other enough to keep getting together on our limited timetables and write our music.  That is a very special thing to have.
Q: Will you be playing any new music on Friday night?
A: We are planning on playing 4 songs off our new EP as well as many old favorites.
Q: What is next for The Mercury Program?
A: We are talking of being a little more pro-active with our writing so we can contribute ideas to each other across our living distances.  The internet certainly makes that much easier these days.  We ultimately want to write and complete another full length and then of course tour for that release.  We have a 20 year anniversary as a band coming up in 2017 so would be nice to be able to make the record and have it our all for that milestone.
Thank you to Dave and the other members.
The Mercury Program is playing at New World Brewery…RIGHT NOW! Hurry over!

Interview: Good Graeff

Brit and Brooke Graeff are twins that hail from Sarasota, FL and make up Good Graeff.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these ladies rock out a few local shows! On the road for the summer, they stopped by Tampa a few weeks ago and made time in their hectic schedule to do a Q&A!
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Tell readers that haven’t had the pleasure to hear your music a little bit about your sound–what inspires the two of you musically?
I think our sound is indie pop rock and our live show has a large folk punk influence.
Brooke: The people around me and experiences are the usual emotional strings you pull on to get inspiration. I try to avoid listening to a lot of music in our genres to not be too influenced by what others are doing.
How has the tour been going? Was it nice to be back in Florida for a few shows?
Brit: Tour was a lot of fun, but unfortunately riddled with van problems. Our last tour, Brooke was sick almost the entire 5 weeks, this time Roosevelt (our van) was the sick one, she didn’t get better though… Mechanic doctors said there was nothing more they could do.
Brooke: Always LOVE being back in FL. Something about how humid the air is, family, friends, beach – siiiggghhhhh… it’s home.
What is the most exciting and the most grueling part of being on tour? Any crazy stories to share?
Brooke: Most exciting is meeting other bands and people, grueling it’s very physically demanding, I usually get really sick and lose my voice, which adds an entirely new strain to everything. This last tour we called sleep depravation tour averaging 4 hours a night for 5 weeks.
Brit: Wow, so many crazy stories, you just find yourself in weird situations like a 50 year old geodesic dome in BFE Missouri with a falconer. Or randomly dirt biking outside of Nashville.
What are your favorite songs to listen to while on the road?
Brooke: Chance the rapper – Juice
Brit: 1989 or any pop top-40 radio. Cheerleader by OMI has been my jam this summer tour.
To both of you, what is the best part about being in a band with your sister?
Brooke: Best part would be, knowing later in life we will have shared this experience together. I will always have someone who can relate to what this whole adventure was, and how much we have worked and sacrificed and enjoyed it
Brit: I like that no matter how amazing or bad things get, we are totally in this together, and that makes everything less scary. Brooklyn knows me better than anyone, making her my perfect travel companion.
As women in a male dominated industry, how much does feminism play a role in your careers? What would you like to see changed in the industry for female musicians, and do you have any advice for women that want to break into the industry?
Brit: For me feminism doesn’t really play a roll in this. We have a huge advantage by being females. There are so many shows where Brooklyn and myself will be the only chicks playing. The only time it bothers me is when people assume we don’t know anything about our gear or instruments. So if I could change that perception, that would be really cool.
What is your favorite song to perform live and why?
Brit: We both still love Top of the World. There is something really special about that song- where it was written, the time it was written, what it’s about.
What is coming up for Good Graeff, besides continuing the tour?
We have a music video coming out for Good Touch, and we are about to hit the studio to start demoing out our next EP.
If you could collaborate with any band/artist, who would it be and why?
Brit: Miley Cyrus because she always looks like she’s having a blast. And that’s why we are all in this in the first place, right?
Brooke: Courtney Barnett. Boy do I crush on her.
Thanks to Brit and Brooke for their time!

Interview: The Everymen

It feels like I haven’t been to a concert/festival in forever…even though it’s only been about a month. I remember reading that The War on Drugs was coming to Tampa and immediately purchased tickets while waiting for the next set at GMF back in March. I did some investigating and fell in love with the opener, The Everymen.
I reached out to the band and spoke with Mike V and Catherine Herrick for a Q&A before they play Tampa on Monday June 15.
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Q: For those who haven’t heard your music, how would you describe your sound?
A: That’s a tough one to answer when you’re talking about your own music, ya know? When people ask me what kind of music we play, all I can ever honestly say is rock and roll. We’re a rock and roll band. Simple as that. We’re not punks. We’re not an indie rock band. We just play rock and roll music. Guitars. Saxes. High energy. Hooks. Choruses. Singalongs. That’s kind of it. But I guess the most common comparisons we get are Bruce Springsteen and Rocket From The Crypt. I think it’s the sax.
Q: Give me a backstory of how the band started and how you’ve ended up where you are now. What challenges did you face and can you share an interesting story from things you’ve all encountered?
A: Oddly enough our huge band started as a two piece. I was playing in a large psychedelic art rock collective thingie at the time and I just wanted to do something more simple and streamlined. I wanted to write pop jams. So I just started bashing out these quick jams and recording them when I enlisted our first drummer. From there we just multiplied like gremlins and bloated to as many as eleven members. As far as touring as much as we do, we’ve just always done lots and lots of shows and tried to work as hard as we possibly could but for the first few years we were all just tied to our day jobs so really it was just weekenders and stuff. It wasn’t until we released our last LP Givin’ Up On Free Jazz that we decided to leave our jobs and give this band a full time run. We’ve done about 170 shows in the year since that album has come out.
As far as interesting stories go…. hmmm. We have a lot, I guess.
Oh. OH! The time we stayed in the whorehouse was pretty interesting. Well, it wasn’t actually a whorehouse. It was a cheap motel in rural Arkansas and we were driving through the night after a show in Little Rock a few years ago when we decided to call it and pull off the road for a motel. We were quite literally in the middle of nowhere and it was three or four in the morning. So we pull off the highway and find this cheap shithole and as we’re pulling up there are all these young girls on the second floor smoking cigarettes outside their rooms. We realized pretty quick what kind of place it was, johns coming and going all night. Needless to say we loaded ALL of the gear into the motel room that night.
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Q: How has it been touring with The War On Drugs?
A: It’s been absolutely unreal. I mean, we’ve done some truly bigger shows before but they’re generally few and far between. But to get on stage night after night and play for 1000 or more people has been such a treat. And they are such sweet guys. From the band to the crew, their whole touring party is really super nice and incredibly accommodating. We’re seeing how the other half lives for sure and if anything it’s motivated us to work that much harder so maybe one day we can get to the level of success that they’re enjoying right now.
Q: The band has collaborated with Kurt Vile back in 2011  and AC Newman on your newest 2014, Givin’ Up on Free Jazz. What were the coolest parts of the collaborations and is there anyone you plan to jam with in the future?
A: Just being able to create music and art with people you admire is always a trip. It’s one of those things where you kind of have to pinch yourself. Like, I’ve been listening to The New Pornographers for fifteen years and now here I am in the studio with Carl Newman cutting vocals. Whoa. Ya know? That kind of stuff. What the future holds, who knows? These kinds of things just have a way of organically sprouting up so you can’t really plan for em, ya know? But if I could make a short list of people I’d love to collaborate with? It would probably be topped by Adam from The War On Drugs and Jim James from My Morning Jacket. They’re two of my favorite songwriters working in music right now.
Q: This question is for Catherine Herrick: How has your experience been for you in a woman in an otherwise all male band?
A: I’ve been in bands where all the other members were ostensibly cisgender men before, and I’ve also been in bands where all the other members were cisgender women before. I’m not sure I’m qualified to make a sweeping distinction based on gender, nor am I entirely comfortable doing so in this day and age (heeello, current issue of Vanity Fair featuring Caitlyn Jenner on the cover!). I will say that The Everymen is the only band I’ve toured with. and I find that a band isn’t really a band unless they spend A LOT of time together and band members get to the point where they’ve all really been faced with one another’s idiosyncrasies. We aren’t the same band we were before we started touring, although we played A TON of shows in NY and New Jersey those first few years. I know I’ve become more adaptable and find I need less in the way of creature comforts than I did before I started frequently touring, and that might have been slightly different if my touring experience included cisgender women, but I can’t speak from experience. If you’re eating roadside food, sleeping on floors, and drinking cheap beer, you’re going to have the same, shall we say, “experiences,” and while I personally handle mine slightly more discreetly than the fellas in The Everymen, I may be less delicate than dudes in other bands for all I know!
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Q: What is your favorite song to perform live, and why?
A: I’d say “Spain.” I don’t know why. Maybe because it has everything. Both me and Catherine singing, a KILLER solo from Scott, super high energy but the slow burning intro. It’s just an incredibly complex song to me that kind of reveals itself to me in new ways all the time.
Q: When can we expect new music?
A: Probably early next year. We just tracked a new LP in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in March. We’re heading back down in September to mix it and then we’ll probably just wait until early spring to put it out. We still have lots of work to do, touring as much as we can, winning over new fans and shit. So yea. We’re psyched.
Q: Where will we see The Everymen in 5, or 10 years?
A: Hopefully still making music, touring, headlining the kinds of rooms we’re opening along this tour. And if not, shit it’s been a hell of a run thus far.
Thank you to Mike and Catherine for taking the time to answer some questions!
The War on Drugs and The Everymen are playing at The Ritz in Ybor City at 8PM tomorrow night, Monday June 15.
Tickets still available here: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0D004E63BCA888CD

An Unfair Assumption Retracted: On “Kintsugi”/ Death Cab LIVE

Death Cab For Cutie has been my all time favorite band since I could have divulged a “favorite band”.

I will never forget my uncle burning me three cds: Arcade Fire, Sleater Kinney, and Death Cab For Cutie.

I had to be around 13-14.–I can’t recall the exact age/year, but I know that I listened thoroughly and examined the albums with a critical ear–and those three artists shaped my musical tastes to this day.

It was Death Cab For Cutie’s “Plans” that turned me into the music lover that I am today. And I will admit that I judged “Kintsugi” prematurely.

Perhaps I was expecting a “redemption” from “Codes and Keys”, not realizing what that album had to offer from another remarkable perspective.

That article changed the way I listened to an album that I had once considered a let down.

“Kintsugi”, upon first listen, wasn’t the most impressive to me. I was hoping for another “Plans”, or maybe even another nod to to ever epic “Transatlanticism”.

But after seeing DCFC live, the songs from their newest album came alive to me.

“You’ve Haunted Me All My Life”, “Little Wanderer”, Ingenue”, and even their single, “Black Sun”, now ring true of what Ben Gibbard and company have gone through since their last album.

Perhaps it takes seeing a band live–perhaps it takes a listening ear added with empathy. But your favorites will always deliver gold–that is why they are a favorite!

Pictures and videos will be coming soon from the DCFC live show, stay tuned.

Interview: Robert DeLong

Robert DeLong is a Seattle bred electronic musician that uses indie and alternative elements to enhance his unique sound. DeLong is playing at Big Guava Music Festival on Friday, May 8.

I had the opportunity to chat with Robert and have a Q&A about his newest music and what inspires him.

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G: Describe your sounds–what are your influences and inspirations outside of other music?

R: I think of my sounds as an amalgamation of the indie-rock influences I grew up with and the sounds of modern dance music, with a good measure of the epic and melancholy, and found-sound sonic patchwork. My greatest extra-musical influences are probably science fiction stories and popular science articles.

G: According to some research I found, you started out playing drums in indie bands. What made you want to add electronic elements to your sound?

R: My dad was a drummer so I sort of naturally fell into the great (and loud) rabbit hole of percussion. During and directly following college I was constantly writing songs for myself, spanning the genres of folk, indie rock, and trip hop. I was always something of a computer nerd, and so spent a lot of time focussing on electronic production techniques. In 2009 my now girlfriend took me to a rave east of Lost Angeles, and though I was leary of house music before this, I was taken aback by the hypnotic qualities of listening to loud and repetitious music in a communal setting, and how a sort of hive mind attitude comes out of this, and immediately went home and started making dance tracks.

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G: You also add video game elements to your music. Can you explain why this is an influence that you wanted to add to your sound?

R: The video game controllers are a big part of my live performance, and the most basic reason these became a part of the show was that I used to be broke and hacking video game controllers like joysticks and wii-remotes was cheaper than buying brand new midi controllers. Of course, this immediately became a signature element of the show, and I find that using game controllers is a rather natural way to control sounds, given that most people from my generation have an almost innate ability to use game controllers. I also find the 8-bit sounds of older video games are now iconic and have sort of filtered into the collective conscious as something immediately nostalgic sounding.

G:  You released an EP titled “Long Way Down” in November last year. Are you making any new music/planning to release more this year?

R: I am just finishing up my album, which should hopefully come out this summer!

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G: Where can we expect to see you in five years?

R: Hopefully touring, recording, and running 10k’s!

G:  Anything else you’d like readers to know?

R: I am allergic to cats, but I really love hot-sauce. Bring me hot-sauce, very spicy, please!

Thanks to Mr. DeLong for taking the time to answer some questions. He will be playing Friday May 8 on the Nectar Stage at 4:50PM.

Her Campus and Intel: The 2015 Southern Charm Tour

Technology has become a vital element in both the education process and in stay active and communicating in everyday life. Students had the opportunity this pas Thursday, to view and experience new products from Intel.
**I had the opportunity to talk to Kiersten Popke, a PR representative for the event, before they stopped at the University of South Florida on April 23. This interview was held prior to the event**
The 2015 Southern Charm Tour, is sponsored by Her Campus, which is, “The #1 global community for college women, written entirely by the world’s top college journalists from over 250 campus chatters nationwide and in seven countries, “said Popke. “Intel, a multinational semiconductor company headquartered in Silicon Valley, has partnered with Her Campus over the years to bring awareness to the array of Intel-powered products to millennials. We’re excited to be on your campus for this particular event to further drive excitement for the newest tech Intel has to offer this spring season.”
“Intel will be showcasing the hottest tech options available to students as we enter springtime. Intel understands the busy, always on-the-go lifestyle of a college student, and that’s why we’ve developed a range of devices in various form factors (tablets, 2 in 1 device—think a tablet and a full laptop capabilities in a single device, portable all-in-one devices, etc) to fit every computing need—whether entertainment or productivity driven,” said Popke. Basically, Intel is an ingredient company that serves as the “brains” inside numerous devices – in other words, Intel makes the processor, which is what gives these devices responsive performance and outstanding battery life, among other things.”
Besides Intel, other sponsors had have snacks, refreshments, and other giveaways. Other sponsors of the event include Dormify, a dorm interior décor company, Luna, a natural food and snacks brand, and the European Wax Center.
There were a lot of fun and interactive elements to this showcase as well. “In addition to having four different Intel-powered devices on display for the students to use and engage with, we will have an onsite activation that will surely be a crowd pleaser,” said Popke.
“Within our booth, students will find a large 10×10 green screen set up. Using the ‘Created By You & Intel’ app, students will be able to take photos of themselves and friends to customize a unique photo with realistic backgrounds and fun prop,” Popke said of the photo booth.
“Students who participate and then upload their photo to a social channel of their choice using the hashtag #IntelPowersHC and @IntelUSA twitter handle will be entered in a drawing to win an Intel-powered ASUS MeMO Pad 7 tablet at the end of the day.”
Another bonus of the event—the co-founder and president of Her Campus, Windsor Hanger Western, signed copies onsite of the HC approved book, Her Campus Guide to College Life. Her Campus and Intel’s Southern Charm tour stops at only eight universities in the south-east. It was a pleasure hosting this event at the Marshall Student Center.

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