Category Archives: Alternative

An interview with electro-pop film scorer Voldo Blanka

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How did you get your initial start in music?

I’ve been playing music since I was in diapers, and playing in bands since I had terribly filthy long dyed black hair in jr. high, but it wasn’t till later I knew this would be what I was going to do with my life.

I went to coachella alone in 2007. First time I’d ever been to a festival like that. Rage Against the Machine reunited and I really dug into electronic music. From that day I knew there was ONLY one thing I’d do with my life. And that is to make records and play live.

I had a few projects on the go but the one that broke was my last band Head of the Herd. We were the first band in our country to have a #1 song without a label and that taught me everything I know making the music YOU want to make, and standing by that.

 

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

I love making records, touring, and writing film scores. So every record I make, gig I play, and film I compose for, I’m getting closer to the place I want to be

 

How long have you been writing your own music?

I reckon I wrote my first song at about 12. A switch flipped in my head and I became OBSESSED with music. I would play till I fell asleep with my guitar in my hands, and spent all day at school talking shit about this band, that band, this instrument, that producer. Since then I’ve never suffered from not knowing what to do with my time. Every moment then went towards being the best artist I could be.

 

Who are your top three influences and why?

This question is impossible! But a few people have always astounded me with fearlessness and creativity. Nina Simone…my favourite vocalist ever. And I don’t just throw that around. Listen to the live version of “funkier than a mosquito’s tweeter” and you’ll know why.

Tarantino. You don’t need your musical influences to be musicians. It’s about making your own rules and creating what you want to create regardless of all the voices in your ear. You can learn a lot from his take on dialogue.

Josh Homme. Has there ever been a cooler motherfucker than this. Making the darkest, prettiest music I’ve ever heard in my life.

Seriously this question is killing me… Ray Charles, Damon Albarn, Dangermouse, Zeppelin, its endless. Let’s crush a casual dozen beers together and we can really dig in.

 

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Making ‘nuns enjoy a madman’ was about creative freedom. About making movie moments and tapping into subtle, and not so subtle, mood manipulation.

I came from a touring rock band that made records all over the world, to shutting the door and locking myself in a dark room to see where I could get with just my imagination and a fuckload of instruments.

It was scary and fun, but more scary than fun. And I like that.

 

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I’m currently based in Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada. The commodore is one of the best rooms I’ve played in my life. Gaddam do I love that place.

 

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

Plasteroid is a new band from here that are a must listen to. Fucking aces.

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

Go to www.voldoblanka.com to hear the record and sign up for the email list. But first, add Voldo Blanka on fb and Instagram. That’s where I do most of my updates.

You guys are the best, thanks for listening.

Soundcloud: https://tinyurl.com/yczk5ewq

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/voldoblanka/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/voldoblanka/?hl=en

 

Get to know: TONICA

We’ve been in conversation with Manchester based electro-pop band TONICA about their roots in music and their new single ‘Save Yourself’ which is out on August 11th. Get the lowdown here:

How did you get your initial start in music?

 

We’d both played various instruments from an early age, but the leap from playing for pleasure to planning a career in music came when we decided to move to Manchester. We met in the city and have been writing together ever since. 

 

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

 

Though I’m sure the industry will change as we progress as a band, I imagine our aim will always be the same – to have our music heard by more people. Whether it’s through a major label, an independent or some kind of self-release, I hope we continue to grow and gain more support with each record.  

 

How long have you been writing your own music?

 

We’ve been writing together for just under a year; though most of the TONICA material was done in early 2017 – I feel like we’re just hitting our stride.

 

Who are your top three influences and why?

 

Speaking specifically about the influences for this band, I’d say…

 

The Weekend – On both a song-writing and production level. The sonic of his tracks perfectly compliments the subject matter, I believe he’s at a commercial & creative peak right now.

 

Honne – They’re a throughly modern band yet their music feels classic, it’s like future-soul. I think we referenced them a few times over the last year, especially when recording/producing my voice. The vocal sounds on Honne’s first album are incredibly rich and satisfying. 

 

Miike Snow – I feel like MS are overlooked. Some of their music is incredible, particularly on the last album. I believe they work as a writing team for numerous pop-acts too. I like that you can hear that mainstream pop influence in the structure and arrangements – it’s definitely something we’re mindful of too. 

 

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

 

The track is called ’Save Yourself’ and it comes out on 11th August. I think the most important thing to know is that it’s our first release. We’ve been waiting to get this record out for a couple of months now and we’re excited to see what the reaction is. It was mixed by Lewis Gardiner (formally of Prides) and mastered by Chris Gerhinger (Drake, 1975). It was an honour to have them work on our debut and I hope the song gets the recognition we feel it deserves. 

 

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

 

We’re currently based in the centre of Manchester. There’s hundreds of great venues in the city, but if I had to name just a few I’d say – Deaf Institute (Oxford Road), Albert Hall (Peter Street) and the Night & Day Cafe (Oldham Street, NQ). 

 

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

 

I went to see a friend’s band called Big Society the other night, check them out. 

 

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

 

https://www.facebook.com/tonicaofficialband/

 

https://www.instagram.com/tonicamusic/

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/Tonicaofficial

 

https://soundcloud.com/tonicabandofficial

Get to know: Feline and Strange

Know Me Better were recently in conversation with Feline Lang, one half of Berlin based electro-wave cabaret act,  Feline and Strange, who are ready to unleash their out-there sounds to the world.

How did you get your initial start in music?

I was born into it… seriously. My parents are classical musicians, I was bred in a womb that supported a concert harp, played with bricks under a grand piano, and started to learn the violin within 4 years. Thus I am sorry to say that it is beyond even my abilities to remember the initial moment!

 

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

I want to become a household name and fill the biggest arenas in the world, and have my music sent on the next gold disc that goes out into the universe to represent humanity – who doesn’t? Anything below that wouldn´t justify a musician´s life which is serious shit most of the time. But then there´s these magic moments when you play for hundred, fifty, maybe just  two people, and you REALLY touch them, and you know that´s why you do this. Happens rather frequently to me lately.

 

How long have you been writing your own music?

I have been writing the odd song or arrangement since school days, but it all became really serious in 2009 after learning my tools through arranging operas for pop and folk bands with my own troupe.

 

Who are your top three influences and why?

Do I really have to choose from a world full of music? OK, first three that pop to my mind. Mozart, because he wrote music everyone can enjoy but few can understand. Depeche Mode, because their top defined sound is what defines pop music for me, and they proved like no one else that you can be epic without an orchestra. Nina Hagen, because she, in turn, proved that you can be a punk on any instrument and in any language.

 

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

I wrote this album in only 2 weeks, away from home, while Germany was turning upside down, from welcoming refugees with soft toys and water bottles at train stations, to burning down camps and marching against the government who let people seek help. I watched the news, and didn´t find any ways to help. So I wrote the album and made it, together with the now-released CD artwork, a pathetic glimpse into the feeling of suddenly losing your home, your right to survive, without warning, or alternative. What happens when you are evicted from planet Earth? And somebody you never met decides over your fate? The album tries to put you into this perspective. But it´s just a game. A play.

 

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

We´re from Berlin! Well, we´re extraterrestrials obviously, but I guess most of Berlin´s inhabitants are. I like ballroom dancing a lot, especially Sing, and Tango, and I love swimming, so my favourite location is a tiny lake in the city, the Weissensee, where in summer balls are held at the shore, sometimes with live performances – we played there too – and after dancing your heart out, you can jump into the lake and swim, have a cocktail, and feel like a VIP in Monaco. Only dirtier.

 

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

You should definitely check out The Jackaffair! They do Latin Fun Punk, and support us very often. And I only recently met Les Pleureuses, who are as wacky as we are.

 

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

If you want to know all that´s going on, join The Feline&Strange Spaceship Crew on www.facebook.com/groups/felineandstrange! I spend a lot of time there, and reveal a lot of what´s in my head. Even closer you can get if you become a patron on www.patreon.com/feline , of course, getting early access, exclusive releases, and can actually influence my work. When I need help, I call out there, and listen! But the best first steps into the Feline and Strange universe is, of course, via our webpage www.felineandstrange.com. And if you are like, leave me in peace with all that stuff, I just want the music – did you know you can stream (and buy for your own price) ALL our music on http://felineandstrange.bandcamp.com?!

 

Check out the video for ‘No Life On Mars’ here:

Get to Know: Elsiane

How did you get your initial start in music?

We each have different backgrounds individually but as a band we started jamming in the year 2000 – just vocals, drums and guitar, then started writing some songs. The first song that we did together was ‘Vaporous’. After that we ended up recording several demo EPs and did some shows in Montreal

Elsieanne: I started singing at the age of 6 and grew up in a family of musicians. At the age of 12 started playing guitar and then violin. It was after seeing my grand father perform with his orchestra and later seeing Phil Collins live that I wanted to become a musician/singer

Stephane: From an early age I became musically aware – music was first an escape and I was passionate about starting a band, but It wasn’t until the age of 16 when I knew I wanted to play the drums. For me music started by playing in a band.

 

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

Elsieanne: My aim in the industry is to be able to continue staying true to our work and not have to change who you are in order to please others.

I wish the industry did not want to change artists to become more commercial all because they need to make money. It would be great if labels would develop artists to their max potential and let them be.

Stephane : My ultimate aim would be to keep continuing on this path that we have already being on for the last 16 years as a band. In terms of goals, I would like to see our music get proper sync licenses, to find the right home for the songs. Our music can be described as cinematic in many ways, and a perfect for film soundtracks. I want more people to discover this music by playing shows as well as continuing recording albums and to continue generating a steady fan base.

 

How long have you been writing your own music?

Elsieanne: Since the age of 13. I recorded my first demo EP at 14 with just guitar and vocals.

Stephane: I have always been in bands that creates original music. With the band Elsiane, 17 years.

 

Who are your top three influences and why? 

Elsieanne: Peter Gabriel, Yma Sumac, Massive Attack

First major influence: Tool because they are a band that has always followed their own rules, and kept the mystery in what they have always done. Their art is as important as music and they have never shied away from that. They have proved that you can get away with what you want in the music industry. As a drummer, I was very influenced by compositional drummers like Danny Carey from Tool.

Second influence: Massive Attack because they have created a unique style of music which has inspired me for many years. The darker elements of Massive Attack are what I enjoy the most as well as the different collaborations they do with the many talented singers and musicians involved with the band.

Third: NIN (Trent Reznor) because he continuously tries to push the envelope with every new album and has never let his guard down.

 

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Elsieanne: This album is made to inspire other artists to stay true to who they are and not give up no matter how hard the road may be.

Stephane: We would rather people make up their own minds about what they hear on this album, but I guess that you must see the darkness before you can see the light.

 

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

We’re based in Montreal. Indie rock seems to be a favourite here since the early 2000s. There’s a big electronic scene as well, we don’t pay too much attention on what’s happening here but some favourite venues include: Club Soda, La Tulipe, Gesu, Place des Arts.

 

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

Caroline Plante, Curious Case, Patrick Watson.

 

Check out more on Elsiane here:

Links:

http://www.elsiane.com/

https://www.facebook.com/elsiane

https://twitter.com/elsiane

https://www.instagram.com/elsiane_official/

https://soundcloud.com/elsiane

https://www.youtube.com/user/vaporous07/videos

Get to Know: Marilyn Carino

How did you get your initial start in music?

I studied to be a sound engineer in college and worked at that, then started singing in Western Swing and Jazz bands in San Francisco

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

I guess to do exactly what I’m doing now, traveling around the world, collaborating with other artists who teach me things and make me a better musician but definitely my ultimate goal is to get paid better!

How long have you been writing your own music?

Since the 90s, even before I considered myself a musician. I had an endless parade of songs in me then and I still do.

Who are your top three influences and why?

Radiohead – for syncopation, songcraft and beautiful singing

Nina Simone – for all-round amazingness and sheer balls

Latin Playboys – their first album made me want to make everything lo-fi and weird, but also beautiful and purposeful

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

It makes you feel like you’re wearing sexy underpants while eating your favorite meal your grandma made while tripping on mushrooms

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I have lived in Brooklyn for a long time but right now I live in Edinburgh. I needed a break from New York, and from the U.S., for many reasons besides the obvious. I fell in love with Edinburgh and Scotland in general while I was on tour there in September 2016. I rented a flat and I’m recording the followup to Leaves, Sadness, Science here. I’m also working with a couple of Edinburgh-based producers on a really strange and cool dance music project but I can’t say anything about that yet.

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

In Edinburgh? I’m too new here, I haven’t seen much local music yet but I have seen and love Fiona Soe Paing, she is from Aberdeen and we’ve become mutual fans – we’re trying to figure out something we can do together.  But everything I’ve seen in general is fantastic. I particularly like the scene at Arthur’s Seat, but I guess that’s not what you meant.

Give our readers a roundup of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

Website, tour info, videos, press – marilyncarino.com

Stream and get VINYL – marilyncarino.bandcamp.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/marilyncarinomusic

Twitter and Instagram – @marilyncarino

Everything Under (EU)

How did you get your initial start in music?

By becoming a sound engineer for other artists.

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

To help improve it. Less feminine, more masculine, and more mature. There are infinite ways to express yourselves.

How long have you been writing your own music?

16 years

Who are your top three influences and why?

The Cure, The Doors, and Everything Under.

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Just that I think it’s good.

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

Blasting out of Chicago, IL. There’s no scene here whatsoever.

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

Nobody.

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

Just search for Everything Under (EU) Music. Enjoy.

GET TO KNOW: The Maladaptive Solution

How did you get your initial start in music?

Started to play guitar when I was 12, after my mother died.  I got in my first band with some friends in High School.  Been in bands and involved in peripherals ways with music ever since, a long time.

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

Some timeless classic songs that get discovered and passionately loved for generations.  The initial goals were met in some ways, as one of the folks that discovered  and purchased the “soft” release of the first record, took the time to write an email and said that in his career he saw the worst in humanity every day and that our EP made him want to get up each morning.  What more could you want as an artist, besides mad crazy amounts of dollah bills?

How long have you been writing your own music?

I seem to have always been writing songs, at least in my head, for as long as I can remember.  I’ve contributed parts of songs in bands I’ve been in, but only in the last 6 or 7 years have I gotten remotely serious about the creation of songs, with me leading the overall vision

Who are your top three influences and why?

The Beatles – The Alpha and the Omega.  They set the bar high in all aspects of music creation. Rain and Nowhere Man are perfection.  Still sound fresh, and never tire of hearing.  The branding, and continued business model is still brilliant.

Big Star and pals/off spring associated – Big Star, and bands like Teenage Fanclub, The Posies, The Replacements and many others.  Beautiful songs, and the tragic story of Big Star.  There was a time when being a fan of Big Star was like a secret handshake. Well crafted songs, beautifully sung. Different voices and writers but working well together. I like hooks, and a variety of voices in a song.  It’s great they are finally being recognized for how great those few records were.  I had two of the members of Big Star crash at my house recently.  I kinda freaked out.

Dave Grohl.  He writes great songs.  He loves music.  He loves songs.  He’s a great drummer.  He was an indie suburban DC punk rock kid that happened into one of the biggest, most ground breaking bands of the time.  Foo Fighters are really the biggest “rock” band left making some of their best music. Someone described The Maladaptive Solution as sounding like The Monkees backed by Foo Fighters.  Considered high praise.

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release? 

The current single “Ontology (Form and Content)” is the lead track of an upcoming 5 song “movement” or EP, that’s part of a larger  12 Movement\EP series of releases.  The “movement” known as “Enlighten”, will contain 3 more original songs by The Maladaptive Solution, plus a full on rawk cover of Krishna Das’ “Navah Shivaya”.  The song is based around some pretty heady questions about the nature of reality, and that love being really is the only thing that is real.  The song is a required lesson.  When the lesson is completed is optional.

Where are you based and whats your local scene like?

The contributors to The Maladaptive Solution are based across the globe.  I am based out of Orlando, FL and the scene is interesting.  There was a pretty strong, and cutting edge EDM scene for a while.  Lots of opportunities to see live music.  A pretty varied scene, and pretty open to original music. Metal, folky songwriter, some interesting punk  and indie stuff going on.  There’s a growing punk/independent scene across Florida, interestingly enough.

Any favourite venues?

In Orlando, Will’s Pub, The Social are great smaller places. The Hard Rock hotel gets some interesting, let’s say, past their prime, bands playing there once a month in their lobby that can be fun.

Love the Fillmore in San Francisco, HMAC in Harrisburg, PA, The Troubadour in London, any place where there is live original music is a great venue. So many great places.

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

The Pauses are really good, really really good.  Mike Dunn is consistently making some pretty cool music in a Petty kind of way.  The Woolly Bushmen should be huge, really rawk and are great fun.

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

Spotify  Top tracks for The Maladaptive Solution

I Tunes, Google Play, Tidal, Amazon, any platform, we are on it. SMS text ONTOLOGY to 85