founder publisher winnie surya
managing editor tiffany lam
assistant editor abbey toomey-fisk
copy editor lauren lyford karmin yu
photo editors winnie surya tiffany lam
art directors winnie surya seanzha kemal
communications manager tiffany lam
pr marketing feli langlois, kelsey barnes
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zoe harrison, daniel hadfield, nathan cornell,
jennie tan, savana ogburn, marisa martel,
eman el-saied, kelsey barnes, savoula
stylianou, renee tran, oscar rodriguez, hayley
hasessian, chloe hoy
INTO THE CROWD is
a Toronto central online music magazine
dedicated to showcasing the world of music,
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danforth music hall
by tiffany lam
3. March-April 2014
the skins 4
wakey! wakey! 8
the royal concept 28
the maine 36
aaah! real monsters 46
stay seventeen 48
jilette johnson 52
we are the in crowd 54
This year will be an EPIC year for THE SKINS! The band has been
writing and working with a whole bunch of amazing writers and
producers andare so excited to show you all what they’ve been
up to! Check out our interview with band to find out more!
Interview by Chloe Hoy | Photos by Winnie Surya
5. March-April 2014
Your self-titled debut EP was released in 2012.
What inspired the music behind it?
Our EP was our first collection of music released to
the public. It was basically like our first stepping-stone
to becoming a “real” band haha. We did it when we
were super young, individually and as a band and
most importantly as writers, and we were fresh out of
music school (School of Rock) where we learned to
love a lot of Classic Rock, Prog and Soul/Funk music.
So the songs on our EP are inspired by bands like Led
Zeppelin, Earth, Wind and Fire, Janis Joplin, Jane’s
Addiction and King Crimson. Musically and lyrically,
we meshed personal life experiences with the style of
a more classic rock or soul band.
Who or what inspired each of you to take up an
instrument, and being making music together?
Reef was always EXTREMELY (almost abnormally)
natural at learning to play new instruments and new
music quickly. One day our father came home with
an electronic drum kit, and without ever having any
lessons or even coming in contact with a drum kit,
Reef picked up the sticks and just began playing! No
lie! It was really amazing to witness. So after our Dad
had succeeded at getting both Reef and I (BayLi) into
rock bands like Zeppelin, Hendrix, The Doors, etc. our
mother proceeded to sign us up for lessons at The
School of Rock (in NYC) where Reef began taking
drum lessons and I (BayLi) took guitar. A few years
later our sister Kaya joined the school and after trying
out a few instruments (and not really liking them) she
landed on bass and the rest is pretty much history! I
will say though, Kaya’s case is even more impressive
because seeing that she only attended the school
for a few months, she is basically self-taught. For
being a self-taught bass player, who only picked up
the instrument 2 1/2 years ago, she is extremely
advanced and skilled in her playing and performance.
Daisy’s father and Uncle Jimi, as well as her older
cousin Jimi, played a huge roll in inspiring her to play
guitar. After she saw these very important men in her
life create music with a guitar it made her want to do
the same thing. For Russell, it was inspired to play
guitar after seeing a few friends playing. He thought it
was super cool so he picked it up himself and BAM he
became the awesome guitar player that he is today.
For Bayli, Kaya and Reef, what is it like being in a
band with your siblings?
This is definitely one of the most commonly asked
questions we get and the answer that we always give
is that it is amazing being in a band along side our
siblings! A lot of people assume that because we’re
siblings we fight or argue a lot but it is quite the contrary.
Because we are related we can be open-minded and
honest and genuine with each other. Not saying that
we never disagree, but if we do we have a way better
understanding of each other than most people do, so
we know how to go about handling touchy situations
or disagreements. Honestly though, we VERY rarely
disagree on things so I guess we are just lucky to get
along so well.
How did you guys manage being in school and
your music career?
Kaya and Reef are currently enrolled in homeschool
tutoring after having to leave regular public schooling
because of how much we travel and tour. Daisy and
I (Bay Li) are currently on leave of absence from our
colleges (Daisy :The New School and Bayli: Pratt
Institute) and Russell withdrew from his college in New
Jersey to live in NYC and be a full-time musician.
You released your latest single, “Dead Hands”, at
the beginning of last year. When can fans expect
to hear some new music?
We don’t have a set date on when we will be releasing
new music but in the next few months, potentially
around Summer time, we are supposed to be putting
out an EP with brand spanking new tunes on it! We are
so excited for you guys to hear the new music we’ve
been working so hard on creating and perfecting for
What do you hope to gain from touring North
America in the upcoming weeks? Are you excited
to be on the road?
We are excited to simply spread our music and
name around to all of these different people in places
we’ve never even been! We are excited to play for
audiences that we KNOW can appreciate good music.
Although we’ve been out on the road before, this tour
will be the biggest tour and most dates we’ve ever
played, so it will definitely be an experience to say
the least. Most importantly, we are pumped to hit the
stage and feel that rush of adrenaline and energy and
genuine happiness that happens every single time we
perform. We always hope that we relay that feeling to
our audience as well.
Can each of you describe, in one word, how you
feel when performing on stage?
Where do you see yourselves in ten years from
Daisy Russell: Following in Michael Jackson’s
footsteps, with 10 grammys
Reef: In 10 years? I just want to have a lot of money
BayLi: In 10 years I want us to love each other and
our music even more than we do now
Kaya: In 10 years, the question should be where I
don’t see myself...cause I see us everywhere!
What’s in store for you guys for this year?
This year will be an EPIC year for The Skins! We
have been writing and working with a whole bunch
of AMAZING writers and producers and we are so
excited to show you all what we’ve been up to! We will
be releasing new music and touring a lot more! We
will soon be in a city near you, so keep an eye out :)
9. March-April 2014
How does it feel to be back in Montreal at this
Montreal’s one of my favourite cities to play. We
have the craziest Montreal fanbase in the world, you
guys just bring it! Montreal’s an awesome town and
we always have so much fun here! The first time we
came and we played this little show and we kind of
undersold to a small venue and it was just insanity.
We did that show solo and the crowd was just insane;
they were out of control! I remember the sound guy
covering his ears and hiding because it was just so
loud. It was awesome! And then, we came back here,
but it was just me solo. I’ve only ever played solo, and
today we get to play with the whole band. So to me,
it’s a whole new show and it almost feels like it’s a
whole new venue as well.
How does this tour compare to the one you had
I love this tour! Honestly, I think a lot of touring is
about the people you surround yourself with. I’m really
lucky to curate this group of people that I’m with. I’m
a HUGE fan of Jillette Johnson and I really believe in
her music and in what she does. So, to get to hear
her shows every night is fantastic. She’s super fun to
travel with. For my own set, the people that I’m playing
with are some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever
played with in my life. On top of that, our drummer
is someone that’s been friends with me for eighteen
years. I love the touring party, I love the music on this
tour so much, it’s fantastic!
Is it true you met all your bandmates in New
Yeah, well I met Fitz, our drummer, in college. The
bass player, I met in New York. And the other person
I’m playing with is Casey Shea, who’s playing guitar
and singing. Casey is someone who’s been a friend of
mine since I first moved to New York, probably for over
a decade at this point. Not only is Casey one of my
favourite people to hang out with, but he’s one of my
favourite artists as well. He’s a really talented writer.
He and I were both signed to Family Records back in
the day. Literally, this tour feels like I’ve curated all of
my friends, it’s awesome!
You recently just released a new EP, what makes
it so Irresistible?
We were going to release an album as well, initially.
Interview by Karmin Yu
Photos by Winnie Surya
10. When we were making the album, we wanted to make
something very cohesive because it’s an album. It’s
a collection of songs that need to work together, but
during the process of writing, I wrote probably eighty
or a hundred songs. So, we had all these songs that
were fantastic, but didn’t fit into the world of the album.
So myself and Caleb Shreve, who produced it, just
decided “Hey! We have five songs that are too good
to not put out and they don’t fit into the world of the
album, sonically or story-wise. So we should record
them.” We had this great song called “Irresistible” that
I wrote with this guy, Boots Ottestad. Boots is such a
great writer and he wrote some from the album with me
as well that I really love. We thought that Irresistible
was a really great song, so we put it out on the EP and
we decided to call it the Irresistible EP!
What happened to the rest of your songs?
They're all over the place! The one thing that's really
cool about my life and my job is that I get to write songs
not just for myself, but for other artists. I've written on
a lot of songs that are out in the world right now and
with those songs, hopefully they'll all find home, some
with other people. Some of them will be around for a
while and find new incantations and maybe make it
on the future Wakey!Wakey! album.
What’s your favourite song off of the EP?
It's really tough to say. My favourite song changes
every day. Songs, a lot of times, are kind of like your
kids, so it's really hard to say. For the EP, one really
weird thing about what I do and the way that I write
songs is that each song is its own ambassador; each
song becomes its own thing. Sometimes, I'll write a
song that people might really love and sometimes I'll
write a song that a whole other group of people might
really love. On the EP, there are five different songs
that I hope all of our fans will love, but they are over
a quite a large swath of material. Sometimes, when
I'm at the show and we bust into Irresistible, it's
huge and it sounds awesome. When I was on tour in
Europe, Alexz Johnson got to come out and sing with
me, it was the best thing in the world! The audience
gets super excited and they sing along – it's awesome!
Then, other songs like Phoebe Cates has been one
of my favourite songs to play live; it was very much
requested, even before we released it.
Why did you rename your song “Young Love” to
One song was called Indy Love that was on the
album and one song was called Young Love. We
couldn't have two songs that were something-love
because that's would sound really redundant. So, I
started thinking about the song and tome, the song is
really about young love and that feeling when you're
first falling in love and discovering your sexuality and
all that stuff. And for me, that's a lot wrapped up in the
actor, Phoebe Cates, because I remember being a
kid and seeing her and she was this huge sex symbol
and just the feelings that she brought out – to me, it
was kind of the essence of young love.
Your newer music uses much less piano and has
become more pop-y, why?
When you're writing, you have to write what really
appeals to you. For me, it's a scary thing – we have
the luxury of this fanbase right now, which is fantastic
and I'm so lucky and so blessed to have them. It's
tough because it's my job to write things that they will
all enjoy, but I also have to write what I enjoy. So it's
like this big trust exercise where I have to believe that
my fanbase is probably evolving the same way that I
am. I have to hope that they’ll all come with me and
I’m sure that we might leave some behind. I’ll miss
them and I hope they still listen to the old stuff and
still love it; I hope it doesn’t make them sad. Hopefully
we’ll find a whole new world of fans as well.
You starred in One Tree Hill, do you still talk to
any of the cast members?
Yeah, I’m super tight with a lot of those guys. They’re
really, really sweet people. I’m so lucky to have had the
experience of being involved with that show because
it’s such a massive thing. They introduced us to so
many wonderful fans, which is fantastic! But I have
to say the greatest gift that I have is my friendship
with the cast. James Lafferty is one of my besties,
so I’ll crash on his couch in L.A. sometimes. Sophia
Bush and I… last time I was in L.A., we went to a
Regina Spektor concert together. India de Beaufort
– who was my love interest in the show – in real life, is
like my little sister and we text each other all the time.
Stephen Colletti is another awesome person and he’s
such a supporter of what I do. I got a text from him
the other day just being like: “Yo! I’m living with your
EP! I’m loving it!” So that friendship from that stuff is
12. Interview by Savoula Stylianou | Photos by Tiffany Lam
13. March-April 2014
ingston favourite Shad made a
triumphant return to town with his first show
he’s ever played at the Grad Club.
The hugely popular venue, home to shows organized
by music guru Virginia Clark, welcomed Shad on
January 29 along with his opening act, Egyptian
Tickets for the gig sold out in two days, which Shad
said he was amazed by.
“That’s pretty fast! I haven’t done a club show in
Kingston in maybe 2 or 3 years. I hear it’s a great
vibe, and I trust Virginia. There’s living room vibes, so
it’ll be fun and sweaty,” he said in our interview a half
hour before the show began.
The musician’s pre-show requirements are simple: he
just needs his go-to stage uniform.
“I have to wear light-weight shoes to jump around in
and a black t-shirt, that’s it.”
The reasoning for this specific attire is pretty
straightforward, Shad said.
“I need a black shirt because I sweat so much, any
other colour is very apparent. Today, for example,
I have to take off my long johns and put on more
appropriate undergarments, for similar reasoning – I
can’t be up there feeling like I’m wearing Huggies.”
Anything except these two pieces of clothing would
be potentially detrimental to the show, he jokes.
“If it’s before a show and I only have a grey t-shirt and
big Red Wing boots, I’m like, ‘This is just not gonna
2013 saw the debut of Shad’s latest album Flying
Colours, which was met with huge success. He said he
hasn’t settled into a groove of sorts just yet though.
“It’s always the same challenges. With this album, I
wanted to try different things, and I feel happy with
what I did; but I can also look at the album and say,
‘Yeah, I did the same thing,’ which is good. I think I
did my thing.”
Shad is known best for his lyrical genius, lacing his
songs with the perfect juxtaposition of catchy riffs and
thoughtful, honest words. The key to his prowess of
shaping the English language into powerful lyrics is to
sometimes step away from his work.
“There’s no formula for me. I just push through it –
and that works, but other times I have to step away. I
usually find my best ideas come not when I’m forcing
it, but when I’m in some state of letting my mind go
and be free,” he said. “I’ve had that experience of
plugging away at some lyrics and almost the second
I walk down the street to get a coffee because I’ve
given up, it’s like ‘Boom, boom, boom,’ I’ve got it.”
One of the songs that perfectly exemplifies why Shad
is one of the great Canadian rappers on the music
scene today, thus allowing him to beat Drake at the
2011 Juno Awards for rap recording of the year, is
taken from the new album and titled “Remember to
14. The song called for a reunion of Shad working with
his two friends Mike Tompkins and Lights.
“They’re two people I’ve worked with before, and
that’s how I like to keep the vibe so people can be
comfortable creatively to try different things. I mean,
it’s hard in the studio to be in a vulnerable place putting
ideas out there and your voice out there,” he said.
The music video is very visually interesting, starting
in largely dark light and transitioning into the use of
lots of neon lights and stimulating visual effects. Shad
said he collaborated with a long-time friend for the
video shoot with Lights.
“The guy who shot it has done a bunch of videos for
me and done all my artwork, so I let him do what he
wants. He’s like a good friend of mine and the cool
thing is he knows me super well and we’ve worked on
a bunch of stuff together.”
Shad and the director looked to the music video for
“Remember to Remember” as a chance to really try
something vastly new and make it happen.
“At this point, [the director] is approaching it like,
‘Well, what have we not done before?’ and one thing
we hadn’t done was something that felt like that – the
darkness, then the phonetic energy with the lights and
the colours and the trippy effects.”
With four albums under his belt, the London-raised
musician said even though he’s been in the music
business for the last ten years, he never regrets the
things he messed up.
“I’ve learned so much through music, it’s what I’ve
done most of my adult life,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot
about trusting myself and trusting my own common
sense and heart, for lack of a better term. I could talk
about that for a long time.”
In terms of summer plans, Shad jokes that other than
his upcoming collaboration with Beyonce, he is going
to be touring a lot.
“Nothing too crazy on the horizon, just touring on
the weekend and in the summer, we’ll play a lot of
festivals, so we’re looking forward to that.”
And if given the chance to return and play the Wolfe
Island Music Festival again this August, the artist said
he would love to.
“That would be great, I love Wolfe Island.”
18. How did SKATERS form?
We formed a couple years ago when Josh and I met at
a party in Los Angeles. We knew each other through
mutual friends but it was our first time meeting. We
stayed up really late listening to a bunch of records
and we ended up parting ways. I was about to move
back to New York and then when I finally got to New
York, he dropped me an email saying he would be in
New York tomorrow. We didn’t really realize he moved
to New York to be in a band with us. He showed up
and we ended up forming as soon as he got there.
How did you come up with the name for your
The name kind of came first. We kept thinking about
how good of a band name it was and also how when
we were kids, we would skate like there were no cares
in the world. It was worry free with no expectations,
like it was a good time. It was straightforward, honest
and innocent and that’s the kind of band we wanted
Can you take me through your recording
There were like 30 songs for the record (Manhattan)
and it got widdled down. We went into pre-production
with the producer and picked the songs we were
going to record plus a couple others that may or may
not make it. Then we went to studios in New York and
we were held up there for a month in a room on the
top floor. We made it our little home for the 4 weeks.
Then we went on tour and kept working on the record.
It all came together very sporadic and jumbling.
What’s your favorite song of the album?
It kind of changes but the one song that really sticks
with me is “Band Breaker.” I think it became my
favorite because it was so hard to record. We tried
it like 5 times and it wasn’t until the last time we tried
it. We ended up getting it in like a day. We just went
it and recorded drums and were like okay it sounds
good and everything was layed down super quickly.
Who are some of your musical influences?
They’re kind of all over the board. Obviously the band
is influenced by late seventies, post punk. Stuff like
The Ramones, Television, Blondie but also English
bands like The Clash. All of us come from totally
different musical backgrounds and all of our stuff
together shaped us.
You’re going on your first headlining
tour in the U.S. Are you excited?
Yes, I’m excited but I’m a little nervous. We haven’t
been to some of those cities before.
What are you expecting for this tour?
It’s always interesting to see the crowds. You never
know what’s going to happen. It’s interesting to see
what people respond to.
You’re also going on tour in the UK. What are your
expectations for that tour?
It’s us and Drowners, they’re our good buddies from
New York. We share a similar crowd base so it should
be really interesting.
How do you find time to practice since your band
is kind of spread out?
Everyone lives in the city now so we’re all together.
What do you want your fans to take away from the
I want it to be a record you can just put on. I remember
growing up and there were albums that you could just
throw on at a party and satisfy everyone and that’s
kind of what I want people to feel. You put the record
on from start to finish and everyone will be psyched
that it’s playing.
21. “I remember growing up and there were albums
that you could just throw on at a party and satisfy
everyone and that’s kind of what
I want people to feel.
You put the record on from start to
finish and everyone will be psyched
that it’s playing.”
- Michael Ian Cummings
22. An Exclusive Interview with...
DisclosureTiffany from Into The Crowd Magazine caught up with Guy and Howard of Disclosure in Toronto and
chatted about being brothers, touring, Holy Ship, and some of their favourite things.
They were such humble guys, very well-versed and mature for their young age. You could tell they were very
different from an ordinary electronic artist. It was such a pleasure to interview them, and the live show and
visuals were absolutely mind-blowing. A Disclosure live show is definitely something you don’t want to miss.
25. Disclosure. Where did that name come from?
Howard: Really boring story. We needed a name for
our MySpace page and Guy was filling out his car
insurance and it said Disclosure on it, and we thought
it was a good word and it stuck.
So if you were to rename your group something
else, what do you think that would be?
Guy: Haha I think the reason we called it Disclosure
was so we’d never have to do that; I’m really bad at
naming names of bands.
H: Megatron? Is that taken?
many ‘Disclosure’s out there, so that was helpful.
I heard you guys started playing music pretty
young, and that your parents were also a bit of
musicians as well?
H: Yeah, they were both professional musicians. They
had music all around the house all the time, so we
were just encouraged to play music from a really, really
young age. I think that’s definitely why we do it now.
Being brothers, how is it like working with a family
member? You know, being a musical duo traveling
everywhere together, do you guys ever get sick of
H: I think it’s fine. People often think we argue all the
time but we don’t really spend that much time with
each other on tour; we travel with about 12 members
as a crew so there’s a lot of space to just socially
move around. It’s nice.
I also heard that your parents toured in Canada a lot.
Did you guys ever get to visit Canada back then?
H: Our dad did. He was in a rock band and they toured
Canada for like 6 months at one point; it was pretty
serious touring. But that was much before we were
born, when he was maybe just older than us now.
This is our 3rd time in Canada; we’ve done Toronto,
Montreal, we’ve done a few shows.
Has there ever been any time for some sightseeing
or is it usually just tour tour tour?
G: Yeah, usually just in and out. Canada’s always
right in the middle of the tour, or at the start and then
we have a couple days off here. We had last night
– went to the cinema, haha.
H: That’s about it.
G: Saw the CN Tower. Didn’t go up it yet, but I’d like to.
Now tonight, Toronto gets kind of like a Disclosure
double feature - there’s a live show here at the
Danforth Music Hall, and then a DJ set right after
at the Hoxton, which are both sold out. Can you
maybe elaborate a bit on what these two back-to-
back shows will be about?
H: Well tonight here we’re playing a live show – so
that’s with all our instruments and all our production,
playing all our own songs. Then we’ll go over there
and DJ, playing other people’s songs too.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
H: To play live? I think it changes depending on what’s
recently been added to the set. We added “Apollo”
just before we finished the last tour and I think that’s
probably it because we’re least used to playing it, so
it’s more exciting.
G: It also depends on the crowd and which song is
biggest where. Here when we play “You and Me”
people always go absolutely crazy, whereas in the UK
it’s more “Latch” or “White Noise”. Those are definitely
still crazy here as well but it’s nice to get the response
changing where you go. We kind of look forward to
H: Especially in Australia, “When A Fire Starts To
Burn” is by far our biggest song, for some reason, so
that one’s huge out there and not really that known
anywhere else haha.
Favourite aspect of being on the road?
G: Hmm... Playing shows I guess. I mean, a lot of it
is just traveling and not sleeping very much, but it’s a
very minor problem compared to how great playing
shows, partying and meeting people, basically. I love
meeting people and especially other artists as well.
We just did this thing called Holy Ship which was
really, really fun. Just hanging out with our mates the
whole three days, in with the crowd as well around the
boat, meeting really cool people and playing shows.
That’s the best.
What would you guys say your proudest or best
moment is so far? What has been the proudest or
best moment for Disclosure so far?
G: Having a #1 album in the UK was amazing. Being
26. nominated for a Grammy as well, and the BritAwards.
All those things, you know, cause when we started
making music or making the album we didnt have a
single conversation that was like, “Let’s try to win an
award here, I think we can do it!”. It was literally like,
just having a laugh and making music for fun. And
yeah the awards are just a nice biker up, and cause
we worked so hard last year doing like 50 festivals
and tour after tour... It’s almost you know, it’s worth it.
especially getting the Grammy’s – that’s crazy.
What are your favourite artists right now?
G: My favourite producer right now is Kaytranada,
who’s from Montreal actually I think, so that’s cool.
H: Yeah, me too. We went to see him play recently on
G: He’s done a remix of one of our songs called
January, and he also has a tune called At All, and
the video is him hanging out with these body building
women. You’ll find it, it’s funny. He’s a really nice guy
and his production’s really, really good.
Biggest music guilty pleasure?
H: We need to come up with better answers for this
G: I quite like Kylie Minogue - “Slow”. I think that’s
a really underrated song. It was a massive tune, but
I don’t think the house world really appreciated how
house-y the production is and it’s absolutely great.
And the video is just her lying around on a towel, it’s
a really good one.
What are your biggest pet peeves? A pet peeve.
You know, something that grinds your gears.
H: Oh right, so we stayed in this hotel here last night,
and there was a party going on in the room next door...
that’s it. What’s going on in the room next door. Hate it.
Is it because you’re not being invited, or?
H: No no, it’s just cause I want to go to bed.
G: Soooo boring, it’s unbelievable.
H: No, come on I mean, anything keeping you awake
is my pet peeve. Sleep’s valuable on tour, haha.
G: Mine would be crying children, yeah. I’m not good
with kids, haha.
27. What has been your best meal on tour this year?
we went to Abu Dhabi for this DJ set over December,
and I took my best friend out cause it was his birthday
and we went to Marco Pierre White’s restaurant. He
taught Gordon Ramsay to cook; he’s like a legend.
We went to his steakhouse... best steak.
H: Probably the sushi that we ate in Japan, I’ve just
never had sushi as good as that before. I’ve never really
had sushi before that to be honest, but I haven’t been
able to match it. Much different than sushi in a box.
G: I know we had sushi in Las Vegas and their idea of
it was something like pork belly wrapped in rice.
H: I mean it was delicious, but not really authentic.
How would your mom describe your different
G: I’m more extrovert, Howard’s more the introvert,
more chill. Howard likes to play a show, go out and
make a tune, read a book, go to bed. I like to play a
show, do a shot, go out. It works for us, haha.
Is that how your friends would also describe you
G: Definitely, everyone knows Howard’s the chill one.
Most private thing you’ll admit?
G: There’s not a lot of private stuff out there, which is
great! Haha. I’ve said in a few interviews I used to do
gymnastics. Howard used to say I did ballet as well,
which is not exactly true but I did used to do dance.
H: I’m qualified to instruct wind surfing.
G: But that’s not a bad thing.
H: But it’s private. She didn’t say it had to be
G: Well, now I’ve just embarrassed myself for no
reason there then, haha.
A bit like the last question, is there anything your
fans would be surprised to know about you both?
H: I think a lot of fans would be surprised to know which
one of us is called Howard and which one is called
Guy. We often get people at front row and they’re like,
“GUY!!” at me, and I’m like “Noo... over there!”.
G: The age comes up often too. Especially on Holy
Ship, people often ask [Howard] “Are you the older
one?”. It’s cause I can’t grow a beard. Big brother
thing, I can’t grow a beard! There’s a private thing.
If you ever found yourself running from the police,
it would most likely be for...
H: This is a dangerous question, let’s think carefully, haha.
G: I don’t think I’ve gotten into one fight ever. I don’t
really get naked that often, especially outside, so
nudity wouldn’t be one.
H: I don’t get naked outside [either], no. I got chased
by the police once with all my friends because a guy
handed me a bottle of, what I thought was beer or
something. He was like “Can you hold this while I do
up my shoe?” and as he did up his shoe, he ran off.
Then the police turned up and saw me with this thing, I
still don’t know what it was but they shouted “HEY!” so
I just dropped it and left. Still don’t know what that was
about... Quite like to know, if anyone’s got any input.
G: Oh I know one for that one.Trespassing. I used to go
to this place with my mates near where we live, which
was something like the biggest abandoned mental
asylum in the UK. We used to break in there and go
look around. There were still beds and stuff of mental
patients, really creepy. Went there on Halloween a
couple times and there’d be dogs in there that’d scare
you. It was really good fun. It’s all been knocked down
now but it was really, really cool.
Last question: What are some plans for 2014?
H: We’re touring until late September time, so we won’t
have much time for writing really, but we’re doing bits
and bobs, and then once we stop then we’re going to
work on the next record for the next 6 months.
G: There will be music released before then though,
especially with and for other people, just not in album
format. I’ve been doing a lot of producing for people
as well and Howard’s been writing with people like
Sam Smith for his album. We’ve kind of just been
more working with other people rather than solely on
Disclosure stuff. It’ll be out fairly soon.
Not planning to take any time off or anything like
G: Nah. We had a bit of December off, but I feel fine.
H: All ready to go again.
he world is on fire with new and
upcoming group The Royal Concept!
Sweden natives, Filip, Magnus, and Frans
are just what alternative music needs. The
combination of electronic and alternative music has
created quite the frenzy. Since their come up, TRC
has been extremely successful with their tour with
Atlas Genius, and their brand new song “On Our Way”
which was most recently featured on Glee. Although
they been compared to Phoenix it has only added to
their instant success. Growing up, the group found
themselves going to Jazz college in Stockholm. But
as any artist continues to grow, there is a sense of
longing in pursuing ones dreams to its fullest extent.
As the boys grew tired of studying music , their longing
desire to travel and perform their music pushed them
to drop out to form a serious rock band. Since then,
they haven’t looked back. Within three years the boys
managed to get signed in their native country, and the
U.S.. Being heavily influenced by Zeppelin, Beatles,
Fleetwood Ma,c Daft Punk, and a wide variety of
electronic artists. In addition to jazz education...TRC
style of music makes them almost limitless.
In this most recent
interview, TRC was able to
indicate their fears, dreams
and goals as artists. Since the
release of their EP “On Our
Way”, the boys have been on
tour non stop. When asked
about what music lyrically they try to create, they
simply responded “the things we sing about so far
have always been personal experiences that we try
to explain so everyone can recognize themselves.”
Connecting with their fans is one thing, but being able
to affect their fans lives is another. “The other day
we played our song “In The End” in Houston and this
couple walked up to us and said that the song saved
their relationship. Obviously not all of our songs save
relationships but it’s heart warming when people
actually become affected in a positive way.” Although
very intrigued by their fans they find themselves to
be very “well behaved, kinda boring, but the people
around us go nuts all the time. Thank God for that
cause otherwise we wouldn’t have anything to write
So what makes these artists different then
the rest? Then any other alternative rock band out
now? When it came to image, the “rock star image”
was definitely not one of them. “We’re just so tired of
all these rock n roll clichés that are going around in
circles. We even stopped drinking Jack Daniels when
we understood that people think it’s “Rock n Roll”. The
only image we try to create is being 100% honest and
play our music the way we want to. We try to have
big smiles on our faces and not show any arrogance
or being blown up in any way.” How refreshing. With
being so blown up so quickly, an artist cannot help but
get vulnerable. 2013, has been the year of many great
alternative artists, throwing off mainstream artists off
the charts: Lorde, Young The Giant, Haim, even EDM
has chased the scene away. “Like any band we fear
that people will stop listening to our music and stop
showing up at the shows..The fear of getting old and
outdated. It’s because of our fans we’re where we are
and therefore we feel blessed and grateful. We play
every show as if its our last one...and in that sense
we’re all very vulnerable.” But what makes them tick
about the industry? Is it the scene? The lip syncing?
Nope. “What’s annoying about the industry is that
everyone is so negative. They keep talking about
the glory days of the 90’s when you actually sold
records etc. We’re having the time of our lifes and
feel passionate and happy
about our situation. We’re
blessed to be able to do what
we’re doing and we’ll keep on
growing as a band regardless
of the pay off. This industry
needs more passion.”
What are TRC doing when they aren’t being
total bad asses you ask? “Live action role playing..
We all have alter egos within the band. Magnus
Roberts alter ego is for example a killer slap bassist
who insists on playing mean over the top solos over
our songs. Frans Povel (drummer) does a wanna be
dub step producer called “Kurt” that has serious nasal
congestion problems. If they could be anywhere in the
world, it would be in a small Swedish island south of
Stockholm called Öland. David basically grew up there
and we go back there all the time to write music. If they
could create their own headlining tour their most top
two picks would be: “Capital Cities and Atlas Genius
because they’re both close friends of ours and great
bands. We have so much fun when we get to hang out
and I think we’d all put on a hell of a show every night”
The Royal Concept is everything you think
they are. Inspiring, creating and humble. What can
fans look forward to in 2014 you ask? Hopefully, a
world wide album release.
“We’re blessed to be able
to do what we’re doing
and we’ll keep on growing as a band
regardless of the pay off.
This industry needs more passion’’
33. March-April 2014
e caught up with LYON, also known as
Lauren Malyon, at the Tattoo Rock Parlour
for an interview about her new EP release,
Indian Summer. Self described as a “Toronto artist
playing electronic indie pop with a human soul”,
soft-spoken singer LYON carries an extensive and
naturalistic quality. Lauren definitely puts a spin on
synth-pop through her knowledge and skill in classical
music. “I started the violin when I was 3 and piano
when I was 6. Then, I was mostly doing classical
music. I lived an hour outside of the city, Port Perry.
And I was driving into lessons, downtown Toronto
every weekend to attend the Performing Art School.
Yeah, so, it was a really good time of learning a lot
and training really hard and learning how to, well, I
was practicing two hours a day for classical music.”
In this EP, Indian Summer, LYON conveys
a shy tone through her voice, seemingly like her
personality. “In my regular high school in Port Perry,
I was in all the choirs. I was never the soloist though;
I wasn’t really that big personality – I was more like
the quiet person in the back of the room. I didn’t really
start playing and singing until maybe grade nine or
ten. I was getting really into it at home; I’d be thinking
of ideas all the time, jotting down notes. Yeah, I didn’t
really start singing, playing, and performing until I was
maybe like 16 or 17? I’d really done classical music
my whole life, and I decided to make my focus more
writing and going into the pop direction. Yeah that’s
my first 17 years.”
When asked to elaborate her self-description
as an electronic artist with a human soul, she explains,
“All I mean by that is, my music is obviously synth-pop,
and a lot of it is made electronically. I think sometime
the human element can be lost; I think it’s more an
intention to keep the feelings and emotions real. Tying
that together, you have the synth-pop, you have the
stuff that’s made electronically on the computer, but,
you also have a well round of emotion, and feeling,
and lyric that I hope people connect to.”
Giving the five-tracked EP a first listen, it
resonated to me light-hearted and summer-esque
qualities. Delving deeper into the lyrical content of
it was more words of love, love-lost, and moving
forward. LYON described her album to be dreamy,
melancholic, and with heartbreak. “Lullaby” interprets
this EP perfectly – it projects a very dream-like sound
in mood and lyricism, about heartbreak and missing
that particular person you no longer can be with. It
lingers on the idea of dreaming and being with that
special someone, and waking up to reality without
him or her. As the first contribution to the EP, LYON
explains “Lullaby” as, “[...]one that is really, really
special to me because, I hadn’t written for a while
because I was down and things weren’t so good.
And I didn’t write because I was somewhat bottling
it up, and kind of resisting in a way. And then, when I
finally realized, I gave in and it all poured out. I wrote
basically the entire first half of the song in pretty much
in one sweep. We then made the decision later to
leave it exactly the way it came out. We didn’t want
to touch it.”
The opening song to LYON’s EP is “Indian
Summer,” an up-beat song that holds a pretty
straightforward title – it makes you wish summer
were all year long! “Indian Summer” catches your
attention when you hear the first and strong notes
of guitar playing. As the intro continues, the sound
of finger snaps merges with the guitar; the song’s
fluidity to the first verse transitions swimmingly. As
her song progresses to the lines of, “you say don’t
worry/ you’re in no hurry,” the beat paces up as the
symbols clash softly together. Then the chorus hits
to LYON’s ironically frail tone but strong voice of,
“Indian summer/Make me move to the beat as the
heat washes over me.” Although her lyricism sets up
the perfect combination of beach tunes, a layer of
melancholy is simultaneously heard of.
The song starts off with the essential sound of 80’s
synth-pop making it sound bright and uplifting. The
song in itself is about being part of a connection that
was unlabelled and fun – floating. It then transitions to
the feeling of regretting that the union was too up in the
air and emotions were too strong to continue a bond
that was already so frail. “Floating,” was the second
music video made – it presents LYON in a karaoke
bar lit with neon lights. The music video screens
LYON singing to, “Floating,” on stage, transitioning to
the karaoke screen of a couple having fun, and other
people in the bar. Watching this video and matching
the haunting atmosphere it captured to “Floating,” I
asked LYON if she felt like the video conveyed her
song well enough. “It really did! I just trusted Sean,
the director. In the beginning when he contributed his
idea - I really felt like he understood that floating on
the first listen sounds like “ahhh”, happy-go-lucky and
falling in love. But he really understood that it’s also
this consciousness that things don’t last forever. And
there’s sort of that other layer to it that, yeah, it’s not
just all happy. Like what goes up must come down, I
feel like he just understood the layers of it, and he did
it really tastefully with a lot of style. I’m so happy with
the end product.”
EP Indian Summer is honest and a great
listen. LYON is an altogether organic electronic artist
– she maintains a natural through line of revealing
much of herself throughout this EP because of this
characteristic. Giving the EP a further listen, there’s
this saddening satisfaction of concrete fluidity in each
track, it tells a story of a girl coping with heartbreak.
LYON is currently on tour and plans on making
a full album, better known as the next chapter of her
life where the big adventure begins. She teases, “it’s
the continuation of Indian Summer, since it is a full
album it will explore a little bit more broadly. I think the
EP sounds quite similar, but it’s all going to be slower.
And I think with the flow, it can explore a wider range
of trying a few things.”
1. PHANTOGRAM – “Fall in Love”
35. March-April 2014
“I was more like the quiet
person in the back of the
room. I didn’t really start
playing and singing until
maybe grade nine or ten. I
was getting really into it at
home; I’d be thinking of ideas
all the time, jotting down
- Lauren Malyon
36. Interview by Kelsey Barnes | Live photos by Daniel Hadfield | Portrait and film photos by Winnie Surya
37. THE MAINE
fter dropping out from
their label, five-piece rock band
The Maine fought themselves
to release music independently.
With passion and non-stop supports
from their fans around the world, the
band did quite well on themselves;
they has released two full length
albums, an acoustic EP, and a live
DVD through Eighty One Twenty
Three Management and did countless
headlining tour from North America to
South East Asia. Last March, we got
the chance to sit and talk with vocalist
John O’Callaghan and guitarists,
Jared Monaco and Kennedy Brock
before closing their very first acoustic
tour in Toronto.
38. Why did you guys decided to do an acoustic
Jared: We just put out an acoustic EP; it’s called
Imaginary Numbers. It’s the first time that we’ve done
that, so it made sense to do an acoustic tour around
it, I supposed. We did something kind of similar to this
when [Pioneer] came out. We did like a strip down set
but this one is more focus on; we worked a lot on all
other songs so we could incorporate to the set and we
obviously play songs from Imaginary Numbers too.
John: I think its forcing us to try new things and try
experiment and see what work and what doesn’t. Its
really – we’re trying to push ourselves as a band. Pat
had an idea [about the neon backdrop] and I rolled
off that and I mean, we had a unified if somebody
has an idea; its kind of the way we write songs
too. If somebody had an idea and if its unanimous
Were there any challenges with the winter
John: Not really.
Jared: We lucked out so far.
Kennedy: We had one drive for about ten minutes.
It was kind of weird going through Denver. Other
than that, its because we were in a van and we don’t
familiar with it because it just a rental so we weren’t
sure on certain part of the aspect of that.
John: Over here [East Coast] we knew its going to be
cold so we had a couple weeks of prepare.
Yeah, its usually not like this. It’s the worst winter
in twenty years.
John: That’s what everybody said. I believe you. Its
just because we’re following the nasty weather.
Kennedy: I mean, we’ve been in this area in the
John: We’ve toured in the winter so…
Jared: I think the last time it was the first time I stood
up in zero degree weather and I don’t think I ever
experience that before. It was so cold.
John: It was six minutes - we were standing up
outside, waiting for someone for the keys. I was
pissed out in the cold.
What is the meaning and significant cover for
John: Its symbolic in a couple different ways. It’s
kind of representing the idea that makes you make
your life you want to make. I guess you can kind of
say the cake is your path and how do you decided to
walk it. I mean, its obviously; there’s no specific kind
of meaning behind it and it probably changes for me
daily which is cool for me because I don’t want to give
the same answer to interview either and that is the
thought part but also I don’t feel it has to mean one
With your forth album, Forever Halloween – I was
wondering what inspired you to make the album
Jared: We wrote the same way we always write.
John writes most of the actual song-writing itself and
that didn’t really change much. We recorded it totally
different; it’s all live and pretty much all analog that
we did in the studio so we were just going all in one
time – just recording every instruments which we’ve
never done before. The record definitely has a feeling
vibe to a going back to it. I think it’s a lot different than
you isolate the guitar at one time. Its all in one room
together, its all going, it just create. We didn’t intend
for it to be a dark record. I’ve heard people saying it
too and I don’t know
John: I think its also just captures where my head
was at as far as the lyrics are concerned and I think
we tried our best to match the music with what best
we saw fit. For me, there are so many optimistic stuff
as well. I guess it just a little bit realistic with the age
we are now and I was 18. I’m not saying we’re cynical
now but I think we just more real about life and it goes
I was talking about that! With your albums and
EPs, you guys really progress where there are
some bands that kind of came out the same times
as you guys; kind of playing the same type of
41. music. Is this because of growing up factor?
John: I think its really important we don’t feel like
we’re taking steps backwards. I’m not saying - for
our band, I’m not putting label on others are doing
or anything. I’m just telling you if we continued the
same music, it’ll be out of fear that nobody going to
like something different and for us, we embrace that
fear and we strive out of it because it’s the same kind
of fear that drives us to go on these tour; it’s the same
fear that drives us to continue to put ourselves in line;
to put ourselves in songs; it’s the fear that you’re not
going to be a band tomorrow and that’s what I think
– probably the big part of it and you see, a lot of bands
going to the old sound. Probably they’re afraid they’re
hitting a ceiling or something and for us, we’re fully
invested in materials now – so it’s no looking back.
Jared: We found out people like that too. It is scary at
first but our fans at least feel like they’ve been there
John: Its like the relationship between us and them.
I think we might be a less accessible because we’re
obviously not on the radio and stuff but I think our
relationship with people that come to our show and
experience the real thing. Ya know, concert going and
music experience. That’s the most strong that ever
Why did you guys decided to play Vans Warped
Tour after 5 years?
John: We look at is as a great opportunity!
Kennedy: It’s been that long since we’ve been around
Warped Tour so it is nice we are able to. We have
done other things; we’ve gone to other adventure and
it’s a cool opportunity for us to play in front of people
we haven’t played for awhile.
John: We kind of dissed ourselves from that crowd
and those bands and its not because we didn’t have
a good time at Warped Tour but it’s because we have
to figure shit out for ourselves and we feel now that
we’ve established an identity as The Maine and we’ve
established who we are. At the same token, I feel like
there are obviously plenty of people that unaware of
what we’re doing and for us, we are going to take
our work ethics and go out there and try to play to as
many people as possible.
After leaving your label, how was the process
change on the album?
Kennedy: Everything are more hands on not that [we]
weren’t before. I think that we do it this way because
we are so hands on want to be in control at everything
Jared: Our manager company had pick up a lot of
slack like stuff record label would handle so its all
done in a house now. Eighty One Twenty Three is like
driving force behind everything that we do.
John: It’s a lot more modest and modest for us is a
good thing at this point and its far more intensive and
the people that truly care are truly care and find out
about what we’re doing and it’s a working progress
we’re learning everyday. Just like songwriting and
everything else but we’re in a comfortable spot as
far how we’re feeling about everything and we’re
not getting too cozy and that’s why we’re doing a
tour like this because we don’t really want to get too
comfortable and content; we want to keep pressing
Does it feels like you have 100% freedom when it
comes to this kind of tour?
Jared: I realized it more and more that we can do
whatever we want like we’re playing with Nick
[Santino] now; he’s opening for our East Coast dates
and on stage, we can do and say what we want unless
if there’s curfew.
Kennedy: At the end of the day, we’re the one who
signed out everything.
John: We have to play the music we have to play on
Jared: And there’s nobody standing side stage with
John: Again, its all the learning process we’re trying to
figure it out like everybody else but we have ourselves
with the whole accountable so it’s pretty gratifying.
You’ve been buying back tickets from scalpers.
How did you decided to do that?
42. “That’s why we go out and talk to
people afterward because we don’t
charge for that stuff. We don’t think
the over privilege people or the more
wealthy can have more opportunity
than somebody else. At the end of the
day, people worked hard just like we
did and we do when we want to see a
show ... If you want to see a movie, you
work hard and you use your money to
purchase your ticket and experience
it and we want everybody to have the
- John O’Callaghan
45. March-April 2014
John: It’s the first time its happening for us.
Kennedy: We kind of alerted we realized there were
tons of tickets showing on things like Stubhub and at
first, we don’t know what to do so we’re still figuring
our the best future plan.
Jared: We tried to keep our ticket prices low too.
John: Because we go to concerts too so we know
if we want to see Radiohead or something like that,
I saw tickets on Stubhub for $800 and I won’t go
because that’s ridiculous. That’s why we go out and
talk to people afterward because we don’t charge for
that stuff. We don’t think the over privilege people or
the more wealthy can have more opportunity than
somebody else. At the end of the day, people worked
hard just like we did and we do when we want to see
a show. You worked hard to put in the money. If you
want to see a movie, you work hard and you use your
money to purchase your ticket and experience it and
we want everybody to have the same opportunity and
for us, it was a shock because we never had anything
happened like that before.
Do you think its because of the venue?
John: I think its because the tickets went so fast.
Toronto was sold out in five hours!
Jared: Yeah, it was pretty quick that’s why we added
the second show.
John: But its really cool because promoter like Travis
– he and I were talking earlier and he said its really
cool to be able to alleviate that problem especially
because this kind of venue are really small and they
understand what’s going on and they don’t want that
to happen either so I think if we were at bigger venue
like the House of Blues or something like that, its really
hard to pint point and they can’t because they’re such
a huge company but that’s a cool thing about playing
these small venues. They feel like we feel as a band.
It’s like there’s still a place for us; there’s still a place
like this venue for our band, which happened to be
this venue [the Hard Luck Bar] tonight. I think that’s
what really cool about not being Miley Cyrus.
Why did you guys decided to play “You Left
Jared: We never to replicate it live.
Kennedy: It just an idea that happened from it and
when we started jamming it. I think everybody was
pretty quickly…its click.
Jared: We never even try to rework it. It was just a
song that’s a studio track. I think I remember when
we worked on the song; we were in Maryland or
something. There were so many layers that were
happening that I was just thinking that there’s no way
we could do this live.
John: Again, this is a special thing for us and this is
an opportunity to try; to push ourselves again, you
know? That supposed to be the theme but we figured
there’s going to be people, like you said, you’ve been
with us for five years and there’s people who’ve been
with us for seven so it’s something for people like you.
Hopefully it’s a treat for people who’ve been with us.
It’s a treat for us because it’s the first time we played
it and it’s been fun so far.
Last question: How do you guys feel about
Jared: I don’t take ‘em. I don’t really do them.
John: We aren’t the selfie guy.
Kennedy: I like making pictures. I can make a picture
of myself. I can take a picture of myself but I would
never use the term of selfie.
John: I mean its kind of what it is. You take a picture
Jared: It’s definitely not my style. Its not like “this is
how I looked like, everybody!”
John: Let’s put it this way. I never taken any picture in
the mirror of myself unless if its like my buds hanging
out; sending it to them.
Jared: Yeah! I love that!
Kennedy: He has done it a lot.
Jared: I got friends to do it non stop.
John: We don’t crucify the selfie. We embrace the
selfie. We don’t give a shit about the selfie.
47. March-April 2014
ou may have heard the name Aaah! Real
Monsters before. No, I’m not referring to the
cartoon show on Nickelodeon, but the five-
piece rock band from St. Louis. As scary as the band
name may sound, I actually got to speak with a very
down-to-earth Matt Moore, the bassist of the group.
Back to the striking name, Aaah! Real
Monsters, the band actually based their name on the
TV show – actually, it was the guitarist, Nick Dawes’
favourite cartoon. They all agreed that it would make
them stick out and push people to give their music
a chance. Luckily, the band gained exposure after
their first album. At the same time, however, not all
members were living in the same city: Tom Watkins
moved to Los Angeles, Keith Bowman and Dawes
remained in St. Louis while Moore and Ryan Martin
returned to Colorado. Despite the huge gaps between
them, they still kept in touch and seeing the success
of their first record, it urged them to come together
and work on another album.
While they were creating their new record
about a year ago, they had twelve songs that they
really wanted to put out on one compilation. But, they
had six okay songs that didn’t quite compare to their
six really good ones. So, they decided to release
those six, which now appear on their latest EP entitled
Don’t Quit, and continue to refine the others. Moore
also tells us that the most meaningful song from Don’t
Quit is “Colorado” because it was based off a forest
fire that affected Ryan’s community in Colorado.
Unfortunately, one family died in the fire and hundreds
of houses suffered damages, but on the bright side,
the houses, he says, are looking great now.
When asked to compare the group’s old tunes
to their newer ones, the bassist says that it’s a lot
more different due to the fact that their older music
was more limited and it was very experimental. The
first album also focused heavily on Watkins, whereas
the second one, he switches his gears in writing.
It also has a larger variety, such as more vocals,
Queen-esque sounds, three part harmonies and
many Beatles-influenced lyrics. Additionally, they’re
interested in venturing into jazz and other different
styles while maintaining their pop punk energy.
As for the band’s tour life, Moore says he can’t
wait for more in the future. Even though sleeping on
hardwood floors and eating whatever he can isn’t
super appealing, he still enjoys the overall experience.
He’d also like to tour the world with Real Friends, from
the UK to the Phillipines (little sidenote: both bands
are actually real friends. The guys from Aaah! Real
Monsters have been following them since they first
started out). But for now, while they’re at home, they
plan to finish recording their album by the summer
and to schedule more shows.
51. March-April 2014
How are you enjoying Toronto so far?
Dana: It’s really cold. Haha
Mike: We just had poutine earlier and it was awesome
so I’m enjoying it!
So how has your tour been going so far? Are you
enjoying touring with This Is All Now, Halfway To
Hollywood and Hollywood Ending?
Dana: Yeah we’re really enjoying it! We’ve known the
guys from This Is All Now for a long time so it’s great
to be on tour with them.
Is this something you always knew you wanted to
do? You always wanted to be musicians?
Dana: Absolutely, I took lessons since I was a kid
and did everything I could to get better. It’s definitely
always been a dream of mine.
Mike: Totally, it’s something I’ve always wanted. And
once I was in 4th
year of university, everything for the
band started falling into place.
What was it like, breaking the news to your
families that you wanted to form a band? Were
they supportive of your dreams?
Dana: At first it’s always a difficult thing and your
parents may not always agree but they grew to accept
it and really support us.
Mike: Yeah, my parents thankfully were supportive
too. Obviously no parent is ever thrilled, but they
knew this was something I’ve always wanted so they
Dana: We’d be nowhere without the support of our
parents so we’re very thankful.
In February you released your latest single,
Cloud 9, who was produced with Zack Odom and
Kenneth Mount, who have produced for big name
bands such as All Time Low and Mayday Parade.
What was it like working with producers who have
created music with such big, influential bands?
Mike: They were really great, they created a really
relaxed, comfortable environment for everyone in the
Dana: Yeah, they’re really great guys to work with
and really were a nice push to our sound. They made
it work really nicely and we would love to work with
So now after releasing this new single, what can
we expect to hear from the new album?
Dana: It’s going in a really broad direction, we’re not
holding back, we’re doing whatever feels right.
Mike: There’s a lot of country! So we hope you guys
like country music haha
Dana: Yeah, so far it’s a good mix of different styles
and sounds. We’re excited for people to hear it.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans
and to the readers of Into The Crowd?
Dana: Come see our shows!
Mike: Check out our music!
53. March-April 2014
We’re so sad to hear about the tragedy at SXSW!
What are your thoughts on what happened?
Indeed it was such a tragedy. I have no understanding
or tolerance for drinking and driving, because as we
very sadly all witnessed in Austin, the repercussions
can be irrevocable and devastating. It was a very sad
Is this the first time you play at SXSW? How was/
is the experience (so far)? Which artists were you
excited to see?
This was my 4th SXSW. I find that every year it gets
crazier. I was psyched to see a band called A Silent
Comedy and they played above and beyond my
absolutely amazing) and you said it was your first
time in the city, what are your first impressions of
the Montreal crowd? Will you be coming back?
Oh thank you! I had a blast in Montreal. You guys were
so attentive, and yet super enthusiastic. I can tell you
all are real music fans, something that I don't see in
every city I play. I truly can't wait to come back.
You're from New York, what are some notable
differences between playing a New York or
American show vs a Canadian one?
Well, New York is like a country all in its own. I can't
really call a New York show a typical American
show. But I've spent many years of my life playing in
NYC, so I've finally broken past that crowd aloofness
that so many people talk about. American cities really
vary with their enthusiasm for concerts, but Canadian
shows have across the board been full of life and
excitement in my experience.
How is it like to be on tour with so many guys?
What do you bring with you on tour?
I'm having a blast. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter,
more entertaining and inspiring group of people to
spend my time with. I bring show clothes, earphones,
vintage onesies and way too many coats.
We LOVE Cameron and you captured the
audience's attention when you played that song.
Can you tell us the story behind this beautiful
Thank you! Cameron is loosely based on the story of
a trans friend of mine. It's also more universally about
self-acceptance and individuality.
We also have Basset Hound playing on repeat
and you said that this song was about stalking
somebody, can you elaborate?
Ha yeah I like to use the word stalking because it
eludes to a creepier sense of lust in the song. Really
the song is about unrequited love and obsession.
We enjoyed the little anecdotes between each
song! We love how each song of yours doesn't
have to be based on a HUGE event. So, how do
such everyday things inspire your songs?
As a songwriter, I think it’s important to always pick
your eyes up and look around. That's what I try to do
in my songs. I think it’s the little details in life that help
tell the bigger, deeper stories.
How was the recording process behind Water In
It was very exploratory and organic. My producers,
Peter Zizzo and Michael Mangini, as well as the
man who signed me to Wind-Up Records, Gregg
Wattenberg, all made sure to pay a ton of reverence
to my songs the way that I originally wrote them. So I
really got to run with the production because I trusted
the creative minds around me.
What's next for Jillette Johnson? Will we be
hearing any new music soon?
I'm gonna stay on the road for a good while and keep
promoting Water in a Whale. I'm about to release a
music video for my single, “Torpedo,” so definitely keep
your eyes and ears peeled. But I'm always writing,
so I'm sure I'll hop back in the studio soon enough. I
can only keep these songs in the voice notes on my
phone for so long. =)
55. March-April 2014
What is the inspiration behind the title of the new
We came up with the idea about a year ago when we
first started writing again. It was inspired by everything
we are surrounded with. This world of weird and
creative people. Our fans, our friends, co-workers...
so many of us are really strange in our own way, and
we don’t want people to be afraid of that.
Can you explain the concept behind the vest as
the album artwork?
It was an idea brought to us by our record label, since
I wear vests a lot, and we rolled with it.
What song was the most fun to record?
The Best Thing. Lots of energy.
How does this album compare to the previous
It shows growth in us. I think it identifies WATIC better
than ever before.
Was the recording process different from Best
We had more time so there was less pressure in that
department. And we were just so eager to get songs
out because we hadn’t recorded in two years!
What should fans expect on this upcoming tour?
Five new songs from Weird Kids! And of course, we
plan on a very energetic show.
How different will it be for you being the headliner
for the tour?
Pretty different. We’ve only headlined over dead
before. I’m nervous but really excited at the same
What is the inspiration behind the single ‘the best
thing (that never happen)’?
Well we’ve all been through break ups and so lyrically
we were inspired by our pasts and I actually wanted
to keep the lyrics playfully sarcastic yet still serious.
But musically and melodically we were looking for a
fun energetic vibe and we actually ended up writing
this song last.
Relating to the last question, what is the best thing
to never happen to YOU?
I guess it hasn’t happened yet!
What message would like WATIC fans to take away
from ‘Weird Kids’?
I want fans to know who we really are. We are given
this opportunity right now to show them that and I
want them to know we plan on doing all we can this
year to prove our dedication. Weird Kids isn’t just for
us though, as I said before, we were really inspired by
our fans on this record.
oachella...is not just a music
festival but an overall dreamlike
experience. You become one with all the
good vibes people are giving off and the
music blaring out the speakers. Everything outside
of Coachella, ceases to exist. There were so many
talented artists performing and I think from all the
running around with overlapping set times at Warped,
I had my time management on lock. That being said, I
have to name a few artists that hands down blew me
away harder than the sandstorm I survived Saturday:
HAIM, LORDE, Capital Cities, The 1975, Drowners,
Surfer Blood, Daughter, MS MR...I could keep going
but then I’d fill up the issue in its entirety.
I got to capture some photos with my Canon
AE-1 35mm film camera. The camera policy is
generally strict but, security doesn’t know what a
professional film camera is so, I easily got my camera
in. (Note to all you who shoot film, take a film camera
with you to Coachella!) I also took a Polaroid 210
Land Camera that I restored and honestly, it beats
any Instagram filter. Enough camera talk, if you’re
planning to hit up Coachella be prepared to have a
weekend that is out of this world and make sure you
drink tons of water!! I wish I could sum up Coachella in
words but honestly, words don’t don’t do it any justice.
As a former Coachella virgin, I have to say, I seriously
cannot wait to do it all again someday. Hope you guys
enjoy some of my photos!
Oscar Rodriguez is a California-based photographer,
writer and contributor to Into The Crowd Magazine.