Friday, December 30, 2022

Artist Interview: The 30's

Alright Punk fans, for this week's interview we have The 30's

MW: Thanks so much for being here.

Panda:  Thanks for having us!  Katerina:  Yes, we're stoked to be able to do our first interview.

MW: I'm mostly curious about your new EP, but before we get into that, can you tell the readers how you met?

Katerina:  It's definitely the most millennial answer ever, haha!  "We met online!"  Panda: Haha, it's true! I had joined a bunch of "elder emo" and pop-punk meme and nostalgia groups on Facebook, and Katerina posted in one of them that she was a session vocalist.  It just so happened that I written an instrumental that was screaming out for some vocals to be added to it, so I message her with a rough mp3 of the track and asked if she'd be interested in collaborating with her vocals.  Katerina:  Yeah, social media does a lot of bad.  But it's been cool to have this "scene" be kept so global.  I had been doing some session work locally already, but I wanted to expand my side-gig/hobby.  So I posted to a bunch of music groups on Facebook to see who would bite!  When Panda message with the instrumental, I jumped at the chance to work on it!  I came back the next day with a draft recording.  After another day or two of sending drafts back and forth, we had "Senseless" our first track together!  Panda: and it's still our most successful. 

MW: What was life like before venturing into "The 30's?"

Katerina:  Well I'm still an educator full-time... for now at least, haha. But you never know!  I ahd been doing music as my side gig for awhile, but this is the first time I've something that I can say is my own!  It's been really liberating to be able to sing AND create.  Panda:  The 30s helps me stay sane haha!  I was making music before, but it mostly stayed in bedroom.  I thought I left my band days back in high school.  Public Defenders need healthy outlets, and I have that with The 30s!

MW: Let's talk about the song/video for "Justice partners," can you tell us how that one came about?

Panda: Politicians, judges, and prosecutors have always been screwing over the rest of us.  I feel like whatever veil still existed was fully removed during the pandemic.  Katerina:  It was one heinous act after another.  People could barely go outside, but somehow they still found ways to be evil.  Panda:  Working as a public defender means I fight that shit, but I fight it within the system. I have to stand next to some of these evil assholes and be polite with them.  Writing Justice Partners was me stopping the politeness and calling it like I see it!

MW: There's a strong social message in the lyrics - would you say that most of your tunes reflect a similar sentiment?

Katerina: Not explicitly.  Punk, and all its offshoots, is inherently political music.  But Justice Partners is the most explicit we've gotten so far haha!  I wrote a track for our debut album called 'Still Drinking' that had a similar vibe, but Justice Partners delivers the message a little more raw. 

MW: I'm curious about the division of labor, can you describe who does what as far as the creative/performance process goes?

Katerina:  it's pretty much 50/50 between instrumentation and vocals, with me handling the latter. Panda will send me a track without vocals, and I'll lay down some vocal lines.  We send each other notes back and forth with edits and changes sometimes, but usually it just clicks right away!

MW: How would you describe your music for someone who hasn't heard it before?

Katerina: We're somewhere between The Distillers and Paramore. Panda: With a little bit of Sum 41 spunk thrown in, haha!

MW: Any major influences?

Katerina:  Haha, I guess I jumped the gun on my last answer.  But yeah, Brody and Halley are big influences for me. Panda: We're both big Hawthorne Heights fans, too.  Katerina: And Saosin!

MW: Is the new EP "Seasonal Depression" your first recording?

Panda: It's our first E.P. at least, haha!  But we released our first full album this past summer, May 2022.  Katerina: We're hoping to keep this pattern going for as long as possible, with a full album in the summer and a small EP in the winter. 

MW: What's next for you two?

Katerina: Hahaha, I keep doing it!  But yes, hopefully another full album this upcoming summer!

MW: Where can people find out more about your music?

Panda: Our website has it all!   But we also love all of our fans on social media!

MW: Thank you so much for doing this:

Katerina:  No thank you!  We've never done an interview before and we're honored to be here!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Jeff Lake & Cellophane Flowers - "Happy Xmas (War is Over)"

I remember being a lonely 20-something and putting together a playlist of sad-Christmas songs. So, it had Willie Nelson's "Pretty Paper," Murder City Devils "364 Days," and of course, "Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lenon. And even though I'm no longer that depressed quarter-aged gent, I still come back to those songs every season, which is why I was happy to come across Jeff Lake and Cellophane Flowers' version of the last on that list. 

What can I say? It's a beloved song, so only those with the best of vocal chops should attempt it - and Mr. Lake delivers in spades. His upper register is exactly what this tune demands - I dare say, and don't crucify me here, that he sings it better than Lenon himself. The orchestration is top-notch. Overall it's a great take on a classic tune and it should definitely make the rounds in your Christmas music lineup. 

Mark Newman "At the Border"

When we think about the subject of "border" in our current political climate a bunch of issues pop up, especially those highlighted in the news. When you think about it though - the word can have a lot of meanings both literal and metaphorical. In its essence, a "border" is a boundary between two things, and I the concept is explored wonderfully by Mark Newman in his new song titled, incidentally, "At the Border.

The song has a deep and folky vibe - the low percussion almost has a cinematic quality and the addition of what sounds like a 12-string rhythm guitar really fills out the arrangement. The chorus then erupts into an anthem of "At the border, we can be free!" and it sounds like musically coming home. It is a long track, clocking in at about 6 minutes, but it's well worth the time. Check out Mark Newman's Spotify here. 

Friday, December 2, 2022

Alessi Brothers "Dreams Come True"

 Something about a slide guitar will always make my heart glad, even if it's a sad song. So I knew instantly when I started listening to "Dreams Come True" by Alessi Brothers, I was going to be a fan. The song is aptly named as it features heavily delayed vocals that pan from left to right. There is an overall country vibe in the instrumentation but this is offset by the very post-rock vocals. The cumulative effect is, well, dreamy. 

Dreams come true belongs to the album Eden Roc, a thirteen-track LP released just this year by the duo. It's well worth the listen  as it runs the gambit from songs like the aforementioned track, but also the largely instrumentally/orchestrally driven "Suite" as well as the fairly folky "Little Wings." You can listen to all of these on the Alessi Brothers' Spotify page here. 

The Immaculate Crows "Business Girl"

Here's a fun little gem from Australia, "Business Girl" by The Immaculate Crows (great band name BTW) is a quirky upbeat tune about facing life in a cubicle. The song opens with what I can only assume is a melodica, accompanied by a chugging guitar-driven 1960's-esque pop beat. There's a fair amount of nostalgia sound to this one, which will always get high marks from me. I also really enjoy that a fairly mundane, and sometimes dreary subject matter can be so wonderfully juxtaposed to the mood of the song and the instrumentation. 

Have a listen to "Business Girl" on Spotify here. 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Sanjana Nuwan Bandara "Don't Kill My Vibe"

It's one of the great regrets in my life that I only speak one language fluently. There have been so many times I've attempted to learn Italian, Russian, Persian, and Hindi. I was reminded of this when I was passed Sanjana Nuwan Bandara's "Don't Kill My Vibe," a raucous dance tune with predominantly Hindi lyrics (but rather adeptly singing some clever rhymes in English in the second half of the track), but sounding fresh out of a Florida night-club. Electronic flutters, synth stabs, and danceable rhythms pulsate through the song beginning to end. This thing has a killer backbeat and is mixed perfectly. Mr. Sanjana, for his part, has an extremely fresh/smooth vocal track and is well worth the listen. 

As someone who's studied Hindusthani classical music for most of my life, I long to hear the native instruments from that country, but that's just a matter of taste. When I let the song stand on it's own, I can honestly say it lacks nothing. Actually, in all honesty, I feel quite a bit of kinship with Sanjana Nuwan Bandara, as someone in the west practicing music from India, it's heartening to hear someone from India successfully and innovatively doing musical styles from the USA. I'll be curious to see what else is up his sleeve in the next release. 

Do yourself a favor and check out his Instagram page here. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Artist Interview "Ahmed Abdurahimli"

 Hello readers, for this week's interview we have producer and composer Ahmed Abdurahimli

MW: Mr. Abdurahimli, thank you so much for doing this

AA: My pleasure. Thanks

MW: I was really taken with your remix of Tove Lo's "2 Die 4," what made you want to tackle that song?

AA: From the moment that Tove Lo 2 "Die 4"  released, I loved listening to that music and thought that I should remix this song in a different way and genre.

MW: Probably, what's so funny about "2 Die 4," for me, is that it quotes the famous "Popcorn" melody - which is not a small statement at all since it's been a long time in the electronic music canon. Did that have anthing to do with your interest in the track?

AA: I have been listening to Popcorn music since I was a child and I really liked it. Different versions of this music were created since that time when it was released in back 1950s . The original version of the Tove Lo - 2 Die 4 song used the melody of the "Popcorn"  song in the chorus and I felt this music close to me. Cause this song is also my childhood memories. 

MW: A lot of my readers are producers. Can you talk about your setup?

AA: My headphones are Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250 ohms, my speakers are M-Audio BX5 D3, my audio interface is Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3 rd Gen), and my midi keyboard is Samson Graphite M25

MW: Do you have any favorite gear or software?

AA: I currently produce my music with Fl Studio and its my  favorite one . In the future, I'm thinking of learning Ableton Live too.

MW: What's the live scene like where you are?

AA: At the moment I am not taking a stage at any venue. But in the future, I am thinking of taking the stage as a DJ at festivals and clubs.

MW: Anthing on the horizon for the near future?

AA: I am currently working on an EP album. After finishing the album, I plan to release it in the near future. In addition, we will collaborate with some of our musician friends

MW: Please let us know where we can find more about you

AA: You can listen to my musics by typing Ahmed Abdurahimli in the search engine on music platforms and YouTube. You can also follow my @ahmedabdurahimli instagram page.

MW: Best of luck with everything you're doing

AA: Well, thank you for the interviewing me and for the interest of my music. Best Regards !