Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Interview: Indie artists AlunaGeorge

By: Sarah S.

AlunaGeorge has been gaining momentum since their debut-single release of "We Are Chosen/Analyser" in May. Tradesheets, zines, and blogs near and far, have been buzzing about AlunaGeorge since this summer. The group's popularity has skyrocketed in a few short months with no signs of stopping. The duo's August release of their "You Know You Like It" music video has had over 40,000 views, with the track being picked up by DJ's across the UK.

The highly anticipated  "You Know You Like It" Remix EP drops November 28th! You don't want to miss this. AlunaGeorge is definitely an act to watch out for!

SR: AlunaGeorge is by far one of the most unique duos I’'ve heard in a while. How would you describe your sound?

A&G: Soulful pop songs with weird noises behind them.

SR: Where does most of the inspiration come from?

G: Hearing wonderful music normally. Could be one sound on a song that makes me want to write or an amazing melody. Loads of different things but generally just good music.

A: stories i hear about people's lives the things i'd never say.

SR:How do you formulate the right sound for each song? Any musical influences?

A&G: We have a huge spotify play list so we always start a session by listening to new or old artists- often old soul or classic hip hop. But when we get started it's a case us bouncing off each other to move a track forward.

SR: Is AlunaGeorge currently touring? If not, are there plans to tour soon?

A&G: Not currently but some time next year when the Album is ready. Can't wait to do it though, it's super fun playing stuff live after it just being the 2 of us in the studio for so long.

SR: How about a full length album? Will we be seeing one out soon?

A&G: In Novemmber we're releasing a remix Ep, then next year possibly another EP but definitely a full length album by the end of 2012

SR: As music innovators, what do you think music today is lacking or overusing?

G: Would be amazing to hear a guitarist do something genuinely different in a popular band. Someone that will have a similar impact like Tom Morello or Johnny Greenwood.

A: i think there's something for almost anyone out there, it's just hard to find it through the internet mist.

SR: Aluna, I’'ve noticed your gorgeous frocks in the “"We Are Chosen”" music video and the “"You Know You Like It”" video. I'’m jealous. Who’'s your fave designer at the moment & what’'s your favorite item in your closet?

A: I loved the hooded poncho by "Finders Keepers" and the stringy waistcoat by "Sara Bro Jorgensen" in the YKYLI video found by my stylist Aimee Croysdill and I really like "Felder Felder" but my favourite item in my closet is this huge cream hand knitted cardigan that I found on top of a skip.  Can't beat knitwear!

SR: George, when not making music, what’'s your favorite pass time?

G:  Keen sports fan.

SR: [AlunaGeorge] What’s your favorite movie?

G:  Can i say the Bourne trilogy? Everything the latest james bond films wish they could be.

A: At the moment it's drive - sexy film, sexy soundtrack, perfect combo

SR: Which is better: Ice cream or popsicles?

G: ice cream

A: ice cream

SR: Where will AlunaGeorge be one year from now? How about five years from now?

A&G: Hopefully in many places out of nice speakers

SR: Where can our readers find more music and info?

A&G: , facebook and soundcloud


Interview: Actress Kylie Sparks

By: Crystal Clemons

CC:  So, first of all how are you doing? Any cool stuff happening in your life now? Have you been working on any projects we should know about?

KS: I am doing awesome! I’m  getting ready to start shooting the first season of the webseries “Squaresville,” which will be online sometime early next year.  We shot the first batch of minisodes last year and we’re kicking into high gear, so definitely check their twitter (@L7sville) and facebook (Squaresville) for updates!

CC:  Can you tell us a little about the Bargainista Diaries? ( I love the posts and have actually gotten some good ideas and tips from them even though I'm not a local)  

KS: Aw, I’m glad you like it!  Bargainista Diaries started by accident, really.  While I was at USC, my friends and I would always hunt for the latest restaurants and bars to hang out at, as well as indulging in our fashionista pursuits and seeing shows at the major theaters in town.  However, when you’re in college, you also pick up the knack for finding deals and bargains to save money but still have a great time, and I just started collecting these resources along the way and spread the word when people would ask me what to do on a Saturday night.  A friend told me I should write a book about it, but I figured a blog would be better since you can update it whenever you feel inspired or you find that great new thing

CC: What is your favorite stuff to sing? What type/s of music do you like and do you play an instrument?

What do you write? Where has been your favorite place to travel so far, and where would you LOVE to go?

KS: Well, when I’m in my car I obviously pretend I’m Lady Gaga, but my true passion is singing Musical Theatre, Standards, Jazz, and 60’s girl group material.  Contemporarily speaking, I find that I connect to Adele and Amy Winehouse; those two are my musical inspirations and they’re the reasons why I began to sing more than just showtunes and songs from the Prohibition era! 

I really love all types of music though (I’m even starting to get into Country, and I was NEVER a big country girl even though I’m from Oklahoma!) and I played trumpet for 3 years in the School Jazz Band as well as dabbling with piano off and on.  I wish I could write songs, I’ve tried but that isn’t my thing, but I mostly write for fun.  I have ideas for screenplays and shows that I would love to develop and produce, so who knows what’ll happen?

My absolute all-time favorite place in the world is Paris.  I’ve been able to go three times, and the last time I went I was actually an exchange student and lived in a city north of Paris called Amiens.  I went to school and got to explore all of Northern France, and I’ve been able to go to the south of France and Monaco as well.  My dream in life is to backpack literally from Portugal to Prague and solely take trains.  The book that will always make my heart skip a beat is Frommer’s Europe by Rail guide and I just want to be able to take a few months and ride around in a train car seeing all of Europe.  I want to go to Australia and New Zealand too….basically I would just like to do my own form of The Amazing Race!

CC: What would surprise your fans to learn about you?

KS: I’m a politico.  I think my parents rubbed off on me on that one; I mean who decides to take Political Philosophy and Law, Politics, and Public Policy in college for fun and enjoys writing a 12-page case study on the Supreme Court policy of election decisions?  That would be me!  Although I like being current on politics, my mom really is the armchair activist-she has over 1200 twitter followers based on her passion and investment in government and politics, and my dad is an attorney who truly LIVES for law and helping the little guy take on the big guns.  It really inspires me.

CC: What inspired you to get into acting?

 KS: It’s really funny, but I wasn’t planning on being an actor; it was something I did for fun as a kid and only when I started going out to Los Angeles I wanted it to be my career. I wanted to be a Pediatrician and an Olympic Swimmer when I was younger.   I was a science nerd and I was on a competitive swim team for several years, but I always did plays in school and around Tulsa and took dance, voice, acting and musical theatre 

 CC: What advice to you have for people trying to break into the entertainment industry, and what do you know now that you wish you would have known when you began your career?

KS: Everyone has their own path, and shortcuts will only hurt you in the long run.  It’s been hard work, but being able to say I am proud of everything I’ve done because I did the work and I know I’ve given it my best is all I can ask for.  It’s hard, but it can be the most rewarding thing you will ever do.  And you have to have a life outside of the business, even if it’s just another aspect of the business, otherwise you will go bonkers.  It also helps having a wonderful support system of people who will take you out for cheesecake when you have a bad day or buy you a round when you get that big fish, and as they support you, you in turn support them and pay it forward.  It keeps you grounded and it’s so important, not just in this business but in life in general!

CC: I have to mention your role as Cara Ethyl in the super-hilarious and awesome film Pizza: What did it feel like landing that part, and were you anxious about portraying such an honest, yet, um, painfully dorky character?

KS: Cara-Ethyl….where do I begin?  I actually had auditioned for it while I was attending a summer theatre program at UCLA, and the night after my first audition for it I tripped and fell in a pothole and I required four stitches in my forehead. When I found out I booked it I was so excited-to be given the chance to have my first professional job be a lead in a movie with a character that is so human and someone we can relate to at some point or another was a dream come true, and I thank Mark Christopher, the director/writer/awesome human, as well as everyone at InDigEnt (including the late, great Gary Winick) and Process for giving me the opportunity to start my career.  I will always be so grateful to them.

CC: Were you similar to Cara Ethyl and how much of her was you (in acting)?

KS: I really can relate with Cara-Ethyl.  She really tells it like it is, even though it may get her in over her head sometimes, and I liked the fact that she’s not someone you like 100% of the time because it makes her human.  I think we all have a quality of being the underdog, or feeling like you’re the odd man out and I could definitely relate to that.  I will say though that Mark, Ethan and I did two weeks of rehearsals before we began shooting and I discovered that I was actually a lot different from Cara-Ethyl than what I originally thought; she really has her heart on her sleeve and I tend to be loud yet reserved, if that makes sense.  I learned so much about myself as an actor and a person from her though!

CC: Per my pal and Times-Beach boss' demand I must ask you what it was like to work with, and kiss, Ethan Embry. (We all at TB have an on-screen crush on him) Also, what was it like working with such veteran actors like Julie Hagerty, and the others?

KS: When I found out Ethan was attached to Pizza and I had to do a screen test with him, I was SO nervous because I was a HUGE fan of his.  He is an AWESOME actor.  He really was locked in on every take, the most professional guy, really cool…he made that experience really fun.  I learned so much from him.  And the kiss….that was, for lack of a better term, epic.  I mean, it was my first kiss ever, so to be able to say my first kiss was with Ethan Embry is pretty rad!  The rest of the cast (Julie, Joey Kern, Alexis Dzeina, Nikki M. James, Michael Roman, Judah Friedlander, Julia Kay, Jesse McCartney, Miriam Shor, etc) was amazing and it’s so surreal realizing that I got to work with all of these wonderful people.  I’m still friends with Michael and Julia to this day, and I’ve bumped into the rest of the cast from time to time.  I’ve been so fortunate to be able to work with amazing actors who are also some of the nicest people on the planet, from the cast of Pizza to my family of Complete Savages, and even doing guest spots and meeting heroes of mine, I just feel so lucky and I’ve learned something from every single person I’ve worked with.

CC:  How did your life change after you landed your on-screen roles? Did your friends and family treat you any differently?

KS: If anything, my location changed.  My friends and family are so wonderful and they keep me grounded, and having them around gives me a constant reality check.

CC: When you die, (pardon the morbidness) what mark do you want to have left on the world?

KS: This is a really good question!  I think I want people to remember me as someone who did the work and did the right thing, even if I’m not perfect.

CC: Where can your fans keep updated on you and your career? (Facebook, etc. )

The Bargainista Diaries:

My website is coming soon, I swear!


Special Feature: Poly Styrene of the X-Ray Spex

By: Sarah S.

This interview was completed a few weeks before the untimely loss of punk-rock sweetheart, Poly Styrene. She is greatly missed by all. I feel immensely lucky to have had the chance to ask her a few questions before her passing and truly cherish this interview most out of all that I've conducted.

Ÿ  Poly Styrene: punk rock pioneer! How have you been?

I’m ok and just dealing with the cancer I have.

Ÿ  We’ve heard about your unfortunate diagnosis with Cancer. We’re all praying for the speediest of recoveries for you and sending all our love. Can you tell us how this battle has affected you? Good and bad?

Ahh Thank you.  Its obviously a huge shock, but I’m trying to stay positive.  There is lesson to be learnt from every experience in life.

Ÿ  I’m utterly ecstatic that you’re releasing your solo album, “Generation Indigo”, on march 28th.  How does it feel to be releasing a whole new album to a whole new generation of listeners?

I’m really happy to have been able to put this body of work out in the world.  I think its an upbeat fun album and I hope that people will find it the same way.

Ÿ  What is “Virtual Boyfriend”, the new single off your upcoming release, all about?

Well, it’s a fun twist on modern relationships and I’m just making a comment.  They can sometimes end before even starting really. Some people get dumped by a text or on email now, it happened to a friend of mine and I don’t think that’s so cool.  We need to be careful we don’t lose too much human contact.
On the upside, the internet is perhaps a safer place to date in a way.

Ÿ  Which songs off of “Generation Indigo”  are your favorites and why?

I really like ‘I Luv Ur Sneakers’, ‘Code Pink Dub’, Colour Blind’, and really happy with the way ‘Electric Blue Monsoon’ came out in the end.

Ÿ  Are you planning on touring after this release?

I hope so, but I can’t plan anything at this stage until I can get better.

Ÿ  You helped fuel a punk rock revolution with The X-ray Spex. In retrospect, how would you sum up that experience?

X-ray Spex was a fun time in my life, it was very exciting raising the energy levels of lots of people through music.  We always used to call X-ray Spex hi energy and it was always uplifting and exhilarating to be a part of it.

Ÿ  How do you feel about music today?

I tend to not listen to much music as I don’t want to get influenced in my songwriting, but I was watching the Brit awards a little while ago and I thought there were some who had good voices.

Ÿ  Do you think that female-fronted music has changed for the better, or that women in the industry are still being “too careful”?

I think that its very individual, you can’t really generalise, they’re all artists, some women, some men and they’re all trying to entertain.

Ÿ  If you could see any one music movement of the past revisited, what would it be and why?

1960s protest movement, because it was a time when people were really trying to change the world through music, maybe naïve but it was positive.

Ÿ  What are you currently listening to?

Hare Krishna meditational music, it helps my soul.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

Its very individual dependent, not an easy route, but if you’re inspired to do it, why not give it a go, if it brings joy to people. 

Ÿ  What is in the future for Poly Styrene?

Right now, I’m just concentrating on getting better and hope to be able to perform my new album some time in the future.


Interview: Hip-Hop Group Freesol

By: Sarah S.

SR:  Freesol definitely isn’t the standard-issue-bored hip hop- How would you describe your sound? 

FS: I would describe it as a hip hop fusion with the hopes of beginning an evolution of hip hop by really incorporating instruments, not just in a rock or jazzy way, done by groups like The Roots, Linkin Park, Chilli Peppers, and so on. Instead, we hope to successfully blend rap, blues, rock, soul, pop, and all other worldly music into one, in a way that sounds original but familiar.  FreeSol is all about the live show.  With our performances, we want to be a light for some of those younger performers out there to really fall in love with music and not just rap. When they really learn to love "music" that's when hip hop and all other forms of music will evolve and our appetites for great entertainment will continue to grow and be satisfied.

SR: Where does most of the inspiration for your music come from? 

FS: The inspiration just comes from a couple of places. One, would be by just living. Most of our songs come from my personal experiences. Two, would be honestly out of the desire to make a living by doing something I absolutely love. The possibility of making a shit load of money by doing something I would do anyway,  inspires the hell out of me!

SR: We understand that Freesol hails from Memphis, Tennessee, what would you all say is the best thing about the south?

FS:  A. The food! Best bbq in the world! Hands down! Best fried chicken, in the world! "Gus' fried chicken! And my grandmother lives in Memphis and I bet she can cook better than your grandmother!
     B. The women! Southern hospitality is a real thing ;-) and I notice it right away the moment I leave the south. And who doesn't love the accent of a southern bell??
    C. The people in general. There is so much culture in the south. You have places like Memphis, New Orleans, and Atlanta where the people and the culture keep people from all over the world saying the soul of the south is like no other. I love NY, LA, and Miami but there is just nothing like home!

SR: The track “Role Model” was awesome! In your own words, what idea and message were you trying to convey to the public? 

FS: The video is pretty much self-explanatory. We aren't here to be your role model. A Rockstar? A success? Your man on the side? Yeah, sure but I'm not a fucking role model! I'm just trying to do me. I have a daughter and a family, I don't have time or the desire to be anything more than your favorite performer, if I can be so lucky! I have my own issues and believe me; I am going to make many mistakes. When I make those mistakes I won't owe you an apology or an explanation. The only person I may need to explain myself to is my little girl. Instead of making people your role model, I think you should focus on that voice inside of you. We all have it. Its telling you exactly who you are and what to do but you have to learn how to hear it. You do that by not making people you don't know your role model and looking within.

SR: Do you all have role models? If so, who? 

FS: I don't have any role models. I admire and appreciate Prince, Andre 3000, Cornel West, Ghandi, MLK, Rick Rubin, Russell Simmons, the story of Jesus, and many more but there isn't another Role I want to model myself after. I haven't seen anybody that cool yet!

SR: Your latest single “Fascinated” is blisteringly good. What’s your favorite thing about this song?

FS: The first line! "Ah, hell! Here comes the pursuit of happiness." To me it describes exactly how I feel and what we are trying to do.

SR: You’ve been able to work with music legends including the amazing Timbaland, and equally as epic, Justin Timberlake. What was it like recording with these guys?

FS: Man, it was AMAZING! Sometimes I can't believe that it’s happened. JT is a genius and such a blessed individual. Being around him is intense, chill, and educational all in one! He is so talented.  Dude, is a big chunk of inspiration, and executive producer of our debut album No Rules, and we’re all so thankful to know him. Timbaland is a guru and normality isn't even a part of his world- he’s mind-blowing!

SR: We’ve noted that Freesol has a unique presence in the music world. What are you all bringing to the hip-hop industry that’s different than what most artists are doing now?

FS: The answer is simple. We are just bringing ourselves; who we really are. If all artist would do this then it would be impossible for one to be too much like the other.

SR: I’m a bit of a music nerd so I have to ask you all:
SR: E. Ives & Mo D‘ Anger, what guitar/bass are you playing now and why?

MD: I play 5string fender jazz basses and a MusicMan stingray they both are very versatile and have GREAT playability and tone! And my newest instrument is my KITARA by misadigital! It has all the functionality of a guitar but all the options of a synthesizer! It's the best of BOTH worlds for me.

EI: - I play Gibson Les Pauls because I can't find anything else with more balls and unique character.

SR: Kickman Teddy: favorite kit? And if you had to pick: Tama or Pearl?

KT: Tama. Because of the feel and great sound quality. Oh and Zildjian cymbals.

SR: DJ Charlie White: What equipment are you using? 

CW: Im using 2 Technic 1200 Turntables with a Rane TTM 57 Mixer. Serato control Vinyl included.

SR: And Free: If you could work with any hip-hop artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

FS: That's a hard one for me to answer. I loved Tupac, I'm crazy about Kanye, but I think today my answer is Eminem. He's incredible! But then again I fucks with Luda real hard and T.I.P. is the king so.... Hell, I hope I work with all of them!

SR: What do you all like to do when not making music? 

FS: When I'm not making music, I love to watch movies. I'm at my happiest when I get off the road and get to come home, roll up, sit down and watch movies or my favorite tv shows like Dexter, True Blood, Weeds, Bill Maher, Real Housewives ( I love them all but D.C. I even like Basketball wives, mayne!) I also, love to spend time with my family. My mother, father, sister, niece, baby's mother, and child give me all the love and support I need. My granny still cooks almost every Sunday. Still one of my favorite things to do.

SR: When should we be expecting Freesol in Florida? Any plans for a tour? 

FS: Hopefully, we will be running through Florida this spring. We'll let you know as soon as we do!

SR: Where will Freesol be in five years? 

FS: Wherever we want to be!

Check out Freesol’s new single “Fascinated” Featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland! Now available on Itunes!