Friday, August 31, 2012

The Icarus Account Interview with Ty Turner

As the Icarus Account prepared to release their brand new album, Carry Me Home, I had the chance to catch up with Ty and find out more about the album! Check out for more info, and links to purchase their new album.
What have you guys been up to lately? Working on a new album correct?
Absolutely! We took the summer off from tour to make sure that we gave plenty of time to focus on the release of our new album.  So far so good! We recorded a few live acoustic sessions coming soon to  We posted our first music video last week Have been working on getting our website up and running so yeah it's been a pretty busy time gearing up for the release (laughs).
Did you personally produce the record?
We co-produced the album with our good friend Chase Coy. We were all on the same page with the direction we wanted to head acoustically, with strings, percussion etc. It was definitely a team effort, but chase did a great job producing the strings and percussion that we weren't quite as directly involved with during the recording process.
Before approaching the writing and recording process of this upcoming album, did you guys have a direction in mind?
I wouldn't say we had a specific direction in mind; usually we just try to write songs that are real and personal to us so that other people can relate to them. We want to make our listeners feel emotions when they hear our songs.  There were a lot of happy things that inspired this album like trey's marriage in April 2011; and then some sad things like our parents’ divorce in August 2011 that inspired a lot of the writing for this album.  Whether we intentionally had a direction or not our lives kind of took our writing wherever it pleased.  (Here is a little promo video on the writing/release of the album -
How does the writing process normally pan out for you guys?
Typically we will write individually & start with music, then start humming some melodies and blabbing lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics write their own story without us deciding beforehand what we want to write about but usually we tend to pic a subject that we shape the song around lyrically.  We usually don't ask each other for help unless we are stumped on something or want a second opinion on something.  
I know that choosing a favorite song on a new album is much like choosing your favorite child, but if you had to pick the song that you were most proud of once it was completed what would it be?
I'd say personally my favorite song is "All I Need" because of the way the writing came together for it in the studio. When we first got to Indiana all I had were melodies, and a few basic lyrics. I had no intention of finishing the song or putting it on the album, but Trey & Chase both said that it sounded amazing and that I should try to make it happen. Any free time we had was spent trying to finish that song and turn it into a story that encouraged people and made them feel like they were coming home. I think the song turned out great and said exactly what we wanted it to. The addition of strings on the final mix also really brought the song home for me.
What motivated you guys to put up "Keeper of Your Heart," on Noisetrade?
We love giving away free music.  The exposure you get by giving something away for free is worth the money you might lose in a sale.  It results in more fans, and sometimes more sales in the long run :)
Are you guys planning on hitting the road soon?
Absolutely! We are SO excited to start touring again! Obviously we took off most of the summer to prepare for this release so we are anxious to hit the road again in Oct/Nov.  Looking to do a nationwide tour and probably a few Canada dates as well!
What kind of advice would you have for a band starting up right now?
If I could give one piece of advice to other bands out there I would say "don't wait for anything, get to work and make things happen on your own. If you want it sometimes you have to go get it. You will get exactly what you are willing to put in."
Who are some artists/bands that you have looked up to in the past in terms of stage presence and live performance?
This is a tough question to answer.  We've always appreciated artists who write their own music and sound the same live as they do in the studio. Bands like One Republic (with Ryan Tedder's songwriting abilities/live performance), and Live shows - The Fray, Augustana, Copeland, have been pretty good examples of both of those to us. 
What kind of impact has social media had on you guys?
I'm not sure where we would be with our music if it weren't for things like MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, etc.  We might still be playing in local coffeehouses if weren't for the amount of fans we've been able to round up through the internet.  I'm pretty thankful that we live in the world we do today.  The internet is especially helpful for the unsigned artists like us who have no connections to TV/radio/ etc.
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
Currently Taylor Swift's new music (laughs). The Fray. Dangerous Summer.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jenny and Tyler Interview (Jenny Somers)

Since the moment they met, Jenny and Tyler Somers have consistently created some of the sweetest, thought provoking music around. Forging bluegrass and folk roots with modern tinged vocals, Jenny and Tyler have found a beautiful niche that continues to generate more and more fans.Taking a more stripped-down approach with their latest record, Open Your Doors, Jenny and Tyler seamlessly convey their continuing struggles with "the idea and practice of abiding in Christ(see below for more detail)." Consciously choosing to make their fourth record "vocal-heavy," puts a huge emphasis on the powerfully touching lyrics and messages conveyed through each song. 

For the latest info on Jenny and Tyler, check out their official website :     

You released Open Your Doors back in April. Have you been pleased with all of the positive response to the record thus far?

Jenny: Absolutely. It's been an incredible honor to watch folks respond to the record by writing reviews, commenting on our facebook page, or sending us emails of encouragement. 

How did you originally get hooked up with Mitch Dane, who produced the record?

Mitch has worked with artists like JJ Heller, Jars of Clay, and Bebo Norman, and we are really impressed by his creativity and the overall sound of those records. We asked around and heard that Mitch is awesome to work with - he is very nurturing and encouraging. We set up a meeting with him, played a few songs, and found that we click really well. Working with Mitch was really wonderful. He managed to capture our chemistry and the energy of our live performance in a way that we couldn't have done on our own. 

Before approaching the writing and recording process of this upcoming album, did you have a direction you wanted to take the album musically/lyrically in mind?

We find that we process life through songwriting. Often we discover what we've been learning or going through when we write a song. When we were writing the songs for this album we found that we've really been struggling with the idea and practice of abiding in Christ. We'd come out of a really busy season and were in desperate need of physical and spiritual rest. When we selected the songs for the album we found that most of them contained the common theme of striving versus abiding. Musically we knew that we wanted to create an album with a very organic sound, something similar to our live sound. We wanted the vocals be the focus, and we felt that the songs could stand on their own without a ton of production. 

How does the writing process normally pan out for you guys? Did the writing process of this record differ from previous records?

Generally we write separately and then bring the songs to each other to finish. We've learned how to critique each others' songs and polish them together and not take criticism personally or let it affect our marriage in a negative way. The writing is split very evenly on this record with Tyler having 5 songs that he primarily wrote and Jenny having 5 as well. 

I know that choosing a favorite song on a new album is much like choosing your favorite child, but if you had to pick the song that you were most proud of once it was completed what would it be?

I think that my favorite song is "Skyline Hill". I wrote it at Tyler's parents' home in Wilmington, DE. Their house rests upon a hill that overlooks the city of Wilmington and if you're up at the right time you can catch the sun rising over the city. I was inspired by the beauty and the lyrics and melody of the song flowed very freely while I was writing. I think it's my best writing, and Tyler really helped make the song better by adding interesting chords. - Jenny 
My favorite song is probably See The Conqueror. The lyrics to the verses come from an old hymn that we found in a hymnal from the 1800's. There is so much truth to the lyrics. Singing it makes me love Jesus more. Our experience recording is also one of the reasons why I like it so much. The recording process was a bit of a blur, honestly. We would tour for 3 weeks, record for a week, and immediately tour again. Recording See the Conqueror felt like a break from the busyness. It was a really joyful moment. - Tyler 

I would love to know how "Abide" originally came together, if you don't mind.

I was listening to "Lion Man" by Mumford & Sons a few years ago and made a mental note to write a song to myself in a sense.  I think that's what Mumford is doing in that song when he sings "Weep, little lion man..." he's addressing his own person, his soul.  I like this.  It reminded me of king David when he wrote "Bless the Lord, O my soul."  
With this self-addressing in mind, on a day of great conviction, I wrote Abide.  At that moment when I began writing the word, I was feeling like a wretched man, which I always am, though I seldom always feel I am.  I address this wretched man and every time I sing it I'm reminded of my desperate state apart from Christ.

What kind of advice would you have for a band or artist starting up right now?
Write as much as you can. Songwriting is a craft and the more you do it, the better your songs are. Get your live show up to par by playing as much as you can. Give away music in exchange for email addresses and zip codes. It will be hard. Don't give up.

Who are some artists/bands that you have looked up to in the past in terms of stage presence and live performance?

We love Shane & Shane. Their live performance is unreal. Not only are their vocals incredible, they have an energy and stage presence that makes the audience feel comfortable and at home. They manage to lead their audience in authentic worship night after night. We're also big fans of Sara Groves. She writes sincere songs that really resonate with her listeners. She is a fantastic storyteller at her live shows and really loves her audience. 

What kind of impact has social media had on your success as a group?

We wouldn't be where we are today without social media. We started running Facebook ads about 3 1/2 years ago and they actually work. We gave people the opportunity to download free music in exchange for email addresses and zip codes. 3 1/2 years ago we had a mailing list of 300 people, and now our mailing list has grown to 40,000 people. Facebook and Twitter allow us to communicate with our fans in a personal way. Our fans get to know us through pictures and real time updates. Social media is invaluable to independent bands. 

How did you originally get hooked up with International Justice Mission? 

We heard about IJM while we were in college, but we weren't truly made aware of the gravity of modern day slavery until a few years ago. One of Jenny's best friends began working at IJM around that time and we learned a lot about IJM from her. We became freedom partners with IJM a couple of years ago and new that we had a responsibility to share what we learned with our fans. We toured with Sara Groves last fall and heard her tell stories about the work of IJM night after night and decided to officially partner with IJM. When we were recording The Sound of Silence we knew that we wanted to do something more with the money from the sale of the song. It just made sense to give it to IJM. IJM has been so supportive of our efforts and our music. 

Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?

This is hard to answer because we have so many favorites.  Today it would be Glen Hansard's new self-titled album. 

Tyler Hilton - "Loaded Gun" *Mousertime Exclusive Acoustic Session*

Before a sold-out show at Eddie's Attic, in Atlanta Ga, Tyler Hilton performs an acoustic version of his latest single "Loaded Gun" from his latest album Forget the Storm.

Please check out our last interview with Tyler, where he discusses leaving a major record label, recording an independent album and filming the last season of One Tree Hill!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

States - "Captivating Me" *Mousertime Exclusive Acoustic Session*

Before a show in Atlanta, States met up with us to perform a an exclusive acoustic version of their song "Captivating Me." This song can be found on their latest record Room To Run, recently re-released on Tooth & Nail Records.

For the latest info on States and to purchase their record, check out their official website:

Heavenly Beat Interview with John Peña

With summer quickly closing in, John Peña squeaks in a perfect summer-tinged LP just in time. Under the moniker, Heavenly Beat, Pena delivers a perfect compilation of dreamy pop that will make you get in your car, fight the ridiculous heat, just so you can vibe out with your windows all the way down. Please check out this record. You won't regret soaking up the heavenly beats he lays down. Pun absolutely intended.

How did this project, Heavenly Beat, initially come to fruition?

Ha, IDK. Nothing so unlike how most bands come together to really get into it.

What attracted you to sign on with Captured Tracks?

Hearing "Moscow Street" by The German Measles got me real excited in '09. I had started putting some early Heavenly Beat songs together at that point and sent them to CT because I loved that song so much but nothing happened at that point.  Years later when I was signing on with them the main attractions were that I was friends with everyone at the label and knew they would do a great job putting the record out.

I recently read that when you were putting together your brand new record, 'Talent,' you had a solid catalog of songs to choose from. How did you arrive on the final tracks, and what will be done with the remaining tracks?

It was just a long process of finishing up songs and putting them together with other ones and seeing how it sounded. I finished a version of the record a couple months before TALENT became what it is now and there was just no flow or nothing that made me think "this isn't going to embarrass me". It was bad. I freaked and wrote a songs like "Messiah", "Consensual", "Tradition" and "Elite" all within a few weeks out of, basically, fear of embarrassment. When I think back on it now it's like "Wutever" but at the time I was putting a lot of stress on myself to create something I wouldn't hate.

When approaching this album, did you have a musical direction in mind?

No, not really. It was interesting listening back to the album after I turned it in because in some ways it seemed like a stranger had made it. It came together so quickly that I didn't really give myself time to think about what I was creating. I love how it came out but I'm going to make an effort to not let the next record be so much of a surprise when it's done.

How does the writing process normally pan out for you, in regards to this specific project? Has it differed from other projects that you have been apart of?

My writing process is pretty boring. I play guitar until a chord progression stands out to me then I just layer more guitar, midi, and vocals over it until it's a non listenable mess. Then I strip/delete tracks one at a time until something, hopefully, nice starts poking through.

Are you a continual writer, or do you find yourself writing periodically?

I write every day. It's one of the few things allows me to step out of my own head for few moments during the day.

Specifically, how did "Faithless" originally come together?

I had written the chord progression for "Faithless" around '09 for a completely different song. It was some god awful Orange Juice knock off track. I started playing the chords and ad libbing over them in my GF's bed this past year and "Faithless" as we know it today came together. Its def the song that let me know that I could create an whole album that I could be happy with. Before that I was thinking that I/Captured Tracks was going to be real sad with whatever eventually got turned in for a full length.

Did you produce the album yourself? If so, did you enjoy that process?

Yeah, I wrote and recorded the entire album on my laptop in my apartment. It was definitely a learning experience the whole way through. I should have given Google a credit in the liner notes of the album because every 10 minutes I was having to ask it "How do I ______ in Logic 9?". Did I enjoy it? In hindsight, "YES"…at the time, "DEF NOT".

Would you be open to working with a producer on future Heavenly Beat tracks? Or do you feel that this project should solely be you?

I don' t know yet. I've got the 2nd album written already and now I'm trying to decide how I want to present/arrange the songs and if I'm capable of doing it myself. I'd love to be able to do whatever I settle on by myself because I hate working around other people's schedules/dread being in creative situations with others. Its just 2 awkward for me and I wouldn't be able to stretch out as much as I'm able to when I'm alone.

What have you been listening to lately? I'm always up for some suggestions....

1.The first 3 albums by The Prodigy. "Yr Love" off of Experience and "Narayan" from Fat of The Land are some favs.
2.I'm listening to the Analord series that Richard D James put out as I type
3."Ryan Seacrest" by Lil B non-stop
4.Been sifting through Caetano Veloso's vast/great discography on a pretty regular basis
5.Always listening to Burial

Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?

"Lost Without You" by Robin Thicke