Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Wooden Sky Interview with Frontman Gavin Gardiner

Thumbing through Daytrotter Sessions, I fell across The Wooden Sky. With sweeping melodies, and one of the best voices I have ever heard, The Wooden Sky is truly an amazing act every indie listener must take in. Please check out their latest record, Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon A Sun and their website: http://thewoodenskymusic.com

Have you guys been pleased with the reactions to Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon A Sun thus far?
So far so good. When we were making the record it felt like we were working on something special and as such we were a bit apprehensive about sharing it (but also excited!). 
What has been your favorite reaction/review thus far?
A pretty common reaction that I've heard at shows is that people didn't like it as much as the last record, following their first listen of the record. But after a few listens changed their mind and told me they think it's the best thing we have ever done. That feels pretty important to me as most of my favorite records just get better the more I embrace them.
Did you guys have a specific direction, sound wise/sonically in mind before you began the recording process for Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon A Sun?
We had sketches of most of the songs and talked about a general direction. Inevitably, you have to stray and grow from that plan. Looking at where it started to where it ended up I'm very proud of it. It's a continual process and if we were to make the record again now I'm sure it would be a very different record just as a result of the songs evolution via touring.
Were there any noticeable differences in the writing/recording process, in comparison to your previous releases?
We are constantly trying to push ourselves and try new processes. Something I wanted to do for this record was make more solo demo recordings. Certain songs need the energy that a band playing in a room together can provide, they drown without it. Other songs can be suffocated by too many people working on them at the same time. It was fun to work in stages in smaller arrangements and take turns working on things. It relieves a certain kind of pressure while i guess instilling another. No right or wrongs just differences.
What attracted you guys to working with Howard Bilerman again?
His lovely dog...Howard is so good at what he does. Knows how to provide a good working environment and his studio is amazing. It certainly doesn't hurt that it's in a great part of a great city (Montreal).
How does writing a song normally pan out for you guys? Pretty collaborative?
It really changes from song to song. Some are very collaborative while others are not. There really is no typical process for us.
I am currently hooked on "Angelina" and "Child of the Valley." How did the songs originally come together?
"Child of the Valley” was a song I had been working on for A while. I had tried making a demo with a friend visiting from Colorado. After that Simon and I got together for an afternoon and worked out more or less what would be a pretty clear blueprint for the recorded version. It came together really quickly. I think because the demo was so strong, it was actually a bit tough when it came time to do it in the studio. We actually recorded it twice before we managed to surpass the demo.
“Angelina” was a song I wrote after a friend of mine passed away. It was also around the time of the earthquakes in Haiti. I was looking through photos of the aftermath online, there was ukulele sitting on top of our piano and picked it up and that whole song just came tumbling out.
We recorded it pretty much live off the floor and at Howard’s request didn’t really change much. I think we did our best to channel some crazy horse on that one.
What song on Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon A Sun completely blew you away with how it turned out?
I was really happy with "Dancing At My Window," as it was a pretty tough one. I actually travelled back to Montreal to remix that song and I'm very glad I did. Howard and I spent one last day working on it and I really felt it paid off.
What would you like for listeners to take away from the album after listening to it?
I think the record really speaks to the idea that we are not alone in this world and that truth comes with a lot of responsibility.   Lonely as it can be, life in large part, is about helping one another struggle through it.
What's next on the agenda for you guys? Touring?
We are currently driving across Germany supporting our good friends in evening hymns. We are also playing as their backing band, so we are working double duty!  We are in Europe/UK until mid October then we fly home and tour the following month and a half in North America.
Once December rolls around, we are hoping to be in full swing with our production for the next record.
Do any of you guys have other projects in the works?
We all have our fingers in a few other pies...I'm currently producing a record for a young group called Kalle Mattson which is a bit on hold while we tour!
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?

“Jonathan Goes Country” by Jonathan Richman!

JONNYSWIM Interview with Abner Ramirez

Fairly recently, a friend of mine shot me a random text that only said "JOHHNYSWIM, look them up right now." After a few clicks, I  was immediately drawn into the perfect harmonies and with beautiful melodies of Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez 's latest endeavor, Home Vol. 1. Please go check it out and download it at their website. 

Enjoy the interview I conducted with one half of the the duo, Abner Ramirez. http://johnnyswim.com/

Could you briefly describe how this project began?
Ramirez: The project began really organically. We wanted to see what would come out of us left to our own devices. We've made recordings with some amazing producers, which we loved, but we had the opportunity to just record at home together, so we decided to dive right in.
Can you recall the moment you realized that your voices fit perfectly together?
R: I don't know if there was one moment, but very early on we realized that we really enjoyed singing together and that it felt special. We also had big crushes on one another at the time, so it probably would have felt special regardless of if our voices fit or not. Singing together was our way of seeing each other more frequently.
Who are some of the main influences on this project?
R: Our influences are pretty wide spread and a lot of them come out on this project. Everyone from Buena Vista Social Club, to Adele, to Sam Cooke, to Fleet Foxes, to Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash. We wrote with a great write and artist named Britten Newbill, and many writing sessions started with us just sitting around listening to stuff we love like those artists.
Are you currently working on an LP or EP?
R: We are currently writing Home, Vol. 2, which will be another five songs to complete the first batch we put out. We're hoping to have them done by January!
How does the writing process normally pan out for you two? Is it normally a mutual effort?
R: Yes, it's usually very mutual. We do write separately, but when you live in the same house, it sometimes is inevitable that you help each other complete songs. Normally we start with a feeling. Sometimes it begins with an emotion we feel from watching a movie or something someone said or something we are currently experiencing, and then we try to write and play that feeling into something others can feel with us
How did "Home" come together (I absolutely love that song)?
R: Thank you! "Home" was written very quickly actually! We had a lot of fun on that one. We wrote it with Britten one day as almost more of a creative practice. We didn't originally think we would use it; we just wanted to write it. Then we ended up growing very attached to it, and now it's one of our favorites to perform.
Is there a song, that you can recall, that came together effortlessly as if it fell from the sky?
R: "Home" actually was one of those. Also, "Heartbeats" came together very quickly as well. Abner started playing the guitar part, and I sang the melody almost immediately. The lyrics of the first verse came out almost in one fell swoop as well. It's fun and scary when that happens.
What would you like for people to take away from your music?
R: I think the goal for probably most artists and writers is for people to feel connected to the experience of whatever you're writing about or saying. You want them to feel like they have an outlet for their experiences through your songs, because the song exudes it so well. Ultimately, beyond that, we want people to feel a sense of hope.
What kind of impact has social media had on you guys?
R: Social media has been such an amazing tool for us. The ability to connect so easily with listeners and to put out songs on our own terms has allowed us to constantly feed the creative fire. We can partially write a song, put it on YouTube and immediately get reactions. We pick songs to record sometimes this way, because we can see what's resonating with people. It's something that artists didn't have in recent past decades. We would have had to tour and rely on radio to get such feedback, but now we can connect so much easier and make friends with our listeners!
What is the next goal for you two?
R: Currently, we are cast in Studio Tenn's production of "Smokey Joe's Cafe", which opens September 20th for a few weeks only in Nashville. After that, it's back to writing and recording!!
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
R:  For Amanda, probably Christmas music all year long. For me, it depends on where we are… driving through the canyon: Fleet Foxes, Johnny Cash, Mumford and Sons. By the beach, or in town: something rowdy

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Wild Horses" (Cover) - Candler Hobbs and Amelia Todd

Just wanted to share a current favorite of mine, from a couple of local Atlanta musicians. For the latest on  Amelia Todd, check out her website : http://ameliatodd.com/.  For the latest on Candler Hobbs , including weekly acoustic videos, please visit his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/candlerhobbsmusic