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October 9, 2020 In conversation with alternative pop singer Reagan

In conversation with alternative pop singer Reagan

Reagan is an alternative pop singer who shares her woes of teenage adolescence, with her latest song release ‘Crybaby’. With a passion for poetry, the songstress writes her own lyrics. ‘Crybaby’ is a cheeky and quirky single that talks of the hopeful girl meets a shy boy narrative.

We find out more about the quirky songstress below.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

I learned to read and play music as a child and loved to dabble on the piano, drum set, ukulele, and clarinet whenever I had time. I started singing in a church choir early on and eventually graduated into a studio setting later in my teens. Both of my parents are practicing musicians, so I’ve always been blessed with opportunities and encouragement to make music from an early age. I’m truly grateful!

Please tell us more about how your latest song/release/project was conceived.

“Crybaby!” was written in the car, as a lot of my best songs are. I like to drive somewhere relaxing (in this case I went to a park) and soak up my surroundings before touching pen to page. It helps me tune in with myself first. I was relaxed and happy when writing “Crybaby!” and I think that really shines through in the song. The day I wrote it will always stick out in my memory as a good one!

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

Usually, I’ll choose the beat I’m working with and start piecing together some melody ideas first. I’ll record a couple of voice memos on my phone then write words to them when inspiration strikes. Songwriting is definitely an art though, not a science. Sometimes the words come first, sometimes it’s the melody, sometimes it’s a concept that rattles around in my head for months before coming to fruition. In the end, it’s always a gratifying process!

How much do you invest in how your music is received upon release? Are you very concerned about how your art is received?

Yes and no… it’s a healthy balance of both for me. If I drop a single and it doesn’t pick up traction from the jump I won’t beat myself up. However I do value public opinion because listening to others‘ advice, likes, and dislikes helps me improve my relatability! I want to create music that is beautiful, unique, yet digestible. Paving my own way while being mindful of what sounds other people enjoy listening to is my number one focus!

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

About a year ago I got the opportunity to show my song to an artist I enjoy during their music video shoot. I showed up for the day as an extra and by the end, we were in my car exchanging music! They really enjoyed my sound and it was a memorable experience that I’ll never forget.

Are there any key non-musical influences on your sound and creative process?

Yes, definitely being outside! It’s so important for me to be relaxed and in the right headspace to get my words out, and open-air does that for me. Sitting in nature is key!

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes, or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

I’ll be expanding my sound in 2021 and I’m very excited to share my new direction! As far as specifics go, it’s too soon to tell…

Famous last words?

Do what you love while you can. We only get one shot, so make it count!

Follow Reagan:

Instagram //Facebook// Twitter

September 3, 2020 In Conversation with London future-soul outfit Goldrain

In Conversation with London future-soul outfit Goldrain

Goldrain are Barbara Dudek, Harrison Moore and Owen Smalley, the fresh future-soul duo out of London formed in March 2019. Having studied together at the London College of Creative Media, the three creative minds banded together and have recently made a trip to Impression Recordings in Berlin to record the six songs that make up their forthcoming EP Mysteries

Their latest single, ‘Atlantis’, is available for streaming over at The AU Review ahead of its official release.

Get to know the band better below!

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

Harry Moore (drummer): Well I was introduced to music as soon as I was born really, so I had no choice but to appreciate it! My earliest appreciation of music had to be from my grandad. He used to sit all day long playing old ragtime tunes on the piano, which has always been one of my fondest memories of him. My dad also played the guitar regularly around the house and in his band, where I would watch him perform in old smoked out pubs in North West England. With music production, my dad used to have this very old digital recording machine which could only record one track at a time. My older brother used it to record his first album, and I drew inspiration from him as he was the first person I saw recording music and really going for that ‘DIY’ production.

How did your latest single, ‘Atlantis’, come together? What feeling were you trying to capture or communicate?

Barbs Dudek (vocals/keys): ‘Atlantis’ came out of many things, like frustration from watching adverts for girls cosmetics, objectifying femininity, and a deeper need to find some answers on my own. What does it really mean to me personally? You know, to be a woman? It’s got so many lights and shades to it. I thought using Atlantis, the mystical land, as a metaphor would be perfect to tell a story about discovering something new within yourself — something not really tangible but very powerful. When it comes down to communicating, my hopes are always for the person listening to jump on the journey with me and reflect on those things later on for themselves. The last verse (“turn the tide”) is encouragement for change and hope for further liberation.

Why did you decide to travel to Berlin to record your upcoming Mysteries EP?

H.M: So, it all came full circle for me in a way. My older brother, who recorded his first album with that old digital recorder, relocated from London to Berlin several years ago and has managed to build his own amazing studio called Impression Recordings in central Berlin. I initially thought it would be a great idea for all of us to go there to record/film a live performance of some of our songs, as the live room in the studio is such an amazing space. Then Barbs thought, ‘why not record our EP there’, so we did! For all of us, I believe it was nice to get away from London for a short period of time to try and be creative elsewhere. As I’m sure you’d understand, being in one space for so long can be draining sometimes — especially creatively, which we’re still required to be in the studio despite having the structure and instrumentation of the songs finalised prior to recording.

Do you have any particularly good memories from these recording sessions you’d be willing to share with us?

Owen Smalley (guitars): There’s a guitar part in one of the songs where we wanted to have the overdrive on my pedal steadily increase over the period of about 2 minutes — and since I had my hands full playing the part, Harry sat down cross-legged at my feet and did the most precise pedal-twiddling I’ve ever seen for those two whole minutes. Barbs, Robbie, and Sam were all in the control room cheering us on which only added to the intimacy. Talk about your pals having your back, or in this case your feet. We also broke a new personal best during our time there by eating pizza every day for 6 days straight.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

O.S: Such different kettles of fish, so I wouldn’t be able to say that I actually have a preference. But what I would say is that it’s usually a case of the old adage, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Like so many other artists, we haven’t been able to play for people in such a long time — so we’re all craving that pretty intensely at the moment. However, we’re also really raring to get back into the studio as soon as we can to start working on new tunes. We want it all!!

B.D: Music creation is a fairly different process to me, as it comes out with living an experience or a thought and materialising it. Building the body of a song takes very different pains and moulding procedures, while performing happens in the moment and its challenge is to stay vulnerable and authentic to yourself in front of other people. It’s hard not to go and hide under the turtle shell or that belting sound, especially when you sing about some deep stuff and your voice is cracking because it’s still painful (and then you realise that you actually have no place to hide). But that’s also the beauty of connection, and the power which lies in that place is almost sacred.

As an artist, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. If you could, what one thing about the music scene would you personally change?

B.D: We’re just starting here, and for us, it’s getting to know the industry so we can actually have an opinion of our own. From my experience, maybe artists could genuinely support each other a bit more. We’re not really competing. Each one of us has such a different story and life to live. I’d like to see more representation of minorities, equal racial treatments and access to opportunities based on work ethic and talent — not skin colour, gender or general looks. The industry can do better in these areas.

What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?

O.S: Although it may sound oversimplified, ultimately we’d like our music to make a connection with people. If our tunes are making people feel things on any point in the emotional spectrum, whether that be through our recorded music or gigs, then we know we’re doing something right. Success to me looks like being able to continue to do that for as long as is humanly possible.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

B.D: We’re building a community around Goldrain — so we’re working to engage with people, fans and fellow musicians as much as possible. Expect collaborations, remix competitions and more original music to come, including lyrics and performance video. We have another single planned for release at the beginning of October as well. Also, PLEASE LET US GIG!!!

Follow Goldrain

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August 19, 2020 Interview with London-based electronic/alt-R&B/Hip-hop duo E L E V N S

Interview with London-based electronic/alt-R&B/Hip-hop duo E L E V N S

London-based electronic/alt-R&B/Hip-hop duo E L E V N S made their debut in 2019 with their first single ‘Let Me In’ hitting Spotify’s New Music Friday on release day. They have been busy travelling between London, Paris, NYC and LA performing and finding artists to collaborate with, including getting endorsements from companies such as Soundbrenner and ROLI.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

Gramm: I was lucky to be part of a band when I was 15 years old. My first gig was probably the best memory I have and also one of the reasons I’m into music. The excitement mixed with stress before going on stage became like a drug. I only started producing at the age of 25 and hearing the first song done from scratch without having to work with other producer was quite a proud moment.

Aurelian: I started playing the drums when I was 12 and I was listening to a lot of different things like Michael Jackson and Blink-182. I had a few bands and like Gramm, performing live became a drug. I would go to jam sessions and play with other musicians for hours. I realised I could produce and write music myself after listening to Ben Kenny, bass player for Incubus. He made an EP where he recorded everything and that was the moment I started producing but it only got serious in the last 5 years for me.

What are some of your key musical influences?

We take inspiration from everywhere, we’re like sponges that absorb anything that could be inspiring. We both listen to a variety of musical styles but in general, it gravitates around Hip-Hop/Soul with artists like Chance the Rapper, Aminé, Brasstracks, Anderson.Paak and Mac Miller, pop with Ariana Grande and Justin Timberlake and electronic with Snakehips, Kaytranada and 20Syl / Alltta. 

If you could paint a picture of your unique sound, what would it look like?

It would look like a KAWS painting,  lots of colours and dynamism.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

We really believe that the more people you work with the more magic you can create. But we don’t really have a specific process. We always start the two of us and then we send a beat to an artist we know or that we found on Instagram. We especially target some artists we love by scouting on Spotify and then reach out to them on IG. With overseas collaboration, most of the time artists would write, record themselves and send us the vocals. From then we wrap up the production. But sometimes we would have a session at ours or in a studio with some friends or artists and do everything in one day.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

We’re more coffee guys than juices so a nice flat white or latte would work best (laughs)! To be more serious, it is the vibe a sound or a drumbeat can create. Creativity is something you need to cease when it comes because you can’t invoke it. For us, it is a lot about the vibe and good energy that things, like travelling and being surrounded by cool people, bring to us. The opposite of quarantine basically (laughs).

As an artist, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

Spotify should remove the number of streams, followers and monthly listeners like Apple Music does so people would judge less on the number of streams and focus more on the music.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

It is awesome! We can really feel the energy they bring and how they interact with us. As we feature different vocalist along with the show, the vibes change often and it keeps a nice dynamic. One of the best crowds we had was when we played Sofar Sounds, people are really here to listen to the music and you can bond with them easily.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

The most memorable one was being added to Spotify New Music Friday on our first ever release ‘Let Me In’. That was insane! We didn’t have any fan base, a few followers on Instagram but that was it (laughs)!

What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?

We would like to do big tours, travel the world, connect with new people and have fun with our music. Obviously there is all the fame and being able to live off your music but when people move their head to the music and we can see them smile and enjoy, this is a success!

What’s on your current playlist?

There’s a lot of music but here’s a little list (laughs): 

Goner (feat. Audrey Mika) by Souly Had 

Blueberry Cadillac by Landon Sears

Blue World by Mac Miller

The Plug (feat. Drelli) by Party Pupils

Backyard by Kota the Friend

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

We are currently working on releasing a song a month and we’ve got some amazing collaborations mainly coming from the US with Atlanta based singers Zach Paradis and Jaylon Ashaun again and Danny Diamonds from Boston. We are also working on a new live set to perform when things will be back to normal after COVID-19!

Famous last words?

Hasta la vista, baby!

Follow E L E V N S online

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

May 9, 2020 Interview with Manchester-based singer/songwriter Ellysse Mason

Interview with Manchester-based singer/songwriter Ellysse Mason

Manchester-based singer/songwriter Ellysse Mason began to make serious musical waves. In the last year alone she’s sold-out Manchester’s Deaf Institute, headlined Academy 3 and racked up over 1.5million streams for her debut single ‘Hunt Me Down’ on Spotify.

As she moves to bigger venues and festival stages, she is becoming a live act to be reckoned with. Dark, haunting melodies combine with deft guitar playing to create an ethereal, otherworldly sound that has drawn comparisons to Joni Mitchell, Billie Eilish and Massive Attack.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

The first Artist I really remember falling in love with was Jack Johnson. I saw him on a video from a live show he did when I was about 12 and that inspired me to take up the guitar and perform. A bit further down the line, I discovered Joni Mitchell, in fact, I don’t even really remember when it was specifically. I was going down a bit of a rabbit hole of the 60s and 70s music and I just remember realising one day that I was a huge fan of hers all of a sudden. She definitely influenced my early vocal/writing style. As for production, I’ve only just started to think of myself in those terms, but I do remember the impact that Moby’s track “Porcelain” had on me and it’s still one of my favourite songs.

What are some of your key musical influences?

At the moment the stuff I’m listening to that’s influencing my material most is probably: HAIM, Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish and 1975

If you could paint a picture of your unique sound, what would it look like?

It would probably be a scene set in outer space… but weird.. If there was a 1960’s Motel/Diner on the moon… Something like that… With neon.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

I always put the melody first. Everything else comes after. But I do work with the production in mind for very early in the process. I always sit and write on logic just using it to play guitar or keys and vocals through, so I have the effects or the synths running right from the start and have an idea of the vibe from the beginning.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

When I hear a PROPER good tune. One that gives you the fuzzies. It makes me wanna write straight away.

As an artist, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

At the moment I only really know one scene and that’s the one in Manchester. Everyone here supports everyone else. It’s a great place to be a musician so I feel really lucky to get to do what I do.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

My first big headline show was for my last EP launch and we sold out Deaf Institute in Manchester. It was amazing to play to a full house at a larger venue like that for the first time. I’ve played bigger shows since, but that one was really special. And the buzz you get from the crowd being fully involved in the music and singing along to your songs is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

I played at Band On The Wall last year and when I played one of my new songs (I Could Make It Better) as a solo performance in the middle of the set (I was playing a full band show btw), the whole crowd erupted, and then the applause just kept dying down and then swelling back up, over and over again, as you get at much bigger shows. It was such an amazing feeling!

What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?

I just want to reach as many people as I can and hopefully make enough from each album so that I get to make another one… Anything else on top of that is just icing on the cake.

What’s on your current playlist?

Phoebe Bridgers – Dua Lipa – Sam Fender – Lana Del Rey – The Weeknd

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

The plan is to release a string of singles this year on the run-up to an album at some point in the not too distant future. With everything that’s going on, it’ll probably be a little slower than planned, but everything is still in motion, and once lockdown lifts I’ll be back to full speed!

Follow Ellysse Mason online 

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram