NGHTMRE Before XMAS Ushers In Heavy Sounds Of The Future

NGHTMRE plays The Shrine Dec. 15; photo Koury Angelo

NGHTMRE plays The Shrine Dec. 15; photo Koury Angelo

Bass music is always in a constant state of flux, constantly evolving and absorbing influences from almost everything. NGHTMRE is no exception; the wide range of styles he has employed along with boundary pushing sound design have earned him the spotlight in electronic music.

“I grew up playing music,” explains Tyler Marenyi of NGHTMRE. “Yea, I mean I went to college in North Carolina and when I graduated, I moved to Los Angeles to write music; that’s what I was passionate about. And after about a year working on music in L.A., I felt finally ready.”

Currently headlining the NGHTMRE Before XMAS tour, Marenyi is excited as ever to be playing shows across the country.

“It’s that moment we have been working on to put all this music together and you get that one hour to share your music,” Marenyi noted. “And the fact that I get to go up there…you know, as much energy as I give out, it’ll get returned. And the harder I go, the more energy I have.

“When I first started, it was when house and electro were crushing it. I made some of that, and also grew up listening to a lot of punk and rock kind of stuff too. I’ve always kinda made a little bit of everything, and definitely still do that now.”

NGHTMRE’s most recent release with The Chainsmokers “Save Yourself” showcases that love of taking risks and twisting genres together.

“I’ve kinda known those guys for a really long time,” Marenyi said. “Not super well, but we’ve shared music for years and years before we got to do this. It was nice to be able to finally work on something.

“Me and Drew (Taggart) had always talked about doing a festival banger, which they traditionally don’t do. And I’ve done crazy dubstep tracks so yea we tried to make the track a little bit of both. And we both really enjoyed it. It’s been great cuz people on that level of fame and busyness in general would be harder to get ahold of or deal with, but everyone’s been really cool.”

Along with this collab, there is also one in the works between NGHTMRE and Big Gigantic as well.

“That’s another one that I feel I grew up watching and I really fell in love with their sound at a show a long time ago,” Marenyi recalled. “I’ve grown to their music and it’s the same kind of thing; we’ve been looking forward to working together for a while.

“There was one specific idea that I wrote… and felt there was some amazing horns and vibes and live instrument swag to like every track they do… you know, they kill it. Really excited for it, I feel it is a good mixture of our sounds. It’s really jammy but really hard too.”

And if that wasn’t enough, there is still the collab with NGHTMRE and ASAP Ferg slated to be released next year.

“The song’s all done, and we just filmed the music video for it last week in New York,” Marenyi revealed. “It’s all set to release early next year. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get ahold of him, but he is really into the music video and really likes the song. I’ve been playing the song at shows, and it’s always one of the best tracks…. so excited for it.

“For me, as a producer, I came more from a background of engineering and producing rather than DJ-ing first. So, I feel every time I work on a song with someone new, I learn something new about mixing, or a tip or a trick or technique that helps me a lot. Even if you’re working with someone who isn’t as experienced as you, there’s always something I end up learning. You know, something I would never have figured out on my own.

“It gives me the excuse to do weirder things too…like I wouldn’t be able to put out a jammy saxophone song myself but with Big Gigantic, it makes sense.”

Hear all the mind-melting sounds and genre-bending grooves NGHTMRE has to offer when the NGHTMRE Before XMAS tour hits the Shrine Dec. 15!

Alien Weaponry Nail It Live In The USA

ALIEN WEAPONRY play HOB/San Diego Dec. 18, Fonda Theatre Dec. 20 and 21; press photo

ALIEN WEAPONRY play HOB/San Diego Dec. 18, Fonda Theatre Dec. 20 and 21; press photo

New Zealand’s teenage ALIEN WEAPONRY debuts in the states opening for MINISTRY. Don’t let their age or the fact that they sing in their native Maori language fool you into thinking they’re a gimmick. Their music is at times unique yet fits right into several genres. Sometimes tribal chanting, sometimes industrial rhythms and sounds, sometimes breakneck thrashing metal.

Concert Guide Live caught up with Alien Weaponry to find out more about what they’re into musically, underage touring, growing up Ministry fans, singing in Te Reo Māori, and… playing hackey sack?

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: This is your first U.S. tour – welcome – and what took so long? What are you looking forward to?
ALIEN WEAPONRY: Thanks! We’ve been aspiring to get over here for the past year, because we have a lot of fans in the States, so it’s brilliant to have finally made it. We’re really looking forward to touring with Ministry, who we listened to a lot of growing up. We are also looking forward to playing our first headline show in the USA; and meeting the 6 amazing First Nation bands who will be doing that show with us.

CGL: How would you describe your music for people who aren’t familiar with it, and why should they get there early to catch your set?
AW: We’re a mix of old-school thrash and groove metal; and we also sing in Te Reo Māori (New Zealand’s native language). If I have to give a reason for people to come early to see us, it’s probably not a very good sign, haha. Just do it – you won’t regret it.

CGL: You’re touring with Ministry in the states – how familiar are you with their music, their recent album? They’ve got a lot of angst!
AW: Lewis (de Jong/guitar and vocals) and Henry (de Jong/drums) grew up listening to Ministry so they’re a big inspiration to the band. As far as their new album goes, we all think that it kicks ass! Psalm 69 is still our favorite though!

CGL: Alien Weaponry – are you into Sci-Fi films or am I way off the mark in the story behind the name?
AW: Yeah, we love our sci-fi films and did get the band name from District 9, which Lewis and Henry watched for the first time when they were 8 and 10 years old. It was cool then, and it’s still one of our favorite movies.

CGL: What’s the longest tour you’ve done and how do you keep yourselves entertained?
AW: Our longest tour so far was a three-month tour through Europe earlier in 2018. It wasn’t too hard to stay entertained because we’re all a bunch of clowns! We often sing along to NZ music as it blasts through the van or play hackey sack to pass the time.

CGL: You’re all underage, do you have chaperone’s? Are you all drop outs?
AW: Hahaha, yeah, we are all underage (in the US at least) so we do have to bring one of our parents with us to be able to play in a lot of venues. As for being dropouts, that’s just Lewis. Henry actually finished school last year; and Ethan (Trembath/bass) is still planning on finishing his education (it might take a while though – we keep dragging him off on tour).

CGL: Who are you currently listening too? Do you listen to any music that differs greatly from your own sound?
AW: We all listen to a vast selection of music genres that is very different from our own. We take inspiration from musicians like Bob Marley, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Sticky Fingers to name a few. Of course, we all listen to metal as well! We’re all really into Twelve Foot Ninja from Australia; and Jinjer who are another amazing Napalm band.

CGL: What’s one of your favorite songs to play live and why?
AW: “Kai Tangata” is definitely our favorite song to play live. It’s really fun to play on the instruments for all of us, and we all have vocal parts during the chorus. It’s a pretty challenging song, so it’s really satisfying to nail when playing live. Also, not to forget, it’s our ‘wall of death’ song!

CGL: What do you like to do right before you go onstage?
AW: We always hype each other up right before we go on stage which is usually us running around or doing pressups or something weird. Sometimes we’ll sing popular Māori waiata (songs), like “Tutira Mai nga Iwi,” which practically everyone from New Zealand knows.

CGL: Any good road stories? Any funny or interesting situations happen while on the road?
AW: When we were driving from Metaldays in Slovenia up to Wacken, we had a tire blow out on our caravan on the autobahn in Austria. That was bad enough, but when it happened, it had just got dark and a huge thunderstorm had just started, so there was rain and hail and thunder, and forked lightening everywhere, which was lighting up the forest all around us. We had to get out of the van for safety, so we were all standing huddled on the side of the road. It felt like we were in a horror movie, and we were going to get struck by lightning or something was going to come out of the woods. That was pretty surreal.

CGL: What’s behind the decision to use the Maori language in your songs?
AW: Henry and Lewis both have Maori ancestry and grew up speaking the language – they went to a kura kaupapa Māori (total immersion Māori school) when they were younger. In New Zealand, there is a school competition called Smokefree Rockquest, which we entered five times and eventually won; and there was also another competition which ran alongside it call Smokefree Pacifica Beats, where at least 25% of the lyrics had to be in Te Reo Māori, so we thought we’d give that a go, too and ended up winning that as well in the same year. Henry and Lewis were at a mainstream school by then and they had lost quite a lot of their language, so incorporating it into our songs was a great way of getting back into it. And, Te Reo Māori just works so well with metal, so we kept doing it.

iDKHOW Brings Their Musically Unique “Hipster Nonsense” To SoCal

iDKHOW play The Glass House Nov. 27; photo Lauren Perry

iDKHOW play The Glass House Nov. 27; photo Lauren Perry

I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, or iDKHOW for short, will soon be coming to entertain Southern California with its quirky, unique and, more importantly, fun music at The Glass House in Pomona Nov. 27.

Dallon Weekes, the vocalist and bass player of the band, guarantees every show is different, a self-contained treat.

“We aim to give people a different experience every time and try not to repeat ourselves,” Weekes promised. “Even if we do the same set, we try to leave a little room for improv and things to happen.”

Founded in 2016 in Salt Lake City, iDKHOW is comprised of a mere two people: Weekes, formerly of Panic! at the Disco, and Ryan Seaman, the former drummer and vocalist for Falling in Reverse.

Weekes says that the group started shortly before his departure from Panic! at the Disco in 2017.

“I saw my time there was coming to an end,” Weekes recalled. “So, I started collecting a lot of old ideas and started dusting them off and recording them with no real intent other than just to do it and as I did, I brought in my pal Ryan to play drums on some stuff and we got to hanging out.”

The two friends began iDKHOW in secret in 2016. Both Weekes and Seaman continually denied its existence until 2017.

iDKHOW; photo Melissa Quintas

iDKHOW; photo Melissa Quintas

“It would have been really easy to come out of the gate and just really exploit the bands that we were playing for at the time, you know, do a press release and say, ‘hey everyone, come check out this new thing’,” Weekes said. “But when you’re coming from a successful band and start something new then credibility can be kind of a challenge.”

Weekes and Seaman instead opted to go back to square one.

“We decided to start the way any new band would start by playing shows and leaving that stuff out of the equation,” Weekes explained. “We didn’t want to exploit fans or exploit the people we were working for at the time. So, we wanted to do it in secret, see if it would get people’s attention on its own.”

The music that iDKHOW typically produces is best described as a mixture of electronic, pop rock and new wave. However, it’s quite hard to truly define and were you to ask Weekes what he’d call such music, even he finds that a challenge.

“It’s always a little tough,” Weekes admits. “So, I’ve found that the most effective way to describe it is just ‘hipster nonsense’.”

This “hipster nonsense” is merely a reflection of his unique taste in music.

“It’s just the sum of the sort of stuff that I listen to,” Weekes states. “I don’t listen to a lot of modern pop and stuff. That’s all great but I tend to gravitate to more obscure and old stuff, not as a point of pride or anything. I wish that the stuff that I listened to was the most popular stuff in the world and everybody loved it like Sparks and T-Rex and Oingo Boingo and The Cure and things like that.”

One unique aspect of iDKHOW that differentiates them from other bands is their music composition. Weekes, who is in charge of making music for iDKHOW, doesn’t actually write out music whenever he thinks up an idea.

“I don’t read or write music in written form,” Weekes revealed. “That’s something I’ve still never learned to do but I do want to do someday.”

In the meantime, Weekes has adapted to taking full advantage of modern technology in making music.

“If an idea just strikes me I’ll record it into my phone and then when I have a free moment when the kids are at school or something I’ll go sit down at my laptop and get started making it into a song,” Weekes said.

It’s finally being able to play his finished work at live concerts along with Seaman that makes the effort totally worthwhile.

“That’s the pay-off I guess for all the hard work and difficulties that can come with trying to record an idea,” Weekes mentioned. “But the pay-off is always getting that finished product out and getting to play live in front of people. It’s the best.”

iDKHOW’s current schedule of appearances lasts until Dec. 7. But, not to worry, Weekes promises there will be more “hipster nonsense” to be enjoyed far beyond that.

“After this tour we’re doing with Waterparks we’ll be doing more shows in support of the EP that we just released,” Weekes said. “In the meantime, I’ll be working on writing more stuff for full-lengths that we can hopefully get out sometime in the new year.”

Dance The Night Away With The Orb

THE ORB play Teragram Ballroom Nov. 21; photo Roney-FM-K3-Media

THE ORB play Teragram Ballroom Nov. 21; photo Roney-FM-K3-Media

The Orb recreate a live musical collage of their greatest hits during this, their 30th year anniversary, currently on tour in the states. Breaking out samples and sounds, beats and rhythms, The Orb impact an audience with their trippy sounds and visual aids.

“It’s a mish mash of old and new,” founder Alex Paterson noted. “With bits of old things being played over new things and vice versa. A bit more energetic. A bit more danceable, rather than hip swaying.”

The Orb bring their own elaborate visuals to compliment the live music which are dependent on the size of the screen available at each venue. The bigger the screen, the bigger the visuals. While producer/collaborator Michael Rendall joins Paterson for the musical side of the live spectrum.

“It’s a very similar set up as me and Thomas (Fehlmann) with a lot more freedom.,” Paterson said. “We’re sacking the Americas… We’re throwing American techno back at them…old style…payback time. It’s all good fun. And remember it’s 30 years since the beginning of House pretty much in the world.

“But the visuals compensate for everything you see… I’m just the conductor.”

THE ORB "No Sounds Are Out Of Bound" cover art

THE ORB “No Sounds Are Out Of Bound” cover art

Mixed throughout the setlist of reimagined greatest hits are several songs from No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds. Tracks such as “Doughnuts Forever” and the 15 minute “Soul Planet”, one of Paterson’s favorites to play live.

“Soul Planet all the way,” Paterson confirmed. “It’s the last track on the album and it’s the longest track on the album. It’s what we can all do very, very, very well. When we do a long track, we can investigate what’s going on in 15 minutes, it’s good fun.”

“And Rush, “Rush Hill Road” which is a single and a video. That goes down real well. We muck it about, make it sound a bit heavier.”

The catchy “sing along” album version of “Rush Hill Road” features Hollie Cook on vocals.

“Dare I say I know her dad, Paul Cook, from the Sex Pistols”? Paterson teased. “I used to be a Killing Joke roadie, and Paul’s met me years ago many times in different clubs and things and we all eventually did a gig, it was quite bizarre, with the Sex Pistols when they did a reunion back in the 90’s, it was really odd.

“So anyway, I met Hollie a couple times through the reggae connection, as well, then she started doing an album with Youth (Killing Joke), and Youth being one of my best friends invited me over, and we did a track on her album, then she did a track for me on our album.”

Prior to No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds, The Orb released Cow, a unique and truly original flow of atmospheric songs, alternating and overlapping samples such as – animal noises, rushing rivers – but it wasn’t really toured or performed live.

“Well, what I can tell you about that album is that no musical instruments were played in the making of that album,” Paterson revealed. “It was an absolute joy to use samples in a very constructive way…not even bars, not even loops, just sounds; and then creating our own music with those sounds.

“The whole thing was (put together) a little under 10 days. It’s a small album, it’s only 41 minutes long. It sits very well on the palette.

“Lots of the recordings were taken in America when we went down to the Moogfest three years ago in Durham and I discovered the river Eno which I thought was quite amusing, so I recorded it. And that’s on the album, as well.”

Hanging out in clubs in the late 80’s, hearing things that he liked, Paterson wanted to do his own thing similar to what he was hearing.

“I was lucky to have people around me with studios that I could go in and muck about,” Paterson recalled. “Creating my own music in ‘88, ’89, was very much fun. A lot of freedom. A lot of experiments. Not afraid to do things.

“Everything’s gotten a lot easier with the advent of mass production of computers. It takes away a lot of the studio costs, which is quite good, really. Because you can spend a lot of time in the studio doing this thing.

“I haven’t finished yet. It’s a good feeling to feel that a childhood sort of dream that you always wanted to make music, you always wanted to be known for your music, your art, I did it.”

It’s not often that The Orb play in the states so don’t miss them at Teragram Ballroom Nov. 21.

“Looking forward to Los Angeles,” Paterson admitted. “We should be rocking you by then.”

Fortunate Youth Bring Their Signature Sound Back Home

FORTUNATE YOUTH play The Novo Nov. 21, Observatory / North Park Nov. 23 , Observatory / Santa Ana Nov. 24 and 25; press photo

FORTUNATE YOUTH play The Novo Nov. 21, Observatory / North Park Nov. 23 , Observatory / Santa Ana Nov. 24 and 25; press photo

Good Vibes!!! This phrase is at the center of reggae music and is a pivotal force in the popular L.A. reggae act Fortunate Youth.

“Basically, myself and another member were really looking to create a name that was positive,” explains Greg Gelb of the band. “And fortunate youth being a kind of state of mind, you know a positive state of mind, and music keeps you young; so, if you have a youthful mindset, you’re kind of lucky to be young forever through music.

“Four of us went to high school together – Jered Draskovich, Corey Draskovich, myself Greg Gelb, and Travis Walpole- and our singer Dan Kelly is a transplant in the L.A. area from Mississippi so we kinda linked up with him. There were like two bands that we decided to put together. And later added our drummer from Las Vegas, Jordan Rosenthal.

“Our manager decided to have a birthday party and we decided to take these two bands and combine forces. And along the way we have added other members which has turned it into a six piece.”

FORTUNATE YOUTH: press photo

FORTUNATE YOUTH: press photo

Reggae is a fluid art form; while constantly maintaining a close tie to its roots, over the years it has shown an incredible ability to fuse with many other styles of music along the way. “We kind of joke about that,” muses Gelb. “We all have our own interests, some similar and some different. And when it came out, we all decided to band together and what came out was our sound.

“Definitely reggae influenced…. but I tell a lot of people we blend a lot of different styles into reggae, and that is what we enjoy about it,” reflects Gelb. “It’s kind of like an open book where you can blend a lot of cool styles and the reggae vibe is open to a lot of that. It has allowed for a good collaboration of sounds. I think what we most enjoy about being in the reggae genre is the community; it’s very welcoming and everybody is really positive.”

Speak to any reggae fan, and they will tell you seeing it live is a necessity for far too many reasons to list. “Definitely the energy,” states Gelb. “It all starts with everybody in the crowd, a kind of reflective and positive energy that goes back and forth.

“One of the most fun songs we play live, in terms of a high energy song, is “Burn One.” I think that’s a crowd favorite for sure so that’s always fun. Another fun song I enjoy is “Things,” that’s a fun song to play. I don’t know if you know, but four of us switch instruments throughout the show. So, I play guitar and then get a few songs on the bass. The four of us each get to jump on the bass in the set so we kinda joke that we all like to fight over the bass.”

“It’s fun, you know,” Gelb continues. “We all have fun playing the bass. It’s a little bit…. you get to move around, it’s a little more simplified, and is a key element to the feel. So, yea, we have fun playing the musical instruments.”

Currently embarking on their West in Peace tour, the band is excited to be playing the west coast again; and thus, created a whimsical name for the tour with a funny story behind it. Gelb explains: “We were hoping people would get the bit of humor with it. The concept is based on the West Coast tour so there’s the west. One of our songs that illustrates the theme we are going for with our music is “Peace, Love, and Unity” so that’s a track of ours that we play almost every set. When people ask us what we are all about, that’s what we try to embody. That’s what we wanted to incorporate as well so we pieced those two things together.

“Then we decided to throw Elmer Fudd as the kind of spokesperson of that with the way he talks. Instead of rest in peace, he would say west in peace. And when we commissioned a friend for the flyer, we made a picture of him meditating and looking peaceful. So, it was just a twist on positive and rest in peace.”

Being from Hermosa Beach, Fortunate Youth looks forward to some hometown shows and the opportunity to bring their sound to longtime fans.

“The Observatory is like a backyard party for us,” reveals Gelb. “Just in terms of how a lot of friends come out so it’s definitely a good fun party feel to it. We are excited to record a live album there and get that experience there and put it out for people.”

With this tour, Fortunate Youth is spreading their love all around SoCal beginning Nov. 21 at The Novo, Nov. 23 at The Observatory North Park, Nov. 24 and 25 at The Observatory Santa Ana, Nov. 28 at The Majestic, and Nov. 29 at The Date Shed. Catch them at one, or even all, of these dates for deep reggae vibes you won’t find anywhere else!

Diiv Trip West To Observatory

DIIV play Observatory/Santa Ana Nov. 18; photo James Christopher

DIIV play Observatory/Santa Ana Nov. 18; photo James Christopher

DIIV put their shoe-gaze back on as they head to the Observatory Santa Ana Nov. 18, then return for a New Year’s Eve show at Highland Park Ebell in Los Angeles.

DIIV is the creation of Beach Fossils guitarist Z. Cole Smith. And the two full-lengths by the band, Is The Is Are and Oshin, are very much saturated with guitar presence. Even though the album is rich with ethereal vocal tones and chords, the guitar workings surface above all of that creating a thick choir of melody.

DIIV; photo James Christopher

DIIV; photo James Christopher

One can get lost in the harmonious hum of both studio albums, and just before the monotonous seems to take a foothold within the progression of the songs, the texture of the music shifts into moments that will remind some listeners of Joy Division and Bauhaus, minus the atmosphere of darkness and depression that one can feel from those bands. No, DIIV is music for rocking on silvery fluffy clouds or for a smooth drive down the coast on a sunny day. That’s music perfect for tour dates in California, isn’t it?

DIIV; photo James Christopher

DIIV; photo James Christopher

There are harder hitting patches in the music giving it a groove and maintaining an indie-rock feel. Then there are sections that seem to fade into the background giving the sound an even more dreamy quality, which a shoe-gaze junkie would be fiending for.

The diversity in the compositions is something sure to take notice of with this band. I find it is not common and/or easy for most bands to keep a multi-genre title under their belt. Bands tend to be more one genre over another. Such is not the case here with the balance in the music that DIIV keeps steady.

DIIV; photo James Christopher

DIIV; photo James Christopher

There are even moments where the band’s shoe-gaze trips morph into psychedelic ones with artsy statics and noises to boot. But should it be that one had their hair in their face for too long or forgot where they were, the sound soon shifts again and takes the listener somewhere else.

DIIV; photo James Christopher

DIIV; photo James Christopher

The aspect of the music that seems to keep you in this lucid-dream-state instead of floating off into unconsciousness are the siren-like male vocals that softly sneak in on most of the tracks. They are wonderfully hypnotic and mantra-like at times.

For all the cold-floor-bliss-rockers lurking in SoCal, you can follow DIIV like a dead-head would follow The Grateful Dead for three nights. Although the last night is on a Sunday and may not give you ample time to come down off three doses of DIIV by the time you need to wake up for work Monday. Yet, you may enjoy extending that trip into a potential manic work week and choose to just relax while on the job.

Jinjer Brings The Melody And The Fury To SoCal

JINJER play Whisky A Go Go Nov. 16 and Brick By Brick Nov. 18; press photo

JINJER play Whisky A Go Go Nov. 16 and Brick By Brick Nov. 18; press photo

“Well, it (Jinjer) doesn’t mean anything at all,” according to bassist Eugene Kostyuk. “It has no connection with ginger, like hair color or….

“It is another fact that now there is no founding member in the band. And honestly, none of us know how the band was made. I am absolutely sure that it was named Jinjer because people liked the word; maybe they had no idea what it means or care. Just Jinjer, and that’s it.”

Such is the enigma of this Ukrainian band and they are an enigma in all the right ways. The current lineup – in addition to Kostyuk, is comprised of guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov, Vladislav Ulasevish on drums, and vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk – has developed an evolving sound based in progressive death metal, yet absorbing broad influences ranging from jazz to Nu metal. Jinjer has been making waves around the world due to their unique mixture of these sounds.

“Each of us has absolutely, well not quite absolutely, but quite different musical tastes,” Kostyuk explains. “Me personally, I’ve always, well for a really long time, been into progressive metal. Death metal, such as bands like Daath, and the European progressive scene, like Opeth and Gojira. And these bands influenced me a lot along with some Nu Metal bands, especially Mudvayne who is one of my most favorite bands ever.

“Roman, his musical roots come from thrash metal bands like Metallica and Slayer. And later he got into Nu Metal bands like Slipknot. And Vlad, he is a big fan of the death core scene.

“Tatiana, on the other hand, is on the opposite side. Recently she has been getting out of metal, and one of the only metal bands she still listens to is Gojira. But she has been more about jazz, soul, and rhythm and blues. She is a big fan of Amy Winehouse, loves Pink a lot, and No Doubt. Music like that. I could talk about this endlessly. There are so many bands we listen to, got inspired by, and probably borrowed elements from.”

In this way, the musicians in Jinjer share a commonality of interests yet celebrate their differences, deftly illustrated in their music and live shows. But what does this sound like exactly?

“Describing music with words is difficult,” Kostyuk admitted. “Imagine Opus meets Lamb of God. And this mixture describes us more or less okay… is an okay description of a Jinjer live show. On one hand it’s hardcore and heavy; yet on the other, we have a lot of light and easy moments, some kind of jazzy and funky elements – which let people relax and rest between these hardcore blast beats.”

Kostyuk further elaborates, “A good show is a combination of factors. It starts from how I feel physically and mentally, going into the venue and how big it is, how good the sound is, how active the crowd is, and the combination of all of these is what makes a good show. This is how I see it.”

Every band will tell you that different songs sound better live, while others suit the studio environment better.

“I can’t pick any I prefer but there are a couple that I think sound better live than on the record, ‘I Speak Astronomy’ and ‘Pisces’,” Kostyuk conveys.

“And now on this tour with Devildriver, we are playing unreleased songs from the new EP. And I have to say, I really enjoy playing them live. It’s just absolutely incredible. We haven’t had new material in a long time and finally we came up with some stuff, and it is just mind blowing.”

Now on their second tour in America with Devildriver and Raven Black, Jinjer is excited to be on tour, as well as having an opportunity to test out the forthcoming songs on their soon to be released EP.

“We just released the first single, it’s called ‘Ape’,” Kostyuk revealed. “It’s been out online for one week. The EP, if I’m not mistaken, will be out in November. It’s gonna be five tracks of new songs.

“I would love to see all of our American fans on this tour, especially since we are playing the new songs and really look forward to their reactions, cuz no one has listened to them before.”

Catch Jinjer in all their mysterious glory, and get some brand-new aural treats, when they play the Whisky in Los Angeles on Nov. 16 and Brick By Brick in San Diego Nov. 18.

The Record Company Bring Blues And Love To SoCal

THE RECORD COMPANY play HOB/San Diego Nov. 9 and The Wiltern Nov.10; photo Jen Rosenstein

THE RECORD COMPANY play HOB/San Diego Nov. 9 and The Wiltern Nov.10; photo Jen Rosenstein

The Record Company, a power trio known for their blues-styled rock, are coming to California to finish their current 2018 tour. The three-man group play at the House of Blues in San Diego Nov. 9 and The Wiltern in Los Angeles Nov. 10.

Chris Vos, the band’s lead vocalist and who also provides guitar instrumentals for The Record Company’s songs, says he looks forward to these two shows. The region is the home of Vos who says there could be no better place to end his group’s current tour.

“I love California,” Vos proclaims. “I love the people. I love the open-mindedness. I love how everybody just is such entertainment aficionados. They all know and they’ve all been around the block. It’s great. I just simply enjoy being in a place where I can go when I’m home and see any number of different type of inspiring entertainment or inspiring natural beauty.”

It’s also in SoCal, specifically in Los Angeles, that The Record Company first formed in 2011. The band’s roots go back to 2010 though as that’s when Vos first met Alex Stiff, the group’s bass player, who took a liking to the music Vos had produced.

“He heard what I had done previously,” Vos recalled. “He liked it and invited me to hang out. He was having a little get together with some friends. He has a huge pile of vinyl he’s amassed over the years. We just went over there and spun some records and struck up a friendship.”

It wasn’t until after a later meeting with Stiff and Marc Cazorla, who would become the group’s drummer, that the idea to form a band began.

“We were just listening to some records one evening,” Vos said. “We had the speaker in the window and sitting out on the back porch and we just decided ‘hey, let’s get together, hang some microphones in the living room and record it and see what it sounds like’, and we liked it.”

THE RECORD COMPANY; photo Jen Rosenstein

THE RECORD COMPANY; photo Jen Rosenstein

From there the group began playing locally and self-released their first music as a 7’’ single vinyl in March of 2012. However, the group’s tenacity and innovation has helped the group finally reach the musical mainstream earning critical praise, musical appearances in film and TV and even earned the group a Grammy nomination in 2017 for Best Contemporary Blues Album Give It Back To You.

These accomplishments are owed to the group’s unique take on rock and roll best described as blues rock: a fusion genre combining elements of blues and rock. While this mixture isn’t new and has been around for years, Vos says that he and his bandmates, in composing their songs, do their utmost to make the music they produce as fresh and new as possible.

“We try to root out cliché as much as possible,” Vos explains. “It’s like, if I’m playing this melody on a guitar, it sounds like something I’ve heard a million times. But if we make it a bass-centric melody and we kind of lean on that, it all of a sudden sounds different. It sounds like something a little more fresh. We’re just always trying to find a way to root out those things and just find some new inspiration anywhere we can.”

Vos says that the biggest reward he gets from completing these songs, specifically the ones Vos and his fellow band members made for the group’s recent album All of This Life, is being able to play them live.

“It’s a thrill, a great thrill,” Vos enthused. “That’s one of the great rewards of recording an album is being able to take that music out to people and putting it out in front of them.”

Though Vos says he’s enjoyed playing in venues like the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Madison Square Garden, he isn’t picky in where he likes to play live music.

“People always ask me what’s your favorite place to play and, I swear to god, this is not a cop-out, I say ‘wherever I am that day’,” Vos said. “Because that’s the only day you’re actually living.”

After the group’s upcoming Nov. 10 appearance in Los Angeles, Vos and the rest of The Record Company will not be touring again until March which will see them go to Europe.

“We have some pretty big shows that I unfortunately can’t say what they are,” Vos states. “But we’re going to be having a big announcement coming up very soon that’ll be at the beginning of the year for some more dates.”

Vos however says that The Record Company will keep playing music whenever opportunity allows in-between these tours and in the future.

“We’ll be doing summer festivals and just getting out there with some other bands and just keep on playing. We’ll play the whole country and play it again. We’ll go up to Canada, play there. Go overseas, play there. We’ll play anywhere they put us.”

Crazy Energy Of Dream Wife

DREAM WIFE play The Echo Oct. 10 and Constellation Room Oct. 13; photo Hollie Fernando

DREAM WIFE play The Echo Oct. 10, Casbah Oct. 12 and Constellation Room Oct. 13; photo Hollie Fernando

Listening to Dream Wife’s self-titled debut album, it sounds like they’re having a ton of fun, which guitarist Alice Go enthusiastically confirmed. Looking at their tour schedule, it seems there’s no rest for the wicked!

“It’s true, it’s true,” Go declared. “It was like straight after we released our album in January this year we went straight out to play Laneway Festival in Australia. And kind of since then pretty much this year has been nonstop. So, yea, it’s going to be great to come out and do a headline tour to the U.S.”

And playing live is what it’s all about, the live show being the truest part of their whole project, one that started a few years back when they all met at art school in England.

“It’s where the energy, where the soul comes from, it’s basically jamming in the practice room, it’s the way we interact with our friends and family, it’s a crazy chemistry in Dream Wife, it’s always such a great energy on stage, and we hope that translates to the crowd and I think actually as a band we try to break the ice… it’s the way we play…and have a good time ourselves,” Go explained.

Dream Wife; photo Joanna Kiely

Dream Wife; photo Joanna Kiely

It’s interesting how Dream Wife has both playful and serious songs that make you stop and think one moment, then let loose and be silly the next.

“It’s always a really special part of the set when we play our song “Somebody”,” Go mused. “I think it’s when everyone actually is respecting everyone else around them and it brings the focal of attention to that.

“Then coming from that song later in the set to “F.U.U” where it’s everyone screaming “bitch” together as a crowd … I think it’s the major extremes in the set that hopefully everyone can enjoy themselves and everyone can take something from it.”

Vocalist Rakel Mjöll, writes the lyrics, weaving together stories from conversations between the band members or their friends, keeping it true to heart, with the possible exception of “F.U.U” which may or may not have evolved from jamming the theme song from the Fresh Prince.

“There’s a couple of original stories at this point,” Go laughed. “I think we were just jamming around with the theme tune for the Fresh Prince and it just escalated… I think that playful nature comes across in the way we like to write. At this point I’m not even sure what the origin story is!”

Bella Podpadec plays bass and while they used to work with a drum machine, they currently play with a live drummer, Alex Paveley.

“He’s amazing,” Go said. “I think having live percussion brings a lot of energy. That backbeat is really important to this band and the sound.”

Dream Wife; album art

Dream Wife; album art

But, back when the three women started this project, they wanted to figure out amongst themselves what their terms were, what they wanted from the band and how they wanted to navigate the music industry.

“You want to figure out what your project is on your own terms before someone else comes along and tells you how it is, so we were very wary of that sort of stuff,” Go explained.

“At the moment I think we have an amazing indie label – Lucky Number – based in London, they’re very supportive, and we really trust them to enable us to take this project in a way that we see fit…we can do some things we were never able to do before… but it still feels like a project that is in our control in terms of vision, content, message, where we want to go musically… I feel very lucky about the position we’re in.”

While Go feels a lot has changed in the male dominated music industry, she also feels women need to band together, in a sense, too.

“I think yes, a lot has changed in that it’s a conversation in a more open way with diversity and equality in the music business,” Go said. “I have a sense that ultimately it’s still a conversation that needs to be pushed and we can’t lax on that otherwise things stay stagnant and don’t change. It’s about continuing the conversation.”

For decades women in music have often been viewed as a novelty or a manufactured thing. One or the other. There weren’t many women in rock that were role models.

“Yea, yea, totally, totally, totally,” Go enthused. “It’s either a unicorn in the traditional sense or it’s a kind of no control situation… a manufactured situation or a fake situation.

“It’s like the Spice Girls were so exciting as a kid and girl power … I think there’s something empowering about that feeling now and reclaiming that as well as reclaiming the place in music where we’re more serious as musicians…yea, yea, it’s kind of complicated, isn’t it?

Be a part of the wild energy and catch Dream Wife Oct. 13 at Constellation Room.

Music Tastes Good: A Tale From The Photo Pit

SANTIGOLD; photo Andy Ortega

SANTIGOLD; photo Andy Ortega

It’s about time someone finally brings the greatest things in life together in one place and with this being the 3rd Music Tastes Good Festival, it was done perfectly! This 2-day festival on September 29th and 30th allowed me to stuff my face with delicious food on the way to get photo coverage of the next artist, burn off some calories while dancing and doing photographer jiu-jitsu in the photo pit, then repeat, over and over again! It was glorious!

The event was held in the downtown Long Beach Marina Green area with familiar landmarks in the background such as the Long Beach Convention Center, Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific and the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

SHAME; photo Andy Ortega

SHAME; photo Andy Ortega

The first artist I covered was Shame, a UK-based rock band. It was a great way to start my day off right since they brought an amazing energy that kept the audience on their feet, while keeping the photographers in the photo pit on our toes as well. Shame is the type of band that moves all over the place on the stage (well, except for the drummer and keys obviously). It makes it easy to get a “money shot” where the singer’s hair is caught swinging mid-air, or the guitarist is captured leaping off a speaker. This was mid-afternoon in the outdoors on a sunny California day, which means I could get sharp, action pics with my shutter speed as high as 1/500 or 1/1000!

OLIVER TREE; photo Andy Ortega

OLIVER TREE; photo Andy Ortega

The next artist I was covering, Oliver Tree, was performing at the other stage called the Gold Stage. It was at the opposite end of the festival, which meant I would need to traverse through the smoke of food trucks and the central Taste Tent where many people were being trapped with the luring scents coming from within. It took all of my willpower, but I just couldn’t resist.

CHERRY GLAZERR; photo Andy Ortega

CHERRY GLAZERR; photo Andy Ortega

In the Taste Tent, you could get a $5 voucher to try a dish from many of the chefs in attendance. One of the chefs, Nancy Leon of Tijuana, Mexico, was serving Seaweed Baja taco that consisted of snow crab, mackerel w/ avocado, Meyer lemon, crispy panko, and shiso micro greens served with wasabi dressing.

LIZZO; photo Andy Ortega

LIZZO; photo Andy Ortega

Another chef, Sincere Justice of Oakland, California was serving his “BO KHO TACO” with Vietnamese styled braised brisket (bo kho), roasted garlic lebne, lemongrass morita salsa, herbs, and cucumber. Sounds tasty, eh?

As I stumbled out of the Taste Tent, belly full and a slightly uncomfortable grin on my face, I made my way to the Gold Stage just in time for Oliver Tree.

JANELLE MONAE; photo Andy Ortega

JANELLE MONAE; photo Andy Ortega

I covered a few other artists including Cherry Glazerr, Blake Mills and Lizzo. Next up was Santigold! But there was a problem. By this time, the attendance at the festival had swelled. It seemed like everyone that was going to arrive this day had just entered – including a swarm of photographers that had lined up along the side of the stage to get access to Santigold’s performance. The energy for concert goers was at its peak, but for us concert photographers, it was at the point where I was a bit worried. Would the photo pit delve into a barbaric, rude, mosh pit of starving artists competing for the best spot???

BLAKE MILLS; photo Andy Ortega

BLAKE MILLS; photo Andy Ortega

As the music started, the security guard began letting us in. He counted each person and as I approached, I heard him say “… 19, 20, Stop right here, Sir”. Yup, I was number 21 and immediately a shiver ran down my spine. I stuttered, nervous and a little upset, and asked him, “When do the rest of us get in?”. “Two songs, then your group gets to go in for two songs”. I was so relieved! While the photo pit was still quite crowded, I was pleased to see that we were able to squeeze through and get the shots that we were happy with.

NEW ORDER; photo Andy Ortega

NEW ORDER; photo Andy Ortega

Later that night, I enjoyed covering New Order as they played their hit from 1983 “Blue Monday”. Ah good times!

On day 2 of the Music Tastes Good Festival, I covered Sun Kil Moon, Lizzo and Janelle Monae. Ate more food and checked out the shops and art that was displayed throughout. All in all, the Music Tastes Good Festival was a great experience for the foodie, the hard-core festival goer or the music-obsessed family to enjoy a wonderful time.