Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with Rich Webb

Riot-inducing riffs, rip-roaring vocals, and provocative lyrics; Rich Webb’s music is the sound of bar brawls and busted knuckles or as BEAT magazine accurately said: ‘a Tarantino soundtrack’. With a new track and album in the pipeline, we catch up with the Australia-bound front man to find out more…

What’s the story behind your forthcoming single ‘Let It Rain’?

It feels to me like we’ve gone back to the 50’s or something, with crazy ego-driven leaders making nuts decisions, massive power plays around stuff geared to make rich people richer, and growing social division. ‘Let It Rain’ is a simple song about wanting an absolute deluge right now to wash away this all-pervading crap we’re in… and when it happens, we’re going to run with a lot of other people I reckon into the middle of a muddy field somewhere, shouting ‘hallelujah’! – and we’re going to dance a jig!

How would you describe your music to a stranger in a bar?

The music is lyrically driven, earthy, left field, eclectic, a bit old school, I write songs about things that often don’t get written about so much these days that were more common in the 50’s and 60’s from artists such as Jacques Brel, it’s loosely defined as nouvelle chanson I think…

Your music has been dubbed as Australia’s answer to Americana. Where does that fit in the mainstream consciousness?

In the ball park with bands like Arctic Monkeys / Arcade Fire / Courtney Barnett but also crossing over to less traditional but really successful country areas such as US singer/songwriter Chris Stapleton (Pete Lyman who mastered our latest album, also masters Chris Stapleton’s stuff, as well as Tom Waits and the like who would be a big influence).

What does the album’s title Le Rayon Vert mean to you?

Le Rayon Vert was a French film we both liked way back when. The premise behind it is that if you see the green ray as the sun goes down you will be able to read the mind of the person you are with, and they will be able to read yoursIt is a real optical phenomenon that happens occasionally at sunset. I reckon the name suits the collection of songs on this album which are full of openness, discovery, and also look into some dark uncomfortable places that don’t often get explored – if everything is going to be suddenly revealed to you, it’s not necessarily going to be all positive, right? Each song is like a polaroid of a moment and a certain state of mind – and what we are trying to do is to capture that moment as if we’ve all just seen the green ray.

Follow Rich Webb:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/richwebbband

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1g5o3qJezCQmv3OEbYez5V?si=B5i5QFINRnqYHPYuIxBE2w

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/richwebb

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richwebbband/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/richwebbmusic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rich_webb_music/

Website: http://rich-webb.com

Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with Heronimus Fin

Underground rockers, Heronimus Fin, release their new album on 20th August and with it introduce a heavier side to the band. After four albums of hugely acclaimed psychedelic and folk adventures, they present ‘The Pharmacist’, a concept album following the tragic life of an individual addicted to prescription drugs. We catch up with the quintet to find out more…

Tell us more about the concept behind The Pharmacist and where it originated from.

The concept is based loosely on my own situation having been on prescription medication for 30+ years due to chronic migraines and now finding the medication has become the problem, the addiction…I think this has become a major issue for many people today who look for a solution to an ailment then the solution becomes the problem..ironic really!

Your songs are anchored by strong lyrical content, what’s on the spectrum of topics you’ve covered so far?

We’ve written about such things as high school shootings/gun culture, political mismanagement, conspiracy theories, deaths through recreational drug use, prophecy, historical stories, animal cruelty.

Which acts do you cite as a source of inspiration?

Musically our influences are late 60’s/early 70’s psych prog rock bands such as Budgie, Black Sabbath, Golden Earring, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper.

You’ve pivoted to a new realm of rock on this album. What can you tell us about the production?

It was co produced at Woodbine Studios, Leamington by John Rivers (who did The Specials – Ghost Town/ Ocean Colour Scene), it’s very 60’s/70’s influenced rock production.
Follow Heronimus Fin:

Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with Rare Americans

Ask any pop punk fan what attracts them to a band and they’ll tell you two things: a DIY ethos and fans-first attitude. These are the two pillars upon which Rare Americans have built their boundary-pushing pop punk. Having released a handful of singles and videos from their forthcoming self-titled album, the Vancouver-based band have proved their vitality as pop punk pioneers and socio-political commentators. We catch up with front man James Priestner to find out more…

What’s the band’s origin story?

Lubo and I played in a band together called The Lunas which was similar to bands like Arctic Monkeys. My brother Jared and I took a trip a year ago to Bequia in the Caribbean and I brought my guitar. I joked that we should write a song, and sure enough we came back with 15. Over the course of the next couple months we wrote another 20. 

What’s the secret behind your pioneering pop punk sound?

I guess it’s multiple influences coming together. James loves bands like Modest Mouse, Arctic Monkeys, and The Strokes. Jared is a punk rocker listening to bands like Bad Religion, Pennywise, and Rancid. Lubo’s favourite bands are Dream Theatre and Steven Wilson. We all share a love of hip hop! 

Tell us about the roll call of guests you enlisted to help on the album.

We hired producer Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, The Strokes, Raconteurs, Arkells). On drums we had Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, Cold War Kids, The Shins) and on bass we had Yuuki Matthews (The Shins). We also have a bunch of gang vocals in our music which was any friends that were available to help out on the day!

You’ve been releasing a new track with a music video every week, what’s the story behind that strategy?

I own a small production company here in Vancouver called Limited Company, so all the music videos were done in-house. For ‘Cats, Dogs, & Rats’ we hired an animator from Brooklyn named Harry Tietelman who did Killer Mike (of Run The Jewels) video for ‘Reagan’. He also drew all of our artwork and album cover. ‘Balmoral Hotel’ features Grace Dove who played Leonardo DiCaprio’s wife in The Revenant. ‘I vs I’ features Kai Kennedy who played Finn Wolfhard’s (from Stranger Things) bandmate in PUPS music videos for Sleep in The Heat and Guilt Trip.

 

Follow Rare Americans:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-919911504       

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzCTW3k3_ItdqxdVaeXn2IA

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RareAmericansFP

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/rareamericans/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rareamericans/          

Website:  www.rareamericans.com   

 

 

Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with Hitha

At just 13-years-old, Hitha is bidding to be the next young starlet. The Californian singer-songwriter has recently released ‘Standing Up With Pride’, a pop romp which delivers a message of positivity. We speak to Hitha to find out where she finds the inspiration for her upbeat pop.


What’s your single ‘Standing Up With Pride’ about?

Even though we all may have many activities and things we care about in our lives, this song is about putting forth your biggest passion and going for it. I used to play soccer and basketball and tennis and volleyball while also doing vocal lessons twice a week. I realized that I liked singing the best, and so I decided to put it as my number one priority and focused on that. I still play volleyball, but everything else I’ve set aside and singing is my number one focus.

Your songs portray a message of positivity and hope. What’s your main source of inspiration?

My main source of inspiration is everyday life. I try to take problems from everywhere to make my songs relatable so everyone can connect with them.

What’s your biggest ambition as a teen popstar?

I hope that I become known as the positive little girl who loves to write and perform. When people hear my music, I want them to know that they can always count on themselves to figure out what their true passion is, and then put in the hard work and practice alongside their talent to get the achievement they’re looking for. There’s always a positive ending if you try hard and don’t give up.

Does your Asian heritage influence the music you make?

I actually started my music with India Classical singing when I was 4. Indian classical signing helped me with many vocal/technical attributes and I have realized that music is my passion. Basically, it gave me foundation to build my music future on. ​

Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with Harp Samuels

Take the soft croons of James Vincent McMorrow,  the cinematic atmospherics of Sufjan Stevens, and the gut-wrenching storytelling of Bon Iver, and you’ll have the essence of Harp Samuels’ devastatingly tender slow burners. With his sophomore record in the pipeline, we catch up with the Australian songwriter to find out what went on behind the studio doors…

Describe your music in five words.

Deep, thoughtful, unique, melodic, and vulnerable.

What’s the story behind forthcoming album ‘Breathe’?

I lost my Dad last year right when I was in the middle of promoting my debut album ‘Wanting.’ I decided to go home to Melbourne, and I was feeling a lot of tension/ grief and all kinds of stuff. I wanted to put those feelings somewhere so I turned to music and art, initially purely to process what I was going through. It’s about tension, closure, new chapters, and our relationship to the eternal.

Is there a song on the album that’s particularly close to your heart?

The song ‘Closure in C’ (an homage to Canon in D) was played on my Dad’s piano, and the reason is that my family is going to sell it, so I wanted to write/ perform a piece on it as an act of closure.

You’ve said there are a lot of ‘easter eggs’ in the project. Can you give us an exclusive on what to expect?

The track listing is in alphabetical order and the amount of tracks (9) represents in-completion. The songs and project have been carefully named, and are designed to flow as one 30 minute themed musical project.

Follow Harp Samuels:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/harpsamuels

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/ 0MuUQctpxfdFva4QH0wdYw

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/ UCoRtZZOUcN_uUOj63fa9RUQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harpsamuels

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HarpSamuels

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harpsamuels/

Website: www.harpsamuels.com

 

 

Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with Alice’s Night Circus

Juggling a smorgasbord of influences with a pop sensibility, Alice’s Night Circus walks the tightrope between her theatrical world and the mainstream sound-du-jour. Like Panic! At The Disco who married debauchery and cabaret with pop prowess, and Muse who converted a fascination for space into cabinets of album awards, ringmaster Julia Scott is attempting to lure the mainstream into her conceptual world of circus and theatrics. With her debut album ‘Metamorphose’ on the horizon, we delve deeper into Alice’s world…

In a handful of words, tell us what ‘Metamorphose’ is about?

The album is a form of escapism whilst encouraging people to embrace their creativity and individuality.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Whilst I have been classically trained as a singer my music taste is very eclectic. This ranges from opera and musicals to pop, jazz and symphonic metal and everything in-between, which means my music is very diverse. I have taken heavy influence from visual styles such as steampunk, vintage, circus, film and television.

How has living with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) permeated into your music?

I used [my illness] to inspire the song ‘Medusa’ and it also features subtly in some of my other songs.

How have you married your love for Steampunk with your music?

‘Penny Dreadful’ is inspired by my love of the Victorian macabre and old horror stories.  Some of my fans have even created their own costumes to allow them to portray the song characters Mr Strange and Penny. A number of belly dancing and burlesque troupes have created routines to this track. A further fan created a Jig Doll for a video which he has since gifted to me. I create my own stage costumes and accessories as well as create other outfits for Comic Cons and Steampunk events.

Alice will be appearing as herself in a fine art photography project based around steampunks. Find out more about Gary Nicholls’ The Imaginarium here.

Follow Alice’s Night Circus:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/400uDlpep629T3L02HdJtr

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnyOy98XOqXty8L8y49otwA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicesnightcircus/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/alicencircus

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/curiousbyalice/

Website:  www.alicesnightcircus.com

Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with Adam Lanceley

If a songwriter is only as effective as the stories they tell, Adam Lanceley will have his songs etched into your mind in no time. His latest album Epitaph to Innocence is his seventh to date, despite suffering life-changing injuries from a car crash many years ago. Against all odds, Adam not only proved them wrong but has taken his remarkable recovery to the extreme, running marathons and now carving out a career as a singer-songwriter. We catch up with Adam to find out how he channeled his trauma into art…

What inspired you to start writing music?

When I was 10, I had a severe car crash which I was not expected to recover from. Other people will tell me what an amazing recovery I’ve made but to be honest I don’t really think about it like that. Music has always been both powerful in helping me deal with the things life’s thrown at me.

You’re notoriously elusive about the meaning behind your songs. What’s the reason for this?

I always think rather than explain to people what your songs are about, it makes them far more interesting if you keep a little bit of mystery behind them and let the listener decide what they think it means.

You’ve written and released seven full-length albums. Are you still seeing development in your work?

In this album, I hope you’ll be able to notice a progression in both the production and delivery if you compare it to my earlier stuff. I am very keen on exploring new sounds and use of instruments to keep my music fresh.

Which artists dominated your record collection when you were growing up?

It would be a lie to say that I’ve always been passionate about music. My taste, though, has always been ‘old skool’ – going back to Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley. It was when I first heard ‘The Beach Boys’ that my interest in music – particularly, 1960’s West Coast music started to increase. The 3 albums that mean the most to me, I would say, would have to be really thought provoking, reflective ones. Pet Sounds, Bridge Over Troubled Water and Hotel California.

Follow Adam Lanceley:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/adam-lanceley/id569012210

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/adam-129087330

Twitter: https://twitter.com/adamlanceley

Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with Steele

Today marks the release of Steele‘s hotly-anticipated debut album ‘Paroxysm‘.

If the pre-album singles staked her claim as a pop prodigy, the album confirms it. The full-length sees Steele use her brush with death to breathe a new lease of life into pop music, marrying life-affirming lyrics with serpentine vocals and a backdrop of electro-noir.

With each boundary-breaking offering Steele is paving her way to mainstream consciousness, proving she’s got what it takes to earn a place in today’s pop pantheon. Judging by her features in Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Clash, it seems the music world is inclined to agree. We spoke to the Stockholm-hailing songwriter to find out about the formula behind her songs.

The subject matter of your songs is increasingly dark, where do you draw your inspiration from?

I guess a big, and very recent thing, is I got a really serious case of meningitis over Christmas and New Years and almost died. I was put in a medically induced coma for days and hospitalised for a few weeks and ended up becoming epileptic as a result.

How did this experience refresh your perspective on songwriting?

Also because the whole experience have made me less cynical and inspired me in my process of creating and appreciating. I think the following EPs/albums will be permeated by this phase of my life.

Who is your music for?

The sound is heavy, melancholic and cinematic, kind of like Disney music for grown-ups. The tracks are an institution for any persons dark or emotional places, Steele is a powerful, stoic no-bullshit entity.

What’s the story behind the album’s title?

I just decided to name the album ‘Paroxysm’ which basically means “an outburst of emotions” – because that’s what it really is. The songs were written related and inspired by real events and people, however, with a slightly higher drama level.

Follow Steele:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/i_am_steele

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0kzNHlehBIdyCEY5xRIDDz

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/IAmSteeleOfficial

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IAmSteeleOfficial/

Instagram: @steelemusic

Website: www.iamsteele.com

Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with Ricardo Bacelar

 

Ricardo Bacelar’s third album ‘Sebastiana’ transcends musical styles and extends way beyond trends and fashions. Through a combination of improvisation, meticulous composition and intense studio work, the Brazilian pianist has created a timeless release which is evocative, inspiring and often deeply moving.

What’s the most important thing you learned during the creation of Sebastiana?

Creativity is dynamic- it’s related to life itself with its phases and seasons.

How did you put your own twist on the traditional?

Brazilian music has a personality of its own, from a harmonious and melodic point of view. Brazil is a country of many influences so I used elements from all over Latin America to add value to this re-reading of the Brazilian music.

What do you want your fans to know about the album?

That the album is more than a collection of songs. It is a concept, which brings a musical language, brings a visual aesthetic, a discourse on Latin America, an homage to the musician Jackson do Pandeiro, the painter Di Cavalcanti, the affirmation of the Brazilian music.

Were there any surprises during the process?

I met Cesar Lemos [associate producer on Sebastiana] by chance, a great friend who had not seen for a long time, a successful producer and former roommate, when we shared an apartment in Rio de Janeiro, in the eighties. We spent 25 years without meeting and, when I turned 50, we met by chance to do make this record. For me they were very significant ages and surrounded by superstition, which gave me a special feeling about this project.

 

Sebastiana is available to buy here.

 

Alb Cover

Follow Ricardo Bacelar:

Spotify: http://bit.ly/Sebastiana-Spotify

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ricbacelar/videos

Facebook: https://facebook.com/ricbacelar

Instagram: https://instagram.com/ricardo_bacelar

Website: http://bit.ly/RicardoBacelar-Sebastiana-en

 

Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with George Swan

We’re not sure what’s more intriguing about George Swan the legend that he was ‘born in an unspecified swamp and raised by alligators’ or that his musical pseudonym is Big Dik Blak. Either way, we figured the Canadian songwriter might have some interesting things to say about his brand of ‘swamp rock’. We catch sixty seconds with the songwriter to find out more about the process behind his weird and wonderful songs.

Where does your songwriting process start?

Usually, while fooling around with a keyboard of some kind, I’ll come up with a chord progression that sounds cool to me. I’ll jam on it for a while with the band and see what we come up with. I adjust the progression as I go but try to keep it really simple. Four chords are about right kind of thing.  I then listen to the tape, write down the words and work out the melody, trying to really nail that down.

What usually comes first, lyrics or music?

Sometimes I have some words that I’ve written that I want to get into a song, such as ‘World Peace’ and ‘Free Love’.  Other times, I try all kinds of sounds of my Korg Triton Extreme workstation and usually will find something there I can start with. I also try it out with the distorted Hammond as well.  It’s even better when I can put them both together like I did in both World Peace and The Connector song.

Has a song idea ever come to you at a weird time?

Sometimes a song will come to me while I’m sleeping, like the piano riff in my song ‘No Past’.  I woke up with it running through my mind.  I went to the piano to see what the riff was and then recorded it.  It took a while to come up with the melody and the words.

Follow George Swan:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-571409490

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7brDLTnkrW9zCLZhVOQ9Je

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTA5ewTTm_tCTLfTjBzFHDw

Bandcamp: https://bigdikblak.bandcamp.com/music

Website: www.bigdikblak.com