Posts Tagged ‘summerfest’

In the last of our Summerfest interviews, the SLEEPER/AGENT army piled onto our Experience Truck the morning before their headlining performance. The Kentucky-based band has been out feverishly promoting their debut album, “Celabrasion”, which came out last fall. After turning ears prior to release with, “Get it Daddy,” the band plays on with their latest single, “Get Burned,” and alongside festival dates and a run with Dispatch

We talked with singer Alex Kandel, guitarist Tony Smith, drummer Justin Wilson and guitarist Josh Martin about their hometown, summer movies and other women who rock below. 

SEN: You all have been hitting the festival circuit, including Coachella and now Summerfest. Who would play your ultimate festival and what would it be called?

Alex: We’d call it Sleepaway Camp.

Josh: Aerosmith! Aerosmith would probably play twice.

Alex: James, our friends in Grouplove, our friends in Young the Giant, and our friends in Cage the Elephant.

Tony: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Death from Above 1979 and Foo Fighters.

SEN: You all toured with Cage the Elephant, another band from your hometown. Describe the scene in Bowling Green, KY? What do you think sets it apart?

Alex: It’s just really tiny. It’s kind of interesting that at least a handful of bands have come out of there because it’s just a college town.
Tony: It’s finally starting to blossom a little bit which is cool to watch.

Alex: Our last festival of the year will be there at Starry Nights Festival, which is curated by Cage the Elephant and it’s going to be really exciting.

SEN: Alex is currently up for a “women who rock,” cover feature in Rolling Stone. What other women musicians inspire you?

Alex: Definitely a lot of Ronnie Spector and Grace Slick.

Justin: I like Blondie a lot, Debbie Harry. I like Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast. Several of the Wilson sisters from Heart.

SEN:  Since you recently played with Weezer and are hitting a few dates with Dispatch. What are some of your other favorite 90s bands?

Justin: Blind Melon is a big one for me. I love them.

Tony: Pavement, Pixies, Toadies . . .

Alex: Tony and I also like to have cheesy 90’s night where we look up bands like Jimmie’s Chicken Shack . . .

Tony:  . . . and The Verve Pipe, listen to Glycerine a bunch, at least once a month.

SEN: LA rock radio has ruined “Glycerine,” for me.

Tony: We’ve played with Bush like four times and they’ve never played that song. It’s such a  good song.

Alex: It probably ruined it for them, too.

SEN: It’s summer! What’s your favorite summer movie?

Alex: All those huge summer blockbusters that come out every year, even if they’re gonna be terrible, you gotta go see them.”

Josh: Batman’s coming out. That’s gonna be my summer movie.

Justin: Wet Hot American Summer. And any Friday the 13th movie takes place at a summer camp.

Alex: And Sleepaway Camp!

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The internet is full of surprises around every corner, and the age of YouTube has brought us some memorable “viral” videos. One of this year’s most shared comes from Canadian indie band, Walk off the Earth, with their cover of Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know” at every turn (now at 126 million views and counting.) While the band continues to produce unique versions of popular songs, they have two albums worth of original songs and are diligently working on their major label debut in their hometown of Burlington.

While at Summerfest 2012, multi-instrumentalists Mike Taylor, Ryan Marshall and Joel Cassady dropped into the Experience truck to talk about Canadian vs. U.S. crowds, tips on making it in the music business and the YouTube videos that have caught their attention, too. 

SEN: Two of your band members are credited with playing kazoo, amongst a bunch of other wonky instruments. Any instrument you haven’t tried yet that you want to?

Ryan: I can’t play the didgeridoo yet. They’re really cool.

Joel: I’ve always wanted to play the steel drums, I never got around to it. That’s on my list.

Ryan: Something on my radar is the accordion. I wanna try to bring the accordion back to being sexy and foxy.

SEN: You all are one of the biggest underdog stories of the year, creating buzz on your own that paid off in a big way. What do you suggest to other D.I.Y. artists looking to do the same?

Ryan: I guess the thing is that you can’t wait around for other people to do things for you. In the music business, there are so many awesome bands out there that, if you wait for somebody to help, all those other awesome bands are going to beat you to it. You just have to work your ass off.

Joel: Know that you’ve gotta do some crappy stuff. Everybody goes through some stuff that they don’t necessarily enjoy and if you can persevere through that, good things are going to happen. Maybe not right away, but eventually.

Ryan: Joel had to be a wedding singer for two years and then we brought him in as a drummer.

Joel: Wedding singer/adult entertainer. It’s in the past. [laughs]

SEN: You obviously got a lot of attention from YouTube and the Gotye cover. Any favorite non-music YouTube videos? (i.e. – David at the Dentist, etc.)

Ryan: I watch a lot of “Annoying Orange,” he’s one of my favorites.

Joel: One of my favorite one-off videos is “Goat Yelling Like a Man.” Have you seen that? It’s great.

Mike: We have some friends in a band that are YouTube artists, one is the Gregory Brothers. The other one is The Key of Awesome. Those guys kick it.

Joel: Back to the goat yelling like a man video, I don’t wanna give too much away, but there’s a goat in it and he yells . . . [laughs]

SEN:  What’s on your short list of other artists to cover?

Mike: We’re in talks right now of doing a real happenin’ version [of a] Tom Jones medley. That’s in the works, but it’s not ready to debut yet.

Joel: I think it’s cooler to not plan it. Even the “Somebody that I Used to Know,” video came about pretty quickly. Whether it’s an old song or a new song, if it’s a good tune and it’s gonna work, it just happens.

SEN: What’s the biggest difference between US and Canadian crowds?

Ryan: The US crowds get a little more crazy than the Canadian crowds do. That’s more like where we’re from. I don’t wanna diss my own crowd, but sometimes Toronto crowds can get a little boring. Down here in the states, they’re pretty wild. In west Canada, they’re even more wild, they kind of have the US beat right now.

Mike: There’s a little bit of a pause before people, let’s say in Toronto, go nuts. They like to assess, evaluate and then they go for it. As where, they just fire from the hip [in the US] a little quicker and we like that.

Joel: I mean, in Canada, we do have to separate into territories like [Joel] did, west to east, so that’s good. We haven’t really been out east yet, they might throw fresh fish on the stage, I don’t know, we’ll have to see. Both crowds are great, any crowd is great, it’s all good.

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American Idol finalist Casey James has been on a wild ride since coming in third place during Season 9. As happens with a lot of Idols, Casey’s talent impressed those who watched, landing him a record deal down in Nashville. He recently released his debut album, “Casey James”, and has been touring all over the country, including Milwaukee, WI for Summerfest 2012. We caught up with him there to talk about his influences, family and the importance of having a Frisbee handy for the rare downtime he gets on the road. 

SEN: You used to play with your Mom and older brother when you were younger. What kind of music did they raise you listening to?

CJ: That question would take me a while to answer. Long story short is that I listen to pretty much anything that you could think of and that really is the truth. Everything from classical music to heavy metal, bluegrass, blues, oldies, alternative, rap, rock. There are three or four albums I listen to non-stop when I’m on a plane: Ray LaMontagne “Gossip in the Grain,” Seal’s self-titled album,  James Taylor “Greatest Hits” and Coldplay “Parachutes.” Really random stuff.

SEN: Part of being on American Idol is performing covers of other artists. Are there any songs on your wish list that you’d like to perform?

CJ: You know, for years and years I did music every night and I pretty much did all the covers that I wanted to do. If I found a song  that I loved, I would learn it  and play it the following night. I pretty much stay on top of it, but recently I haven’t had time to check out new music, unfortunately, because I’ve been out and playing. It’s been rough. Nothing on my wish list at this point.

SEN: Your influences seem to be all over the map – what lead you to country music?

CJ: I don’t feel like people choose, you know what I mean? I think some people do, but for me, it wasn’t really that way. It’s really more about doing what you do and then having it fit somewhere. I was very lucky that the music that I write, play and love fits in the country music genre.  It’s a good thing, because not only do I love country music and I’ve always loved country music, but the interaction that you have with the fans, radio and your label is a lot deeper and more personal than some other genres. It really works well for me.

SEN: If you could curate your dream festival, who would play and what would it be called?

CJ: You know what, Eric Clapton did the Crossroads Festival and I absolutely loved that. That had so many different musicians. I mean, country music, bluegrass, blues, rock. He pretty much knocked it out of the park. He did it. I’m happy.

SEN: You’ve been on the road and heading out for even more dates. How do you keep busy during long drives?

CJ:  Keeping busy is not a problem. You wake up and you have phone interviews and you have radio interviews. You go and do soundcheck, load-in and meet & greets and after the show meet & greets. By the time you get done, there’s really not any downtime. If there’s ever a time that we don’t have something to do, we kill time by throwing Frisbee or we bring funny movies for the road and stuff like that.

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We’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the guys in Walk the Moon these last few weeks leading up to and after the release of their new self-titled album. On release day, they sent over a great playlist of their favorite songs and we caught up with them at Summerfest 2012. They return from overseas this weekend and will be making more stops in the US through the end of August. Check out their tour dates here and read the interview below.

SEN: About a year and a half ago, you all were unsigned, making huge waves on your own and it paid off. What do you suggest for other D.I.Y. artists that you’ve learned since?

Nick: Go to school! [laughs] No, keep D.I.Y.-ing. It’s a lot about perseverance. It’s rare that you’ll just be seen by the right guy in the right bar. You just kind of have to keep making ripples and the bigger the ripple the better. Just keep building your fan base and keep trying to come up with creative ways to get your name out there.  For us it was the “Anna Sun” video, more or less, that got people’s attention and was sort of the quickest way to find out who we are and what we’re about.

Kevin: I also think online has so much to do with it because bands can take advantage of so many outlets to get their name out there. Do as much as you can, stay as creative as possible and keep putting content into the world, because the more people see it, the more people share it and that’s what happened to us. It just happened pop up on the right blogs.

Eli: Just don’t be shy. Especially with the internet, there’s no reason to be shy. You can get out there and interact with people who dig what you do and they’ll dig you even more.


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MUTEMATH’s latest album, Odd Soul, came out last fall, the follow up to their 2009 release Armistice. The band has seen a consistent rise throughout their career since breaking through with the song Typical and their lives have been anything but since. They head out on a few stops with Jane’s Addiction in August, followed by the Honda Civic Tour alongside Linkin Park and Incubus. Bassist Roy Mitchell-Cardenas and guitarist Todd Gummerman joined us in the Experience Truck at Summerfest in Milwaukee last week, where we decided to ask them less than “typical” questions.

Sony Entertainment Network: If you could make up your own obscure genre, what it be called and what would it sound like?

Roy: Salsa Punk. Pretty much the name describes what it sounds like.

Todd: Rock/Classical. Which, there’s probably some of that out there.

Roy: Queen! [laughs]

SEN:  What are your favorite albums so far in 2012?

Roy: The new Jack White record is pretty awesome, what I’ve heard of it.

Todd: The new Regina Spektor has some really neat stuff on it.

Roy: The new track for Cat Power, “Ruin.” I love that, that was awesome.

Todd: Oh! Ben Folds Five, I heard the new track. I’m excited about that.

SEN:  You all are on the road a lot. What can you not live without while you’re travelling?

Roy: My phone. It’s my lifeline to my family, music, e-mail, everything.

Todd: That’s true. I’m computerless now, it busted. So, everyone back up your data. Make a clone of your hard drive, don’t just use a time machine. I’m learning my lessons.

SEN:  Imagine it’s the last day on earth. How would you spend it?

Roy: With my wife and kids, on a beach, playing. Watching the sunset go down for the last time.

Todd: Mine is very similar. We would probably find a beach and we would probably be singing songs. I’d be accompanying [my wife.]

SEN:  If you could create your ultimate festival, who would play it and what would it be called?

Roy: It would be called The Timeless Festival, where I would bring back artists from the dead and I’d have them play for seven nights straight and then they would disappear. I would bring Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, the list goes on. I could only imagine . . . pun intended. No holograms, real back from the dead people. It’s just some technology that I’m working on right now. I’m not going to talk to much more about it. It’s almost there. [laughs]

Todd: I would call it 8-bit bash and I would force all the popular artists to do at least 10  of their songs on Nintendo sounds. I love the old school Gameboy Nintendo sounds. It’s getting a lot more action these days.

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Eric Benet’s  career has spanned over 15 years, with a recent GRAMMY nomination for “Best Traditional R&B Performance” for his song, “Sometimes I Cry.” Now with his 6th studio album, “The One,” Benet took control of his career by releasing on his own label, Jordan House Records. We sat down with him at Summerfest and talked family, fans and his hometown of Milwaukee.

Houston, TX: Meet Eric TODAY (7/5) at 5:00PM at the Sony Store at the Houston Galleria. More info here.

SEN: Although you live in LA now, this is a hometown show for you. What does it mean to be performing in Milwaukee?

EB: It’s always good coming home. Summerfest is the biggest music festival in the world and there’s quite a bit of pride being in Milwaukee that goes along with that. Being asked to play here for the first time in years, it means a lot.


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In 2010, Josh Thompson pulled at the strings of his fans with his debut, “Way Out Here,” hitting home – literally – with songs about growing up in Wisconsin. Returning to Milwaukee for his set at SummerfestJosh talked to us about what it means to play his hometown at the World’s Biggest Music Festival and what’s next for him this year!

Sony Entertainment Network: You’re actually from not too far from here and so many of your songs on “Way Out Here,” reference home. What makes Wisconsin special for you and what does it mean to play Summerfest?

Josh Thompson: Wisconsin is my home, it’s where I was born and raised, it’s where my family is, it’s where I come back to. It means the world to me. This is someplace I’ve been coming to since I was a kid. It’s Summerfest! It’s huge, it’s what you did growing up. To actually come back and be playing this festival is great. It’s kind of a dream come true to me.

SEN: As a “local band,” in Wisconsin before you moved to Nashville, what did you do to get your name out?

JT: I never played a whole lot in Wisconsin when I started music. I moved to Nashville about seven years ago and really I just hit the town writing songs and playing all the writer’s nights, really just trying to get my name out there. I got a band together and started playing anywhere outside of Nashville that would pay us enough to put gas in the van. It was just basically five straight years of beatin’ the streets.

SEN: I’m guessing your song, “Beer on the Table,” is inspired in large part by Milwaukee, your hometown. Where are your favorite places to hang out when you’re back in town?

JT: When I’m in town, I’ll go up three hours north of here and I’ll hit all the dive bars on the lake up there. In Milwaukee, I’ll go everywhere. It’s so funny, because Wisconsin is such a drinking state, there are so many bars. I’ll hit the bars in Cedarburg and Grafton. In Milwaukee, we’ll go down to the east side and hit Thurman’s 15. There’s really no end of where we don’t go.

SEN: This show is part of “Country Throwdown,” which has been playing as it’s own tour, too. What is the difference in it being at a festival or on its own?

JT: First of all, this is my hometown crowd. The sets are longer and this is more of a festival environment. People are here for Summerfest. The chances of reaching those members of the audience that don’t really know a whole lot about country music, or me, is greatly increased on days like today. I love it, it’s a great chance to get out in front of some new faces.

SEN: What’s coming up in the next few months for you?

JT: We’ll finish this up and we’re booked through the end of December, basically. Doing our own things: clubs, fairs, festivals, the honky tonks and we’ll be out in Vegas for a while. The new record is done, so we’re just working this first single called, “Comin’ Around,” and hopefully the record will be out sometime this year.

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