Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Interview - Big Black Delta - 8.2.12 - Carnegie Library Homestead - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Big Black Delta will be performing this Thursday, 8.2 at the Carnegie Library at Homestead opening for M83. The sole driving force behind the project is Jonathan Bates, former lead man of Mellowdrone. Hailing from Los Angeles, Bates decided to take a break from the band dynamic in order to pursue an endeavor without boundaries, allowing him to expand his focus. Taking the name from 'UFO' sightings, Bates has released one LP titled bbdlp1 and just recently an EP of remixes entitled IFUCKINGLOVEYOU. We had the pleasure of interviewing JB about his new project, his collaboration with M83 and his interest in Ufology.

You worked under the band Mellowdrone for many years. What made you decide to branch off into such a new direction?

After Mellowdrone's last record, I felt it was time to do something outside of writing music. I delivered gear, played guitar as a hired gun, guitar tech'd, etc. It obviously was a real short hiatus as I'm not very good at just sitting around. The guys in my band had either gotten married or got good jobs with health insurance. In the US, that's a big deal. 

As far as the musical difference, I just wanted to make something thick and simple. And on a laptop, I can almost create any sound I desire. To be honest, Big Black Delta started a hobby for my personal happiness.

I read you grew up in Venezuela. What is the music scene like there and how did it affect this new project?

I moved to the Miami when I was about 8, so I would say Cuban music influenced me way more than Venezuelan. The use of triplets and timbale fills is something I reference constantly.

You are touring with 2 well known acts M83 and Janes Addiction. How did you get to open for them? 

I've known Anthony for a couple years. M83 had asked if I'd fill in on guitar for a couple tours and we befriended each other then. As more people started hearing Big Black Delta, he graciously offered a couple tours. Dave Navarro was kind enough to put us up for their tour. I enjoy the road with friends.

You worked with M83 on a remix for Daft Punk on the Tron album. How was it working with M83 in the studio?

Very easy. Anthony and I are very comfortable in our respective arenas, so it was more of a hang than anything.

How do your transform your music into a live setting?

I use Ableton live. With several controllers, that control programs my friend designed, I can manipulate my voice and music to whatever I want in real time. I've played instruments my whole life, so it's a trip to not stand behind anything. I'm also joined by two drummers, cause that's just fucking fun.
It's a lot of fun to do.

You utilize a ‘ufo’ as your title for the project. Is there something you are trying to capture in your music relates?  Or is this UFO something you are interested in as a pastime?

Ufology is liberating to me. The idea that something maybe out there that is highly evolved what we know down here helps melt barrier.

When creating your music do you bring others in to assist? Or this truly a solo project for you?

So far, it has been singular in its creation. I occasionally invite my buddy Alessandro Cortini (SONOIO) to give production ideas, as we are very close musically. Objectivity is difficult when you're doing all of it.

You just released an EP of remixes and free LP (for a time) back in January. Are you working on anything new? 

I've just finished 5 new songs. I'm combining those with my favorite songs off bbdlp1. There are new star maps being designed to go with the new music. Always working on new ideas.

What do you think of the current media/social music world? 

Like everything, there are pros and cons. I enjoy how immediate people can communicate with me about my music.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?

I'm really bad at sports. Honestly. So playing guitar at home seemed natural. And I was good at it.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

Go Steelers!

Tickets for the show are pretty much sold out. But they can be found here. Show begins at 8p. More information about Big Black Delta can be found at these locations:


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Local Spotlight - Polar Scout - September 2012 - Local Artist - Pittsburgh

We continue to our local spotlights a bit early featuring the month of September with Polar Scout. The local act is actually an incarnation of one of our previous favorite local groups The Slant. Polar Scout features former lead singer Mark Zedonek as the sole member of the project. He has recently released his first EP entitled Tall-Sea-Wall which you can find on itunes and bandcamp. Mark answered our normal spotlight questions. His new EP is embedded throughout the interview. If you like you can find it on his bandcamp page for only $5. 

How did this project begin?

After I stopped playing in a band setting, I still had a desire to continue making music and had some material written that I’d never had the chance to record or perform previously.  I knew that I wanted to give the solo idea a try, but the idea of an acoustic guitar with vocals or better known as the singer/songwriter style of performance didn’t quite do it for me.  I had ideas for drums, synth and bass, and basically wanted a full-band sound without the band.  That’s when I began experimenting with looping, and I found a way to make it work.  I’ve only recently released my debut EP titled: Tall-Sea-Wall on itunes,  which I’ve recorded myself, and I think it’s finally starting become my own sound.

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?

My music definitely has a folk base, but that base may not always be apparent, because I’ve recently begun experimenting with different synths and loops, giving my music a shade of an electronic feel.   There is also, a slight indie-rock styling to certain pieces and some neo-psychedelia sounds mixed in as well.      

Are you originally from the Pittsburgh area?

No, not originally, I am from Coudersport, PA, but have been living in Pittsburgh for several years at this point.   

Do you create music full-time or is this more of a part-time venture?

For now this is certainly a part-time gig, however, I do spend a lot of time doing it, and would like it to become a full-time gig eventually.  

Do you have a day job?

I do in fact have a day job, which eats up much of my time, but music is my real passion.  Music, at this point, simply doesn’t pay the bills.

How do you create your music? What is the song writing process?

I’ve always written the instrumental sections before the lyrics.  I hear that this approach is non-traditional, but it’s the way I’ve always done it.  Looping seems to lend itself to this type of writing; I start with a basic chord progression or melodic loop and work from there, stacking sounds that appeal to me to help keep the song from becoming repetitious.  I then add a vocal melody to the music for the various sections that I’ve written and then, finally, after I’ve rehearsed the song, I will add the lyrics, trying to syllabically fit them into the melody.  When I perform the piece, I bring these parts in and out, adding percussion where it fits.  In a way it’s a kind of process of elimination; many times I’ll try ten different parts only to end up keep one of them.

What are your goals for the band? What would you like to accomplish? Are you trying to get signed to a label?

I used to say that I just enjoyed playing for playing’s sake, and while this is certainly true, I would love to get signed to a label and have the opportunity to make a living doing what I love.  I have limited time to devote to this accomplishment, but, I can say truthfully that I spend whatever time I do have trying to get my name out there, and I hope that this goal can continue to grow. 

What advice would you give to local acts trying to make it?

Firstly, I feel ‘making it’ in the music world, by most standards, means being able to play music for a living, and many times that means getting signed.  I haven’t, myself, accomplished these things yet, but I have done some things, and given time, will do more.  I have written my own songs, recorded my own EP, had it mastered and released it on itunes, advertised for the shows I’ve been able to get, and stayed in close contact with each and every fan I've gained. This is thanks enormously to the blessed internet, one of the best tools for any musician to utilize.  I can say that the things listed above are  good first steps for any band or musician to take, and with modern technology, these things can certainly be achieved with just a little effort and planning.  I also think it’s important to believe in what you’re doing, and act like you are proud of what you’re creating, even if a show goes badly, you’re playing for three people or someone says they don’t like your album.  I don’t know from experience, but I’d be willing to say, the people that havemade it, did so in part, by learning from or shrugging off the negativity. 

Have you toured nationally? Or do you usually play more regionally?

I’m only just beginning to get out and play, but I hope to perform nationally, as soon as it becomes feasible to do so.  So far, I’ve been playing locally, but I am starting to play out in Ohio and Northern PA, in an effort to extend my range.

Being in the Pgh area, do you find it more difficult to try and succeed?

Well, there’s always the “grass is greener…” type of mentality, however, I think it’s all in what you do with it, and my attitude needs to be positive if I want to continue this project.  I think there are areas, such as New York City where it may seem easier to build a fan-base, but conversely, there would also be a lot more competition as well. 

What are some of the obstacles you face trying to create some 'success' in Pgh?

I feel that there aren’t a wide variety of places to perform, and it’s easy to ‘burn out’ an audience if you play in this area too often.  It’s hard to play several shows a month in one location and keep people’s interest high enough that they will want to come out again and again.  Touring and only playing a few shows in Pittsburgh, I feel, would allow the shows to be more successful, but at this point, I haven’t yet reached the stage where that’s a viable option.     

What are the positive benefits of being in this area?

Overall, I believe there aren’t many solo-looping projects or one-man-bands in general, but especially in Pittsburgh, which, I feel, gives me an advantage.  I also, feel that, this being a smaller city, I have a better chance of building a solid fan-base here, before branching out with a tour down the road.    

Is there a venue you have enjoyed playing more than others in the area?

I feel almost any place is great if it’s packed, and of the shows I’ve played so far, I’ve enjoyed the majority of the venues I’ve tried.  I have to admit though; I particularly enjoyed playing Club Café, they always have great sound.  I do, however, have a show coming up August 14 at Diesel, which I’ve heard good things about, and am looking forward to experiencing.

You can find more information about Polar Scoüt here:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Show Preview - The Tallest Man On Earth - New Hazlett Theater - 8.1.12 - Concert Preview - Pittsburgh

We have two shows that feature back to back artists from Sweden, and both being promoted by the good people at Drusky Entertainment. You have a chance to win tickets to see the Swedish duo First Aid Kit on Tuesday, 7.31. The next night you can catch one of Pitchfork's Best New Music artists, The Tallest Man On Earth, at one of the finest venues in the city (New Hazlett Theater). TMOE is actually songwriter Kristian Matsson who hails from Dalarna, Sweden. The 29 year old musician plays folk, pop often being compared to Bob Dylan who he began listening at the age of fifteen. The young troubador performs lyrics that are both at the core of an insulated man, along with a passion for the road. His vocals are often trembling  while strumming gently on his guitar. The stripped down sound is his signature piece, often switching between guitars while recording. He's touring behind his new LP There's No Leaving Now which was release this past June.

From his press:

There's No Leaving Now, the newest record from Kristian Matsson's aptly titled moniker, The Tallest Man On Earth, finds the Swedish troubadour trading in the sense of urgency that fueled his first two records for a confidently relaxed approach. The results are paralyzing. The songwriting is every bit as detailed and captivating as his previous work, but this time around, Matsson is showing a few more cards. The music of the Tallest Man on Earth has traditionally centered around the power of performance and has served as a reminder that directness is the best course of action. However, as Matsson adds layers of arrangement to these songs they reveal a sense of character not previously featured in past recordings. This record solidifies the beginning of an incredible journey told through stories of hope and defeat, loss and love. Matsson has us right where he wants us. There's no leaving now.

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $17 and can be found here. Additional information on TMOE can be found at these links:


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - First Aid Kit - 7.31.12 - Altar Bar - Show Preview - Concert Preview

First Aid Kit will be performing at the Altar Bar Tuesday, 7.31. The Swedish female duo are touring in support of their new LP The Lion's Roar released this past January. Sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg make up the group, playing there own brand of folk music with influences from Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and Joni Mitchell. Their music captures the wanderings (what I could imagine) of their home in Sweden walking through the desolate woods, with snow crunching under your feet. The Lion's Roar was produced by Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes in the Omaha with their father Benkt participating in the backing band. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual, just email us your name to pghmusicreport@gmail.com

From their press:

First Aid Kit’s first US-recorded album, The Lion’s Roar, juxtaposes sadness and beauty in the best traditions of folk and country music. They even cite the Louvin Brothers’ cheerfully brutal version of the old murder ballad “Knoxville Girl” as the perfect example of the sweet and sour they adore. And this new carefully constructed collection deftly succeeds in setting references to their hometown of Stockholm and long, dark Scandinavian winters against a backdrop of country-rock swing.

Initially signed in 2008 by The Knife-owned label Rabid Records (they are now signed to Wichita), First Aid Kit have gone from faraway teenage fans covering Fleet Foxes for fun to recording a Blue Series 7-Inch single of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Universal Soldier” with Jack White at his request in his Nashville, TN Third Man Studios. “I think of it now as like a dream, too good to be true,” says Johanna of the session, happily and hurriedly squeezed into last autumn’s tour schedule.

Where 2010’s debut The Big Black and the Blue was starkly intimate,The Lion’s Roar, recorded in Omaha by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, millions more), is a full band record. The girls’ father Benkt takes the bass, Mattias Bergqvist drums, while Mogis and Nate Walcott of Bright Eyes, and a cast of Omaha-based musicians round out the sound. From the dynamic title track onwards, the album is a rich and stirring affair that expands upon the keen and sophisticated country-tinged pop of their debut.

Show is at Altar Bar and begins at 7p with doors at 6p. Tickets are $15 and can be found here

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Local Spotlight - Steve Chab - August 2012 - Local Artist - Pittsburgh

We are posting our local spotlights a bit early because of I pickup a second job in the Fall and time becomes severely strained. Our local spotlight for the month of August 2012 is Steve Chab. Steve answered our normal sampling of questions about his music, song writing process and his inability to keep a regular drummer.

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?

I dabble in many genres: rock, electronic, funk, etc. My rock music tends to be some mix of emo, progressive rock, and post-hardcore. To generalize that statement for folks who don't follow sub-genres, I'd say that my rock music sits somewhere between hard rock and punk. I also make electronic music (mostly witch house and glitch-hop) under the pseudonym "Arabb" and have a funk duo with my pal Ezra called Histamines.

Are you all originally from the Pittsburgh area? Family here as well?

Yup. I was raised in WashPA then moved to Pittsburgh to be near the action.

Do you create music full-time or is this more of a part-time venture?

I write and produce music part-time but would love to create music full-time (as long as I could make a decent income).

Do you have a job?

Yes. I'm a web designer for CMU's marketing department.

How do you create your music? What is the songwriting process?

For my rock music, I write all my lyrics as poetry. Most of the guitar riffs happen in my head while walking to and from work. The rhythm of walking gets my brain into riffmaking mode. I then mold my poetry to fit a riff then build a song around it. For my electronic music, most of my songs start from sampling someone else's song; I keep a spreadsheet in Google Docs of songs I'd like to sample.

What are your goals? What would you like to accomplish? Are you trying to get signed to a label?

For me, I become emotionally attached to music and find excitement in new music. My goal is to bless my friends and fans with euphoric feelings by evoking excitement and emotion. I'm not interested in a label at this time. It's important to have creative freedom, and being on a label can limit such freedoms. The Internet is a powerful tool to market and self-publish music, so I'm taking the "online marketer" approach to music right now.

What advice would you give to local acts trying to make it?

My current plan to success is, "Keep going, and don't give up!" If you quit making music and promoting your project, how will anyone discover you? One more thing: respond to emails and phone calls! I run into so many people with bad communication skills. No one wants to work with a slacker.

Have you toured nationally or do you usually stay regional?

I've only performed in the Pittsburgh area, though I'd like to hire a band and tour at some point.

Do you find it difficult succeed in Pittsburgh?

Define success. Even though I'm not bringing in big buck, I still consider myself successful.

What are some of the obstacles you face trying to create "success" in Pgh?

No one calls drummers by their other name: "quitters." Nick, if you're reading this, that was a joke. Love you, man. Unfortunately, it's true. I've never been able to keep a drummer. Fortunately, I'm good enough at drumming to perform the studio takes. I hope to make enough money someday to hire a drummer for live shows.

What are the positive benefits of being in the area?

The biggest advantage to Pittsburgh is its size: the music scene here is relatively small. I know a lot of local musicians, and most of them are very friendly. Also, the small community makes it easy to promote. I would imagine we have less competition and more community than larger cities. Also, I own a lot of Internet real estate … which might be difficult in larger cities.

Is there a venue you have enjoyed playing more than others in the area?

When I had a band, most of our shows were held by Drusky Entertainment at The Smiling Moose. The sound quality there is great, and the Drusky folks are really friendly. The Moose has decent food, but the staff could be a bit friendlier. And Manny's House (Garfield Artworks) is always open to whatever I want to do.

Find out more about Steve Chab at these sites:


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Show Preview - Mayer Hawthorne - 7.24.12 - Mr Smalls - Concert Preview

Andrew Mayer Cohen, better known as Mayer Hawthorne, will be making an appearance at Mr Smalls next Tuesday, 7.24. The falsetto artist has quite the resume, proficient as a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, DJ, rapper and singer. Currently based out of Los Angeles, Hawthorne was brought up just outside of Detroit (Ann Arbor), a city rich with the musical history of gospel, jazz, and soul. His songs demonstrate this influence shining with an old school, retro style blend of Motown and gospel. Brought to the attention of Peanut Butter Wolf (Stone's Throw Label), the multi-talented musician was quickly signed after only playing two demos for the head man. Hawthorne not only creates throwback tunes, but also has quite the live setting. Singing with a falsetto voice, he is often seen with a tuxdeo or retro suit bringing the feel of a classic night club. He and his band bring that old Motown vision right to the stage.

From his press:

The “retro” tag is added to almost any contemporary work that sounds like it was originally recorded between 1966 and 1974, and Hawthorne, among the newest contributors to the genre, is aware of how trends come and go. After being introduced to Stones Throw label head Peanut Butter Wolf by mutual friend Noelle Scaggs of the Rebirth, even his current boss was skeptical. “He showed me two songs and I didn’t understand what I was listening to,” Wolf recalls. “I asked him if they were old songs that he did re-edits of – I couldn’t believe they were new songs and that he played all the instruments.”

Hawthorne has produced and played instruments for much of his life, but never intended to become a singer. He isn’t formally trained, and never sang in the church choir or in any of the bands he was in before founding the County (formerly the County Commissioners). But here he is, new school soul sensation, who has taken the Motown assembly-line production model and eliminated nearly every element but himself and a few hired hands. “I think Mayer is the only artist in the history of the label that I’ve signed after hearing only two songs,” says Peanut Butter Wolf. “Sometimes, you just know it’s the right thing to do.”

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are only $18 and can be found here

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Beach House - 7.21.12 - Mr Smalls - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Beach House will be making a return to Pittsburgh, this time at Mr Smalls next Saturday, 7.21. The dream pop duo are touring behind their fourth LP Bloom, released on Sub Pop records this past May. The new album was recorded in 2011 over a period of seven weeks at Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, TX and mixed for another two at Electric Lady in NYC. We featured this band back in 2010 when they performed at Diesel and put on pretty fine show. Oh, did we mention that this show is already sold out?! Yeah. So, if you weren't on the ball here is your chance. We have a pair of tickets to giveaway to the show. As usual, just email us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com with your name to enter. That is all you have to do. 

From our previous review of their show back in June, 2010:

The stage setup had the aura of a dream sequence with large sparkling, diamond shaped objects that spun around the heads of the band. The stage itself was dimmed with only red and blue colored floor lights illuminating the platform. Beach House is now a 3 piece (they used to utilize a drum machine) with main members Alex Scally on guitar and Victoria Legrand on vocals and keyboard. They utilize a drummer to bring in the soft, lush beats. Both members have unique ways when performing. Scally stayed seated on a stool for most of the set playing guitar and occasionally lending vocals. Legrand on the other hand was a sweaty mess with a lot of animation and delivery to her music. While pounding on her keyboard she continuously pranced and flipped her hair that always covered her face. However, her vocals were often haunting and ghostly. With the minimal lighting and moving diamonds the proper atmosphere was set to how you would envision a Beach House album.

From their press:

Bloom is meant to be experienced as an ALBUM. It offers a singular, unified vision of the world. “Many songs were omitted or dropped because they lacked a place within our vision for this album,” notes Scally. Though not stripped down, the many layers of Bloom are uncomplicated and meticulously constructed to ensure that there is no waste. Each chord and melody performs its role to form a whole. The songs have depth and reveal themselves in new ways through repeated listening. As a complete work, Bloom transcends the banality of simple emotions and arrives at a realm of honesty and complexity. It soberly reveals how frightening and temporary, yet beautiful, our existence is. It creates an honest reflection of death, as it must to relate to life. To this Legrand adds, “Bloom is a journey. For me, it is about the irreplaceable power of imagination as it relates to the intense experience of living. A bloom is only temporary… a fleeting vision of life in all its intensity and color, beautiful even if only for a moment.”

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Maybe you get lucky and Opus One will find a few extra tickets to sell. They will be here

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Feist - 7.14.12 - Stage AE - Show Preview - Concert Preview

 True, amusing story: 

Feist last appeared in Pgh back in 2007 at Carnegie Music Hall, touring behind her breakthrough album, The Reminder. I had front row seats to the show and was more than looking forward to it. However, I also had been laid off the previous week, having too much time on my hands (along with sorrows). I started drinking early that day, which dragged into the evening and eventually the show. Most of this is a blur that has been passed down by others that were there. During the set I passed out at some point which was probably a good thing. However, between songs, Leslie F. began some banter with the crowd, which led  to a guy in the balcony telling her to 'wake me up' among much laughter. LF walked over and said, "Let him sleep; my songs do have that affect. (laughter)." Of course it didn't end there. One of her band members proceeded to go backstage and bring out a cup of coffee. I was beckoned onstage where I retrieved it, and in my gratitude, toasted the crowd to applause. So, if you were there that evening, yeah, that was me (and I wasn't 'asleep'). Morale of the story, don't get inebriated to the point you don't remember. You will do stupid, embarrassing, regretful things that you can't take back (sorry Mom). On to the reason you are here: We have a pair of tickets to the show courtesy of our friends at Stage AE. To enter, just email us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com with your name. 

Feist is touring behind her fourth LP Metals, which was released the previous year. From her press:

On October 4th, Feist returns with her highly anticipated new album, Metals, out on Cherrytree/Interscope. It's the follow-up to her 2007 breakout The Reminder. Recorded in Big Sur, California, Feist co-produced the album with longtime collaborators Chilly Gonzales and Mocky, as well as newcomer Valgeir Sigurðsson (Bjork, Bonnie "Prince" Billy) Metals will mark Feist’s celebratory return to the world stage. Like The Reminder, this album is astoundingly intimate, yet often exuberant; rife with transcendent and unforgettable pop gems.

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $25 for lawn and $39.50 for pit. They can be purchased here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Dirty Projectors - 7.11.12 - Mr Smalls - Show Preview - Concert Preview

The Dirty Projectors will be making a stop at Mr Smalls next Wednesday, 7.11. They are touring behind their sixth album entitled Swing Lo Magellan. The first LP in three years will be released the day before the show on Tuesday, 7.10. Lead man David Longstreth is the primary songwriter. He takes a bit of a departure from Bitte Orca featuring a collection of songs, distinctive in their own way. The album contains more polished choruses that explode from songs such as 'Offspring Are Blank' and 'Unto Caesar'.  We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual, just email us your name at pghmusicreport@gmail.com. Special thanks goes out to the fine people at Opus One Productions.

From their press:

The songs of Swing Lo Magellan are culled from a sprawling twelve months of constant writing and recording in a weird house in Delaware County, New York (four hours northwest of the city). Longstreth, who produced and mixed, wrote seventy new songs and beats. The band—Amber Coffman (vocals & guitar), Nat Baldwin (bass), Brian McOmber (drums) & Haley Dekle (vocals) – often joined him, rehearsing the new music more or less constantly in the house’s A-frame attic. (Vocalist Angel Deradoorian is on hiatus). The twelve songs of Swing Lo Magellan were winnowed down from about forty finished demos. The finished recordings bear the impress of this informal working style: the album is a collection of moments: accidental, fortuitous, spontaneous. The performances feel warm and imperfect. Unguarded intimacy is somewhat of a new look for this band, and it turns out it’s a very good look.

The sound of this album is totally unique—with an aesthetic that explodes in two directions at once. The grain of the voices and live-in-the-room quality of the amps contrast the rich orchestral layering of Longstreth’s arrangements for contemporary ensemble yMusic, the warmth of the bass and the sheen and blast of the beat programming. Swing Lo Magellan is an album that comes from the hearts of one of the most fearlessly cerebral bands of the last ten years. The album has both the handmade intimacy of a love letter and the widescreen grandeur of a blockbuster, and if that sounds like a paradox—it’s because it was until now.

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $20 and can be found here

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Interview - Beat Connections - Brillobox - 7.10.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Beat Connections will be making an appearance next Tuesday, 7.10 at the Brillobox. The band is touring behind their debuts LP The Palace Garden released this year. Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger began the project as freshmen at the University of Washington. Getting their start making house music together, their initial electronic influence combined with indie rock band feel deliver a dreamy album perfect for summer listening. The duo play catchy, electro-pop, in the vane of M83 which their album details. The now four piece is touring for the first time as a full time band. They were kind enough to answer a few quesstion below. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual just email us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com with your name to enter. 

How did you all develop from a duo to a four piece? How has this transformation been?

We developed into the four piece gradually over the past year. We added live drums for our tour with Starfucker to give our live show a more full and energetic sound. When planning to record our new album, we added Tom to be the full time vocalist (who only previously appeared on two songs on the Surf Noir EP) and have been performing as a four piece ever since SXSW. The transition has been an easy one because we are all good pals and love making music together.

With the new formation how has this affected your sound? Recording? Live setting?

The new formation has placed a greater emphasis on live instruments and less computers. Its a nice balance of real instruments with electronic music to produce a danceable set with raw energy. The recording process was a lot of fun because we had complete control of the situation as we recorded the full album in our basement in Seattle. Reed and Jordan's ability to mix live drums, guitars, and vocals, with our somewhat limited studio finances was really important for creating a well balanced record. The live show was just taking what we did in the studio, but adding a little bit more percussion zest and groove (timbales and agogo bells) to spice up the act.

You have received a great deal of praise with your live setting especially opening for other acts. With you touring behind the new album and as a headliner should be expect anything different?

Expect the same danceble tunes, but now we just have a longer set time to do it, so more jamming, a little more improv and extended transition sections.

You all are mostly an electronic act. How do you bring that to a live setting? Instruments or laptops? Or both?

It was really important for us to move away from just being an electronic act. Its really very hard to be an engaging live electronic act when you are just starting out and playing relatively small rooms. Having Tom and Jared join the band added quite a bit of depth and genre diversity to the recordings and also to the live show. We have a computer running abelton live which is triggered to play short 4 to 16 bar loops which have some impossible to recreate sounds and textures. So that is about the extent of the computer in the live show, we use samplers and keyboards extensively as well as electronic percussion pads in conjunction with drums, guitars, vocals and percussion.

The Palace Garden is your debut LP. What should we expect from it that differs (if any) from your previous production?

Well there was more emphasis on lyrics this time around, when creating this album we had an implicit narrative arc that we wanted to use as a compositional basis. When we made the first EP we had literally no idea what we were doing, we just wanted to make some songs, and to be honest thats what we are still doing, but now we pretend we have a plan.

How was producing your first lp? Was this a new twist?

Our album came together with relative ease. All four of us lived together in a house with a basement that we converted into a studio. As such, we had the luxury of taking our time, trying out a bunch of different things, without breaking the bank on a legitimate studio. We tried to stick to the general vision we had for the record, a loose narrative maybe, but other than that we took what felt good and built upon it. These recordings have more instruments, more vocals and more Jarred Katz.

What do you think of the current media/social music world? Now being a solo artist is it difficult/time consuming to maintain a relationship with fans/public?

We are a four piece, the internet is still hard, we are all kind of intermittently obsessed with it and alienated by it.

With albums being able to d/l for free, what changes need to be made to maintain an ‘indie’ act such as yourself? What modifications need to be made in your opinion?

Well just about everyone steals music and we gave our first EP away for free because we wanted to be heard. Obviously we need money to survive and to keep making music, but thats not the number one thing for us, which will hopefully keep us artistically integral for a while. As for maintenance, I think giving the listener something that is physically desirable is the key to moving records. There is a new emphasis on touring, and it seems like licensing music is a little less vilified now than in the past.

What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?

We would like to play a lot, make people dance and have fun. Its a nice notion to set goals of playing this festival or going on this or that tour, but if you're not enjoying yourself there is a real disconnect there. Hopefully if we can keep it light and get in front of a crowd as much as possible, good things will come. We just feel lucky enough to be where we are in the first place.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?

I know its an obvious choice but TLC's, "Fan Mail".

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

Jarred was born in Pittsburgh. So he'd like to say, "Trucky is as Trucky does."

Show is at the Brillobox and begins at 9:30p with doors at 9p. More information here: