Rose Quartz Sits Down With TMN To Discuss New Album, Record Stores & More [Exclusive Interview]

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Denver based Rose Quartz has long been a staple in many of The Music Ninja staff’s music diets. Back in December, the now four-piece released their re-tooled, textured and evolved debut EP as a full four-piece, Leaving Now, which we fell head over heels for and most recently dropped a collaborative ‘TMN Premiere’ single with Brothertiger, “Pleasure & Pain”. Last weekend we had the chance to take in one of our favorite music festivals, The Underground Music Showcase, in Rose Quartz’s backyard of Denver, which this year featured headliners like DIIV, STRFKR, Tennis and of course, Rose Quartz themselves for one of the busiest three-day stretches we have the pleasure of consuming all year.  After taking in their Saturday performance on the Main Stage, we caught up with Ethan, Alex, Clay and Matt after an intimate and enthralling set on Sunday at the Hi-Dive to discuss the important things in life. Like disco, Schlitz Malt Liquor and loads more. Read our entire interview below.

TMN: First off, thanks guys for sitting down with us, we’ve been huge fans since it was just Ethan & Alex as FLASH/LIGHTS, and then of course to the debut Flashlights EP from Rose Quartz. We’re just going to keep it super casual, so let’s just get right into it.

So, now that you’re a full live quartet with the addition of Clay on bass and Matt on drums, there seems to have been a shift in sonic temperament from the Flashlights EP  to your most recent EP Leaving Now, which we loved. Can you talk a little bit about how that shift has affected the songwriting and recording process for you guys.

Alex: Yeah, we’ve done a lot of different things now that we’re a four-piece. We’ve been writing for the entire band now, and shifting our influences much more to a funky, disco kind of influence. We’ve been listening to a lot of the BeeGee’s, Hall & Oates, and Michael Jackson…

Clay: …The Gap Band

Alex: …Yeah The Gap Band, and a bunch of good 70’s funk and disco. And I think that just that has really helped out, and then having four people, whether it’s on stage or in the studio, just having three other people to smile at has made us want to play I guess, happier and more upbeat in regards to the music.

Ethan: And now that we’re a four-piece band, the writing style has changed. When it was just the two of us we had to write stuff that could be performed by two people and didn’t look shitty. *Laughs from the room* Which limits the kind of writing we could do in terms of our live performances. So now that we can do it as a four-piece we can write much more complex stuff with more layers, and more tasteful ways we could actually recreate live. So that was a big shift for us definitely. Just.. finding the groove.

Read the rest of our interview with Rose Quartz after the jump….

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[Electronic] Zola Blood – Play Out

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Zola Blood
Play Out

Depending on where you are in the world, it’s getting to be that time of night when you should probably be heading to bed. Us Ninjas are still wide awake, though, on the lookout for fresh tunes and we’ve got a perfect one for the occasion with Zola Blood‘s latest release, which nearly flew under our radar. After exploding onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere last year and subsequently revealing some more about themselves in our exclusive interview, the London-based four piece dropped the first single since their 2014 debut EP a couple weeks ago.

On “Play Out,” Zola Blood create a subtle beauty powered by a pulsing bassline and eerie vocals reminiscent of Thom Yorke. Although dark undertones permeate through out the song, a steady guitar groove and addicting chorus make for a stark, yet smooth, contrast that provide a glimpse of light at the end of the sonic tunnel. The combination makes for a powerful listen perfect to soundtrack a sleepless night. Lose yourself in the vibes above.

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[Dance/Electronica] SMLE – Every Chance You Get

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SMLE
Every Chance You Get

SMLE is a duo we’ve fallen head over heels for in the last year or so. We’ve featured and heavily consumed pretty much their entire catalog of remixes from their cover of Michael Bublé’s “Feeling Good” to most recently having the pleasure of premiering their remix of Vaults’ “One Last Night” just a few weeks ago, as well as loads in between; and I think it’s pretty safe to say much of our eclectic staff has happy devoured at least a slice of SMLE’s repertoire in the process. Today, SMLE moves forward in a big way, in essence, from scratch after completely wiping out their Soundcloud and starting fresh with all new original music. “Every Chance You Get” -a tune encapsulating all of that previous success behind layers of analog instrumentation in the form of funky guitar lines, a vibrant synth progression and a booming underbelly-  is the first to surface from SMLE 2.0, and a great one at that. On top of that, everything put out by the pair is performed and recorded live which is a breath of fresh air in today’s overly saturated dance climate, and we’ve been skipping gleefully to their new incarnation from the moment we came into contact with it. Do your ears a favor, and stream “Every Chance You Get” above.

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Little People Discusses New Album, Working in Coffee Shops, and The Need for More Lasers [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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Youth & Progress Pt. 2
Presented By Jiberish

As we wind down our month-long feature with Little People, we’re anxious to bring you an in-depth look at not only the moniker, but the man behind the rich, textural, electronic music that so many have come to know and love.

We know you’re probably at work right now, but we feel like you deserve a 10-minute break to get caught up on what’s around the corner for Mr. Laurent Clerc.

TMN: Hey Laurent. Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for us. We’re really excited to have you as our Resident Artist for June!

LP: Well I’m very excited too. Thanks for having me. I’ve had the pleasure to meet you guys in person several times whenever I’ve played in Colorado. It’s always great connecting with such genuine and nice people like yourselves.

TMN: Alright, it’s been nearly two years since we last spoke, back at the Larimer Lounge in Denver, Colorado. Back then, you were making the voyage to and from the UK to the states quite often. You’ve since moved, correct?

LP: That is indeed correct. I moved to Portland, OR in August last year – with my wife and my 4-year-old twins. The Pacific Northwest is a very special place – it’s been amazing so far.

TMN: What was it that finally made you pull the trigger on moving out here? Was it the touring schedule? The need to have your family closer? Combination of both?

LP: Me coming over to the US to play shows – and staying here for extended periods – has not been easy on all of us. So moving to the US was a means of all of us being closer together whilst I play shows in the US. It also meant that it made it possible for me to play one-off shows and festivals throughout the year – so it has given me more opportunities to play live. If you are coming over from the UK, the onus is on cramming as many dates in a short period of time. I wanted to get away from that for a little bit.

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[Nu-Disco] Trails and Ways – Downright (feat. Harriet Brown) (Falcon Punch Remix)

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Trails and Ways ft. Harriet Brown
Downright (Falcon Punch Remix)

Since we first caught wind of Trails and Ways all the way back in 2012, we’ve kept a close eye on the Oakland band. They’ve steadily built their following since then, but this year has truly been a breakout one for them. After signing to Barsuk Records early this year, they released their debut album, Pathology, which both showcases what we love about their radiant, organic sound all the while expanding their sonic scope. The track “Downright” falls into the latter category with a groove that manages to combine their signature, South American-tinted style with an ’80s groove and aesthetic. A verse from Harriet Brown, another Ninja favorite, ties that vibe together with his silky vocals that recall Prince.

A week ago, Denver-based producer Falcon Punch put out a remix of “Downright” that maintains the 80s-revivalist nature of the tune all the while transforming it into a nu-disco jam. Electing to place Brown’s voice first, Falcon Punch utilizes many of the original’s elements–the breezy guitar and the catchy backing piano–but with the help of perfectly placed pads and a BPM boost, breathes new life into the song without losing its charm. Take a trip back to the Neon 80s and grab a free download above.

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[Deep-House] Allies For Everyone – Bunker (Allies For Everyone Alternate Mix) [TMN Premiere]

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Allies For Everyone
Bunker (Allies For Everyone Alternate Mix)

It’s always a treat to start a day with a little bit of sexy deep-house. So when NYC stationed electronic producer Brian Suarez, better known as Allies For Everyone, dropped his latest revision on us -itself an alternate take on his own track “Bunker”– we knew it would be a perfect door-opener this morning. We’d already heard AFE’s original mix, and while by no means was it anywhere near a letdown, today he’s arrived with an even more introspective and gripping glimpse of the shape-shifting single. On the Alternate Mix, Allies For Everyone dials back a clubbier approach, instead focusing on a more subdued yet utterly captivating low end, rumbling hook, and a gorgeous ad-lib cut of the original vocal stems to create a dark and deep tune that just plain oozes sexiness. Our day is already screaming for a taste of proper deep-house and Allies For Everyone delivered our presription with a bullet.

“Bunker” will also be touched up by their labelmates Nightriders and Jay Hill, but we’ll be busily consuming AFE’s edit until then.

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[Indie Eletronic] Empire Of The Sun – We Are The People (Ardency Remix)

Empire of the Sun - We Are The People (Ardency Remix)
Empire Of The Sun
We Are The People (Ardency Remix)

Following the success of “Foxfire”, the creative duo Ardency strike once again with another jaw dropper. Reworking Empire of the Sun‘s “We Are The People”, the two musicians definitely worked their magic and put a spin on the popular anthem. The tune is suited with a lo-fi 80’s disco approach fused with a chillwave sound. The original vocals are kept to go with the indie vibe of the track. The addictive touch resembles the sound of Neon Indian while adding an adrenaline-infused bassline to top it off.

Per usual, Ardency outdid themselves with this release. We are very excited to see what other tricks they got up their sleeves. Make sure to grab a free download if you dig the track!

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