The Mystical Music of the Islamic Sufis arrives at Enchanted Forest [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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For some, the gathering of like-minded, free-spirited individuals in the forest for 4 days of non-stop music, workshops, speakers, and art is enough to transform the soul. To show you another way to live, a more enriched, fulfilled way of seeing the possibilities all around us. But for others, this is not enough. To satisfy the desires of a diverse crowd, Enchanted Forest doesn’t stop there. They bring some of the most unique attributes of the festival scene into play, including a liberating #freethenipple campaign, 24-hour shower parties, a 100 percent alcohol-free experience, and a “Save The Planet” charity initiative with Cadence & Cause, where you can win 2 all-inclusive tickets to the festival simply by donating.

To top it off, Enchanted Forest brings with them some of the most well know and carefully selected musicians the festival space has to offer. Including a fascinating 8 member Qawwali group called Fanna Fi Allah.

Qawwali music is something that most of us from the festival world have never heard of. It is a cultural phenomenon in South Asia and has been around for almost a thousand years, so why are we introduced to it now?

We sat down with their founder Tahir to ask a few questions of this uniquely inspiring band before heading into the forest.

TMN: So, how long have you guys been around and where do you play most of your music?

Tahir: We have been touring for 16 years and actually only play about 5% of our music at American festivals. Most is spent in Pakistan, India, and the Punjabi cultures in South Asia and the Middle East.
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Viceroy discusses his roots, the rat race, and a refreshing Pimm’s Cup [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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It wouldn’t be a proper Music Ninja Residency without a lengthy chat with our featured artist. As you’re already aware, we brought in the Sultan Of Summer to help us kick off the best season of the year and before the most iconic summer holiday, we’re offering up a little insight into the man behind Viceroy.

TMN: Hey Austen – thanks for taking some time to sit down with us today. How’s the start of your summer going so far?

Viceroy: So far, so good! San Francisco has not your normal summer weather. I don’t know if you’re too familiar with how our weather patterns work. We have an Indian summer that’s September and October, and our coldest part of the year is actually regular summer. But, it’s been unbelievable, so far. It’s made it hard to want to do any work.

TMN: We’re really excited to have you as our Resident Artist this month. We looked back, and we’ve been covering you for the past four years. Is it hard to believe that you’ve been at it for that long?

Viceory: Yeah – it’s dawned on me that I’ve been at it for that long. The landscape has changed so much since I started. It’s a little more of a rat race than it ever used to be, but it’s still exciting and fun.

TMN: Let’s go back a little bit further than when you started getting blog coverage. How did the “Viceroy” sound come to be? Can you shed some light on your musical history?

Viceroy: I played instruments when I was growing up, and everything like that – guitar, bass, and that kind of stuff. In 2009 I studied abroad in Rome, and that was before electronic music took off on a mainstream level in the United States.

I was drunk the second week of school and at some sort of club or lounge with my friends, and I told one of the DJs, “I want a job here!” I was completely wasted. I went and talked to the manager and he gave me a job on Tuesday nights bringing in Americans. I wake up the next night and was like, “oh my god, I’ve never DJ’d or promoted before. What the hell am I doing?”

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Mat Zo talks about “Self Assemble,” Tennyson, and his Asshole Cat [TMN EXCLUSIVE]

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Just a little while back, we hosted the legendary Mat Zo in our Residency Program to help highlight someone who has continued to impress us year after year. Part of this residency included a deep look into his recently released album, Self Assemble, which has been one of the most impressive listening experiences we’ve heard in quite some time.

We wanted to know a little more behind this perennial star and his latest body of work, which brought us to this Q&A.

TMN: Hey Mat – first off, thanks for coming on board to be our Resident Artist. We’ve been fans for quite some time, so it’s an honor to have you.

Mat Zo: Thanks for having me.

TMN: Let’s talk about Self Assemble. We’ve been spending a lot of time with it since it came out. It definitely feels like it’s organized to be a true top-to-bottom listening experience. Does it tell an underlying story, or is the track arrangement solely for proper flow?

Mat Zo: When I was making it I had a general story in mind, but by the end the story was so vague that it became purely open to interpretation.
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um.. Discuss Icon Collective, Dogs, and Their New EP [TMN RESIDENCY INTERVIEW]

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TMN:Thanks for taking some time to sit down with us and for coming on board as our resident artist for this month. We’re stoked to feature you guys. Let’s talk about your latest EP, which is your second to date. Can fans expect what they’ve come to know and love, or are you guys switching things up at all?

Ben: I feel like it’s sort of both. I feel like we’ve never really stayed the same, as an artist. So, I feel like they’re expecting something different.

Dylan: It definitely sounds like us, but no song really sounds the same. So, it will be a good variety of new, better sounding stuff.

TMN: You’re also doing a tour in support of the EP, hitting up a few east coast and a few west coast spots. In three words, tell fans what’s in store.

Ben: Only three words?

Dylan (higher): For the Kids.

TMN: You guys have a beautiful balance with your music. It’s chaotic, experimental, but all comes together in a highly addicting experience. How did you initially start out with this sound?
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Gallant discusses his Prince tribute, Coachella, and Miyazaki films [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

We first fell for Gallant’s mesmerizing voice all the way back in 2013, highlighting “Manhattan” in our first-ever Sunday Night Soul series. As the years went by, our adoration, along with many other’s, grew insurmountably, release-by-release.

In between two jaw-dropping performances at Coachella, and an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, we were able to link up with one of the most buzz-worthy artists in the scene.

TMN: Thanks for taking some time to meet with us. We’ve been fans for quite some time, so it’s an honor to sit down with you.

Gallant: Thank you for all the support for so many years. For real.

TMN: First off, let’s talk about tonight’s show, which is here in Denver, Colorado. Is this your first time to the Mile High City?

Gallant: No, actually, on my tour with Sufjan Stevens in the fall we stopped by Denver. It was one of the best crowds I’ve ever played for. It was a sit-down auditorium.

TMN: Paramount?

Gallant: Yep! It was awesome.

TMN: You’re coming off of a massive two-weekend performance at Coachella. What was that like for you?

Gallant: It was surreal. I felt like that was the biggest crowd I’ve ever played for. To have Seal out with me the first weekend and Jhené Aiko the second weekend was crazy. I felt really undeserving, but I was glad the crowd was responding to it.

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[TMN Exclusive Interview] TMN Talks ‘Life of Pause’, Time Traveling & More with Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum

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Wild Nothing
TMN Exclusive Interview + A Woman's WIsdom (Official SIngle)

Few people are able to conjure up such a visceral response through their artistic medium as multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and chief architect behind one of the most lauded music projects over the last decade as has the L.A. via Blacksburg, VA (and a few cities in between) Wild Nothing frontman Jack Tatum. Clearly a pensive and grounded artiste, Tatum’s abundant knowledge of music pours throug Wild Nothing’s pop-structured, but genre-eschewing catalog. Tatum and Wild Nothing’s sound has always toyed between abstract and direct, which has resulted in some of the most velvety, lush indie-pop tunes we’ve ever exposed our cochlear cavities to.

Last week, jut ahead of the start of Wild Nothing’s current international tour, we had the chance to catch up with Jack and see what’s been going on since the release of Life of Pause and ahead of yet another hefty jaunt across the world. Check out our show preview for Wild Nothing’s upcoming Red Bull Sound Select Showcase in Denver this Saturday with Inner Oceans & Flaural at the Bluebird Theater, and be sure to read our entire transcript below.

The Music Ninja (TMN): First off, let’s just take a second to thank you for taking the time to let us pick your brain and answer a couple of questions.

JT: Absolutely.

TMN: I’ve been a very vocal Wild Nothing consumer since your excellent 2010 debut, Gemini, and this past February you added another worthy addition to the Wild Nothing long-player catalog with Life of Pause which was the follow-up to perhaps my favorite album in the last 5 years, Nocturne. So, another thanks is in order for consistently creating some of the most tasteful sounds we’ve consumed in the past decade. So let’s get into it.

Jack Tatum (JT): Wow, yeah, thank you, for those very kind words.

TMN: Obviously an artist can undergo quite a sea-change as far as personal tastes and aesthetic go in a 7-year period; and with every passing release it seems like another piece of your psyche gets revealed both aurally and stylistically. We know you’ve probably answered this more than a few times on this latest round of press obligations, but were there any significant events going on in your life that sparked this burst of creativity and some of the material on Life of Pause, or was the writing and recording process pretty similar compared to your other EP’s & LP’s?

JT: Ummm… I don’t know. Not necessarily. I don’t know, for the sake of not making myself sound too boring…

TMN: Hahaha not at all.

JT: I’ve never really been someone that wrote kind of in response to any one sort of scenario or event in my life. I guess you could kind of say with the first record (Gemini) it definitely was very much a response to the relationship I was in at the time. And it’s, you know, a very mood based record… A very sort… of I don’t know how exactly I would describe it. But, as I’ve continued to write, I’ve found that I don’t necessarily need a spark to start writing. I think especially as I’ve gotten older I have been equally writing from experience as I am just to write and out of interest, or just purely composition, or trying to achieve a certain kind of sound, or something like that. But, yeah, I put out Nocturne in 2012 and then had the Empty Estate EP in 2013. And that EP in a way was kind of a response to Nocturne, just because we had been touring on Nocturne for so long…

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Bayonne discusses his album, BBQ in Austin, and annoying house cats [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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When we first stumbled across Bayonne’s new album, we were absolutely mesmerized from start-to-finish. This one-man army brings the sensational ability to create an immersive listening experience, both on record and at his live shows, which is no easy feat. After being incapsulated for the better half of an hour, we decided to reach out and set up an interview with him ahead of his show at the Lost Lake in Denver, Colorado. Here’s what went down.

TMN: Hey Roger, welcome to the Mile High City. Is this your first time here?

B: I’ve played here a couple of times, back when I was doing a folk thing three years ago. I’ve been here a lot more than I’ve played here too.

TMN: You’re in the midst of a pretty lengthy tour, which included a few showcases down in Austin for SXSW. As an Austinite, what did those showcases mean to you?

B: It’s good to me because it’s when a lot of my friends and industry folks get to see me in my stomping grounds. And, I don’t have to travel. They’re bigger plays. They’re important plays. They’re comfortable plays. It’s bittersweet. It’s a lot of work and a pain in the ass, but it’s when everyone is in town.
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TMN: Also, as someone who calls Austin home, do you all have a secret celebration when SXSW is over so you can resume normal life?
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