[TMN Exclusive Interview] Get to Know: Kid Astray

dWcmG0SLSgKwumnYCzVB4YvIZ2uhPz2LVi_lUCIFabU,OeA0ULMzAR4U6yTTqOwb0j_p3U3T8KoSe08uRnWRqmw,RE5JaZLwIhaim6q1jBsN8409KK-lobg7cFjT5nwvd6I,HiKX5_2cLzeGpUZAVJvk7cOucifXR8HGrjGcpUhlk_4,NYqh0S2cnU4aavMiWdT09SLZs37AHYvggwz16kURa9o
Kid Astray
It's Alright

Norwegian six-piece, Kid Astray, don’t represent a single genre but rather a distinct state of mind–one of youthful energy. Through a string of singles, the up ‘n coming band have shown us everything from indie rock on tracks like “No Easy Way Out” to Passion Pit-inspired electro pop like “Still Chasing Nothing.” Their latest single, “It’s Alright,” lands squarely in the center of that spectrum mixing airy guitar-driven verses with an undeniably catchy chorus powered by an addicting electronic melody. That juxtaposition is one they masterfully toy with, reimagining and transitioning between different styles all within one track. We had a chance to chat with a few members of Kid Astray–get to know them below and give their infectious latest single a spin above. Kid Astray’s debut album drops this June!

TMN: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions! Starting from the beginning, can you tell us how you all first joined forces and the story behind the first song you all wrote together?

Jakob: No problem! We are currently stuck in our rehearsal space, preparing for our upcoming scandinavian tour, so it’s nice taking a short break. And talking about ourselves, haha.

We first met back in high school, where we were all studying music. Everyone but Even and myself knew each other from secondary school, and had already been playing together. Personally, I didn’t know anyone else on the school, but I really wanted to play in a band. I just played with anyone who wanted to play with me. I was the only drummer in our class, so Benjamin and Elizabeth didn’t really have many people to choose from, haha. We had our first rehearsal the same day we met. We played our first show after one week, playing cover songs. The first track we wrote was called ‘Eternal Gifts’ and was written in our rehearsal space at the time, Benjamin’s basement. That song is very different from what we do now, it’s pretty much a guitar based rock track without any synths. It’s still a bit nostalgic thinking about the song, since it was the track that earned us our first manager. Who knows, maybe we will use the core from the track again in the future!

TMN: Who were some of the artists you listened to growing up that you feel have inspired your sound?

Benjamin: Michael Jackson has been a huge inspiration! As a child I learned all the dances and songs by watching the videos and live DVDs. I have definitely brought elements from him into the KA sound. For example the pluck funk guitar. My whole family is a bunch of musicians, so it’s hard to name some specific artists. It’s everything from jazz and synthpop from the 80s to mums punkband! It’s all a part off our sound in a way.

TMN:Kid Astray has more members than most contemporary bands. How do you all approach studio time and how does that collaboration process work? Does it make things easier? more difficult?

Alex: There are definitely up-sides and down-sides of being six people. Traveling becomes more expensive, but also becomes more fun. Cause we’re six good friends, so we’re never bored! And even though we’re unusually many people, we’ve got more than enough to do on stage. We even have to be multi-instrumentalists to successfully get through the new album. The studio part of things works very well. We have our little mastermind Benjamin who starts on an idea, and then we all kinda get together and finish it off. I’m not really sure if things are simpler or more difficult, cause it’s the only way we know. But it definitely gives a lot of variety since so many of us have different musical preferences. Continue reading

Related items:

Pegboard Nerds Talk Monstercat, Collaborations, and Paul McCartney [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

pegboard_nerds_hires

Recently, TMN was granted the privilege to talk to the whimsical personalities of Alexander Odden and Michael Parsberg, the dynamic duo behind Pegboard Nerds. Before kicking off two major releases with Monstercat–Bring The Madness: The Remixes EP and their feature on Monstercat’s 021 Perspective Compilation–we had a chance to sit down with them in NYC’s Webster Hall right before they threw down a massive set.

Excision & Pegboard Nerds
Bring The Madness (Ft. Mayor Apeshit)

TMN: How’s it feel to be playing at Webster Hall in NYC? This is your second time back right?

Alex: Being back at Webster Hall feels fuckin’ awesome. It’s kinda intimidating too you know because it’s such a stable trademark of New York so you gotta be on point and deliver.

Michael: Same.

Alex: (Laughs) You can’t say same!

TMN: Best response yet. How did you guys first get involved with Monstercat and how do you feel about the future of the label?

Michael: Well it started back in 2012, early, early twelve. A friend from Australia actually pitched one of our songs to Monstercat because they were needing a track for one of their compilations and it kinda just went on from there. They wanted one more track, one more track, one more track, and it went on, went on, went on and all the way up. Yeah, so that’s how we started.

Then you asked about the future of the label, right? It’s difficult to predict, but I think they have a good track record and a good following, and the philosophy of the label is really good. They’re not focusing on doing the next big Hardwell, Axwell, Made-well, Big-well, Aoki-well, Sleep-well, whatever. They just wanna do great new talent.

Continue reading

Related items:

Jack Garratt talks about SXSW, Blunderbuss, and Secrets of Beard Culture [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

garratt

TMN: Hey Jack! Thank you for taking some time to speak with us. First up, let’s talk about the upcoming SXSW shows. Are you getting excited?

JG: Thank you very much. I’m so excited for it. I’ve known about that festival for so long and have always wanted to come and experience it, either as a fan or a musician. To be able to come out and do it as a musician is a real honor.

And, I’ve never been to Texas either, so I’m really looking forward to that.

TMN: How many showcases are you playing?

JG: I’m doing four.

TMN: You’re also doing a few shows in the states after that, correct?

JG: After SXSW, I’m doing two shows in New York. I’m doing support with Kate Tempest, which will be great. Then I’m doing Babies Alright with Communion, which is – for some strange reason – sold out.

On top of that, I’m flying out to LA for a show there, then after that I’m flying to San Francisco for a show, as well. They’ve all sold out as well, which I don’t understand. It doesn’t make any sense.

After that, I have a few weeks off, and I’m hopefully going to stay in LA and do some work. I’ll keep my head down, see what happens, and try to look out for what’s going to happen for the rest of the year.

After that, I head to Europe for, I guess, my proper European debut tour.

TMN: When can we expect a full US tour?

JG: I don’t know! We’re looking at the possibility of it, and trying to make sure we can come over and do some good shows at great venues. We’ll look to do a lot of US dates before the end of the year, and hopefully sooner than I think.

We will definitely, definitely be doing one before the end of the year though.
Continue reading

Related items:

Tropics Talks Inspiration, Artistic Evolution and the Making of ‘Rapture’ [TMN Exclusive Interview]

Rapture

Tropics
Blame

The “chillwave” movement has matured phenomenally in the last couple years with acts like Toro y Moi and Washed Out evolving their sound from lo-fi bedroom productions to beautiful and complex musical compositions. UK producer and vocalist, Tropics, has architected his own chillwave aesthetic that, true to its name, features a vibrant sensibility and deep sonic textures. On his debut album, Parodia Flare, Tropics put together a beautiful collection of colorful compositions and began experimentation with his voice, but his recently released follow-up, Rapture, feels like a true breakout project. With stripped down organic instrumentation and a newfound focus on vocals, Rapture proves a cohesive, deeply emotional and soulful project that reaches new depths without losing the glowing energy of its predecessor. We had a chance to catch up with Chris Ward, the mind behind Tropics, about his musical background and influences, the evolution of his sound and more. Check out the interview below and, if you like what you hear, head to iTunes to grab a copy of Rapture.

TMN: What was your first experience with making or playing music?

Tropics: The furthest back I can remember was this little early learning centre tape player with a microphone attached to it. It was really kid-like and colourful. I remember it having this weird echo which probably sounded quite cool. I used to record songs off the radio. Then my first memory of playing music was getting a drum kit at around 10.

TMN: You studied music in university and are a multi­-instrumentalist, right? How integral has that been in allowing you to bring your vision to life? Or do you feel like you’ve learned more from just from experience?

Tropics: I wouldn’t say I’m a multi instrumentalist, I’m a producer, who like most of us can play keys and a strum out a few jams on guitar, drums. I feel I’ve learned a lot from experience but some more theory and things about the industry when I studied music, but to be honest; I didn’t do a lot of studying, I just wanted to go to university with all my friends and have all the free time in the world to party, take recreational drugs, have lots of sex and make as much music as I could.

TMN: The colourful aesthetic in your music definitely brings some influences to mind. Who are some artists you grew up listening to that you feel continue to inspire you today? Any ones who’ve influenced you in unexpected ways?

Tropics: I think there’s influence from a lot of 90s electronica, in my sort of ‘go to textures and sounds’. My older brother played me loads of Leftfield, Massive Attack, Faithless and Underworld when I was around 11 or 12, which I ended up getting back into quite a lot at 16 and 17.

 I think one of the great things back then was that the Internet wasn’t so revolved around the music industry, or if it was, I wasn’t aware. So I’d get records/albums, without taking interest of reading into when they were released or how current they were . If I connected with it, I just connected with it and it became my new love affair. I feel I’ve lost this a bit ­or, a lot of us have, with the pressure to keep up with this quickly moving industry with 100 new flavours and artists coming through a month!
Continue reading

Related items:

Tommie Sunshine Talks Activism, Music, and The Power of Everyone’s Voice [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

It takes a lot to put yourself out there every day – to fight the verbal barbs of the internet community day in and day out, to brazenly express your opinion, even if you might experience unwanted backlash. No one knows this truth better than dance music journeyman Tommie Sunshine. Aside from putting music out regularly  over the course of a few decades, he’s also become quite engaged in the latest uprising of social activism that we’ve seen sweep our nation, and beyond.

One night, we were reading a string of  his passionately charged tweets, and decided to ask him to elaborate in a one-on-one interview. The end result was an in-depth look at his upbringing, dance music, and the state of the world we live in today.

TMN: Hey Tommie, thank you so much for taking some time to sit down with us tonight. Throughout the past year, we’ve noticed how big of a role activism has played in your career, and we’d love to get some insight on that. First off, tell us how this all started for you:

TS: The main reason why this of all things connects with me personally is – when I was 12 years old, I was lucky enough to have a cousin who sat me down on a family vacation. He ran with all the big figures of the 60′s. He went to school with Abbie Hoffman at Michigan State, and he was a huge part of the revolution of that time. At 12 years old, I was lucky enough to get this crash course from him of books, films, and albums.

He was like, “track down all these things, and when you read the books, if you don’t understand them, read them again in two years. And keep reading them until you get it. Once you get it – keep reading them. As you get older, there will be things that you won’t believe you missed that.

“Listen to these albums. Digest the artwork. Like, listen to the lyrics. Feel the music and understand it.” He was like “same thing with the films. Really watch these until you get what’s going on here.”

There was too many to mention, but by the time I was 14, my musical landscape was Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead and Jimi, and The Doors. Which, in the 80′s, it wasn’t that far out of the 60′s. Classic rock radio was still playing it, so I wasn’t so much of an outcast for listening to the music.

Where I hit the road bumps was…here I am living in super upper middle class suburbia, southwest of Chicago, reading William Burroughs, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Tom Wolfe. I was completely stewed in all this counter-culture. What I was reading was so far ahead of what my life experience was at that time, but one of the biggest things that impressed upon me, was the thing that they were all fighting for the most. Besides Vietnam, which was the obvious thing, what all of those kids were trying to do was fighting for racial equality. At that point, in the 60′s, most white people in America didn’t even really think of black people as so much as human.

This was a real tough time. When we discussed all this, he did not instill a romanticized view of the 60′s revolution, he was very candid about the fact that they fucking blew it. He explained to me how they blew it. How it went into the 70′s, and all these things they fought for, they forgot about.

All the people who were young and fought for that went and got high paying jobs, became the same gluttonous pigs that their parents were, and forgot about everything they were trying to change.
Continue reading

Related items:

Justin Jay Talks Dirtybird, Larry Levan, and Marriage Proposals [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

jj
Disciples
They Don't Know (Justin Jay Remix)

This month we had the chance to flex our tastemaking muscle by featuring one of the hottest exports in dance music, who has made a name at the tender age of 21 on one of the hottest labels in dance music. Of course, we are speaking of Justin Jay, and Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird Records cohorts. Last week, the deep and tech-house sparkplug gifted us with a TMN Resident Playlist, and this weekend, we got a chance to get a little more in depth in regards to all things Justin Jay. Check out the entire transcript below.

TMN: First of all, we wanted to thank you for taking the time to be our featured ‘Resident Artist of the Month’. We’ve actually been closely following your career arc since How Goes the Dynamite, which if we’re not mistaken was almost three years ago now, which is absurd to think that you’re only what, 21 years of age now?

JJ: Yeah it’s pretty crazy, man!

TMN: It’s hard to believe how rapidly developed and mature your sound has already become in a relatively short amount of time putting out tangible releases. Especially within a niche in which many American listeners wind up not actually discovering until the usual pit-stops through ‘EDM’, or festival sized dubstep and trap. From a personal standpoint, have you had any exact moments which you feel helped shaped the scope of your music production or steered you away from more commercial sounds?

JJ: Growing up in LA was really powerful because me and my friends were exposed to artists like MSTRKRFT and Justice back in 2007. We got into it then because it sounded new and exciting. That craving for freshness is huge.

TMN: Some of us Ninjas love to geek out about artist’s studios. What programs, machines, synths or anything else are taking up the most amount of your time currently as a producer? And what does your entire studio layout look like when laying down a new Justin Jay track?

JJ: I’m super bare bones. I have a midi keyboard and a laptop, which is all I really use. Although, I recently got a few old-school drum machines, which have been super fun to work with.
Continue reading

Related items:

The Hip-Hop Dojo: February 2015 (Artist Spotlight: Joey Green)

HH Dojo Feb

If you’ve been a fan of the site for awhile now, you may recognize The Hip-Hop Dojo as a playlist series that used to run on a weekly basis. Designed to showcase the best rap music that might have been overlooked from the past week, the playlist served as a way for us to catch you up on the latest in the hip-hop world, while also highlighting the freshest talent out there. Though we tried our best to keep up, ultimately the task proved too tall for us, and the series eventually faded away due to a sheer lack of time. We’ve been planning a revival for quite awhile now, but we wanted to make sure we did it in a truly meaningful way.

Well, the wait is finally over! The Hip-Hop Dojo has returned, complete with a fresh new look and revised format. In order to remedy the time commitment issue we touched upon earlier, The Hip-Hop Dojo will now become a monthly series. Don’t worry though, because we won’t be skimping out on the music. In addition to the playlist, we’ve also decided to focus on one up-and-coming artist each month. This artist spotlight portion of the Hip-Hop Dojo will allow you to tap into the mind of some of the rising +stars of the hip-hop realm, and gain some insight into who they are behind the music. This artist will be able to tell their story in their own words, and allow you to gain intimate access to their lives.

Our first featured artist is D.C.’s very own Joey Green. Armed with a resigned confidence, Joey is one of many new names to add to a growing list of exciting talent emerging from the DMV area. Fresh off the release of his most recent single, “Swim,” Joey took a few minutes to sit down with us and discuss his music, his thoughts on the DMV, and his favorite video game character. We’re excited to share with you the first of many artist spotlights to come! Check out the interview below, and then hit the jump to stream the full playlist.

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW: Joey Green

IMG_6961

Joey Green
Swim (Prod. By Herrvahl)
Joey Green x K.eYe.D
Girls Love Clothes (Prod. trash.goon)
Ozzie.
The Ave (Feat. Joey Green) (Prod. Ozzie Clarke)

TMN: When did you first start making music, and how did you decide that it was something you wanted to pursue full time?

Joey Green: I started in high school and decided that I wanted to take it seriously when I got to college.

TMN: Is there any significance behind the name Joey Green?

JG: No, not really. I didn’t really want a stage name and plus I like my name, so I went with it. I think it works for my music too because I pride myself on self-expression and genuineness. To me, it feels right because I know who I am and I’m happy with who I am.

TMN: Your last mixtape, Manifesto, was kind of our introduction to your laidback, lo-fi style. What was the recording process like for that project, and did you have any specific goals you set out to achieve with that mixtape?

JG: It was a very long process. I spent about a year and a half (on and off) working on it. A few months in, I had a lot of songs done for it but I wasn’t satisfied with any of them. I scrapped every single one and decided to start over, the only song from the bunch I kept was “Ric Flair.” Starting over was what the project needed, because I was able to go back to the drawing board and give it a better structure. I recorded all new songs over the summer, kept experimenting, and was introduced to lo-fi. The lo-fi sound was also new to me, but I fell in love with it–it’s so dope to me. My goal was to craft a cohesive project with a variety of tones and moods. I think I achieved that.

TMN: Who would you say your biggest influences are?

JG: My biggest influence is Kanye by far.

TMN: The DMV has seen a huge influx of talent lately from names like GoldLink, Chaz French, DP, D.R.A.M., etc. What are your thoughts on the growing hip-hop scene in your area?

JG: I think it’s great and it’s good to see to see my area coming up. There’s so much talent from here. DC is heavily overlooked as far as sound goes, but with the talent we have here, that will change in due time. With that being said, this area isn’t too keen on supporting one another either. If artists from here could put their egos to the side and stray away from trying to bring each other down, we could make so much noise.

TMN: You’ve had quite a few collaborations with K.eYe.D over the past few months, and we hear you have a joint EP coming up soon between you two. Can you tell us what to expect from that project?

JG: Yes! K.eYe.D and I are working on a joint EP. We don’t have a title for it yet, but you can expect nothing but good vibes honestly. eYe is like a big brother to me and we clicked from the jump. This project will reflect our personalities as well, but of course I don’t wanna give too much away.

TMN: What else can we expect from Joey Green in the coming months?

JG: More flows from me for sure! I can’t sit still for too long so I’m always plotting on what I wanna cook up next. I’m looking to do more visuals as well. I storyboarded and co directed my “Beyond” music video, shout out to the director DanSam too!

TMN: If you could be any video game character, who would it be and why?

JG: Aiden Pierce from Watch Dogs, no hesitation. He hacks into any and everything with his cell phone. One minute he’s detonating explosives, the next minute he’s causing a blackout with a single tap. That’s a bad mothafucka right there (laughs).

TMN: What’s one quality you think you share with a ninja?

JG: We move in silence, but make our presence felt at the right time.

We’d like to thank Joey for graciously agreeing to be our first Hip-Hop Dojo spotlight artist. And now without further ado, we’d like to present to you our February 2015 playlist!  

Check out the full Hip-Hop Dojo Playlist after the jump!

Related items: