A Conversation with Klangkarussell [TMN Exclusive Interview]

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Klangkarussell
Sonnentanz

One of the most epic things about cruising Soundcloud is the possibility of stumbling across something completely unknown that has not yet found its way into the viral loop. It’s a sense of achievement as a music fan, but also proves extremely empowering to artists. Roughly 2 years ago, we were introduced to Austrian production duo, Klangkarussell (translation: ‘Sound Carousel’), who had a single track on their Soundcloud page titled “Sonnentanz.”  The six-minute, house-leaning jam features a perfectly subtle mix of horns, xylophone and synth, making it the type of relaxing song you can keep on repeat without losing any of its power. During 2012, “Sonnentanz” gained millions of plays reaching the Top 10 in 6 countries and helping earn them a record deal with Universal Music.

Although certainly excited about their success, old friends, Tobias Rieser and Adrian Held, are true to their sound–chilled out and not too concerned with conformity. Raised in Salzburg, Austria, the birthplace of Mozart, the two share a unique and diverse musical background from an early age, which makes us particularly excited about what’s to come. Check out our exclusive interview below and keep an eye out for their upcoming Netzwerk EP due out in a week, on July 29th. Make sure to follow Adrian and Tobias for more updates: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

TMN: First things first, where does the name Klangkarussell come from?

Tobias: There’s not really a back story—it just sounded good, and that’s why we took it. We liked the name, and so we took it.

TMN: So, you two hung out back in school and reunited relatively recently after over a decade apart. Can you tell us a bit about where you both were in life on the day that you met up?

Adrian: I had just quit my job at a private TV station, and then I went to work in Salzburg at the Festpiele. I worked there during the summer, and that’s when we met.

Tobias: I was starting to do my exams. Really late, but I started to do my exams at that time.

TMN: We’d love to hear the story behind “Sonnentanz”—both on a musical level and just what your expectations were when you uploaded it?

Adrian: There was never an intention of becoming famous or being able to live like a musician or something like that. It was never the intention. It was more like, “I’m dealing with different, like daily, shit all the time.” Just sitting down making music and forgetting the other stuff around there. It was coming over us, so that was the spirit of the track.

TMN: You guys are really at the front lines of the Internet revolution in music. From your perspective, describe your journey from releasing a single song on Soundcloud to touring the world, making a splash in the fashion industry and signing a record deal. What are your thoughts more broadly on the Internet’s advantages/disadvantages for up and coming artists such as yourselves?

Adrian: I think that the whole internet thing has changed everything. Basically, people are deciding what comes out on record labels these days. It’s like record labels going around and A&Rs going round, and being like, “Okay, this is going to be the new thing.” They’re looking on the internet for what people want to hear and then approach the people to put it out. I think that’s like a nice way of people having the power to decide what they want to hear and what they want to make big and make successful.

Tobias: A lot of stuff has gone through Hype Machine especially.

Adrian: I think that’s the number one thing that A&Rs look at right now. In the morning, they go to the office, and they check Hype Machine rather than listen to demos anymore.

TMN: Your first video was a model-filled fantasy that fit Sonnentanz amazingly well but the second, for “Netzwerk,” was a bit more extreme. What role did you play in those videos and how did you choose that direction for the second one?

Adrian: For “Netzwerk,” we reached out to some directors. They sent their ideas, and we chose this idea because it just felt like it worked with the song. For us, the song was about freedom. It also comes together with the African sample. It was all the time about freedom, so this just really was a nice picture of, “do what you want to do.” Go out and hang around bridges or wherever you want.

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TMN Chats with Resident Artist ARTY [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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A few months ago we had the pleasure interviewing Insomniac Record’s very first signee when he came to play at Beta Nightclub. After previously seeing this young Russian artist play at Red Rocks and at Ultra Music Festival, we were eager to fire off a few choice questions before his set.

Check out what ARTY had to say about the scene in Russia, what signing with Insomniac meant to him, and home-cooked meals from his mom.

TMN: Hey Arty, thank you so much for taking some time to sit down with us today. First up let’s talk about your latest release, “Up All Night”. Talk to us about the process heading into this track, working with vocalist Angel Taylor.

ARTY
UP ALL NIGHT ft. Angel Taylor (teaser)

ARTY: I was sitting in the studio with two songwriters (Toby Gad and Angel Taylor) and I had this idea for the track. It basically was some harmony and stuff. We did the vocals in one day and when I got back to my place, I just finished the track. It was completely different than what we were expecting. It was nice and trancy at first, and in the end it turned into something completely unique. I’m really excited about it.

TMN: This is also your first release on the newly launched Insomniac Records, which you’re also the first artist signed to that label. What does it mean to be on a label that’s backed by one of the biggest names in EDM?

ARTY: Well, Insomniac Events as a team is not the actual team behind the label. It’s a venture of Interscope. So, a lot of people are from Interscope. You get both from best worlds: people from Interscope, which is the most successful label in the entire world, and people from Insomniac events, which is one of the most succesful festival promoters.

Pasquale (Rotella) is like a superhero. He’s like a rock star. He’s super passionate, and it’s not a decision of signing the biggest names. I’ve had a lot of meetings with this guy and I’m confident he’ll be a big part of working on the album and what comes next.

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Getting to know: Starz Angels [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

Up Tonight Art
Starz Angels Feat Mariana Bell
Up Tonight [Now on Beatport]

Light-hearted dance music duo Starz Angels dropped the infectious, fiery ‘Up Tonight’ on Dutch label Made2Dance a couple of months back, and the tune has just come to attention once again, via the release of its unofficial video. The original track, featuring wonderful vocals from Mariana Bell, gathered a solid selection of support across the scene, and increasing the French pair’s popularity as producers and DJs. Ahead of the unveiling of their fun-filled antics in the video, we caught up with Starz Angels to find out more about their music.

TMN: How long have you been writing music for? Has it always been as a duo?

SA: We started producing together 4 years ago. We sometimes produce together and sometimes separately either for Starz Angels, or for other artists.

TMN: You recently released ‘Up Tonight’ with Mariana Bell. What was it like working with this talented vocalist and how did you come up with the lyrics for the track?

SA: It was very easy and pleasant to work with Mariana. She is very efficient and immediately understood our universe.While humming the melody, the first words that Mariana came with were “I will keep you up tonight”, from there we exchanged ideas around that theme so she could develop the song writing.

TMN: The ‘Up Tonight’ Official Music Video has finally dropped. How long have you been working on this?

SA: Between the organisation, the filming and the post-production, this project took us just over a month of work.When you watch the music video, it may seem simple, but it is a lot of work, especially because we intervene at each step of the production process.

TMN: We see one of you dress up in the famous Kiss masks. Was that for a bit of fun or have they been an influence on you musically?

Ka-ess: People used to call me “Kiss” when reading my DJ name; in fact it is pronounced “Ka-ees.” So eventually I had to pay tribute to the legendary rock band!

Le Kid: The drop has always made ​​me think of a metal /rock track, with a headbanging electric guitar riff. It was a good time to pay this tribute.

TMN: What’s next for Starz Angels in terms of releases?

SA: We are mainly working on Big Room tracks to rock festivals and clubs. Stay tuned!

 

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Get to know Denver’s UMS – 7/24-7/27 [Interview and Showcase Playlist]

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We’ve been proponents of underground artists for as long as we’ve been in existence. In all honesty, we get more of a thrill from reading a submission with a subject line like, “Debut song from indie/folk artist from the UK,” than we do from something like, “Mega superstar announces 1,000,000 city tour.” There’s a certain excitement in showcasing an up-and-coming artist that simply can’t be obtained from any other type of music review.

The Underground Music Showcase (better known as The UMS) shares this affinity for what most call “Hipster One-Upping” by continually bringing in top-notch, lesser-known, independent acts for nearly a decade and a half. Starting out in a single venue, this showcase has grown tremendously, to the point where it now aggressively takes over a stretch of Denver’s most coveted neighborhoods, turning it  into a four-day music festival.

We had a chance to catch up with one of the organizers, Kendall Smith of The Denver Post, who dropped some knowledge on how this thing started, whom he’s excited to see personally, and what this musical frenzy goes to benefit.

TMN: Thank you for taking some time to speak with us today. We’re less than two weeks out from The UMS, how are things coming along so far?
You bet. The clock seems to have sped up, but things are shaping up nicely. We keep improving every year. This year looks to be no exception.

TMN: Talk to us about the origins of this festival. It’s going into it’s 14th year, correct?

That is correct. The UMS was started by John Moore, formerly of The Denver Post. He wanted to showcase a few local bands he thought weren’t getting the attention they deserved. It started as a one night, one venue event. Eventually, the pop music critic for The Denver Post, Ricardo Baca, took it over, moved it to South Broadway and created the multi day, multi venue model it currently operates under. John and Ricardo are brilliant, passionate and talented men. I am a fortunate person to have worked with them both.

TMN: You’re bringing in artists from all over the world, including one of our current favorites, The Griswolds. How do you go about selecting your worldwide and national underground talent?

We have an awesome talent acquisition team led by James Irvine. James is the founder of Holy Underground and also books Larimer Lounge. We met The Griswolds through our efforts down in Austin during SXSW. The UMS produces a day party for our pals at Reverb every year. The Griswolds played this past year and turned in a burner of a set.

TMN: Some people may not know this, but this festival benefits the Denver Post Community Foundation. How did this partnership come to be and what types of causes does it support in the metro area?

When the festival was brought in house at The Denver Post, the decision was made to add it to the portfolio of Signature Events offered by The Denver Post Community Foundation. Net proceeds of the event are distributed to local non-profits to support of programs that benefit children, the arts, literacy and education and the provision of basic human services.

This year, we have two charitable partners. The first, a youth facing organization, Youth on Record, is a long time partner of The UMS. Our second, and a new partner this year, is an artist facing organization, MusiCares, a nonprofit arm of The Recording Academy.

TMN: Most festivals/showcases try to bring in those marquis artists that will sell tickets. You guys do exactly the opposite of that, providing music lovers with a glimpse into some lesser known bands. What are some of the struggles with putting on a show like this?

How much time do you have? Kidding aside, the core mission of The UMS is to showcase the vast talent we have in this region while also growing the audience for the local scene. We hope through our efforts, we continue to build trust. Trust with fans that the quality of the bands is going to be great. Trust with national booking managers that The UMS will a great look for them in Denver.

TMN: Denver seems to be a hotbed for all different types of music, filling up a sizable number of venues week to week. Aside from the obvious notable venues (Red Rocks, Fillmore, Beta Nightclub) what are some of your favorite spots to catch a show?

We are so lucky in this town. There are so many great rooms. I love the Gothic, hi-dive and Larimer Lounge. I recently saw a pretty rad Devo show at Summitt Music Hall and Colorado Springs has a pretty terrific new room at Ivywild.

TMN: What’s the one venue at UMS that everyone should check out, if they haven’t already?

All of them! Four days is plenty of time. I encourage everyone to check out the Main Stage this year. We have moved next door to Security Service Federal Credit Union and have made some upgrades to the stage and infrastructure. It’s going to be great!

TMN: What artist are you most looking forward to checking out this year?

I love and hate this question. I love the lineup this year, but we get so busy running things I just don’t ever plan on being able to see anybody in particular. My best bets are usually to see some of the main stage acts. Should a happy accident occur whereby I am in the right place at the right time and get to see any one of Ark Life, A Tom Collins, Eros and the Eschaton, Dragondeer or Roadkill Ghost Choir, I will be way pleased.

TMN: If you had to describe this event in three words, what would they be?

Music. Community. Goodness.

TMN: Thanks for your time! We can’t wait for the showcase July 24-27.

Thank you! See you on South Broadway!

HEADLINERS

Real Estate
Crime
Blonde Redhead
People Under The Stairs
Acid Raindrops

TMN’S PICKS

The Griswolds
The Beware the Dog
GEMS ≠ Scars
Brother Tiger
This Must Be the Place (Talking Heads Cover)
Miniature Tigers
Used To Be The Shit
Native Daughters
GDS
Speedwolf
Up All Night
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Ffunny Ffrends
Baths
Miasma Sky
Hillary Hand
Tameless Tongues
American Tomahawk
Do Not
Kyle James Hauser
Maria
Goodnight, Texas
Santa Cruz
Fort Frances
Chicago
Heart Attack
Lions & Lambs EP
Rose Quartz
Scarves
RUMTUM
Alona
Mosis
Where It Was
Keepers
Hello (Original Mix)
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Far Too Loud returns with a boom! [TMN Exclusive Interview]

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Far Too Loud
Boom! [Preview]

Electro whizz kid Far Too Loud steps up with his new single ‘Boom!’, to be released on No Tomorrow Recordings, July 7th. The UK-based producer crossed over to big sister label Never Say Die at the beginning of the year, but now returns to his previous home for this track release. Pulling no punches, this one dives in with a rhythmically satisfying introduction. No stranger to incorporating samples, FTL has packed this one with various sounds and excerpts, including shouts of “Boom!” throughout. Despite a nod to big room, the middle section is almost trance-like, an anthemic conclusion to a summer festival killer. We got chatting to the man behind the music.

TMN: You’re from Brighton, UK – how has your hometown influenced your time in music?

FTL:  It’s a great place to live, but I don’t feel it influencing my music at all.  I love the occasional day off in Brighton – hitting up the shops, pubs, a good restaurant, but my main source of inspiration is the atmosphere at the shows I play and the tracks I see really going off.

TMN: You’re playing the States as well as all over Europe. How do you find the varying global scenes? Any major differences?

FTL: I still find that I can go a bit harder in my European sets. American crowds need more vocals and familiar elements to a set, which I don’t mind though. It’s cool to work out interesting ways of doing that.

TMN: You have a new track, ‘Boom’, coming out next week. What sound were you aiming to hit on this one? How did you come up with the idea for it?

FTL: The melody popped into my head when I was walking to the shop late one night. The drop was originally more bassy, but I started playing around and the current one just stuck in my head, so I ran with it. I wanted to do something more current but that still sounds like an FTL production.

TMN: What do you like to do outside of the studio? Where do you like to chill out?

FTL: There’s not that much free time I get between studio and gigging, but I prefer to spend that time doing something culturally enriching.  Gigs, exhibitions, theatre, restaurants, pop-ups, any weird or unusual events.  I want to experience or find out about new things.

TMN: What are your aims for the rest of 2014 and heading into the new year?

FTL: I’m working towards a bigger release and tour towards the end of the year, then I’m going on holiday on 2nd January!

TMN: Any shows you’re particularly looking forward to this summer?

FTL: I’m most looking forward to the outdoor festival sets. I’m on my way to the USA as I write this where I’ve got Big Liberty, then up to Canada for Valhalla Sound Circus and Astral Harvest. Then it’ll be back to UK and Europe for some more including Noisily, Beatherder, Let It Roll and Uplands. Also a South Africa visit at the end of the summer for Grietfest will be awesome.

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The Evolution of Asher Roth [TMN Exclusive Interview]

RetroHash
Asher Paul Roth
Tangerine Girl (prod. Blended Babies)

For about as long as the arts have existed, creative individuals have been forced to toe the line between commercial success and unrestricted artistic freedom. In contemporary music, going too far in one direction leads to the label of “sell out,” while the other end of the spectrum is categorized as “too experimental”–it is a nearly impossible balance to achieve.

In 2009, a 24-year old Asher Roth released a song titled “I Love College” that catapulted him into the mainstream placing him squarely at this intersection. With a record deal in place, everything was set for Roth to reach material success as long as he was willing to concede that releases like his first big hit were definitive of him as a musician. Five years later, Asher independently released his first studio album since 2009, RetroHash, and it is truly a reflection of the creative, liberating journey he has taken since his initial success. The genre-encompassing project, filled with positive summer vibes, captures the incredible energy of a spirit freed. We were lucky enough to chat with Asher Roth, someone who has decided to pave his own path, about his truly fascinating evolution, both as a person and an artist. Grab a copy of RetroHash on iTunes and check out Asher’s upcoming tour dates on his website.

TMN: First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to chat today. I’m really looking forward to this conversation because, to be honest, I listened to RetroHash when it first dropped and it kind of blew me away in terms what you did with it and how you’ve grown as an artist.

Asher Roth: Very cool, man. Thank you.

TMN: So, let’s rewind a few years back because you’ve had such a unique career trajectory—I hear you describe it as a ’Benjamin Button experience.’ Take us back to when you first linked up with Scooter [Braun] and just how fast everything happened leading up to the release of Asleep in the Bread Aisle?

Asher: I just remember when Scooter called [Tom] Boyd, who’s a close friend, and we had a Facebook fan page with like 40 people on there and Boyd had his number on there. [Scooter] called him saying, “This is the most important phone call your boy’s every going to get.” You know Boyd runs over and we started talking. Anybody that knows Scooter knows he’s a talker—he’s a charming young man. So, next thing you know, we had moved ourselves down to Atlanta. And that’s literally what it felt like, you know. After that conversation, Boyder, myself and Brain [Bangley] moved ourselves down to Atlanta to be in it and amongst it. Because as fun and loving as Westchester is, and Pennsylvania in general, to really kind of do it you have to immerse yourself in it. So we moved ourselves down to Atlanta, put together The GreenHouse Effect mixtape, and kind of on the tail of that mixtape, ‘I Love College’ was written and put out on MySpace.

No album was in the works—it wasn’t like we had a whole album together and ‘I Love College’ was going to be the first single. With that record we were like, “yeah, it’s cute. This is fun and all, but this song sucks. you know what I mean?” [Laughs] It just blew up and that’s when I ended up linking with my buddy Orin (of Blended Babies]. And just trying to make sense of ‘I Love College’ and build an album around it which ultimately became Asleep in the Bread Aisle. And, you know, as that happened, I dealt with some politics through the Universal system with that album. I felt like I made a “responsible record.” We did the best we could do with the hand we were dealt. Just a lot of the promises and expectations, from a structure standpoint, didn’t get met. And that was my first red flag of, “this is an interesting business.”

So, my next step after that was Seared Foie Gras with Quince & Cranberry because I was starting to see the perspective that people didn’t really know me.

I was polarized because of one record and people were like, “that’s who Asher is.” And I hadn’t actually had a proper introduction. First impressions are everything, and for me, it has been quite the journey of properly introducing myself rather than, you know, one side of me. I don’t know many people that don’t like to have a drink, and dance, and be around females, and have a good time. But to say that’s all somebody is—for someone who wants to be here, and isn’t necessarily trying to cash out on the music business, but more so be appreciative of the opportunity to make music—it stung a little bit. So, ever since then, I’ve wanted to step back from the business side of things and make music that felt right.

TMN: Back to the present, RetroHash is your first studio album since Asleep in the Bread Aisle, and the career moves in that time have been insane. You signed with David Sitek’s Federal Prism

Asher: You know, that actually didn’t it happen—it got falsely reported. Dave Sitek is the homie, I love that dude. We did ‘Apples and Bananas’ together, and we released that as a single. For some reason, it got reported that we were putting out a whole album together. Dave Sitek is a close homie, we definitely make music together, but RetroHash was self-released.

TMN: Ah, I did not know that. I’m glad you clarified, because the internet is completely misinformed on that one (Roth was listed on Federal Prism’s roster on their website). Everywhere I looked, it said that was the label.

Asher: Yeah, it’s a trip that you can go on someone’s Wikipedia and it can be actually wrong! [Laughs]

TMN: As far as releasing an album independently, what was it like in terms of the creative control you got as compared with when you working on Asleep in the Bread Aisle? Like you said, it was kind of a safer record. How did that impact the sound of your music and the comfortability in the studio?

 Asher: Ah dude, it was awesome. And its not like we ever felt like we were making an album, you know what I mean? It’s not like we were like, “what’s the single going to be,” or “let’s write a song for the girls.” That never happened. We were just making music, we had pillars and were like, “this is cool, that’s cool. Let’s keep going.” Next thing we knew, we had a batch of songs and we just wanted to put them out. People have kind of been like, “where’ve you been for the last five years?” And, truth be told, I’ve been untangling myself from this web. Instead of digging ourselves in deeper and trying to fulfill contracts, I’ve kind of been patient, asked nicely, been very respectful. I didn’t shit on anybody on the way up and I didn’t shit on anybody on the way down. When it got down to the point when it was like, “Asher do you know what you want to do,” I said, “Yes, I’d just like to leave my contract and wipe the slate clean.” And I feel like musically as well, RetroHash has let me do that.
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Young and Sick [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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YOUNG & SICK
HEARTACHE FETISH

Taking the blogsphere by storm, Young and Sick have quickly made a name for themselves. This NY/LA based RnB outfit amassed close to 500,000 plays on their hit single, “Heartache Fetish” and have had the pleasure of hitting some extremely notable venues since then (ahem, Coachella.)

As we get ready to bring them in for a show in Denver, we wanted to get to know this brand new act a little better. Check out what lead man Nick had to say about his Dad’s old records, Sriracha, and his silky smooth voice.

TMN: We’re talking with Nick from Young and Sick. Thanks for taking a few minutes to speak with us today.

Y&S: Of course.

TMN: First off, we have to admit something. We tried so hard to get to your set at Coachella, but were struggling a little bit from the previous night’s festivities. How did that go for you?

Y&S: I believe it, it was early! But, it went well. It was kind of a different experience on both weekends. The second weekend, on Friday we opened for Foster the People in Vegas at the Cosmopolitan hotel, after which we had to drive through the night to make it for our 8AM load in. It was interesting.

TMN: Sounds pretty rough!

Y&S: It was great though. We had so much fun.

TMN: While we’re sure there were plenty of people like us, they can rest easy as you guys are about to head out on a pretty significant tour. Talk to us about which cities you’re most looking forward to.

Y&S: Actually, I’m very much looking forward to all of them. Not to sound cheesy, but I have not seen enough of the US, seeing as how I’ve only been living here for a little while. I’m interested to explore all the states, and especially some of the small towns in between. I’ve also heard the most amazing things about Chicago, and I think that’s one of the ones that I’m most looking forward to.

TMN: Speaking of your tour spots, we’re honored to be sponsoring your show here in Denver at Lost Lake. Is there anything you’d like to say to our Denver ninjas?

Y&S: You guys are so lucky to live in such a luscious state with so much beautiful forests around you. You should get out and explore!
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