[Interview] TMN Chats With the Intoxicating Caroline Smith

Half About Being a Woman
Live (89.3 The Current, Caravan Du Nord)

The incredibly talented Caroline Smith will be kicking off a lengthy U.S. tour this Friday at one of our favorite rock bars in the Mile-High City (wow, does that name carry a different significance nowadays), The Hi-Dive; on the heels of one of our favorite LP’s within the last year, Half About Being a Woman. Luckily the multi-faceted singer/songwriter was just as cool as her music, as we had the fortuitous chance to talk about her creative process, drink of choice while performing, Wayne Newton and a whole lot more. And for our friends residing in Denver, if you missed our show preview, which came complete with a free ticket giveaway, it’s not too late to enter here. Read the entire transcript below.

The Music Ninja: We caught you at the beginning of quite the ambitious U.S. tour, including some pretty big markets like Boston and Philly. Are there any specific cities or venues that you’re excited to be playing on this jaunt?

Caroline Smith: I’m always excited to play New York. We have quite a few fans there and I love to pretend that I live there, even just for a day. I’ve been obsessed with living in NYC since Sex and The City was airing season 3 (le saison d’Aiden). That would have made me in 6th grade. I never got to move there, hopefully someday, so I feel extremely fortunate that I have a career that brings me to Manhattan a few times a year and it’s always something I look forward to.

TMN: You’ve played in Denver before with The Good Night Sleeps in 2012. How is your view of Denver’s budding music scene in comparison to the last time you had the chance to play the Mile High?

CS: Well, our label/management is out of Denver so I feel like Denver is kind of a second home to us- I mean, I practically dial 303 into my phone every day. The boys and I have always loved Denver and we have a lot of really close friends there, just from playing amazing spots like Leon Art Gallery. It’s weird to me that we don’t play Denver more! So I’m super pumped to get back and be a part of the music scene. Hopefully we won’t be away for another 2 years!

Finish our interview with Caroline Smith after the jump!

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[Video] Vic Mensa – Magic (Smoko Ono Remix)


Do you believe in “Magic?” If you’re a skeptic, then it might be time to hop in a time machine with Vic Mensa and Smoko Ono as they take a psychedelic trip back to the early 90’s in the visuals for this Chicago house inspired remix. Cutting out the verses completely from the Innanetape original, we’re instead left with a revitalized tune that’s dripping with entrancing melodies and infectious rhythms. Old school vibes are abound as well, as flush bright neons bombard the screen throughout the trippy visuals. Let the nostalgia take over as you peep the video below, and stay tuned for Smoko’s upcoming Slackin-N-Mackin EP, set to release later this year.

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[Music Video] Years & Years – Real

Years & Years

London based pop trio Years & Years, comprised of Olly, Michael, and Emre have one of those sounds that are never gonna let you know. While this may be the first time you’re hearing of them, we can assure you that they’ll stick in your mind like your high school crush.

“Real,” which we posted last month, makes itself known by focusing on the vocals, which are comprised of intensely emotional-rich lyrics. The tune as a whole is not overdone, simply driven by accentuating the heart-felt message. Founded on a percussion based backbone, and a somewhat groovy bassline, this Kitsune backed indie pop gem is due out on the 17th of this month.

The video just dropped recently for this blogosphere favorite, which can be seen below. You may recognize a few cameos, as Ben Wishaw (Skyfall, I’m Not There) and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Utopia, Misfits) make their way into the mix.

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[RnB/Soul] Emily King – Distance


Emily King’s “Distance” would be a radio hit back in the 70’s. No joke. She has the timeless, soul-inspired lyrical journey that girls and guys can both appreciate. Even a few seconds in, we were already thinking about how perfect her sound would be for some vinyl.

This Manhattan raised artist has shared the stage with the likes of Maroon 5, John Legend, Emeli Sande, and countless others along the way. With her multi-genre rooted style, she has a unique and emotion-rich sound that’s instantly infectious. Her lush, and soulful vocals can warm even the coldest of hearts, especially when backed with classic guitar work and slow, repetitious piano work.

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[Country] Adrian Duffy and The Mayo Brothers – Push Those Keys

Push Those Keys

Alright, ninjas. Before you get ready to load up your verbal barbs for our comment stream, take a step back. There’s something beautifully simplistic about a great country song. It’s almost a rite of passage to appreciate a boastful story-teller carefully intertwining their folk-inspired tales over acoustic guitar chords and piano keys.

While this song could easily be played in any pool hall either side of the Mississippi, this very American sounding tune is actually from a few Londoners, Adrian Duffy and The Mayo Brothers. No joke. While you were thinking about cracking open a six pack of Bud Lights to this soulful tune, you’d actually be better off opting for a Newcastle. With inspirations from the likes of Merle Haggard, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, The Band, Little Feat, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, these cats have a familiar sound hailing from across the pond.

Call us crazy, but we’re into this tune. It may be pop-country, but we’re into it. Sit back and let it take you for a ride.

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Interview with Sam Harris of X Ambassadors [TMN EXCLUSIVE]

TMN: Hey guys! Thank you so much for taking some time to answer a few questions for us today. Currently, you’re in the midst of a pretty massive tour, playing with Panic at the Disco for some dates, and Imagine Dragons for some. How has it been going so far?

XA: So far, so good! We’re back in New York now for a couple days, so we get to see friends and girlfriends for a minute. Doing laundry and shit, ya know.

TMN: After you wrap up as support for those guys, you head out and headline a few shows of your own, wrapping up at Firefly Festival in Delaware. Are there any shows during that span that you’re particularly looking forward to? Maybe the Bowery show so you can have your home crowd supporting you?

Yea we’re all super excited about Bowery. I remember when I first moved to New York thinking that the day my band headlined Bowery Ballroom would be the day I’d feel like I was a real musician. And now that day has come and I don’t think any of us feel like any of this is real yet hahah.

X Ambassadors

TMN: As you already know, we’re huge fans of your work over here at TMN. We’ve posted your music in the past, including a couple of premieres. Talk to us about the songwriting process that you went through to write Love Songs Drug Songs.

LSDS was a culmination of a lot of years of independent work, combined with stepping into the big leagues with a producer like Alex. He really made us all so excited about making music again; we banged out the whole EP in like 2 weeks. Love Songs Drug Songs and Stranger were two brand new ones we wrote in the studio with Alex and those came together in a day or two.

TMN: Speaking of that EP, how did you come up with the title?

I was in the studio early in the morning with our engineer, and I needed to come up with the verses for Love Songs Drug Songs. That line just kind of came to me, I don’t know how. Then we decided that it was appropriate for the EP title, considering that half the songs had a real dark vibe to them and half a more light, uplifting vibe. We call that shit a dichotomy.


TMN: Touching back on one of the premieres we did with you, your cover of “Power Trip” was one of our favorites to date. How did that decision come about?

We all just fucking loved that song so much and loved that record. That’s pretty much it. We had done a series of covers in the past that we all really liked and figured it was time for another. I think that Born Sinner was one of the best hip-hop albums of the year.. it could even give Kendrick a run for his money. And Miguel is one of my biggest idols, so that was another reason why we did it.

X Ambassadors
J Cole Power Trip (cover version)

TMN: Let’s talk a little bit about your musical background. How did you all get into playing instruments, and how did X Ambassadors come to be?

Well, it all started around Kindergarten… I met Noah on the first day and we became best friends. We started our first band in middle school and then Casey started playing with us around high school. Casey and I had been playing music together since we were little kids, but it wasn’t until then that we were cool enough as siblings to work together creatively. Then we moved down to the big city, met Adam in the freshman dorms at The New School University, and started jamming a bit. Wasn’t until after we graduated in 2010 that we went into the studio to make our first serious EP, Litost.

Continue reading

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[House] Cyril Hahn & Javeon – Breaking

Cyril Hahn & Javeon

Canadian house producer Cyril Hahn has had perhaps the most unassuming rise in comparison to any other producer over the past few years. What began as a college hobby of pumping out remixes for his friends,  soon turned into blogosphere wildfire when his smooth and pitched down deep remix of Destiny’s Child registered over a million plays within months. Since that spark, the entire indie world over from pop-enthusiasts, rock aficionados and of course dance gurus have seemed to take a bit of a shine to Hahn’s accessible and polished productions. Coming off of a debut EP Perfect Form back in October on tastemaking electronic imprint PMR, it looks like we’ve caught the young Canuck in the midst of a musical stride so to speak with his newest original collaboration with the talented and lovely Javeon, “Breaking”. The tune itself functions a little bit closer to synth-pop territory than usual for Hahn, who is clearly influenced by the Bristolian upstart. “Breaking” molds itself on top of a looming, 80’s leaning MIDI hook, and constant pumping bass line- and of course, it just wouldn’t be right to have Cyril Hahn’s name on this one unless there was a silky stellar vocal track there to pull its listener along.

“Breaking” will be available as part of  PMR Records (part of the brains behind finding Jessie Ware and Disclosure) debut sampler 20 Square Feet in Action which has yet to receive an official release date. Stream it above.

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