Kmag touches down with the Los Angeles-based Atlantic Connection for an exclusive preview of the two-years and 40+ tunes that went into the creation of the highly anticipated Love Architect LP.
Again, we can’t express how much we love the advance copy we received of the album. Even though the styles and tempos are across the board, there is this very definite sense of taking the listener on a journey. Were you working with a conceptual framework from the beginning or did the underlying themes of the album come together on their own?
I think an album should represent a period in time for the artist more so than a moment. Singles are like moments: often fleeting, and sometimes remembered. An album should stand the test of time, be listenable again in 10 years without sounding dated.
I have a huge amount of musical output, many styles for many outlets. Sometimes I finish multiple tunes in one day, so deciding a direction for an album was hard because I had to ask myself, “How do I represent ME and MY vision through all this music? How do I find myself within all these vibes?” Those were the first questions.
I noticed during the two-year process of writing this album that a certain sound emerged through some of the songs. It was something different and deeper than the rest, so I developed that sound, tailored it and created something full and finished.
You essentially started writing the LP in 2010 and wrote two albums worth of material. How did you take the original 40-odd songs and boil them down into the final 13?
I started writing this album on Oahu in 2010 after leaving a desk job for MTV to move to Hawaii for a bit. Funny thing, however, is that none of the songs I wrote out there made it onto this project, but the vibe and inspirations did. I think that was where the album began though, in Hawaii. Mahalo to all crew out on the islands, thanks for the love and inspirations!
After a year back in Los Angeles I had racked up a lot of music: everything from films, TV shows, videogames and work with other artists. Within those directions I found the desire to complete this album for myself and to show my fans (old and new) what I AM all about. I found my original songs were going one of two ways mood-wise: either really tough and dancefloor, or really deep and spacey. I felt these two grooves and saw the two directions of me, then decided to attack the deep and spacey one first.
My advice to other producers on this and the best advice I’ve ever heard was an interview Erykah Badu gave while she was working with Mark Ronson. It was something to the degree of “He’s nervous about playing me the song because he still IS the song.” That resonated with me, and made complete sense. Every song a producer writes is their best work because they literally still are the music, and the music is still them. Step away from the studio for a few days, take a look at your collage…no doubt some of the pieces will suck, some will be amazing and some will be ok. It’s knowing how to reorganise those pieces to make many new collages, or make one amazing one. However you want to attack it, there is no wrong way. Just don’t forever BE the song and you’ll have a stronger objectivity for it.
What happens to those 20-odd tunes that didn’t make the cut? My sense is that many producers would have a hard time letting go and somehow try to force them into the final product at any cost.
Well, I actually have another album on the slate for possibly later this year. That one focuses on my more heavy dancefloor side, so no worries they will all make their way to the public soon enough.
In our last conversation you also mentioned that “a certain sound emerged which represented where I’m at now” – speak a bit more to that – how do you see yourself evolving as an artist and in what way do you see this album reflecting where you’re at artistically?
As far as evolving as an artist, I think that comes naturally over time, for me, finishing this album was an evolution of my sound. It’s like you’ve finally got past a certain point; you can move onto something new. It reflects where I’m at artistically because it’s the perfect representation of me in the now. You’re hearing the view from my window seat, seeing my inspirations, my surroundings and witnessing my flux, but at the same time we’re all in it together.
This is no doubt related to that sense of “retro nouveau” and “classic psychedelic culture” that you believe are having a sort of contemporary “renaissance” – what are those ideals and how do you see them being reflected in Love Architect?
The vibe of love, that’s what’s making a renaissance. There are many cultural and historical similarities between now and then, civil rights, war, technology, new physics discoveries, space exploration. As such, it’s bringing people together, it’s promoting new ideologies through expansion in theories, physics and ways to love. In other words, while a great deal of the world is still asleep or participating in negative experiences, those who are awake are getting full blasts of “this is how it really is” and we’re running with it.
Love Architect as a title is extremely provocative and lends itself perfectly to the vibe of the album as a whole. What does it mean to you and how do you see it contributing to the overall framework of the project?
The title just randomly came to me. I had played around with a few other names, but Love Architect just felt right. My music is often times about love, how we’re living in a time where love is finally making a comeback, and constructing that emotion for other people through music. Behind that construction is an architect, and the architect builds love.
It’s always difficult to choose a favourite track, but is there one track that came together in a special way?
Fourzero41 is probably my favourite. Last year I attended a memorial service in North Carolina for Lance Presson (aka 4041) on the 10-year anniversary of his passing. Lance was the guy who got me into d&b so many years ago. I used to hang out at his house and watch him mix for hours! Dude was incredible, as well as being one of the most promising producers I’ve ever had the privilege to know. I’m pretty sure Lance’s favourite drum break was “the Amen” – he was so good with it. Anyway, I always wanted to collaborate with him but unfortunately never got the chance, so this was my way of paying homage, saying hello, hopefully I did him justice!
There’s also an exclusive remix on the LP from Kastle that I know you were extremely excited to lock down.
Oh yes, Kastle’s remix… so ill! We were introduced by his manager at an event called Expansion, which was held on ranch outside of Los Angeles and we hit it off. It was quite evident that Kastle and I shared a lot of the same views and moods in music. At the time though, he was touring a lot with 12th Planet, and I too was busy working on several film scores, so a collab wasn’t much of a possibility. However, after working with Tali on My Love and trying to arrange some remixes, he was first on my mind. I reached out to him, sent the stems, he murdered it, sent it back and we put it on the album.
Speaking of exclusives, there’s a rumour floating about that you have a very special and exclusive treat for Kmag readers?
I owe my fans! I’ve had a lot of people waiting on me for another album for a good couple years. I finally have something to give back, and say “thanks for hangin’ with me through all that!” So, I’ve decided to give away the album, in its entirety, until June 16th. Download it here. Please enjoy, share and tell people to purchase when it drops on June 19th.
Looking ahead, where do you see Atlantic Connection going from here?
Before I get into any of that, I want to say thank you. Thank you to my fans, to my management team, my agency, my designers, my family and friends for believing in me through all these years.
With that said; I’m interested in starting a live show of sorts: visual, musical, special guests…the works! It’s an idea now, but its quickly pushing its way to the front of my brain so I’ll have to act soon I think. Also, I just finished off 10 remixes for MTV and Extreme Music’s indie artist promotional company Hype Music. Those remixes were produced specifically for a new show premiering on MTV this Fall, and will likely be available for retail as well at some point.
I’ve got a new weekly radio gig for www.ukbassradio.com that just started called The Future Soul Show. I’ve also just signed the paperwork to launch a new clothing line and production company, working on the internal development now. The music will certainly be continuous as well. There’s another album project we’re playing with, plus a few new singles and remixes on my new label Atlantic Connection Music. Then hopefully some upcoming collaborations and production for some major label artists too!
Words: Chris Muniz
View original interview HERE
Each week on MTV’s Punk’d you get to witness the celebrities getting punk’d by their peers. Just beyond the hi-jinx is the “sound” of the show. The music. The glue. The “Soundtrack” if you will. The duo behind the Punk’d theme song and overall sound this season are the Los Angeles based band Heavy Young Heathens. The HYH’s are no strangers around MTV. Their music has been featured throughout shows such as Death Valley, Jersey Shore and the Parkour Challenge. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing them about scoring music for television and specifically Punk’d. The best part of this? They wrote and recorded a song called “Joey Lawrence of Arabia” just for the fans of Punk’d to give away as a free download (below).
[ Heavy Young Heathens Interview ]
ST: Prior to Punk’d, had you guys ever scored a television show?
HYH: No, we never scored a show. Hell, we never even scored with a girl! But now, after Liz Miller (Punk’d Music Supervisor) found us playing at the Baked Potato in Hollywood and hired us to score Punk’d, all of our dreams have come true.
ST: During the process of creating original music for Punk’d, what was the creative direction you went for?
HYH: We went for the closest thing to RATT that we could. I think it’s safe to say we failed. So we went back to our original idea of creating a big fuzzy drums and bass sound.
ST: Being that you guys are a band, is scoring for TV more fulfilling creatively than hitting the road and touring?
HYH: The only things we miss about the road and touring are buying illegal fireworks in New Mexico, Texas BBQ and visiting Graceland 3+ times a year. Other than that, we carry a great deal of gratitude for the situation we are in right now, getting to be creative everyday doing what we love and making a living at it.
ST: How does it feel to hear your music each week on TV?
HYH: It is widely known that the days of traditional marketing for bands and records are over, so TV has introduced our music to so many listeners that we would never have reached otherwise. And again, I cannot stress enough how much gratitude we have to be in this position.
ST: Do you have any advice for someone wanting to break into the field of scoring TV/Film?
HYH: Actually, I was going to ask you that same question. If you have any leads, I would love to pass along my demo tape. It is cutthroat out there…
ST: Is there a specific person(s) “musically” that have influenced you guys and your music?
HYH: Jeff Garber of National Skyline, Brett Detar, Fred Maher, The Dalai Lama & The Noid from Domino’s Pizza (Bring Back the Noid).
View the original interview HERE.
MTV Soundtrack recently caught up with the Philadelphia band Desoto Jones. They’ve had numerous song placements across many MTV shows, most notably Jersey Shore.
ST: Where are you guys from and how has that influenced your music?
DJ: We are all from New Jersey, directly across the river from Philadelphia. Adam and Owen Staszewski are brothers and grew up playing together. Ean and Adam Francois went to the same high school only about fifteen minutes away from where Adam and Owen went to school. Greg Townsend is from a bit further north in New Jersey. Philadelphia really had a vibrant music scene while we were growing up. Ean, Owen and Adam were heavily involved in the hardcore, metal and punk underground scenes of the early 2000′s in New Jersey and Philly. I think that definitely had an influence on us, but I’d say the music that influenced us all and made us start playing was grunge during the early 90′s.
ST: What did MTV mean to you growing up? What does it mean to you now?
DJ: MTV was really important to us all growing up. Seeing videos of bands we loved, finding new bands, watching breaking music news, and live performances on the Video Music Awards all made us stop in our tracks. Nirvana Unplugged, as well as Pearl Jam Unplugged (and their Video Music Awards performances) are vivid memories for us. MTV was truly was an integral part of our adolescence. What does MTV mean to us now? Words cannot describe the intense feeling of nostalgia as the theme song of Beavis and Butthead launches the show into new episodes. Amazing. Hearing newer bands through the various shows and how MTV is shedding light on how important music is when paired with visuals to create certain feelings is simply brilliant. We also can’t describe how much the folks at MTV have done for Desoto Jones by placing our music in various shows. It provided a platform for us to gain invaluable exposure. Who would have thought that the channel we grew up worshiping would be using our music in their programming? Surreal stuff.
ST: Who are some of your biggest musical influences and why?
DJ: Some of our biggest musical influences include 90′s bands like Pearl Jam, STP, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, and so on. They were a major part of our formative years and left a huge imprint on our sense of what rock music is and how great it can be. That is our one common thread. Individually, we don’t listen to the same music. But we feel that is part of what makes us a strong band: the ability to have a common vision of what we want to hear in songs and what is missing from modern alternative rock music. A lot of new music today seems to pull from 80′s and new wave so we are proud to have roots in rock.
ST: If you could work with one artist dead or alive, who would it be?
DJ: Kurt Cobain because the guy could muster more musicality and passion in a few chords than others could do in their lifetime.
ST: If your music was a food, what would it be and why?
DJ: If our music was a food it would be a Doener Kebap (a turkish sandwich found in Germany). A confluence of different ideas, tons of substance, and a nice balanced approach. Punk rock prices, delicious results.
ST: Real World or Jersey Shore?
DJ: Jersey Shore – because you can hear us on the show!
ST: If you could be known for only one of your songs, which would you choose and why?
DJ: As far as material already out, I would say “Unreliable” because it has great melody, but isn’t sugar coated. It has parts in it that musicians and fans alike can appreciate.
LA’s female fronted melodic indie outfit Of Verona’s star is definitely on the rise. Over the past year both KROQ and MTV have named them a band to keep our ears peeled for. The band also just finished work on their self-produced debut full length, The White Apple, which was mixed by John O’Mahony (Metric), to be released this Spring. You might also recognize them from frequent Molly Malones gigs, FILTER’s Culture Collide Festival or most recently, opening for Moby. We caught up with front-woman Mandi Perkins to talk to her about Of Verona’s appearances at SXSW2012 including at mtvU’s Woodie Awards Woodies Festival.
Is this your first SXSW?
The is the first time of Verona is going to be showcasing out there. It’s always such a great event. Much more like a festival these days than a conference.
How many times have you gone in the past?
Twice as a performer and then last year just as a spectator for some meetings and to catch some shows.
What are some highlights from past years?
It’s amazing to see bands like Muse & Metric in such intimate venues. There are also amazing new acts that you can catch while walking down 6th street; The kind of bands you might not have seen had it not been for SXSW. Its always great introduced new music. Hanging backstage with Moby while Skrillex spun an outdoor set last year was pretty special as well. The audience was next level excited.
What band are you most excited to check out this year?
So many great acts are playing that it’s hard to pick. Kasabian is definitely up there. We are also excited to be playing as part of the MTV “Woodies Festival” on the Thursday. It has an amazing lineup that includes Santigold, A$SAP Rocky, Wallpaper and more.
Why is SXSW so special?
Austin is an amazing city (with really kind people) and during the festival, there is music coming out of every store, bar, hotel and restaurant. It has an almost collaborative environment, where you get to meet and see bands from all around the world. It’s a cool place to be, both as an artist and as a fan.
Do you have any secret festival survival tactics?
Comfortable shoes. For the ladies, make sure to keep some flats in your bag because walking around on heels all day can be brutal. You’re also dancing on concrete half the time, which is killer on your toes. I recommend a good pair of Converse.
Also, if you’re a vegetarian, bring your own snacks– Lots of BBQ around.
Try & bring ear plugs. Sometimes the sound in some of the venues can be slightly rough.
Lastly, it’s a long festival, but it’s worth it, so pace yourself, wear sunscreen, drink water. First time I went there, I took myself out of the game day two. Don’t take yourself out!
What is your overall SXSW 2012 strategy?
To just go out there and have fun. We have some phenomenal shows lined up… I think it’s going to be the most fun year yet.
Any special surprises for your fans?
We’ve added an amazing visual element to our show. we’ve added these crazy visual effects that correspond to each musical element in the set. They make the music almost 3-D. Could be interesting on the outdoor shows though. We might have to find a couple of other effects to compete with the sun.
++Interview by Kristen Lowman
View original interview here: http://www.examiner.com/local-music-in-los-angeles/sxsw-spotlight-on-of-verona
UK band Stealing Signs have been creating a buzz throughout MTV shows with several key music placements. They’re quickly becoming a go-to artist when it comes to needing impactful songs for shows like Jersey Shore. They’ve recently been earning some key radio spots in their own backyard on powerhouses like XFM and Radio 1.
The band recently sat down with Soundtrack for a quick interview:
ST: What did MTV mean to you when you were growing up? What does it mean to you now?
SS: My memories of MTV growing up are of attractive girls dancing whilst wearing denim short shorts, MTV crop tops and sun glasses. I see MTV now as an iconic figure that has helped launch the careers of many bands with the added bonus of attractive girls wearing short shorts, crop tops and sun glasses.
ST: What artist/band has influenced you the most?
SS: The Foo Fighters are probably the biggest influence on our band. Their music doesn’t always affect our “sound”, instead I would say that we are more influenced by their stage presence and musical values.
ST: If you could work with any artist alive or dead, who would you pick?
SS: Obviously we would work with Michael Jackson. The guy was built to write and perform music! Who wouldn’t want to work with him? Plus, you could learn some fricking awesome dance moves at the same time.
ST: If you could be known for only one of your songs, which would you choose and why?
SS: I think “Stampede”. The song has got a light and a dark side. It shows off our dynamic abilities as a band. I think the lyrics are easily relatable to a huge number of situations as well. If we were only known for one song, I’d want it to be massively ambidextrous and that’s “Stampede”.
++ Interview by Ernesto Elias
4-piece pop-punk band Reachback from Essex create an immensely infectious and energetic sound that has led to them being described as “a hugely exciting prospect” by BBC Introducing, and “potentially a UK rival to Paramore” by Kerrang! Their tracks have twice been chosen by Absolute Radio DJs Sarah Champion and Pete Donaldson to be played on the Sunday Night Music Club. Feisty redheaded frontwoman Ruby was also chosen by Secretsales.com and Emerging Icons to take part in a fashion shoot at Notting Hill ealier this year.
There are exciting times ahead for this band who recently released their five track EP “Wake up” – featuring the tracks Butterflies, No One Else, Without You, Waiting, and Believe. We are delighted to present our exclusive interview with them – scroll below to read it!
How did you first get into playing music?
One of my friends wanted to learn the electric guitar and he kept bugging me too learn it with him. I eventually caved in and haven’t looked back since… I ought to thank him, really!
How long have you been performing?
We spent a long time writing and working on our set at first but we started gigging in early 2009 when most of us were eighteen. Ruby has been performing on stages and recording in studios since she was about five though, so you could say us guys have had some catching up to do, the past three years!
How would you describe your sound in one sentence?
A little bit of pop… a little bit of punk and a whole lot of awesome!
I can only say we try and sound like everything we all want the band to sound like, and that’s what Reachback has become!
What makes your music unique?
We’re influenced by many US bands with song writing and production that crosses over Rock and Pop. There is a lot of our personality in our music which makes it unique too, and Ruby’s vocals of course! I have to say that because she is my sister, but I think most people recognise that she has a stand-out quality!
What inspires you to write songs?
For me its listening to my favourite bands and then thinking ‘they should have a song like this’.
I’d say simply the love of writing songs and making a connection with people. I tend to write about personal thoughts and experiences but hopefully in a way people will interpret and relate to for themselves.
What have been your best and worst gig experiences?
One of the best experiences has to be playing at the London Hard Rock Cafe which was a super fun show, and plus we got to hang out in the Hard Rock Vault before we went on stage.
We’ve earned our stripes and played a fair few stinkers to be fair – parking tickets, car break-downs and unreasonable pay-to-play promoters experiences all spring to mind, although they are massively outshone by positive ones!
If you had to listen to one album for the rest of your life what would it be?
I would have to say “All Killer, No Filler’ by Sum 41 which was also the first album I ever bought!
Possibly the soundtrack to Les Miserables which I sang in when I was young and I still love, or a compilation record of sixties soul music. That holds great memories too.
I’m going to hold out and say the Reachback debut album, when we finally get there!
What do you get up to when you’re not making music?
Joe is usually on the golf course. I play a bit of hockey and Tom doesn’t spend much time not making music, although when he isn’t he is usually eating pizza or burger.
We do all like going to other bands’ shows too. We do a lot of that together whenever we’re not too busy ourselves.
What are your goals at the moment?
To do a full debut album would be amazing – we’ve got so many ideas but at the moment so we’re looking for a deal that would fund the level of production and marketing that we’re after.
I think we’d all really like to play some big festivals and tour with a headline act too. We’ve had a taste of some bigger shows and festivals this year but we’re all looking for more in 2012.
What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or gigs lined up?
We’ve been doing some live recordings lately with MTV at Abbey Road Studios and Live Nation at London O2 Academy which just come out and got a great viral response on Youtube so we might look at doing some more acoustic stuff pretty soon.
What do you think of The Unsigned Band Review and Emerging Icons?
Unsigned Band Review have been great to us! You guys helped us get our first airplay on Absolute Radio earlier in the year through the ‘Sunday Night Music Club’ submission – and I was lucky enough to feature in the Secretsales.com/Emerging Icons artist makeover series.
It’s hard out there in the music industry at the moment – especially for bands to get noticed and The Unsigned Band Review do a great job in supporting this.