artists

Zach Rogue Returns to St. Paul’s Turf Club with New Record 5/25

PHOTO – Zach Rogue discusses musical project Release the Sunbird behind the Turf Club in St. Paul, MN with Caitlin Gutenberger and Jameson Swanagon in 2011.

By Melany Joy Beck

Coincidently, I last caught up with Rogue Wave’s Zach Rogue in an alley behind the Turf Club in St. Paul back in 2011. He was on tour promoting another musical project, Release the Sunbird’s Come Back To Us.

“I want it to have a living room vibe,” Rogue says of Release the Sunbird’s live show. “With Rogue Wave, it’s like dynamics and jumping around and teetering and falling over and being on the edge of falling apart. This is a little more intimate.”

The Release the Sunbird set can be described as ‘cozy.’ With sparse, thoughtful instrumentation and warm vocal harmonies, Come Back To Us is a kind of musical comfort food, a panacea to soothe away the world of worries and conjure images of crackling fires and over-stuffed couches, a vibe Rogue nurtured by recording the record in the sleepy town of Bloomington, Indiana.

“With Rogue Wave, it’s like dynamics and jumping around and teetering and falling over and being on the edge of falling apart.” – Zach Rogue

“I felt really inspired. I wanted to make a pastoral record,” says Rogue on Release the Sunbird. “Bloomington doesn’t really change – the natural beauty, peace and quiet. Every morning I would walk about a mile to the studio and all I heard were birds tweeting.”

“I feel like our music is inclusive,” says Rogue. “It’s not hip or edgy, it’s just melodic and it has a sensibility where I feel it opens its arms up to everybody.”

Following up the last Rogue Wave album, 2013’s Nightingale Floors, Delusions of Grand Fur is scheduled for a 4/29 release.

Rogue Wave cover170x170

Tracklist:
01 “Take It Slow”
02 “In The Morning”
03 “California Bride”
04 “Look At Me”
05 “Falling”
06 “Curious Me”
07 “What Is Left To Solve”
08 “Frozen Lake”
09 “Endless Supply”
10 “Ocean”
11 “Last Picture Show”
12 “Mimento Mori”

 

Rogue Wave — 2016 Tour Dates
05/05 Oakland, CA @ Starline Ballroom
05/06 Mill Valley, CA @ Sweetwater Music Hall
05/07 San Francisco, CA @ The independent
05/10 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
05/11 Buffalo, NY @ Tralf Music Hall
05/12 Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
05/13 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
05/14 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
05/15 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
05/17 Washington, DC @ Black Cat
05/18 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
05/19 Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
05/20 Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
05/21 St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House
05/22 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
05/24 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
05/25 Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club
05/26 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
06/09 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
06/11 Austin, TX @ Mohawk Outdoors
06/12 San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
06/17 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
06/18 Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up

Editor’s Note: Portions of this article first appeared as part of the Curve Magazine blog, She’s Electric in December of 2011.

 

About the Author

Melany Joy Beck is a writer, musician, and award-winning independent filmmaker. Her Kickstarter project, short documentary Bring It 2 Peter (co-produced with Janelle Sorenson) was selected Special Jury Prize at the Nevada Film Festival 2011, Best Documentary at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival 2011, and Official Selection at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival 2012.

ShesElectric_ZachRogueReleasetheSunbird

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Front Woman Shines at First Avenue

 

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the Curve Magazine blog, She’s Electric in September, 2010 as “Un-Jaded with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.”

By Melany Joy Beck & Janelle Beck

It’s easy to write off Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as one of L.A.’s newest musical shticks. With their psychedelic prairie garb, dreadlocks and obvious appreciation of a certain herbal substance, the band is easy to stereotype. It is also true that their lineup includes a former ABC Family star, an American Apparel model and a cadre of west coast scenesters, including former Ima Robot front man, Alex Ebert who now dresses like the next messiah. However, Edward Sharpe and their free-loving ethos is a Kool-Aid worth drinking.

One of two women in the ten-person ensemble and the ingénue behind their breakthrough single, ‘Home’ is Jade Castrinos. Channeling Grace Slick at her most affable and Janis Joplin at her most lucid, Castrinos’ voice conjures images of wide open spaces and the fantasy of some nameless, long-forgotten west. But the singer becomes humble at the evocation of such icons and seems hard-pressed to claim any rock-idol throne.

“That’s a fucking honor, man. My dad and I were in a jam band and we would jam Janis Joplin,” she says, taking a seat backstage at Minneapolis’ First Avenue nightclub. “Strangely, I just picked up a biography on her and the first page I opened up to was a story about her sleepwalking as a kid and her mom woke her and asked what she was doing and she said, ‘I’m going home, I’m going home.’ That instantly hooked me.”

The sentiment of ‘Home’ has hooked a lot of people on Jade Castrinos too.

“The other night we had a show in Montana and it was just incredible,” she muses. “We had one of those moments when everyone is jamming and we become a unit and everything syncs up in the room.” She shakes her head and focuses her eyes on a seemingly empty patch of dressing room wall. “Those are the ones. The soul shakers. The moments when I understand why I’m on earth.”

ShesElectric_EdwardSharpeJade2

In an industry where competition is par for the course, Castrinos maintains an holistic view of her musicianship and why she twirls and wails and bangs the tambourine in the Edward Sharpe rock collective.

“It’s not just about me,” she says. “It’s about us making a sound together and being of service to song and love and supporting each other. The opposite of jealousy and competition is admiration and sharing. That’s the side of it that I’m on.”

The overall essence of Castrinos reaches beyond the notion of taking the stage. Marveling at the state of the world, our country, and even the music being written she is visibly struck by the sudden magnitude of import.

“What really matters when you go to your death bed?” she asks, raising her hands up and letting them flutter back down to smooth her tunic. “It’s not about the fuck-you songs to the government. I don’t think that’s what it should be about. It’s about shining a light and being a light and not cursing the darkness. We are all born into a world that is at war. Brothers and sisters don’t recognize each other and we all are living in this illusion of duality.”

At the sold-out show with opening act, Dawes, there is no hint of disharmony as Castrinos and Ebert echo the anthemic chorus of ‘Home’ to close out the night. In this band of brothers, sister Jade shines.

 

About the Authors:

Melany Joy Beck and Janelle Beck are writers and filmmakers. Their short documentary Bring It 2 Peter was awarded Special Jury Prize at the Nevada Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival, and Official Selection honors at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival. They can also be heard in vocal harmony on the Delavan song, Pistols Blazing.

All content and images copyright Melany Joy Beck, Janelle Beck 2016©

Slow and Steady | The Songwriting Secrets of BOY

The following interview with BOY took place during SXSW in 2013. I was on assignment for the magazine (with Janelle Sorenson) but due to editorial constraints, the lion’s share of the material we captured (many great bands) was not used in the final article.  

At that time, Steiner and Glass had already begun writing the songs that would appear on We Are Here and discussed the process in detail. We also had the opportunity to hear “Into the Wild” live at Peckerheads on 6th Street as part of the Baeble Music Showcase and fell in love with the song.

Slow and Steady | The Songwriting Secrets of BOY

Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass of the Hamburg-based duo BOY first met in 2007 at a musical workshop where the two hit it off professionally. They soon began writing together and their debut album Mutual Friends with its international hit “Little Numbers” arrived four years later.

“Since nobody was waiting for the [first] album, we took as much time as we needed to find out how we want to write, or how it works to write,” says Glass. “We had enough time to form a vision in our heads about what we would do musically so it was two and a half years of writing, playing live, and going to the studio to record.”

Doing What Works

With the second album, We Were Here, set to drop in September of 2015, it is clear that the two sought to repeat the winning formula.

“When we write, it is like a back and forth,” Steiner says. “Sonja does instrumentals at her home studio and sends them to me. I record a melody with lyrics that fit and then I send it back. So it goes back and forth via email for quite a long time until we really put a song together and then we go to the studio and record it properly.”

Writing music takes time, and in some cases the right space to really bring out the creativity.

“I need to have a very quiet place, actually,” Glass says. “No music, nothing at all, to start a new idea.”

BOY_Sonja_Glass

When asked about what inspires them, the two cast a wide net.

“For me, for the lyrics, I think it’s very much taken from my life or the things I observe with my friends, or just people around me,” says Steiner. “It can also be books or movies or artists that I like. I think inspiration can be everywhere, so you just have to catch it.”

“I’m inspired by my whole life and by the music I listen to, and the sounds I like,” agrees Glass.

What’s Next

The new album, We Were Here will be available to American audiences September 18, over two years in the making – a point not lost on the band.

“We started writing new songs in January or February [2013],” says Glass. “We are very slow writers, really slow. It’s too early to tell what it’s about or where it’s going to be.”

About the Author

Melany Joy Beck is a writer, musician, and award-winning independent filmmaker. Her Kickstarter project, Bring It 2 Peter (co-produced with Janelle Sorenson) was selected Special Jury Prize at the Nevada Film Festival 2011, Best Documentary at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival 2011, and Official Selection at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival 2012.

3 Top Music Career Killers

There are three reasons that I am not a successful musician. For twenty years I have created music but three key choices have absolutely destroyed any chance of making it my profession.

After working for an indie record label, interviewing successful artists for magazines, making films with touring bands, and being a fledgling, sometimes, half-ass musician myself, I have learned what does actually need to be done in order to have a shot at making a living as an artist these days. I’ve hired consultants. I’ve drilled down into statistics and data. I have pondered music as a career path several times over the years but it was already too late.

open-mic

So without further ado, here are the top three mistakes that sealed my fate as a writer (someone who is not a successful musician).

  1. I went to college.

Out of the 10 top-grossing musical artists of all time – exactly zero have a college degree. Okay, a couple guys in Pink Floyd did part of a semester before dropping out, but otherwise no successful artist went to college.

As a young person, you are presented with two different, and mutually exclusive paths: Music or College. You can’t do both because of student loan debt. You need to be able to withstand years of making very little money. That’s not possible when you’re paying off loans.

Plus, all the time spent studying, you’re not writing songs. You’re not touring. You’re not “being a musician.” Nobody in the music business is going to take a chance on investing in an artist or band that can’t make them money. Managers, labels, and the like need to have you out there working in order for them to take a cut and make their living. That’s how it works. If you’re in college, you’re spending money, not making it.

If you choose college, you’ve chosen college. Music is your hobby and it probably always will be.

  1. I do not live in NYC, LA, or Nashville and I have no plans to move there.

Most deals are done in music towns. Labels are based in these towns and the people who work in the industry have spouses and kids and a life in these towns.

Everyone goes to SXSW, and there are a few decent labels in Chicago and other markets, but to conduct business (and be seen initially) it’s easier if you’re around. It also shows that you’re serious and labels like serious. They like sure things. They like easy. They go to the same clubs every week. They like to see you again and again, and hear your name many, many times.

See: Return on Investment (ROI)

See: Low-hanging fruit

  1. I’m not going to videotape myself singing hundreds of cover songs and put them on YouTube.

If you’re not going to do #2 right away (because you’re a child), you can potentially do #3. You’ll show up on something called Next Big Sound and industry people will begin to take note.

This is only the case if you have hundreds of thousands of page views. For some reason people really like to listen to random people sing cover songs. I don’t understand this phenomenon, but it’s real – and it’s how a lot of artists get discovered these days. Think of it as Internet Karaoke.

Be aware that everyone is doing this and they are hardcore. People post every single day. Themselves. Singing a cover song.

At a time when most people are trying to get out of the music business, I still know a lot of people trying to get in. If you haven’t made the same mistakes that I have, you probably have a shot.

Hear what music from an unsuccessful artist sounds like (it doesn’t sound like money, but I think it’s cool). Download my band Delavan’s newest track, “Love Shine.”

http://www.delavanband.com

Disclaimer: Some real and actual musicians and industry folk contributed to the making of “Love Shine,” but I wasn’t one of them. And it’s my blog.

Story Behind the Song – Pistols Blazing

I’m starting a new series on this blog called Story Behind the Song. This won’t be for everybody. Some people prefer NOT to know the story behind the song because it definitely can take some of the magic out of it. Other people love to know how things were created, so if you’re the latter read on.

Delavan L to R, Mark Larson, Melany Joy Beck, James Gould, Vero

Delavan L to R, Mark Larson, Melany Joy Beck, James Gould, Vero

The genesis for Pistols Blazing, my new song with my band Delavan actually happened while I was watching Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady where she plays an ailing former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I had consumed several shots of whiskey and it was getting on in the evening. I won’t ruin the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but what struck me was how Thatcher pressed on toward the inevitable despite her faculties succumbing to what all bodies and minds fall to eventually.

I thought about how many people I’ve known that have spent greater and lesser amounts of time in the public eye and how there grows an increasing responsibility with this over time. It’s the same for anyone responsible for things bigger than themselves. Kids. A job. Art. We give until there is nothing left when it comes to the things we love. We cope as best we can. We pick ourselves up, often with the help of others, and we go on. Occasionally we resort to self-destructive means simply to drag ourselves out the door and be that person that people seem to so desperately need us to be. There is a particular poignancy when we know we’re fading. We know the end of the story. And we keep on going anyway, while everybody waits and hopes for that one last flash of greatness.

That’s what the song is about. Lyrics are below. You can also download it at http://bit.ly/1dUNiqD.
Pistols Blazing

Shot glass on the table, lights go dim

Something on your mind

Swear to God it’s like back in time again

We’re still waiting

This is what you do

Take your time until we’re through

 

And you’re gone, gone, gone pistols blazing

We don’t know what you’re saying

But when you’re on, on, on your shit’s amazing

Take your time, we’ll wait in line

It’s long, but the show got to go on

 

Gonna pick you up, set you down

Put it in your mouth

Pretty soon you’ll be back around

To dance, dance, dance

Get on about it

Forget your lines, you tried and tried to keep your mind

 

But you’re gone, gone, gone pistols blazing

We don’t know what you’re saying

But when you’re on, on, on your shit’s amazing

Take your time we’ll wait in line, it’s long

But the show got to go on

 

And the candle burns down too

Everybody is still paying

You gotta keep on playing

Keep on playing

Keep on playing

Playing

Playing

Playing till you’re gone, gone, gone pistols blazing

We don’t know what you’re saying

But when you’re on, on, on your shit’s amazing

Take your time, we’ll wait in line

It’s long, but the show got to go on

You got to go on