With the release of their debut album Borders & Fences, the members of Atlanta-based Namesake are ready to make their mark on the pop-punk scene. Lead vocalist Will Crafton, guitarists Brad Wagner and Troy Harmon, drummer Kevin Nordeste, and bassist Seth Van Dusen combine their considerable talents to create a sound that fans of New Found Glory, All Time Low, and The Maine will love.
Recently, Will took some time out from Namesake’s current tour with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus to answer some questions for TWRY.
Interviewed by: Heather Kobrin
Joe Mach – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Dave Trichter – Keyboards, Vocals
Scott Robinson – Drums
Coop Cooper – Bass
Evan Anderson – Guitar, Vocals
Rockville, Maryland outfit Hotspur has been on the receiving end of a considerable amount of industry buzz lately. The band has been honored with a slew of awards, including the title “New Artist of the Year” by the Washington Area Music Association, and was named one of the country’s top unsigned bands by winning the grand prize title of “Artist on the Verge” at the 2010 New Music Seminar in New York City.
Taking inspiration from bands such as The Killers and Muse, Hotspur has said that they aim to create “the sound of rock n’ roll evolving.” Judging by the overwhelmingly positive critical and fan response to their current album, “You Should Know Better By Now,” it seems they’re well on their way to achieving their goal.
Recently, lead vocalist Joe Mach took the time to answer questions for TWRY readers about their creative process and the story behind their name, not to mention Bon Jovi, bananas, and the secret “alter ego” version of the band:
Interviewed by: Heather Kobrin
With his alt-pop melodies drawing comparison to the music of Jason Mraz and Joshua Radin, San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Billy Schafer has made quite a name for himself in the Bay Area music scene. He’s already been honored by his peers with a West Coast Songwriters Association award and an invitation to perform at the legendary Fillmore in San Francisco.
In the wake of his debut release, First to Believe, Schafer took some time to answer questions for TWRY about his life, his music, and that flying pig floating across the cover of his album.
Interviewed by Heather Kobrin
Barenaked Ladies Rating:
Bank of America Pavilion
August 14, 2010
Reviewed by: Heather Kobrin
Having conquered the central Florida music scene, Terra Terra Terra is poised to charm new fans nationwide with the release of their label debut, “Mind Like A Man, Soul Like A Child.” Led by singer/guitarist Loren Taylor, who also serves as the band’s primary songwriter, Terra Terra Terra also features guitarist Matthew Hagelberger, John Dye on keyboards, and drummer Isaac Eisenhauer. Together, the band aims to present a positive message through their lyrics, while also empathizing with the struggles young listeners may be experiencing in their daily lives.
In our recent interview, Terra Terra Terra’s Loren Taylor share details on the new album, as well as insights about their own struggles, including their sometimes conflicted involvement with the Christian music community.
Interviewed by: Heather Kobrin | September 2009
Since his second-place finish in American Idol Season 7′s intensely-contested battle of the Davids, eighteen-year-old David Archuleta hasn’t wasted any time making his mark on the pop music landscape. His self-titled debut record, released in 2008, was certified Gold, and both the album and its first single, “Crush,” reached number two on the Billboard charts.
After spending months touring both on his own, as well as with British band McFly and Disney star Demi Lovato, the Utah-based Archuleta continued to build on his successes this year with a new holiday album, “Christmas From The Heart.” The record was released in October, and features holiday classics as well as an original tune that he co-wrote himself.
Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Archuleta about his plans for the holidays and his next album during a break on his current tour. Although he reveals that he’s not a Christmas shopper, his sweet nature and abundant enthusiasm for everything he does will no doubt leave fans in the holiday spirit.
Interviewed by: Heather Kobrin | December 2009
Bo Bice has been busy since TWRY first spoke with him back in May of 2008. The Alabama-born rocker, who was introduced to a national audience when he placed second to Carrie Underwood in Season 4 of “American Idol,” is following up his most recent album, 2007′s “See The Light,” with several new projects. There’s an EP and documentary entitled “I Love The Road” coming soon, new movie soundtrack work on the way, and even a new baby — Bice’s third child is due in January.
At a recent tour stop in Foxboro, Massachusetts, Bice was kind enough to sit down with TWRY before the show for an update on everything he’s got going on. He shared details about the new projects, provided insight into his songwriting process, and spoke thoughtfully about how his time spent performing in Iraq and interacting with our men and women in service has inspired his work and life. And, on a lighter note, the supremely funny and quick-witted Bice explains why golf claps are not a good thing when you’re a musician, and why, when preparing music for alien visitors to listen to in the future, you’ve got to make sure to put it on cd.
Interviewed by: Heather Kobrin | August 2009
So, I enjoyed reading the tour rider you presented your manager with and subsequently shared with your fans online. Any issues getting your requests fulfilled? I’m thinking the 1994 Ford Festiva may have been a challenge.
Our fake tour rider was a pretty funny joke, although I don’t think the All-American Rejects’ manager liked it too much though. One of these days we’re really gonna get a Festiva and probably end up blowing it up after the show.
How is the tour going right now?
Tour is going very well! We’re in the van right now about 30 miles from Vegas (where we’re playing tonight) and I’m suddenly having flashbacks of all the craziness that we’re experienced in that city. It probably takes three to five years off of my life every time we go there. It’s guaranteed to be a great show though because we’re playing with our good friends The Royal Heist.
Tell us about the new album, 003. Exactly how awesome is it? Can you walk us through a few of your favorite tracks?
We put blood sweat and tears into this record, and every song means a lot to us. Myk [Lee, drums] and I wrote 50 songs in Arizona last summer so we had a whole lot of candidates for the record… we put 15 songs on the record (with a secret song too- shhh…..) and are super proud of the dynamic combination of tracks that range from high-energy rock to 60’s ballad-esque songs- with no two songs sharing lyrical similarity.
The first track on the record is a radio-friendly pop rock anthem appropriately titled “Let’s Get It Started”, while “12 Years Later” is an acoustic and piano ballad telling the story about an ATV accident I was involved in when I was 11. A couple of my favorites on the record are “Miss Hard Time”, combining influences from Foo Fighters, Muse and Refused… and “Brothers”, a corky rock shuffle spilling secrets of addiction and helplessness.
What inspired the naming convention for your records (001, 002, 003)? Were you just trying to keep things nice and simple?
When we released our first record in 2005, we named it “001” in symbolism of hundreds of things to come. We self-titled our EP in 2007, yet still gave it the nickname “002”. When it came time to name the new record, we stuck to the concept- which helped draw attention to our past catalog. Even if our records in the future are properly titled, we’re sure that they’ll still carry a numeric nickname.
You wrote, recorded, and produced the record by yourselves, but I understand you worked with some pretty heavy hitters on the final tweaks – industry vets who had collaborated with bands like Fall Out Boy and Incubus. I’m wondering, was it challenging to accept outside ideas at this point in the process, or did you welcome having another perspective as you wrapped things up?
We went into the studio knowing exactly what we wanted and we were super prepared. When Jim Wirt and Neal Avron came in to the picture and gave us sonic and structural input, we were open to try just about anything. This helped a lot of last minute ‘out of the box’ ideas come together quickly; We were open minded all the little things we tracked ended up giving the record the extra spice that it needed.
You employed a string quartet in certain places on the album. Was that something you had in mind all along, during the early stages of working on these songs? What do you feel it adds to your sound?
We had several songs demoed that had synthesized strings, so when it was time to professionally record the songs we knew that we had to get the real deal in the studio. Once the quartet were in the studio with us though, we definitely utilized our time with them and put strings on almost every song. At the end of the sessions, 16 of the 20 songs that we recorded ended up having strings at some point in the song. It added a lot of timelessness and sonic beauty to our sound, which was exactly what we were going for.
How does the fact that you’re both multi-instrumentalists affect your songwriting process? Do you each have a go-to instrument that you generally work with when you’re writing, or does it vary?
Myk writes all of his songs on the guitar, I write a lot on the guitar but mostly on piano. We’re both very versatile and savvy when it comes to playing different instruments and different styles, which makes songwriting very fluent for both of us. All we have to do is get the creative ball rolling and batches of songs just come together, no matter who is playing what. We can’t keep up to how many ideas we have, especially collectively.
Since the two of you play all of the music on the album, you tour with a guitarist and bassist. Do you enjoy the experience of going from being a duo to a four-piece band when you’re on the road?
We absolutely enjoy being a four piece right now and wouldn’t have it any other way. Myk and I started the band as a duo in 2003, conceptually aimed at recording and touring with just the two of us. We did that for 18 months and then recorded our EP in 2007. By this point we realized that it would be selling our sound (and live show) short if we didn’t have that low-end from the bass guitar that was on the record, at which point we added a bassist and adapted to a trio in order to acheive the sound that we desired in our set.
The same thing happened after we finished this new record (003); By stepping up the instrumentation on this album we knew we had to add another member to our stage show.
You’ve been described as “a pair of self-contained dynamos.” Where do you get your energy from?
We have a ton of fun when we play live, and being well-rehearsed allows us to focus on interacting with the crowd and channeling every bit of energy we have into rocking out and entertaining whoever is watching. We feed off each other a lot, constantly silent-communicating with bandmates on the stage during the show is crucial so we know we are all on the same page with the vibe! (And to be honest, whiskey helps a lot too.)
Your songs have been featured on numerous MTV shows. Are there any that you’ll admit to watching?
We heard our music on Bam Margera’s show (and his new DVD too) and we saw a couple episodes of Meet The Barkers, where they played our music. It’s a great feeling hearing the response worldwide too, a lot of people recognize that they’re playing our music and send us messages on the internet.
What message would you like to leave with your fans?
We appreciate your time reading about our band! Say hi to us online, we’re very responsive to all the messages that we receive!!!! We’re all about getting our music out there too, so if you have any of our CDs- BURN THEM FOR YOUR FRIENDS! We’ll be touring relentlessly for the rest of the year, keep an eye and an ear open for Oh No Not Stereo!!! (Gobama!)
So, I know you’re on the road right now — how is the tour going so far?
The tour has been great! We have met a lot of nice people. The weather has been a little annoying of late with all of the Midwest ice storms, but it’s finally warming up.
You’re scheduled to play SXSW in March — are you excited about that? What other acts are you looking forward to seeing there?
We are really excited and honored to have 3 sanctioned SXSW showcases. This will be our first time playing SXSW and we are looking forward to seeing everyone!
Tell us about the band’s work with the charity Invisible Children. What was it about this particular organization that inspired you to partner with them?
We have known about this organization for awhile now. A couple of us teamed up with them when they were just starting this organization. We just really believe in their fight to bring light to the terrible situation in Northern Uganda. We are honored and proud to be a part of invisible children.
Let’s talk about the new album coming out in March. “Love Gone Mad” is your full-length debut. Can you tell us what inspired the title? Does it have to do with the “intricate mess of a love story” that you have spoken of previously?
Well the name came after we had a handful of crazy love songs. All of our songs talk about love and the different situations in love. That’s why we called it love gone mad. The word “Mad” can mean so many things (good, bad, crazy etc…) we thought it fit.
Take us through a few of your favorite tracks on the album, and tell us what you can about the story behind each.
Come around- It’s about patient love and waiting for that special someone to come around and fall in love.
Love Gone mad- This song is about someone messing up a relationship and wondering if it’s too late to make things right. Regrets.
Crazy- This is our wedding song, it’s about that perfect love (forever love) that you see in movies.
How do you feel the new record builds on what you accomplished with your previous (self-titled) EP release?
It really completes the thought. The EP gave everyone a taste and I feel like the rest of the album finishes what we have started.
Even though you formed fairly recently, in 2007, you’ve already had great achievements — including playing with nationally known acts like Daughtry, Paramore, and The All-American Rejects. What do you attribute your rapid success to?
We have all been in bands and have been in the music business for a long time. We have been fortunate to meet and make great contacts and also learned from our mistakes in the past. When we started this band we wanted to do things right the first time around. So we pay attention detail and communicate to our fans on a daily basis. Our fans have been great and honestly without them we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.
Tell us about some of the songwriting accolades the band has been honored with.
How about I just give you list. It’s been a cool ride so far! Our mama’s are proud:
-“Come Around” (Stars Go Dim), which won the 2007 December best song of the month at Songwriter Universe.
-SGD has also won the 2008 CMT/NSAI Listener’s Choice Award, which collected 27% of the 60,000 total votes for the song “Come Around”.
-SGD has also won the Grand Prize for the 2008 Cooch Music Amateur Songwriting Contest for the song “Come Around”.
-SGD also won the 2008 Upstate New York Songwriting Contest for the song “Come Around” in the Pop category.
-Joey won the rock category for the song “Get Over It” for the 2008 SongoftheYear.com contest.
-SGD was a semi-finalist in the 2008 UK Songwriting Contest in the Adult Contemporary category for “Come Around.” The contest is the leading international annual songwriting event that has been noticed by music community members including Sir Paul McCartney and American Idol’s Simon Cowell.
-Joey recently was named a finalist in the rock category for the 2008 “The John Lennon Songwriting Contest.”
-2008 ISSA song contest winner for the song “Come Around” in the Adult Contemporary category.
-2008 September Song of the year winner for the song “Crazy” in the pop category.
-2008 USA Songwriting Competition First Prize winner for the song “Get Over It” in the Rock/Alternative category.
How does your songwriting process generally work? Is everyone involved?
Kind of. I have written about 98% of the record. Usually I will write the music and lyrics and then bring them to the band. Then Chris and I will modify the songs to fit his voice. I can’t sing!
What are you most looking forward to in 2009?
Meeting new fans and playing more shows. We have a lot of big plans for this band and we are always challenging ourselves to be more creative and give our fans more!
What would you like to say to music fans who are checking out Stars Go Dim for the first time?
We are all about writing songs that people can relate to. Our music is a pop with a little rock and soul.
Catch Stars Go Dim on tour now and at SXSW this year:
Feb 9 2009 7:00P Albuquerque, NM Albuquerque, New Mexico
Feb 10 2009 7:00P The Refuge Amarillo, Texas
Feb 11 2009 7:30P Waxahachi, TX Waxahachi, Texas
Feb 12 2009 9:00A Good Morning Arkansas (ABC 7- KATV) Little Rock, Arkansas
Feb 12 2009 8:00P Vino’s Little Rock, Arkansas
Feb 13 2009 7:30P The Warehouse East Ridge, Tennessee
Feb 14 2009 10:00P Sidelines Trumann, Arkansas
Feb 20 2009 8:00P The Source Excelsior Springs, Missouri
Feb 21 2009 8:00P Max’s Garage w/PDA Muskogee, Oklahoma
Feb 27 2009 9:30P Galileo Bar & Grill Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Feb 28 2009 7:30P The Blank Slate Tulsa, Oklahoma
Mar 15 2009 10:00P Findley’s Irish Pub St. Paul, Kansas
Mar 19 2009 5:00P SXSW- The Palm Door Austin, Texas
Mar 20 2009 7:00P SXSW- Austin Borders Austin, Texas
There’s always a catch-22 inherent in watching a great artist perform at a small club. Sure, it’s thrilling to have the opportunity to see a major talent in an intimate venue. But it’s also frustrating when you know your cover charge is granting you access to a musician who should without a doubt be playing the local enormodome. Such is the dilemma of Jim Boggia fans.
For the uninitiated, if you’ve watched television in the last few months, you’ve probably heard Boggia’s music without realizing it — his guitar-driven track “Live The Proof” is featured in BlackBerry’s current ad campaign running fast and furious on the major networks. The commercial, however, only includes an instrumental portion of the song, so one needs to check out the Boggia catalog or a live show to experience the Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter’s soaring vocals first-hand.
Currently, Boggia is on the road supporting his new album, “Misadventures In Stereo,” the follow-up to 2005’s “Safe In Sound” and 2001’s “Fidelity Is The Enemy.” Mastered at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London, the album is available not only on cd and through the usual online digital outlets, but on vinyl as well — in mono, to boot.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Boggia before a show in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Now, I should note that in addition to his musical talents, fans appreciate Boggia for his humor and wit. (Sample blog entry: “I can’t remember whether it was Walt Whitman or Ric Ocasek, but a wise man once said, “Summer, turns me upside down.”) So, I knew I was in for an entertaining talk, and our conversation did not disappoint. Boggia’s funny, spirited, and very frank insights into his career and the record industry in general are a must-read for old and new fans alike.
Interviewed by: Heather Kobrin | November 2008