Get Married // Interview

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Get Married // INTERVIEW

INTERVIEW BY: Emily May

California six-piece pop-rock/pop-punk band Get Married defy genres.  Blending the sounds of old school rock and roll, doo wop, power pop, punk, soul and metal and have created their own unique sound.  Growing up in San Jose, the band has deep roots in the South Bay's DIY Punk scene, while also blending their other influences into their music. Although the band has had some line up changes over the years, the band is solid in it's current line up, allowing the band to be themselves and solidify their sound.  Comprised of Jaake Margo (lead vocals/guitar), Randy "Bones" Moore (lead guitar), Dylan Moore (drums/backing vocals), Kayla Gonzalez (bass), Tarif Pappu (guitar/backing vocals) and Nick Kenrick (keys), the band has a love for Elvis and playing music together.  Formed by Margo in 2014, he recruited brothers Randy and Dylan Moore to play a last-minute set at a themed costume party that saw them play all Elvis covers.  After a second show together, Margo mentioned that he had some original songs and Get Married was born.  Through the ups and downs and line up changes over the years, the band has released 2 critically praised EPs, Four Songs and Into The Cosmos, several tours and record deals with both Asian Man Records and Wiretap Records.  The band's debut full-length album Sounds For The Sleepless was released on August 17th and the band is wrapping up a tour to support the album with Tiny Still that ends on September 15th in San Jose.  With plenty of momentum and passion to drive them, the band is looking to the future with optimism and a desire to keep playing together and making music.  Emily May spoke recently via email with singer/guitarist Jaake Margo.  You can stay up-to-date with the band and all upcoming tour dates, as well as where to purchase and stream their music via the following links.  Check out the video below for "Living Room" below.  

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Get Married formed in 2015 and you have inked deals with two labels, Wiretap Records and Asian Man Records. What prompted you to sign with two labels?

Well, a friend of ours submitted us to Wiretap while we were working on our second EP, so Rob reached out to us and we were so excited that he was interested in our music. Rob is the best and so dedicated to music, and it’s awesome to work with someone so passionate and supportive. Mike Park over at Asian Man Records is a hometown hero for us. I grew up renting Asian Man cds from the local library which was my introduction to Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms, Colossal, etc.... and when we met, well the rest is history. Signing to two labels was mostly because we love working with Rob and didn’t want to stop, but we also want to work with Mike since we’re life long AMR fans, and we’re so grateful they were willing to work together!


Mike Park of Asian Man Records is a local legend for many bands, as well as a mentor. What has it been like to work with him? You've known Park for several years. Can you talk a bit about how you met him and your friendship with him over the years?

Working with Mike is awesome. Mike and I have been friends for years, since like the month I got my drivers license in high school. I ended up interning at Asian Man for a long time, packing records, picking up CDs at the planet, and helping out whenever he needed something ran somewhere. After a while I stopped interning so much as just kinda hanging out with him, and I consider him a very good friend. He comes camping with my family sometimes! I have to remind myself, Mike is one of the coolest guys in punk and I’m so grateful to know him.


You combine a variety of genres in your music, including old school rock and roll, doo wop sounds, power pop, metal, soul and rockabilly. Is it ever difficult to combine so many different genres when writing music or does it all come together smoothly?

You know, we have like zero rockabilly influence. We grew up listening to some rockabilly, but it doesn’t influence our music I don’t think! However I love doo wop and power pop and I try and go for that more straightforward rock and roll meets The Ronettes meets Ozma meets Elvis Costello meets The Ramones. Randy grew up loving metal and is an incredible guitar player because of it, so we’ll in corporate Randy’s metal sensibilities sometimes. I don’t think it’s difficult because we don’t really intentionally write in any particular style, our influences just shine through!


You all have a long time love of Elvis! What do you think it is about his music that makes it so timeless? How did your love for his music begin?

Kayla, Randy, and I are the biggest Elvis fans in the group. His music is timeless because Elvis is timeless. When I was young my mom would play Elvis records and I kinda realized he was the coolest, or that he just had this aura of coolness around him that I wanted to emulate. His voice is also crazy, there’s a video of him singing “Unchained Melody” right at the end of his life and it’s just out of this world. My favorite Elvis performance is of “Trouble” from his film King Creole. It’s the most badass thing ever.


I read that you met Nick and Tarif when you were cast as the leads in the Palo Alto Player's production of "Million Dollar Quartet", a musical inspired by Elvis's eponymous Sun Recording Sessions that redefined rock and roll as we know it. Did you guys do much theatre growing up? How would you compare acting on stage to singing on stage with a band?

Nick and I actually met doing another musical together; Spring Awakening with the Sunnyvale Community Players in 2016. We did another musical together soon after that where Nick’s character had to play the piano. That prompted me to ask him to play on our Christmas song, and when we started writing the record we decided we needed him on keys forever.

Nick and I were cast in Million Dollar Quartet and met Tarif; he played Carl Perkins who has all the lead guitar parts in the show. I brought it up to Randy, who likes write three guitar parts, that it was so much fun playing with Tarif and now he’s in the band too!

The three of us have done theater for a long time, and the biggest difference I would say is while we’re on stage with the band we are being ourselves at our purest form, while when we are acting we’re portraying a character.

(Side note, we went to the real sun studios on this tour and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life)


I read that you are one of the main songwriters for the band. How do songs come together for you? Do you have a specific theme or melody in mind when you write or is it a more spontaneous process?

It’s very spontaneous. Some kind of line will form in my head and then a melody will follow. It kind of just happens, and it’s almost never intentional.


Your first full-length album, Songs For The Sleepless, was released on August 17th. How has the response been so far? How did recording this album compare to your previous EPs?

I think the response has been pretty great! I haven’t heard anyone say anything bad other than some old punk dude on punk news say “is this what passes for punk in 2018?” Which I find hilarious. But people seem to be loving the music and our live show! The biggest difference is that it was so many more songs this time, so we were in the studio quite a bit longer.


Having gone through some line-up changes, how do you feel your sound has developed over the years? Did you set any specific goals starting out that you've accomplished? What are some of your goals as a band going forward?

Our goal is really to just do this forever, we love being in this band and doing what we do, and we truthfully don’t want it to end.

The lineup changes kind of just led us to the people who were supposed to be in the band, you know? We were always developing a sound but now that we have this line up locked down, it feels like we can really be ourselves.


What led you all to live by an all-or-nothing mantra?

Hahaha, being in bands for years and never really being on the same page as our other band members.


All 6 members of the band have been an active part, in some regard, of the San Jose punk scene since high school. What was the scene like then and has it changed in any significant way since then? Who are some current bands coming out of San Jose that you feel deserve a mention?

The scene is pretty different. I used to go to shows like every weekend, and now there’s not as many shows happening. But I feel like there’s a really cool scene on the rise with bands like New Fossils, The Cautious, The Axidents and our dear friends in a band called Wrip who are all super rad. And although they’re not new, I think everyone should listen to San Jose’s Point of View, in particular their two EPs “Burner” and “Vultures.”

Outside of San Jose, Lawn Chairs and Sarchasm are East Bay bands that should be heard!


You recently filmed and released your first music video for "Living Room". What was the inspiration behind the video, as well as the process of making it? Do you have plans to make more?

We had our amazingly talented friend Tommy Calderon from Bellingham, WA come down to San Jose, CA and spend a week with us. Living Room’s lyrics deal a lot with isolation so after some brainstorming, we came up with the concept of having an astronaut to represent loneliness and isolation. The process was great! We just drove around neighboring areas and filmed the Astronaut (played by our friend Jeremy Ryan) doing various things we thought were funny. It was awesome to have so many friends and family come out for the party scene. Really warms my heart. We might do another video sometime later in the future, but right now we’ve just been focusing on this tour and future tours.


You are currently on tour with Tiny Stills! What have some tour highlights been for you so far and what's next for the band?

Tiny Stills is so rad! Touring with her has been amazing. Randy, Dylan and Kayla have been her backing band and she’s been playing keys for us and now we’re one big family!! It’s always incredible to see friends when we go out on the road. Being able to see them is half the reason we do this. The other half is to prove the existence of aliens before Tom Delonge does.

But for real, the high light of this tour has been “mama needs a soda pop.” Ask Tiny Stills about it if you see her at a show!


St Lenox // Interview

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ST. LENOX // INTERVIEW

INTERVIEW BY: Emily May

St Lenox is the indie pop project of New York musician Andrew Choi who combines influences of classical music, pop, electronica and jazz to create his own unique sound.  His music has been praised by NPR, PopMatters, Consequence Of Sound and Sterogum, and he has been praised as a talented songwriter, with The Mountain Goat's John Darnielle calling him a "lyricist of the highest order".  A practicing attorney by day, his music fills in the rest of his time, captivating audiences and critics alike. Choi grew up in Ames, Iowa, the son of parents who had immigrated to the US from South Korea.  While in high school, Choi trained at Julliard to be a concert violinist, ultimately giving up the violin as he got older, instead going on to receive his Ph.D. in philosophy at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH and graduating law school in NYC, where he now resides.  While in Columbus, Choi too up karaoke as a way to overcome the nervousness he felt over academic speaking engagements, peaking his interest in music and performing.  It was at an open mic-night at which he was performing that he met the owner of the Columbus owned label Anyways Records, who signed Choi after being impressed with what he heard.  Choi released 10 Songs About Memory and Hope, his first album as St Lenox, in 2015 to critical praise.  He followed it up with a second album in 2016 entitled Ten Hymns From My American Gothic, an album he wrote for his Father for his 70th birthday.  The album highlighted Choi's experience as a second generation Korean-American, as well as his parents and his relationship with them.  Both albums were featured on numerous "best of the year" lists and he has been compared to artists such as Stevie Wonder, Joanna Newsome, Billy Joel and Paul Simon, with the eclectic mix of artists showcasing St Lenox's broad range of sound.  The latest album from St Lenox, entitled Ten Fables Of Young Ambition and Passionate Love, will be released on September 28th.  You can stay up-to-date with St Lenox and all upcoming album and tour news via the links below.  You can also find links to pre-order the new album below, via iTunes and Midheaven.

 

Midheaven (pre-order link)

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Your new album Ten Fables Of Young Ambition and Passionate Love will be released on September 28th. What can you tell be about the inspiration behind the album? Was the process of making this album different for you then with your previous two albums? Do you feel like you have grown as a musician since you started writing and recording music?

I turn 39 on September 29th, so it’s my last year before turning 40. I wanted to put together a kind of tribute to youth for my last year. I don’t really plan and then write records, so much as curate songs from the catalog of songs I have. Except for one of the songs (“Don’t Ever Change Me, NYC”) most of the songs were written between 2-5 years ago. In this case, these were songs that relate in some way to young ambition and passionate love. I thought it would be a nice project, because these are topics that have been kinda beaten to death in the indie scene, and I thought I’d provide a new spin.

 

Your second album, Ten Hymns From My American Gothic, was written as a gift to your father, who immigrated to the US from South Korea, for his 70th birthday. What was his reaction to the album? What has it been like to be an Asian American son of immigrants in today's political climate?

I haven’t really talked to him about it. I know he’s listened to it, but I think it sort of ruins the gift to have a conversation about it. Sort of like when someone explains a joke, it’s better to leave it as it is.

Eh, I mean I think it’s complicated – a lot of Asian-Americans are doing quite well from a socio-economic perspective, but there’s also a lot of variation there. If you’re trying to do something creative in music or the arts, I think it’s pretty tough. Either you’re too Asian to be American, or too American to be Asian, and people in the music industry have a hard time figuring you out. I was talking about the lack of Asian-American representation at SXSW, and I had a PR rep, who I was paying to represent me, tell me that this wasn’t an issue because SXSW invites Asian artists. I was going to have an awkward talk with him about the difference between Asians and Asian-Americans, but I mean, it’s tiring to have this talk. And this really illustrates how deeply ingrained it is in the industry.

 

You have been described as "a lyricist of the highest order". What inspires your lyrics and what goes into writing a song for you? What do you feel makes a good song? Do you feel like your gift for songwriting can be credited, in part, to your philosophy background?

I think my strength as a writer has to do with just expressing how I’m feeling. A lot of songwriters have a bad habit of trying to decorate their lyrics with artfulness. People use artfulness as a crutch which either obfuscates how they feel or alternatively people don’t spend time understanding how valuable their feelings are. You have thoughts and feelings that are valuable and you use words to express that value and transmit it to listeners, but somehow people get caught up in artfulness and lose their way from thought to delivery. The philosophy background probably hasn’t helped me directly as a lyricist, so much as it maybe has helped me think about songwriting.

 

You are a Julliard-trained concert violinist, having played when you were young. You decided to quit due to the decline in classical music in the late '90s and a lack of appreciation for the music. What do you love about classical music and do you feel that it will make a resurgence? Do you see yourself playing violin again?

No, it will not have a resurgence again. Maybe we can create a new thing which incorporates elements of classical with elements of pop, broadly speaking. But it won’t be classical anymore. And I don’t think anyone has really done it. Every time some major music outlet pronounces that someone is mixing classical and pop, and every time they mean someone is doing pop with someone playing the violin. Just like they say something sounds jazzy because someone plays the saxophone. It’s reductive and sad. I love classical music for the adventure it brings to melody and chord progressions. That’s not inconsistent with pop, so maybe I can take a shot at combining it with pop in a few years. But if I do, what it won’t be is just straight pop with me playing some violin, it will be more than that.

 

You created a visual album for Ten Hymns For My American Gothic through the creation of non-traditional music videos for all ten tracks. Was it always your plan to tell the story of your album through videos? Do you plan to that for future albums? What inspired your approach to make non-traditional music videos?

No, it wasn’t. But I wanted to learn how to make music videos, and I wanted to think about it as an art form. I think people have gotten caught up in thinking of music videos as just another marketing material. But maybe they can do more things than that? People are afraid to try new things with it because they’re worried some outlet editor will reject them, and then you’ll have lost a marketing opportunity. And then the thousands of dollars you spent on videos and marketing will have been lost! But that’s such a cynical lens for thinking about video. I spent $200 making all ten videos the last around. And have spent about $80 on making 5 videos now.

 

You have mentioned that you feel that people start writing music too early in their careers and that it ends up stifling their creative process. Why do you think that is?

Because people take up songwriting for untrue reasons.

 

You have mentioned that the Korean indie music scene has been spared the corporate and financial influences that have affected the US indie music scene and that the US scene is unimaginative because of that but the Korean scene is quite refreshing. Why do you think the two indie music scenes are so different?

I think you’ve stated it. Because of money. The indie scene in the United States is no longer indie. I get that historically, the term may have made sense. But there’s way too much money being thrown around. As I see it, if someone is spending more than 10K for the press rollout of a record, or more than 10K for recording an album, they no longer get to be called indie. Those prices are unaffordable for the vast majority of people, and it puts music making in the hands of haves versus have nots. And I can’t stop that from happening, but I can point out that the term is a little ridiculous the way it’s being used. There was a telling moment on RuPaul’s Drag Race last season, where they were talking about taking out loans in order to participate on the show. But banks aren’t handing out loans to everyone for artistic investment, right? When inegalitarian institutions start making decisions about how art is transmitted to the public, that is problematic. I think you have the same thing here, and the least we can do is not call it “indie”.

 

What can you tell me about the song and video for "Don't Ever Change Me New York City"?

The song is generally about the difficulties in pursuing ambition without giving in to the corrupting influences of high society. The video is obliquely related, as the protagonist is trying to do the right thing, even though he lives in a society that tells him that small changes don’t matter. In this case, I put in a complaint to New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and I got a result – albeit a very small one. I was trying to give life and meaning to small acts, because I think this city can be very competitive about doing good works, and it can be very demotivating.

 

You have been receiving some great press on the new album ahead of its release, being included on Matt Besser's best records of 2018 list. How does it feel to already have such a positive response to the album?

I’ll say that I have a lot of difficulty getting my music into people’s ears. The problem is that my music takes time to understand. And because of that, I really appreciate it when someone gives it a good listen. I’m very fortunate that Matt Besser appreciates what I’m doing with my music, and I hope that more people pick up my records and give them an honest spin.

 

What's next for you?

Another record of course. The next one is tentatively titled, “Ten Prayers For the Living and the Dead”.

Castle Black // Interview

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Castle Black, a rock band out of Brooklyn that formed in the summer of 2015, is creating a buzz with their latest EP the gods that adored us, released on June 29th.  The recording process for the EP allowed the band to work with producer/engineer Mike Abiuso and producer Mark Plati (David Bowie/Prince/The Cure). Drawing comparisons to Sleater-Kinney, The Dead Weather, Hole, Savages and Bikini Kill, the band consists of Leigh Celent (founder/vocals/guitarist), Susan Potoroka (bass) and Matt Bronner (drums).   With a sound that's heavily influenced by punk, post-punk, grunge, alternative and new wave, their music defies any one genre.  The first single from the EP, "Sierra", was released on June 15th to critical praise and highlights the ongoing hardships and atrocities that women across the globe still face and was directly inspired by an article that Celent read about the plight of many women in Sierra Leone.  The band also released their latest music video in April for their song "Broken Bright Star" from their 2017 EP Trapped Under All You Know.  Emily May spoke recently to Leigh Celent by email about the latest EP, evolving their sound and what's next.  You can stay up-to-date with the band and all upcoming tour dates, as well as where to stream and purchase their music and watch their videos, via the following links:

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Your latest EP, the gods that adored you, was released on June 29th. Having been on tour since June 28th, how has the reception been to the new material live?

The reception to the new material live has been great. At a lot of the shows, we've been playing the gods that adored you from start to finish in order of the album, so we're getting to see how people respond to it as a live album. I was most interested to see how people responded to "Linen," since it's a longer song, with that whole deviating bridge. I just wasn't sure how it was going to translate live, but that has been a song that people are moving to at shows.

 

What was the concept behind the EP?

The album title, the gods that adored you, is line from the song "A Cigarette, Saved." The actual line is "fucked over the gods that adored you," which essentially was just this idea of screwing over the people who in fact are the ones who genuinely care about you. That idea, however, in the context of the album, grew into this larger idea of what it means to be adored in the world or essentially fucked in the world, and all of the perspectives that go along with those ideas. Out of that came the division of the album into parts, Part A "Fucked" and Part B "Adored."

 

How do you feel that your music has grown and evolved from your first EP and what prompted you to divide this EP into 2 parts?

The music has absolutely grown and evolved from the first EP, while still keeping the spirit and ideals of that first album. As musicians, just the passage of time adds to an increased level of ease with recording and crafting songs. I think as a song-writer, I just know more what I want sonically than I did then, and I'm better able to pull the songs apart in the weeks leading up to the recording to really hear what is going on and make any changes. We're also working with different people now in terms of engineering and mixing, which of course adds to the sound as well.

The division of the EP into parts just logically came about as a result of the differences I saw between the first two songs on the album and the last three. They were connected for sure, and belonged together on this album, but I wanted their differences highlighted through the part division. The Part A songs are more driving, in your face rock, while the Part B songs are more epic and ethereal. We even had two different people mix Part A and Part B, Mike Abiuso and Mark Plati, respectively.

 

You have a connection to the themes of spells, dark magic and pagan-inspired rituals, as evidenced in your music videos for "Broken Bright Star", "Seeing In Blue" and "Dark Light". What draws you to these themes?

Ha, well I'm not sure we specifically set out with these themes in mind, but I like that they are coming through. I do like fantastical, dream-like, ritual-driven images and stories, and you'll see those themes mirrored in some of my lyrics as well. I guess I've always been drawn to the idea that there is just so much more out there than we can possibly understand as humans, and perhaps the fantastical elements also provide a bit of escapism as well.

 

How did you meet and come to work with director Jeff Allyn Szwast, who shares your same vision?

Jeff is a great friend. We had met through mutual musician friends a couple of months before I asked him to direct the first video that we shot, for "Dark Light." He was introduced to me by another friend as a very talented musician and filmmaker, and I was just starting to think about videos, so I checked out his work and fell in love with his cinematic style. His videos were just visually stunning, the majority that I watched being these very conceptual and artistic music videos. My ideas for the videos were more story-driven; I think the combination of our ideas and perspectives really come together in a unique way. Jeff also directed our most recently released video for "Broken Bright Star". 

Another great friend, Erik Kops of Purple Throne, directed the video for "Seeing In Blue".  Erik had the original vision for the video, and took inspiration from 90s witch movies, Witches in particular, as well as a bit of Hamlet.

 

What can you tell me about "Sierra", the first single from your new EP?

"Sierra" is really a song about solidarity and compassion.  It's sent from one land to another, from one woman to another, acknowledging how awful the world still is, to allow something like rape to be such a common occurrence, especially in poorer countries, where there is less of a means of recourse for the women whose lives it ultimately changes in ways that many people just don't comprehend.

 

What directed your focus towards the women of Sierra Leone and how did you become involved with donating to the charity No Means No Worldwide?

The song was inspired by an article I was reading on women in Sierra Leone specifically, hence the title. Unfortunately, there are countless other countries where the issue is just as dire and common, so the song's focus isn't restricted to one country by any means, but I liked the idea of naming the song "Sierra" since I wrote the song kind of as a direct response to reading that article.

With respect to No Means No Worldwide, I wanted to donate to an organization that was doing something different to address the issues of rape and sexual assault, an organization that was really trying to attack the root of the issue. NMNW works currently in Kenya and Malawi, and with more funding, can work in other countries, and hopefully that will include Sierra Leone. So many times, we see people try to solve problems by alleviating the symptoms, which of course can be helpful, but someone also has to get to the root of the issue if we are to effect lasting change. Why does a man who rapes a woman think that it's OK? That's the issue. So, this organization is starting outreach and education with kids - teaching boys to respect women, why it's not OK to treat a woman as an object etc. but also empowering the girls, teaching them how to fight back in a society that is hostile towards them and blames them etc.

 

The band has also supported other charities, including Pink Ink and Teal Walk (to support the fight against cancer). Do you all decide which charities to donate to/perform at benefit shows for, do different charities approach you or is it a bit of both?

It's both. When we support charities or do benefit shows, sometimes we are specifically setting up the benefit, for example as we did with "Sierra" and donating sales to No Means No Worldwide. In other instances, we are approached to play a show for a specific cause or to put a song on a compilation CD, as was the case with being involved with Pink Ink and Teal Walk. Pissed Off Radio is awesome, and they have been putting together compilation CDs to benefit those two organizations, and we've been included two years in a row now.

 

You've mentioned that the Brooklyn music scene makes you work harder then you think you need to and that bands/artists really have to challenge themselves to stand out. What do you all do as a band to challenge yourselves?

The thing with the Brooklyn scene is that there are so many great bands and musicians here, that you have to work harder to stand out, to be heard, to create a following. It's inspiring in that way. I mean, I'd work hard no matter what, but there's an extra push here to just work that extra bit more, because there are so many talented bands and people, in addition to just the sheer variety that is offered in terms of things to do in NYC that our shows are competing with. I sometimes feel as if we had to personally fight for every single person who comes to one of our NYC shows.

As a band, we really think about our live performances and how to constantly make them better and make them an experience. We watch video playback, listen to practice recordings and are constantly thinking about ways to make things more dynamic next time. I think that constant learning is really important, and not being stagnant, not feeling that everything is ever where it should be. There's always somewhere else to go.

 

What are some Brooklyn-based bands that you are listening to right now that you feel people should know about?

I think people should come out to the shows in Brooklyn and see what they connect with themselves. I'm only seeing a sliver of what music here has to offer based on people I know and shows we play and experiences that I'm exposed to. So I don't totally not want to answer the question. I'll say that you should check out our friends in I am the Polish Army, as we really like playing shows with them. They are great people and their music is really powerful.

 

The new EP saw your first time recording at Behind The Curtains Media. What led you to work with and record with them and what was it like recording with Mike Abiuso and working with Mark Plati?

Behind the Curtains Media had already been doing publicity for us, and I liked the work that they had done so it was a logical next step for me to consider their recording capabilities. I had interacted a good deal with Mike through the PR work they were doing for us, and I knew that we'd be able to work well together. I knew that he understood the sound I was going for and that he would be able to add positively to the project. Mike is super patient, had a lot of great ideas, and made the whole experience really fun.

I was introduced to Mark Plati through another band, and he mixed the three songs on Part B of the album. Mark is super humble considering the projects that he has been a part of, and it was just really surreal to be the in the same room with him. He has a great energy, and is genuinely interested in the indie scene. The very first mix he did sounded amazing, he just knew exactly what needed to happen and he executed that flawlessly.

 

You have mentioned that Castle Black loves playing in smaller towns because those are the places that generate the best reactions to your music. What are some of your favorite smaller towns to play?

It's not that they generate the best reactions to our music per se, it's that in general, in smaller towns there are fewer things to do or fewer places to go to see live music, than say in a large city like NYC, so we see more of an appreciation for the music than you typically would in a larger city, for a largely unknown band. In NYC, no one has to say "thank you" for coming to play here because there are a thousand things anyone could do on any given night. In smaller towns, where they don't have as many bands coming through, that is something you hear quite often, and it makes playing those places mean something outside of ourselves.

Some recent favorite places to play have been Greensboro, NC, Buffalo, NY and Norfolk, VA, all of which we hope to hit again on our fall tour.

 

Do you feel that smaller towns get largely ignored by a lot of bands who bypass them for the bigger cities?

I'm not sure really what other bands do. I don't know if it's a matter of ignoring a smaller town or just a matter of a band being bigger and logistically it making more sense for them to play in a larger city.

At this point, we have the luxury in a sense of being able to play wherever we want, because we are still largely unknown and our tour paths are generally flexible. That part is exciting, really.

 

I read where you said that the band needs to start touring more and doing more to get your name out there in order to reach a wider audience and not just be a local band. It can be really hard right now for bands to reach a wide audience. How do you stay inspired and keep your passion for music alive?

I think for a lot of people playing and creating music, the drive to do so is within, coming from a place that we have no control over really. So, even as hard as it may get, that inspiration and passion is still there, just kind of compelling you to keep it going, and you really have no idea where it's coming from. And you'll see flickers of it reflected back, in someone's appreciation of a song, for example, and that serves as a reminder in a sense that you are reaching people, which of course is inspirational.

 

You have mentioned that NYC is in a weird place right now where there are so many venues that aren't thinking about the musicians. Why do you think that is? Do you think things will improve in that regard?

I don't know that this is a unique time by any means, as it's very common for some people to care more than others. All I meant by anything that I've said in regards to venues and musicians is that we want to play places where there is a mutual respect. A place with a fair payout, who promotes their shows and are genuinely interested in supporting live music and good bands are going to be the places that we want to play time and time again. And there are a good number of them in NYC and elsewhere, and those are the places we want to be.

We are reliable, we promote our shows, and we try to be decent human beings. We just expect the same from venues (and anyone) that we work with. I think when people in general stop thinking about everything so much from only their perspective and how it benefits only them, then yes, things may improve overall, and not just in this one specific regard, but in many more important areas.

 

Castle Black was selected last year for Hudson's Make Some Noise Festival, which highlighted women musicians who are making an impact on the NYC music scene. What was that experience like?

That experience was a highlight of last year. The band had never had to audition for anything as a whole band, so just the entire process of preparing for and going to the audition and the anticipation of waiting to know if we were selected was intense. The show itself was great. There was a really eclectic mix of talented performers, and Bernard/Summer on the Hudson were just really great people to work with.

 

Aside from your current tour, what's next for the band?

There will be some videos for some songs off of the gods that adored you, more out of town dates, with a longer tour again in the fall, most likely doing a combination of midwest, northeast and southeast US. And of course, work on the next EP has already begun, and will continue to be in the works as well.