Back and ready to attack the music scene once more; Soja has recently released their 7th album, “Born in Babylon.” With a form of Story telling techniques, and a first person perspective in the journey of life; the lyrics and vibe of this record are sure to satisfy. It’s no wonder, the single “I don’t wanna wait” is hugely popular and has introduced their harmonious sound to a number of new fans.

“It's just different. To me, it's us at our best. Better lyrics, bigger melodies, stronger music... But that's me.” Says a modest, Jacob Hemphill, Lead singer of Soja.

The music is raw, rugged, and real; with well trained musicians behind the magic. Soja is on top of their game. Substance flows through the music, and within it lies a message for the masses. Read on...

Check it:

Veronica Barriga: For those who don’t know, what does the name, "Soja" represent/stand for?

Jacob Hemphill: Soldiers of Jah Army

VB: You guys are from Washington, D.C. which isn’t known for it's musical influence. Describe the music scene there, when you first started the band?

Jacob: DC is mostly hardcore and punk; Bad Brains, Fugazi, Minor Threat... (Although) they had good reggae too when we were growing up; Black Sheep, DKGB, Third Eye, Moja Nya...

VB: Did growing in D.C around that music influence your sound?

Jacob: I think so, but most of the artists we listened to were from Jamaica or New York at that time.

VB: You guys are different from most bands. Do you think music should always be “socially conscience?” Was your perspective always like that?

Jacob: People should sing about what they feel.  It's just what we particularly feel.  We weren't always, always like that.  Bob and I used to do Wu-Tang (acts) for talent shows.

VB: You guys play a ton of live shows, what are some of the craziest things you have witnessed?

Jacob: People never cease to amaze me.  Lots of people... Temporarily falling in love... Sometimes there are fights, but our fans always break them up.  Makes me feel like we're doing something right.

VB: What’s the best way to get dreads like yours, without spending a ton of money?

Jacob: It's free... Just don't comb it, for fifteen years.

VB: You lived in Africa for a while. Describe that…..

Jacob: I was a kid.  My dad was an IMF representative to Liberia.  I want to go back someday and stay.  It's the closest place to the earth, I think.

VB: You perform worldwide. What’s it like going to a country that may not speak English?

Jacob: At first frustrating.  You start to realize that you have to have patience, which I never really had (to practice) before- so I'm thankful for the experience.

VB: Describe the band in 3 words…go!

Jacob: Same as ever.

VB:What’s your favorite song to perform & why?

Jacob: The latest one written which is now "Here I Am."

I begin to mention Bob Marley and like magic-Jacob shifts, it seems this is his favorite topic...

VB: If Bob Marley got to hear your sounds, what do you think he would say?

Jacob: We suck.  I'm kidding... I know he wasn't too pumped on the police... well that's what people say... No, I think he'd dig it.  He's my hero and I try to write universally, which he did perfectly.  I hope he'd like us.

VB: Who do you dream about collaborating with & why?

Jacob: Paul Simon, because Bob Marley passed away.  In the next life, Bob Marley.

VB: What is one thing, about you, which most people are shocked to hear?

Jacob: The band?  Maybe that we all met in middle school? Or that we made it this far... As for me, I don't know.  The band never ceases to amaze me.  I can't believe we've been doing this since high school.

VB: What is the ultimate message you want to spread?

With no hesitation he speaks...

Jacob: Objective thinking and tolerance.

To find more of that, make sure to check out their lastest release:

Listen to "Born in Babylon" the Album!

For more info: Check out their Official Site

You know you wanna.......

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AuthorVeronica Barriga
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Up and coming actress, Noelle Bruno has just gotten her shot to join the Hollywood circle. She’ll be joining Jerry Stiller, and Shelly Long as she co-stars in this week’s, Hallmark's original movie “Ice Dreams.”  The road there, however, is a surprisingly sweet tale of art imitating life.

As Bruno would suggest it’s also a matter of formulating your own journey.  “I think many actors have this illusion that you are going to get cast in something, and that you are going to have time to prepare. Sometimes that does happen, it ‘s a luxury to practice, or lose a couple pounds- but most times you just have to be ready to go!” she says.

With only four days between the first audition for the film and actually being on-set starring in the movie. Noelle is still shocked about the whole thing “I had just gotten the script, that whole weekend, I was just pouring over it. I put it in a binder... I was like, ‘How do actor’s do this’, how do I memorize, what order do I do this in?”

Despite the hurdles, this former rookie shines bright in "Ice Dreams". Playing a lead role as “Nicky,” an aspiring skater whose ambition inspires those around her. Just a perfect role; for a young woman, who at one point was a competitive figure skater herself.   Noelle actually had to stop skating because her parents had trouble affording it and as fate would have it, she let that dream go for a Hollywood one.

With awe pouring down her face, Bruno explains, “In the movie Nicky’s mom gets a second job, so she can keep skating and following her dream! It’s a crazy thing, the fact that the first huge thing I got to work on is about a girl who’s parents can’t afford for her to skate!”  The news brought Noelle’s mother to tears.

Pretty crazy, but meant to be- don’t cha think? I sat down with this bubbly actress. Read on, as she talks about her  hometown, why she adores Jerry Stiller, and a  tattoo that most people don’t know about!

Check it:

Veronica Barriga: You are from Pennsylvania, what was it like growing up there?

Noelle Bruno: Well I grew up in Bucks County, a suburb of Philly. It’s like 20 minutes outside Philadelphia. It was really cool, cause the city was always close….We would go down to South Street, when I was old enough to hang out there.

VB: Was it a farm town?

Noelle: There were a lot of farms 20 minutes north of me, and 20 minutes south of me there was the city.

VB: You were smack in the middle, very balanced- ha ha. What do you miss most about home?

Her enthusiasm cuts to the chase.

Noelle: I don’t… I don’t miss it at all. Well my family, but other than that- I actually feel that my relationship with my family has gotten better since I moved away. I talk to my dad every day; I talk to my mom every other day. I really loved, loved Philadelphia, great place to grow up.

VB: How long have you been out here in Los Angles?

Noelle: About four years… I came out here to work in film production (behind the scenes) and I worked in it for a while. Then I decided that I wanted to try the acting and last year was a great year! More success than….. I mean wow- it was awesome!

VB: You also have a background in figure skating; did you ever feel you would use that later in life? Was that part of your original plan?

Noelle: Skating was great! As a kid, I loved it – I wanted to be good! I mean who doesn’t? But skating is such an expensive sport and my parents couldn’t afford for me to skate 5 to 6 days a week. I skated once or twice a week and I watched everyone get better than me…..

VB: You were born to play this role!

Noelle: It was so shocking, when I told my mom, she just cried. Not many people can say that, pretty freakin amazing actually!

VB: Tell us about the character you play, how she evolves, what you go through.

Noelle: She is a seventeen year-old girl, stubborn, she wants what she wants, and will work to get it! She has a great relationship with her mom. Her parents have just been divorced and her father is sort of a deadbeat. Her mom has no money- the skating ring is about to close down.  – You gotta watch it!

VB: Yeah, make them watch for it! You also got to work with Jerry Stiller, I mean he’s been around forever, how was that?

Noelle: Amazing, amazing! I only got to do a couple scenes with him but he was so funny and just a sweet guy, he always wants to run lines before hand.  I’m like ‘Of course! Let’s do it again!’ He always wants to be funny, always wanting to improv something hilarious! I don’t know if there’s gonna be a blooper’s reel, but he is just hilarious.  He would take pizza from lunch and try to use it in a scene. He’d just make something up! Lot’s of energy, he was great!  Jerry Stiller, I love that man.

VB: You haven’t really done a lot, before you got this huge gig, can you describe mentally as an actor, that transition- I mean where you scared?

Noelle: I didn’t have time to be scared. I went to one audition, and then I went to the skating callback the next day. When they gave me the part, the day after that they were like ‘Can you be at the rink in 45 min’?

And she takes her time to stress, as if she is still in disbelief…. “Forty five minutes!”

It went so fast, so I just created my own method, I went through this whole thing.

VB: What is your method?

Noelle: I got the script, I read it once, all the way through. I didn’t want to have too much in my head, I like it fresh. I didn’t feel the need to go and memorize at the beginning….. I work to keep it fresh. On set we got to run lines with the other cast members before we shot. It was great to be able to do that.

She reminisces, I had my own dressing room…… ahhh

VB: What is something that will stick with you forever, from this experience. Shooting your 1st feature film?

Noelle: I think... (She takes her time to reflect, as she sips on her black coffee) to always believe & be positive about it. It’s hard as an actor, some times you don’t realize – You just want to think “Fluke” like, oh it was just a fluke! But this can happen, it can happen easily, it can happen often, so you have to believe. Secondly you just have to be prepared, because I was… (She jokes and mentions from before) like in 45 minutes!

VB: Ha ha –right. You mentioned that you had a stunt double, but were you able to do some of your stunts.

Noelle: Yes! I was able to do a lot of my own. My stunt double did all the triples- obviously, all my Olympic sized jumps! I did all of the in between skating, I would do the single jump, land it and learn how to enter and exit…. It was cool to do a lot of my own stunts.

VB: Did you ever get hurt?

Noelle: I took one awesome fall. I had an amazing fall where I was holding my foot up here- a spiral sequence, and I got in my head... I just fell.

VB: Were you ok?

Noelle: She cracks up and stares at me. I was stunned! And the whole crew was like— the face she makes is dramatically funny. I was fine, I got the wind knocked out of me. I am a bit of a badass, so I really enjoy it all, like battle wounds.

VB: What's next for you after this big break?

Noelle: My agent is really pushing for me right now, she really wants to get me on an episodic .

VB: I see you on a sitcom- for sure!

Noelle: I like comedy! I had went out for ‘Modern Family twice.’ They like me, I’d love to do that!

VB: Describe yourself in one sentence:

Noelle: One sentence……There is a bit of silence, oddly cause she’s a firecracker! And then she suggests…Why don’t we just use some key words?  We’ll go with energetic, because how could we not?  We’ll go with sassy, independent, and why don’t we keep going!

VB: Keep it going girl-

Noelle: Social, positive & bubbly-  bubbly is a good one.

VB: Sassy’s a good one! That’s my favorite, I think of like some red heels- sassy! I am sure you have a list, but who is one actor who you would just love to work with?

Noelle: I just listed on my facebook, the other day- Mad Men, the entire cast, the writers, the creators! She then proclaims; If that show goes off the air, before I get a chance to work with them- I will be devastated! Outside of that,  I love Scarlett Johansson, I have serious respect for her.  She has a freshness’ and sort of a nonchalant-less to her acting.

VB: Do you have any hobbies?

Noelle: I ride a vintage road bike, one from the late 70’s. It’s vintage and beautiful. I work on it myself, I ride it everywhere, 20 miles at a time. I also like yoga- I don’t like to work out to work out! I really like to do things that I enjoy, that are physically active.

VB: Speaking of working out…Do you think or feel there is a certain amount of pressure as an actress to look a certain way, keep a certain persona?

Noelle: I think it’s easiest if I just be myself. With that being said- there’s always an element, of like branding, or whatever. I gotta be myself and that’s it.  That’s all I can do- otherwise it gets very complicated and really difficult.

VB: Ten years from now, how do you view yourself?

Noelle: Ten years from now, I want just want to be acting. Waking up and acting everyday and having that as my job! That’s what I want. One of the actress in the film, Kathleen Wilhoite, who played my mother… if you saw her, you would know her immediately! She has an amazing career and she’s a good person. I would have Kethleen's career, I would love to do that.

VB: Longevity outweighs everything else.

Noelle: To be respected throughout the industry, and working all the time. That’s what I want.

VB: Tell us something most people don’t know about you. There is no answer, so I modify- ok something you want to share…. Ha ha

Noelle: I have to think about that- I have a tattoo, on my wrist and it’s really light, so a lot of people think it’s a stamp from a club or something. It says “Free” and it’s to remind myself that I am always free to make my own decisions and so if I am ever unhappy, I could reflect and realize that I am in control.

Perhaps one more thing you may not know about Noelle is that; when this perky blonde jokes about throwing a keg party with her closest friends under her movie Billboard debut- she it fact is very serious about it .

Support the party! Check out her film debut,  “Ice Dreams,” premiering  Saturday, January 23, 2010 on the Hallmark Channel.

Check out the official trailer below!

Click here for the "Ice Dreams" Movie trailer!!

For the latest on Noelle, feel free to add her on Facebook!

Hailing from the beautiful beaches of Santa Barbara, California, comes an interview with a member of one of the highest rated modern reggae bands of this generation. Back with their second full-length album, Bright Side of Life,  bass player Marley Williams sits down to chat with me about the album, life on the road, family, and more. Sit back and enjoy the vibe. (All photos by yours truely, and my homegirl Caitlin) IMG_1811

Marley: Sorry I called you a little late. I got caught up in some…afternoon activities *laughs*

Flak: Oh man I got you, it’s alright! So what’s going on? I saw you guys at West Beach (Music Festival), how was that for you?

M: Oh man, West Beach was a really good experience because you know, it’s the hometown, and friends and family can come in, and a lot of great bands. And Twin Productions always takes care of everybody. It’s good to be home, and get to play, don’t have to play and then travel.

F: Exactly. You can just go home for the night or whatever.

M: Yeah for sure.

F: Did your folks come out for this one or…

M: No my folks didn’t come up for that one; usually they come out to the NorCal shows, cause that’s where they live.

F: Oh they don’t live down here?

M: Nah, well I grew up in Mendocino County, 3 hours up from like, San Francisco. So they go to San Fran shows, Reggae Rising shows, Petaluma, and sometimes Santa Cruz too though.

F: Tight man, well I only have a few questions for ya today, not too much.

M: Yeah man, no problem.

IMG_1830

F: Well first off, what got you into bass?

M: Umm, well I think that everyone listens to music differently, and some people have an ear for, you know, focusing on melodies, higher notes. Some people like lower notes; bass, and some people like percussion or vocals, so you know everyone listens for a certain element of a song.

Mine was bass, so it was kinda like hip hop and reggae…groovable songs, and the bassline was so simple, but it would keep people moving.

F: Yeah I agree. I’ve played bass for ten years myself, so I’m with ya.

M: Yeah so you know exactly what I’m talking about! *laughs*

F: Yeah man, it’s like a groove thing for me. I dunno it’s like it was the one thing that always stood out to me in a song so I understand what you mean.

M: Yeah for sure, I’m in.

F: So what got you into reggae though, you know?

M: Umm…..well my parents for one, named me after Bob Marley…

F: I figured that heh…

M: Yeah they listen to reggae music way before I was even in the picture so you know, I was blessed to be named Marley and to listen to good music and have that in my background. And you know, songs always remind you of memories, and there are a lot of good memories with reggae music playing in the background for me, so it’s kept going on until this day.

And you know I’m always drifting to other genres here and there…I always stick with reggae, but I’ve really learned to appreciate hip hop and rap.

F: What’s your favorite album right now?

M: Ohh that’s a hard one…you know I don’t really go by albums much anymore. Songs just kind pop out of the blue and it’ll be my jam you know what I mean?

F: Hah that’s a really good answer.

M: I find myself listening to a lot of Snoop Dogg lately, some of his older stuff.

F: Yeah we just saw him in concert the other day, and he’s got that new album coming out, Malice in Wonderland I think.

M: Yeah… well I’m more into the older stuff where everything was with Dr. Dre.

F: You mean like the 92’ shit?

M: Yeah man the 90’s! Everywhere it was Tupac, Biggie, Dre…and rap music was always good to dance to. And on the reggae side of it I always am listening to Bob Marley, Damien Marley, Julian Marley, Collie Budz (he goes on to name a few others I couldn’t understand…all those afternoon activities…), and a lot of dancehall artists.

IMG_2047

And we’re just making it you know, with the bass, groovable. You know, people can relate to the beat so they get a message.

F: Yeah I agree. And you were talking about blessings earlier and families, so how does it feel to be blessed with being on the top of the charts forever? I mean, you guys are doin’ it in the reggae world.

M: You know, sometimes I don’t even think about it, but sometimes I’m like “I’m the luckiest man alive!” You know, I didn’t expect it. It was always just “let’s work hard and play good music, put out a good message, and be a source to have fun and listen to good music”. But I never thought that I would get this high, and I’m really stoked for it, and for everyone who supported us you know; our band mates too and our friends…

F: Good. But as always, there’s gonna be haters. What kind of haters do you guys experience, with you being a white guy in one of the most popular reggae bands in the world?

M: You know… I don’t really think about it. It rarely enters my realm…I know it exists…you know, all kinds of headspaces that are negative out there, and I just choose to ignore them. You know I think sometimes maybe I’ll be like…not even knowing that they’re going on because I just don’t care for it. I might be ignorant to the situation…I’m guilty of that.

F: Yeah, but sometimes there’s thing that you can afford to be ignorant to.

M: Yeah man, so I don’t really know about that. *laughs* I think a lot of people at our shows, we’ve developed a pretty close fan base, and it’s been very personal; being more of an underground band, and I think a lot of people who come to the shows, are representatives of that mind space (the no-negativity). We don’t like to trip on anybody, judging anybody, because this is about a certain movement that’s about everybody, that’s above Rebelution, that’s above people. It’s about the reggae spirit that started you know, as far back as Africa, as far as Jamaica, and that fused into the US and Europe; and we praise that spirit so hopefully we have those vibes around.

IMG_2077

F: Right, and see, I was listening to your guys’ album today actually, your newest one and wondered, do you get to write the bass lines for that?

M: Well a lot of the bass lines are written by Eric. I guess a lot of em are started by ideas that come from Eric. There’s some that are written only by Eric, and others that we collaborate, where sometimes he’ll start it. But a lot of the bass lines are ideas based off the melodies of the guitar. He wrote a lot on this album, compared to the last…and on this one we let him get a lot of his musical expression out cause he’s feeling it right now and he’s a good musician.  The bass lines are definitely co-written by me and Eric.

F: Oh ok that’s awesome. My favorite songs on the album are Too Rude, Dubzilla, and Bump, you know those three in a row? What are your favorites though?

M: Oh of those three?

F: No I mean of the whole album…your favorite song on the album period, or even your favorite group of songs.

M: Actually a song Eric pretty much wrote everything on was More Than Ever. And I think the way that the melodies go into each other, would catch…more than a lot of other songs. So yeah that one’s really fun, I know you just mentioned Too Rude, and that’s a good one too. I feel like it’s one of the last songs we put on the album, it was sitting on the backburner and it came out good, and it had a new style…a new flavor to give a ‘to be continued’ to see what’s going on with album after this one.

F: Right and I definitely think it was a good song to put on the album. I did a review of your album when it first came out, and I loved it, I mean… it was a good groove (Too Rude) bass-wise…and message-wise. Very message worthy…and I think that’s important. It’s the key thing about reggae that I think a lot of people don’t understand. It’s not about whose in the band, what color they are, whatever with all that other BS…it’s a message thing, and how you groove to it.

IMG_1991

M: Right.

F: And it’s good that you mention stuff that was on the backburner, or to be continued, but what’s next for the band...well personally, and for the band?

M: I think what’s next for the band is a lot of touring and trying to play in places that we’ve never played before. Always writing new songs, and always trying to improve our skills, and play as tight as we can. And really it’s a joy to part of a musical…you know… outlet for everybody and ourselves.

We’ve been talking about a Europe tour, Guam, Hawaii, and possibly Aruba. So you know, we’ve been touring the US four times in the last year or so, and we have another big trip coming up in January.  We’ve been establishing some really good crowds, and having a lot of fun at these venues with everybody and enjoying everything as much as we can.

F: Yeah and I was backstage with Jordyn (the band’s publicist extraordinaire) at West Beach, and we couldn’t even get on stage to see you guys because there were so many people there supporting you, so it was good to see.

M: Yeah it’s…its crazy and I can’t wait to see what’s next, but I’m trying to make the best of the ride and have fun.

IMG_5749

F: Well one more question man, can you give me something that’s…you know, behind the hype…something that people don’t really know about you? Something personal…doesn’t have to be too personal, something that we don’t know though.

M: *lets out a heavy laugh* Ummm…..

F: It can be anything man, like listening to a certain type of music, maybe a Brittney Spears song that’s your favorite song…

M: Lemme think….lemme think of something cool… *long pause* hmmm.

F: I know it’s tough, but I always end my interviews with this one.

M: How about…when I was 15, I had hip surgery?

F: Hip surgery? For what?

M: I had a growing disorder. I grew too fast, so that’s a fun one for bass, cause you’re always moving your waist. So now I’ve got a pin in my hip! *laughs*

F: So you’ve gotta stay away from the bass magnet or else you’re in trouble? Hah!

M:  Heh, man there’s gotta be something cooler than that!

F: Shit well you tell me!

M: Man…fun fact…dang man I dunno, I’ll have to get back to you on that one. I’ll text you!

F: *laughs* fair enough man!

As of now, Marley hasn’t gotten back to me yet, but I’ll get back to you on what is behind the hype for this young groove master. Stay tuned for next year’s interviews, as they will be MUCH more frequent!

Until next time my friends,

~Flak

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If there's anything Hollywood has always had an abundance of it's the blonde bombshell prototype. At first glance, Meital Dohan might give off that appearance, but for once in the acting gambit, there is more than meets the eye. For one, she lists Mulholland Drive and Talk to Her amid some of her favorite films, she was born in Israel (move the fuck over Natalie Portman), and a large portion of her career has been devoted to theater, that is, until she began gaining the notice of the west coast. In fact, what could be more west coastian than weed?, which is the show Meital landed a guest starring role on as Yael Hoffman. Since appearing on six episodes for the second season of HBO's Weeds, Meital has also been on the successful web series Woke Up Dead with Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder. Behindthehype got a chance to interview the incandescent Israelite about her beginnings and experiences as an actress and here's what she had to say: BTH: Before getting to the hard-hitting questions, I want you to set the record straight about the pronunciation of your name. As someone with an "ethnic" name myself, I understand the tediousness of having to constantly correct people on how to say it. So, what is the phonetic spellling?  

MD: The phonetic spelling is Mey-tal, meaning "dew drops" in Hebrew.  

Meital Dohan

BTH: Who was the primary influence in inciting you to pursue acting? You started at an early age, so was it someone in your family who encouraged you to go to acting school or was it something you just sort of innately felt drawn to?

MD: I was actually very shy but I had the urge to express myself. As a kid, I didn't want to be an actress, but I loved acting as a form of self-expression. Later, when I was sixteen, I decided I wanted to be an actress, and pursued it on a more serious level.       BTH: Was leaving Israel for the United States a difficult decision process or was it an opportunity with too much promise to pass up?

MD: I never left Israel. I live in all places as I am a citizen of the world.    BTH: You started out as a theater actress. In terms of auditioning, do you feel like acting for theater is more heavily based on talent and that, in film/television acting, physical appearance can sometimes override acting ability?

MD: I'm very critical when it comes to acting and what I would consider to be good acting.  Being a good actor is being a creator, and the ability to create a whole new world. You can do that on screen and in live theater. 

Poised for greatness

BTH: Who approached you about auditioning for Weeds and was it a show that you had watched before? 

MD: My manager presented the project to me, and I hadn't watched it up to this point but had heard great things about it.    BTH: For your role in the play "Stitching," did you find it challenging to adhere to Anthony Neilson's "in yer face" theater proclivities or did your natural penchant for comedy make it easy to partake of the at times crude dialogue of Neilson's play?

MD: Throughout my career I did both comedies and dramas, from roles in the Israeli Ugly Betty to Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet." So naturally, "Stitching" was a dramatic role, but I was also able to channel my comedic sensibilities where it worked best.  

Jon Heder (left) and Meital on the series Woke Up Dead

BTH: How did you become involved in the series Woke Up Dead?

MD: The casting director contacted my agent because she thought I would play a good ball-busting, zombie chick.

BTH: You co-wrote a script called Orgy by Heart. Was it preferable to step out of the spotlight to adopt the often invisible role of "screenwriter?"

MD: I write because it's another form of expression to talk about things that are in my heart and are important to express. It's not about being in the spotlight or not being in the spotlight. 

BTH: So much of your acting career has been based in the comedic genre. Do you worry about being pigeonholed into one category or is comedy something that actually provides more challenges to you as an actor?

MD: Fear does not drive my work as an actress. In fact, I try to always make brave choices and take on risks as an actress. And, as I said before, I work in both the comedic and dramatic genre.   BTH: How do you occupy your time when you're in between jobs?

MD: Between jobs? I haven't been in between jobs since I was seventeen.   and finally,   BTH: What are your top five favorite films (no order of preference necessary)?

MD: Mulholland Drive, Happiness, Faces, Eyes Wide Shut, and Talk to Her.

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"I love a clever lyric that puts a smile on people’s face…with a little bit of a twist," Serabee smirks.

 

This blonde bombshell is not your typical popstar of sorts. She cites Billy Joel and Elton John as her musical influences; her voice resembles a commercial blend of Sass with a jazzy foundation. Serabee is a force, and her soul is dripping with her southern and gospel roots. With skills for the piano and the Hammond B3 Organ without trying, she declares a funk that solidifies her exclusive sound.

 Her first single titled, “Driving Me Stupid” cuts to the chase. Its Spanish melody will make you swirl your hips and then immediately impulse you to broadcast your angst to the man you lust for. Her lyrics are direct and her persona passionate.

 To top it off, she really is a preacher’s daughter. While she never got into too much trouble; she says, “We’d flash the fake-ID and watch the lounge bands, sneak into the House shows, anything we could think of to catch the performances on stage. I learned so much.” Serabee  had always been set on networking and getting her music into the right hands. As a teen it mostly consisted of  “inviting musicians she befriended to watch her perform at her dad’s church services, and in turn, players and production hands were introducing her to the world of workaday stagecraft completely outside the religious realm,” her reps tells us. Work it girl!...

Her drive and talent paved the way from Mississippi to church gigs all over the U.S, a massive stay in New Orleans, then London for a short stint (to write for Charlotte Church), and Nashville as well as other global regions, then finally back home again.

 In Nashville her creative juices flourished, “Working with Nick (Trevisick) was such a great process. He had this great basement studio which was like a laboratory for me after literally traveling the world writing songs. There was something about being there everyday that grounded me,” she recalls about the experience.

To show for it; an album that is like a distinct cup of coffee for your ears. This one will have you craving for more. Her debut self-titled album was just released this month (November 2009) via Universal Republic Records.

We got to speak with musician Serabee, I suggest you...

Check it: 

Veronica Barriga: Serabee!! Is that your real name, or is it your alias as a musician?

Serabee: I’ve always gone by Sera B so I just added the “ee” to be fun. 

VB: Tell us about your musical style and what people can expect from your debut album!!

Serabee: I’m a musician so I like to be musical and experiment with different instruments.  I like it to be soulful.  The lyrics and melodies have tones of gospel and southern….wacky and funny.  I love a clever lyric that puts a smile on people’s face…with a little bit of a twist.

VB: I hear your live shows are quite a riot, what or who inspires your stage presence?

Serabee: OH! Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Joel, Steve Winwood! The crowd, the audience, watching their expressions….the musicians with whom I’m playing….When we’re all vibing, its like a church service. You know, kinda like a Rolling Stones tent revival. (She laughs) I really feed off the crowd, and go where they take me.

VB: You play a couple of instruments. How did that start and  why did you choose to rock a Hammond B3 Organ?

Serabee: I started when I was around 5 years old.  I never chose it…it chose me! I was crawling on the pedals when I was a baby in a diaper.  I was just drawn to it, and it was a common used instrument in gospel, tent revivals and church so it felt natural.  My dad and his friends played it. It’s a very popular instrument in New Orleans with all the blues, gospel, and jazz. It can sound like so many different instruments.

VB: What was it like growing up in Mississippi and how did that influence your sound?

Serabee: It was awesome! It was so close to New Orleans. I was so into that culture and music.  We actually travelled a lot, but it was always good to come back home.. to the smell of the gulf water in the air.  I think you can hear those southern and gospel influences in my music.  You could always find a live band playing somewhere... A church service or a family member’s house where music was being played.  I’m glad that area is home.

VB: What advice do you have for other women who are aspiring musicians in the industry.  

Serabee: Be yourself and don’t be afraid! Don’t worry about what the other girls are doing. Just do what you know makes you feel beautiful and confident.  And learn an instrument... that’s always a bonus. (She smiles) It sets you apart and empowers you.  Be what you want to be…whether it’s a tom boy or super feminine or whatever...  Be yourself. More than anything- make sure the music is right.

VB: Who are some of your major musical influences?

Serabee: Prince, Steve Winwood, Elton John, Billy Joel, Aretha…                    

VB: If you could duet or work with anyone, who would it be?

Serabee: Right now..John Mayer or Bob Dylan, or Mariah Carey or Rihanna, or Beyonce.

She cracks up,at her on-going list. 

VB: Describe yourself in 3 words……….. GO!

Serabee: Soulful, Funny & Charming.

VB: Tell us about your song writing process.

Serabee: Each song is different…there’s no right or wrong way.  Some you have to be fragile and tender with. Others you just need to drive it and make it edgy.  When I’m writing on my own I hear everything in my head.  Its different when I co-write… being open to other’s ideas. Its like making a short film or writing a short story and then making it melodic. 

VB: Nicely put! Have you ever been confused for another celebrity?

Serabee: Yes.  And I’m not saying who... but you can read (about it) online.

She describes coyly as she attempts to hold in laughter. Ha ha!

VB: What do you do when you are not in the studio, performing or writing?

Serabee: I’m spending time with friends and family. Always thinking about the next song idea. I love nice dinners and great conversation.

VB: "Drive me Stupid" is the 1st single off your debt album? Is the song about anyone in particular?

Serabee: I don’t remember who it is about.. but I’m sure they know who they are... haha.  No one in particular… it is just a fun song. 

It seems she plays nice...

VB: What’s the one thing that “drives you stupid,”  just bugs you “every time?”

Serabee: A lot of things drive me stupid… (Laughs)  I guess when people judge you without knowing you.  And, it drives me stupid when I’m not in control of what’s happening in my life. 

One more thing:

Her debut album “Serabee” is available now on Universal Republic Records!

The single "Driving me Stupid" is also rockin the charts on I tunes!

For all the latest on "Serabee" Click here!

 

You know you wanna.....
"Driving me Stupid" _The single off her debut album!

*Special thanks to Jamie Wisotsky at: Total Assault, LLC.

logo Recently, I sat down and talked with Dusty Redmon, guitarist of Alt Rock superstars, The Almost. Read along as we discuss their upcoming album, Monster Monster, life on the road with The Used, his bad dress habits and more.

Big up to the amazing Jules E. over in the Capitol Records tower for making it happen again for Behind the Hype. Enjoy!

Dusty: Hey John!

Flak: Dusty, how you doin’ man?

D: Good man, how you doin?

F: I’m great, how’s life?

D: Aww man *inaudible…* we’ve got furniture glued to the ceiling and all that stuff.

F: And you guys are, are chillin’ in Boston yet?

D: Nah man, you know, we’ve got two days off…well not two days off but two days of no shows. We’re in New York right now.

F: Oh ok, so you haven’t made it down yet..

D: Yeah.

F: Well cool, I just wanted to sit and find out a little more about the new album, and everything that’s going on lately.

D: Yeah ok.

F: Well how do you feel about it? It’s about to come out. How do you feel about Monster Monster?

D: Well I’m pretty excited, the tour has been super awesome, because half of our set, are new songs and we’re all really pumped about the record. The EP thing that were doing pre release guy that were doing is kinda like an appetizer

F: That’s good, I’m out here in LA and I’ll see you on the tenth at the Wiltern. And by the time people see you, they’ll have memorized the album, so it’s good you’ll have half of it on there.

D: That last run of the tour will be awesome we’re hoping

F: As far as new vs old, the singles, Say This Sooner on the old album and Hands, how do you feel?

D: Geez, Hands for us is kinda weird, because that song…this album has a bunch of different stuff on it, so that song is like a different kind of pop song.

F: Right. But it’s definitely got a good feel. It’s not pop to the point where… people are going to be turned off by it I don’t think. It’s just that natural progression you know what I mean? In a way.

D: Yeah, it’s just like…vibish kinda you know? It’s weird, especially playing it live, cause we run around, but it’s still kinda chill. I dunno *laughs* But it’s definitely a really cool song. From the get go, when Aaron gave it to us, he gave us a rough skeleton idea…the “whoa whoas” and the melodies I guess. And when he gave us that, we were like “that’s pretty cool!” you know? And we weren’t really sure how it was going to turn out, but once me and Jay (Vilardi, Guitar and Backup Vocals) got our hands on it, it was a really cool vibe.

F: Right….and speaking of songs, why do you guys have a song called Monster Monster, and another song just Monster?

D: Well Monster Monster….well…the naming is all Aaron *laughs* So you’re getting plenty of monster for your buck. Monster Monster is the first song on the record and it’s probably…well I don’t know if it’s the most aggressive song on the album, but it’s pretty fast.

F: Yeah it hits pretty hard. I think Summer Summer is another good one as well, as far as a harder hitting vibe.

D: Totally, and then there’s Monster, which is kinda just the end one. It was kinda like…Monster Monster… slow. It was totally like the album closer.

F: Right, at first I thought it was going to be an acoustic version of Monster Monster.

D: Yeah, well it’s weird, because it’s almost the idea as a song lyrically, but yeah music wise…totally not *laughs*

F: So how’s touring with The Used?

D: Oh man, it’s awesome, shows have been great, and those dudes are really cool. We’re getting to that point where we have “bro time”…

F: Learning each other’s dark secrets and whatnot?

D: Yeah! *laughs* I’m starting to mess with em and whatnot.

F: What are you favorite tracks on the album?

D: On our record? *he laughs nervously*

F: Hah, yeah I won’t put you on blast about The Used just yet! But yes, on yours.

D: Heh, I was gonna say… Well I don’t know man; I really like Monster Monster….Hand Grenade, that one turned out really cool… Young Again on there is pretty cool… But I dunno man; it just kind of depends on the mood that I’m in.

F: Of course. I believe there’s music for every mood, so that’s a good statement. But let’s get back to Hand Grenade, I actually wanted to ask you about that. Do you think that it’s too Country for the album? I don’t think that it is. Especially considering where you guys are from (Clearwater, Florida) , and you’re from North Carolina.

D: Yeah I’m from North Carolina, and actually it was the studio that we were in, it had all these levels and looked like a bird’s nest. Up at the very top was this steeple kind of area, and one night I went up there and just wrote a lot of music; guitar parts you know, and it turned out to be Hand Grenade. And I was like “oh this is cool, I’ll keep it for some country stuff or something”, and I took it Aaron and said “dude check this out, it sounds really pretty” you know?

I told him I would keep it and maybe write some lyrics to it down the road. But then he told me “wait, well let me do some stuff with this song...” so we got lyrics and a melody, and we tracked it. And it turned out awesome.

F: And it made it to the album, that’s cool! But anyway, a while ago, people were telling me that you have some kind of signature hat?

D: *laughs* I don’t really know about that. I’m not a pimp or anything!

F: Hah, no I don’t mean a pimp hat, I mean like a trucker hat or something.

D: Oh no man, I got none of that, but I guess I do wear hats a bunch.

F: And your wife’s a designer right?

D: Yeah man, and she actually designs clothes for Urban Outfitters.

F: Oh really? Does she ever customize anything for you or what?

D: Nah man, she just likes to tell me how bad I dress.

F: *laughs* And you can’t really say anything either or else she’s like “well I’m a professional”.

D: Yeah, but ya know, at the same time, she’s like “well you get to listen to your music!”.

F: Well fair enough, fair enough.

D: Yeah, and she’s awesome, she does women’s clothes. And I see her stuff in a store and be like “Whoa that’s so cool!”, and also we’ll be watching TV and stuff… well do you watch that show True Blood?

F: Yeah! I just got into it like a week ago, I just finished the first season.

D: Dude yeah, that show is awesome, and you know that crazy girl, Amy? That Jason Stackhouse dates?

F: Yeah!

D: Well there’s a few times were she’s wearing my wife’s clothes.

F: Yeah cause I was gonna say, it looks like she’s wearing some Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie type shit.

D: Yeah totally with the whole Anthro deal. And my wife said it was cool, and I actually freaked out more than you did. I mean, you see kids wearing band shirts…

F: Yeah and its different. Cause a band shirt and a dress are two different things. It takes more effort to make a dress.

D: Yeah exactly, and that’s ALL her.

F: That’s cool man.

D: Yeah I’m really proud of her.

F: And you should be. I’ll make sure to put that in there, so she can read that!

Yeah...he's the one in the hat...

D: Yeah please score me some points man.

F: I’ll get you some brownie points, don’t worry.

D: *laughs*

F: So who are you guys using in the live show? Cause I know that only four of you recorded on the actual album, but…

D: Yeah. We have a drummer now, his name is Joe Musten. He’s been around a long time, and I’ve known him since like…sixth grade. I was in another band, and we actually toured with Underoath, and that’s how we met Aaron.

When Kenny left, Aaron and I both called Joe, and he had been in a superheavy band called Advent (I think that was the name). So he was singing for them, and had a super brutal voice, but he was also the best drummer we know.

F: Alright that’s awesome. And what’s been the best show so far?

D: Detroit was pretty awesome. I mean all the shows were good, and people were really stoked for us. We didn’t know what to expect. But Detroit was awesome. We stuff to do during the day, and when we came back, the line was just… the longest one we’d seen for a show in a long time. The crowd was just stoked when we came out and it was awesome.

F: They had a lot of love for you, that’s really cool. And one last question. Can you give me something that no one else really knows about? That’s going on in the band. Something that gets them more pumped about the upcoming LA show?

D: Hah let me think. I just woke up *laughs*

F: *laughs* Isn’t it like….two o’clock in New York?

D: Heh yeah well we went out, then half of the band stayed in the bus, and the rest of us came up here. We passed out and shut the blinds so it was pitch black in the room. But I don’t know if there’s anything super crazy going on with this tour. (He racked his brain for something juicy, and provided a hilarious response) We might play a Garth Brooks cover…

F: Really?! Garth Brooks, that would be funny.

D: Be prepared man. It may or may not happen but… don’t say we didn’t warn you.

F: That’s fine man, I’ll be ready. I’m not a Garth Brooks fan , but I’m sure you guys will kill it.

D: Dude…I’m not a Garth Brooks fan at ALL.

F: HAHA you’re not?

D: Nah man and you can quote me on that. Garth Brooks is too much. He’s straight Kmart Country ( a new diss I’ve never heard of).

F: Damn man! Well I’m printin’ that one!

There you have it my friends, Dusty Redmon, guitarist of The Almost in full effect. Their new album, Monster Monster, drops on November 3rd, so check it out then run out to get yours. Also, for you Los Angeles kats, they are playing a show at the Hollywood Palladium with The Used on November 10th, so I’ll see you there!

Until next time my friends,

~Flak

7074
Well, it's been a while, hasn't it folks? Yes I know, but the good doctor has been busy doing good works in some of the less fortunate parts of the world. East Germans just discovered My Chemical Romance and She Wants Revenge this past summer and I've been busy trying to inoculate them from the irreversible damage to their sense of good taste that would result from an indulging of either of these two monsters of suck. There were some casualities (hey, they're Germans), but over all I got most of them to put down the eyeliner and tight black jeans.

Anywho, recently I was able to nab an interview with a true staple of American Rock.  Murder By Death infuse a rock aesthetic soaked in bluegrass Americana with punk-like sense of urgency and vividly depict tragic albeit often redemptive characters set against a truly gritty, amoral, and wholly American backdrop. Adam Turla, main lyricist and guitarist for Murder By Death was able to grant me some time before their gig in San Luis Obispo to talk to me about the future of the concept album, the devil, the effects of isolation, and prequels! So feast your eyes, kids, and read on...

Behind The Hype: So, the first albums you did were really different from the albums that followed in that there was a theme, a narrative, especially with characters that are really tragic or redemptive in your later albums. When did that shift happen? Did you guys decide to start making concept records after that first album?

Adam Turla: Well, it’s like this:  we tend to think of each record as a unique thing. So the way I think about our four records is that our first one, we were just trying to figure ourselves out as a band. The second album, which is a concept album, was sort of an accident in that we were just writing a bunch of songs and there seemed to be a story, and that story is about the Devil getting shot in a bar fight in Mexico and vowing to wipe out this town and the towns struggle in this fight. Sorta this good versus evil thing. When it came time to write In Boca Al Lupo, we didn’t want a linear story, but we wanted the songs to be linked, so I took the theme of sin and wrote about different sins. Red Of Tooth and Claw is actually a prequel to our second album. The theme is about this rebellious young man who’s running with the wrong crowd, and this could very well be the character who shoots the devil in the back. But we never announced that it was actually a prequel. People actually started to discover that it was a prequel on their own.

BTH: So you seem really concerned with writing an album as a whole.

AT: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

BTH: On Red Of Tooth And Claw you have a track called “Song for Ennio Moriccone”. Was his instrumentation and orchestration an influence on you? What are some of your bigger influences if any?

AT: Whenever we write records I try not to listen to any other music. I worry that I have a good song stuck in my head I’ll end up duplicating it, so I try to keep an isolated approach to songwriting. I’ve always felt a song should come from inside and should be internal rather than a response to someone else’s great work. With that tribute song, I thought it sounded like an Ennio Moriccone composition.

BTH: So the song doesn’t necessarily reflect any influence.

AT: Well, maybe. I had never thought about him before until I thought ‘this sounds like him’. And since we never have anyone in mind when we write songs, I just thought 'let’s do it'. If you avoid something for a really long time and then you do it later, it can be unique and interesting.

BTH: I only bring that up because your last album seems like the most cohesive album you’ve done yet. It has a very clear theme and is very clearly a concept album.

AT: It’s funny because in In Boca Al Lupo we were strategically trying to make each song unique, like a collection of short stories. But it doesn’t have the same flow, obviously as an album written from beginning to end as a story.

BTH: So do you have a clear idea of the aesthetic for the band and what you guys want to sound like. How does the rest of the band contribute?

AT: I usually start the songs so it generally begins with an idea I have. But I also know what the band will respond to or what they want to play live. At no point do I think of them as a backing band because what they end up playing is usually more interesting than what I would come up with. My strength is writing a melody and singing it and adding some character to it maybe, but they’re much better at making the song unique and making it nuanced. I tend to scrap songs that I think they won’t want to play. Sometimes I’ll write something that’s really catchy and for another band might be a hit. But when I picture it in our context, they would be like, ‘this is boring, let’s not do this’. They’re very critical, which is great because it keeps me level and they keep me from doing something just because it’s poppy or catchy.

BTH: So you’ve had a few minor line-up changes. You replaced your drummer a while ago, you’ve had a keyboardist playing with you on and off. How has that affected the band?

AT: Our new drummer (of 3 years) is really intuitive and understands song structure the way really great drummers do and I really appreciate him being around. If I want a certain emphasis on a hit, he knows what to do and he makes it much more nuanced and interesting so it doesn’t just sound like we’re playing the same beat over and over. Our piano player was a little different. He started an idea on a few songs on the first couple albums, but when he left I just took on more writing. He just didn’t want to tour anymore. It just wasn’t his style.

BTH: A lot of your songs are in a narrative format. Do you draw anything from any personal experience? Some songs are obviously fiction but  do those derive from anything you’ve been feeling or have gone through?

AT: Well, I try to think of a mood first. Some songs are pure fiction, some songs are real stories or come from real feelings but are poeticized. You try to indulge the ideas that you have and make them more dramatic so a lot of the songs are real or may be about real relationships or experiences with people. I just think you have to make them a little more interesting when you present them. I like a little of color.

BTH: So what inspired you to make music?

AT: I started playing guitar when I was maybe 13 or 14. The idea of going to high school and trying to do something more interesting than playing Super Nintendo. So it started just with a desire to have a new skill basically, something else to do. It’s funny because I’ve never really thought about it that much. When I got to college I was writing and recording and a met a few other musicians and we started playing together. Then people started asking us to do shows. Then other bands started asking us to play with them.

BTH: You guys tour an awful lot. You guys must really enjoy it. How do you guys get writing done while on touring?

AT: We do love touring, but we just don’t get any writing done. But touring is how we make our money. We’re essentially a bar band. We go around, develop our audience in places and that I love. We like it, but sometimes you do get pretty beat. This tour we’ll be gone for two months. We’re recording our new record at home. Workin’, workin’, workin’, haha.

BTH: Your albums are mostly concept albums, but that idea is kinda dying out. A lot of bands aren’t doing what you do. Few bands ever did.

AT: It’s just a change in the times, you know? I’m not actively fighing against it. We’re just doing what works and what’s best for us. I don’t know if it makes us dinosaurs, or something. But to be fair, we did do two albums back to back, Red Of Tooth and Claw right in to Who Will Survive… and that tour was sold out every night. To me that indicates that there are people that are interesting in hearing an entire album. I don’t think the idea is dead, but we do have an audience. People still buy the entire album instead of downloading just one song off iTunes. Some people like singles. But there are always people who are like “Fuck that, I want 10 good songs that create a mood and that I can get in to.” Some people don’t need to hear the catchiest written all year. And that’s why those bands climb so fast and fall so fast.  There’s nothing to hold on to. They got the greatest song written all summer and then November rolls around and the rest of the album is crap. I love when you get the first taste of a band and you love that first song. But as you delve deeper into the song you start to discover other songs that you love more. Sure you still like that song that compelled you to like the band, but it’s not your favorite anymore.

BTH: So early you were talking about going back home and writing. Have you gotten any writing done? Is it going to be a concept album?

AT: It’s not going to be a concept album because I don’t want to wear out the idea. I went into the woods by myself for two weeks. I’ve got about 8 songs done. I just said ‘guys, I’m going into the mountains solo camping for two weeks and I need time to get these ideas out.’ The extreme loneliness was definitely an influence; I was writing to entertain myself at that point. There are definitely some ideas there that came from that experience.

BTH: Cool. So do you guys see yourself doing this for some time?

AT: It’s been 9 years, it’s been a while. I mean, hell, we enjoy it. We have a great time. I don’t want to give it up yet.

BTH: Alright, well thanks for your time, Adam. Have a great show.

AT: Yeah, no problem, thanks.

It about time the world embraces some Morningwood, and by that, I don’t mean the kind your boyfriend gets. I’m speaking about the Bi-costal rockers. After 3 years on hiatus they are getting ready to launch their sophomore release on October 27th, appropriately titled “Diamonds & Studs.”  Part lovely, part badass.

"Like all things Morningwood, its super sexy, very useful, kind of funny, and really beautiful sounding," Says Bass Player Pedro.

The rock and rollers are back for your listening pleasure. This time; stronger, with more guts, less band members & sass that will have you unleashing your inner rock star! Morningwood is Chantal Claret (originally a Berkeley film student), and Pedro Yanowitz (Formally a member of the 90’s hit band, The Wallflowers).

You see, it started off as a fairytale; Chantal & Pedro met at a Rooftop industry party in New York and by the end of the night Pedro had talked Chantal into becoming his partner—musically speaking, the band says. Soon after, the two scored a deal with Capitol Records.  Life was good. Well, for a little while… because great music is never that easy.

Clashing views mixed with rotating band members had their creative endeavors hitting a roadblock. So naturally, in an effort to save the band & the bond, Chantal and Pedro decided to enroll in couple’s therapy. This also led to the re-evaluation of Morningwood. “Pedro and I have always been the core of MW, it just took us about 5 years to realize it.  No one has had the interest of the band at heart as much as we have. The other members left or were kicked out for various reasons, all of them cliché; drugs, women, or emotional baggage. Whatever the case, Pedro and I continued,” Explains Lead singer Chantal.

The two found themselves flying coast to coast to meet with one another in order to continue what they had started. The dedication breeds infectious tunes, and a band worth watching to say the least. They provide a funky/fresh, rock and roll dance party you will want to be a part of! Chantal’s voice sounds like a more vibrant, energetic Shirley Manson. Their song lyrics are an ode to sexy, angry women everywhere! The single, Best of me, will have you feeling liberated after you sing it to your ex-boyfriend who did you wrong. The music promotes shouting, laughing, bouncing, and maybe even swigging a bottle of Jack while parading in your underwear…

 Lead Singer, Chantal "Working it."

I got to experience the goodness of watching these two kickass during a performance. All while being fascinated by their stage antics which include but are not limited to: Licking people, undressing audience members, treating the microphone as if it were a penis, and of course seducing the security guard on stage right… oh, let’s not forget her yoga poses.

The emotions on stage read like a diary covered in lipstick kisses and nonetheless beer stains. The lipstick from Chantal, and the beer from Pedro. The duo is empowered, and smart. The music is genuine, but don’t take my word for it. We spoke with Lead singer Chantal.

Take a look at what this rock and roll butterfly has to say about women in music, going on tour with the band  Jet, and why her other half, Pedro is going to kill her…

Check it:

Veronica Barriga: In 2006 the 1st record was released, Cut to: 3 years later… You guys are back with a new sound. What went down during those 3 years, in a nutshell?

Chantal Claret: In 3 years we managed to move across the country, change labels, almost break up, go to band therapy, stay together, both Pedro and I got married (to different people). Write about 2 and a half albums worth of songs, I started a clothing line, while Pedro wrote a musical.  We have been pretty busy, but Morningwood-wise 90% of the time was spent waiting on lawyers and contracts to be started and finished. Fun stuff. . . .

VB: You went through couples therapy with Pedro, what the hell was that like, and whose idea was it?

Chantal: When we started writing the second record we had a huge strain on our relationship. The way we communicated since the beginning of our relationship… When we first started the band I was a baby, I was 19, and I went along with pretty much everything.  As I grew up and became a "woman" I started to stand up for myself, and Pedro and I began butting heads a lot! We couldn't talk without arguing about every little thing, let alone write music with each other.  We've always been complete opposites of each other.  Sometimes it worked for us…

Finally, it got to the point where I knew if we didn't find someone who could give us the tools to communicate, we would break up.  What happened behind closed doors is just a bunch of gripes and grievances, but ultimately we learned how to listen to each other which is key. We still struggle and work on it every day but it has totally changed our relationship for the better!

VB: How does it feel knowing the release of “Diamonds & Studs” is near by?

Chantal: It's very exciting and very unsettling being that it has been so long coming. There is so much to do before it comes out!

Get your copy OCTOBER 27th!

VB: Were your earlier shows similar or did you grow some balls along the way?

Chantal: Our shows have always been pretty ruckus; my voice has gotten a little stronger. I do a little more yoga now on stage, but there is a bit less nudity and props now. Our live show has always been one of our strong points and had the same amount of energy, however it filtered itself.

VB: What do your parents think about your stage show?

Chantal: My mother passed away 5 years ago in February. She absolutely LOVED our shows and coming to see us perform! Her favorite song was Take Off Your Clothes (which she called Take it Off, Take it Off). She would stand in the front row of every show with a bottle of water and a towel for me. She was probably our first and biggest groupie. The first record is dedicated to her.

The last time she left the house she came to see us play at the Knitting Factory in NYC and she passed out in the bathroom and went to the hospital and died a few days later.  I had a show the night she died and I went and played it, because I knew how much she loved it when we performed. I had a panic attack for the first time in my life. I went on stage and had temporary blindness for a few minutes- and I sang the first song and said "My mother died today, this show is for her".

When I opened my eyes, there were 300 people crying in front of me, I think I told them all to "Stop being pussies".

She is amused and laughs…

VB: How you know its love, is very visual & theatrical. Since you come from a film background- Do you ever see yourself combining both worlds in a musical?

Chantal: Pedro is actually the one who has been working on a musical! He’s been writing the music for “Clueless” The Musical for about 3 years now.  So that dream will come to reality for him, it’s very exciting! I’m VERY picky about musicals; I find the majority of them incredibly cheesy and the music atrocious, with the exception of Disney movies, Bob Fosse musicals and, of course Rocky Horror.

VB: What were you like as a child, and when did you discover your passion for music?

Chantal: I was pretty much EXACTLY the same as a kid; I talked the same, danced, sung, and thought the same. As young as I can remember… I have always thought about sex, killers, swimming, yummy food, love, and television. Having an overall good time.  It puts my mind at great ease to know that I haven't changed much, except for maturing a bit. It means I am being completely true to myself.

VB: Tell us something about Pedro that NO one knows!

Pedro is Handsome & Talented...Oh My!

She cracks up, then goes for it..

Chantal: Ha,Ha,Ha,Ha... They used to call him “Banananips” in school! He is gonna kill me for that…

VB: What can you tell us about your upcoming tour with Jet!

Chantal: I am psyched for the tour, we are going out with Kill Hannah, who I have known for years now, they are super nice guys! Jet… who I have met a few times, and seem nice, and Papa Roach. It should be a very interesting tour. I am excited to see how Papa Roach's audience reacts to us.  I am most excited to go on tour, it has been ages and I am ready to shake my shit.

VB: Favorite song on the album- Why?

Chantal: My favorite song is a split between three of them; Hot Tonight has my favorite bridge, I absolutely love to sing it. Killer Life, I really love the verse lyrics, and it reminds me of my mother for some reason. Cat In A Box, stylistically it is like the type of music I listen to.  It is so nice to sing, it feels like a massage on my throat… mmmm, it is my jam!

VB: What's the writing process like? The atmosphere in the studio?

Chantal: The writing process for this record was interesting in the sense that it was so focused.  Since Pedro and I live on opposite ends of the country when we got together for a day or two to write, we knew we HAD to come out of the session having written and recorded at least one song or the trip would be fruitless.  So we got it done.  Recording, was the same I had 4 days to record all of my vocals for the masters, we got it done.

VB: What is a misconception about you, the band, Pedro?

Chantal: For one, I never take off my clothes on stage, just other people's clothes. I am not going to spoil the mystery, what if one of those misconceptions is what makes someone like us, I don't want to ruin that… if one of those misconceptions is what makes someone dislike us, I probably didn't want them to like us in the first place.

VB: Who do you dream about collaborating with?

Chantal: Beyonce, we love her!

VB: Got any advice for young gals who want to be part of the music industry...

Chantal: Learn how to do whatever it is you do as well as a man! Do not use the fact that you are a girl as a crutch to not be as good and get you through.  That does not mean you cannot use your sexuality to add to your persona if that is who you are, but first be good at what you do.  Also, do not feel inhibited by your femininity, you can get away with sooo much more than a man can, which is amazing and fun.  Have fun with it!

VB: Describe Morningwood in 3 words.

This is what Morningwood looks like.

Chantal: Pretty Fucking Awesome!

Morningwood is this month’s: Vh1’s “You outta know” Artist on the rise!

For tour dates and more on Morningwood Check out: www.morningwoodrocks.com

You know you wanna…..

Thank you to Transfer Media Group for setting this up!

onerepublic

This week, I had a chance to sit and talk with Zach Filkins, the axe man behind pop rock masters, OneRepublic. Their upcoming album, Waking Up, will be released later this year on November 17th. Their first album, Dreaming Out Loud had all of hooked from day one with the single Apologize, which was later remixed and placed on producing mastermind Timbaland’s Shock Value.

Read ahead, as we talk about life on the road with Carolina Liar and Rob Thomas, the new album, Zach’s short lived modeling career, the future of the band, and more. We had a good time and have Chad at Total Assault for the hook up. Enjoy!

Flak:So hows life in the band right now?

Zach: *laughs* Uh life is awesome man, we’re transitioning… from the long breaks… we had an eight month break, and now we’re back on the road with tour buses, and airplanes, it’s like a shock to the system

Flak: Well of course. Did you catch a cold a little bit or what?

Zach: Well no, not yet… but it’s bound to happen *laughs*. It happens at least once.

Flak: Heh good, you’re taking you vitamins… So I’m thinking about the single you guys put out, All the Right Moves and it’s….. I definitely think it’s a step up musically, I mean just from the introduction of the keys and drums… I love it.

Zach: Awesome, yeah we like that song a lot.

Flak:  Truth be told, this is the kind of song that has a girl make you go out and get One Republic tickets.  You know, I said “I love em just from what they did with that Timbaland remix”, if you can even consider that a remix?

Zach: Right.

Flak: That’s actually how I got into you guys in the first place. Was hearing the Timbaland version (of Apologize)

Zach: Oh ok, yeah a lot of people… that’s kind of how it happened for them.

Flak: I’m kind of curious as well, as far as the Timbaland note goes, do you think that you’ll ever work with Timbaland again?

Zach: Ummm.. *he takes a few seconds to think about it* Yeah I think we would… Ryan talks to him every once in a while and Timbaland on this album he kinda just wanted to play the A&R role, and loves the album exactly how it is. But I think the next time around, it may not be a remix, and I know we are gonna put (a track) on Shock Value 2.

Flak: Oh so there is a Shock Value 2?

Zach: Yeah he’s working on Shock Value 2 right now; so we’re gonna put a song on there but it’s…it’s probably not gonna be the same thing like we did with Apologize; a remix type thing. It’ll be a little more separate.

Flak: Wait so, you guys are getting ready to start the tour soon…I think..today isn’t it?

Zach: Ahh well actually we’ve been on tour with Carolina Liar and Rob Thomas for about ten days now, so yeah it’s still pretty fresh.

all the right moves

Flak: So what would you say so far this year has been a highlight as a band, and personally?

Zach: In 2009 I think our highlight as a band…has been the success of the song (All the Right Moves) so far. I mean it was just recently released so it’s still a young song, but so far we’ve gotten a great response from it. And everyone except for Germany is using it…they are using a song called Secrets, another song of ours as a first single, because we have a movie collaboration in Germany and that song is shooting straight to the top, and is moving faster than Apologize.

So yeah we like talking about that excitement, and not only have we finished a new album, but we have something fresh to tour on, and other people are really picking up on it too.

Flak: Right, and from what I’ve heard that’s true (in response to him saying that everyone is picking up on it). I mean I’ve literally heard it bumped in people’s cars.

Zach: Perfect! That’s good to hear people are diggin’ it cause you never know… we changed it up a little bit, we’ve got a little more… edgy and a little more up-tempo with things. You always wonder, and I don’t want to confuse anybody, and we don’t want to lose the fans we have…just pick up new ones.

Flak: Exactly. And that’s as a band, but what about yourself?

Zach: Myself, the highlight for me in oh-nine personally was the first half of oh-nine, when we were working on the album, but I was spending a lot of time at home with my wife.

Flak: Oh Good!

Zach: Yeah, and that was really awesome cause that was the first time that I’ve spend a lot of time with her since we started touring with Dreaming Out Loud; and we were going for a good…year and a half, two years . And I missed her you know?  I missed being around for a while.

Flak: Yeah and I know music sometimes gets in the way of things.

Zach: It does, it does, and this time around I got to get away from it for a while, and just hang out with her… it was awesome.

Flak: *then I digress for a minute* So… tell me about this modeling career of yours.

Zach: *laughs* Ummm… well that was weird, and I could never make up my mind I guess with what I want to do in life. I started in aeronautical engineering in college, and after a couple years decided that I wanted to move back to Colorado and go to college there to study kinesiology and music. Then I got into that for a couple years. But right before graduation, I said “you know what? I want to try modeling” so I just dropped out and I moved to Chicago, because I had friends there and it was a big enough city where they had agents and so I picked up a lease and my modeling agency.

I was with them a couple years and was doing catalogue and a little bit of runway and stuff, and just chillin in Chicago. And that was the modeling thing…and I kinda got that out of my system a little bit, and then that was when Ryan called, and said “I think we should move to L.A. and start the band thing”. And I said “perfect”, you know, because I kinda got the modeling thing out of my system and was ready for something a little more substantial, and that was the music thing.

Flak: So I guess it was the hobby thing.

Zach: Yeah I mean it was fun; it was a fun way to make a living for a while and… I dunno I always think runway… I didn’t do a lot of runway, I did more catalogue… but runway was a cool artistic expression and a different artistic expression, which was kinda cool.

Flak:  So I wanted to ask, I heard you speak fluent Spanish, is that correct?

Zach: *laughs* that’s correct.

Flak: Ah ok, because I’ve been to a couple concerts where the artists do other versions of a song in a different language like….he does the French thing… Jason Mraz, who does French versions of his songs. Do you guys ever think you’ll do a Spanish version of a song live?

Zach: That would be interesting. We’ve never really thought about that. We talked about maybe writing a few songs in Spanish, but I don’t know man, for now I don’t think I could be a lead singer *laughs*. You know what I mean? I don’t know if I could lead sing that song in Spanish. Background vocals I’m cool with, but I dunno.

Flak: Right, no that’s fair.

Zach: Usually if we are in South America or Spain or something, I’ll say something to the crowd, and that’s fine cause they don’t really expect me to speak Spanish, so it’s a fun surprise. But that’s about it.

Flak: Definitely. And one last question for you sir. Anything that, you know, seeing as I’m from Behindthehype.com, is there anything behind the scenes that most people don’t know about (with the band)? Something positive of course.

Zach: About the band?

Flak: About the band, about the tour, about anything that’s going on that’s musically oriented. Maybe, what albums you’re currently into right now or… Maybe you have a pump up song before your shows?

Zach: *he sighs heavily…good thing it was the last question* Behind the scenes. Yeah there is something not many people would know… is the direction we’re going in within the next year or two… and that is that traditionally a band would write an album with ten songs or so… write it, tour on it for a couple years then take a year off then put another album in. But we what are trying to do I think is to start writing shorter albums and put them out sooner.

So I really think what we are gonna try to do is write songs while on the road with the previous album take a small break and then put out another shorter album right away. I think fans would appreciate it more.

Flak: They would.

Zach: I think it would keep our artistic expression up to date, and keep things moving a little faster. So that’s kinda a behind the scenes look. Maybe put out an album every year and a half.

Flak: And that’s good because  lot of fans, like myself, have hear bands like The Mars Volta talking about sometimes because of the label they can’t put out an album fast enough because the labels wants to wait until nine months after its been completed; so it’s very good that you guys are taking initiative.

Zach: Yeah well we have our laptops, and we have a lot of downtime on the road. Technology is crazy now; you can travel the world and write songs at the same time.

Flak: Exactly! Awesome, well thanks Zach; hopefully I’m going to run into you guys at Universal City Gibson Amphitheatre.

Zach: Yeah man, hope to see you there. Take it easy.

And there you have it kids. Zach was a stand up guy, and I hope you’ve taken the time to listen to their most recent song, All the Right Moves. Check around for their tour, and maybe I’ll see you there.

Until next time my friends,

~Flak

Allison Weiss
Early in the Summer, I was browsing the interweb, and I stumbled upon a phenomenal singer, Ms. Allison Weiss. It had been a while since I had heard such a refreshing style. I then proceeded to say so on my blog, and even offered for her to come down to the studio that I ran whenever she came to do a show in L.A. just to simply hand out and toss ideas off one and other, if that. I didn't know that she would respond, much less invite me to the show. I not only agreed, but also offered to record her live performance. Fast Forward to her show. it was an extraordinary turn out, with about 50 to 60 or so people cramming in a quaint cafe, easily suitable for about half the size. She played exquisitely. After the show, however, it comes to her attention that a longtime fan of her didn't get to see the show, just as the coffee shop is closing. She then, simply guides everyone down the street, like a pied piper, and begins to play what turns into a n hour or so performance in a Los Angeles Cul-De-Sac. I was recording the whole thing live, right in the middle of one of the most prolific impromptu performances I've ever seen. Fast Forward once more to this very interview where Allison speaks on her influences, that night in L.A., her most recent tour, and her upcoming album. And so, it begins... click here for full interview audio

Allison Weiss: Hello Again.

Ge Oh: Hello Again. Alright, so first question: why did you starting making music, writing music?

Allison Weiss: I think that the most basic answer to that is, I had some feelings, and I wanted to get them out.

Ge Oh:That IS the most basic answer, right?

Allison Weiss:Yeah (Laughing). I guess when I was a kid, I was good at writing rhyming poetry, but it was always like, really funny stuff. And then, I got into high school, and became emotional, as middle schoolers and high schoolers tend to do, and I learned to play the guitar and then, kind of figured, you know, now that I know how to play this instrument, I should probably write some songs on it, so I kind of put the writing with the music, and wrote songs, and it just happened.

Ge Oh: Right on. I read (in) an article that you dad taught you how to play guitar. Is that right?

Allison Weiss: Yeah. My dad taught me some chords and stuff. I basically just asked him to teach me to play, so he taught me basic chords, and I kind of went from there. So it was a little combination of my dad giving me the kick start that I needed, and then, I kind of just taught myself from there on.

Ge Oh: Right on. Now you said that back in middle school, feelings and stuff motivates you, what motivates you now, as opposed to back then?

Allison Weiss: Honestly, it's pretty much the exact same thing. I'm best at righting songs when I have something to write about, and usually, that sort of thing is like, a relationship issue, but I'm also motivated to make music by all the music around me, and by all my friends who are making music, and so I continue to do it because of that, but when you get right down to it, I can't really write a song unless I have something to write about, and everything I ever write about is relationships.

Ge Oh:That's actually a perfect segue into my next question: who are your influences?

Allison Weiss: I have a very wide, um, musical listeningship - that's not even a word - I listen to a lot of music, basically. But I guess some of my influences are bands like Rilo Kiley, Tegan and Sara, and there's a guy named Kevin Devine, who I really like. But I feel weird mentioning specific people because I feel I'm very influenced by everything I listen to, and I listen to a lot of different stuff and am constantly discovering new things. So, I would say that I'm mostly influenced artist-wise by people that I know, and friends of mine who are writing music, because I go to their shows and I see what they're doing, and it inspires me to work harder, so artist-wise, that's who influences me the most, people I actually know.

Ge Oh: Speaking of which, you already know that I went to your show in LA, which was fucking amazing.

Allison Weiss: (Laughing) Thanks.

Ge Oh: Your fans are pretty dedicated. How do your fans have an impact on you?

Allison Weiss: They also influence me to continue making music. I mean, it's kind of ridiculous to me, because when I was growing up, I never thought "Yeah, I'm gonna do something where people I've never even met totally, 100% support me," You know? Most of the time, it's just like, "Grow up, get a job,work in an office, do what you're supposed to do, and make some money," but you never think that dreams of, some kind of rock stardom or anything like that would ever come true. Not that I'm saying that I'm any kind of a rock star AT ALL (Laughs), but it does feel pretty cool to play a show, and have people in the audience and watching,listening and enjoying themselves, and then coming up after and telling me that it affected them and that they enjoyed themselves. I love it, I think it's pretty incredible. I feel very fortunate.

Ge Oh:Watching you play that cul-de-sac in L.A. was such a testament to you musicianship. What drives you to do stuff like that, like after the show, you continue to play for your fans?

Allison Weiss: I That was probably one of the most fun shows that I've ever played, honestly, in that cul-de-sac. Honestly, it was just becuase the one girl who was there, her name's Emily, she has been a fan of mine of Myspace for a really long time, and (she was) always begging me to come to L.A., and I finally came, and she totally missed the show. She completely missed it. She caught, like, the last half of the last song, as so I was just like, man, if I really liked a band, and they came all the way to my town, and then I completely missed their show, I would be really upset with myself. And the fact that, as an artist, a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) artist, have the power to pretty much whatever the hell I want, I mean, of course I'm going to play songs for her in the parking lot, of course I'm going to invite everybody out, because I just want to have a good time, you know? And that seemed like the most fun thing to do at the moment, so why not?

Ge Oh: You are one of the best DIY artists that I've ever seen rock anywhere.

Allison Weiss: (Laughing) Thanks.

Ge Oh: No Problem. One thing that really amazed me about you is the kickstarter (program) that you're doing for your new full length. It used to be an EP right?

Allison Weiss:Uh Huh, then it became a full length.

Ge Oh: Why don't you explain that just a bit.

Allison Weiss:Well, I decided that I was going to make a new record, and I wanted kind of cut the costs, and I heard about this website called Kickstarter, and I figured " You know what? I'm going to try to raise some money just to pay for the packaging of it," because packaging is pretty expensive, but I still wanted it to look cool, and to be professional, you know? So I set a goal of two thousand dollars, which is what it would cost to press a thousand copies in DigiPaks (which is the cardboard style packaging, as opposed to the classic all plastic packaging), and I ended up reaching my goal in, like, ten hours, and over the course of the summer, I raised enough to fully pay for my album and all the recording, and I even have some left over to do promotion and make music videos, or stuff like that. So it's been pretty incredible.

Ge Oh: It really has been. I've seen so many people who have been affected by your music. I actually did an article earlier this month on a girl we both met at (your) L.A. show, Charlie Moon, and her music is amazing and I can tell how much you influence people such as (her). And-

Allison Weiss:That's really awesome.

Ge Oh: Yea. Going on Youtube and seeing everybody who covers your songs. What do you think about that? Just the Youtube generation and the fact that you're a product of it?

Allison Weiss: Once again, that's just another one of those instances where I' feel so lucky that people care enough to learn my songs and play them on Youtube, and I know that Youtube has been really awesome for a lot of artists, myself included. I'm not as into Youtube as much as singers and writers that I know, but it's just really cool that you can sit in your bedroom and play your songs in front of your camera, and people care about that, and they'll listen, and enjoy, and they'll seek your music out if they really like it. I feel pretty fortunate, in general, to be a part of the whole internet generation, because it's hard for me to think about what it would be like to be a musician in a world where there isn't the resources to promote yourself, by yourself. Because, you know, back in the day, there weren't that many popular bands. I mean, there were a few big hitters, but that was because the record labels were backing everyone, so you had the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and stuff like that, and that's what people listened to, but who knows how many other bands that were just as good as the Beatles, if not better, perhaps? Maybe there were, but you never knew about them because they didn't have the resources to get their music out there. Not that I'm saying that anyone could ever be better than the Beatles, but you know what I mean (Chuckles).

Ge Oh: Yea. Well, this new tour that you just got off, uhm who did you play with and how did that come about?

Allison Weiss: I went out with my friends Bess Rogers and Lilia Brussard, and I say friends now but before the tour we didn't know each other that well. I knew Bess through our mutual friend, a singer/song writer named Jenny Owen Youngs, uhm we kind of like, we have e-mailed each other back and fort and met once in person and we put the show together and decided that we would go on tour together ,which was awesome and then Bess knew Lilia Brussard, who's from L.A., who I didn't meet until two days before the tour but we all kinda figure that we'd get along and it actually ended up being incredible and | feel like I went into the tour like not really knowing these other two people and like leaving with like two new best friends, and we got to play music the whole time while we were making, while we were creating this friendship. So its pretty much the greatest tour I've ever been on so far.

Ge Oh: Right on. Do you have any plans to tour in the future as far as like just already planned out?

Allison Weiss: Oh I'm definitely always planning tours for the future. I'm actually currently ah I just started my fifth year of college today...

Ge Oh: Wow

Allison Weiss: And I should graduate in May and so until then 'til I graduate all of my tours happen during Thanksgiving Break, and Winter Break, and Spring Break, and Summer Break. But ah in between that I play every weekend in any number of towns around Southeast. So if you live in the Southeast you can probably find me somewhere every weekend, but until I graduate that's pretty much where I'm staying.

Ge Oh: Alright now, I know I read also of another article somewhere that you really like being a DIY artist, do you ever like fear that you are just gonna be too big to be a DIY artist and that you're gonna have to eventually succumb to, at the very least like an Indie label?

Allison Weiss: I definitely wouldn't say that I fear that I kinda look forward to it you know. I like the... I like umm that ..I like where I am now and I like that I've been able to do everything that I do by myself but I do know that if I want to be successful as an artist I'm gonna have to accept help when the time comes and it's totally necessary like when you find the right people you can still have that DIY vive and like they're doing this for the good of everything. Like I know record labels are not really the best now a days, not everyone is looking for record labels but there are a lot of incredible Indie labels out there and I would love to be in any number of them and I mean ah I actually just the other day, not the other day like about a month ago, worked out a deal with a friend of mine,  Patrick, who's in a band called The Winter Sounds and they tour constantly so he's really good at booking shows. And I'm also a graphic designer so I'm really good at making website look nice. And so we actually worked out a trade and so now he's actually booking shows for me and I'm making his Myspace look great and I guess you could think of that as like a step away from the DIY thing but I also like to think of DIY as like helping each other out ,you know? It's like you scratch my back and I scratch yours kind of thing. umm cause I mean they are also (The Winter Sounds) are also DIY artist so I want to help then and they can help me so its kinds cool how we can work because its common goal just like making music.

Ge Oh: Yeah that's nice. This new CD that you have that is coming out, what's it called and umm what is it? like is there a theme or is it just like another one of your things that you normally put out like it's along the same line as the last CD that you have?

Allison Weiss: Ah it actually doesn't have a title yet. I'm pretty sure I know what to call it but I am not 100% positive so don't want to tell anyone, just in case I change my mind. umm but as far as the music goes, it's just another  collection of songs that I have written ..um because I have other songs going on, like school, I unfortunately, don't have the luxury of just like take 6 months off to write an album and make it this big awesome masterpiece. I hope someday I could do that but until then ,it just like, I write songs, I pick which ones are my favorite and I put them in a record, so that just what this is. Its just 10 songs that I really like and I hope everyone likes too. But as far as like in comparison to previous records, there's definitely more acoustic stuff on this one and there are at least 3 songs that are just me and a guitar, and a microphone. But that said, there's a lot of those super stripped down low acoustic tracks and there are those that are full out, like, band and rock song that'll rock your face off so I hope everyone likes it. And I think it's like a good mix of songs that are similar in their messages that are all written by me, but they all have their own little thing going on.

Ge Oh: And this is the last question. As a really successful DIY artist, do you have any advice to other artist out there trying to do what you're doing and have succeeded in doing?

Allison Weiss: Umm, it's funny that you call me a successful DIY artist because I don't know that I feel so successful, I feel like I still got a long way to go but I would definitely say that the most important thing is not be be afraid to just like promote the sh__ out of yourself because that's really the only way to do it. Like when I just started making music, I read an article about how to promote yourself in Athens, Georgia. Basically that is where I am from and that's a big music town and there was an article in local newspaper on how to be a local musician. One thing that was said in that article was "promote, promote, promote" and it mentioned that if people know your name then the more they're going to be inclines to go to your shows. So that was kind od stuck in my brains since the and it just like its so important to tell people who your are and to do what ever it takes to get you name out there and like don't be afraid to give away things for free because the exposure that you get from it is worth it in the long run. Like I have a free album that I give away on line, it like a live recording. It's been pretty cool. Also, don't be afraid of the internet. Basically if you are a band now a days and you are just getting started and you are trying to be successful and you're one of those people that says "Oh I don't really use the internet that much, I don't think it's that much important". Well you're 100% wrong and good luck trying to make it without using the internet these days. But I don't want to end that with a negative connotation (background laughter) I mean I'd rather say " Use the internet - it's the best ever!"

These two are cocky, funky, silly, and real. So much you instantly fall for their beats and dig on Shwayze’s lyrics. You secretly want to hang and party in their Malibu pad, they make it look all too easy. They are not your older brothers, but they might as well be. Their songs provide a soundtrack for what the kids are thinking, doing, and even drinking (i.e. “Corona & Lime”).  Summertime music is what they are known for. Their upcoming sophomore release this fall,    “Let it beat” will prove they are much, much, more.  

You ready to make some music?

With an electric throw back to the 80’s and a thump blended with the finest club beats, their first single, “Get you home”, sneaks up on you and gets you dancing quicker than a shot of tequila!

A hip-hop duo they say, but not the typical of sorts. These two are known as Cisco Adler, the singer who also produces, while Shwayze raps. Together there is talent & heart behind the duo.  The combination is sheer brilliance, with a flair for toking it up and loving the ladies. Lucky for us, they write to create impressive songs about it!

And guess who got to speak with the boys?

Check it:

Veronica Barriga: You guys are on the soundtrack for the film, Sorority Row, and are shooting the music video soon I hear…

Shwayze: I just got off the phone about that… It’s gonna be cool. The director of Sorority Row directed our music video. We got him to come through and most of the girls from the movie are in the video. I don’t wanna give you too much, but it’s gonna be good…Gotta watch it when it comes out!

VB: A lot of your songs are about girls and love. Now we often hear about Cisco’s endeavors-

Shwayze: Ha ha, exactly…

VB:  But what about you, what cha working with, do you have a girlfriend?

Shwayze: Um, ahhhhh…

He is torn, for a second.

I don’t think I have a girlfriend. I have someone I’m talking to but- it’s hard you know, cause we’re always traveling. Music is my girlfriend, pretty much. It’s makes it a little difficult, but I’m always looking, looking for the right girl.

VB: “Get you home,” the new single, there are about five different people who have remixed it. What’s it like hearing your original creation through their version of the song?

Shwayze: I love it! I love it! I love hearing everyone. It’s crazy. We got Lil John, Dj Class and it’s…

He stops, I hear some noise on the other end, and he tells me Cisco is there now and somehow we lose track of what the hell we were saying…

VB: The new single… I haven’t heard the entire album, but it’s got a little bit of an 80’s vibe, a lot different from your first release.

Shwayze: We sat down, wanted to try new things out. With the last record we got to do a lot of clubs… So we wanted to have a song people could dance to, but still chill/feel good music. Cisco, he’s just got a wide range of stuff.  When I first meet him, he was in a rock band, so that’s what I love about our collaboration. It’s never one thing.

Cisco: It’s pretty much an example of us throwing a bunch of things into a pot. It’s an example of where we can go. You can’t put the single or the album into one category. From the minute we did that song, it was a rapper and a singer. So that was two different worlds colliding already. Whatever form we do will always be a version of influences… From pop rock to electric beats. We showcase a lot range on this record!

VB: Describe your writing process. Each time must be different, but how do you guys approach it?

Shwayze: Cisco is in the studio, like 24/7. The studio is at the crib so he’s in there, being the mastermind, creator of the song. We come up with the concept, and then I go in and write my verse. With this record we really crafted big songs. It was about stepping it up.

Cisco: I make the beats, but even when it’s done, that’s not necessarily what the end product will sound like. We might go back and change the verses, adding here and there… Bringing in new sounds, trying to keep making it the best it can be. We make sure the verses are perfect for the song.

VB: Sounds like an ongoing process, till they give you a deadline or cut you off, and then you’re like…ok fine, we’re done.

They crack up, "Exactly!"

The newest from Shwayze, Get it Fall 2009!

VB: “Let It beat” features some great acts like The Knux and Snoop Dogg. What was it like working with those guys?

Cisco: The knux are our boys. We’ve worked with them before, brought them out on tour with us… and we became great friends. So that was like friends jumping in, and just rocking out. Snoop Dawg, he’s a legend and one of our major influences on the hip hop side… So that was like a dream come true.

It’s cool that he would even get on there- It’s kind of a nod to us, of respect, in the hip-hop arena. Sometimes people don’t give Shwayze enough credit, they just see us individuals and think it’s not hip-hop.

VB: It’s a different kind a of hip hop….

Soon Cisco is off on a tangent!

It’s like, what the fuck is hip hop? Hip-hop has never been one thing! When hip hop started it was mostly guitars, an Mc jamming to guitars…

Did I mention I love these two……  “Tell um boys, tell them!”

VB: Were you nervous putting out this second album? As you know, people usually judge “staying” power with the 2nd release.

Cisco: I don’t think we were nervous. We got a song on this record, “Livin' it up,” he sings a lil bit about it, talks about the “sophomore slump.”

He then breaks into Shwayze, and delivers it, as a matter of fact like:

“Don’t be mad when you’re girl leaves with with us”…

Shwayze: We were excited to get back in the lab, after being on tour for eight months with the same songs. Those songs, to us, are like 3 or 4 years old. So it was really about, ‘let’s get back in there and make new songs!’

I ask about their upcoming college tour. September 17th to October 8th

Cisco: The college tour to us is like our bread and butter.

VB: Why did you choose to focus on, (well I guess it’s a given) the college campuses and that group?

With out hesitation, Cisco jokes, “Cause their wasted!” Shwayze then puts it into perspective.

Shwayze: Naw, just kidding. I don’t think we focused on them. We just do what we do, and the college kids connect with it.

Cisco: The thing about college tours, is like, it’s everywhere… You’ll have a 13 year old, and right next to her a 40 yr Rasta! It’s all good, as long they don’t touch each other…

 I’m still laughing

VB: Right, yeah I gotcha, but they are diggin’ the music, just the same. How are your friends and family reacting to your success, and you guys rising to the top?

Shwayze: I don’t have to many friends, I have 5 or 6 boys in my life that never change no matter what…  My grandma, you know she is proud.

Cisco: We come from love. Malibu is sort of a small community and everyone roots for everyone here.

VB: What a good place to hang out in Malibu, for people from out of state?

Shwayze: There’s this street in the center of Malibu where you can find lot’s of overpriced shops…

Just then the record label comes on the phone (out of left field, might I add) we’re wrapping up, let’s wrap up… Just when it was getting good- what the…

VB: Describe each other in 3 words…

Shwayze: (I seem to think he’s describing himself, but it goes) Intense, focused,  Hilarious. Um, well no- he starts to change his mind…

Which I think is funny.

Then a sincere Cisco goes… “No, no I am, I am,” As if to encourage Shwayze to keep the answer.

It’s no wonder these two had an MTV show. And after this, I’m likely to campaign for another!

Cisco then describes Shwayze as “young and hungry”…

 

What up?

I couldn’t make out the other word he used but I’m sure it was along the lines of "talented bas ass". That would be my guess.

In moments, Cisco starts fucking around…”Baby, baby, dick”…

VB: Big bigger and big…

There is all sorts of silliness going on back and forth. They got me… Until, I snap back into reporter mode, because the clock is ticking…

VB: What do you hope people take from this album?

Shwayze: I just want people to see that we’ve grown and we’re getting bigger, we work hard, and just want to keep doing it!

Cisco: With the last album, and all the kids we met… They would tell us, “This is the soundtrack for our lives! This is what we roll to the mall with! That’s what we get high with! This is what was on during the first time I made love!”… It’s about them growing up, and we provide the soundtrack for it.

I’d make it required listening, for those who love to have a good time.  

Get up close & personal with the Boys, at their latest photo shoot! Click Here for the Video!. For TOUR DATES & all things Shwayze, Check out the Official Site: www.Shwayze.com

Giveaway:

 

Shwayze Poster

 

We have one (1) signed poster to giveaway. The contest will run through September 15, 2009. The winning entry will be picked at random from email submissions. If you'd like to entry, please email rmtc@behindthehype.com.

IMG_5012 I love those times in life when you get a pleasant surprise in a place where you wouldn’t expect it. This time, it was in the company of the most successful independent artist in history, with over a million records sold “out of the trunk”. That’s right; I’m talking about the Midwest quick spittin’ Tech N9ne, with his homeboys Krizz Kaliko and DJ Chill.

After his set at his Los Angeles leg of Rock the Bells 2009, I caught up with the trio backstage amongst the silent, mean mugging crews of everyone in attendance. Before sitting down with the crew, I was introduced to Tech’s lovely daughter, whom he called “Rainbow”, and told her he would hurry it up with a laugh. I hear how hard it is on the road to get family time, so I got to business.

Here’s the transcription/summary and unedited audio clip from the interview. Enjoy!

Flak: …and things are moving ahead, and I really appreciate you guys talking to us by the way.

Tech: Yeah man no problem

Flak: I’ve got questions for both of you, but first of all, thank you for Caribou Lou (a drink invented by him, with a song of the same name)

Tech and Krizz: *laughing* Aww yeah man!

Flak: My mom, she lives in the Bahamas, and that’s like…their thing “you’ve gotta get Caribou Lou!”, I told her I was meeting Tech N9ne today and she was like “Say what’s up!”.

Tech: Yeah man, since 1995, Caribou Lou…

Flak: Has it been that long?

Tech: Yeah since 1995..

Flak: I see..You know I’m curious, I see all these artists together at a show, and I wonder, who are you listening to right now?

Tech: Who am I listening to right now *he leans back a few seconds and thinks about it* …ummm, of course we listen to Gnarls Barkley like crazy *looks and Krizz as he nods*

Flak: Really? *I was genuinely shocked for some reason*, you ever met em or...

Tech: Nope, never met em…I wish, but never met em…I think the closest we ever got to them was Big Boi and Sleepy Brown (who were in attendance that night) gnomesayin…

Flak: Yeah and the whole Dungeon Family, gotcha…

Tech: Umm who else... System of a Down man…Slipknot….

Flak: Yeah I heard you wanted to do a song with Serj Tankian (of System of a Down)

Tech: Yeah man I do.

Flak: And what made you think of that?

Tech: *Tech makes a pondering face before shrugging and answering* I’m a big fan…since the beginning.

Flak: Have you ever seen them play? They put on a great live show; I saw them with The Mars Volta.

Tech: No, and I’ve only seen them on tv, and one of the first things that I ever heard was Sugar. “Sugahhhhh”.

IMG_5005

Flak: Right right.

Tech: You know what I’m saying? *he goes on to sing a part of the first verse*, that first single, that video man, ever since. And uh…Mesmerize, Hypnotize, Toxicity, Steal This Album…it was just hardcore. And I think System of a Down their first album was self titled.

Flak: Right, That’s the one that had Sugar on it.

Tech: Yeah Sugar and Peephole was my first, my favorite one yeah uh *Tech starts clapping the beat of Peephole* “When your stars are baked, And your rivers fly, Do you ever believe you were stuck out in the, sky!!!”

Flak: *after the heat builds up and calms from us singing along* Yeah man, you’ve gotta see em live

Tech: Yeah I heard that a lot, but we tour so much that we miss everything, gnomesayin, but that’s a good thing and a bad thing. You know cause we’re music lovers… and I’d like to work with Eminem…you know? I buy those albums. I buy Shinedown. I buy Avenged Sevenfold.

Flak: *This is where the intrigue really set in for me* Really? Well what do you think about…well, as far as when I was growing up, it wasn’t cool for me…you know, I came from a town where there wasn’t a lot of black people. And it was not cool to listen to quote unquote the white music.

Tech: Me too, but I grew up in the ghetto you know, Wayne Minor (a housing complex in Kansas City) and my family was….eclectic you know? There was some odd stuff going on, and some Led Zeppelin and some of The Doors, and Rush going on; as opposed to I mean, Blowfly and Schooly D, which turned me into this. Which is wonderful.

Flak: And now do you think it’s more accepted you know to listen to that? (Tech nods and says “yeah man”) You know, as far as black people listening to it?

Tech: Yeah I do.

Flak: And now it’s like we’ve got guys like Lil Wayne trying to get into the rock thing.

Tech:  Yeah and I’ve been on it for a long time, like when Rock This Way was poppin, you know, when Rick Rubin was making these guys mix and merge and mesh you know what I’m saying? It’s a wonderful thing to have The Beastie Boys with No Sleep Till Brooklyn. Merging rap with rock.

Flak: Yeah they were supposed to be playing at the end of this month in San Francisco (at Outside Lands Music Festival), but one of got injured or hurt?

Tech: Damn, that keeps happening with them. But…I’m glad….that I could be exposed…to something like Lynard Skynard…being a nigga from the hood! *Laughs* Yeah man and I hate that I missed as I got older I found out about more about these other musicians like Terry Reid with Seeds of Memory, gnomesayin? And Pink Floyd and all that madness, I hate, like, when you’re in these places (referring to the ghetto), it’s so…one-sided. “Alright, all we’re going to listen to is Marvin Gaye” and I got all of that, on top of classical, on top of rock, on top of gospel, and I mean…on top of jazz…that turns into *he then spits a furious flow that I spend fifteen minutes trying to transcribe to no avail*

Flak: *after nodding in amazement* Yeah man, and you were the first one doing that shit.

Tech: Yeah that Midwest shit. And it’s like being in Kansas City, Missouri…right there in the middle…we got music from every direction. And when you have me and Krizz both going, it’s a musical overload.

Flak: *I turn my attention to Krizz Kaliko* So what about, Krizz, so you’re trying to work with, or so I’ve heard, that you’re trying to work with or already you’ve worked with Kottonmouth Kings right?

IMG_4972

Krizz: Aww yeah *he gave me that “you silly boy look*, those are our cousins man! *laughs*

Flak: That’s like your group? Well not group but…

Krizz: Nah not group, but they’re like our brothers. We ended up having fans in common, did a couple of tours with em, gained camaraderie with em and then started doing music together. But I mean I work with everybody, cause I pretty much go everywhere with my music. If you check out my album Genius, it’s out now; you’ll hear we go through every genre of music. I worked with Tech…and I would love to be working with Gnarls Barkley, Outkast; I’m like really influenced by people that are unique.

Flak: Right and you guys are doing a lot of work, because technically between the two of you, you have three albums coming out this year, you know, one more on the way.

Tech: We put out album after album man, and I was walking and talking with Tech and I’m like man…I was walking to the van, and it’s like bus…van…stage…plane…sneak a meal in…bus,van, stage, plane. You know? And when you’re not doing that it’s like…studio! *laughs* Then it’s back to the bus, van, stage, plane, then back to the studio.

Flak: So it’s taxing.

Krizz: It is, but it’s what we asked for and the way we go about doing it, because we have to be in their face all the time. We have to keep putting out albums; we have to keep touring for our albums. Because we aren’t really on TV, we have to be in their face all the time. And the result is there, million sales…

Flak: Yeah you guys have done it bigger than anybody.

Tech: Number one indie in the country man. Woke up one day on tour and…wow.

Flak: And yeah it’s funny because people think that they’ve never heard you before, and I tell them you guys are all over TV shows.

*a knock on the door interrupts us*

Krizz: Hmmm…excuse me…

Tech: That’s weirrrrd. *we both laugh*

Flak: Maybe time’s up? I dunno…

A young lady with the duo asks to use the bathroom in the trailer, whilst a lithe man with braids, holding a cup of Hennessey approaches. It’s none other than Tech’s DJ, DJ Chill.

After introducing himself as one of newest members of “Tech N9ne n’ them” we all laughed and I exchanged dap with him. He goes on to list some of the great names in hip hop, E-40, Busta Rhymes, and talks about quick rapping, and how all they have worked for goes farther than that, he talks about rapping period. He praises Tech for how much heart he puts into his work, and how he also got flak (finally get to use that in its correct context!) from his hood.

He brought up a good point about how some rap where you almost predict what they are going to say next, whether it be cars or money, or women, and with Tech you could never do that. It’s a good point a true hip hop aficionado has discovered by now. The line stuck in my head of when DJ Chill explained that it had nothing to do with him being Tech’s DJ or friend when he said flat out: “Nigga’s just ain’t…fuckin with you”, to which we all shared another laugh.

He asked the listeners and readers to think for a minute how you can hear the heart of Tech in his music, and how you can feel what’s happening in his life through his music. I bring up the Cunninlynguists quickly before he continues.

I argue that that’s what hip hop is supposed to be about, and they agree. Naturally. He goes on to say that Tech is the realest because he gave his life, his soul, even his wife and kids on occasion for what he does. We discuss the idea of putting everything you have into something that you love, hoping that it will work; something we all had struggled with.

I talk about how people forget that musicians are real people, and how people forget they have a real life. Chill made a funny comment about their struggle: from the van, to a bus, to a tour bus, to two or three tour buses, to international travel, and how he had to “break himself” for a passport. Definitely the hardest laugh of the interview between us all. That’s hip hop.

After DJ Chill makes his exit on a beautiful note, Krizz and I talk about how he really puts himself into his music.

Flak: And you really put yourself into your music. Vitaligo as a title. You’ve got Bipolar as a song title (both things that Krizz has to go through) and so people actually know about who you are. You’re comfortable with yourself. And something a lot of people can’t say.

Krizz: But the thing is, I’m really not.

Flak: Are you not? Really? *he had me fooled*

Krizz: I let them know that too though. I’m comfortable with who I am, what happens to me, as a byproduct of what the world is like…

Flak: …that you’ve got flaws just like anybody else.

Krizz: That’s right. That’s what it is. I’m not comfortable with the flaws, but I’m comfortable enough to tell everyone about it. And its therapeutic.

DJ Chill pops his head in: “And look at you now!” Everyone shared one final laugh before our hugs and sendoff.

An amazing time with Tech and his crew, and it made me realize that there are more music lovers who are willing to say fuck it to those who treat them poorly over silly issues as what music they listen to, or what dress styles they posses.

Big big thanks again to Megan over at Juggernaut Sound for hooking us up with the honor of working with the hardest working men in the industry in this interview with Tech N9ne. Make sure to look out for K.O.D., Tech’s upcoming album on October 27th (but I’m sure I’ll remind you about it). Hope you all enjoyed another interview here at Behind the Hype. Holler at Dan Huse for the great photos!

Until next time my friends,

~Flak

P.S.- Don’t forget who got you the heads up on those awesome collaborations we talked about in this interview!

They are from Nashville but not quite country… Hot Chelle Rae is a young foursome ready to rule the world, rock out, and bring you along for the ride! These young men got a ton of sass, and the talent to back it up. Ryan Keith Follese on vocals, Nash Overstreet plays lead guitar, Ian Keaggy on the bass and younger brother Jamie Follese jams out on the drums. The group has recently signed with Jive Records, one of the industry’s most influential labels! Their first single “I like to Dance” sets the festive, funky tone, and hints at what we can expect from their pop/rock debut release, “Lovesick Electric.”

"We all learned how to harness the heartbreak and use it as ammunition for the creative cannon." Says HCR

“Our musical style and essence comes from our love of the 80's, dedication to writing as a craft, and parents that encouraged us to really do whatever we wanted! On "Lovesick Electric" you will hear songs that represent what we love, events that we have lived… by the end I hope that you just feel, after all, isn’t that really what this is about.”  Says Lead singer, Ryan.

On this record, a dream came true when the boys had the chance to work with producers Eric Valentine and Butch Walker, both whom have created chart topping hits for Pink, Katie Perry and The All American Rejects, to name a few.

“I appreciate each and every different level of success we achieve. Getting to work with Eric Valentine, and Butch Walker… they were almost the only producers we told Jive that we wanted to work with when they asked us. The reality of working with our #1 choices hit us like a ton of bricks!” Adds Nash.

Its no doubt the band is in good hands, their sophisticated & sharp sounds will have you take note! They were born with music in their DNA, they are young but bold and with infusing tunes, along side innovative rifts, guided by melodious foot-tapping lyrics, it’s only a matter of time before these four explode onto the scene.

Hot Chelle Rae ‘s frontman Ryan Keith Follese, & lead guitarist Nash Overstreet, took a time-out from touring; to talk music, tattoos, and, shout-outs to rapper T-Pain. They even gave out some insightful advice on how to make it in the industry!

Check It:

Veronica Barriga: Hot Chelle Rae! What does the name mean, where did it come from?

Ryan Keith Follese (RK): Hot Chelle Rae...It came from a crazy fan and a random set of words. Chelle Rae is the name of a girl pretending to be an online model and pretending to help us with "music business connections."

That’s actually hilarious…

Nash Overstreet: We thought it sounded cool, original, and just unique enough to take the shape of the music.

VB: How old are you guys? What were your lives like before signing to Jive?

Nash: Ian-22, Jamie-17, Nash-23, R.K.-22. We have all been playing music our whole lives, and known that's what we wanted to do. Before hooking up with Jive, we had been in different incarnations of what is now Hot Chelle Rae. Our main focus was having a great product. We sacrificed the constant touring that we were told we "should" have been doing, for the time we felt necessary to craft great songs. We couldn't be happier looking back. We're very proud of this record, and hope everyone will love it as much as we do.

RK: We played a lot of shows but really understood that we wouldn't get anywhere without A-list material. So we wrote nearly 60 songs and from 20, picked the best 11. It was tough, but I think that we benefited from it so much and I believe the future will show that.

VB: What do you hope people and fans take from your music?

Nash: A light hearted energy, a needed moment of encouragement, a song to fall in love to, or just a loud, blaring chorus to sing along to… Preferably at the top of your lungs!!

VB: What has been your "I've made it moment!?"

Nash: I hope I never have that moment. I never want to stop working to get better.

RK: Haha, our "I’ve made it moment"... I believe is yet to arrive. I don’t want to count our chickens before they have hatched! But getting a deal in this particular time in music was pretty killer.

VB: I noticed your tattoos, pick a favorite, and why?

Nash: That's like picking a favorite child!... No, I don't have any kids. My left arm, a dove, light, clouds, and a cross, is probably my favorite. It's just so vibrant and colorful. Tim Bobeck is the artist we all go to at Lone Wolf in Nashville. He's incredible.

RK: My favorite that I have is probably the one on my chest. It says " Dream with my eyes open, Sleep when I’m dead, Love who my hearts chosen, Conquer what lies ahead."

VB: Who are some of your major musical influences, why?

NASH: All of us bring something very different to the table.  I have always been a fan of groovy, funky feel-good music like Michael Jackson, and Prince; or great songwriting like Sheryl Crow, Tom Petty, and Butch Walker.

RK: Also, Queen, Journey, The Beatles, and country music. I believe we all respect them as incredible singers and incredible writers. As for country, that’s where we learned how to write lyrics.

VB: If you could duet or work with anyone, who would it be?

NASH: I'm sending this one out to T-Pain... You are incredible, and working with you on the Taylor Swift track was amazing; but I'm still pushing to get you to get on a song with us!!! Haha (Don't think we don't tease Jive about it regularly,) Justin Timberlake... get in on this with us!

RK: Freddie Mercury for so many reasons, vocals, writing, arrangements, etc!!!

VB: Describe yourselves in 3 words..... GO!

"They like to dance"

NASH: Stop At Nothing

RK: Hot Chelle Rae!

Clever, he is….

VB: What is your song writing process like?

NASH: It usually began with, a vocal hook, guitar riff, or bass line. Then we'll grab acoustic guitars, and get the lyrics right. After we get in the right key, tempo, etc... We work it up as a band and "arrange" it.

RK: No rules to our writing process, could start with a great title… But the process is very critical and we double and triple check everything that we do for the best possible outcome.

VB: What has been the best advice your parents have given you about the industry? (Parents are award-winning songwriters, and a Grammy nominated guitarist.)

NASH: Write songs, all the time. It's a talent, but also a skill. You can't go out and run a marathon if you don't train. Unless you exercise writing, you are not going to be your best.

RK: Honestly, when I encountered the feeling of heartbreak that my parents warned me about they just said, "Don’t give up" as cheesy as that is. If you follow it, amazing stuff can happen. They also said sadness was fuel for the fire.

VB: Who is the leader of the pack, what was the last thing the group had a disagreement about?

RK: I believe as an aspiring front man it’s my job to lead, but I think we all have leadership qualities and thats what makes the group function. Everyone brings something to the table that the other can’t. The last thing that we argued about was probably where to eat! Haha. This is a relationship and we are all like brothers.

NASH: We're very fortunate to all have similar likes, and dislikes musically. I can't imagine being in a band and suggesting something, only to have someone else HATE the idea. It's R.K.'s job to connect with the audience. I have always been into making the musical arrangements the best they can be. Ian will come up with stuff no one else could ever dream of, and Jamie... if a beat is not the most original thing you've heard, I'm willing to bet it'll still feel better!

VB: How has growing up in Nashville impacted your musical approach?

NASH: Nashville teaches you that you don't have the luxury of being mediocre in any area. You have to be a great songwriter, amazing musician, put on the best live show in town, and be down to earth. The scene is harsh, but it makes the end result even better.

RK: Raised the bar! When all of your friends are in great bands like (Luna Halo, Enjoy the Zoo) it really changes the material level and the approach to being in a band.

VB: The young ladies wanna know, what do you look for in a girlfriend?

NASH: The most important thing has got to be: being able to be yourself. Nothing feels better than relaxing, and (the girl) not trying to impress or put on a show.

RK: Being able to be cool with a musicians schedule is very important. Someone who can just chill and be happy, have a good time. I like long curly hair!

VB: What pointers would you give to struggling bands and songwriters?

NASH: Don't settle for less than your best in anything you do. If you make a demo, make it great. If you play a show, and only one person shows up, make them have such an experience that they tell every single person they know that you're worth seeing the next time around.  ...Always look good.

RK: Hone your craft and don’t do music for the girls. Do it because you don't have a choice.

Well said, oh wait..... One more thing:

NASH: We are all about great songs first. There are upbeat dance songs, hard-hitting rock anthems, and heartfelt ballads. Something for everyone, no matter what stage of life they're in, or what they're going through. Catchy lyrics, memorable bass lines, synthesizers, dance like drum beats, and a guitar lick here and there.... that about sums us up.

From Left: Nash, Jamie, RK, Ian

But don’t take our word for it: Check out, the single: “I like to Dance”

Click here for some sweet rockin sounds!

While your at it, make a video and post it on their official website : www.HotChelleRae.com

Imagine the coolness of Ryan Adams intermixed with the genius of Beck, then polished with a visual evoking wonderland created entirely by one artist… Well you don’t have to, I’ve met him and his name is David Bennett. Song Writer & Musician David Bennett

David is one of the lucky 14 contestants chosen to compete on Mtv’s Newest Reality Show: P. Diddy’s “Starmaker.”  The show consists of musical artists selected from all over the country; eager to prove they’ve got what it takes to become the world’s next global music superstar and of course, land a recording deal with Bad Boy Records.

The performers must survive eliminations each week while making sure to charm the all-star judges and industry heavyweights, in the likes of; Producer Rodney “Dark Child” Jerkins, Former Billboard Editor in Chief  Tamara Conniff, “Making the Band's” favorite choreographer Laurieann Gibson, along with P. Diddy himself making appearances throughout the season.

Upon getting cast on the show, an unassuming David, took it all in stride. “I remember I got up that morning, and walked down to the audition, played a few songs and went home, that was it…..I didn’t know how big it was, till I kept getting callbacks! Like wow, they wanna fly me out to New York for another audition, I’ll take it! It was all sort of surprising to me.” He says.

While David was caught off guard, I’d like to bet others were not. His father introduced him to music as a child by gifting David his very own drum kit! At the age of 12 David’s father had passed away and his English teacher suggested that writing music could serve as a therapeutic approach. It did and also allowed Bennett to discover his true passion; music.

“My musical style or essence... It’s a mixture between alternative rock, with indie rock and a soul background. I bring all my influences, which is a huge amount of people. The Beatles of course, Stevie Wonder, SuperTramps… a lot of modern people as well, like Elliot Smith and the list keeps going.” He tells me.

He moved to Orange County for high school then joined a few bands, jamming out as a teen and began building his foundation. He even chased music to Colorado for a short lived band gig, and finally coming back full circle to his hometown of Los Angeles where he recently graduated from the acclaimed school, the Musicians Institute. Oh yeah, and the P. Diddy show of course!

Premiering On MTV August 16 at 10:00 Pm

 

Interesting enough, this amazing opportunity almost slipped by David. If it wasn’t for his insightful music teacher, he may have missed it. “Right before the show, actually, I had just gotten out of school. One of my teachers at the Musicians Institute told me about the show. He said I should try out. I didn’t believe him, but apparently it worked out.”

Don't miss David on "Starmaker!"

David is a calm artist who couldn’t give a fuck about being popular, but will always have a large audience because his music is truthful and clever. He wears his shades the entire interview, and speaks from the soul. He has a quiet, intelligent sensibility that is hard to find these days.

“I had my fair share of nerves throughout the show, but it wasn’t a life or death situation for me.  More like... I’ll just try it!”

Check this:

Veronica Barriga:  How did your family and friends react when they heard the news?

David Bennett: They were pretty surprised. I think it really sunk in when I went to New York. That's when they realized this is actually sort of a big deal. Then I made it on the show! It was fun, and nice to change my pace... especially getting right out of school and going into this.

VB: There were many different people and dynamics in the house. What role did you play among everyone?

David: I had a lot of fun playing piano on the show. I helped the other contestants learn the piano. It was especially fun, 'cause it was a Grand Piano. I was thrilled about that!... I wasn’t a very dramatic person on the show.

VB: I joke. You mean you weren’t starting fights? Creating enemies? 

David: Oh no, no just having a fun time, soaking it all in.

VB: Describe a typical week in the “Rock Star” mansion where you guys were staying.

David: We had microphones on us at all times. We would wake up and shower, put the mics on... then we carried on with our day and forgot about them after a while. Probably good for the show and bad for us. We did a lot of random things. It was all surprises!

VB: So you had to be constantly on you’re "A" game and prepared, would you say?

David: Well we should have been prepared and constantly on our "A" game, but ……

He doesn't say anything, damn those contracts!

VB: A lot of partiers in the house?

David: Not too much, I was pretty good, tried to be pretty good... there were a few times where it got a little rowdy.

  

VB: What was it like working with P. Diddy?

David: It was nerve-racking at first. Everything just seemed heavier around him and I had to think before I did something. I was a little nervous around him… He’s a good person. It was just surprising to see him in person. I was trying to read his mannerisms and see what makes him Diddy.

VB: How about Rodney Jerkins?

David: He uses the same program that I use to produce my music, which is cool. I had a nice chat with him about that… He’s a hard judge and definitely knows what he’s looking for.

VB: Tell us about Tamera, Billboard's former  top gal.

David: She didn’t really let anyone off easy. She called us on the smallest details, from the way we looked to everything else.

VB: How did you react to that, were you thankful for that, or sort of like, 'I don’t need this.'

David: I was not used to getting judged.  I’m also not used to performing cover songs, so I was out of my element in those two situations. It was a little frustrating singing a song I wasn’t familiar with and then getting critiqued on it.

VB: What was the chorography like cause you don’t seem like the boy band type, although I could be wrong….

David: I am definitely not. I’m not trying to be Usher, I’m trying to write songs and perform them, play them live…….(while performing) I’m behind a ucalayly or a keyboard.

VB: Toughest hurddle to overcome in the competition?

David: Getting comfortable being out of my element, trying to figure out how to move on stage without my instruments, because it’s the complete opposite of what I do.

VB: Most eye opening lessons?

David: For me it was... learning other people’s songs and changing the keys around. It was eye opening to me to play them in every different key. It helped me as an instrument player. In doing that, I analyzed the pop form of the song. I performed a lot of songs that I had never heard before... which was interesting.

VB: What are some of your favorite moments from the show.

David: Hanging out in the pool was not a horrible thing, having BBQs- that didn’t suck.

He laughs, and then in true artist form..

My favorite moments were learning songs. My main focus, before and after the show, is writing songs and producing them. Creating. Sort of... painting the picture of myself through music.

VB: What is the message you'd like to send with your music?

David: It changes throughout. There are a lot of songs about loss and  relationships. I have abstract songs... sometimes about a dream I had. I’m just trying to tell a story.

For my last question, I ask about him about doing reality tv in the future…

“I’d rather just focus on my music,” he says.

And that is exactly why we dig him.

David is currently working on his debut album, on which he also produces his own tracks. Get a sneak peek for his unique sound at:

http://www.myspace.com/davidbennettmeoozic

Monet appears as a cast member on Mtv's Newest Reality Competition: Premiering: August 16, 10:00pm On MTV

Some girls just got it, and whether they’ve spent their lively hood, achieving it- The minute you meet them, their persona and presence will have you believe they were born with it!

Monet Monico embodies drive & devotion to her music, a natural spark, talent and sass.

Watch Monet on MTV!

Although, you may have caught her on the Disney Channel, or playing the infamous Whiskey a Go Go on the Sunset Strip, this fierce lil lady is ready for the limelight.  Something tells me, America will welcome her with open arms.

Monet, along with 13 other hopeful musical artists from all over the country; is slated to compete on Mtv's, P. Diddy’s "StarMaker."

Each week one contestant is sent home; in the final round the winner receives prizes along with the ultimate: a Bad Boy recording contract! The journey proves to be tough, while each contender must prove they’ve got “it,” to the industry heavyweight judges.

The show cast includes acclaimed Record Producer Rodney    “Dark Child” Jerkins, to Former Billboard Editor in Chief, and industry leader, Tamara Conniff along with P. Diddy himself making appearances; in hopes of finding and creating the world’s next global music superstar.

This show is going be big and Monet will be the first to tell you, she was blessed to be a part of it. “Diddy is the man, when he comes into the room, You gotta be on it! He gives great advice; he knows what he is doing! I think it was a great honor, to know that he picked us all to compete for him.  An honor, to be on a show titled P. Diddy Starmaker!” she says.

I’ve just met her, but I feel excited for her, I secretly cheer her on as she speaks, it’s clear this women deserves her dreams to come true, and nothing will stop her….

She sat down with us, and gave us the scoop on the show, as she also reveals a recent major struggle in her life.

Check This:

Veronica Barriga: Now, You were the “baby” of the group, what was that dynamic like, with the other contestants?

Monet Monico: Yes, 18!….I was the youngest there, I felt like the baby in the group and you’ll see in the show it might show- people might treat me like ‘I’m the baby.

VB: Were people nurturing of you, cause you were the youngest, or more dismissive, like “We got her, she’s out?”

Monet: Not so much the nurturing part….I wasn’t favored, it was a competition, maybe other people felt like I was….I felt like I was treated equally which was great!

VB: Describe your musical essence or style, who is Monet the performer?

Monet: My musical style, I came up with a new genre, It’s called ‘Pop and Soul.’ I have a lot of soul in my voice, and I’m a pop artist, I also dance and play instruments; but what I want to get out there, is I wanna be ME! I have this crazy style that I put together, it’s all about the wardrobe, it’s all about the lyrics, the types of songs that I choose…. (To let people know,) that you CAN be yourself and be an artist at the same time, you don’t have to follow what everyone else tells you to do.

VB: You mean sellout?

Monet: You don’t have to sell out at all…You know what? People may think that I’m selling out, but I am a pop act…

VB: Yeah, you gotta be commercial

And I love it, and it’s myself- I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else…

VB: It’s sounds similar to the approach of  Lady Gaga…Would you say?

Monet: Lady gaga, I love her so much! She’s amazing, our music type is different, but she goes out there and she does what she wants, like me! It’s also a little bit Gwen Stefani, I really look up to her….but it’s just about coming out  with a new genre that will change the world……

VB: I love it, it’s great, I really can’t wait to see that! What made you want to try out for this show in particular?

Monet: I have to say that, it was just a shock to me that I even tried out for this show, I had done a Disney channel show before, and a bunch of other acting gigs, getting my songs on there and I was like, a reality show?? I’d never be on a reality show!!  But, this one is P diddy! I loved P. Diddy, forever since I was little, ya know, “Bad Boy for life”…

She laughs, and back to business..

On the show, every single act, is a different genre of music and it was great for me, because not only am I competing for a record deal with Bad Boy, but I get to show who I am, and represent myself, without any conflicts, I think that really sold me.

VB: What was the audition process like?

Monet: Wow! That was a crazy process! The casting people… There were like, “Thanks, NEXT.” I was thinking, Oh my gosh!.. I was singing one my original songs, I went up there, and they were like “Ok, um, come back tomorrow.” I came back, sang another song and they said, We’ll contact you in the next few weeks to see if you are going to the final call.

So I get the call!!  They have us sign the contracts; we got to fly to New York! At final audition, Diddy was there! We are standing on the stage and the whole auditorium is dark, and all you see is Diddy and his sunglasses just chilling there…(It’s like) “Oh hey Diddy, whats up?” I had to sing my song, and I guess they liked it!

VB: How did you family and friends react?

Monet: My family is so supportive! My friends, I didn’t tell my friends…yet, I’m one of those that – when it actually happens, then I’ll tell you. I was like “Bye you guys, I’m leaving for two months….and I didn’t tell them were I was going”… So I come back, and when I finally figured out when the show was airing that’s when I was like, guess what everyone??

VB: Describe a typical week in the house…..

Monet: We stayed at the RockStar energy house here in LA….We would select our songs.. You’ll see how the process goes, I can’t’ say much … During the week, I was practicing the whole time…Some judges You’ll see- they’ll say “Oh you weren’t working this hard…you need to get it, you need to bring it.

We had a group of people that, we just worked and worked… we wouldn’t stop rehearsing, of course we would eat a lot…. I love eating.. there’s a snack called Combos.. and I’ve never had those before- I guess it’s more of an east coast thing, I’d just sit there and scarf them down, but also we’d have some fun times with the cast, I love every single one on the cast.

VB: How did you handle the pressure, where you able to call your family, I’m sure it got tough? In one of the clips, I see you crying!

"Hey, what did you say?"

Monet: I know!! It did get pretty tough, but I got stronger! This whole process builds you up sooo much, it’s great! It was good to sort of be away from family for a while, I’ve never been away from them before for more than a week; a great process, I got to learn to work hard, and do stuff on my own.

VB: It sounds like a transformation

Absolutely, and a great one!

I ask about the judges and she praises each one, equally, saying it was an honor to be judged by them.

VB: How about Laurieanne Gibson the choreographer, cause you are a dancer?

Monet: I’ve wanted to work with her ever since I saw her on making the band and the movie about her life, Honey. She is one of my favorite people’ in the world, it was a dream come true to work with her, because she wants you to succeed as much as you want yourself to succeed.

VB: Most eye opening lessons you were able to take from the show?

She takes her time, and changes her tone lowers it in sort of a meditation like, calming energy..

Monet: For me it was being away from home, that was really ideal to me, it was a different thing, a new thing, and.... how hard you must rehearse! How, important wardrobe, and interviews are; taking good photos.

I catch her posing for the camera.

It’s not just about how good you sing, you have to have the whole package, you have to have the “it” factor- in order to make it. The competition is fierce out there, you have to come out with a whole new thing that can compete with the other artists.

VB: You are very independent, did you ever feel the pressure, with the acting and music to sort of cave into what other people wanted?

Monet: I’ve been working on this for a really long time, I did have pressure to give into what other people wanted for me, and it didn’t work. I would feel “Anything, anything, to make it”……but I realized that the way I can make it and be happy, be successful, and inspire people with my music, was to write it from who I am, and be who I am! Now I can say; this is what I want to do and their like,…ok!

VB: Did you get along with the other contestants, why or why not?

Monet: There were some tough times with the other contestants cause we’re all competing, sometimes jealously- jealousy among each other..

As she describes a scenario, she is careful to be very vague. I suppose due to her contract with the show…

I’m not a hater, I literally have that Nick Cannon shirt  “Stop hating” I don’t believe in that- you know, you do your thing, I’ll do mine- I’m not gonna judge you, I never really got involved with that, but a lot of other people did.

I always keep my cool…(she catches herself) ha, ha, the crying part, you’ll see why- it’s for a good reason!

VB: There’s another clip where it shows you saying I’m not here to make friends!

Monet: Yeah, I said, I’m not here to make “BFF’s”  and everyone’s quoting that to me now!  She begins to make fun of herself, “Oh you’re not here to make Bff’s—whats that?”

The reason I said that will be apparent to you, when you watch the show; you can’t please everyone, I’m always the peace maker, but at some point you say, I wasn’t there to make best friends. I was there to show who I was as an artist. I actually came out with a lot of great friends, like David….so it was funny that I said that.

VB: What have you been doing while waiting for the show to air?

Monet: I have never had a normal job in my life, I had to get a part time job and go into the studio all the same time…it quite an experience to work with the public. I just wanted to go out and get a job,  save some money, buy new boots… I’ve been in the studio a lot, writing everyday, I think thats imperative! I’ve been going to the gym, dancing, getting everything ready, preparing everything so when that thing hits it’s gonna hit hard!

She smacks the table. Love it.

Minutes later, she changes direction and reveals….

It’s been kind of hard for me, because a couple weeks ago- my father passed away.. and that’s been (she holds back some emotion) really tough… he actually got to be on the show- I wanted to share that because I am going through struggle, a lot of people will see me and say that girl is so young, she’s never had to go through anything.

You have to keep smiling and I know my daddy is watching over me right now, and he’s my angel. I am doing this show- now, all this stuff for him! I loved him so much, he was a really big part of my life, when you asked if my family supported- my mom and him, always by my side!

If you lose someone in your life…they are in a better place, they are out of pain, everyone goes through struggle and it’s ok…… A lot of my songs will come from that, you can deal with pain and still have a smile on your face because you know how much they loved you! I’m so happy he got to be here through this whole thing.

You can catch Monet expressing her “Pop & Soul” essence on MTV Starting August 16, on “P. Diddy’s Starmaker!” Mark your calendars!

Awesome Photos provided By: Erik Borzi

Check him out at: http://www.erikborzi.com

I could spend the next two paragraphs hyping this band, and telling you why they rock. Instead I feel (for once) that the music speaks for itself. There’s nothing like the perspective from three kids stuck in an Irish, underdeveloped community, with limited options- to prevail and not only find music, but reinvent it. Bringing good music back, The Script

The awesome mention in Rolling Stone, doesn’t begin to cover it. The Script has recently opened for U2, along with Sir Paul Mc Cartney, meanwhile headlining their own gigs and competing strong on the UK and Irish album charts.  The band is currently building their foundation in the States, but across the sea these guys are huge, and rightfully so!

It’s simply like this; a trio of musical superstars awaiting the grand slam hit that will propel them into your American heart, mind, soul, and namely your I Pod.

This is why, I would never allow such sweet sounds, seducing grooves, intertwined with Rock and Roll to pass you by…… Think “U2 versus Timbaland, Van Morrision remixed by Teddy Riley, Irish people have soul” Says Lead singer Danny O’Donoghue.

Influenced by not the typical of sorts, as younger artists the band engrossed themselves in R&B and Hip Hop, “At the time, MTV only came on in Dublin after midnight, it was the fuzzy channel, and for my generation black culture was just a wave through us all,” Mark Sheehan continues, “It wasn’t about gangs and guns; it was fashion and fun, singing and dancing.”

Their self-titled debut album is out now, and was guided with the emotions that came from the band’s loss; during the recordings, Danny lost his father, and Mark his Mother. “But amidst all this travesty and disaster, these songs have risen out of it, in my darkest moments, that’s what got me through,” Danny shares.

“I have never had a chance with any other band to express myself with such freedom” states, Drummer Glen Power.

From the beginning the magic could not go unnoticed, Glen had been jamming out since he was fifteen years old, and when he came across The Script, he found his home!

We spoke with heartbeat of the band, Glen Power- to get the goods!

Irish rockers, party of three, please: Mark Sheehan, Danny O'Donoghue, and Glen Power (From Left)

Check it:

Veronica Barriga: What were you like as child and does it play into how you approach music?

Glen Power: I was actually quite shy. Maybe that's why I ended up behind a kit of drums. The great thing is, music brings you out of yourself because if you are going to have a career in music you have to get in front of people and perform for them, so it really helped me come out of me shell!

Does it play into my approach…I would say     yes to this because as a kid, I was very mischievous! So, occasionally there are some laughs on stage and I joke around during a gig, sometimes to lighten the mood or the weight of how nervous we might be feeling!!

VB: What's the difference between UK fans & fans in the U.S?

Glen: The UK fans have had more time with our music, the U.S fans are really, only starting…But once we play live, it really is all the same and after two songs, the audience is with us.

VB: If you could record along side anyone, who would it be and why?

Glen: First on the list would be U2. They are idols of mine, all my life! The Police would be another one, Phil Collins too…what a player! I think a collaboration with The Black Eye'd Peas could be very interesting!

VB: The craziest thing a fan has ever done for you!

Glen: My Birthday, I was given a night in the Dorchester hotel in London, executive room for two, breakfast included!!

VB: Who is the most: messy, smelly, sensitive, biggest party animal?

Glen: A tough one, I think you've just described the whole band there!

He winks.

VB: What do you hope people take from your music & performances?

Glen: Passion for what we do, honesty about what we sing and the guts (we have) to get up there, fall down and get back up there again.

VB: When did you first discover your love for music, and how?

Glen: I think it was from my dad. My dad is a singer. He also plays the accordion. When I was a kid and we would be sitting at the dinner table my dad would be tapping his hands along to what was on the radio. I would copy him and I really believe that was the start of it for me, that was the foundation of basic rhythm in me.

VB: Tell us about your favorite place on earth.

Glen: A place in County Wicklow, Ireland called Glendalough! Beautiful place, amazing scenery, very spiritual, recharges the soul.

VB: Describe the perfect women...

Glen: Honest, loyal, sincere, fun and easy on the eyes, coincidentally she's beside me right now! (His girlfriend.)

Sorry ladies, damn!

VB: What do you miss most about back home (Ireland).

Glen: My family, and GUINNESS!!

Take Note, and somebody send him some authentic Guinness…A.S.A.P!

VB: How was opening for Sir Paul?

Glen: Amazing! Very surreal to be even mentioned in the same breath as a Beatle! We were actually wondering what to call him!  Sir Paul? Paul? Until suddenly there was a knock on the door and he walked straight into our dressing room. We were shell shocked. He asked us what was the biggest place we had played and started talking about; The Beatles and how they went from playing small places to big places-how that felt, it was amazing, we felt so at ease with him after a few minutes, we were on common ground talking about gigs and performing. He told us a funny story about mixing up where he was and coming out to the audience and getting it wrong and how he got out of it! He chatted to us for over a half hour- a half hour I won't ever forget!!

Conquering one nation at a time, take a moment to indulge in the goodness!

Click on the link below to watch a video.

The Script: Live Performance & Backstage action!!

 

Live In Ireland, The Script

The Self titled; “The Script” album is available now!

The Script; Currently Touring the U.S!

Check out their web site www.thescriptmusic.com/us/home/ for tour dates, and the latest news on these soulful rockers!

The Script say Hello!

Robert M. Knight is worth watching.  He’s worth listening to, and his stories are definitely worth your consideration.  Robert’s life and photos are the focus of a new documentary film titled Rock Prophecies.  Directed by John Chester, the film will run at Hollywood’s ArcLght cinemas from August 7th until August 13th, before hitting film festivals across the country. The film has garnered audience awards from three film festivals in 2009, and you can check out my take on the film in our movie reviews section here on BtH.  What becomes apparent in the film and in our exclusive interview with Robert is the fact that he has collected so many amazing stories and experiences over the course of five decades. In the video, Robert discusses the film, and some of his relationships with rock gods, such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Led Zeppelin.

Here are some of Robert's classic photographs of the Stones, Zeppelin, and Elton John:

[gallery=24]

Please take a look at the Rock Prophecies website for a trailer of the documentary, and check your local listings to see when it is playing in your city.

  A fresh faced, Katie Chonacas. Photo By: Seth Sabal

 

Young and driven, the ambitious Katie Chonacas doesn’t believe in limits, she does what she wants and does it well! While most artists’ in Los Angeles find it challenging to get one career going, this hard-working woman is an accomplished model, singer, actress, and recently movie producer! From touring South Africa and Spain alongside 50 Cent, and the G-unit crew, to co-starring with Al Pacino, Sharon Stone, and Nicolas Cage (to name a few) - the entertainment industry has always been her calling. With two feature films set to be released this summer (2009), and another in the winter, this is only the beginning...

I’ve arranged a meeting with her at the swanky Beverly Hills Hotel, and although I have no clue what to expect, I’m filled with excitement. As I wait in the lobby, I finally spot a young pretty female - designer clothes, fussing with her hair, doing her make-up - and as I begin to approach I realize it’s not Katie...

I scan the space once more, and not a minute later, a second women sprints across the room to a secluded area; she is holding a laptop case, wearing baggy slacks, with a plain black sweater, her face has minimal make-up as she is nearly unrecognizable and resembles a young teen, so I take a chance...

“Are you Katie Chonacas?”

“Hi, yes, Veronica?  I thought this would be a good spot,” she says politely.

It’s perfect and we begin...

 The Projects:

 “Streets of Blood” Co-starring Val Kilmer, Sharon Stone, 50 Cent.

Veronica: This movie looks deep, raw, and edgy! What was it like working on this film and shooting in Louisiana?

Katie: Everyone on set was there to make a great film; the director was amazing - he knew exactly what he wanted and we were able to get all the shots - all of that is really important, it was really cool!

V: Was it challenging to play Cecilia, a teenage drug addict? It’s such a dramatic role.

Katie: It was cool, to have track marks all over my arms, black circles covering my eyes, my hair knotted up & twisted, holes in my clothes…I was able to think crazy thoughts! From how it would be to live in a crack house and what it would be like to be involved with people that just got high all day. Imagination of the mind is so beautiful, and being able to experience that on set and living in that moment, is a blessing, to go there, I think it really makes you grow as a person, spiritually as well.

I observe, and as she speaks with passion, I assume this is her favorite role to date so I ask, and she replies with a simple...

Katie: Yeah I would say it was.

“A Perfect Get Away” Acting along side, Milla Jovovich, and Steve Zahn.

V: The locations were amazing - where did you guys film? How was the atmosphere on set?

Katie:We shot that in Puerto Rico! They took us to set, and we had to walk a half a mile, in the jungle, through a rain forest just to get to where we were going. It was really neat to see how the whole crew was able to get all the equipment out there on location.  Once you were out there, you were far from your trailer. The set needed to replicate Hawaii.

V: What did you enjoy most about being involved in this project?

Katie: Being able to work with the director/writer David Twohy (G.I Jane, The Fugitive). He’s cast Demi Moore. Her and I have the same birthday; everyone says I look and sound like a young Demi, so for him to offer me the role was so cool!

V: He offered you the role! That’s huge!

Katie: Oh no, well I definitely auditioned for it. Here’s what happened: I went in to read for a hippie girl role, which I thought, I was too young for...so I go in, read for it and when it came down to booking, he saw my work and actually offered me the role I originally wanted (the spacey teen on the island), even though I auditioned for something else, which was really cool.

“Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” with Nicholas Cage, Eva Mendes, and Jennifer Coolidge.

V: The director hand-picked you for the role of Tina, what was that like?

Katie: Have you seen the trailer for it? I’m in the trailer, this film is very...

She is speechless for a second, takes a moment and then...

WOW! Wow..

V: Describe Tina - the role you play.

Katie: If this took place in New York, Tina is very Upper East Side - a socialite type/rich girl. In one scene, Tina and her boyfriend come out of a Studio 54 type club, she meets Nicholas Cage, his character is questioning her about drugs, and she manipulates the situation; it provides the set up for the movie, and (tells us) why his character sort of becomes the bad lieutenant.

She has an abundance of energy and excitement, her answers are ubiquitous and minutes later she comes back to her original thought then nails it...

He called me up and tells me, “There were two girls (auditioning) that were absolutely wonderful, exquisite, but your work was by far the best!”

V: That’s got to be the best compliment ever!

Katie: The best! At that moment, I felt like a Joan Crawford, I just said to him; It would be my honor...I would love to!

V: You’ve worked along side most A-lister’s in this town, what’s that like?

Before she answers, she sort of shrieks like a high school girl, speaking about her crush!

“I know right!!” 

V: It’s crazy! People dream about this stuff!

Katie: I know, in the last year and a half, it’s been like 19 (A-listers)... It feels right; it’s meant to be - I’ve wanted it for so long! I’ve been setting up platforms, working on the foundation, the layering, all the rooting that I’ve been doing and now it’s coming to surface, falling in order because of how I’ve prepared.

About Katie: 

V: What is the most important part of your preparation?  

Katie: I talk to God every day, I have a positive mental attitude. And my dad - he taught me about long-term goals, short-term goals, and medium goals. Sometimes you are in the process of doing things and you forget about the goals you set up, but they naturally happen!

V: Who is the most memorable actor you’ve worked with?

Katie: Al Pacino, it was short & sweet, but there was something there, being there in the moment with him, something about his energy, his eyes, there was an unspoken sense of...he knew...he knew that for me it was a big opportunity to be there; he was charming & warm - it was very, very memorable.

V: You try to steal from them (the A-lister’s) ? Learn their tricks?

Katie, at a photo shoot with photographer, Jason Christopher.

Katie: I listen, watch, I observe, I see what they are doing, what they have to offer, what I like, what I dislike, then I take it and make it my own. I look at them to build my platform, to make a solid foundation, but I always make my own choices at the end of the day.

V: Sounds fearless...

Katie: Yeah. You have to be in this business or in any business; you have to be fearless and go full force, be excited about it...

V: Were you always like that, even as a child?

Katie: Always, my whole life, I was told early on when I first got started in modeling, “You’re gonna hear, no - you will hear no”... I remember I was 14, 15 years old...

Her drive becomes ever apparent, as her young voice shifts into that of a CEO, she states...

Katie: Fine! Have them tell me no...tell me no! Tell Katie Chonacas “no,” because guess what? For the 99 “no’s” I get, that one “yes” will be...

Her enthusiasm is quite charming...

V: Life changing!

Katie: The cherry on the pie, which makes it all worth it!

I ask how she avoids being type cast and she credits turning down reality TV, but reveals that recently it is her resolution to be open to it.

Katie: I’ve proved to myself that I can do it (acting), I didn’t want to take the easy route - get 15 minutes of fame - I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it the “proper way”…

V: It’s an interesting dynamic though, because people build careers on it, I mean talented people; for example, I think Jessica Simpson is a great singer, but she got her big break and her career took off because of the reality thing...

She fires back, "Everyone has their own path."

 Katie: I’ve worked with Jessica, on Major Movie Star, she was really sweet, really kind. I played her make-up artist & best friend in the movie; Jessica would tell Steve Miner (the director) “Oh my friend would really be here, when I do this, so she actually ended up adding me in a couple scenes in the movie!”

 V: What’s your take on young Hollywood - the Lindsay Lohan’s, Paris Hilton’s - that stereotype. Do you identify with them? I want your perspective on this because you are around it.

Katie: I love Paris, I love Lindsay...I love them both, I think that Paris is evolving, I think she is really intelligent and she is a business woman; she’s charming, she’s got the whole world in her hands - people can say whatever they want, it doesn’t matter; it’s her life and at the end of the day, as long as she’s happy.

V: You are also venturing into producing, was that the original plan, or something you fell into? I love it; I don’t think that there are enough females behind the scenes, having the creative control!

Katie: Honestly I’ve always thought of myself as a producer of life, I always look at me in this world and the people I connect with, as a big web, you just link everyone together...I really wanted to do it, but I didn’t know how, and then I met Randall Emmet (a producer.)

As a business women it’s great because I can produce movies and be in them. Look at Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock they all have their own production companies; they are producing their own projects, and that’s how you make the real money.

She talks about helping produce a flick with Nicholas Cage, and how it may have fell through.

V: How do you deal with that, the uncertainty of the acting and the producing world?

Katie: I take the hits. It’s sad and it’s hard. I’ve got a thick skin - I’ve been in this since I was 16 years old - you build layers, and accept it. You get connected but not too deep so it doesn’t emotionally affect you.

V: When you walk into a room, and have to pitch a project, as a young woman, do you feel you have more to prove than someone else, or is it an advantage?

Katie: I think both. I’m lucky with Randall being on my side - he’s made over 60 movies - so I don’t have to say anything. He does all the numbers, the business side of it; I’m still learning...there’s so much to learn. I read the scripts, I have the power, from day one he saw me as an equal, liked me as a person, and brought me on as a partner. People automically give me the foundation & respect because of Randall.

V: What advice would you give to young girls trying to make it in this crazy industry?

Katie: I think the best thing to do is stick to your morals and values. A lot of people, they don’t have a good foundation. Embrace your passion, whatever that may be! Just hold on and have that as your secrete value, some kind of religion...have someone to look up to; be healthy, have a positive mental attitude, make goals for yourself! Have a mentor you can learn from.

V: Where do you see your self in ten years?

Katie: I will be married, I will be having children - I want to have my own kids - but I also want to adopt kids! I’ll be traveling around the world, working on my business, I’ll be involved in charity’s, growing my future family.

V: I’d like to see you write a book.

Katie: Thanks, I’ll look into that! Cool. What should I write about?

V: Your perspectives on what you’ve been through. I think that there’s much to learn from what you’ve done, and how you look at things.

Katie: Great, thank you, I’ll have to give you a “thanks” in my book!

Sounds perfect. Perhaps Katie Chonacas will also conquer the best seller’s list, and we look forward to it. For the latest on all things Katie, check out Katie's site!

sick puppies

Lying before you are some premium snippets from an interview with the Sick Puppies, who on July 14th will be releasing their 3rd studio album, Tripolar. The band was great and love every minute of the rockstar life from what I can tell, and we had a hilarious interview. Also below is the complete interview for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Flak: So, first question, I went to the very lazy questions first…First of all, Band name, where is the band name from? I know it seems like the most obvious thing but…

Shim: No no, it’s cool we were rehearsing in a friends garage…well rehearsing in OUR garage, jamming on terrible songs that we were writing and while practicing in the garage someone who lived there, their dog walked in, sat down, listened to the song, and then hurls, projectile vomits  all over the floor….and walked out. One of the people in the room says “man, that’s one sick puppy”, and that was it.

Mark: That dog was siiiiick

Shim: And that was it. And now every time I tell that story I have to say in remembrance of Charlie.

Flak: Ok, so what’s the theme of the new album? Tripolar is the name of the album correct?

Shim: That’s right.

Flak: I figure that, again, it’s sort of one of those obvious answers…Tripolar, three of you kind of thing…

Mark: It’s a lot of different things I think.

Shim: What does it mean to you?

Flak: Well being the neuroscience major I, you know…

Emma: Oh no way!

Shim: Alright, alright, did you look it up? Did you know what the definition is?

Flak: I didn’t know there was a definition for TRIpolar…

Emma: Well it’s hard to find yeah…

Flak: Yeah I have no idea, I hated college so…

Shim: *Laughs* No no, but basically meant that you are on the third level of madness…but the concept is like….you’re really losing your shit, you know?

Flak: The song, You’re Going Down….whose ass was getting kicked?

Shim: oh yeah it was Sacha…Sacha *edit*…you can print that fuckin name! *laughs* But yeah he was this kid that would fuck with me in school all the time…then we were at home and I saw him on the side of the road when we were in our big tour van, and I looked at him like “I’m in a rock band going on tour, what the hell are you doing?”

He used to beat me up all the time, and you’d have dreams (of revenge)….and with this song, I had put his face to him

Flak: So it’s basically the anti bully anthem?

Shim: Right, right.

sick_puppies_tripolar_album_art

Flak: Awesome….so I wanna do, you know, questions for the three of you individually…so, Emma ladies first, that’s my mom’s name by the way, great name. Bass guitar, how’d you pick it up?

Emma: Well I started with guitar first, and my uncle had bought me my first guitar and I started learning Silverchair and Green Day songs, and it was only when I met Shim in high school when I swapped over to bass because he sang and played guitar so I thought well “my main thing is that I wanna be in a band so…”

Flak: You can be a bit flexible?

Emma: Yeah, so I picked up the bass, and after a while I really started to like it.

Flak: And you’re a Warwick fan right?

Emma: Yes I love Warwick!

Flak:  Ah me too, I’m a bass player as well, but never owned a Warwick, too broke *laughs* but I was inspired a bit by P-Nut from 311 who was playing the five string. Do you ever play the five string or have you thought about it?

Emma: No I don’t play the five, but we’ve all talked about it a little bit.

Flak: Ok, and speaking of inspiration, I’ve read different blogs around the world, that you’re being called the female Flea, I haven’t seen it yet, but I can hear how it could be. Good title bad title?

Emma: Well yeah I think it’s great, I mean I love Flea, he’s amazing, and I think what happened was that we were doing a show in Australia, and after playing one of the announcers said it off the cuff “oh she’s doing a lot of the slapping thing”, but it’s cool and I would really like to meet him…

Shim: Yeah we should get him at the launch party!

Flak: *laughs yeah he’s in a good mood right now because the Lakers are doing really well, and he’s always got his Jersey going…a lot of bass players are Lakers fans..Alright now Shim…  Street Fighter…are you a Street Fighter fan?

Shim: I am actually. It’s funny cause growing up, I didn’t play to many video games, but I was a big street fighter fan, and my character is M. Bison, he did that, you know, sliding move that no one could beat, it was like, if you walked into an arcade and saw someone playing as Bison, you would wait thirty minutes until he was done then you went to play.

And when they asked us to write the song, I just remember thinking “we’re never gonna get it” you know, some other band will get in there, or they’ll use a famous song…and it didn’t register that we won until we saw the ad and we were like… “That’s us!!” while watching people fly through the air with hadoukens and all that stuff

(I also talked about Juan Mann and the Free Hugs video that remains one of the most popular videos on YouTube of all time which is below)

Flak: Alight Shim, you’re off the hook for now. Mark, you actually got into the band…through a craigslist ad I’ve read….how does that even work out?

Mark: Yeah well it was pretty simple, I saw the ads and flyers up there and they had gotten here from Austrailia, and they were just like any other band trying to do their thing you know? When I joined they were just in the middle of that…

Shim: yeah I mean I gave him a couple of songs; he played em really well and…

Flak: *nods* And who were you influenced by Mark? Older bands? Any newer bands?

Mark: I like the newer I guess, but obviously there’s the old ones, you know Zepplin, John Bonham and Stewart Copeland (of The Police). And modern drummers I’d have to say like, Grohl, Hodgkins (I believe he is referring to the drummer from As Fast As), Morgan Rose…Morgan Rose is a big one.

(We then talked about their ambassadors program, which is a part of the fan base for Sick Puppies, lead by Susana and Donna, moms that love the band and help promote to find out the biggest fans. Learn more here.)

Flak: Alright, last round….favorite cd right now?

Emma: Right now….hummmm… I have favorite songs right now…probably that Anberlin album, and that song Lifeline by Papa Roach

Mark: Hmmm I’m gonna have to say Green Day (21st Century Breakdown)….I thought it was gonna be a little better…

Emma: *laughs*

Mark: No no, actually I didn’t think it was gonna be as good as it was.

Flak: I didn’t know what to think because there’s a lot of bands from farther back that are changing, like Incubus, completely changing, AFI

Mark: I like Incubus, I think collectively its one of our favorite bands

Flak: Oh me too, they were my original favorite band growing up

Mark: Yeah me too, some people didn’t like the new direction but… that’s another drummer by the way, Jose..

Flak: And Shim, what about you?

Shim: It’d be Jack Johnson’s latest record…the song that goes “it’s always better when we’re together”

Flak: Ok, so album coming out next month, July 14th, you guys excited about it?

Mark: Yeah ma, we’re really happy how it turned out.

Flak: Well I appreciate you guys taking the time out today, it’s been the highlight of the month….well…this and Transformers..

All: *laughing*

Again to Emma, Mark and Shim, thanks again for taking the time out to get behind the hype with us and figure out what its all about. Thanks again to the Jules Exum from EMI for giving us so much support. Don't forget to pick up a copy of Tripolar on July 14th, and expect a full interview on its release!

~Until next time my friends,

Flak

"Destiny, it’s a trip - you can’t just flip around and smack your gift in the face, walk away from it." Sparks' says  (Photo by  Chris Polk/Polk Imaging)
    

"Destiny, it’s a trip - you can’t just flip around and smack your gift in the face, walk away from it,"  Says Sparks. (Photo By: Chris Polk/Polk Imaging)

Through one outlet or another we’ve all heard of, or witnessed the work of choreographer, creative genius Shane Sparks. This talented soul works hard and his star will only continue to rise. From America’s Best Dance Crew on MTV to prime time for Fox On So You Think You Can Dance.  He’s also made his imprint working with chart topping recording artists on dance routines and acclaimed performances worldwide; along with successful box office films and not to mention his Emmy nomination! 

Today is his day off and I got to catch up with Shane during a photo shoot. My goal? To find out a little more about him.

With success and a great career on his plate, he chats with us about creating a difference, following your dream, and having what it takes to make it in Hollywood. Shane’s come a long way, and built a path with his focused energy & drive.  The minute I sit down with him, it’s easy to see why he’s made it to where he is!

Next on the list?

Get ready baby cause his moves, skills, craft and technique or as he would tell you his “S style” is coming to Broadway this Fall (2009).  Sparks, along with Director Robert Longbottom, have recreated the immensely popular musical Dreamgirls.

“I wanted to enhance it, put a lil more stank on it!” he says.

Arriving at his photo shoot for the interview, plays as if I’m meeting an old friend, for he’s super open about his journey and how it wasn’t the smoothest ride trying to get ahead.

Over 10 years ago Shane drove out to California from Ohio in an effort to “save”  a recording contract he had at the time; long story short- the music group fell through but Mr. Sparks prevailed...

“Give me your secrets to success” I think to myself, and by the end of the interview he sort of does...

 Check This:  

Veronica Barriga: Among the glitz and glamour, what’s your take on being in the public eye?

Shane Sparks: I work really hard as long as you respect me for my work, for what I do, I can accept everything else that comes along with it, there’s nothing worse than (being) a celebrity and people have no respect for you.

V: Being famous for being famous, I won’t say any names ha.

Shane: Right. When you do something that people respect and love, celebrity can be really beautiful. Take advantage of it enjoy it, and realize you are a very special person to have the opportunity to express yourself.

V: After a little hiatus, you’re back on SYTYCD. Give us the scoop on upcoming episodes, and what to expect from this season.

Shane: Let me give you the scoop on something that’s already happening (at press time). I already did two episodes, they’ll be in the top twenty, which is a Black Eyed Peas number and a “Save the dancers, save the world” concept, which blew everyone away; it was incredible!

I also worked with two different couples in the top twenty and I got bad reviews on the two couples. 

I got criticized for having a routine that wasn’t challenging enough, but nobody’s back there when I’m working with them for the three hours, that I have with them, trying to turn a lyrical dancer into a hip hop dancer.

V: You based it on what you thought they could pull off?

Shane: Exactly, I thought they did a good job. I think they (the judges) were a little too hard on the dancers.  They (the judges) said it could have been better, from some aspect I get it I totally get it - if I was judging it, I would have said they could have hit a little bit harder, they could have put a lil' more stank on it.

I just don’t think they should have destroyed them; that’s not what this show is about – tearing dreams down, it’s about encouraging and building you up and giving you hope for success in what you love to do. It’s not there to kill the dance industry or make a dancer feel like they are incompetent.

V: Any favorites?

Shane: No- No

He pauses then gives in.

Shane: I mean Phillip Chbeeb is my favorite, from day one when he auditioned last year.

V: I feel like you are a leader to the younger generation of dancers, the people’s choreographer in a sense. What do you feel separates you from others?

 Shane: One of things is like this, Bruce Lee was a martial artist who mixed all different styles and came up with his own style. He wasn’t bound by boundaries. As a choreographer, I was never taught jazz, hip-hop, lyrical. I was never taught these things, I just did 'em; learned, watched, so I take everything over the years that I’ve been dancing and I blend it into one style. That’s “S Style,” Shane style.  That’s what separates me, 'cause I come from the heart.

V: Your influence is not limited, it’s everywhere, it’s cool, makes for a better outcome.

 Shane: I’ve done salsa, to hip-hop, ballroom, krump to break dancing. I could choreograph it all, to ganking….

V: What’s ganking?

Shane: It’s like a style, a girl style, when the girl is tipping, being really sexy, everything is snatchin' & jerkin'. Poppin' and throwing hair around… I could go right into that if I had to.....

V: Work it....

Laughter ensues. Ha.

V: Let’s talk about Broadway! Dreamgirls is going to New York in the Fall (2009). You’ve never done that before, right? Was that a challenge for you?

 Shane: Well I’ve already done it in Korea. Korea had Dreamgirls. It was challenging to me in the beginning; I was intimated about the work. Taking Dreamgirls into another level, it’s already famous for the choreography it has. So can I take what I know and enhance it?

That was the question - I think I did a really good job.

It was very challenging in a way because I had to think out of the box, but not challenging because dance to me is just dance, it's just movement. I look at it, simply how I move my body, I just go with the flow of everything, and feel the music. It changes while I’m there listening to the music and vibing off the kids, but that’s what makes me so different and special, it’s not something that is premeditated.

V: A lot is on instinct.

Shane: Yeah, oh definitely.

V: Now in Korea for the Dreamgirls musical, did they let you run with it, or give you limits?  As in: not too much hip-hop?

Shane: They let me go. I had Bobby Longbottom there with me.  If something wasn’t appropriate or right, he would say, let’s flip, let’s change it but 90% of the time I was allowed to do what I do. I see Dreamgirls, I grew up watching all this type of stuff.

V: What will this version of Dreamgirls bring to audiences?

Shane: You will see innovative choreography, a stage show that has never really been seen before. The original has always been jazzy; this one is lil' jazz, mixed with hip-hop, ballroom, salsa.

A lot of things going on in there. Although, not salsa dancing but the energy of that, the footwork.  It’s the different dance styles that make it what it is.

“It’s like this: what song are we doing now?”

He busts into song “We are Dreamgirls…” and proceeds to show me some dance moves.

Shane: It’s smooth, sexy, a lot of arms, a lot of hips, a lot of – y'all got a different word for it but, I call it a domino move.

V: A ripple...a ripple effect!

Shane: Yeah exactly. Now here, I’ll do this one; The Bad Side. “Step into the bad side, woo woo..woo." Now that’s more street, you got briefcases, the suits! It’s real crazy! It’s hot! The choreography is real aesthetics; they are flipping, they're on the ground, everywhere.

I love Bob Fosse, so we got sections in there with the briefcases flying across the floor & catching them, where at a top camera view it creates a kaleidoscope vibe.

I wanted to enhance it, put some stank on it! Ha ha.. I think I did that and right now it’s the number one show in Korea.

 

Shane Sparks displaying his "S Style." (Photo By Chris Polk/Polk Imaging)

V: Congrats! Look at you! Is ABDC returning this season? We heard rumors it wasn’t; you want to squash those rumors?

Shane: Oh no, it’s definitely coming back. It’s gonna be hotter than ever! We are back, I’m excited and we’re getting ready for it.

V: What’s your favorite part of being involved with     that show?

Shane: I get to see new talents from around    the world I get to voice my opinion; I get to    inspire dancers, help them and the dance world grow.

I love the dancing, but if I can take one crew and inspire them to be better and to keep going, then my job is done.  I get to do it on TV, so when I speak, I’m speaking to the world.                                                                                                                                                                                     

V: You’ve come a long way...

 Shane: Yeah Cincinnati, Ohio - dawg!

 V: Hello, represent.  

Laughs.

V: If you could give yourself some advice now, to a 19 year old Shane, what would you say?

Shane: Leave the girls alone, man... worst thing in the world.

His publicists’ laughs; we crack up.

Shane: Nah, I’m just playing...

He denies it, but I can tell he’s serious.

Shane: There aren’t too many things. I think I’ve chosen a lot of the right roads. Mentally, I was already focused and knew what I wanted.

I was never - like, I was never...damn, I can’t think right now!

He draws a blank and then...

Shane: I was never influenced by LA, and by the fame. My purpose was to do something bigger & better; to change the world. So me knowing that, thinking that way, I just followed my path, I prayed a lot, and I ended up here.

V: Did a lot of your buddies or friends fall into a bad path?

Shane: I came out here in a singing group, from Cincinnati; a lot of them went back home.

They don’t know that when you got a path and destiny, it’s a trip, you can’t just flip around and smack your gift in the face, walk away from it.  You gotta look at your gifts and blessings, even if they are hard to deal with; you gotta mold it, understand it, and roll with it, 'cause right when you get past that one step, it moves you into another level in your life, and then you got another, and another.

I just kept taking all those lows, all the down times that I had...I always knew one day I was gonna look back because I knew “this” was waiting for me; that’s why I had enough heart, energy and faith to keep going.

V: That is the hardest part. People need to hold it out, the first bump in the road, people bail...

Shane: Exactly; people get nervous if it doesn’t happen within a year...

V: They move back!  It’s like: come on people, careers take time to build!  It’s tough; Now you’ve accomplished a lot, what are some new things you're eager to try?

Shane: Right now I’m working on producing/directing my own TV show.  I have a whole other side of me who wants to do movies, comedies, and futuristic films. I have things in my head; so many concepts that I want to get out there.

V: What are some directors/filmmakers that inspire you?

 Shane: I love Quentin Tarantino. I love the guys who do all the comedies like The Hangover. The movie Crash is a favorite; I’m inspired by people who change the game and do stuff that makes you think.

V: So your stuff is gonna have substance.

Shane: Oh my god, everything that I do!  Right now a lot of stuff has no substance, and that’s what everyone is buying.  If it’s too complicated, or it it’s gonna take a lot of money and time, they’ll probably pass, but they take a show with a guy walking down the street, jumping in the water eating alligators. I think I’m a lil' ahead of my time but my time will come.

V: What’s your ultimate goal, what would be your ideal situation?  I know...it’s kinda of broad question.

Shane: No - no, it’s not a broad question. Michael Jackson died and his biggest accomplishment was inspiration! I’m not gonna say I wanna make the best movie, the biggest dance show, the most money. I wanna inspire the world to do what they love to do, give people hope!

If my journey takes me and I die, and people say when he was here I was 100 percent inspired: if it wasn’t for his voice, choreography or what he stood for, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.  If I could leave that as my legacy then I’ve done everything I’ve needed to do. I want be the Spark that sets the tone for everyone trying to make it in their life.

There was nothing more to ask, I thought. And for the record, I left inspired.  

The Nitty Gritty:

“So You Think You Can Dance”   Now Airing! Performances Wednesdays 8pm/ Results show Thursday 9pm  ONLY on FOX!  

“America’s Best Dance Crew” Season 4, Coming Soon! On MTV!

 “Dreamgirls”  Reworked- with a lil more stank on it! Coming to Broadway & NYC this fall (2009).