winterlark’s “you send me a photograph” is a masterpiece of a timeless journey

winterlark’s “you send me a photograph” is a masterpiece of a timeless journey

Get ready to be swept away by Winterlark‘s newest EP, You Send Me A Photograph. This indie folk sensation is back with a collection of tunes that will tug at your heartstrings. From soulful melodies to lyrics that hit you right in the feels, Winterlark takes you on a musical adventure exploring love, memories, and those unforgettable snapshots of life.

Winterlark’s EP You Send Me A Photograph is a mesmerizing journey that transports listeners to a world of ethereal beauty. With their intricate compositions and hauntingly delicate vocals, Winterlark creates an immersive sonic landscape that lingers long after the last note fades.

The EP’s six tracks weave together elements of indie folk and dream pop, resulting in a sublime blend of introspection and enchantment. Each song is a captivating vignette, filled with evocative imagery and introspective lyrics that delve into the depths of love, loss, and the bittersweet moments of life.

From the haunting opening track to the poignant finale, Winterlark’s musicianship shines brightly. The intricate layers of strums and pizzicatos intertwine flawlessly, creating a rich tapestry of sound that envelops the senses. The duo’s harmonies are nothing short of spellbinding, evoking a sense of gentleness and emotional resonance that resonates deeply with the listener.

You Send Me A Photograph is an EP that demands to be experienced in its entirety, as each song seamlessly flows into the next, guiding the listener on a cathartic and introspective journey. Winterlark’s ability to capture raw emotions and distill them into captivating melodies is a testament to their artistry and musicianship. This EP is a true gem, destined to captivate both devoted fans and newcomers alike with its vintage beauty and heartfelt expression.

sleepy zuhoski talks trust in collaborators, better haze as a journey

sleepy zuhoski talks trust in collaborators, better haze as a journey

Dallas, Texas-based musician Garrett “Sleepy” Zuhoski released his debut album Better Haze this month, and if you haven’t yet gotten a taste of it, you’re missing out. That’s not just a simple statement in our eyes – as we’re sure you know, of course – but a testament to how truly enamored we are by his genre-bending style. With each line comes an array of influences, leaving the listener constantly questioning what’s to come. What’s more? The album in its entirety is perfect for a lazy summer day, the recent video for “On a Cloud” all-too-entertaining to miss.

Good news? We’ve got the video and Better Haze in its entirety to share with you, so you don’t have to go searching far and wide for this goodness. We also got a hot second with Garrett himself, so read on for more fun!

What was your first musical memory, or the first album or song you heard? Do you think that has any bearing on who you are as an artist now?

I remember listening to Bob Dylan a lot as a kid. The first time I ever thought a song was beautiful was These Are Days by 10,000 maniacs. Those both probably influenced me quite a bit. I still just want to make beautiful music, but love a gruff matter-of-fact delivery.

After all these years sitting on some of your work and working with other bands, what made you so keen to work with Salim Nourallah when the opportunity arose?

He offered to put me in a real studio and press vinyl haha. I mean, his reputation preceeds him in Dallas. I have been aware of his various projects for about 10 years and know several bands who he’s produced. I knew I was in good hands.

Better Haze is jam packed with a variety of sounds and nuances. How do you want fans to feel after listening to it in its entirety?

I love whole albums; albums as journeys. While I wasn’t really ready to do a proper “concept album” or really have a premeditated flow to it, I want people to feel like they were taken on a pleasant musical tour. I really enjoy making mixes and thinking hard about the flow of a collection of songs. I guess it has less to do with having a specific feeling in mind, I just want a satisfying collection of songs.

“On a Cloud” is such a fun and mysterious music video. What was the production process like on that music video?

Well, that was really all Weird Life Films. The label contacted them about making a video, and they pitched us the idea. We kinda just let them do whatever they wanted. They submitted the idea and we basically just said “go for it” without making any changes. I feel like it’s important to have trust in collaborators. I am not a film maker, and haven’t put much thought into that type of creative outlet, so I pretty much tried to leave it up to the experts. We were so pleased with the outcome that we worked with them on a second video (out soon) where we gave them free reign again to great results.

On a broader spectrum, what drives your passion to create music?

Honestly, I usually write songs to soothe anxiety. Thats probably why my songs have a darker depressed feel, even though people generally refer to my actual personality as goofy and cheery. I feel like theres a natural high that comes from performing music you love. I make music to feel good about myself.

If you could be any superhero – “existing” or made up – who would you be and why?

Oh dang, I’m really not a superhero kinda guy. Maybe be a Doctor Who companion, or Finn The Human.

Keep up with Sleepy Zuhoski here!

upcoming releases, sentimentality, and a keen eye may make 2024 the year of keli price

upcoming releases, sentimentality, and a keen eye may make 2024 the year of keli price

You know that feeling when you sit down for a cup of coffee with an old friend. Someone it’s been absolute years since you’ve gotten to know. Part of you is nervous, but when you sit down and start chatting, the ease of the conversation dissolves all the stress and expectations around it. Before you know it, you are involved in their story again, rooting them on as you did before and invested in what is coming their way.

That’s a lot like how my chat with Keli Price, multi-talented creative (writer/actor/producer) panned out. To be fair, it had been since 2013 that I got my first batch of questions in, over a decade since we had connected with excitement over his burgeoning acting career.

In that first chat, we discussed falling into Youtube spirals and music as a really big passion of Price’s. Now, we build upon that chat, touching on his fast-paced emergence into the film production world and the attention to detail a sentimental man will pay to his work.

2024 is the year of Keli Price. If you don’t believe me, he’s currently on season 2 of Rap Sh!t, which is available on HBO Max. Plus, he has 3 film releases headed down the pike, and two east coast teams to cheer into their respective post-seasons, and that’s just the beginning. Below, words from our recent sit-down.

How have things been? It’s been a while!

Absolutely! It’s been a long time, and so many things have happened. It’s so nice to be in touch again.

You’ve gotten pretty heavily into the producing side since we last spoke, though really you have kept your toes in the acting and now producing pools as well it seems!

I was not expecting to get into the producing side the way that I did. It just kind of happened. We made this movie about my great grandfather who had this crazy sports story and people came to the screening and wanted me to produce their other movies. I did and then our company was born.

We make about 5 movies per year in the action space primarily, and we get into other genres too. It was to honor my great grandfather who lived to 100, so I got to know him pretty well.

How did you get involved with the upcoming Hellfire release?

Hellfire is coming out this year, in March or April. That movie stars Harvey Keitel, Stephen Lang, and Dolph Lundgren. It’s a really cool, sort of fun action movie. We got involved on the financing side and we’ve been taking a ride for quite a while with this movie from pre-production through post.

We’ve taken a look at the cut recently and it looks great. Saban FIlms is distributing it. I love them over at Saban, I have a lot of projects with them. They’re great. I’m excited to see what they do with it.

What was the timeline like from start to finish on this particular project? Because the adoring public might not know the ins and outs.

We’ve been involved with Hellfire for about a year and a half. Our highest profile movie Bandit, which was #1 on Apple TV and Amazon Prime and Paramount+ took about 2 years to make also. But it was because it was a period piece and a lot went into it.

The fastest movie we ever made was in 2 months. I don’t know how we did it, it was an enigma and it will probably never happen again. It was a weird scenario. It was called The Curse of Wolf Mountain. I was getting involved in another project and it kind of all fell apart. I just needed a script and I went and I wrote this movie within 2 weeks. We were on set 2 months later.

It’s crazy, but that’s how quick we can go when everything is firing. But it rarely happens that way, it usually takes years to make a movie. That’s just the way that it goes, and you put so much time into it. That’s why our company is so specific about the projects we take on. We know we’re going to be on there for what could be a few years. It could also be a few months, but movies could take time.

It’s true. This leads me to the Murder at Hollow Creek project because you told me that you’re writing, producing, and starring in it. I’ve been flummoxed by people who can do that. You come from a place where you’re kind of looking at every facet of the film. You have empathy with other people involved in the process — How does it feel different than when you are less involved in a project?

That is so true. And specifically on that set, I remember having instances where there were situations with PAs or whatever. I get very emotionally tied into people and their feelings. That’s just the way that I’m built. I’m all about forming connections with people on set, whether you’re a PA, another director, or a producer. To me, it’s supposed to be a safe place where we are literally making this piece of art.

It’s kind of like camp, we’re all together and gearing toward this goal. It’s a really special experience that you can’t explain unless you’re there and it is like summer camp. You make all these connections, you’re there for a couple of months, and then you’re just gone. And sometimes you stay in touch and sometimes you don’t but all of those memories are always there because you’re on location.

Murder at Hollow Creek was the second time that I really wore all three hats. So the cameras are rolling, I’m in a scene because I’m acting in it too. The scene ends and quickly I’m like, “Oh, shit. That light’s about to fall, can we get somebody to…” or, “Oh, God, like, we need to make sure that this actor is getting to set because their plane landed in Texas and they’re supposed to be in Mississippi and there’s a hurricane or tornado or whatever… are they on their way?” It was constantly stuff like that.

We did have an actress that got rerouted because there was literally a tornado in Mississippi. She couldn’t get to Mississippi so I was literally in a scene, I finished the scene and I walked up to the other producers. I was like, “What is going on with Penelope? Is she OK? Is she on her way? Who do I need to call?” So yeah, it’s a different experience. (laughing)

On Rap Sh!t, for instance, I was a recurring character on that show. I would just roll up to the studio and eat my Chinese food or whatever they had that day. They had EVERYTHING at the Sony lot, by the way. The best food. I’m a foodie, so when I’m acting at the Sony studio. There’s Chinese, Mexican, there’s these donuts. They’ve got a Zeppole truck. If you’re a New Yorker, you probably know what that is. (laughing) They’re the best food I’ve ever tasted in my life.

When I’m on that set, it’s so relaxing and a different experience and I just get to hang out with the other actors and not have to worry about making the day or lights falling or people caught in hurricanes. It’s just hanging out, eating Zeppole’s. Every once in a while I get a gig here and there and I’ll take it, and I’ll act, and I’ll love it. But our company, Price Productions, does take up most of my time.

Understandably so! You have so many different projects at any one moment.

I love producing. I was getting into the film business as an actor because that was the only way I knew how to do it. But if I was able to break into the business as a producer earlier on I probably would have. But I just figured I would go on auditions and I could get involved in movies that way. If I wanted to produce, I didn’t know what the first step was.

I made this movie, as I alluded to earlier, about my great grandfather where I wanted to honor him. Ended up going – in 2014 – and just started to shoot. We were at Ellis Island, getting footage there. It started to come together as a film.

Athletes were calling and saying, “We notice you’re making this movie on discrimination in sports, we would love to be a part of it and tell our story.” It ended up being something a lot bigger than I thought it would be. That’s what started our company.

But it was such a learning experience, making On Thin Ice. I packaged it, I financed it, I distributed it. I did everything on that movie – with a great team, by the way. It was really like a family project because it was a family member for all of us. My brother edited the movie. It was my mom’s grandmother, she was heavily involved in that movie. She produced the hell out of it with me. She did such a freaking great job, so it will always be special to me because of that.

How we got it done I have no idea, because we all had no idea how to make a movie. But we did. And that was our first one. And now I make about 5 per year in the action space. But everything I know came from that movie. As you go, you learn more. But that movie I had to dive in and put the talent together and put the financing together and put the distribution together in all these areas that I had no idea about, and suddenly I’m in it. That’s what gave me that education on film production in general.

Well, and also, it’s cool that you set out to kind of honor your great grandfather’s legacy and, in doing that, you kind of created a legacy of your own that you get to now build upon. That’s super dope.

Thank you! I never thought of it that way but it’s so nice of you to say. I guess there are such things as happy accidents, but they’re not really. Because, as I said, I wanted to be a producer and in film my whole life, but making this movie just to honor his legacy, it did kind of put things in place.

Out of all of the characters that you have played so far, which has been your favorite?

I like that question. That is a good question. The one I enjoyed playing… Bobby Love was so much fun to play. Just because it was the two-sider role, a guy that got to put on this facade. It was also my first role so I have to give it a shout out.

Do you have any anecdotes from filming that role that kind of sit with you?

Yeah! It was The Naked Brothers Band, if anyone needs to know. It was my first role. Bobby Love was a famous British rocker but he was really a surfer dude from San Diego. I remember we were having the balloon fight for battle of the bands. We had this scene where I was in a fight with Nat. My band was on stage, his band was on stage and we just started brawling and he was grabbing my hair, I was grabbing him. People were pulling my pants down and my shirt. (laughing) That was memorable.

Working with Richard Dreyfuss on Your Family or Mine was a highlight because I’ve always been a fan, since Jaws and Mr. Holland’s Opus. He was unbelievable in that movie. Such a powerful character and so relatable, too. That scene at the end of the movie when his daughter is on stage and he’s watching in the audience, it’s such a beautiful moment. He’s an incredible actor, so I enjoyed working with him.

It was fun working with David Walton and Dax Sheppard in About a Boy. That was a fun character. Zak on AwesomenessTV’s Side Effects with Lulu Antariksa, Meg DeLacy, Finn Roberts, and Chester See was a lot of fun. We had a few seasons of that series. Going to set with the same people all the time was fun. It’s like Rap Sh!t. When you are constantly going to the same set with the same people it becomes like a family.

Like Rap Shit, Side Effects incorporated music in the main storyline, another passion of yours. That’s great! I actually have a follow-up question to a conversation we had back in 2013. You had mentioned that you would love to work with Michael Fassbender or Robert DeNiro, which I totally agree with. But have your bucket list acting partners shifted at all?

Robert DeNiro is still the same. He will always be, probably, my #1. My grandfather and I talk about it all the time. We watch mafia movies together, we’re New Yorkers. My grandpa is from Brooklyn and he just started me on these movies early on. Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Al Pachino, Joe Pesci. I gravitate, naturally, toward Robert DeNiro. He is one of the greatest actors of our time. I grew up watching all of his movies.

I would love to work with Hillary Swank. She’s my favorite actress, she’s amazing. She’s got such vulnerability and power and she is just captivating to watch. I would add her to the list. Al Pacino, definitely, though he’s always kind of been on the list.

We can’t mention everyone!

(Laughing) Yeah, I know! Fassbender is insane. I can’t believe that was my answer. He’s unbelievable, already a legend.

Well, so seeing that list of people… when you were young, what were you guys watching at home?

Love that question. My Uncle Arthur and his husband Uncle Lenny were like a second set of parents. We were always around them. Lenny was really close with me, and Arthur too, and our entire lives, they would come over and it was always about horror like Chuckie or action movies like Die Hard. And those are primarily the movies we make now.

A Steven Seagal, a Bruce Willis, a Mel Gibson – which we have Mel in Bandit – so I grew up qatching movies like that. With my brother after school I remember Rocket Power and Hey Arnold! on Nickelodeon. Those were my go-to.

You mentioned Die Hard. We don’t have to delve into it, but is it a Christmas movie or is it now in your mind?

So funny. No. It’s not a Christmas movie in my mind. Just because movies are set during Christmas time, that doesn’t necessarily classify them as a Christmas movie. The writer definitely deliberately set it during Christmastime, but that doesn’t make it a Christmas movie. It’s an action movie.

Thank you. Alright. Time to ask you about Mad Props. It’s coming to theaters in February. I saw you worked with some big names on it. So, tell us about it.

I’m so happy that I got involved in that project, it was my second documentary. Like I said, we make a lot of feature films. But it’s been a while since I made a documentary. And I heard this guy’s story. It’s based on this banker in Oklahoma who always wanted to be involved in film, never really got a chance, and loves movies. So he started collecting movie props. Like BIG movie props, like the volleyball from Castaway. Like, Indiana Jones props. He would go around the globe finding the greatest movie props of all time.

Our movie takes us on this journey with him to find movie props. As a creative in the film business, you would get a kick out of it. It’s eye-opening to see how much these props cost, but it’s also like a history of movies too. Sometimes with a documentary subject, you’re not sure how their family will be on camera. But his family is really fun and engaging to watch!

Is there anything right now in particular that is inspiring your work?

My grandma passed in August of 2022. She is always an inspiration for me. My grandma had issues with other people, but she never had issues with me. It was all out of love, everything was out of love. I could play you voicemails where she’s like “Keli, where are you? This is my fourth call. Are you OK? I heard there was something going on in Los Angeles. Are you OK?”

And they’re so precious you never want to delete them.

Yeah, I have like 50 of them. I’m going to see if I can play you one.

**This was the piece of the interview where we paused to listen to his grandmother’s voice over his voicemail, adorable Brooklyn accent and all. We may have both shed a tear or two talking about our families. After a time, we got back on topic by speaking about Keli’s sentimentality:

I’m a very sentimental person, and I always look back at my childhood and things that I did and names of beaches and schools I went to, and I infuse them into my work life. If you look at Murder at Hollow Creek, the antagonist’s name is Bill Brooks. That’s my grandfather.

Aw. He’s an antagonist. How cute!

(Laughing) And my brother’s name in that movie is Nick. His name is Nico in real life. I’m just sentimental like that. So it’s always my family that is inspiring me.

But also, if I watch a movie or a show that can influence me. I’m really into success stories like Steve Jobs. andthat kind of stuff too. Underdogs who experience success inspire me. Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Evander Holyfield, Allisyn Felix, Amy Mullins, and more.

OK but yeah, you like sports. Do you have teams?

I love baseball. But I watch basketball and football the most. Die-hard Knicks fan, always have been. They’re my #1. In football, it’s the Jets. I have to pause because the last few years have been a nightmare. (Laughing) Thinking that we would at least have a nice run at The Big Game…

**This was the point of the interview where I identified with his struggles as the fan of a losing team, and we went off on a sports tangent entirely unrelated to this. Spoiler: Keli Price does know enough about professional basketball and football to engage you in lengthy conversation.

Though bummed about the current performance of his teams, Keli ended our chat as graciously as ever. “It was great connecting with you and seeing where you are in your life, and expanding on where I have been. I like doing interviews with people I trust to do great storytelling.”

___

Storytelling like Price does with every production he helms nowadays. If you learn nothing else today, understand that a next wave of independent entertainment moguls is surfacing. These people have touched many facets of the industry, and they want to tell stories with a sense of vulnerability and passion — and have fun and treat everyone respectfully while doing it.

If you haven’t caught up on Rap Sh!t, now is the time. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming releases of Hellfire and Murder at Hollow Creek among others over at Price Productions.

embers truly debuts “energy x 100” with new to: the moon ep

embers truly debuts “energy x 100” with new to: the moon ep

Today, San Diego rock act Embers releases To: The Moon, a 5-track EP that will get you on your feet, jamming out to anthemic melodies about mistakes, intrusive thoughts, and other relatable material. Sleeping with Sirens’ Kellin Quinn guests his notable vocals on the EP’s second track, “eating me alive,” giving this otherwise dark track another intense and beautiful layer.

Explains Embers of the EP: “’To: The Moon’ is a melting pot of my influences using inspiration from pop punk and emo to reflect on mental health struggles, toxic relationships, and emotional turbulence. A step forward from my last EP ‘EMO SZN’, ‘To: The Moon’ finds itself a more energetic place in my catalog.”

And he’s not wrong. The energy is on another level. Get your first listen to the Embers EP in its entirety below.

Recording the EP has been an amazing journey. On my first EP, I was going through such a hard time, and it reflects in the music. I’m so proud of the lyrical content and how therapeutic performing those songs is for me and my fans, from what I’ve been told. This second EP takes the basis of the sound of the first EP, but bumps up the energy x 100. The guitars are bigger and the lyrics are less desperate and stronger to match. I can’t wait for people to hear the new music live.

we the kings get existential – yet anthemic – with “alien”

we the kings get existential – yet anthemic – with “alien”

Alt-rock outfit We The Kings – yes, THAT We The Kings – recently signed to Graveboy Records. The momentous partnership is marked with the release of their latest work, a single titled “Alien.” The song begins with a melancholic feel, rectified by a quintessential upbeat, fast-paced chorus. “We’re all just a bunch of kids who feel like aliens searching for the answer to the question – ‘does anybody else feel like I do,’” shares lead singer Travis Clark.

One part anthem and one part inquiry, “Alien” seeks the match to our souls, any minor detail to connect us to others. It asks everyone who feels “other” to be proud. The song itself seeks similarities in the irregularities and differences. Combine this journey with relatable lyrics and a catchy tune, and this release is poised for charting success.

“Every few albums or so I get a strong feeling about a song,” says Clark. “It’s hard to explain, but the last 2 times I felt this way were with ‘Check Yes Juliet’ and ‘Sad Song’. I have that same feeling about “Alien” so only time will tell what that means!”

We The Kings will be hitting the road with Story Of The Year on their upcoming 2024 tour. Nab tickets to upcoming tour dates and stay up-to-date with this aughts punk favorite at WeTheKings.com.

yellowcard’s ryan key talks catching the performance bug, self-awareness, and 20 years of ocean avenue

yellowcard’s ryan key talks catching the performance bug, self-awareness, and 20 years of ocean avenue

Emo children of the aughts rejoice, because one of our favorite live bands is making the rounds again, and they’re bigger than ever before. Pop-punk bad boys Yellowcard delivered a kiss of surf pop, a hint of nostalgia, and a whole lot of energy every time they took the stage. So when I had the opportunity to interview Ryan Key, Yellowcard’s lead singer, Star Wars aficionado, podcast host, and content creator extraordinaire – I snapped it up.

One of the first things I say, after promising myself not to bring it up? “I spoke to you in 2006 and it was to ask you to sign a t-shirt for my friend and I was too nervous to say anything else.” Cool. Word vomit.

“Oh, I was such a little shit in 2006 too,” Key immediately admitted, laughing. “So, it should be a way better encounter this time, I promise.”

Key’s self-awareness eased us into a conversation that ran the gamut. From our shared love of Star Wars (Though I haven’t quite expanded into podcast territory yet), being driven by bitterness through some tough times, how it feels coming off the biggest tour Yellowcard has ever experienced, and reflecting on 20 years of Ocean Avenue.

Yellowcard’s rapid-fire return fueled a “Celebrating 20 Years of Ocean Avenue” tour that took on bigger venues than they’ve ever played. The band’s welcome back was far from polite, with screaming fans more dedicated to the art form, acceptance of the music, and enjoyment during shows to fuel the energy.

From theatrical beginnings…

Admittedly, Ryan didn’t do much with music growing up. He took piano lessons for a couple of months, hated it, and quit. He wasn’t much for musicals, either. He was much more attached to the idea of the theater. An idea – it seems – that may have stemmed from his first role as Tiny Tim in none other than A Christmas Carol.

“It’s two lines,” Key admits, laughing. “But being on stage at 6 years old in front of enough people, I can only imagine shaped me, changed me forever. Having that moment happen on your impressionable little 1st-grade mind. It’s like, yeah I want more of this. You get that dopamine hit of being on stage and the adrenaline of that, you want more of that. And you don’t know why but I think as a kid, after that, I was just dead set on being on stage however I could.”

In 10th grade, Key was accepted to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville and his pursuit of acting and theater got really serious. He was super involved at school in the shows and the deep, specific education. “We were studying Stanslovsky and real heavy stuff for high school kids,” Key says.

…to stress-reducing hobbies.

To help blow off steam in his -very limited – free time? “I had a band on the weekends,” he explains. “I got my first guitar when I was 11 or 12 years old and I played it and I wrote really crappy songs and had some friends that I played with but that was never gonna be something that I did professionally. I never even had it in my mind. I didn’t really enjoy singing, to be honest, very much. It’s still not my favorite part of my job. I was the lead singer of the band but I think that comes from that sense of wanting to be an entertainer, wanting to be a performer.”

This fact can be hard to believe, as Key’s vocal range is impressive and wide-ranging in its pop-punk glory. And his life performance tactics? Energetic to this day, at a level most people aren’t entirely capable of even at their peak. “It was never in my mind as something I wanted to pursue as a career,” he shrugs. “I just didn’t get into college where I wanted to go.”

When one door closes…

Ryan never let his rejection to the Theater Program at Boston University – twice, unfortunately – go. “I got into school in Boston but I didn’t get into their BFA program. My parents were like, ‘We’re not going to spend all that money for you to go to a private school in Boston if you’re not in the program that you want to be in.'”

While reasonable, it can be difficult to recover from something like that so early on in one’s career. From that bitterness was born a focus. Admittedly – and fairly – Ryan was spiteful about what had happened and chose not to complete the BFA program he started in Florida. He dropped out of school, leaned hard into music, and eventually began singing in Yellowcard.

To hear an artist admit to leaning into something in that anger is very refreshing. You often hear about heartache and heartbreak in everyone’s work, but it can be difficult to address the times of anger and instances when you feel things didn’t go the way they perhaps should have. Having a creative outlet to pour himself into was clearly the way to go, and is something so many of us should embrace as a healing mechanism in times of trouble.

Celebrating 20 Years of Ocean Avenue

Ryan says the band really appreciates the fact that the fans have weathered the storms alongside them. He credits this grand musical journey to the fact that fans have been patient and forgiving.

I have, personally, been a fan of Yellowcard’s since I was an adolescent, so getting a peek into their tour dynamic was ideal. When asked about the “Celebrating 20 Years of Ocean Avenue” tour, Key was almost gushing. “I feel like my favorite part of the tour was the energy between the band itself. I don’t think we’ve ever gone on a tour that was so lacking in negativity as this one. This tour was so full of happiness and positivity that it felt like an alien world, almost, compared to the Yellowcard that I’ve known for the past 20+ years.” 

What Key refers to – this feeling of a more in-sync crew and better touring environment and experience – has been echoed by artists the world over since the pandemic triggered larger conversations around mental health and balance in the music industry. Tours are being approached in a more holistic manner, and it’s been a reinvigorating time in the music industry. He went on:

I think we all felt that way. Which compounded each other aspect of the tour. The shows and interaction with fans, on-stage and off, and the support I think that we had from our crew every day felt stronger and better. I think that’s because there was a sense of peace and calm on the road.

We’ve never had that. Yellowcard has historically been a bit of a chaotic and tumultuous bag of personalities that have not created the best environment to work in. So this was, you know, jarring in the best possible way, to get out there and get a couple weeks in and realize, Oh, everything is just OK. And we can just let that be.

Pausing to reflect

It was almost spiritual, the way that he described it. Key’s acute awareness of the dynamic of the band made me wonder, aloud, how long it took in his career to come to this acceptance of who he is and his identity in the band.

I think it started, for me personally, during the final chapter of it all, at the end. You know, in 2016, 2017. Realizing that I was going to lose it forever because, at the time, it truly felt like that was going to be the case. It started with, I think, just a simple idea of really wanting to enjoy that tour in 2016 and 2017 and the international stuff we did.

That whole experience, as much as I tried, was sort of tinged with the reasons we were stepping away from it. The metrics that you use to quantify success, right, started to say “This is on the way down. We’re on the backslide.” Let’s end this before it goes too far so we can end it on our own terms and make it something special for fans and for ourselves. 

It went a lot deeper than that because it did go into the personalities and the inner workings of the band and things that we keep pretty close to the chest. So, as much as I tried to really enjoy it all, there was still an air of sadness and kind of negativity that had carried into that from all of the reasons we decided to step away in the first place. 

It wasn’t until I got home and started to have to figure out how to make my own way [that the self-awareness set in.] And the pandemic, really, was huge. A good friend of mine from high school was stopping through to stay with me. I had moved back to Los Angeles – which didn’t work out because the pandemic hit and we couldn’t tour or work so I was only there for about 6 or 8 months and then I left to come back east – but I had gone out there to kind of re-establish myself there and start working on film and tv music and things I want to do, too, as I get older.

My friend stopped through and it was only going to be for a week but it was the week that the lockdown happened in California. So he ended up staying with me for an entire month. During that time, he sort of opened my mind to meditating and starting to truly figure out what was going on with myself and work on the reasons why I had ended up where I was. I had never taken a minute to look that far inward, I don’t think. So it really wasn’t until 2020 that I started to kind of forge the path that has led me back here, now, where I am. 

As if to echo this spiritual, self-reflective sentiment, he notably wrapped the tour wielding a lightsaber, a symbol that the force is strong. While he claims that he brought the saber to make his nephew happy, we know there were probably additional motives here. (Because, really, who doesn’t want to have a lightsaber on tour with them?) For those of you wondering, yes, he does have a lightsaber lying around. In fact, he has multiple.

Embracing creative outlets

Besides his lifetime love of the franchise, Key has had the opportunity to connect with the franchise on a different level since the pandemic. “I’ve been really lucky the last 3 or 4 years to intensify my connection with Star Wars through hosting the Thank The Maker podcast with my friends,” he almost gushes. “I think Star Wars reminds you, at 43 years old, if you just give in and let yourself love it the way that I do, it reminds you how to play. That’s something that adults just don’t do.”

At this point, Key doesn’t realize he has hit a home run and we dive into a conversation about what being a “Disney adult” means in certain circles and some of the symbolism involved in Star Wars. We agreed that a certain level of play is encouraged to truly live a full life, especially as we age. “I’m a big fan of my wife for allowing me to just embrace that side, that childhood side of me, and letting me dress up in costumes with my friends and swing lightsabers around, you know?” he says, almost in amazement. “It’s really been a beneficial thing.”

Embracing change

As for if anything has changed for the band over the years – aside from the deep, self-realizations and occasional weaponry – Ryan says writing with everyone has become much more simplified. Explaining that the technology just wasn’t there to support quick changes to tracks and production fixes when they recorded their first albums, Key said the process now is just so much more accessible. “We can get right into ProTools, create the demo, program the drums so that we can change those around – we can try all the different options.”

The great part about having home studios is being able to control the sound as you build it. This way, you have more of an actualized recording that more than likely will sound much more similar to the final product. “It’s way more inspiring to have a good-sounding, ripping demo to steer the direction of the melody and the lyric that I’m going to put over the music.”

But the way Yellowcard writes? Pretty much the same. And super focused on the instrumentals. “It’ll start with usually a guitar riff. Shawn also has brought plenty of ideas on the violin or ideas for the structure of a whole song. He’ll have like a motif or a chord progression he will bring in that we will then build riffs and things around that.”

But you have to remember, Ryan is one with The Force. “I get middle-of-the-night ideas sometimes. I’ll wake up or I’ll not be able to sleep, one or the other. And it’ll just happen and I’ll take out my notes app on my phone and start plugging stuff in.

The title track from their latest release, “Childhood Eyes,” actually came to be that way. “I woke up with that chorus melody in my head and I started to put words to it. I could hear it happening in my head. And when I got to Austin for pre-production, I had an idea for the verse and the chorus in my notepad but I had never picked up a guitar to put music to it. So I just said, ‘Hey I have these lyrics and I have sort of a cadence and a rhythm for them.’ And we wrote the whole song in 15 minutes.” 

Looking forward…

In the coming weeks, Key will be working from his new home studio. When asked about his plans for the space, he perks up immediately. “I’m doing the whole room black,” he says. “Ceiling, walls, floor. A lot of wood grain and a lot of green pops in the room. The vibe is super Scandinavian, and I love that. I’m a big fan of Iceland, Sweden and Denmark. I love that part of the world so much. So we have a lot of this [look] in our house.”

Even more than the initial planning and execution of the project, this room will hold so much more meaning for Ryan as an artist, as he explores new podcast-related projects, and films content, pursues long-term goals (like music supervision and composition), and writes new Yellowcard songs for us to enjoy. It will also hold space for Ryan as a new father, viewing movies and creating art in this space with his family.

You mentioned we met in 2006. I wouldn’t want to meet me in 2006, you know? It’s just not even comparable, the headspace I’m in now and the tools that I have now to kind of prove my reactivity and try to stay positive. Things I was just incapable of doing for the better part of my career in Yellowcard until now. So, in the end, stepping away from the band and having that time was probably the best possible thing that could happen to me, personally. Because the perspective that I’ve come back to the band with is just so wildly different than it’s ever been before.

Yellowcard has, once again, taken a front seat in Ryan’s life. Check out an upcoming performance near you throughout 2024.

irontom rocks the world with “SUPER//STAR”

irontom rocks the world with “SUPER//STAR”

Get ready to crank up the volume and dive into the electrifying world of rock with IRONTOM‘s ‘SUPER//STAR.’ This high-energy track is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, fueled by edgy guitar riffs, pulsating rhythms, and a captivating vocal delivery that demands your attention from the get-go.

From the moment the first chords hit, ‘SUPER//STAR’ sets the stage for an exhilarating musical journey. The lyrics oscillate between bold self-confidence and introspective vulnerability, creating a dynamic contrast that draws listeners in. The repeated chorus, declaring the speaker as a ‘superstar,’ echoes with anthemic power, making it impossible not to get caught up in the hype.

IRONTOM‘s masterful fusion of rock elements and electronic textures adds a modern twist to the song, creating a sound that’s both familiar and fresh. The band’s tight instrumentation, combined with the lead singer’s charismatic delivery, captures the essence of rock ‘n’ roll energy. The way the track builds, combining catchy hooks with an explosive chorus, makes it an instant earworm that’s bound to leave you singing along.

What makes ‘SUPER//STAR’ truly shine is its ability to encapsulate the allure and complexities of fame in a single track. The lyrics dive into themes of love, betrayal, and the pursuit of recognition, painting a vivid picture of the highs and lows that come with the superstar lifestyle. The song’s clever blend of sarcasm and genuine emotion adds layers to the narrative, inviting listeners to consider the various facets of the ‘superstar’ identity.

Overall, ‘SUPER//STAR’ by IRONTOM is a rock anthem that doesn’t just rock your speakers—it rocks your world. Its infectious energy, magnetic lyrics, and skillful musical arrangement come together to create a track that’s as hype-inducing as it is thought-provoking. Whether you’re a rock enthusiast or simply a fan of high-octane music, this song is a must-listen that will have you hitting the replay button again and again.

UPCOMING TOUR DATES
9/22 – Grand Rapids, MI – 20 Monroe*
10/3 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater*
10/7 – Ventura, CA – Majestic Ventura Theater*
10/19 – Los Angeles, CA – Moroccan Lounge (album release show)
10/31 – San Jose, Costa Rica – Estadio Nacional #
11/4 – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – Estádio Engenhão Nilton #
11/7 – Brasilia, Brazil – Arena BSB Mané Garrincha #
11/10 – São Paulo, Brazil – Estádio Do Morumbi #
11/13 – Curitiba, Brazil – Estádio Couto Pereira #
11/16 – Porto Alegre, Brazil – Arena Do Grêmio #
11/19 – Santiago, Chile – Movistar Arena #
11/21 – Santiago, Chile – Movistar Arena #
11/24 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Estadio River Plate #
11/26 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Estadio River Plate #

loveless soars with “drag me down”

loveless soars with “drag me down”

Loveless invites us into a mesmerizing realm of music where genres blend and emotions soar. With harmonies that tug at heartstrings and lyrics that paint vivid stories, Loveless is a captivating musical journey we cannot miss.

“Drag Me Down,” Loveless’s latest single, takes us on a rollercoaster ride of aspirations and self-discovery, all set to a catchy and upbeat melody. Picture this: a wannabe movie star trying to strut their stuff, hoping to be the next big thing on the silver screen. They’re dreaming big, just like the heroes who always save the day, but they’re also facing some unexpected plot twists.

As the song plays on, our protagonist starts to realize that being a hero isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The chorus shouts out “Drag me down with you,” a battle cry against those pesky challenges that try to spoil the fun. It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, I won’t let life rain on my parade!”

And just when you think things are settling down, the song throws a curveball with lines like “The fear of dying alone / Doesn’t hurt half as much / As the feeling of letting it go / After one last touch.” It’s a mix of deep thoughts and lively beats, keeping us grooving while pondering life’s twists and turns.

So, kick back, imagine yourself in a movie montage, and let “Drag Me Down” be your anthem of resilience and the pursuit of dreams, all wrapped up in a toe-tapping, head-bobbing package.

LOVELESS WORLD TOUR DATES
8/17 Sydney, AUS Metro Theatre
8/18 Brisbane, AUS Triffid
8/20 Melbourne, Aus 170 Russell
9/16 Paris, FR Trabendo
9/18 Amsterdam, NL Melkweg OZ – SOLD OUT
9/20 Berlin, DE Columbia Theater – UPGRADED
9/21 Hamburg, DE Reeperbahn Festival
9/23 Brussels, BE AB Club – SOLD OUT
9/25 Cardiff, UK Tramshed – UPGRADED
9/26 London, UK Electric Ballroom
9/29 Birmingham, UK O2 Institute 2 – SOLD OUT
9/30 Manchester, UK Academy 2 – UPGRADED & SOLD OUT
10/1 Glasgow, UK Garage – UPGRADED
10/3 Dublin, IE Academy Green Room

curling’s “URDoM” is a soul-stirring ode to inner turmoil

curling’s “URDoM” is a soul-stirring ode to inner turmoil

A soft electric riff of a guitar atop steady beats of the drum… It is that awfully calming but lingering aura that really sets this unsettlement within me. A constant motion that desires more. Curling‘s “URDoM” wraps me in its embrace, and I’m overwhelmed by a torrent of emotions.

“URDoM” thrives in its ability to evoke emotions without explicitly stating them. The production elements, such as the subtle layering of instruments and the careful balance between instrumentation and vocals, contribute to the song’s immersive quality. The minimalist yet well-crafted approach allows the listener to interpret and connect with the music in their own unique way. The song’s musical layers are carefully woven together, allowing each instrument to contribute to the overall mood. Distant echoes and subtle reverberations, add depth to the atmosphere, immersing the listener in a reflective space.

Throughout the track, the dynamics build and recede, creating a sense of tension and release that mirrors the emotional rollercoaster the song portrays. The instrumental and vocal synergy reaches its peak during the climactic moments, eliciting a cathartic release that draws the listener deeper into the narrative. The composition’s aural palette leans towards a fusion of alternative and ambient elements, creating a space that is both introspective and ethereal. The instrumentation, consisting of subtle guitar work, restrained percussion, and atmospheric synth layers, works in harmony to evoke a sense of inner struggle and self-exploration.

In the end, “URDoM” isn’t just a song – it’s an emotional journey. It’s a mirror that shows me my own complexities, my own struggles. It’s a reminder that we’re not alone in our battles, that music can hold our hands as we navigate the stormy seas of the heart. Curling’s creation isn’t just a song; it’s a lifeline, a chance to find solace in the shared human experience. And as the last note fades, I’m left with a profound sense of connection, a realization that I’m not alone in feeling alone. 

North American Tour Dates
^ = w/ Nation of Language
8/11: Portland, OR @ Fixin’ To
8/12: Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall ^
8/13: Portland, OR @ Gloomhouse
8/14: Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theater ^
8/16: Grass Valley, CA @ Unchuch
8/17: Upland, CA @ Hyrule Temple
8/18: Oakland, CA @ Oakland Secret
8/19: Seattle, WA @ Central Saloon
8/20: Centralia, WA @ Space Place House