Rising Taiwanese act The Fur. enjoyed galavanting around SXSW 2019. We know this because they shared a brief glimpse of the experience with us. Check out the view from their lens below, then head over to take a listen to their debut album Town.
“Yes, we are so happy to play at SXSW.”
We got hair done at artist lounge and felt cool and ready to be on stage.
Ren made a new friend.
Zero is at Walmart.
We saw someone wearing the same shirt as Ren’s, so took a secret photo with him. Nobody noticed.
It’s challenging to finish a stage setting within a short period of time at B.D. Riley’s. We yelled at each other in Mandarin and moved so quickly to get the change-over done as fast as possible. It’s so much fun to recall how we did the show.
We shopped at a toy store. How we wish to bring all the Rick and Morty toys back to Taiwan but we can’t.
In an era of computer-made, beat-driven music, Grand Canyon is the antithesis of modern pop music. However, by focusing on musicianship and timeless songwriting, and drawing on the inspiration of the classic sounds and arrangements of the 70s, it is the kind of pop music that will be wafting through the canyons for a long time. Here, guitarist Joe Guese shines looks back on a rock legend that inspired his career, as well as countless others.
My journey with Tom Petty began like many others did, with a road trip.
It was the summer of ’92. I was 10, and my family was taking our annual road trip. California was that year’s destination. I had just recently purchased, or more likely my parents purchased, Into the Great Wide Open. We set off on our journey for the west coast. Little did I know then, it would be a road trip for the rest of my life. I put Into the Great Wide Open on my discman, letting it be my soundtrack through the endless canyons and expansive horizons of the west. The music always seemed to have a vision of hopefulness, positivity, and pure rock ‘n’ roll. I picked up the guitar two years later and never looked back.
He provided the soundtrack for my youth. I’ll never forget my first Petty concert at Red Rocks, the soundtrack to high school parties, hearing “Room at the Top” the day Columbine happened, and his music present at many other seminal events in my life. Tom Petty led to some of the best and longest lasting friendships I’ve ever had. Fast forward to the winter of 2002, I had just finished up a rehearsal with my college band who was trying out a new bass player. That bass player was Ethan Mentzer. We decided to make the long walk back from the rehearsal space to the Berklee dorms. On that fateful walk, we discussed our love of Petty, girls, anything rock ‘n’ roll, and more Petty. We would go on to become lifelong friends and start a band that would tour the world. He taught us everything: cool guitars, cool amps, great songs, how to record, and most importantly the attitude and feeling of rock ‘n’ roll music. He was the embodiment of “cool”.
Petty has led me down some pretty strange and wonderful roads. I had the pleasure of playing “Running Down a Dream” with three members of the Heartbreakers and two great friends Jamie Arentzen and Matt Pynn (the Elmbreakers) a couple years ago at a Grammy party. That road also led me to Casey Shea who would also become a lifelong friend. Our mutual admiration of Tom Petty pushed us to start Grand Canyon in our mid 30s. Talk about running down a dream!
So cheers to that summer of ’92 in the back of a suburban, where I’m at now in Los Angeles, wherever that road may lead, to all the bad girls, and those boys who play that rock n roll.
The first four songs on our list – “Good Times Bad Times” by Led Zeppelin, “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles, “With or Without You” by U2, and “Goodbye Stranger” by Supertramp – are collective choices. They’re also songs we covered on our recently released EP “Them.” We started playing music together in our family’s bluegrass band (we’re all brothers) when we were little kids. As we grew up and started playing electric instruments, we’ve had many influences, but the earliest were bands our parents turned us on to including Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Supertramp. We all kind of discovered U2 individually, but they’re a big part of our collective musical DNA. The idea of the EP was to strip the songs back and record them as if we’d written them ourselves.
We each chose a few songs individually:
Kurt Doerfel (Percussion)
“Lost Tonight” by Saje – When Ed & Ben first started going to Nashville, I’d stay behind and have mini vacations and just enjoy myself. One day I was out with a buddy shopping in Key West and we heard this song in a fishing store. The sound grabbed both of us and we immediately shazammed it. It’s such a simple and groovy tune, but sonically, something I never got tired of listening to. This song inspired me to get serious about producing & writing. I wanted to make something that sounded THAT good.
“Beautiful Escape” by Tom Misch – I hate to sound like that guy, but I was listening to Tom years ago when he had under 10k followers on Instagram. I knew he had something special just by his sound. The classic disco groove, the jazzy/unique melodies, modern hooks, and quality of his music really set him apart from everyone else. I was so eager for him to release music, which he does slowly, but it was always worth the wait. It has been amazing watching his status grow. I definitely think we can all learn something from him.
“Changes” by Mutemath – Mutemath has achieved the perfect balance of siiiick audio production and live performance. In pop these days, I am SICK AND TIRED of a snap sample driving the percussion in a tune. I have only found it to be acceptable and perfectly fit in this tune specifically. These guys have been around for a while but have adapted perfectly to how music is evolving whilst maintaining their roots.
“Way to Go” by Empire of the Sun – Okay, so apparently these guys have been around for a LONG time. My cousin would show me their songs every now and then and we’d just laugh over their music videos and how outrageous they were. I had no idea who they really were because we called them “Dragon Boys” for some reason. One day he told me their actual name, and I actually took time to listen to their most popular songs on Spotify and fell in love. I love everything about them. The simplicity, vocals, synth drums, classic but unique sound, the outfits…all of it! They’ve inspired me to not try too hard to mimic what’s in fashion right now and just let the creative process go where it truly calls, even if it may seem uncomfortable. Every time I’m sad I listen to these guys!
Joseph Doerfel (bass/vocals)
I don’t really have something specific to say about these songs to be honest. I’m more of an album guy. I don’t have favorite songs, I have favorite albums. When I listen to music, I can’t help but put my favorite bands’ tunes on and just spin the whole album and lose myself in the atmosphere it creates in my mind. These songs just happen to be my favorites on some of my favorite albums.
“Death and All His Friends” by Coldplay – The first time I heard a Coldplay song, I honestly did not like them at all. I had no idea who they were, or how long they’d been around for. By the time I gave them another chance, it was easy to see that there was something to their sound that kept bringing me back to listen again and again.
“Stay With Me” by Thrice – Thrice is my favorite band of all time. They’re the first band I ever listened to that made me really focus on what they were writing about and singing in their songs. That and the way they have evolved their sound is something that I always think about when trying to make new music.
“Of Mind – Nocturne” by TesseracT – TesseracT is pretty much my hype music. The melodies and push and pull feel they have are mesmerizing and so easy to listen to.
Ben Doerfel (guitar/vocals)
“Where I Belong” by Switchfoot – Switchfoot is an essential piece of my musical life. “Where I Belong” is my ultimate on-repeat-always-hard-hitting-slow-jam-of-destiny. From the beautiful melody to the fat drum sound and the grungy guitars comes a masterpiece that never leaves my head. Lyrically it helped me If I was ever down, it would remind me why and that its all good in the hood.
“Falling Out” by Relient K – Relient K introduced me to the amazing world of alt rock. I wore out their album “Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right” and more specifically, “Falling Out.” This was the first song I heard that I actually loved the singers voice. Matt Thiessen has been my favorite singer since my 1st listen of this song. The tight rock groove and again beautiful melody made me feel like listening to this song I could accomplish anything!
“Between Me And You” by Brandon Flowers – From a songwriter/producer stand point, this song is just incredible. There are so many aspects of this emotional pop crusher that it’s hard to find just a few talking points. This song made me want to be a great songwriter. Brandon’s lyrics are so unique. Simple yet complex lines that anyone would say but hardly anyone sings. Wrapping the verse around the chorus so it comes back around and falls right where he started, all the while slowly building the song into a massive thing of beauty.
Edward Doerfel (keys/mandolin/vocals)
“Ode to A Butterfly” by Nickel Creek – This is probably one of the most meaningful songs of my musical history. It was the song that really got me into the mandolin way back when I was around 9 years old. Early in my mandolin career I embarked on a musical journey to learn it note for note to play in a competition. 6 MONTHS later of non-stop practice I played it and took home 2nd place. It was an encouraging point in my young career.
“Needle And Haystack Life” by Switchfoot – This song “fueled my fire” in a big way. This was the opening track of the Switchfoot album that turned me into a fan for life! I always liked the band and casually listened to a few of their songs here and there, but growing up I was never a die-hard until the first time I played this song and album, saw them play live for the first time, and also met front man Jon Foreman! Switchfoot even said in an interview that this was a turning point for them musically as a band. It has inspired me both lyrically and musically.
“Forget And Not Slow Down” by Relient K – When I “forget and not slow down” I strive and make leaps in my creativity….just trying to be clever with the song title.. But in all seriousness, I listen to this song when I’m feeling down or uninspired about something. It’s a reminder to me that sometimes creativity doesn’t just come. You need to work for it.
I’m an Aquarius. We are spontaneous, free thinking, innovative, sometimes aloof and obstinate (!) and we don’t like to follow the crowd. This playlist represents a period in time that was so inspiring for me as a musician and fledgling producer. I spent a lot of time between London, New York and Los Angeles, the hip hop and RnB of that time was everything. These were the artists that carved out their own paths, with respectful nods to jazz and classic soul, which, combined with taste maker producers like J Dilla, influenced a genre of music, that some considered ‘neo-soul’, but with a dash of spirituality and a heartbeat that made you screw your face up and nod your head hard, became my ‘good place.’
I think this is a really good moment for women in music and overall entertainment right now. The climate is really conscious, women are speaking up and advocating for themselves through various forms of art and media. I am so inspired by all of the female pop recording artists right now. They’re all strong, socially aware and convey a similar message of women’s empowerment. They all support each other and I too feel the desire to support fellow female artists. I made this playlist to listen to when I want to feel inspired and a sense of community in the music business. All of these different artists show strength in their lyrics and vocal performances even if it’s through moments of vulnerability, enjoy.