Napster Q&A

February 09, 2011

Q&A with Yanni; Truth of Touch Out Now

Truth of Touch We've been excited about Yanni's new release, Truth of Touch, for a while now. In celebration of the album's release, the man himself was kind enough to answer a few of our questions. Enjoy.

Please tell us about your decision to return to your classic sound as opposed to further exploring vocal soundscapes.
It was time for me to sit down and do some "pure" Yanni music, which I have not done for a long time. I didn't start out with the intent to write and record a new album. After being able to pursue some different musical paths over the past several years, it just came naturally to me that I was ready to go back to my roots. You will definitely know this is Yanni but there is a departure from what you might expect.

What do you like most about Truth of Touch?
I like that I was able to spend as much time as I wanted on the album. Without the pressure of having to release an album in any time frame, I experimented a lot with new sound design. I really enjoyed making this album—I would be in the studio for most of about a year, working late into the night. It's more electronic than acoustic. There are a lot of new fresh sounds and rhythms. It's edgy. I think this album is very honest, and there's a beautiful complexity in the rhythmic content.

Looking back, Keys to Imagination and Live at the Acropolis are regarded as some of your finest moments. What's your favorite album at this point?
That's a difficult questions to answer. I love them all. Certainly Keys To Imagination and Live At The Acropolis represent work that I am proud of and hold a lot of meaning for me. It's like having to choose which is your favorite child, which I cannot do. Each composition represents a different emotion and shares my soul at a particular place in time. Truth of Touch is where I am now and represents my character after all of my experiences up to this point, and it was recorded at what I feel is the best time of my life so far.

Fundraising has been a major part of your career. How did last “Movember” go, and how can people get involved?
I find it very rewarding that I can be a part of something that is helping others such as Movember. I didn't realize that having a mustache could be so "cool" again, and it was great to be involved with helping create awareness for research into curing cancers. People can go to Movember.com to donate and grow their own mustaches in November next year to show support.

And when will your mustache return?
Well, I shaved it several years ago when I was doing a lot of Scuba diving and it has now stuck with me. I don't know that we will be seeing the return of the mustache as it used to be.

Do you ever consider getting back into soundtrack work?
It is something that I enjoy and I would love to get back to it with the right project. I appreciate the amount of emotion and color that music brings to a film, and it's a challenging yet very creatively rewarding part of composing.

What's next?
I'm off to Panama City for the first time this coming weekend for two concerts at the historic ruins of Panama Viejo. It's very exciting and I already feel a very warm connection with the Panamanian people. After Panama, we start a U.S. and Canada tour that I'm excited about, as it will be a more up-close and intimate show of instrumental music that I have been waiting to perform for some time.

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January 26, 2011

Q&A with The Get Up Kids

The Get Up Kids Back in 1999, The Get Up Kids' album Something to Write Home About was, for many, the perfect blend of power punk and cutting-edge emo. They followed this up with two more albums, On a Wire and Guilt Show, but since those, we've gone quite a while—seven years, in fact—without a new one. Never mind that. We now have There Are Rules, the band's new album, released yesterday on their own label, Quality Hill Records. Guitarist and singer Jim Suptic was kind enough to answer a few questions about the band and the new set.

What gets you most psyched about There Are Rules?
I am really excited for it to finally come out and to see what the response will be. We are all really proud of this record, and I think it might be the best thing we have ever done.

It's been a while since Guilt Show—what’s changed for the band musically in that time?
When we wrote Guilt Show, the band was at a real crossroads, musically and personally. We would write songs by ourselves and just bring them in for the band. On There Are Rules we went back to the way we originally wrote songs. Someone would have a part or a beat and we would jam from there. I think cooler things happen that way.

Looking back, what's your favorite song from Something to Write Home About?
At this point it's hard to say what is a favorite. We have played those songs so many times that they all start blending together. As far as live goes, "Holiday" is always fun.

Favorite album from 2010?
LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening. Rob and Ryan have been obsessed with this band, and I think that has rubbed off on the rest of us. We were lucky enough to play some festivals that they were on. Amazing live show. 

When you're on the road, what parts of the U.S. or the world do you most connect with?
I'm a Midwest boy at heart, so as far as "connecting" with places, towns like Chicago and Minneapolis feel the most comfortable. Traveling abroad is always fun though. I'm a big fan of Japan. Europe has also been quite nice to us. The last time we were in Australia I might of had the most fun ever on tour.

Say your band can time travel to any year—when, and why?
4869 AD. Then we could see once and for all if this whole "emo" thing has staying power. 

What’s next?
Tour, tour, tour, and welcome my new daughter to the world in March or maybe April. I guess she'll make the final decision.

There Are Rules Guilt Show On a Wire Something to Write Home About Four Minute Mile

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January 18, 2011

Q&A with Times of Grace; The Hymn of a Broken Man Out Today

Times of Grace Today Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz and former KE member Jesse Leach, together known as Times of Grace, released The Hymn of a Broken Man, their album debut, via Roadrunner. Fueled by the blistering single "Strength in Numbers," the album is all electrifying riffs and innovative metal passages—and it's got an interesting "back story." But we'll let Leach explain:

What was the initial inspiration behind Times of Grace?
The album was created by Adam while lying on his back in a hospital recovery room after emergency back surgery. After recovering, Adam gave me a call and asked me to do vocals on the record.

How would you say this project differs musically from Killswitch Engage?
I feel like it's a bit more diverse stylistically and perhaps a bit darker lyrically. 

Were there any outside influences specific to the two of you?
Struggles in our personal lives were very much a part of the writing process.

What was your favorite album from 2010?
I can honestly say I didn't buy any records from 2010. I guess I'm old school...

Any resolutions for the new year?
Bring Times of Grace to the world.

What’s next?
Our first U.S. tour starts in February, and then, if all goes well, we're looking to the rest of the world!

Times of Grace

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January 11, 2011

Q&A with Tapes 'n Tapes; Outside Just Released

Tapes 'n Tapes Alt-rockers Tapes 'n Tapes have always been an interesting band to follow. They've been compared to the classic alternative sounds in Pavement and Pixies, yet have also been recognized for having a modern sound of their own. In 2006, the band had an indie hit with "Insistor," from their album The Loon. To start off 2011, they've just released their third full-length album, Outside. To celebrate, singer and lead guitarist Josh Grier decided to answer a few of our quesitons:

Did the process of making Outside differ from your previous releases?
We took a break in between touring from our last record when we started working on this record. I think taking that time off got all of us really excited to make this album. We self-produced it and recorded it in Minneapolis; being at home kept everybody in high spirits throughout the process. I think this record, more than any of our other records, captures our band's dynamic. We really focused on creating space so all of the parts could come through.

What has inspired the band lately, music or otherwise?
I've been inspired by a lot of music from the '60s and '70s lately. I've been listening to a lot of Turkish psych, tropicalia, dub, and Nigerian rock. There seems to be an endless supply of amazing music from that time period that I've never heard of. So just going down to my local record shop really ends up inspiring me.

What's the best performance experience you've ever had?
We've had a lot of crazy shows over the past few years, so picking one is hard. I think the most surreal performance has to be when we played on David Letterman. Being on the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater gave me goosebumps. Mostly from thinking about all the other amazing bands that had played there, but also because David Letterman keeps the studio at a cool 49 degrees.

Favorite album of 2010?
I can't really nail it down to one, so here are my top five, in no particular order: Twin Sister, Color Your LifeBest Coast, Crazy For You; Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest; Big Boi, Sir Lucious Left Foot; and MGMT, Congratulations.

What's next?
Right now, just a lot of touring. We'll be touring the U.S. starting at the end of January until late march.

 

Outside Walk it Off The Loon

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November 10, 2010

Q&A with Hellogoodbye, Would it Kill You? Out Now

Hellogoodbye, Would It Kill You? California pop-punk quintet Hellogoodbye made a splash back in 2006 with their debut, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! Now, after several line-up shifts and tweaking their overall aesthetic, they're back with Would It Kill You?, and it's been getting positive reviews and generating comparisons to The Zombies and The Kinks. Lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Forrest Kline answered a few of our questions.

What can fans expect from your second album?
It's the most honest music I've made. We had some time to re-approach recording, the whole means of making music, and have some life experiences over the period between records. We toured a ton, had some good time at home, and I got married and bought a house. A lot happened, and I think it's represented.

Did you feel any pressure?
In a lot of ways I feel like our last record doesn't have too much bearing on us now because it's been so long. So in a way that's a blessing, because we always knew there wasn't going to be "hit dance single #2." I'm really proud of this record, so I'm not too scared of how it might be received. If people like it, thats rad. If not, then I sort of just disagree with them. Haha.

What's been your favorite touring experience so far?
It's always fun, and always in different ways. International stuff is always really exciting—we just went to the Philippines and Indonesia and took some time in Bali riding scooters and staying out super late. It was pretty crazy. I love Australia and Europe, too. It sort of blows my mind when people grow up in one town and barely ever even travel out of state, so i just love the idea of seeing what's out there.

What are your favorite albums from 2010?
Band of Horses was awesome. Dr. Dog, too. I was real stoked on Steel Train's record. I'm not too good with what came out when, so I'm scared of mentioning something that may have actually come out a few years ago...

Do you have a favorite holiday album or movie?
Scrooged is really good, right?

What’s next?
People are going to hear our new record (I think, I hope), and we're gonna tour around a bunch.

Hellogoodbye, Would It Kill You? Hellogoodbye, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!

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November 09, 2010

Q&A with Dolour; New Album Next Tuesday

Delour Utilizing an array of influences and creative songwriting approaches, Shane Tutmarc's musical vehicle, Dolour, has released several ambitious pop albums. From 2001's Waiting for a World War and 2004's New Old Friends to his 2009 solo album, Shouting at a Silent Sky, Tutmarc has continuously explored new avenues of expression. His latest, Storm & Stress, due next Tuesday, is a collection of live-in-studio sessions we're excited for you to check out. In the meantime, read below what Tutmarc had to say when we asked him stuff.

For those just discovering Dolour, how did you arrive at your new album?
With Dolour, the goal always remained the same: Take the song as far as it could go, musically and emotionally, although each album approached this goal very differently. From the economy of the lyrics and music of the first album, Waiting for a World War (2001), to the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink mosaic songs of Suburbiac (2002), to the home-grown bedroom jams of New Old Friends (2004), to the live-in-studio jazz-combo approach to Hell or Highwater (which will get its first domestic release in 2011), and finally the balls-to-the-wall orchestral rock sound of Storm & Stress.

What were some influences behind Storm & Stress?
Musically I wanted to take Dolour to its most red-hot state. With each previous album I had flirted with rock music, but was more interested in orchestrating sounds outside of the typical rock combo. With Storm & Stress I wanted to see what it would sound like to fully orchestrate songs using five guitars, electric bass, synthesizer, and drums. Another big element of the sound was recording live in the studio, with everything (except the vocals and minimal over-dubs) done in the course of one day. I had played a handful of demos for the musicians prior to the session, but there were no rehearsals. I encouraged the players to improvise, and I feel the music came across as much more freewheeling than previous Dolour albums. The live-in-studio and improv elements were very inspired by Miles Davis records like Bitches Brew, and the bombastic sound of albums like Nirvana's In Utero and Weezer's Pinkerton. While it's easy for me to pinpoint production influences, it's harder for me to know where the songs themselves came from. I don't usually ask that question to myself.

What concerns you most these days? Politics, the environment, the economy, something else? Does your concern manifest itself in your music?
When I'm writing music, it's the politics of the heart that I'm most concerned with. I'm a fan of the Gandhi idea, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Removing the pollution of the world from my soul was a concern that came up in the lyrics of Storm & Stress, and continues to be a concept I return to.

Do you have a go-to holiday album?
Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas.

What’s the last greatest rock concert you saw?
I go to shows at least two or three times a week, so I've seen many great shows this year alone. But probably the three highlights of the last year would be seeing My Bloody Valentine and Leonard Cohen in Seattle and Chuck Berry in St. Louis.

What's next for Dolour?
There is so much Dolour music that has yet to be released properly. The next project will be Hell or Highwater. HoH was recorded prior to Storm & Stress, but was another casualty of my brief retirement from music in 2005-2006. It used a similar approach to S&S as far as being live-in-studio and improv-friendly, but its sound couldn't be more different. Instead of a bunch of electric guitars, it was a grand piano, upright bass, clean jazz guitar, and drums/percussion. Records like Nilsson Sings Newman and Chet Baker Sings were big influences on the overall sound. I'm looking forward to this music getting out into the world. Beyond that, there's a ton of other half-finished projects that may see the light of day at some point.

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October 19, 2010

Q&A with Liz Phair, Funstyle Out Today

Liz phair 3 Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville is widely regarded as one of the greatest debut albums of all time. Following the success of a recent special reissue of the landmark album, the talented and ever-evolving singer-songwriter released Funstyle today, her first studio album in five years. If her provocative, enjoyable past body of work is any guide, Funstyle, led by single "Bollywood," should simply live up to its name. Liz was kind enough to answer a few of our questions in celebration of the release.

Please tell us a little about your new album, Funstyle.
My record is great to listen to lying down with headphones on or walking around thinking everyone is crazy for listening to Justin Bieber.

Any discoveries you made along the way?
I discovered that I enjoy freedom, adventure, humor, playing music with cool people, expressing my emotions, long walks in the moonlight, surfing, expensive wine, and world peace.

Musically speaking, what's most different about you since Exile in Guyville?
I am twenty years older and hardly a day more mature. I love jamming with friends when I have no idea where the song's going. I used to be terrified of singing—now you can't tear me off the vocals.

Do you have a favorite soundtrack or movie music moment?
I love how bent the score was for There Will Be Blood. That's well worth a closer listen.

What's the perfect midnight snack?
Anything I find in someone else's fridge. I love rummaging through other people's pantries.

If you could instantly become a prodigy at a new musical instrument what would you go for?
I would literally choose to be amazingly good at guitar, yet I don't want to practice. I wouldn't mind blowing a mean harmonica.

What's your favorite spot in the world you've performed at?
I had an excellent time singing "God Bless America" at the World Series in Chicago, 2005. Sox won.

What's next for Liz Phair?
Close encounter of the third kind. I have my inter-dimensional passport up to date and ready.

LP - Fun LP - Exile


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October 12, 2010

Q&A with James Williamson, New Kill City Edition with Iggy Pop Out Next Tuesday

James williamson & iggy pop Originally released in 1977, Kill City was an album created by legendary Stooges members James Williamson and Iggy Pop. Due to loss of original master tapes and a lack of funding, the album never reached its full potential according to those involved. Next week, much to the delight of Williamson and Stooges fans everywhere, a new remastered version will be released. In anticipation, Williamson was kind enough to answer a few of our questions.

Please tell us about the new Kill City—what did you most want to achieve in revisiting this album?
We wanted to bring forth the sound that we knew was always there, but for a number of reasons had not been accomplised with the previous mixes or mastering. I got Ed Cherney (Monster Engineer and Mixer) to help me re-mix this, and he did an increadible job—this album has finally reached its full potential.

At this point, what would you say is your fondest memory of The Stooges?
Honestly, there are too many to list, but certainly the day I joined was one of them. There was also the time that Scott Asheton got on the ground at some airport terminal and started spinning around like Curly from The Three Stooges while yelling,"boob, boob, boob, boo!" I could go on forever.

I read you recently started to play ukulele and slack-key guitar—any favorite songs to cover/perform?
Well, not so recently, and I have also taken up the Hawaiian lap steel guitar. In general, I enjoy Hawaiian music and listen to all the great masters. I also have written a couple of titles myself.

It might surprise some you were the VP of Technology Standards at Sony Electronics. What was the most enriching aspect of your tenure?
Well, I got to travel all over the world and work with many brilliant people from almost all countries in the world. I also got to work in a very multidiscipinary environment that not only required your technical expertise, but also diplomacy, psychology, and persuasiveness.

Aliens land in your back yard—what's the first album you play for them?
"The Purple People Eater." (not an album, but probably came from one)

What was your favorite album from 2009?  Any favorites from ’10 so far?
The only one that comes to mind in 2009 is The Henrys' Is This Tomorrow. This year so far I like The Black Keys' Brothers.

Any additional projects/plans in the works?
We're working on new material, and we'll see where that goes.  I'm writing many new rifs and seeing if I can find a few that stick with Iggy enough to continue working on them.  We're very conscious of the need to really like what we put out now, as the bar has been set very high from our past efforts. We'll see what 2011 brings.

 

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October 05, 2010

Q&A with Corin Tucker

Corin Tucker Corin Tucker is best known for her gritty and powerful vocals and guitar with the legendary Sleater-Kinney. Today, she shows a different side with the release of 1,000 Years, her new album with The Corin Tucker Band via the Kill Rock Stars label. Here's what she had to say when we had the chance to ask a few questions:

What’s your favorite thing about 1,000 Years?
I love being able to use my voice in new and different ways.

I've read you consider your new album a "middle-aged mom record." What's another good album in this category? Any favorites?
Any record that mentions "washing machine" qualifies in this category, in my book, so the most recent Kate Bush album tops the list, as well as the Sonic Youth album with that title, I think.

If you had one day as President, what would you do?
I think I'd like to have a Bill Clinton-type day, fixing the economy, negotiating a peace agreement, and having a ton of fun in the Oval Office before I left.

If you had to listen to one song over and over again for eternity, but you could pick the song, what would it be?
"I Was Made to Love Her" by Stevie Wonder.

You're back in college and have to choose a thesis topic—what is it?
The Middle East: How to Make Peace!

When you think of Sleater-Kinney now, what's the one word to describe it?
Awesome.

What's next?
Tokyo or bust! Japanese tour.

The Corin Tucker Band, 1,000 Years

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September 15, 2010

Q&A with Maximum Balloon; New Album Due Next Week

David Andrew Sitek, Maximum Balloon Back in 2004, TV on the Radio wowed listeners with the unique blend of electronic-indie ethereality demonstrated on Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes. In 2008, TVOTR further upped their game with Dear Science, a breakthrough album that wound up at the top of many critics' year-end best-of lists. TVOTR guitarist and producer David Andrew Sitek has kept busy during his tenure with TVOTR—his production creds include Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, and Foals, and he's also done remixes and contributed to 4AD's '09 compilation, Dark Was the Night.

Next Tuesday, Sitek will release a new solo venture under the name Maximum Balloon, which will include collaborations with friends David Byrne, Karen O., and Ambrosia Parsley. It's a fun project, full of personality and soulful, creative grooves. A single from the Balloon, "Groove Me" (featuring Theophilus London), was released earlier this summer. Now, with the full-length release just around the corner, Sitek was kind enough to answer a few of our questions:

What's the biggest difference between Maximum Balloon and TVOTR?
I got to drive 15 people nuts instead of four.

Where do you find creative inspiration these days?
Cooking shows, pets, theoretical physics.
 
What’s your favorite gadget, musical or otherwise?
There's a label-maker that my engineer (Zeph Sowers) uses, called a "P-Touch."  He uses it to label our drives, power supplies, etc. Much to his dismay, it's my favorite thing in the studio to mis-use. I put stupid labels all over sh*t and waste the sticker tape.

What is your “happy place”?
A tent, probably in Iceland.
 
What was your favorite album from ’09?
I still can't stop listening to El Perro Del Mar's Love Is Not Pop.
 
What’s next?
Worldwide ESP, where everyone can instantly empathize with each other. And maybe Björk and I will make an entire album of snapping twig sounds.

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