Interview – Dan Croll

With his new album ‘Emerging Adulthood,’ released on 21st July, I had the privilege of having a phone interview with Dan Croll to talk about the release of the album and his most recent single Bad Boy, inspired by the common phase of wanting to be a bad boy but it ‘just never worked out.’ We talked inspirations, processes, his ‘organic, alternative angle’ of pop and how music wasn’t always his plan.

Your new album is released in 3 days, how are you feeling about it?

I think… all of the emotions. I’m very proud of it, I’m very excited about getting it out, quite nervous about it too, but yeah I think mainly just excited though.

What can we expect from your album?

I think, compared to the first album, it’s a lot more straight to the point, I think it’s a bit more immediate. The way that it was recorded was kind of like a high intensity environment so I think that comes across in the album quite a bit as well.

Your album is called ‘Emerging Adulthood,’ does that name give us a suggestion of the themes of the songs or anything like that?

Yeah, well the name came from a book that I was reading, I guess it was kind of like a research paper almost, where it was talking about people who, are now more than ever they’ve got an endless amount of opportunities, unlimited resources, and people leave college or university and now they can do whatever they want; they can talk to people on the other side of the world, they can travel, and technology is so much more accessible. I think that’s really exciting for some people, but I think other people find it quite overwhelming, I think I maybe found it a little bit overwhelming too. So I think the album is about assessing options and trying to find the right route to take and trying to find a bit of confidence.

Did you feel like that when you left university?

Yeah, I think I felt it then because music was such a new thing for me. I’ve always kind of felt a little bit on the back-foot, a little bit amateur because my close friends and then other artists and bands you know a lot of them have been doing this since like ‘oh I’ve been playing guitar and writing songs since I was eight,’ whereas for me I was seventeen/ eighteen and I went straight into a music institute and then before long was out of the music institute and into the industry and so it’s very new. Also after the first album I kind of hit a few personal hurdles and so I was assessing whether I could do another album, and how I should do it, and where I should go and stuff like that so I had a lot of moments where I felt like that.

Music wasn’t always your plan then?

No music was quite a late plan for me. My main focus was sport, was rugby, and I was playing that all of my life up until about seventeen when I broke my leg and it all ended quite abruptly and couldn’t really get back into it and yeah so I was like well I do a bit of music so I guess I’ll go for that.

So what was the first song you ever wrote?

The first song I ever wrote was a song called ‘Marion’ which I think is on Youtube somewhere, but yeah that’s the first track I wrote.

Was that when you were at uni?

Ah no that was when I was about eighteen, seventeen/ eighteen.

When did you start writing this album?

I wrote it not long after we finished the first album, so maybe it was 2015 maybe, so I’ve had it for a while, I just hit a few hurdles along the way which really delayed it, and so yeah it’s quite strange to think that actually I wrote it quite a long time ago. I definitely want to do a third album a lot quicker.

What’s your song writing process?

My process I think is maybe a little bit different to others, I think a lot of people tend to write lyrics first, or a melody, stuff like that but I actually always start with the rhythm, with the drums. I find it really hard to work on songs if I don’t feel like they’ve got a strong foundation so I’ll usually spend a lot of time trying to find the right tempo, the right beat, the right drums, percussion, stuff like that, and then I’ll build it from the ground up rather than the top down.

How would you describe your music to someone who might not have heard it before?

Ummmm… pop haha. It’s quite simply pop but I think from more of a kind of organic, alternative angle than what’s in the Top 20.

What were your inspirations music wise?

My inspiration mainly came from my mum who played a lot of big song writers, I think mainly American song writers strangely, a lot of Paul Simon, Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, and then others like ABBA and people like that, the big ones.

What are you listening to right now?

At the moment I’ve been listening to The Lemon Twigs, Bedouine umm yeah I think that’s it. I’ve been so buried up to my neck in my own music that I’m not listening to a great deal of new stuff at the moment.

So your single ‘Bad Boy’ has already been released, where did the inspiration for that come from?

Once I’d done the album I was reflecting a lot on moments leading up to now and there’s a phase that I think is quite common with a lot of people, where they kind of have this rebellious phase. I think mine and my friends were around high school where it’s a common phase of either you want to go out with a bad boy/ bad girl or you wanted to be the bad boy/ bad girl, the stereotypical American High School kind of bad boy. But it just never worked out. And the song is just about being confident in your own skin and not needing to do that.

The music video for that, and you’ve also released a couple of other videos for tracks off your new album, who comes up with the ideas for your music videos?

Most of them have been me, with a couple of exceptions, I always like to be as involved as possible with music videos but at the same time things just get so busy that you’ve got to just hand it over to someone else.

They’re all so interesting though as well, like the ones from your last album, with the green screen for ‘In/Out’

Yeah haha that was a pretty low budget video.

It was great, I like that one a lot! Do you enjoy making them?

Truthfully? Not particularly. They’re really tough things to do you know? You wanna get your message across, you wanna get everything across in the right way but there’s so many ways to do it and yeah it’s quite a stressful thing that I don’t particularly look forward to music videos that often, but usually once they’re done and they’re out I feel a lot more confident about them.

Since your first album do you think your style has changed?

I think so, I think it’s stepped away a little bit from the more acoustic to the more electronic, but I think just the process in the production has changed the most. That first album was recorded in an old school gym with just me and my mates, begged and borrowed equipment and I guess a little bit DIY, but a very fun way of doing it. But then the second album has gone the complete opposite way where it’s been just me writing it all and I play all the instruments on the album and we recorded it in a very clean, polished, professional studio in Atlanta, and so it’s been quite a different process, but I kind of like that, I wanted to go the opposite way for this one.

Did you enjoy one process more than the other?

I think equally because they’re both just very different and hopefully the next one will be different as well, I think I’m quite… I don’t know what the word… I guess impatient or I guess I kind of bore easily so I want things to continuously change as much as possible, so it’s all exciting.

Are you looking forward to touring your new album?

Yes, really excited to get back out on the road! Especially we’ve got an American tour coming up in September and then we’re looking at a European and UK tour after that, so yeah I’m really looking forward to that.

Do you have a most memorable moment from one of your gigs?

Ah they’re all pretty memorable, there’s a lot of amazing venues out there and the fans a lot of them stay, but a lot of them are new as well and yeah just all really cool.

Dan’s album is released on the 21st July (THIS FRIDAY!!) so get excited and find it on Spotify, iTunes and www.dancroll.com 

 

Interview – We Cut Corners

We spoke to Conall O’Brachain about the Dublin duo We cut Corners and their new found fame. The band is made up of just Conall and John Duigam but there is nothing lacking in their incredible sound. The duo have been compared to bands like Vampire Weekend in terms of sound.

ACA: Hello Conall, how are you doing?

Conall: I’m OK, thank you. Hope you’re well?

ACA: We’re great thanks. What can you tell us about We Cut Corners? Any new exciting news?

Conall: We are just preparing our new album ‘Think Nothing’ for release on 25th April so that’s keeping us busy and we’re also on tour right now around Ireland.

ACA: wow, that does sound busy, do you ever stop?

Conall: Me and John are literally always busy writing songs and doing tours, we do not stop! Haha! But it’s what we love doing so it doesn’t feel like work to us just good fun.

ACA: Who would you compare yourselves to in terms of sound?

Conall: That’s a difficult one because I feel that we have a really individual sound. Other people have compared us to bands like Vampire Weekend and Red Shoes.

ACA: Interesting. Do you find it difficult being a two piece? Is it more hard work than the stereotypical band?

Conall: No, not really. We have too much fun to consider it work and we like being busy. We’re odd like that!

ACA: Thank you so much for your time, we love the music!

Conall: Thanks Andy, Alero and Chloe. Speak to you later. I’ll check out Insanity radio!

The band have an album available on ITunes called “Today I realised I could go Home Backwards” and have an amazing sound to them. Well worth a listen!

~ Andy, Chloe and Alero

Give  We Cut Corners’ single “Best Friend” a listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbdcIKA09mU

Interview – The Bohemian Embassy

We spoke to Ben Angel (the lead singer of The Bohemian Embassy) about his musical aspirations, the new album and the unique style of the band.The band is made up of Ben Angel (the lead singer and guitarist) Luke Cradock (on bass guitar and vocals) Louis Lanfear (on drums) Will Jefferies (lead guitar and vocals) and Jade Morris (on violin).  The five piece are from Bath, Bristol and surrounding areas.

ACA: Hi, Ben how are you doing?

Ben:  I’m very well thank you, it’s been so busy with the band and our album release it’s exciting so yes I’m really good, haha!

ACA: That’s good to hear. So how did you guys form such a unique concept for your band?

Ben: We started out with just the two of us (me and Luke) but we met the rest of the band in a recording studio in Bath when we were all sort of putting down some tracks and we decided to collaborate and it went well so here we are!

ACA: Is it exciting to think that you’re a signed band with two albums available on Itunes?

Ben: We’re signed by various independent record labels. We think we have a really original sound so we’re really happy with how it’s going with our music and are working non-stop and always trying out new experiments with our music. We think that’s what makes us stand out from other bands, we’re not one genre, we mix genres up to create something new.

ACA: Can you give us an example of some of your experimental work?

Ben: Of course. We have a violinist for starters! We like to use that to the best of our advantage. We’re told we sound like David Bowie mixed with Arcade Fire and The Clash so that’s exciting. We’ve recently recorded a Lana Del Rey cover of “Blue Jeans”.

ACA: Where do you draw your inspiration from for your music?

Ben: Anything from 1960’s onwards, we’re fans of old classics like The Beatles. The Bohemian Embassy have been busy on tour all over the UK and countries including Spain so sometimes on the road we’ll see or hear something then decide to go to the studio when we’re back and lay down a track.

ACA: Thanks so much for talking with us Ben and if you’re ever near Surrey/London let us know so we can interview you on the radio. We will definitely be playing your music on our show on Insanity!

Ben: That would be great! I will do, I’ll be sure to listen in to Insanity. Bye Alero, Andy and Chloe!

They have albums available on ITunes called “Built for the Future” and have just released their newest album “Seek Love” which came out on 13th March. All of their tracks are available on ITunes so if you’re looking for something quirky and a bit different then check out the band that sound like The Clash with an orchestra edge.

~ Andy, Chloe and Alero

Listen to “Seek Love” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=689imI1eKYk

Rae Morris Interview Brixton O2 Academy, 13th March 2014

Right, so it’s been a crazy year for you with touring, festivals, and releasing your EP, how’s it been

It’s been great, this year in particular has been really exciting it feels like everything’s been starting. I’ve been doing it for quite a while now but this has been the first year that things have been kicking off, like I’ve been played on the radio and starting to get recognised, so the little things like that which have been happening are all really, really positive.

Yeah, you’re all over youtube, and I saw that you were in the live lounge not so long ago, and there are loads of blogs about you, all good things don’t worry

Haha phew. Yeah it’s all been very exciting, still can’t believe a lot of it to be honest but so far I’ve enjoyed every moment

What has it been like touring?

It’s been amazing, in total for 3 years, started when I was 17 (Wow that’s so young) Yeah, I began when I was at college, but this year has been the best as I’ve been with Bombay Bicycle Club supporting which has been wonderful, especially because I supported them a few years ago and got to know them so to have got back with them has been lovely

What are they really like?

They’re wonderful yeah, they’re people that I see outside of the music as well, which is great, especially considering I don’t have that much time to see other people, but they’re very down to earth and we can just get along together

So what about Lunar in the charts at the moment with your vocals, that’s pretty cool

Ah do you like it? Yeah it’s very cool, it was great fun to work like that with Bombay and see how it took off, it was nice to be a part of that

Awesome! And festivals, are you doing any this year?

At the moment I’ve got a few confirmed but nothing major, just a few underground ones like Dot to Dot in Bristol and the Great Escape in Brighton which I’m really looking forward to because it’s just such a great festival, so yeah, just little things like that and hopefully I’ll get booked into other ones as well as the summer goes on.

What do you prefer, touring or festivals?

Umm I definitely prefer long tours because you can really get into it. Like this tour we’re doing at the moment everyone knows each other now and we’re in the routine of it

How long has this tour been going for now

I’ve done two weeks so far already with Bombay and maybe this is the ninth or tenth gig

Haha you don’t even know any more

Haha yeah, I literally don’t, you lose track very easily, but this one today is a London show which is very exciting, I can’t wait

I imagine it’s exhausting though isn’t it?

It is, it’s difficult to y’know keep it going (and stay grounded I imagine?) yeah, you’ve got to keep yourself well, because you’re singing every night

Yeah that’s a point, how do you keep your vocals up to scratch, must be pretty straining?

Haha well yeah, it is… you just… I don’t actually know yet haha, I’m still figuring that out

That’s why you need all the tea and honey right? (at the start of the interview, someone had brought her lemon tea and in drug deal fashion, exchanged munuka honey for money, very hush hush)

Exactly, I’m into all of that, you kind of get obsessed with manuka and all of these fancy things

Hmm the myth of manuka, does that actually work?!

I believe it does yeah! It’s a pretty good thing

You should promo it for them! So what do you do in the day when you’re touring, how does it all work?

Well I stay in travel lodges because we don’t have a bus or anything, we just follow the band, so basically we stay, sleep, check out and then drive to the next place

So you’re just driving all the time! Pretty close proximity with everyone all the time?!

Yep. It really is. But we have a DVD in the van so that’s ok, we’ve been watching Band of Brothers recently which is really good, quite bleak, but really fun… then we just get to the venue at like 3 or 4 where we’ve got to load in and sound check, so by the time you’ve done all that, it’s pretty much time to get onstage and then you’ve got to leave again!

You must just be on an adrenaline high the whole time to keep going!

Yeah, it’s important to make sure you’ve had enough sleep, but it’s so wonderful, I love it so much I don’t mind!

So you actually do look forward to doing it every day, or are you sometimes like ‘ugh I’ve got to go up again!!’

No never, I always feel like, because every gig is so different, there are different venues and all these different factors y’know like the sound and the little changes, so I never feel like I don’t want to do it. This gig is gonna be interesting actually because it’s just the next level, it’s such a good venue to play at

What’s been your favourite venue ever, including festivals, all of it…

Oh ever? Well I played at the Royal Albert Hall not too long ago, I opened for Noah and the Whale. That was just one of those moments… because I’m from the North, Blackpool, so I don’t know London all that well and one of the first things that I did when I came to London when I was a kid was go and look at the RAH and the Royal Academy of Music

Bet you never thought that you’d be playing there one day!

No not at all, so yeah, it was a pretty big deal!

Ok next question, are you a barefoot performer?

No. absolutely not, I am just not into that, just no. I understand the whole no shoes type thing, like if you’re wearing big high heels or something but I’m just not into bare feet

Don’t wanna feel your soles against the stage then? Never get that urge haha

No, well, maybe if you’re like Joni Mitchell or something then that’s totally cool, but other than that it’s just not good… it’s too cold haha

Hmmmm interesting. I think if I was a performer I’d go barefoot… foot jail man, what about at a festival, then it’s edgey right?!

Haha at a festival?! That’s even more reason to wear shoes!

True! So I have to ask, because your hair is fabulous, how do you keep it in shape? Manuka honey perhaps??

Literally, I do nothing, just wash it and then leave it, we have similar hair, that’s the done thing right?

Absolutely! And if anyone come’s near you with a hairbrush fight them off haha… what about your family and friends back home then? Do you ever get to see them? It must be hard to maintain that being on the road all the time?

Yeah it is quite tough, I guess I don’t really see my parents as much as I’d like to but I do see them a lot because they’re massive fans, not just of me, of Bombay and everyone which is good and they’ve kind of got to know everyone quite well now. They’ve already been to like 4 of the gigs on this tour and they’re going to come to more of them!!

Ahh that’s really nice, and how about your friends back home, get to see them much or are you kind of just making more friends on the road, I suppose there’s no real time to keep that well in contact with everyone at home, especially because you started out so young, 17 you said?

Yeah I guess I kind of didn’t make that many teenage friends because I didn’t go to university or anything so I’m just so lucky that I get to meet likeminded musicians like now with Bombay Bicycle Club, they’re the kind of people who I can get really close to

Do you ever sort of make music with them, like, do you ever talk over your songs and come up with stuff? (yeah definitely) or does it all come from you?

Well I guess it’s a bit of both actually, I mean, I’ve always been very sure about what I wanna do, and I kind of know that myself but it’s so nice to have people like Jack and to be able to bounce ideas off and say ‘what do you think of this’ and ‘what do you advise me to do?’ and that’s what’s so nice about having people around that know!

So do you ever jam?

Haha I cannot jam

You don’t all just sit around the piano and do kind of improv

Aww no, I am so bad at jamming, because I’m not like a proper musician, like I’m not very good

Haha don’t say that about yourself, you’re great don’t worry!

Haha yeah, well I’ve been around people jamming and I like to watch them do it, I just kind of sit back and appreciate the jam haha

Jam’s where it’s all at man! So onto the writing of your music, what’s your method, lyrics or melody first?

It’s always melody first with me, it’s always about the music first. And I guess the more that I’m on the road, the lyrics kind of come to me so it’s changing, it’s gradually changing, but yeah, usually it is the music first and the lyrics come later because the words are the hardest part and they’ve gotta be right, they’ve gotta fit.

Yeah for sure, so when you come to writing the lyrics does something just come to you or is it more like a personal, deep down kind of emotional thing haha

It depends because I guess like, if I’ve done a recording of a song when I was just recording the idea, if there’s like a phrase that fits really nicely with the feel of the music then I’ll try and fit the words around that, and it might be something that wouldn’t work and if it is then I don’t try to force it, but yeah usually if I’m gonna write a song then it’s gonna be about something that’s important because you’ve got to sing it every night haha

Haha yes, very true! Are you writing anything at the moment or coming up with stuff?

I’m still writing yeah, I’m trying to write all the time but it is hard when you’re moving around a lot but my album is finished now and is coming out just after the summer so I guess I’m kind of still writing for that as well as writing for the next thing!

Phwoar so it’s all go, never a dull moment! Ok, a bit out of the blue but we’ve got a feature on our show called ‘what bothers me’ so what we’d like to know is what bothers you?

What bothers me? Like anything?

Yeah, it can be as trivial as you like, for example, my most recent ‘what bothers me’ is how I noticed the other day that I grit my teeth when I stroke dogs, out of love I guess haha, which apparently is very weird, I thought it was normal so I was bothered by the fact that not everyone does it… do you, please say yes!!

Nooo… I don’t do that. That’s really weird, sorry haha

Yeah, yeah I know haha so what about you then?

Ok, definitely ice, like I don’t really like ice at all, ice in the freezer is awful, like when you put your fingers into the draw and it’s just the worst, makes me cringe. But I hate it everywhere, even in drinks, can’t have it at all… unless I’ve got a straw because I’ve got sensitive teeth

You need Sensodyne

I’ve tried, I really have! Nothing helps!

Haha that’s too bad, no cold drinks for you then! Have you had any cringe moments when performing or anything, any major faux pas?

Ooo, yeah, last time I was on tour with Bombay, we were in Plymouth and I went out and said ‘good evening Portsmouth!’ because we were doing both places… I think there were a few boos! But I’m glad I’ve messed up like that quite early on, I feel like it’s out of the way now

Yeah it’s a pretty rockstar thing to do, well done! So you went to the Brit Awards recently, how was that? Was it very surreal?

It’s kinda cool, it’s kind of like just really normal though at the same time. The way that I felt about it was that it was really great for everyone to be recognised for who they are and it was just really nice to see the music, y’know, just watch the gigs it’s not really about the awards for me so it was nice to go and enjoy it but I always feel a little bit out of place, it’s very strange

Don’t worry, I’m sure everyone feels like that! So is this whole experience and lifestyle still very surreal for you or are you kind of getting used to it now?

Oh gosh yeah, I’m always in awe, I actually don’t do anything like that ever so it’s really abnormal, I like to just be totally normal and do normal things so going to things like the Brits is just really surreal, I’m always thinking ‘this is a totally different world!’

Well this is your life now I guess haha

Yeah I hope so, fingers crossed

Are you turning into a diva then? Do you have any weird demands or anything?

I really hope not! Uhh no not really, very into health stuff like we were talking about before, I need my manuka honey, so yeah, that’s my one luxurious thing.

I think we can allow you that! Well I think that’s everything I need, and it’s been really lovely talking to you so thank you, I really appreciate it and I’m a big fan! Good luck with everything and thanks on behalf of Insanity Radio, it’s been great!

~ Chrissi Smith

 

Check out Rae Morris’ new single “Do You Even Know?” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nz-GlhKZVg

Interview – Walking Relic

The band formed in 2009 – how did this happen?

 

Me (Jessie) and Chris were in a band in high school, but it didn’t work out, so we started playing with his brother-in-law (Derek) and it just sort of happened!

 

You’ve been likened to acts such as ‘The Killers’; do you think this is accurate?

 

Yes definitely! They’re one of our major influences!

 

Other than ‘The Killers’ then, who would you say have been your musical influences, as on your website, you talk about how your EP ‘Sojourn’ has been influenced by various artists.

 

Yea, definitely… well like we said ‘The Killers’, definitely a bit of ‘Muse’, ‘Florence and the Machine’, and we’d probably say ‘Tegan and Sara’ too.

 

Your website also claims that your EP is a different take on synth rock music… what do you think it is that makes you guys different, and what were you aiming to achieve with this EP?

 

I don’t think we were intentionally setting out to be different, it just sort of happened… I think a lot of it is the actual music. We tend to go a bit over bored with the music, so I guess the sound is pretty layered. I think sometimes bands today don’t have many layers to their music, so I guess this makes us sound a bit different. To be honest, we’re just trying to get ourselves out there and hopefully branch out to the UK.

 

How have you found your music received in the UK compared to the US?

 

I think it’s a bit difficult to say at the moment, because we haven’t yet been out there and seen the influence our music is having over there yet. There is such a different kind of music scene in the UK that we really want to be a part of. We’re from Oklahoma, and our music is very different from the usually Oklahoma scene. We’re hoping our work will be more accepted in the UK.

 

I personally find it really cool that you guys are female fronted. What affect has this had on your career as a band, and do you think it has benefitted you?

 

Yea, I’d definitely say it’s been a benefit. It’s very uncommon within the Oklahoma music scene so it definitely makes us stand out. Plus, there’s been a massive uprising of female artists, such as ‘Haim’, ‘Chvrches’, etc., so this has helped, and it’s really cool to be a part of that.

 

Finally, you’ve done several EPs now… what are we to expect next from you?

 

Yes, our first EP was definitely a learning experience. We mainly just wanted something people could listen to! And this one (‘Sojourn’) is us trying to really get ourselves out there and to spread the word of what we’re about. But we have a full album coming out around the end of Summer/ early Fall which we’re currently recording and are very excited about.

~ Emily Edwards

Check out the new video for “Every Little Thing” from Sojourn herehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZyGj3hS3js