(PCM) Doyle may be a man of very little words, but his music speaks volumes and trust me, it was turned up full blast during the band’s recent show at Reverb in Reading, PA.
Doyle is currently out on the road in support of his debut album “Abombinator” and he along with the rest of the band are gearing up to release a follow-up due out later this year. The band consists of frontman Alex Story of Cancerslug, drummer Anthony “Tinybubz” Biuso (previously T.S.O.L., The Dickies, Hed (pe)), and touring bassist Dietrich (Die Trich) Thrall (standing in for Left Hand Graham), and of course the almighty Doyle himself!
The crowd at Reverb that evening may have been small, but they were no less mighty and Doyle delivered a set that was chock full of raw aggression and emotion. So much so, that it literally filled the entire room. Watching Doyle and front man Alex trade-off both slithering and stomping about the stage was hypnotic and overall I was lost in the music from beginning to end.
Doyle is a true monster with his guitar, as he pounds the strings in animalistic fury and never misses a beat. The band overall had an excellent stage presence and truly commanded the attention of the audience from start to finish.
The band played through the “Abombinator” album at break-neck speed and of course die-hard Misfits fans were pleased, as several classic Misfits tunes was spliced into the set. The tour is just beginning to get underway and Doyle has several upcoming shows with both Mushroomhead and Dope that will last throughout the early spring.
Prior to the band’s performance we were able to catch up with Mr. Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein himself to learn some details about the upcoming second album, his delicious “Hotter Than Hell” hot sauce, as well as, touring plans for the rest of this year. Check it out below :
You can purchase Doyle merch, grab a bottle of hot sauce and more by clicking here!
(PCM) If there has truly been a band that has proven that hard work and perseverance pay off than the words Miss May I should certainly be on your lips. These Ohio-based rockers have been continuously climbing their way to the top of the rock/metal world with each and every tour.
Currently, they have been making their way around the country on the Frozen Flames tour with August Burns Red and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Miss May I are still currently touring behind their insanely successful fourth album “Rise Of The Lion” and are gearing up for the release of a follow-up later this year.
It is always a pleasure to catch up with Miss May I front-man Levi Benton to discuss life on the road, what we can be expecting from the band’s new material and more! Check it out below:
(PCM) Kristyn Clarke and Renee Winner of PopCultureMadness were recently able to catch up with Mallory Knox vocalist Mikey Chapman during their recent tour stop in Philadelphia, PA. The band were part of one of this winter’s biggest tours sharing a bill with both Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce The Veil and PRVIS.
Being out with bands such as Pierce The Veil and Sleeping with Sirens makes this a huge tour for the band. We are sure that they have seen their fan base continue to grow as a result. Mikey tells us “The great thing about this tour is that we get to go back to the beginning, our roots so to say, because we are performing to people who don’t know us and that is where we all start. It means that we can really be the underdogs again and work towards making new fans. So far, so good!
The American public have really seemed to pick up on our sound and what we are doing. People are vibing off of that and really enjoying it, so hopefully that will just carry on growing.”
We assume this must be refreshing to the band overall and certainly like dealing with a different type of animal touring-wise. Mikey reveals “Absolutely. I mean, you go from the U.K. and Europe to Australia and now finally we get to do The States, you notice that the crowds of people are different. They all have the same wants and likes, but there are slight kind of differences that you have to learn and craft your set around. You have to make a point to tailor it to the people you are playing for and people in The States are no different. It’s been a real nice challenge to come to grips with that for sure.”
When asked which songs are going over the best live thus far, Mikey responds “We always have our last song, which is “My House” which we always seem to play last because it is a favorite where ever we go and it carry’s over very well over here. There seems to be a divide among the crowds we’ve played to so far between kids who really like moshing and there are other kids who like the more poppier side of things so its been nice to see that both aspects of what we consider makes us a band are being received by almost two different kinds of people which is really weird, but kind of exciting to see.Kids who enjoy both subgenres of music can come together and enjoy one band. It’s very exciting”.
We were also curious if the band was looking into any of the U.S. music festivals this year. Mikey told us “I think we are going to be doing a summer over here, I can’t say too much right now, but I can’t wait.” The band is also headlining the Takedown Festival this year overseas. Mikey says “We head back home March 6th and then we have a few hours to get to where we are playing and then it is straight back on. It’s going to be nice because it is going to be one of our first home shows of the year. It gives us an opportunity to meet back up with our British fans. We then have a few more days off and they we come straight back here to The States for SXSW.”
With all the traveling that the band has been doing we are sure that they have seen some crazy stuff along the way. Mikey comments “Being a video game lover, one of the things I like the most here in The States and would love to take back home are these arcade/video game bars. It is brilliant. You have a place to buy alcohol and sh**tloads of video games, we don’t have that back home and we have been to three here so far and I am just in heaven.
It’s been a great thing to immerse yourself into and to me it is something that is quintessentially American. Things like pinball they don’t really do back home, as a kid I kind of assimilated so much American culture through television, music and stuff like that, so just being here and immersing yourself in it physically is a unique and exciting experience.”
We asked if it was everything he expected to which Mikey responded “In a way, yeah, I mean obviously you have your expectations, but the people here completely blow my mind and everyone has just been so welcoming and totally wonderful. Everyone seems to be looking out for one another and very friendly, so you guys should be proud of yourselves for that.”
Sometimes there can be certain aspects of a band that people misunderstand from time to time, Mikey reveals that with Mallory Knox often times people actually think they are Australian rather than British and that his name is not Mallory Knox. Many people at shows will think it is a singular person not an entire band. “I am not a girl, nor is my name Mallory Knox”.
He goes on to say “We pride ourselves in just being straightforward and we are what we are. I used to be fed up as a kid about having to know certain things or know this or that to try to fit in and all that kind of rubbish. For me, if you like us you like us, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you do or any of that stuff, it is just completely irrelevant to me. For us if there are any misconceptions they are prefabricated because what we are on stage is what we are in real life. There’s no bulls**t”
The band are currently touring behind their latest album “Asymmetry” which was released last October. In talking about the recording process Mikey tells us “With Mallory’s recording process, before we even get to the studio, just in the writing side of things, we don’t write a song and bring it to fruition, if we don’t believe that it is going to make it onto the record. We may keep some stuff floating from time to time, but we will never take a song all the way to the end and then say we are going to put that one on the back burner.”
Whatever we write, if we are going to spend our time and effort on it, it’s got to be something we really think will fit on the record. Once the writing is out of the way, the recording process process is very swift I suppose. With “Asymmetry” we had maybe two or three months to do this one, which is really unique to us because the album before we only had about two or three weeks. So, in comparison it was a long time for us, which meant we could really perfect certain sounds and things like that.”
Mikey went on to praise his band mates in Mallory Knox saying “They are brilliant at what they do!”
Credit: Andrew Wendowski Photography
We were curious what it was like to work with Gil Norton as a producer and if he challenged the band in any way. Mikey tells us ” Sure. We were really apprehensive to work with Gil because of some of the great records he has done, I mean we are all big Foo Fighters fans, massive Jimmy Eat World fans and know just how influential those bands are and he was such a big part of that. Gil really became a friend and he became the sixth member of the band. He helped us get through certain parts and he just really understood us and how we worked, especially when I was doing my vocals. He knew how quickly I would get frustrated if I couldn’t get something and he would work around it … he could see it before it could. It was the mark of a true master of his craft and we are very honored to say we got to work with him for sure”
The rest of 2015 will hold more and more traveling for the band, as Mikey says “We’ve put a lot of hard work into this record and our fans at home have just been so fantastic at picking it up and giving us the opportunity to do some of the things we are doing now. We just want to do right by that and just tour the hell out of this record and visit as many places around the globe as we possibly can and hopefully make some new fans and friends along the way.”
To wrap things up with Mikey we asked him some of this thoughts on the current rock scene and jokingly what he would do if Kanye took his award away. He jokingly replied “I would kick that guy in the face. I don’t give a sh*t! That guy is rude as hell. Beck deserved that sh*t! Musicians these days fight an uphill battle and I take pride that within British music we all kind of have each other’s backs and it seems to me that being on this tour with the guys in Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens and seeing how they work, everyone is looked at as equals. We all have each other’s backs.”
(PCM) We have been in love with The Bots ever since we were able to catch up with them at last year’s The Shindig Music Festival in Baltimore, MD where they shared a stage with artists such as Jane’s Addiction and Rise Against. While 2014 was a great year for the band, it looks like 2015 is shaping up to be even better.
The band recently made their network television debut on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” performing their new single “Blinded” and have also revealed that they have teamed up with the amazing Norman Reedus, star of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” to direct the songs upcoming music video!
You can check out a preview clip below! We are super excited to check out the finished video!
The band is also excited to announce an upcoming US tour with The Preatures. Don’t miss them on the road this March and April. The band is playing a hometown show this Thursday presented by legendary SoCal radio station KROQ to get warmed up for the tour.
3/23 — Brooklyn, NY — Rough Trade
3/26 — Chicago, IL — Schubas
3/28 — Milwaukee, WI — Rave
3/29 — Minneapolis, MN — Triple Rock
4/1 — Kansas City, MO — Record Bar
4/2 — Salt Lake City, UT — Kilby COurt
4/4 — Seattle, WA — Tractor Tavern
4/5 — Portland, OR — Doug Fir Lounge
4/7 — San Francisco, CA — The Independent
4/8 — Los Angeles, CA — Club Bahia
4/9 — San Diego, CA — Casbah
Also, be sure to show some love to our interview with The Bots from The Shindig!!
(PCM) It was incredibly surprising to learn that a band that has such amazing popularity and have no doubt traveled the globe, Hall and Oates have never performed a show together in Dublin, Ireland. That is precisely one of the main reasons that Dublin was chosen for the recording of the duo’s new concert film “Daryl Hall and John Oates Recorded: Live In Dublin”, as there was just something magical about that particular night and that particular performance.
Much to the delight of fans, the film was released in a select number of movie theaters through Fathom Events on February 19th. Daryl Hall and John Oates are part of that special breed of musicians who have been able to withstand the test of time within the music industry as the duo have been performing together for over 40 years.
Hall & Oates have weathered just about every change imaginable in industry and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees have managed to still hold their title as the number one selling duo in history. The duo continue to grow and expand their fan base even to this day!
In addition to the release of “Live From Dublin”, Daryl Hall and John Oates have recently made appearances on both the Howard Stern Show and The View and have an upcoming gig at The White House performing at the 2015 Governors Ball. And did we mention they are touring as well … definitely quite the busy men these days!
We recently had a chance to catch up with both Daryl Hall and John Oates to discuss the concert film, touring, new music and more!
Q: At this point in your guys’ career as a duo, you and John, what is the nature of that? You don’t really record anymore so how do you guys view and treat the partnership?
DARYL HALL : Well, you know, John and I started as friends, back when we were teenagers, and I think that that friendship, because it was that before it was a musical or creative or business partnership, has sustained us. We’re friends. We’re friends first, partners second. We did all that work together, over that period of time, through the ’70s and the ’80s, and into the ’90s, and even more recently, really.
We have all this body of work that we really enjoy playing. It’s hundreds of songs, and that, you know, we like doing it. I guess that’s the bottom line answer, is we like playing together. We like having a band together. We like playing our songs that we’ve created together. Even though we’re not doing anything currently together as far as music, what we’ve done in the past is certainly enough to sustain us.
Q: Does the relationship with the songs and the music change over the years? I mean, do the songs feel different to you now than they did in ’75, ’85, ’95, whenever you did them?
DH: Well, some of these songs were written, that we play and still deal with, the songs that I wrote when I was 21 years old. Twenty years old. Twenty-two. My life has changed. What was real has become ironic, and what was ironic has become real. You know, all these kinds of things. Life changes the perception of the songs.
What surprises me is how a lot of these songs that I wrote when I was a kid seem to have come true in my later life. That constantly surprises me.
Q: I know you’re not a guy who really likes to dig into the past because you have so much that goes on in the future, or in the present and in the future, but this year is 35 years for Voices. What’s your 2015 take on that, because that really was a kickstarter album for your guys.
DH: Well, I always knew that I was going to be doing it for a long time. I was trained in it and it’s my greatest love and preoccupation in my life. The fact that I’m still doing it and with a certain kind of strength is great. It’s not surprising, but it’s great. I’m very happy that it’s crossed generations. There’s a certain timeless quality to the music that seems to resonate with people of all ages, even young kids now. It’s all very fulfilling, to tell you the truth.
Q: I don’t know if this Dublin concert film, did it start out as something that you saw as being a theatrical release type thing, it would have that component to it, or was it different in any way, I guess, from … You’ve done a few different live DVD kind of things. I’m just curious about the scale of the project and how it came together and the intent of it, to start with.
DH: Well, we did a tour last summer. We did a UK and Ireland tour last summer, our European tour. When I found out that we were playing in Dublin, I had played in the Olympic Theater in Dublin back in the ’90s as a Daryl Hall show and not with John. My memory of that place was that it was an outrageous concert. There’s something about the crowd, about the room, that was, at that time, very magical to me and really special. When I found out that we were playing there, and that Hall and Oates had never played in Ireland ever, which is kind of strange but true, I suggested that we record and do something with it, you know, record the performance.
The company Eagle Rock, who I’ve worked with before,and we decided we were going to film the project, without any idea that what was going to happen happened. After we did it, it exceeded my expectations. It was just an outrageously good night. Not only was the band really on, but the crowd was just crazy. The company called Fathom, who puts these things for theatrical release, saw this performance, and they came to us and said, we’d like to put this in theaters, if you’re into it.
That’s really how it happened, very step by step. I knew it from the beginning that it was going to be a special night, and that’s what it turned out to be.
Q: One thing I’m curious about is, not having seen it yet and not having seen you guys in the past few years, I wonder if you feel the concerts you do now and the kind of thing that was captured on the Dublin film, if you feel like the concerts have a different feel or a different sort of intent or different whatever from the kind of shows that so many people saw during the ’80s, when you guys were so big on radio and you were putting on big shows and stuff.
DH: It’s really different. A few of the things are different. Number one, back in those days, we were really concentrating on what was current to us at the time. In 1985, we would play music from what was going on in 1985 in our world. What we’ve done in the more recent past is that we … Our set, it varied. It changes night to night, and it comprises of songs that we’ve written over all of our career. We’ll mix songs from 1972 with songs from yesterday. In that respect, it’s a much more varied show and it doesn’t relate to just one moment in time or anything like that.
Our band, without any doubt in my mind, this is the best band we ever had. A lot of these guys have been with us for a long time and there’s a few new guys, but the combination is just the best. They understand us and we have a fantastic communication and understanding of the music and so I think it’s better than it ever was. I guess that’s the best way I could put it.
Q: As you said, touring still continues to be something that you and John clearly want to do together. Does that not extend to recording new music? Why is touring so high a priority and recording new music not?
DH: The touring has to do with what we did when we were together and at a period of time in our lives. Right now, we have grown into a place where we’re very individualistic, more than we ever were. We are our own people. I don’t think either one of us has any particular desire to sit in a room and try writing songs with the other guy. We didn’t even really do that that much through our whole career, but we did share album space and stage time. In that respect, we are very much together. We’re together for the sake of that, really, and because we like doing it.
I don’t really feel … I mean, if I want to write a song, or record a song, I just go in and do it, and so does John. I don’t call him up and say, come on and join me on this. It’s just one of those things. Life changes. People move on. Time moves on. People develop. They grow as people, the whole thing, become more individualistic, I think, as you get older. All those factors are … I’m sure they lead to the separateness of us.
Q: I wanted to ask if you and John generally agree on what your best material is, in terms of writing a set list.
DH: Oh, well, our set list changes all the time. We put our set list together depending on what occasion we’re involved in. The mood of the room, I mean, it’s a very flexible thing. We sometimes change it on stage. We’ll say, let’s not play this. Let’s play that instead. As far as agreement, I think it’s sort of a … It’s the whole band agreement, really. We play what we feel is appropriate to the moment.
Q: In terms of different eras of Hall and Oates’ discography, is there parts of it that you prefer, or that John prefers? ’70s, ’80s …
DH: I think we’re both partial to the ’70s as a musical time in general. I think of all the eras that we’ve worked together, it’s definitely within. I think that ’70s music is the time that interests us the most. That’s just personal taste. I guess that’s the answer to that, but other than that, I mean, it’s really a cross-section of our whole writing career. We just draw from anything that moves us at the moment.
Q: Fathom does a lot of these things with a lot of rock bands. Green Day, Springsteen have all done it. I’m curious if you’ve ever seen one of them and also what kind of experience you think that a fan will get watching it on the movie screen compared to seeing you guys live?
DH: Well, I have not ever seen one because I pretty much never go to the movies. As far as what people will see, I think it’s a really good example of what we do. I was involved in the rough cuts and everything so I made sure that it was very, that it really captured the moment. As much as you can without actually being in the room as it’s happening.
It was a very … What’s the word I can use? A very loose and laid back and direct version of our show. We weren’t, and I say this in the best way, we weren’t trying. We were just playing. We were there. There was no pressure. I don’t think anybody in the band felt pressured about it. It just felt like we were really just up there having a good time and experiencing the moment. I think that that communicates in the show and I think that the audience will also experience that.
Q: Also, I know you have a few summer dates already penciled in but are you and John planning a more extensive summer tour?
DH: Well, no. We play all the time. I mean, I have so much going on in my life between television shows and everything else that we don’t have any time for any long tours. What we do is we constantly tour for short periods of time. We go out for a week, ten days, something like that. That happens just about every month we do that. Nothing particularly long coming up in the summer.
Q: How does such a timeless band reinvent itself in the digital age?
DH: Well, I can say it very simply. Live From Daryl’s House. It all happens coincidentally with my show. I think that I started, and as far as dealing with modern technology, dealing the digital age or whatever, dealing with the Internet. It happened because the Internet happened and allowed it to happen. It’s a show that showcases me in a timeless way, working with young people, working with veterans, playing every kind of music you can imagine. I think that perception has carried over into a new perception of what I do with John as well. I really do see that there’s an immediate correlation between that show and the resurgence of our popularity.
Q: A lot of artists today are using apps, whether it’s social media apps like Facebook and Twitter, or even things like SnapChat and dating apps to promote their albums. What are your thoughts on that? Is that something that you guys are looking to do more of?
DH: The way to communicate any idea now, you’d have to use a million different things. You have to use whatever’s there. You can’t just expect that you’re going to put out a CD and have people go out and buy it or anything like that. The answer’s yes. Anything that I can do and need to do to get the people whatever I put out there, I will be involved in doing. That’s for sure.
Q: I was interested when you were talking about your band before. You have a really great band playing with you on this show. I know some of them have been with you for a while. Wondering if you could tell us a little bit about this band, how they came together, and how long you’ve been playing with them.
DH: Okay. Well, I can start with the oldest member is Charlie DeChant, who plays saxophone and some keyboards. He’s been with us from almost the beginning, from 1975. He is by far the longest and oldest member of the band. Then let’s see. The second person would be Eliot Lewis is our keyboard player and I’ve known Eliot for a long time. He’s been with me for quite a long time too, since the ’90s. Klyde Jones, the bass player, I’ve known since the early ’90s and he’s played with us on ad off for that period of time as well. He’s been a permanent member of the band more recently. Brian Dunne is a relatively recent drummer. I’d say now, it’s been about 5-6 years that he’s been with us, and who else is left?
Shane Theriot is the newest member. He’s the guitar player. After the death of my friend T-Bone, who played guitar, we had a bit of a scuffle to see who was going to take his place and for a while, Paul Pesco was playing guitar and now Shane has taken that role and done an amazing job. Did I miss anybody? I don’t think so. That’s the band.
Q: Your career is so focused on your hits and you guys perform most of the big ones in this movie. How do you guys keep those songs fresh for yourself and keep them from feeling like an obligation after so many decades of playing them?
DH: Well, all of our songs we play in our set. Not just the hits but including the hits. They evolve. As we evolve, as band members change … Walking away from them sometimes. One of the good things is if we don’t play for even a month, when we come back to it, something different happens. We have the kind of band that we have an almost telepathic ability to change things on the spot, evolve things and make things different all the time.
Plus, there is a built-in improvisation in the music, just because of the kind of music I write. Soul music, there’s a lot of freedom in it. All those factors, they allow it to be fresh. We drop songs and we don’t play them for a while and we bring songs from the more obscure era and all those kinds of things. It just keeps it all fresh.
Q: There’s always been a lot of talk about how people are back into Hall and Oates because of nostalgia. It struck me that they’re just hungry for decent songwriting again. I was wondering what you thought about that.
JOHN OATES: I think you’re probably right. I think our songs have been … We started out as songwriters. We have always looked at ourselves as songwriters, in addition to the other things that we do, performers and singers and players and producers and record makers and etc. At the core of everything is the songs and you know, I look back on things like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and stuff and I seriously doubt whether we would have ever been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if it wasn’t for the songs we wrote. Therefore, I will agree with you on that for sure.
Q: Are you ever surprised by some of the older songs about how many opportunities there are to revisit them and reimagine them?
JO: Well, that’s the beauty of a well-crafted and well-written song, is that it can be interpreted and re-imagined in a lot of different ways. That’s why our songs have been sampled so many times and they’ve stood the test of time. It’s all about the meat and potatoes, about if the song really got it, do you know? Can you sit there with an acoustic guitar or a piano and play that song for someone and achieve the same emotional impact that you can do by fleshing it out with a complete production and a recording. Here again, all about the songs.
Q: John, obviously you and Daryl have mined this incredible soul music from America that’s really one of the greatest exports to the world. You guys have obviously led a charmed life in this era but so many of your predecessors have fallen on hard times. Why is it so important for us as a musical community to reach back and pay tribute and homage and let a lot of these living legends that are still around, the Little Richards, the Chuck Berrys and all them, really know what they meant to us and show them love?
JO: Well, that’s a very good point. I’m with you 100%. They are the direct link to a legacy of American popular music that, as you prefaced your question with, has really changed the world. It’s been, in my estimation, and I know I have my own opinion on things, but I think it’s without a doubt one of the greatest exports that America’s ever given to the world. It’s done nothing but create a positive image for America. It doesn’t do anyone any harm. It’s certainly changed popular culture in the Western world. That’s a pretty heavy contribution to history, in a way, and I’m glad I feel like Daryl and I are part of that. We’re proud to be part of it and the people who paved the way for us should be recognized and honored and appreciated during their lifetime as much as possible.
Q: What was it like to go back and listen to this live recording, this Live in Dublin recording when you were preparing it for release? Was there anything that surprised you about your own performance or about the audience’s reaction?
JO: I was surprised and not surprised by the audience’s reaction. The only reason I would say I was surprised is I had never played that particular venue. We’d never played in Ireland. I did a songwriter’s festival in Ireland a few years back but never played with Daryl. I knew that it was going to be an exciting night, having never played there. The venue was so cool and legendary. It had so much history. All the ingredients were in place for a great night and a great performance. Certainly, I think we captured it. The band was on fire and the crowd was into it.
You put all those ingredients together and you get something very special. I’m so glad we committed to filming this particular show. When you put your eggs in one basket and you say, okay, this is the night we’re going to film this concert. Let’s hope it’s a good one. Here again, all the stars aligned for that.
Q: I’m curious to know, we’ve seen so many changes within the music industry over the years. Probably one of the biggest ones is seeing the uprise of social media and all that. Of these changes, which one has probably had the biggest effect on you personally?
JO: Well, just musicians’ ability to basically make a living from their creative skills. I’m a professional musician. I’ve been a professional musician for a long, long time. I believe that creativity has value and copyrights have value. I don’t believe it should be free. In that regard, I wish there was better ways of selling our music.
Unfortunately, I think the establishment, the music business establishment, the old guard, blew it when the digital revolution began and didn’t see the writing on the wall. Unfortunate for a whole generation of musicians to come. Not so bad for me and Daryl because we already have a large fan base and we have a legacy. I work with a lot of younger musicians and I feel their pain. I see how difficult it is for them to break through. It’s a very complicated subject.
Q: With your long career and so many classic songs, how do you decide which songs you wanted to perform in concert, specifically to the Dublin show, knowing that people around the world were going to be seeing the show? Did that affect the set list at all?
JO: Not really. Not very much. That set list is capturing a moment in time. It’s the set list that Daryl and I have been working off of, with some variation, over the past year or so. It changes. It evolves. We drop certain songs. We add certain songs, but the core of the set are the big hits. In a way, I believe we have a professional responsibility to play those big hits. We’re proud of them. They’ve stood the test of time. That’s why they are the songs they are.
In that regard, we have a really good problem. We have a lot of hits. We sneak in the deep tracks, and we do that because we like it and because we feel like it shows a little bit more of a broader scope of who we are and what we’ve accomplished over the years.
I would like to go more in that direction one day, but the Dublin show is capturing the moment in time. If we do another DVD in 2 years or whatever, it’ll be a different moment in time. This is the band. This is the Hall and Oates band right now, right as it is today, with one of the best backing bands we’ve ever had. With Daryl and I, I think performing pretty well at the top of our games, so I think it’s a great moment to capture.
Q: Now, I know you’re also touring solo with your most recent album as well. How is it different playing songs out there without Daryl and do you tend to do more solo stuff there or do you mix your solo stuff with band stuff?
JO: My solo shows are totally solo. Every once in a while, I’ll do a different interpretation, like I’ll do a Delta blues version of Maneater or something like that, and I’ll do an acoustic version of She’s Gone, but my solo shows are all solo. People come to see what I’m doing now. If you want to see Hall and Oates, why see half of Hall and Oates? That’s the way I look at it. Come see a Hall and Oates show and you get the real thing, but if you want to see what I’m up to and the kind of things that I’m into on my own, then it’s a completely different experience. I like it that way. I think that’s as it should be.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the evolution of Hall and Oates into a performing entity, from a recording to whatever degree writing entity? It’s been very interesting to see you guys become what you exist as now.
JO: Well, I think really … First of all, you don’t have enough time. That’s the first thing. Secondly, we began to play live from the moment we got together. In fact, that’s what we did. In fact, that’s how we got together. We got together as a reaction to what we were doing with other people.
Daryl was doing studio work in Philly and he had made some recordings with some people and he wasn’t satisfied or happy with that situation. I was playing in some blues bands and playing folk clubs and things like that. We got together almost as a reaction to all that, and we said, let’s just go play our individual songs together. You play a song. I’ll back you on guitar and I’ll play a song and you’ll back me on piano or mandolin or whatever.
We started and we started playing coffee houses and art galleries in South Philadelphia. That’s how we started our reputation. Really, we were a live group from the very beginning. We never were anything but a live group, and to this day, we still are. Our recordings came, actually, after that. We started live so it was actually kind of backwards from what you initially said. Like I said, I think one of the reasons we’re still around is because we never stopped playing live ever.
Q: What are you up to now? You did that very interesting … I don’t want to call it single period, but you know, putting out a song at a time.
JO: I did that in March of 2013. I released 6 or 7 digital singles from Good Road to Follow. That became a solo album. Then my current project’s called Another Good Road, which is a DVD version of that music. I wanted to extend the life of that music because I was very proud of it, so I did a DVD, which is being currently played on Palladium. It’s available. I went into a studio in Nashville with a lot of the players and singers who I perform with and record with. We cut it live and with some … It’s kind of a documentary, a musical documentary.
That’s what I’m up to. I just finished a month-long tour with my solo band, and getting ready to go back on the road with Daryl.
Q: I personally always stuck with you guys, but there was a period of time where Hall and Oates were not as fashionable as they are again. How does an artist withstand that period of time?
JO: By not identifying your self worth and your own value by commercial success. Artists and people whose self worth is completely intrinsically linked to their commercial success are doomed to fail. I’ve never thought of myself that way and I know Daryl doesn’t either. We cared about the musicians. Every decision we ever made from the time we started pretty much has been what will allow us to continue to do what we love to do and what we were born to do.
When you use that as your starting point, as your criteria for decision-making, you don’t fall into the trap of worrying about whether you have a hit or not. If we had to go back to clubs, we’d go back to clubs. We did that periodically during our … We went from stadiums to clubs and back to stadiums. Now we’re doing the same thing. I play clubs every night. I think it’s fantastic. Then I play big venues with Daryl and that’s fantastic too.
You just have to believe in yourself and fortunately for us, we had enough commercial success to give us that foundation to do that.
Q: I was curious to know if you could talk a little bit about the generational appeal of your music. I’m sure now you’ve seen the fan base grow over the years. I’m sure now you’re seeing parents even be able to bring their children into this, especially the live shows.
JO: I saw that in the ’70s, believe it or not. What Daryl and I noticed right away when we began to start playing live in the early ’70s, before we had any hits, we would look out in the crowd, even if it was a small little coffee house or a small club or whatever. We always had young people and old people. We had people who were way older than us, back in the early ’70s, and we had people who were younger than us. It’s always been that way.
I believe that it has to do with the songs that we write. I think we appeal to people on a universal level, in some way. There’s something about the things that we talk about that seems to not be tied to age and generation. The younger generation who’s rediscovered us now is an open-minded generation because they’re not being force-fed what’s hip and what’s supposed to be good by rock journalism and by mainstream big business record companies.
They have the Internet. They have the world at their disposal. They can research anything they want. They can find any kind of music they want from all different styles and eras. They just care about good music. Whatever touches them and moves them. I think that’s one of the most positive things about the new digital generation. Maybe that’s why they’ve latched on to us because here, again, our songs seem to stand the test of time.
Q: I was thrilled to hear you mention that music is this universal language that everyone can relate to, even in a different way. Was there a particular point in time that music began to speak to you?
JO: From birth. Really, honestly. I started singing when I was a little kid. I have a recording of me singing Here Comes Peter Cottontail when I was 2 years old at Coney Island Amusement Park in New York. Then I have another recording of me at the same amusement park when I was about 8 or 9, singing All Shook Up. I’ve been playing guitar since, I think, 6 years old. It’s just been part of my DNA, I guess.
(PCM) We simply can not get enough of Toronto-based band Menage! The group is made up of siblings Basilio, Gabriel and Bela Ferreira who are truly a musical force to be reckoned with! Get ready … because Menage is poised to take the music industry by storm.
We were recently able to catch up Menage is chat about their brilliant self-titled EP, touring plans, new music and so much more!
Q: Can you share some details about the creative process behind the latest EP?
Menage: This is the first one where we kind of we had played the songs live already and were a full band. Our first album, we had the music before we were a band. I think this album was a little more catered to us if that makes sense.
Q: Do you feel that the live element of our music carried over to the recording process?
Menage: I think we started things with a much quieter type of performance, so we really wanted to show that with a three or four song EP. It’s a completely different sound and shows a completely different side of us.
Q: Do you have any plans to release a full-length album or do you think that you will stick with the EP-style releases?
Menage: I think for the time being where we’re at, we’ve noticed that since the first album that our careers are ever evolving and the band is evolving. Being out on the road with a lot of different bands and we are influenced by a lot of different sounds so we’ve found that it is always Menage at the core, but there are different things we like to play around with sonically so I think that we are always evolving. Also, the stories we are telling, basically our songs are written about day to day life and our lives change with every single note we release. It may not be major or earth-shaking but our little world and our little circle definitely changes with each release.
I feel that with EP’s it gives us a chance to give a play by play of what is going on with our career. It gives fans a chance to hear where we are at during this season or these couple months and our next EP will be out a couple months after and it might be a completely different life experience we are going through. Our songs are for the most part non-fiction and about real lives.
Q: I imagine that has got to keep things fresh for you all as a band.
Menage: Yes, definitely.
Q: I found that while listening to the EP, especially one of my personal favorite tracks “Till The End”, that the music has a very cinematic quality. Can you comment on that?
Menage: That particular one I feel like was after a cross America tour that we did and the shows whether we plan it or not become very interactive. We like to make it not about we’re up on stage and you’re down there watching, but more like an experience that everyone can share. Those are the show that we always dreamed of being part of as a fan watching other bands so, that was just one example where we wrote it and recorded it just imagining the next tour that this is going to be something for everyone to chant along with and it is an anthem of sorts. I think that was an example of writing a song different than on the first album because it was based on experiences from being on the road for so long.
Q: How is it working together as siblings?
Menage: (laughs) That question always comes up! And there is never a delicate way of putting it. I don’t think that we are any different than any other group of siblings so you can just imagine piling up in your mom and dad’s mini-van and going on a summer road trip with your siblings as a kid. There are always arguments that you are going to go through and stuff like that, so nothing changes just because you’re in a band.
Everything from what songs we are recording next, the set list we are going to play that night to arguing over the radio station that we are going to play in the car. It’s pretty simple. It’s just an extension of a normal sibling situation when you are stuck in a small confined space.
Q: I am sure that you all have varied musical influences. For each one of you personally, do you have that pivotal music moment that made you want to pursue music for a career?
Menage: It was very, very early for all three of us. We always had music playing in the house, we always watched music videos. Music videos are more exciting to us that any movie or video game could ever be and we were just obsessed from the very start. I can’t remember us ever not being obsessed with music and music videos. Our parents were not musicians at all but they were big music fans and it was just to be on the other side of the TV screen and it being just a dream come true.
When we realized that if we just work at it maybe it is possible that there is a career in there somewhere even if it is super challenging, but that was just the beginning. Even with Dave and Elliot, the other two guys in the band we all feel the same way. We have trailed off with different musical influences but I think together somehow it just works. I think we are very lucky in that aspect.
Q: I agree. Your chemistry together is amazing. I also love the fact that you have not forgotten the art of the music video. I feel like, despite there being a lack of home for them anymore the visual element is still very important.
Menage: Yes, it’s sad and we agree that music videos are definitely still very important.
Q: With all the changes we have witnessed within the music industry over the years which one would you say has had the biggest effect on the band?
Menage: I think we are still unaffected by it, we really kind of do our own thing. I feel like whatever is going on outside of our little bubble we don’t really get too affected by the business side of it. We’ve come to realize that online stuff is very important whereas all we care about is playing live in front of people … real live people. A live band will never be replaced yet. As long as people still want to see live music I think there is always a place for band and touring bands.
Q: Exactly! I always want to argue with those that say rock is dead saying ‘Have you been out to a show lately?’ without a doubt people are still hungry for it! What does touring look like for Menage into 2015?
Menage: We have several west coast shows coming up late February into late March which will take us to South By Southwest and we will probably extend from there. Most likely we will be headed east from there.
Q: Has there been any work on new music? I know that “Black and White TV” has been released.
Menage: We are in the studio right now with David Botrill and that is another crazy little dream come true that we never thought possible. He is responsible for some of our favorite albums of all time. He has worked with Smashing Pumpkins, Muse and Placebo so we’re super excited. We are just finishing off the last pre-production touches and then we start recording in a matter of days. We are in Canada right now and as soon as we are done we get on a plane and head out to California and that’s when we start the dates.
Q: That’s so exciting. I also have to ask what it was like to work with Jim Barr?
Menage: It was amazing. He is the nicest guy. Obviously, he is in the UK so it was all online and we did talk on the phone a little bit. It was long-distance, but I think he totally saw in his eyes what we wanted with his vision and we are excited to hopefully work with him again. We also have to note that on “Black and White TV” the humble star of the song is George F. Adra on the blues guitar. He is a Syrian musician, who is a friend of ours and speaks very minimal English because he just moved to North America from Syria.
He is an incredible guitarist and we discovered him through a friend of ours and when we heard him play we said you just have to be on this track! It sounded so haunting and the track itself is very haunting and everything is very dark about it and the guitar just fit in perfectly. We need to get him in more demand here in North America. He is an amazing guy and so so talented!
Q: On a personal level I look at music as a universal language that we can all speak and understand even if we take different messages away. Is there anything in particular that you hope that the music of Menage will say to listeners?
Menage: To forget and kind of let go from the depressing world that we live in and kind of take a break for a minute.