Brittany Lee's Blog
Happy Monday Buzznet!
I got the pleasure of doing a phone interview with the talented Gavin Degraw recently! I have been a fan of his music from day 1 and have always been so impressed with how powerful his lyrics were, his songs would be on repeat daily. He has managed to uphold that reputation and his fans are still supporting him over 10 years later! Whether you are a new fan or someone who has been singing along to his music for years, I hope you enjoy this interview and be sure to check out his newest album on iTunes HERE!
You just released a new album, can you tell us a little about that?
I released an album yesterday, my latest. It's called 'Finest Hour: The Best Of Gavin Degraw'. It's essentially a greatest hits type of album but it's my selection of songs that I want people to hear who haven’t herd my music before to give them a good overview of my music so far. I’ve put out five studio albums and this is me hand picking songs from those albums and going “here check it out, see what you think”. It was a really good time to put out the song fire which I just wrote with a couple of guys I know and we were so excited about this song we were like we gotta get this thing out there immediately so I thought how I could get this out there immediately and I spoke to people I knew and they were like well you know you could put out a best of album because there’s enough material here and we can use your new song "Fire" as part of the way to promote it this way you get to get this song out there to the world.
You have some new songs on the album, whats the process in creating a new song for you?
Well it's pretty much all over the place you know you have an idea for a melody or lyrics and they start leading the way for each other but ultimately it all has to fit into the frame work of what you think that melody is. The melody is the important thing first and then of course coming up with that lyric. The melody is the design to make you think oh that’s catchy or that’s pretty or that’s fun but the lyric is really where you get the opportunity to allow people to know you and allow the audience to feel like they know you and so the power of a lyric is very special some people can just write a lyric so great that everyone feels like they know them for thirty seconds. The song writing process is always an interesting one and is always fun because you can make something really good or you can really ruin something and you know when you're done which way you’ve gone. That’s one of the fun things about it, it's an imperfect system.
The crazy part is as a listener you can take so much from that and create a completely different scenario in your head...
100% exactly, you know music is a way to either escape or be part of something so it's always interesting to see all the different ways it can be used. For something invisible it's really quite special you could be in a restaurant listening to one artist but if they put on a different artist it feels like your in a completely different place.
Aside from song writing and all the different challenges that comes from that, what has been one of the biggest obstacles for you as an artist over the years?
Obstacle wise I think has been a couple of years ago I finally decided co-writing and my biggest obstacle was me. I'd get in the way of certain things; I'd be married to a particular idea and it has to be this way so I should just always write alone and these are the things that in my opinion stunted my growth for a while and when I finally decided to try it improvements happened immediately and things changed exponentially for me and improved for me. The biggest thing was getting past some of the restrictions I created for myself because of whatever reason. I had to get past certin ideas.
Do you write for other people as well?
I do but it doesn’t mean they’ll cover the song sometimes I'll write things and end up doing the song. For me when were in the studio and I was thinking to myself awe man I want Tom Jones to do this song but he’s never even herd the song I wrote it myself . I was thinking about Tom Jones when I wrote "Leading Man" and when I wrote "Follow Through" I was thinking about Paul McCartney and so sometimes you write a song for someone but not necessarily because their gonna sing it, you write it and think about what someone like that would do or like to do without them even hearing it
You have some amazing fans that have stuck with you over the years since the beginning; whats the best thing a fan has ever done for you that stands out in your head?
Fans have done some really great things. If your lucky enough to have a fan base they’ll really change your life. Years ago when I was out on tour living in a van and things were rough a fan came up to me and she gave me a Starbucks gift card and getting free coffee and a snack here and there was very helpful to me, it was a big deal. Fans making scrapbooks and putting together photos of you over the course of your summer tour or your album cycle or if they’ve been coming to your shows for years and they have a book made of them and another fan that they became friends with by listening to your music or online, its very special to see how you can become part of a community and it's very flattering and sometimes when your writing music you don’t think about that stuff or the residual affects that are really quite inspiring . Things like that are just so cool. When we first started touring wed do a show and wouldn’t have any money to stay at a hotel and people are like hey man you can shower at my house and just stuff like that. The early part of your career it’s a really special thing because people are trying to help you and a lot of those people stay with you your entire career if your lucky. And they defend you and promote you and tell their friends about you and its really a special thing.
Fans don’t even realize they are half of the magic, you could sit there and play all your amazing songs to yourself but the whole point is you want other people to be inspired by them so it's great...
Exactly, and everyone wants to feel special. Everyone wants to feel at the end of the day that they are appreciated and music is one of those lucky jobs were you get done with your work day and people clap for you. There’s not too many jobs where at the end of the day people start clapping.
Because you are someone who has clearly followed their dreams do you have any advice for anyone that’s struggling trying to follow their dreams right now?
I guess a couple things, you have to be completely dedicated to it, if your pursuing your dream you still have to go to work concerning that thing. If it's your dream you have to put the hours in. If your doing that thing that’s your dream but it only feels like work then that’s not your dream, it shouldn’t feel like work. You're going to work but it shouldn’t feel like work, if it does that’s not the dream it, can't be, it has to be fun. Music is always fun for me.
It's one of those things that once it sparks you, you should always be inspired and excited to continue it...
Exactly, you know my brother just lost a very close friend who was a master carpenter and artist and he said to him "I never worked a day in my life." ...and he was a man who went to work everyday.
It's so true and its one of the most challenging things...
Yea but you know some people they have different dreams, they don’t necessarily dream of doing what they love they just dream of being famous or rich or have the person who teased me in high school work for me. There’s totally different dreams and different versions of what people consider to be a dream so its hard to give advice. I just say if it is your dream it should be something you love and it's possible for anybody. If I can be here doing this for a living anybody can.
Since you did use to travel in a van, if you could design your dream tour bus and have some of your essentials that you’ve just dreamt up in your head, what would your dream tour bus look like?
My dream tour bus would be a jet with a hotel in it, hahaha. That would be my dream tour bus. It's actually a plane that is a hotel.
If you could no longer do what you were doing right now what impact would that have on you?
My life would be nothing similar to what it is now because it's my favorite thing to do. I don’t know, that’s hard for me It would defeat me, I cant think of anything that would make me feel more defeated than not being able to do what I love.
Any last words for your fans?
I wanna tell them thank you and you’ve changed my life and I love you for that and I hope to see them soon.
What do YOU guys think of Gavin Degraw? Do you have a favorite song?
Hey Fellow 1D Fans,
I am speaking to you all because I know you also fell in love today when you watched the video for "Steal My Girl" Am I right? Well, aside from it being perfect and the song being catchy and incredible...can we talk about Harry's outfit?
Because he looks cooler than ever, it got me thinking "How can we get this look?". Well luckily for you I decided to do some research...Here is how YOU can get the look of Harry Styles in their video for "Steal My Girl"
You can get this amazing jacket at Nasty Gal HERE!
You can get any simple black button up or get this cute girly one from Monki HERE!
Any black jean will do but you can buy this cute pair from River Island HERE!
You can be creative here but I think a cute black bootie or a plain black shoe would look best! Buy this cute black ankle bootie from New Look HERE!
And TADA! Here is your fashionable look:
Would YOU rock this look?
Hey Music Buds,
I recently had the opportunity to interview Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire! He just so happens to be one of the nicest people I have ever met and that same passion shines through in his music. Seeing them live was what really hooked me. You can see the fans feels the love they radiate and they know how to keep their crowds entertained with their powerful lyrics and incredible stage presence.
Check out their newest video anout their tour with Yellowcard as well as the interview we did and let me know what you think of them in the comments below!
You've said that the sound on the new album is much more mature. What facilitated that growth as artists?
First & foremost, we're always growing as people. Along with that comes maturity with the music we write. Both lyrically & instrumentally. If we ever write a record that we're not more proud of than the last, we'll be done.
What was the best part of the process in creating the new album?
My favorite part of the recording process is getting to spend time with Cameron Mizell. He's great at what he does & he's such an awesome dude. I'd like to track all my vocals with him for the rest of my career.
What's it like being on the road with Yellowcard? How is it different from past tours?
No one ever expected us to tour with a band like Yellowcard, & that's the best part! We love them as people & we grew up listening to their music so it's an honor for us. We're so proud of how this tour came together!
What are you most looking forward to with this tour?
The opportunity to give our fans a different type of concert experience. I love putting our fans & Yellowcard's fans in the same room & watching the magic happen. It's truly incredible.
What's next on the agenda for you guys?
We have multiple tours planned! Nothing that I can announce quite yet though ;) STAY POSTED!
What is your favorite song from Memphis May Fire?
Hey music lovers,
We have some new music for you to check out from Bryce Vine! Bryce is premiering the Youngblood Hawke Remix of "Where The Wild Things Are" right here with us on Buzznet! If you are looking to be put in a good mood...this song is exactly what you need!
"My influences growing up were alternative rock, punk and grunge so it's great when I get a chance to dip the tip back into that world just to see how it feels. It's really satisfying to hear this song translated in that direction so successfully by Youngblood Hawke, of whom I am a big fan." - Bryce
We have had the song on repeat but we want to know what YOU think! Tell us in the comments below!
I got to interview one of my personal favorite musicians, Kenny Vasoli! We talk about fans, challenges and of course all things Vacationer! Enjoy!
I've got to know, where would be your top choice to take a vacation?
Since getting to shoot the video in Costa Rica, I can't wait to return there. The air is so thick with moisture it feels like getting a warm massage at times. It was by far the most lush and beautiful place I had ever been.
When you are touring, do you get lots of chances to explore the cities your in?
We do explore as much as we can. I always bring my skateboard to get me quickly around a city. I usually hunt down the best record stores, looking for buried treasures. We also make frequent stop overs in parks and trails to hike and chill. We've found it's a good move for morale to set aside some leisure time.
You use lots of looping in your sound, where does the inspiration for this come from?
That production comes from Grant Wheeler and Matt Young of Body Language. We came together through a common love of electronic music. They've schooled me on deeper level of influences since I'd started working with them. I'd always loved Four Tet and Caribou, but they were the first ones to show me J-Dilla "Donuts" and that opened the door to instrumental hip hop for me.
How do the lyrics to your songs come about?
To be honest, I try to get as relaxed as I can and then I just mumble along with the music. I usually record that once I've locked into a melody I like. Then I listen back and write down words that I think resemble my mumbles. It starts out with a lot of blanks, but if I have a few words to start with then it seems to shake complete thoughts loose. I try not to second guess my lyrics. A good friend and fellow musician once said to me "I ask myself if my lyrics are embarrassing." If not, then they stay.
Your band name, the name of your new album all have a mellow-beachy vibe. How do maintain such a chill outlook?
Worrying never helps me, so I try to never do it. Life is so enjoyable if you can just remember to relax and enjoy it. I love the no-worries message in reggae music. I try to relay that with this not so reggae band. I love chill people. LOVE them! I truly want to be one myself and want to attract them to hang out at our shows.
What was the biggest challenge of making the album? What are you most proud of?
It can be an intimidating feeling going back to the drawing board and facing a blank page. The biggest challenge was returning to the well for inspiration. It took me quite a while to get the juices flowing. I owe so much to Grant and Matt for constantly sending me instrumentals to work with. It's very inspiring writing to their tracks. I'm glad that we didn't rush it. I couldn't be happier with how this album sounds and the message that it holds. It's a very good reminder for how I'd like to aim my outlook on life.
What are you most looking forward to for fans to experience with the new album?
I try not to form too many expectations about how people will react to this record. You can just bet on seeing a very excited individual performing these songs when there are people there enjoy them. I love seeing a connection from the people, I hope they feel the vibe.
What is your favorite song to perform live, and why?
I like playing “Shining" a great deal. It's got enough breaks in the vocal so I can dance and we've been locking in together on the performance. It's a dance number, so it works well anywhere in the set. We've recently started playing “Glimpse." That one is a welcome change of pace. It's such a different arrangement from the rest of songs.
Who are some of your OG's, or people that have inspired you by being so good at their own craft?
David Byrne and Thom Yorke are both guys that continue to blow me away throughout their lives. They both have magnificent minds that definitely motivate me to improve and hone my own work. The brilliant records from some of the greats really light the fire under me as well. Albums like Astral Weeks, Pet Sounds, Pinkerton, Vespertine. Those can break my heart at times because they are so good.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
I'd love to work with James Murphy, in any capacity at all. If he's not available there are lots of artists I'd love to collaborate with; Classixx, The Avalanches, Orna. Please, give me a call for a top-line.
What do YOU think of Vacationer?
We got to sit down with Benji and Joel of The Madden Brothers to discuss their new music, tattoos, Pharrell and more...ENJOY!
You both have multiple tattoos. Are any of them especially significant to you?
All of them are significant (Joel.)
All of the tattoos I got first. All the bad ones. (Benji)
The music from your debut album as The Madden Brothers is stylistically distinct from the music previously released with Good Charlotte. How has the creative process been different now that it is just the two of you?
We have a little bit more freedom to do what we want. (Benji)
Pharrell Williams co-wrote a couple of songs on Greetings from California. What was it like working with him?
Pharrell is an awesome guy to work with. Really fun and creative. (Benji)
Who are some of your favorite artists right now?
Ryan Adams, Echosmith, Vampire Weekend. (Benji)
Joel just finished being a judge on Season 3 of The Voice Australia. Benji also made an appearance as a coach on the show. Can you tell us what that experience has been like working with upcoming talent?
It’s really fun encouraging new artists to go for their dreams. We had a blast. (Joel)
Recently fans were asked to post pictures on Instagram with signs telling the world what they are done with using #WeAreDone. What would you guys say you are done with?
We are done with any of the things that have held us back from being creative and happy. (Benji)
What made you guys want to join forces as a new group rather than doing your own solo projects?
We love working together. There’s nothing like hanging with your brother. (Benji)
If you had to describe your latest album in 3 words what would they be and why?
Creative, musical, fulfilling. (Benji)
You have been touring in Australia in support of Greeting from California, are their any plans for an American tour?
Yes – doing a few dates this year. Much more touring to come in 2015. (Joel).
The Madden Brothers just released a new album so be sure to pick it up on iTunes HERE!
We got to sit down with Metro Station recently to discuss all of the exciting things they have in store for you all. We talk their reunion, music, tour and much more...check it out!
Be sure to check out the tour dates HERE to see Metro Station on The Outsiders Tour at a city near you!
What are your thoughts on Metro Station's reunion?
I got to sit down with the talented lady herself, Julia Sinclair! She has some incredible music along with an inspiring story that I know you will all love.
Your sound is so unique, like a mash-up of rock and country sounds. What would you call your sound?
That’s a tough one. I grew up playing classical and jazz guitar but was heavily influenced by bands like The Police, Oasis and Chicago. I play what I like and I like a lot of different things.
Who inspires you?
Well, the Bands I mentioned above and actually, in terms of The Police, I’m inspired by Sting’s entire career. Pretty amazing. As far as contemporaries, The 1975, Muse and Haim have been in my rotation for the last couple months.
What is your songwriting process like?
A song can come from anywhere. Sometimes I start with a guitar riff or melody. Sometimes I start with a story or a couple words. Whatever works. I will say I hate doing the same thing over and over again. When I get bored I change instruments or locations.
Do your songs come from a personal place, or are they more your observations on things? How do you put that to music?
A bit of both, but the songs off my upcoming EP come from a very personal place. “The World is ours” is a story about meeting my wife in Nashville. “This too shall pass” was inspired by my own self-discovery and the light, however dim, at the end of every tunnel. It feels good to be vulnerable.
Are there ever any challenges in translating what you've composed over to a recorded version in the studio?
There are. The biggest challenge is allowing other people’s creativity to expand upon what you’ve already created.
What can we expect from the album?
There are some reflective, painful moments but overall, it’s a good time. If the album’s an indicator of where my head’s at, I’m in a pretty good place.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far? What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
The biggest highlight of my career may have been making this EP. I got to work with some incredible producers. John Alagia, Nolan Sipe, Brian West, Daniel Heith – Thanks guys! Finding the right team isn’t easy and has been a challenge in the past. I feel pretty lucky.
What are you most looking forward to?
People hearing the songs and attaching their own experiences to them. That’s when music becomes something bigger. I also love my band and can’t wait to get back on the road. Lots to come.
Stay in touch with Sinclair HERE!
I got a chance to interview one of our favorite British sensation...RIXTON!
Your music videos are so cute and funny! Do you guys keep a good sense of humor between you all? Do you ever play pranks on each other?
We try to make sure we don't take ourselves too seriously and keep everything light hearted! We play pranks on each other from time to time but nothing too severe!
What was it like working with Benny Blanco and Ed Sheeran on the album? How do you like collaborating with other artists for projects?
Working with Benny an Ed was a dream come true for all of us! Were all huge fans of Benny's work and getting in the studio with him you realise how he is one of the biggest producers of our generation! Ed is the definition of a superstar and on top of being an incredible artist and writer is the nicest guy!
Lots of your music centers around heartbreak. Does this come from personal experience? Does writing music act like a kind of therapy?
We try to write about universal relatable topics! It just so happens that a few of the topics are about broken hearts!
Jake has said that some of the songs on this album have survived six years. What message would you want to give fans who are working hard to pursue their own dreams, just like you guys are?
Just do it for the love of it! You'll have 100 people that won't give you a chance but there will be someone out there that shares your vision!
What are you most looking forward to about touring with Ariana Grande?
Were looking forward to getting to see all the states in the US, meeting all the fans! Were also playing some prestigious venues around America that will be incredible!
They recently did a secret show with Myspace and you can watch the FULL SET HERE!
What is YOUR favorite Rixton song??
I am always looking for new bands and artists to check out and share with my fellow music junkies! I found another one that I know you will love, they are a bad called Priory!
This band has such a fun sound, it puts you in a good mood and makes you want to hear more. Does it get any better than that?
1. Your music has a great electro-pop sound. What inspires the sound?
Brandon- We are gear heads and have a large collection of weird synths and percussion instruments in our recording studio, LOUDWAR. The electro elements essentially come from messing around for countless hours.
What was the process like in creating your album?
Brandon- Kyle and I are both multi-instrumentalists that record, engineer, produce and perform mostly everything ourselves. Our process is very organic. We don‘t set out to make our music sound a specific way. We work the songs until they feel right and don’t worry about fitting them into a specific genre or structure. We love creating new sound pallets from scratch. We will often spend a whole day figuring out a drum sound or guitar tone. We live for extreme contrasts. If a verse is simmering, we want the chorus to knock your head off. Live we are a very guitar-driven band. We put out on stage. We tour as a five piece and I have to say our rhythm section is crushing right now.
What has been the biggest obstacle for the band so far? What would you consider your biggest success?
Kyle-Brandon and I gave up any form of a income or regular life to start working on this record. We found funding to build a studio so that we had a place to create everyday. We clocked long days and odd hours to make something that we are very proud of. This decision was definitely tough. Brandon had to give bass lessons and odd constitution jobs for cash and I gave plasma 2 times a week for grocery money.
Our biggest success has to be being paid to play music. We struggled for such a long time that having people care about of songs is fantastic. We were able to go to London and mix the album with one of the greats (Spike Stent), as well as have a song in the top 20 Alternative Billboard. The fact that we get to play music and create art every day is unreal.
What has it been like to tour with The Kooks? What have the highlights been?
Kyle- We have had such a blast touring with The Kooks and Halsey so far. A big highlight for us was a sold out show at The Wiltern Theatre in LA. When we started playing the intro to Weekend and the crowd started cheering and immediately sang along. It is an indescribable feeling when a song that the song you wrote in your own studio (LoudWar Studios) in Portland has become accessible to everyone via radio and online streams.
What is the best thing a fan has ever done for you or given to you?
Kyle- A few years ago a fan in Sweden contacted us via email and asked for the lyrics and music to one of our old songs “Kings of Troy.” We said okay and sent a reply asking what he wanted it for. He told us that he wanted to play it on acoustic guitar right before he asked his girlfriend to marry him. Pretty bad ass!
Do you guys like the video and their music?