Ryan Scott Graham Interview by Cullen Ronan

Ryan Scott Graham is the vocalist for an emo/indie group that goes by Speak Low If You Speak Love and the bass guitarist for a pop-punk band that named the State Champs.

1) How did you come up with the name “Speak Low If You Speak Love” for your solo project?

It’s sort of a combination of 2 interests I had in High School. My freshman year I took a brief liking to Shakespeare and “speak low if you speak love” is a quote of his. My sophomore year I got really into a band called My American Heart and coincidentally they had a song based on that very quote. I felt as though it was TOO much of a coincidence and I decided to adopt it as my moniker. At this point, SLIYSL is such a long, annoying name that I just go by Speak Low. But that’s how it came about!

2) How did your relationship with Pure Noise Records begin?

I started talking to Pure Noise shortly after I joined State Champs. They knew I had a solo project and believed that the songs had potential, so they asked me if I’d be interested in re-releasing my previously independently released full length. Obviously I was stoked to work with a label that I believed would breathe new life into the record that never had a proper release. The rest is history. Incredibly hospitable individuals who gave my solo endeavor a chance. Very, very grateful for the opportunity they’ve provided for me.

3) At what moment in your career did you decide to fully commit to your music?

I’ve always known I wanted to do music as a full time thing. I originally didn’t even apply for college because I wanted to tour. Eventually I did go, but I wasn’t invested because I had my mind on music. Between taking classes and working part-time jobs, I was touring relentlessly with my previous band, Good Luck Varsity. It has been my number one priority since high school and it’s awesome to finally see it blossoming.

4) What was the inspiration behind your debut SLIYSL album: “Everything But What You Need”?

The album covers a massive spectrum, but its main idea is dealing with the idea that you’re not good enough or just not enough in general. I write songs that are personal but still leave a lot up for interpretation. It’s fun for me to hear what listeners have to say about certain songs and lyrics. I try not to divulge too much about the ideas behind each song unless I’m having a conversation with someone. They’re emotional!

5) What was it like creating the music video for “Knots”, considering it’s the first one you’ve made for Speak Low If You Speak Love? How did you come up with the idea for the video?

The video process was awesome. I had been watching a ton of colorful films before I left for a short tour in Japan, and knew I wanted to create something that was visually stunning. Choosing to do it in a country like Japan was a no brainier. Once the tour finished, we stayed 7 extra days to write and plan for the shoot. The conceptual process was just Elliott and I sitting across from each other at a table bouncing ideas. I took a lot of ideas from movies such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Lost in Translation. Movies that don’t necessarily have a happy ending, rather one that you can develop for yourself. It was fun to sort of leave the audience hanging.

 6) How is the creative process different for SLIYSL and State Champs?

Very similar, actually. Just a lot of sitting around with acoustic guitars and fiddling  with chords and melodies. The main difference is that Speak Low is just me locked away in a room, rather than being a collaborative effort.

7) What venue on your upcoming tour with Aaron Gillespie and Nathan Hussey are you most excited for?

Very excited to play Anaheim’s Chain Reaction. I’ve been there a few times with State Champs and it’s always been an amazing experience, so I’m ready to see what it will be like for an acoustic show.

8) What was the experience like playing on Warped Tour 2015?

Warped was great, but just too short! Unfortunately I was only able to play for a week of the tour, dude to State Champs touring duties, but each show was special. I haven’t done a ton of touring with Speak Low, so some of those places I hit for the first time. It was really incredible to see the reaction in the tent. Some days there were a lot of people singing along with me, and truthfully I wasn’t really expecting that.

9) What’s the most memorable show you’ve ever been a part of, on stage or in the audience?

The Australian arena tour with 5 Seconds of Summer was probably the most surreal show experience I’ve ever had. Playing for upwards of 15,000 people a night was something I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams. It was strange and scary at first, but as soon as we settled into it, I felt like we nailed it. It was fun and interesting and hopefully something we get to do again down the road.

10) What do you consider to be the best album of 2015 so far?

My favorite record of 2015 is Kintsugi by Death Cab For Cutie. Bleak and beautiful. Ben Gibbard is a brilliant songwriter – one I strive to emulate. Really pleased with their latest effort. Nostalgically brings me back to younger days.

11) Do you prefer performing the Emo/Indie Rock style connected with SLIYSL, or the Pop Punk style of State Champs?

It’s really not comparable. Both projects are so different in a live setting. The intimacy of Speak Low shows are something I look forward to, whereas the energy of a State Champs show really shines. You’ll have to come out to one of each and let me know what you think.

12) Has the extremely positive response to your new State Champs record “Around the World and Back” surprised you?

It hasn’t necessarily surprised me, but it’s been a great affirmation of the idea that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m so happy people are enjoying it and buying it and sharing it with their friends. Really hoping that this record will be able to take us to the next level!

13) If you could collaborate on a song with any artist, who would you choose?

I’d really love to write a song with David Bazan. He and I have similar upbringings and his honesty is something I admire. There are times where I want to just come out and say something, but instead I retreat to skirting around it with a metaphor. He’s someone who can bring a simple idea or concept to life with his candor. It’s really special.

Little White Things Interview by Mercedes Silva

1. Where did the inspiration behind your band name come from?

The band name is taken from a section of a science-fiction book from the 90s written by Michael Marshall Smith. It was a toughie making music was the easier part.

2. How did you guys decide you wanted to start a career in music?

Max – We both took a risk and moved to London from other countries to pursue our musical dreams and to do what we loved doing. It’s hard to plan for these things, you just sort of dive in head first and work as hard as you can.

Dave – We both have been playing music for a long time, I made the choice when I was about 12.. It probably wasn’t the best choice till a few months ago ;)

3. How has the band affected your lives?

Dave – Wake up calls from management are a pleasure as well as hearing Step back on the radio. It’s been positive so far.. Even the relatively early mornings…

4. What was your favorite part about recording ‘Step Back’?

Max – Half of the song was recorded in our producers bedroom, the other half in his living room. We had so much fun throughout the recording. Stomping around making animal noises and shouting was fun, it gave the last chorus its character and sound.

Dave – Our producer Ben Jackson would make these delicious vege lunches for us most days, this paired with stomping and animal noises made our days worthwhile!

5. Speaking of ‘Step Back’, where did you draw the inspiration to write the song?

Dave – I had just moved to London and wrote the lyrics and demo in the first week, I don’t ever have a start, end or a plan of any sort where lyrics or riffs are concerned.. Anything can be inspiring, cold London can inspire me to be in-doors with the guitar.

6. Is there any place in particular that you want to tour in the future?

Max – Everywhere! Going back to Ireland or Sweden will of course be special, but we want to go to every corner of the world.

7. What’s the recording process like for you guys?

Max – One of us usually come up with an idea, and the other one completes it. It’s often Dave with a catchy chorus, or a great vocal melody, and we then work on the arrangement and the verses together. Or I have an idea for a guitar riff and Dave works out a nice melody to go with it. Since we come from such different musical backgrounds it’s an interesting clash when our different genres and ideas come together.

8. Has there been anyone in particular in your lives that have had a positive affect on your decision to start a music career?

Dave – I picked up my dad’s un-used acoustic guitar (I believe he received it for Christmas one year), it was gathering dust and I started playing it from that day. So my dad’s lack of interest or time for playing was very positive! ;)

9. What is the best part about making music?

Dave – Hearing it very loud.

10. On your Facebook page, you describe your music as “indie”. What made you choose this genre of music over other genres?

Max – We love all sort of music, but making music that attracts a large audience yet still in an interesting, fresh way appealed to us.

Dave – We were slightly more independent when that was written. It will probably be updated soon. ;)

11. What can fans expect from your future music/albums?

Dave – The songs are getting bigger and bolder, so expect more instruments and primal screams.

12. What do you want your shows to be like? (i.e. what do you want fans to leave saying?)

Dave – The shows have some major lighting, so if people leave the shows slightly blind with their ears ringing and humming the songs we’ll be happy.

 

Find LWT on social media using these links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lwtband/

Twitter: @LWTOfficial

Instagram: @LWTOfficial

Bon Mot Interview by Jayline Tapia

Tom Meyer- Drums/Vocals (age 20)

Axl Sin- Bass/ Vocals (age 20)

1) How was your band formed?

Our band was formed after Axl, and I decided to start writing and working together. We’ve known each other since elementary school, we were both active in the New York music scene since high school, and after having a number of unsuccessful music endeavors between the two of us, we eventually decided to meet up and form a group together. And from there, we posted on a musicians page on Facebook looking for like-minded people, and found our former guitarist and lead singer Jake with whom we played several shows.

2) How did you determine your name?

Bon Mot means the good word or a witty remark and it derived from the thought of “what gets people into trouble?” And it usually is what you say. So I guess it’s just what we want our music to be, us to be, the witty remark to whatever we get thrown at us or see in the world.

3)   What kind of music do you play? What is your specific genre?

A general description of our music would be Hard Rock. However, we go in and out of many genres and never liked putting a label on ourselves as being a certain genre or type. If we’re passionate about the music were making, the genre type is the last issue on our minds. But for the sake of putting a label to us as a formality, we comfortably accept Hard Rock or Shock Rock as an appropriate category

4) Do you plan on maintaining that genre or do you plan on changing up your sound at any time?

Right now we have a bit of what we call “shock rock” which is in your face, remark rock. But like any other musician we’ll definitely branch out. Expands ourselves musically but still be the raw in your face monster we started as.

5)   Who are your musical influences?

Our influences range from a number of different genres and bands. Off the top of my head, Black Sabbath, Rancid, Motley Crue, Stone Sour, SIXX AM, Halestorm, Metallica, The Used, The Misfits, Nirvana, and Many more.

6) How do you come up with the lyrics for your songs?

Our lyrics reflect the days of our lives. Mainly the ones that stand out the most. Ya know, the kind you think about late at night. So our lyrics are just those haunting thoughts on verse chorus verse spread.

7)   When do you plan on dropping your first EP?

We were hoping to drop our EP in December of 2015, but as unforeseen circumstances occurred, as of now were not sure when an EP will be released.

8) Was the recording process difficult for you?

Recording is always a tough nail to hit. It all depends on band compatibility and understanding. Yeah it takes time and you get really articulate about things you’ll change your mind about later but when you get it right, it’s such a rewarding feeling, like fireworks almost

9)   How many performances have you done so far and which has been your favorite?

So far, we’ve done about 3 official performances. My personal favorite was our first show at The Grand Victory in Brooklyn. There is nothing greater than the anticipation of introducing yourselves and your own original music for the very first time. It was a life changing experience playing with these guys regardless of bad blood that may exist, and whatever life may have in store for us. Zombie prom was amazing as well, it being our first headlining show to a crowd of over thirty people, it was a personal milestone for myself, and the band.

10) What’s your fan base like?

Fan base alongside your music is super crucial. You get the ones who become die hard since day 1 and the ones who get there depending if your insanity matches there. So we have pretty crazy fans and we believe we’re just as good as the fans behind us. We work for them not them for us. Hand in hand and all that jazz.

11) Do you have any big plans approaching for the band?

As of now, were going to be focusing on finding new key musicians to help expand our band and music. Our biggest plans are to find a vocalist and guitarist who fit in well with Axl’s and my vision, and can add a healthy balance of their own personal goals for the music.

12)  Is there anything you want to say to people who haven’t heard your music yet?

If you’re into the wacky hijinks then you’ll be into us. Fiends, ghouls and all the crooked grins, everyone’s welcome to the scene.

Interview with Witchcraft

By Chris Brachlow and Brian Carducci

 

 

Interview with Oculesics by Brian Carducci

JE: Jon Ellis

JD: Jon DeCarlo

1. So, how did you guys end up meeting and coming together as a band

JE: DeCarlo and I were roommates at the University of New Haven; he was playing in a band called The Ghost Sonata at the time and I was actually playing alto sax in a jazz combo before I even started to learn the bass my junior year. A year later, we started to just jam with two friends of ours down in the campus studio which birthed our first song, “Tulsa’s Mom’s a Slut”. Over the next few years the pieces slowly (very slowly) fell into place for our first album to be released in 2011. Sokol, our fourth drummer, came on board about two years ago. I met him through our previous drummer Emmett Ceglia who I also played with in Autocatalytica for a few years. Matt really gets how to play this style and has given us our most solidified lineup to date.

2. Who would you credit for inspirational influence over your sound and vibe as a band?

JD: All of us can agree on Drugs to the Dear Youth by Tera Melos as our common starting point. Vince Rogers is my Jesus.

JE: Tera Melos for sure, their first two releases are just so beautifully complex and intricate and really challenged how I listen to music. I’d also credit Meet Me In St. Louis, Giraffes? Giraffes!, Russian Circles, and Refused as influences among many others.

3. Since you guys don’t have much material out yet, I’m pondering how your sound will expand and how it will change. Your sound as of now is already very original and not very comparable to many other bands that I know of. If you guys have anything new in the works or any new ideas, would you say that your sound has evolved into something a little different or is it sounding relatively similar?

JD: Thank you for the compliment, our two releases are separated by 4 years (7/7/2011 and 7/7/2015) because we put an intense amount of scrutiny into every second of the songs. Because of that scrutiny it takes us a long time to get songs to where we’re all happy with them. We are heavy revisionists and we were still reworking ideas as we started the recording process of the last album. Our general approach is “how can this be better?”. In regards to new music, Matt has 4 songs that he wrote and we’ll write a few others to go with them. We’re not exactly sure when that will be released but the vibe is definitely different from the last album, I don’t think we would want to release a record that sounded exactly like the last thing we just did. We’re all drawn to music that is unique in some way, I hope that bears itself out in what we do.

4. I managed to catch your show at “The Space” in Hamden CT, and I thought you guys killed it. I went to the show to see Chon (the headlining band) without any knowledge of you guys, but you reeled me in with your sound. How has the tour with Chon been going?

JE: We were actually just booked as the local opener for that one tour stop so I can proudly say that 100% of our CHON tour sold out! All kidding aside we had a blast, everyone came out early and seemed to really get into our set.

5. So if I’m not mistaken, oculesics is more or less the study of eye behavior. How did you choose this name and what meaning does it hold, if any?

JE: Yeah more or less, I think it relates specifically to eye related non-
verbal communication which is something we do frequently during our set to hit our cues and keep everything as tight as possible. Jon and I were in communications class together in school and oculesics came up as a vocab word. We liked the sound of it and needed a name for our “band” to go along with our one song at the time. I’ll go further to say our song titles are purely arbitrary jokes and references to things we find funny or interesting.

6. Although your songs are instrumental, do they capture any specific themes that you had in mind while writing them?

JD: The first album was all about dichotomy. It was structured as two groups of three songs, separated by a single song in the middle. Inside of each song there are explorations of ideas jutting up against one another, and the two groups of three songs each explore different contrasting ideas. Being our first album we were still trying to find our voice and dynamic as a band. The first three songs were very much about where we wanted to go as a band, the last three songs were more of an homage to our influences and where we had come from previously. This last record was also structured into an A and B side, but is written more deliberately. The A side is more technical and the B side much darker and heavier. Personally, when I am writing a song I want it to feel like a story, I want it to have a narrative nature that requires you to invest some attention. Beyond that, I think one of the best things about instrumental music is that it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. No one has to have a common language, experience, or upbringing to be able to appreciate it, it feels more inclusive that way.

7. Can we expect any more live shows in the near future?

JE: We do have a show coming up at the MIT Coffeehouse Lounge in Cambridge on Nov 12th but beyond that no tours planned right now. I’m currently living in Boston, DeCarlo is in Danbury, and Sokol is in Brooklyn so frequent practices and shows are tough for us but we’re trying to get out there s much as we can.

8. Where can fans find you online and access your music?

JE: Our two albums can be streamed and downloaded for FREE at oculesics.bandcamp.com. All of our show announcements and updates are on Facebook and tumblr

9. When can we expect to see any new releases?

JE: If we stick to the schedule we’ve been on, our new album will drop on EXACTLY 7/7/2019 but we got some new songs already in the works so we’ll try and have something before then!

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