music videos reviews tour dates

Growing release final video vignettes in advance of PUMPS



Growing’s final two self-directed video vignettes previewing their new album PUMPS! have been unleashed today. Out next Tuesday, April 6th on VICE Records, the videos for “Highlight” and “Challenger” [premiered on The Music Slut] conclude the series of six released over the last two months.

Joe DeNardo’s “Challenger” gives a nostalgic, seizure-worthy portrait of the band’s youth, recalling “our older brother buying us beers, we’d all kick it at Ocropolis with Barry [London] and jam it out.” Kevin Doria’s “Highlight” engages a more cryptic (and borderline NSFW) interpretation, leaving us with “Where’s Waldo? Father must be proud.”

Watch all of the six video vignettes here and be sure to catch the band’s live sonic takeover coming to a city near you. Their upcoming full-length video for “Mind Eraser” will be included exclusively with the album pre-order at, along with all six video vignettes released to date. Tour dates below.

Watch the videos for “Highlight” and “Challenger” here:


Pre-order PUMPS! now at VICE Records

Tour Dates:
Tue 4/6/10 COCO66 Brooklyn NY
Wed 4/7/10 Tufts Boston, MA
Thu 4/8/10 Monkey House Winooski VT
Fri 4/9/10 Babylon Ottawa, ON
Sat 4/10/10 Casa del Popolo Montreal QC
Sun 4/11/10 The Garrison Toronto ON
Mon 4/12/10 Call the Office London ON
Wed 4/14/10 Contemporary Art Museum Detroit MI
Thu 4/15/10 Bottom Lounge Chicago IL
Fri 4/16/10 Project Lodge Madison WI
Sat 4/17/10 7th Street Entry Minneapolis, MN
Sun 4/18/10 The Aquarium Fargo, ND
Wed 4/21/10 The Vera Project Seattle, WA
Thu 4/22/10 Biltmore Cabaret Vancouver, BC
Fri 4/23/10 Northern Olympia, WA
Sat 4/24/10 Berbatis Pan Portland, OR
Mon 4/26/10 Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, CA
Wed 4/28/10 The Parish Oakland, CA
Thu 4/29/10 Brookdale Lodge Santa Cruz, CA
Fri 4/30/10 Spaceland Los Angeles, CA
Sat 5/1/10 Eagle Rock Center for the Arts Los Angeles, CA (w/ Eric Copeland and No Age)
Sun 5/2/10 UC Irvine Irvine, CA
Mon 5/3/10 Casbah San Diego, CA
Tue 5/4/10 Solar Culture Tucson, AZ
Fri 5/7/10 Mohawk Austin, TX
Sat 5/8/10 Notsuoh Houston, TX
Mon 5/10/10 Circle Bar New Orleans, LA
Tue 5/11/10 E.A.R.L. Atlanta, GA
Wed 5/12/10 Pilot Light Knoxville, TN
Thu 5/13/10 Al’s Lexington, KY
Fri 5/14/10 Summit Columbus, OH
Sat 5/15/10 Garfield Artworks Pittsburgh, PA
Sun 5/16/10 Pleasant 123 Huntington, WV
Tue 5/18/10 Floristree Baltimore, MD
Wed 5/19/10 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, PA

Ólafur Arnalds’ sophomore album …and they have escaped the weight of darkness to see North American release June 8

Ólafur Arnalds’ sophomore album …and they have escaped the weight of darkness to see North American release June 8

Icelandic neo-classical artist Ólafur Arnalds has announced the release of his second full-length album, …and they have escaped the weight of darkness, in North America on June 8th via Erased Tapes (Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm).

…and they have escaped the weight of darkness will herald another intense year for Arnalds: the album will set off a world tour, starting in China in March 2010. It will also bring him to the UK for his first performance with a full-blown symphonic orchestra conducted by André de Ridder (Nico Muhly/Damon Albarn) on July 1 at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. The 23-year-old composer is bringing his beguiling electronic chamber pop and classical compositions to destinations the world over, with sights set on the US and Canada later this year.

“Mature, modern explorations of life and its unexpected joys, rendering Arnalds increasingly visible”. -Best of What’s Next, Paste Magazine

“Tiny yet detailed scenes in music boxes, charming and sad…, hint at a formidable future for Arnalds” – Pitchfork

“…Arnalds’ mostly instrumental songs, which fall somewhere between contemporary classical and experimental electronica, are gorgeously textured sketches with as much restrained hope as melancholia.” – Robin Hilton, NPR

“More accomplished than ever before” (8/10) – Drowned In Sound

“Gorgeous, on-line chamber-glitch success'”**** – Uncut

“This modern, maybe post-modern, release takes you back to the pre-digital days,
when music was simply beautiful” – Magnet

“Arnalds possesses a deft ear for theme that many composers thrice his age lack” – Exclaim!

tour dates


New Song “Breakneck Speed” Streaming Now at
Coachella, Bonnaroo, Special Guest Dates with Passion Pit Confirmed

Newmarket Ontario’s favorite sons Tokyo Police Club have confirmed the title and release date of the band’s second full length album: Champ will be released June 8 on the band’s new U.S. label home mom+pop. The band has provided a sneak peek at the new record in the form of the track “Breakneck Speed,” currently streaming at at

Though coincidental, the title of the new song is more than apt, given the pace with which the months leading up to Champ’s release are filling up: The band will return to its rigorous touring regimen in early April, with international appearances including April 17 at Coachella, June 11 at Bonnaroo, and a June run supporting Passion Pit concluding with an already sold out June 29 show at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Bandshell and a June 30 inaugural performance at NYC’s Governor’s Island. In addition, Tokyo Police Club will spend late May and early June in Europe, including a headline appearance at the Immergut Festival in Germany. For further dates as they’re announced, more details and updates, check back at

Tokyo Police Club is Greg Alsop (drums), Josh Hook (guitar), David Monks (vocals, bass) and Graham Wright (keys/percussion). The band formed in 2005 and released the debut EP A Lesson In Crime the following year to instant and universal acclaim. One more EP, a digital-only single and a few world tours later, Tokyo Police Club’s first full length album, Elephant Shell was released in April 2008. Elephant Shell’s release was preceded by multiple sold out shows in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto, and followed by appearances on The Late Show With David Letterman, The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and, yes, Desperate Housewives. Critical response to the full length was even more enthusiastic and diverse, with the likes of GQ, Elle, Spin, Rolling Stone and Men’s Health all giving thumbs up. The band toured relentlessly to support Elephant Shell, finally wrapping up in the U.S. at the August 2009 All Points West Festival.

Champ is Tokyo Police Club’s second full album and first for mom+pop, the independent label formed in 2008 by Cliff Burnstein, Peter Mensch and Michael Goldstone. Burnstein and Mensch are the owners of Qprime, management for the likes of Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snow Patrol, Muse, Silversun Pickups, and The Mars Volta, among others. Goldstone is a veteran A&R exec whose most recent tenure at Sire saw him sign Regina Spektor and Tegan and Sara. Other mom+pop artists include Metric, Freelance Whales Sleigh Bells. As with previous Tokyo Police Club records, Champ will be released in the UK and Europe by Memphis Industries, home of such artists as The Go! team, Field Music and The Ruby Suns.


April 6, 2010 Starlight – Waterloo, ON
Apr 7, 2010 Isaacs Bar and Grill – St. Catharines, ON
Apr 8, 2010 Rokbar – Hamilton, ON
Apr 9, 2010 The Red Dog – Peterborough, ON
Apr 17, 2010 Coachella Music Festival 2010 – Indio, CA
Apr 27, 2010 Mr. Small’s Theater – Millvale, PA
May 29, 2010 Immergut Festival – Neustrelitz, Germany
May 30, 2010 Uebel und Gefaehrlich – Hamburg, Germany
May 31, 2010 Lido – Berlin, Germany
Jun 1, 2010 Luxor – Koln, Germany
Jun 2, 2010 59:1 – Munich, Germany
Jun 4, 2010 Paradiso – Amsterdam, Holland
Jun 5, 2010 Botanique/Witloof Bar – Brussels, Belgium
Jun 7, 2010 The Ruby Lounge – Manchester, UK
Jun 8, 2010 Scala – London, UK
Jun 9, 2010 The Tabernacle (with Passion Pit) – Atlanta, GA
Jun 11, 2010 Bonnaroo – Manchester, TN
Jun 12, 2010 Club at Firestone (with Passion Pit) – Orlando, FL
Jun 13, 2010 The FIllmore (with Passion Pit) – Miami Beach, FL
Jun 14, 2010 The Ritz Ybor (with Passion Pit) – Tampa, FL
Jun 16, 2010 House of Blues (with Passion Pit) – New Orleans, LA
Jun 17, 2010 Warehouse Live (with Passion Pit) – Houston, TX
Jun 18, 2010 Stubb’s (with Passion Pit) – Austin, TX
Jun 19, 2010 Stubb’s (with Passion Pit) – Austin, TX
Jun 21, 2010 Palladium Ballroom (with Passion Pit) – Dallas, TX
Jun 23, 2010 The Pageant (with Passion Pit) – St. Louis, MO
Jun 25, 2010 Royal Oak Music Theater (with Passion PIt) – Royal Oak, MI
Jun 27, 2010 Mann Center (with Passion Pit) – Philadelphia, PA
Jun 29, 2010 Prospect Park Bandshell (with Passion Pit) – Brooklyn, NY
Jun 30, 2010 Governor’s Island (with Passion Pit) – New York, NY

“Breakneck Speed” Widget

music videos

CHEW LiPS To Perform First Ever New York City Show on April 12


Hot on the heels of their successful US debut at this year’s SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, two weeks ago, London-based electro-pop trio CHEW LiPS are excited to announce they will be performing at Littlefield in Brooklyn, NY, on Monday, April 12. As their first ever show in the New York City area, the band will be showcasing their powerful and vivacious live show while performing tracks off their highly-acclaimed debut album “Unicorn,” an album that was recently released in the UK on January 25.


Karen – Chew Lips – Official Video

“Unicorn” was produced by Dave Kosten (Bat for Lashes), and is an album that presents itself as a gloriously off-kilter take on pop with a number of wayward electronic elements. Made up of ten tracks of impeccably-executed future-pop that veers from grinding electro-pop grooves to fevered howls of beat-heavy R&B, “Unicorn” is a record fit to herald a new decade.

“An accomplished first offering” – Q MAGAZINE
“The threesome have created an utterly peerless work.” – NME
“…with a fully-formed personality front and center, it seems silly to doubt them.” – PITCHFORK
“Mixing indie-rock sophistication with minimal dance pop beats and melodies, CHEW LiPS tap into a vein that’s been a little overdone over the past couple of years, but do so with a level of energy and skill of performance that could let them transcend the clichéd dance pop level into something a little more substantive, a la Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Metric.” – AMERICAN SONGWRITER

Show Details:
Date: Monday, April 12
Venue: Littlefield, Brooklyn, NY
Doors: 7:00 p.m. – 18+

music videos



MTV Will Help Fans Keep Up With The Band On The Road Through Multi-Platform Promotion To Run On MTV, MTV2, MTVU, MTV Hits And And Sirius-XM Alternative Station Alt Nation Will Give Away Pair Of Tickets To Each Tour Date and 1 Grand Prize Winner Will Be Flown To Los Angeles For Show At The Greek Theater To Meet The Band

New Single “This Is War” Climbing The Charts At Alternative Radio

Thirty Seconds To Mars BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge Cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” Currently Spreading Around The Blogosphere
(New York, NY, March 31, 2010)- Multi-platinum rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars just finished the European leg of their Into The Wild tour where they headlined arenas including sold-out shows at London’s Wembley Arena and Paris’ Bercy stadium will return stateside to kick off the U.S. leg of the tour beginning April 9th at the Pearl in Las Vegas (full schedule below). Into The Wild is the band’s first tour in 3 years and is in support of their new album This Is War (Virgin Records), which was released in December, 2009. The album has already spawned a #1 single with “Kings & Queens” which spent 3 weeks at the top of the alternative radio airplay chart and the second single “This Is War” which Entertainment Weekly called “unashamedly epic” is following right behind. In just a few weeks of airplay, it is currently at #25 on the chart and climbing steadily. Mute Math and Neon Trees will open the U.S. leg of Into The Wild. Thirty Seconds To Mars will return to Europe in June to play the summer festival circuit.
Thirty Seconds To Mars has partnered with MTV for a special exclusive multi-platform promotion that will bring fans close to the band throughout the tour. Exclusive behind the scenes and performance footage will air on MTV, MTV2, MTVU, MTV Hits and through out the tour. The band will also host an episode of MTV2’s “Rock N Jock” at one of their stops, airdate will be announced soon. In addition to airing behind the scenes footage, will host “30 Seconds With 30 Seconds To Mars,” allowing fans to submit questions for the band that will be answered at each tour date. Sirius-XM Satellite Radio is also running an exclusive promotion. The alternative channel Alt Nation will give away a pair of tickets to each date of the tour and 1 grand prize winner will receive a trip to Thirty Seconds To Mars’ show at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on May 15 to meet the band.
Before leaving the UK, Thirty Seconds To Mars stopped by BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge on March 29th where the performed “This Is War” and a cover or Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” They were also awarded the the Ultimate Live Lounge cover for their version of Kanye West’s “Stronger” during a previous visit. Their version of “Bad Romance” has been rapidly spreading around the blogosphere since Monday. You can see it on the bands youtube page here

MTV praised This is War, declaring “If only all big rock albums had this much nerve” when it debuted in December at #2 on the alternative album and digital album chart, selling nearly 71,000 albums in the first week of release. The album has 2000 different album covers, as friends, fans, musicians, artists and many other notable persons submitted their own photos to be used on individual covers as part of the band’s innovative Faces of Mars campaign. Not only are fans on the album’s different covers but thousands of fans from around the world can be heard singing on tracks throughout the album. The band invited fans to attend summits in 8 different countries and online, where they recorded a variety of sounds, choruses and versus for the album.

Formed by brothers Jared Leto and Shannon Leto, Thirty Seconds to Mars have over 100 million views on YouTube, 48 million plays on MySpace and more than one million fans on iLike/Facebook. The band have won numerous awards and accolades, including an MTV Video Music Award, three MTV EMA’s, an MTV Latin and Asia Award, a Fuse Award, and three Kerrang! Awards. Thirty Seconds to Mars’ sophomore record, A Beautiful Lie hit multi-platinum status after two years of heavy touring and winning fans over, one-by-one, garnering the band a growing and loyal fan base.

Thirty Seconds To Mars BBC Radio 1 Lady GaGa “Bad Romance” Cover



Today Ben Kweller, in conjunction with Esquire Magazine and its April issue (on newsstands nationwide March 23), is offering an exclusive, free download of his song “It All Happened” on the magazine’s Web site. For this issue, Esquire Magazine asked five of its favorite musicians – Dierks Bentley, Charlie Mars, Bob Schneider, Griffin House, and Ben Kweller – to come to the Shack-Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi and take part in a two-day fashion shoot with world-famous photographer Danny Clinch. To make things interesting, Esquire also asked each of the musicians to take the “Esquire Songwriting Challenge” which called for each artist to write, perform, and record an original song with lyrics that include the phrase “Somewhere in Mississippi.” For some of the musicians, this became the title of their song and they used it time and again. For others, they used the phrase once before heading in another direction. The results are five songs as unique and entertaining as the men who created them.

Download Ben Kweller’s “It All Happened” for free

Since March 29, has been offering one song per day from these musicians to its site readers. For anyone who misses the individual downloads, a complete EP of all five songs will also be available as a free download on Monday, April 5. After that, the full songs will no longer be available on (or anywhere else).

music videos press releases tour dates



The Acorn’s long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s wildly successful Glory Hope Mountain is finally set for release in Canada. After spending two years on the road, Rolf Klausener and company began work on the album in the summer of 2009.

Free from the emotional weightiness of Glory Hope Mountain’s highly personal material, No Ghost features the levity and spontaneity reminiscent of The Acorn’s infamous live shows, all the while showcasing Rolf Klausener’s literate and vivid lyrics. No Ghost is a fitting soundtrack to both the tranquillity of the country, and the sodium-lamp lit romance of city nights.

The end result is a recording swaddled in dichotomy: togetherness and isolation, acoustic and electric, destruction and restoration.

The Acorn’s long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s wildly successful Glory Hope Mountain is finally set for release in Canada on Paper Bag Records. After spending two years on the road, Rolf Klausener and company began work on the album in the summer of 2009. No Ghost will be released on June 1st. Singles and tour dates supporting the release will be announced soon.

Since the release of Glory Hope Mountain, the Ottawa-based band have toured Europe and North America extensively and accrued a cord of critical love for both their live show and their recorded output. They’ve graced the cover of Canada’s National music magazine, Exclaim and were selected to the 2008 Polaris Music Prize longlist. Recently, Glory Hope Mountain was included on the longlist for the Uncut Music Award which rewards the “most inspiring and rewarding musical experience” of the past year. Glory Hope Mountain was the only Canadian band of the 25 artists on the list which also includes albums by Bob Dylan, Dirty Projectors, Wilco, Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear. Well respected by their peers, The Acorn have also did a slew of high-profile support tours for the likes of Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Calexico, and a massive, sold-out tour in 2009 with Mercury-prize winners, ELBOW. Unexpected praise came from Kanye West when he proclaimed “This is beautiful!” after posting the video for ‘Crooked Legs’ on his blog.

In the summer of 2009 the band isolated themselves at a cottage in Northern Quebec to begin work on what was to become No Ghost. Although unplanned, this album represents the closing of a trilogy that began with their debut album, The Pink Ghosts (2004), and their Blankets & Tin Fist EPs in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

Songs took shape at all hours, crafted from hazy late-night improvisations and early morning melodies pulled from the thinning threads of sleep. Modernity clashed with the bucolic via exploratory percussion, feedback, acoustic textures and the natural surrounding sounds. The band then traded trees for telephone poles to finish recording in a sweltering heatwave at Montreal’s Treatment Room Studios (Plants & Animals, Angela Desveaux). There, the breezy ease of rural surrounds was buried under sweat-caked skin and cracked asphalt, birdsong drowned out by thick air and engine hum.

Free from the emotional weightiness of Glory Hope Mountain’s highly personal material, No Ghost features the levity and spontaneity reminiscent of The Acorn’s infamous live shows, all the while showcasing Rolf Klausener’s literate and vivid lyrics. Swathed in Talk Talk-esque spaciousness and atmospheric feedback reminiscent of early Yo La Tengo or Crazy Horse, No Ghost is a fitting soundtrack to both the tranquillity of the country, and the sodium-lamp lit romance of city nights.

The end result is a recording swaddled in dichotomy: togetherness and isolation, acoustic and electric, destruction and restoration.

You can pre-order No Ghost HERE. The album will be available June 1st on CD, Digital, and Limited Edition, 180gram red vinyl. The LP will be pressed in an extremely limited quantity of 300 and will be housed in hand silk-screened sleeves.

tour dates



Welsh indie rock three-piece THE JOY FORMIDABLE have announced a run of headlining US tour dates. The band will play several shows on the east coast, beginning April 30th at Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY and winding up May 8th at Jillian’s in Albany, NY. Along the way, the band will stop off in East Rutherford, NJ for an appearance at the Bamboozle Festival on May 2nd.

The Joy Formidable is the first band signed to Black Bell Records, the label founded by Passion Pit’s synth player/sampler Ayad Al Adhamy. The band will release their Black Bell debut- an 8-song EP titled A Balloon Called Moaning- on May 4th. The EP was recorded in the band’s home bedroom studio, and was entirely self-produced.

Of his roster’s first act, Al Adhamy says that “The Joy Formidable grabbed my attention when I first heard the EP. The loud guitars, epic drums and dense textures with lush pop vocals and melodies just stood out from everything else I was listening to. Since then I’ve been an addict, and so has everyone I have shown this band to.”

The Joy Formidable was conceived by music-obsessed friends Ritzy Bryan and Rhyddian Dafydd when they were both students in Wales. After a brief hiatus during which Ritzy and Rhyddian went their separate ways, the pair reunited in Wales and began to develop their sound. They relocated to London, brought in drummer Matt Thomas, and got down to writing and recording a record.

The band was pushed into the public consciousness from the very beginning, gaining a reputation as a band you had to see. This was well-deserved, as the band thrived on the live front; clamorous bass and waves of guitars all lay a musical bed for Ritzy’s evocative vocals. The band’s sound melds the huge expanses of its members’ native Welsh countryside with the hectic nature of their new London home. That sound has won them the praise of the highly influential NME and airplay on the UK’s Radio 1.

The Joy Formidable has sold out multiple UK tours throughout the past year and supported several standout bands including Editors and The Temper Trap. After touring the UK with Passion Pit, the band was invited to join them as the opening act to their shows at New York’s Terminal 5. Additionally, the band played two stateside headlining shows at Brooklyn’s Union Hall and New York City’s Pianos, both of which sold out.

Tour dates for THE JOY FORMIDABLE, more to be announced:

April 30 – Full Moon Resort – Big Indian, NY
May 1 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
May 2 – Bamboozle Festival – E. Rutherford, NJ
May 4 – Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, ON
May 5 – The Green Room – Montreal, QC
May 6 – Harper’s Ferry – Boston, MA
May 7 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
May 8 – Jillian’s – Albany, NY


Microbunny Interview

Microbunny’s Al Okada

interviewed by Terri-Ann Thomas

Starting out as nothing more than experimenting with computer technology, Al Okada’s hobby has become his career. With two successful albums under his belt, his group Microbunny is back with their third album, 49 Swans. A new look and a new sound, Microbunny makes a conscious decision to ensure that their fans not only play their album once, but also plays it over and over again. In just a week before their album release party, Al Okada talks with MVRemix.

MVRemix: Why the name 49 Swans?

Al Okada: It’s a fragment of a lyric the singer Rebecca Campbell came up with, that was part of a beautiful metaphor she used during the song to indicate some imagery, to indicate black and white. It had a nice ring to it and just felt right.

MVRemix: Let’s backtrack a little bit, because this isn’t your first album. As a member of King Cobb Steelie, your album, Project Twinkle was nominated for a Juno Award, what was that like?

Al Okada: It was an exciting time for us, flattering to get nominated for that. The most exciting thing was working with the producer, Bill Laswell, that was a real thrill for us. We were big fans of his music, so to actually get to work with him was real fun and that record was actually the one that was nominated, so that was icing on the cake.

MVRemix: And you formed that group in university, correct?

Al Okada: Yeah, we were quite young. I’ve known the other members a long time. The main guy, Kevan Byrne, I met him in high school actually.

MVRemix: What advice would you give to that young group right now, that’s driving their parents crazy in their basement or garage?

Al Okada: [laughs] Well, keep doing it, as long as it’s fun, keep doing it, that’s the whole thing. For us, there were no expectations really, we did it because we enjoyed doing it and if it seems to work then it’s usually it. If it becomes difficult and it’s a lot of hard work and that kind of thing, then something’s not right. When it’s all working, it’s a lot of fun.

MVRemix: So you were with them for seven Yeahrs, is that right?

Al Okada: Yeah, I think that’s right, yup.

MVRemix: What was the deciding factor for leaving that group?

Al Okada: Well, I’d reached kind of a crossroad; it was a personal decision. It was a financial decision as well. The touring would force me to have to leave my full-time job. It was a tough decision, I really wanted to continue on but I couldn’t do that. So I decided to part ways with them and do something on my own instead, which I could do more on my own schedule.

MVRemix: I read that some of your influences are Brian Eno and David Lynch, what would you say you’ve taken from them and incorporated into your own writing and performances?

Al Okada: Well, Brian Eno I think, first and foremost, I’ve listened to his music for so long, since I was a little kid, believe it or not. And it’s just the way that he approaches things. I think his musical ethic is the thing that I’ve really taken to heart. His thing was that he didn’t really have to be technically proficient at any instrument to make good music with it. Technical proficiency wasn’t terribly important and I found that really quite exciting because that’s almost like a punk rock ethic, you know? His music was some of the most interesting of all because he’s not bound by any of the normal trappings of a trained technically proficient musician, so he comes up with things that they would have never thought of because it’s something completely fresh and new. I’ve tried to incorporate that into my music as well. I’m not technically proficient at any one instrument either. A lot of times I just love trying new instruments because it’s something completely new and I just come up with things that I would have never thought of.

David Lynch is more of an abstract thing. He uses a lot of dream imagery [in his films] and that sort of style affected me in a certain way that I found really exciting and I often use dream imagery in my music as well. I’ve read his biography too, he tends to just let things evolve naturally and doesn’t really think about them too much, in fact he does the exact opposite and tries not to think about it at all, so that things will just come out naturally and I like that idea as well. I try to do that when I compose, I don’t try to think about anything actually. [laughs] [I] just let it come out.

MVRemix: In the midst of forming Microbunny, which I love the name by the way, what was your vision for the group?

Al Okada: In the very beginning it really didn’t start with anything more than just me goofing around with computer technology and trying to make music on my own. When I started, the home recording PC world had become affordable for the average person. So, it was a whole new world to me because before that you had to pretty much go into a studio and it cost a lot of money to make a multi-track recording. It wasn’t something that you could do on your own because that would take a long time. Once they developed computers that you could do home recordings on, you could take your time and do it all by yourself. So for me, it just became a way of writing and recording music and I thought well ‘this is fun,’ and some of it sounded like songs that needed a singer and since I’m not really a singer, I found someone to sing. Then we had to call it something, so we decided to call it Microbunny. At that time there were no intentions of actually playing, it was more like an after thought really.

MVRemix: You said you just “decided to call it Microbunny,” was there any real reason behind the name?

Al Okada: Well [laughs], it was a stupid nickname that I had picked up in King Cobb Steelie. Well, not exactly that, but a variation of a nickname that they’d called me and it was kind of a self-deprecating thing to call this band this name, Microbunny. Then they stopped calling me it [laughs].

MVRemix: You’ve successfully had two prior albums, one self-titled, Microbunny and the other, Dead Stars, what was different about the process of 49 Swans?

Al Okada: The main difference with 49 Swans is the collaboration with the new singer I’ve been working with, Rebecca Campbell, which was a whole different way of working and I found that really exciting. I did record a lot on this record quite a bit because the last two records I was still quite reliant on the computer as a means of creating some of the music. I tended to use a lot of drum loops so it had an electronica sort of feel to it. This album though, I tried as much as possible to not do that just because I found that a little bit limiting and I found myself getting into a little bit of a rut. So I decided to try and break out of that and intentionally try to remove that as much as possible, I think I’ve removed it [drum looping] completely.

MVRemix: Why is it important for you to have such a unique approach to your live performances?

Al Okada: It’s partly because I think the music itself is such a hard thing to try to recreate in a live setting that’s created in an isolated, personal environment. When we play live we wanted to try to make it an actual live performance as opposed to a lot of electronic music, which I found when you went to see the artist play, a lot of it you couldn’t tell what they were doing, you would just see guys up there behind black tops and you know they’re doing something, but you’re not really sure what they were doing. I wanted to try to actually perform the music and so hopefully someone who had the record would enjoy the record as one thing, but then when they saw us live it would be almost like an interpretation of the songs [on the record].

MVRemix: You mentioned adding Rebecca to this project, why the change in band members?

Al Okada: A few reasons really, but one of the main reasons was just becoming stale and not wanting to do the same thing. Tamara Robinson, who I was working with on the first two records, I think she felt the same way and we just decided that we had used each other up. [laughs] It’s kind of a funny way of putting it but we sort of fed off each other for a while and then we weren’t surprising each other anymore I think, we became predictable in a way. So, we just went our separate ways and decided to try to work with someone else.

MVRemix: What do you want to see happen with 49 Swans?

Al Okada: I’d really love to have a lot of people hear it. That’s what my main goal is. I’m not entirely certain about live performances and how much we’ll play or not play. We’re just getting started with starting to perform again so we’ll see how that goes, but I’d love to have this album heard as much as possible. I’d love it to be used in films and television as well too, that sort of thing. A lot of it comes from that idea of it being a soundtrack to something. It’s very interesting for me to see it used in that way.

MVRemix: What is the best part of performing live for you?

Al Okada: It’s hard to describe, but just when it all clicks. There’s something that’s very different from recording, which is when the whole band plays as a single unit. It sounds kind of corny, but that’s when it’s really exciting. You can just feel it when it’s working and it makes it all worthwhile when it’s properly conveying that feeling you had when you wrote the song, and even more so when the audience picks up on that as well.

MVRemix: How important is it for you to make good music and not just make music?

Al Okada: For me, that’s the whole point. I don’t think I would be doing it if it was just alright, or just music that’s not really exciting me, then I wouldn’t bother doing it. That’s part of the reason why this record took me so long to make because it took me quite awhile to become excited about it, in a different way that I hadn’t done before and to compile enough of it to make up a whole album. So for me, that’s the driving force behind doing anything at all, is the music itself and to have it be exciting to me.

MVRemix: What was that writing and collaborating process like?

Al Okada: It wasn’t that much different from working with Tamara Williamson. I just gave the bare bones of the track to Rebecca and she would sit with it for a while and listen to it and then she would compose lyrics in the melody line and then come back after a period of time and record it. So, it’s a very isolated, different approach and it was always an exciting day when she was going to come over and do her part because I hadn’t heard it before.

MVRemix: For 49 Swans, you mentioned you wanted as much people to hear it as possible, what do you want people to feel when listening to your album?

Al Okada: I’d like people to feel that it’s something that they hadn’t quite heard before. I think that would be interesting. The music is pretty dark, a lot of the stuff I’ve written it always comes out that way [new and interesting]. So, if they get that from it I think that’s doing something good.

MVRemix: Just a bit of trivia for you, which of your songs has the line, “How we love to laugh, just to hear the sound?”

Al Okada: (pauses) Oh, that’s September Blues.

MVRemix: What is the meaning behind that song?

Al Okada: It means a bunch of different things, but it’s a funny relationship that Rebecca and I sort of intentionally did. When she would write lyrics for the songs, I asked her to try to make them ambiguous so that it wasn’t overtly obvious what the songs were about. If she had a specific meaning for it, to disguise it so that for people that are listening to it, it would have many different meanings or it would be different for everybody that heard it. So it had that affect, I don’t know exactly what any of the songs mean and for me that’s good because I get a sense of what it’s about, but there’s a bit of mystery to it. I just get a feeling from it, which is what I’m hoping that everyone else gets as well.

MVRemix: A youtube member by the name of, SomeProudCanadian, referred to you as the “trip-hop master,” how do you respond to that?

Al Okada: [laughs] That’s very flattering. I really don’t know what to say to that. I think that when he hears the new record he’ll probably remove my crown [laughs], because it’s not really trip-hop anymore.

MVRemix: You collaborated with your former band member, Kevin Lynn, how did that come about?

Al Okada: He just called me up, kind of out of the blue [just to say hi] and I gave him sort of the latest things I’d been doing and he suggested that he wanted to remix something, so of course I said yes. I love what he does. And he sent me back something that knocked me on my ass it was so good. Then he asked me to do something of one of his tracks and we decided to do a couple and then release an EP. So it was just a natural fun thing that we did and it worked out really well. We’re planning on doing another collaboration, this time a more ambience sort of thing. It was a lot of fun, quick and painless.

MVRemix: Earlier you spoke about being on stage, if you had the chance to share the stage with anyone in the world, who would it be?

Al Okada: Oh geez, (pauses) I know, the trumpeter Jon Hassell. That guy is just a master, I’d want him to come and play trumpet for one of our songs. Through a weird email accident, I stumbled into a guy who repaired some of his [Jon Hassell] equipment and I gave him some of my music and he got it to him and he [Jon Hassell] sent me a nice note back, he said he really liked it. So, I’ve got it framed [laughs]. It was just flattering to hear him say he liked it.

MVRemix: What has been the most rewarding part of your career?

Al Okada: When someone says that they just really love my record, for me, that’s the whole reason for doing it.

MVRemix: What else do you want your fans and people who don’t know you as yet to know about Microbunny?

Al Okada: Just that we try to make honest music.

Microbunny Interview

press releases tour dates



LA-based indie artist ACTIVE CHILD (a.k.a. songwriter/musician Pat Grossi) will release his highly-anticipated EP June 1st on Filter US Recordings. Titled Curtis Lane, the EP is ACTIVE CHILD’s first stateside offering; he released several singles in the UK to significant critical acclaim. Track listing for Curtis Lane below.

In support of the release, ACTIVE CHILD will embark on a several-week European tour, kicking on May 13th with an appearance at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton, UK. ACTIVE CHILD will then join NYC indie rock band White Rabbits for a string of dates that wraps up June 3rd in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Full European tour dates below.

ACTIVE CHILD is fresh off of a successful run of shows at the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, TX. The highly-influential NME lauded the ingenuity and originality of his live performance: “How often do you get to see a harp played at a hip indie show? Not often. How gutted am I that I didn’t record one of the harpy tracks? Very.” Pitchfork went on to applaud Grossi’s “hushed and otherworldly falsetto synthpop” and called ACTIVE CHILD’s music “so overwhelmingly pretty that it absorbs whatever’s around it… the basic elements of a possible greatness are all in there.”

Despite only releasing several singles in the US, ACTIVE CHILD has already garnered various press accolades. Raves came from Stereogum, Pitchfork, The Fader and LA Weekly, who called him “evidently capable of great, great things.”

Track Listing for Curtis Lane:

I’m In Your Church At Night
She Was a Vision
When Your Love is Safe
Take Shelter
Weight of the World

Tour dates for ACTIVE CHILD:

* = with White Rabbits
May 13 – Great Escape Festival – Brighton, UK
May 14 – Cooler – Bristol, UK*
May 15 – Night & Day – Manchester, UK*
May 16 – Stereo – Glasgow, UK*
May 18 – Portland Arms – Cambridge, UK
May 19 – The Garage – London, UK*
May 21 – Stage and Dagger – London, UK
May 22 – Hobby Horse – London, UK
May 25 – Point Emphemere – Paris, France*
May 27 – Usine – Geneva, Switzerland*
May 28 – 59 To 1 – Munich, Germany*
May 29 – Keller Klub – Stuttgart, Germany*
May 31 – Luxor – Cologne, Germany*

June 1 – Magnet – Berlin, Germany*
June 2 – Loppen – Copenhagen, Denmark*
June 3 – Rotown – Rotterdam, Netherlands*