Lady Lamb The Beekeeper Interview

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper Interview

A small little girl from Brunswick, Maine by the name of Aly Spaltro had the dream and the desire to get her sound out to the world. In a surprisingly short period of time, she’s accomplished a rather incredible amount of hype, a number of EP’s, mixtapes, music videos, a newly released full-length studio album, and a now growing group of invested fans that hang off her every word. Not bad for a 23 year old in the world of indie rock (hers is more eerie at times and always more interesting than most, so it may not actually be that surprising to anyone, really). I thought, as I was new to her sound and her music that I’d start at the beginning. And that’s just what I did.

Back in Brunswick, Maine, your hometown, did you have musical chops as a child or was it more of a performance deal for young Lady Lamb?

Lady Lamb: I had musical leanings but never any desire to perform. It was basically just an obsession with music from an early age. Between the two of them, my parents listened to a very eclectic mix; my mother loved the 80’s or classical music pretty much exclusively and then my dad listened classic rock, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and all those guitar heroes.

And then…

… Oh! And then when I was five I lived in Arizona. My next door neighbour was my babysitter: she was 13 and kind of a weird kid and really into the Beatles, late Beatles, you know?

The more experimental Beatles…

Absolutely. White Album and all that. We hung out a lot and became good friends, which made me a very strange five year-old! So we would just sit around and listen to The White Album and Rubber Soul all the time and through that I started listening to “oldies radio” on my own. I started making mix-tapes cause I was really into The Supremes, Mamas and The Papas, Leslie Gore, Otis Redding… basically everything on oldies radio stations.

So it was just an obsession at that point?

For sure. I didn’t have any desire to really play it, I didn’t think of it that way. I was a shy kid to begin with so I never wanted to perform or be in talent shows or sing or take lessons or anything like that.

And your first recordings, kind of show that shyness. You recorded it all yourself, packaged them all yourself, brought them to your local record store; you did everything on your own. Was that more of an experiment or did it just get to a point where you needed to start sharing what you were creating?

It was both but it really started as a way for me to express myself in a way that was really focused and dedicated. I wrote a lot of poetry in high school and I wanted to do something, honestly, with my year, because I took a gap year between highschool and college, and I wanted to do something that was really involved before college. I taught myself how to play and started singing at that point and for the first few months I had no desire to share any of it. But then, after packaging it up and giving a bit away for free I really just sort of fell into [the industry] by accident. I started performing and really getting something out of that which I don’t think I expected.

Did you feel you really had any specific pushes to get more into the spotlight and stray from that shy girl you were as a kid?

I never felt any “pressure” from anyone I knew really. I worked at an independent DVD rental store for four years and they became my second family. My boss at that store was a huge film and music buff and after hearing my stuff he was the first to really encourage me to play a show. And then my dad told me to try but it was really up to me and it took me a long time to get up the courage to get on stage.

Typing your name into any search engine, a whole lot of videos come up and many from early on in your career. For someone self-admittedly shy, do you feel there’s something visually you need to present with your music as well as lyrically?

It has to do with a number of things. I know that “I” as a music fan want to see artist’s visuals. If I’m checking out a band for the first time I will most likely look up a music video. And it comes from that; it comes from being a fan and thinking that video is an integral part to the art. Also, as a kid I loved to draw, paint, collage, make movies, and all that so naturally the visual came ingrained, for me, in the music. It makes me feel really lucky that I’m doing something that I love that has room for other mediums as well.

In just about all of your videos, although serious at times depending on the subject of the lyrics, there seems to be an undercurrent of light heartedness. Is that and uncontrollable element of your personality just breaking through or is that something planned that you want in your music and your creative process?

Well, in the case of the videos, it’s probably just me coming through. I have this one video where it’s a one-take, pretty serious video called “Between Two Trees” where I’m just standing in front of a wall… I’m singing along (so that it doesn’t just look like I’m lip-synching), I’m singing in the room but then I mess up the lyrics. I got all flustered, laughed, but then kept singing. That happened, so why do the take again, you know? Just let it be, because I’m a little silly so just keep that in there.

Your album Mammoth Swoon, a 2010 release, received some well-deserved attention for being a pieced together album of demos and b-sides. Did that come together naturally for you?

That I put out myself and is just a mix of stuff. It wasn’t really meant to be released it was honestly meant as something I wanted to leave with Portland, Maine when I left for New York. But then when I moved I needed something to give to people so I kind of just kept making it and so any press it got wasn’t intentional. I mean I didn’t even have a publicist until this newest record.

Working so much on your own, do you find that knowing more about the business side of the industry; booking shows, handling publicity, etc. is something you’re pleased about or are you just happy to leave that up to others now?

I’m super pleased I learned that way! I don’t know if other artists really talk about this but for me, I’m first in line to hear about anything and everything that comes through about my music cause that’s the way I like it. I like answering e-mails and talking directly with promoters and publicists because that’s just part of my personality! I wouldn’t have it any other way, really.

Your newest and first studio album Ripely Pine (released May 2013) having dropped now, do you have expectations for the work?

I made sure to not have any expectations what-so-ever. I’ve learned in my life that it’s a pretty good rule to not have any expectations on anything you do, or people for that matter. You make these high expectations and then you’re disappointed. So I decided that if I went into the studio with that [expectation filled] attitude that I would end up making something that wasn’t entirely honest because I’d likely be too focused on what other people thought. Pleasing others, hoping to get good reviews, stuff like that I tried not to think about at all. In that way, I’ve made something that I’m ultra proud of and I worked for more than a year on this because, well, I had the luxury to work with my producer for that long, but also because I didn’t want to cap it until it was fully finished. I needed to work on it until I knew that I wouldn’t have a single regret about the way it was made and that’s what happened. This sounds so… I don’t know… but the feeling of finishing it and the fact that it took so long, so much hard work, sweat and tears and all that, and just the joy that it’s done and it’s real and it’s out and now the rest doesn’t matter, really. So to really answer your question, because I had no expectations I’m pleasantly, pleasantly surprised and I’m very happy that people seem to really like it and are responding to it.

Touring for this release seems pretty hectic by the looks of your schedule. You mentioned earlier that you’ve got a three week break coming up; do you feel that needs to be a “re-charge and relax” break or can you just not shut the creativity faucet off?

I haven’t written a song in a long time because I’ve just been in a different space: “Work this record. Tour. Go. Go. Go!” you know? So I’ve been feeling the urge to write again. I was on tour in Europe before this and the urge started there and when that happens generally the lyrics come first for me. I can’t just grab a guitar and go, I write a lot of poetry and then when I get home I put music to it. I’ve written a lot of lyrics in the last month that I’m really excited to use the three weeks coming up to get home and put music to. I’m also gonna eat a tonne of Brooklyn food. That’s number one [laughs].

On your website you have a section called “In The Books” where you can scroll through random pages of some of your notebooks. Is that just a fun outlet for you in posting that?

I can’t remember how that came about but I just thought that might be a really intimate thing that people might appreciate. As a music fan I know I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be cool to see a musicians notebook or scribbles on song or the original lyrics to a song by the Beatles or something like that?” That’s so amazing to look at! There’s a lot of personality in the way a person writes and what they’re saying when they’re just writing in a notebook and not thinking about two years down the road when it gets posted on the internet or whatever. What I really like about it is that there are the “beginnings” to a lot of songs in there randomly. The beginnings of ideas from years ago are in there that ended up in this record and that’s pretty neat.

In terms of future dates, you’ve got Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh, NC as your last posted date this year. Another break then or is that just as far into the future as the site has been updated?

That’s in early September, ya. I would like to have the month of September mostly off because I’m planning a tonne of stuff after that. It’s not up yet but I’ll be touring again in October, November, December at least!

Touring for this new album seems to be taking up all your time but is there something upcoming that you’re really excited about in terms of releasing a single, a new video, some more b-sides possibly?

I’m definitely getting to the point where I’m itching to make another video so I’m keeping my mind open in terms of thinking up concepts for another video. I’d also just love to go back into my studio where I made Ripely Pine and do a cover. Maybe a duet cover with a guy [quickly adds]… friend… in New York. I’ve been thinking a lot about doing a Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks cover. I think that’d be really fun to put out just for no reason other than just to do it. We could just nail it in a day then put it on the internet…

… Just let the creative muse fly, right?


Pay attention, oh muses. This New Yorker may put you out of the business Lady Lamb The Beekeeper’s music continues to be creative, full of personality, charm, and, seemingly, there’s no end in sight.

Ripely Pine is available on iTunes and more than likely multiple physical copies can be found at that little record store in Portland, Maine along with a throng of happy fans!


Lenka Interview

Born and raised in the Australian “bush” (her words, “… it’s not the outback, it’s just known as the bush.”) Lenka Kripac, who goes simply by her first name in the music world, has recently seen her poppy, happy, and all around fun single Everything at Once the centre of quite a lot of attention thanks to it’s use by Microsoft 8’s newest commercial and tag-line for the product that states, ready for it, that Microsoft 8 is, “Everything at Once.” I know… original thinking in marketing has always been a staple at Microsoft, at least they’re fantastically gifted at choosing great music.

Lenka’s career in music started long ago and not specifically aimed at just one form of artistic impression: “I was running and dancing since the day I knew how and singing to the gumtrees…” she states over the phone just before heading on stage in L.A., “I began ballet when I was four but I remember always wanting the little solos or the sort of, spotlight parts, even that young.” As someone that clearly finds the arts all-encompassing, being creative seems to be a part of who she is as much as it is something she does for a living now. Curious about a first memory she might be able to recall in terms of really grabbing the spotlight, she laughed and then answered immediately, “There’s this picture of me wearing an elf-costume when I’m about five years old, I think, and, again, it’s just one of those plays where the teachers must have recognized the fact that I wasn’t afraid to step out on my own in front of an audience cause it’s just me in my elf costume!”

After her stint as one of Santa’s helpers, Lenka and her family left the “bush” and headed to Sydney where she studied acting at the Australian Theatre for Young People. She was quite inspired by one of the young instructors there and wasn’t afraid to let the world know, “… Cate (Blanchett) was a teacher, of sorts, for a bit when I was there. She was probably 20, or at least in her young 20s, when I was still a teen. She was wonderful though and is definitely one of the reasons I kept pursuing acting. She really was a terrific teacher.” From soaps to teen series, Lenka starred or guest starred in a number of Australian productions and feels that her music being tied to film and television isn’t so much of a mystery if you really think about it, “I’ve always been tied to that [film and television] world so I don’t think it’s a coincidence…” she states very matter-of-factly, “There’s something very visual about many of my lyrics that people seem to respond to and see a use for in their projects.” One such person was a young Kerris Dorsey, the American actress that is now best known for her role as Billy Beane’s (played by Brad Pitt) daughter. “It’s so fantastic that it was used in the film…” she laughingly states of her song The Show. “I really owe a lot to that young actress, Kerris. She was a fan of mine I guess and actually played that song in her audition. [The studio] decided they wanted her for the part and that song for the scene on the spot, or so I heard.” A touching scene between a father and his daughter in a guitar store, Lenka says that the lyrics weren’t meant for that sort of situation but that, “… the small part of the song that Kerris sings to her screen dad just worked so well. It was interesting to hear the song that way. I was really proud of that.”

Having music in advertising isn’t as easy of a decision as when your management calls and tells you that your song could possibly be in the next Brad Pitt money-maker. Stating that she usually does research on any companies asking for her work before hand, she’s also, at the same time, not concerned with the idea of selling out: “I want to make sure they’re not evil corporations or anything but really, most of my songs are used for really cute spots or happy ones and that’s the sort of music that I make. So of course!” She’s also not one to complain about her songs being used in other mediums such as television shows or YouTube compilations, “There are so many channels for musicians to get their work out to fans now and this is just one way that I feel very fortunate people are responding so positively towards.”

When asked about her music and its happy vibe she just laughs in a most delighted way. “I think people always need happy music!” Her newest album, however, is much softer… still happy, but the full length album Shadows has been described as a lullaby album for adults and she confirms that was her very intention, “I was pregnant during some and had just had my son for the rest so I intentionally made it as much of a lullaby album as possible. It’s very soft, very comforting I feel.” She pauses, I’m guessing to reflect on how to properly describe what she was feeling at the time of making the album, “My previous albums and music are absolutely wonderful but there’s plenty of full volume vocals, drum spikes, and a feeling of faster tempo pop music… which is great! But I love softer music you can put on to fall asleep to as well and this was my chance to make an album like that.” After a moment, she adds a final thought to that train, “I obviously want to please my fans but this was as much for me and my new family as for my fans.”

But as her success is tied to very happy and poppy music, I was curious if she was heading in a new direction? “I don’t ever want to make angry or moody, depressing music. I’m a very happy person and I enjoy listening to upbeat music so that’s what I strive to create!” I wonder if her happiness can now be directly correlated to having her husband and young child on tour with her and she’s quick to agree and yet set the record straight, “It’s difficult at times and so not always feasible. We choose ‘home bases’ where they can stay, like New York as I do an east coast tour or L.A. for a west coast one. It works for now because my boy is really into maps [laughs] so he loves travelling! I love having them around though and it’s so great to be able to see them in between shows!”

As for new projects, don’t you worry, you big fan of Lenka, you. She’s just about to release a new video for a song that her husband, visual artist James Gulliver Hancock, has wanted to do for a long time. “We turned my body into the landscape for the video so I had model makers, miniature specialists, and so many others around using little train sets and buildings on my body! It was a much larger endeavor that anything we’ve ever done before but it was absolutely worth it.” I can tell she’s smiling even over the phone, “It’s such an amazing video.”

Lenka played only a select few dates in a handful of major Canadian cities but I was there in Vancouver with a smile on my face as her “happy” music kept me in a great mood for the entirety of her set. And then the smile just wouldn’t go away as her catchy hooks kept rolling around in my head, and I hope they stay right where they are for as long as possible.

Lenka’s newest album, Shadows is available on iTunes now as are her previous two solo albums, the self-titled Lenka and her sophomore follow-up, aptly titled, Two.


Sasquatch 2013 Day Four: Rain won the fight… but music won the battle.


Part of the quintessential festival experience is enjoying the time you get with the random people you meet and, often but not always, the people camping next to you. Don’t get me wrong, it sometimes happen that you’re so terrified of your new camp-mates that you avoid your own tent, but on this weekend, the planets aligned: really though, there was a planetary conjunction visible over the weekend where Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury could be seen near the horizon in the western hemisphere, but the nerd in me digresses. Our tent-neighbours were one of the opening acts on Sunday, Wake Owl, their management team, a group of guys from different parts of Washington State, and a couple who worked for one of the sponsors. All contributed to a spectacular weekend but when it started to rain and the idea of a wet day watching the final day of music seemed not all that important anymore, it’s great neighbours that really motivate those of little faith. Festivals bring together such an unbelievable collection of music from all genres that the place is constantly brimming with anticipation of the next great act. With that in mind, the rain jackets were donned, a beer or two was consumed, and the gates opened for the final day of Sasquatch Music Festival.

**The Wild Feathers

The Nashville based Wild Feathers opened the Yeti stage, and, as per my morning ritual of reviewing and sending off the previous days recap, I was in the Media Area next to said stage. Stepping out onto the (covered) patio, Tyler Burns, Joel King, Ricky Young and Preston Wimberly I witnessed the boys lay done some heavy guitar and impressive vocals making noise enough to fill the bigger stages had they been given the opportunity. Clearly Nashville boys at heart, bits of country, folk, and the occasional hint of the blues they rocked into “Backwoods Company” early in their set and although slowing down the tempo afterwards closed out strong with their single, “The Ceiling” pleasing not just their die-hard fans but a number of strays that found their way to where the loudest sounds were coming from that morning.


The next act I escaped the shelter of the Media Area for was one of the most surprisingly funny and yet easily one of the hardest hitting shows of the day; Minneapolis based rapper, punk-rocker, musician, and all-around talented guy, Stefon Alexander, better known to most as P.O.S. Charismatic and witty right from the get go you could tell that no matter where this multi-talented man plays a show, there are bound to be hard core fans in attendance. It should be mentioned at this point that the stage had gotten incredibly wet by this point and with the amount of energy P.O.S. was putting out with awkwardly great dance moves, running, and jumping, he had a small slip (literally, although recovering with class) leading to the idea that maybe he was better off, and safer, rapping from IN the crowd! Jumping off stage, he took to the audience, climbing over barriers and moving press and security out of the way and began laying hard into some of his lyrically powerful tracks, at times performing them specifically for different fans that were rapping every word right back at him. He opened with “Bumper”, a dance-inducing track that feels too short only because the groove hits so well and your dance moves are only just beginning, and with some great banter in between songs, launched right into funky-ass track after another including, “Weird Friends”, “Fuck Your Stuff”, and then closing out with “Get Down”. The closer had the largest crowd of the day so far going crazy, dancing with every ounce of energy they had inspiring Stef to show off a new dance move of his own, The Little Cowboy, which, as mentioned before was awkwardly amazing and made twice as great by the fact that he openly admitted afterwards “… I’m a terrible dancer, guys. But sometimes you just gotta dance!” A show that was as much fun as the musical influences behind it were varied, P.O.S. could do no wrong this day and likely created many more of those hard core fans that will no doubt catch everything related to this man (and he has a number of side projects, all worth checking out) anytime he’s within driving distance of them. I had the opportunity to sit down with Stef earlier in the day so be sure to head back here soon to read all about the surprising things this man has planned for the future.

Back on the Yeti Stage, the Canadian folk band The Barr Brothers did everything they could to battle the technical difficulties the rain was creating for sound techs all over the Gorge. Some unfortunate spikes in the audio had them moving away from the mics from time to time but that didn’t stop them from tossing out gem after gem from their debut self-titled album. The opening track of the album made for a great opening track for the set and every knew by the time “Beggar in the Morning” finished that Andrew and Brad Barr, Sarah Page, and Andres Vial weren’t about to let anyone rain on their parade… festival. Sorry. It had to be said at least once. Charging through “Ohh Belle” and “The Devil’s Harp” with great guitar solos, some really talented harmonica used just right, and of course, Page on a massive harp with which she’s classically trained, well, technical difficulties be damned, this group is in it to win it and the folk world better be ready for them because I know I can’t wait for a new album to drop soon (no hints were given, but a boy can hope).


Over on the main stage, although I missed an earlier performance by Imagine Dragons (with an apparently car-sized drum amongst a multitude of percussion instruments), I made sure to catch the always interesting, always weird, and always entertaining Cake. I showed up just as “Love You Madly” began and things you probably can’t even picture began happening all over: Batman danced with a pink gorilla and large men who’ve never done more than tap a toe found themselves twirling and flailing their arms to their heart’s content. And that was just on the lawn, lord knows what was happening in the pit. So I moved into the pit. Frontman John McCrea spoke passionately about releasing their newest album Showroom of Compassion (their sixth) on their own independent label and, “… thanks to the 75 of you that still purchase musical content we did just fine!” Playing a number of new songs including “Long Time” and “Sick of You”, fan participation was not an issue, at one point dividing the audience down the middle and having them sing contrasting lyrics created a symphony of sound that you could tell made every member of this unique group on stage pleased as punch. Although I’m sure the illicit drugs I saw freely being passed around only heightened the experience, these guys put on one wild and wonderful show even for those of us only slightly drunk. With red jeans and a blue hoody, McCrea was completely laid back and at home on the main stage even stating “… what should we play next… since we don’t use a set list, I guess we should figure that out…” then turning around, he clearly discussed just that with the band. Their debut single, recorded back in 1993, “Rock and Roll Lifestyle” was just as satirical and relevant as ever causing a ripple effect of laughter and awkward neighbour checks as the irony of the lyrics set in and many realized they were being politely but poignantly mocked with lines like “… is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket?”. The guys closed with a great country-rock style hit called “Stickshifts and Safety Belts” and I’m sure that when most of the audience came down from their trips they’ll know they just witnessed a classic performance from a timelessly necessary band.

Over on Bigfoot I caught the tail end of the Twin Shadows performance. A group I wasn’t familiar with until walking up to the show I have to say that my first impression (of the three songs I caught) was the feeling that this new wave, American singer/songwriter, George Lewis, Jr., would feel comfortable on any soundtrack from roughly 1982 thru to today. Catchy hooks with a moody, down-tempo vibe leading into synthesized dance beats and falsetto vocals created a feeling of melancholia that has you pinning for a lost love and excited to fall for whoever comes around the corner and into your life next.

With the unfortunate knowledge that I would only be able to catch one last act before having to hit the road home, Alt-J won out over The Lumineers as I’ve had their debut album, An Awesome Wave on repeat for a number of months now and needed to hear this unique new music in person. A couple of moody and hypnotising tracks got their set started as deep purples and moody blues bathed the stage in soft lighting right up to the point a driving beat hit in “Something Good”; one of the many singles causing a stir off the aforementioned album. Although, in all honesty, not a single member of this band looks old enough to drink while visiting the United States, Gwil Sainsbury, Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton, and Thom Green played an incredibly tight set for a crowd of thousands that couldn’t get enough of the almost technical way that these four perform their idiosyncratic and genre-defying songs. Possibly their biggest single off the album was “Fitzpleasure” and from the first note, everyone in attendance seemed to know what was coming: a sing-a-long to lyrics that most closely resemble gibberish to those unaccustomed to the vocal styling of Newman but that didn’t start from a full out dance party starting and continuous clapping to the entrancing beat. Once their other smash hit, “Breezeblocks” began, the collective minds of the masses had been fully blown and I knew it wasn’t going to get much better; it was time to call it quits.

Although sad to have missed Postal Service‘s festival closing performance, I knew that their incredibly successful, radio friendly (because absolutely everyone I know that’s ever heard it, loves it, regardless of age, sex, or… height?) single “Such Great Heights” (see what I did there…) would’ve been the highlight of the show and sent everyone packing with the knowledge that they were fortunate enough to witness some of the biggest bands in the world come together for another absolutely incredible weekend in The Gorge. The cornucopia of music being played over four days was staggering to say the least and the phrase, “I don’t know how any band is gonna top that performance…” seemed to be screamed out after nearly every show. Highlights you ask? Well, if you ask me, the Brits stole the show this year: Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys, The XX, Alt-J, and of course Mumford and his Sons. That being said, spending an afternoon chatting with P.O.S. then watching him absolutely take over the festival at the time made one of the biggest impressions on me and was the first story I told when asked the inevitable, “So… how was your weekend” to which, after no thought at all, I could generally surmise with: unforgettable.

Check out Chelsea Chernobyl’s photos of Sasquatch 2013 Day Four

Sasquatch 2013 Day Three: The day the line-up lost its mind… And everybody danced!

** The crowd gathering for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros outside the main Sasquatch stage

Right off the bat I need to state something for the sheer believability factor involved: Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Danny Brown, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Dropkick Murphy’s, Tallest Man on Earth, and Mumford & Sons. If any of those names are unfamiliar to you, just know that none of these likes is at all like the others and yet that was the line-up for the main stage last night at Sasquatch.

Alright, now let me tell you the story from the beginning. My time at the start of the day was spent in the Media Tent so the first few acts of the day were seen in short bursts but from what I saw, I was mostly impressed. I caught only a single song from Vancouver/Portland based Wake Owl but as they’ll be playing a show at the Electric Owl (just a coincidence… really) in Vancouver late June, I know I’ll be going to catch the rest of their set, impressed as I was with the solitary glimpse I got. Wild Belle, hailing from the Chicago area, took to the Yeti stage later that day, located conveniently just steps away from the Media Tent, and had a number of heads inside looking around to figure out where this unique music was coming from. Lead vocalist Natalie Bergman (her brother Elliot sharing vocals and playing lead guitar) has a vocal styling nearly all her own: at first a touch off-putting as it’s in a pitch much higher than you’re accustomed to hearing, but quickly grow on you as the jam sets in behind her and she reaches falsetto notes perfectly within her register. Cute-as-a-button but with enough attitude to keep you from saying that to her face, Natalie skips and dances around the stage getting the crowd grooving and showing off the fact that she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be and precisely where she wants to be. With a horn section and steel drum giving off a Caribbean vibe, there’s a bits of ska, reggae, and funk in this show that certainly had me hoping for more as their set ended.

The awkwardness and, let’s be honest, stupidity involved in the one man wrecking crew that is Danny Brown may have been the low point of the festival for me. I like rap, I’ve got loads of tracks being played regularly on my playlists at home, but I’ve never heard anything as annoying as the stoned-out ramblings barely escaping the scratchy throat of this man. Openly admitting to smoking “…some of the best weed I ever had…” before the show, then informing everyone that he was more excited about smoking another blunt after the show (yes, more excited even than performing on the main stage apparently), I watched as he forgot the lyrics to one of his own songs, had to restart, lost it again, then gave up and just started a different song his resin-soaked brain cell (no “s” needed) had somehow latched onto. There, I got that out so on to the time where everything got much, much better after that.

Tallest Man on Earth took the stage right after and two more polarized shows couldn’t be found anywhere in the world. Just a man and his guitar on a massive stage, the very small Kristian Matsson with the very clever moniker, played the majority of his songs on his toes, seeming to stretch as far as he can for each and every note. At one point the crowd, adoring fans all, begin a clap to the tune of his single “The Dreamer” he’s just started but he shakes his head “no” with a smile on his face, perfectly controlling the mood he knows he needs and holds the audience in the palm of his hand from that point on. Beautifully crafted song writing and skilful, soulful, guitar creates a continuous flow of people coming to fill every available spot on the lawn and packing tighter and tighter into the pit. As I watch this, I wonder how humbling it must be to stand all alone on the stage as he is, able to play a venue as inviting as this with a crowd as appreciative and pleased as they are, when apparently the same thought passes through his mind stating, in light of what just happened on the stage before him, “… I’m not high or drunk or anything but I know I stare at you guys from time to time just to make sure you like what I’m doing. I’m a little weird but I try to do good by you cause I am so grateful that this is my job.” He couldn’t have said it any better and the crowd responded with vigor.

The change in pace happens again as the entire audience, mostly, vacates in a hurry avoiding the beer chugging, shirtless mob that storms in as the stage is prepped for Dropkick Murphy‘s. These proud-of-their-Irish-roots boys from Boston put on a hell of a show and whether you’re familiar with their Celtic inspired punk-rock or not, you’ve likely heard of them by reputation alone. Charging onto the stage, Ken Casey, Matt Kelly, Al Barr, James Lynch, Tim Brennan, Jeff DaRosa, and Josh “Scruffy” Wallace on bagpipes, start the riot from the opening note. Opening with “The Boys Are Back” the crowd immediately starts surging with a life of its own, fuelled by the mania that’s infectiously being hurled at them through the massive speaker set-up on the main stage. Smiles everywhere, it’s amazing to watch the mosh pits toss people around like rag-dolls only to spew them out more excited than ever. No dramatic foreshadowing here but the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up only a few songs in bringing the storm of energy that wouldn’t let up for the next hour. Piano, accordion, banjo, guitars, drums, and, of course, bagpipes played at insane speeds as dozens of crowd surfers at a time rode the wave that crested just as “Shipping Up To Boston”, their most commercially successful hit thanks in part to the film The Departed which it was featured in, reached its peak. Was that how they left things, you ask? No. They covered ACDC’S classic “TNT” and, as the expression goes, everyone, appropriately, lost their shit!

While wandering the grounds in search of more randomness, I gratefully came across Shad on the Yeti Stage. Although I only caught the last song it was intelligent lyrics laid down over a great beat that brought back all my faith in the genre: this is how rap is supposed to sound! The Shout Out Louds were mid-performance on the Bigfoot stage as Shad finished up to ground-shaking applause and I was in need of my daily dose of happy music. Thankfully, upon approach, I knew that Adam Olenius and the rest of his Swedish band weren’t going to disappoint. Catchy hooks and delightful energy emanated freely from the stage and the crowd soaked up every ounce of it and gave back tenfold. The comments coming from those around me (“I can’t believe I’m hearing this right now…” “…this is so amazing…” “…this day couldn’t get any better…”) told me I wasn’t the only one enjoying this performance.

**Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

The energy coming off the stage while Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros played their music was electric. Not only was there a general vibe of good feelings and great sounds but the band began interacting, often physically, with their audience; bridging the not considerable gap between the main stage and the pit where thousands of adoring fans cheered. With a plethora of instruments and just as many bodies filling the stage, it wasn’t hard to see what the fuss is all about whenever Alexander Ebert’s name is mentioned. Although the multi-talented frontman has numerous side-projects, including his solo career, the effect of a folk group putting out that much noise is one that is worth experiencing. Their single “40 Day Dream” had nearly the entire Gorge jumping with joy and the entire band jumped with them. If another group enjoys playing music more than this one, I had yet to see them (I will come back to this comment when I get to Mumford & Sons). Closing with their folk ballad, “Home” Alex and vocalist Jade Castrinos, upon finishing the first few verses, came off the stage and handed the microphone to one fan after another asking for their own stories stating, “You just heard our story, it’s time to hear yours.” After a few touching stories and more than a couple, “… being here, right now is the greatest story I have…” or similar, the two came back on stage to finish one last chorus leaving the audience with a bow and the memories of a great show!


Grimes took centre stage at Bigfoot immediately following Sharpe’s performance on Sasquatch and the masses moved quickly so as not to miss a single song. On stage, the artsy and adorably awkward girl with a knack for beats and an amazing stage presence was known as Grimes, but the Vancouver born Claire Boucher was just as much the innocent looking girl that lives in Montreal as she was the genre defying musical ground-breaker. Getting an incredible reception from a packed audience Boucher pulled mostly from her newest album, Visions, which was touted by the New York Times as, “…one of the most impressive albums of the year so far.” With stripper/rapper (yes, that combination exists) Brooke Candy helping her out on the single “Genesis” things got into full swing fast and the tempo kept up the entire time. I could hear the beginnings of Elvis Costello on the main stage at this point thought and the bucket list called so I unfortunately had to leave before Boucher finished what was sure to be a random, layered, and absolutely dance-move-inspiring close.

**Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello, classy looking pinstripe suit, fedora, neon green socks and signature glasses, walked on stage with the confidence that comes after decades on putting on memorable performances and delivered within seconds. Not two songs in, the aforementioned Natalie Bergman of Wild Belle came onstage to lend backing vocals to “Watching The Detectives” and the party started. With a band hailing from France, England, and the U.S., Costello clearly scoured the Earth scooping up the best musicians he came across while touring and it showed in a flawless performance. Costello held his own, and then some, playing “A Slow Drag With Josephine” alone onstage with little more than acoustic guitar and a symbol keeping the slow, melodic beat. It became clear to all in attendance that this man truly understands music and is constantly tweaking and fine tuning his act while never spoiling the classic nature of songs such as “Everyday I Write The Book” which everybody watching uncontrollably swayed and danced. Closing with one of his signature concert songs, “I Want You”, Costello had 20,000 plus people silenced, hanging off his every word and just waiting to erupt with applause the moment he said goodbye.

The four men widely regarded as the biggest band in the world right now walked onto the main stage at the stroke of eleven to an overly full Amphitheatre crowd just waiting to tell people about the time they saw Mumford & Sons. The slow ballad “Lover’s Eyes” eased the crowd into what was soon to become the best party in the Pacific Northwest and possibly farther. Their massive single, “I Will Wait” picked up the pace immediately following and raised the level of audience excitement for frantic to insane. Marcus Mumford, titular member and lead vocalist sets up his station on stage with a kick drum for his right foot and a tambourine on a peddle for his left but plays his guitar furiously and belts out notes in a clear and powerful voice leaving all in awe of the musically gifted Brit. All through their set however, apart from the occasional jump to the drum kit by Marcus or, alternatively, string bassist Ted Dwane, the four members stood next to each other at the front of the stage and loved every minute of being on stage. Noting that they’re new to the idea of headlining festivals of this size, they were equal parts charm and humour whenever addressing the audience and perfectly suited to the task when not. Only four songs into their set, their break-out single “Little Lion Man” from their debut album Sigh No More, made sure that anyone still seated on the lawn had no choice but to stand, then jump, then dance as the folk-rock hit just kept building to a fever pitch! Marcus took the drums for the first of two occasions to perform “Lover of The Light”, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that this band absolutely lives up to the hefty expectations attached to such massive titles as they’re constantly given. Politely asking the audience, “…shall we have a sing-a-long now?” with a smile on his face, Marcus began the four minute turned ten minute epic, “Awake My Soul” and found himself nearly drowned out by the flood of voices singing his words back to him. The boys, as hoped for and not surprisingly, left the stage for only a minute after their final song of the set to return for an encore playing “Babel”, the first single and title track of their latest Grammy award winning album. Stepping back on the drums for the second and final time, Marcus left nothing on stage during an unbelievable performance of their triple Grammy nominated track “The Cave”, finishing of by knocking over his kit to get to the front of the stage and connect with all his now completely overjoyed and exuberant fans. That could’ve closed out absolutely any venue and rock show but the boys then brought on tour mates Edward Sharpe and all of his Magnetic Zeroes for an unlooked for but wondrous surprise upon announcing their intentions to perform a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s classic, “The Chain”. An altogether incredible day of music that, honestly, I was worried wouldn’t live up to the bar set the previous night. I was wrong and am happy to admit the fact.

Check out Chelsea Chernobyl’s photos of Sasquatch 2013 Day Three


Sasquatch 2013 Day Two: A Mayan god takes the stage… but Sigur Ros upstages it.

**Block Party

Waking up early has its advantages at a music festival (“early” being a relative term and meaning roughly 8:30 in this case). First: hot water and no line for the showers. Although not an option at all campsites, hot water especially is still a “hot” commodity when this many people are involved. Secondly: a few moments of quiet, the calm before the storm if you will. There will, undoubtedly, be a group of guys playing Lawn-Pong (much like Beer-Pong but substituting a large, grassy area for a ping-pong table, buckets for Dixie cups, and full beers for… well, not everything’s different)either starting early or continuing the previous night’s festivities, but joining it isn’t the worst way to start your morning. And thirdly: the opportunity to go back to sleep in the sunshine on a somehow more comfortable spot of lawn than the one beneath your tent.

As the festival gates open up to a new day, the first must-see of the day is the Vancouver based synth-pop, techno-rock pioneers, Bear Mountain. With choreographed digital graphics interspersed with the camera shots on the big screens, these BC boys threw one hell of a party for those lucky enough to have shaken off their hang-overs. The twin brothers, Ian and Greg Bevis, lead vocals/rhythm guitar and percussion respectively, Kyle Statham on lead guitar, and the tech genius/creative co-ordinator of the group, Kenji Rodriguez pushing out up-tempo hit after hit, they kept the one o’clock crowd dancing from open to close. Looking around the fan-base in the audience, every girl with a tall guy in tow used the shoulders offered to them; partially to get a better view, but mostly just to show off their dance moves and love of the music blasting out of the massive speakers. I got the chance to sit down with a couple of the guys later on in the day so be sure to look out for that interview posting later this week.

The Bigfoot stage seemed to be where it was at on Saturday and it was honestly hard to abandon as the day progressed, regardless of the acts you knew were happening all around you. Atlas Genius garnered a nearly packed area in the middle of the afternoon full of pretty ladies and pretty men. I’m not sure if it was the music or the sunshine, or the combination of the two, but everyone was letting their freak-flag fly by this point and I, for one, was not complaining! With good vibes and moody guitar riffs, the brothers Jeffrey, Keith on vocals and Michael on drums (familiar sounding… are brother musicians the new black and I missed it?), these Adelaide, South Austrailians on stage connected with their fans not only with witty banter and jokes in between songs but also, at one point, Keith jumping into the crowd, still strumming his guitar. Even though there was some humour to the fact that he couldn’t find a way back onstage, it only served to endear him to the fans even more. Once their single, “Trojans” hit, the crowd was in frenzy and calling out for more. Truth be told, the vocals seemed a touch generic at times but there wasn’t much to complain about and the tightness of the music the Jeffrey brothers created made for a hell of an afternoon rock event.

Then the personification of soul walked onstage. Michael Kiwanuka, unknown to me until the moment he walked on stage, I have already found his album, Home Again, bought it off iTunes (because you’ve got to pay to hear music this good in my opinion) and have listened to a number of the tracks every spare second my ears get. With a single song often split between Hendrix-inspired grooves picking you up and then Withers-esque slow jams that force your eyes closed to fully appreciate what you’re hearing, Michael takes his job very seriously, and everyone is the happier for it. His lead guitarist for the show who’s name I couldn’t catch, a Washington State native on his home turf, with full afro in tow, had a non-chalant swagger about him and, once picked out, he didn’t seem to stray more than a foot or two while wooing the crowd into submission with his numerous solos. Had Ben Harper been in attendance, he would’ve applauded and shook the hands of the man that might finally push him to retirement. This, as shown on the faces of all those wandering off aimlessly afterwards, was exactly the relaxing re-charge we all needed.

Devendra Banhart, much to the excitement of the throng of young girls in the front rows, took the stage following Michael Kiwanuka and continued the unique musical stylings that would be the category-defying trend of the day. Fabrizio Moretti, the now recognizable drummer of The Strokes helped Devendra out on the kit and really added some pinache to the already interesting grooves. Opening with a number of songs of his album What Will We Be, Devendra kept the vibe laid back to start, strolling around the stage tipping his hat to his fans and smiling coyly when they responded with affection. The interesting mix of soul, funk, latin-infused folk, and a little bit of rock kept you guessing from song to song whether it was time to sway, swing, or shout along with the band. Already making waves, having just released his seventh studio album, it’ll be exciting to keep an eye on this Texan-born, Venezuelan raised singer-songwriter.

**Bloc Party

And then Bloc Party happened. Near to the top of my own personal favourites list, the re-united Brits filled the Gorge’s main stage with a fury of sound! To open their set with the smash hit “Banquet” from their debut album, well, screaming like a little girl was a thing many grown men found themselves doing for the first time (or maybe I’m alone on that one). After getting the capacity crowd fired up, a simple, “We’re Bloc Party from London… So let’s get this party started…” was all they needed to launch into “Hunting for Witches”; the lead-off single to their sophomore effort. With a catalogue full of hits, playing one after another including, “Waiting for the 7:18”, “Pioneers”, “Positive Tension”, and “Talons”, you could visibly watch as the four bandmate’s smiles get bigger as the set progressed. Lead vocalist /rhythm guitar Kele Okereke played in gym shorts and high-tops showing that playing music is just what he was meant to do, he doesn’t need an image or a look while lead guitarist Russell Lissack, Gordon Moakes on bass guitar, and Matt Tong on drums all did and looked however they pleased to follow suit. A quick note by Kele expressed what everyone was feeling, that they were witnessing something special: “The last time we played here was, no lies, the worst show we’ve ever played. We are having a brilliant time up here forgetting that experience and having the best time while doing it.” To close up an unbelievably upbeat and energetic show, Kele offered up a song he stated, “…is an old song. I don’t know if you’ll remember it.” Less than four notes into “This Modern Love”, Kele broke verse and laughingly played witty with his fans, “…oh, you do remember.” We all remembered and we all crossed off another notch on our bucket lists after seeing a Bloc Party show we’ll never forget.

Strolling through the grounds after that show, I was pulled back to Bigfoot Stage hearing the unique vocal stylings of Divine Fits co-frontman, Dan Boeckner. The Canadian/American “mega-group” is composed of Dan, formerly of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, Britt Daniel, formerly and currently of Spoon, Sam Brown, formerly of The New Bomb Turks, and Alex Fischel (formerly of something I’m sure). Dan and Britt along have played enough shows to know how to rock a crowd proper and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Playing the majority of their tracks off their debut album, A Thing Called Divine Fits, the guys also had fun covering Tom Petty’s classic “You Got Lucky” and finally closing with Britt’s heartbreak cover of “Shivers”, the latter happening after the lights dimmed to deep reds and muted purples conveying the high school pain Nick Cave and the rest of The Boys Next Door no doubt felt when writing the song all those years ago. These boys are good, and they’ve only just begun this mega-group’s work.

**The XX

The next two shows to hit the main stage were The XX and Sigur Ros, one moody and incredible experience after the other. The XX walked out in all blacks onto an all black stage and immediately started playing a show using stripped down special FX consisting mostly of strobe lights and the occasional white laser light. Although their music is dark and brooding in the best way possible, their stoic facial expressions hit the joy they felt and conveyed to their fans. Romy Madley Croft took the mic after finishing a haunting rendition of Shelter to say, “Three years ago we played the second stage during the day. We watched Massive Attack from the lawn and dreamed of this moment. And it’s all because of you. Thank you so much.” Weaving their way seamlessly through their hits, “VCR”, “Crystallized”, and “Islands” all off their 2009 debut studio album, it was surprising that such highs (both vocally and beat related) came from such sombre-sounding beginnings but there was something undeniably sexy about their presence that pushed the music to another level as they often stood facing each other on stage, forehead to forehead, eyes to the ground, using their guitars with and against one another finding the perfect reverb at precisely the right moment. The climax came with “Infinity”; melodic and tranquil right until the clash of the synthed-up symbol hit and lights and sound combined, actually shocking the audience momentarily with the effect of lightning crashing onstage time the chorus hit.

**Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros, who are capable of an equally moody and down-tempo show, came out in matching uniforms to deliver, seemingly, just that. With the crescendo of the first song hitting however, everyone in attendance knew we were about to witness something entirely out of this world. With visuals ranging from lead crystals reacting to magnets, the cellular growth of membranes, and eerily beautiful underwater close-ups to over-exposed decimation of entire forests akin to nuclear blast waves, the visuals, as per design, were fully a third of the show. The other two thirds, you ask? Frontman and creative wonder-being, Jon “Jonsi” Birgisson. Taking pieces from all of their studio albums, Agaetis Byrjun, (), and through to their latest, Kveikur, the lack of ability to pronounce or even understand any of the lyrics is surprisingly a non-issue to newcomers and a welcome, often spiritual experience for the initiated. Some of their more “popular” songs including “Hoppipola” had the crowd dancing and swaying as digital sparks reigned across the screen behind while other songs took the audience to Pacific depths only to leave them stranded at Everest Heights much to their delight and wonder. The images of burning forests and vehicles often juxtaposed the symphonic moments of quiet reflection within the music before hitting a fever pitch harder than the most intense heavy metal imaginable. This man screams in a more beautiful register than most highly paid performers can sing. With a very simple, “Hello, thank you for having us…” Jonsi is deep into a creative space throughout. So much so that you find yourself waiting for him to look directly at you in the few brief periods he addressed the audience in the vain hope that you might, for just a moment, see the world as he sees is; see things the way someone as creative as this man sees them. This group takes dream-stuff and crafts ethereal, often hypnotizing sounds out of it. And if, on the off chance you didn’t know this was what your dreams were capable of, well, put on any one of the albums they’ve created, or, had you been lucky enough to catch last night’s performance, simply close your eyes and wait.

Stumbling away for an incredible night of unbelievable performances, I was awakened while walking by the images of insanity made real. “Oh yes,” I thought, “Empire of the Sun is performing on Bigfoot Stage.” Four men on pink, furry stilts slammed down on massive, double-deck, neon guitars, all angled out from the god-figure that was Luke Steele who stood on a raised platform covered head to toe in gold with an ornate gold headpiece reminiscent of the Mayan and Incan kings of old. And then shit got weird. By the time their insanely popular single, “Walking on a Dream” began (look it up if you’re unsure, you’ll know it well, I guarantee), my mind couldn’t cope and I decided that I either needed some mind-altering drug to keep going or to just accept that there are still two more days of music to come and prepare myself for the terrifyingly epic dreams that would come with sleep. Sleep it was.

Check out Chelsea Chernobyl’s photos of Sasquatch 2013 Day Two

Sasquatch 2013 Day One: Poppin’ Collars and Droppin’… Bridges?

Temperature, precipitation, personal hygiene: these things mean little to the seasoned festival goer. Walking in through the gates of Sasquatch this year, I simultaneously felt nostalgia and excitement (with a hint of nausea as a particularly ripe gentleman blew past me screaming Bloody Mary) knowing that the world of large scale festivals in an enigma, shrouded in furry animal suits, just waiting to shock the feint of heart.

The drive down from Vancouver to The Gorge Amphitheatre is one that, although prepared for by the onslaught of news stories the previous night, nearly took the wind out of our sails. Crawling through the streets of Mount Vernon, WA at a snail’s pace while staring, jaws agape, at a clean break; a fully MISSING section of the Skagit River bridge, well, let’s just say we were in no rush to cross the next bridge the I-5 offered up to us. The extra few hours in traffic meant that we unfortunately missed the opening act on the main stage. All the stages, for the uninitiated, are cleverly named to keep company with Ole’ Sasquatch (the main stage): Bigfoot, Yeti, El Chupacabra, and Cthullu (yes, the Lovecraftian reference causes an involuntary tilt of my head as well being lumped in this group… has anyone ever claimed to see the great god-creature from another dimension?). From 4:00 on Friday afternoon until the final act at 11:00 on Monday night, there’s music and comedy to satisfy the pickiest of festival snobs with recognizable names on EVERY stage; a feat not easily accomplished and yet not surprising considering the track record of this incredible venue.

ZZ Ward, although I didn’t catch the act personally, clearly wow’d fans and newcomers to her music alike as it seemed to be the name no one was likely to forget, or even stop talking about regardless of the act they were catching at the time. The first act caught in person was actually a surprise when, rounding a corner headed towards the Sasquatch stage, who do I find playing an intimate little set in the Acoustic Tent but Vampire Weekend! Subdued, restrained, and light-hearted, I wasn’t aware yet that this was how I wanted to see the group. Not, unfortunately, onstage, barely able to hold on to the quickly dwindling crowd they amassed later on that evening.

**Built To Spill

Built to Spill, the Boise based boys, are a band that’s been around the festival circuit a few times now. No scathing commentary on their age here though, as they still sounded youthful and energetic despite the gray in their beards (I had to… just one…). Watching hipsters with hats made of Duck Tape, next-gen flower children with closed eyes and open arms, and a mass of side-boob showing, fur-coat wearing (this is likely headliner Macklemore’s influence), impossible to categorize characters dancing to their music, I wonder if the guys from Built to Spill think that any of this is any more out of the ordinary than decades past? With a sound akin to The Tragically Hip (or is that just the Canadian in me linking the two), their indie-guitar rock sounds parted the rain clouds (literally… it really did stop raining at this point) and a rainbow appeared that, to my thirsty eyes, ended at the beer tent. All would be right with this weekend. Of that, I was now assured.

**Father John Misty

Father John Misty, real name Joshua Tillman, formerly of the folk group Fleet Foxes was the first act I caught on the second largest stage, The Bigfoot. Girls actually swooned, the backs of their hands subconsciously finding their foreheads (I didn’t know women still did that to be honest) the moment Father John took the stage. Meandering from one side of the stage to the other, one hand in his jeans pocket, one hand delicately holding onto the mic, flamboyance and confidence came together in this bearded poet who slings his verse with dreamlike chords backing him up. The only payment this man seems to crave; the applause and energy of his adoring fans. As the show continues, notching off just about every song off of his 2012 release, Fear Fun, I can’t get over the demeanor and presence of what could’ve been a terribly convincing cult leader in another life. He shakes his hips and points his guitar like a young, folk-rock Elvis Presley, his bravado keeping the mood light and the crowd smiling. His music isn’t anything to wag a finger at either. Alternating between hands-free, outlandish gestures while singing and an acoustic guitar that he lets sing in its own right, Father John, whom I now refuse to refer to by his given and rather unfitting name, Joshua, is a man made for the spotlight. All his eccentricities and the infectious music he brings to the stage will only help his star rise to dizzying heights.

Taking the energy level up about five notches (initially, at least), Arctic Monkeys took to the main stage only moments after Father John blew a kiss goodbye to all the ladies at Bigfoot Stage. Continuing the throwback-frontman trend, in my eyes at least, vocalist Alex Turner channeled Buddy Holly save only the glasses. Pulling a black comb out of his back pocket to slick his hair back in place these (still) young Brits came out blasting tracks off their freshman album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, to get the crowd going frantic. “Fake Tales of San Francisco” brought me back to memories of Roskilde Festival outside of Copenhagen, Denmark back in ’06: the first time I saw these guys live as they toured the globe promoting their first and only album at the time. A much more well-rounded show than seven years ago, the boys properly chilled the crowd out before picking them right back up with lead-ins of, “This next song’s called ‘Pretty Visitors’ and you’re gonna fuckin’ love it!” The backbone and fast-beating heart of the operation, drummer Matt Helders relentlessly punishes his kit as Turner takes the centre walkway shaking babies and kissing hands. The Brit Award winning, Grammy nominated group know what their strengths are and showcase them with songs like “Brick by Brick”, Helders kicks it into overdrive and for the first time, I notice he’s wearing a mouthguard. Clearly seeing his job as a high energy, high octane endurance event that it is. Although everyone was waiting for, and loving, the college anthems Arctic Monkeys are so good at pumping out, their newer efforts really brought the crowd in to an intimate space that the band has carefully crafted for their fans.

**Vampire Weekend

As mentioned earlier, the New York based band Vampire Weekend took the headlining spot on the Bigfoot Stage and, after opening with “Cousins” off their first album, the crowd’s energy and the sheer number of them had me wondering if these boys could really be referred to as a “secondary-stage-act”? “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” followed and not long after, “Horchata” off their sophomore album came next, then the first of their new hits of their week old album Modern Vampires of the City, “Diane Young” had everyone screaming their heads off. Unfortunately for the band, the techs at the Bigfoot Stage just weren’t ready for this sort of noise and the sound cut out and back more than a few times throwing a major wrench in the mood. Lead vocalist Ezra Koenig took all this in stride and reverted to (or possibly simply went on with their show as planned) a much quieter second half of the set playing mostly off their newest album. Although songs like “Unbelievers” and “Don’t Lie” are wonderfully crafted songs with many layers, the general vibe around the crowd was not a subtle one. Yells of, “TURN IT UP”, and “LET’S GO… GET LOUDER” were as much calls to the band as to the sound technicians. Less than ¾ through their set and more than half the crowd had left to see what all the noise Macklemore was making on the Sasquatch Stage was all about. I was one of those that left feeling, not that I saw a sub-par group perform, but that I just happen to catch a performance meant for a hip club in Brooklyn, not a balls-out festival show.

If anyone out there hasn’t heard the name Macklemore yet, or at least found yourself uncontrollably jumping around to the uber-catchy “Thrift Store”, well, then you would have been severely outnumbered at The Gorge. Ben Haggerty, a.k.a. Macklemore, and his producer, beat-maker extraordinaire Ryan Lewis headlined the main stage on the opening night of Sasquatch and you couldn’t find a more pleased crowd anywhere in the Pacific Northwest! The Seattle based rapper and musician at one point openly stated that he was almost at a loss for words looking out into the crowd because he’d been, “…working [his] whole life to be on this stage, right here, at the Gorge.” Sporting a Seattle SuperSonics jersey, Macklemore lit the stage up, dancing just as hard, if not harder than most of his fans. From the kilt-wearing trumpet player bunny-slippers and all, to the pimped-out fur coats and pinstriped suits onstage, this performance was aimed to please! Once his smash single “Thrift Store” happened, all bets were off as Macklemore cruised out of the sidelines on a scooter with a full wolf-head and fur coat on. And yet, as many are apt to comment, this isn’t a one-trick pony. Not two songs later, Ben Haggerty, alone in the spotlight, spoke candidly about his battle with drugs and alcohol and followed up with the entire second verse, acapella, off “Otherside” just to drive home the reality of the lyrics. Knowing he had this crowd in the palm of his hand, he held on to this intimate moment (shared with 20,000 people) and got the music started for his conversation-starting single, “Same Love”. Listening intently to the lyrics, the entire Gorge shivered simultaneously as the climax of the second verse, and the crux of the argument for gay marriage hits, and Macklemore screams out, “I might not be the same, but that’s not important. No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it!”

A great first day with three full days of discovery and nostalgia to come; yes, this Memorial Day weekend is going to be a memorable one indeed.

Check out Chelsea Chernobyl’s photos of Sasquatch 2013 Day One


Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside Interview: The Sound That Made Jack White Take Notice

Finding the cute-as-a-button Sallie Ford waiting for me on a couch, legs swinging like a child whose feet don’t quite touch the floor, automatically puts a smile on your face. It’s late in the day on the final night of Sasquatch Music Festival and, having just played a show on the Yeti Stage, Sallie Ford doesn’t appear the least bit tired, smiling away and watching the buzz of the media room slowly die out.

The North Carolina native quickly apologizes for taking up my time while John C. Reilly plays the stage just outside, making it quite clear that she’d very much like to catch this show herself so without delay, I take my cue and decide a few questions in here and then possibly finish the interview by watching a show on the interview with the uniquely talented Sallie Ford.

So a girl from North Carolina, a one-time Portland busker, and a couple of guys down from Alaska and you all found each other in Portland. Did the Portland music scene draw you in or was it happenstance that you guys formed up there?

I don’t know… I recently found out that there’s a great music history in the Pacific Northwest as far as The Ventures and The Sonics and that’s really inspiring. So that’s where I feel I’ll move towards eventually: that type of music, I guess. More rock n’ roll.

You can hear fun influences of swing and swing-style music all throughout your album. Even back in the 30’s and the beginning of the swing era, swing was known as being risque and having risque lyrics and with the honest and straight-shooting lyrics you put out there, are you worried about radio-play?

If you listen to our “single”, I Swear, I’m willing to use [laughs] “cuss” words in my music and I think we’re to the point where, ya, certain radio stations won’t play it but… actually some radio stations can still play that stuff. Canadian stations are a bit more ‘lax and Europe and that. I don’t want to get SUPER controversial or anything, like getting nude on stage or anything [laughs]. Sometimes being controversial is fun though, so why not?

With things going so well for you right now; Letterman, your album Dirty Radio really gaining momentum, playing bigger festivals, as a group do you find you’re becoming more of a loving family or is there a need for time apart every once in a while?

Ya, sometimes break time is nice [laughs]. When we tour in Europe we’re lucky that there are some people helping us out financially so we’re able to get our own hotel rooms, which is nice. We also enjoy time off but we don’t really get that much these days…

Have you gotten any time off recently to chill out in Portland or see your family back in North Carolina?

Not really, no. It’s always hard with the move to the west coast. I never really get back to see my family as often as I should but my dad [puppeteer Hoby Ford] also travels a lot so I got to see him in Denver a few weeks ago. As a band, we’re in Portland sometimes but right now it’s different with Europe and the tour there. That’s been keeping us busy and we’ve been recording recently as well as getting a tour ready for the fall in the U.S.

Recording a new album or just piecing one together slowly?

We recorded a new album. I think late September is when we’re aiming to have it come out, so that’s exciting.

Speaking of your European tour, you guys are all over the map in Europe. Was that your first time over there so trying to spread the name as far and wide as you could?

No, I mean, we were there all of February and part of March but also in late November of last year we were there touring. We keep going back there, we can’t stop. We just took a trip in late March just to play on t.v. there. A day trip to Paris, you know! [laughs] And I think this year we’ll probably fly two or three more times, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Back to your family briefly; I read that your mother is a musician and music teacher. Do you ever pass your songs over her way and ask, “So… any good?”

[Laughs] Oh, man! I don’t know. Usually, that’s my band and I feel like they’re the best for me to do that with. I think I was really lucky to have my mom as a music teacher as a kid though. She’s so busy these days that just getting on the phone to catch up, we hardly have time for that. My parents always hear my early recordings and they’re just so supportive and all they do is just encourage me! As far as bringing the beginnings of songs to them and stuff, it’s actually why I think the band works so well because I might be uncertain about songs but I’ll bring them to the band and we’ll all shape things in a way that makes me think, “Okay, this is really good, actually.” As well as the fact that we just worked with producers for the first time and that was, well, they were definitely honest and little bit hard to hear at times. They’d walk in and go, “This song… I don’t think we should pursue this.” or, “We should change this little part, here.” which is good, it’s necessary.

Do you feel that having this new structure around you now that you’re signed to a label has changed the way you write, possibly even the sound a bit as opposed to just creating, recording it, and putting it out for people to hear?

Well, I actually haven’t done a lot of writing since then, so… I just bought a baritone guitar and I’m planning to do some writing on that and I think having a new instrument can be really inspiring. I just bought that fender [that she performed with earlier] about four or five months ago so I’ll probably use that to write with if I get some time off. I go through spurts, and producers have nothing to do with that. I’ll not write anything for a while but then I’ll write five songs all of a sudden, so I’m not too worried about it [laughs]. For now, I don’t want to write a bunch of stuff that I’m gonna have to wait to play.

Being from Vancouver myself, I have to ask, any plans for Canadian stops on a tour soon?

Of course, ya. Actually, we were just there… last night! [laughs] In Vancouver! We played at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre opening for Jack White! It was awesome! It was kind of a last minute thing that it happened…

Opening for Jack White… wow… Did you get to meet him?

It was insane. It was so cool [shakes her head in disbelief]. So cool! I did meet him. I didn’t know how it was gonna all go down but I think it all went down perfectly! We got a brief interaction, we were setting up our gear, he walked over, shook our hands, and just seems like a nice guy. He has got quite the production! Watching his show was just amazing too. He is… just… the best! He has to be one of the most original acts out there. Such a hard-working person too. Seeing him work was just amazing.

Would you consider that an influence of yours then? Are there others that you’d like to meet to let them know how they’ve inspired you?

It was pretty sweet to meet Jack White, obviously, but yeah. I’d love to meet The Black Keys, Tom Waits… I mean all of those are really talented people that I feel still have a good head on their shoulders and they’re still genuine people, from what I’ve heard. I think just meeting artists that, well, they do things that I guess could be considered “selling out” but they still work hard to do other things that aren’t necessary for them anymore. Like Jack White playing tiny, small theatres or The Black Keys putting on a show in a big arena that still feels intimate and they work hard to make it that way. Tom Waits is the same way… more so. That guy hasn’t done any commercials, any licensing, nothing. He also had it made cause he started so long ago. I think that path would be impossible for us to do. I really don’t mind, “selling out” as some people call it. There’s definitely a limit, but we have to make money. It’s a career, a job, you know?

Is it about time we head out to see us some John C. Reilly?

Absolutely! I think I have another interview but I can sneak out. And, as for Vancouver, hopefully we’ll be touring there in the fall. I know we’re going to be doing CD release shows in Portland and Seattle for sure but we’d love to make it up to Vancouver, too.

With the swinging, rocking, funky sound that Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside bring, it’s no wonder Jack White took notice. If she finds her way to Vancouver again I suspect they’ll only be bigger and better by that point and likely to find themselves an excited audience no matter where they tour. You can find their debut album “Dirty Radio” on iTunes or in select music stores in Vancouver so find your way to their sound and know that you’ll be up dancing around your house in no time!


The Sheepdogs Interview: “It’s Not Rocket Science, It’s Just Rock ‘n Roll”!

The Sheepdogs Interview

The Canadian rock group The Sheepdogs have gotten some pretty big press lately, and not just due to the fact that they were recently on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. These prairie boys from the small town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan have been touring non-stop alongside some pretty big names including the legendary John Fogerty of CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival), and aren’t stopping anytime soon.

Just after playing an absolutely hard-hitting, classic rock revival-style day’s opener at Sasquatch, lead vocalist, Ewan Currie and bass guitar player, Ryan Gullen took a couple of minutes out of their hectic schedule to talk festivals, international tours, and the Canadian bands that they’d lend a helping hand to first chance they get (and of which, they’re likely to get soon)!

Walking on stage at a venue like this: you’ve played around the world, but what’s it like opening a stage of this size in a place like the Gorge?

Gullen: It’s very cool. It’s obviously a very epic stage, maybe one of the most in the world, I don’t know. It’s such a crazy view, obviously from the stage it’s a little different but, well, the reception was unbelievably good and from start to finish we just felt very welcome, which was great!

When you walked on stage, you headed right to the mic, announced, “We are The Sheepdogs. We’re from Saskatoon. Let’s get it on!” Is that your approach to everything you do?

Currie: Exactly. Just get it on. It’s not rocket science, it’s just rock ‘n roll. You’ve gotta have the right balance between caring and not caring if that makes any sense.

I’m sure this comes up in nearly every interview you’ve had recently but, the cover of Rolling Stone: quite the feat. Big change since then?

Gullen: Absolutely! It’s just been a really great way to get our music out there and kinda get things rolling, music wise. We’ve been a band for a long time now, touring around and having marginal successes but it took things to a whole new level. It allowed us to do this full time and all the time which is tiring but it’s also fucking awesome.

Any breaks coming up for you guys to rest?

Gullen: No, not really. We just came off a three month run. We were off for four days and we get a few days here and there but no long-term time off till into next year basically.

Did you get back to Saskatoon and your friends and family at least for those four days?

Gullen: We did. It was nice to get back. It definitely doesn’t happen very often anymore. This is what we want to be doing, obviously, but it’s nice to sleep in your own home and in your own bed. Somewhere that isn’t a hotel basically.

Speaking to your tour manager about a friend of mine, the uber-talented Adaline, I heard you ran into her in Calgary? Small world, the Canadian music industry?

Gullen: Ya, we played a kick-off to the Stampede. We played… Thursday, I think it was. And ya, we saw Shawna [Beesley; Adaline’s off-stage name] in Calgary. It is, and it’s great to run into talented musicians that are friends. Makes you feel like things are going right, you know?

Stampede turns into one hell of a week-long party, are you going back for the actual event?

Currie: We’re playing the 100th Anniversary so it should be pretty crazy. We’re expecting nothing less [laughs]!

Gullen: Unfortunately we’re in and out though. We play somewhere else, on the other side of Canada I think the next day, so… But it’s one of those things that we’ve never been to before, any of us. I have friends that have gone since it’s very close to Saskatoon, but it’ll be fun this year for sure. It seems like it’s just always the craziest time when the whole city shuts down!

In terms of touring and playing shows in the rest of Canada, any tours coming up we should know about?

Currie: You know, we’re pretty busy. We have lots of summer festivals in Canada coming up that’ll bring us around a lot. In terms of an actual tour though? We’re gonna be doing the U.S. and we’ve been doing a lot of stuff overseas; the U.K., Australia, things like that. It probably won’t be until early next year till we get an actual Canadian Tour going. We’re gonna be all over though. Between Stampede, various festivals in Ontario, Osheaga in Quebec, BC…

Gullen: We’re basically playing every province over the summer.

Currie: People are gonna be able to see us all over Canada, whether it’s in the Prairies or Ontario, west, east, we’re even out to Newfoundland.

When you’re touring internationally, you’ve been playing with some pretty big names, some pretty classic names…

Currie: We did a tour with John Fogerty in Australia, which was so unbelievable. I mean… Creedence! Other than that, we’ve done some “opening” tours with some great names but I think we’re looking to do some of our own [tours] now. Trying to get people more aware of who we are outside of Canada. Grow the name out there, you know? We’re doing well in Canada, and that’s amazing, but there’s lots of room out there to go elsewhere.

Coming from small town Canada… well, Saskatoon, not really…

Gullen: Ya. It’s a small town.

Currie: Small city… give it it’s dues, man.

Well, coming from small city Canada, any other local acts or smaller Canadian acts that you’re listening to right now that you could lead the way for? Possibly give a shot to on your own tours?

Gullen: Yukon Blonde.

Currie: Ya, out of BC. Yukon Blonde are great. We took out Monster Truck from Ontario on tour with us last year and they were great too. But ya, Yukon Blonde are some great guys that we think are really good and we’ve been hanging out with lately…

Gullen: Zeus.

Currie: Zeus are a really good band. I think bands that are around our age and that are bringing some more melody and bringing in more guitars for sure. There’s room for that right now, I think. People always like a good melody and a good rock song so that’s not only the music we want to make but the music we’re attracted to.

Although it may not be as recognized by some, do you think the rock scene in Canada is going strong right now?

Gullen: I think it’s probably small, comparatively, but I think Canada’s always had rock representation even going back to the 60’s with The Band, Guess Who, and Neil Young. Even in the 90’s with stuff like Sloan, there’s always been Canadian rock music that’s been recognized as great. Maybe not always on a big scale, you know, but by people who really appreciate music and I’d like to think that we’re a part of continuing that tradition.

Right out of the gate in most of your shows people begin to compare you to classic Canadian rock legends, if not classic rock legends at large. Ever feel daunted by the bar set before you?

Currie: That’s what you want to hear though. I mean, you don’t want to be compared to like… well… [laughs] let’s just say maybe someone you wouldn’t want to. I wanna be compared to the best! That’s what you want as a band. It’s daunting sometimes though, sure. I mean, we get the Allman Brothers a lot cause we do some, sort of “Allman-sy” stuff and that’s scary cause those guys were gigantic guitar players and, [laughs] we’re just not in that class.

Some would try to argue that point you know…

Currie: I don’t think we are at all but of course it’s really an honour because we aspire to be like those bands. For people to recognize that, it feels great!

Anything you’re recording now or that you’re about to record that you’re excited about? Excited for people to hear about possibly?

Gullen: We recorded an album in January. We did it down in Nashville with Pat Carney [multi-instrumentalist and drummer] from The Black Keys. We’re at that point where we’re just getting everything ready to go, the music’s done…

Currie: We’re just getting all the other stuff that goes along with getting an album out now. The release date hasn’t been set yet but it’s gonna be in the fall. Fall is what we’re planning for and we’re really excited for it.

I for one will be there the day this album comes out. I’ve also, although talking up plenty of the acts seen at Sasquatch this year have had Sheepdogs on constant rotation since I’ve been home and thanks to these good ole’ rock and roll boys, may just have to grow out my hair, toss on their record, and really rock out as I can only imagine the youth of yesteryear once did.

Check out Chelsea Chernobyl’s photographs of The Sheepdogs at Sasquatch 2012.

interviews music videos

Vintage Trouble Interview: Creating “Troublemakers” the World ‘Round

Sitting on a small patio overlooking the Yeti Stage at Sasquatch Music Festival, I await the arrival of the talented and exciting group known everywhere as Vintage Trouble. Four grown men having this much fun making music and playing live sets should be illegal: and as I would later find out, not all their live sets were, strictly speaking, legal. Frontman and vocalist Ty Taylor walks out first, jeans, tank and fedora, looking relaxed and about as cool as they get. Not to be outdone by their singer though, the rest of the band, Nalle Colt (guitar), Richard Danielson (drums), and Rick Barrio Dill (bass) all walk out as chilled out and funky as I can remember seeing a group be. Easy going and clearly already enjoying their day, I knew I only had a few minutes of their time before they had to jump on stage to play for the crowd already forming in front of the stage nearly 45 minutes before they’re scheduled to start.

After your show today you guys are heading on tour with the one and only Lenny Kravitz! That’s not too small of a deal…

Taylor: We’re excited for every show on that tour! Also we’re gonna be playing Sweden soon…

Colt: I’m from Sweden and I haven’t played at home in 22 years and the first show of the tour is in Stockholm with Lenny Kravitz, so that’s the biggest deal for me, personally!

In regards to your latest album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions, you recorded that in only three days. Do you find that’s how you, as a group work together the best: get in, throw down, get out?

Taylor: We didn’t plan it like that, that’s for sure.

Danielson: I think we learned from it though, and now we don’t ever want to do it much different, I think. We went in there not really thinking about making a record, we just wanted to go in there to demo up some songs and we pulled together a full album in three days. It has purity to it, you know, because it’s not overthought, so I think that was sort of our roadmap for future recordings. We did it all live, in the same room, tracked it live and that’s the way we like doing it now.

Taylor: In a short period of time like that you kind of don’t have a choice but to stay out of your own way. A lot of times when you over-think things you get in the way of whatever the creative flow was that made it come through you in the first place, so there’s something really great about that. It’s like when you go to the beach and you see those guys making those amazing sculptures out of sand; they’re creating art for art’s sake. It’s not supposed to be seen for generations to come, it’s not supposed to be talked about in a million different circles and discussed. You just create, and then you move on and do the next one.

Your fan-base is known as the “Troublemakers”, do you encourage them to live up to their moniker?

All: They encourage us!!!

Danielson: They named themselves the Troublemakers actually.

Any good “Troublemaker” stories from the road?

Taylor: Depends on where you’re gonna publish this interview [all laugh]!

Online. For the world to read…

Taylor: In that case: Ya there are stories!!! No, but honestly, when we started out, our first performance we played was this place called Harvelle’s [Santa Monica] and right away after that we went to Venice, right down the street basically, in a place called The Stronghold so on our first day of performance we started playing after-hours clubs. So, continually, crazy shit goes on during our shows because a lot of our shows are after-hours and everything that entails. Specifically, we can’t say names of places but the gigs are usually cool and the after-parties are cool. Actually, the Troublemakers also get out and cause a lot of friction in positive ways too, putting in time helping charities and charitable organizations in groups, so it makes for a good balance.

Dill: I think it’s weird that we use people for promotions and hire people for that sort of thing cause the Troublemakers seem like they do more for us than anyone else

Colt: It’s become like a family now, you know? They welcome new Troublemakers really warmly and everyone takes care of each other.

Taylor: They have a page now that we’re not included in… [rest of the band all confirm and laugh]. Like, they go and talk about shit but it has nothing to do with us.

Colt: They’ve become their own community!

Taylor: Right, cause we’d be on the Facebook page going, “Why are you guys talking about all this other shit on our page?” And they’re sort of answer was, “Well, we like each other, so let’s make our own page! Cut these fuckin’ Vintage Trouble guys out!”

Danielson: What I think is really cool though is that they get together and meet before shows, there’s been love interests, a few “lust” interests…

Taylor: Vacations…

Danielson: Vacations together, new friendships, it’s a really tight group.

While on a different tour, Ty, you were invited to front for Queen a while back. Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday celebration and you get the call: What’s that like?

Taylor: It was great, I was just sorry I had to turn it down. You know… I was just busy that week [silence. Then all break into laughter] “When is it? Wednesday? No… not Wednesday. Shit!” [laughs] It really was amazing though. I mean, it’s one of those things you talk about and everything you seem to say sounds obvious about how great it was but what I will say that may not be obvious is that it was amazing to be in a room with these other people that were all there representing what different facets of his energy, Freddie’s energy. I got to do some stuff with Jeff Beck and all these people that I’ve dreamt of being in a room with. It wasn’t just about Queen, Queen was the honour, but it was also about the people that the band brought together. Their sound had always been, they had always had such a cross-breed of fans. Sometimes when you really think about Queen’s music… it’s just so odd! It’s kind of wild that it became so popular and so the room I was in was full of freaks! Music freaks in the best way possible, but freaks which made the whole thing freaky. And cool. Freaky cool, man! I’m STILL freaked out!

Danielson: Pryer to that we got to go out with Brian May as well when we landed in the UK which was just a real honour as well. Just to watch him every night and to be around that energy, well, it was great!

After playing the SXSW Showcase, there were four names mentioned as the “Memorable and best shows of the event”: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Jack White, Bruce Springsteen, and Vintage Trouble. What kind of a reaction do you have first hearing your name in that grouping?

Danielson: We just sort of stumbled into that, actually. I mean, I had never been to SXSW so I didn’t know what to expect. It’s just another day at the office for us, you know? We just went and did what we did and we happened to get a great slot which helped too.

Colt: Everyone’s just so juiced up while they’re there too. That’s WHY they’re there, really. So it was a great, great music crowd to play for !

Dill: It was such a huge honour too, to play there. Just very fortunate to be able to play there cause there’s so many great bands there with, what, 2,500, 3,000 bands there or something like that that roll through there so I think the fortunate part is that we kind of strike a chord that works within ourselves and if that strikes a chord with the people that listen then we’re very lucky.

You’ve described yourselves and your sound as, “Live-wired, straight-shootin’, dirty-mouth’d, pelvis-pushin’ juke music!” Who can we attribute that to?

Dill: Combination of things, I guess.

Taylor: Well… me, actually [laughs]. It’s in “Blues Hand-Me Down”. It’s in the song, you know. Some of our themes and mottos just fell upon us, you know? There wasn’t a lot of strategy to that. Someone asked us one day, “Who’s that about?”

Danielson: And the “pelvis-pushin’ was Charlie…

Taylor: Charlie, ya! We had this guy that used to tour with us and he had his brother say one day, “That music just makes me wanna push my pelvis out, man!” So it did come from all over, really.

Colt: And the “juke-joint” style music, man. All that late 50’s, early 60’s rhythm and blues, that “American music” that really created the early rock n’ roll that was just such a fantastic time in music!

Speaking of that 50’s and 60’s style, you filmed your music video for “Nancy Lee” in that style and all on an iPhone winning you the iPhone Film Fest. Any plans to get more creative on future videos?

Colt: We just shot one now… not five days ago, actually!

Taylor: Not iPhone but it’s gonna be pretty cool. It’s for a song called “Not Alright By Me”. I don’t want to give it away so that’s all I’m gonna say ’bout that [laughs]!

Colt: The whole thing too with the videos is that it’s usually so expensive with recordings and equipment and that. We’re trying to keep everything low-key and find creative people that will do it on a dime just for the sake of doing that way. Usually there are great ideas and it comes out more beautiful that way because it’s not over-done. I mean, the iPhone video cost, what…

Taylor: Two dollars [all laugh]

Colt: Ha, not… well, it was so easy, and so much cheaper than other videos out there!

Taylor: And what that does is it inspires people to make more videos. Videos all seem so big that they see all the time that it makes people think they can’t do it . The more that “indie-artists” stay indie and do things like this the more it allows people to see the videos and say, “I can do that”!

Any new releases, songs you’ve laid down recently even that you’re really excited about that we can all look forward to?

Colt: Right now it’s just about playing more music, hitting more venues and making and meeting more Troublemakers, really.

Taylor: That’s right. I mean, people can just come to the website, become a part of what we do, even if it’s not necessarily a part of something that’s happening right at that time, but instead just join in. There’s new stuff happening everyday and we love letting our fans get the news first and from us!

After a brief discussion about Colt’s home-town, having travelled through Sweden a while back, and talking tattoos and Lord of the Rings (better not to ask) I realized that as massive a presence as these guys have on stage, they may just be the most down-to-Earth group of musicians I had yet to meet. It’s no surprise that they inspire such a following and after catching their show, I’ve decided that being a “Troublemaker” is exactly what I need right now. Check these guys out at and then realize that you’re likely to become a Troublemaker before you can say “Live-wired, straight-shootin’, dirty-mouth’d…” well… let’s just say it’s gonna happen fast after hearing the unique sound these guys rock out with!

Check out Chelsea Chernobyl’s photographs of Vintage Trouble at Sasquatch 2012.

interviews music videos reviews

Greylag Interview: The Guys That Make Summer Campfires Just That Much More Memorable

Having just come off of the Gomez and Kopecky Family Band tour this past fall, then finishing a tour with Augustana, Greylag is working hard promoting their debut EP, “The Only Way To Kill” which was released less than a month prior to their Sasquatch Music Festival Appearance.

The Portland-based band whose two founding members (the core of this indie/folk-rock group), Andrew Stonestreet and Daniel Dixon, first met back in 2007, didn’t realize the calibre of music they could create together until both moved to Portland and really gave their style a shot. With a vulnerability in the lyrics and a great, simple sound, Greylag’s emergence on the scene shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

** Greylag after having been informed that we know those water bottles aren’t filled with water, photographed by Chelsea Chernobyl

One of the first reviews I found on you guys had spoken of your music being, “… perfect for summer roadtrips and campfires.” Did you have that in mind when you were creating your debut EP?

Stonestreet: We like them too, so that kinda makes sense, I guess. Some of it was probably first written in that setting too.

Is that part of your process to just let these songs come into existence organically, sitting around with friends, or did you find being in the studio really helped?

Oh, man… there are so many different ways that it happens. I think hindsight is a pretty awesome facet of the creative process, there’s a lot of that. You create something then you change it based on listening back cause there’s all this reflection happening. And that’s a good part of it: just tweaking and making things different.

“The Only Way To Kill You” is now roughly three weeks old; are there tour plans specifically designed around the release?

We just got off the road actually, doing a six-week national tour with the band Augustana. We were back for about a week then we came up here, so we’re gonna take a little bit of time then hopefully get back on the road in a couple of months. Hopefully sooner than that, actually, but who knows. We just need to relax for a minute, you know? See friends and chill out for a bit.

There are already some big names that you’re being compared to, not just word of mouth but in the media as well: Fleet Foxes, Local Natives, and Bon Iver, whose on later and is headlining this Festival… what is it that distinguishes you and keeps you separate from established names like that?

I think we all come from such different backgrounds. There’s a lot of common ground amongst [bands like that] but there’s also, well, we’re all into very different things and headed in very different directions. I think we’re just trying to leave enough room in our group for everybody to voice what their doing, and that’s important. I don’t think we’re shooting for anything specific other than just something that moves us.

A couple of your videos on-line, including “Tiger” and “Winter White” are through collaboration with The Sights of Sounds at the Mississippi Studios in Portland.

Ya, Ben Fee’s [founder/director/cinematographer/producer at The Sights of Sounds] a good friend of ours. Man, I can’t remember if we shot at Mississippi Studios or not. Actually, I don’t think we did. I think we shot at a venue that’s sadly closed down now called The Woods. We shot some there and we shot some in our attic which Daniel actually lives in.

Dixon: Right in my room…

Stonestreet: We had kind of just done random stuff with Ben up till then. Ben just sort of shows up with a camera and some microphones and just says, “Let’s just make this!” [laughs] It’s a pretty easy process.

They looked pretty stripped down and more about just letting you guys play your music and forget the camera’s are there.

Ben’s got a really good eye so we’ll just play the song a couple of times and then he’ll send us some clip about a month later. It’s worked out really awesome for us.

Being relative new-comers to the festival circuit have you had a chance to catch any acts? Anyone inspire you so far?

Stonetreet and Dixon together: Kurt Vile.

Stonestreet: As long as I’d seen Kurt Vile yesterday I was pretty happy. But we saw St. Vincent play yesterday, we caught Jack White last night, that was, well, that was fuckin’ awesome. We’re excited to see Bon Iver tonight. I mean, we’re lucky enough to get to stick around for the rest of the festival and we’ll for sure take advantage of that.

With catchy hooks and stomping rhythm, the folksy, bluesy, yet ultimately quintessential American indie-rock album “The Only Way To Kill You” is out now and I for one will be letting everyone I know hear about the group that is sure become more than just a west-coast addiction. Greylag is going to take flight soon and you won’t want to miss a minute of the success that’s sure to come their way!