Vana Liya, Pepper – Round n Round (with Pepper) [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

dreamy, light, sweet

Tell us a few things about your new song. What is the main idea behind it?

“Round n’ Round” is about going through the motions (going round n round if you will lol). It’s about being okay even though things aren’t okay. And realized that’s it’s okay to be not okay. Tomorrow is only a day away.

Which is your most personal and honest lyric?

“I wish the old me could see me now” is from a song called “Surface” – it’s one of the lines that makes me tear up most times I hear it because of how true it is. I was in a really dark mental space and I am happier now than I ever thought I could be back then.

What do you enjoy most? Writing music or performing your music live?

I love being able to channel my feelings and write. However, connecting with people and seeing the way one song could make a difference is eye opening – that feeling is what drives me. Dave Grohl said “you can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons”. I’ve always loved that because I think it shows how a song can be personalized and how the same words can be applied to different people and get them through different situations.

What would be your dream performance venue?

Being a native New Yorker, Jones Beach (or if we’re dreaming big MSG) would be my way of showing myself I made it.

In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

I would hope in a state of happiness, or maybe when they are feeling vulnerable.

One last thing we should know about you?

Music gets me through the motions and I think it does that for a lot of people. I try to give 100% of me in the music in the hopes of creating a genuine product and being able to connect with people 🙂

Thank you!

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Mark Vennis & Different Place – Cut Me Loose [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Roots, Rock, Reggae

You blend different genres in your music. Tell us a few things about your song Cut Me Loose and your creative process in general

I’m a massive fan of jazz, punk rock, hip hop, blues and of course reggae. The new album has a big reggae vibe, and in Cut me Loose I really embraced Brit reggae – particularly UB40 and that melding of punk and reggae that bands like the Clash and the Ruts did. There is a melodic simplicity to reggae music that I love, and that combination of bass and drums and melody is one of the best things in the world. In a kind of wonky way I was channelling the spirit of Gregory Isaacs and lovers rock, although my voice is much more of a bark than a lilt!

I write only on an acoustic guitar, so if it doesn’t work in that bare format then probably the song doesn’t work at all and its back to the starting blocks. The songs tend to be lyric led in that the melody comes from the lyrics and that seems to be the most important thing. I muck around on the guitar and sometimes I have lyrics ready to go, sometimes they come as I play, sometimes they are in old notebooks, sometimes I just have a title (which are very important). I basically play around with dozens of songs at a time. Sometimes it’s like a jigsaw puzzle where you just need that last piece that can take months to find!

Tell us one reggae song you wish you had composed yourselves

That is really difficult – but I would say So Much Trouble in the World by Bob Marley or Forces of Victory by Linton Kwesi Johnson. Sorry that’s two!

Do you prefer writing music in the studio or performing live?

Both are great. But live probably has the edge energy wise. And what would be your dream performance venue? Brixton Academy – I use to live very close to it and saw loads of brilliant bands there.

What would you change in the music industry?

I think it is really difficult for talented kids who don’t have money to carve their way in the industry at the moment. There does seem to be a lot of of posh kids with nothing to say around currently. Part of the problem is the streaming model where payment terms are not fair and given the lack of live gigs (because of Covid) it is very hard for young acts to make ends meet.

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

A film called Rocks about a young teenage girl who has to look after her little brother. Sounds grim but is really uplifting.

One last thing we should know about you?

I am anti-racist, anti-fascist & pro-creative and music is a powerful tool to bring us together.

Thank you!

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TerraTara – Waiting for the Rain [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Unique, percussive, resonating

World is grappling with massive forest fires. Tell us a few things about your new song and the story behind it?

“Waiting for the Rain” is about the forest fires burning out of control in the Western U.S. and Canada. It’s a distress call for the fires and smoke to end. When I wrote “Waiting for the Rain,” I was at a lake house with a forest fire very close by, and it was smokey for weeks. Everyday I would pray for rain, and every day, I woke up and the smoke was still there. It was very apocalyptic. I created the song with dissonant harmonies to express the uncomfortable and despairing situation that seems to have no end. It’s a longing, a cry for the Rain, begging it, asking it to come, thereby, invoking the rain. At the end, the harmony becomes hopeful, and soon the rain will bless us….

For which lyric you are most proud of?

”Hey There, Now Rain Maker, What do you say, Now….”
Because I’m humanizing the maker of rain and suggesting that they make it rain, trying to convince them, in a charming manner.

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

Neil Young, Joni Michell, The Grateful Dead, Bob Marley, Billy Holiday, Dezarie, Fela Kuti

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist so far?

Being an Artist in a world that doesn’t support Artists. The world is consumed by commercialism and politics and economics as its main pulse, there is little time or appreciation for art.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Not to worry about the opinions of others, especially of your art, and most definitely about your appearance, some people just have bad taste, lol!

One last thing we should know about you?

That I’m an Artist first. So that’s where I’m coming from. So if a note is dissonant, then that’s the emotion needing to be expressed, even if it is less harmonic or easy to listen to. I’m not interested in how commercially viable “my sound” is. My motto is “the quieter, the better” which is unpopular in comparison to the wall of sound everyone is bombarded with today. It’s just not how I roll…

Thank you!

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Marcus Gad meets Tamal – Brave New World (Official Music Video)

Marcus Gad is a reggae and hip hop singer from New Caledonia (South Pacific Ocean Island) who released 2 albums and 3 Eps since 2015. This new single “Brave New World” released on 04.02.21, is the first from his upcoming new album “Brave New World” . The song has been written during the 1st French Lockdown, the music video has been shot in Paris during the second lockdown, and it just has been released during the third lockdown in France.

Back then, we had spent weeks speculating about what was going on behind the curtains, but somehow had the feeling that something we had fore-sensed for years was unraveling.
After two months in the peace of our countryside dwelling in the south of France, going up to Paris to record songs with my beatmaker Tamal
was quite an interesting experience. As I was walking out into what seemed to be yet another dystopia, I couldn’t help but thinking about Huxley’s Brave New World.
Going up to the studio, I had to sing about it, in the same satirical fashion, and this song was born.
Overall, I believe the way we face the challenges that await us today, as a humanity, are of utmost importance.
We cannot run away from the factual reality of what is going down.
However, the way we decide face it is entirely our choice.
I chose love and trust.

Marcus Gad