Q. and A.:
New Musicians in 2015.
As we head through 2015; I have been catching up (with some of my favourite music acts): keen to probe and uncover, I ask them about their influences and ambitions- and what music means to them…
- What have been the highlights of your music career? Which memories stick out to you?
- If you had to choose your favourite album and song what would they be (and why?)
- If you could choose your major influences- with regards past music and present- who would you select?
- You have had a lot of people supporting you- fans from around the world (willing you on). What would you say to them?
- What do the coming months hold for you? What plans are ahead?
- Finally, and in a sentence: What does music mean to you? How important is it in your life?
The Updraft Imperative
- Josh: Personally, I was in Nepal in 2011 and performed as part of an outdoor concert to about 8-10,000 local Nepali people – not knowing what to make of it all. It was pretty awesome! As part of The Updraft Imperative, the last year has been a constant buzz. Really not knowing from one day to the next what exciting news might pop up. A couple of specifics… Just after Di started do some promotion work for us, we were reviewed by a guy we didn’t know (you might know him) and he gave us a great review. Something none of us really expected. I felt like that gave me confirmation that we were on the right track with our music. The other was getting to no.1 on the Sunset Island Music world unsigned band chart. I don’t even know if that’s a big deal or not, but it certainly felt like it! Murray: One of the major highlights would be recording our 1st studio album! It was awesome to take 10 songs, pull them apart, record & layer and do everything else to them, and then listen and share the finished product with the world!! Another was when a group of friends I was in a band with toured around Australia over the course of 2 weeks! Some of the venues we played at were amazing, like an old WWII hanger in the middle of no-where, and in someone’s underground house in an outback mining town. Plenty of others but those ‘stick out’. Pete: Probably not one single moment that sticks out. Recording for the first time was a memorable experience – as is the international attention our band is getting.
- Josh: I think I have to say a self-titled album from ‘Downhere’. A somewhat well known Christian band. I wouldn’t say it was because of music genius. Although I think I appreciate their creativity and great voices. But more than that, I was listening to that album in a time of my life that was somewhat tumultuous, and so, it’s harbours memories of comfort. One song off that album called ‘Calmer of the Storm’ was/is a reminder to me that God is in control. Murray: MAN!!!! How hard’s this question….ummmmm ‘White Rice’ by Magdalen off the album ‘Revolutions’. It was my first foray into to the world of heavy groove/funk, and with Ken Tamplin shredding his way all over the place, it is my go-to song if I want to get amped!! Album? Well I would have to say ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley. An open, honest, raw yet intensely emotional album. The dynamics across the album are ridiculous, from his haunting gothic rework of an Elizabethan poem, to a no-holes-bared drop-D scream-fest!! Of course that’s to go with the hundreds of my other ‘favourites’. Pete: This is a hard one! Currently I’ll say my favourite album is Asgeir’s “In the silence” because just about every song is a winner. If I had to pick one, it would probably be “King and Cross” though.
- Josh: Here’s a few….Abba, Petra, Queen, Rob Thomas, Josh Groban, Jason Mraz, Downhere, Jeff Buckley. Murray: Early would be Cat Stevens, Bread, America, Michael Card, Petra, Russ Taff (appearing also with The Imperials), and Barry Manilow (if I were to be completely honest). Later would come the likes of Led Zeppelin, Bach, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Jeff Buckley, Jeff Beck, RATM. Pete: Argh! Right… RATM, Chilli Peppers, P.O.D., Daft punk, Asgeir, DC Talk… the list goes on!
- One massive, sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU! Thanks for your best wishes, your messages, your interactions, your support for our music and album, and belief in what we are doing as band members and artists. We spend time constructing songs so that others may hear and enjoy them, and when that happens, it’s a truly fulfilling and humbling experience. We are so fortunate to have some great people that support us and our music. We would also say don’t be backwards in coming forwards. We know we only know a small percentage of you all, so we would love you to make yourself known. Send us a message and engage with us and we will do our best to be equally engaging with you!
- Coming months… Murray, his wife and 4 kids, are currently relocating to a new property. It’s on a big spread of land, and it also has a great space for him to set his studio up in again. Some song writing there with Pete and Josh is on the cards , as well as support band for a tour that helps fight human trafficking, a few other gigs and recording new music. We’re all very much looking forward to mashing some tunes out in the studio again!! (and as everyone else forgot to mention, I’ll point out that their ‘hardworking, dedicated, loyal’ promo manager is travelling half way round the world to see them next year and promote a ‘new recording’! – Di x
- Josh: Music is a part of life and I love so many aspects of it. It’s an encouragement, a release, a way to the soul, a joy, an excuse to dance, and a way of expression. What a gift! Murray: Music, I believe, is a gift from God. As I am able (to the best of my ability) to write songs I know it’s especially important that others hear these songs and that their live’s would be the better for hearing!! Pete: Music is a form of expression – a language that communicates the messages of the heart, regardless of your native tongue.
Follow The Updraft Imperative:
1. There’s been a few, mostly some of the awesome gigs and tours we’ve been able to do. Over past year we’ve had the opportunity to play at Leeds and Reading Festival and do tours with Enter Shikari, Marmozets and Lonely The Brave. It’s all very awesome.
2. Faaaaar too many to choose from. You should definitely check out All The Best Tapes’ album RIGHT NOW! I don’t want to tell you what to do, but you’re doing yourself a massive injustice if you don’t listen to some All The Best Tapes before you float away into the great abyss. Here is a great track from the album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABQz3k1au64 Here is the album: https://fxdrecords.bandcamp.com/album/all-the-best-tapes Here is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/allthebesttapes
3. Again, far too much music to mention. We’re all Deftones fans…
4. Be nice to each other so we can carry on loving you.
5. Lot’s of gigs! This year we get to play some ace festivals like Great Escape, Download, Long Division, NASS and Y-Not. There’s going to be some new music coming out soon too, WATCH THIS SPACE!
6. Music is the glue that binds us, Confucius once said, “If one should desire to know whether a kingdom is well-governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of its music will furnish the answer”
- So many fun things stick out! I feel lucky to say that – playing at packed festivals, releasing my last single ‘Over it Under it’ and getting such a great response on the radio and online. Having the song I wrote with Aurosonic (“Lift You Up”) played by Armin Van Buuren on his radio show…Being nominated for Best Female Vocal at The HMMA’s and Best Female Artist at the BOB Awards and so many other things. And I hope the best is yet to come..
- My favourite album is without a doubt A Rush of Blood to The Head by Coldplay – I’m going to make it easy on myself and choose my favourite song from that album too which is God Put A Smile Upon My Face. Every song on that album takes me somewhere – I think that’s the sign of amazing music – I don’t even have to listen to the lyrics and I can feel the energy and passion behind the music. It’s inspiring!
3. Coldplay (!) Imogen Heap Michael Jackson Ocean Lab Taylor Swift Ellie Goulding There’s so many more, but we’d be here forever!
4. Thank you, and bear with me! I’m working hard behind the scenes to get everything as perfect as it can be for my next release and I’m grateful for everyone sticking with me so far. I can’t wait to get new music to everyone! I appreciate every tweet, message, instagram like…everything I get is noticed and appreciated. I hope my fans can see me as a friend too!
5. The coming months are full of studio sessions for my own releases as well as for some records I’m featuring on which I’m really excited about! I’m hard at work on some other artists’ projects too which is great fun. I’m in the middle of planning my next trip out to L.A. and organising everything for my next release. I’ll be playing a free show at The Bedford in London on 2nd June for anyone who fancies hearing a sneak peek of my new tunes before their release!
6. Music is my motivation, my passion and my future; it connects everything I love in a special way
Follow Nina Schofield:
Los & The Deadlines
- It’s always hard to pick specific highlights, but I’d have to say going into the studio to record is always a very exciting time. Bringing in the songs you’ve worked at for so long, to hear them slowly come together track by track in the studio is an amazing feeling. Another highlight (more of a funny one) would be when we played a set at The Islington.. our song ‘Standing In The Bank’ is usually the ending of our set, a big wall of noise and sound where we all go crazy. After the song finished the sound engineer ran on the stage and frantically started checking the mics and equipment on stage, upon realising nothing was broken by our antics he turned around and said “wow.. you guys trashed the stage in the most professional way!”.
- At this very moment I would say Led Zeppelin IV – When The Levee Breaks (although that answer might be different tomorrow).. It’s got it all, massive drums, hypnotic larger-than-life guitar riffs, a tasty harp-solo.. from the moment Bonham starts the intro it just commands your attention.
- Queens of the Stone Age, Primus, Battles, The Mars Volta, De Staat, Soundgarden, Frank Zappa and many, many more..
- Avoiding the expected soppy thank-yous.. we obviously are grateful for every single person that has supported us in any shape or form over the years.. the main thing we’d say is: we hope to play a show near you as soon as possible!
- The coming months will be mainly centered around the release of the new ‘Perfect Holiday’ E.P. and promoting the hell out of it so as many people as possible get to hear it. Besides that the usual band-life continues, so more shows, much more writing and a healthy dose of band-banter.
- Music is the noise that connects us all.
Follow Los & The Deadlines:
1. (Robin):The highlight so far has been the recent recording session that we’ve done. I really feel we’ve stepped it up to a whole new level. Last year I really enjoyed playing on the main stage at the audio soup festival. It’s the loudest I’ve ever played through an amp and it was exciting to play on a huge stage.
2. My favorite album changes all the time. I am currently listening to a guided by voices album I created from all there mini albums, E.P.s (and B-Sides) during their first classic line up era. Bossanova by the Pixies. I hadn’t listened to this for ages but have recently gone back to it. I’ll always be a big Beatles and Nirvana fan as that’s what I spent my youth listening too. Really love Big Star. Favorite song ever? Probably I See A Darkness by Bonnie Prince Billy
3.Biggest influences for me: Pixies, Big Star, Weezer; My Bloody Valentine, The Nerves, The Byrds; Gram Parsons, Teenage Fanclub, Jesus Lizard; early Metallica/Megadeth, Flaming Lips, Blur, Everly Brothers- Interpol’s first album (Wire); early Dinosaur Jr,; Part Chimp, Mink Stoles. Recently I like First Aid Kit. I liked person Pitch by Panda Bear and the first couple of Perfume Genius albums- particularly Mr. Peterson
4. I would like to say thanks to all our fans around the world. Your support is really appreciated and I hope you like the new album when it comes out.
5. We’ve recorded about half of the next album so will spend the next few months writing and recording the second half. We are playing at a few festivals this summer.
6. Music means everything to me and is mostly what I think about in my head. I love playing and writing. Highlight so far has been the recent recording session that we’ve done. I really feel we’ve stepped it up to a whole new level. Last year I really enjoyed playing on the main stage at the audio soup festival. It’s the loudest I’ve ever played through an amp. and it was exciting to play on a huge stage.
Follow Universal Thee:
- Winning the Make It Break It Award at LIPA when I was 16. That kind of kicked it all off for me! It was a great start to my career. I also loved opening for Nerina Pallot at Shepherds Bush Empire, and for Billy Ocean and The Proclaimers at a local festival.
- I guess it has to be Ben Folds, Rocking The Suburbs. I could listen to it all day, every day. He’s one of my favourite, if not my favourite, artists. There are a handful of other albums and artists that mean a great deal to me too though.. picking one is too hard! Same goes with the song. I hold certain songs very close to my heart for different reasons. Love Song by Sara Bareilles, such a strong solid piano driven pop song that, again, I could listen to over and over and over. Video Killed The Radio Star- not only an amazing pop song, but so iconic and has itself lodged firmly as an important piece of pop music culture. Apres Un Reve, Faure. There are just too many. I could give you 100 of ‘my favourite songs that I couldn’t live without.’
- Classical music. Various composers. I grew up with it, I played it, I listened to it, it was my life from 7-18 years old. It had a tremendous impact on who I am today as a musician, performer and writer. Hanson were the band who got me and my sister inspired to write music ourselves and form our own sibling band! I played the drums! Because of Hanson! And then bands like Savage Garden, Muse, Orson, The Feeling, Ben Folds Five.. massively influential bands for me as a teenager. Now? I’ll be honest, I need to expand my musical library. But Ben Folds, Gavin Degraw, Sara Bareilles.. massive inspirations. And people like Adele, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran – English folk putting an almighty stamp on the world with their music, wow I absolutely aspire to, and am inspired by that.
- Thank you for believing in me. Every year that passes, I find myself faltering and questioning myself a little more. Without you, I would have given up a long time ago.
- I’m in the States until August. Trying to ‘make it.’ My future plans all ride on the next 3 months.
- I’m in a strange place right now. Music is my life. Always has been. But taking something so beautiful and forcing it in to a means of making money and creating fame, absolutely tarnishes the magic. Part of me wishes I had never embarked on this journey, and I had kept music as something special that I could run to when the world was closing in on me. It was my recess. It was my escape. It made me feel better. More and more it becomes the reason I can’t sleep at night. The reason I now question my life and my choices. I’m not blaming music, of course, music is wonderful. And it is so sad that I may have turned the music, the magic, in to a catalyst toward my self destruction.
Follow Jen Armstrong:
- Memories is what I hope to give people. I’m looking ahead for greater things and constantly trying to improve myself!
- Rapture (Anita Baker) produced by Dean Gant (A.k.A. Sir Gant). The arrangements are wonderful and the musicians are some of my all-time favorite. (The late) Ricky Lawson on drums, Freddie Washington on bass, Paulinho Da Costa on percussion and of course Sir. Gant on keys. Song: The Secret Life of Plants (Stevie Wonder)
- Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Richard Bona, George Benson, the stunning India Arie… there are so many (artists I love).
- Thank You. I Love You!
- We shot a live video performance last Sunday in Los Angeles with Sir. Gant as the musical director, the Legendary Bennie Maupin on Saxophone, the coolest drummer Michael White; James Manning on Bass, David Leach on percussion (and myself on vocals and guitar). Its editing is in process. We have upcoming shows in Europe and the Middle East.
- Music is my way of expression. Being able to express yourself as thoroughly as possible is a necessity in life
Follow Ellene Masri: