Sunday, July 20, 2014

Warped Interview: Captain Capa on Long Island

>> For the past 4 years, I have attended the Vans Warped Tour as press and conducted some really great interviews with talented and down to earth musicians. This year, however, I attended Warped Tour as a fan.  No press pass, no obligations.  I was actually able to watch full sets, see friends, and take a minute to sit down if I needed to.  It was very a very different experience, but it was fun all the same.  But me being me, I couldn't get through the whole day at Warped without at least one interview... and luckily Captain Capa had some free time at the end of the Long Island date.

>> Captain Capa is a German electronic band consisting of Hannes and Maik.  The guys have performed on parts of Warped Tour before, but this was the first year that they dedicated their whole summer to this traveling musical circus.  The guys clearly love what they're doing and are eager to share their music with an audience as big and as varied as a Warped Tour crowd.  Check out my interview with Maik and Hannes below! Then be sure to catch their set on the Beatport stage now through the end of the tour.  (OR if you'd rather listen to the unedited audio version of the interview, stream it below!)

How was your day?
Hannes: We had a pretty good day today.  Maik took a shower outside of the bus!
Maik: It's been sunny all day and there's the beach over there.
Hannes: We had a pretty cool show half an hour ago, we saw some cool bands, hung out in the bus watching Adventure Time.. so it was a pretty good day.

You guys like Adventure Time?
H: We love Adventure Time! It's amazing. I'm actually surprised that it got so big. I saw the pilot for the series a few years ago and it was so weird, like this could never happen in television. But now it happened and it's super popular and we're pretty happy about that. 

It's definitely weird in a cool, different sort of way.
H: It's cool for kids, but the older you get the more you get out of it.  It's like, 'Wait a minute, no kid will ever get that joke! What did they just do?' It's pretty cool that way.  

It's great that you get to enjoy that even with such a vigorous tour schedule.
H: Yes it definitely is. I think it's because we didn't take a merch tent with us this year.  The whole merchandise transportation is a hassle between two continents ...
M: It's very difficult.
H: Exactly. Last time that merch tent ruined our experience at Warped, so this time we just enjoy being here and we enjoy being able to take the time we used to put into the tent and put it into making contact and making friends around here.

So having done part of the tour at least once before, you've been able to learn what went well, what needs work, and things like that?
H: Yeah definitely.  We learned several different things.  One thing we learned from Warped is how to talk to an American crowd because it's actually totally different.  We learned to act as American as possible (laughs) and what you learn at Warped is being tight and on time on stage and keeping to a schedule.  Those are the Warped lessons!

How has this experience been different from other shows and tours you've been a part of?
H: It's completely different.  Or as our sound guy would say, "It's completely different except it's completely the same." We have festival shows in Germany but we don't have a festival monster like Warped with eight stages..
M: And 100 bands.

Plus it's a touring festival.
H: Exactly! That's something very unique and that's a challenge.  You have 30 minutes to play every day and you've got to be on time and it has to click from the first minute on.  You go on stage and it has to click right there. 

Hannes (left) and Maik (right) at Jones Beach | 7/12/14

Have you ever had problems connecting with the audience?
H: It's always fun for us to talk to the audience but of course the language barrier -- it makes it a little bit harder sometimes.  But we're finally getting used to talking to American crowds because we had to overcome a certain thing and think, "Okay we're in another country, let's just fuck it and do whatever the hell we want and have some fun on stage," without always thinking "Can I say that?" or "Will they laugh at our accents?" 
M: (laughing) Or we can always speak German so no one understands us.
H: For now, we've been like "You out there! Freeze! You in the pink hat come right here and stay for the rest of the show!" and it's pretty fun to do stuff like that. So no communication errors there.

For those who haven't seen you live or heard your music yet, how would you describe your sound?
M: Danceable, pop.
H: Emotional, super emotional. That's the biggest part! It's basically pop music but it has lots of influences from other genres. There might even be a little spark of punk in there, that's what I tell myself every night when I go to bed. It's definitely danceable pop music but there's a little in there for the Warped Crowd too.

So a little bit of something for everyone in a way?
H: We don't write songs for everyone but we write songs for us and what we like is ... We love the big melodies of pop music and the harsh sound of punk rock bands so we are always trying to combine that.
M: Yeah, we love the things that all the people love. (laughs)
H: We're basically the charts. 

Where do you find your inspiration?
H: For our latest album Foxes, our inspiration definitely has been touring.  That's what we did in the last 3 years -- tour after tour after tour. We come from a very small town so we didn't have a wild childhood.  The whole touring and hanging out in dirty backstages definitely changed us a little bit.  It opens your mind and that was the biggest inspiration for Foxes. Otherwise, it's always human relationships and stuff like that.

So there's a lot of experience-based writing?
H: It's all very personal stuff. Even considering that we're on a very political record label, we're pretty concentrated and focused on personal topics. 

How does it feel to perform such personal songs in front of so many people every day?
H: It feels pretty amazing because it's a very good way to vent. When you take any issue you've had in your life and you put it in a song it's like overcoming that issue, or at least you know that if something shitty happens in your life you've put it in a song and made something great out of it. Then you can be proud of it and that's really cool. Then every time you play that song live it's like getting that shit out of your way like, "that's it, now it's a cool song, that's mine and no one can take that away from me." Also, our songs are always written in a way so everyone can take a little out of it for their own personal reasons. We're never singing 'I had this problem and that happened to me,' it's more like 'There is this problem and you could have it too so why don't you dance it the fuck away with us?' 

That's a great mentality to have. Are you writing more on this tour?
H: Maik just produced a few songs at home.
M: Yeah I've produced two songs recently.
H: (laughing) Yeah, that's going to be the next album -- two songs. No but we're always writing stuff and collecting ideas. But after this tour and some festivals in Germany we're going to get back together and put that shit in a big bottle and see what comes out of it. 

So after Warped, you're on to more shows and more writing?
H: That's basically the circle and life of Captain Capa -- playing shows, recording an album, playing more shows. 

Is there anything else you want people to know about Captain Capa?
H: We just released a new video for our song "Arsenic," so go check that out because it's fuckin awesome! A few weeks before we started out on Warped we shot that video in Austria.  We wanted it to look sort of like a summer video even though it has really dark scenery and a dark story behind it. Unfortunately when we got to Austria it was snowing and it rained all the time and it became one of the most exhausting video shoots we've ever done. BUT we're super proud of the video. We spent two very cold, very shitty days in the mountains of Austria to shoot it so please at least give it a try!

Any last thing you want to say?
H: As long as we're on Warped Tour, come visit us because we like to make friends on tour! Come shake hands and all that.
M: Come to the Beatport stage! It's the best stage on the tour.

- Kate Russell
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Weird Al" Releases A New Album and 8 Videos

>> Attention all parody fans, people in need of a laugh, and people with nothing else better to do!: "Weird Al" is back with a new album, titled Mandatory Fun, and 8 new music videos to go with it.

>> Let's start with a personal favorite, shall we? Through using Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" as a base, "Weird Al" Yankovic has created a parody that is truly music to my ears.  The track is called "Word Crimes" and references phrases that don't mean what you think they mean, common grammatical errors, and some annoying shorthand frequently used in social media.  You can watch the video for this song below.

>> "Word Crimes" is a song off of "Weird Al"'s new album, Mandatory Fun, which was released earlier this week.  The album also includes the songs "Foil" (based on "Royals" by Lorde), "Tacky" (based on "Happy" by Pharrell Williams), among many more.  The video for "Foil" can be seen on the CollegeHumor YouTube channel, and the video for "Tacky" can be seen through Nerdist.  Check each day this week for a new video as a part of the #8videos8days project to promote Mandatory Fun.

- Written by Kate Russell

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Music Video: "Just One Of The Guys" by Jenny Lewis

>> Apparently I missed the boat on Jenny Lewis, but I managed to catch the wave trailing after it and I'm sure glad I did.  Jenny Lewis was a founding member of indie rock band Rilo Kiley, and went on to work with The Postal Service, Cursive, and more along the way.  Now, Jenny is going the solo route and has been doing so for quite some time.  Her solo albums are loaded with soul accompanied by an indie folk vibe.  These are songs to listen to if you want to rock while also maintaining a sweet and smooth atmosphere.

>> Now, to the fun part. Jenny Lewis just released a video for her new song "Just One Of The Guys" that features Anne Hathaway, Brie Larson, Kristen Stewart and Tennessee Thomas.  The ladies alternate between playing instruments, lip-syncing with sass, and goofing around dressed as men in track suits complete with wigs and fake facial hair.  Lewis directed the video herself and makes it clear that she's doing things her way, and nobody is going to change that.  Watch the video below.

>>  Want more?  The Voyager, the upcoming album from Jenny Lewis, will be released on July 29th through Warner Bros. Records.  The album is now available for pre-order here and comes with an instant download of "Just One Of The Guys." You can stream the title track from the album below.

The Voyager Track listing:
Head Underwater
She's Not Me
Just One Of The Guys
Slippery Slopes
Late Bloomer
You Can't Outrun 'Em
The New You
Aloha & The Three Johns
Love U Forever
The Voyager

- Written by Kate Russell

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Catch Patent Pending on the American Meltdown Tour

>> My friends in Patent Pending are hitting the road once again! The band will kick off the American Meltdown Tour in a few days starting with a show in Toledo, OH on July 10th.  Check out the dates and the excellent tour poster below, and catch a show if you can!

>> Not in the US?  Patent Pending will be hitting the UK in October. Check out the band's full list of tour dates here.

>> If you haven't already, be sure to pick up a copy of Patent Pending's latest album, titled Brighter.  You can get a feel for the album by watching the band's video for their song "Let Go" below.  

- Written by Kate Russell

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New Music Video: "We Are Done" by The Madden Brothers

>> Guess who's back? Benji and Joel Madden, famous for their time in Good Charlotte, are making music together again! The two appropriately now go by The Madden Brothers and have released a music video for their first single, "We Are Done."  The single comes from the band's upcoming album, Greetings From California, which will be released on September 16th through Capitol Records.  Watch the video below.

>> Enjoy the song? The band also released a lyric video for the track, which can be seen here. Looking to make things more permanent? You can download "We Are Done" through iTunes here, and pre-order Greetings From California here.

- Written by Kate Russell

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New Music Video: "Celestial Fires" by Night Verses

>> NY/CA based Night Verses just released a music video for "Celestial Fires," a track from the band's 2013 album Lift Your Existence.  This band is one of my favorites to see live, and the intensity and raw energy of their stage presence definitely comes through in this video.  If you need something equally heavy and melodic, this song is for you.

>> Night Verses will be heading out on a UK tour with Feed The Rhino in October following a North American tour with Norma Jean kicking off in August.  Click here for the full list of the band's upcoming tour dates, and do your best to catch a show.

- Written by Kate Russell

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