All posts by Samantha Warren

About Samantha Warren

Professional napper. Comic con go-er. Storm chaser enthusiast. (yes I really chase tornadoes). Chances are I'll pick naps over you, but if I like your band I'll go to your show!

[AltWire Interview] Alex Stewart and Chase Nichols of Mascots

AW: I first wanted to take the time and thank you for doing this interview with me today. For our readers who haven’t heard of you yet, can you tell us about yourself and anything about the band you’d want us to know?

Mascots: We’re Mascots, a pop punk band based out of Cincinnati, Ohio that was established in 2014. I’m Alex [Stewart], I play bass and this is Chase [Nichols], who plays guitar and sings in Mascots. The rest of the band is made up by Chris Henderson on vocals, Robert Coyle on guitar, and Justin Schreiber on drums. Since we started, we’ve released three EPs, played shows throughout the Midwest, and recently played the Cincinnati date of the Vans Warped Tour. If you’re a fan of bands like State Champs, Mayday Parade, or Neck Deep, you may just like Mascots.

AW: Let’s talk about what you currently have going on. Any new music or new tours in the works?

Alex: We actually just released a new EP on October 19th called Time To Time, we’re really proud of these songs and you should definitely check it out! Regarding new tours, we are currently planning out a bunch for 2018, so expect to see Mascots in your city sometime next year.

AW: When you write any new music, can you tell us what the process is like? Describe to us what happens in a typical writing session.

Chase: Every song varies a little bit, but I guess typically it will start with a single idea, whether it’s a guitar riff, some lyrics, etc., then continues to grow as each member inputs their take on the song. I think as a band, what we do really well is putting all of our individual influences and ideas into every song.

AW: With the music industry always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and don’t like about it? What aspects of the industry do you feel have hurt or helped your career? If you could change anything about it, what would it be?

Alex: What I like about the alternative or pop punk “scene” is that, at least to my knowledge, there aren’t too many grudges or enemies. Everyone tends to get along well with one another and you can see bands like State Champs or Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, etc. are all friends and it’s like one big family. I really like that and everyone kind of helps promote one another and bring everyone else up in the scene.

The things that I personally do not like is how certain people within these bands have taken advantage of their younger fans. A lot of these bands in this genre of music have younger listeners and some have abused their position to get what they want, which is absolutely terrible.

AW: Do you or any of your band members have any side projects? If so, what are they?

Alex: None of us currently have any side projects, but we would not be against doing a hardcore side project or something. We always like to end our practices by doing some sort of hardcore or metal song just for fun.

AW: When you’re preforming how do you handle any mistakes on stage if they ever happen? Do you have any stories that stand out to you that you had to make a memorable recovery?

Chase: Mistakes happen all the time! I don’t think it matters what level you’re at, Murphy’s law still applies. As long as you don’t make a big scene out of it, 9/10 times nobody will notice. I think one of my more embarrassing mistakes was landing on my pedal board, then stomping my foot around like I was playing dance dance revolution in attempt to fix it as quickly as possible!

AW: How do you decide which songs go into a set when you perform live? Do you change up the sets or stick to a regular set list? Do you have any covers?

Alex: So for the covers that we used to play, we did The Middle by Jimmy Eat World, My Friends Over You by New Found Glory, and Face Down by The Jumpsuit Apparatus, but we no longer do any covers in our set. For our set right now, we basically play our two recent EPs, The Good In Me and Time To Time, we play them in full. We always mix up the order of the songs.

AW: If you had a choice to go on any bands tour, which tour would you pick and why?

Chase: This is probably the most difficult question yet! If I had to choose right now, I would love to tour with Knuckle Puck. They keep releasing really great stuff, and they just seem like cool dudes to be around!

AW: Do you have any advice for any upcoming artists? What’s the best piece of advice someone gave you when you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Alex: My advice is really just be genuine and have fun. Everyone is in this because we enjoy music and playing music. It’s pretty simple and very transparent through your music how genuine you really are. No one was really there to give me advice when I wanted to become a musician, it sort of just happened, but from what I’ve learned so far is that being kind to others and standing up for what you believe in will take you so much farther than treating this as some sort of competition. We’re all here to have fun.

AW: Any last words?

Alex: Go to local shows and support your local artists because you never know where they might end up in the future. Also, go listen to our new EP Time To Time!

Artists To Watch: Kicking Sunrise

Kicking Sunrise is taking the music industry by storm. If you haven’t heard of their single, “Here’s to The Sunrise” You should get those speakers blaring because it’ll bring you to your feet and you’ll want to go back for more. ​

The boys in Kicking Sunrise are from Washington Township, New Jersey and they’re really making a name for themselves within the industry. They have “When It’s Right” in the works that has 5 tracks on it that are sure to be a hit.

Track Listing Includes:​

1.) Take It All​
2.) Another Life​
3.) Sky High​
4.) Give Me Tonight​
5. By Myself

If you haven’t heard of them yet you can check out “Here’s To The Sunrise” Which has 10 Tracks


1.) Here’s to the Sunrise​
2.) Can’t Get Enough​
3.) Hold Me​
4.) Back To You​
5.) California Girl​
6.) Little Something Called Love​
7.) Baby It’s Cold Outside​
8.) This Life Of Mine​
9.) Things I Like​
10.) Brand New ​

They performed on CBS3 in Philadelphia back in 2016, and were shortly named the “House Band” after. They’ve been on the go since with performances at 97.5 The Fanatic Fantasy Fest in 2016, They’ve released a music video to, “Here’s to the Sunrise on VEVO, they were also featured on TBS for MLB coverage, and featured on TNT during the PGA Tour just to name a few examples. You can also catch them on the 98.1 WOCM rotations. ​

To keep up with the band you can follow them on Twitter @KickingSunrise or on Facebook for updates. ​

Another Life: ​

[AltWire Interview] Tom Clancey of SkyDaddy

AltWire Contributor Samantha Warren recently spoke with Tom Clancey of SkyDaddy. Read the interview below!

[AltWire/Samantha Warren]: I first wanted to say thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me today. For our readers who don’t know who you are, can you tell us about yourself and the band?

[Tom Clancey/SkyDaddy]: Thanks for speaking with me, Samantha. I’m Tom Clancey, guitarist from the band SkyDaddy. We are a four-piece original jam band from downstate New York. We love performing, improvising and have been doing it throughout the north east for the last few years. Along with producing two EPs. Shout out to my fellow SkyDaddy bandmates: Dave Heinz, Joe North and Pat Agresta. I love these guys.

[AW]: You’re currently producing an independent showcase featuring Danielle Sheri Band, The Vibe Theory, and Nellybombs. How did the showcase come to be and how did you decide which artists you wanted on your line up? Can we see more showcases like this in the future?

[TC]: With SkyDaddy’s Funktoberfest, we’re fortunate to have support from some really talented musicians and genuine people. I think all the bands mutually admire our respective hustles; we’re four hard-working independent bands who know each other from the Hudson Valley/NYC music scenes. We love collaborating with and enjoying music by our contemporaries at festivals, and we’re also are optimistic we can produce more showcases in the future.

[AW]: You’re going to be touring for the release of Wide Eyes. Let’s talk about what a typical writing session would be like for that EP. How did you decide what went on it and what didn’t make the cut?

[TC]: For us, the process happens quickly. One of us will start with an idea, and it runs through the group and we will wind up with something unique. Our new single Effortlessly Elegant was started with Dave’s lyrics and the band quickly turned it into the fun, upbeat song that it is. Because we’re independent, we’ve worked quickly in the studio (shout out to our talented producer Robert Melosh). What a dream it would be for us to have a week – or a month – to work and produce in the recording studio!

[AW]: What are you most excited about with your shows in New York, Vermont, and Connecticut? Are there any places in particular you’re excited to check out?

[TC]: Rockwood Music Hall in New York City is a legendary stage that we’re excited to return to on Saturday, Dec. 2. Anytime we can put positive vibrations into the world from a stage and share that with an audience, it’s amazing for us. We’re grateful to do it every time, and especially excited to play in new cities like Baltimore and Washington D.C. (Dec. 8 and 9, respectively). We hope to travel more in 2018.

[AW]: How do you decide which songs go into a set when you perform live? Do you change up the sets or stick to a regular set list?

[TC]: Over the years, we’ve played everything from long-forgotten originals to 30 minutes of Rapper’s Delight. In 2017, SkyDaddy shows include songs from our self titled debut EP and our second EP “Wide Eyes,” plus a choice cover or two. The set is a thing of beauty right now, to me, and I’m excited to perform it a few more times before we change it forever. We’ll have new SkyDaddy music in 2018 for the world; I know I have new ideas in the works.

[AW]: If you had a choice to go on any bands tour, which tour would you pick and why?

[TC]: I’d love get the opportunity to be around some of my guitar heroes, like Eric Krasno, Derek Trucks or Jimmy Herring. If I had to guess for my bandmates, I’d say: Dave would pick Red Hot Chili Peppers; Pat would pick Tool; and Joe would pick a jazz master, like Sonny Rollins.

[AW]: With the music industry constantly changing and evolving, what do you love and hate about it? What things do you think have helped your career the most and least? What would you want to change about it?

[TC]: I absolutely love collaboration and vibes. At it’s core, when things are going right, music makes people happy. In one respect, we’re fortunate to be rooted in the collaboration that has historically defined the American music experience. We’re also fortunate enough to have made it far enough to be creating our own existence. If I could change one thing – this is a big one – I’d like to see an end to synergistic corporations choosing winners and losers by dominating distribution, and what audiences see what on the web, radio and TV. The irony is, that it’s only going to come from audiences at large recognizing value in the joy of music, and working to experience it – whether it’s at a coffee shop in New York City, a bar in New Orleans or a DIY show in suburban USA.

[AW]: If you could give any up and coming bands any advice what would it be? What advice stuck with you that you were given when you started in the industry?

[TC]: Make sure you’re having fun, because it’s difficult. Manifest positive vibes and enjoy. It’s a privilege to play music. Even if none of us get paid. On that note, maybe get a part time job.

[AW]: Any last words?

[TC]: We hope to see you at show in the future! Please check out our new EP on Spotify and all platforms. You can go to for details and help us get better shows by “liking” our Facebook page. If you’ve made it this far in our interview, congratulations and thanks for reading!

[AltWire Interview] Mitch Arnold of Wayland

AltWire Contributor Samantha Warren recently spoke with Mitch Arnold of Wayland. Read the interview below!

[Samantha Warren/AltWire]:  I first wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me today. For our readers who haven’t heard of you, can you tell us about yourself and the band?

[Mitch Arnold/Wayland]: My name is Mitch Arnold and I’m the lead singer and rhythm guitar player for the band Wayland. Our personal history with the four of us goes back a ways, but I would say the most important time line at the present moment is between now and early January. Nigel was with us last year but when he jumped into the drummer’s chair on January 13th, 2017, that’s when the band really started to make strides. Because of the way we felt about playing together, we decided to re-record all of the drums on the album, which at the time was waiting to go to mixing and mastering. The band itself has a deep history, but the four of us have only been playing together like this since January.

[AW]: You just dropped your new full length album “Rinse & Repeat.” What has the reaction been like so far from the fans?

[MA]: The reaction from Rinse & Repeat has been fantastic. The outpouring of love
concerning the record has been overwhelming and so far, our fans have been ecstatic about the new album.

[AW]: Your music video for the song, “Get a Little” went viral back in 2014. How do you think social media has shaped you as a band? What advice would you give to up and coming artists about branding themselves through social media?

[MA]: I can’t say we have been shaped by social media but our business and the way we run our operation definitely has been. Social media is an incredible way to keep in touch with fans as well as release continuous content. This poses both an advantage and challenges for us as a band. Technology is moving so fast. Much faster than it takes a band to write, record, mix, master and release an album. So every album cycle is different pertaining to social media. There is a science to study within it all so that you’re catching the waves and algorithms to have the largest reach and biggest impact. Like all things, most major sites have been corrupted by money and if you’re willing to pay, you can buy likes, views and plenty of other strategic online commodities to help you and your band get ahead.

For me personally, it’s a frustrating battle. We just want to play music and share it. Navigating the path of self promotion on the web isn’t easy. But it’s a necessary evil and you have to give it the attention it needs for your business to grow. If I had to give advice to bands just getting started I would start by saying that their main motivation has to be making music and sharing it. That has to be the number one reason they are starting on this venture. Not for fame and fortune. Not to go viral. Not to have a soap box to air your dirty laundry and political views from. I think of it like this: So much of our lives is an illusion within itself.

We just got stranded in Cullman, AL. Not the most liberated part of the country and there isn’t a lot to do on a Sunday; however, breaking down now was far greater than breaking down last week or in the week ahead, where it would greatly affect our ability to play, make money and get this album out there. It was a blessing. But it could have been seen as a curse. This life is an experience and we don’t always see things the way they truly are: As opportunities to experience life and work through challenges. That being said, if real life is an illusion of sorts, that makes social media an all out fallacy. It’s an illusion of an illusion that is physical life. It’s a great way to share your art and a wonderful forum to keep in touch with fans. But if you’re leaning to much on it and forgetting the fact that at the end of the day, you’ve got to get in your fucking van with your friends and your gear and go play a million shows, you’ll never survive in the long run and you won’t be playing music for a living. You may have a great career as an internet personality though. Who knows.

[AW]: In 2016 you released your single, “Bloody Sunrise.” How has your sound evolved since then? How can we hear the evolution in the new record?

[MA]: Through the years, every band is either going to find themselves or fall off the face of
the earth. We had incredible mentors when we were younger. From Jude Cole and Jason Wade of Lifehouse to Mike Gurley (Dada) and Jesse James Dupree. All of these people had a big impact on the way we learned to write and record songs. By the time we got to Justin Rimer at CrossTrax studios in Memphis, TN we were ready to write and record with our own voice, so to speak. I consider this our debut album because this is the first piece of work we really put together ourselves. Justin is an amazing song writer and had a lot to contribute while writing the material; however, Phil and I probably brought 99% of the songs to the table. Justin used incredible intuition, guiding us with production and writing and what came out of it was a very honest and personal record. We wrote the entire thing while we were touring so it’s material so fresh and close the heart that it couldn’t come out any other way.

Justin did an incredible job getting amazing rock n’ roll tones and I think we all did a fantastic job writing a beautiful, hard hitting, melodic and honest album. You can hear the evolution clearly on this record. Listeners will hear it both in song writing and in how the band was produced. It’s our debut album because the band has been reborn, so to speak.

[AW]:  You also have a bunch of shows coming up including Oktoberfest. What are you most excited for about hitting the road? What’s your favorite part about being able to tour? Is there any exclusive new merch for the record that just dropped?

[MA]: There is TONS OF NEW MERCH that goes right along with Rinse & Repeat and we’ve got some really bad ass stuff at the merch booth right now. I’ve toured for most of my life so some of what I love is just because this is what I know. I love traveling and meeting people but we were all born to play and share music. Watching a song affect even one person makes all of it worth it. Watching the excitement roll through a crowd like a hot fire in a dry forest…seeing the fists shoot up to the sky…watching a girl in the front row wipe her eyes. She’s been crying since the concert started and because she’s so excited and moved by music, she can’t stop the happy tears from rolling down her hot, red cheeks. I’m most excited for fans to get to know this album and come back to Wayland shows signing the lyrics back to us during the show. I can’t wait to see everyone in Lacrosse, WI and then the next night on Sept 30th at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, MI for the Official CD Release Party and then in Madison, WI the day after for Sonic Boom, opening up for Halestorm. This is just the beginning. We have so many big things coming up and coming our way.

[AW]: When you were writing “Rinse & Repeat” can you describe to us what a typical writing session would be like? What are your favorite songs from the new album?

[MA]: My personal favorite songs on the album are From The Otherside, Follow and Come
Back. Writing the album was unique in the sense that the initial idea would usually take place on the road or during a short break. Anytime we would have time and space to be alone we would capitalize on it and pick up an instrument. Phil and I were recording ideas on our phones all the time. We would send them to each other and maybe shoot them over to Justin.

We would email a lot of ideas and develop the songs while we were out touring. Once we
would get back to Memphis, TN we would usually spend the first day rewriting songs and
getting two or three of them completed so we could use the remaining days to track drums on the new songs and start layering from there. There was no room for egos or hurt feelings. We wrote and moved really fast and the only way you can do that is by being open and literally taking the best idea for the song and using it, no matter who came up with it.

That’s why the three of us were able to work so fast and effective. We trusted each other and at times we had to trust what the universe was trying to tell us. If you shut your eyes and mouth long enough, the universe will start to whisper…and it is always the truth. The more time you spend practicing listening to the stars, the louder that voice gets and the easier it is to hear. You can learn to live better this way not just write better songs.

[AW]: If you could give any upcoming band advice what would it be and why? What was the best advice someone gave you that stood out to you when you first started?

[MA]: I always thought someone in a nice suit was going to come see us at The Whiskey A Go Go on the Sunset Strip, be blown away by the show and sign us that night. We would be
magically whisked away from our shitty apartment and into lavish homes, thrown onto a big bus and leave for stardom, never to return to the mundane world of work and sweat and blood and disappointment. My vision (illusion) couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Jesse James Dupree gave us the very best advice we’ve ever received as a young band. He
told us to pack up our gear in a van and go play shows in dirty little clubs every night, making fans one person at a time. If you’re a young band looking for a break, I suggest you take the time to develop yourselves. It’s like being teenagers all over again. It’s awkward and sometimes painful. And if it’s comfortable at all then you’re doing it wrong. I’m fortunate to be the front man of one of the best live bands out on the road right now. We’ve earned that from playing for years in empty rooms, getting thrown on and off of festival stages, eating tuna packets because that’s all you can afford and playing your heart out every night no matter who is there because you’ve discovered the true love of performance and honest passion for rock n’ roll music.

There is no substitute for honest sincerity. To truly be honest, one must first learn what he stands for. Where is your stance? Stance is not learned on a flat surface that doesn’t move. It is perfected by taking a stance on ground that is moving and turning while dragons dive bomb you from the sky. Stance is learned through the pain of falling down. You’ll never achieve being bulletproof by sitting at home, planning your online attack.

No one is going to give it to you. You’ve got to take it.

[AltWire Interview] Kicking Sunrise

Pop-rock-soul group Kicking Sunrise talks about their career, living in California and more.

Kicking Sunrise is a pop-rock-soul group from New Jersey. Currently working on a new album called Take It All. The band recently talked with contributor Sam Warren via email about sound evolution, what it was like living in California to work on previous music and more.

I first wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. For our readers who haven’t heard of you, can you tell us about yourself and the band?

Joe: I am a singer songwriter from South Jersey and I grew up with Mark, our drummer. We ran into Matt at a party while he was playing music. It just so happened we needed a guitar player and things kind of just “clicked” from there. Matt was friends with Ryan and that’s how we started this “brotherhood” that we now call Kicking Sunrise.

Mark: I grew up with Joe and I played drums in his band. I’ve been playing drums pretty much my entire life.

Matt: I’ve been playing guitar my entire life, probably 20 years now. When I ran into these guys I was playing at a party. Thank god I ran into these guys because I was actually looking for a band and they were looking for a guitarist so It happened at the perfect moment. I was making music with Ryan at the time so it actually happened at the right time of our lives and has worked out ever since.

Ryan: I was friends with Matt and we were doing our own side project at the time we all met, we were producing our own music and selling instrumentals online and he asked me if I wanted to join a band with Joe and Mark. Joe asked me to do a video on YouTube and it received great feedback. That’s how we started Kicking Sunrise.

Let’s start off with “CBS3 Mornings.” It’s known that your single, “Here’s to the Sunrise” is the theme song. What’s that experience been like for you and the band knowing that you’re a theme song after getting successful from your music video that you posted on YouTube back in 2013?

Joe: The CBS thing was an awesome experience. It was really a blessing. It happened the 1st year of putting out our first record. It’s rare and doesn’t happen often so that’s why we took it as a great opportunity to help push our first single. It’s great to have our friends and people around the tri-state area call us or texts us like “Hey man I hear your song every morning on the news.” It’s a great experience for all of us to be on TV and kind of in the public eye for the first time.

Matt: CBS really helped us get out there. We get played at the Flyers games and Phillies games. So it really awesome to watch our single spread and get out there. That was something that was really cool for our single too.

You also spent a year in California to write your album. What was that experience like and how different was it adjusting to California since you guys are from New Jersey? What was it like coming back home? How did things change for you?

Mark: Going out to California to write and record our record (Here’s to the Sunrise) was amazing. We love it on the west coast and we really had the time of our lives. Writing music and hanging out in the beautiful weather all day was really awesome. We are from New Jersey but we got use to California instantly.

Ryan: It was like culture shock, being from New Jersey we all have a similar hair cut. So speaking fast paced and sarcasm is just how we grew up and our style is. Even our look was different. We would be in Walmart and people would look at us and ask if we were from New Jersey. It was a really different life style but we adapted pretty well.

Matt: There were not any Italians out there. I stuck out like a sore thumb.

Joe: The coolest thing is that it definitely formed the sound and style of our first record. Living a block from Huntington Beach on the beach really gave us the influence of writing our style of music – that summer time feel good sound. It’s evolved from then, especially with this new EP. It’s been a cool experience being in a band this long.

Ryan: It was a good place to learn about everything. We formed the band and very shortly after we were out and recording our first album in a place that is well known for the music industry. Being surrounded by the personalities, LA and the bigger studios was really a great learning experience for me from both a technical and songwriting standpoint. It was a really cool experience.

You’re currently in the process of releasing songs from your new EP. What can the fans expect from the EP that’s different from, “Here’s to the Sunrise”? Can you tell me about the writing process of the EP and what that was like? How has your sound evolved since the first album?

Joe: Just traveling and touring really set the tone for this EP. I think we really started to find the sound that we have been looking for as Kicking Sunrise and we are really looking to continue this path that we have been on.

Mark: You can tell when you hear the music that these past 3 years we have been playing live and playing our instru- ments every day definitely shows in our new sound and music. It has advanced a little bit.

Matt: I think it has advanced a lot. It’s been 3 years since we have recorded “Here’s To The Sunrise”. It’s been 3 years of playing all of the time and it has really made us more creative and better musicians.

Ryan: We did not have as much experience playing live at all when we recorded our fist album. Seeing the different crowds in different areas, we get to see the different responses from different demographics. We really get a feel now for what the response will be from what we are playing. That really drove the direction and decisions we made when writing this new EP. Being together everyday really helps too, now we are all really in the same boat when writing our songs. It clicks really well. It’s awesome.

Since YouTube played a big role in your success, what advice would you give to new bands about Social Media and making themselves known?

Mark: Social media is the main thing nowadays. It’s super important. You can reach out to people from all over the world.

Joe: We have met and talked to so many people. Collaborating with others on YouTube is really important, that is how Ryan and I connected. I never played music with him before and then we covered Justin Timberlake’s “Suite and Tie” and got a really good response from it. A few months later we got recognized and signed with Right Coast Music. YouTube allows you to get in front of more people than you would ever think possible.

Ryan: Everything is so quick today with technology. If you’re not doing anything on it, you are really far behind everyone else. You need to be on stage as much as possible. Social media is the new stage.

Matt: We have fans from all over the world. Without social media that would never be possible.

Once your new EP is released, does the band have any plans for touring? What are some bands you’d guys like to tour with?

Mark: A tour would be amazing after our EP is out. We are in the works this fall trying to plan something out for sometime very soon after the EP is released.

Ryan: Ideally I would like to do a tour where we can reach people our own age. I would really love to do a major college tour.

Does anyone in the band have any side projects? If so, what are they?

Joe: It was the side projects that allowed us to form this band. Ryan: Yes, we met on side projects.
Mark: Right now we are focusing 100% on Kicking Sunrise.

With the music industry always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and don’t like about it? What aspects of the industry do you feel have hurt or helped your career? If you could change anything about it, what would it be?

Joe: The only thing that I dislike about the music industry today is that we missed out on a time where we could sell records. I would love to not do a EP and just do a 15 song record and everyone listens to the whole thing.

Ryan: You have to be 3 months ahead of everyone to be on time. That’s one of the challenges, finding the current trend before it even hits.

Any last words?

Kicking Sunrise: “See you in the fall.”

Mark: Be ready for constant content.

Connect with Kicking Sunrise

Web | Facebook

[AltWire Interview] Zech Pluister of Sleep On It

AltWire Contributor Samantha Warren recently sat down with Zech Pluister of Sleep On It. Read the interview below!

[Samantha Warren/AltWire]: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me today. I had the chance to do an e-mail interview with TJ back in May, and I’m sure a lot of things have changed since then.  What’s the band been up to lately?

[Zech Pluister/Sleep On It]: Since back in May… Alright. Well, we just took the summer off. We were hanging out; we were getting ready for these couple tours. Getting ready for Riot Fest, finishing up the album, mixing, getting that mixed and mastered, finishing the artwork, just gearing up to put the record out. All that kind of fun stuff, so we might have been quiet but we were not low on things to do.

[AW]: You’re also the bands newest member.  Was there any kind of negative stigma you had to shake after leaving Bonfires?

[ZP]: When I left Bonfires it was a mutual thing between me and that band, and then it really just worked out with the Chicago scene being as supportive as it was, and it still remains to be. This band welcomed me with open arms, and their fan base did the same. Some of the fans from the old band followed over. I’ve had a lot of people talk to me and say they’ve been following me for a couple of years now. It was actually an extremely easy process for me to switch between the two bands. It was obviously stressful because they had a former fan base and they were used to how the old stuff sounded with their older singer so there was a little bit of expectation to be met there, but overall it was a fairly simple process.

[AW]: You just released your new single, “Distant.” What’s been the reaction so far from the fans?

[ZP]: It’s been insane. It’s a little hard to put into words. I mean we’ve had the record done since February. I mean recorded since February. So we’ve been sitting on it for almost 9 months now. It feels on our end just incredible to have a new song out for the first time in over a year. The response has been incredible. A lot of people have been saying it’s the best song we’ve written to date, and everyone seems to love it. I’ve been blown away, and still everyday people are tweeting at us, mentioning us on Facebook saying how much they love the song. We’ve been incredibly grateful to get the response that we have.

[AW]: You’re getting ready to release your new LP, “Overexposed.”  How has your sound evolved since “Lost Along the Way” and “Safe Again” ?

[ZP]: I wasn’t apart of Safe Again, but obviously we carried some songs over for when I joined the band. From Lost Along the Way I think we kind of just dialed in a little closer to the heart of that sound, we kind of tried to use access to the three vocalists we have between me, Jake, and Tj a little more on this record. The thing I’ve been saying to everyone is it’s still going to be a Sleep on It record, we didn’t really do anything too crazy. At the same time we stepped a little bit outside of our box and we had a little more room to work the 12 songs so we had a little more space for creation and we didn’t have to make it so concise. We got to do a little more stuff, there’s some slower stuff, there’s some more upbeat stuff, so we got to do the whole circle of music in a way.

I’m a big fan of how it came out. I’m really proud of every song. We got to work with Derek from State Champs. He produced it again, recorded with Seth from ABG, we actually got to write a song with Will Pugh from Cartel for this one which was awesome. Just overall it’s a Sleep on It record it’s just kind of the next era in a way, so I’m excited for everyone to hear it.

[AW]: You also worked with Paul Levitt on that album, is there any chance we can see you on a line up with All Time Low or Have Mercy?

[ZP]: They worked with Paul Levitt on Safe Again, so I’m not sure how much contact they still have left with Paul, but we would obviously love to tour with have mercy. Great band. All time low. Fantastic band. We’ve been fans of those bands for a long time. Who knows what the future holds honestly. That would be incredible.

[AW]: You and TJ write a lot of material together. Describe your typical songwriting session.

[ZP]: Me and Tj it’s fairly simple honestly. One of us will kind of write a song and demo it out via garage band or pro tools or whatever we’re using, and then we’ll send it to the other and we’ll either finish it or change it. and once we kind of get to a final product we’ll just bring it to the band and practice it and sometimes things are organic at practice and they just kind of come together in a half an hour or it’ll take a couple of hours or weeks to nail a song down but that’s basically it. We share material with each other and what happens happens and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

[AW]: How did you decide which songs to put on the new LP?

[ZP]: Ooh. That was a process. It’s 12 songs and I believe we wrote somewhere between 16 and 18. We obviously had some favorites that we knew were going to go on, but there were a few songs we weren’t entirely sure of one way or another. So between the 5 of us, our manager, our A & R rep at the label Jonny Minardi, and Derek we all kind of whittled down to 12. It’s a really funny story actually Distant the first single that we just put out wasn’t actually going to be on the record. We initially decided to take it off the record. Thanks to Johnny one day he gave me a call and he basically told me I’d be an idiot if I didn’t put that song on the record. So we brought that one to Seth and Derek and kind of changed things around, changed the key, and it ended up being so good that we decided to put it out first.

[AW]: Let’s talk about the current tour with State Champs.  As you said you worked with Derek on your album. What’s it like being able to tour with him? Is there any chance we could see song collaboration?

[ZP]: State Champs is an absolute fantastic band. They’re one of the tighter bands I’ve seen live. Derek is obviously an incredibly talented vocalist. I look up to him as a vocalist and a song writer. I’m very lucky to be able to call him a friend and a confidant in a way for song writing but touring with them has been absolutely fantastic and they’ve been incredibly good to us. It’s been really cool to be out with our friends in Homesafe, and we obviously just met up with Bearings since they’re from Canada so we met them for the first time and this whole tour is just gelled together very well. All 3 shows we have played so far have been absolutely fantastic and we’re looking forward to this show it’s the first one in the U.S.  so hopefully it’s going to be a great night. Overall every night has been great.  It’s been a reunion in a way because we’ve known the Champs guys for about a year now, and we’ve been playing shows with Homesafe back home for a while now. It’s just been super simple so far, and having a great time.

[AW]: Is there any chance we can see song collaboration with State Champs?

[ZP]: Well Derek is featured on a song on the new record and can’t wait for people to hear that one. We’re really happy with how that one turned out. It just kind of worked out that when he was in the studio he heard a part he liked and he asked if he could sing on the record. We’re incredibly stoked on how it came out and really excited to put that one out too.

[AW]: You’re currently on the road to Riot Fest.  Since Chicago is also your home town, what are you most excited about being able to play the fest?

[ZP]: Riot Fest is its own monster. With festivals it’s obviously a hectic day. You have to find everything when you first get there. You got to figure out where your stage is. With Riot Fest since it’s our home festival we’ve all been going for years. In a way it should be the most hectic day, but we’re also going to be the most relaxed because it’s a home turf advantage. Riot Fest is such a cool thing. Other than Warped tour it’s really the only other thing that the pop rock scene kind of has to itself which is awesome. Riot fest has done incredible things for this band. Always helped us promote, backed us, so we’re incredibly grateful and humbled to be a part of the fest this year and the fact that we get to open up for an incredible stage with State Champs, and Mayday Parade, Story so far,  it’s going to be the highlight of the year probably for us. We’re so incredibly excited to play.

[AW]: With the music industry constantly changing and evolving, what do you hate the most or like the most about it? What advice would you give to someone who’s trying to start a band or break into the industry?

[ZP]: Hm, what do I hate most about the industry? That’s a good question. The thing I hate most about the music industry is probably just the stigma that the people who chose to follow this path of life get. You know like the stigma that we’re all irresponsible or we’re all out here doing drugs and getting drunk every night. It’s just like running your own business in a way. It’s just as stressful. It’s just as worrisome as that. The thing I love the most about the industry is the people. I love meeting fans. I love meeting new bands. I love making new friends every day. I love seeing the country. I get to see a new city every day, a new part of each town, and also collectively probably as a band, we’ve had this discussion, I think our favorite thing about touring is food. We get to try amazing food in every city. Every show there’s always someone recommends us like a local spot that’s like the hot spot in that town so that’s always a good time.

One piece of advice I would give to starting bands is to support each other. Support each other and learn how to take criticism. The support is key because obviously the music industry is very competitive and it’s incredibly cut throat so it’s a hard thing to break into, but when you have the support of your other local bands and your friends in the scene that helps tremendous loads. Don’t play that often I always try and tell people to play a show one show a month or if not a month and a half. Maybe two months. You don’t want to over saturate yourself on the market. You want to keep people wanting to come to your shows, and they don’t want to miss the show because you don’t play that often. Learn how to take criticism. If someone says you suck don’t take it the wrong way. If someone says oh you guys were good but you need to work on this take that and run with it.

One of the best things that ever happened to me as a musician was between managers and A & R just people kind of saying like oh you‘re a great singer but you could work on this you should do vocal lessons or stuff like that. Just also like kind of with the record Jonny Minardi was like this is the best song on the record you guys might hate it but its taking people’s advice and running with it instead of getting upset. It changes everything because like I said with us one thing we always did was if someone said to do something a certain way or gave us advice that worked for them we thought about it and we figured out a way to make that work for us and that’s something that has helped us incredibly and also act accordingly. You’re representing your brand and you’re representing the band. No matter what being on social media, via in person, and meeting fans just be grateful that you get the chance to do what you’re doing on any level. If you’re playing a show to 10 kids, give those 10 kids the best show you’ve ever given. If you’re playing to 1,000 do the same. It doesn’t matter how many kids are in the room. That one kid in the room could be the biggest fan you ever get.

Always give it 100%. Be gracious, act like a professional. Just take every bad day and make it as motivation to make tomorrow better.

[AW]: Any last words?

[ZP]: Check out the record, check out the new song, pre order it, and hopefully we’ll see you guys at a show.

[AltWire Interview] Makeout

AltWire Contributor Samantha Warren recently sat down with the band Makeout. Read the interview below!

[Samantha Warren/AltWire]: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me today. For our readers who don’t know, can you tell us who you are and your current band members and anything else you’d like us to know?

[Makeout]: Hey, thank you for the interview! We are MAKEOUT and we consist of Sam Boxold on Vocals/Guitar, Tyler Young on Guitar/Vocals, Alex Lofton on Bass, and Scott Eckel on Drums!

[AW]: For your upcoming record, “The Good Life” You worked with John Feldmann. What was it like working with him? Is there any possible musical collaboration in the future with any of his previous artists that he’s worked with?  If you had your choice of artists to pick form, who would it be and why?

[MO]: John was an amazing person to do a record with.  He really knows how to push and push and push in the right way to get out the best sounding product.  We went into John’s studio with about 40 demos, and we only ended up using two of those on the final record!  To answer the second part of the question, we actually had some musical collaborations on the record!  Travis Barker helped write some songs, Calum Hood and Ashton Irwin helped write some songs, Lil’ Aaron as well, we had tons of support creating this album!

[AW]: What was the writing process like for this album? How did you decide which songs went on the album, and which ones didn’t? 

[MO]: First and foremost, it was hard work, or as John called it “Rock-and-Roll Boot Camp”.  We were in the studio for about 11-12 hours a day slaving away at the record for about a month straight, and as I mentioned before, John really keeps pushing you for the best product, so we ended re-writing parts of songs and lyrics 30, 40, 50 times before we settled on the final product.  The process was definitely a roller coaster ride, but we couldn’t be any happier with how it turned out.  The hardest part about the whole process was choosing the final track list, there weren’t any songs we wanted to cut, but the 12 we settled on are the best of the best.

[AW]: What bands were your major musical influences for this record? How did you decide that it was the direction you wanted to go in sound wise?

[MO]: I don’t think there was ever a conscious choice to make the record sound the way it does, that’s just how it turned out.  Sam takes a lot of influence from All Time Low, and I think that definitely shows, but besides that, we all pull from all sorts of different musical influence, ranging from Pop to Hip Hop to Metal, and I think there’s a little hint of all of that on the record!

[AW]: Do you have any tours in the works once your album is released? What are the bands future plans?

[MO]: We don’t have anything to announce yet, but I promise we’ll be hitting the road before the year is over!

[AW]: Can you tell us what it was like recording your music video, “Crazy!”?

[MO]: It was as fun to make as you’d think it would be!  When we showed up at 9amand they had already spent a whole day blowing up balloons and were still at it!  As soon as we started doing takes, balloons were popping left and right and I felt so bad that they spent all that time blowing up the balloons just for us to stomp on them and accidently pop them.

[AW]: What was it like being on the road with Blink-182 and The Naked and Famous?

[MO]: It was one of the best touring experiences we’ve ever had!  Blink and their whole crew treated us like family and they never hesitated to help us out with anything.  TNAF were also very nice people, amazing musicians!

[AW]: With the music industry always changing and always evolving, what would you tell other bands who are up and coming and trying to catch their big break? 

[MO]: Support one another!  The best thing you can do for yourself if you’re in a band and trying to make it is to support each other’s bands!  We wouldn’t be where we are today if we didn’t have a strong local scene to help support us and get us playing some bigger shows!

[AW]: Knowing what you know now about the industry, if you could do something differently what would it be and why? What would you have changed, or are you happy with the way everything has turned out? 

[MO]: I don’t know that any of us would want to do anything differently.  We’ve had to make some tough choices to get where we are today and if anything was done differently, who knows where we would have ended up! But we’re in a good place right now and feel right at home on Rise, so can’t say I’d want to change anything we did.

[AW]: Any last words? 

[MO]: Make sure to pick up “The Good Life” when it comes out on September 29th, and be on the lookout for another new single in the next few weeks.  Can’t wait to have the album out and be on the road!

[AltWire Interview] Alex Arbour

Artist Alex Arbour recently talked with AltWire Contributor Samantha Warren. Read the interview below!

Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted via email. Questions and answers may have been cleaned up for grammar and clarity, however the content has not been altered.

[Samantha Warren/AltWire]: For our fans that haven’t heard of you yet, can you please tell us who you are and any other fun facts you’d like us to know about you?

[Alex Arbour]: Hey, I’m Alex Arbour and I’m a solo artist. I also work at a recording studio called Fly Away Music and Media Studios in Montreal, Quebec where I write and record for other artists. If I’m not working on music I’m probably re-watching the office for the millionth time.

[AW]: Let’s talk a little bit more about you. Where are you from and where did you grow up? What made you want to be a musician?

[AA]: I’m from Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Ever since I could remember I had a passion for music. Music has always been my escape. I dealt with a lot of things growing up and when things got rough I’d lock myself away in my room and just write music. It was the easiest way to express myself.

The first thing I ever did was start screaming for metal bands cause I was always to shy to sing in front of people. Over the coarse of my years in those metal bands I slowly started experimenting and learning how to sing.

Now I pretty much only sing which I never thought would have been the situation but I’m loving it, and I’m pretty sure my parents understand this and actually like this music haha.

[AW]: You recently released your new EP, “Sad Songs” on iTunes. What was the song writing process like for your EP?

[AA]: Sad Songs was actually written a year ago in my bedroom. June 16th 2016 i was rushed to the ICU due to heart failure and came very close to dying. My heart had gotten so weak it was at 14% the doctors were shocked that I didn’t check into a hospital a lot sooner. You could say I’m quite stubborn sometimes.

As of today my heart is somewhere around 40-45% and if I’ll ever fully recover is still not uncertain.

Once I was released from the hospital I couldn’t do very much. Honestly I was sleeping 12-14 hours a day because my heart was so weak.

So when I was as awake I would write and record music in my bedroom studio. Once I got a little bit better I met up with my now partner at the studio I work at and began re-writing the songs that can be heard on my ep. The songs sounded a lot different from what I had initially written which is really cool because my partner at the studio really added more pop elements that were missing.

[AW]: While you were writing the songs for your EP, What are some of your main messages that you want to get across through your music? What was your inspiration?

[AA]: Well the first track on the album is called Heartbeat and I think it’s safe to assume we know what that ones about haha.

Two of the songs on the album are about my ex who pretty much up and left me out of nowhere. I like to make the dad joke and say I actually almost died due to a broken heart. No one finds that funny but me but whatever. Haha

The last song is about my best friend who I had feelings for. Things eventually started going beyond friendship or so I thought and when I told her she immediately disappeared from my life. which I guess I can’t blame her for entirely due to the fact It was during a very rough period of my life (before the heart) when I was struggling with a lot of personal issues and depression and I was drowning those problems with drugs and alcohol.

[AW]: What are your favorite songs of your EP? What makes them stand out the most to you?

[AA]: Honestly they are all so extremely personal to me they are all my favourite, I really couldn’t choose just one. I poured out every ounce of emotion into these songs and I couldn’t be more proud. I overcame a lot last year and this ep to me was the turning point in my life.

[AW]: If you could compare yourself to any other musician, who would it be and why? Why do you think you’re similar to them?

[AA]: Believe it or not, I’ve been compared to blink-182 multiple times which blows my mind cause I definitely don’t hear that at all, but I’ll take it cause that’s definitely a compliment.

I don’t know who I’d compare myself to honestly, one of my favourite songwriters would be AJ Perdomo from the dangerous summer. His songs are so honest and well written every song really makes you feel something and that’s something I aspire to do. I’m definitely not at his level but I aspire to be.

[AW]: How would you define your music and who are your musical influences?

[AA]: My music is definitely brutally honest, I don’t hold back at all. It’s more often then not sad because I write what I know and I’ve gone through a lot in life. I’ve been suffering from severe depression for years now, and I’ve been on and off almost every medication you can imagine. You will hear much more about my life and personal issues I’ve struggled with on the full length that’s currently being written. There are some more up-beat and happy songs as well so it’ll be a mix of emotions, and all over the place genre wise. It’s been really tough cause I’ve never really been to open about some of the subjects on the album but I think a lot of people will be able to connect to it. Be on the lookout for a new single rather soon.

I take influences from everywhere, I love music as a whole which is so cliche to say but my iPhone goes from mainstream pop to death core and everything in between. My iPhone on shuffle would probably give someone a headache haha.

[AW]: If you could tour with anyone, who would it be and why?

[AA]: The cure would be a dream but Something tells me I won’t get that option haha

For this project a dream tour would be like Aaron west and the roaring twenties, the dangerous summer, moose blood and myself. Damn that actually sounds like a killer tour even if I wasn’t on it I’d be beyond stoked for it haha. Someone should make that happen.

[AW]: Do you have any side projects? If so, what are they? Do you have any shows or tours in the works?

[AA]: I kinda do and I kinda don’t. One of my really good friends from an old band of mine is a crazy guitarist and another friend of mine who also owns a studio is one of the best drummers I’ve ever met so we often bounce ideas back and fourth.

What I can say is that I have a metal song coming out at the end of the summer with a music video that’s really going to throw my new fans off guard if they don’t know my musical background cause I’ll be screaming on that track. Wether I release it under my name or a band name is still up in the air.

As for shows, I’ve been offered a few tours but I technically don’t have a band I wrote 75% of it by myself I had a few friends come in and record some stuff to help me out and the “bonus” track instrumental was entirely written by a fan named Forest Wade Graham who hit me up on Instagram and asked me to sing over his track. once I heard it I was blown away. I knew I had to write something over it.

I’d love to accept some of these offers but there’s a lot to figure out. I am currently jamming with a few people here and there so we will see what comes of that. Especially since these new songs definitely have more full band elements an acoustic tour would feel empty to me and I don’t want to do anything until it’s perfect.

[AW]: If you could give any advice to any other upcoming musicians, what would it be?

[AA]: I love being asked this question cause I still consider myself a random artist no one knows about but my social media accounts grow everyday. it still kinda blows my mind the reception I’m getting from this solo stuff, within a matter of months I’ve gotten so many opportunities I was dreaming of in all my other bands.

Here’s my advice don’t rush anything, be genuine and write what you know. Don’t force a song, don’t be afraid to write about a topic your passionate about. Everyone relates to music one way or another. Always interact with fans, have conversations. It’s what I’ve been doing from the start and I think it’s going pretty well.

[AW]: Do you have anything that you’d like to mention that I didn’t ask?

[AA]: I briefly spoke about it on social media, but as i write my full length I’ll be starting something called “The Singles Club”. I’ll be doing some limited run ridiculous merch ideas that I’ll be posting on social media next week and if you buy a shirt you’ll be apart of “The Singles Club” and receive a free single every month or so before I release it anywhere online!

Some of the songs will be on the full length and some won’t. So for around 15$ you’ll get a shirt a bunch of free music before it’s released anywhere else.

Honestly I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s listened to my music and sent me messages telling me my songs have helped them or they can relate. That’s always been my main priority when writing music is to be able to help someone the way music helped me through out the years.

My music video for the single off of my Sad Songs – Ep called Another Song About You

You can stream the rest of the ep on YouTube and find it available anywhere online that sells/streams music!

Check me out on social media!

Instagram: AlexArbour

Twitter: AlexArbour

YouTube: Alex Arbour Music

[AltWire Interview] Zackary David of Blindwish

Zackary David, vocalist of Blindwish recently talked with AltWire Contributor Samantha Warren. Read the interview below!

Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted via email. Questions and answers may have been cleaned up for grammar and clarity, however the content has not been altered.

[Samantha Warren/AltWire]: I wanted to first thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. For our readers who may not have heard of you yet, can you tell us who you are and who your bandmates are?

[Zackary David/Blindwish]: We’re Blindwish from Dallas, TX. We’re all based here, but only 2 of us are from here (Kendrick and Garrett). I’m (Zack) from New Jersey, Billy is from California and Dakota is from Oregon. Even though we’re from all over the country, we’ll always see Texas as our band’s home. We played our first few shows here and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

[AW]: You guys have been very busy with your new signing to Rise Records and your new album Good Excuses. Let’s talk about the album making process. What was it like working with Ryan Furlott and John Feldmann who helped co-write “After Midnight” and “The Maze”?

[ZD]: Both producers we worked with were amazing. We spent a lot more time with Ryan and got to become very close. Writing a record is always extremely rewarding, but more so when you’re in a beautiful part of the country like Beaverton, OR. It was a perfect setting for the subject matter that we wanted to put on the album. Flying to Calabasas, CA to work with John Feldmann was an incredibly experience. I had nothing but respect for John before I went to write with him, yet somehow left with more. Both producers taught me a lot about songwriting and about life in general.

[AW]: What was the writing process like for the album? How do you go about the song writing process, and how do you decide which songs you put on the album?

[ZD]: Most of the time I’ll have an idea of what I want a song to be about. Sometimes music comes first, sometimes it’s a melody for a chorus. Every song is so different that it’s not really a formula, more whatever feels right. It’s a lot of give and take until we’re finally left with something that we truly love. We had a few songs that didn’t make the album. It’s not that they were bad songs, they were actually amazing songs, they just didn’t find their place on this album.

[AW]: What’s your favorite song that’s on the new album and what makes it stand out aside from the rest of the songs?

[ZD]: My absolute favorite song on this album and probably my favorite song I’ve ever written is the 5th track “Down”. It definitely sticks out on this album being the only acoustic song on it. The opening line holds the title to our album “Good Excuses”. Without giving too much away (I want everyone to listen to it and make their own assumptions on what it’s about), its an introspective ballad on choices we make and how they make us and the people we love feel.

[AW]: Back in 2016 you opened for Palisades. Any chance we can see another tour like that happen again or do you have any other tour plans in the works? What are some bands that you’d like to tour with?

[ZD]: We’d love to tour with Palisades again, they’re some of our best friends. As far as bands we’d like to tour with, I’m pretty sure everyone in our band can agree on two. We’d love to hit the road with Brand New, they just let out a new album (it’s amazing go listen to it) so we’ll see! The other is My Chemical Romance. Our first two tours we threw in a MCR cover, so you should know we really love them. Let’s get that reunion together!

[AW]: When you’re on tour or playing shows how do you go about what goes on the set list? Do you ever change your set list while on tour or do you usually keep it the same? What are your favorite songs to perform?

[ZD]: We’ve only done two tours, but each of them we had different set lists. We have some album release shows coming up (Sept 1 Dallas, Sept 3 Houston) and we have different set lists for those shows. We tailor our set to who we’re playing with and what we think the audience would like to hear. In our current set, I’d have to say that After Midnight is my favorite song to perform.

[AW]: Does anyone in the band have any side projects going on at the moment? If so, what are they?

[ZD]: No musical side projects, we’re all 100% committed to making this band the best it can be. But I own a company that’s on Vans Warped Tour every year called Native Trashion that could be considered a side project. We hand-make clothes and accessories from recycled materials. Come check out our tent on Vans Warped Tour ’18!

[AW]: You also have some music videos out. What was the video making experience like for you? Do you have any other videos in the works after the album drops?

[ZD]: There’s nothing like shooting a music video. We hear our song during shoots maybe 5,000 times (maybe not that many but it sure feels like it), and in all varieties of speed. Sometimes it’ll be the song slowed down 50% or sometimes turned up 200%. We don’t want to give away any secrets about upcoming videos!

[AW]: If you could give any advice to new bands just starting out in the industry, what advice would you give them?

[ZD]: It’s all about love. Before you work with anyone, make sure they love what you do. That goes for the members of your band, your record label, your manager, your booking agent, local promoters, every body! When everyone loves what you do and is on the same page, you don’t have to worry, and can focus on writing and performing the best music possible.

[AW]: Any last words?

[ZD]: Good Excuses is out September 1st via Rise Records. Pre-order now!