Welcome to 2015, as 2014 is officially dusted, and Impose’s Week in Pop is here to bring you the future today, and right now. Presenting an array of interviews and exclusives, we first bring you the top entertainment news of the new year: Kanye and Sir Paul McCartney released the first cut from their much rumored collaboration by unveiling, “Only One” on NYE; as all are invited to watch PJ Harvey record her ninth album/art installation, Recording in Progress, being recorded live January 16 through February 14 via a one-way glass at London’s Somerset House; the trailer for NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton emerged; NASA scientist Melissa Dawson Higgins is the mysterious voice heard peppered throughout Burial’s Rival Dealer EP; Frank Ocean and Lil B seen together in the studio; A$AP Rocky dropped “Pretty Flocko II”; Grimes dropped “Christmas Song II (grinch)“; footage of Nicki Minaj’s high school acting career surfaces; Mac DeMarco sells his tour Vans on Ebay for Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls charity benefit; and eskimeaux joined the Double Double Whammy family for the forthcoming OK album coming later this spring.
Raising a glass to toast 2015, we present world premieres and interviews with Iris, Sola, Draag, Harlem Sekani, Sarob., SMLH, Howth, holiday hits you may have missed, co-curated by Teen Suicide, and more—in no particular order.
Toronto’s Sola, aka Sola Reign premieres “You…” ahead of her upcoming EP About A Boy for Kayda Productions/FaceFilms Records. While a lot of contemporaneous comparison lingo has been flying, Sola strikes into a sub-surface faring wave with production that moves the mind, and the senses with the “You’re special and you know it” sensuality that moves with the syrup-slo-mo arrangement speed and viscous sonic seep. The beat rock gently against the warm jet water rush of time elaspsed splashes of intense love deluxe proposals like Sola’s beckoning call of, “let me be the girl for you, let me share the world with you.”
The worlds of places, and palaces past crumble like abandoned and dilapidated modern communities. The motion of digital planets and feelings colliding are met through a lover’s rock rhythm that is slowed in different frequencies of emission that send out signals of some of the most intimate innuendos transmitted via modern antennas and vacuum tube powered receivers.The production takes real time and alters the forward speed to a slowed pitch that pours all sounds into a viscous cup of warm molasses, bathed in a hot lathering of sounds soaked in dulce de leche synthesized syrup. Stay tuned following the premiere for our interview with Sola:
Everyone has their own creative connection to Toronto, and I was wondering how you have found its environment and scenes to have impacted your sound?
Well when it comes to my sound, I wouldn’t say Toronto played a big role in its development. My production choices on the other hand I can say is a tad bit influenced by the Toronto music scene. I say this because I find Toronto has a very smooth sound especially when it comes to production, as you can see in the current emerging artist out of Toronto. My taste in music is very eclectic, so when it comes to my sound, wouldn’t put myself in a box and say it’s impacted from one place. I draw inspiration from everywhere.
When did you first begin making music, and then how did you take on the title of Sola Reign as your moniker?
I started making music seriously a few years ago but have been writing and singing since elementary school. Music has always played a big part in my life and got me through a lot of rough times. I took on the name Sola Reign about 2 years ago. Sola means the girl that stands alone and I felt the name described my music/sound so well. My sound is not your typical, it’s not one that will be liked by everyone, which is okay. And even me as a person, I never like to follow the herd. So Sola I found was the perfect fit and “Reign” was that added touch. So basically I’m the girl that stands alone and will not be led by anyone but myself.
We are stunned over the intimate, emotionally charged chamber-scape of “You…” where your own delivery is met with these sampled, treated breath exhalation stems. What was the making of this, that sounds like a very personal song for you?
“You…” is about wanting one particular person and no matter the obstacles you will not stop until they’re yours. Everyone at one point in their lives has had that one person they were smitten with and would give anything to get them. I just found myself in that particular situation which led to “You…”.
Furthermore, can you describe for us a bit about the situations, and scenarios that have inspired your upcoming About a Boy EP?
This whole upcoming ep is about a ‘situationship’ I was in. A very unhealthy ‘situationship’ that brought me on an emotional roller coaster ride, which led to my last mixtape and this upcoming EP.
Up and coming artists from Toronto and else where that you want to give a shout out to?
I’d love to give a shout out to DJ laz vagez who plays a major role in the direction of my music and a very talented engineer and artist. I would also like to shout out an upcoming artist Nynex who will be coming out with a project in 2015. Very talented rapper, look out for him! And to all the artists in Toronto and around the world who are working there asses off to make this happen. It’s not easy and if you have the courage to step up and bless the world with your talents regardless of what others may say or think, I applaud you!
2015 mission, hopes, and projects for the new year?
2015 you can expect two EPs from me. I will be dropping another EP in the fall, which will be a lot more dark and very personal. I am working on that right now. I’m just planning on doing a lot of shows and finally introducing the world to Sola Reign. So keep your eyes and ears open!
Listen to more from Sola via Bandcamp.
We recently reported that Iris Campo, known from her percussion work in the Indica Records group Roads is preparing her first solo EP, performing as Iris. Her Spanish by Canadian roots delight in the audio deco of Montréal pop as heard from the glorious glimmer from her single of patience and perseverance, “I’ll Wait For You”. The globally percussive-minded artist bursts into multicolored frames in a testament that champions rising above life’s obstacles of obstruction, with some radically real reasons to present the brightest tones of cheer. Having over come the pains of ulcerative-colitis, Iris stares, and smiles down any appearances of adversity on the Sebastien Duguay video for the Scott Moffatt produced single, “I’ll Wait For You”.
Showcased among the illumination of green, red, blue lit environments; Iris marks the tribulations of time passed and the routes of fighter her way home. Campo’s natural knack for production finds every rhythmic level thoroughly though out, and glossed up, that includes interjected visual shots of Iris taking over on the drum kit in her own dominion and wonderful world of production as allegory for life and meaning. Iris takes control over the days past, present, and forwards a fight that is frocked in the decorum and fashion of pop styles that bridges maximalism with necessity, and the emergency component of urgency. Iris talked to us after the video about everything from her new solo outings and Aerosmith inspirations, after the video.
For you what has it been like moving from the drums to placing yourself in the center spotlight?
In my previous bands, I always drummed and sang either back vocals or lead and could only connect to the crowd from behind the drums.
Now that I’m the lead singer, I can move around, express myself physically while still being able to play some percussion, different instruments, and get closer to the crowd.
How do you find your own Spanish and Montréal influences making their way into your work, either consciously, or subconsciously?
My songs are very percussive and rhythm-oriented which comes from my drummer side. Spanish music is definitely very percussive. There’s a lot of hand claps, stomping, percussion, extremely rhythmic guitars and vocals so that influenced me for sure. When I moved to Montréal, I started discovering rock music through my older brothers. Aerosmith, Queen, The Beatles, ABBA, The Police, Fleetwood Mac (to name a few) have had a direct impact on my musical development.
Having weathered the storm of ulcerative-colitis, how has it strengthened your resolve, and outlook, both personal and creative?
Overcoming this has been a life altering experience. I appreciate everything in a way I couldn’t before. You don’t realize how fragile and short life really is until a life threatening situation happens to you. It’s silly but it’s true. Having to deal with Ulcerative Colitis has opened my eyes to a disease I had no idea existed before. I’ve been completely open about my journey. I feel like I need to spread the word and educate people as much as I can because it’s such a taboo disease and it makes no sense to me that people who suffer from Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s should feel embarrassed to talk about their battle. Opening up has made me stronger and helped me get through my lowest low and it has pushed me to want to achieve my goals and dreams even more than I ever have because honestly, if you can overcome such a horrible disease, you can accomplish anything in life. And that’s the road I’m on.
What sorts of anecdotes, stories (war stories maybe?), wisdom, and more can you share from hanging out with Steven Tyler?
Steven gave me a few tips on how to write simple and catchy songs. We just casually chatted about so many things as if we had known each other for years. Then he invited me to spend the day backstage at the Aerosmith show the following day! He is my all-time idol. It was like meeting a god for me. Honestly, he’s really down to Earth, so cool and inspiring that just being around him is a magical experience.
Best Aerosmith song(s), in your book?
There are way too many. Obviously, “Dream On” is one epic song and I can relate to the lyrics 100%. But any song from the PUMP album is insane. The production on there is out of control good.
What was the process like of making the pure, electro perseverance pop of “I’ll Wait For You”?
My co-writer sent me a beat and I was instantly inspired. The lyrics and melodies came extremely fast. It’s one of those songs that just comes about and flows effortlessly. Scott Moffatt (the producer) brought a major late 70’s early 80’s flavour to the track which made it groovy and sleek. And voilà! “I’ll Wait For You” was born!
What was it like working with the Cult Nation team on the video for “I’ll Wait For You”, and how did they futher bring out the vibrant colors of patience and perseverance through the Panasonic anamorphic B series lenses and rhythmic edits?
Working with the Cult Nation team was awesome. As always. I have a strong, insanely creative team behind me who is excited and believe in the project as much as I do.
We originally wanted to make a lyric video and the footage turned out to be so wicked that we agreed to release it as a simple, visually beautiful video to support the song. It was important to me to keep it simple and not act in any of the shots. I wanted it to be natural and let myself go and that’s exactly what I did.
Can you share any news of upcoming releases in the works, being recorded, etc?
At the moment, we are just working with this current single. A new track is in the works for sure.
Goals, hopes, and dreams for 2015?
Iris’s single “I’ll Wait For You” will be available in February from Cult Nation.
From the creative side of indie LA; get to know Draag with the premiere of their new song, “Chair”. They recently emerged on radars with the single “Lavender Hole”, that recalls everything the millennial paradigm loves about the last quarter of the twentieth century, where the genres were exploded into the chemical clash of technological developments and the inspired ideas that evolved on a different evolution speed quicker than the vinyl to compact disc continuum. With “Chair” also taken from their upcoming Traci Lordz EP that follows up their self-titled LP; expectations and anachronistic elements are thrown to the wild gusts of winter winds by the creative collective that counts Danny Rossi, Jessica, Adrian Acosta, Carlos Michel, and Adrian De La Cruz. Combined, Draag bring a powerful, multifaceted audio-armada working from multilateral stylistics levels in a unilateral war path formation.
And in case you ever felt like you had Draag figured out, “Chair” spins around all projected thoughts and feeling like the whirling gravity of dizzying oneself in the RPMs caught on an office chair-turned carousel ride. Much has been made of the LA band quintet’s affinity for sneaker-gazing ear candy, but “Chair” takes synth-Euro expressions down new, shinier, and sleeker autobahns that extends the attitudes and ambitions of motorik-driven pop to a second past the six minute mark. “Chair” begins with a rolling start, with all instrumental engines firing on all cylinders, and everyone’s individual contributions feeding into a sonic synthesis like network of five water slides making individuals splashes into an oceanic, Pacific chlorine-blue pool. The actions speeds in the diamond lane, as the action and intensity builds into psychedelic swarm of sound to exercise the muscles of the third eye. Immediately following the debut of “Chair”, don’t miss our lively interview with Draag’s Adrian & Adrian, Danny, Jessica, and Carlos.
Give us the latest report from indie LA.
Adrian De La Cruz: Lots of great bands. Mostly bad bands, but a lot of good ones, too.
Adrian Acosta: Nice little melting-pot of bands. The really good bands get the least exposure.
How did you all meet, and what lead you all to start Draag?
Adrian De La Cruz: Draag started off as Adrian(Acosta)’s solo project. After getting a band together for live shows, everything fell into place and Draag began.
Danny: Me and Adrian played in a couple of projects together over the course of a five year span. We always talked about piecing together a legit group but the timing wasn’t working out. Last year we decided that it’s now or never and we just said the hell with it!
Jessica: The inborn drive to create, and the cosmos.
What’s with the extra ‘a’ in the name?
Adrian De La Cruz: Two Adrian’s two A’s, duh.
Jessica: One ‘a’ would make it a little misleading, right?
From the recent “Lavender Hole” to our debut of “Chair”; it appears as if you all have a real sound shape shifting thing happening at work here. How do you all decide upon what kind of a sound you that you all want to go for, or does the music itself inform you by process of some kind of supernatural force?
Jessica: I trust everyone’s personal style and especially musical aptitude, so as long as each of us are genuine with what we contribute, I know the product will be delicious. We don’t know what to expect with any potential song. The sound shape shifting is the mess we made as a result of our collaborative experiments. The supernatural seems to be on our side too.
Danny: We never go out of our way to specifically sound like a certain genre. I think everyone’s vast taste and style transform the sound we put out in it’s own unique way.
Adrian De La Cruz: Adrian (Acosta) usually comes to us with an idea, then we take it from there. Either we “jam-it-out” as a band and it comes together like that, or the song comes together in the studio as we’re recording. The latter is typical of our more electronic songs.
Adrian Acosta: The day we decide the kind of band we want to be, is the day we breakup.
What was the making of the epic, and original “Chair” like?
Adrian Acosta: Long, tedious process. It consists of layers upon layers of instruments, and experimentation. Chair was super fun to track, but a pain in the ass to mix. Adrian (De La Cruz) and I spent many late nights mixing the shit out of the song in our studio. I don’t think we’re 100% happy with the end result, but with the lack perspective towards the finish line, we knew we were getting close to sucking the life out of it….Sometimes you have to remind yourself that It doesn’t have to be perfect, the song as a whole and emotional value will suffice.
Adrian De La Cruz: Chair took a lot longer than we thought it would. Most of the time spent was spent on mixing. We’re starting to get more particular about our sound.
Danny: I feel like it’s our interpretation of a New Order/Gary Numan mashup. We knew we were going to have some fun with it right from the start.
Give us the full scoop on the forthcoming Traci Lordz EP, and perhaps any other recordings that you all might be working on?
Adrian De La Cruz: The new EP should be quite a departure from the last one in terms of sound. These are the first recordings to include the entire band. More electronics and more guitar.
Carlos: As for more recordings, our guitarist Adrian(De La Cruz) records most of our stuff, so we’re always recording something. But we did have the privilege of working with Jeff Byron of “The Mae Shi” for tracks “Gown, Monolith, and Lavender Hole in his studio in Highland Park.
Jessica: We don’t at all recommend a taste test of one song to encapsulate our EP. You don’t eat the individual ingredients of a recipe. Let it simmer as a whole entity. That’s how we represent our work.
What is it about the old school porn star/movie star’s career that you all find fascinating?
Adrian De La Cruz: Her poster happened to end up in our practice space, so it kind of feels like she’s been watching over us the whole time. She’s like a sixth member. Guiding and watching over us like the porn saint she is.
Jessica: She has the best track record for attendance at our practices. “She” in poster form, that is.
Adrian Acosta: No one knows how her poster got there, and I like that.
Other movements and artists you want to the world to hear?
Danny: I’ve been a huge fan of Total Control (Melbourne, Australia) Ex-Cult (Memphis,TN) & Broken Water (Olympia, WA)
Adrian De La Cruz: There’s a band from San Pedro called Terminal A who are amazing. If you’re not listening to them, you’re missing out.
Jessica: The remainder of the world that hasn’t listened to CocoRosie should as soon as possible. Creativity is a lost art sometimes.
Adrian Acosta: Inc., Naomi Punk, Talbot Tagora (R.I.P.).
Thank you all for your music, and time.
Jessica: Thaank you.
Danny: Not a problem.
Carlos: Fo’ sho’.
Draag’s Traci Lordz EP will be available soon, check out the band’s new site for further details.
Helping to close out the holidays and ring in the new year with an NYC state of mind; watch Harlem Sekani’s new production “Therapist” featuring Black Dave. Sekani made his presence known by producing the title cut off Lil B’s ambitious 101 track mixtape, 05 Fuck Em; we talked to the rising producer last January about everything from the underground new school to a deep appreciation for Clams Casino, and more, with the new material placing focus on the Harlem artist in the not just the producer’s seat—but the director’s chair.
“Therapist” raises a chalice for everyone anyone caught in the struggle and game of subsistence while reaching for the stars, and terrain of higher, and more solid ground. Taken off Sekani’s debut mixtape, 20; the self-made, self-produced, self-mixed, and self-mastered track cycle will be available on the artist’s twentieth birthday, February 20.Through all the distress and stress wrought by 2014, Harlem Sekani slowly slides into the comforts of presenting his voice side by side with the ethereal mix that combines the ephemeral sides of earth with the heavy weight of asphalt hard realities. Sharing bars with Black Dave, they spring some sounds of inspiration and creative therapy to make the winter a little warmer, and the future just a little bit brighter. In our recent conversations with the multitalented artist, Sekani told us the following about the new track and video:
I wanted to make a song to help people dealing with tough times. This is my first time writing, rapping, mixing/mastering, and directing a music video. Rob Coin (signed to warner bros) makes a cameo in the video.
You can also vibe to the audio-only cut of Harlem Sekani’s “Therapist” here.
Keep up with Harlem Sekani on Soundcloud and Twitter.
Dayton, Ohio’s Sarob., aka Rob Tate has been acclaimed by talents like Homeboy Sandman, and released “holiday” between the xmas and New Year’s Holiday hype. From his upcoming project, the down. that follows up the tape noon; “holiday” describes the personal reluctances and the more nervous, and awkward sides of a talented emcee that many hide or supress. The result is an artist finding his comfort, and footing in his own trainers, while walking on the up and up, and down for whatever. The internal narratives and the outside worlds rush like the chill of winter winds and the desire for cabin comforts from the unpredictable exterior street ways and alleys. Robert Tate described the new track with the following thoughts:
The purpose of this song (and really the entire record) is to illustrate my vision and my experiences as a person who struggles with anxiety and has a hard time going to public places or even swallowing food sometimes. But I wanted to do it with a good vibe — something people can groove to and something with a hook that is equally as good as the other lyrics. I want people to feel better about what they are going through. There is something valuable in everyone’s experience, even if they’re down.
Listen to more from Sarob. via Soundcloud.
We were introduced to Hillsborough, North Carolina’s Sam Higgins, aka SMLH, when the single, “Neon Visions” emerged from out of the blue. In time for the dawning of 2015, we bring you Occoneechee Haunts, brought out on the brink of the new year on January 2 and featuring some of the following most beguiling loner pop to shine a lantern on the roads ahead. “Yr No Loner” drifts along in that bedroom made top of half asleep conscious haze, as “Summer Daze” continues the lo-fi element of home-spun effects and seasonal evocations on the demo born love, “Summer Daze”. Sam’s SMLH experimental creativity shines on the Xmas bell clusters of, “Can You Feel It, Like I Feel It (?)”, while “Speak In Tongues (6991)” speaks in a language that updates modern pop song tropes for a new/old kind of shindig sound. Expect an intermission type of interlude of weirdness on “Night Ryder / Occoneechee Haunts”, before the big single “Neon Visions” will have you playing that already beloved, and previously much praised single on repeat. “Drone II / Sports ⚐” concludes the affair…leaving your palette waiting on something like a “Neon Visions II” that we hope to hear more from in the near future. Follow all of our SMLH coverage here.
Listen to more from SMLH via Bandcamp.
Helping us get all the holiday business out of our system, Howth’s busiest-man-in-the-indie business dropped the Christmas album, Xmas Songs, out of the blue as a way to say, “sappy holidays!” So wild, so awesome, wonderfully (and wistfully weird) in all the right ways. Warming up that New Year’s fireplace feel is “I Like to See the Flame Catch On My Cigarette”, the drifting memory lane walk, “Tina With the Short Brown Hair”, the jubilant romp, “Buried Alive”, the rumbling folk fancy of “Snow’s Falling Down All Around You”, romantic reprimanding on, “Derek, Why’d You Go With That Other Guy?”, eternal life strum-a-thons like, “Do You Want to be Immortalized?”, pensive moods and moments on, “Miro”, the should-be-canonized future classic, “Santa (Dontcha Care About Jesus?)”, the lonesome working class chords, “Checkers at Midnight”, and the following metaphysical musing of yuletide-existential reflection on the closer; “God is Santa Claus”. Creighton and the cult of Howth continue to be a phenomenon to watch throughout 2015, and the years soon to follow. Carl wrote the following treatise on his new holiday album:
I made my album The World is a Beautiful Place a couple of months ago (It’s at carlcreighton.bandcamp.com) and used the 10 of Cups card on the cover. I like tarot cards in general, but that one I thought really captured the joy and optimism of that album.
This album, Xmas Songs, is less optimistic.
I came across the card used on this album cover while doing tarot and thought it was interesting how the 10 of Cups could be so full of love and joy and the 10 of Swords is so dreadful. How dreadful! To be laying there with all those swords in your back holding a peace sign. So… unjust? It depends on how you read the card, I guess.
Anywho, I had nothing to do on Christmas and I thought making a darker album for this card as a counterpoint to The World is a Beautiful Place would be fun. So I did it! And here it is!
Other thoughts while I’m waiting for the songs to upload:
It’s a lot more wintery than The World is a Beautiful Place.
I’m not REALLY sad. I’m really not. I just like asking questions and the answers are kind of depressing sometimes.
Howth the band experience is nothing like this. Or maybe we’ll play one of these songs sometime. Who knows! But I just pulled these out of my ass. And maybe they sound like shit. Sorry if they sound like shit. They sound good in my Sennheisers.
Catch Howth January 30 at Muchmore’s in Brooklyn with Lost Gloves, Miniboone, and A Deer A Horse. Flier art by Preston Spurlock.
Following the excitement around L.A. Girlfriend’s Varsity EP; Sydney Banta dropped the holiday time and anytime single, “Mr. Mistletoe”. The same production that marked the intensity, beauty, romantic broken-hope nostalgia on the “Varsity” rings brighter than the shiniest winter, high-beam-highlights. Read our recent interview with Sydney here.
Lazyeyes are playing Sunday, January 11 at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn to celebrate the release of their sophomore EP, New Year, available on cassette on January 6 from Weiner Records (Burger Records’ new offshoot). Follow all of our Lazyeyes’ coverage here, and revisit the glisstening garage guitar glory of “Adaptation” now.
From the band that gave you the incredible Orchid release Heaven, check out the youthful games of make-believe, and mock heroics come true to life in the Mikineko directed video for, “The Lover’s Suicide”.
Ladies and gents, presenting Blizzed Out’s “R4TCH3TSH1T instrumentalmixx” that boasts a 30 min mix. All original beats by Blizzed himself. Enjoy it now.
And speaking of Blizzed Out productions, don’t miss the latest Feebzz cut “Super Wet” that drips with pure DIY hedonism. It’s glamor posh culture meeting that gaudy 90s No Limit soldier aesthetic on a witch house budget.
Teen Suicide’s Week in Pop
Playing Brooklyn’s Palisades with Alex G February 5, hot off the recent release of of the 2014loosies collection; Teen Suicide is back, and bigger than ever. Closing out the first Week in Pop of 2015 is none other than Sam Ray (also of your other favorite pop phenomenon; Ricky Eat Acid) co-curating with the following introductory words:
We’ve been recording some stuff, writing some stuff, off and on under various names now I guess — since the summer, maybe, maybe earlier. We’d originally planned to record some stuff as Teen Suicide-proper, with Eric back on drums, but that plan got put on hold, so we’ve been working with whoever, whenever, under any name just for fun. No plan to really release music, just see what can get written and what can be fun. The plan for 2015 is to try and feel things — in art, music, whatever. put aside anything you think you should like and just like the things that make you feel things – whether that’s warm, terrified, elated, despondent, overwhelmed, hidden, whatever.
As 2015 begins, I’m playing catch up to what I missed the year before — something made easier by abundance of year end lists and twitter white-noise. A lot of it is represented here — Gates’ Luca Brasi 2 hitting its stride in my life a month late, Ian William Craig & Grouper representing two opposite ends of the “desolate furniture music / wilderness scores” genre I love so much, Tami Neilson & the Secret Sisters alternately sly & reverent takes on classic country sounds — while singers like Slim Whitman & Lou Christie Sacco make resurgences in my life in turn. Yadda yadda yadda, the Florist song is perhaps one of my favorite things that’s floating about out there — a song I patiently waited to be able to loop endlessly since I first heard it, thanks to the Le Sigh tape & compilation. Who knows.
Kevin Gates, “Sit Down”
Lou Christie Sacco, “Best Way to See America”
Ian William Craig, “Red Gate With Starling”
Slim Whitman, “Rose Marie”
The Secret Sisters, “Lonely Island”
Tami Neilso, “Texas & Cry Over You”
Rae Sremmurd ft. Nicki Minaj & Young Thug, “Throw Some Mo”
Keep up with Teen Suicide via Facebook.