Miggy Milla Explores Multiple Genres in Latest EP, Pretty Stranger

by Jake Navarro | May 17, 2016

 Pretty Stranger is available for download on Bandcamp and streaming on Spotify May 18, 2016. 

Pretty Stranger is available for download on Bandcamp and streaming on Spotify May 18, 2016. 

As I take my seat in a coffee shop in North Austin, I notice how crisp and on point his aesthetic is. His hair is definitely taller than mine, and he is wearing clear round glasses. 

With a black blazer, matching slacks, and nice dress shoes, it's only in true Miggy Milla fashion to be featuring a white vintage Bruce Lee t-shirt and colored socks only visible when he crosses his legs to ponder about his art. It's just simply who he is.

Miggy Milla is the next MyCityATX interviewed artist on the rise with his latest seven-track release, Pretty Stranger appropriately available for purchase and download on his birthday, May 18, 2016.

 

MyCityATX sat down with the artist earlier this year after he dropped the music video for the title track of the EP.

“There was this spot I always used to sit in at this coffee shop. Across from me was a sofa, and there was this same girl sitting there every time I went. I would never approach her, but we would always acknowledge each other. 'Pretty Stranger' is about reminiscing about someone you never met.”

It’s clear the moment you begin a conversation with Miggy that he isn’t just about his art, but everyone’s creative journeys as well.

I always get a little nervous talking to people who take their art this seriously because true artists have the utmost confidence while their most vulnerable moments are on display.

“When you’re up there singing your own lyrics and playing your own music—it’s completely different than anything you’ll ever experience. You think, “Wow! This is mine! This is cool!”
— Miggy Milla

Although his demeanor is instantly attractive and demands attention, Miggy is simply the definition of a cool cat that loves music.

He opens up about how long he’s been working on this project.

"It’s funny—I finished the project in one whole week three years ago,” he explains.

As any musician can relate, self-releasing your own music can be quite the check to write -- especially if you want it done correctly.

“One thing I’m proud of is that I didn’t use kickstarter for this project. I might next time, because it’s pretty expensive. I don't want to take three years,” Miggy chuckles. 

While it took some time to finally release his product, Miggy is always thinking about the next step and what’s on the horizon creatively speaking.

“After I finished the EP, I started working with different musicians and bands. I love playing different styles. Mostly, I like playing Pop, R&B, and Soul, but I enjoy Rock and being involved with different projects.”

Miggy stays true to his word in his seven-track EP by exploring different genres. The ‘Pretty Stranger’ singer-songwriter takes the audience on a true musical journey with pop melodies and original Megz Kelli verses.

Miggy Milla's official treatment for 'Pretty Stranger.' Directed & Edited by: Dillon O'neal & Chris Lowery

When Miggy isn't in the studio or thinking up a new project, he's able to sustain a full-time music career by being a vocal coach and picking up wedding gigs. When an artist needs their music, they find a way, but 2016 will be different for Milla. 

"I want to give some more time to myself. I noticed I gave too much time to different projects. I promised that this year I will give myself time to play my own stuff, start promoting, and go on a mini tour." 

As the world will begin to learn his name, Miggy Milla stays thinking carefully about what his audience will experience next. He enlightens me on his thoughts on hard work that can be applied to any industry.  

"The way I see it is if you put time and money into something -- time being most important -- why not do it right? Everyone in this city is hustling. You now have to take it to the next level." 

Whether you bop a long to 'Pretty Stranger' or slow it down with Megz on 'My Constant Thoughts', this release is definitely one to study and listen to with your favorite headphones or speakers.

You'll be able to find Pretty Stranger on iTunes, Bandcamp and Spotify. Make sure to grab yourself a copy! What a perfect way to wish Miggy a Happy Birthday! 

Make sure to keep up with and follow @MiggyMilla on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Y'all know what to do! 

Official:       www.miggymilla.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/miggymilla

Twitter:       www.twitter.com/miggymilla

Instagram: www.instagram.com/miggymilla

---------------------------------------------------------------

Happy Birthday, man! 

I am truly honored to have met you and experience your artistry. I hope you have a fantastic day and enjoy this release! You deserve it! Here's to future MILLAXNAVARRO collaborations! 

Reddening West Reinvents Austin Folk with "Where We Started"

by Jake Navarro. March 11, 2016

When it comes to Austin music, it only seems as Folk has saturated the market. As for the artists that have graced the MyCityATX interwebs, it's easy to see that remarkable music of varying genres is all around us. 

That works in Reddening West's favor as their new EP dropped this past week and is now streaming on Spotify. Not only is the group constantly reinventing who they are as artists but the genre as well.

Taking Austin Folk to the next level with a heavy emphasis on their violinist, Niamh Fahy, the band, in itself, is definitely a separating factor. Although Reddening West doesn't think they're reinventing the Folk wheel, I'll personally accredit them.

 Frontman, Matt Evans, Drummer, Kevin Butler and Violinist, Niamh Fahy of Reddening West

Frontman, Matt Evans, Drummer, Kevin Butler and Violinist, Niamh Fahy of Reddening West

MyCityATX caught up with the band at one of their shows at Mohawk to talk about their take on Folk, new EP, and musical inspirations. 

From the nature-swooning to powerful and brilliant violin, this isn't just any ol' Austin Folk. Reddening West has established themselves as talented artists that truly feel their earthy music. 

The leading track, "All You Need", is a powerful composition of heavy drums, light vocals, and impeccable additions of violin. The five-track EP is quite the representation of the band's name.

The strings via violin and almost haunting vocals in this extended play are seamless. Niamh (pronounced Nee-iv) tells me how her Irish background, especially in music, fits in perfectly for their latest effort, Where We Started.

"I grew up playing classical and traditional Irish music. I enjoy being able to mix the two and turn it into a modern-day Folk," she finishes. 

We’re not doing it because it’s popular, we just love this style of music
— Kevin Butler, Reddening West

 

With inspirations deriving from jazz to pop, frontman, Matt Evans, tells me how influential other musicians have been to him. 

"For me, It's been the folks I  have met along the way. We make music that sounds nothing alike, but those have been my biggest inspirations." 

As inspiring as others have been to them, Reddening West sets a standard for band camaraderie. The group, which features a couple that met in the UK at a music showcase, feels like a family on and off stage.  

"This experience has all been very natural. We all just work really well together. It's almost too good to be true," Niamh confesses. 

Whether it's too good to be true or not, the band consistently thinks of ways to showcase their artistic ventures and sounds.

"We [recorded] the EP all together. It's about as live as you can make it in a studio," Drummer, Kevin Butler starts, "We're all about texture, so we strived to find it in this new project."

Reddening West is a fresh take on what Austin has definitely seen before, and Where We Started is the EP that can cleanse your soul and clear your mind. You definitely don't want to miss out on the folky personification of Earth in their music.

Stay on the lookout for their next local show on their website and be sure to follow them on Twitter to track where they'll be next on the Austin music scene.

Post-Punk Band, Pleasure Venom, Drops Debut EP at Beerland Feb. 4

By Jake Navarro. Feb 2, 2016

Post-punk is a hard one to pull off, but, Austin band, Pleasure Venom recreates the genre in a way that makes you want to double-fist warm Lone Star tallboys and get in on the live action front row. In the world of punk, that definitely is a good thing.

The group invited MyCityATX to their humble abode to check out their new EP, Hunt, that drops Feb. 4, 2016 accompanied with a release party at Beerland on Red River. Pleasure Venom goes on at 10:30 p.m., so there's no reason why you can't stop by and jam out!

 Plesure Venom rocks the stage at Cheer Up Charlie's. Photo by Ashley Bradley

Plesure Venom rocks the stage at Cheer Up Charlie's. Photo by Ashley Bradley

I didn't know what to expect knocking on the door of post-punk. As soon as, bassist, Trevor Mason offered me a warm Lonestar and apologized about the Christmas tree still being up, I knew it was going to be fun evening (My Christmas tree was still up too).

We get to talking about how Pleasure Venom's sound came to be.

"We just wanted to do something that was different than what we all did before," Vocalist and songwriter, Audrey Campbell starts, "We didn't go into this project saying, "Hey! This is going to be a punk band!" It just is what it is."

"It almost was an electronic-laptop band," Trevor laughs.

When it comes to their live presence, Pleasure Venom is fun, rambunctious and indefinitely feeds off their crowd's energy. Anna Charlock, guitarist, zones in to elaborate:

"The crowd isn't always going to understand the words we're singing or saying live on stage, but they get the energy."

"They receive the emotion aesthetically," Austin Reynolds, on guitar, finishes.  

As a theater major, front-woman, Audrey, gives us some insight on PV's stage performance.

"I have to keep telling my mom it's art and interpretation when she sees some of the pictures of us on stage. You can't fake it. When I'm getting really into it and rolling around, the emotion has to be real," Audrey explains.

Anna is quick to expand on that idea, "My dad asks me if the lead singer has any dance moves that aren't obscene. He's seen a lot of photos of us and is scandalized."

The group laughs, recollects and hears from, drummer, Thomas Valles.

"My dad is really religious. It's odd how supportive he is of us. It's the opposite of his thing."

Austin shares some of his on-stage feelings as its his first band to be a part of.

"I get so nervous. Everyone is looking at me and right before I play the first note of the first song, I think, "WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!" I'm working on it," he jokes.

It's apparent quite quickly, as band, that they're a creative family that loves to have fun. It's always a pleasure to see a tight-knit group create art and their own lane in the city.

In their post-punk rage, I ask who they would like to collaborate with here in town.

"I really do enjoy Sailor Poon a lot. I'd love to go on a mini-tour with them," Trevor starts.

Audrey finishes his sentence--"They've helped us a lot with our own projects. They're pals. I love them."

"We try to be as honest and raw as possible, and we want to play music with bands that think the same way," Thomas chimes in.

As we get to goals and aspirations for where Pleasure Venom see themselves going, it's almost unanimous.

If people outside out Austin knew of us, and made plans to see us—to excite the idea of “Pleasure Venom is in town! What are you doing tonight?!”—that would make me happy
— Austin Reynolds, Pleasure Venom

 

Trevor continues, "That's the thing--we're huge fans of other bands and we get that giddiness of, "Oh, shit! They're coming to town?!" We would love to be on the other end of that."

These punks dudes and dudettes are ones to check out if you're wanting to jam out, forget your problems for the evening and have a good time.

Be ready to see Pleasure Venom ripping up stages around town. They're definitely the next post-punk band on the rise in the city.

"This is probably the best band experience I've been apart of," Anna mentions to me as the group chats amongst themselves and interview comes to an end.

Make sure to check out Pleasure Venom on Thursday, Feb. 4th at Beerland for their Debut EP Release Party.

You can follow at www.pleasurevenom.com and like their page on Facebook to support some Austin post-punk!

Welsh Avenue's "The Great Exchange" Brings New Wave to Austin

by Jake Navarro, Feb. 2, 2016

Mark DiLillo of, one-man-act, Welsh Avenue, is bringing a new wave to the Austin music scene. He’s been hard at work creating a new EP, The Great Exchange, that is dreamy, electronic, groovy and guarantees multiple spins from new fans that are wanting to listen to something a little unconventional and more thought out.

MyCityATX caught up with the producer/singer-songwriter to listen to his latest effort and learn about The Great Exchange directly from the artist himself.

The Spotify-streaming EP opens with the psychedelic title track that has an interesting and enticing vibe that makes anyone with a creative outlook have a second listen. The eerie and echoing effect highlights the artistic vision DiLillo decided to take for his new project.

“The Great Exchange is about the changing old ways of thinking that aren't productive and not good for the body into new and better ideas,” DiLillo explains.

Transitioning into the lead single, Germ Theory, Welsh Avenue showcases the thought behind the track inspired by, germ theorist, Louis Pasteur's famous quote that, to DiLillo, has less to do with science and more to do with how to live life when it comes to the song. 

"It's my favorite quote: "Chance favors the prepared mind." It's been a life mantra for me since I started writing. It's one of the concepts as well," Mark informs me.

From record-crackling to a more a familiar "Imagine" sound, Germ Theory ensues a chorus that will stay stuck in your head.

"I wanted to make it about something I've learned. I want people to get things from my music. It might not be the exact concept that I came up with, but as long as they get something from it--however they translate the words--I want it to accompany people's experiences in life," he finishes.

It becomes apparent that the music of Welsh Avenue is wanted to be listened to close enough for others to gain a new perspective.

We have good and bad experiences in life. The bad experiences are there for us to learn, and the good experiences are for us to make memories and be happy.
— Mark DiLillo, Wesh Avenue

As we get to talking about "Blue Eyes", Mark apologizes for not looking at me when he's responding. It's telling of the writing and creative process that is put into his art.

“I can think better when I'm looking into the distance," Mark chuckles.

A sense of nostalgia almost comes across DiLillo's face as he explains the third song on the track list.

"It's about a girl that I was really happy with, but things didn't work out. It's also about a dream girl, in general and how she makes me feel."

Throughout The Great Exchange, you start to feel like you've heard this all before. It entices that feeling of being aware that you're experiencing Deja Vu. The hard work and dreamy quality is spot on and keeps you listening.

"You're going to receive what you put into your work. I've spent years training and working," Mark finishes when I ask him what he's learned from creating his music.

As far as other work, DiLillo is excited to see where music will take him. He is open to producing for other artists that are wanting to create and share the same artistic vision.

"You know, if you're lucky enough to tour, you can do that, but you need to be prepared for what happens next," Mark explains.

Welsh Avenue and all projects by Mark DiLillo are ones to keep on the radar as this new wave becomes a lot more of what Austin is producing.

The Great Exchange is available for purchase on iTunes here and streaming on Spotify here

You can follow Welsh Avenue on Twitter: @WelshAvenue and like on Facebook.

Magna Carda is 2016's Hip-Hop Act of the Year

by Jake Navarro, Dec. 29, 2015

2016 is the year of Magna Carda. They're the real deal. The art this group creates is well beyond 2015. These creatives are doing their research, releasing quality product, and pulling in very healthy crowds around town. They are the epitome of the modern artist collective -- making them the Hip-Hop Act of 2016.

Check out the high energy live snippet of their October single, "Angela Bassett," to see for yourself. As for their raging-banger (and genius set-closer), "Juice," an 18-second clip just won't to it justice.

Front-row fan snippet of Magna Carda's "Angela Bassett." Video by Jake Navarro.

"While the club going up on a Tuesday

I'm masterminding what it take to get the crew paid

Sitting at the top like a toupee

Who say Lil' Megz couldn't be the object--Trouve

White Tee--Franchize Boyz

Blue Jeans like Lana Del Rey

Gold Watch like Lupe

Shoes that's Ku Klux White

Head Gear, Brixton, Fashion

Stella' like I'm Angela Bassett!"

Be sure to memorize those lyrics, because there is absolutely no better way to kick start the new year and Free Week than with the ultimate live show experience involving you jumping up and cheering, "Stella' like I'm Angela Bassett!"

To get in on the roomful of Bassett-proclamations action, RSVP on Do512 here for Magna Carda's Jan. 1 free show at Hotel Vegas. The venue will definitely be at capacity, so RSVP and arrive early!

MyCityATX was able to sit down with, front-woman, Megz Kelli, Dougie Do, and the rest of the gang before their last show of 2015 at Mohawk. The group openly discussed their creative ventures, the story behind "Angela Bassett," and the importance of showcasing the voices of women of color in the industry.

My writing in general is a mix of my experience and other people’s because being a woman of color, who I am and how I identify—you don’t always have a voice.
— Megz Kelli, Magna Carda

With imagery and voice that entices a little deeper level of thinking, Magna Carda knows exactly what they're doing as their every move is precise. Listen a little closer. They're doing a remarkable job of infusing both the gathered information of past popular culture and contemporary art.

Megz begins with the concept of their anticipated album projected for a February release.

"This time we wanted to deliver an experience. It's not always just music--it's art. It's other people's album covers that aren't just covers, but iconic. Concept albums--pieces of art. This new album is a different experience. That's what we were going for."

She continues to explain the creative process.

"We go to a lot of shows and watch our favorite bands every time we get a chance. We literally text each other while we're watching a show," front-woman, Megz tells MyCityATX.

The members of what is now Magna Carda take notes on what they like or don't care for about their faves' live performance. By collaborating with each other, even via iMessage, the group enables themselves to create an organic experience of their own.

Dougie offers, "We took our biggest pet peeves and are not doing that. We've been watching other bands around town and been getting inspired."

These experiences are not only being packaged up in reputable, compressed audio files, but producing live shows that sound completely different and, I'll say it, even better than their studio or live-show YouTube video counterparts.

It's a feeling.

  Mike Gonzales  - Drums,  Eric Nikolaides  - Guitar,  Megz Kelli  - Vocals,  Dougie Do  - Keys/Producer,  Derek Van Wagner  - Bass. Magna Carda 2015.   Photo by Hakeem Adewumi

Mike Gonzales - Drums, Eric Nikolaides - Guitar, Megz Kelli - Vocals, Dougie Do - Keys/Producer, Derek Van Wagner - Bass. Magna Carda 2015.  Photo by Hakeem Adewumi

The vocalist lets MyCityATX in on where that feeling comes from poetically.

"My writing is a mix of my experience and other people's because being a woman of color, who I am and how I identify--you don't always have a voice. It's not just important for me to tell my story, but to tell others' narratives, as well. Everything isn't necessarily true about me, but it is about where I come from and the people I know. Those are the things that make me who I am."

"Musically, we're definitely incorporating the band more. We're trying to balance both elements, so we don't lose what people know us for," Megz explains when I asked where their music was headed.

Band members, Dougie Do, Mike Gonzales, Eric Nikolaides and Derek Van Wagner all have a special place and moment on stage to complete the entire Magna Carda experience.

"I think Magna Carda is about this vision we have. It's not the music and lyrics separately, it's a whole vibe that comes together," said Eric Nikolaides.

Drummer, Mike Gonzales finishes, "Eric, Derek and I have been playing together for some time now. The musical chemistry we create together, I feel, is big for this band."

Although their catalogue and stage presence is on point and getting better, the group has inevitably suffered from rejection and creative differences amongst directors.

Dougie starts, "We've been denied so many times by our favorite people--"

"--maybe that's what Angela Bassett is all about," Megz laughs. "You know, there comes a point in time where you just stop caring. You almost tell yourself, "I want to surpass you." Not in a mean way, but I want to do my own thing--stand on my own. Not your opinions or what you think I am or how you perceive me. Have it your way--I'm just going to be stella' like Angela Bassett."

Learning how the official "Angela Bassett" music video was constructed and the hard work Derek put into the four-minute video, is inspiring in itself. The video is a recorded piece of Magna Carda history wrapped up in a house party and a good time.

"We're a lot more skeptical to empty promises. We were promised private jets and $200K, and that's what sucked me into making this video. Lo and behold, there's no jet and twenty kids from a church group," Derek says as seriously as he can while the entire table laughs.

Magna Carda isn't just a song you listen to or a band's show you attend. It's a way of thinking and a lifestyle. Staying true and placing art and creativity at the forefront of what they do is apparent the instant you pick their brains.

This collective knows what they're capable of and aren't afraid to say no to whoever may be presenting ideas they don't fully stand for or believe in.

And, for that, Magna Carda will be the Hip-Hop Act of 2016. Now, it's just a waiting game as we enjoy their shows here in Austin, Texas.

Invengo Productions Rocks Austin Music with Distinctive Business Model

by Jake Navarro, Nov. 11, 2015

Getting started in the music industry can be pretty daunting, especially if you're just getting your feet wet. If you're fortunate enough to have your toes in the water, you're, at the very least, skeptical. You have to be in an industry like music.

There are plenty of factors you have to take into consideration when it comes to beginning your venture as a musician. The first, and most important, is having quality product to have your fans listen to. That's where Invengo Productions, their open mic nights and event this Saturday comes in to play. 

 

 Alexa DuWors and Josh Rumer of Invengo Productions pose for Austin Fusion Magazine. Photo by Chance Gilbert

Alexa DuWors and Josh Rumer of Invengo Productions pose for Austin Fusion Magazine. Photo by Chance Gilbert

MyCityATX had the opportunity to chat with the CEO and Producer, Josh Rumer, to learn about what Invengo Productions looks for in artists, their desired goals for Austin music and reasoning behind giving away free studio time. 

We start with Josh being concerned with how long his answers should be because he knows I'll have to "go through it all" and wants to make my job easier. As I get to know Josh, his genuine attitude and awareness of others becomes apparent. 

I haven't met someone quite like him. He carries himself in a way that confirms he knows his true purpose and being. Having 13 years worth of experience and hundreds of hours per project under his belt, his daily goals are pretty spot on. 

"I strive to honor people's creative gift through recorded medium. We strive to help people get to where they're going," as he nods to Chief of Operations and business partner, Alexa DuWors, sitting a few feet away working on her computer. 

"It's been a life-long passion to watch people go from a garage to a stage and to be online for sale--but somebody that gets an education along the way. I want to tell them everything I know. Hopefully, they learn from it, because nobody ever showed me," Rumer finishes. 

It's easy to showcase Invengo's uniqueness when Josh says he wants people to feel loved and respected and explains the company's atypical business model. 

“I want artists to know that their personal stories in the form of their songs are in really capable and caring hands. It’s not the pay-by-the-hour, feed the meter, type of thing. We’re not milking people for extra days at a studio. The length we put into people’s work is astronomical.”
— Josh Rumer, Invengo Productions, CEO/Producer

Invengo Productions' business model derives from Rumer's own experience as a recording artist.

"I was one of those guys. I learned the hard way. I went to a studio with my first band. We paid by the hour--an exorbitant sum of money--and we walked out with a cassette tape of music that was not us," Rumer explains. 

The CEO goes on to fill me in on how most production companies operate and how daunting they can be. He's not a fan of pressuring the artist to "cram 20 years of your personal experiences into a three-hour recording session." 

Rumer continues, "If you're a musician and not a producer, you don't know how many hours you need. You know how many hours you can get it done in, but you have no idea. The first record I did, I thought I could do it in four days--it took nine months." 

Having long-standing and consistent partnerships with acclaimed session musicians, Invengo Productions wants to link up with creatives that are willing to put hard work and dedication into their music. Whether it takes a month or nine, Invengo wants the artist to walk out with product they're happy with and proud of. 

"The goal is not to just make money. Artists do need to own their own material, of course, but my goal is when artists put that CD down to have someone listen to--they don't have to say anything." 

Having goals that aren't solely on the premise of making money is a very interesting business model, to say the least, but there's a reason for that. The business duo believe in talented, hard-working artists. 

"That's why we're selective. We don't work with just anybody. Just because someone is looking for a studio to hire, does not mean they're going to be a good match for Invengo," Rumer says. 

Who is a good match for Invengo? 

"They have to smell good," Josh jokes. 

As he continues to explain what a good match for Invengo Productions is, you can feel the passion he has, not only for the company, but the people he wants to inspire and help. 

"Some people have a stronger talent than others. Some are just going through the motions. There are people that come out and sing their songs and are practically in tears when they're performing. They've been performing it for three years, but they still feel the same way about it. That's a good match for us. You have to believe in what you're doing." 

As Chief of Operations, the doing is Alexa's specialty. She facilitates day-to-day operations, organizes events and is point of contact for the company. 

"The events we coordinate are aimed to bring together different elements of Austin music and a sense of community. We want to give people a space to share that highlights their talent. Personally, the open mic nights are my favorite," Alexa tells me. 

Josh gives some insight on what these open mics mean to the production company. These musical gatherings are interesting in the fact that Invengo offers the opportunity of free studio time as part of them. 

"There are two goals to these open mics," he starts. 

"It's good practice for people--making sure your guitar is in tune, your monitor mix is good, getting up there on stage. If you're thrust into that with no experience, you're more than likely going to screw it up every time. Been there--done that." 

I start to see the commitment he has to developing and teaching people what he can for their betterment. 

"The second goal is to discover new artists that may be a perfect match for Invengo. We can say, "Hey, there's another way for you." I see something in artists that I can help them exploit. If they're honest with what they're doing, that's what matters to me," he almost finishes. 

Staying true to his atypical self, Josh adds in a third goal. 

"It's just to bring people together. There's a disconnect in this city, I've noticed. There are groups that are working together, and there are groups that are not that should be. There are power in numbers when people are on the same page." 

Invengo Productions is a company that takes pride in their work and artists. Their freshman feel to the Austin scene is a refreshing take on what this city is accustomed to. 

They cultivate a family and true following of their artists for their development. If you're wanting to get started in the Austin music scene and feel you're a match, Invengo is the way to go. 

November's Lunaclipse will host live acts including Waking FableXAVIERChris StrandJesse Ryan and more. The event will be held at El Sol y La Luna Restaurant on 6th St on Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. For more information and RSVP, click here to be directed to November's Luncaclipse page on Facebook.  

For inquiries, email Alexa DuWors at alexa@invengoproductions.com

www.invengoproductions.com

The Please, Please Me Releases Year of the Horse with Launch of Fundraising Campaign

by Jake Navarro, Oct. 20, 2015

Austin, get ready. There's an album release party happening this week, and you're invited! The rocker-chick led group, The Please, Please Me hosts the release of their latest effort, Year of the Horse on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 at 9 p.m. at Mohawk. The talented Carry Illinois and MyCityATX-interviewed artist, Emily Wolfe will both open that night. Grab your tickets here

  Photo by Todd Chalfant   

Photo by Todd Chalfant  

MyCityATX caught up with the band at the end of May when they opened up for British rapper, Kate Tempest. The Hip-Hop poet made a pit stop at Holy Mountain (R.I.P) in midst of her international tour and invited the trio to share the stage. 

As usual, my favorite question of asking bands how they got their name commences the quick chat. 

"I just like the sentiment of that phrase ["Please, please me"]. It's the idea of throwing out your desires and dreams, but you need the world to meet you half way," lead vocalist and songwriter, Jessie Torrisi replies. 

The band is not sitting back and waiting for that to happen, though. The group made it even easier to support Austin music by setting up their own Indiegogo fundraising campaign. By enabling their fans to donate, the band perfects the art of asking. With over $1,100 raised thus far, The Please, Please Me has 28 days to reach their set goal of $7,500. Any donation helps the trio on their journey back from their "year of the horse," so we encourage you to donate what you can! 

The Please, Please Me releases their lead single, "Fuck This," as a promotional video for their Indiegogo campaign. 

Following Amanda Palmer's "Art of Asking," the band is not shy (and shouldn't be) about asking for help to fund the production of merchandise, tour maintenance, and trips to Nashville for songwriting sessions. As far as other inspirations, drummer, Michael "Halftime" Peters, opens up about artists he considers his muse. 

"My musical inspirations range from Steve Jordan to Questlove. I like to bring that to what what Jessie does. It's been working so far," Peters informs MyCityATX. 

"I think Michael is really unique as a drummer," Torrisi starts, "because he's really into songwriting. He gets so into the lyrics." 

"I love composition. I hear things with a production ear," Peters finishes as Tempest sound-checks on stage.

All three of us are just trying to create something as awesome as we can. You can’t expect people to fit into a mold that’s not them.
— Jessie Torrisi

Last year wasn't all rainbows and butterflies for The Please, Please Me. The band went through some bumpy rides including having to find new members to fill two-thirds of the trio, which lends to the title of the new album. 

"2014, in Chinese astrology, is the year of the horse. Apparently, the Chinese don't like that year because the horse is infamous for dragging you this way, bucking you that way, and finally throwing you off. You just have to hold on," Torrisi explains. 

With new music in the pipelines and about to drop, they did more than hold on. They revamped themselves and transformed their not-so-great year into a whole new album. The Please, Please Me picked themselves back up, wrote an album and got to thinking. Guitarist, Patrick Mertens sheds some light on a hopeful future project.  

"We want to do a show covering Dummy by Portishead in its entirety. It would take too long cover their entire catalouge, but how that record flows. It's just beautiful," Mertens weighs in.

As far as live shows go, The Please, Please Me casts a spell on the audience to get them into a trance as they power through their set. With Jessie's one-of-kind voice and "Fuck This" attitude (that's the title of one of their songs on their new album), it's hard to leave this band unnoticed. 

The trio engages with their audience and encourages the show-goers to shout of the title of their lead single to whatever deserves the profanity. The passion and true feelings are present as you participate in the crowd getting pumped and shouting, "Fuck this!" in unison. 

The Please, Please Me is not one to miss! Be sure to catch them on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 at Mohawk and donate to their Indiegogo campaign! You can follow them on their website and Twitter: @ThePlsPlsMe
 

 

Blue Healer Creates "Pop Music with Teeth" on the Austin Scene

by Jake Navarro, Oct 1, 2015

Local trio, Blue Healer, who describes their repertoire of music as "pop music with teeth" took the stage with UK group, The Maccabees, for their Official 2015 ACL Fest Late Night Show at The Parish on October 1, 2015. 

MyCityATX sat down with Blue Healer at one of their shows at Cheer Up Charlie's to get some more insight on the band's unique sound, current work and how they are able to put a "Blue Healer" stamp on any music they produce.

 Click picture to listen to single 30,000 FT. Photo by Alexis Davis

Click picture to listen to single 30,000 FT. Photo by Alexis Davis

The music Blue Healer produces mirrors how the trio is on and off the stage. It's fun, smooth and gets you grooving. With their March release of "30,000 FT" posted on Bandcamp, you're able to give your price for the single. 

"TOGETHER--WE ARE BLUE HEALER," the band says dramatically in unison.

The guys quickly display their fun nature as soon as we sit down.

We get to talking about their name. Ironically, it was only suppose to be a song title. Frontman and upright-bass player, David Beck, tells MyCityATX that it was a song title without lyrics and decided that would be a name that made sense. 

"Although it's spelled differently, I think it's fun to explain the night of the first show involving a Blue Heeler," keys and vocalist, Bryan Mammel starts. 

"We were sitting outiside Sam's Burger Joint in San Antonio before our show, there was this lady that had this huge Blue Heeler. We complimented the dog, but the owner didn't say a word back to us. We're convinced she wasn't real--or if she was real, she was a ghost," Beck finishes. 

Blue Healer performs 30,000 ft. live in Firestation Studios, San Marcos, TX.

As we continue to their single, Mammel chimes in, "Even though we've been around the country together--I can't count how many times--it's fun that [30,000 FT] feels so new." 

"We have some elements that are sonically pretty dance-driven and more semi-electronic, but sometimes I feel songwriting becomes secondary to artists. They may have a dance track, then put some words over it. We start from the ground up, starting with one instrument then build around it," Beck explains when the topic of being different on the Austin scene arises. 

If you only get one thing from Blue Healer, it's definitely going to be the element of their "butt-grabbing-music" as Mammel notes. Strong melodies and well played instruments tend to have that effect on the crowds the band performs for.

Drummer and vocalist, Dees Stribling, gives us some insight when we ask about using different instruments at once to create a certain sound. 

"It's a half necessity and half because it's new and fun. It's exciting," he says.

Stribling triggers a number of samples on a Sampling Percussion Pad while he drums during the set, and, so far, it's paying off. The new sound additions mesh well with what the band is able to produce organically. Beck weighs in. 

We had this idea for [using samples and tracks] before we actually tried it out. I’m really happy that it works. We’ve never played with tracks behind us and ran samples with what we play. When we put it into action, we can pull it off and not just be occupied by trying to do a bunch of stuff, too. That’s no good, either. You still have to put on a show.
— David Beck

The band enjoys hearing the self-proclaimed "pop-music-with-teeth" sound is accessible and different at the same time.  Blue Healer lends that exact familiar sound while letting the audience "walk through a new landscape," which enables the guys to properly stamp their uniqueness on each track they write and produce. 

"Sound changes over time, but if it remains familiar, then that's a perfect place to be," Mammel stresses.  

Beck concludes, "We're not trying to freak anyone out or blow people's minds with sounds. I like to deliver something that's palatable." 

Blue Healer's live act is definitely something to check out for the Austin scene. Their different sound creates a need to scout out when they're playing next after you leave their show. 

Besides being crazy-cool and nice, this trio gets you moving. If you're living in the good ol' 512 or are passing through, Blue Healer is one keep an eye on. Make sure to keep up with these guys!

You can follow Blue Healer at www.bluehealerusa.com and on Twitter at @BlueHealerUSA

Kady Rain and Ben Bazzrea Enter Austin Pop Scene with New Single 'Infinity'

by Jake Navarro

 Click picture to listen to Kady's latest electro-pop single, "Infinity"  Photo by: Daniel Andrade

Click picture to listen to Kady's latest electro-pop single, "Infinity"

Photo by: Daniel Andrade

By fulfilling her "Plan B" of "becoming a rockstar," a new pop sensation is starting to buzz around Austin. Kady Rain is beginning her journey to become the next global superstar right here in the good ol' 512. Besides her newly released single "Infinity" being catchy and radio-worthy, Kady has some big ambitions and doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. 

The versatility of the up-and-coming star is quite apparent which crucial to have in today's pop scene. Kady is able to not only sound sexy and bubble gum, she's able to dress the part as well. 

MyCityATX caught up with the pop artist and one of the creatives and co-writers on her team, Ben Bazzrea, to talk about their latest single and find out what's in the works for Ms. Rain and the collective. 

As I enter Radio Coffee and Beer, I see Kady instantly. I can't help but notice how bright she is. 

"Hey," she exclaims as she gives me a hug as if we were best friends then introduces me to Ben. 

Her personality is as colorful as the skirt she's wearing.

Ben follows up with a handshake and a "How's-it-going-man?!"

 Photo Credit: George Sarris

Photo Credit: George Sarris

We quickly jump into talking about Kady's latest electro-pop single, "Infinity." Knowing they needed something that demanded attention, Kady and Ben set out to create something huge. 

"We want our music to go hard. We want to make music that people have to dance to," Kady elaborates on the production. 

“When we wrote ‘Infinity’, it was two in the morning. It was this little folk song. Sometimes when you write something, you’re not too sure what it is. We really liked what ‘Infinity’ was turning into. We showed it to Doug, our producer, and he said, “I think this could be a monster pop-electronic hit!””
— Ben Bazzrea

"To see our songs go from little pop-things to full production, it's like breathing new life into something," the singer adds.

Kady Rain is no diva that only partakes in certain sounds. She's coming onto the scene with a variety of different music and ways the duo can set up the songs during the live shows. 

"When we play our sets, we feel the crowd. Sometimes we do more of the acoustic set or we do the full-on production. We're making something for everyone--without really intending to do so. It just turns out that way. It's kind of cool," Kady explains. 

Ben reassures MyCityATX that pop music is their niche with no denying it. 

"We never were under the impression that we were making anything other than pop music. When Kady and I started working together about a year ago, we decided we wanted to take over the world. We want to make big, epic pop music for everyone." 

Without an album in the works, Kady and Ben are able to explore the pop realm in a bit more personal way. The songwriters focus on what feels right when they are in the creative mood. 

"When you sit down to write, you can't really control what comes out. You can try to corral your creativity, but sometimes you end up writing ballads when you wanted to write an up-tempo banger. When we write, it's always on a primary instrument, like a guitar, and vocal, because production can make a bad song good, but it's never going to make a bad song great," Ben finishes. 

Having a non-signed budget, doesn't always mean poor quality--especially to Kady and Ben. Along with writing all of their music, the two are crafting single covers, scheduling photo-shoots, creating music videos and printing t-shirts. We get to talking about stage presence and Kady's live shows. The creative visions only keep flowing when we talk about Kady hopefully becoming an official showcasing artist for South By Southwest 2016.

"I want to take dance lessons, so I can get my stage performance on point. I want to do some type of cool hand-voguing like FKA Twigs and "Selena-turns" on stage," Kady excitedly tells us.   

The pop-singer confirms "Quintanilla!" as she does the "washing-machine" dance in her seat, paying homage to the late Tejano pop-icon. 

As the interview comes to a close, Kady wants something to remain clear. She works hard to write music that everyone can enjoy and relate to. She wants to be someone that fans feel comfortable enough to approach, and I felt this quality from her in our first meeting.

"I don't want to be this untouchable idol," she says, knowing what's in store for herself. 

With a promising lead single and eye for the pop scene, Kady and Ben are well on their way to crafting something that Austin hasn't quite seen yet. The creative team not only hopes for the best, they expect the best. 

Be ready for the storm that Kady Rain is about to bring to this city. 

Follow Kady and Ben on:

Twitter: @KadyRain and @BenBazzrea 

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/kadyrain and www.soundcloud.com/ben-bazzrea

www.kadyrain.com

Alesia Lani on Creative Process for Album that had "No Direction"

by Jake Navarro

Hip Hop is definitely on the rise on the Austin music scene, but that's no what, singer-songwriter, Alesia Lani is too worried about. Her passion is focused around R&B and female representation in the genre. Alesia strives to make a difference not only amongst the ATX market, but as a whole. 

"R&B IS NOT DEAD," Alesia shouts into the voice recorder as we start talking about her music and writing styles.

The R&B songstress invited MyCityATX into the sacred recording grounds where she's crafted her first album, First Impression. With the microphone, computer and mixing tools just a few feet away, we got to chatting about starting out in music, her latest effort, First Impression, and everything else in between. 

As I begin to get comfortable, I look around and see a wall full of the posters she's collected over time from the shows she's performed at. I have to ask where she "began." 

"It's funny. You see that poster over there," she asks as she points to the one entitled, Tipping Point, "That was one of my first shows. I actually met Gift there. It was a competition. It ended up being a tie between Gift and another artist. I was the only female solo act! I felt like I didn't have a chance! [laughs]"

“I got soul, baby! I’m not doing this to be pretty. I’m not doing this to be the center of attention. I’m doing this, because I love it.”
— Alesia Lani

After thinking for a second, Alesia recalls her childhood involving music and remembers always loving writing as a child--the older she got, the more music she wrote.

"I was always the girl that was ran and talked over. I could be in the middle of a sentence and get interrupted so easily. The moment I opened my mouth to sing, though, people shut up. People actually gave me a chance to be human. That's what really got me into singing. I was so shy, but I had to get over that because people started listening." 

Alesia is the type of person that is willing to not only try anything, but has to be good at it, too. She showcases that quality perfectly in her songwriting. She weighs in on the process. 

"It definitely helps to have a musical background, but [writing] is a craft. You not only have to have skill, but be able to put the work and hours into it, as well. I used to listen to my favorite singers and breakdown everything they did from their format of writing music to ways they released music and their videos." 

The "Sunshine" singer goes on the explain how creating a good portion of the project on her own affected her way of crafting her first LP. 

"This was the first time I ever created an album. I had no clue where to start. I was thinking, "I'm just going to put some stuff together and sing these songs." I was constantly writing, recording and creating material that I knew was album potential. I knew what felt good and couldn't let go. I had no direction on this album, and that's why it I titled it First Impression."

As producers started sending Lani beats and tracks, she found that her writing process started to change. Instead of being able to pull lyrics out of a notebook and create beats based off of the melodies she created, she started working backwards because she loved the tracks that were being sent her way. She elaborates on a track that was produced in a less traditional R&B format.

""Lost Endeavor" was a lot harder to write. The beat is so theatrical. I knew as soon as I heard it that I needed to have it included on the album. I had to make a great song to it," she explains.

Hard work is something that Alesia expects to face, especially with being a female in this male-dominated industry. 

"It doesn't mean anything if everything is handed to you. You're easily going to lose it, because you didn't work for it. My manager loves me because I have nothing attached to me. I have earned everything on my own."

Lani beams with pride as she goes on the tell me she was the only solo R&B artist to perform at the Austin Chronicle Cook Out this past June. Alesia Lani is proof that hard work pays off. 

This talented songstress takes the genre to a whole other level, especially in Austin. She has the voice, stage presence and perseverance that a true artist needs to succeed--definitely a force to be reckoned with. 

As the conversation comes to a close, Alesia thanks MyCityATX for taking the time to sit down for the interview. 

"[Bloggers and journalists] keep us going! When I can't promote or show some love, y'all take time out of your day to do what you do. You guys are the ones that promote and listen to us. I'm very grateful for y'all." 

Don't miss Alesia Lani at Ras Day on August 29, 2015! You can follow Aleisa on twitter: @AlesiaLani, soundcloud and at alesialanimusic.com!