Posts tagged #austin music

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!

 

 

Q&A: The Cover Letter sheds light on their continuously changing style

by Jake Navarro

Folk-inspired music in Austin is something I’ve learned is not in danger of going away anytime soon. With that in mind and the urge to find great talent, I went to Mohawk to see what The Cover Letter was all about. Knowing that Chelsea Barbo was on guitar, keys and vocals, I had a feeling The Cover Letter was a band that was able to produce something special live.  

I attended their show with an open mind and heart. I didn’t know what to expect when Chelsea told me their five-member band was essentially a seven or eight piece group. Weaving through chords and juking around stage to change out instruments between songs, The Cover Letter puts on a show that isn’t only pleasing to the ears and soul, but fun to watch as well.

With a true "we-met-at-a-house-party" welcoming spirit, Jacob, Jarrod, Chelsea, Johnni and Trevor took me backstage before the show to tell me a little more about who they are and what they plan to accomplish while on the Austin scene.

 

"You're name is pretty interesting. How did it come to be?"

Chelsea:  "At the time of us getting together, we were all transitioning jobs. We talked about resumes and all that kind of stuff. Jarrod came up with The Resumes. We were all thinking it just wasn't flowing well enough, so we brainstormed a bit more and that eventually turned into The Cover Letter."

"Playing multiple instruments is something that you guys do live. How hectic does it get on stage trying to switch them out? What inspired that?"

Jarrod: "It's fun. It wasn't overly intended. We play multiple instruments and would want to play that instrument live because we wrote that song on it. The logistics of it is a nightmare!"

Chelsea: "Writing the setlist is probably the bane of our existence at this point because we have to know how much change is happening between songs and keep time short."

"I bet it can be pretty hectic! I was reading that some of your influences range from Fleetwood Mac to Arcade Fire. Where would you say you hear that in the music?"

Jarrod: "You'll get five different answers!"

Chelsea: "That's the thing about us, all five of us come from completely different musical backgrounds. I was raised on Sarah McLachlan, Jewel and Aerosmith, so that's why I think I go towards the more lighter stuff."

Trevor: "I was in band in highschool. I get some of my influences from my classical and jazz pieces, more than anything else. One of my biggest band influences is City and Colour. He's a great songwriter."

Jacob: "I've been all over the place! When I started getting into songwriting, I was into Modest Mouse. I really liked how they arranged the music. I don't think we can say as individuals that we would be supreme solo musicians. It's all about how we make the song and arrange things. I think that's what a lot of people like about us. We're always wanting to change things and push it a little bit."

Johnni: "It's nice to see people of all ages like our music--young and old. It's nice because it lets us communicate to such a bigger spectrum of people.

"With all of these sounds and influences, how does it all come together to create a unique The Cover Letter sound?"

 Chelsea: "I think that's where the switching of all the instruments comes in, for me, at least. Our writing process is really fun. It depends on who brings the song to the table. We each bring our own influences in." 

Jarrod: "We handle things very democratically."

Jacob: "Short answer--be open to change and comfortable getting outside of your comfort zone." 

Where do you think The Cover Letter sound won't go? 

Trevor: "Death Metal!"

Jarrod: "Chopped and screwed!"

Chelsea: "I don't think we'll ever go anymore country than we are at the moment. We're heading to more of the alternative, rock-pop scene. It'll still have a homey, folk-feel behind it all, but we're stepping it up and pushing our boundaries."

Since there is a bit more of a folk feel to your music, how is The Cover Letter different than any other band on the Austin scene?

Chelsea: "I've heard we give off a very family-vibe on stage. We're very inviting and welcoming. We want to be a part of our fans' lives as much as they want to be a part of ours. It's a mutual relationship. I think that's very special with us." 

Jacob: "It's doesn't matter what happens in front of the stage for us. What matters is that we're having a good time because we're loving what we're doing." 

 

It definitely pays off. The connection the group has with the audience is fun, energetic and makes you want to get involved. Being able to have their music reach as many fans as possible is the goal. Whether is on the "side of the river" or at Mohawk, these guys plan on making a mark on the Austin music scene through their forever changing style. 

In between laughs and some quirky inside jokes, the band continues on to explain how they played five shows in four days during South by Southwest and hopeful plans to be an official artist for festival next year. Their plan is to hopefully be on the festival circuit and play as many shows as they can next year to connect with as many new fans as possible. When asked about music streaming services that will affect their business, they simply replied, "TAKE IT! If you want the music, take it!" 

You can keep up with The Cover Letter on their website, Soundcloud account and twitter handle: @CoverletterATX. 

Be sure to catch the next show here in Austin at the Colorado River Ramble on June 28th!