Music Reviews

Russia Rock Band, Apache Rose, Release New Single – “Tiny Love”

Russia Rock Band, Apache Rose, lead listeners to flow fluidly into a state of ease throughout the release of their soul-infused new single, “Tiny Love”. Lacing feelings of lust throughout instrumentals that are abounding with spunk, Apache Rose is a band that is full of talented musicians that have come together for their genuine love for making music. Stemming from Moscow, “Tiny Love” is a track that is full of high energy that stems from their underground movement yet their lyricism focuses on utilizing the English language to attract further listeners in North America. The songwriting style by Lead Vocalist, Ilya Novokhatskiy, is simple yet precise and hits the nail on the head for the overall Rock niche that the band fits into.

Embodying the energetic and loose energy that the world of Rock needs, Apache Rose is a promising act that is bound to make their music spread far and wide throughout 2020. If you’re a fan of fellow musicians such as Cage The Elephant, The Black Keys and Foster the People then keep an eye on the ride ahead for Apache Rose on SoundCloud.

Apache Rose Social Links:



Interview: Bent Knee

Boston Band, Bent Knee, are stepping into a new realm of musical creativity that pours forward an atmospheric touch that leaves listeners swooning in an electric rush. On the verge of the release of their new album, ‘You Know What They Mean’, I caught up with Courtney to discuss growing into a better team player, the dream of taking a yoga training course in the future, the importance of cultivating your sense of self and more.

Congrats on the upcoming release of your new album, ‘You Know What They Mean’. Tell us about the message that you intended to portray throughout the new release.

Like most of our albums, I don’t think there’s a definitive message behind YKWTM as much as the hope that folks enjoy listening to it. When we were writing the songs we were focused on finding infectious grooves that make you want to move. In the studio we worked on capturing sounds and performances with a lot of attitude. It’s simultaneously our most accessible and more experimental album to date, and we’re all enthralled with how it turned out. 

Though a broad question, what have you learned about yourself and what skills have you developed through working in the music industry.

It’s important to cultivate your sense of self. I think it’s easy to get thrown around if you’re trying to read other people’s expressions or parse through different pieces of advice. It’s a volatile industry where just because something worked once for somebody is no assurance that it will be a good thing for you. It helps to be at peace with yourself and the decisions you make, rather than feeling pushed around. At a micro level, being on the road or at shows can be challenging or fun, depending on how much you can meet your own needs in a graceful way. I was always somebody who tried to take the temp of the situation before deciding on what I want. Over the years I think I’ve become better about understanding and articulating what I need, which has counterintuitively made me a better team player.

Showcasing the human in you, what is a challenging thought that you recently had and were able to overcome over time?

For a long time I felt like I was a bad person, and I had a wicked confirmation bias that ensnared me in some sad basement corner of my life. Some of my bandmates and friends started seeing therapists for various different reasons, and I decided to start working with one myself. With their help, personal work, and time, I’ve dug myself out of that sad pit. I feel good about myself, and I feel more vividly alive than ever have. On sunny days I find myself looking at the sky and getting emotional about the bright blue and the energy radiating in the atmosphere. 

What is your perception on the digital world that we live in and social media culture?

It’s a lot to take in! I love Instagram and I get a lot of inspiration and encouragement from it. Still, I don’t like how much of my time it tends to eat, and how quickly my phone becomes a Instagram machine rather than a telephone. When I come off tour, I often try to delete social media off my phone to get back into a rhythm of life. If I’m in line for something I actively try to stare at the wall or look around, and avoid tuning into social media.

No career path or amount of followers negates the fact that you are a human being that has feelings. Tell us about some parts of you beyond being a musician that you take pride in.

Lately I’ve been really focused on yoga. One of my life goals is to take a teacher training course by the time I’m 35, but for now I’ve been trying to practice every day. I’m proud that I vary between hot sweaty yoga and restorative yoga, so I’m not just going to sweat or exercise so much as for my mind. In the last year I ran a half marathon and a 10k, which made me feel really great. I was never super athletic growing up, so I felt really empowered knowing I could run long distances like that. Cooking and baking are also big passions for me, and I’ve been really interested in photography, drawing, and watercolors, too. 

As you are exposed to tons of stimulus, how do you proactively take care of your mental and emotional health when you’re out on the road?

Being on the road is not a big chore for me (I’m lucky). Usually if I’m feeling rough, I just need to listen to myself and do whatever I’m aching to do. It’s always refreshing to walk somewhere alone, or even hop in a ride share to go do something I really want to. Sometimes taking a nap, reading a book with my nice headphones on, or drawing can really make me feel better. On most days I do yoga while we’re waiting for soundcheck, and that helps ground me a lot. I think the toughest aspect of tour is the waiting. Waiting for people to go eat, waiting for lines to be run, waiting for loadout, etc. etc. It’s good to find ways to make that time active and engaging, and avoid being  bummed out staring at my phone. 

You have toured with a wide variety of musicians over the past years and have played at some major festivals. Tell us some words of wisdom that you collected along the way.

I can’t think of anything anyone specifically said to me, but we’ve certainly toured with a lot of kind and thoughtful people. For some reason I thought that people got meaner or more entitled towards the top of the food chain, fighting for the limited space available of being a “big band”. What I’ve learned is that it seems there’s plenty of room for kind and hardworking people, and most folks try to help each other out whenever they can. 

Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?

So grateful that there are folks out there listening and enjoying our music. We hear you and we see you, and we’re very grateful for your support and your positivity! 

Bent Knee Social Links:



Interview: Great Good Fine Ok

Brooklyn Duo, Great Good Fine Ok, have racked in a consistent 1 million monthly listens on Spotify and continue to ride the high tide into the new year with their latest release, “Easy”. I caught up with the guys to discuss balance and making sure that you are taking care of your part in your interpersonal relationships, their three latest singles, escaping from stimulus while on tour and more.

“Change” and “Touch” are great introductions to what is to come within your upcoming album release. Tell us about your creative and recording process so far and what you have learned along the way.

The creative process has been the same since the very beginning. Luke creates the music, sends it to me, and I write the lyrics and the melodies. Or sometimes the opposite, I’ll have a melodic or lyrical idea and bring it to Luke and we’ll work that way. After that initial step, we go back and forth and polish up everything together, but it works for us to separately do the things that we are best at.  This band has taught me the power of collaboration. Years ago I thought that writing with other people could water down my “vision”, but on the contrary, I was limiting my vision by relying solely on my particular skill set.

If you could go back to day one in the studio, would you have thought that both singles would have turned out the way that they did?

Both “Change” and “Touch” (mainly “Touch”) evolved considerably since the day we started them.  Hearing a song take shape over time is part of the joy of what we do. When we started “Touch” it had a very edgy electronic vibe that reminded me of the band Muse.  As it progressed and we added lap steel and acoustic guitar it turned into something completely different.

Showcasing the human in you, what is a challenging thought that you recently had and were able to overcome over time?

For me, 2018 was filled with a lot of life extremes. Love, death, joy, pain and everything in between. I do believe that you learn more from the pain, so in that sense, I am grateful.  Looking at it like that makes it easier to overcome these things.

What is your perception on the digital world that we live in and social media culture?

Similarly to the way some people are more equipped to do drugs recreationally, and some people, for whatever reasons, should never do drugs, I believe some people are more equipped to handle the social media vortex.  You only see the extremes. Famous/successful people, rich people, or people failing or battling hard times. Most of life is somewhere in between, and that is a much healthier place to focus. I use social media to reach our fans or connect with friends. Period. I try not to get caught up in just scrolling and I know that most of what I am seeing is not reality. Some people have a harder time with that, and it can be triggering and dangerous. I have mixed feelings about the digital world. In some ways, it is endlessly good, but I worry about what it is doing to the generation of people who never lived without it.  

No career path or amount of followers negates the fact that you are a human being that has feelings. Tell us about some parts of you beyond being a musician that you take pride in.

Being a good friend, family member and partner is important to me. Interpersonal relationships effect me on an emotional level much more than my career does.  I like when I can nurture those things. I take pride in being kind to others and making a constant effort to see the forest through the trees.

As you are exposed to tons of stimulus, how do you proactively take care of your mental and emotional health when you’re out on the road?

There is a lot of down time and traveling when we are on tour, so we try to use those times to center and escape from the stimulus. We try to exercise, eat healthy, and explore different cities – helps us stay sane.

You have toured with a wide variety of musicians over the past years and have played at some major festivals. Tell us some words of wisdom that you have collected along the way.

I heard the frontman of one of the bands we toured with say something along the lines of, “You shouldn’t get nervous because wherever you are, you deserve to be there.” I am paraphrasing, but I often think about this sentiment.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with either yourself as a child or yourself as a wizened senior citizen, who would you choose and why?

I would definitely talk to the wizened me. I’d rather learn from myself, than teach myself. The child me would definitely benefit from talking to me, but he needs to learn certain things on his own. So does current me, but…I’d still love to know the things I’ll learn in the next 50 years.

Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!

We are excited for the next chapter. Lots of new stuff coming.

Great Good Fine Ok Social Links:



Interview: Oxymorrons

Creating therapeutic works of lyrical and musical art is the name of the game for Queens Alternative Hip-Hop Band, Oxymorrons. Beyond the music, Oxymorrons serve as an example of forward-thinking artists who proactively take charge when it comes to creating deeper and more personal connections with their fans. I caught up with Lead Vocalist, Dave Bellevue, to discuss their collaboration with iRel8, raising awareness of mental and emotional health, the bigger purpose of their music and more.

Tell us about your partnership with iRel8 and how this has deepened your connection with your fans.

The connection with iRel8 came from doing a mental health event in which I spoke on a panel for a company by the name of ILiveForOrg. It is a company that was started by an Aunt whose nephew committed suicide. My connection to it comes through my best friend who committed suicide years ago. It changed my life. He was the driving force to my music. I have chosen to be an advocate ever since that experience. I speak for many foundations and provide my thoughts all over the place, not only through my music. I linked up with one of the iRel8 sponsors at the ILiveForOrg event that I spoke at and they explained the app that they had created. The app allows you to have talks with people in real time, any time, anywhere. They have chat rooms, it’s informational and you can also get professional help on the app itself.

You’d be surprised how crucial those talks can be for those that are suffering in silence. Through societal pressure, there are individuals who are timid when it comes to bringing their pain outward. It’s bizzare to think of individuals creating fear within themselves because society tends to be rigid when it comes to candid vulnerability. There are so many individuals that are suffering within. It’s beautiful that you have transformed your experience into an opportunity to serve others.

You know, it’s still something that I undergo on a daily basis. I have made peace with certain things, but I do have my breakdown periods. Through our music and in general, we tend to push ourselves through the ringer when it comes to everything in our lives. It’s something that is needed. It’s something that is being more universally spoken about now which is great. There are so many celebrities and artists who are just committing suicide, you know? Taking their own lives. This is a huge issue in music and beyond, yet I love to see awareness continue to grow and expand. Through the iRel8 app, we have about 2500 accounts that we can give to people for free. You don’t have to pay at all and you can get so much professional help, it’s incredible.

Amazing. You mentioned the breakdown periods, yet it seems like the breakdowns have served as key components for breakthroughs for you. Your latest single, “See Stars”, lyrically dabbles into the interactions with people in your life steadily changing. Let’s talk about what inspired that track.

“See Stars” in general was about the battles that we have encountered through our life. It’s about battling through the music industry and how long we have been doing this while trying to break through. “See Stars” is the culmination of a really rough year for us. “See Stars” is that motivational push that reminds us of all of our circles and everything that we have been through. Our sights are set on our goals and we are about to achieve them; that’s what “See Stars” is about. You just have to keep pushing through everything that you are going through all at once. And once you see that moment, you see stars.

From my perception, your thought process of “seeing stars” is entirely different from the surface thought. Your intention and vision of “seeing stars” is the to be able to provide a safe space for both yourself and your fans to be unapologetically themselves while in tune with their mental and emotional health.

Yes! That is who we are in general. We allow and encourage our fans and everyone to be unapologetically themselves. That’s just the way it is. 

I noticed the way that you guys dress as well; flamboyant and entirely unique. Total freedom of expression. Whatever you want to wear, you are going to wear it. It’s not what your team wants you to wear, it’s what you want to wear.

Yeah, absolutely. Clothes shouldn’t even have gender assignments. Wear what you want to wear. Do what you want to do. This world is so controlled over and over again and for us, that is not how we live our lives. We just try to be that voice letting people know that it is completely okay to be yourself and that there is nothing wrong about it no matter what society is telling you.

You hit the nail on the head. No career path or amount of followers negates the fact that you are a human being that has feelings. Tell us about some parts of you beyond being a musician that you take pride in.

For me, it is just being a human being in general. I take pride in being a multilingual human being. I speak French and Krio which actually are my first languages. English is my third language. Outside of that, I am extremely healthy. I do Muay Thai and train a lot. I bike ride which is completely therapeutic in such a big place like New York. Also, I am really big on knowing what content that I absorb on social media.

I am a Buddhist and that came from my friend that committed suicide.  He was always challenging religion and challenging thought processes and it was through Buddhism that he changed his mind and altered his thoughts. I have been going to temples a lot too which has been refreshing for my entire life.

I can assume that that leads you toward a broader of awareness of the ride that you are on both musically and within. Life in New York is no joke. You are on the move 24-7. Nobody gives a fuck about you in New York and if that isn’t liberating in itself, I don’t know what is because it really pushes you to express yourself in a boundless way. There are no boundaries but yourself in a city like that. As you mentioned, being proactive with bike riding through the city helps free the mind and take in the bigger picture that you are free to do and be whatever you choose.

Exactly. The biggest thing for us is that we know that life is our own book. You write every chapter no matter what is going on. You are in full control. A lot of the times, people don’t realize that and it is due to what is set by society as to what is “normal” and what isn’t. Everything is pretty much controlled and dictated from the moment that you are born. You are told what you do.

True. We have all subconsciously absorbed all of this through our growing years until the recognition of the power of the mind begins to come to light.

Exactly. Oxymorrons tends to challenge control. We bend genres. We grew up on so many different kinds of music. For anyone to tell us that we can only make a certain type of music is fucking crazy which goes into another thing that we deal with which is being in the Alternative scene. We are a black band and people don’t tend to lean towards that. Do you know how many times that I have been told that we won’t make it because we are not American enough?

Photo Credit: Ken Spielman

But it is great to see bands like you and Radkey moving forward and pushing the “normalization” of African Americans in Alternative and Rock music.

Most people don’t know the history of Rock Music. Most people don’t know who the founders of Rock Music are. On our upcoming EP we have a song by the name of “The Ghost of Chuck Berry” in which I talk about Rosetta Tharpe. People don’t even know who Rosetta Tharpe is; like are you fucking kidding me? She’s huge. She is a woman who is one of the founders of Rock Music; there wouldn’t even be Rock Music without Rosetta Tharpe.

True. How has pursuing music affected your home life? Have you been able to find balance? Has it enhanced your relationships with others?

It’s a give and take with that. You know, when you are pursuing such a big dream and something that is so difficult to achieve while understanding energy and manifestation, you lose a lot of friends. I lost a lot of friendships. Relationships have shattered. It is extremely difficult for me. As you first start off as an artist, you just don’t know that this is what happens. You are so ready to rock with your goal that you don’t even factor in these parts. I do have to say that through being a musician, I have made a lot of good friends and have connected with some great fans. But I have also lost a lot. I am not there for key family moments at times and it’s really difficult. As time goes by, it gets harder to swallow.

Through the lens of a fan, the instant access of social media and really the instant access of everything these days throughout society leads artists to being in the forefront at all times. That is challenging. As an artist, you have to choose to make time for your family. You have to choose to make time for your spouse. You have to choose to make time for your loved ones. You’ll see who is really there for the right reasons in the long run. It takes time to navigate those waters.

Yeah, for real. There is no book on it. No one is teaching you that when you first start music. You have no clue. It’s all trial and error.

For sure. Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?

Be yourself at all times. I love seeing beautiful people being unapologetically themselves in every city that we go to. At the end of the day, we are inspiring all of our fans with songs that come from the heart and that is so special to us. It’s not even all about us; we do this for you guys. This is way bigger than us. Rage on.

Oxymorrons Social Links: