Interview: Shinobi Ninja

New York Rock Hood Group, Shinobi Ninja, live out their intent of shaping a vibrant state of consciousness that includes and welcomes all throughout their music and artistry. Having ‘Bless Up’ under their belts as an album that speaks for itself, Shinobi Ninja are finding the wealth that comes from embodying their truest selves. I caught up with Vocalist, Duke Sims (D.A), to discuss how growing up in Brooklyn shaped the man that he is today, progress over perfection, becoming more confident in his talents, being a kid in the studio and more.

Congrats on the success of your fourth studio album, ‘Bless Up’. Tell us about the creative and recording process and what you learned along the way.

‘Bless Up’ was a collection of the  songs we were working on right before our studio that we had been creating and working out of for the past 6 years closed. The goal was to complete these songs before the studio closed, so the album had a vibe of closure and also a positive outlook for what is to come for us in the future. The lesson for me on this album is that you may think that this song or that song is gonna be the one but in actuality it’s not that song you think, it’s the song you don’t think too much of that is going to be the song that people find and connect with the most. I had experienced that before with our previous album, but this album cemented that for me; to be open to whatever is gonna happen.

You guys carry the New York swagger so well, so naturally. Tell us about your life in the Big Apple and how living in New York has impacted your life.

I’m born and raised in Brooklyn and have been running around NYC my whole life. It’s all I’ve ever known. When you hear the phrase, “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck then it’s a duck”, that’s me. Brooklyn formed me. It put me arm and arm with every nationality, age, race, sex, etc. that you could have. I grew up playing in the streets; street basketball, baseball, music, cutting school, getting in trouble, music, good times and bad times. The concrete jungle is the school I graduated from. I’ve seen all kinds of crazy things and I learned from all of it. It’s teachings are with me always.

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

Life is a challenge. It just keeps coming. I’m still learning. Fear is something I’ve overcome over time. That’s the biggest challenge. Fear of any kind and choosing not letting it stop you in whatever it is your doing and want to accomplish. Progress over perfection was a key lesson for me. Perfection is perception and it doesn’t exist. Progress is real. You can see it. So I go for progress over perfection. Trying to be perfect used to lock me in. Now I don’t care about that. I keep putting in the work and moving forward. That’s a good feeling. When things reach completion and then you move to the next thing. Keep growing.

How has your experience in the music industry impacted your life? How was the man that is Dave changed every since you began with Shinobi Ninja?

Before Shinobi Ninja, I was still thinking about who I wanted to be and how I could become that person. Shinobi Ninja allowed me an avenue to succeed and to fail. With success, I became stronger and more confident in my talents and what I can offer the world through my art and music and my love for the people and the universe. Failure taught me about changing things that I was not doing well or things that were holding me back. It taught me to let go and to not hold on to expectations. The music industry is made of people. I love people. Shinobi Ninja gave me an avenue to be a Superhero. Now I can fly.

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

I think it is awesome. I think there’s quick fix meals out there that is the content we see everyday. There’s levels of substance. You can see something that entertains you for a couple minutes but doesn’t really change you and then you can see or hear things that make you really think. I love the digital age we live in because all the info is out there. Information is power. This is a great time for thinkers and artists. A lot of fuel for the fire.

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.

I take pride in service. When I can be of service to people that is a great thing. However, I can be a positive contribution to the people is what it’s all about for me. Whether it’s a song, or a video, or a piece of art or a text message or a positive word to someone. A life is here and then gone, so for me it’s about being a positive influence and force while I’m here in this journey at this time.

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?

I don’t watch the news. I don’t watch politics. No murder killing type shows. If the Golden Girls is on then it stays on. I love to have anything that I’m going to hear or see be uplifting for my spirit and mind. Documentary’s are great information. Sitcoms have the laugh track. Laughing is good. Music is good. Hearing new music that will inspire my creativity to new realms. Being around good people. Smoking weed. Eating well.

Photo Credit: Pixel Journalism

Tell us about a day in the studio with you making beats. Are you experimental and willing to take major creative risks in your music?

My mom took me to a class when I was little that was a dude in a loft in NYC surrounded by things. He showed how you can make sounds with anything. He put water on a mirror and made noises. Then he took a hose from a vacuum cleaner and whirled it around his head and it made a cool sound; that impacted me huge. When I go into the studio, I’m still that little kid. I’m listening for that unknown. I’m down to try anything. If it sounds good then it’s a go for me. I’m there for the magic. I’m listening to what my body tells me is the hotness. I trust my instincts and I have fun. The most fun. Being in the studio for me is like a fish being in water. It’s who I am. I learned to breathe there. It’s like a bird flying. I could fly forever.

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

Keep spreading the positive vibes. Move with compassion. Move with love. Take time to breath. Take time for yourself. Check yourself. Check your ego. Think about your goals for life. How will you accomplish them? What have you learned in trying different ways to achieve them? How can you adapt? How can you keep growing? Make the best of today. Keep moving forward. Every step adds up. Even if you only move an inch forward today. Inches add up to feet. Feet add up to Miles. Follow the yellow brick road. Keep dreaming. Keep striving. You’re not perfect. Nobody is. Have compassion for yourself. Your awesome and I want you to know your loved. I believe in you.

Shinobi Ninja Social Links:


Feature Image Photo Credit: Commons.Wikimedia.Org


Interview: Kerbera

Stockholm Rockers, Kerbera, poured forward raw nerve and emotion throughout their latest single release, “Home Is Where I Don’t Belong”, which is sparking conversation and garnering views around the globe. I caught up with Seize and Dave to discuss the reality of touring, treating their fans like family and how Kerbera has grown through it, how your appearance affects your band, social media being a key competent of their success so far and more.

“Home Is Where I Don’t Belong” is a mighty track full of emotion. Tell us about the personal meaning behind the song and what it means to you.

Seike: The song is about the feeling to have built something up and been a huge part of that something, just to get it stolen from you. Robbed of the credit so to say.

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

Seike: As the front man you’re always questioned by your surrounding and with a weak appearance you can drag a whole band down. I’ve doubted myself a lot in the past. I’ve asked myself if I was good enough, good looking enough and if I have what it takes. My voice have a lot of personal ID, and I’ve struggled with it in general. To believe in myself as Kerbera’s vocalist has been a huge challenge, but I’ve found faith in my progress and I’m sure I’ve got so much to deliver.

Dave: Touring and such is VERY stressful for both your body and your mind, in the beginning you tend to eat bad and sleep even worse but with time you learn that if you take care of yourself you will perform AND feel better.

If any of our readers have never been to Stockholm, what are some must-see attractions that you recommend to check out?

Seike: Old town. It’s beautiful. There’s so much history to it.

Dave: Even though stockholm is a big city there is a lot of beautiful nature and such, i recommend just going a few minutes out of the actual city and look at the beautiful nature!

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

Seike: Kerbera is a band that would never have the success we’ve had without social media. I believe it might consume people, but when used the right way it’s the most powerful weapon we got to reach far on your own without companies having your back. I’m a social media nerd. I love to be able to reach out to our followers in such a direct and personal way. It gives us the freedom and transparency that makes me love what I to even more.

Dave: Before I joined Kerbera, I didn’t know anything about social media and the impact it has on the world, now (with a lot of help from Seike), I understand how to use it to my own benefit to interact with friends and fans. I think that Seike’s mindset of fans being more of a family than people who just likes your music has made our following really loyal and is one of the biggest reasons for us being where we are today!

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.

Seike: I want to be an author. Writing on a trilogy since a few years back. Also I love photography! That’s a big passion of mine.

Dave: I love video games! On the side, I am a part the management for a Swedish e-Sports organization called Valhalla Vikings. Through that organization I have learned even more about social media and how to talk and connect to people and potential business partners.

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?

Seike: I don’t, and that’s a problem. I have ADHD and I’m bipolar. Being on the road fucks with your medication cycle, especially when you travel between time zones. It’s hard but I’m gonna be all emo about it and say it’s also a part of my artistic persona. When I’m under pressure, I perform better. I wanna be destroyed on stage. Exposed and a total mess. Sounds destructive but I find some sort of cure in that. It’s like a meditation. Facing yourself at your worst. Processing it all on stage. God, this sounds so pretentious but I don’t know how to explain it better.

Dave: Sometimes i just call a friend and talk about something else than music/being on tour. Exposing myself to the “real life” makes me happy and makes me think that life can be very different that what it is right now.

Tell us some words of wisdom that you collected along the way on tours that you have been a part of over the years.

Seike: Sleep as much as possible and try not to kill each other. Don’t skip meals! You never know when you’ll have time to eat again.

Dave: Pretty much what Seike said, sleep and food are the most important thing in any work environment, it doesn’t matter if you are working in construction or if you are on tour performing on stage with a band!

Speaking of touring, any current or upcoming tour plans that you can fill us in about?

Seike: Europe and US are both in the risk zone. People all over should be prepared. You never know when the modern freak show will arrive.

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

Seike: Our fans are family. They are everything to us. Many bands say this but our fan group are a living proof of how close we are. You can ask any of them, and they’ll all reply that to be a part of this is something special. I can’t wait to share this journey together with them and all new people out there who’s about to join in. 2018 was a huge year for us. 2019 will be even better.Dave: I don’t think we can say anything that we haven’t said before, we wouldn’t be where we are without you guys. You made Kerbera what it is. You are a part of us.

Kerbera Social Links:



Interview: Devour The Day

Memphis Rockers, Devour The Day, have dissected and challenged the commonalties of modern-day society throughout their electrifying new album release, ‘Signals’. I caught up with Bassist, Joey ‘Chicago’ Walser, to discuss the release of ‘Signals’, the pride that he feels from his experience of Fatherhood, pushing forward in moments in the dark, honoring their fans with their ‘Soundtrack To Your Story’ documentary, traveling to respond artistically in different ways and more.

Congrats on the recent release of ‘Signals’. Over a few listens in full, I recognized a lyrical theme of release. Did you approach the songwriting process with the intention to find clarity within a personal experience? Were you experiencing personal pain that led to the in-depth lyrical expression throughout ‘Signals’?

When we were writing the lyrics for ‘Signals’, most of our influence was coming from one central idea we had both attached ourselves to in the year surrounding the process. We felt so connected to the idea that we could not take ownership of our artwork. We were channels and the universe, the cosmos, the collective energy, has purpose for us as artists, far beyond our understanding. Yes, it is hard to let go of your successes when creating with this in mind, but you are also allowing yourself to let go of the failures, which is so incredibly freeing. Personal pain is something neither of us have had the luxury of escaping, even in our short time here on earth. The last five years specifically were by far some of the hardest of my life, and I have been left with many questions, not only about the world around me, but also about myself and how I handle the changing seasons. In the past I used the lyrics as a way to analyze my experiences, I tried to figure it all out and then stand triumphant in my ownership of the art.  Now, with a new mindset in place, I feel we allow ourselves to trust in a purpose far greater than ourselves for our music. The lyrics are the breaking through of a chrysalis wall, and we are eager to fly with new wings.

Throughout your documentary, ‘Soundtrack To Your Story’, you guys created the time and space to connect deeply with your fans. Beyond the obvious, what led you toward the desire to do so? How did the experience serve you?

As you step away from the ownership of your artwork, you quickly begin to see that you are not the hero of the story. In fact, you should be honored to hold the place as artist among your community. The egotistical precedence that we are surrounded by in the music industry, specifically, in our genre, is ridiculous and misguided. Social media has only intensified this marketing concept and now, more than ever, artists try to show why they are worth of worship. It’s wrong in our opinion. These human beings that support these artists are not “fans”, they are not here to intensify our flame. They are a part of a community and we should feel so lucky that they have chosen to place us in their lives. They are the heroes, and we are their soundtrack, and we are blessed to be so, for however long it lasts. We had to do something to shine the light in on this concept. What we were able to raise money for and create is the most fulfilling piece of art I’ve ever been a part of. The experienced changed me forever. Please visit to read more about the making and idea of #soundtracktoyourstory as it is almost just to much to explain, you have to watch.

“Faithless” is being featured and making its rounds around the Rock circuit. Tell us what that track means to you.

I feel that word “faith”, in my life, has always been so connected to religion. The idea that if you have faith you believe in, and rely on, a specific deity. That is not what this song is about. Faithless is about pushing forward even when you don’t know you will succeed. It’s about trusting the process and allowing the growth in yourself and in your work to happen, even if you don’t understand how you are getting there. It takes faith to push through when you can’t see the other end of the tunnel, and it takes courage to keep going.

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.

I am a Father and it is my greatest joy and the most fulfilling part of my life. I take the most pride in that responsibility.

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?

I believe it is extremely important for me to stay inspired. We go out into the world around the venue and try to take in the life and art that surrounds it. The food, the architecture, the people and culture opens us up to be the channels we desire to be and to respond artistically in a new and unique way.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old that you were?

I have two halves, the wide eyed creator and the father of two children. The artist is still a teenager, spinning around in a spray painted basement with a joint in his mouth. The father is in his hundreds!

As you do speak of it in a meaningful and eye-opening way throughout “Loudmouth”, what are your thoughts on online culture?

I want to be specific so I don’t ramble, because I think this is a long conversation. “Loudmouth” discusses different kinds of people, but all three I had in mind while writing it, use their digital voice to bully and spread disconnection. Whatever their agenda, whether it political, or business or just plain judgmental and mean, it’s wrong. The song was intended to call these people out and create a discussion about how twisted and destructive this use of the internet can be.

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

We are honored to be a part of this community and we are so grateful to still be creating. Please check out ‘SIGNALS’ and #soundtracktoyoustory and spread the word.

Devour The Day Social Links:



Interview: Mardoll

Leaving listeners immersed in her mysterious world of elaborate creative thought is just one piece of artistic appeal that draws individuals toward NYC-based Songstress, Mardoll. Throwing herself into the ringer throughout her latest single, “God”, has served to challenge common conversation and influence boundless musings beyond one’s known. I caught up with Mardoll to discuss the intimate detail within her latest single “God”, the blend of rebellion and childlike wonder in her idiosyncratic mind, the joy of watching her 10-year-old little brother grow into a young man, always choosing to love yourself and more.

Tell us about the journey that you have been enduring within that has led you toward bringing your first single, “God”, out and into the world.

From a very young age, I was always curious. I liked asking questions. I grew up in Europe with strong values and conservative traditions .  Although I went to an international school and had exposure to many other cultures, all of them seemed to be shaped by something I felt was somewhat rigid… not inquisitive enough for me. Although I have a lot of respect for all cultures and traditions and feel that they are important, I always felt that traditions are not an excuse for not questioning our habits and way of thinking. Maybe it was my rebellious nature or maybe it was my childlike wonder but I was always a very curious to find out why we did something differently than others would. The song “God” is just an extension of that same curious nature. Why is it we shame and make taboo of love of anyone?   Religion seems to want to dictate love and hate. And if we accept love as a strong and meaningful human value, why don’t we question the powers to set limits to the definition of love and whom we can love? But it’s not only the judgmental way organized religion views same sex love, but in general all the rules that religion sets for our way of life should be evaluated in the current context of human existence. My mother came from a Jewish family on her father’s side and a highly prestigious European Christian family on her mother’s side.  When her parents divorced, her Christian family frowned upon her Jewish background. As a result, although she married a Catholic man and for the sake of his mother in law, went through the motions of Christening us, she decided she would allow us to decide what religion we wanted to follow. I was allowed to believe and worship whoever I wanted. As long as it wasn’t harming myself or anyone else. The “don’t be an asshole” rule was our family motto.  In my early years where, on occasion, we would make it to church, or I would hear religious rhetoric, it always fascinated me how blindly humanity can trust in a book.  I started asking many questions : What kind of God would allow so much human suffering?  What kind of God would create such a chaotic and unfair world? What kind of God would watch his children fight each other, destroy his legacy preaching love and forgiveness, to use his name his name to kill? The fact we are all fighting over whose version of God is right means we’ve missed the point entirely. That is definitely highlighted in the chorus. “Your silence speaks loud and clear….I guess you really left us here.” 

Deep question; have you incorporated your own personal experiences and reflections into your music? Have you been able to heal old wounds through your artistic expression?

Music has always been an outlet for me. It is my way in which I process experiences, traumas, escape depression and find solace.  It’s a space in which I can process emotion and play around. I feel music often leads me to a new perspective, gives me a fuller picture and elevates me to a higher level. So I can take Catherine out of the equation, and Mardolll can see it objectively. Music does not always heal all wounds.  Sometimes music allows me to grieve something I have buried inside. Sometimes I need my music to bring something that hurts up to the surface so I can take a second look, relive it and find new way of dealing with it.

How did the concept of ‘Mardoll’ come about? What does it stand for?

Mardoll  is a character I’ve been playing my whole life. She was the woman I always wanted to be. When I was a chubby little outcast who wasn’t allowed to be a part of the aerobic competition team because of my weight, Mardoll was the version of me who would perform. I’ve been playing her my whole life, I just finally gave a name to her later on. The name actually originates from a Nordic goddess who also goes by Freya, or the White Goddess. My roommate at the time, Bryanna and I were thinking of artist names when she pops her head into the room and goes ‘What about Mardoll?’. The name finally felt like a fit after trying out so many others.  It was an ‘Aha!’ moment, Suddenly I knew this had to be.

Tell us about a recent train of thought that you have had that can inspire our readers.

The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship.  This is where the inner dialogue takes place. I’ve been playing around with this theme and exploring it in a few songs I’m currently working on. It’s led me to start thinking about the stories and lies we tell ourselves as well.  We try to explain ourselves, create limits for ourselves all the time without asking deeply who we really are, why do we fear things, are we able to change? What are the reasons for the mistakes we keep making all over again?

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.

I’m fascinated by politics and history.  I love not only talking about these subjects but also debating them. I love the challenge of taking a perspective that might not align with my personal beliefs, and arguing for it. Maybe it’s the devil’s advocate in me, maybe it’s my rebellious nature or maybe it’s just the fact my dad’s a lawyer and I grew up listening to that. But beyond how I love to argue, I’m a sister to my big and little brother and I’m a dog mom. My little brother is my absolute favorite person in the world and watching him grow into the young man he is has been the absolute joy of my life. With 10 years between us, ours  is one of the most rewarding and meaningful relationships in my life. He’s practically a carbon copy of me, from facial features to strong will. He drives me crazy but I wouldn’t change it for the world. In a weird way, I feel like we’re twins who got the timing wrong and now it’s my duty in this world to show him the way from my mistakes. I’m also a dog mom to my two dogs back home. Ninja and Coco. Ninja is my first-born boy and is me in a dog. All he wants to do is eat, sleep, and be given attention…I relate HEAVILY! Coco is a tiny little dog who bosses everyone around. She runs the show even though she’s 2 KG. 

As you are exposed to tons of stimulus, how do you proactively take care of your mental and emotional health while being in the public eye?

Exercise! Lots of exercise but also Yoga. Yoga helps build mental strength, the ability to focus, or it to stay on track. I have a wild imagination and ADD tendencies, so doing yoga several times a week helps me with that. It also teaches me self-awareness which for someone like me, who has a tendency to slip into depressions, it ensures that I’m not lying to myself and really being honest with everything that is going on. It’s constant work, and not always easy (or interesting for that matter) but it’s important. 

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old that you were?

A sassy and sexy 75. Though I have been known to act 9 from time to time. As a little kid, I felt that sometimes I was just kind of waiting to grow up. 

What is your personal opinion on how immersed society has become into the social media world?

I don’t think it’s good or bad. It’s just different. Every generation has thought the next one was out of touch.  Every generation has looked back with rose-colored lenses. So, yeah, maybe kids don’t play outside as much. And, yeah, maybe today’s kids don’t have the same attention span. But today’s kids are also the most accepting of any generation before. Today’s generation is more informed than ever before .   Today’s generation is creative and resourceful. If kids seem out of touch, maybe it’s the adults who are disconnected, but let’s not blame the modern magic of the internet. As many things often do, it has its ups and it has had its downs. 

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

LOVE YOURSELF! Love yourself enough to hold yourself to a standard that forces you become the person you’ve always wanted to be. Be the person you told yourself you wanted to be growing up. Go out there and be proud of who you are and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You never know what life will throw at you so take advantage of every moment you walk this earth. Work hard, try do better, and aim higher! 

Mardoll Social Links:



Interview: Blacktop Mojo

Texas Rockers, Blacktop Mojo, are rattling the masses with their heavy-hitting bundle of intense songwriting and powerful instrumentals that speak of the emotively rich lives of five guys who are telling a story that is entirely their own. Through molding an electrifying and polished style and sound throughout their two studio albums that are full of howling vocals and soul, Blacktop Mojo is set to make an even bigger splash over the years to come. I caught up with Lead Vocalist, Matt James, to discuss his favorite Tool albums, the incredible support of their fans, the meaningful bond shared amongst the band members of Blacktop Mojo and more.

You guys have a really cool campaign going on on PledgeMusic for your upcoming third album. Tell us about your experience so far and anything that you can about the upcoming release.

We ran a campaign with PledgeMusic to fund our second record, ‘Burn The Ships’, which went really well. We liked how we were able to interact with people on there and how it was sort of like having them with us making the record, so we wanted to do it again for this next album. I’m really glad we did because our fans really got after it and help us hit our minimum goal way faster than we ever thought we could, which helped us to be able to concentrate more on writing songs and have a little less to worry about on the business side of things. We’re very excited to get to work tracking the album. We’ve got what we feel like is a great group of songs, and we’re chomping at the bit to lay them down. I think we’ll make the folks that got behind us for this go-around proud.

What is the most personally meaningful track that you have ever recorded with Blacktop Mojo? Tell us about what it means to you.

I think one of the more meaningful tracks for me was “Where The Wind Blows”, not necessarily because of the content of the song, but because of how we recorded it. We were fortunate enough to be able to record the song at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL with Jimmy Johnson and his engineer Steve Melton who were at the helm of some amazing records from artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, and so many other greats that we look up to. Needless to say we were kind of intimidated going into the session and we didn’t lay down the final vocals until toward the end of the day, so I kind of had to just sit and wait with butterflies in my stomach all day until it was my turn to get in the booth and sing. I sang through the song a few times and wasn’t sure if I was hitting it right. We got to the end of the pass and they hit the talkback mic in the control room to say something and before anyone said anything to me, I heard Jimmy say to somebody, “Damn would you listen to that voice? That guy can belt it!” It was the first time I can remember feeling like that was where I belong. We ended up releasing the song as the first radio single from the album and it hit the top 30 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart on our first tour. The last show of that tour just happened to be in Muscle Shoals and Jimmy ended up coming out to check out the show. When I walked up to him to shake his hand, he had a big smile on his face and he said, “It feels good doesn’t it?” Then he turned to one of his buddies and said, “These guys have them a hit up on the charts right now.” It really felt cool to have someone I look up to like that be proud of us.

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

Very recently, in preparation for this album we’ve been writing a lot of songs and I got to a place where I felt like nothing I was writing was good enough. I thought, “What if I can’t do this? What if we can’t get this done?” Luckily I had the guys in the band to lean on and kind of pull me out of my funk. They helped me remember we started doing this in the first place because we love it and that it’s supposed to be fun. It’s alright to put pressure on yourself, and sometimes it can be good, but you can’t let that overwhelm what you’re doing.

If any of our readers have never been to Texas, tell us about three of your favorite restaurants that you recommended to check out.

Texas has a lot of great food, so it’s hard to choose just three. La Chappara’s in our hometown of Palestine has my favorite breakfast tacos, Stanley’s BBQ in Tyler, TX has some of the best BBQ on the planet earth, and I have to give it up to Salsa Limón in Fort Worth for some of the best Mexican food one can get any time of night.

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

I think it’s something we’re all still figuring out as we go along. Overall it’s a great thing. No one has to be alone. There is a group of friends out there for everyone no matter where they come from or how they think. You can immerse yourself in all kinds of different art that you would have never been able to find otherwise. In our case it’s helped a band from the middle of nowhere in Texas connect with people all over the world over our music. By that same token, it lets people group up over negative things and spread hate and shame as well, which is never good. I still don’t think the negatives outweigh all the positives. It is an awesome tool that makes the world smaller every day. It will be interesting to see what the next generation creates with all this awesome power having been immersed in it from birth.

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.

It’s kind of hard to separate music from the rest of my life. All the guys in the band live in the same house, so we’re kind of always doing something for music in one way or another. I think the thing I most take pride in is how close we all are. Any one of these guys would take a bullet for me and I would do the same for them. A lot of bands say they are “like family” and that might be true, but in our case these guys are my brothers through good, bad, and everything in between.

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?

When we’re traveling around, I always like to go on random walks through whatever city we’re in and go explore. Most of the time I will turn my phone off and only use it to find my way back if I get lost. It’s always refreshing to just kind of wander around and see if you can find anything cool. Also, The guys in the band and I are always good at taking care of each other. If someone has something going on, everyone is pretty good at helping them out. It’s hard to hide in the 100 or so square feet of space on a bus.

I’ll throw you a random bone. What is your favorite Tool album and why?

I mean if it’s Tool, I’m a fan. They haven’t made a bad album. I always liked ‘10,000 Days’. “The Pot” and “Right In Two” are some of my favorite songs they’ve done and the sardonic attitude in the lyrics of “Rosetta Stoned” is absolutely incredible. I love reading through that one after I’ve listened to it once and then going back to listen to it again to try to catch everything in there.

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

Thanks for helping us live the life we always dreamed about. Can’t wait to see all of you again next year!  

Blacktop Mojo Social Links:



Interview: The Penny Serfs

Iowa Indie Band, The Penny Serfs, maintain an elusive appeal throughout their artistry and musicianship that is appealing to the idiosyncratic mind. Through lyrically translating intricate thought into a work of art within their latest album release, ‘Politics in the Time of Heroin’, The Penny Serfs have relit their fire. I caught up with Mikey Loy to discuss the release of ‘Politics in the Time of Heroin’, creative activities that inspire their musicianship, upcoming show plans and more.

Congrats on the release of ‘Politics in the Time of Heroin’. Tell us about the creative and recording process and some key things that you learned along the way.

Thank you so much. We couldn’t be happier to be sharing this record right now. The politics record is a very important one in the band’s life. It represents our growing stage of the band. We are really diving in and putting as much musical information inside of a pop type of song we can, as well as getting even darker with the lyrics. I usually write a shell of a song and then share with the guys. They put their vibe and style into it and it then becomes what you hear on the record. For me, most of my ideas are sitting in my kitchen, maybe on the counter with an acoustic over a couple drinks experimenting with new sounds. The biggest thing I have learned from the writing process is to let people in and celebrate their ideas. Kyle Stu and Aiden’s ideas are so very crucial to how the record sounds;  things I would have never thought of. These guys write equally as much as I do, so I’ve learned to take idea changes and stuff and to understand that it makes for a better tune.

Tell us about the songwriting process. Is there a certain individual that spearheads the writing or is it a mutual thing that you all tackle together?

I am a songwriter by nature. I love to weave dark lyrics and esoteric vibes through chords and counter melodies. It makes me happy. I could lock myself in a room for years just doing so. Mostly musically we all come together and find a vibe collectively to keep us all in the song. So I’d say musically it is mutual, and the lyrics come from me.

What does your ideal day off look like to you? What creative activities do you spend time on that serve to inspire your musicianship?

A day off for us is nothing but rest and family time. We spend so much time on the road working on tour, and playing our own shows that we really try to use our days off as full decompression so we can be fresh and energized for the next go round. A good shower, a comfort food meal, and some creative writing makes for a nice day off; with a lot of naps of course.

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

It’s interesting because the 90’s kid in me believes in the internet paradox. Example: How can something that makes us all connected make us feel so alone? But musically I think it is a good thing because it challenges us to constantly be releasing new material and writing better music and really pushing ourselves through the massive overflow of material out there.

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.

I take pride in my family. I love coming home to my wife and kids.  My 11-year-old son just designed a concert poster for the National for their Kansas City show a couple months ago. Nothing better than watching them grow into awesome people. I also love to build things. I bought an old Catholic Church in LeClaire IA my hometown and turned it into a recording art space for myself and the band.  It took three years of building but it is finally finished. I am very proud of it.

Photo Credit: Harry Walker 

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?

For me, I am probably the worst person in the band to ask! I drink too much, I am always feeling a dark cloud over my head. But when I am working and playing I live by a code to force myself to look around and be thankful, that my mental health can just be an inside existential issue. I do not let it affect my family and band. Exercise is the one thing that helps fuel my positivity and energy. It doesn’t happen as often as it should but it really is the wonder drug.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old that you were?

My body is like 58, but I always joke that I peaked young. I’d soberly say I act like I’m 21, at least I drink like it. But who knows. I wish I were more mature.

Any upcoming tour or show plans that you can fill us in about?

We are planning on a March 2019 US tour. We Are working on getting some confirmations in Europe as well so we will announce hopefully in the next month. We can’t wait.

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

I’d love to thank everyone who gives our music a chance, and thank the people who have stuck with us through the few years we have been a band. Our fans our really sweet and we enjoy being able to interact with everyone. It’s nice to know there are people out there.  I’m humbled when I hear that anyone in the vastness of the internet has played one of the songs we have written. It’s truly a special moment for the both of us that we will have shared that no one can take away.

The Penny Serfs Social Links:



Interview: Alfred Banks

You can feel the passion and tenacity in the bones of New Orleans Rapper, Alfred Banks, every time that he steps onto the stage. Through years of immense dedication, Alfred has proven that success as an independent artist is indeed achievable if you do it with the bigger picture in mind at all times. I caught up with the man to discuss how his musicianship has affected his family life, his journey as an independent artist, remaining human with his growing fanbase and more.

One thing that I have recognized about you is that you are always grounded and human with your fans. You’re always creating time to interact in the comment section, etc. Tell us about the personal connections that you have made with your growing fan base over the years.

I am a very emotional person, you know? I am incredibly emotional. Throughout every single thing that I do, I always give it my all. Everything that I am exposed to means the world to me. I have always been an incredibly passionate person especially about music. So for me, even nine years into my career, the fact that somebody cares about my music still means the world to me. I don’t take any of that for granted.

The moment that things really started to shift for me was when I put out ‘The Beautiful’. That album changed a lot for me when it comes to how my fans began interacting with me as well as newcomers to my music. The way that people even speak to me changed after that release. I didn’t really understand how many people dealt with mental health concerns. I didn’t really understand how many people had family members and close loved ones who dealt with mental health concerns. People started to share their stories with me once I shared ‘The Beautiful’. Whether they had PTSD, schizophrenia, manic depression or if they were bi-polar or whatever their case may be, they were sharing that with me. One of the most important moments was when I did a show in my hometown, New Orleans. There was a lady who drove all the way from Chicago to come see my show; that’s a 14-hour drive. She mentioned to me that her son is in a mental asylum for schizophrenia and he loved ‘The Beautiful’. I have a project that came out before ‘The Beautiful’ called ‘The Beautiful Prelude’ and he even loved that release as well. He plays it a lot. Whenever this woman would go visit her son, he would always ask to play ‘The Beautiful’. She actually gave me a letter that her youngest son wrote to his older brother who was in the mental institution. The younger son was asking his older brother why he had to go and pleading about how much he missed him. She drove 14-hours to give me that letter. From that point on, it began to hit me.

That hits the soul. That is so meaningful. For an individual to even think to do that let alone take action, how powerful. Alfred, what you personally processed through creating ‘The Beautiful’ is an emotive tale in itself, yet for you to be able to selfless and listen to others as you were going through your own season of darkness; that’s real. Your fans are healing their own wounds, personal tragedies and life experiences through your work as you are doing so yourself.

Exactly. I really felt honored that somebody thought that highly of me. The woman that drove to New Orleans for the show lives in Chicago. I always put her on the list when I play a show in Chicago, yet she always insists on paying to get in and she always brings a bunch of people with her. She understands that any single person in the house matters. She is one of those people who truly cares about my music. That is what really sparked my interest to start talking to every single person that interacts with me. Anybody can hit me up and if it is humanly possible, you’ll get a DM or something. I don’t do the copy and paste shit. I talk to every single person in specific to the conversation. I appreciate people enough to not do the robot shit. I talk to everybody as much I can about whatever it is that they want to talk about if they show any interest in my music. Even if they don’t listen to my music because I do have a lot of followers that just follow me without having ever heard a song.

It’s bigger than the music with you. I think it really is a movement toward the betterment of the human being’s health with you. Ever since I started riding along on your journey, I have found intrigue through the fact that you always maintain level ground. I recall about a month or so back that you straight up came forward and said that you needed a break. You chose to take some time for yourself. That is so important and empowering for fellow artists and human beings to see. You are just like the rest of us, you need some space too. You need to process what you have experienced to keep moving forward in a positive, forward-thinking manner.

You hit the nail on the head. As I was recording ‘The Beautiful’, I realized in hindsight that yes, I was recording it for my brother and his experience with mental health issues, but subconsciously I was doing it for myself. I am manic bipolar and I suffer from depression as well. This past year proved that more than ever. This has been one of the most stressful years of my life outside of music. I knew that I needed to take a break. The problem was that I was beginning to publicly go through what I was going through. It was seeping through my social media. As open and honest as I am with everybody, I do want to keep a level of privacy. I don’t want to be a fucking huge name in which everything that I do is something that is put on blast and accessible to everyone. I had to take a break for myself.

Good for you. You switched it up for your latest music video drop, “This Is True”. What inspired you to take a risk creatively and utilize digital art as means of expression?

One of my guys, MegaRan, who I have toured with a bit introduced me to this dude, Pete Adler, and I just thought that his work was hot. I really liked what he was doing. Right when I saw it, I asked him to do something for me and it turned out really dope. I saw Pete’s style and he brought my words and style to life. It is the most comments that I have ever gotten on a video. People have been just showing love for the video even though it is one of my least viewed videos so far. Every time that somebody has chosen to share the video, it may get 10 more views and as a new artist, that adds up.

You’d be surprised. One single extra person knowing about your music can equate to 5 more views here, 5 more views there. It’s all about word of mouth; every single view and share matters. It all adds up.

For sure. Right when the video dropped and people started to share it, I noticed that new fans were being made through people seeing the video and inquiring about who I was and my music.

You bended the “rules” of what a Hip-Hop video could be and showcased a unique new creative way to go about things; that matters. You’re just getting off a tour and as you know, you were exposed to tons of stimulus. How has pursuing music as an independent artist affected your home life?

For me, going home is always the best part. I rap at a high intensity when I play a show. I am putting a lot of effort forward at every single show. I know that doing that night after night across the country can be a lot. Don’t get me wrong, being on the road is great. Some nights we are rapping in front of a bunch of people and some nights we aren’t rapping in front of anybody. It’s still a grind. It makes me appreciate this music thing more and more. One thing that I learned on this last run is that yes, you can get 300 likes on a pic but what if nobody comes to your show? You can get 30 likes on a pic and your show could be packed. It is really about the impact that you have on people. The interaction that you have with people online and in real life matters. It’s all about value. This tour taught me value. There are people that I know personally who don’t value my music. There are people that I don’t know who value my music. I am focused on talking to my folks that come to the shows, leave comments, interact, buy the merch, etc.

You know, in that limelight and just being an artist, you do come across a lot of wolves in sheeps clothing. They come out of the woodworks and it is undeniable from there. It leaves a stench in the room. And you gotta consciously distance yourself from those people and focus on being there for those who do ride for you. You gotta find new people. We live in a world in which we have instant access to a global fan base at our leisure and fingertips. You choose what you want to do with it and what you want to make of it. Someone else is going to take care of you and ride for your art, you gotta choose to drop the dead weight.

Of course. That’s what it’s all about. I am such an emotional person that I will say that this past year, it almost got to me. I was feeding into it. I took it personal that 30 people that I talked to personally didn’t come to one of my shows. I did a show here in New Orleans and I don’t really know anybody here yet that that show was packed. It just goes to show. It started to kick my ass though. I was asking myself if I was worthy, if I did something wrong. I was asking myself if people actually liked my shit. That is one of the reasons why I took a break. But back to your point, this tour was great for me. I was able to visit some of my favorite cities like Memphis, Columbus and Cincinnati. I got to open up for Tank and The Bangas in Kansas City which was great. It was a great run, but I love to come home and rest.

For sure. Any upcoming tour or new music plans that you can fill us in about?

I am doing a really big tour next year that I am looking forward to. I have a lot of album that I am sitting on right now and I just don’t know when I am going to put it out. I don’t really record a lot. I just create when the mode hits me. I have a lot to look forward to.

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

Shout-out to everyone who is rocking with what I do. Y’all keep me afloat. You keep my life fresh and happy. Shout-out to everyone for showing love.

Alfred Banks Social Links:



Interview: Puppy

London Rockers, Puppy, are swinging for the fences with infectious riffs that sink into the skin of their growing global fanbase. Having signed a worldwide deal with Spinefarm Records, Puppy is slated to make some noise throughout the world of Rock early on in the game in 2019. On the brink of what is to be an exciting year for the band, I caught up with Vocalist, Jock Morton,to discuss the upcoming release of ‘The Goat’, how the band is overflowing with cooking prowess, the bond between the three of them and more.

Congrats on the upcoming release of your debut album, ‘The Goat’. Tell us about the creative and recording process and what you learned along the way.

Thanks very much. It was a long process in particularly in terms of recording. We were lucky enough to work with two very different and talented producers in the form of Tom Dalgety and Neil Kennedy, both of whom we learnt a lot from in terms of what they brought to the table during the recording process. From a writing perspective I felt we’ve grown a lot since we recorded the ‘Vol II’ EP, and thinking about groove was a big element to a lot of my favourite songs on the record like “Black Hole” and “World Stands Still”. Another one of my favourites, “Bathe In Blood”, has a real washed out shoegaze feel to it too which is a side of our songwriting we hadn’t really had a chance to explore before.

Tell us about the bond between the three of you. How did Puppy come alive?  

Well our Drummer, Billy, and I have been playing together in various bands since we were about 12 or 13, so musically we have a really good chemistry. We were both really into rock and metal growing up, but as we got older we ended up playing in more indie leaning bands, so when we hooked up with our bass player Will, his background playing in Doom and Stoner bands really helped bring our love of bands like Black Sabbath and Metallica back to the fore. We were able to mix that with the Dinosaur Jr/ Teenage Fanclub elements of what we were doing before to help create the sound of Puppy, and knowing that the music really comes from the bond between the three of us is a pretty cool thing to share.

Your new music video for “World Stands Still” is hilarious and full of punk rock energy. Tell us about the concept and what you desired to express throughout the video.

Our Drummer, Billy, directed it, so it’s his baby really. We wanted to come up with something which really represented the band visually without having us in it too much, and the idea of this sweet little girl made up like a goblin terrorising her neighbourhood really seemed to fit our music; I think at their heart the songs tend to be pretty sweet and fun, but with all these gnarly hallmarks of classic metal like big riffs and guitar solos. That’s pretty much Puppy in a nutshell.

Tell us about your experience so far being signed to Spinefarm Records, one of the most well-known and respected labels in the game.

It’s been great. Dante, our A&R, was completely invaluable during the recording process in particular. We were so used to just chucking together the first bunch of songs we had, and he really encouraged us to take our time and think about what we were doing. Without him songs like “World Stands Still” wouldn’t even be on the album, and I think the fact that it’s pretty much all of our favourite track from the album says a lot. He’s our heavy metal Buddha.

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.

Yeah, I think that’s actually really important to keep in mind in terms of not getting overwhelmed by the pressure of it or anything too. Billy is big into football and loves playing whenever possible. Me and him are big Arsenal fans and try to watch every game when we’re away on tour. I think if it came down to them winning the premier league or us winning a Grammy it would be a very tough call to make; Will and I are very into gaming as well, so we spend a lot of our van journeys boring Billy with our discussions about Metal Gear Solid. Besides that all three of us are pretty keen cooks and have a not so secret war going on as to who’s the best. Obviously it’s me though.

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?

Yeah it’s hard, but for me I try to let go a little in terms of what you’d expect from home comforts and take joy in the simplicity of just having to turn up and play shows and not worry about a day job for a couple of weeks or whatever. Once you get into the rhythm of that, then small things like finding a good place to eat or listening to some cool music or a podcast in the van all become nice little moments. I think the biggest thing you can do is pay attention to how others are doing around you and try to be there when they need it or give them space when they need that too.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old that you were?

I’m pretty sure I’m still 16-years-old and playing at being a grown up, but then when I get a hangover I’m reminded very painfully that I am not.

If you could hop on tour tomorrow with any three bands/musicians, who would you choose and why?  

That’s a real tough one. We’ve been listening to Hallas a lot in the van lately and we’re all very into them, so they’d have to be there. We also went to see Ghost recently at the Royal Albert Hall which was incredible, so to be able to see that show every night we’d have to put them on there. Lastly I’d have to say Dinosaur Jr from a personal perspective. They’ve been my favourite band for years and I want to try and play a show with them before the original trio decide to break up again. Bit of a weird line up but hey-ho.

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

Keep watching the skies.

Puppy 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:



Interview: Chasing Deer

London Indie Band, Chasing Deer, are on the brink of an exciting time as the upcoming release of their debut album, ‘Hands On’, is right around the corner. Through commitment to expanding awareness through implementing BSL into every one of their monthly single releases, the gents continue to reach into the hearts of listeners worldwide through being in tune with and growing their compassion bone. I caught up with the guys to discuss the upcoming release of their debut album, ‘Hands On’, raising awareness for BSL, the importance of downtime with the family and more.

Congrats on the upcoming release of your debut album, ‘Hands On’. Tell us about the creative and recording process and what you learned along the way.

Thanks! We’re really excited about it, it’s been a long time coming. As we perform every day as a trio, as well as live together, we have had endless opportunities to think of ideas and write songs about our experiences. This album has been significantly more collaborative than previous Chasing Deer releases so its represents us at this point in time very well. We split our recordings between a variety of studios, recording with modern producers as well as some very well established names.  

Did you discover any new avenues of expression through experimentation in the studio? If so, fill us in.

We wouldn’t describe this album as experimental as such, however we do love to visit studios with a good collection of vintage instruments and microphones to breathe new life into them. The Amsterdam Recording Company specifically has been one of our favourite places to record, with a whole host of keyboards and guitars available to us.

It is incredible how you are being proactive in raising awareness for BSL. Tell us about any backtale that has led you toward your connection with BSL.

Initially we loved the image of a hand against a black background as a striking and iconic look. This led to us researching signs, what they meant to people and then British Sign Language. Adam’s (drummer) mum used to learn British Sign Language whilst working with children in schools and it was all around him for many years, so we thought this would be a fantastic cause for us to get behind through our own artwork. We incorporated sign language into every one of of our monthly single releases and will have a BSL interpreted performance for our album launch show on 22nd November!

If any of our viewers have never been to London, what are some must visit restaurants that you recommend to check out?

We love our Greek and North African cuisine at the moment, with a restaurant called Souk Medina being one of our favourites for quite some time. When you’re sitting inside you will have no idea you’re still in London!

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.

We take pride in the inspiration and happiness we bring to people, whether outside a shop on cold winters morning to a queueing pensioner or as an important part in somebody’s wedding day. Learning from new cultures through our travelling also brings us new ways and inspirations to be positive and inspired.

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?

It can be difficult not only touring and performing in such close quarters, but in living together we literally spend every hour together. Humour really helps us along, as well as actually playing the music itself. If we’ve had a falling out, everything is forgotten as soon as that first note is played together. We find time for as much exercise as we can as well as trying to eat healthy. It’s always great to have so many connections with our home towns, and we regularly return to visit our families for some down time.  

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old that you were?

I suppose age is just a number, as they say. We are energetic, like to laugh and don’t take ourselves too seriously so people may well ask if we are actually a group of kids after a little too much sugar.

What is your personal opinion on how immersed society has become into the social media world?

We actually wrote a song about this on our previous EP ‘Moving On’ called “The Simple Life”, which is about turning off mobile phones and enjoying the world around you.

As a band we are very active on social media as it’s a necessity in the modern age, but we are big supporters in the movement to go out with friends and family (to see live music!), to support a local event or even to the pub once in a while. The world has had much taken away from it by social media, which is then being nicely repackaged and sold back to us (Watching a live stream of a musician playing down the road for example).

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

If you like what you read, come and join us at a show near you or drop us a message!
You can be part of our journey on all major social sites and listen to our music everywhere too.  

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