Interview, RPM, Singer-Songwriter

Moroccan Ballroom – A Chat with Katie Toupin

Katie Toupin grew up in Indiana and became part of the band Houndmouth. After taking a few years off, Katie took her chances at writing her own music and moved to LA. The result of this is her self released EP: Moroccan Ballroom, coming out March 2nd. I was fortunate enough to speak with Toupin on air about her new music, Midwestern upbringing, and her dog, Cheeto.

AE: Your EP is called Moroccan Ballroom. Can you tell what listeners can expect from the new sound?

KT: Moroccan Ballroom is named after the room in which we recorded in… I just spent 6 hours recording. And then when it was done we were looking back and thought this sounds great. This is exactly who I am, exactly where I’m at. These songs are all tracked live and they sound really great to me. There are five tracks on the EP and they all sound different. There’s an upbeat thing, there’s a very flow full key thing, there’s a duet, and a little darker rock, so there are different songs but they’re all me in my own voice.katie2

AE: The album cover is aesthetically pleasing, I love the colors. Can you tell us a little about the album cover? Was it shot in an actual moroccan ballroom?

KT: Thank you! No, the album cover is actually a subway station in Hollywood. My boyfriend is a photographer so he had taken it. Right when I saw that particular photo I said “Oh that’s gotta be the album cover”. No doubt in my mind. We’re actually shooting a music video for ‘Shake Baby’ which will be the new single we release. We walk through that subway station in the music video so you get to see a little bit more.

AE: You recently moved to LA. Do you think that’s influenced your sound at all?

KT: It’s hard to say. I took two years away from music after leaving [Houndmouth]. I was writing the whole time and it was a two year process of trial and error. Trying to find who I am because it was basically my entire adult life I spent in that band and the people in that band. I moved to LA about a year ago. And it’s really the first time I’ve had my own place and wasn’t travelling all the time and had got to have a normal routine… It’s the first time I feel confident in who I am. It took settling down for a second to find that and feel grounded. When I first moved I was like, do I wanna make pop music? Do I wanna make electronic music? What do I wanna do? I was all over the map. I think being in LA sorta helped me own what I have, which is a midwestern upbringing and a midwestern mixture of sound.

AE: I think whenever a person has a transition period it gives them time to define who they are and what kind of person they want to be. I think it’s important to know who you are… it’s good to have a sense of identity.

KT: Change is hard and a lot of the songs are about that change… I tapped in that as I went along and hopefully captured [that change] for the music part.  

AE: Is there a set date for Boston?

KT: I don’t have a set date for boston I literally in the last few days locked in some booking agents and was getting it all sorted. Because this is an entirely self released EP, there’s no label behind it. Im very happy about that. In a lot of ways this connected to the fans… I listen and can make things happen and decide in the direction in which I want things to go. [my listener’s] opinion very much matters to me. So I hope to get to Boston…  I’ll get there very soon.

AE: Are you listening to anyone in particular right now?

KT: Not anything new. I’m not great at finding new music. I find stuff I like and listen to it over and over. Recently, I’ve been on this pretty strong Strokes kick.

AE: Lastly… Your social media is always filled with beautiful pictures of your dog, Cheeto…

KT: He’s actually sitting right next to me right now, in a sweater with ears on the hood. I think I want to tour with him… I want to figure out how to bring him along. He’s like my best buddy. I thought I should maybe have a social media page entirely for my dog but I’m not sure I want to be entirely one of those people. Do I want to commit there? I’m not sure.

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Toupin’s dog, Cheeto. Taken from her instagram: @katietoupin

Pre-order: Moroccan Ballroom

Katie Toupin’s Official Website

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Dream Pop, Hip Hop, Indie Pop, Interview, Jazz, RPM, Singer-Songwriter

We Carry Us: A Conversation With Bell’s Roar

When the world at large polices your expression, limits your resources, and overlooks your creative efforts simply for being yourself, carving out new and unconventional avenues to success becomes imperative.

Bell’s Roar, the solo project of Sean Desiree, personifies this struggle. The Albany, NY-based musician released We Carry Us last month, a collection of ten gorgeous tracks about trans community, perseverance, rectitude and self-love. Across the record, Desiree meticulously cultivates the most tender and worrisome of feelings around a glut of sounds: it’s alternative soul, jubilant synth-pop, and oceanic dream-jazz from one moment to the next– a viscous, mystifying bedlam.

On the outset of their Art Funds Art Tour, a wonderful funding initiative for marginalized artists, we invited Bell’s Roar to our studios to chat about their newest record, independent musicianship, activism, table-making and more!

This interview was conducted by Hayden Fisher on February 2nd, 2018.

All bed music by Bell’s Roar.

The Art Funds Art Tour:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Donate to the Art Funds Art Tour

http://bellsroarmusic.com/

South End Pallet Works

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Dream Pop, Interview, Rock, Uncategorized

“We Were Storming The Gates” ~ The Return of Calico Blue

Familiarity feels wonderful, especially after an extended period of newness, discomfort, or transition. If you are or were a college student in the Pioneer Valley, the five-college area has its own sense of familiarity, even fantasy. Everyone knows the thrum of music and sports games emanating from North Pleasant bars on a Friday or Saturday night; you likely have oddly rosy memories of being squished against a glass divider trying to order a slice from Antonio’s at around the same time. Maybe you frequented Cushman’s a lot and especially on mornings you were hungover; maybe you took a bus to the Roost on Sundays to study, maybe the most cardio you ever got was scaling the hills of Central, maybe you stayed for the summer and took a dip or two thousand in Puffer’s Pond, maybe you’ve walked the length of Lincoln Ave or Main Street in Amherst about ten billion times at all hours, with friends or alone, smoking or laughing or sad or just strolling. Maybe maybe maybe.

Calico Blue embodies this specific, dreamy familiarity; they were created by it. I transferred to UMass my sophomore year– fall of 2016– and knew who they were within a week. When it came to local music, the band was almost synonymous with the word “Amherst”; every other party I heard about or attended they played, and everyone who knew them beyond a wonderful band to dance to (while three sheets to the wind) would not shut up about their extremely chill reimagining of a five-decade old doo-wop classic.

Calico Blue was, and in many ways still is, that sweaty basement and not being able to hear your friends, not even knowing where they were (depending on the situation), and walking home with your heart full, arms linked with your pals or a sweetheart, looking at the stars, surviving every day just to shake off the angst of academic responsibility and existential dread every weekend; whatever ate or eats at you in these formative years.

CB remained that blues-driven, psychedelic salve of the pioneer valley until recently. After four years of relentless gigging, building a considerable local following, releasing two full-length records and touring cross-country with other local favorites Spirit Ghost, the quartet dispersed this past July, their members in post-grad limbo, resituating themselves and recalibrating for a newer chapter in their lives.

The intention was never to stop, though. After seven months away, Calico Blue has returned to Amherst for a string of local shows and an excursion to Boston, much to our joy!

WMUA invited Calico Blue to our studios for an in-depth interview discussing their time away, the making of their newest record, the future of the band, the group’s musical DNA and much, much more.

This interview was conducted by Samantha Colby and Hayden Fisher on January 17th, 2018.

Bed music by Calico Blue, Spirit Ghost and Petting Zoo.

Calico Blue plays Allston tonight!

 

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Interview, Power Pop, Rock

Vundabar Interview – Boston Calling 2017

WMUA’s DJ Toasty Z caught up with Vundabar for a goofy ass interview after their set at Boston Calling this past summer. We’re finally releasing it from the vault– they talk making Eric Andre laugh, hard-boiled eggs, the craziest thing they’ve ever done at a show, and much more!

Filmed by: Sam Colby
Assisted by: Kim Smith

If you enjoy the interview, make sure to check out Toasty’s channel www.youtube.com/hiphopmademedoit for exclusive interviews with local and underground hip-hop artists, freestyles, music vlogs, and other exclusive content.

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