Category Archives: Interviews

That One Eyed Kid Interview

The Great Beyond is pleased to bring you That One Eyed Kid, or, as his friend may know him, Josh Friedman. I had the opportunity to speak candidly with Josh back in June about topics that included his battle with and survival from cancer, his new album, Crash & Burn, his musical influences and even some of his favorite sports team. Enjoy the interview.

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INTERVIEW: Jared Putnam of The March Divide

Jared Putnam has been a rather busy man.  In late 2014, he released Billions to critical acclaim such as that written by Greg Shaw of Nanobot Rock Reviews, “…the development of the emo/post-punk sound that has given The March Divide wings soars to new heights.”  While continuing to write songs, Putnam embarked on a month-long tour which included stops in Texas and New Mexico.  In February, Putnam released an EP of music entitled +1, which he vehemently proclaims are not B-sides by explaining that he did not want them to get lost in the mix of Billions.

Recently, the Great Beyond Music Blog traded emails with Putnam to get his an idea of what was happening with the band and himself.

GBMB: Let’s start with a few silly questions that will hopefully give people better insight into who Jared Putnam is.

FAVORITE CARTOON CHARACTER.

JP: Brain, from Pinky & the Brain

GBMB: FAVORITE MEAL YOUR MOM MADE:

JP: She didn’t really cook, so Mac & Cheese, I guess…

GBMB: FIRST CAR YOU OWNED:

JP: 1984 Toyota Tercel!!

GBMB: COKE OR PEPSI:

JP: Coke, for sure.

GBMB: RED OR GREEN:

JP: Green

GBMB: WHAT’S THE STRANGEST EXPERIENCE YOU’VE EVER HAD AT ONE OF YOUR CONCERTS?

JP: This isn’t from a show, but the coolest tour story that comes to mind, is when I was on tour with my old band, The Conversation, around ten years ago. We were out on Bourbon St., in New Orleans selling cd’s & promoting our show in town for the next day when we met Dave Brokie of GWAR!  He bought a cd from us for $40 & put us on the guest list & backstage passes for their show that night. Awesome guy, it’s sad that he died.

GBMB: The lyrics on +1 run the gamut from anger to love letter.  Who are you writing to?  Is there a story that threads through the music?  If so, tell me a little about that story.

JP: While there are a few songs written to certain individuals, most of the songs from these releases are written to myself. I stopped playing music full time in late 2005 with no intentions of ever going back to it. The common theme to a lot of these songs is reflection on why I’ve come back to it & all the ups & downs that come with that. While it’s all personal, I’d like to think that others can relate to what I’m saying in the songs. I think we’ve all been there in one way or another.

GBMB: You’ve said you were in a “GOOD PLACE” as you were writing this music.  When does a writer know they are “in the zone” or is that simply left up to the music buying public?

JP: I think that’s probably different for everyone, & the music buying public definitely has the final say. What I meant by saying I was in a “good place” writing these songs, is that they were easy for me to write. I just feel like I was on a roll.

GBMB: Describe your writing process.  Which comes first, music or lyrics?  Do you have a special place where you often go to write?

JP: I almost always start with the music & a melody, with the lyrics hopefully following soon after. I don’t really have a special place that I go to write, I guess my couch is where I come up with most of my song ideas. I’m constantly noodling around on my guitar, until something I think is cool, comes out.

GBMB: You’ve talked about your love of emo music.  In your opinion, is emo still relevant?  Why or why not?

It’s certainly still relevant to me! And, I honestly don’t think it ever went away. With the access that everyone has to everything, all the time, these days, I think all music will remain relevant, as long as someone out there is seeking it out.

I didn’t set out to write an emo record, & I’m not sure that it really is, or that I ever will again. But, I’m proud that it’s perceived that way, because that whole era will always mean a lot to me.

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The opening track, “Forward Thinking” is about opportunities lost.  Putnam writes, “..distracted by what could have been / or what I might have lost.”  Here is a lyric video for “Forward Thinking,” which was recently premiered by Diffuser.fm.

This video is from the EP, Four, which was also released in 2014.

Finally, to whet your appetite a bit more, we bring you one more track from the +1 release.  Here is “You Saved Me.”

For upcoming March Divide shows, click HERE.

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Twinsmith Interview

Twinsmith will be in Albuquerque, NM, this Tuesday, March 24th, performing at Sister as the opening act for Cursive. They will be previewing new music from their forthcoming album, , on the Saddle Creek label; which, coincidentally, is based in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. This will be the first full-length release on Saddle Creek and their second overall. Their self-titled debut was released back in 2013 and, “Honesty,” a 7-inch single, was released on Saddle Creek.

twinsmith_heroTwinsmith is: Jordan Smith (vocals, guitar), Oliver Morgan (drums), Matt Regner (guitar, synths), and Bill Sharp (bass).

Twinsmith will be touring in the eastern half of the US for the majority of March. Before finishing in Wichita, KS, the band will showcase/perform at the SXSW Conference in Austin, TX.

Bassist Bill Sharp recently logged-on to his computer to answer a few questions.

GBMB: This will be your second full-length release.  What were the most important lessons gleaned from the first album that you have implemented in the writing and recording of this album?

BS: We had a different drummer play the drum tracks on the self-titled LP and Matt and Jordan tracked most of the bass parts. I was working a more-than-full-time job when we were recording, so I really see this as the first proper Twinsmith album. This time around, we were all able to contribute in the studio and we all had input throughout the entire process, which resulted in an album that is a lot more dynamic and at the same time feels like a more cohesive work when compared to the self-titled LP.

GBMB: As the release date draws nearer, which do you believe you will experience more of: excitement or anxiety?  How do you believe it will manifest?  What tricks have your learned to overcome and/or calm these emotions?

BS: We’ve been done with the recording of the album for a couple of months now and, I think I can speak for all of us when I say, we’re definitely more excited than anxious about getting these songs out to people in May and seeing how they react to them. We have a lot of fun playing these songs and I really think people are gonna have fun listening to them.

GBMB: Tell me the story/references behind the title “Alligator Years”.

BS: It has a lot of meanings, depending on whom you ask.  I read something that said the average lifespan of an alligator varies based on whether or not they’re in captivity. In the wild, an alligator’s lifespan is about the same as a human. Assuming they don’t die unnaturally, they can live to be 70-115 years old. In captivity, their lifespan is 30-50 years.  It’s a question of which kind of alligator years you want to live: 30-50 guaranteed years of safe, stagnant life? Or would you rather take your chances in the wild, where there’s greater risk, but greater potential?

GBMB: Let’s talk about your producers, Darner and Pettipoole.  What went into the decision to use these two as opposed to, say, self-producing?  What are the advantages/disadvantages to having another voice/ear in the studio?

BS: Luke Pettipoole had expressed interest in wanting to work with us, which sort of got the ball rolling. We were all familiar with his work with his band, The Envy Corps, and he’s a really sweet guy, so it was an easy choice for us to make. Brandon Darner, also of The Envy Corps, was more of a wild card. We knew of his credentials, working with Imagine Dragons and such, but didn’t know him personally. Luckily, he turned out to be a pretty cool guy and an asset in the studio.

As a producer, Luke kind of became the fifth member of the band, which was cool. He would toss out ideas on songs that we’d all sort of hit a wall with, and, then, the four of us would take those ideas and build upon them.  When we would have an idea for a specific sound, but didn’t know exactly how to achieve it, his wealth of technical knowledge took us everywhere we wanted to go, sonically. He was great to have around.

Stream the first track from the forthcoming Alligator Years:

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James Muschler of Moon Hooch

Photo by Shervin Lainez
Photo by Shervin Lainez

Moon Hooch is horn players Mike Wilbur, Wenzl McGowen and  drummer James Muschler.  The following is an email exchange that took place between Great Beyond Music Blog (GBMB) and James Muschler (JM), drummer, of Moon Hooch.

GBMB: I can vividly remember riding the “L”, “M” and other trains from Queens to Manhattan (I graduated from Baruch College) and being thoroughly entertained by the preachers, teachers, seekers and musicians on those trains and platforms.  What life lessons did you learn from your time busking in the subways.

JM: Life lessons from the subway. Yea, there are many! One lesson that comes to mind is that when we were making music in the subway, it became important to maintain our focus, for the sake of the music. It was easy to let external distractions take our attention, so it was great place to practice devoting ourselves to the music, in the midst of all the craziness.

GBMB: Elaborate, if you will, on “Cave Music”.  For those around the country who may have never ridden in a subway, what exactly is Cave Music?

JM: About a month after Moon Hooch formed, my friend left me a message on my phone. It went, ‘Hey James, I just thought of a new style of music. It’s called cave music. It’s like house, but more jagged, wild, free and natural to live in.’ End of voicemail. Cave music described us perfectly, so from that moment on, that is what we have been calling our music.

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GBMB: I want to preface this question by saying that I am not a vegan.  Having said that, the (minimal) knowledge that I have comes from reading articles about vegan diets.  One such article came from LIVESTRONG.COM. It mentioned that a disadvantage of the vegan diet is possible deficiency in vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin D, Iron, Protein, Calcium and B-12.  Now, my question, do you often find it difficult to marry a touring musician and vegan lifestyle?  What steps do you take to ensure that you are able to keep your energy at its peak at all times?

JM: Well, I will first start off by saying that none of us are truly vegan. We are definitely veg, though. We have gone through periods of time where we were vegan, but when we’re on the road, sometimes we just have to eat, and the only option available has butter or milk or cheese or whatever. Butter, milk, and cheese are delicious, after all, and I am grateful for any and all food that keeps me going. When we hit the road for a big tour, though, I like to bring an electric skillet, along with a cutting board, a chefs knife, a few other cooking tools, and a whole pantry full of ingredients – grains, legumes, spices, etc. When we have some time to stop at a farmers market, we’ll buy a bunch of fresh produce, and later, at the venue, I’ll cook a big dinner either before or after our set. These backstage meals are a lot of fun, and cooking on the road definitely makes it easier for us to eat more vegan meals. As for the possible vitamin deficiencies of a vegan diet that you mentioned, I think that the important thing with any diet is to eat mostly plants. There is plenty of vitamin D, iron, protein, and calcium in a diet rich in a variety of plant foods. Every nutritionist I’ve spoken with has told me this. And statistically, cultures that celebrate fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and legumes as the main components of their cuisines benefit from far better health and suffer from disease far less and than cultures who consider meat to be a crucial part of their cuisine.

GBMB: I have to believe that your musical influences are far and varied.  Please share some of those influences and what in particular you have learned from these influences.

JM: Hindustani Indian Classical Music blows me away over and over again. Also John Coltrane. I am a big fan of contemporary classical composers like Morton Feldman, John Cage, Gyorgi Ligeti, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Some more favorites are Frederic Chopin, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Tiny Hazard, Meshuggah, and Rage Against the Machine. All of this music resonates with me on a high level. My study of tabla and of Hindustani Indian Classical Music has taught me lessons in focus and discipline, and of experiencing music as meditation. John Coltrane, I feel, deepened my love for music in a way that nobody else had ever before. Tiny Hazard is an amazing band from Brooklyn that moves me deeply every time I see them. Gyorgi Ligeti’s “Lux Aeterna” is, I think, my favorite piece of written music.