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Album Review: Our Top 3 Tracks From BTS' EP 'Love Yourself: Her'
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Album Review: 5 Must-Hear Tracks From Paramore’s Latest Record, ‘After Laughter’
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Album Review: Kasabian Revives Rock N’ Roll With New Record – 'For Crying Out Loud'
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Having started off as a humble band that recorded their debut EP It's All About the Girls in a friend’s apartment in 1997, New Found Glory progressed to claim the title of Pioneers of the beloved Pop-punk genre we know today, their influences seeping into virtually every release in the scene.

The band is still going strong two decades later, dropping their 9th studio album Makes Me Sick via Hopeless Records earlier this year in April. With Aron Sprinkle as the new producer on-board (MxPx, Anberlin, Acceptance), the album treads new territory with its sounds and risks taken. Guitarist Chad Gilbert commented on their new album, “[Make Me Sick is] our best. If you don’t believe me, buy it and prove me wrong!”

Read more as drummer Cyrus Bolooki answers questions on New Found Glory’s new music, including his favorite song from the album, and their future as a band.

 

1. What sets Makes Me Sick apart from your previous albums? How has your music evolved since Nothing Gold Can Stay?

I think all of our albums have their own identity, and each has its own sound and place in NFG’s catalog. Makes Me Sick is an album where I feel that we took NFG’s familiar sound from past records and added some extra layers to it, layers like keyboard and synth sounds, and still found a way to make it sound like classic NFG. Since Nothing Gold Can Stay our songwriting has definitely evolved, as we’ve become more comfortable with each other and our own musical talents, and it’s allowed us to take chances when needed or push the limits of our music to try new things and constantly revamp and refine NFG’s sound.

 

2. What's your favorite song from the album, and what draws you to it?

My favorite song is “Call Me Anti-Social”. For me, there’s a few reasons why I’m drawn to it. First off, I feel as though it’s a perfect representation of all of the elements contained on Makes Me Sick – heavy guitars, catchy vocals, and a synth lead. Also, it happened to be the first song that we had mixed after finishing in the studio, and when I heard it played back for the first time on good speakers it literally blew me off my chair, and definitely made me even more excited for this album.

 

3. On this album you had Aaron Sprinkle on-board as a producer for the first time. What was it like working with him?

Aaron Sprinkle is awesome as a producer, musician, and person. He brought a very cool extra element to our band, where we were able to suggest any kind of idea, whether it be a guitar sound, a harmony idea, or a keyboard line, and he would find a way to translate it and present it to us on the recording. With some of our prior albums, especially those where we self-produced them, we sometimes had trouble coming up with the little finishing touches for songs, things like the above-mentioned elements, and having Aaron there allowed us to relax a bit knowing that we would have another fresh set of ears and ideas always flowing. That’s one of the reasons why we were able to take some musical chances that we haven’t in the past in order to come up with new and creative ways to present our music.

 

4. Any challenges you faced during the making of the record?

No major challenges this time around, except for the usual ones – finishing on schedule, making sure that we play everything correctly, and the hardest one, picking which songs would make the cut for the album. We actually ended up recording a few extra songs that we didn’t include on the record and we hope to eventually release those in the near future.

 

5. What’s your favorite lyric off this album?

“Because we’re barbed wire…Two strands twisted to one…Razor sharp, no one will ever touch us.” I love those lines because I think anyone that’s been in a relationship with someone even though others might not approve or agree can relate to how strong love can be between two people, and sometimes it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about you, it’s what you think that matters.

 

6. As a band with a lengthy career, what has been your proudest moment so far?

So many moments have stood out throughout our career so it’s tough to pick just one, but I think besides having 3 gold albums to date, I’m most proud of having traveled the world multiple times and sharing the stage with some of my musical idols and biggest bands in our genre, bands like Blink-182 and Green Day.

 

7. What’s the main goal you want to achieve in these next few years?

At this point in our career, I think we just strive to continue. To continue to release albums, tour around the world, and most importantly, stay relevant within our genre and scene. I think we’ve done a great job of doing that throughout the years, so as long as we continue that and also continue to enjoy what we do, there is no end in sight for us!

 

8. What’s your biggest worry as a band?

This would probably be related to the previous answer. I think we worry about forcing this, about just doing this to do it, going through the motions with no actual sense of pride or enjoyment about it. If it gets to that point, then it’s time for us to have a serious conversation about whether or not we should continue. But until then, it’s all systems go, and as of now, there’s nothing stopping us from continuing to do what we love!

 

9. You're known as the Godfathers of Pop Punk. Any new up and coming bands that have caught your eye?

Another question that’s hard to answer. I usually tell people that I really like the record label that we’re signed to, Hopeless Records, as they have a great ear for new and up and coming bands, and most of their releases are pretty good. We have actually brought a bunch of their newer bands out on the road with us on recent tours, including our tour right now here in the UK where we have Roam supporting us.

 

10. Which songs are you most excited to play live?

On our current tour we’re playing 6 of our older albums in their entirety, so it’s been real fun to play some songs off of albums like Coming Home and Not Without A Fight that we rarely, if ever, play live. Other than that, I always love playing newer songs, so we’ve already played a few off of Makes Me Sick, “Happy Being Miserable,” “Party On Apocalypse,” and “Call Me Anti-Social.”

 

11. What are your plans after your tour?

After we finish here in the UK, we have only a short time off and then we’re going back out in the US for a continuation of our 20 Years of Pop Punk Tour. We’ve seen so much success with that tour that we decided to keep it going and bring it to even more cities around our country!

 

12. Finally, any message you want to leave for your fans in Singapore?

For us to have fans in a place like Singapore, so far away from our hometown, is just mind-blowing. We’re so appreciative to have people that support us all over the world, and we always look forward to traveling to places like Singapore to play our music to all of the NFG fans there. We hope to see you again soon!

 

Photo Credit: Hopeless Records

Despite emerging into the music scene at a young age, Norwegian DJ and producer Alan Walker proves that nothing’s impossible with ardent passion and persistent grit.

Having supported acts the likes of Rihanna and Justin Bieber, Walker initially started producing music only in his bedroom for the record label NoCopyrightSounds. This then led to the roaring success of his single, Faded, and a series of follow-up singles currently dominating the EDM scene.

 

We spoke to Walker about the symbolism in his music videos, his views on being a DJ, and a whole lot more in the interview below.

 

1. What kind of music did you listen to growing up and how did it influence your music now?

Techno music was my music of preference. That was also part of the reason for me wanting to pursue music production. After watching movies, I also gained an interest for film scores, so that has definitely influenced my music as well. Especially when it comes to melodies.

 

2. How do you choose vocalists for your songs? Is there a main criteria that you follow?

It varies from song to song. For Tired, I was actually presented with the demo vocals from Gavin James to begin with. And for Faded, we ended up going with Iselin Solheim’s vocals, even though she was initially intended for demo only. It was just so great, and went well with the song.

 

3. Prior to your success in the EDM scene, you were interested in computer programming and graphic design. How much did your interests in such areas impact your career in music?

It had a lot to say in developing my visual identity as an artist, and is something that you can find traces from in my artwork, logos, videos, and more.

 

4. The music videos for Alone and Faded start with characters with masks on, which they later take off at the end of the video. Can you explain the symbolism behind that recurring concept?

The mask is not about me wanting to hide my identity. Actually, I wear the mask to symbolize that people are all the same and all equal. For me, anyone could be the person behind the mask, and anyone can achieve amazing things.

 

5. How do you keep track of ideas you randomly get when you're touring?

That’s a good question. I’ll have to record or write them down somewhere, or share the idea with someone else in order to not forget it.

 

6. Can you share with us one song that you adore and wish you could've produced yourself?

My all-time favorite is ‘Time’ by Hans Zimmer.

 

7. Do you prefer to be a member of an audience or playing for a crowd? Why?

I enjoy both, actually. There’s nothing better than being on stage. But I also like to attend a show as a regular fan, especially with some of the artists I like.

 

8. Many EDM producers are drawing the lines between being a DJ and an artist. They think being an artist is more than just about the "drops" in their songs. What element in your music do you think sets you apart from the usual stereotypical impressions of being a DJ?

First of all, it’s important to note that you can still be either a DJ or an artist, without being both. And there’s obviously a lot of artists who don’t DJ, and vice versa. Also, I agree that being an artist is more than just creating drops. The music that is released by the most successful artists today is clearly a testament to that, because they are often complete tracks and not just driven by drops. You can see that on the charts as well, as EDM music has been a part of the top charts in recent time.

 

9. Which festival that you've played at is the most memorable for you and why?

Probably Main Stage at Tomorrowland this year. It was amazing!

 

10. Name 3 musicians that you can't stop listening to right now.

It varies from time to time. But at the moment: Hans Zimmer, Kygo and Armin Van Buuren

 

 

Photo Credit: Rikkard Häggbom

LANY’s indescribable allure has captured the hearts of many - most of whom are seeking solace in their dreamlike soundscapes and visually appealing floral aesthetic.

This is almost unsurprising as the three-piece band embodies a laid-back aura synonymous to their romantic yet effervescent melodies.

But there’s more to it than meets the eye as frontman Paul Klein opens up about their writing process while briefly mentioning the possibility of coming back to Asia next year.

The slightly reserved guitarist/keyboardist Les Priest and drummer Jake Goss also joined in the conversation as we played the famous game, "Never Have I Ever" - Do the bandmates use each other's toothbrush? Have they ever embarrassed themselves on stage?

Find out all these and more in the video below.

 

Photo credit: Teejay Vergara for Spin or Bin Music

Having spent their early years as a band busking in New York, AJR certainly deserve the blazing attention they’re receiving at the moment. Not to mention, opening for acts like The Vamps, Fifth Harmony, and Demi Lovato.

Brothers Adam, Jack, and Ryan Met might have just stumbled into music as a hobby, but the trio have developed an undying passion for their art evident in the massive success of their viral singles, I’m Ready and Weak.

Read more about AJR as they answer some of your burning questions, including being repeatedly compared to Twenty One Pilots and the possibility of playing in Singapore.

 

1. What band names did you consider before deciding on AJR?

We tried ARJ, JAR, and RAJ, but AJR just sounded the best. Also, the letters are alphabetical.

 

2. Most music sites would label your genre of music as “indie pop,” but it also has been compared to Twenty One Pilots' "ukulele screamo" music. Do you think your music could be compartmentalized into a certain genre? If so, what would it be and why?

Nowadays the idea of genre is an amorphous concept. People experiment with many different types of music in order to keep the attention of a schizophrenic generation. We are guilty of this as well. Songs need to keep surprising people in order to stay relevant. I would consider us pop music, but with many other influences.

 

3. We’ve heard that you wrote your hit song Weak in a day. Could you share with us the inspiration behind that song?

While at a show for another band, we saw a sticker that said “The Weaklings”. We thought that it could be an interesting concept for a song. Additionally, the song takes an alternate perspective on strength and confidence, a concept that you hear a lot of on the radio.

 

4. Do you have any other hobbies that you occasionally turn to whenever you experience a “creative block?”

Ryan and Jack are very into film, and jack just completed his first screenplay.

 

5. How has your music evolved from your first album, Living Room, to your latest record, The Click, which was released recently?

On the first album, we focused primarily on melody and production. On The Click, our focus was the lyrics. We wanted to write songs with topics that had never been heard before in pop music. All the songs come from personal stories so we hope that fans can relate to our experiences trying to find ourselves as young adults.

 

6. Name one artist that you’ve opened for in the past years whom you can mostly relate to artistically?

Ingrid Michaelson was an incredible inspiration. Opening for her was one of our biggest learning experiences. She is such a talented songwriter and performer and we were honored when she asked us to feature on her new single, Celebrate.

 

7. Aside from touring, are there any projects that you are currently working on right now?

We are working on a lot of music, writing for other artists and featuring on other records, although we can’t mention names at the moment, we are really excited for these collaborations to drop in the next few months.

 

8. Are there any plans to bring your live music to Asia, specifically to Singapore?

We would love to visit Singapore. We know from social media that we have many fans there. Visiting new countries and experiencing new cultures is one of the best things about touring internationally and to continue the journey in Asia would be great.

 

9. What can we expect from AJR in the next 5 years?

Lots of writing, both for us and for other artists, and lots of touring. We want to keep developing as artists so we can keep offering new things to the industry.

 

10. What advice can you give to aspiring musicians?

Write as much as possible. One of the most difficult things is to figure out who you are as an artist and one of the best ways to do that is to write as many songs as possible, trying to figure out what you can bring to the table, especially if it’ s something unique. 

 

 

Photo Credit: Sony Music Singapore

Back in Singapore for his first solo show, 24-year-old singing sensation Nathan Sykes remains genuine as ever as he sat down with us for a little chat.

With the help of fans from Twitter, we've compiled several "Would You Rather" questions for Nathan that he was already anticipating even prior to the start of our interview.

Embodying a new persona while still trying to grow as an artist, Nathan proves that being true to himself is the most important part of his music.

Certain moments in the interview did manifest how he's just like everyone else - fanboying over Harry Potter or confessing about getting anxious in a room full of strangers.

It's definitely impossible not to like the Starbucks-obsessed lad, especially when enthusiasm and eager passion seep into every word he says.

Watch Nathan Sykes spill sneaky details about his second album, followed by the much-awaited "Would you Rather" challenge!

 

Photo Credit: Spin or Bin Music