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Kelly Clarkson - Love So Soft

 

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Niall Horan Shows Us A Different Side Of Him In 'Flicker'
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Decked out in a casual black tee and a pair of black vans, Harry Styles was your typical 23-year-old prior to the start of his first solo show in Singapore.

One could easily fall into the trap of aggressively taking photos of Harry during his short chat with the media. But the intimate press conference was an experience like no other – people actually paying attention to what a musician had to say, instead of documenting his presence in the same room.

For that, we were allowed a peek into one of today’s most sought-after artist’s perspective, whether performing alone for the first time, being a music fan himself, or empowering women through music.

Read more about what went down during the press conference below.

 

How does it feel to be back on tour with your own band this time around?

It’s exciting. It’s definitely different, but I like trying different things. I wasn’t on the road for a couple of years and performing’s my favorite part of being in music. I’m having a lot of fun.

 

What’s your favorite song to perform onstage?
I think it’s probably Kiwi. It’s the one where it’s so much different live than when it’s on the album.  Every night I feel this energy from the crowd. They’ve been so amazing every time that we’ve played it. I love playing these songs and I just think Kiwi’s a standout, kind of highlight for me. Some of my favorite moments from the tour have been during Kiwi.

 

Where do you get inspiration from when writing all the songs on your album?

When you sit down and write, it’s a combination of stuff that you grew up listening to and anything you’ve ever heard. It’s hard not to be influenced by the things that you grew up on and what your parents were listening to. That kind of forms the basis of what you grow up thinking music is. Every time that you listen to something and you like something that you haven’t heard before or work out that you don’t like it, it all comes together and forms what you would want to make and what you’d listen to if it was yours. It’s constantly changing every time you listen to music. You use it as an influence in different ways. The foundation of what you hold as your reference of what music is is probably what your parents listen to and what’s played in the house as you’re growing up.

 

You’re well-known for your fashion taste and fans in Asia all love your different outfits. What’s your favorite look and what’s your consideration when picking out an outfit for the day?

It’s nothing crazy, but for the shows, it’s important to me that it’s fun. I want the show to feel like what I think the music sounds like. Clothes are just another way of expressing yourself and I think being able to do that with music and onstage as part of a show makes it so much fun for me to be able to experiment different things. I just wear stuff that I think is fun and I’ll be comfortable in onstage, and what I think will look good for the show. In terms of picking, sometimes stuff jumps out at you depending on where you are.

 

You’re going to have arena tours for this album next year. How is it going to be different from this theatre show?

I’m starting to think about what that show is going to be now and I’m trying to get some ideas together. I think it’s important that every show, whether the venues change or not, get a little bit bigger and a little bit better than the one before. Although I’ve toured before, this is the first time I’m doing it on my own and I feel like this tour I’ve learned so much about what it is to perform on my own. I feel like it’s been a big learning experience for me. So, going into the next one, there are a lot of things that I’ve learned that I didn’t know before. It’s always been important to me that the show is good because I want people to come even if they’re not necessarily the biggest fan of the music they can leave and appreciate the show and come and have a good time. It’s important to make sure that the show is always growing, change some stuff up and put some surprises in. So I’m looking forward to working out exactly what’s that gonna be.

 

What was it like when you did a show by yourself for the first time?

It was one of the most nerve-wracking things I think. During the shows, there were always a couple of places where I had to do things or speak or whatever. I was very aware that I was on my own. So that was interesting. But I really enjoyed doing that and trying to embrace it, it’s a lot of fun. I guess I enjoy the attention. So it’s been good, it’s been fun.

 

This is your first solo album - the grunge, the rock and the vast difference to what we heard previously. Is this the real Harry Styles or are we in for more sonic changes?

Every album represents a snapshot of time of where [a musician is at] at that point. For me, I felt that it was a lot of getting out stuff that I’d thought about in the past and stories that I wanted to tell. It’s an album that I wanted to make, but I didn’t necessarily know technically how it sounded. It’s difficult to tell exactly how something’s gonna sound. I’m sure it’s not gonna be exactly the same. I think it’s just as important to grow and develop and learn new things just as much as it is to have [a] foundation of who you are. There’s a lot of different stuff on the album and there’s a lot of different sounds and a lot of that is that I was working out what my first album was gonna sound like and what I would sound like as a solo artist. I was happy for people to go through that with me and experience all the different kinds of things. So I’m excited to see what the next album brings. I don’t think it will be too crazy far away, but I also think it’s important to embrace different things. I’ve learned a lot since this has come out about what I’d do differently and things that I liked. Touring has been a different experience and I’ve experienced a lot of different things since the first one came out. I feel lucky that I get to take all of that experience into the next one. I’m very excited to see what comes out at the end of it.

 

Did you get to decide what’s going to be on your album on your own or did everybody worked and put it together?

I worked with a group, a couple of guys that I've never worked with before. All of my favorite stuff is usually honest and the stuff that I connect with the most. The one thing that I knew I wanted to do when making this album was be honest. Going into a room with people you don't know is not always particularly easy to do - to open up and be honest about things that have hurt you and when you've made mistakes. That could be quite difficult. When I found a group of guys that I felt comfortable doing that with, I knew from that point that I wanted to make the whole album with them. A lot of them, it was their first time making this album this way too. It very much felt like we were a band working out what it was together. I got lucky that each person working on it had this much investment in the album and wanted it to be as good as I did. We very much listened to each other and talked a lot of things out. Ultimately, I have to perform it and it's my words, so to a degree that gives you a bit of decision-making power I guess. But I think we were all very much into it together and we all wanted it to be great.

 

Has your experience in films, especially Dunkirk, influenced your work ethic and artistry?

The main positive for me from doing the film was that for months, and possibly before that, I've always had a thought of if I was ever gonna make a record of my own, what it might sound like and what I wanted it to be. You go through so many different thoughts that start overlapping each other and become this mush. What the film let me do is kind of put music aside for a while and not think about it for 5 or 6 months. I never had that break from thinking about what was an album gonna sound like. By the time the filming finished, I was just thankful to not be swimming in freezing cold water and be writing songs. It kind of felt that I was going back to it fresh. You don't really get that chance if you're constantly thinking about music. I think it's really rare to have a restart button. I think the film helped me in that sense. I felt that I was coming back to writing music after a long break of not thinking about it at all, which I think was great for me.

 

Majority of your fans are young girls for whom you've shown a lot of pride and faith in. How do you ensure that they stay empowered and make the music scene a safe space for them?

I think music is and should be a safe space for everyone. I don't see why that would ever or should ever exclude women. I've said it before; I've been incredibly lucky to have the support that I've had through my time in music and touring. I feel very lucky for that. It's often dismissed a little bit - younger girls' taste in things. I still don't really understand that at all. Women and girls, in particular, are very much the future and our future. I feel very lucky to get to play in front of such an amazing group of strong women and men every night. It's something that I feel very honored to get to do. I feel incredibly grateful to be able to play in front of groups of such amazing people. Music, in general, is something that is so individual. Not everyone's taste is the same at all. It's something that can't be taken away from you. That in itself is incredibly powerful.

 

Between putting out an album and going on a world tour, acting, and performing in a Victoria Secret fashion show as a solo artist... What are the top 3 most enjoyable and memorable moments for you so far?

I'd say finishing the album was a big one for me. I've always loved performing so much and touring and doing shows. I've always really enjoyed writing music and being in the studio. This was the first time that I really got to immerse myself in the studio part of things. I'd never got to make an album this way. It was just one of the best times I ever had in my life, making this album. I just had the best time with the group of people I didn't really know, who now I consider some of my closest friends. I kind of fell in love with the studio side of music. If I wasn't lucky before, I consider myself that I was, I’m definitely lucky now that I get to do two sides of something that I love so much. So I'd say finishing that and when it was done, listening through it and realizing it was finished is definitely a highlight for me. Seeing Stevie Nicks is something that I'll never forget. I was a fan of her; I grew up listening to her music. It was pretty crazy to get to perform with her in The Troubadour as well. When we sound checked was probably my actual highlight because we were in an empty room and it was just me and her. That definitely was very special to me, something that I'll never forget. Then I think just the tour in general, I had so much fun doing it. It's so nice to get out and see people and I love playing these songs so much. People coming to your shows is the nicest thing that someone could do for you. They get a ticket and not only did they drive and come to the show, they listen and cheer for you if they like it. The whole experience is something that I don't really know anything that I've experienced that I could compare it to. It's just the greatest feeling I could possibly imagine. I feel so grateful to get to do it. I'm definitely looking forward to coming back around.

 

You have a huge fanbase in Asia, specifically in Korea where the mainstream music is K-pop. Any words for your Korean fans?

Just a massive thank you for the support. I hope I get out there soon. It's amazing to get to do this at any level. If I was just playing shows in England and if I was putting music out in England, I would feel incredibly lucky. The fact that I get to do it and travel around and meet lots of amazing people is something that I don't know I could ever top with anything else. I feel incredibly lucky to have this support and everyone who's allowed me to travel this way and play shows. The fact that people are coming to the shows is amazing. I only have 10 songs, so I feel pretty amazing I'm getting to do this right now. So a massive thank you [to] people in Korea and everywhere else for the support that you've shown me over the last few years and since the single and the album came out. I've been truly blown away, so thank you so much for everything.

******

We will be uploading the press con video soon. STALK US!

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