Keegan McInroe: the Musician, Writer, and the Ultimate Talent.

Sick Lit Magazine: As I listened to your LP [Uncouth Pilgrims] from beginning to end, I heard sounds reminiscent of Robert Earl Keen, Stevie Ray Vaughn all the way over to the other end of the spectrum at Rob Zombie. I love your range and diversity–all of this being said, what largely inspired this range? Many people have compared you to Tom Waits over the years; I think that is largely attributed to the grit and soul in your voice. However, I think in terms of style, yours is quite different. In fact, I think one could just as easily compare the intensity of your voice to that of  James Brown.

Keegan McInroe: Oh wow! James Brown and Rob Zombie are two I haven’t heard before. Tom Waits I’ve heard often, even before I knew who Tom Waits is. He’s definitely an influence, though. And there are other musical influences, of course, from old country and blues and folk, but perhaps the largest inspiration for the particular sounds of the album was two-fold: the songs themselves and the musicians my co-producer Ben Napier and I chose to help us color the songs with. 
 
I had decided on the theme and title for the album before most of the record was written. Uncouth Pilgrims is a phrase I got and held onto years ago from Mark Twain’s travelogue The Innocents Abroad, and whereas his pilgrims were religious in nature, the pilgrims on Uncouth Pilgrims are romantic. But love, despite being the perhaps assumed end goal of a romantic pilgrim, often isn’t. So sometimes the songs and stories called for a more gentle, romantic treatment, but certainly some called for a more base, lusty, and grittier handling. And of course, the way those more gentle and less gentle songs come through, will be filtered through my rootsy musical influences.
 
I’ve been very fortunate to get to know and become friends with many great musicians in the Fort Worth [Texas] scene, in particular. And, as I don’t have a set band, per se, there’s a lot of freedom to bring in musicians that you feel will serve the song or push the song in a direction you’d like to see it take. Of course, sometimes in that process, you end up with some musical moments that are quite unexpected, something quite beyond the demoed idea. And for this record, we did a great portion of the more electric tracks live, so then that really carries some energy into songs that might not occur in a more heavily stacked and overdubbed session. 
 
Ultimately, the overall and diverse sonic feel of the album is very much what I had set out to achieve, but certainly there were also many surprises that came about from all the various minds coming together to bring the thing to life. Though, from my work on my previous albums, these surprises aren’t unexpected — if that makes sense. You know there will be happy accidents and surprises when you set out. The surprises and bringing to life of the songs is one of my favorite parts of the process.
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SLM: Uncouth Pilgrims goes from upbeat ballads to fast-paced bluesy, rock with sick guitar riffs, to songs with a choir in the background. It’s truly a beautiful record. What artists/musicians did you listen to growing up? Who would you say shaped your style? 
 

KM: Thank you so much! To be honest, most of my time growing up was listening to whatever was coming out of popular country music on the radio, though I did get a little Marty Robbins and Jimmy Dean from my grandmother’s record player. But it wasn’t until I listened to the Grateful Dead’s American Beauty album when I was about 14 or so, that I started desiring to play music myself. So the Dead’s more folk, acoustic stuff was a big early influence, as was Jim Croce and Ben Harper — first song I learned how to play was Harper’s tune “Burn One Down” — and Widespread Panic, who I spent a lot of time following around the country slinging bootleg t-shirts from the back of my VW Bug. 
 
As I began to play more, people like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, and Tom Waits all became bigger influences. And it wasn’t until I started listening to and watching Townes van Zandt’s and Mississippi John Hurt’s fingerpicking styles that I started working out that part of my playing, so they’re probably two of my biggest guitar influences at the moment. They’ve definitely helped shape whatever style I may have.
 Keegan Mcinroe@Comptoir Des  Arts-22
SLM: What’s playing in your CD player/record player/iphone right now? 
 


KM: One unusual thing now is a really great Hunter S. Thompson boxset of his personal voice-recorded notes from various different assignments he found himself working on. There’s been a heavy dose of David Bowie lately. There’s the pretty constant Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and Townes van Zandt and Willie Nelson presence. Strangely, though, often when I’m alone or driving, I kind of prefer silence to listening to music. One is constantly inundated with music and voices, so I realized several years back that I increasingly will find myself sitting in silence over turning on the radio or something.

SLM: What inspires your songwriting? 

KM: Heartbreak in it’s various forms, predominately. Melancholy and rain and grey skies are inspiring. But also travel. Travel and the inevitable stories from the road are a big inspiration for this latest album. 

SLM: Tell me about some of the most exciting and/or humbling experiences you’ve encountered thus far in your musical career. 
 

KM: For me the most exciting part of my music career is being able to travel like I have. Back in October I just returned from my sixth tour of Europe since 2012, and I am planning the next tour for this coming summer. I absolutely love getting to explore Europe and the United States and meet and get to know the people and cultures in the various places. Music has been a great vehicle for that. 
 
Travel can also be quite humbling, as it can challenge preconceived notions and ideologies that might be lingering somewhere inside you. 
 
It’s also quite humbling and powerful anytime someone comes up to me to tell me about how this or that song touched them, what it meant to them, how it helped them.

SLM: What are some of the pros and cons of the music industry today? What are some of the issues you have with it? 

KM: Some pros that come to mind are the unbelievable and amazing growths in technology, both online and in recording, which has made it possible for anyone and everyone to get their art out to the world without needing thousands and thousands of dollars to do it. To some degree, this has also brought some of the power back to the artist and out of the hands of record executives and so on.
 
Of course, those same amazing technologies have also brought their own challenges in terms of over-saturation of online and physical markets and listener fatigue. But I prefer the more decentralized nature to the fat cat gate keepers deciding who can and can’t be heard — which they still have plenty of say in. 

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[Some of Keegan’s Instagram photos]

SLM: For some of our readers who may not be familiar with you, your musical talent and your sound, where can we listen to your new LP? Where can we buy it? Are you touring? And, lastly, do you have anything released on vinyl? 

KM: This album and all of my previous albums — as well as up to date touring information — are available directly from my website (http://www.keeganmcinroe.com/albums) for name-your-own-price download. 
 
You can also get a digital or physical copy from CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/keeganmcinroe3
 
If you prefer iTunes, it is available here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/uncouth-pilgrims/id1069266856
 
And it’s available to stream on Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/keegan-mcinroe
 
I am playing around Texas some, including the album’s release party in Fort Worth at Lola’s Saloon on February 13. And plans are coming together for a return tour in Europe this summer. 
 
I would love to have the new album released on vinyl, but unfortunately the funds aren’t there at the moment to make that happen. Which is a pity, because I’d love to hear it that way. I am confident somewhere down the road, that will happen. 

SLM: How have your musical influences changed over the years? How has it affected your sound [if at all]? 

KM: My musical influences have grown and expanded, but I don’t know how much I’d say they’ve changed. The initial influences are still present. They just have more company now. 

SLM: Since we are also a literary journal, would you mind telling some of our readers about your writing career? 

KM: My writing career, aside from songwriting, has been pretty limited to this point. In 2001, I was inducted into the International Society of Poets, a far loftier-sounding designation than it is, I assure you. I’ve done a small amount of writing for the online news site Digital Journal, particularly during the Occupy Dallas protests. 
 
Most noteworthy, I suppose, would be the online column I wrote for the Fort Worth Weekly during the summers of 2013 and 2015 called Texas Troubadour Abroad, wherein I shared some of my experiences from the road. 
 
I hope to do much more writing in the future. I currently have about three to five novels/screenplays/who-knows-whats in long incubation waiting to be birthed, but there’s no real sign there’ll be any fresh hatchlings outside of songs in the near future as I am fairly busy pushing this new record, booking shows, and getting ready to hit the road as much as possible in this new year.
SLM: What piece/pieces of advice would you give to a struggling writer or musician who’s been rejected over and over again, on the verge of quitting? 

KM: Oh boy. I think one of the biggest things is to find out what’s really important to you. If having a bunch of material things is important, having a nice place to live, a nice car to drive, and so on, then probably quitting isn’t a bad idea, especially insofar as looking at it as a way to make a living. Even when you’re real good and somewhat established, it’s often quite difficult to make much money, though certainly there are ways. 
 
However, if the writing is more important, if the freedom of the lifestyle of a so-called artist is appealing in its reality — versus the romanticized ideal — if the pushed lifestyle we’re all indoctrinated to believe we need and must achieve is not so much a concern, or better yet if it’s somewhat anathema to you, well then continue writing and create the reality you wish for yourself. 
 
Create the reality you wish for yourself, either way, in every and any way you’re able. 
 
But more practically, patience is important. And along a similar line, nothing is more discouraging and less helpful than comparing yourself to others. Don’t worry about what Bob Dylan was doing at your age. That’s gonna hurt. Look at what you’re doing now, what you want to be doing tomorrow and how you can improve, and take the practical steps to get you closer to there. 

SLM: What’s the best venue you’ve ever played? 
 


KM: Probably the castle I played this past summer for the Sigulda Blues Festival in Latvia. 

SLM: Tell me something that not many people know about you. 
 


KM: I got very involved in Ron Paul’s grassroots campaign for president in Fort Worth in 2008. It led to me getting to actually play before he spoke on two different occasions. He was very gracious, and actually the first time, he even used my p.a. so he spoke into the same microphone for his speech that I use night after night. 

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To learn more about Keegan McInroe and his music, please see the links below: 
SLM’s favorite song from McInroe’s LP Uncouth Pilgrims:
or you may listen to it here:
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Punk and Circumstance – by R. A. Kennedy

Music is very important to many of us.

It can be the difference between a great day and a terrible week. No matter where we are in our lives music speaks to us, it doesn’t judge, it is there for you and it will listen to you if you listen to it. Music helps explain our own feelings when we ourselves cannot put our emotions into words, it shapes us and creates us, and a world without music in any form would be extremely dark.

I think we can all agree that we live in such fractious times, both socially and politically. Whilst there is so much fantastic music out there, there is a large proportion of it that, in my mind, corrupts and twists the art form and that, my dear friends, is the non-music conveyor belt of shows like the X Factor. These television shows shatter dreams and exploit those that quite clearly have the talent and the focus to make great art.

The list of problems with these types of talent shows can be summed up by this line from Rush’s The Spirit of Radio (From the album Permanent Waves) –

“One likes to believe in the freedom of music but the glittering prizes and endless compromises shatters the illusion of integrity.”

Outside the safe confines of Pop, R&B mainstream and the hype that surrounds many of today’s “hottest” acts, the sound of angry guitars can be heard. A rallying cry of sorts. A quiet resistance. A dawn of a new era that is somewhat reminiscent of the late seventies, the rise of Punk and the wave of Indie music that not only spawned some stunning post-punk bands but also established itself as a musical genre.

I’m not talking about just anyone with a guitar and a dream, the vast swathes of Metal bands that are continually breaking new ground, or how Metal is continuing to grow as a genre and a culture. I’m talking about a very thriving alternative rock scene that over the last few years has seen young, guitar driven rock bands that have something to say in the face of today’s social and political enmity.  And whilst alternative rock in all the sub-genres has never gone away, it seems the timing is right for new bands with something to say and who also mean what they say; to be thought-provoking and challenge the perceptions of the world around us.

The present has ties to the past and sometimes those links can be very small but ever so significant.

Listening to bands such as The Clash, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, The Replacements and many others made me think about how much of this music is still relevant. It still means something, against the backdrop of today’s society. Punk and other genres right up to Grunge still mean something.

And the rise of bands such as Slaves (who are nominated for this year’s Mercury Prize) and Savages, with a new album out next year and a recent performance at Banksy’s Dismaland, are showing that the musical resistance is growing strong and shouting back at the status-quo.

By using the world around them, these bands are channeling that into some truly stunning music that nods to past influences but is entirely original and very exciting.

Rock has sent a message to the hearts, minds, and souls- will you answer the rousing call?

*******

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Romeo Kennedy is a Cornish SFF writer and book reviewer. R. A Kennedy’s stories mostly take place in his beloved Kernow. Once described as a “F**cked up Beatrix Potter” as many of his fantasy short stories feature nefarious animal characters.

R. A. blogs at http://sleeplessmusingsofawellgroomedmoustachedman.wordpress.com and is a writer for http://www.garbage-file.com

A Folklore enthusiast, specializing in Cornish Folklore and Mythology, as well as major interests in all things geek from books, comics, film, and television. A lover of most kinds of music and a bassist himself.

He tweets at @RomeoRites

THE UK’S LEGENDARY GUITARIST DAVE SHARMAN: We Talk DEEP PURPLE, Career Highlights and MORE!

Critically-acclaimed London-based Guitarist, Dave Sharman, talks with us about his new album, career highlights and what’s next for this guitar virtuoso

The Man Behind the Guitar: 

An in-depth interview with the UK’s guitar virtuoso, Dave Sharman

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Sick Lit Magazine: Your career began in 1990; what are some personal highlights that you’d like to share with our readers who may not be familiar with your work?

Dave Sharman: Being invited to perform at the BBC studios for the radio 1 ‘Friday Rockshow’ was a definite highlight, as that session landed me my first-ever record deal. We actually managed to secure the rights to that recording quite recently and it’s now available to download on iTunes.

Getting Neil Murray to play Bass on my second album ‘Exit Within’ stands out and I really enjoyed being part of the Night of the Guitars tour, alongside the likes of Ronnie Montrose, Yan Akkerman, Rick Derringer and Robin Trower, and the release of my debut album ‘1990’ has to be up there.

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SLM: Tell me about your latest record.

DS: It’s called Evolution Machine and it’s a 10-track album written and produced by me. I like to think of it as an eclectic mix of a diverse range of influences from rock to funk to classical. ‘Hunger’ which is one of the opening tracks, has an eastern feel coupled with high intensity rock guitar. There’s also a big power ballad called ‘Lady’ which is a throwback to my love of classic rock. We’ve also covered the Cars Just What I Neededwhich was a lot of fun and the title track Evolution Machine’ is sort of a space-age rocker built around a sequenced keyboard part, that one’s very indicative of my current direction.

SLM: What were some challenges you faced on this record? What were some great aspects?

DS: Handling all production and performance duties does have its challenges, but it’s something I’m used to. It can be hard work doing everything yourself, however, there’s a certain degree of satisfaction in finishing a song and knowing every intricate part of it is the way you want. It’s also a question of evolving; I mean, I started out as just a guitarist but now I also play a wide range of instruments as well as singing and producing, it’s all part ‘n’ parcel of what makes me tick.

Some great aspects are with the advent of Pro Tools and Logic. It’s become that much easier for artists to create & innovate their ideas, there are some great production tools out there to help expand your horizons. You can literally record a studio quality album in your bedroom these days.

SLM: What are YOU listening to right now? What music inspires you–and how has that changed over the years?

DS: Bach, Mozart and Beethoven are ever greens, Beethoven, especially, with his uncompromising attitude towards love, life and music is very inspirational, those guys are also really good to have on in the background if you have something else you need to concentrate on. Van Halen, Rush and most classic rock from the 70’s and 80’s and for some reason, I can’t get away from Rage Against The Machine, who were a great band, wish they’d get back together and put out some new material! You’ll also find everything from Cypress Hill, Linkin Park, Bryan Adams and Ravi Shankar on my iPod. I guess I’ve always been inspired by new and original music.

Dave Sharman Pic 2

SLM: Where are you from? What are some of your favorite venues you’ve played and why?

DS: I was born in a small town called ‘Walsall’ which is located in the west midlands of England. It’s a relatively uninteresting place to grow up with not a lot happening but for some reason it seems to spawn rock bands. Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Halford all originate from that part of the world; I guess it must be something in the water!

In terms of venues, I was lucky enough to play the legendary Marquee Club many years ago just before they shut it down. And stepping onto the stage at the Royal Albert Hall was cool.

SLM: It looks like you’ve worked with some pretty big names throughout your career. Who stood out? Which moments stand out in your mind and why?

DS: Jamming to ‘Smoke on the Water’ in the basement of Ian Gillan’s house with Cozy Powell and Neil Murray accompanying on drums & bass is hard to forget.

I remember Ian coming round to my home earlier in the week, I must have been around 18 at the time, he’s stood there in my living room, (the singer of Deep Purple!) clutching a demo tape in his hand and says, “see what you can do with this.”

Working with Don Airey, keyboard player from Ozzy and Rainbow, was also cool.

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SLM: So, What’s next for Dave Sharman? Will there be another LP for us in 2016?

DS: I’ve just finished some new material, with a new album in the works. We also plan to shoot one or two more promos for a couple of songs from Evolution Machine, including ‘Lady’ and ‘Liberate.’ There’s a lot of activity on our social media including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and my official website (davesharman.com), where I’ll soon be launching a new range of merchandising plus a series of instructional guitar vids called ‘Dave’s Guitar School’ so make sure you subscribe and look out for my mailing list.

SLM: How has your sound changed over the years?

DS: I think my guitar sound has remained fundamentally the same. I have never gone in for many pedals as I prefer a relatively clean and uncomplicated tone, adding any effects during post-production, which is normally just distortion, a little reverb, maybe some delay and the occasional phase or wah effect. I prefer to make the actual guitar part more interesting with what’s actually physically being played as opposed to using gadgets. Of course, there are changes to the actual technology in terms of production; something released in 2015, for example, won’t sound the same as a record that was released back in the mid-nineties.

Dave Sharman Pic 5

SLM: Where are you living now? What do you love about it?

DS: I’m based in London, which is probably one of the most exciting cities on the planet.

There’s always something to do here, and on top of that I live right next door to Abbey Road studios, which is a great place for a musician and if you’re a Beatles fan! I guess stepping outside the front door makes you appreciate being in a place where you are free to do whatever it is you want to do with your life.

SLM: Rock and guitar (acoustic or electric–both are amazing) ultimately make up the soundtrack to my life! Commercial, mass-marketed fluff (think:New Kids on the Block) has always enraged me. With that being said, what about the music scene today has you disillusioned or off-put? What about the music scene today do you find to be great?

DS: I think the industry is always changing; I would definitely like to see more control swinging back to the artist & away from the record company exec. There are too many miniature Simon Cowells out there.

It needs to be more about the music instead of trying to make a quick buck.

What I do think is great, though, is that anyone can make music nowadays and self-release directly to the fans, bypassing the labels.

Obviously it’s much tougher not having the kind of expertise and contacts a record company might provide, but at the same time it’s really difficult for the average Joe to get a contract these days. So my advice is: go ahead and find your audience, put your stuff out on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and stop prioritizing the labels.

SLM: You’ve often been described as a prodigy and a guitar virtuoso; what’s it like to be regarded so highly?

DS: To be honest, I don’t really think about it but, yes, it’s kind of cool I suppose; at the end of the day whether you’re a Mozart, Einstein or a Da Vinci, you still have to put your trousers on one leg at a time. I mean, it’s just a question of focusing and honing your particular talents and given enough time, you naturally get better at doing it.  Everyone has something they’re passionate about, mine happens to be music.

SLM: Tell me something not many people know about you.

DS: I have a keen interest in the world of quantum physics and cosmology. As a species, we’re still very much in our infancy when it comes to the fundamentals of nature and the universe around us. There are some amazing thinkers out there such as Thomas Campbell and Peter Russell. They’re amongst a select group of physicists helping to bridge the gap between science, consciousness and spirituality, guys like Richard Dawkins get a little too much ink in my opinion and not always for the right reasons!

SLM: What would be your ideal Saturday morning?

DS: Spending time with family, taking in a great movie and hearing the latest record from one of my favorite artists, how about a new Van Halen album to start?

SLM: Tell me one of your guilty pleasures.

DS: I can moonwalk and do the James Brown shuffle, but not in public!

SLM: I love that! I’ve been on a James Brown kick myself here lately. Now, with that being said, I have always been a huge fan of the Beatles; also Oasis, the Stones,Burt Bacharach, and of course Bush. So there has to be something to this “English” musician thing, right? Because it’s the most phenomenal music out there. I listen to a variety much like you, but the songs I listen to on repeat are always from my favorite artists who live across the pond. Why do you think that is?

DS: I think there are many factors involved … England had a huge empire across the world, incorporating many cultures and styles. We underwent an industrial revolution, took part in two world wars as well as numerous other conflicts throughout the 20th century. We’ve experienced enormous highs and lows throughout our history, which has had a knock on effect emotionally and subsequently, creatively.

Also, because English is such a dominant language, we rarely follow anyone else, preferring to do our own thing, which leads to originality. At the same time we’re very quick to cotton on to a great ‘idea’ such as all the blues, soul, rock and dance music which came out of the States, the Stones, Zeppelin and the Beatles essentially repackaged that stuff and sold it back to you!

*****

What a great interview with Dave Sharman! He’s extremely down-to-earth and quick-witted; he also just happens to have some pretty SICK guitar solos floating around out there. To learn more about Dave or to listen to THE MUSIC, please visit some of the links below so you can have a look inside Dave Sharman, the man, the Guitarist, Vocalist, and Composer.
www.davesharman.com
Follow him on Twitter: @SharmanDave
or Subscribe to his new YouTube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/davesharmanguitarist

 We dig the vibe over here at Sick Lit Magazine, Dave. We hope to catch up with you again after your new album drops; as you know, we always love a good follow up. 

Cheers! 

SCREAM ALONG with Something You Whisper

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE GUYS BEHIND THE ROCK GROUP: SOMETHING YOU WHISPER

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Sick Lit Magazine: Tell me about how your band got together. Are all of you from Cambridge, Ontario?

Something You Whisper: The band just started as a hobby, mostly. We all either met in high school, or from other local bands in the area. We are all from Cambridge, except for Brian who lives a bit out of town.

SLM: I’ve listened to both EPs and I really dig your sound. “Private Hell” opens with an industrial rock sound reminiscent of Trent Reznor from NIN. With that being said, what are some of your musical influences and artists who have helped to shape your sound?

SYW: Interesting; yeah we get inspired by a lot of different artists. Lately it’s been The Weekend, Like Moths To Flames, Crown The Empire and Bring Me The Horizon. We are also inspired by horror movies, and obviously life.

SLM: What are YOU guys listening to right now?

SYW: Kyle and I (WES) were just listening to the East Side Boys.

SLM: Some of your songs remind me of Thursday (circa 2003) with a tinge of Placebo (circa ’98). But you also have a very powerful, raw and emotional aspect to your lyrics and their delivery. What inspires your song writing?

SYW: Growing up, I always decided if I liked the song after reading the words. I always felt cheated if the song had shit lyrics…So I try my best when it comes to lyrics. 

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SLM: What have been some of the most exciting moments in your music career thus far?

SYW: I think some of the best moments we have had so far as a band have been getting to tour our country relentlessly. We have met friends all over the country, ones that we still talk to daily and travel to go see.

It’s a pretty good feeling.

We also like food, so travelling and having “those restaurants” that are local to some cities that we go to every time we visit there is pretty epic. And of course, just touring and playing music is the best thing ever as that is what we are all passionate about; it doesn’t really get better than sharing that with 4 of your best friends.

SLM: Any touring in your future?

SYW: As of right now, we just have some single shows lined up but nothing else we are allowed to talk about at the moment!

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SLM: Ooh, sounds cryptic. So, what’s next for SYW? You said earlier that you were in the studio. Could this possibly be for an upcoming LP to be released in 2016? What can I expect to hear on this record and how will your sound differ from “Beautiful Sins?”

SYW: Yes, we just finished up in the studio! We were just recording a series of songs this time around, however we can’t really give detail as for what’s going on with these! Sorry! However, regarding sound, we still have some same roots as the EP as it incorporated something new to our previous sound that has had a great response from our fans! But these new songs are like the EP [referring to the EP, “Beautiful Sins.”] on steroids. The theatrical parts are amped up, more animated and intense. The choruses are bigger and catchier and get you right in the feels. Our heavy, dark parts also follow suit; heavier, more impactful and intense. So it’s definitely something we are looking forward to.

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SLM: Where can my readers and I access and purchase your current EPs and music videos?

SYW: They can check out our music videos on YouTube!

https://www.youtube.com/user/SomethingYouWhisper

EPs can be purchased on our iTunes or Big cartel!

http://somethingyouwhispermerch.bigcartel.com/

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/something-you-whisper/id347801631

SLM: Tell me something not many people know about you.

SYW: Something about us people wouldn’t know is how wide all of our personal interests spread! Some of us are hard-core into sports, some into magic cards, dungeons and dragons and video games. It’s pretty cool to see what we all enjoy in our free time, haha!

SLM: Will you be releasing anything on vinyl?

SYW: We have nothing planned for sure for vinyl! Hopefully one day. A couple of us are into collecting vinyl so it would be nice for that!

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SLM: If you could give advice to a struggling musician on the verge of quitting, what would it be?

SYW: Some advice is: don’t just throw in the towel at the first sight of a struggle or hard times. You have to grind through some shit at some point or another. Very few bands just get signed without the work.

It’s a very hard business to get into for sure, but if you love music and it’s what you want to do and are happy doing it…well that says it all. There is a part of us that would say though, if you’re truly not into it anymore, then maybe it’s best to go your own way. At the end of the day, all you really have and own is your happiness and well-being. If music/touring isn’t doing it….well, there is nothing wrong with that either.

******

Sick Lit Magazine: Readers,this interview toggled back and forth between band mates Kyle Adshade and Wes Will.

Good advice. If you haven’t done so already, readers, I will implore you to check out the group’s music video for “Private Hell.” These guys are onto something; solid sound, impactful lyrics, and it’s just damn good. I give their EP, “Beautiful Sins,” an A+. Although reminiscent of bands like Thursday, SYW has a clearer, more defined and bigger sound. They have their shit together. I can’t wait to see what’s next for these guys. 

***For more information on Something You Whisper, Please visit:

Live music video
Single Music Video
Lyric Video
Big Cartel Link
Facebook

SCOTT COLLINS GETS REAL WITH SICK LIT MAGAZINE. AND, MAN, DID HE STRIKE ALL THE RIGHT CHORDS.

SCOTT PONDERS VINYL, LIFE AND LYRICS IN THIS INSIGHTFUL INTERVIEW

THIS ROCKER IS STRIKING CHORDS ALL OVER AUSTIN

(and some in Nashville, too.)

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Sick Lit Magazine: I remember listening to you when you were with Southbound Drive; the song that really struck a chord (haha, pun not intended) with me was “Mexico.” I was shocked at the rawness and realness that the vocals and lyrics left with me. With all that being said, what challenges are you facing as a solo artist? What do you enjoy about being a solo act?

Scott Collins: In relation to my experience writing the song “Mexico” nothing has changed.

I still write my lyrics generally without a predestined path in mind and just let the songs fall out of myself or as if I’m writing with another spirit.  One that I don’t have to share royalties with (that’s a joke). Some personal stuff gets caught in the purge which is shown greatly in the first verse of “Mexico.”

Being a solo artist again mainly gives me more control of the final song structures, but I’ve written “real and raw” lyrics for every project I’ve formed.  I’ve had some amazing experiences over the past year in a Nashville co-writing venture that has taught me invaluable lessons in song writing, but when I write for myself entirely I allow the “spirit” to take over more. Sometimes I won’t know what a line or a song means for years and will have this wonderful “a-ha!” moment. Even live on stage sometimes I’ll realize something very relevant I never thought of while writing.

The greatest struggle of playing as a solo act is all of the auditory story left out because lack of musical accompaniment, but I remedy that by playing with a lovely talented violinist and vocalist named Laura Poyzer and sometimes we have Jeff Hortillosa from Austin’s The Whiskey Shivers back us up. I have also put together a full band with some of Austin’ finest musicians and I’m also experimenting with loop pedals and percussion for solo shows. To me being solo isn’t more about draw backs it’s about possibilities that can make you stronger and more creative with dynamics of performance.

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SLM: You’ve got some pretty sweet body art going on. Tell me about that.

SC: Basically when I was about 5 or 6 years old I was watching a show on Nickelodeon called “Pete and Pete” and one of the characters had a girl tattooed on his arm he’d make dance named Petunia. I remember turning to my Mom and telling her I wanted that and I wanted it everywhere. I am now tattooed everywhere and Petunia is tattooed on my shin.

SLM: I loved Pete and Pete! How has your sound changed from Southbound Drive to Scott Collins?

SC: Southbound Drive’s sound and my follow up 2014 EP SLEEPER are greatly due to working with Grammy Nominated Producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith at The Bubble here in Austin. Chris has an amazing ear and vision for songs and especially rock and roll. He’s a genius at creating a “sound” for a band/record.

Since I write more Americana type songs and SBD’s guitar player Ryan Goebel got his roots in metal and rock and roll, Frenchie just helped bring those worlds together with a killer rhythm team. And the sound was born. The “SLEEPER” sound is due to myself, Frenchie, Hunt Sales, and guitarist Justin Jacobs basically forming a band for that EP and creating something very special. My next record will probably have more of an organic Americana feel to it, but really we all won’t know for sure until I record it…soon :).

SLM: When Noel Gallagher finally went solo a few years ago from Oasis, he said he was relieved. In Oasis, if he’d wanted a sax player or a horn section, it would have been debated to death and ultimately voted out. So as a solo act, he said he has creative license and it’s fucking great—if he wants a horn section, he will have a fucking horn section. Can you relate to that feeling at all?

SC: I can’t relate to his experience with Oasis at all but I can relate to his exhilaration for creative license. I’ve never had a band that disagreed too heavily on creative differences and always found a bad ass solution. But also we didn’t go on long enough for me to bring in a whole team of bagpipes to piss everyone off. But it is the best feeling in the world to know you can freely be creative while still having respect and compassion for the song.

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SLM: Who shaped your musical style and sound? How has that changed over the years?

SC: I dropped out of grad school for music so when I first started writing it was with an acoustic guitar and telling stories. I was very much influenced by life since I’d just moved into my car.

I definitely had musical influences but at the time they were more what I had in my car or what people showed me along the way.  Over the years it’s changed exponentially since every record has had inevitable and sometimes specific influences. My SLEEPER EP for example was influenced a lot by 10cc, Zeppelin, Pete Townshend, The Who, The Stones and even Rob Thomas. Right now with some of the things I’m experimenting with vocally and with loop pedals, D’Angelo is a huge influence. And James Blake.

SLM: Solid. So, what are YOU listening to right now?

SC: I listen to whatever CD’s are in my car and right now that’s Ryan Adams, Gary Clark Jr., D’Angelo, James Blake, Beck, and an old voice lesson CD from years ago. There’s a lot more but I’m really comfortable and don’t wanna walk to my car at the moment.  Also my girlfriend works at a local Austin establishment with a record collection that can give you an education for years. That’s pretty rad.

SLM: What’s next for Scott Collins–Is there any touring in your future?

SC: I would love to tour. Right now I am focusing on a demo I need to get out to Nashville, another solo release but with violin player Laura Poyzer, playing the hell out of Austin, and getting my recording studio up and running while creating as much as possible 24/7.  This year has been a big blessing and huge for me solo so far with SXSW Official, ASG songwriting awards, opening solo for Willie Watson from Old Crow Medicine Show at Stubb’s and more. The future looks like a lot more music and nothing but opportunity.

SLM: Where can we get your EP? Is it available on vinyl?

SC: Basically my music is available anywhere music is online and no I haven’t released vinyl yet unfortunately. Maybe my next release will be vinyl….

SLM: What is some advice you can give to an artist who may be struggling right now; one who may be on the verge of calling it quits and becoming, oh, I don’t know…an accountant?

SC: Don’t ever quit just keep working on bettering yourself and your craft. And always put yourself out there and be brave and say “Yes” to any opportunity. Your ego is never bigger than a gig. Just keep going beautiful things happen when you look at all the possible opened doors when one seems it has shut.

SLM: Anything else you’d like to add that I didn’t cover in these questions? (YES)

SC: One of my new ventures is the opening of “Chicken Run Studios” in the heart of South Austin with Grammy and Academy award winning engineer Chet Himes. We have had the pleasure of Matisyahu, Van Wilks, Malford Milligan, Gary P. Nunn and many more join our client list and it’s been invaluable in my musical education.  We can’t wait to get more bands in and I can’t wait to get more of my music out. 

SLM: Can I just say…wow? Neither can we. You are a busy man, my man.

Sick Lit Magazine recommends that you watch the “Marigold” video. It’s fucking great. Well, Scott Collins, we dig your sound here at Sick Lit Magazine.

You stay classy, Collins. And we will have to do this again sometime. See the links below for more information on Scott Collins, Chicken Run Studios and most importantly, places where you can HEAR THE MUSIC!

-SLM- 

**You can access Scott’s music here: https://soundcloud.com/scottcollinsproject (This includes two EPs from Scott Collins and one EP from Southbound Drive.)**

To like Scott Collins on any social media, see below:

  • YouTube, Southbound Drive “Marigold” Official Video:
  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt0_eRF7CMQ

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU CHRIS TRAYNOR…YOU LISTEN TO HIS NEW EP FROM HIGH DESERT FIRES

A five-star review of guitarist Chris Traynor’s latest EP from High Desert Fires: Light is the Revelation

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LIGHT IS THE REVELATION – A REVIEW FROM SICK LIT MAGAZINE

Released on August 21st, 2015, this latest offering from High Desert Fires’ founding member, guitarist Chris Traynor is, indeed, a revelation.

Traynor’s unique sound and innate ability to transport his listener to a different realm blew me away as soon as the opening track, Azrael, began to play. His vision has truly come to fruition–and it is badass. 

Roll down your windows, put your feet up and turn the sound up to max. It’s reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane and the Beatles, but with a modern (And Chris Traynor) twist. 

And it’s damn refreshing. 

The EP’s second track, Fernwood, is reminiscent of the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun.

“When my daughter was born, I put down the guitar for a month and I would listen to Beatles’ records first on the left and then on the right to kind of hear all the parts. I got way deep into the Beatles,” said Traynor of the Beatles’ influence on him. (onesecondbush.com/bush/biography/chris_traynor)

I’ve followed Traynor’s work since 2002, when the guitarist officially joined the BUSH lineup. He went on to Institute with Gavin Rossdale from 2004-2006, stayed on board with Rossdale when he went solo, and was back for the long-awaited and much-anticipated BUSH reunion in 2010.

But, I have to say, as far as so-called side projects go, this is no side project. This is the real deal. This album enlivens every cell in my body while illuminating the sun for me–even on a rainy, dark day. What would we give it out of five stars? I’d give it six if I could. 

Nice work, Traynor and Co.

We dig it over here at Sick Lit Magazine. 

Members: Jen Turner (guitar, vocals) Gabriella Da Silva (Vocals) Taylor McLam (drums, vocals) Drew Broadrick (Piano, Vocals) Chris Traynor (Guitar, Vocals) Sibyl Buck (Bass, Vocals) Naren Rauch (multi-instrumentalist/Orchestration)

** For more information on Chris Traynor or High Desert Fires, follow them on Twitter @HighDesertFires / @CT3GUITAR , check out their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/High-Desert-Fires-206903949451768/timeline/, and LISTEN TO THE MUSIC!! GO HERE: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/light-is-the-revelation-ep/id1023014696 **

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Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Majestic Theatre in Dallas, May 14th, 2015

Our Editor in Chief’s experience seeing Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at the Majestic in Dallas

With all my girlish excitement bubbling up inside of me at the thought of FINALLY seeing a lifelong musical idol of mine, former Oasis founder, mastermind, lead guitarist, back-up and sometimes lead vocalist, Noel Gallagher, I was….giddy. I know, I know.

Right after my family had moved to Wichita Falls, Texas (Sheppard AFB), where my dad’s next assignment was as a flight instructor in the US Air Force, was when I discovered my love of all things Oasis. After dissecting a thrilling article on the band from an issue of SPIN magazine in 1998, where the brothers Gallagher professed their fondness for Adidas shoes, shirts, pants, hats, etc, I decided that I, too, needed a lot of Adidas things.

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(They still fit.)

So, in true super-fan mode, I wore the shoes, packed my purse full of ALL those import singles and crossed my fingers in the hopes that I’d get a few signatures. (We didn’t get any–he’d had a flight immediately after the show.)

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But nevertheless, the show was spot-on. Gallagher sounded as good live as he did on his LP and I sang along to every word. He even did a couple of old Oasis songs at the end of his set, one being “Digsy’s Dinner” from the band’s first LP, Definitely Maybe, which was first released in the US in 1994. I high-fived a fellow concert-goer who seemed to be the only other person besides me on the balcony who knew the words to Digsy’s Dinner–right after that, he spilled a full cup of beer over the balcony. Although raucous and drunk, his group was fun to cheer with. And to our immediate right sat an addled pre-teen and an angry looking adult.

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At the end of the show, Gallagher spoke into the microphone with his Manchester accent particularly thick that evening (After everything Noel said, my husband kept asking me, “What did he say?!”), “I’m not gonna lie; it’ll be a very, very long time before I’ll be back this way.”

It made my heart sink a little. But on the off-chance that he does decide to come back to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I’ll still be wearing these:

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And I’ll shove all of these in my purse again:

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