Bruce Rave Interviews Sunflower Bean


Sunflower Bean were around the top of the list for most buzzed-about new bands this year at South By Southwest. We chilled in the Echo green room before their wildly successful LA show the following week. Here’s the entire chat.

Check out Bruce’s weekly “Go Deep” radio show; air dates and times for “Go Deep” as well archived past shows can be found on Bruce’sblog. Don’t forget to follow Bruce on Twitter too!

Sunflower Bean (Facebook)
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Bruce Rave Interviews Ezra Furman

Ezra Furman

Bruce had a Highland Park coffee shop hang with Ezra Furman during a short stop in town for Ezra last month.. They talked about songs from Perpetual Motion People, Ezra’s UK success, touring, going public with his gender non-conformity and fluid sexual preferences, invisible racism and more. This took place to day after David Bowie passed away so of course Ezra shared some thoughts on that. He is writing a book about Lou Reed, one of his most influential artists.

Check out Bruce’s weekly “Go Deep” radio show; air dates and times for “Go Deep” as well archived past shows can be found on Bruce’sblog. Don’t forget to follow Bruce on Twitter too!

Ezra Furman (Official)
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Bruce Rave Interviews The Silver Lake Chorus


The Silver Lake Chorus dropped one of 2015’s best albums. They linked up with Aussie artist/producer Ben Lee and then received songs from indie all-stars such as Death Cab, Flaming Lips, Bon Iver, New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara, and Ben himself. Here’s my chat with Music Director Mikey Wells.

Check out Bruce’s weekly “Go Deep” radio show; air dates and times for “Go Deep” as well archived past shows can be found on Bruce’sblog. Don’t forget to follow Bruce on Twitter too!

The Silver Lake Chorus (Official)

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Bruce Rave Interviews Frank Turner


Interview by Bruce Rave

Bruce and Frank Turner chilled before his wildly successful Mayan Theater show in LA on October 22. The energetic and articulate Frank covers his latest album and his writing process, his thoughts on choosing opening bands, his time in LA back when he was a starving musician, and how Iron Maiden were more punk than punk.

Check out Bruce’s weekly “Go Deep” radio show; air dates and times for “Go Deep” as well archived past shows can be found on Bruce’sblog. Don’t forget to follow Bruce on Twitter too!

Frank Turner (Official)

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Interview with Mikky Ekko


Interview by Cher Dunn

Mikky Ekko has been busy the past couple of years, and this year is no different. After writing 250 songs and narrowing it down to a cool 14, Mikky Ekko released his debut record Time. Each song on the record is raw, real, unapologetic and true only to the unique sound of Mikky Ekko. The talented singer, songwriter and producer has been touring the album, and we caught up with him over the phone to discuss his writing process, his first headlining tour, love for his fans, and his first taste of what it feels like to be Justin Bieber on stage.

How has the tour been so far?

“It’s been absolutely amazing. We approach it like a band, so everything from the album has been reworked to really make sure it feels like a live show. Like you’re going to see a band and you are going to see something which is as dynamic as the album, but has that kind of intimacy and rawness that you want to get at a live show.”

Do any songs take you by surprise when you perform it live?

“It creates an entirely new bond with the audience, with my fans. I think that for me is special about playing these songs. It doesn’t feel like you’re playing the same show every night. It’s just four guys on stage going for it.”

What’s your writing process like?

“I write a lot. I push myself to write even when I don’t really feel like writing. Sometimes it’s faster than others. Sometimes it takes a process of not getting the production right or bringing in other people. So I just really try to capture that lightning strike.”

How did you choose who to collaborate with on the new album?

“My goal when I set out was to write the absolute best songs I could write. To keep the album and the verses the music I listen to. So it’s everything from R&B style to punk rock and then to keep it vulnerable. That for me meant finding the best producers and writers I could for all the styles and that was a big part of me accomplishing what I wanted to do because I do like to do so many styles. So I worked with everybody from Dave Sitek who’s done Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, to Benny Blanco at Stargate, to underground hip hop guys like Clams Casino.”

Where did you write and record the new album?

He laughs, “Everywhere. I wrote about 250 songs for the debut. It was a process and elimination for me and keeping what was most important. But the songs that were on the album were written in everywhere from Stockholm to LA, a few were written on tour buses, just while we were literally on the road. Then, Nashville and New York.”

Did all the places you wrote have any influence on the songs?

“Wherever I am I’ll wind up being influenced by that culture a little bit or that sound. I did a lot of the early writing in London and it was my first time spending time in London and I was there alone a lot. So a lot of the songs kind of reflect a melancholy and a desire to connect.”

Do you have a favorite song from the album, either to play live or just based on where you were in your life when you wrote it?

“Honestly, I am so happy with all the songs it’s hard for me to pick one. But if I had to pin one down, it would probably be “Time.” Just because it’s the simplest song on the album. For me, it was- I was in a place where I really wanted to write a song that felt classic and I think that song really embodies the push and pull of the album.”

What are you looking forward to most with this tour?

“It’s all about connecting with the fans for me. I love my fans and I love creating a moment with them that we can all remember forever, you know? For all the people coming out to these shows, it’s only going to get better.”

Is there a particular place you are excited to play?

“We are in Minneapolis right now and Mini is always pretty crazy!” He laughs, “It was crazy we played a Salt Lake City…it’s crazy I don’t even know what day it is. We played Salt Lake City three or four nights ago and I had no idea what to expect because the only other time I’ve played there was with Broods and when we hit the stage,” he laughs before continuing,”it was almost like being at a Justin Bieber concert I mean it was like everything we did people were just screaming, going crazy. It was so unique and city to city it’s just exciting for me. This is my first headlining tour. So I’m getting to see how all these cities are reacting to the music in their own way and that’s really special.”

Do you have any free time to explore the cities you are playing on tour?

“Sometimes. You know, I’ll throw a tweet out just asking for a park because we like to kick a soccer ball around while we’re in town. Then sometimes I’ll go for a run and just put on music while I’m running and that’s how I’ll explore cities. Or I’ll just Yelp stuff,” he laughs.

What can fans look forward to from you for the rest of the year? Mainly touring? Will you be releasing any new music?

“I’ll be touring up until November, but I don’t know…I don’t like to talk too much about what I’m doing,” he says apologetically before continuing, “Right now there’s definitely new music in the works, just because I’m always working on music. We’re out here touring an album I’m super proud of and I’m already working on what’s next.”

What are some musicians or bands you love that you think everyone should listen to?

“I really drew from the heartache of Elliot Smith, so pretty much any Elliot Smith record, but my favorite is From a Basement on the Hill. Then Jeff Buckley’s Grace and maybe Bjork’s Vespertine.”

THU / OCT 22
FRI / OCT 23
SAT / OCT 24
MON / OCT 26
TUE / OCT 27
THU / OCT 29

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Interview with XO


Interview by Cheryl Dunn

What were you doing when you were nineteen years old? UK’s Sunil Heera is producing music under the moniker XO in his bedroom and has already played a massive BBC Radio 1 music festival. A great singer and songwriter in his own right, XO also works with other singers and artists to feature on his electronic and R&B tracks including Shay Lia on one of our favorites “U & I”. We spoke to XO about his process, playing Radio 1’s Big Weekend Festival in Glasgow, the release of his new EP “The Ethereal Experience”, and whether or not we will ever see a full length record.

When did you first start making music?

It was during my first couple of years of high school. I was about 14/15 when I got my first copy of FL studio after being inspired by the steady rise of young bedroom producers. Although I didn’t produce full tracks until I was about 16, and the XO project itself was started around 2013.

What was the music scene like growing up? Were you always a part of it making music or as a fan?

I guess I was a bit of both really, more so a fan in previous years. I was in to a lot of UK underground music like Grime, Dubstep, UK bass, House and Garage…that sort of stuff. It influenced me a lot and my first love was club music I guess. But back then, online platforms like SoundCloud were just emerging, so it was really difficult to get noticed. Great to see the tables have turned in favour of my generation, the scene is really thriving now.

When did you first realize you really found your sound?

I’d say my sound had blossomed after I finished The Ethereal Experience. It had been a tedious process at times, but completely worth it in the end. I’m fully comfortable in my own musical skin now, especially since I’ve gained somewhat of a signature sound. Time for expansion!

How do you approach songwriting? Do you always start with a beat or melody? Do lyrics ever come first sometimes?

There really is no set process as to how these things work. I’m a big fan of going with the flow. Most of the time, I’ll build a chord sequence or a short beat and gain conceptual ideas from there. Although, melodies usually come first and lyrics afterwards.

You’re incredible singer in your own right but collaborate with other artists and singers as well. How do you find the artists to feature on your tracks? Are they usually friends or did you find them through playing live?

Thank you! Most of the artists I’ve worked with were found online. Mainly as a result of late night SoundCloud binges just searching for good music, ha! This is why the Internet has been pivotal in the development of my project and I’m super grateful for that.

Out of all the songs you’ve written do you have a favorite right now, based on where you were when you were writing or recording it, or a feeling it gives you when you listen to it?

My current favourite is “Somethin’ About U”. I’m not really sure what it is, but whenever I listen to it, it’s like hearing it for the first time all over again. Whenever I think of music in general, I associate certain tracks with certain colours in my mind, so most of The Ethereal Experience is bright, bold oranges, reds and blues etc. I guess that’s why it has that sort of nostalgic “late summer night” vibe. My favourite part has to be the hook line – super proud of that.

What are you currently working on? Are you writing and recording? When can we expect a full album?

At the moment, I’m piecing together what I believe to be the 3rd release. Of course, a lot more needs to be done but I really want to bring branding and visuals to the forefront on this next one, as well as the music. But I won’t say too much. As for an album, I couldn’t tell you when, but I can certainly confirm I will be writing one at some point in my career, that’s for sure.

What do you like better: writing and recording or playing live?

That’s tough. Both are so good! I’d say writing and recording because obviously without them I wouldn’t even be able to play live. Plus, I’m very much a writer and producer first, rather than a DJ first.

What does your live show look like? Do you have a band/bring other musicians on tour?

The live show itself is something I should be working on in the coming months. I’m just DJing for the moment, which I really enjoy doing of course. That’ll probably continue for a while until my live show set up is, in my eyes, perfect.

Will you be touring extensively/coming to the US any time soon?

I hope so. Next year or even the year after may be the time for that. Watch this space.

What has been your favorite live show moment so far?

It’s got to be way back in May last year when I played at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Glasgow. It still baffles me that music I produced from my own home resonated so well with the crowd out there that day. They knew all the words and were singing along. Really bizarre, but of course, wonderful.

Are you listening to anyone right now you think everyone should hear?

Check… Siba – “Ur My <3”. SO much more great stuff coming from that dude. I can’t wait.

What are you looking forward to most for the rest of this year?

Playing lots more shows of course, finishing off my 3rd EP release and just living life man. It’s what a 19 year old does right?

Listen to XO’s new EP “The Ethereal Experience” out now below and get your copy via iTunes here.

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Bruce Rave Interviews Bohicas


Interview by Bruce Rave

Back at The Great Escape in May, Bruce Rave sat down with The Bohicas from London. If you like guitar hooks, this band is for you. They shred live and sound great in the studio as well. The band has shows in Europe and Japan, and will hopefully hit American shores in the near future. Look for their debut full-length album to drop later this summer.

Hear Bruce’s “Go Deep With Bruce Rave” weekly new music show on Indie1031/Los Angeles, KX 93.5-FM/Laguna Beach, and WSUM-FM/Madison. Details and archived shows can be found on his blog and be sure to follow Bruce on Twitter too!

Bohicas (Facebook)

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Interview with Blossoms


Blossoms were highly recommended to Bruce Rave by leading BBC tastemaker Steve Lamacq. After seeing the band at SXSW and knowing they’d be at The Great Escape this year, Bruce targeted them as a rising band to hang with. Here we discuss their musical and live approaches, their Stockport roots (close to Manchester), the mistaken efforts of British media to pigeonhole them into a given category, and more.

Audio interview by Bruce Rave

Check out Bruce’s “Go Deep” show on Fridays 1-3 pm Pacific, 4-6 pm Eastern, 9-11pm GMT. Also listen to past shows at Bruce’s blog and follow Bruce on Twitter.

Blossoms england (Facebook)

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Interview with Catfish and the Bottlemen


Bruce Rave chilled with Catfish and the Bottlemen’s Van McCann for a second time during South By Southwest this year. Lots had happened since their initial chat back in November before the band’s LA debut. Catfish just drew 10,000 in London, and their “Kathleen” notched a top 15 peak on the US alternative charts. They talk about all this, converting the originally negative UK press, how life has changed with the success and constant touring, new music about to be recorded, how he handles death of loved ones, and much more.

Check out Bruce’s “Go Deep” show on Fridays 1-3 pm Pacific, 4-6 pm Eastern, 9-11pm GMT. Also listen to past shows at Bruce’s blog and follow Bruce on Twitter.

Catfish and the Bottlemen wales (Twitter) (Official)

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Interview with Hippo Campus


Interview by Bruce Rave

B3SCI was the vehicle that introduced me to these talented dudes. Lead singer Jake (“The Turntan”) wrote to me in January through the blog and he mentioned he liked some my “Rave’s Fave” posts. He attached their track “Little Grace”. All too often, these sincere notes are accompanied by music that isn’t quite my glass of scotch. I immediately liked what I heard and got in touch with Jake as well as band management. The rest of their “Bashful Creatures” EP lives up to the promise of that first track. Meanwhile, buzz was developing thanks for local radio support for the band in Minneapolis-St.Paul and an NME nod in England as one of the bands to watch in 2015. Reaction at SXSW was really strong and the band had one of the best weeks a new act could hoped for. They’re awesome live as you can see from their Conan appearance the week after SXSW. This chat took place just as that amazing week in Austin was getting under way for the guys.

Hippo Campus minnesota (Official)

Hear Bruce’s “Go Deep With Bruce Rave” weekly new music show on Indie1031/Los Angeles, KX 93.5-FM/Laguna Beach, and WSUM-FM/Madison. Details and archived shows can be found on his blog and be sure to follow Bruce on Twitter too!

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Interview with The Church

Australian band The Church

Interview by Bruce Rave.

The Church is running strong decades after they graced the world with “Under the Milky Way Tonight” and other 80’s gems. They just completed a strong US tour and highly-buzzed SXSW run with great live shows. Their current “Further Deeper” album has been well-received. Bruce Rave was the band’s original US A&R exec. The two discuss current happenings for the band, and also delve very candidly into a label relationship that didn’t turn out well for The Church or for Bruce as their A&R guy.

Hear Bruce’s “Go Deep With Bruce Rave” weekly new music show on Indie1031/Los Angeles, KX 93.5-FM/Laguna Beach, and WSUM-FM/Madison. Details and archived shows can be found on his blog and be sure to follow Bruce on Twitter too!

The Church (Facebook)

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Interview with Years & Years

Years & Years - Mike Massaro (3 of 5)

Interview by Cheryl Dunn

Years & Years are having an incredible year. The band consisting of Olly, Mikey and Emre have been touring non-stop, opening for Sam Smith during his sold-out UK tour, headlining dates and playing the US all while releasing EPs and writing a new record. The band is heading to SXSW this week and I caught up with lead singer Olly Alexander to ask him about getting discovered while singing in the shower, their East Coast apocalyptic winter, and creating their upcoming debut album.

“I had a party at my house,” Olly stated, about to tell me the story of joining Years and Years. He continued, “The girl I was living with was friends with Mikey so she invited him. I met Mikey and Mikey told me he had a band called Years & Years and I was like ‘Oh! I want to be in a band again. Please let me join Years & Years!'” He explained, “I had been in bands before, and I remember he was like ‘Yeah, yeah, maybe. I don’t know…we’ll talk about it later.'” It did not seem like Olly’s request was going to be taken seriously, until the hangover set in and magic happened. “Then everyone was a bit drunk and a few people stayed over including Mikey. In the morning I took a shower and I was singing. Later, Mikey said, ‘I heard you singing in the shower, you have a good voice’ and I was like ‘Yeah! What do you think about me joining the band? I wasn’t messing around.’”

He finally agreed. Later, Olly joined some jam sessions and the rest was history. But what we really need to know is, what was that winning song he was singing in the shower? “Um, I think it was ‘Killing Me Softly” Lauryn Hill and the Fugees. That’s my shower song.”

As a band, their mounting success has been growing fast over the past year. I wondered, as a musician, when you realize making music with your friends is no longer just a hobby. Olly explained, “When it started we didn’t have the ambition [to turn the band into a job]. We were ambitious,” he clarified before continuing, “But it’s difficult because you don’t imagine, or start off thinking, ‘okay we’re gonna make it, and we’re going to do this this and this.’ We were just a bunch a mates, friends trying to write music and play music,” he said. Then, things started to change. He continued, “That changed very incrementally over the year. We would start playing shows, then we put our single out. Then we got management a couple years later and then we signed to Kitsune. Once we signed to Kitsune, we put more songs out and it gradually increased until suddenly it was like ‘Oh shit! We might be able to do this as actual jobs.'” Oh shit, indeed.

The band has been seemingly touring non-stop, releasing EPs and even won BBC Sound of 2015 this year. Olly reflected, “It has been a mental process because we have been doing everything at once: recording, touring, rehearsing and promo. The hardest part has been trying to get the album finished because we have to take a period of time, like four weeks or however long to make the album. Quite fortunately, we were writing at the time and had a lot of material from years ago that we put on the album, and new material just written recently.” With everything going on, Olly tells me, they thankfully did find time to finish. “We just have to do it when we can, but we finished now and we are very, very happy with it,” he exclaimed before continuing. “It’s going to be released in June in the UK. I’m not totally sure when it will be released in the US but I’m thinking it will probably be released around the same time.” Excited for the release, I asked if they have a title for the debut album yet. “We have a tentative title, but I don’t want to say because it jinxes it and I embarrass myself,” he laughs.

We spoke about Years & Years’ first show in the US at Rough Trade. Their first show due to be at Le Poisson Rouge the night before was cancelled due to weather. Originally Rough Trade cancelled their second show Tuesday as well, but retracted once they realized the weather wasn’t as bad as the media made it out to be. So those who had tickets and braved the cold saw an incredible show by the band.

“I felt so bad because we had to cancel the night before,” Olly reflected. “The news coverage was insane. Watching the news in New York was like an Oscar speech, ‘stay in your homes, be safe,’ and I thought, it’s going to be a proper apocalyptic snow storm! I was getting kind of excited to watch the snow storm unfold.” But then it didn’t. Seeing the weather was not as the media set it out to be, the band knew the show must go on. “It’s no apocalypse I guess we can do the show in Brooklyn, yay!” he said cheerfully. “It was one of our best shows. It was intense. It was so cool. It was our only show in the states so I guess I have nothing to compare it to, but it was just majestic and supportive. We had a great time it was so cool,” he remembered.

The guys are heading back to the US this week to play SXSW in Austin Texas. I asked how many shows they have lined up. “It’s going to be crazy, they were like ‘Maybe you could do three shows this day’ and we were like ‘Okay!!” he said enthusiastically but apprehensively. “I just can’t believe it! I’m excited to discover new music.” He continued, “I hope we have time to discover new music. I think that part is going to be cool. Literally every window and door you walk past is going to be a venue. I have been to SXSW before, but I was only there for one day. But the vibe was great. It was like a playground! I can’t wait,” he said excitedly.

After the festival, Years & Years are continuing their tour through the US. “We are playing some shows on the East Coast and West Coast. Hopefully San Francisco, L.A., New York, and maybe even Philadelphia and Washington D.C.” Unfortunately Philadelphia didn’t make the cut this time, but it looks like the Years & Years tour isn’t stopping any time soon. With the release of their album coming up in June, it is safe to assume we can expect the band back for a more extensive tour of the US.

When Olly Alexander performs, his energy on stage is radiant. You can tell that he is putting everything into each song. I wanted to know about the first time he really felt inspired by music. “The person I first felt like my life was changed by their music was Jeff Buckley. His voice was so incredible. He could do things with his voice that I never heard people do before. He could sing rock, classical and pop.” He continued, “I wanted to be able to sing with that kind of skill, but also that emotion. He had that emotion where it was like it was coming from inside of his guts, it was so raw. I remember hearing that and going ‘Oh, wow,’ I wanted to be able to sound like that,” he said before continuing.

“The music he wrote was so personal but poetic. I really felt like I could relate to it in my life. I realized how music could be a very transformative experience. You can hear it makes sense for your life and you feel better about your life, and live more of your life. That is so inspiring to me. I am just so inspired by what he did and if I could use some of that experience [in our music] I’d be happy,” he reflects.

*Catch Years & Years at SXSW this week and check out their East and West Coast dates below.

3/23/2015 AVALON HOLLYWOOD Los Angeles, CA
3/25/2015 Troubadour Los Angeles, CA
3/26/2015 Rickshaw Stop San Francisco, CA
3/29/2015 U Street Music Hall Washington, DC
3/30/2015 Royale Boston, MA
3/31/2015 Le Poisson Rouge New York, NY
4/17/2015 Trinity Ball Dublin, Ireland
4/20/2015 Le Trabendo Paris, France
4/21/2015 Ancienne Belgique Brussels, Belgium
4/22/2015 Gebäude 9 Cologne, Germany
4/23/2015 Bi Nuu Berlin, Germany
4/25/2015 Sala Wielka Poznan, Poland
4/27/2015 Pumpehuset Copenhagen, Denmark
4/29/2015 Paradiso Grote Zaal Amsterdam, Netherlands
5/1/2015 SOS 4.8 Festival Murcia, Spain
5/19/2015 Fibbers York, Uk
5/20/2015 Liquid Room Edinburgh, United Kingdom
5/23/2015 Southampton Common Southampton, United Kingdom
5/24/2015 Southampton Common Southampton, United Kingdom
5/30/2015 Bath University Claverton Down, United Kingdom
6/1/2015 O2 Academy2 Oxford Oxford, United Kingdom
6/2/2015 Junction Cambridge, United Kingdom
6/3/2015 The Lemon Grove Exeter, United Kingdom
6/7/2015 Wild Life Festival 2015 Brighton, United Kingdom
6/12/2015 O2 Shepherds Bush Empire London, United Kingdom
6/13/2015 O2 Shepherds Bush Empire London, United Kingdom
6/14/2015 Northside Festival Åbyhøj, Denmark
6/17/2015 Ibiza Rocks Ibiza, Spain
6/25/2015 Rock Werchter Rotselaar, Belgium
7/4/2015 Open’er Gdynia, Poland
7/8/2015 Rock in Rome Rome, Italy
7/10/2015 T in the Park 2015 Perthshire, United Kingdom
7/12/2015 T In The Park Scotland, United Kingdom
7/17/2015 Marlay Park Dublin, Ireland
7/19/2015 Latitude Henham Park, United Kingdom
7/22/2015 Croatia Rocks Pag, Croatia
8/12/2015 Tøyenparken Oslo, Norway
8/14/2015 Way Out West Festival Gothenburg, Sweden
8/15/2015 Flow Festival Helsinki, Finland
8/21/2015 Lowlands Festival Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
8/28/2015 Leeds Festival – NME/Radio 1 Stage Leeds, United Kingdom
8/30/2015 Reading Festival – NME/Radio 1 Stage Reading, United Kingdom

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