March 24, 2016 Nardwuar is back with another one of his quirky interviews. This time its with Oxnard-native, Anderson .Paak at SXSW. Paak confesses his love of hard core and punk rock music and explains the history of his nickname 'Breezy.' (Spoiler alert: It has to do with farts).
February 19, 2016 Skrillex teams up with Ones to Watch featured artist Vic Mensa on the track "No Chill". Check out Vic and Skrillex discover Tokyo's underground in the the song's new video.
November 30, 2015 When not he's busy creating mayhem with his party-rock outfit Palisades (no, that's not a LMFAO reference), Brandon Sidney aka B. Sidney is apparently creating electro pop gold.
July 14, 2014 We all know that being an independent rapper is somewhat of an accomplishment in today's music industry, where large record labels use endless funds to promote their latest project.
October 22, 2013 Contrary to popular belief, there's a lot more to veganism than shopping at Whole Foods and swapping your clothes and dairy out for hemp alternatives. And no, not all vegans are hippies by nature either. According to the animal rights organization peta2, a vegan saves the lives of more than 100 animals every year from life on a factory farm and slaughter. Well, that's preeetty cool, but we were curious to know what it's like to actually live and breathe veganism. So we asked one of our favorite vegan musicians out there - AFI's Davey Havok. Just this year, Davey appeared in a widespread peta2 campaign and created a vegan shoeline with his clothing brand, Zu Boutique - proving that vegans can be fashionable and bona-fide rockstars to boot (no pun intended..?) We caught Davey just as he arrived back in town from London to promote AFI's new album, Burials, which dropped today. Catch our interview with him below! You're currently on tour with AFI and promoting your new album, Burials. Your schedule must get insane with recording and touring - what's the most difficult part about being a full-time vegan/jet-setting music artist? Davey Havok: Not too much difficult parts; there aren't many and they're easy to overcome. Unfortunately the diet is relatively expensive if you're not cooking for yourself. The social aspect can be hard if you don't have a peer group who eat like you. Which I'm lucky in that I do - I have peer circle that is strongly, strongly vegan and vegetarian. My tour manager is vegan, my bass player is vegan as are many of my friends. Jade is a vegetarian. There are some occasions where I step outside of my social circle and I'm eating with people who are participating in mainstream diets and I'm eating in a mainstream-eating establishment. Usually I eat before I go out and eat with those people, because in some instances there isn't anything you can eat. But these days it's less common to find a place that won't serve you something. If I can't eat beforehand, then I have to reconcile myself to not eating in that situation, and just participating on the social level and not the consumption level. Was there a particular moment that impacted your choice to become vegan? I was a vegetarian for two years before taking the step into veganism. It truly was the straight edge and hardcore scene that influenced me to be a vegetarian in the first place and that educated me in health and animal rights, and it was the same community that led me to veganism by education. There was actually a book I read called Diet For A New America by Dr. John Robbins and it was immediately thereafter that I decided to make the change. What cities and vegan restaurant joints do you look forward to the most on the road in the U.S.? There's a great spot in San Francisco called Millennium that's one of my favorites. In New York, there's a place called Candle 79 on the Upper East Side: I would fly to New York just to eat there. And unfortunately on tour, sometimes you just don't have the time even if you're in the city and you're right next door. There's a spot I really want to eat in Philly called Veg. You also seem like a globe-trotter even while you're not on tour. What are the most accommodating places in the world to eat as a vegan? Canada accommodates pretty well, there's Le Commensal, a buffet style vegan/vegetarian restaurant that's predominantly vegan. Canada's been on it for a while, but England - not so much, which is ironic because veganism first started in England. Japan is less difficult than it used to be but Europe still is. Any fond moments while abroad? In Antwerp there is a really quaint vegan spot with a photo of Moby on the wall and a paper mâché cow hanging from the ceiling and a wonderful woman who spoke 7 languages running it. She was really kind, great food - I unfortunately don't know what it's called but it's the one vegan restaurant in Antwerp. I remember having a phenomenal tiramisu there. So do you cook? No cooking - even though cooking really will decimate the cost of eating vegan. I don't have the ability. What if you were going to a potluck - what dish would you bring? I would probably have my friend's girlfriend make something for me - what she would make would really be up to her - she's vegan.
November 12, 2013 On Sunday, while Miley Cyrus smoked a joint and twerked with a dwarf on stage in Amsterdam at the EMAs (the European equivalent of the VMAs), twenty one pilots was no where to be seen.
October 15, 2013 [Photo: Versus Versace] In a slightly unexpected twist on music and fashion's crossover threshold, Donatella Versace and M.I.A. are now business partners. Their new counterfeit-inspired collection, M.I.A. x Versus Versace, will go on sale tomorrow. The 19-piece collection features prints inspired by the countless Versace knockoff pieces being created and sold throughout the world. Bonus: if you were looking to spice up your fall wardrobe on a not-so-baller budget, the pieces are debuting via Versus, the brand's slightly more economic line. "Versace’s designs have always been copied, now it’s Versace that copies the copies, so those that copy must copy the copies," M.I.A. was reported saying at last month's Paris Fashion Week, when news of the collaboration first broke. "The collection represents all that I love of the new Versus Versace: it's fast, it's noisy, it's brazen and it blends the world of music with that of fashion," said Donatella Versace of the line. The unexpected partnership between the Grammy Award-winning artist and the Italian fashion house herself isn't as foreign as you'd think. Before her recording career took off, M.I.A. was a visual artist and filmmaker in the creative bubble of London's West End. The singer's fourth studio album, Matangi, is out next month. Check out a track below. You can shop M.I.A. x Versus Versace tomorrow here.
October 11, 2013 [Photo: John Gleeson] October 10, 2013 - What's the formula for creating the next electronic-rock sensation? Of course there isn't one, but going into hibernation and experimenting seems to have worked for many a band, the latest being London's emerging electronic outfit, Duologue. For a winter, that's what songwriter Tim Digby-Bell and fellow musician and programming beats-head Toby Leeming did in an isolated barn in Suffolk, when they first began playing music together. From these experimental beginnings, the duo garnered enough intention and material to round out its membership to a five-piece. This past summer, the band landed spots playing the dance stages at the internationally-renowned Reading and Leeds music festivals, and that was only the beginning. This week, Duologue traveled to the U.S. to promote the release of their debut album, Song & Dance (out this week via Killing Moon). The group is slated to headline tonight's Culture Collide Festival in Los Angeles, which showcases emerging international musicians at various local venues in the eclectic music enclave of Echo Park. The following week, the group will travel to New York to play at the CMJ Music Marathon. Prior to their Culture Collide performance, Ones To Watch caught Duologue at a private showcase at the Bootleg Theater, where the London rockers unleashed an impressive set of rollicking techno beats and moody instrumental connections. Before the show, we sat down with singer and instrumentalist Tim Digby-Bell, who'd just hopped off a plane the day after the rest of the group arrived. The reason? Digby-Bell is also a playwright (he's a big Samuel Beckett and Tennessee Williams fan) and was attending a reading for a play he'd written in London. Ones To Watch: How did you all meet each other and form Duologue? Digby-Bell: We were all up in University of Edinburgh. Toby and I - the blonde Toby [there are two in the group] - started jamming together and kind of had a real shared taste in music and wanted to experiment playing with electronics. Toby was playing Detroit techno, I was singing in a pub, then we got together and started messing around. We set up in a barn in Suffolk and just spent a few months freezing our asses off and trying to write music. It was a really slow process and we eventually got material together that we felt was good. Then we felt that what we'd written was too big of a sound for the two of us to play, so that's when we started thinking about getting other people on board. We got Seb and Ross and the other Toby slowly. We really wanted to take our time with it and make sure it was the best we could be. Ones To Watch: You mentioned you and Toby had similar tastes, so what kind of sound were you going for? Digby-Bell: Well I think the whole idea was we wanted to start with something without a drummer, Tobes is a massive techno head, and we're both really into electronic and dance music and we wanted to make something that had all those elements - we wanted the energy and the sound palette that you can change up, but then also at the heart of it we wanted to have songs and songwriting and the singer and lyrics and everything like that. We just wanted to combine the two a bit - the bits we love from dance music and the bits we love from traditional songwriting. There were a lot of misses, a lot of things we tried and didn't work, but it really opens up - you can explore any kind of genre, that's the most exciting bit about being in this band. You can go anywhere you want - you're not limited by the instruments you have on stage, you have an infinite choice of sounds and choice of vibe and atmospheres. The possibilities of electronic music are endless. Ones To Watch: So how would you describe where you ended up with Song & Dance? How did that concept come together? Digby-Bell: Well the album is the product of years of work, and some of which was done just before the album session. I demo-ed "Underworld" two weeks before we went in and thankfully we all pushed it through. And there are other songs that we wrote years before. It's really snapshots from all kinds of bits of our lives. "Push It" is on there in the middle of the album, which is the first song we put together as a five-piece. We just put a four-four on loop and just jammed on that for literally weeks and then ended up with a seven minute song that sounded like it's being jammed live. Then we wanted the album to have different moods and different characters to it: to be really lonely at times and be really content at times, then have moments of tension and release in them. Moments that were sumptuous. We got a wonderful string quartet to come play with us. I think the one thing we're keen on is to have a real variety and breadth on an album. We wanted an album that could have really small, intimate moments and sort of a much bigger electronic sound. So like any album, I think it's got to have its various moods and peaks and drops that makes it a work as a whole rather than just a collection of songs. Ones To Watch: What's your aim with your live shows? Particularly playing with electronics, it's hard for it to come across as particularly live sometimes. We've tried to make it as live and exciting as possible, and be kind of banding, do you know what I mean - and be more. Maybe on record it's more a half and half thing, but certainly live we want it to feel like there's a lot of synergy; we do a lot of live looping. Ones To Watch: So a lot of live collaborating. Digby-Bell: Yeah, and exploring bits of songs and taking it to different places you couldn't on a record, and blending it together kind of like a DJ. Ones To Watch: Your voice has been compared to Thom Yorke's a lot, which is obviously a compliment, but do you fear being pinned to just, say, Radiohead? Digby-Bell: We do get that a lot, and we can't deny we're fans… it's only a compliment I guess. I sing, and that's just the way I sing. So I can't really help if people draw that comparison. And in general I suppose it's not like we're an indie band that sounds like so many other indie bands. It's just our aim is trying to do something different if we can. I don't really think about it much, to be honest. We're just very keen to take our time. I think we've gotten to a place now where we can write really quickly and we feel our live show's the best we've been. And I think it's good to let it brew and ruminate. Ones To Watch: Are you excited for Culture Collide? Digby-Bell: So excited, I need to get over my jetlag. Looking forward to it. For more on Duologue, we’ll be covering them and other new artists at this weekend’s Culture Collide Festival. Follow us @Onestowatch for live coverage and photos!
October 4, 2013 Since 2006, Noah and the Whale's lineup has evolved as frequently as its sound. The currently five-piece folk outfit stepped into the international spotlight with 2008's heterogenous indie-pop compilation, Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down. Though that album's sentimental single “5 Years Time” delivered enough commercial wholesomeness to land soundtrack deals with SunChips and the family-friendly Saturn, their somber 2009 followup, First Days of Spring, and 2011's electronic-indulgent Last Night On Earth proved they were more than just pop-rock assemblers. Though the band certainly humors those moments. This week, the British rockers played a string of shows in California in support of their latest album, Heart of Nowhere. While at The Fillmore in San Francisco, the group heartily threw back to an upbeat version of "5 Years Time" - replete with a live marriage proposal. (Watch: Video by Roman Gokhman) In their fourth studio effort, Heart of Nowhere, Noah and the Whale appears to have grasped a greater sense of bearing - at least in terms of physical consistency. Guitarist Fred Abbott and drummer Michael Petulla have replaced original members Laura Marling (who exited the group after Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down) and Doug Fink (who left after recording First Days of Spring). The album, which premiered in May of this year, was recorded in two weeks last November as a live in-studio set. This week, Ones To Watch caught up with band members Fred Abbott and Matt Urby before their show at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Topics covered: Heart of Nowhere, how being in a band is akin to a Peter Pan existence, and Madonna. Ones To Watch: This latest album plays a lot with the concept of time, there are 3 songs with the word “time” in their titles, while fate and destiny seem to have played a big role in the album. So do you feel that you have a firm grasp of your mortality? Fred Abbott: Wow. Matt Urby: (laughs) I was expecting … "What will you be doing in five years time, why are you called Noah and the Whale?" I'll let you handle that one, seeing as you're older and wiser FA: Supposedly. I think we're all aware of our mortality, but you know - human beings are always deluding ourselves in order to forget about it. So that we can enjoy life - we deliberately forget about the transience of everything. Because if you are constantly aware of that, then everything is rather depressing, 'cause everything could actually be meaningless… Because nothing you do will last, nothing that we're seeing here at Disneyland - it won't be here, it's not going to last forever. It will be gone. I don't know where I'm going with this. MU: Well it's when people are wrestling with either the consequences of mortality or they'll throw themselves into something like a show. We've had a lot of people that have clung with particular songs that do deal with death, even songs that you wouldn't expect. Like when we were writing "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N." off the third record - it's amazing how many people you meet who cling to that. Like they come out to shows and say, "I'm here because of this thing that happened to me." It's one of their great releases. When you do go through something traumatizing you want to throw yourself back into something that's meaningful. So you often see that from night to night. Ones To Watch: Do you have any good tour stories so far? MU: Last night, we played the Fillmore in San Francisco - we are the first band to ever have a marriage proposal accepted there. It was in the middle of "Five Year's Time." The guy was phenomenal: gave the speech, got down on one knee, had her family come out. And then…she said yes. I gave a speech, accidentally, we gave a toast of 12-year-old whiskey, I accidently handed the bottle to the underage part of the crowd. And then we played Van Morrisson's "Crazy Love." You know, having a massive, life-affirming moment makes you see…Life Goes On. Ones To Watch: I see what you did there. FA: It was magical. Ones To Watch: Did you cry? FA: I almost had a tear in my eye, it was pretty emotional - I'm a sucker for romance. Ones To Watch: I feel like you've taken a very optimistic approach towards mortality, and growing up, and leaving childhood and dealing with the changes. MO: In many ways it's very positive. To say there's one thing worse than being at a party, knowing the party is going on and people have to leave, is knowing the party is going on and you've got to be there forever - for many people that's far more hellish. FA: We romanticize our pasts a lot, it probably wasn't as great as we'd like to think it was. So I'm not sure whether I would like to go back to being a teenager again. Ones To Watch: So what was the approach towards the songwriting and the themes that went into creating this album? MO: I think one of the themes is the extended adolescence thing. It's never more acute with musicians, I've got a lot of mates for example. When you're teenagers you get obsessed with albums and obsessed with music and it means so much - in the other world, people have distractions than this kind of thing - wives and children, etc, so they don't have the time to devote to records and getting a hold of them and listening to them solidly and making them such an identity thing as it was for them back in the day. Whereas for us we're pretty much able to play music every night and get into albums FA: Being in a band is kind of a Peter Pan existence, you kind of don't go past that stage. We're very lucky. Ones To Watch: With Last Night on Earth, the band embraced a more techno and synth-friendly sound. Do you see that electronic influence being a part of Noah and the Whale's future? FA: The sound of that album came out of the fact that we didn't have a drummer; we were necessarily forced to use drum machines, but now we do have one. You're kind of shaped by circumstances and necessity. So we cut this album as a live band album because that's what we've been doing and what the band sounded like at that point. Even with the drum machines I think we were fairly nostalgic about it anyway, artists like Prince and Talking Heads were already 20 years old and featured those sounds - MO: And you can have drum machines and synths with character and tone, and you can get it right. We're kind of looking for, personally, the raw sounds and stuff with character. I like more guitar sounds… something more distinguished and with idiosyncrasy. FA: Well yea, and all the records have sounded so different in the past - we could go in any direction. I feel like the guys have so much different influence and ability in the band we could do so many different genres. Ones To Watch: What are you listening to together on the road right now? FA: We listen to pretty diverse stuff. We don't listen to anything together! Ones To Watch: You mean you don't listen to communal radio? FA: We do - but we fight every night. One day this guy's doing Drake, the next it's Creedence Clearwater Revival. So people are putting on different stuff from dance music to hip-hop to R&B, then back to like, classic rock. MO: It worked rather topographically. When we were in Seattle we were playing a lot of Soundgarden. And we were at the Fillmore and were like, "Let's slap on some Petty!" It's the great thing about coming to America - it's the big dream for every band. You come to these places you've dreamed of coming to. In L.A. we'll probably be playing some Doors and Guns & Roses. Ones To Watch: What about in your off-time? Do you have a go-to karaoke song? MU: I quite like - it's cheesy as hell - but I quite like doing "American Pie," it gets the room involved, and also I find it impossibly emotional, and I find it’s been bastardized by, you know, various horrendous versions.. I think even Madonna might have one. Ones To Watch: What's your take on Madonna? MU: I think Madonna's phenomenal, naturally.. FA: -Just not her version of "American Pie." MU: Just not her version of "American Pie!" My mum's favorite album was actually The Immaculate Collection - which every song is just mind-blowing good. And she, contrary to popular belief, she writes herself. She's very, very good, and her work ethic's phenomenal. FA: You're a bit of an expert, there, on Madonna. MU: Well, I like to know these things. She's amazing! Lot of respect. Ones To Watch: Your music, which has many whimsical elements, has been described as everything from folk-rock, indie-rock to British indie-rock. Do these types of genre labels bother you? FA: Part of it is because we have so many different sounds, it's quite hard to pigeonhole us. The media would like to pigeonhole every band - like it's an indie-rock band or a jazz band, whatever - and we're quite hard to do that to. MO: It all kind of goes through the same machine live - so everything gets kind of unified live. FA: Yea, when you see us live, you'd say it's a "pop-rock show," but that's not what we really are. MO: Well, the only thing I'd say is pop is that we've got singles. For more on Noah and the Whale exclusives, visit www.onestowatch.com