SoCal Spotlight: Swerve


Swerve is the latest SoCal band to grab our attention. They’re playing The Bootleg on June 26th with support from TEST to celebrate their EP release. Check out more information about the band and how they got their start.

Hometown: Los Angeles
When the band formed: 2015
Greg Mahdesian – Vocals, guitar
Ryan Berti – Guitar, vocals
Brandon Duncan – Bass, vocals, production
Mark Garner – Drums, jokes

When did you first know you wanted to be in a band?

GM: I think I’ve always wanted to be in a band, but didn’t know how to put myself out there until a few years ago. I started off doing solo stuff with my acoustic guitar and then it kind of organically became a band once we started playing live. It’s more fun that way and the music is better, and no one ever asks “who’s your favorite solo artist?”. It’s always “what’s your favorite band?”.

RB: I’ve always thought that music sounded better when there was some synergy between the people making it, and figured that’d be the goal.

BD: Wait, I’m in a band?

MG: When Titanic came out, I saw it and thought, “man, I never want to be on a boat like that” and bought a drum set. The rest is history.

How did the current lineup come to be?

RB: Greg asked if I played guitar, and if I could show up on-time to practice, and I said yes to both.

GM: Brandon produced the first EP and since he knew the songs so well I asked if he could play bass while I put together a live outfit, and he’s been in it ever since. Ryan and I were buddies from school and he asked if he could join the band after several margaritas at Las Perlas in downtown. Mark just kind of showed up one day.

MG: Greg said he had dirt on me, and I didn’t really want to take the risk.

BD: I’m pretty sure it was all an accident.

With all the little pockets of music scenes in SoCal, how do you go about checking out the local scene and finding new bands to listen to or even perform with?

GM: Friends will invite us out to check out their band or their friends’ bands- it’s like a way less lame version of corporate networking. We get asked to support some bands and then we do the same, and hopefully you like each other and become fans of one another and make a connection.

BD: I just wait for the youngsters in the band to tell me what’s cool, and also where to show up for gigs and when.

MG: I don’t know anyone outside of the music scene so it’s basically all I do.

RB: All of the local bands seem to have some network of friend-bands, so it’s just a matter of going to shows and learning what’s going on outside of your own friend-band-network.

What’s your favorite thing about the SoCal scene? What’s one thing you wish you could change about it?

RB: The number of great local/national/international bands that play in Los Angeles on any given night of the week is crazy. I wouldn’t change a thing.

GM: I like how surprisingly welcoming it is. We kind of showed up late to the party and have still found a home, made friends and all that. It’s probably a little too dispersed to really feel like a proper scene though- there’s a lot of micro-scenes. I don’t really have anything else to compare it to, but I like it.

There’s no doubt that this is a crowded place. So do you ever find it difficult to build up even just a solid local following? How does the band go about doing that?

GM: The competition probably forces you to be better. There’s a million different things going on every night, so it’s always easier for someone not to see you than to check you out. Maybe it forces you to think too career oriented as well, and you can end up getting myopic and thinking that LA is all that there is. I mostly think that if you show up and play well, get better and be open to new ideas without sacrificing what you are, and put in the hustle, you’ll at least bring people to shows.

BD: Greg asks me that same question every other week….

How do you handle the band’s social media presence? Where can the readers follow you?

RB: It’s usually an amalgamation of our individual pictures and videos, and we have friends that help us find a common theme/color in that mess.

MG: I try to really take the reigns and approach everything with a hands-off, but controlling vibe.

GM: We know who we are, so we try to just be ourselves when we post and interact with others online…with help from people that know how to post and interact with others.

BD: Also leave that up to the youngsters. But after all, we are a band, so what we’re really interested in are listeners!

Do you have a favorite SoCal spot to play? What makes it your favorite?

GM: Playing the Troubadour was an amazing experience, and I’m stoked to be headlining the Bootleg for our EP release show. I’ve always wanted to play there and to be the main attraction feels good.

What is the band working on right now?

GM: Tons of new music. We’re expanding our sound, going heavier and also prettier. Headlining the Bootleg June 26th, and then getting out of LA to see what we’ve been missing.

BD: Mostly I’m trying to galvanize these youngsters’ livers so that when we go out on the road they can keep up with the old geezer!

MG: I’m not entirely sure… there’s a ballad in there though. And experimenting with feedback.

RB: Fuckin’ bangers.

Welcome to Geekdom 085: Gwenpool: Beyond the Fourth Wall

Welcome To Geekdom

Welcome to Geekdom is all about Gwenpool this week. Scott Fugger returns to discuss The Unbelievable Gwenpool Vol. 4: Beyond the Fourth Wall. We discuss the format, the creative team, and more. You can subscribe on iTunes, Overcast, or Google Playand check out the episode below.

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Playlist: Kailynn of Tiny Stills Shares Favorite LA Artists

Tiny Stills
Photo credit: Joe Lemke

Tiny Stills will be releasing Laughing Into the Void on June 1st. Ahead of it’s release, Kailynn put together a playlist of her favorite fellow LA artists. You can read all about her picks and listen to the playlist below.

Modern Huge – “My Feelings for You are Complicated”
Charo Molina of Modern Huge is one of my absolute favorite humans in LA. We’ve been through hell and back together and she did me the honor of letting me produce, engineer and mix this track for her (as well as sing on some of it.) So I may be a little biased but I truly admire her songwriting and performing and have been a huge fan of hers from literal day one. Modern Huge is a gem in LA, and has more music on the way in 2018.

Blushh – “There for You
Shab is awesome and super active in music community in LA and is really supportive, kind, creative and inspiring. I also love this track so hard because I’m a huge fan of great hooks and I could listen to this song on repeat all days. This gets stuck in my head a lot, and has a great chorus you can flail around to.

Pacific Radio – “Katie”
I really enjoy songs that I can daydream to while you’re driving, and this one is the perfect one to listen to on a road trip while you’re watching the world pass you by outside.

The Gutter Daisies – “La La La, Blah Blah Blah
Ok these guys and I can for sure bond over our love of early 00’s pop/rock and def Green Day. They remind me of everything I loved about American Hi-Fi too, and I think they’re incredibly charming.

Jenn Champion – “O.M.G. (I’m All Over It”)
I love this song because I love 80’s electronic slow pop vibes and her vocal performance in this song. I’m also a big fan of a clap with a big reverb, and this gives me great new Tegan and Sara vibes. If you like a catchy electro-indie pop then look no further.

Janelane – “Killing Time”
I’m a fan of dreamy indie pop and Jane Lane nails it. Chill, dreamy, sparkly, lo fi, and great rhythms in those melodies. I love this song.

Mourners – “Masochist”
I like Mourners and this song in particular because of it’s old school Weezer vibes. Mourners should be an LA fave if you’re into solid rock jams!

Sleeplust -“Sedona”
Sleeplust makes super catchy Electro indie-pop. Its total ear candy, so if you love slick productions and groovy melodies, you should definitely check out Sleeplust.

Dresage – “Center”
This is the project of my former bandmate Keeley Bumford and is super cool electronic indie-pop but definitely has some jazz elements mixed in. This song in particular is a beautiful mix of textures and floating melodies.

Luna Shadows -“Waves”
I firmly believe Luna Shadows is the electro pop goddess that LA needs but doesn’t deserve. She’s got great choruses, and theres no hiding mediocre songwriting with cool sounds- these are actual great songs with great electronic production. She’s a producer as well as a songwriter, so I think Luna Shadows is an artist that can attack on all fronts.

Emma Cole – “High Times”
If I had to compare Emma to another artist, I’d most closely say it’s Amy Winehouse. Emma really bares her soul in her music and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.

The Manx – “Blood Gold”
The Manx are a punk folk band and they’re kind of creative geniuses. These guys are almost always half naked, covered in paint, and doing something super cool to compliment their energetic, chaotic punk folk renaissance.

Yellowbirddd – “Who is Your Lover”
I’m a fan of sad emo acoustic rock and I feel like Liam of Yellowbirddd is such a great emotive songwriter. “Low Shoulder” is also another one of my favorites.

Lucy & La Mer – “Rebel Babe”
Lucy and I met playing some shows together and I’ve admired her from afar for a while, and her new single “Rebel Babe” has an edgier take on indie pop/rock.

Lauren Ruth Ward – “Make Love to Myself”
Lauren Ruth Ward is Mick Jagger. If you’ve seen Lauren Ruth Ward live, you know what I’m talking about. She’s a powerful front person and a force to be reckoned with. This song is also my favorite one I’ve seen them do.

Welcome to Geekdom 084: Saves the Day

Welcome To Geekdom

Welcome to Geekdom is back with a new episode on Saves the Day. Mitchell McDonald joins to chat about their albums and career and we rank our favorite records. You can subscribe on iTunes, Overcast, or Google Play and check out the episode below.

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Monday Musings: Modern Vinyl Podcast, Mac Power Users, and Now, Now

monday musings

Monday Musings is back with a couple podcasts and a new album to check out from Now, Now. Check it all out below.

The MV Podcast 209: I Will Possess Your Pod

The MV guys are joined by Britton Rozzelle to dive into Narrow Stairs by Death Cab For Cutie and this episode is an entertaining one. Maybe I should go revisit that album now.

Mac Power Users #430: Catching up with Marco Arment

I use Marco Arment’s app, Overcast, to listen to the numerous podcasts that I subscribe to and he touches on the app in this episode. It’s also a good listen on the state of the various MacBooks.

Now, Now – Saved

Head over to NPR First Listen to check out the new Now, Now album. I don’t need to say much more than that about it.

Interview: The Molice discuss their influences and touring in the U.S.

The Molice

The Molice hail from Japan and have been touring in the U.S. lately. We had a chance to ask them some questions about their music, how the scene differs here and in Japan, and more. Check it out!

When the band first started, did you know exactly what you wanted your sound to be like?

Rinko: Of course, I always know what I want. But it also happen to get unexpected sound and song in the band. I really like the moment. And in addition, I only know what I want.

Yuzuru: It is not exactly, but what I wanted to do was very clear. It still does not change.

Paro: No… but I always believe my feelings. So I know I can always get what I want as long as I am honest with my feelings.

What led to the blend of 70s, 80s, and 90s influences?

Rinko: I can say for sure is that I really love a lot of 70s, 80s, and 90s music.  Actually I’m not sure what is happened in my brain. I don’t have how to. But I really feel to connecting to SPACE when I make songs.

Yuzuru: I think rhythm does not get old. Rinko is an excellent rhythm guitarist. Although, there is a fashionable beat by the era, I think that fundamental groove will not change in any era.Our music is based on it. In my head, all kinds of favorite music of every era are packed. Classical, Jazz, rock, hip hop and electro music. I express such a lot of love for music in the music of THE MOLICE through my guitar.

The band is still fairly new to touring in the U.S., so what has that been like?

Rinko: We have a really wonderful touring. I am very happy to be able to know that our music can make audience enjoyable in U.S.!

Yuzuru: I am very excited to receive a lot of stimulation. I feel that the audience has taken our music.

Paro: I feel people has a big heart in U.S. They can accept all kinds of values

How would you say the music scene in the U.S. varies from Japan?

Yuzuru: There are a lot of things I think, and as I start talking, I’ll need many pages!  Both USA and Japan have major and indies, I think it is the same that there are artists of various genres such as rock, hip hop, and  electronica in USA and Japan. I think the music scene is what the audience will make it. The American audience is very natural and clearly enjoy music. And it is very energetic. Such an audience is making up the American scenes. That’s the biggest difference.

What was it like recording “Round Round Round” in Buffalo, NY?

Rinko: We made it with the same team at GCR studio in Buffalo from 2015. It was very smooth recording. I was relaxed at the studio, so I could let my mind have many ideas. Keyboard phase of ‘Round Round Round’ is good example.

Yuzuru: It was wonderful. I was able to make the sounds as they imagined.

Paro: I am hung up on beating four beat like marching through Earth. It fits with the music video, too. And I was easy to record it in Buffalo, NY!

What’s next for the band after you wrap up your current tour?

Rinko: We are always interested in making new sound. It is our core part.

Yuzuru: To create new music. To prepare for the next tour. And I want to find new creative things.

Paro: We keep on trying to do what we want to do. Anytime!

Thanks for your time! Where can our readers keep up with the band?

THE MOLICE:  Please check out the band’s website, instruments, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube channel and more.