Interview: Dead Leaves

Dead Leaves

Elliot Blair, the singer/guitarist of Dead Leaves, took the time to chat with us about the band, their upcoming release, and more. Vultures is due out on Take This To Heart Records on August 25. You can pre-order the album here and check out the interview below.

When the band first formed in 2013, did you imagine you’d be where you are now?

We’re really happy with how things have turned out so far. We’ve played alongside of some of our favorite bands and have had the opportunity to do some small tours. It’s always been a lot of fun performing for people who haven’t heard us before, and meeting new friends all over the place. It’s been an amazing experience. Now we’ve been working on our new record for the last two years and we’re so excited to show everyone.

The Ohio music scene keeps getting bigger and bigger it seems. Do you have a favorite spot to play to your hometown crowd?

The Ohio music scene is amazing. There are so many good bands and we’re grateful that we can be a part of it. We like playing at Mahalls in Lakewood a lot because a lot of that music scene is kind of engrained there. We also like playing at Kling Thing which is this house located in Akron. They have a long history of incredible DIY shows and they’ve played a big part in what the Northeast Ohio music scene has become today.

What was your writing process like for Vultures?

I wrote the first song on Vultures in August of 2015. We wanted to write a full length record for a while and wanted to make sure we did it right, and create something that we would be proud of. The process usually consisted of me writing and recording demos in my room, and then slowly refining the songs as a full band.

There were times during writing that I would spend hours on a verse, trying different things until something stuck. I would constantly send demos to the rest of the band to get opinions and ideas. I think we ended up with 50 songs in total, and we narrowed it down to 12 for the record, but only chose 9. I ended up writng ‘Wake Me’ later on, while we were recording the record. Overall, we’re very happy with how everything turned out, and Vultures is something that were proud of.

Can you tell us some of your influences or inspirations for the album?

Among many others, two of my big personal musical influences are Say Anything and Jimmy Eat World. I think that kind of reveals itself in my songwriting.

I was inspried to create something from my own personal situations in hopes that someone who listens to the songs can relate. The whole record is about being vunerable, which reflected the way I was feeling at the time.

What was the studio experience like when you recorded? Who did you record with?

We recorded with Dave Piatek at his studio in Cleveland. We had recorded our self titled EP with Dave, so we knew what to expect when going in. He really takes his time as an engineer and producer to make sure everything is perfect. The biggest thing for me was that, Dave seemed as excited about the record as I was, and that was a big insperation for creativity in the studio.

How would you say the band has changed since the self-titled EP in 2015?

In my opinion, I think our sound has matured a lot from our EP. I’ve personally been through a lot since our EP was released and I hope that comes through lyrically on this new record. We’re constantly working on improving our writing and performance, so I think we’re definitely more in tune with each other than we were in 2015. I think the biggest thing though is that our inside jokes have evolved to the point where it’s almost impossible to keep a normal conversation with any of us.

What plans do you have once the release is out in a few weeks?

We’re kicking off our record release with our release show on September 1st, and we’re hitting the road in support of the release until September 10th. Then, in October, we’re doing another small tour and playing Fest 16.

We have a bunch of other awesome shows coming up toward the end of the year as well.

Thanks for taking the time to chat. Where can our readers keep up with the band?

You can follow us on Facebook.

Instagram and Twitter: @deadleavesoh

Also you can keep up with us over at the Take This to Heart Records site.

Monday Musings: Netflix, Apple, and More

monday musings

Monday Musings returns with some news from Netflix, Apple’s new Instagram account, an episode of The Talk Show, and an interview that CBR did with Tom King. Check it all out below.

Netflix Acquires Millarworld

The acquisition, the first ever by Netflix, is a natural progression in the company’s effort to work directly with prolific and skilled creators and to acquire intellectual property and ownership of stories featuring compelling characters and timeless, interwoven fictional worlds. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.

Millarworld is the comic book publisher founded by Mark Millar. He created Kick-Ass, Old Man Wolverine, and more. His work is well-known and I’m interested to see how this all plays out. Will we see an uptick in Millar’s work making their way to the small screen? Seems like the chances are pretty good on that now.

Apple creates an Instagram account

Apple’s Instagram account won’t focus on their products, but instead will focus on images taken by iPhone users. They’ve launched with several images already.

The Talk Show – Nancy Reagan Was Right with Glenn Fleishman

Special guest Glenn Fleishman returns to the show. Topics include China forcing Apple to remove VPN apps from the Chinese App Store, Wi-Fi vs. LTE networking, the open workspaces in Apple Park, Glenn’s new letterpress project, the HomePod OS leak and iPhone D22, and more.

It’s always a pleasure to listen to John Gruber talk with his guests about Apple. This episode is a long one, as most of his are, but it’s well worth listening to. The talk on Apple and China is insightful and there’s some fun talk about Wi-Fi. It’s an intelligent conversation as always and if you haven’t checked out this podcast before, you might as well dive in with the latest episode.

Interview: Tom King Tackles New Gods Mythology in Mister Miracle

I’m sure there are going to be some readers here who are meeting Scott Free for the first time in this series. It’s been a while since he’s had a starring role, and he certainly hasn’t had one in Rebirth, so what are you hoping readers take away from your take on this character?

This is the most ambitious thing I’ve ever done. Mitch Gerads and I were literally like — we looked at things like Watchmen, stories that are as good as that, that sort of reflect our time. They’re great comics but they’re deeper than that, they sort of get into the veins. So we were like, “Can we do that?” And the answer is. “No.” You can’t be Alan Moore, but you can try, right? You can be ambitious! What the hell, right?

Here’s a quick snippet from Tom King’s interview about Mister Miracle. The new comic hits shelves on August 9. As someone who doesn’t know much about Mister Miracle, this limited series sounds like a good place to start. I’m a fan of Tom King’s work on BatmanVision, and Sherrif of Babylon so I’ll give anything he does a shot.

You can find all previous editions of Monday Musings here.

Tour Blog: Civil Youth

Civil Youth

Civil Youth wrote up a quick rundown of what they have been up to on tour. They’re on the road until the end of August, so be sure to check out their upcoming shows. You can read the blog below, which is from August 1.

We depart for the 2nd half of the Conversations Release Tour today and we seriously couldn’t be more excited to get back west!  We’re going to be playing everything from Texas to California to Washington State to Tennessee.  This will be the 3rd time playing a lot of these cities, but we have some new ones this run so it’ll be a nice change of pace for sure! Make sure to come say hi to us for the first time. (;

For the most part things have been running smoothly. We had a few gear problems, which we fixed as soon as we could, and we’re back up and running. Luckily we didn’t have to cancel any shows! (Thank God.) There’s nothing worse than having to drop a show. In regards to our show and the set list this tour, it’s easily one of our favorites to play. We’re playing all new songs from our latest album, Conversations and putting live flares on a lot of them. Super energetic set and really fun to play with the crowd. We really hope you guys get a chance to catch this tour before what we have planned next… might not stay so intimate for long… Gonna keep this short as we still have to pack suitcases. (:

Playlist: Hello Atlantic’s Warped Tour Picks

Hello Atlantic

Hello Atlantic took some time to make a Warped Tour Playlist. You can listen to it below and see who picked which songs.

Steve: Movements is a newer band on the rise, the lyrics and spoken word in their music really hits home. This song “Nineteen” in particular, I can relate to greatly. I rather live out my aspirations and passions and live life the way I want to, rather than chase good credit mortgages and material things.

Our Last Night has always been a band I could throw on and enjoy whether it’s a cover or an original song. The song “Sunrise” always hits home. I love the instrumentals, lyrics and overall vibe. The song reminds me to never give up on your dreams no matter how shitty life can be.

Eric: Silverstein has been one of those bands I’ve always been into since I went to my first Warped Tour in 2005. “My Heroine” is just powerful song by them, and has always been my favorite.

Neck Deep is a band I just discovered within the past 2 years, but they’re fantastic. The first time I heard the version of December featuring Mark Hoppus of Blink 182, I was amazed by it.

Ian: Dance Gavin Dance because they’re my favorite band, it’s their newest single, and I really dig it.

“Too Close To Touch” because this song is powerful and it conveys a feeling of hopelessness and sometimes I feel hopeless so it’s nice to connect with music like that

Nick: “Scars” because I have huge respect for how I Prevail have stayed on top with their social media interactions and I think they will bring heavy music back into the mainstream.

“Drift” because Hands Like Houses are just a unique modern rock band that’s super talented and that song is the perfect example.

Ryan: I chose “Middle Fingers Up” because this was the first song I heard by Attila and also what pretty much drove me to attend my first Warped Tour, also in a twisted kind of way it conveys not letting what people think or say about you, get to you.  Lastly, I found them to be quite different sounding from what has been coming out.

“Drink” was just a very catchy song to me, aside from this song Alestorm continues to put out music that can really lift your mood no matter what.  They are creative to the point I sit and wonder how they even come up with such a constant flow of songs that all follow the same criteria and theme.

Band picks: “Fucked with an Anchor” by Alestorm we have all listened to and had our fair share of laughs to! We occasionally busy out singing it together and blast it as loud as we can.  This year some of us were lucky enough to catch at Warped!

CKY’s “96 Quite Bitter Beings” was just a hit and the majority of us had said this song at the same time.  It just felt right that we chose this song, it was also amazing to us that Warped Tour has brought back some awesome throwback and old school bands this year!

Playlist: Trying’s Influences

Trying

Trying took some time to put together a list of songs that have influenced them over the years. Check out the playlist below and read about why they chose the songs they did. Also, be sure to check out their new EP, 21, over on Spotify or grab it on Bandcamp.

Vampire Weekend – “Walcott”
How the heck does a band make dweeby keyboard lines and sweet string sections sound so huge? Vampire Weekend’s unconventional arrangements were definitely a big point of reference for Trying.

Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland, 1945”
Neutral Milk Hotel practically slapped me in the face and yelled ‘THINGS DON’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!’ when I first heard them. This is probably one of the most bombastic acoustic songs I know.

The Smiths – “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”
The Smiths are my favorite band and the arrangement on this song plays similar to our go-to strummed acoustic guitar, jangly electric, and violin melody approach, plus this is the most romantic song about dying in a car crash.

Nico – “These Days”
I’m not sure if Nico sounds like she’s staring at you with tears in her eyes or just staring blankly, but her delivery and the sweeping strings are hard to match for emotional impact. “21” follows a similar lyrical structure revolving around a recurring line rather than a chorus.

The Cure – “Just Like Heaven”
I will probably dance to this song in my bedroom for the rest of my life.

The Front Bottoms – “The Beers”
The Front Bottoms’ first few releases have this blatant disregard for normal music making, as if the band said ‘what if we put a disco drum beat behind acoustic guitar and then sang about how “I will remember that summer as the summer I was taking steroids cuz you like a man with muscles?”’ I like that a lot.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “Come On Eileen”
Okay, yeah, everybody knows this song and it’s a favorite for drunk college kids but these clever goons somehow made banjo, fiddle, and frequent key changes into a hit.

Joyce Manor – “Bride of Usher”
Probably my favorite punk band of my lifetime, I try and find ways to get the same intensity as they have without the big rock guitars, but this almost new wave song from their second albumis probably closer to our sound.

Tegan & Sara – “Back In Your Head”
Before they became popstars (and maybe even now that they are popstars) Tegan & Sara really had a knack for making music that sounded as intimate as if you were listening in the bedroom with them and I’ve totally spent too much time trying to figure out how they do it.

Death Cab For Cutie – “Death of an Interior Decorator”
Like so many other melancholy indie kids, I’ve had Death Cab soundtracking dramatic, emotional moments for half of my life. This song’s poetic lyrics and intertwining guitars really do it for me.

The Smiths  – “Frankly Mr. Shankly”
This is prime Morrissey swagger, so confident and witty yet so uncertain and anxious. Think “21” appeals to a similar personality, but I’m not sure it has a line as great as “I didn’t realize you wrote poetry, I didn’t realize you wrote such bloody awful poetry.”

Tigers Jaw – “The Sun”
The first house show I ever went to was a Tigers Jaw show and I think they still represent some sort of indie dream to me. Some of our music reflects their dynamics, like the contrast between the down-trodden verses and the crashing choruses on this song.

The Violent Femmes – “Kiss Off”
From their unplugged and seemingly incomplete instrumentation to the count-to-ten bridge and “I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record” line, the Violent Femmes almost sound like children, but they capture a youthful energy that’s unbounded and full of passion.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth”
I don’t know how many singers I want to hear with this yowling voice, but I can’t help but yowl along when Clap Your Hands does it. The two guitars and keyboard arrangement also lines up pretty well with what Trying usually goes for.

The Magnetic Fields – “I Don’t Believe You”
Are those bells or glass bottles chiming in the bridge? I don’t know! The Magnetic Fields are as charming as they are strange, and that’s something I admire.

Monday Musings: Recode Decode, The Killer, and More

monday musings

Monday Musings returns with a podcast from Recode Decode, a new song from The Killers, and a couple of news pieces. Check them all out below.

Recode Decode – What tech gets wrong about harassment

Recode Decode is the wonderful podcast from Kara Swisher. In this episode, she talks to Sarah Kunst and Erica Baker about their experiences with harassment in the tech industry. It’s an excellent listen, as well as an important one.

The Killers – “Run For Cover”

New song from The Killers. Need I say more?

Katie Couric is leaving Yahoo

The one-time Today host and CBS Nightly News anchor has ended her interview show for Yahoo, which became part of Oath — a new company with 50-plus media and technology brands including AOL.com, HuffPost, Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Mail — when Verizon closed its acquisition of the media company last month. Couric is expected to work with Oath on individual projects, according to Oath.

Katie Couric is leaving Yahoo and also left CAA for WME. If you want to keep up with her in the meantime, you can check out her podcast over at her website. It’ll be interesting to see what she works on next.

Grant Gustin Says A Goal On The Flash Is To Get To Crisis On Infinite Earths

“We don’t really talk about on a yearly basis but it was mentioned early on and that’s a goal. Obviously we’d have to go I think ten years to reach that,” Gustin said. “So there’s a possibility for sure. It’ll be fun to get there.”

Comicbook interviewed Grant Gustin and San Diego Comic Con and they talked briefly about covering Crisis On Infinite Earths in the show. I hope The Flash does something to improve this coming season because none have quite compared to that first season.

You can find all previous editions of Monday Musings here.

Interview: Night Argent

Night Argent

Night Argent recently released The Fear. The band took some time to answer our questions about the EP, the band’s start, and more. Check out the full interview below.

When the band first started out in Pasco, Washington, where were you mostly playing? Did you play local shows or would you travel to Seattle and Portland areas to get gigs?

We actually played all over when we first started out. We were working with a college booking agency, and traveled around the U.S. quite a bit playing shows. Our first tour after we locked in the final member of the band was actually a 3 week tour on the east coast, so we got a lot of travel experience grinding it out pretty early on. We also played quite a few shows locally, but venues don’t seem to last super long in our hometown, we hope to one day help change that.

Once you won the grand prize at the Ernie Ball International Battle of the Bands, things seemed to really get rolling for the band. How did that experience change things for you?

It was a huge moment for us. We already believed in what we were doing and the music we were making, but to get that validation at that level and from people in the industry we’ve respected a long time was incredible.

It opened up a lot of doors for us, we still have to grind and put in work every day, but it allowed us opportunities that a lot of bands don’t get.

I don’t want to focus too much on the past, so let’s jump ahead to working on The Fear. What was working with John Feldmann like and what did you learn from him?

It was a new experience for us for sure. We had never worked with an outside producer, we had done everything in house up to that point, and to have our first experience be someone at his level was pretty hard to wrap our heads around. Luckily he made us feel right at home, and we had a blast working with him in the studio. The biggest thing we learned from him was to stay true to who we are as a group and what we’re trying to accomplish, regardless of how outside pressures may try and force us to change and be something we’re not.

With the EP out now, what is the band’s main focus? Touring?

Definitely, our goal right now is to play festivals, and get on the road with other bands out there putting in the work. Playing live and touring is our favorite part of being in a band.

Is the band always writing and working on new music or do you give yourselves a bit of a break?

We’re always working on new music, and writing. It’s how we express ourselves and cope with everyday life. We don’t write strictly for the band, or our fans, we write for ourselves, and because it’s what we live for.

I look forward to hearing more from the band in the future. Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Last one: where can our readers keep up with you?

Thank you! They can find us on any of the social media sites, or check out our website.