SoCal Spotlight: Orange County’s Takers Leavers

Takers Leavers

Takers Leavers are the latest SoCal band we want to spotlight. Continue reading to learn more about what the band likes about the SoCal scene, where they’re from, and more.

Hometown: Orange County, CA

Formed: 2016

Band members::
David Baqi – vocals, guitar
Karem Idrees – bass, vocals
Robby Friend – guitar
John Gee – drums

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

DB: When I found out becoming a professional ice cream eater isn’t as sustainable as it should be.

KI: About the same time I discovered Angus Young and AC/DC.

How did the current lineup come to be?

Patience with the process. We lost some and gained some. That helped us find the right equation.

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?

Most of the bands we’ve come to love have come from being booked with them. Also, attending local shows helps us discover bands while supporting our friends.

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

The many venues, bands, and music fans. We got to sharpen our teeth in a scene that pumps out consistency and creativity. A lot of successful creatives, mentors, and producers thrive here. A bit more diversity in the style of bands/shows and a blending of the different music cultures would be cool to see.

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?

Watching our following blossom recently has been an extremely humbling experience. We do our best to create a platform for others to speak, and people do a much better job at spreading our music than we do sometimes.

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

We run it ourselves. The intimacy of being able to do it and really connect with our people makes the most sense. Hit us up on IG, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Even Vero.

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

The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa. They love us. We love them. They make us sound great. We love their food, drinks, and staff.

What is the band working on right now?

Preparing for a West Coast tour in support of our EP Break & Bloom, available on every streaming platform September 7th.

SoCal Spotlight: OcnSide

OcnSide

We have a new SoCal band for you to check out. Anthony Aguiar of OcnSide kindly answered our questions so you can get to know the band a little better.

Hometown: Los Angeles
When the band formed: 2017
Members: Anthony Aguiar (writer/synth, guitar, bass, keys) David Dennis (vocals, guitar, bass)

When did you first know you wanted to be in OcnSide? 

I think David and I have always had a strong attraction to soul music. When we first started jamming again, we tried several different sounds, but the thing that felt best and natural was digging into our love for old Motown with a little rock influence.

How did the current lineup come to be? 

David and I have been friends for a long time. We actually were in LA’s local favorites Voxhaul Broadcast together. After we had a couple of solo projects, David and I decided to get together and kinda finish off where Voxhaul never got to go musically last year. We really wanted to dive into that soul sound and thought now was the best time.

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? 

Haha, good question. Lately, it easy to find something great on Spotify or Apple Music. As far as live shows, we always just stick to the venues around our us. On the free nights we usually just go and check out what’s happening at the Hi-Hat, The Echo, Satellite, or Bardot.

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

The musical vibe is always fresh, alive and free sounding in SoCal. If we could change anything, I guess we wish that LA was easier to get around.

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? 

Yeah for sure it’s difficult. We are just starting that up again, so I guess it’s just good to have a solid foundation with those closest to you and then build from there. I guess you’re always hoping that the music resonates farther and that all the social media out there can really spread your reach wide.

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

It’s very small right now. We literally just got started in the last month. I guess we are learning as we go haha. We have all the socials.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ocnsidemusic

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ocnsidemusic

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ocnsidemusic

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

The local spots in Highland Park and Echo Park are always a great place to play. Hi-Hat, The Echo, Satellite, and Bardot. Great vibes and great crowds!

What is OcnSide working on right now?

We are always collaborating with others and individually writing to see what where we go next musically. We have a bunch of other songs ready to go so we are looking forward to sharing those tunes soon as well.

SoCal Spotlight: Dan Sadin

Dan Sadin
Photo credit: Silvia Grav

We’re back with a new SoCal Spotlight. Dan Sadin moved from Northern California down to the SoCal scene. Check out the interview below to learn more about him.

Hometown:  San Francisco
When the solo project formed:  2018
Members: Dan Sadin – no real “official members,” it’s just me. I do have a killer live band, though.

When did you first know you wanted to be involved in music?

I don’t think there was ever a moment when my life has existed without music. My grandfather was a jazz pianist and arranger and I grew up playing piano, before guitar. I remember him singing my brother and me songs. Before I even knew how to play an instrument I would sit down at his piano and guess at notes, trying to compose my own simple songs. Then, I discovered the guitar – it was like something was calling me to it, I became obsessed with the idea of being a guitar player. I taught myself to play “Stairway To Heaven” on an old classical guitar over the summer and asked my mom if I could get guitar lessons. She said if I went and got my brother’s acoustic guitar and played the song for her she would pay for guitar lessons – she didn’t believe me, haha. I played the intro for her and from that moment on I’ve been on a guitar player.

How did the current project come to be?

I feel lucky to be involved with many great projects, whether touring, writing or producing. And while I love supporting those that I work with, I have always wanted to find a way to work on my own music. I had a hard time finishing songs and finding my own voice. Finally between breaks from tours, I started piecing together the parts of The Way That It Hurts. That song laid the groundwork for the rest of the EP and became the foundation of this project. I think there was something cathartic with it – I was finally able to get in touch with my feelings and see them come out with my own voice, something I hadn’t been able to do up until that point.

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?

Honestly, it just starts with friends. You meet one person who introduces you to another, who invites you to a show where you meet more people, who invite you to more shows, etc. I feel super lucky to have an incredible community of friends and musicians in Los Angeles. I actually love walking into a show where I don’t know anyone or know the band/performer and discovering something new. I also love to discover new venues and places to check out music. There are some great ones popping up right now, like the Lodge Room in Highland Park, where I’ll actually be doing my EP release show on 6/28!

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

I love that there’s so much going on all of the time. I also wish there wasn’t so much happening because it becomes really hard to cut through the noise. There are so many shows happening every night that inevitably you end up missing something you wanted to see, or you end up competing for tickets.

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

Absolutely. I think it’s about persistence, consistency and strategic planning. I’m just getting going as Dan Sadin, but I’ve done it with other bands. Find the places and shows that make sense for you to play, meaning there is some sort of alignment with other bands on the bill and the type of people that come to that venue, or the event. And just keep making friends; it’s all about your community no matter where you are.

How do you handle your social media presence? Where can our readers follow you?

I’m on all major social media platforms, Facebook (/dansadinmusic), IG (@dansadin), and Twitter (@_dansadin). Or it’s easiest to keep up with my website, www.dansadin.com.

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

I just recently played the El Rey with Frenship – that was a really fun show. The venue is amazing, always fun to see a show (as an audience member) and being on the other side was really special. The sound is great, the vibe is great, and they always have solid acts coming through. I look forward to getting back there soon!

What are you working on right now?

I am getting ready for the release of my EP, out June 22nd and we are celebrating with a show at the Lodge Room in Highland Park on June 28th. I will be joined by some of my best friends who will be performing short acoustic sets, including, Frenship, Holychild, Colyer, talker and Liv Slingerland. I’m really looking forward to the night, and it’s free (with RSVP)! Aside from that, I will be playing more shows throughout the summer and working on more music.

SoCal Spotlight: Swerve

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
Members:
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.

SoCal Spotlight: Glaare

Photo Credit: Nedda Afsari

Glaare took some time to answer our questions for our SoCal Spotlight. The band released To Deaf And Day in October 2017, which you can check out on Bandcamp. They’ll be playing a show at the Resident on January 17. Grab tickets for the show here and check out the feature below.

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
When the band formed: Late 2012
Members: Rex Elle (live bass/synth), Cameron Carlin (guitars, programming), Brandon Pierce (drums, programming), Rachael Pierce (vocals, merch-maker extraordinaire)

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

Sometime between The Downward Spiral and Antichrist Superstar.

How did the current lineup come to be?

Misery loves company.

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?

I can’t say that I actively seek out new bands. They seem to appear when they’re supposed to.

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

Southern California/Los Angeles is home to a lot of immensely talented people, some of which I get to call friends. This is something I try to remember when I’m on the hate side of my love/hate relationship with this part of the world. That being said, we need more venues and I wish the sun would go out.

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?

We’ve been very lucky to have friends and family that have supported us from day one. A lot of blood and tears were put into this and I don’t think that goes unnoticed. Don’t play a show if you’re not going to try and shake people up a bit.

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

@glaaremusic

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

Zebulon is a fantastic, newer venue. I was thoroughly impressed with the sound, both onstage and off, and their fine selection of snacks.

What is the band working on right now?

Not losing our minds while preparing for tour and remembering to drink lots of water.

SoCal Spotlight: Pacific Radio

Pacific Radio is up next on our SoCal Spotlight. Find out all about the band below!

Hometown:  Los Angeles, CA
When the band formed:  2015

PACIFIC RADIO IS:
Joe Robinson:  Guitar and Lead Vocal
Joe Stiteler:  Bass
Kyle Biane:  Guitar
Hyke Shirinian:  Drums

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

JR:  I’ve been in bands since high school but I’ve never been the singer, too much pressure, always the guitarist. One day I wrote some songs, put on galaxy tights and gold chains, and I’m the singer of Pacific Radio…what the f.

JS:  That’s a great question.  I got the itch when a buddy of mine started showing me songs he’d written, then later asked me if I’d play bass for him.  I looked at it as a fun and creative way to hang out with friends.

KB:  I was probably about 12, and an obsession with Nirvana kept growing and growing. Next thing I knew I had convinced my best friend to play bass and we scoured the middle school for anyone with a drum kit. We wrote 4 songs and started looking for gigs. Not to much has changed to this day.

HS:  hmm in a way it was never even a thought for me. I grabbed an instrument the second I could and asked my best friends in 5th grade if they wanted to start a band.

How did the current lineup come to be?

JS:  Me and JR knew each other from past bands.  When we started to play these songs we decided to record a demo, and were introduced to Kyle.  He engineered and produced our first batch of songs and when we decided to play live shows, we asked him if he’d be our guitarist.  Hyke descended upon us from the heavens a few years later.

KB:  I joined up after recording the band’s first demos. My original role was to play all the extra guitar parts we put on the record. It was not long after that group of shows that I became a full member.

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?

JR:  There’s always something happening in this damn place. You gotta pull yourself up and see the scene or you’re going to be left in your little box of self importance wondering why nobody comes to your shows. It’s rewarding to support other bands because I know their fighting the same battles.

JS:  It’s tougher than it seems.  We’ve had to scour the local music scene to find bands we wanna share a bill with; venues and bills change from night to night and it’s tough to find a consistent rock night.

KB:  I think it is pretty common that musicians gravitate to each other in cities. LA was that story for me. Having all my friends be musicians exposed me to all sorts of scenes. I also have to give the network most of the credit for me discovering new music here.

HS:  Being in the scene you get to meet a ton of cool players and bands. It just happens organically.

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

JR:  Favorite: Neverending stimulation. Change: I know social media numbers are important but I really wish “they” would listen to a damn song before passing judgement.

KB:  I love the amount of talent that is in this scene. In my opinion it is the most talented scene in the world. I do wish that the audiences were slightly more open to exploring musical tastes instead of coming for their one friend’s band and leaving right after.

HS:  My favorite thing is that there’s a ton of music. That’s also my least favorite thing.

JS:  I wish I could give the SoCal scene a hot beef injection of rock & roll.

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?

JR:  So many options, you gotta give em a reason to pick you. Great songs and an exciting show is our angle.

KB:  I don’t have a simple answer. For one, I try to keep posting on social media at a consistent pace. You are totally right, with so many musicians and bands, it can be hard to break through the noise.

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

JS:  I gotta shoutout my man Kyle for keeping our social up and running with cool, funny, interesting posts.

KB:  Thanks JS, but I’d say we share the responsibility of coming up with the content and try to keep it fun. Check it out! Insta: @pacificradio Twitter: @PacRadBand Facebook: Pacific Radio Band

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

JS:  We played a School Night last February at Bardot and it was buck wild.

HS:  I love the Troubadour. Good on stage sound!

KB: Troubador for sure.

What is the band working on right now?

JR:  Pushing this album, shows shows shows, and writing number 2.

JS:  Trying to get my bass to the next level.

KB:  Tour planning and laying out the battle plans for record two!

SoCal Spotlight: RIVALS

RIVALS

SoCal Spotlight returns with a look at RIVALS. They have a lot going on right now and we think that you should certainly keep your eyes on them. Learn more about RIVALS below.

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
When the band formed: 2014
Members:
Kalie Wolfe – Vocals
Micket Woodle – Guitar
Sebastian Chamberlain – Bass

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

KW: Weirdly enough, I didnʼt really ever want to be in a band per say but I know the moment I wanted to do music. I was shooting photos back when I was like 17 and I was on side stage shooting a friends band. I remember stopping and I looked out to a sold out show. I have this distinct memory of me thinking, “wow, I need to do this,” and a year later I joined RIVALS.

SB: At a very young age my mom dated somebody who is in a big band and took me to one of their shows and when I saw them play I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

MW: I was 11 and I was watching a Lorne video in my living room and playing air guitar haha.

How did the current lineup come to be?

KW: Back in like 2013, Micket and approached me about starting a band, I have known Micket since I was like 13 years old just through mutual friends but we were never really that close. I went on tour with his band as a photographer when I was 17 and he heard me sing. Like a year later or so, that band he was in broke up and he was looking to start another project. I know he mentioned doing something less metal and wanted to see what I could do to this track he had. It just ended up sounding really good and we kinda went with it. Seb came a bit later, like maybe two or three months after we released H/H back in 2015. We met him through just playing shows in our local scene. Its actually funny cause we had met one time and I posted on Facebook saying “looking for a bass player” and all he commented was that girl emoji with her hand up and here we are two years later constantly touring together haha.

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?

KW: Honestly Facebook/Instagram/Twitter are such powerful tools to find other bands in your area, Its kinda how weʼve even found some bands to tour with even. But also just constantly seeing flyers from friends/etc and being like “oh Iʼve never heard of them before” and I tend to go and check it out just to see whats going on in music.

Whatʼs your favorite thing about the SoCal scene? Whatʼs one thing you wish you could change about it?

SC: One thing I love about the scene is how much everyone supports each other in their music. The people who believe in you, really go out of their way to make sure youʼre treated amazingly. SoCal has some of the best people weʼve ever met and who show us so much support. And if I can change one thing it would probably be the also the lack of support as well. I wish more people would go and support the local shows, and I guess this is less of the local scene and more of normal people who enjoy music in general. Music can only thrive if people support.

Thereʼs 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?

MW: Definitely, Los Angeles has such a big local scene of great musicians and itʼs hard to really stand out but as long as you stay true to your music and really put your heart into it (and make your live show really interesting haha) then nothing can stop you

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

KW: I run all of our socials, kinda constantly on my phone looking for new marketing methods or new ways to make us stand out. Always been my thing to be honest haha.

wearervls.com

twitter.com/wearervls

instagram.com/wearervls

facebook.com/wearervls

Also, be sure to check out the new single “Low.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuJkNgR6tFM

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

We love playing at Malones but we also like Chain as well. Theyʼre both super solid venues, good vibe and solid sound.

What is the band working on right now?

KW: We are currently in the process of releasing our new record which will be out 2/2 via Smartpunk Records titled Damned Soul. Keep your eye out for new videos/and tour announcements! Tons of really awesome things coming up quickly!

SoCal Spotlight: Hundred Handed

Next up in our SoCal Spotlight is Hundred Handed! Both members answered our questions and you can check out their video for “Miss California” at the end.

Hometown: Los Angeles
When the band formed: Season 5 of Game of Thrones
Members: Jordan McGraw: Vocals, Guitar, keys. Drew Langan: Drums, background vocals.

When did you first know you wanted to be in a band?
JM: For me, I had just moved from Dallas, TX to Los Angeles and had no friends yet and nothing to do… So I picked up a guitar and taught myself every Blink-182 and Nirvana song I could and eventually got a teacher. By the time school started, all I wanted to do was put a band together.

DL: I didn’t really. I always played drums in school, and I did a lot of playing alone in my parents’ den. Being in a band wasn’t really on my mind. One day when I was a sophomore, a few juniors asked me to join their metal band. I thought that was pretty cool so I said ok. Never looked back!

How did the current lineup come to be?
JM: Drew and I have been in bands for almost 10 years now. We just kept growing and learning more about ourselves as musicians… We finally decided to form a new band and be completely unapologetic about doing exactly what makes us happy. That’s Hundred Handed. It’s also my first time taking over the lead vocals. SO MUCH FUN! I had always just sang backgrounds here and there… We needed a singer so I said “fuck it I’ll do it!” and put my mind to learning as much as I could about singing and finding my voice.

DL: I just can’t get rid of this guy!

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?
JM: The best part of LA is that the local scene includes every tour in the country as well. We definitely make sure to show up early for every show we go to and hear all of the bands on the bill.

What’s your favorite thing about the SoCal scene? What’s one thing you wish you could change about it?
JM: The best and the worst thing about it is that anyone can book a show anywhere. On one hand, it opens up great opportunities for any great band to get in front of people. On the other hand, it opens up great opportunities for unprepared bands to get in front of people. Got to start somewhere though! I say go for it.

DL: Yea it’s definitely very saturated. It can be tough to sift through all the music happening here, but like Jordan said, that offers up a lot of opportunity.

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?
JM: We just make music non-stop and play as much as we can! Also, Drew offers free massages after every show. He even offers an “encore.”

DL: Best massage in LA!

How do you handle the band’s social media presence? Where can the readers follow you?
JM: We are probably the most active on Instagram… but we are on twitter and Facebook as well. We love talking to fans! SO HIT US UP! http://hundredhanded.com

Do you have a favorite SoCal spot to play? What makes it your favorite?
JM: I think the Troubadour is my favorite. The stage is a good size but it’s still a smaller venue. I’ve also seen so many great bands play there so the nostalgia kicks in when it’s show time. Nothing beats the feeling of playing the same stage you’ve seen some of your favorite bands on.

DL: I like Club Nokia a lot. The vibe is really cool there. It’s a (relatively) newer venue so it feels pretty modern and I’m a total sucker for that. The stage is plenty big, it holds a good amount of people, and the backstage area is great.

What is the band working on right now?
JM: We are finishing up an EP or part one of an album or a small album… who knows what you’re supposed to call it now. New music soon! We also have an October show coming up at the Peppermint Club.

SoCal Spotlight: Whispertown

Photo Credit: Jake Bellows

Whispertown takes the spotlight this week. Morgan Nagler took some time to let us know more about the band and their roots in the SoCal music scene.

Hometown: Born in Florence, Oregon, grew up in Los Angeles / South Bay
When the band formed: 2004
Members: Morgan Nagler (songwriter, vocals, acoustic guitar), Jake Bellows (produced & mixed I’M A MAN, electric guitar and vocals live, multi-instrumentalist on the album), Nick White (keys), Jon Watkins (bass, live only)

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

When I first wrote a song.  And was terrified to perform alone.  A band, to me, is like idea farming!  You vibe out with your friends and cultivate a seed.  Sometimes you have no idea what it will grow into.

How did the current lineup come to be?

Over the past few years the core has been Jake and I. We feel so fortunate to have been playing with Nick White, Jon Watkins and Stephanie Tarling live. They are all magically talented and happen to be dear friends as well. We like to keep it family style.

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?

I have no idea what’s going on out there!  Haha.  Although I do feel there is currently a new wave of community forming right now in our micro universe.  Having a song circle with friends, passing the guitar around is my favorite thing to do.  I really only find out about new music through my friends.  We go to a lot of shows just to see our friends play, and often are enchanted by the other bands sharing the bill.  I guess you gotta get out of the house and see where the day takes you.

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

The strange and diverse beauty and how it influences us.  Spending time with the Mountains, the Desert and the Ocean. How it physically changes your chemistry.  The relentlessly dreamy weather.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

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?

I think building a following can be very fickle.  I consider myself a lifer.  I am devoted to making music regardless of what else I might do, and regardless of how many follow.  There is peace in taking the power out of judgement.

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

I battle with the video game world of social media. What a strange era.  It’s like we all have dual lives. Inside the box and outside the box.  It is my fundamental belief and goal to spend as much time as possible outside the box!  However, I am present, and fascinated with this still new mode of communication and where it will take us.  @inWhispertown on Instagram and Twitter, and Whispertown on Facebook.  I have yet to snap or story.

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

I love playing the Troubadour because of it’s history, and more locally The Bootleg is my fave.  Kyle, who books it, is so nice and the sound is epic.  And the back stage area has ping pong.

What is the band working on right now?

We are getting ready for our release, and tour to follow supporting the magical M. Ward… who is also from Southern California!  I’M A MAN comes out Sept 1st via Graveface Records.  #newgenesinbluejeans

SoCal Spotlight: Ramonda Hammer

Ramonda Hammer
Photo Credit: Alexandria Bailey

Ramonda Hammer takes the spotlight this week. Devin Davis took some time to let us know more about the band and their roots in the SoCal music scene.

Hometown: Los Angeles
When the band formed: 2014
Members: Devin Davis (vox + guitar), Andy Hengl (bass), Justin Geter (guitar), Mark Edwards (drums)

When did you first know you wanted to be in a band?
Ha, I guess third grade when I started my first band called The Glitter Girls.

How did the current lineup come to be?
To my very pleasant surprise, I met Andy on the first day I moved to LA three years ago. He and I moved into this artist compound on the east side on the same day and I invited him to a show I was playing. I was like “yeah I’m in a band”, which was a huge fucking embellishment. Haha luckily he really liked my songs and we started jamming and here we are. Justin joined the band two years ago through an introduction at a party. Our homies were like “hey, this is Justin, his band broke up, he’s super sad”, and I was like yaaass I need that kind of emotion. And then there’s Mark. Oh Mark, our newest addition. Dear sweet Mark, recommended to us by our label for a run to SXSW this year, and then we just couldn’t get rid of him.

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?
I go to way too many shows. -_-

What’s your favorite thing about the SoCal scene? What’s one thing you wish you could change about it?
I guess I can only speak for myself and the scene of super dope bands that Ramonda Hammer has become a part of. So many female fronted bands and lots of camaraderie and support for and from each other. I love that all of these artists are building each other up and creating opportunities for each other. There’s no fucking way any of us could do this by ourselves.

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?
We’re just super weird and put on heartfelt, energetic shows. People really seem to have caught on in LA. Now we’re trying to do that everywhere else. 🙂

How do you handle the band’s social media presence? Where can the readers follow you?
I feel like I’m really bad at it but I try my darndest! You can like Ramonda Hammer on Facebook or follow on IG + Twitter @ramondahammer to be entertained by my awkward comedy daily.

Do you have a favorite SoCal spot to play? What makes it your favorite?
The Echo for sure! Always a good crowd and they have good green room snacks.

What is the band working on now?
Writing a full length album, set to record this fall, and release to you all in early 2018! 🙂