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Interviews

Eves Karydas on when life gets “Complicated”

Eves Karydas is a singer-songwriter who took Australia by storm when her debut album summerskin came out in 2018. Now she’s back, having released her latest single “Complicated” earlier this year. We got to have a long-distance video call with Eves to talk about “Complicated” and what more she has prepared for us!

CROWDSURFER MAG: Your single “Complicated” came out this summer, or well . . . winter for you. Tell me about the inspiration for the song.

EVES KARYDAS: It was written after a series of weird, unfortunate events. I was in Stockholm at the time, and I was overseas for the most of last year. I got to the end of the trip and hadn’t really written anything good in a long time. I was feeling a lot of pressure, feeling homesick, and starting to doubt myself. Then my grandfather passed away, and that hit me harder than I thought. And it all started to manifest in these weird dreams, and I just got to this point where I was like, I have to do something about this. So I took it to the studio and was like, guys, I want to laugh at myself today, I don’t wanna be serious, I just want to confront all of this stuff going on in my mind. So that was how “Complicated” was written.

CSM: Let’s talk about the music video! What’s the concept behind all of the people frozen in the moment?

EK: For me, I really wanted the music video to portray a sense of being stuck in a place where you can’t move forwards. I like how the surreal element of the people in the house being frozen kind of puts you on edge.

CSM: There are a lot of surreal elements in the video, like I love the tub filled with fluff instead of water.

EK: I’ve always had a thing for when film and TV goes down a surreal road. David Lynch is one of my favorite directors so that’s always been an inspiration for me. I just felt like having these people doing mundane scenarios also represents how it can be the simplest things holding you back as well.

CSM: “Complicated” is the first song you’ve released since your previous album summerskin. How has your sound changed? How have you changed?

EK: I’ve changed in that I’ve become a lot more direct. I think the biggest change is that I’ve started confronting my mental health and stopped sort of hiding away parts of myself that made me uncomfortable. And it started to reflect in the music. I wanted my lyrics to be really upfront but with its own version of poetic-ness. And that was reflected in the production style for me. I started writing these lyrics and was like, I don’t want anything crowding them. The storytelling and the vocals, you can’t escape them.

CSM: Will “Complicated” be on a new album?

EK: Yeah! I can feel it in me that I’ve hit that new phase where I’m like, I can write an album now. In the last few months I overcame some serious writer’s block, and I’m really getting back into the swing of things. I’ve got a whole bunch of singles up my sleeve though.

CSM: Speaking of singles, what else do you have in store for the rest of this year?

EK: I just finished up my next single, and we’re planning on putting that out before the end of the year. I’m actually trying to figure out the music video now and wanting to make something that puts you on edge but doesn’t make you feel bad. I think at the moment the world doesn’t need things that make you feel bad.

CSM: You mentioned some writer’s block, what have you been doing to help yourself stay focused on your music during this pandemic?

EK: I moved, actually! I moved down the coast and am living by myself for the first time, and I think that’s maybe helped with the writer’s block because it’s my space. But it’s been really inspiring being somewhere I can just enjoy nature. Living in the city was…I felt so boxed in, especially while everyone was in isolation. I think it’s nice being able to reconnect with myself.

CSM: Since we’re all dreaming of being on tour right now . . . who would you most love to go on tour with?

EK: I would love to tour with…let me think for a second! I mean Harry Styles is one of my absolute favorites and that would be so wild. I reckon it would be pretty cool to tour with someone who is in pop but a little bit of a different flavor like Lewis Capaldi, or like imagine touring with The 1975 that would be pretty epic as well.

CSM: Those all sound awesome, and I will be in the audience if that happens! Thanks for talking with us today!

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Interviews

Artist Interview: Gillian Heidi

Singer-songwriter Gillian Hedi is one to keep your eye on as she continues to put out R&B-infused pop music that’s so poetic, you wouldn’t believe she’s only sixteen. “What It Felt Like,” the single off of her first EP Unbridled, has over 250 thousand streams on Spotify, and her music only keeps getting better.

Her latest single “fray” comes out today, and we got to talk with her about her previous single “desperate” and her upcoming album!

CROWDSURFER: Your single “desperate” recently came out! Tell us a little about the inspiration and story of this song.

GILLIAN HEIDI: “desperate” is definitely one of the more fictional songs I’ve written. One of the biggest parts of the writing process was developing the characters who exist in the song. Though the emotions I expressed in the song are authentic to my life, the story is fictionalized in some aspects. “desperate” portrays both the guilt and thrill that comes when you have feelings for someone else while in a relationship.

CS: Do you have a favorite lyric?

GH: My favorite lyric is definitely “but there’s something about your danger that makes me fall for your taboo.”

CS: I hear that “desperate” sets the tone for your upcoming album 3AM. Walk us through how your sound and you yourself have changed since your debut EP Unfiltered.

GH: I think that Unfiltered was an undeveloped version of my current sound. 3AM is definitely darker and more mature than anything on Unfiltered. I think that this development really just came from growing up and changing as a person.

CS: When does 3AM come out?

GH: 3AM should hopefully come out early next year! Until then, I’ll be releasing a bunch of singles from it.

CS: You’re sixteen! And yet your music feels so mature. Where does your inspiration for this sound and these lyrics come from?

GH: I think that my inspiration comes from all of the music I’ve listened to as I’ve grown up. Some of my biggest inspirations are Taylor Swift, Amy Winehouse, and Ella Mai. I think that listening to other artists can really help spark ideas and inspiration in my own work.

CS: What’s your songwriting process like?

GH: I usually start a song with one line or a few lines that I really like, and build around that. I try to stay inspired by doing writing exercises each day, which has really helped improve my process.

CS: What made you decide to pursue music?

GH: I can remember the first time I heard “Love Story” by Taylor Swift on the radio. I was 6-years-old and at that moment I knew that I wanted to write songs. Cheesy, but true.

CS: If you’re still in school, how are you balancing everything?

GH: I am still in school! I take academics very seriously and it has definitely always been a priority for me. Sometimes it can be difficult to balance everything, but I try to make time for the things I love, like creating music. 

CS: What else do you have in store for us before your album drops?

GH: I’m dropping a new music video very soon and I’ve also got a bunch of new singles lined up. I can’t wait!

CS: Do you have any goals for this year that you’re super excited about? Whether music-related or not?

GH: This year I want to start recording some of my new music. Since recording 3AM, I’ve definitely further developed my style, and I can’t wait to work on my next project.

You can take a listen to “desperate” here, and stay tuned for more from Gillian Heidi!

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Interviews

Artist Interview: Skandra

Alexandra Duparc, known by her stage name Skandra, is a multitalented creator and musician. Her new single Rivers is amassing streams by the thousands, thanks to her husband’s viral TikTok video. We talked with Skandra about her life, career, new music, and upcoming projects. Check out the interview below.

Crowdsurfer: Tell us how you got started playing and writing music.

Skandra: I wrote my first song when I was twelve. It was after discovering Cat Power’s album You Are Free. It felt like the perfect avenue to express myself as I didn’t feel like facing my journal that day. I lost a loved one and wanted to say goodbye in song. I started my first band that year. I’ve been writing and playing music ever since.

CS: We found you from your husband’s viral TikTok video. How has his support helped you gain traction with your latest release?

S: It’s been quite an adventure. His video changed my life. Skandra has received over 2 million streams across streaming platforms, the music video views keep going up and almost every major label on earth contacted me within 48 hours. I don’t know what any of this means quite yet but I’m beyond joyous and floored to have a real fanbase to release my upcoming music to. It’s been absolutely beautiful. I love Ylane. Not only as my husband but truly the definition of a best friend.

@ylaneduparc

This could change her life… Help me help her 🥺🔥

♬ original sound – ylaneduparc

CS: What was your inspiration behind Rivers?

S: Rivers is about the admission that though something may feel like true love, it’s obviously destined to end. It sorts through thought processes I had throughout that prior relationship. It’s about finding strength in this admission and being okay with it. The chorus lines “Where these rivers go, I fear we’re better off dead and since we don’t know, let’s learn with the current” really hit home to me in this time and place. 

CS: What inspires you musically? Who are some artists or songs you’re loving right now?

S: I get inspired by people, mostly. I’m such a writer that I tend to start with the written before melodic. As for music that I’m listening to right now – I’ve been delving into some older albums for inspiration such as Son Lux, Alice Boman’s first EP and Dawn Golden.

CS: What’s your dream collaboration?

S: I’ve said this before and I think if I say it enough times, it’ll make sense but I’d love to collaborate with Miranda July. She’s such a soul and whether it was sonic or visual, it’d be a dream collaboration.

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CS: What are your favorite songs or lyrics you’ve written?

S: I really love this line in “Ashes” that goes “I’m a girl with all these dreams. So, if you give me a match, you should expect a flame. So, here’s the fire that ends us again” and then I yell, “and I hope the whole world becomes covered in the ashes!” It’s the perfect metaphor for letting go of a toxic past and asserting my desire to become all I’ve ever expected of myself.

CS: How have you been spending quarantine – writing or recording any new songs?

S: I founded and run an organization in Los Angeles called Treehouse. It’s an art community that has popped-up monthly for over 5 years. We expose underexposed artists. When the pandemic hit, we canceled all our live events planned for the year. I launched the Quarantine Concert on Instagram. We had over 50 thousand musicians partake including Walk The Moon, The Griswolds and Meg Meyers. It was beautiful seeing all this intimate creation. Later, we began interviewing artists on their work through a series called Dialogue. We focused on spotlighting Black voices. I fundraised for families in Guatemala, the LA Food Bank and the NPAP. Now, Skandra has been launched into the world and has gone viral on TikTok and garnering over 2 million streams across streaming services. I just spent an extremely sanitized 10 days in the studio and have some really great new tracks in the works. We’ve got a wonderful road ahead.

CS: What are your plans for the rest of the year and onward?

S: We decided to give back to those who help launch Skandra to over 2 million streams. So, we’re giving out 100 mystery boxes. They consist of inside jokes from the TikTok video, games, gifts, limited merchandise, Nintendo DS, iPhone, polaroid cameras and more. We figure that we can take what Spotify is going to pay out and give back to those who supported it.

Anna Azarov Photography

I’m going to focus on finishing the next release. There’s this rebellious side of me that wants to continue independently and try to accomplish some things that few musicians have. I like paving new roads. A damn the man, save the empire kind of thing.

CS: What do you hope people get from listening to your music?

S: I love it when people tell me that they put on headphones and listen to it with their eyes closed. That says it all. My favorite music makes me do that. To be that for anyone else is a dream.

CS: Where can people find you on social media?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/skand.ra/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCseJgo-gesPvY-qRQifPJjw

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@skand.ra

Website: https://skandra.net/

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Interviews

Artist Interview: Kiira

This week, we caught up with KIIRA, a 23-year-old Swiss-American singer, about her two new singles, “After Hours” and “Porcelain”. Born in Paris and raised in Zurich, KIIRA has spent the past few years working alongside multi Grammy-nominated producer Justin Trugman (Eminem, Wu-Tang, Ice Cube). 

“I remember being so in love with listening to music and singing from a very young age,” KIIRA expressed.  “I live and breathe music”. Some of her all-time favorite artists that she is inspired by are Lorde, Ella Fitzgerald, Lana Del Rey, Frank Ocean, Amy Winehouse, Daughter, and Ben Howard. As far as her current top artists, “My top influences are Dominic Fike, Billie Eilish, and Labrinth”, she stated. She’s currently evolving and perfecting her unique sound through her laid-back vocals and catchy melodies. Her two new singles “After Hours” and “Porcelain” redefine her sound, pushing boundaries in the chill-pop space. 

After listening to the new singles, we were interested in her writing process and how exactly she’s finding her own sound. “The writing process is such a magical part of it all,” she explains,  “Whether it is me alone on the piano or in a room with other people, bouncing off ideas… it’s pure magic!”

KIIRA keeps a journal with her throughout the day and takes notes as thoughts and ideas arise. Once she gets home, she will sit at the piano and make sense of it all. “Honestly, I just go with the flow and try to let things come out naturally,” she describes, “I feel like when things are forced, they are never truly authentic.” 

She feels most in her element while recording, just her and the sound engineer making music together and zoning in. “There are absolutely no distractions, just me in my element. I am truly the happiest version of myself when I am in that zone.” 

Since she recently released two new singles, we thought we’d get more details. “Love can be a scary thing because if you fall so deeply, you can become blinded and not see any of the red flags,”  KIIRA explains, “These songs hold a very special place in my heart.” While spending the last few years working on herself as an artist, these two singles showcase how she has evolved to find her sound. Find KIIRA on Spotify and all streaming platforms to listen to her new singles! As far as looking towards the future, she has stripped versions of “After Hours” and “Porcelain” that are coming out this month. “I am constantly writing and will have new music coming out in the near future,” KIIRA says. We’re excited to keep an eye out for what comes next!

You can check out her music on Spotify.

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Interviews Music News

Census on latest single “Sunbeam”

Progressive rock band Census presented us with their second single of the year just a few weeks ago. We got to discuss “Sunbeam,” the music video, and the song’s important story.

CSM: Your new single “Sunbeam” comes out today! How does it feel to follow up “Hydrangea” with this song?

CENSUS: We are more excited about this release than any we’ve done before. “Hydrangea” was a huge milestone for us as a band. In a way, it set the tone for both the sound and video quality fans can expect to see from a Census release. We think “Sunbeam” not only fulfills those expectations, but far exceeds them.

CSM: Both the song and music video are pretty emotionally intense. Only as much as you’d like to, what can you tell us about the inspiration and story of “Sunbeam?

CENSUS: “Sunbeam” is about a girl who deals with sexual abuse and battles depression and mental manipulation from her current partner. Ben wrote this song after having a late-night conversation with a friend who was going through some of the same things. He said it broke his heart, pissed him off, and he had to write about it.

CSM: What does the voiceover in the music video mean to you?

CENSUS: The voiceover sections were the brilliant mind of our videographer Joe Lane of Anointed Media. When we came to him with this song and message, we knew it had to be handled delicately. We wanted the biggest takeaway to be how common sexual assault actually is. In the beginning of the video, you hear a girl explaining to her therapist that not even her own parents were supportive of her sharing her sexual assault story. Many people are completely unaware of how common sexual assault is worldwide because victims are afraid to tell their stories. The video ends with the same girl explaining that she has chosen to overcome her trauma in order to give hope to others who are going through the same thing. We want victims to hear those words, understand that they’re not alone, and hopefully feel inspired to persevere.

CSM: I wanted to say thank you for including a resource for help at the end of the video. Do you wish that was a choice more artists made?

CENSUS: Music made for a good cause is still music made for a good cause. We think the video did a good job portraying how common and cyclical abuse truly is, but we also wanted to go ahead and include some resources that can help victims. It’s good for victims to understand that they’re not alone, but they’re more likely to seek help if they know it’s readily available.

CSM: Was the video for “Sunbeam” shot during the pandemic? If so, was it a challenge for you to decide how you were going to create this video?

CENSUS: It was shot during the pandemic! The biggest problem was just waiting for the right opportunity to come along for Joe to come shoot the video. Joe lives in Texas where COVID cases were particularly high, and the rest of us are in Arkansas. All the actors in the video are close friends and family to us, so once Joe was clear to come shoot, we knew the rest of us were safe as well.

CSM: What have you been doing to keep positivity and creativity flowing during this tough time for the music industry?

CENSUS: We’re just writing as much as we can. We had to cancel all of our tour dates just like every other band, but that’s just the way things have to be for now. We still talk with each other every day and get together as often as possible. We figure rather than moping around and waiting for shows to come back, if we just write as much new music as possible while we have the chance, it can’t be too big of a loss.

CSM: I’m truly, truly loving your music! Do you have anything more in store for us this year?

CENSUS: Thank you so much! We can say with full certainty that there are more new music and videos still to come in 2020.

CSM: Is there anything else you want us to know?

CENSUS: Our new song and video “Sunbeam” is available now on all streaming platforms! We love you guys and hope you are all staying safe out there.

You can listen to “Sunbeam” here!

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Interviews Music News

Artist Interview: Priya Francis

If Priya Francis wasn’t on your radar before now, you certainly need to check out her music. The Melbourne-based singer-songwriter has a new single out today called “Jeans,” an alternative R&B ode to growing up and growing apart. We got to chat with Priya about the new song, her upcoming EP, and finding inspiration!

CROWDSURFER: How does it feel to have your second single of the year out?

PRIYA FRANCIS: I’m super excited to have the single out! It’s really different from a lot of my other releases, and I’ve been sitting on it for quite a while now. I think I first performed it live back in October last year, so it’s been a long few months finessing it and finalising all the little details to have it ready to put out there.

CS: Tell us about the story behind “Jeans.”

PF: The story behind “Jeans” kinda stems from a situation I was finding myself in often, where I was just losing touch with friends, not seeing or talking to certain friends for a long time without even realising it or without there being some sort of argument or blow-up, and I was in that spot with one of my best friends for a little while. A lot of the people around me were getting pretty upset with the situation but from the way I saw it, it was just her growing up and finding herself a lot quicker than the rest of us, and it wasn’t something I could get mad at her about. She’s still one of my best friends now, I may not speak to her every day or even every week but she’s still one of my favourite people ever, and I think a lot of other people can relate to that.

CS: One of my favorite lines is “but funnily enough I don’t mind / it’s strange to think I reckon we’re fine.” What made you want to write a song that’s different from what we usually hear – intense heartbreak or getting over someone – and instead about outgrowing relationships?

PF: I think like a lot of people, I struggle to write about things I haven’t personally experienced, so things like heartbreak or big heated arguments aren’t really something I can get into the right headspace for, but I’m super connected to my friends and my relationships with other people. Quite a few of my songs are about my friends or their experiences, and I think “Jeans” is just me wanting to try and put into words that feeling of growing apart from someone in a really peaceful way where you still care about them and love them. 

CS: How does “Jeans” differ from the music you released last year?

PF: It’s a lot more direct in my opinion. I think the music I released last year definitely took a step in that direction, but “Jeans” is a lot more authentic for me in terms of storytelling. It’s also a lot less angry and upset, I think. Although it is talking about a subject that can be sad, it’s not as negative about it, it’s more open and understanding. In terms of the sound and vibe of the song, I love the energy in the track, and Jarrod Hambleton, who produced it, really listened to my references and ideas and pushed me to get some new sounds in there that have shaped this track hugely. 

CS: Are “Jeans” and your last single “Butterflies” going to be part of your upcoming EP?

PF: I 100% want “Jeans” on there. I like the idea of “Butterflies” being its own little, humble stand-alone track as a single, but “Jeans” just fits the plan I have for the EP perfectly in terms of storytelling and sound.

CS: What can you tell us about the EP? What’s the sound, what’s the mood, does it have a release date?

PF: I don’t know a whole lot myself. All I have at the moment is the name, quite a few of the tracks, some that are still being picked, some that are being written super last minute and swapped in for others, but no release date at all. To be honest I was kinda very optimistically hoping it would be ready earlier this year, but I think I did a lot of new writing and growing in the time between first recording the demos and laying everything down properly that capturing the sound I want and the level of songwriting has been an ongoing process. Thankfully Jarrod is super understanding and deals with my random bursts of inspiration and demo dumps like a champ. 

CS: What other artists do you draw inspiration from? And how are you using that inspiration in your music?

PF: I draw from a few artists who contrast each other. Kehlani is a huge inspiration for me in terms of how her music mixes storytelling and production, as well as how much she embodies that alternative/RnB pocket so naturally. She’s also just got a criminally under-appreciated voice. I have an ongoing obsession with Jon Bellion just because of how different his approach to songwriting and production is, and his lyrics are out of this world, so I always try and look back at lyrics and challenge myself to make them better. H.E.R, D’Angelo, Snoh Aalegra, and Lauryn Hill are probably the other artists I’m constantly referencing whenever I’m listening to new music for inspiration, things to learn or trying to implement sounds into my own stuff. 

CS: I don’t know how things are in Melbourne, but what have you been doing to stay focused on your music throughout the pandemic?

PF: It’s pretty grim in Melbourne at the moment but we’re all doing what we can! I’ve been trying to get better at playing the guitar because I’m absolutely rubbish if I don’t have a capo with me, so learning some trickier chords and stuff like that which will just make my songwriting a bit easier. I’m being super pedantic about writing down literally every development that’s made music wise, whether that’s a new song I’ve sent over, notes for vocal production, a collaboration or just something I’m excited about. I also make an obscene amount of Spotify playlists so that’s always good for getting me inspired.

CS: It was also just your birthday! Did you do anything fun?

PF: It was! I mean, I did as much as I could in lockdown haha. I had dinner with my family and my little sister makes stupidly good brownies so we demolished a tray of those. I also had some drinks over Zoom with my best friends which is always a great time.

CS: Do you have anything else you want to tell everyone?

PF: Keep an eye out!! There’s definitely music on the way, whether it’s my own stuff or collaborations with a bunch of other talented musicians, I’m super keen for all the music that’s about to be out. Also stay safe and wear your masks!!! 

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Interviews

Artist Interview: Emily Deahl

You will not find a more creative artist or adventurer than Emily Deahl. Confident and resilient, she’s been working at getting her name in the industry for quite a few years now. Deahl initially thought she wanted to be a dancer, and after she moved to LA at 17, she realized dance wasn’t her passion: music was. After getting a deal to perform pop music in China off and on for a few years, Deahl spent some time in Charleston before deciding to move to Nashville to focus on songwriting and her sound.

She worked on learning new instruments, recorded two albums of music, and kept practicing. “It just became all about doing things I was afraid of, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and getting better. I was like, I want to be sure I’m not giving anyone a reason to tell me no anymore.” In Charleston, her sound became very singer-songwriter, but it didn’t quite fit, in the same way the LA pop sound wasn’t the right sound for her either. “I realized, I’m somewhere in the middle of both of these.”

She’s been in Nashville for the past year, working toward releasing the new music she recorded with a producer in Charleston. After just joining TikTok in February, she found her videos going viral one after another. That’s when she realized “I can actually promote my music on this app.” She brainstormed and came up with the idea to “do outrageous sh*t to get my song into the Top 100 on iTunes.”

“Everyone told me that was an impossible goal, so I thought, if I want to get it, I’m going to have to do something outlandish and crazy, and what better place to do that than TikTok?”

On Day 1, she highjacked a grocery store’s overhead speakers to tell shoppers to stream her new single My Baby Hates Me. Day 2, she stopped traffic in Nashville, Day 3 she hid pink boxes at radio stations around town, on Day 5 she called an ex-fling that she wrote the song about, and this weekend she (with the help of her fans) tried to convince Diplo to remix her song. Talk about hustle.

@emilydeahl

Reply to @njm3443 Follow to keep up with this sh*t show. Stream My Baby Hates Me now! #NotTheOne #BiggestFan #manifestation #music #singer #dating

♬ original sound – emilydeahl

But that’s not the only focus of her creativity. “I have a lot of conceptual ideas behind what I do. I’ve written two children’s books about the music I’ve created under the alias I sometimes call myself ‘The Ice Cream Girl’. In my most recent children’s book “The Ice Cream Girl Presents Ghost Stories” I walk you through my first EP where each chapter of the story has a coinciding song.” 

“There’s so many things that have inspired me over the course of figuring out who “me” is. I have so much creative energy and lately I’ve been saying that it feels like finally I’m proud of what I’m doing and everything is just exploding out of me. I can’t even keep up with all the ideas that are in my head right now.”

Many eclectic musicians have inspired Emily along thee way, such as Jack white, Lady Gaga, Freddie Mercury and Elvis.

“I’ve always been inspired by theater and musicals. Mostly I think I get inspiration from things that are just authentically themselves. I also think it’s every artist’s duty. We listen to music because we want to be set free. And the only way you can do that is if you’re listening, watching or reading something that’s real, that’s coming from a vulnerable place. And that, in turn, as a fan, I am inspired by those people who who are unapologetic about it.”

Photo by Shania Houchens @shaniahouchens 

After about a week of doing outrageous sh*t on TikTok, Deahl had an awesome moment: 107.5 The River radio station played My Baby Hates Me.

“When the radio station here played it, I said ‘this is the best moment of my life’ and I was not kidding. I couldn’t sleep that night. It was so validating for so many reasons. For all of these years I’ve been like, ‘I want to do this my way.’

“I hate the rules that the music industry has. Everyone told me it would take 10 years for that radio station to play my song. I was like, ‘No, I don’t have that amount of time. I’m going to figure out how to do it in one.’ And it’s all coming full circle now. I’m so glad that I stuck to my gut and did it my way and made the music from my honest place.”

We can’t stop playing My Baby Hates Me. If you haven’t heard it yet, head over to her Spotify to check out her music. Big thanks to Emily for sitting down with us to chat! You can follow Emily on TikTok here and Instagram here.

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Interviews

Artist Interview: Sloane

If you’re in the mood for some vibey electro-pop beats that have been dubbed “music to cry to while you smile,” then you’re going to need to stop everything and listen to jazz-musician-turned-solo-artist Sloane.

The moniker Sloane was created by LA-bred Nick Rosen. He discovered jazz as a teen and spent all his time practicing bass. Rosen then joined the TV and film side of music, helping record and produce scores for Super 8, Star Trek, LOST and more.

He then served as music director at LA nightclubs and hotspots Bardot and The Sayers Club, where he ended up performing with the likes of Prince, Will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, Bruno Mars, and more.

As if all that wasn’t enough, he’s become an accomplished producer and engineer along the way, including working with Phantogram, Tinashe, and others. We had a chance to spend some time talking to Sloane about his new music, songwriting, and what’s coming up for him in the next few months. Check out the interview below.

Crowdsurfer: Where’d you come up with the name Sloane?

Sloane: Originally I wanted to call myself Sloane Peterson based off the girl I had a crush on in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. That didn’t work so I decided to call myself Sloane.

CS: Talk a little bit about the idea for wearing the mask and how that originated.

Sloane: I was thinking about ‘How can I give someone an experience? How can they experience the music as an entity not me as a person?’ I thought it would be interesting and I’ve never seen someone wear their own pixelated face as a mask.

All of my songs are like breakup emo love songs and I like the idea that when you breakup with someone your whole world is almost pixelated because you’re seeing it fragmented and you’re seeing yourself less clearly. With that being said, whatever people think it is, that’s it too. As soon as you make something, it’s out into the world and it doesn’t belong to you anymore.

CS: What made you want to break out and create some songs as a solo artist?

Sloane: The last decade I’ve been working with other artists and I really like supporting other songs. I went through a classic really bad breakup in 2018 and I started writing some new songs. I wrote Old Hands New Face which was the first song I released as Sloane. My buddy Thomas was working at this label called SideOneDummy with Bill (Armstrong). He said, “We know that you’re working with a bunch of bands, can you send us who you dig in LA?” So I sent him around 30 songs, and I put Old Hands New Face in there, and they were like, “Well that’s great, would love to sign that!”

And I was like, “Shit.” I didn’t have any more songs yet. So that’s why the EP I released last year have mostly other people singing. A lot of them were songs that I took from sessions and I produced them and made them work, but it wasn’t fully me yet. So it was almost having to make up a project by accident.

CS: How has it been transitioning from writing and producing with other people to writing for yourself?

Sloane: The song that I just released a few weeks ago called Down From Here was just me and it was super personal just writing for me and that’s why it feels spiritually better. But I also feel like I still have a lot more to go. I’m writing and finding a sound and I’m in a crazy inspired period right now where I’m just writing constantly. I’ve already turned in like eight new songs to my label and I just want to keep going.

CS: What are some of the things that inspire you?

Sloane: Non-musically, I practice Buddhism which is a huge part of my life. I love the idea of simultaneous cause and effect and the lotus blooms and seeds at the same time. So I love the idea that as soon as I’m making a cause, it creates an effect. With music, as soon as I do something it’s created something else. And I like the idea of a moment. To me, music is a perpetual quest to create clearer and hopefully be open enough to capture moments. So that’s exciting to me on a life level of what inspires me to create.

I have a tattoo of this guy named Albert Ayler who I’d be surprised if anyone listening to this knew who he was. He was a really Avant Garde sax player. While my music doesn’t sound anything like that, I think I took the freedom of expression in that. So that inspires me a lot, just being free to be whatever. Those are two big aspects for me.

As far as music, I’m super inspired by anything these days. Anything that I think is real I love. I love The 1975 right now, I’ve been loving the new Taylor Swift album. Bon Iver and The National are like my two all-time favorite bands, so I love that Aaron Dessner did that album. I try to study Max Martin because he’s a genius and I want to know how you make all these hits.

CS: Talk a little bit about the dichotomy between the upbeat nature of your songs and the lyrical content which has a heavier theme.

Sloane: I like the idea that you can be having a fucked up day but yet you push yourself to dance. So the pre-chorus for Down From Here goes, “Everybody else seems happy waking up with someone else / Good for them I wish them well, maybe I just hate myself / The south of France could be Mojave, looks the same in Abu Dhabi / Feeling that’s inside my body wouldn’t wish on anybody.”

So it’s a pretty dark statement, but in a fun way and to me I just like the idea that it is really dark but hopefully people can hear a hopefulness in the fact that they can connect with it, but then maybe relate and move forward.

CS: We’re excited to hear some new music soon from you. What’s next for you in the upcoming year?

Sloane: I’m trying to really focus on what I want my next year to be. So the artists I want to work with next year, focusing on sessions. My label and I want to do another EP. I want to do another album too called “Will You Be My Friend?” and just do Sloane plus friends on every song. And I want to do half of it as children’s songs.

I also work with Phantogram a lot so we have a few things that are about to come out that are Sloane and Phantogram. I’ll probably do some touring with them next year and maybe try to book some of my own shows as well.

Big thanks to Sloane for chatting with us. You can follow Sloane on Instagram here and check out his latest music here.

Categories
Interviews Music News

Artist Interview: Give Me A Reason

Zurich based pop-punk band Give Me A Reason has a brand new single called Sad and we’re loving it. We asked the band a few questions about the new song, new music in the works, and plans for the future. Check out the interview below!

Crowdsurfer Mag: We’re obsessed with “Sad” and the music video! We heard it was shot at the Supercandy Pop-Up Museum in Germany. What was the filming process like and how long did it take to film? It must have been a ton of fun!

Give Me A Reason: It was a pretty exhausting day, since we shot for 17h straight, but we got an amazing video out of it, and something you’ll find out very soon! Marc, from Stardust Visuals, did an amazing job, and made it so easy for us! It was a great experience.

CS: What has the response been to the single and music video and what has that meant to you guys? 

GMAR: We got a great response to the track and the music-video, we really didn’t expect this reaction! We are overwhelmed and extremely thankful!

CS: You’ve been compared to All Time Low and incorporating pop/punk vibes in your music. Who are some of your musical influences? What are your favorite artists/songs at the moment?

GMAR: To be compared with All Time Low is unbelievable, since we’re such an upcoming band and we listen to ATL since the beginning. We’re listening to bands like Neck Deep, State Champs and Point North, plus many more, on a regular basis. We also had different influences which go beyond the type of music we make, like Chase Atlantic, Røyls and The Band Camino.

CS: Tell us about flying to LA to record your new music. What was the songwriting and recording process like? Where do you find inspiration?

GMAR: It was an extraordinarily experience to fly out to the ultimate pop-punk city LA. The city itself gave us a lot of inspiration, to be in a different environment – One of the things that helped the process a lot, was meditating, because it helped us reset our minds and made us focus on the direction we wanted to move towards.

We had the great honor to work with Blake Roses, producer at Pastel Recording and former vocalist of “Oh, Weatherly”. We wrote and recorded eight songs in nine days, and we didn’t feel any pressure at any time. 

CS: What are you most excited about for the release of Vice Versa?

GMAR: We’re looking forward to showing everyone what we’ve been working on for so long. We can’t wait to share the experience that we have, when we play the songs in the bandroom, with everyone at the live shows. 

CS: Are you working on any more covers/new music during quarantine?

GMAR: Maaaaaaaybe, just stay tuned!

CS: Anything else you want to share?

GMAR: While answering this interview we were all sitting in our underwear, and i don’t know why.

You can check out Give Me A Reason on Instagram here and YouTube here, and definitely go listen to their new single, Sad!

Categories
Interviews Music News

Abigail Barlow on “Heartbreak Hotel” and her new EP

If you haven’t heard the lyrics, “I don’t need a boyfriend, that shit’s full time employment,” then you probably have been living under a rock. That’s the first line of the uber-catchy song Heartbreak Hotel written by Abigail Barlow. She posted a video of the song with the caption, “I can’t sleep so I wrote something new.” It has over a million likes on TikTok.

Crowdsurfer: So let’s start with Heartbreak Hotel. It totally blew up on Tiktok with almost 4 million views! What inspired you to write the song?
Abigail Barlow: I wrote Heartbreak Hotel after meeting and casually talking to a dude that was buying me gifts, and I got a lil scared. Heartbreak Hotel was just inspired by my trust issues and how I’m simply not ready for a potential heartbreak any time soon LOL. 
CS: What was your reaction to it taking over Tiktok?
AB: Seeing comments that said “This is a hit release it now” was pretty overwhelming but SO insanely cool. It felt like the internet just sort of rallied and said “okay this is what we’re doing right? Let’s blow this song up!” And I couldn’t be more grateful for that. 


CS: Who are your musical influences? Who would you love to collab with one day?
AB: I don’t really like comparing myself to other artists, but because I produce a lot of my own stuff, I love talking about my musical and sound influences. I love the Max Martin era 2010 pop that dominated the radio waves a few years ago. I miss the era of Teenage Dream and 1989 SO much that I decided to sprinkle my music production with all the good old bubblegum pop vibes I could. If I could collab with one person it would definitely be Max Martin.
CS: Tell us about your EP coming out on August 14th. What songs will we get to hear and what’s the vibe of it?


AB: The vibe is pop. Purposeful, playful pop. I don’t take my music or myself too seriously, and I think that’s what makes it so fun to listen to. The bad b*tch inside your head gets a moment to speak up on my EP! And I give you a little taste of everything with the tracks, including an absolute BANGER I had the pleasure of writing with Meghan Trainor!
CS: Anything else you want to share with us?

AB: I’m just so beyond thrilled to finally be releasing music the way I want, and I just want to encourage any aspiring indie artists to do the same. It is TOTALLY possible for all of your dreams to come true. So do not ever give up on yourself or your art.  

You can follow Abigail on TikTok here and Instagram here, and keep an eye out because her EP comes out on August 14th!