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Photo ID // REMI WOLF ft. DOMINIC FIKE

Woo! Let me just tell you. This is a collaboration I didn’t know I needed. 

If anyone could’ve made this song even better than it already was, it was Dominic Fike. We all know and love him from his 2020 Album, What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Which is an absolute treasure. Vampire, was stuck in my head for days.

I’ve been a huge fan of Remi Wolf and Dominic Fike, so hearing that they released a new version of one of my favorite songs, I’ve never clicked on a video faster.

Remi’s vocals have been lifted to new heights with the help of Fike’s backing vocals at her already crazy, catchy chorus. They shared the release alongside a new music video showing each artists’ character and personality. Wolf being bold and goofy as expected. Fike, known for his melancholic and focused expression, showed more of himself in the new and playful verse. Put them together, it’s just a fun song that you can’t help but dance along to and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Do yourself a favor and check it out:

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Artist Interview: Cassie Dasilva

This week, we sat down with Cassie Dasilva to chat about her new single, her writing process, and her plans for the future. Check it out below.

Crowdsurfer: Give us a background on how you got started with music.

Cassie Dasilva: I started out as a really shy kid taking piano lessons and performing in recitals from a young age. I got a guitar for Christmas in grade eight, and taught myself a song that same day– literally playing until my fingers bled.  I always loved writing poems and lyrics in my fuzzy pink notebook, but once I had a guitar, I really started to fall in love with songwriting. I played my songs in highschool talent shows, local open mics, and opened for some smaller shows that came to town. 

CD: I moved across the country to study audio engineering and music production in Vancouver. Afterwards, I split my time between multiple part-time jobs, and gigging with my acoustic in any pub, restaurant or wedding that would have me.  I ended up busking downtown Vancouver for a while, eventually making enough in tips to quit all my other jobs, before moving back home to Ontario.

Back home again, I went to Canadian Music Week in 2018 with some friends, and found myself singing at an impromptu Universal Canada jam night. I was signed shortly after (initially as a folk-pop act).  I’d started writing EDM toplines and pop songs for other artists by then, and that led to my eventual love for/ transition into pop music and my first label releases.

CS: What is your songwriting process like and where do you come up with inspiration for your lyrics?

CD: I’m mostly inspired when I’m trying to process or deal with something, but I’m also always listening to everyone around me and writing notes in my phone with certain phrases and circumstances that I find interesting or can relate to.  I usually start with lyrics– I like to write a few lines and then twist them into melodies. I approach writing kind of like making a puzzle– fitting pieces together until suddenly the picture starts making sense and everything just fits and has a place. 

CS: How has TikTok changed the trajectory of your career?

CD: TikTok has been AMAZING. I went from having under 100 followers to 20K  and over 1M views almost overnight– just crazy. I can’t believe the response to “Unsolicited Contact” on there and what it’s done for me.  I’m excited to be reaching more people, and thankful for every single interaction, comment, and message I’ve received. It blows my mind that people are not only leaving the app to go listen, but liking the song enough to add it to their playlists/ follow me/ send me kind messages. I’m doing things completely independently right now (which can be trying, to say the least). I’ve questioned if I’m on the right path so many times over the past few years, so this sort of positive reinforcement from complete strangers all over the world has been life-changing for me as an artist. 

CS: What has the response been to your new single?

CD: I’m blown away by the support this song is getting.  I get so many messages from people thanking me for writing the song, saying how much they can relate, or even that it gave them the courage to block their ex. When we were recording the song, I kept saying that I wanted it to be a song that people screamed in the car with their friends, and now I’m getting messages from people saying that’s exactly what they’re doing. It’s wild!

CS: Tell us about working with an all-female team and why it was important for you to do that.

CD: When I was signed, I found myself working with a team of mostly men. It was difficult at times to explain my point of view, or see my perspective mirrored in those around me.  I’d been one of only five females enrolled when I went to recording school, and afterwards found myself in a network and industry completely dominated by men– which was at times intimidating and confusing as a young woman. I worked entirely with male producers, and attended writing camps where I was the only female. After I was dropped from the label, I just felt like I needed to consciously explore other avenues, including working with other women in the industry, especially on production.

CS: Tell us about creative directing your music video (we love the pink vintage aesthetic!)

CD: I started envisioning this video from the moment I wrote the song, and knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. I was writing and revising outlines for months leading up to shooting, handmade a ton of the props, art-designed, and even styled the entire cast.  Though I almost lost my mind taking it all on, I’m so glad I did because it feels so authentic this way. I was completely comfortable on set because I knew exactly how I wanted everything to look and feel ! I’m so thankful that the director, Kate Harrison, was willing to take on the project and bring all of my ideas to fruition!  It’s my “New Rules” meets “Scream Queens” meets “Euphoria” dreamscape. 

CS: Who are your musical inspirations?

CD: I’m a lyrics person through and through, and I’ve always been drawn to storytellers.  Taylor Swift, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves, John Mayer, and Winnetka Bowling League are a few of my favourites. 

CS: What’s your 2021 look like–what are your plans for this year and beyond?

CD: I’m releasing more singles throughout the year, and an eventual EP that I’m REALLY excited about! In the meantime, I’m writing more music, and I hope that post-global pandemic I can get a tour spot and play my songs for people in REAL LIFE. I am really missing performing and connecting with people that way, so I’m looking forward to getting back out on stage.  

CS: Anything else you’d like to mention?

CD: Just want to say thanks for having me!! Oh, and please go stream/ watch the video for “Unsolicited Contact”, and follow me on socials @cassiedasilva! I’ve put my whole heart into this project and I’m doing it on my own terms, so any support truly means the world! 

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LA Rain // ASH LEONE

First of all, I just want to say thank you to Ash Leone. For gracing us with the gift of your vocals. I cannot wait for everyone to hear her newest release, LA Rain, because not only does the production go crazy, but Ash’s performance on the track shows that she’s really got something to say. Honestly, the melancholic piano in the beginning grabs your attention because it’s such an odd chord progression to the ear, but when that beat comes in, you can’t help but nod along to it. The production is so rhythmic and busy yet doesn’t overpower her. It perfectly compliments the R&B/Pop vibe that she creates. 

Tequila on the counter

To counteract what’s going on 

You give me good days bout the same as it rains in LA 

You know that that’s like never 

This is a beautiful contrast that shows the highs and lows of relationships while still cleverly rooting to the concept of a relationship that does not work, comparing the good days to LA Rain which ultimately doesn’t happen. Definitely a song that’ll hit different on those rainy, sad days. Stream LA Rain now!

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Album Review: Run River North’s “Creatures In Your Head”

In a Covid world, music has taken on a different meaning. It’s helped us express all the things we’re feeling as we’re navigating this crazy time: anger, frustration, sadness, loss. And that’s exactly what this album did for me.

I didn’t realize how much I needed a beautifully written album on the softer side to listen to this week, and Creatures In Your Head is the perfectly produced quarantine album just for that reason.

The opening track, Creatures In Your Head, was a refreshing opener that began with soft singing and a relaxed melody, and that thread continued throughout the album. As lead singer Alex Hwang crooned on the second track Spiders, “It’s just the way it is… for now.” Talk about hitting home.

Pretty Lies jumps up in tempo and is the best ride-around-in-your car anthem for air drumming the bridge, and the catchy whistling and sassy lyrics of Lonely Weather are the perfect yin and yang to the slower songs on the album.

Then there’s Hummingbird, which has a darker, spacy, bouncy vibe. “Light speed with the crack of dawn, Hummingbird with the high beams on,” will be stuck in your head all day (in a good way). It almost reminded me of some classic Neighbourhood tracks.

Things speed up and get a little chaotic in Funhouse, just to dip down with a ballad, One For Me, as the following track. The album ebbs and flows in all the right ways.

Cemetary gives you goosebumps upon a first listen. The lyrics of the chorus got to me: “Everybody needs a way to hold on, just a little bit, just a little bit longer.”

The album wraps with a gentle acoustic track Goodnight Moon and Weight, which has major throwback vibes in the best way. If you need some new quarantine music to listen to, look no further. This band is highly underrated and I hope their new release has all the success it deserves.

You can check out Run River North’s new music here and their latest YouTube videos here.

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Miley Cyrus goes glam rock with “Plastic Hearts”

I’m a few days late to this review, but Miley Cyrus’s new album requires some time to sit with to take in the full effect. Plastic Hearts is one surprise after another: with a ballad taking the #3 slot, absolute icons joining for features, live covers, and a whopping 15 tracks. Buckle up, let’s go!

The first song, “WTF Do I Know,” kicks off the album with an anthemic start. Only a few seconds in I was begging that the rest of the album be exactly the same. Miley has already proven she can remake herself and jump between genres time and time again, but I was hoping one day she would bring more rock influence into her music. And she delivered.

Timeless is a word that comes to mind when listening to this LP, and I can surely see us jamming to some of these tracks for years to come. It’s a rare day when I suggest songs for my dad to listen to, but I know we will both be playing the air drums in the car to “Night Crawling” featuring Billy Idol.

The latter half of the album really slows down though, and that was initially a little disappointing to me. I still like the songs, but I wanted more rock ’n roll, more angst, more songs that feature Miley’s incredible vocals that you can hear in her live cover of The Cranberries’s “Zombie.” Am I the only one who was expecting something a little more exciting out of “Prisoner,” her song with Dua Lipa?

But guess what? Miley does what she wants, and her music is primarily for her. And I applaud that. And I will scream from the mountaintops in support of topics she covers: about sexist double standards, about how being LGBTQ+ is normal, and about being unapologetically herself and loving it.

You’ll find me later learning to play “High” on the guitar and being thankful that Miley was able to salvage the music that was lost in the fire that burned down her home in LA.

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F*** Yourself // Leyla Blue

There are many paths the title of this song could’ve led to, and I am so happy to see the direction Leyla Blue took in her latest song,

F*** Yourself. 

Talk about timing! We’re in a space where we see politicians who are predominantly cis white males define rules and build laws about women’s bodies, and Blue speaks out about this in her lyrics, pointing out the irony in it all: 

Ain’t it funny how a man who’s never met me

Tries to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body?

Ain’t it funny how we tell our little girls

Don’t be a slut like it’s my fault

He held me down at that party

When you think about the whole concept of double standards, it doesn’t make sense and Blue makes it clear that she’s had enough. The song is kept very simple with only an acoustic guitar, with slight drum programming, and bass during the chorus, and I think the intention of this song reflects that. It is simply a call-out song to talk about the differences in expectations between men and women, and she finally says, ‘‘F*** Yourself, You don’t know what I’m going through.’’ – Because they really don’t. 

Don’t mind me, I’ll just be adding this song into my ‘‘Songs everyone needs to hear’’ playlist, and you should too. 

Watch the music video for here!

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Middle Part tells us to go ahead “& Cry” in latest single

Middle Part is an artist bringing us synth-laden indie pop music that speaks to the soul. Unafraid to use music as therapy, Middle Part writes deeply personal stories in his songs. “& Cry” doesn’t stray from that, and gives us permission to shed tears when things are overwhelming.

“& Cry” is an incredibly moving and cinematic piece. The chorus is simple in lyrics – “Go ahead & cry” – but the emotional impact is heavy. “I really wanna hold you / I’m just not all there,” Middle Part softly sings, speaking volumes in those few words about not being mentally able to take on the things that you want. Preceding those lines is “I hate when I’m like this,” and when you hear it you might start crying yourself into a cathartic release. Falling just under three minutes in length, I suggest keeping the song on repeat as one listen isn’t enough.

Middle Part will be releasing an EP in the near future called I Wish I Was Alive, so keep your eyes out for that and stream “& Cry” in the meantime! We certainly are ready to dive headfirst into his intense music and hope you are, too.

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Artist Interview: Jackson Breit

Crowdsurfer: Thank you so much for being willing to do the interview. For our readers that might not know, walk us through how you got started with music.

Jackson Breit: I grew up playing trumpet in my school jazz band. And then a few months after that or a year after that, I started like a reggae rock band in high school. And then towards the end of high school, I started a rap group called Bruno Jackson and I started producing like Hip-Hop production. And then at the very end of college, I put out like a song called Sunny Side, which is like a feel good song. And it kind of blew up in a way. So I moved out to L.A. to do music full time.

CS: You produce your music as well, don’t you?

JB: I do. I produce a majority of my stuff, I’d say. I work with other producers too. But yeah, a lot of this stuff I produced myself. I’m pretty meticulous with that kind of stuff. It’s a double edged sword, because you could spend hours on one little snare drum noise. If I’m not producing it, then I’m just worried about the vocals and stuff like that. And maybe guitar. But when you’re producing it, you can really go deep down the rabbit hole.

CS: How do you find a balance with wanting songs to be perfect production-wise but also know when to finish the song?

JB: It’s hard sometimes, you know. Sometimes you get stuck, you get caught in limbo for so long that you lose interest in the song. So one of the things that you have to realize as a musician is when to cut it off. When the song is done, and when the squeeze is not worth the juice.

CS: What’s your favorite genre or style to create?

JB: What I really enjoy doing is kind of blues-y soul and hip hop. I feel like now I’m going closer to like my natural state, whereas a lot of the other stuff, it’s me, you know, I’m attempting to tap into some genre that I feel like people would like. And now I’m doing more of what what I really want to hear myself.

CS: What’s your songwriting process like?

JB: When I’m writing songs, I start with the music and then go to the melody and the lyrics. Usually for me, I try to reflect the music. So whatever that brings out of me, that’s going to come out on the track as like somewhat authentic because I’m I’m trying to match the vibe of the song. So it’s mostly what I’m feeling. I wouldn’t say I set out to be like, oh, I’m gonna make a super sexy swaggy track today. But if I get in that little zone and freestyle, I might come up with something that’s kind of sexy. But if it’s like a sad acoustic thing, then I’ll try to reflect that in the melody and in lyrics.

CS: Walk us through how you go about creating a song.

JB: It almost always starts with a guitar. And then it’s just trial and error. Trial and error as far as like the rhythm, tempo, all that stuff. And then maybe I’ll put down a little loop or something and see if some melodies pop and then that’s when the whole process starts. Usually I’ll give it a couple hours, I’ll go hard on that, on whatever song I’m doing for a couple hours and then take a little breather and look at it and ask, “Is it like is this worth my time to continue on or is this kind of wack?” Because for every song I put out, there is a hundred wack ass songs that don’t make it.

But on the contrary, if you get a little nugget that you like, and it’s like a baby seed that you’re like whoa like there is something serious here. And sometimes it’s very little. It’s just like the beat or something. It’s a melody. And then you’re you’re really energized. Then you can be like, let’s hunker down with this. So that’s the greatest feeling I feel you can have as a musician.

CS: What’s is like making songs with other musicians and producers?

I have a buddy who comes and plays bass, who is just an insane bass player, and he plays keys, too. He’s been invaluable because he just knows chords that my fingers are just not capable of doing. And then when you hear certain chords and progressions that I wouldn’t find naturally, it opens up a new door for me melodically. It’s really great to work with like talented musicians like that. And it opens doors. And it’s the same when people work with songwriters.

CS: Your 679 cover has 16.6 million Spotify listens at the moment. What’s it like to have that kind of success with a song?

JB: I was very hesitant to do covers and I wanted to write the music. And then somebody was like, listen, like, you need to do covers to get exposure. He was advising me at that time. And so I did 679. I sent it to him and he was like, no, it’s not ready to put out. That’s not the one. But I was like, well I just did it, I’m going to put it out anyway. And I don’t even know how it happened. It kind of took off a little bit on SoundCloud. And then we went on Spotify. I think it really hit the college scene. And then it hit the gaming scene like video gamers use it. And so I don’t know what happened, but it happened and the song is kind of well known now. It doesn’t feel as good because it is a cover, but I’m very happy and I’m thankful that it did what it did because it led a lot of people to the rest of my catalog.

CS: Talk a little bit about choosing to be an independent artist versus being signed to a label.

JB: When you’re independent, it’s great because you have full freedom and control over what you want to deal with everything. But you also don’t get the same amount of exposure and the same amount of promotion. So it’s good and bad, but I would say mainly it’s good being independent. But, you know, it would be nice to have a little bit more push on certain releases.

CS: Would you consider signing with a record label at some point in the future?

JB: Yeah, absolutely.

CS: Tell us about what projects you’re working on now. And hopefully after all the Corona craziness ends, what your year looks like.

I’m actually putting out a cover, and it’s my first cover since all those covers awhile ago. It comes out on Friday. My sister got married this last year, and she asked me to sing this song by the Pussycat Dolls Stick With You. I had never heard it, but I was like oh, this is a lowkey banger. So I recorded my own version to sing at the first dance. So I did the part for her wedding, and then I did a different version that I just fell in love with and was like, this is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done, if not my favorite thing. So I finished it and it’s finally coming out on Friday. But it’s a different vibe. It’s a very slow kind of emotional song. But I really like it.

I also just did a spoken word thing that’s about the current Corona crisis. It kind of just came to me. I was just thinking about, you know, the whole situation. And and I just wrote this in a few minutes. I showed it to my brother and he really likes it. I think we’re gonna try to shoot something and put it out on YouTube.

I’m going to continue to put out stuff throughout the next few weeks. More singles after that, actually. We’re gonna give them music because honestly, everybody is just sitting at home like, what do you do?

CS: Amazing! We’re excited to hear it. A fan on Twitter wants to know about your short film that you put out on YouTube. Tell us about why you made that project.

JB: That was one of those things where I had all these songs that never became full songs. But I liked them and they were like a verse or chorus, but for some reason or another, just never became full songs. I was talking with my brother, who is a film director. We thought we could maybe make a short story with these songs. So we planned out a plot for it. And I think it was nine songs and we went to Joshua Tree and we shot this whole thing. It’s weird. It’s dark. It’s definitely on the darker side. And people know me as like a happy guy, or the feel good guy, so I wanted to do a wild plot twist. So it’s nice to put that out in the world, you know, and let people see that dark side.

I feel like it’s a necessity to show those sides. Because I’d say a majority of my stuff is kind of light hearted for the most part and it’s nice to tap into the real shit. And then all these songs I’m putting out over the next few weeks in Corona’s season are they’re all kind of more on the emotional side.

CS: What kind of advice would you give to people that are maybe like making music in their bedroom right now or just just kind of starting out?

JB: You can you can sound fully professional on your own. You don’t need outside help. So go on YouTube, do whatever it takes. You can find a way to have a fully professional sound. And it is the most intoxicating thing when you get a finished project. I thought this could go anywhere. And I just did it in my living room, my closet, my garage. It got me extremely motivated. When you get the first taste to see it come out and you’re like, oh, this is sick. You can make anything sound as good as us like a studio or a label project. So that’s I think that’s very motivating.

CS: Anything else you want to add that you want to tell people about?

JB: I’m just gonna keep putting out singles and I’m also thinking about a live concert online.

CS: Thanks so much, we’re looking forward to it!

You can check out Jackson’s new single Stickwitu right here, his short film on YouTube, and you can follow him on Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify.

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Interview with Dhruv

Trading lectures and lessons for studio recording sessions, singer/songwriter Dhruv elaborates on the life of a college student– who happens to have a single with 500k streams, and all without any industry help. If you know anything about music, you know that it is extremely hard to promote an artist without even a little help, but Dhruv’s talent proves otherwise. His first single, ‘‘double take’’ was released in May 2019 and has since amassed over 500,000 streams alone. As a data science major attending Yale University, he plans on making his way into the music industry, one way or the other.

Now, we are not here to talk about how well he seems to be doing in
school. We want to know if his music is any good! I was lucky enough to get the chance to hear his unreleased track ‘‘Moonlight’’ which is set to be released today, February 21st. The song depicts the naivety and simplicity of a relationship, and it is so well-written musically and
lyrically that you’ll be falling in love with it too. Before you go running off to listen to it, here’s the story behind it.

As a queer person of color hailing from Singapore, Dhruv spoke
about the difficulties navigating his identity in a place that was not nearly as progressive. ‘‘Lyrically, it is about pining for something that seems as if it only existed in movies. I wanted to write something intoxicating and beautiful like the love we see on the big screen, something that I’ve never gotten to see represented as much in my sexuality.’’ There are lines in the song that give examples, ‘‘poetry and hand-picked flowers, say you’ll meet me at the altar’’ and ‘‘true love, kinda hoped it would feel like a rom-com’’ that directly represents the movie kind of love that I searched for.

This isn’t just represented in his single. Dhruv plans to release an
EP, ‘‘Con Artist’’ that portrays him navigating different aspects of his
life. Whether that be in love, in his music, or in himself. Dhruv does not perceive himself as an artist, but as someone who simply creates music to share, hence the name, ‘‘Con Artist.’’ While he couldn’t reveal much about his EP, he said it is definitely worth the wait. With the help of his label, TRST. Records, he hopes to make music for those who are underrepresented, a common vision aligned with TRST, which aims to create an environment where their artists can identify themselves in their music and share it with others.

Dhruv sends his love to his fans, and apologizes for the long wait. He made sure to only release what he felt was ready to be heard. Be on the lookout for more of Dhruv and stream Moonlight on all platforms today!

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An Evening I Will Not Forget With Dermot Kennedy

I spent my last two nights with Dermot Kennedy and let me tell you.. I feel as if I’ve gone through 5 years of therapy in a matter of 48 hours. I’ve never come across a musician quite as talented or lyrically creative. The depth of the lyrics combined with his passion set him worlds apart from other artists. His shows are the type you get lost in. Last night, I heard (and felt) every lyric like it was the first time. I’ve seen Dermot several times now, but regardless of seeing the same songs performed multiple times, each show has been its own, unique, experience. The songs have the power to shape-shift into whatever I need them to be, and I think that’s the most beautiful thing about them. I was standing in a sold out venue; shoulder to shoulder with countless strangers and I couldn’t stop wondering how everyone around me was interpreting the words.

For Island Fires and Family is a particularly emotional song for me. It’s a song he sings solo, which means there are lulls in the music and moments of silence. Last night (and the night before), the silence was filled with sniffles — mine and all of the strangers standing around me. Everyone took that song and applied it to their own lives. How beautiful it must be to create something that touches thousands of people so deeply and intimately. It’s not lost on me how special that is and how lucky I am to have experienced it.

Every time I see Dermot perform, I seem to be dealing with some emotionally heavy things. I walked out of the venue last night feeling 1,000 pounds lighter than I did walking in. I wish I could tell him thank you for that. To all my friends (iykyk): if @dermotkennedy is coming to your city, I urge you to buy a ticket asap. Trust me on this one.

The last lyric of For Island Fires and Family is, “even though this life, this love, is brief, I’ve got some people who carry me.” We’ve all got those people who help us get through the day-to-day. Hug your friends. Hug your family. Tell the people who carry you that you appreciate them a little bit more often. 🖤