Tag: Coachella

Slow Magic is a mysterious and masked electronic producer and electronic music artist, who has garnered both critical and commercial success with the release of his first three albums — 2012’s Triangle, 2014’s How to Run Away and 2017’s Float have managed to amass over 200 million streams globally. Adding to a growing profile nationally and internationally, the masked producer and electronic music artist has toured with ODESZA, Giraffage and XXYYXX — and has released critically applauded remixes of the work of ODESZA, Gold Panda and Delorean. 2018 saw Slow Magic play a set at Coachella, which he followed up with a North American tour with shallou and a headlining European tour.

Earlier this year, Slow Magic released the Closer 2 U EP, an effort which was released to praise fray the likes of NPR, NAKID Magazine, Dancing Astronaut, This Song is Sick, and a long of list of others. Featuring collaborations with shallou, Manila Killa, Woven in Hiatus and others, the EP found the mysterious producer and electronic music artist firmly establishing himself as a go-to collaborator, and as a rising talent and tastemaker in the electronic music world. Building upon the momentum he earned with Closer 2 U EP, the acclaimed masked producer fourth album it’s the end of the world, but it’s ok is slated for a December 9, 2020 release through Moving Castle.

Thematically, it’s the end of the world, but it’s ok explores and touches upon uncertainty, community, resilience and communication — all things that have been a part of our daily lives in some fashion or another over the past seven months or so. The album’s first single is the upbeat anthem “Carry On.” Centered around several layers of lushly shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, euphoria-inducing drops and an enormous hook,. the track which features guest vocals from Paperwhite has a much-needed and uplifting message (and reminder) to listeners: look inward, calm yourself and love yourself, look towards building a brighter, better future — and find solace in carrying on to the best of your ability.

“‘Carry On’ came from a session with Katie Marshall from Paperwhite and Jeremy Silver in 2019,” Slow Magic explains in press nots. “Coincidentally enough, the concept I was working on at the time for it’s the end of the world, but it’s ok, was a post-apocalyptic narrative where the focus was on getting through it and striving toward what was ahead. I had no idea the lyrics we came up with that day would ring so true in 2020. The line ‘If the stars burn out tonight we’re gonna carry on’ really echoes what I see happening all around the world right now amid such crazy times: people are carrying on with their lives and it is beautiful to see.” 

“’Carry On’ came together quickly on a summer day in LA where Slow Magic and I just happened to both be visiting,” Paperwhite recalls. “It was one of those songs that unfolded easily within our first hour of writing. I’m thrilled to see how Slow Magic explored our idea and gave it new life.” 

Initially founded in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico by Estrella del Sol Sanchez and Amor Amezcua, the Mexican shoegazer act Mint Field quickly received international attention with the release of their debut EP Primeras Salidas, eventually playing sets across the North American festival circuit, including Coachella and SXSW, as well as venues across both the States and their native Mexico. Building upon a growing profile, Mint Field’s full-length debut, 2018’s Pasar De Las Luces found the act establishing a clearer sense of what they wanted to do sonically — primarily, as a result of finally having access to the tools to do so. The end result was an album’s worth of material that drew from dream pop, krautrock, stoner rock and shoegaze, imbued with sorrow and nostalgia.

The past couple of years since the release of Pasar De Las Luces has been rather eventful for the Mexican shoegazer act: they’ve toured extensively across the North America and the European Union, playing over 100 shows. Continuing that momentum, the band recorded Pasar De Las Luces’ follow-up, last year’s  Mientras Esperas EP, which they supported with further touring across the States, Canada and Mexico — with two sold out shows in Mexico City.

During that same period, the band relocated to Mexico City and upon relocating to the Mexican capital, the band went through a massive lineup change: Amor Amezcua left the band, and the band then expanded into a trio with the addition of Sebastian Neyra and the band’s newest member, Ulrika Spacek’s Callum Brown. Capping off a series of monumental changes for the acclaimed Mexican act, they signed to Los Angeles-based post punk label Felte Records.

Slated for a September 25, 2020 release, the band’s Syd Kemp-produced sophomore album Sentimiento Mundial was recorded at London‘s Wilton Way Studio, and the album reportedly sees the band’s sound shifting towards a decidedly minimal, rhythmically focused approach. The album will feature the meditative “Natural,” and the motorik groove-driven “Contingencia,” and the lushly textured  Pink Floyd-like “Delicadeza.

“Aterrizar,” Sentimiento Mundial‘s fourth and latest continues a run of slow-burning, painterly material, centered around shimmering yet angular guitars, propulsive drumming, del Sol Sanchez’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and a soaring hook. Interestingly, the track manages to recall Slowdive and The Verve-like shoegaze — but imbued with an aching nostalgia for a seemingly innocent past that we can’t get back.

Slow Magic · Closer 2 U (feat. Manila Killa)

Slow Magic is a mysterious and masked electronic producer and electronics music artist, whose work, which includes 2012’s Triangle, 2014’s How to Run Away and 2017’s Float has amassed over 200 million streams globally. Adding to a rapidly rising profile, the mysterious producer and electronic music artist has toured with the likes of ODESZA, Giraffage and XXYYXX — and has released critically applauded remixes of the work of ODESZA, Gold Panda and Delorean. 2018 saw Slow Magic play a set at Coachella, which he followed up with a North American tour with shallou and a headlining European tour.

The masked electronic music artist and producer’s latest effort Closer 2 U EP, which features the critically applauded single “Somewhere,” a collaboration with shallou and Woven in Hiatus is slated for release later this month. The EP’s latest single, EP title track “Closer 2 U” is a euphoric collaboration with Manilla Killa that’s centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, stuttering tweeter and woofer rocking beats, twinkling keys and chopped up yet otherworldly vocals. Sonically bearing a resemblance to Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves, “Closer 2 U” is a slick and seamless synthesis of each producer’s sound that manages to evoke a familiar aching yearning for connection that we all have felt during COVID-19 pandemic-related quarantines and lockdowns.

“’Closer 2 U’ represents the difficulties of distance and the importance of connection,” Slow Magic explains in press notes. “I want this EP to encourage and inspire people to reach out to the ones they care about in a time where we are all feeling distant.”

“I have been following and admiring Manila Killa’s music for a long time,” the masked producer and electronic producer continues. “Last year, we met up in LA and clicked collaboratively. I think it is always great to be in the same room and bounce ideas off of each other when collaborating but ‘Closer 2 U’ ended up being the opposite of that. We just sent versions back and forth on email and made it happen. More than ever, it’s important to remember the power of connecting that we have at our fingertips online.”

New Audio: Mexico City’s Mint Field Releases a Minimalist and Trance-Inducing New Single

With the release of their debut EP Primeras Salidas, acclaimed shoegazer act Mint Field — initially founded in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico by Estrella del Sol Sanchez and Amor Amezcua — quickly received international attention that landed them sets across the North American festival circuit, including Coachella and SXSW, as well as venues across both the States and their native Mexico. Building upon a growing profile, Mint Field’s full-length debut, 2018’s Pasar De Las Luces found the then-duo establishing a clearer sense of what they wanted to do sonically,  as a result of having access to the tools to do so. Interestingly, their debut drew from dream pop, krautrock, stoner rock and shoegaze while imbued with sorrow and nostalgia.

Since the release of their full-length debut, Mint Field has had an eventful two years. The Mexican shoegazer act toured extensively across North America, Mexico and the European Union, playing over 100 shows to support their full-length debut. Continuing upon that momentum, the band recorded Pasar De Las Luces’ follow-up, last year’s  Mientras Esperas EP, which they supported with further touring across the States, Canada and Mexico — with two sold out shows in Mexico City . During that same period, the band relocated to Mexico City and upon relocating to the Mexican capital, the band went through a massive lineup change: Amor Amezcua left the band, and the band then expanded into a trio with the addition of Sebastian Neyra and the band’s newest member, Ulrika Spacek’s Callum Brown. Capping off a series of monumental changes for the acclaimed Mexican act, they signed to Los Angeles-based post punk label Felte Records, who released “Natural,” the first bit of material of 2020. 

Interestingly, while at London-based Wilton Way Studio, the members of Mint Field recorded their Syd Kemp-produced sophomore album Sentimiento Mundial. Slated for a September 25, 2020 release, Sentimiento Mundial reportedly sees the band’s sound shifting towards a decidedly minimal, rhythmically focused approach. “Contingencia,” Sentimiento Mundial’s second and latest single is centered around a propulsive and relentless motorik groove, layers of a shimmering and jangling guitars and del Sol Sanchez’s ethereal vocals — and the end result is song that a trance-inducing song that gently rises upward with an aching yearning. 

Live Footage: Rising Parisian Electro Pop Act L’Imperatrice Releases a Slinky Disco Strut

Formed back in 2012, L’Impératice is a rising Paris-based electro pop sextet currently featuring founder Charles de Boisseguin (keys), Hagni Gown (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), Tom Daveau (drums) and Flore Benguigui (vocals), who joined the band in 2015. 

Since their formation, the band has been rather busy: they released their self-titled debut in 2012, their sophomore EP Sonate Pacifique in 2014 and their third EP Odyssée in 2015. Interestingly, a re-edited and remixed edition of Odyssée, L’Empreruer, a slower version of the original, inspired by a fan mistakenly playing Odyssée at the wrong speed was released the following year. An acoustic version, featuring violin, cello and acoustic guitar was released in 2017. 

During the summer of 2017, the band signed to Microqlima Records, who released their Séquences EP that year. Aussie pop act Parcels remixed some of Séquences’ material and released it that September. 

2018 saw the release of the band’s full-length debut Matahari. The album featured “Erreur 404,” which the band performed on the French TV show Quotidien. After two years of touring to support their full-length debut, the band released their first bit of new material since Matahari — “Exit,” and its French version “Fou.” The French electro pop sextet’s latest single “Voodoo?” is a slinky, disco-influenced strut centered around a propulsive groove, atmospheric synths, arpeggiated bass synths, jazz-like percussion, Nile Rodgers-like guitar and Benguigui’s sultry, come-hither vocals. 

The recently released video is centered around live footage of L’Impératice performing the song in a sparsely decorated studio. And it should give the viewer a sense of the band’s live set and sound. 

New Video: Mexican Shoegazers Mint Field Release a Gorgeous Visual for Meditative New Single “Natural”

With the release of their debut EP Primeras Salidas, acclaimed shoegazer act Mint Field — initially founded in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico by Estrella del Sol Sanchez and Amor Amezcua — quickly received international attention that landed them sets across the North American festival circuit, including Coachella and SXSW, as well as sets at venues across both the States and their native Mexico. Interestingly, their Christopher Koltay-produced full-length debut, 2018’s Pasar De Las Luces found the then-duo establishing a clearer sense of what they wanted to do sonically, as a result of having the tools to do so. Drawing from dream pop, krautock, stoner rock and shoegaze, the material was imbued with sorrow and nostalgia. 

Since the release of their full-length debut, there’s been a number of massive changes with the band’s universe. The band relocated to Mexico City and upon moving to the Mexican capital, the band has gone through a massive lineup change: Amor Amezcua  left the band, and the band has expanded into a trio with the addition of Sebastian Neyra and the band’s newest member, Ulrika Spacek’s Callum Brown. Additionally, the band recently signed to Los Angeles-based post punk label Felte Records — and to celebrate the occasion, the band released a new single, “Natural.”

Recorded at London-based Wilton Way Studio, the Syd Kemp-produced track “Natural” finds the newly constituted trio collaborating with Vanishing Twin’s Cathy Lucas and Nathan Pigott. And while continuing a run of ethereal and dreamy material, centered around contemplative lyrical content, “Natural” finds the band expanding upon their sonic palette with the addition of strings and saxophone, which strike me as being subtle nods to 60s psych rock and Dark Side of the Moon-era Pink Floyd but with some industrial clang and clatter. “‘Natural’ is a song about speaking words and how the fluency of words is very important to our subconscious, as well as being self-aware,” the band explains in press notes. 

Directed by their friends Daniela Solis and Maria Ramirez, the recently released video for “Natural” was shot in late February, just before the COVID-19 shut downs. Featuring sequences shot both inside and outside, the video reveals gorgeous, almost painterly  contrasts between light and shadow. “The idea was to capture the movement of light and how time elapses,” the band says. “It was recorded in an empty house, which belongs to the grandmother of the two directors. Visually we were aiming for pleasing and matte colors. It was all natural with no post production effects.”

Interview: A Q&A with Rising Swedish Pop Duo Vargas & Lagola

Choosing the band name Vargas & Lagola because they thought the names sounded like characters in a Quentin Tarantino movie, the Swedish songwriting, production and pop artist act comprised of Swedish Grammy-winning duo Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare features two of their homeland’s most accomplished contemporary songwriters and producers: the pair have had successful solo careers before teaming up to write hits for a who’s who list of electro pop and pop that includes MadonnaAviciiSwedish House MafiaDavid GuettaAxwell /\ IngrossoKaty PerryGhost, and Sia.

Founded back in 2017, the duo’s collaboration is a decided change in sonic direction from their previous output as the project finds the Swedish songwriters and producers experimenting with their own unique take on melodic alt-pop, which meshes elements of 70s Americana and Nordic melancholia. Coincidentally, as they started their own attention-grabbing project, the duo received accolades for co-writing Avicii’s “Without You” and “Waiting for Love,” which led to a Swedish Grammy Award win for Composer of the Year. Adding to a growing profile across the international electro pop scene, Al Fakir and Pontare performed their co-written hit “More Than You Know” with Axwell /\ Ingrosso at Coachella — and they played a key role in finishing Avicci’s posthumously released album TIM, contributing on three of the album’s songs.

Last year, I wrote about “Forgot To Be Your Lover,” a carefully crafted pop song that balanced easygoing AM rock, yacht rock breeziness and achingly melancholic nostalgia while sonically the track was centered around atmospheric synths, lush layers of shimmering and twangy, country-styled guitar lines. In some way, the song – to my ears at least – reminded me of Danish JOVM mainstays Palace Winter, but with an ambitious, arena rock feel.

The acclaimed and commercially successful Swedish pop duo’s highly anticipated full-length debut is slated for release at the end of the month. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the duo’s latest single “Someone That Understands Me” continues a run of ambitious, arena rock-like pop. Centered around shimmering acoustic guitar, achingly plaintive vocals, enormous hooks, thunderous drumming and a scorching, Purple Rain-era Prince-like guitar solo from Ludwig Goransson, the song is the contented sigh of a world-weary person, who has stumbled upon one of life’s rare gifts – finding someone like-minded, who truly understands and accepts you for you.

I recently spoke to the duo via email about the new single, which officially drops today, their soon-to-be released album and more. Check out new single and the Q&A below.

V&L_somebodythatunderstandsme_artwork

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WRH: How did you get into music?

Vincent Pontare: My father is a singer, so I got my first guitar from him when I was seven years- old.

Salem Al Fakir: I started to play violin and piano when I was three.

WRH: Who are your influences?

VP and SAF: We love all types of music! We have our roots in hip-hop/reggae/70s/60s but get most of the inspiration for VARGAS & LAGOLA from 70s Americana.

WRH: How would you describe your sound to someone completely unfamiliar with you and your work?

VP and SAF: Imagine if Fleetwood Mac and Jimi Hendrix had a kid that listened to Wu-Tang and loves to go to Burning Man, that’s us.

WRH: Who are you currently listening to?

VP and SAF: Khruangbin, Chet Baker, and Watain.

WRH: Can you name a couple of Swedish acts that should be getting love outside of Sweden but haven’t yet? And why should we know about them?

VP and SAF: VARGAS & LAGOLA. We feel that our type music is unrepresented out in the world at the moment.

WRH: The band is comprised of two, highly accomplished and incredibly successful solo songwriters and producers. What brought the two of you together to collaborate? And how has working together changed your creative process?

VP and SAF: We had met before through mutual friends and had the same booking agency and later on we shared the same studio for a month and then one day we said: we should try to write a song together!?

And the rest is history. . .

It’s a blessing to be two and in the same boat! When the other one is out of ideas or need a break the other one jumps in

WRH: Both of you have managed to write material for an impressive list of globally known pop artists. Has that work influenced or changed your creative process?

VP and SAF: I think success affects [sic] your compass for what works or not in a good way, you trust your gut feel[ing] and that’s the most important tool we have.

WRH: Your latest single “Somebody That Understands Me” features a guest spot from Ludwig Goransson. How did that come about?

VP and SAF:  You might think we already knew him cause we all are Swedes, but we didn’t’! We just fanboyed him up on Instagram and said, “Would you be up for trying a guitar solo on our upcoming single?” And he said “Yes.”

WRH: Speaking of “Somebody That Understands Me,” the track is one of those big, arena rock-friendly sentimental pop tunes with the sort of hook that I haven’t been able to get out of my head. In some way, the song kind of reminds me of Purple Rain and 1999-era Prince. So who and what influenced the song? Is it influenced by personal experience?

VP and SAF: We both have a soft spot for 90s arena rock, so we wanted to please ourselves for a second. Who doesn’t love a 12-string guitar riff!???

The song is about the beauty in finding like-minded people and a homage to thinking outside of the box in life in general. All types of music or genres we’ve been obsessed of comes from an underdog or rebellious perspective. So we wanted to get a little bit of that feeling into the lyrics and the production

WRH: Your highly anticipated full-length debut is slated for release at the end of the month. What should we expect from the album? 

VP and SAF: We want to give our fans a more nuanced palette of our musical landscape, so The Butterfly Effect is a piece in that puzzle.

WRH: What’s next for you?

VP and SAF: Promotion, touring and writing more music.

Choosing the band name Vargas & Lagola because they thought the names sounded like characters in a Quentin Tarantino movie, the Swedish songwriting, production and pop artist act comprised of Swedish Grammy-winning duo Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare features two of their homeland’s most accomplished contemporary songwriters and producers: the pair have had successful solo careers before teaming up to write hits for a who’s who list of electro pop and pop that includes Madonna, Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, Axwell /\ Ingrosso, Katy Perry, Ghost, and Sia.

Founded back in 2017, the duo’s collaboration is a decided change in sonic direction from their previous output as the project finds the Swedish songwriters and producers experimenting with their own unique take on melodic alt-pop, which meshes elements of 70s Americana and Nordic melancholia. Coincidentally, as they started their own attention-grabbing project, the duo received accolades for co-writing Avicii’s “Without You” and “Waiting for Love,” which led to a Swedish Grammy Award win for Composer of the Year. Adding to a growing profile across the international electro pop scene, Al Fakir and Pontare performed their co-written hit “More Than You Know” with Axwell /\ Ingrosso at Coachella — and they played a key role in finishing Avicci’s posthumously released album  TIM, which they contributed on three of the album’s songs.

The duo’s latest single “Forgot To Be Your Lover” is a carefully crafted pop song that finds the duo balancing an easy-going AM rock meets yacht rock breeziness with an achingly melancholic nostalgia. Sonically, the track is centered around atmospheric synths and lush layers of shimmering and twangy, country-styled guitar lines — and in some way, the track reminds me of Danish JOVM mainstays Palace Winter, complete with an soaring and infectious hook.

“It’s a story of neglected love, as well as reflection of what love really means if one person drags the other one down in the gutter,” the duo explain in press notes. “We wrote it while searching for a melancholic piece in Vargas & Lagola’s musical puzzle. With it, we created our own space to experiment with and express what’s on our minds.” 

 

 

 

 

Lyric Video: Joseph’s Soaring and Anthemic “Green Eyes”

Deriving their name from their grandfather Jo and the tiny Oregon town of  Joseph, OR, in which he was born and raised, the  Portland, OR-based sibling indie pop trio Joseph, comprised of Natalie Closner Schepman and her two, younger twin sisters Meegan and Alison grew up in a musical household — their dad was a jazz singer and drummer, their mom a theater teacher. However, their collaboration together can trace their origins back to around 2014: Schepman who had been pursuing a career as a solo career as a singer/songwriter recruited her sisters to join her.  And when the Closners began collaborating together, they quickly recognized an irresistible and undeniable simpatico. 

The trio quickly developed a reputation for playing intimate house shows, in which the siblings accompanied themselves with acoustic guitar and foot drum and within their first year working together, the trio self-released their debut, 2014’s Native Dreamer Kin, which caught the attention of ATO Records, who signed the group the following year. After releasing 2015’s, ATO Sessions EP, an acoustic, two song, digital EP and accompanying video series, the sibling trio went on to release their Mike Mogis-produced, label debut 2016’s I’m Alone, No You’re Not, which featured the smash hit “White Flag.” “White Flag” landed on Spotify’s US Viral Top Ten Chart within days of its release. By October, the track landed at #1 on the Adult Alternative Charts. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the trio made appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Later . . . with Jools Holland, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Conan, CBS This Morning and Today. They also opened for James Bay during a sold out, 2016 arena tour — and they made festival stops at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Sasquatch Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Outside Lands Festival, Pilgrimage Music Festival and several others. 

Slated for release next week, The Closer’s highly -anticipated Christian “Leggy” Langdon-produced follow up to I’m Alone, No You’re Not reportedly finds the trio pushing their sound as the material finds them embracing a grittier, much more dynamic sound — while retaining the gorgeous harmonizing that won them attention. “The through-line of the album is this idea of moving into the driver’s seat of your own life-recognizing that you’re an adult now, and everything’s up to you from this moment on,” Natalie Closner Schepman says in press notes.  “You’re not completely sure of how to get where you need to go, and you don’t have any kind of a map to help you. It’s just the universe looking down on you like, ‘Good luck, kid.'”

“Green Eyes,” Good Luck, Kid’s latest single finds the siblings meshing classic, Phil Spector Wall of Sound-era pop with elements of old school country and contemporary pop as it features twinkling piano, strummed guitar, dramatic drumming, and an enormous hook — with the primary focus being the trio’s gorgeous harmonizing. And while being a slickly produced, radio friendly pop confection, the song reveals some incredibly earnest yet ambitious songwriting. Simply put, this is an act actively attempting to take over the world with carefully crafted pop rooted around personal and lived-in experience. In this case, much like some of the sources that seem to influence it, “Green Eyes” is an aching love song in which its narrator recognizes that their relationship is at a major crossroads. 

“You’re starting to sense this person slipping away from you and you explain how it’s ok if they’re questioning,” Natalie Closner Schepman says about the track. “You assure them that you feel certain and you’ll be right over here waiting for them to see what you see.”

The recently released, animated lyric video features the band in a Speed Racer-like animation, in which the ladies cruise an alien-like world of purple skies and neon-green moonlight.