Welcome to the Record Room for the latest edition of Burning Hot Interviews. In this episode, host Ryan Novak talks with Xiån Austin [3pac] & Mike Lee of Goth Brooks about how they conceptualized the band beginning with the name, making multiple genres work within a song, wanting to compose a classical music and industrial metal hybrid symphony, the glory days of MTV, Christmas music, and carrying on after a tragic loss. Their new albumFreakabillywas released on May 19th, and is available to download for free at GothBrooks.rocks.*
* Formerly GothBrooksBand.com – update your links and bookmarks!
Burning Hot Interview featuring Xiån Austin [3pac] & Mike Lee of Goth Brooks
Arizona’s own Goth Brooks is a band that defies easy classification. Its members, Mike Lee, Chris “3pac” Austin, and the late Jonah “Werm” Foree each represent different genres they individually bring to the group: country, hip-hop, and metal. The group’s sound, though, stretches each of those genres to their limits, melding country, Western swing, rockabilly, industrial metal, death metal, hardcore, and gangster rap, among still more, into a sound that is fun and wholly original.
The band made a very brief appearance on America’s Got Talent when auditioning in 2018. According to a Facebook comment made by Foree, “We only got flashed for like 2 seconds… It was weird, because the filming crew literally pulled us aside, out of the long line, and spent over an hour filming us doing different things. But in the end, the producers put us on the cutting room floor… The tryout & trip to Vegas was still a blast though!”
The Christmas in Black EP was released in August of 2021. Following the tragic passing of Foree, Goth Brooks released their second studio album Freakabilly on May 19. Just like their previous releases, the 13-track album is available to download from their website for free. It is also available to stream on Spotify in a 9-track form.
On the cusp of the release of the Crashing Cairo’s next single “Souls”, frontman Robert Wax discusses how the Beatles and David Bowie made him fall in love with music, the importance of U2, full-circle moments, working with legends, drawing inspiration from a radio contest, and what the future holds for the band, in the inaugural Burning Hot Interview video.
Burning Hot Interview featuring Robert Wax of Crashing Cairo
Crashing Cairo’s New Track “Souls” to Release on July 8, 2022
About Crashing Cairo
Hailing from metro Detroit, Crashing Cairo first broke onto the scene with their 2008 debut Monday Changed Everything, and the band has been going steady ever since. On their 10th anniversary, their EP At Speeds that Destroy brought some exciting new course for the group, as a shot-in-the-dark email by Wax gave them the opportunity to work with not one but two legendary producers. Wax is a modern-day renaissance man, as he is not only a singer and songwriter but also an actor, writer, and producer.
Pop-punk band Brooklane recently released their new single “Breakaway” on April 28th of this year, and they are gearing up for a tour with details yet to be revealed (get notified here). Inspired by bands like The Story So Far, State Champs, and Neck Deep, they debuted with the Roll With the Punches EP during the pandemic in 2020.
Burning Hot Events’ music journalist Ryan Novak and Brooklane discuss the new single, recording during the pandemic, cover art, mental health, new directions for the band, and more.
Q & A with music journalist Ryan Novak
RYAN:What was the recording experience like for your debut “Roll With the Punches” (2020)? Was it recorded pre-pandemic?
“The recording experience for “Roll With The Punches” was pretty standard for the most part until the pandemic hit. We had to find ways to finish recording safely. Luckily, we just had to add finishing touches and were able to release it during the pandemic.”
RYAN: “Roll With the Punches” was first released as an EP but is now listed as a deluxe LP released in 2021.
When was the decision made to expand it?
“We made the decision to expand it because we wanted to provide our fans with alternative reimagined versions, as well as softer songs to diversify our catalog.”
RYAN: I’m always fascinated by cover art. Your early singles and first album all featured color variations on the same image: of an arm preparing to throw a Molotov cocktail.
Was there a reason behind this specific image, especially with the political upheaval in America these last five years?
Honestly, that cover art has no greater meaning other than being reflective of our energetic and explosive sound, while staying true to our band’s visual aesthetic.
RYAN: The album has got some strong punk, pop punk, and hardcore DNA in it, which makes the tracks “Here to Stay” and “Empty Room” stick out to me. The slower tempo and acoustic guitars really highlight the heartbreak of the lyrics on each.
Were both songs always written to be more emotionally raw in that way?
Yes! Both of the songs were intentionally written to be more emotionally raw. We always try to pull from all of our personal experiences to help as many people as possible. Fun fact, “Empty Room” was never written for Brooklane and almost didn’t make the record.
RYAN: As a huge fan of punk and hardcore, what always drew me to it was that the music provided an emotional outlet for pent-up emotions. The best bands to do it always have lyrics that express these same feelings. “Here to Stay” and “Bite the Bullet” dig into dealing with a broken heart, and “Anxiety” deals with mental illness and reminds me, at least thematically, of The Offspring’s “Gotta Get Away.”
While a lot of people will share more freely about dealing with heartbreak or regret over a breakup, there’s still a societal stigma with mental health. Was it difficult being as open on “Anxiety”?
Anxiety is something that we all struggle with as band members and it is so important to us to be open and honest to our fans who may benefit from relating to what we are going through. We write these songs to help our personal healing journeys, but more importantly, for everyone else in the world who may be struggling. If we didn’t open up about these hard topics in the hopes to destigmatize these conversations, we would be doing a disservice as musicians with a platform.
RYAN: The deluxe edition of the album featured reimagined versions of “Anxiety” and “Ship Wrecked,” which highlights the melodies of each song even more.
What was the inspiration behind doing these reimagined tracks, and could they be a possible direction the band might take on future albums?
We really wanted to produce these reimagined tracks to further diversify our catalog and give our fans musical variety overall. We felt strongly like some of these more emotional songs should have more emotional instrumentals. We definitely hope to continue weaving these types of tracks into our albums in the future!
RYAN: I really like the new single “Breakaway” because it feels like the whole band leveled up on the song, especially because it has a great “firework” music moment with the sort of muted opening chords building to an explosion as the band goes full force into the song. Across the board, it feels like everyone really shines.
Was there a feeling during the writing and recording of the song that this would be something as special as it seems for the band?
“Breakaway” is a song that we all really love and all individually relate to as members as it was written based upon our own personal experiences. With that said, we really wanted to give it the spotlight it deserved as a single, especially during Mental Health Awareness month.
You just announced that you’ll be crowdsourcing your next album.
What motivated this decision to have direct support from your fans ahead of the release?
“We are headed into the studio with Andrew Wade next month to create our dream EP, and thought this would be a great opportunity to ask for support from our fans to help us in our mission to destigmatize mental health by utilizing our music to start important conversations so we all feel less alone in this world.”
What are you most looking forward to about playing on tour? Obviously “Breakaway” will get its first live performances across the cities…
“We have a ton of shows in the works for this year and can’t wait to finally connect with our fans in person.”
Dave Hause’s music is a punk-infused take on the classic singer-songwriter that is equal parts righteous anger and soulful introspection. Since going solo from The Loved Ones, he’s released four stellar records: 2011’s Resolutions, 2013’s Devour, 2017’s Bury Me in Philly, and last year’s Kick. Between his often clever lyrics and shifts from ballads to all-out rockers, he is, arguably, the Elvis Costello of this generation.
A constant presence on the road in a different time in our world, he was a magnetic live performer, who managed to be just as entertaining when bantering with the crowd as he was playing music. In fact, when we first tried this interview, he was in the middle of a tour. When the world shut down, the questions originally asked no longer made sense, so I rewrote my questions to reflect this new world reality, and he was generous enough with his time to answer them for me.
Interview with Dave Hause
Q & A with music journalist Ryan Novak
RYAN: Dave, first off, thank you for taking the time to do this. As I think I’ve told you, I’m not a full-time music journalist and am just a school teacher who does this in my spare time for fun. When the woman who created and runs our website asked me if I ever wanted to do an interview, you were the first name I mentioned just because I’ve talked to you a few times after shows over the years, and you’ve always been such a friendly guy every time that I knew you’d be a great interview.
Since your tour was cut short by COVID, you’ve transitioned to doing online shows, which have been a lot of fun and have had the same atmosphere as your solo shows. Was it difficult for you to start doing the online shows and how has preparing for them been different than preparing for an in-person live show?
DAVE: It is difficult. My neighbor works for a big software company and was struggling with having to work entirely via Zoom, and we shared some of the same challenges. Social cues are different (or non existent), there is a lag time, and you’re simultaneously trying to focus on performing AND considering the audio, software glitches and wifi speed. Just like anything though, you do your best and hope for the best, and keep your true north at delivering the song the best way you can in the moment.
RYAN: One of the things I’ve always loved about watching you play live is the spontaneity of your live shows and that they’ve always felt fun and loose. A big part of that stems from how you interact with your audience.
Have you found that doing the live shows allows you to maintain the same atmosphere of your in-person shows, maybe through reacting to fan feedback as you’re playing?
DAVE: No, I have to build that into the live streams, which is why I add covers and old songs, it’s to keep the tightrope taut, so I can attempt the magic trick of walking over it. Interacting with fans online is tough because it is harder for the rest of the “crowd” to relate the way they would if they were all in the same room.
RYAN: Throughout this, you’ve played online shows with some of your friends, such as Brian Fallon, and it’s reminded me a lot of Chuck Ragan’s Revival Tours, a couple of which you’ve been a part of.
How has it been working with other artists remotely, and do you see this as something you’ll continue to do, maybe even on a growing lineup of artists with many of you playing together or trading off songs?
DAVE: One of the positive things about this pandemic and having to stay home is that I’m co-writing more with friends; we’ll see what comes of that. I think you’re referring to the short period where I did a bunch of things online to stay busy when the initial quarantine happened, but I’ve intentionally haven’t done much online since May. I feel like there’s so much going on and I need more quiet. I want to spend more time with my kids, and the online shows prompt a ton of anxiety in me, so there’s that part of it. I also have been recording songs like crazy. More news on that soon.
Has this time at home and off the road allowed you to start working on new material, and will a new album come out of this?
DAVE: It has allowed me to start writing, yes, and it will lead to the 5th solo record. I think I even already have the title, which is a first; I usually don’t find a title for an album til towards the end.
If so, since the pandemic prevents the opportunity to get everyone together to record in a studio, how will you handle the recording of new material? Will everyone work together remotely, or will it perhaps be a more intimate recorded-at-home solo record, a la Springsteen’s Nebraska?
DAVE: I’m not that far along yet; we are still working on the songs themselves. We’ll figure out how to record them later. Meantime, the stuff I am recording now is definitely born of the “I-can’t-tour-on-this-anyway” mentality, so it’s really fun to just create without any of that in mind. I’m so excited about what we are putting out in October.
RYAN: You’re not a guy who shies away from his feelings on a lot of issues. When you last played Phoenix, opening for Bad Religion, you asked the audience to hold up a finger towards Washington, before playing “Dirty Fucker” off of Buy Me in Philly, which drew a mostly positive crowd reaction, save for one person who seemed annoyed — which I thought you handled well.
Do you feel in a way that it’s your duty, especially with your platform, to speak out and let your music hopefully at least get people to think more about what’s going in the world, especially right now?
DAVE:I do feel compelled to; not sure if it’s a duty or not. I think we are in one of the bleakest times in our country’s short history, and I want to be crystal clear about how I feel about it. Should we see the administration change in November/January, I’ll be as outspoken as I feel compelled to be when they’re running the ship too. I never trust the people in charge.
I purchased “Your Ghost” from Bandcamp, and it’s such a heartbreakingly gorgeous song. Using the death of George Floyd and his final words as a refrain throughout the song really hit me as I listened to it. Was this a difficult song for you to write, or was it one that almost poured out of you?
DAVE: It was difficult. Tim and I labored over it more than many other songs, because I think it is a loaded thing for a privileged white rock and roll singer to sing “I Can’t Breathe”. I’m glad we put the extra time in, and I’m thankful to various friends and colleagues who helped to make sure we got the tone right.
One of the things that really stands out about “Your Ghost” is the backing vocals by Kam Franklin of the great band The Suffers, which felt almost like a ghost in pain haunting the song. How did she come to be involved in the song, and what was the collaboration with her like?
DAVE: That was suggested to me by my agent, Alex Fang, after he heard the song. I was familiar with both and totally blown away that they agreed to do it, and then did such an incredible job with it.
RYAN: As I was listening to it, I remembered your song “Seasons Greetings from Ferguson,” which you released during the Ferguson protests in the wake of Michael Brown’s murder. In fact, “Your Ghost” and “Seasons Greetings” feel like they could be the A and B side of a 7”. It’s sad that the two songs were recorded nearly six years apart and yet nothing has changed.
Were you thinking of the writing and recording of “Seasons Greetings” as you were working on “Your Ghost,” and how would you say the two songs differ, perhaps in tone or approach to the topic?
DAVE:Yes, they’re meant to sound related. The delivery, the chord choices, and the tone are similar. My intention after “Seasons Greetings” was to continue a sort of a singles series of socially related songs, maybe 1-2 a year, but I didn’t finish a bunch of them and got sidetracked in 2015 and 2016. When Kick came around, we wanted to put a bunch of those kinds of songs on that record, so we went with the traditional full album release. The experience with “Your Ghost” sort of reignited that desire to get some topical singles out quickly as we move forward. We’ll see.
RYAN: You’ve had several big life changes in the past couple of years, including moving and marriage, but anyone that follows you on social media has seen that not only are you a father to twin boys, but that you’ve embraced fatherhood with a lot of joy. (I especially enjoyed the video of you vacuuming the house with both boys strapped to you).
How has fatherhood changed how you approach life in general and your music specifically, especially now that the pandemic means you aren’t leaving for tours and are just getting to be home with your family?
DAVE:This could be the topic for a whole book. Ultimately, I’m trying to make life all about them instead of all about me. That’s a challenge, but an incredibly rewarding one. It’s been the greatest thing that’s happened to me in my life.
Rock and punk fans should keep an ear out for the band My Immortal Enemy, especially if some of your favorite bands include Beartooth, Avenged Sevenfold, My Chemical Romance, and AFI. Steven Juliano is their vocalist, Joel Chandler is bassist, Ryan Loomis is on drums, and Ryan Heggum is the guitarist.
If Juliano’s name sounds familiar, then perhaps you’ve heard of the band I Am Ghost from Epitaph records. Juliano is hitting the ground running with My Immortal Enemy, and their new duet album Akuma, featuring 12 head-banging rock songs, is coming out soon on January 10th, 2020. Their album was recorded at Indigital Studios in Santa Cruz, CA. It was mixed/mastered by Zack Ohren who has previously worked with Machine Head, All Shall Perish, and Set Your Goals.
Most of the members are still in their early 20’s and are excited to hear what music lovers think of their new record. They can’t wait to hit the road and meet their fans on tour, hopefully sometime in 2020.
Juliano generously gave Burning Hot Events some of his time to discuss the album concept, choices behind its development, and band evolution:
Interview with Steven Juliano, Singer of My Immortal Enemy
Q & A with music journalist Brittney Coon
The word “akuma” is Japanese for “demon” or “devil”, and Akuma is also the name of a character from Street Fighter. What is the inspiration for your album title?
Juliano: From the very beginning, before we had even written a song, I had a concept for this record. With my last band (I Am Ghost), rock-opera-albums was our thing, but after the band disbanded I started a few other music projects and kind of steered away from all that. The reason being concept albums are a lot of work. Mentally hard work. I wasn’t ready to wrap my head around such a large endeavor then.
This time I felt I was ready again, knowing all too well I was making a lot more work for myself lyrically. But I like challenges, I guess. I’m a glutton for punishment as they say. So, I created this detailed story; a semi-fictional tale with me as the protagonist, the devil (Akuma) the main antagonist. It’s a life journey story in a sense, something I believe we can all relate to.
On your website and on SoundCloud, the track “Paradise” shows an image of Baphomet, a Satanic deity. Lyrically, does your album contain a lot of occult elements? If so, does this reflect your personal beliefs, or is it more of a stylistic choice?
Juliano: It’s all about the concept of the album, honestly, and has nothing to do with our religious beliefs. None of us in My Immortal Enemy are Satanist. None of us are very religious to begin with. I’ve been asked by a lot by people on what the artwork means, why all the dark/religious undertones, etc… and it’s hard to explain since the album isn’t out yet. Once you hear it all in context, it makes sense.
What drew you to having Zack Ohren produce your debut album?
Juliano: The band actually wrote/produced the album ourselves and Zack did the entire mixing/mastering. Before he came on board we had another guy, a semi-famous gentleman whose band had sold millions and millions of albums in the past. So we thought it was a no brainer to have him mix our album. Well, his mixes were turning out… terrible. And not only terrible, he was taking months to get mixes back. There was a definite low period in the band. I had never gone through anything like that before in my career. We all felt helpless, like our album had been hijacked. Finally, I just called up the guy and fired him.
Soon after the search was on for a new mixing-engineer. My bass player told me about a guy he’d worked with in the past, a guy whose discography of bands was perfect for what we’re trying to convey. At the time, Zack was working on the new Machine Head album but graciously took on our project.
Out of all the tracks on your new album, why did you choose “The Laughing Heart” as your first single?
Juliano: Figuring out the first song to release is always difficult. Especially from a new band no one’s heard of yet. You have all these questions swirling in your head: “Do we release an aggressive song? A “radio song”? What if no one likes it? Blah blah blah.” All artists are insecure in a way. If they say they’re not they are lying. We decided it was best to release something that had a little bit of everything.
What I’ve learned from doing this for so long is that not everyone is going to like your music. It took me quite some time to realize that. Easier said than done… I know. But in the end you just have to put out songs you dig and keep moving forward. Second thing I’ve learned (mostly by trial and error) is that if you’re writing honest music with honest lyrics, people tend to lean towards that more often than not.
Currently showing four men as your band members, who is the female vocalist on tracks such as “Into the Blue”?
Juliano: At the early conception of the band we had a female guitarist who played and sang on the album. But, as in life, shit happened… shit that was completely out of our control. One minute she’s all about that tour life… the next minute she’s like “I’m going to get married and I don’t want to be in a band anymore.” Ultimately she moved away and gave up.
That’s the hardest part of being in a serious band; finding people who are all on the same page. Some would think finding great, seasoned musicians is the hardest part, but that’s not true at all. That’s the easy part actually. Finding musicians who you get along with and are willing to put in the long hours is definitely the hardest part.
We know how difficult it can be to retain band members in a new band. With six members listed on your Facebook page, have you gained and lost many members over the past year? If so, how were you able to recover?
Juliano: We’ve been lucky enough to keep the four main members, all of whom are the main song writers of the group. So in retrospect it’s been rather painless. Most touring bands have members who are really just hired guns anyways, so the fact we’ve kept our core unit in tact is a blessing.
How is this band different, in sound or otherwise, than I Am Ghost?
Juliano: The biggest difference with My Immortal Enemy and I Am Ghost is that I Am Ghost had a strong, almost ungodly major label push from day one. I Am Ghost was signed by Epitaph Records very early in our career. We signed a three album deal after only a couple of shows under our belts. And when I say couple, I mean only like three of four shows… ever. After that we became another monster. We had real management and agents and a team of publicists… big dogs that would never even return my emails in any of my previous bands… and all this happened literally overnight.
My Immortal Enemy, on the other hand, is all DIY. We do everything ourselves. We paid for the recording and mixing of our album ourselves… which was very expensive. Our upcoming music video we paid ourselves. We book all our own shows. I design all the artwork in the band. The negative in all that is its financially draining. The positive, and you have to always look at the positive being in a band, is that there is zero outside influence regarding our music, and for the moment, we rather enjoy the freedom. As to the actual musical styles between the two, My Immortal Enemy is definitely very similar, although I wasn’t trying for that to happen at all. It just kind of happened, I guess.
Your website currently shows a “coming soon” message under the “Tour” section. Are tour plans currently in the works to support the album release?
Juliano: We wanted to take off a few months and get the album release in order. All that takes a lot of work since we are doing it ourselves. Also, being that it’s winter, there really is no reason to hop into a van and travel the US battling all that darn rain and snow. Again, I’ve been touring since I was 19 years old, so subsequently I know how it goes. Winter dates more likely than not get canceled because of bad weather, and most importantly it’s too dangerous traveling. We will be back early 2020 with tour dates, so rest assured. We hope to play as many shows and in as many different places as we possibly can.
What headlining bands would you love to tour with?
Juliano: The cool thing about our band is I feel we could tour with anyone and do ok. We have that definite metal vibe but I’m a punk kid at heart and I think we’d do well on a punk tour, or a hard rock tour. I think we’d fit in well on a pop punk tour… hell, throw us on a ska tour we’d survive. But bands that would be fun to tour with would be bands like Beartooth or Avenged Sevenfold, or even My Chemical Romance now that they have gotten back together.
How are you going to celebrate the release of your new album?
Juliano: This might sound stupid but it feels as though we’ve gone to war in some far off country and have finally returned home… like years later. There’s definitely this “Holy shit man, we did it. We made it home alive…” type mentality with the four of us, which in the end has only brought us closer together. Ultimately, bad things happen in life… things completely out of your control and you can either be resilient or just give up.
But we honestly believe in this album. We think it’s not just good, but rather exceptional. Especially if you know all the history surrounding its inception… of how many times we were knocked down but kept getting back up. My Immortal Enemy are fighters, that’s for damn sure.
Arrives in stores everywhere January 10th, 2020. You can now pre-order your physical copy of My Immortal Enemy’s debut 12 song album, “Akuma” HERE. Signed by entire band. Includes two stickers and 1.5 inch button. Bundle pack includes Black Skull/Coffin T-Shirt. FREE shipping (if in the USA). Album ships world-wide.
Tempe, AZ — Through Fire will be bringing their tour to the Marquee Theatre on Friday, August 2nd. They’re on the road with co-headliners Like a Storm, and special guests Wilson, and Stitched Up Heart on the “Firestorm Tour”. They will be joined by opener Hazen, an alternative metal band from Gilbert, AZ.
If you haven’t heard of Through Fire, they are a hard rock quartet created in 2015 from Omaha, Nebraska. Justin McCain is lead guitarist and songwriter, Grant Kendrick is lead vocalist, Kyle LeBlanc is bassist, and Grant Brooks is on the drums.
In under two years, Through Fire has over 20 million Spotify streams, chart-topping radio hits, and 48 million YouTube views thanks to their debut album Breathe released by Sumerian Records. Their first single “Stronger” reached #1 on iTunes and spent an impressive 26 weeks on the charts. It was also #1 on Sirius XM Octane for 5 consecutive weeks. This placed them at #3 for the overall year following Metallica and Highly Suspect, not to mention won the band “Breakout Artist of the Year”. Their third single, “Where You Lie” soared to new heights and became #1 most added song in the country on rock radio within its first week.
Now Through Fire is ready to take their music on the road and rock out in front of their phenomenal fans!
Through Fire’s Lead Vocalist Grant Kendrick Interviews with Burning Hot Events
Q & A with music journalist Brittney Coon
Please tell us about your most recent release.
Kendrick: All Animal!!! It’s a beast and we are excited to unleash it!!!
Album Released July 19, 2019
What is your favorite part about being in a band? Your least favorite? Why?
Kendrick: My Favorite part of being in a band is making music! I love the feeling of completing songs that you can’t wait to share!
Discuss your relationship with your fans — how do you interact with and respond to them?
Kendrick: We love em! They bring their passion for music to the show and we enjoy hanging out with them and hearing their stories about how our songs have touched their lives!
What does it mean to you to be in your band?
Kendrick: It means you are committed, a dreamer, believer, and a fighter! We dream big and fight to make it happen! We don’t settle, we push ourselves to be better! We are blessed and grateful for all the opportunities we have and want to make the most of them!
What do you think is the glue that holds your group together?
Kendrick: Probably the music! Justin [McCain] is our leader. He is the engine, but it’s the music we all love and despite any other differences, we believe in what we are doing!
If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you’d be doing?
Kendrick: Well, I’d probably still be trying to make it to the NBA, lol
Have you ever had to deal with performance anxiety? If so, how did/do you handle it?
Kendrick: Yes, basically just pray, and suck it up till the intro music starts then it all goes away! Turns into crazy energy that you use to light up the stage! I don’t get it as much anymore, pretty much chill and just excited to get out there!
How do you maintain the same level of energy and take care of your well-being throughout the entirety of a tour?
Kendrick: I’m sober now, 18 months, so not drinking really helps! I try to drink lots of water and eat decent, but most importantly rest and warm ups! Also, coffee!
What advice do you have for artists just starting out?
Kendrick: Be patient, keep working, networking, and developing your talent. Keep working at it, neglecting your gifts are as good as destroying them. If you know you have it in you, then go out and prove it every chance you get!
Mixi of Stitched Up Heart once mentioned to me years ago that the band played more gigs in Arizona than their home state of California. What makes Arizona and appealing location for shows?
Kendrick: Well, the awesome weather, cool people!!! What more do you need! It’s always exciting to play in AZ! We have friends there we like to stop and see too when we get a chance! Shout out to the Doll Skin family! Thanks so much for the support and we look forward to seeing you soon!!!
Remaining Tour Dates:
7/27 – Jacksonville, NC @ The Tarheel Concert Lounge 7/28 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend 7/30 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill 7/31 – Austin, TX @ Empire Control Room & Garage 8/02 – Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee 8/03 – Las Vegas, NV @ Count’s Vamp’d 8/04 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex 8/06 – Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep 8/07 – Denver, CO @ The Oriental Theater 8/09 – Sioux City, IA @ Anthem at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 8/10 – Lincoln, NE @ The Royal Grove
Greg Holden is a British singer-songwriter based in the United States. He is best known for his hit charity single “The Lost Boy”, and for co-writing “Home” — the 2012 debut single for American Idol-winner Phillip Phillips.
Genre: Rock, Singer-Songwriter Hometown: Born in Aberdeen, Scotland and raised in England Record Label: BMG Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
“With a fresh Mumford and Sons style, this New York based British singer-songwriter sings it straight from the heart.” – AXS
Q & A with Greg Holden, Singer-Songwriter
During the small break from his fall tour, between his August 2 performance in London and the following tour date in Phoenix on September 7, Holden took the time to share his thoughts with journalist Emily Rudolph of Burning Hot Events:
Thank you for talking with us! According to your interview with People, you’ve had no intention of leaving New York. I’m curious… Are you currently living in LA after all? If so, can you tell us a bit about how you came to call Los Angeles home?
Yes, it’s all very ironic I know. I came to LA two years ago with my tail between my legs. My reasoning was that 99% of the people I know and work with were already in Los Angeles, and I really was cutting off my nose to spite my face by not relocating. So I did. I don’t regret it, but I sure do miss New York. I’m not sure that Los Angeles is the right place for me, but I’ve been told by other ex-New Yorkers that it takes 3 years… So I’ll give it another year and then see what happens…
What inspired you to relocate from England to Brooklyn, NY?
Music essentially. All the artists that inspired me had all lived in New York in their 20’s, so I wanted to as well. Strangely it didn’t even feel like a crazy thing, quitting my job in London, selling all my shit, and moving to a different continent during a recession. I was just going with my gut, and I’m glad I did. Nearly ten years later I don’t regret a thing.
I’ve heard that it all started when you first picked up a guitar at age 18. I’d love for you to tell me more about that journey. What was your musical experience like growing up? What compelled you to begin writing your own music?
I wrote from the moment I started playing guitar. In the beginning I just wanted to write songs so I could get my repressed feelings out in the open. Naturally I started playing in punk and metal bands in my home town, which I did for a few years, before realising that I actually had a half decent voice, and a talent for lyrics too. I was wasting my time in bands. This was at the time when Damien Rice, John Mayer and Ray Lamontagne were the chart toppers, and so the logical next step was to become a solo singer-songwriter. So I decided to move to Brighton, one of the big cities in the UK that was known for its music scene. After a couple of years I moved to London to really focus on getting “discovered,” and once I wasn’t discovered, I thought fuck it, I’m going to New York, I’ll get discovered there…
Could you share with our readers the events that led up to the forming of “Home”? What was the inspiration behind the concept?
The short version is, I had a friend that was going through a very difficult time and was chronically depressed. I was thrown into a co-writing session in Los Angeles on one of my first times there with a guy named Drew Pearson. We decided to write a song about my friend, and that song was “Home”. We wrote it in a couple our hours, easy peasy, and I walked out of the session completely unaware that I’d just written a song that would change my life, and for 6 months I didn’t really even think about it. Then, I got the call from American Idol and the rest is history I guess.
Do you feel your experiences with sophomore album, I Don’t Believe You (2011), influenced your later work on massive success, “Home”?
Not really, no. I mean I guess you could say that “Home” is just a more commercially accessible version of songs I’d written in the past, but I Don’t Believe You was quite a dark record, with very little hope. Whereas “Home” is quite the opposite.
Your sound has been described as “folk”, “rock”, and even “a fresh Mumford and Sons style”.’ How would you describe your sound to our readers?
I really have no idea to be honest. What even is a genre anymore?
What do you feel is the best track that you have produced so far? What does it mean to you?
Probably “The Lost Boy”, just because I recorded in my bedroom in Brooklyn, with one mic, and had no intention of anyone other than my manager hearing it. Somehow that version took on a life of its own and has now been heard by millions of people, a song that I poured my guts into. Since its release it has raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity, has been in the Billboard Charts, been a #1 single in Europe and been featured on major TV shows in the U.S. Still the same, shitty original version, mixed on Apple Headphones at my kitchen counter back in 2011. Despite its simplicity, I’m still more proud of that than anything else I’ve done.
Are there any parts of your story that you’d like to share on low points you’ve experienced and how you overcame them?
I am always experiencing low points. Constantly. Somehow I always find a way out of the hole, but it never stops. That’s the problem when something you love so much, and something that is so reliant on your raw emotions becomes your day job. When I was younger, if I hated my day job, I just got a new one. I can’t do that now, I can’t just apply for new emotions, or new creative skills. The only way to overcome the negative sides of this journey, is to constantly remind myself of the positives, because there are a lot.
What do you do to handle doubts or frustrations when they come up?
I drink wine. Or, I look through my Instagram feed to remind myself that my life is absolutely unreal and I am incredibly fortunate. That doesn’t really handle the doubts, or frustrations, but it certainly puts things into perspective, which helps.
What advice would you give to someone in the industry who is struggling to move forward?
Don’t give up. The one thing I can guarantee is that if you do, you won’t make it. But, if you stay in the fight, there’s always a chance, even if it’s only a small one.
What have you been working on in 2018? What are you most looking forward to?
I’ve been working on my mental state mostly, because without that I’m fucked. Musically though, I’ve been trying to refocus my attention on making something I love, and not on what I think other people want. That’s a difficult balance these days, but it’s important to give yourself what you need first, otherwise you can’t offer anything helpful or inspiring to anyone. I’m most looking forward to the last quarter of this year as I’m headed out on tour in the US in September with Butch Walker, then I’m headed down to South America in December to play some shows with my buddy Joshua Radin. Can’t complain about any of that.
If you had to summarize your journey to produce your latest single, ‘The Power Shift’ how would you describe it?
An existential crisis.
Beyond 2018, what is on the radar for Greg Holden?
Staying happy, and staying inspired. The rest will come naturally.
Is there anything specific you’d like to mention about your upcoming performance in Phoenix?
I’m going to be stripping it all back to just me and my guitar, the way it began. Get your voices warmed up, as you’re going to be singing.
What can our readers do to support your music?
Listen, hopefully enjoy, and share.
Greg Holden is coming to Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix with Butch Walker on Friday, September 7, 2018: Get Tickets
If you’re wondering why there’s finally a picture of me smiling, it’s because on top of getting married in a month, I’m closing out my year with all this craziness! 🇺🇸 🇦🇷 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/VbTsSEha3I
PHOENIX —SHE is a dark horror comedy film that was produced in the Valley by Gravel Road Production and lead actress Hannah McKay; it will premiere on July 5, 2018 at a private screening at Filmbar. The 90-minute film has already stirred some controversy, having been described as a jarring film about female empowerment. The plotline involves an Airbnb owner, who uses her sexuality to manipulate her male guest into doing her evil bidding.
(Viewer discretion is advised – some scenes may not be suitable for all audiences.)
Q & A with Film Writer/Director Will Goldstein
SHE’s Writer and Director, Will Goldstein, spoke with Burning Hot Events about the film and it’s impact:
What is your background in filmmaking?
I’ve been making films since I was a teenager. I studied film production as an undergrad at U of A, then got a Masters at USC. Since then I’ve directed or produced a handful of indies that you can find on Amazon.
Your IMDB profile shows credits dating back to 2010 – How long have you been doing it?
The first short films I made that actually got shown publicly were screened as early as 2010, so that IMDB timeline makes sense.
What inspired the plotline for this film?
My original goal was to write a horror movie that took place in one location, and had a dynamic female lead. When I set out to write, the sexual assault scandals had been all over the news and I think that subconsciously influenced the tone and narrative arc of the film, and it became less of a horror movie and more of an outrageously over-the-top dark, dark comedy.
In your opinion, what are some films that would be favorites of someone who would enjoy SHE?
Ah, cool question. The film that inspired me the most is a bizarre Greek movie called Dogtooth, though fans of that film are few and far between. It’s a lot to stomach. A more mainstream comp might be Kill Bill, if it was directed by the Coen bros. And that’s on SHE’s ‘best’ day.
What do you think makes this film different from others in the same genre?
I’ve been personally struggling with the film’s genre. I think that’s what makes it so unique, though. It’s an amalgam of a few genres.
How long did it take to write the script?
About 3 weeks.
What style of cinematography was utilized for this film?
It’s a very raw, verite style. A good comparison visually might be the films of Kathryn Bigelow.
Some would describe the Phoenix filmmaking scene as a desert. Why do you think that filmmaking has been underrepresented in our arts & culture scenes?
There’s a ridiculous amount of filmmaking talent in Phoenix. The issue is, in my opinion, that these artists don’t have a significant mouthpiece in the local media. For instance, azcentral only employs film reviewers that review theatrical fare. There’s no appointed person in a position to cover local productions.
How has the film provided opportunities for local talent, and in what ways do you think the film will help the production communities in Phoenix in the future?
This film was made entirely by local talent, excluding the sound editor. The producers, actresses, actors, and crew are all Phoenicians. I’m hoping that, with this film, which will definitely play as controversial to a variety of audiences, we’re able to galvanize the media to take a more active look at local film productions.
Why did you choose Filmbar for the premiere?
Filmbar is the best. It’s the indie film hub of the community. They have a ravenous spirit for the weird and avant garde. And our film is definitely that.
What importance do you think a venue like Filmbar plays in our society?
Indie theaters like Filmbar are so few and far between outside of major cities like LA and NY, and that’s unfortunate because they’re so necessary as a distributing outlet for artists that are taking chances and making challenging films that aren’t afraid of alienation at the cost of vanity.
Will the audience have the opportunity to meet you and/or the cast at the premiere?
Local band Jane N’ The Jungle provided the title track for the film. Will they be doing anything for the premiere?
They’ll be in attendance.
In the past, you worked with the band when you created their music videos for “Wild Side” and “Killed Someone”. What made you feel that JNTJ would be a good fit for the film’s soundtrack?
JNTJ are genius at disguising contentious subject matter as fist pumping, radio friendly anthems. I think that’s really brilliant in a subversive way, and that’s primarily why I think they’re a great fit. Subversion.
In the current climate of the entertainment industry with the #metoo movement, and recent killings that have been tied to self-proclaimed “incels” (involuntary celibates), some individuals and groups believe that women use their sexuality as a weapon. In the renaissance era, paintings were made of women having relations with demons and animals because female sexuality was so heavily feared. Can you explain how you think the film is progressive in terms of female empowerment? And how do you think viewing the film would impact someone who shares those viewpoints on female sexuality?
I think everyone is going to have differing opinions on this front, and part of the construction of this film is to incite a reaction, whether positive or negative. Without giving anything away, I will say that the film subverts the traditional sociological role of ‘agency,’ as it’s respective to gender.
To your second question, I honestly can’t say. I can’t purport to know how anyone will react specifically, but we’ll find out soon enough.
The lead character is shown to be calling the male guest (Troy) a “pussy” on multiple occasions. Does the film shed light on the topic of toxic masculinity?
I think it does. I was aiming for a meaner, satirical display of toxic masculinity.
Can you tell us more about what other/related controversy has been triggered by the film?
I can tell you that it involves subject matter that will have some people heading for the doors.
Do you feel that controversy can bring about anything positive?
Absolutely. In the jaded world we live in, I think controversy has to be stoked to even start a debate.
Would SHE pass the Bechdel test?
Actually, it would. Barely. But it would.
It’s admirable that Hannah McKay both served as a producer, and lead actress of the film. How did McKay initially become involved in SHE, and what lead to her to wearing both hats in the production?
I would say it’s more than admirable. The role of producer is demanding enough itself. If you add to that a leading role, with a character that has pages of dialogue that not only has to be memorized, but delivered so precisely take after take for hours a day, I don’t think ‘admirable’ is the most apt term. Maybe ‘superhuman.’ I dare any actress or actor to try to pour themselves out emotionally for 6 hours straight while simultaneously worrying about the status of film permits, actor’s schedules, and whether or not lunch will be prepared in time.
I met Hannah on the set of JNTJ’s “Killed Someone” video shoot. She played the lead in that video. She’d had no prior acting experience. I thought she had a natural, honest demeanor on camera, and that’s such an unbelievably difficult trait to come across, so I asked her if she’d be potentially interested in acting in a film. Luckily, she was.
Did McKay have a lot of input on how her character, Jane, was portrayed?
When you’re working with actors, you’re collaborating. The script version of the character takes on a new form in a new body, and together you try to make this new entity as honest as it can be. So of course that requires an open mind, suggestions, and encouragement.
How did the actresses and actors influence the final product?
Funny you ask that. I think the actresses and actors are the reason this film evolved from a horror into a dark comedy. And it’s so much better because of that.
Are there any opportunities left for local artists to be involved with SHE?
Definitely. I would love to work with a variety of local musicians on the soundtrack. JNTJ did a cover song that works perfectly in the film, and I’d love to get other local acts on the team if there are any willing to collaborate.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone that dreams to be a writer and/or director?
Learn all the “rules,” and then do whatever you can to break them.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
“I’ll rebel against powers and principalities, all the time. Always, I will.”
– Paul Thomas Anderson
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about SHE?
Don’t watch it.
Phoenix band Jane N’ The Jungle does incendiary title track for brash indie film SHE
Popular local PHX band Jane N’ The Jungle is expanding their repertoire to film soundtracks, covering Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” as the title track for the contentious local indie flick, SHE, that has been stirring debate here in the Valley. The song was selected by the film’s director and frequent JNTJ collaborator, Will Goldstein.
“The original song is sung by a man, with male-dominated lyrics. When we perform it, the song takes on an opposing point of view,” says Jordan White, the band’s front-woman.
At a time when sexism has been a featured topic during the #metoo movement, the irony of a woman performing such a male-centric song is intended to spark discussion about a male-dominated culture that undermines female power. The raw, stripped down performance by Jane N’ The Jungle, has a haunting grit that embodies the controversial film.
TEMPE, AZ – We caught The Wrecks after their incredible acoustic performance at ALT AZ 93.3’s Graduate Hotel Sessions. Before they needed to take off for their show, we spoke to them about their impression of the crowd, and going from opening to headlining free concerts at Tempe Marketplace.
Rising local band All New Hopes were just voted for Song of the Week on ALT AZ 93.3’s “Homegrown with Mo”! They told us about their upcoming EP release, fellow locals they love, their dream show, and what it was like to win Song of the Week.
The Faim dove right in to the music industry. From working with John Feldmann, Pete Wentz, Mark Hoppus, & Josh Dun, to releasing their debut single “Saints of the Sinners”, the four-piece band are certainly building their repertoire.
The Faim are touring the UK and Australia this year with their first international headline show in Glasgow, Scotland on May 25. The band has plans to tour the U.S., hopefully with a stop in Phoenix! No word yet.
Josh Raven, frontman, tells us more about the band, working with music industry greats, influences, and more in their email interview below:
The Faim (formerly Small Town Heroes) is 4 years old. Where did The Faim’s band members meet each other?
Michael, Stephen, and I all met at high school. We were in the same music class for a few years even though Michael was in the year above. Stephen and I had played various school performances together and Michael had started recording a few ideas with Stephen after school. We got together and decided we wanted to start a band. After about seven months of starting the band we spotted Sean on YouTube and were instantly drawn to his energy and style of playing. We had our first jam a short time later and everything just clicked. We connected more than we ever thought, and we haven’t looked back since.
Have you always wanted to be musicians?
Every one of us has been drawn to music. Having bands and artists who inspired us and helped us connect with music so strongly is something we want to share in our own way with others. One thing we’ve always had in common is that music has been always a release for us. Even before we started the band we all had a passion and connection to music. It was just about finding the perfect pieces of the puzzle for our journey that happened to be each of us.
How did musician & producer John Feldmann hear about you?
Our first contact with John came about through Instagram. He posted saying he was offering opportunities to “bands with touring experience” and we knew we had to try. We knew we had no touring experience but we were so determined to learn and give our all to impress him. We sent two of our favourite songs we had written at the time and hoped for the best. A few weeks passed and we’d put it in the back of our mind that we’d sent the email and just kept to our routine, and all of a sudden we got an email from John asking for a FaceTime call and that’s where our relationship started.
Your sound has evolved from the Small Town Heroes Set Free EP. How much had it changed in between then and when you started working with Feldmann and other artists, and what inspired the change?
Before we were writing with John we were struggling to find an organic sound to connect with. We wanted to be authentic, unique and connect with people on a personal level. Those writing trips really opened our perspective on writing music. The pressure was so intense, but we all were so determined to find our identity and explore our writing process. Opening up so personally with each other and just talking about what we wanted out of the core of each song was a huge part of the learning process.
Within the first 10 minutes of meeting John he was already pushing out of our comfort zone. Putting us on the spot to perform songs we’d finished on the plane. The experience, the energy, and our open perspectives on music helped us open the doors to finding our identity of sound amongst all of our passions and influences.
As a young band, how does it feel to already be working with musicians from huge bands such as Goldfinger, Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, and Twenty One Pilots?
We were star-struck at first. We couldn’t believe we were writing with the musicians who not only inspired us in a songwriting perspective but the story and the message behind it resonated with us. Having the opportunity to not only write, but get to learn from and relate to them as people was truly inspiring. Especially because they were all such down-to-earth, talented musicians who really love creating great music.
Was there influence or advice from these artists that was a game changer for you?
A game changer for us was John really influencing us to be more critical on letting ideas flow naturally. If we weren’t liking a melody or lyrics after 10 minutes we’d move on. Being definitive, honest, critical and persistent was a world John really opened us up to.
You can hear co-writer Pete Wentz’s influence in “Saints of the Sinners”. What role did he play in collaboration? Did he write arrangements, lyrics, or something else?
When we wrote with Pete we had a different approach to how we started the song. We simply just started talking about how hard it is for not only musicians but people in general to achieve their greatest goal. We all have that rebellious voice in the back of your mind that says “Take it. Who cares what’s in the way. Just take it.” We wanted to explore our relation to the concept that there’s nothing selfish about thinking “I’m going to get to where I want to be and nothing’s going to stop me.”
Does “Saints of the Sinners” theme of perseverance to have your voice heard come from your personal experience in pursuing your music career?
Definitely. I feel like any creative person feels that burning sense of frustration when plans or songs you create don’t turn out how you expected. This song is a response to any obstacle or environment that holds you and your dreams back. When your dream becomes a need there’s a passion to take control. Coming to terms with the reality that it’s your right to not only work towards but to take what you deserve.
What kind of setbacks helped shape you into the musicians you are today?
There’s been countless amounts of technical difficulties, fights, sleepless weeks, the list is endless. A big hurdle we faced was everyone dropping all their commitments and becoming a living, breathing band 24/7. It was financially crippling, inevitably frustrating and unpredictable but we wanted to develop our establish our identity, our sound and we knew that’s what we had to do. Every single one of these setbacks has had a part in shaping us as musicians. Setbacks were our biggest enemy but also our greatest ally. Being able to learn from these mistakes and push through every obstacle makes you not just stronger in your craft but a stronger person.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists to keep going?
Create music you enjoy and relate to. Take extra time to get to know the people who listen to your music, and go the extra mile to being a good role model. If you’re authentic to who you are, then it’s never a quick process finding your identity. Stay open to perspective and learn from criticism. Then, you have the first steps to move forward.
If you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
We all have dreams of playing Madison Square Garden and Wembley Stadium, but the absolute best show would be to play right at home in Perth Arena. We’ve got so many fond memories of seeing some of our favourite bands play and having that experience to share with our hometown would be perfect.
When do you guys plan on touring the U.S.? What do you know about Arizona?
We have plans to come back to the U.S. to perform, but we have a very tight schedule for the upcoming months… but plans are definitely in the works. We’re all pretty new to travelling but I’ve heard beautiful things about the Arizona landscapes. It’s always been a dream of ours to experience different environments, and the waterfalls and culture of Arizona really appeal to us.
If you could tour with one band or musician from any time period, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
Jimi Hendrix, because his music is just undeniably incredible. There’s something so perfect about his relationship with music and how it reflects in his songs. One man with a guitar who captivates thousands in such a different time is something that really resonates. The story of his relationship with music is so inspiring, I can’t imagine how passionate his live performance must be. His connection with music is so raw and intense, and I would love to see a crowd of today connect with it.