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.
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
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.
PHOENIX — Visibly and audibly enthusiastic for their homecoming, and impressed by the new The Van Buren music venue, The Maine put on a show that was both charged and endearing for their close-knit fans. They are a great example of a local band that made it big, not changing who they are and their beliefs in the ever-evolving industry. The five-piece band native to Tempe, consisting of John O’Callaghan (Lead Vocalist/Guitarist), Kennedy Brock (Guitarist), Pat Kirch (Drummer), Jared Monaco (Guitarist), and Garrett Nickelsen (Bassist), rocked out with a packed crowd Wednesday night. Following opening bands Night Riots and DREAMERS, they tore it up with their two newest albums Lovely Little Lonely (2017) and American Candy (2015) in full, back-to-back.
The show began with alternative rock band Night Riots, who got the crowd excited with the powerful voice of lead singer Travis Hawley. During their set, the band played “Free Fallin” as a tribute to the late Tom Petty. Hawley said, “Holy sh*t that sounds good,” after the crowd sang the words “free fallin”.
The band engaged the crowd and hyped them up for the rest of the show. At one point in the band’s set, a person in the crowd was seen clapping with their shoe, which had neon lights at the bottom. Such innovation! It really added to the unique atmosphere of the show, which seemed to say that for one night, surrounded by strangers, everyone could be themselves and not care what anyone thinks. (View Photo Album)
Rock trio DREAMERS came on next, and the crowd exuded excitement as they danced and sang along. The band brought their name to life on stage as Nick Wold (Vocalist/Guitarist), had a dream catcher hung on his mic stand. They performed their hits “Painkiller” and “Sweet Disaster” to an eager crowd that danced and sang along. They also covered “Zombie” by the Cranberries, which segued into their own song “Drugs”.
Night Riots and DREAMERS were the perfect opening acts. Their energy and the way they commanded the stage, captivated the audience, making it an all-around solid line-up. They amped up the crowd and proved that you never want to miss the openers at shows. Night Riots’ stage presence showcased a seasoned band, while DREAMERS proved a rock trio can be just as compelling on stage as a traditional band setup. (View Photo Album)
The Van Buren did not seem full at the beginning of the show. However, as The Maine’s set approached, the venue began to fill up and one could feel the anticipation for the hometown success-story.
The Maine started off with “Don’t Come Down” from their latest album Lovely Little Lonely, and their all white suits fit the aesthetic of the album. Hit singles “Bad Behavior” and “Black Butterflies and DéJà Vu” were played with immense reactions from the crowd.
This album portrays a sense of “oneness,” and that was felt in the room. It came off as if The Maine put everything they had into making that album for anyone who has felt different or alone. For a period of time, while they played through every track of the album, it appeared that everyone in the room felt the words being sung as if they were sung for them.
During “How Do You Feel,” the line, “You are alive, but are you living?,” was met with the crowd singing back passionately as they jumped along to the beat of the song.
Amidst the first half of the set, O’Callaghan said, “Thanks for letting us make this album right here.” Passion exuded from the band, and it was evident how much The Maine cares about their music and fans.
After finishing Lovely Little Lonely, there was a brief intermission, and before the band came back on, a man in a Christmas suit came out to declare that American Candy was next. When the band came back on stage, they surprised fans by having changed into dark blue jackets to fit the aesthetic of American Candy.
“24 Floors” and “(Un)Lost” have a similar vibe to the songs off of Lovely Little Lonely. The lyrics seemed to be aimed at those going through a tough time. They give off a feeling that in the end, everything will turn out fine.
During this portion of the set, the band’s heavier sound became prominent, with songs such as the album’s title track “American Candy,” as well as the song “Diet Soda Society.”
While gazing out into the crowd in the beginning half of the second album O’Callaghan proclaimed to the audience, “I want to remember this one, I don’t want to remember Anaheim.”
This show had a special feeling to it, where the fans and the band had a connection that could be felt. The Maine and their fans have a one-of-a-kind relationship, and every lyric sung, felt personal, as if directed to everyone individually and collectively.
O’Callaghan reminded the crowd, “Remember to tell the people that you love, that you f****ing love them.” He also thanked the fans on behalf of the band for, “making us feel less lonely.”
A highlight for the show was during “Am I Pretty” when O’Callaghan got the crowd to crouch to the floor. The crowd was together in this moment and listened carefully to O’Callaghan’s words. It’s moving to watch as a band can get a room full of strangers to bond with their words and music.
The show ended perfectly with the ever-nostalgic “Another Night On Mars”. The lyrics, “this one goes out to my closest friends, the ones who make me feel less alien,” showcase the importance of friendship and how friends allow us to be ourselves.
“With friends like ours, anywhere is home,” insinuates that everyone in the room that night, was each other’s friends, and that you don’t physically have to be at home to feel “home”.
The Maine is one of those bands that if you listen to them live, it sounds just like the album. They truly are a talented band, with a unique relationship with their fans. After each show, they make the effort to meet their fans and give them the meet-and-greet experience for FREE.
The Maine has been a band for 10 years now, and in that decade, they have grown, and made sure their fans were on the journey alongside with them. With this special relationship with their supporters, and their devotion to their music, it seems The Maine will definitely be around for a long time – and Burning Hot Events is proud to call them part of Phoenix’s artistic community! Check out our interview with them to find out about their Modern Nostalgia Tour, growing up in the band, their band culture and MORE!
Since Burning Hot Events reviewed Jane N’ The Jungle’s“Shake Me Out” music video in June 2016, immediately following our photo shoot of their music video premiere show, the band has grown by leaps and bounds. It is evident that Jane N’ The Jungle has tenaciously pursued the growth of their visibility, and the quality of their media and productions shows they are not cutting corners. The band is standing out both in image, and in sound, and they just recently released their latest music video, for the track “Wild Side”.
Our interview with Jordan White taps into not only what has helped her band Jane N’ The Jungle to transcend the boundaries of Arizona, but also the personal experiences and growth process for White and her bandmates…
Jane N’ The Jungle has certainly become a recognizable name and sound in the Phoenix music market. Yet, some fans may not realize your growing base outside of your hometown. What do you think has been key for your reach outside of your local area?
Social media has been the biggest part of our growing fanbase outside of our hometown. We’ve been getting radio spins nationally, and our music videos featured on music television channels in the US and Canada that have also helped with our growing fanbase. Spotify is another great way fans have been able to listen to our music and connect through related artists they like.
This current music video “Wild Side” was partially filmed at the Whiskey A Go Go. Was that the first time you had played there?
I played at the Whisky A Go Go twice before with another band I formed out in LA. This was the first time Jane N’ The Junkgle has taken the stage at the legendary venue and opened for The Iron Maidens. It was a blast!!
Was the vision for its charm and neon character of humor thought about as the song was written, or did the vision come about afterwards for the video?
The humor came after writing the song trying to lighten the vibe and keep it fun. We released “Killed Someone” a few months before that, [which] has a very heavy message relating to sexual abuse before the #metoo went viral. We wanted the next video to be lighthearted.
Where does inspiration come from for your songwriting? How personal is it?
Songwriting is my therapy. The words spill out of my mind like a journal and it’s very personal. I appreciate Brian for all his patience during the writing process. I have song melodies constantly going through my head pretty much all the time, so it’s nice trying to focus and narrow down on one thought and theme. I oftentimes don’t even notice I’m singing and humming at work, or at the store, or even when I speak with people; I have songs running in my head it’s hard to shut it out. Maybe one day that will stop, but for now it’s always been my musical inspiration for songwriting with words spilling from my gut at the very moment. Brian has his own inspirations, and with that combined, [it] has formed our music.
Every band has a ‘formula’, so to speak, that they follow in creating their music. Is Jane N The Jungle’s songwriting process lyrics-first, or second?
Our writing process is very organic, and lyrics typically happen the same time as the music, both inspired by the story we are trying to tell musically and lyrically. We have songs that have been written [in] all different ways. When there’s an idea or a spark, you go with it.
The band seems very comfortable on stage and with performing. Was it always that way for each band member, or has being up front in the spotlight taken time to adjust to?
I had horrible stage fright as a child. It took me years to not freeze up and turn ghostly white. I was extremely shy. Overcoming that obstacle inspired my passion for performance. It takes time developing chemistry with each musician on stage. Performance is a very personal space, and the more connected you are with each other and the music the easier it becomes.
The directive the band has taken is really key to success nowadays in the industry – releasing singles with a music video. How many have you done so in 2017, and how has the pace been to keep up with?
We’ve released 4 music videos this year. It’s been a lot of fun working on each one. If you make the work about the music, it quickly doesn’t feel like work, and that has helped with the quick pace of our videos. Music is number one.
Can you give us a glimpse into Jane N The Jungle and 2018?
We are currently working on preproduction for our upcoming EP and can’t wait to share some of the details soon!
It takes a great deal of tenacity, creativity, business savviness, drive and vision in today’s world of entrepreneurship. The music industry is well acquainted with these core elements being a must for artists to obtain their goals.
The fascinating thing, though, is the variety of paths musicians/artists/bands take along the way to find the groove that fits them best. As Randell Swindell moved along his journey, it seems to have brought him full circle to his creative project, his band Swindy.
Musician Randall Swindell tells us about Swindy in a Q & A with Burning Hot Events…
Talk a bit about Swindy and how this idea came about, as the Arizona scene knows your name Randall Swindell for the band Ensphere.
Swindy spontaneously spawned out of ENSPHERE. When ENSPHERE got back together after a few years’ break, we were preparing our old material to perform again. I had a ton of new material that I was bringing to the table – complete songs and a whole bunch of seeds – and my new sound had a much heavier pop influence than the rest of the band was used to hearing from me. I wanted to steer ENSPHERE in a more mainstream and pop-influenced direction, and I gathered that other members of the band had different ideas of where ENSPHERE should go.
The very moment Swindy began was when ENSPHERE was offered an opening slot for Lethal Injektion at the Rialto theater in Tucson. I wanted to say yes to that show, but the rest of the band differed. I decided to say yes to the show offer and throw together a solo act. While I had originally intended on performing ENSPHERE music live with backing tracks, I just went full on with all of my new music. My plan was to go out there solo with my laptop, play my backing tracks, and sing and play guitar by myself. When asked what name I would be performing under, I thought quickly… Swindy, Just call me Swindy.
When I started practicing for this show, I was hanging out with Jeff Sargent of 51 Peg. I convinced him to learn some of the guitar parts and perform with me. He suggested that I reach out to Mike Jenney from Alter Der Ruine and pull him in as a live drummer – and that’s just what I did. We were all excited about the project, and before I knew it we had assembled a new band. From there, we kept getting show offers, and I kept saying yes to them. It felt really good to move at the speed I wanted to. With all the catching up I had to do, it felt good to just say yes.
It has been cited that pop music came heavily into play between the two bands you are affiliated with. How did that influence come about?
When ENSPHERE broke up in 2012, I was devastated. I tried to keep the project going by myself but I could not. Emotionally hurt and feeling a little lost, I stopped caring about what my goals were with ENSPHERE. I was hanging out with different people and I began allowing myself to just listen to the pop music that they were listening to. I opened up to a whole new world of sound, and it felt good – I started singing along with Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Kesha, Lady Gaga, and David Guetta on the radio. These songs sounded so rich and uplifting… I guess I just needed that music in my life at the time. It told me that everything doesn’t always have to be doom and gloom.
Eventually, as I started writing music again, I wanted to see if I could create pop and Electronic dance music – and so I started teaching myself how with my computer. I trained myself to create pop music for a few years from 2012 to 2015. Ultimately what ended up happening was sort of a fusion with my pop attempts and my rock/industrial ROOTS coming together. I just really wanted to broadcast a positive message. I feel strongly that this world needs as much positive energy as possible.
With Swindy coming together and your first music video, “Reflection,” really creating quite a storm nationally in the press – what role has your good friend Mike Jenney (Assemblage 23) played in Swindy?
Mike was there with me from the beginning of Swindy‘s live debut. He is a musician/producer who I have always admired. Our bands played together in the past, and I think there is a mutual respect for one another. Once we started jamming together, we felt the synergy. He began advising me on how to program my live shows, he taught me a lot about electronic music, he showed me the ropes of how to successfully combine backing tracks with live musicians. I learned a ton from him very quickly. We played about 20 shows together and then started writing new music. As it turns out, he and I have a symbiotic relationship when it comes to writing. We complement each other’s strengths, and we developed a process that allows us to quickly generate new songs.
There is a great flow when the two of us are in the studio together. Mike Jenney is a very gifted producer. He will play a beat he came up with, I play guitar for 20 minutes, then we listen back. He cuts up all my guitar lines and starts looping different things in different places. All of the sudden this whole song structure starts coming out. He has a great sense of arrangement and some incredible tools in his bag. Once we realized the chemistry we had together in the studio, we prioritized the writing process. We are currently working together to write as much music as possible. And it is flowing big time – there is just this explosion of new songs coming out right now. And thankfully we have a great process in place to capture it all. At this point, Swindy has evolved into less of a solo project and more of a band. Mike Jenney is absolutely an equal part co-writer in the new music we have coming out in 2018.
Moving forward will there be a building of a relationship between you and Mike?
Yes, we are conceptualizing many different possibilities right now. I will continue with Swindy always. I am super thankful to have started the project, but we may be needing to launch yet another band in the near future! I say that with utter excitement! I will still release solo music as Swindy. I have a ton of unreleased music in my own repertoire. But We are all on to something that needs to come out.
How about other musicians who have become a part of your sound for Swindy?
Jeff Sargent was the original guitarist for Swindy. As momentum picked up, Jeff realized that he was not going to be able to commit full-time, as he is the lead singer of 51 Peg, East Coast industrial band. I brought in Jonathan Russell as a second guitarist for a few shows, but mostly I have just been playing guitar on every song when it comes to the live performances. Mike Jenney started out as a drummer in the band, but he has moved over to the synthesizer position, and he is kicking ass there. Matt Lundgren joined the band as a live drummer early on as well. He performed many of our first shows with us. Matt is a great drummer, and he is still considered part of the band. Steven Escalante joined the band in spring of 2017 and has performed every show with us since his first show. Steven’s hip-hop and drum and bass roots are perfect for the sound I am going for. And he has locked in with everybody in the band. The live band has always had an open policy, and a rotating lineup strategy and members have come and gone frequently. Everybody is invited, nobody is excluded. We had our first live bass player, Matt, join us for a few shows recently.
Last but not least, I met Alyson Precie at a Swindy show in August of 2016. She was singing songs from The Fifth Element. I immediately recognized that she was a talented vocalist. Soon thereafter, Alyson joined me in the recording studio while I was laying down vocals for a cover song we do, “I See Right Through to You” by DJ Encore. She started singing harmonies with me, and the engineer and I were both like “wow! You need to get in the vocal booth right now and lay those vocals down!” She did without hesitation and she nailed it. I got chills listening to her, and I invited her to perform that song with us on stage for the next show. She did and got a great audience response. From that point on Alyson has been a live vocalist with the band, and eventually learned every song. She has such a strong voice and a great live presence on stage. She has expanded Swindy when it comes to the live performances. She also writes her own music, what I would call Goth Folk. Needless to say, Alyson was so amazing I fell in love with her immediately, and now we are married. She continues to assist me with vocal melodies and lyrics. Mike, Steven, Alyson, and I are the core of Swindy right now. We are looking for that perfect bass player.
“Reflection” certainly has a strong emotive side to it. Lyrically and video wise we can relate. Do you like creating strong emotions for fans to interpret or do you like to draw them a clear picture of what you create?
Mostly I like to leave things open to interpretation. For whatever reason with Reflection, it seemed like a really clear picture. When I wrote it, it was just one of those songs that came through on its own. I was trying to put words to my feelings, and the song just wrote itself as I did that. That happens from time to time. Otherwise I mostly just enjoy writing lyrics that kind of describe the feeling of the music, and trying to interpret what it means. Sometimes I bring the lyrics through a refinement process and they tell a story eventually. Sometimes I apply already written lyrics to a new song. Most of the time I want to leave things open to interpretation. I like creating universal music; I like creating things that everybody can interpret and relate to.
Where was “Reflection” filmed?
“Reflection” was filmed in several locations – Texas Canyon, Dragoon AZ; Sweetwater Trail Tucson AZ; “A mountain” in Tucson; and at the Originate Designs studio.
A little comparison if you would from the Tucson music market to the Phoenix market. How are they the same/different?
Tucson and Phoenix are the two biggest cities in Arizona, they both have fairly thriving music scenes. Tucson is the underdog as I see it – less industry, a bit more culture, some cool underground clubs and a hugely eclectic sound that comes from the city. There’s all kinds of music in Tucson – rock, metal, hip-hop, Folk, Avant-garde, Indie, orchestral, electronic, industrial, etc. etc. Tucson is a great place to incubate your musical seeds and a great place to test out projects for larger markets.
When it comes to Phoenix, I see it as the way out of Arizona. Phoenix has the industry, Phoenix has a ton of talent and the connections that musicians need to thrive in the music industry – something that Tucson lacks a little bit. Phoenix is a great city to take those seeds that have been incubating in Tucson and put them full-fledged in the garden where they can grow to their full potential. Phoenix sprouts and grows its own seeds as well, and there is a movement of music coming out of Phoenix that is pretty cool. I see a lot of industrial, metal, rock, and punk rock coming out of Phoenix lately, as well as some more eclectic stuff. Phoenix has some really cool clubs and great theaters and amphitheaters, a much more up-to-date arena, and stadiums. Phoenix is where you need to go if you want to make it out of Arizona.
I don’t necessarily think Phoenix is the best city to live in – it’s a lot of new construction and a lot of cars, but it’s definitely a place to get great work done! Tucson is a great place to be creative. I think those two cities go hand in hand when it comes to the state of Arizona. Phoenix and Tucson work together. Tucson should feed Phoenix, and Phoenix should eat Tucson. Tucson has great food and probably tastes delicious.
What is Swindy looking to create as you drive this sound/movement towards and on into 2018?
We are going to an industrial dance-rock fusion sound – you know, pop, rock, and EDM all in one. Our live set up is definitely specified for festivals right now. We want to hit the festival circuit, to continue building our following – we want to be part of the future. “The future sound of America”. What will that be? Look at what has happened in music over the last hundred years, and look at where it is headed… We are going that way. And it looks really exciting! Technology is continuing to push the envelope in the music industry. We are a part of that, our sound is a reflection of that, our fans are a product of that. We just want to create the best art we possibly can and be as authentic as we can. We are artists, and art and technology have always gone hand-in-hand. I can tell you exactly what our live show would look like if we had a $200 million budget! But that is a conversation for another interview. We work towards that vision every day.
MRCH is releasing their debut album Reactions on October 12. The duo consists of Mickey Pangburn (Vocalist/Guitarist/Synth), and drummer Jesse Pangburn. Many of their songs have been featured in television shows, such as The Vampire Diaries and Famous in Love.
To celebrate the release of their album, the duo is having an album release show (also their first headline show) at Valley Bar on October 14. Come and party with the indie electronic duo!
Mickey Pangburn tells us more about the duo, their music, plans for a tour, and more in their email interview below…
Tell us about your band name, MRCH… How did you come up with it? Does it have any special meaning?
It’s pronounced like ‘march’. When people march, they have purpose. When people march together, they have a common goal. They step together. We wanted a name that showed we were in music for the long haul. For better or for worse, on the same page. We dropped the “A” because people kept coming across ‘marching bands’ when they’d do a google search of us!
What did you most enjoy about the process of making your new album, Reactions?
The playing. We had no one to answer to, so we could just try out whatever we wanted. The hardest part is calling something ‘done’… We’re already writing more though, so it’s become a vicious cycle.
When you aren’t making music or performing, what do you both enjoy doing in your free time?
Jesse likes eating street tacos. I like hanging with my cats.
Are there any plans for MRCH to embark on a tour following the album release party at Valley Bar on October 14?
LA is next up. Details coming soon on that. Then, yes – touring! We probably shouldn’t hold our breath for Bleachers to invite us along with them… So, we’ll be booking DIY. Dates coming soon, hopefully up through the spring.
Have either of you toured before?
Do you know or speak any other languages?
We wish… I like to dream of being fluent in French.
MRCH formed in 2015, and the two of you were previously members of a local band named The Prowling Kind. What was the motivation to go from a five piece band, to a duo?
Scheduling and goals. It’s hard to wrangle 5 different people/opinions/lives – into sharing a common goal and agreeing on a means of reaching said goal. We kinda had to re-set, so everyone could do what was best for them. MRCH is a totally different animal than TPK musically speaking too.
Did your previous experience in the local music scene boost your success in MRCH, or did it feel like a clean slate?
We felt like we learned so much playing with TPK. Jesse and I went to school for music, but felt like Prowling Kind was kind of like an internship. We booked our first tours, got introduced to the local scene, dealt with the business side of things. So there was a lot we were grateful for from that season. However, MRCH is so different in both sound and vibe that the crossover was minimal. We never made it a goal to ‘take’ Prowling Kind fans. We hoped they’d like MRCH too, but it was a mixed bag of responses. MRCH really felt like starting over. It felt like a clean slate.
Have the Phoenix music and art communities influenced your music and image?
The Phoenix music scene has been really supportive. The thing we appreciate most about it, is really how little they influence our sound or image. There’s such an eclectic and diverse spectrum of artists, we don’t feel inclined to be much like anybody else. We never feel like we’re expected to fit in a particularly Phoenix mold. There’s room to explore here. There’s a lot of freedom.
Name some of your favorite local bands or artists:
There are a bunch, but some are : PAO, Bogan Via, Harper and the Moths,The Technicolors, The Darts, Hex Marrow & House of Stairs.
How has the exposure of your songs on multiple television series helped promote your music?
There’s definitely a broader audience. Showtime, ABC & Netflix have completely different demographics – which is cool. Mostly, it’s allowed us to pursue music more full-time, which is huge. We’re super grateful for this avenue of music in film and television. Someday, it’d be a dream to score something. *sigh*
Anything else you want us to know?
We’re so excited to be playing. Especially this release show! It’s our very first time headlining and we’re working hard to make it extra special.
Do you have a message for your fans coming to the release show?
Come ready to dance!
News & Reviews from the Fiery Mosh Pits of Arizona