Category Archives: Interviews

Viv and the Revival: Revved up Rock

The world could use a little more guitar, and pop rock project Viv and the Revival agree. According to the artist’s social media pages, he introduces himself as Viv and labels anyone who enjoys music as “The Revival.” What revival is he referring to exactly? A modern restoration of rock, perhaps? The answers may lie in his latest album The Introduction, out October 8th, which features that trademark sound of riff-inspired music with catchy, poppy melodies and themes. The album definitely offers upbeat, energetic danceability (that better be a word!); and while it leans more on the pop side than any other genre, the heavy influences are still mixed in here and there across the album. And all of this comes from a musician who very humbly accepts and appreciates every one of his fans, which makes me want to say, “rock on, revivalists!”

The Indie writer Toni Rivera spoke with Viv from Viv and the Revival about his upcoming new album and what the current music industry means to a rock artist like himself.


TheIndieSD: What is your favorite song that you have recorded?

My favorite is probably “Criminals” which is on my new album “The Introduction”.


TISD: You have a new album “The Introduction” coming out on October 8th. What should we expect from the album? How will it allow us to get to know you and your music?

It’s a big record with a lot of universal themes in it. Everyone can relate to the lyrics and see themselves in the songs. I poured my heart and soul into this album and the things I talk about are very important to me, so the lyrics will allow everyone to get to know me.


TISD: How was it recording the album?

It was an adventure. I learned so much about music and songwriting throughout this whole process and grew a ton as an artist. I became a different person since the completion of this record.


TISD: If you could create a duet or collaboration with any artist/band, who would it be? Why?

My number one would have been either Michael Jackson or Bob Marley, but from all of the amazing people out now, maybe someone like Adele or 30 Seconds to Mars. They’re just so talented and I really admire the message in their songs.


TISD: What inspires you to create music?

Everything inspires me. Everything about life and the world makes me want to be creative and say the things that are on my mind.


TISD: How do you feel about being a musician in today’s world?

It’s a really special time I think to be a musician. Things have changed but there is so much amazing music at everyone’s fingertips. You can find 50 new bands everyday that you end up loving. I do wish that live shows still had as much importance as they did back in the day. I think that’s where you really get to know and understand an artist or band, when you see them bare their soul live.


TISD: What things do you take from your personal life and put into your music?

I don’t write about personal things, but I write about universal topics that matter to me. Topics that everyone can relate to. I’m sure a lot of personal things end up coming out somehow though on my songs without me even realizing it. It’s like subconscious therapy.


TISD: There are a lot of things going on in the world and some artists are taking on these themes, such as Macklemore with his song about same sex marriage and Boyce Avenue with a song about suicide. How do the things going on in the world affect you and your music?

Everything affects my music. I try to be open and compassionate, and once you let your guard down, you’re vulnerable and can truly write from your heart.


TISD: Do you remember your first concert? How did it affect you?

Well my dad is a professional drummer so I’ve been going to concerts since I was a little kid. The first big concerts that I went to were in high school, seeing Tom Petty, Incubus, The Used, a bunch of bands. Every time the lights went down right before the show started, I would get these chills and goosebumps and I would just say to myself, “you have to do this!”


TISD: How do your fans impact you?

My fans are amazing! They have supported me from the very beginning and have grown and changed along with me. They’re the reason why I do this.


TISD: What’s one thing you would want to say to everyone who’s supported you?

From the bottom of my heart, I can’t even thank you enough for the support! It truly means the world to me, and I don’t know where I would be without all of you, so thank you!


Now with four EP’s under his belt, national television recognition, and a full-length album released soon, Viv and the Revival is set to leave a mark this year.  According to his bio, when asked about his Revival, Viv stated:

“I was feeling rundown with music and was searching for something. When I found that passion reignited, it felt like a revival for me – a new start and it was super important for me to get that message out. Every day, you can achieve whatever you want to, be who you want to be, and do what you want. There’s no limit to how good someone can be. This is the Revival. We’re all here to make a big noise. We’re all here to shake things up. We’re all here to change the world. This is your moment, this is your time, this is your world, and this is your Revival.”

Become a part of the Revival and preview the upcoming album, The Introduction, below. And follow  their website or Facebook page for official updates! Let us know what you think in the comments below!

The Frail prove to be strong indie pop!

the_frail_the_indie_sdDo you need a new obsession in your life? Well good news, The Frail have just released a new music video, and they’re continuing to steal the hearts of fans everywhere in the process.
Modern music never ceases to amaze me, because in a world where people claim “nothing is original” there are bands like The Frail, continuing to push those boundaries and create catchy, unique music.
And their fans must agree, because after a very successful Kickstarter to fund their latest music video, the final product was released to brilliantly warm reception.
We got the chance to speak with The Frail about their genre-bending tunes, couch surfing in Bankers Hill (yes, really!), and what to expect from their full length album, LoveDeathLegend — to be released soon!
. I love the classical influence on the song “Count on This”. How did you come up with this idea?

 The idea of blending classical French music with electronic music seemed so perfect at the time. It created a bitter sweet/uplifting feel to it.


TISD: To say that your music defies traditional genre boundaries is very true! Where do you draw influences from when you’re writing or in the studio?

 Well in the past it was just Kevin and I emailing back and forth writing parts and singing and mapping out the songs. But now we work with Different Fur Studio owner and producer Patrick Brown on a lot of the newer material. We listen to a lot of different pop music, and then bands like M83, The Drums, Phoenix, Kavinsky, Queen, really all over the place!


TISD: You’ve already had the chance to tour with some amazing acts (Moby, Hot Chip, Justice). Are there any other artists that you’d love to have the opportunity to share the stage with in the future?

 We’ve been listening to a lot of bands like The Neighbourhood, Delorean, Phoenix, Two Door Cinema Club, any of those would be awesome! (We’re here and ready wink wink nudge nudge)


 TISD: Tell me about some of the amazing shows you’ve had recently. Any really memorable moments on stage so far?

 One really awesome show we played recently was in our hometown of San Francisco at The Great American Music Hall. We have always wanted to play there but never really had the opportunity pop up until a couple months ago. That place is legendary and we were able to play with some amazing friends: Doe Eye, Tremor Low, and of course our very good friends Parallels (We were on a mini tour with them at the time). It was definitely a highlight!


TISD: The Firefly EP is magical, in my opinion. Your sound is definitely unique and inspiring. What can your fans expect from your future full length release, LoveDeathLegend? Will you be expanding on and exploring even more upbeat genres and themes?

 Well we have really pushed forward with our musical style in regards to LoveDeathLegend. I think it touches on some of the older material while really pushing us a bit further in the pop genre. LoveDeathLegend has a lot more live instrumentation and everything sound a lot bigger than the older records. Expect a fun record that pushes our music to a place it hadn’t really been before.


TISD: Which song is the very first song you wrote for The Frail?

 It’s a toss up between “Who Am I” and “Count On This”, both on the Count On This EP on Tricycle Records :)!


TISD: Being that you found each other on Craigslist, how was the band dynamic when you first started to create music? How quickly did you fall into your groove when you started writing with each other?

 Kevin and I have a weird way of knowing what each other are thinking musically. It was really basic at first. Kevin had written a few tracks and we adjusted the structure of those songs together to make them fit vocals. From there we really started songs, we were both writing back and forth and it kind of fell into place. Being that we are a full band it’s a bit more challenging but definitely produces a well rounded sound at this point. It’s always a work in progress though and we are always looking to improve our songwriting or reach new heights.


TISD: Your latest video “Back to Me” had a very successful Kickstarter campaign backing it up. How does it feel to have such steady fans and heavy support for your music?

 We feel extremely lucky that we’ve had supporters on both Kickstarter & Indiegogo! We really couldn’t have done any of this without them, so needless to say without them we wouldn’t be anywhere. So they are the ones that control this band and we are so grateful to have them be apart of this.


TISD: And the end product is amazing, by the way. There seem to be a lot of deeper themes covered in the video. How did you go about making this video? What stories did you want to depict in this video?

 Well the song is about a time in my life when I was actually dating someone in San Diego and practically living on a friend’s couch in Bankers Hill. It was a leap of faith kind of thing and definitely eye opening. The video took the pieces of the song that reflect that. Wanting to be somewhere else and just going for it while trying to escape what you called home before. We really really love San Diego by the way. (Shout out to Marshall)



TISD: What do you hope to achieve in 2014? How do you hope fans will react to LoveDeathLegend?

 Well we hope to have released LoveDeathLegend by then and to be on the road non stop. We are actually headed back into the studio in November to work on new material with Patrick at Different Fur. So you might even see an EP before the full length. We’re just having fun playing shows and writing music. As far as the reception to LoveDeathLegend goes, we hope people like it. It’s pretty different from all our other material and touches a lot of different genres so we think there’s a little something for everyone in it!


Make sure to follow The Frail via their official site or their Facebook page for updates on the new album, LoveDeathLegend. And let us know what you think of their video in the comments below.

Rapper KYLE joins the “New Hip Hop” talent pool

2015-06-08-1433751527-6103693-kylepic-thumbLet me introduce you to the rapper who vehemently denies that he sounds anything like Drake — and honestly he’s got a good point. KYLE has been making waves in the hip hop scene, working with producers DJ Carnage and The Cataracs, all while spitting thoughtful lines revolving around his personal life, the hip hop industry, and what he is searching for in his future. Rapper KYLE boasts a storytelling nature that lets you know exactly who he is and where he is coming from, a trend that is slowly gaining steam in the hip hop world as a whole.

KYLE’s full-length release, Beautiful Loser has gained fans in a multitude of people (including fellow rapper Childish Gambino), for his fresh approach to lyrical content and of course, for his comparison to a few other heavy hitters in the industry today. Musically, some of his melodies and vocals are a bit repetitive; however his lyrical content more than makes up for this lapse by creating unique hooks and one-liners that make the listener reevaluate the common values of your typical hip hop scenarios.

For example, what could possibly be his most popular track, “Keep It Real”, creates an almost tongue-in-cheek definition of the popular phrase that is constantly thrown around in the hip hop world. KYLE takes a literal and deeper approach to the phrase, while also giving a glimpse into his personal life, rather than candy-coating the term into a “cooler” diluted version of the truth. Just take a listen to the track by itself, then watch the video for the full effect; it’s as if the meaning of the song pops right out at you, and the surprise ending to the video is deep and alluring in a way that makes you realize you’ve been truly listening the entire time. It was not what I was expecting at all from the music video, and when I told him how surprising the video and its meaning were for me, KYLE agrees that it’s something he’s heard from his listeners.

“A lot of people say the same thing. “, he explains. “It is a real personal story and it is a little bit of acting. They hear the song and they kind of get the message, but at the same time it sounds normal to them. But then you see the video and it actually makes sense why it’s called ‘Keep it Real’.”  The central theme of the song seems to float around a very important topic in the hip hop world, and as KYLE put it, “Money is not always what’s important.”

With his lyrics and musical style, KYLE offers more than the typical; in fact, he gives his listeners a glimpse into “the life” without masking his own personality and without segregating himself from the average Joe fan. A self professed “video game dude”, KYLE shakes off the online blogs who call him out as being a nerd, and instead simply accepts his guy-next-door status — if the guy-next-door also happened to be one of the most interesting young rap talents today.

He’s not out of reach, nor out of touch, and this dedication to who he truly is reflects widely in his music. He’s mastered the art of being an extraordinary talent and a typical male all at the same time.

And much like the typical 20 year-old male, his perspective on love and relationships isn’t quite humble — tracks like “Oceans” features the lyrics: “Bring it to my bedroom baby, I bet we won’t sleep at all.” And dance-themed track “Love For You” goes even further into that young love mentality as KYLE raps, “When it comes to sex do you do it the best? If not, I might move on the the next, though. Think about that before you give it a rest.” But this bravado only makes him that much more human, as he opts for relationship advice and flirtatious advances in lieu of the typical sexification of women in hip hop.

These lyrics, in my opinion, make him only more relatable to a generation that already sees a thin line between lovers and friends and moments and forever. But with any creativity comes criticism, and KYLE even admits that the critique he has faced can be more brutal in the hip hop world than with any other genre.

“I think hip hop sometimes, more than any other form of music, has a real bad stigma of: ‘if you don’t do your music a certain way, it’s not real hip hop.'” He points out that his musical tastes are vast, and therefore will reflect in the style of music he creates. “I like to experiment with a lot of different genres… and I think that because of that I’m really not afraid to make any type of song.”

The weight of criticism seems to roll easily off of him, and perhaps it’s because of the current growth in hip hop as a genre. Artists are slowly stepping away from a rigid definition of rap, and stepping into new territory as acts like Macklemore and The Weeknd are helping to pave the way for a variety of different styles and subject matter. KYLE is no exception to the rule. When he further speaks on criticism, he adds, “The only criticism I think I’ve ever faced… is that sometimes they think my sound can be too alternative or too pop or too this or that.” But once again, he seems unaffected by negativity and almost vows to continue on this path on which his musical tastes have taken him. “It’s not selling out or anything, it’s like, this is the actual type of music I listen to… and I’m inevitably going to make.”

Though he’s only 20, he has a serene knowledge that can only come from experience, proving he’s already learned and grown quite a bit since his earlier days rapping under pseudonym K.I.D. KYLE admits to touching on a few serious themes in Beautiful Loser, simply because it comes with the territory of growth. “I did write a little differently. I think what happened is I’m just growing up, you know?” He’s referring to the whirlwind of an early career, which includes over a million views on his music video and a big move from his home town to downtown.

Perhaps working with a close circle of music veterans such as DJ Carnage and the Cataracs also helped to add a bit to his wisdom and growth? And the wisdom is heavily apparent, as I had to constantly remind myself that he is only 20. However, he admits his playful side will most likely always be dominant in his music.

Related: DJ Carnage is hitting Harrah’s Rincon Casino

“A lot of themes…just matured. It’s not like I switched what I wanted to talk about, it’s just I’m naturally living a different life now. But at the same time you’re always going to have ‘Sex and Super Smash Bros’. Some of that is still going to stay the same.” He’s referring to what is probably one of the most energetic and animated tracks off the album, “Sex and Super Smash Bros”, a tune that’s catchy, flirtatious and fun-loving, while sampling in the video game at just the right moments of the song.

More evidence of this fun-loving and intriguing playfulness can be seen and heard in “Bang” — the video is a clever and comical ode to a famous scene from the movie Friday.

“It’s not to make fun of it, it’s just like a shout out to that whole movie. That scene is funny. We can’t make fun of a funny scene!” He says between laughter as he explains the mentality behind the video.

Other songs on the album include even more witty commentary on his personal life — “Love For You” is smart line after smart line, and “Fruit Snacks” is a unique ode to the good life. I forgot to tell him during our interview that I had fruit snacks that day and saw it as a good omen for our talk, but I did get to ask the video gamer side of rapper KYLE what was possibly the toughest question of the interview: Favorite video game franchise.

“Favorite video game franchise? That’s really tough! I love Final Fantasy, but I think I was too little to fully understand it, but it kind of blew my mind. Obviously the Grand Theft Auto franchise is fucking legendary, but also Elder Scrolls is really tough, I’ve been playing those for awhile. But I have to give it to Elder Scrolls.”

He writes plays, he writes rhymes, he plays video games — and if his music isn’t on your mind after listening to Beautiful Loser then you may need to check your pulse.

You can check in with KYLE on his Facebook page, his Instagram and his Twitter for more updates on his ever-growing music career, and the west coast can see him on his first ever headlining tour this month. Check out his website for all the tour dates — and if you’re in San Diego, head to Porter’s Pub for an up close and personal live show this Friday.

Addy G’s debut EP offers bold, surprising & witty hip hop

San Diego based musician Addy G has just released a new hip hop EP, Opiate Soup, and the style and subject matter may remind you of a previously fluent time in rap’s history. His EP is occasionally a nod to 90s hip hop thoroughfare while also offering witty and modern one-liners that reference anything from cartoons to Star Wars. Though a bit unpredictable at times, his style is clear, and it does a good job of leaving a few jaws open after just one listen. Addy G is adding to his musical resume, and with a recent move to Los Angeles, he’s ready to take on even bigger hurdles on his quest to further his music career.

Below, we discussed his influences and what draws him to the often shocking, heavily drug-laden, and quick-witted subject matter of the Opiate Soup EP.

TheIndieSD: When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I attempted to rap in high school but I ended up getting made fun of because I wasn’t very popular. Some kids played my earliest material at the Homecoming game for the whole school to hear and even though a lot of people thought it was cool those fuckers still did it to make fun of me. After that experience, I decided that I would really take the time to find my niche and style and come back full force with shit that people would find tight and love.


TISD: Why does hip hop and rap appeal to you? What do you relate to the most about these genres of music?

Hip hop and rap are alluring because you have the ability to create a persona or put forth a personality that, in the real world, may not be practical. It’s almost like living a fantasy and tapping into that feeling is amazing. I love words. I love playing with words. And I play with words in a very specific way; my syntax is unique. One of the main reasons I love hip hop so much is that I get to see what other people do with words and what those words mean to them…it provides perspectives that aren’t normally available. There’s a give and take, like an interaction between the listener and artist, that’s present in hip hop, which is not as prevalent in other genres of music. Lyrics mean different things to different people, and how an individual interprets a given line or song is always interesting to observe.


TISD: Being a drummer as well, do you prefer drumming or rapping?

Damn that’s a brutal question to which I have no answer. I will say that I view rapping as “drumming with words,” in that each syllable is a note, and that’s one of the reasons I am drawn to rapping.


TISD: You’re making a big move to LA soon! Will you be taking on a part of the LA music scene?

Hell to the yes. Well, I’ll be attending law school at USC, so however much time I have to spare will be spent pursuing music.


TISD: How do you balance your music with other obligations?

It’s all about time management and what’s important to you. If you truly love something, you will find a way to make time for it. For me, hip hop is not always a passion I can spend every hour of every day on, but I make sure to keep time allotted to write and record.


TISD: Do you think image ties into an artist’s importance? What is your opinion of your own image when it comes to your music?

Image is so critical! I feel like I’m still in the early stages of developing my image so I don’t know where I’ll be by the time I drop my full length album.


TISD: What do you think makes “good” music?

 I think the biggest thing is a genuine motivation to do something significant and impact people’s lives. People who do music for pussy, money or fame always end up falling short and it seriously comes through in their music.


TISD: Do you have a favorite SD venue or favorite performance so far?

The Casbah in San Diego remains to this day my favorite venue to play. I’ve been on stage there 3 times so far, and I absolutely love it.


TISD: There are a lot of drug references in your music. Do you have experience with drugs? What inspires these themes in your music? Why have you chosen the world of drugs as a central theme for the EP?

I do have experience(s) with drugs. My music is always reminiscent of what’s going on in my life, and for the past two years I’ve been having significant health problems that have required me to be on painkillers. Drugs are fine in moderation, but I think the problem comes when it becomes a lifestyle rather than recreation. Being on pain pills for as long as I have, I have felt the irresistible lure of making them a priority and having that be a part of my lifestyle and it’s really difficult when you’re on them for so long not become addicted [sic]. I think speaking about my experiences and being honest helps me deal with it in a healthy way. My mentality about drugs has always been, “if it comes from the planet, than go for it. If it’s a man made drug, stay the fuck away.” Following that vein, I’m a huge proponent of marijuana. You might see me in public with my eyes red, cheesin’ for no reason.


TISD: Your bio mentions there are a lot of 90s references in your music. Were you creating a nostalgic EP that reminds listeners of the hip hop of that era? What 90s artists influence your music the most? (Other than the obvious, which can definitely be said is Eminem — agree or disagree?)

Well, when it says “90s references,” it means references in my lyrics to big things in the 90s like Pokemon, Power Rangers or Rugrats – basically my childhood. However, you do bring up a good point about my music being stylistically a throwback. I didn’t set out to create a nostalgic EP, but I feel like in the 90s, hip hop was focused way more on the lyrics and content which is just now starting to make a resurgence today. I think the reason it feels like its from the 90s is because I set out to make music that is intelligent and lyrically focused, and that was the main quality of rap in the 90s.

I take that as a compliment that my music is like old school Eminem. I love his music, especially the Marshall Mathers LP.


TISD: How would you explain your subject matter and your songs to someone who is listening to it for the first time?

I wouldn’t try to. I would just let them listen to it themselves and make their own evaluation. What I think about my music should not affect what you think of it, and vice versa. Like I mentioned earlier, there is an interaction between listener and artist, and its up to the listener what they take away from my music. I wouldn’t dare sully that relationship by prefacing my music with any sort of explanation.


TISD: The track Gangster Rough contains a lot of dark imagery, including violence. How much of this is based on your own personal opinions of violence?

Being Indian, I am a huge Gandhi fan. Violence is something that’s not really in my nature, but I definitely have thoughts about acting that way. Rapping about it is a way to deal with those urges in a healthy manner, rather than actually going out and doing something harmful. At the end of the day though, a woman should never be hit by a man. Unless she doesn’t make me a sammich.

By the way, Jamie Rose did an absolutely amazing job on this track. Her voice is so fucking sexy. She is the front woman for a band called SXO, so make sure you check them out.


TISD: “Drug Abuse” is probably the biggest ode to the 90s on the album, agree or disagree?

Debatable – that song was really influenced by Eminem’s song, “Drug Ballad,” which was on the Marshall Mathers LP, from 2000. I wanted to do a song like that where people could listen to it and be like, “damn this kid is insane.” But I feel like it’s truly infectious and Jimmy did a great job on the hook we wrote. Jimmy’s hook definitely has that 90s feel to it, but I don’t think by any means that “Drug Abuse” is an ode to an entire era of music.


TISD: At the end of “Drug Abuse”, Patterson sings “And if this world is mine, then I better tell the truth. And if I ever lie, I’m guilty of abuse.” What is the story or the meaning behind that powerful line?

There are a few things happening with that line – first, the literal meaning of the lyrics has to do with the nature of an addict, where lying is prevalent and pervasive. If I’m going to accomplish things in life, I can’t be a drug addict, which means I’ll tell the truth. If I lie, then you know that I’m hiding something. In a more personal sense, this song has a lot to do with my fear of not being successful in life. I’m starting law school this month at USC, and my potential is sky high. The lyrics in the verses have to do with having fun on drugs, and the chorus is a stark contrast to show what the cost of that fun is. The song represents my personal fear of not achieving my potential due to the consumption of drugs. Like I said, I’ve been on painkillers for a long time, and I’m very scared that I will fail in law school because of drugs.


TISD: What do you want fans to take from your music as a whole?

I want to create music that is absolutely jaw dropping. I want people to laugh and groan and be impressed. I want listeners to be like, “oh FUCK” when I spit a line that hits hard. I want my lyrics to be complex and deep enough to the point where a listener won’t get everything on the first listen. The more they listen to the track, the more they’ll pick up on and the more they’ll get out of it. In my mind, that’s what creates longevity and replayability [sic] in a song. And I think that with these first four tracks, I’ve accomplished that. If someone likes them enough to keep listening, they’ll keep understanding more and more things that they may have missed before. I want my tracks to keep on giving.

The Opiate Soup EP is now available via iTunes and CD Baby. Take a listen to the tracks below  or on his Facebook and let us know what you think in the comment section!

Atmosphere talks tour with Slightly Stoopid, ‘Bob Seger’

atmosphere rapper bob seger release san diego the indie sdThere are a slew of events this week hoping to catch the attention of San Diego locals and tourist alike; however, none have the same esteem as this Saturday’s tour stop with Slightly Stoopid and Atmosphere. Here, we got the chance to talk with Atmosphere about their music, how they view the industry as a whole, and what we can expect from the always adept and insightful indie hip hop group.

The answers may surprise you, if you’re not a behind-the-scenes kind of person and haven’t already learned personal details about the group. DJ/producer Ant (Anthony Davis) has been described as a melody aficionado, who keeps the music true to Atmosphere’s style without letting the act become stale or redundant. The other half of this duo, rapper Slug (Sean Daley), according to has “polarized the indie rap underground”; words that create really big shoes to walk in.

But the group fits those shoes and struts in them, and they do it with a “swagger” that is nothing like what you expect from the pop/rap machines evolving today; instead, their music breeds curiosity, character, and lyrical intrigue from their fans, making Atmosphere at many times a great hip hop storyteller.

Surprisingly, Slug offers a little humor and possibly a tinge of sarcasm in his responses, showing either a playful side, or maybe a slightly exasperated view of the music industry. Perhaps the contents of their currently untitled 2013 release will offer the whole story, since in my opinion, his rhymes speaks much louder than his words. And in the hip hop world, that can definitely be a good thing.

But, all that being said, if you are curious to read those words, take a tiny peak inside the mind of Atmosphere with the full interview below.

TheIndieSD: How is the tour going with Slightly Stoopid? Any favorite cities so far?

So far it’s been absolutely great. Slightly Stoopid are great dudes, and they have an amazing crew. I don’t really do the favorite city thing. But for the sake of your piece, let’s say that San Diego is the greatest city in the galaxy.

TISD: Atmosphere has been known as a heavily touring act. Do you prefer being on the road or being in the studio?

I have a healthy love for both the studio and the road. If I had to choose one, I’d choose the studio. I like watching the birth of songs.

TISD: What can your fans expect from your tour experience this year that may be different than previous tours?

Full frontal.

TISD: There are a lot of bigger venues on the Kickin Up Dust Tour. With these big venues, do you get moments to meet and connect with a few fans?

Not as much as I am accustomed to. But yes, there are moments of personal connection. Once I discover how to be in multiple places at once, I’ll be better equipped to meet as many people as possible.

TISD: Tell me about the mood behind your latest single, “Bob Seger”. (Which is my latest favorite thing, by the way.)

This song’s mood = Moon buzz.

TISD: You’ve explored many different phases of writing styles throughout all of Atmosphere’s releases. Can fans expect to hear previous themes and moods on the new album?

I’m not a fan of expectations. So I’m not really sure how to answer this. I suppose you could expect some sarcasm. Maybe a little bit of wrestling with insecurities. A touch of preachiness.

TISD: What goes through your mind when you’re writing?


TISD: In the past, you’ve mentioned reservations on expressing your opinions in your lyrics. Do you still feel that way? Do you write as a way to release or share your emotions?

I don’t remember ever mentioning that, but I fully believe you. I mostly write for fun. To make Anthony and myself laugh and react.

TISD: “Mainstream” rap has changed drastically, but groups and artists such as Atmosphere are still creating music independently with deep hip hop roots. In your opinion, has hip hop changed or is it the same, just not as “commercial” anymore?

In my faulty opinion, it’s the same as it ever was. As long as older people are scared of rap, rap is doing fine.

TISD: If there was one thing you could change about the music industry, what would it be?

I don’t care enough about the music industry to try to change it. We will do what we love regardless of what this industry does. However, with that said, speaking solely for myself, if I could change something, I would make it mandatory for everyone to stop wearing cologne and perfume.

TISD: What genres does Atmosphere pull inspiration from? What artists or songs can be found on your personal playlists?

Willie Nelson and Tom Waits.

TISD: On your Facebook, you updated with “No rapper needs to write about the struggles of being a rapper.” Interesting and profound quote! Is there any story behind this line?

No story. Rappers who rap to other rappers about how hard it is to be a rapper should stop rapping.

Straight to the point. Check out Atmosphere live this Saturday at the Sleep Train Amphitheater, and also hear their latest single, “Bob Seger” (which is also available on iTunes) below. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Mandolyn Mae is the next artist you need to know

Photo by Teri Cwiek Photography

There are some really amazing albums coming out next week, and one of them is by indie pop darling Mandolyn Mae. She exudes a delicate, honest approach to music that makes her tunes both heartfelt and hauntingly emotional. Not only is she capable of tackling her favorite hardcore songs and giving them a completely different approach, but also, Mandolyn Mae is dedicated and inspiring, two traits that resonate beautifully through her work. Below, she discusses exactly what inspires her the most, her intense love for Beyonce, and what we can expect from this budding musician, as she gets ready for her full length album, Once,  to arrive next week.

TheIndieSD: How did you go about choosing the cover songs for your EP Cover2Cover?

Mandolyn Mae: People wouldn’t peg me as a hardcore music listener, but I’ve been listening to heavy music since I was 12. So when we were trying to decide which songs to do I thought I’d pick from songs that I love. There is also a very large diversity in the songs I chose so we could reach people that were in different age ranges. Like the guys that grew up on Further Seems Forever and the guys like me who grew up on Underoath.

TISD: Why did you decide to start off with a cover album? Was it a project that you always wanted to do?

MM: I actually didn’t start out with a cover album! My very first step into the music world was an EP of all originals called “The Thief”. It’s not online or anything, you can only get it at my shows [so] not many people know about it. But why I chose to do this cover album was because my dad was a hardcore music producer and my very first concert was at a hardcore show with the full on moshing and everything! That was when I was 13. Anyway, when we sat down to think about what my next music step would be it seemed fitting that we would do something out of the box but also something really close to my heart. It was REALLY fun recreating these songs!

Mae’s rendition of Of Mice & Men’s “Second & Sebring” is the perfect example of how to recreate a song.

TISD: What musical experience did you have before Cover2Cover. When did you first start performing and songwriting, and what was that like?

MM: Well my first tour that I went on was with Alive In Standby and Trees Above Mandalay and that was SO much fun. They’re all such fun, sweet and professional  guys. It was definitely a great first tour for me to be on. Then after that I was on a little bit of a tour with Sparks the Rescue, Rookie of the Year, Jimmie Deghan and my friend Tidewater and that was awesome as well. I loved being on the road with all of those guys. Those were both before Cover2Cover.

TISD: What inspires your songwriting process the most?

MM: My faith is a huge deal to me, so I’d say that that’s a big part of my inspiration. God has held my hand through every moment in my life, both good and bad, and why would I NOT want to share that, you know? Love also inspires. Being loved is something that every person desires so I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t inspire me.

TISD: Your single “Hurricane” is particularly uplifting! Are you inspired by your religion when you write songs?

MM: Yes I very much am. Like I said in the previous question, I love sharing the story of how I’ve done none of this on my own; I’ve been lead. God shows up in the most inconvenient times sometimes, but it changed you forever.

TISD: Are there any artists that you really want to collaborate with or plan to collaborate with in the near future?

MM: Well I don’t know of any future collaborations, but my DREAM collaboration would be with Dallas Green of City and Colour. He’s such a musical inspiration to me, plus he’s a fellow Canadian, so that’s a plus. His writing is ridiculously incredible. I’ve always said that he can break my heart and put it back together all in one song. If you can do that to somebody, you’re doing music right.

TISD: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

MM: Ah! So many! Dallas Green is a huge one. Mat Kearney, Ellie Goulding and Jeff Buckley. Oh, and can I just say I also have an intense love for Beyonce? She’s like my ideal self. If I were a diva and were married to Jay-Z. Like I don’t want to be her in the creepy/stalker way, I want to be like her in the sweet, loving and kind way. You know what I’m talking about!

TISD: I know you play the ukulele on stage quite often. Are there any other instruments you play and incorporate into your music or your live performances?

MM: Well, kind of. I dabble in the world of keys but I wouldn’t classify myself as a “keys player” quite yet. I do have a wonderful fella that plays beside me at almost every show and we double up on ukuleles and that’s always so much fun!

TISD: You had the chance to perform at SXSW as a part of their acoustic series. Tell me about that experience! What kind of reception did you see for your music?

MM: SXSW was so much fun!! I didn’t really get to see much of it because we drove down, then drove back home and that’s like a 13 hours drive both ways, but what I did see was amazing. So many people that loved every kind of music. It was incredible. What was really fun for me was the night before I played, City and Colour played across the street. I wanted to kiss the ground. Such a fun experience and people seemed to like what I was doing as well. It’s an incredible memory that I’m going to be holding onto for a long time.

TISD: I believe Warped Tour is up next for you. Are you excited about the tour? Will you be speaking with and meeting your fans while you are there?

MM: Yes! I will be playing in Kansas City July 23 and then St. Louis the 24. I’m insanely excited!! I would absolutely love to meet people while I’m there. That’ll be the best part!

TISD: What do you have planned after Warped Tour?

MM: As of now everything is kind of up in the air, but hopefully something soon!

Mandolyn Mae’s next release, Once, will be out next week via Easy Killer Records. In the meantime, preview the album by listening to the beautiful track “The Only Person Alive” at

More Interviews from artists you should know

A Night with Night Verses

What does Night Verses lead singer Doug Robinson and Ellie Goulding have in common? They both believe that “anything could happen”. Just as Ellie embodies that the-possibilities-are-endless inspiration, Robinson had a similar glint in his eye when he told me, “Everything happens for a reason.” This was the highlight of my time spent with the singer, who exuded a humbling demeanor and a vibrant love for music during our interview at SOMA San Diego.

I arrived at SOMA to speak with Robinson, and I didn’t know what to expect. His internet presence is whimsical and fun-loving — at least a glance at Tumblr will show that. But in person, a very down-to-earth Robinson walked me to a side hallway so that we could get down to music business. To say that I was nervous (and a bit starstruck — I’m admitting it!), would be an understatement. I was already familiar with Robinson’s previous musical enterprise The Sleeping, and he surprisingly opened up a lot about his former band.

When I was first introduced to the music of The Sleeping, I had barely gotten my feet wet in the world of post-hardcore. But I’ve always been easily attracted to music that not only is relatable but can be felt, from the riffs to the lyrics. Robinson has an uncanny ability to pour his heart out in every word, and the same could be said from talking to him in person.

He spoke like a scholar when it came to the Sleeping, as if he knew their time has passed, but it passed for a reason. A series of events, both personal and business related, would lead him up to his new project, Night Verses.

Much like his earlier musical ventures, Night Verses brings a similar attention to detail with powerful rhythm and riffs you can mosh to, while also seeming to offer a cathartic outlet for Robinson’s thoughtful lyrics. Add in the modern acumen and flair of Nick DePirro on guitar, Reilly Herrera on bass, and drummer Aric Improta, and you have a serious contender in the hardcore game.

Though whether or not Night Verses will play the music “game” remains to be seen. Robinson almost laments when he discusses the music industry’s obsession with “mainstream” fare, as he promises that with him, it’s always been about the art. Where a few bands have created what he describes as a “cash crop” experience with their careers, Robinson tells me that he’s in it for the feels.

His use of the term “cash crop” is so smart (and so intuitive of someone who’s been in the music industry for nearly ten years), that I find myself using the term still to this day. Robinson is spot on with his analysis of the music market, whether he’s offering insight or gushing over his influences. Either way, I quickly find that he has truly learned — a lot.

We even share a moment of scholarly clarity when Robinson mentions that reading a certain novel created a catalyst for change in his life. My eyes light up and I fan-girl when he names that novel, a book that also moved me when I first read it — Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. (And if you haven’t read it, go read it now! It will change your life, much like it did mine, and much like it did Robinson’s.)

Robinson offers a few insights into his personal life, and he dances on the cusp of letting me know exactly what events in his life helped to propel his decisions in his music career. While all the circumstances aren’t clear, it’s almost obvious that Robinson came to a few crossroads in his journey, and he chose the paths that continued to create and spark music worth listening to.

And Night Verses is definitely worth listening to. If there’s anything I have learned about the fans of post-hardcore music, it’s that they can sniff out any artist who isn’t being genuine. They crave sincerity in their music choices and artists, a trait that is pretty noble, if I might add. Night Verses only offers the best, and their debut album  Lift Your Existence will not disappoint any of those detail-oriented fans.

Lift Your Existence, which will be out June 25th via Easy Killer Records, is a hardcore dream, complete with beautifully sculpted melodies and those insightful lyrics that fans have come to love with Robinson’s music. Tracks like “Rage”  paint emotions with finesse instead of bashing them over your head with crude and cliche themes. “Time Erases Time” translates with just the right balance of power and pathos as Robinson screams the word “passionate” over syncopated rhythms. You can hear a bit of The Sleeping as an influence of course, but by the end of the album it’s clear that Night Verses is its own powerful machine with the influences of DePirro, Herrera and Improta keeping that machine very well oiled.

What started as almost a chance meet for Robinson, turned out to be just the right series of events to get him back on track with his creative music outlet. And the product of that encounter, Night Verses, has proved that for some musicians, everything happens for a reason.

Check out this preview for Lift Your Existence below, and let me know your thoughts! Lift Your Existence drops next week on June 25th, but pre-order is available now through the band’s website.

More new music

Easy Killer Records promises diversity and dedication

easykiller_logo_white_the_indie_sd“We are defined in life by how we respond to defeat.” Truer words were never spoken, and these words say a lot about the latest record label on the musical scene, Easy Killer Records, featuring acts such as Night Verses, The Company We Keep, and Brian Marquis. With owners Mike Judy and Kevin Gales behind the wheel, this music-making vehicle is bound to break some speed limits (and top charts.) Both owners have an extensive background in the music industry, but it’s their personable and dedicated approach to the label that makes their experience all about the music. According to a press release, The Company We Keep stated, “We’re very excited to have Easy Killer in our corner as we finally release an LP. It’s comforting to actually know the people in charge, and we trust that we will be able to do big things together.”

Big things are bound to come their way. We got the chance to chat with Mike and Kevin about their new venture, and Kevin shares some deeply personal events that have helped to mold the way he sees life. Read on if you’re curious about the inner workings and the story behind how much of your favorite music comes to life!

TheIndieSD: Tell me about the “mantra” of Easy Killer. What kind of artists are you looking to share with the world? What kind of themes do you want your label to be about? What do you want “Easy Killer” to be synonymous with?

Mike Judy: Honesty. Diversity. Musicianship. We want to bring in artists that are genuine about honing their craft, regardless of the genre they choose to perform.

Kevin Gales: Damn. That’s an outstanding question. When you’re committed to resourcing artists to bring their message to the world, some of those messages are gonna conflict with one another. Resourcing good musicians to do good work, no matter the style of genre….that’s what we’re about.

TISD: Has starting a record label always been in the plans for your music careers?

MJ: Kevin has run a few labels in the past, so this isn’t his first time doing something like this. Me, I’ve just always known that I want to do something in this industry. Booking shows for the past decade or so has certainly aided me in gathering the sort of knowledge ya need to pull off something like this.

KG: This is my third label released through a major, so yes, I think there is definitely a place for a company to help and resource good musicians. I enjoy that role, definitely.

Easy Killer Records artist, Night Verses.

TISD: Mike, since you’ve worked as a concert promoter, you must have some awesome event ideas in store for EK. Any upcoming features and/or events that we can look forward to seeing (and hearing) from EK Records?

MJ: We’ve spoken about a few EK tours, since we’re lucky to have a roster of talented artists that respect one another. It’s really developed into a family atmosphere, especially over these past few months. You’ll also be seeing some rad stuff going on from the four artists of ours who are on Warped Tour this year.

TISD: Tell me about your “process” with a new or potential artist. How did you go about choosing your current, diverse roster? Once signed, what kind of elements do you focus on with the artists on your label?

KG: Almost everyone we look at signing, we try and figure out what it is they’re needing help with. (“Everything!”). So ok, but really. Is it touring? Is it recording? Are you set on every front, but you just don’t have a van? That’s first and then we see how [we] could help, and see if our level of commitment lines up with what they’re thinking and needing. After signing, it’s all about getting that music out there..however we can.

MJ: Like I mentioned earlier, we seek out honest, talented musicians and really focus there. Once we have someone onboard, we just want to make sure they’re active and doing the same sort of things that turned us on to them in the first place.

TISD: Tell me about the best show you’ve attended — any musical experience that really stood out to you and helped shape the way you see music and the music industry.

MJ: Oh geez…So many to choose from. This may not be something that helped shape the way I saw things, but I’d say my favorite show that I’ve attended was in October of ’11 with Thrice, O’Brother, La Dispute, and Moving Mountains. On one hand, there was Thrice, (who I had considered my favorite band for over a decade at that point),  O’Brother, who are close friends of mine, and La Dispute/Moving Mountains, who were two bands that I had really been getting into at the time. Just a stellar tour. On the other hand, it was the night of Game 7 of the World Series, in which my beloved Cardinals were involved. Long story short, the Cards won the World Series that night (I lifted a confused/terrified Michael from O’Brother about 4 feet in the air after the last out) and I got to watch them hoist the trophy during the set of my favorite band. Great times.

Side Note: The tour manager that night was Brian Southall, who I didn’t know personally at the time but is now part of the EK family as a member of The Company We Keep. Small world indeed.

KG: Your readers may not know these bands because they’re all from Canada; this is when I was living there. But I managed and signed a band called Means, back in the day. They had left for their first US tour, and came home just in time for their CD release show in their hometown in Regina Saskatchewan. Not sure how many people were there, but it was for sure a 500 cap venue, and we quit selling tickets after 2000 people. That show was Means, Far From Ruin, The Holly Springs Disaster, and The Fortunate. And it was complete hardcore insanity. Really enjoyed that night. I was there with my daughter who was about  13 at the time. She was scared to death, but she also LOVED the energy and all the crazy fun.

Mandolyn Mae, an Easy Killer Records artist, has a sweet and sultry acoustic sound.

TISD: Can you divulge in, or at least hint to, any new artists that we may see added to the roster in the upcoming months?

MJ: Sure! All I can say is we’re absolutely keeping with the theme of diversity. Extremely excited to have these guys aboard.

KG: Keep in mind…diversity!

TISD: “We are defined in life by how we respond to defeat.” That’s a beautiful quote featured on your Facebook page! Can you tell me if there is a story or specific meaning for the both of you behind that quote?

KG: It takes very little to be a good person or good man when things are going well. But whether we like it or not, we are all measured by our dialogue with failure and loss. Not many people know this, but I have daughter with Downs Syndrome, and I also had a son who died when he was 9 months old. These weren’t failures, but when Joseph died, it was surely a loss. After his death, Hannah was born, and when we realized she’d be challenged, we couldn’t help but feel a certain type of defeat. If I’m being totally honest, I failed Hannah miserably in that very first day or two. But Hannah is an amazing person, God, just love her to death, and she’s key member of our family, and a huge person in my life. There’s no real story attached to that quote, only that Mike and I believe it whole heartedly.

MJ: It was Kevin’s quote, and while it doesn’t apply to one specific event, it can apply to many different times in life. It’s something to remind you that it’s when times are the worst that you can show your true colors, and come out for the  better because of it. The origin of the name “Easy Killer” is relevant here as well. It of course means to take it easy, don’t get too bummed when things are going rough. “Take it easy, killer. Things will get better.”

TISD: Was starting the label a difficult or easy process? Were there any major hurdles that threatened to get in the way of creating your business?

MJ: I think the largest hurdle was really pulling everything off the way we wanted to initially, and that was to make an instant splash. In order to do this, we needed to establish a full, diverse roster right away. This was a bit tricky since we were trying to sign everyone before we were a publicly launched entity, and they had to aboard with the concept of initially signing to an invisible label. Luckily, we were able to garner heavy trust with all of our artists in the early going, mainly due to past experiences (me booking them, Kevin recording them as a producer, etc). Now that we’ve gotten over that hump, the fun part has started. We’re thrilled with where we’re at right now.

KG: I don’t think there’s anything particularly tough about starting a label. Keeping it running and such is much more difficult. I think our launch was unique in that we wanted to come out of the gate with a fully established roster. Doing that took a ton a resources up front, lots of work, lots of planning [and] coordinating. And it’s still hard, but it’s great and we believe in our artists, our company, and each other for sure.

For more information about Easy Killer Records (and Apparel!), definitely check out their official website.

State Champs talk exciting tour with New Found Glory


State Champs have been a driving force in the pop punk music world for years, and they’re keeping the momentum alive with their new tour, opening for New Found Glory. We spoke with the band about what music they just can’t live without, and the changes they’ve seen for pop punk as a whole.

TheIndieSD: You guys are in the middle of a really exciting tour that even includes some amazing festivals! What has been your most memorable performance on tour so far?

State Champs: We played BLED FEST in Howell, Michigan and it was amazing. The fest is held at an old school. We played in a classroom on the floor and it was intense. Kids piled in until they literally couldn’t fit anymore kids in the classroom and once we started everyone pushed forward and Derek was fighting to keep kids from toppling amps and keep himself from crashing into the drum kit. Needless to say, it was amazing. Those intimate sets are generally the most memorable and fun!

TISD: Speaking of memorable moments on tour, what has been your most memorable show ever? Have you had any embarrassing experiences on tour?

SC: One of the most memorable shows for me was our first time at chain reaction in Anaheim, CA. It was our first time in SoCal and kids set it off for us. To go to an area for the first time and have kids screaming your words and throwing their bodies off the stage to your music is unparalleled. There’s a bunch of other memorable shows but this one just came to my mind. As far as embarrassing experiences? Sure, sometimes rip your pants jumping or lose your balance and fall into a wall or smash your microphone into your own mouth. :(

TISD: How have you been enjoying touring with Cartel and New Found Glory?

SC: It’s been unreal. To be able to tour with bands we’ve looked up to for years is so crazy. They’re all incredible people and great musicians that we have a lot to learn from! I’m still not sure if it’s clicked yet that we’re out here playing alongside these bands. I’m sure when I look back ill be like “0.0 that happened.”

TISD: So, I’m assuming you’re fans of Cartel and New Found Glory!
SC: Yes we are!

TISD: What is your favorite song by these artists?

SC: Cartel – anything off of Chroma, “Faster Ride”, “Deep South”  and “Let’s Go”.  New Found Glory – everything.

TISD: What can you not live without while on tour? What do you always bring with you or always have to have?

SC: I can’t live without my ear plugs, my laptop, my iPhone, and a book. Being able to block everything out and staying occupied will help you keep you sane on the road!

TISD: What is in heavy rotation on your playlists right now? What artists or bands can you just not live without?

SC: My playlist for this tour includes The Menzingers, American Football, Nirvana and Promise of Redemption. That’s just me though! We listen to a wide variety in the van. Everything from Coheed and Cambria to Juicy J to Valencia to Skrillex.

TISD: You guys describe yourselves as a “DIY Pop Punk Band”. How did it feel to be signed by Pure Noise Records?

SC: It feels good? Haha. PNR is a very family based operation. It’s literally one guy. It’s great because he lets you be yourself. He doesn’t try to tell you how to sound or what to do or how to look. Pure Noise also lets us have a hand in stuff like our album art and pre-order options and stuff like that. Nothing is predetermined for us. Sky’s the limit!

TISD: Being in the genre for quite some time, how do you feel about some of the changes in the bands and styles of pop punk?

SC: I feel like they’re good because things need to evolve to remain relevant. If everything remains the same, why would anyone even start new bands? I think some of the current pop punk bands are the best in the genre (not to discredit any older bands!)

TISD: Do you see and feel a difference when performing on the east coast as opposed to the west coast? Do you think west coast audiences are more excited for pop punk, or is it relatively equal?

SC: It all depends on what city. Some of the better shows we play on the east coast (providence, RI. Albany, NY. NYC) compare to SoCal shows or Seattle shows. I’d say it’s relatively equal!

TISD: Pop punk is a really fun genre that creates very dedicated and appreciative fans. Do you see the band continuing in the same direction, or do you plan to branch out into other, sometimes hardcore influences, like some other pop punk bands in the business?
SC: If we’re going to be branching out, it would be in the poppier direction. While we love hardcore, the poppier side just makes more sense for us.

TISD: I love the album,  Apparently I’m Nothing. It plays on some very smart and deep elements. Can you tell me about your writing process for that album? Did you take any different approaches when creating the material for  Overslept? (Overslept  is really good too, by the way!)
SC: AIN was written when I was 18-19. I didn’t exactly know what I was doing I was just trying to write songs while balancing college and a job. With Overslept, I spent a lot more time trying to write better songs and paid attention to keys and drew from a wider set of influences.

TISD: Your music tends to talk about feelings and emotions in a completely relatable way, as opposed to some genres which make music about very over the top themes (wealth, fame, adventure, etc.) Do you feel that it’s important for music to be relatable to the listener?
I don’t think it’s extremely important. Personally, I find it more appealing when I can relate to it though. However I do like songs that I later found out were ghost written or not actually true stories. They kinda lose their touch but I still like them!

According to their official blog, State Champs recently finished a full length album. While you patiently wait, check out this video playlist of the EP Overslept.

Ilan Rubin: The New Regime has risen


The famously talented (and young!) drummer for Nine Inch Nails, Paramore, and Angels & Airwaves has a new stamp on the music scene that is solely his. Enter, The New Regime, drummer Ilan Rubin’s latest pride and joy. He’s created the project all by himself, which gives this versatile musician the chance to show off all that he has up his sleeves. Check out this interview with Rubin, where we talked about his ambitious plans for the music industry.

TheIndieSD: First off, congrats on the new release, and for being on this month’s cover of Rhythm! :)

Ilan Rubin: Thank you very much!

TISD: You’ve accomplished a lot in the music industry and performed with many successful acts at such a young age! Did you always feel that your career would take you in this direction? Where do you see your solo project, The New Regime, five years from now?

IR: In terms of the drumming side of my career I suppose that this is the direction I saw it going in. Ideally, I think most people see themselves achieving their goals in the format of a band but my goals evolved into what I’ve been doing for a while now. The New Regime is where I see my true master plan unfolding. I’ll keep writing material during my commitments with other bands but when I have the time to properly tour with The New Regime I feel that the sky is the limit.

TISD: Paramore, Nine Inch Nails, Angels & Airwaves — all amazing bands, with very different sounds! Tell me about how it feels to be a part of so many unique projects?

IR: It’s a lot of fun getting to play with all of the above and becoming good friends with good people. They’re all different bands and its nice to get to play the drums differently in them all.

TISD:How did you feel back in 1999 when you got the opportunity to play at Woodstock?

IR: The subject that won’t go away! It was a very long time ago… I was excited to play a big show back then just as I would be now but I honestly don’t hold that event in high regard. I played a show when I was young, oh well.

TISD: Starting off your career so young, did you ever have moments of doubt or feel overwhelmed with how quick-paced the music industry can be?

IR: I never had any doubts in terms of me doing the right thing by pursuing music. However, there will always be a concern as to how I can achieve my goals in such an inconsistent and volatile industry. I’m working on it and am constantly thinking about ways to make this happen.

TISD: I can hear a little bit of NiN influence in The New Regime. Tell me about some of your other influences that helped to mold your solo project?

IR: As far as bands I’ve played with I think that NIN would be the only one to reveal itself as an influence in my music. I feel like a broken record when I talk about the music that influences but Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Queen, Beethoven, Bach, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Jeff Buckley, to name a few…

TISD: Have you collaborated with other musicians for The New Regime, or do you plan on collaborating with others in the future?

IR: I haven’t collaborated with anybody for The New Regime. I write, play, and sing everything and my brother/manager Aaron records, mixes, and co-produces with me. I would collaborate with people in the future but the guys I’d like to approach wouldn’t waste their time with me!

TISD: How did it feel to be back in your hometown of San Diego shooting the Trolley Show? (Awesome job, by the way!)

IR: The Trolley show was a lot of fun! I must admit that it was my first time on the trolley and it was a pleasant experience. I’m glad you enjoyed it, thank you!

TISD: You’re known as a drummer, but how does it feel to get the chance to show off your other talents with your solo project? Do you plan to work more singing and guitar into your future musical endeavors?

IR: The New Regime is the only way I can truly show who I am as a musician. I’d be happy to use any skills I have if the job calls for it and have had fun doing so in NIN and Angels and Airwaves.

TISD: Have you ever had any funny/embarrassing moments on stage or throughout your career?

IR: The only thing that comes to mind would be my 21st birthday during a show in Paris with Nine Inch Nails. I was completely shocked when two strippers danced on both sides of me and dropped a cake on my head. You can see it on Youtube. People seem to find it funny.

(He’s referring to this video, which is NSFW. Thanks Youtube!)

TISD: Do you have a current music obsession at the moment? Favorite song on repeat or an album you can’t stop listening to?

IR: Lots of Depeche Mode. I’m late to everything when it comes to music so I’ve had a good time going through their catalogue.

TISD: Are there other challenges, instruments, experiences you want to tackle in the future during your career? What other plans do you have in mind?

IR: The challenge I’m most focused on and is most important to me is achieving my goals with The New Regime. It isn’t a side project to me and I really want to take it as far as humanly possible.

The New Regime just released a brand new video! Check out “Daydream” below and let us know what you think in the comments.