VISUAL FEATURE EDITORIAL #1
INTERACTIVE VIDEO RELEASE WITH
AND LOST CAUSE
All Photography By: Joanna Glezakos
TORONTO – JUNE 17 2014 – Entertainment One (eOne) and Begin Again are on the search for Canada’s top undiscovered music talent! Just steps away from their Big Break, Canadian singers and bands can upload their original works to a new YouTube contest (www.youtube.com/beginagainmovie) to be entered for a chance to win a musical recording session at Metalworks Studios and a Digital Distribution opportunity from eOne Music, the #1 independent music distributor in North America, worth up to $10,000!
Contestants must rally their friends, fans and followers to vote for their original work to avoid elimination. Only the top four artists make it through to the final round. Canadian Recording Artist and Winner of Canadian Idol Eva Avila is joined by Eric Alper (Director of Media Relations at eOne Music and Host of ThatEricAlper’s Show on SiriusXM), Nathan Quinn (A&R and Label Acquisitions at eOne Music) and Kevin Dietz of Metalworks Studios in judging the four finalists and selecting the winning song.
“This inspiring film is set in NYC, and in a lot of ways, YouTube has the same huge caliber of undiscovered talent. Musicians can approach this like an open mic opportunity and do an original song to get heard by hundreds of thousands of music lovers,” explains Kai Exos, Creative Director at SPOKE and musician in his own right.
Begin Again is a soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together. Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City.
“eOne Music Canada’s mission is to discover Canada’s next big star and showcase their stunning talent to listeners here, and around the world,” says Eric Alper, Director of Media Relations for eOne Music Canada. “We’re thrilled to be part of the Begin Again YouTube contest, so get your best song ready!”
The campaign, developed by creative agency, SPOKE, lives on YouTube and is powered by a custom YouTube contesting engine. The launch is supported by a heavy Social Media buy on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as well as in-store POS at HMV, that forms part of eOne’s broader wide-release Media campaign, which also includes broadcast, digital, social, print, radio and Out of Home.
eOne opens Begin Again in theatres across Canada on July 11.
All Photography By: Joanna Glezakos
The Orlando, Florida-based band of brothers have been playing ever since they were young. The group consists of Connor McDonough, 20, (Vocals/Guitar), Riley McDonough, 18, (Vocals), and younger brother Toby McDonough, 16, (Vocals/Guitar) and they’ve already began to make their mark on the world.
With their most recent EP, I Like That, the three brothers have crafted a soaring pop album of uplifting relationship songs that effortlessly blend sharp hooks with bright and buoyant rock. “We were searching for a sound, and wrote with as many people as we could. It helped us grow and write better songs. For this album we wrote 30 to 40 songs and picked our favorites,” Riley McDonough says. The band drew inspiration and wrote songs from sessions with such seasoned vets as Robert Ellis Orall (Taylor Swift), Dan Book and Alexei Misoul (Hot Chelle Rae), Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low), and Stephen Barker Liles (Love and Theft). The album standout and first single, “I Like That”, is a tune with tenderly romantic lyrics and big pop-rock beat. Ryan Daly and Anthony Improgo, along with Connor McDonough, produced the album. “They really listened to what we wanted to do and let us try out our ideas, no matter how crazy,” Connor says laughing. “Because of that, we feel really connected to the way the recording turned out,” Riley adds. The group is even more excited for the release of their brand new music coming soon!
With the I Like That EP, the band has been critically acclaimed by the likes of MTV, J-14, Seventeen, Radio Disney, Teen, Teen Vogue, Popstar!, Just Jared, just to name a few. The band has also toured/played with high profile acts such as Cody Simpson, Olly Murs, The Wanted, Fifth Harmony, and even the Jonas Brothers.Conjuring up the optimism in the band’s name-inspired by the sentiment “make a difference before you exit”- the band works daily to make their way to the top but they never fail to stop and appreciate what has got them thus far. “There’s no way we’d be anywhere without our incredible fans. They are behind us every step of the way and are a huge piece of this band,” states youngest brother, Toby. In light of the many short lived and fly by night artists, this young, singer/songwriting, brother driven band, is one to be around for a while.
Purchase Before You Exit’s new single, “Dangerous”, on iTunes, here!
5.4 SunFest 2014 West Palm Beach, FL
5.17 Samsung Hall Manila, Philippines
6.4 The Fillmore* Silver Spring, MD
6.5 Baltimore Soundstage* Baltimore, MD
6.7 Digifest NYC New York, NY
6.8 iPlay America’s Event Center* Freehold, NJ
6.9 Bergen Performing Arts Center* Englewood, NJ
6.12 House of Blues* Chicago, IL
6.14 DigiFest Toronto Toronto, Canada
6.21 Tanger Outlets @ The Arches* Deer Park, NY
6.25 Jacobs Pavilion @ Nautica* Cleveland, OH
6.26 Stranahan Theater* Toledo, OH
6.27 PNC Pavilion* Cincinnati, OH
6.28 Farm Bureau Lawn* Indianapolis, IN
6.29 Lifestyle Communities Pavilion* Columbus, OH
By: Fridae Mattas
Sitting here in my trailer all processed waiting to shoot my scenes and instead of rehearsing my lines a few more times with coworker, we have decided a break is most definitely needed. The choices are to either listen to some music or watch the 3rd episode of “Sons Of Anarchy”, we can’t leave the trailer processed unless we’re called on set. So, I chose to hear what Marianas Trench Lead Guitarist Matt Webb has to bring on his sophomore EP “Right Direction“, released February 4th 2014. Time these days is very limited, but I always listen to as much music as I can because music is my life and many of yours. Without music most of us would not be here, it has helped us through some serious shit in life.
For those who need a little more background info on Matt Webb you can check out his Facebook here. Matt has been with his band Marianas Trench since 2001 which is amazing, some bands don’t last together a year, never mind thirteen! Personally, not a fan of the bands music they are not my cup of tea. However, I do commend them on their accomplishments for a Canadian band.
Webb’s Right Direction EP has six tracks, the first being the title track “Right Direction”. It starts in with your basic acoustic guitar and some percussion prior to dropping the first verse. The vibe is mellowed out and his voice isn’t too bad, needs to strengthen those chords but his tone is not making my ears cry. This track is okay, not exactly award winning but it is a well done production as is the rest of the EP. A few things I’m not feeling about most of the tunes on the record are that the lyrics are a little too rhymey, redundant and adolescent sounding for Webb’s age group. From what I hear, the above mentioned seems to be the trend for the whole album. The two songs I could not fully listen to and had to skip were “Don’t Turn Your Back on Me” and “123”. Don’t shoot me Trenchers, it is just my opinion.
Very surprised though, I was expecting worse! It is always a good thing when an artist is better than expected! Prior to getting the press release for this record, I had no idea he even was a singer. And, in a few weeks we will find out if he can hold his own on stage when he hits Toronto’s Adelaide Hall March 7th 2014 to kick off his Right Direction tour across Canada, in support of the new EP.
A song worth a listen that I have to mention is “Hang Tight” which has more of a jazzy vibe and is different than the rest of the tracks on the record. As far as Webb launching a successful solo career with this EP…A lot more work is needed to refine him as a solo artist, but he is headed in the Right Direction… I give Matt Webb 2.5 music notes out of 5 ♪♪♪♪♪ Download your copy of “Right Direction” here!
March 5 – Hamilton @ Bay City Music Hall
March 6 – Ottawa @ Mavericks
March 7 – Toronto @ Adelaide Hall
March 8 – Peterborough @ The Red Dog
March 9 – London @ London Music Hall
March 13 – Thunder Bay @ Black Pirates Pub
March 14 – Winnipeg @ Park Theatre
March 16 – Regina @ The Exchange
March 18 – Saskatoon @ O’Brians Event Centre
March 21 – Edmonton @ Avenue Theatre
March 22 – Calgary @ The Den
March 23 – Red Deer @ Memorial Centre
March 27 – Vancouver @ Rio Theatre
The Used—which also includes guitarist Quinn Allman, bassist Jeph Howard and drummer Dan Whitesides formed in Orem, Utah in 2001, signing to Reprise Records that same year. Championed by producer and collaborator John Feldmann, the band issued their gold-certified Self-Titled debut in 2002, quickly cementing the Used as leaders among the post-hardcore elite, thanks in part to unforgettable singles like “Box Full of Sharp Objects,” “The Taste of Ink,” “Blue And Yellow”and “Buried Myself Alive.” The band then released the CD/DVD combo “Maybe Memories” in 2003, now certified platinum, featuring B-sides, live cuts, demos and unreleased tracks, while still another gold record followed—2004’s “In Love And Death”—spawning singles “Take It Away,” “I Caught Fire” and “All That I’ve Got” – which earned the band their firstMuchMusic Video Award nomination.
The band’s second MuchMusic Video Award nomination came from 2007’s “Lies For The Liars,” for the music video for “The Bird and The Worm.” Lies For The Liars hit #5 on the Billboard Top 200, led to 2009’s “Artwork,” which peaked at #10 on theBillboard Top 200. As if that weren’t enough to keep a band busy, since 2001 the Used has also destroyed countless stages the world over, touring with a who’s who of modern rock and heavy music contemporaries, and have been featured acts at major festivals like Warped Tour, Taste of Chaos, Ozzfest, Projekt Revolution and the UK’s Reading and Leeds festivals.
2011 marked a year of change for The Used. Leaving Reprise Records, their label of ten years, the band formed their own label, Anger Music Group, which they have independently released 2012’s studio album “Vulnerable” and an EP “The Ocean of the Sky” in 2013. A band that has never shied away from using their music as a platform to ask the tough questions and evoke political conversation, The Used brings that passion tenfold on “Imaginary Enemy.” A palpable sense of the band’s commitment, frustration, and optimism for the future lies at the very core of each track.
The Used will release “Imaginary Enemy” on April 1st, 2014 and will be touring with Taking Back Sunday to support the record. For more information, check out: www.TheUsed.net
“Imaginary Enemy” Tracklisting:
04. A Song to Stifle Imperial Progression
(A work in progress)
05. Generation Throwaway
06. Make Believe
08. Imaginary Enemy
09. Kenna song
10. Force without Violence
TOUR DATES W/ TAKING BACK SUNDAY
FRI 3/14/2014 QUIKTRIP PARK – SOUTH BY SO WHAT?! DALLAS TX
SAT 3/15/2014 BACKSTAGE LIVE SAN ANTONIO TX
SUN 3/16/2014 BAYOU MUSIC CENTRE – HWHAP FEST HOUSTON TX
TUE 3/18/2014 MARQUEE THEATRE PHOENIX AZ
FRI 3/21/2014 IN THE VENUE SALT LAKE CITY UT
SAT 3/22/2014 IN THE VENUE SALT LAKE CITY UT
SUN 3/23/2014 KNITTING FACTORY BOISE ID
TUE 3/25/2014 WARFIELD SAN FRANCISCO CA
THU 3/27/2014 PALLADIUM LOS ANGELES CA
FRI 3/28/2014 HOUSE OF BLUES SAN DIEGO CA
SAT 3/29/2014 EXTREME THING LAS VEGAS NV
TUE 4/1/2014 OGDEN THEATRE DENVER CO
WED 4/2/2014 SOKOL OMAHA NE
FRI 4/4/2014 EAGLES BALLROOM MILWAUKEE WI
SAT 4/5/2014 CONCORD MUSIC HALL CHICAGO IL
SUN 4/6/2014 FILLMORE DETROIT MI
TUE 4/8/2014 KOOL HAUS TORONTO ON
WED 4/9/2014 THE ARMORY ROCHESTER NY
FRI 4/11/2014 WEBSTER THEATRE HARTFORD CT
SAT 4/12/2014 HOUSE OF BLUES BOSTON MA
SUN 4/13/2014 TOWER THEATRE PHILADELPHIA PA
TUE 4/15/2014 BEST BUY THEATRE NEW YORK NY
SAT 4/19/2014 SANDS BETHLEHEM PA
TUE 4/22/2014 FILLMORE SILVER SPRING MD
THU 4/24/2014 THE TABERNACLE ATLANTA GA
SAT 4/26/2014 REVOLUTION FT LAUDERDALE FL
SUN 4/27/2014 HOUSE OF BLUES ORLANDO FL
Released: Nov. 5th 2013
Label: Aftermath / Shady / Interscope
Written By: Fridae Mattas
Everyones favorite schizo rapper from Detroit has released his eighth studio album and people are telling me the other critics are praising the MMLP2. Have yet to read anyone else’s perception on the album, truth is I just don’t have the time and these days the only opinion that matters to me is my own ha ha. Totally forgot Mathers was even dropping his album this month. I was working on the Rob Zombie record review but decided to hold those thoughts and get these ones out as soon as possible. The instant I played the first track I noticed the pieces of the original MMLP being blended with this 2.0 version. I was surprised to see the reuse of the title but it is relevant to the theme of the record and why not? Lil Wayne has The Carter 1, 2, 3, 79, 357 and Jay-Z with his five hundred blueprints.Did not think I would be reviewing another record by Eminem and his personalities, honestly thought he was going to take a permanap from the industry. The world is clearly happy he did not permanap, it hasn’t even been a full week since the release and it’s already making waves like a tsunami! Word on the industry tip is that the “MMLP2” will surpass Drake’s first week sales and debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 making it Eminem’s seventh number one when the chart is revealed Nov.13th. Everyone that hated on him in the past seems to have a closeted guilty pleasure affair with the music. Eminem’s haters remind me of the Canadian music industry who laughed at Drake until America started to love him…That’s when they instantly turned into yes people and his biggest fans. Personally don’t mind some of his songs but professionally speaking he is not the strongest “rapper”? Stylistically he is not at all comparable to the level of the Emcee’s I grew up listening to like N.W.A, Dr. Dre (Who served as executive producer for this record along with Rick Rubin.), Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Snoopy Dogg, Warren G, Naughty By Nature, KRS-One, 2Pac, Biggie, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, Queen Latifa, Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, Jay-Z, Nas, Missy Elliot, Mos Def, DMX, WuTang, Ludacris, Fugees and of course Eminem. I would like to see any Emcee in today’s game battle Eminem, it would be fun to watch and hear, actually that should be a rap reality show where they get different Emcee’s to freestyle battle each other.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 has various tones to it like his colourful personas, you have the old school throwback vibes and some candy tunes. In a few he spits like he’s the missing member of N.W.A. and then your classic “Asshole” Ft. Skylar Grey, produced by Alex Da Kid and fueled by the vibrance of that vengeful fire flow he had on the Marshall Mathers original record. Here is a true line: “But you can’t ignore the fact that I fought for the respect and battle for it.”. Tunes like “Bad Guy” have that laid back beat where it’s just chilling and then you hear Eminem emulating “Stan’s” little Brother Matthew plotting revenge on his idol. And you are sitting there wondering how that song was birthed in his brain and as always only Eminem, Marshall Mathers, Slim Shady knows this. He revisits the skeletons he had in his closet and a few new ones popped out. On the song “So Far” he throws in a few shit ticket old school lines revamped. In the hook he declares his love for the city that took him in. “Maybe that’s why I feel so strange. Got it all, but I still won’t change. Maybe that’s why I can’t leave Detroit, it’s the motivation that keeps me going. This is the inspiration I need, I can never turn my back on a city that made me.” It is astonishing to see how quickly Detroit is deteriorating, I’ve been there a few times this year visiting friends and meeting with so called “Producers”. Every time I’m there I notice there are more and more abandoned places to wander. Funniest part about a lot of people I met in Detroit is once you tell them you’re a singer and a Journalist everyone is either an industry expert or knows Eminem and Kid Rock personally…Ha Ha sure they do!
On my last Eminem review for “Recovery“, I added the only two photos I managed to save from the Anger Management tour in Toronto at the “Skydome” back in October 2000, one of the two is below. Earlier that same year Eminem dropped the original Marshall Mathers LP, I did not review that album because well I was not old enough to be a Music Journalist back then, laughs. In 2000, I was in high school (sometimes) and trying to be the new “Destiny’s Child” with my group “Girlz Ink”. Ah haha yes, true words and sadly it wasn’t the only group I was in…Don’t recall telling the world the full story behind those photos I took and that was a day I will never forget. Those shots and FridaeTV almost never happened…My “friend” and I managed to get to the front of the floor, stage right audience left near the middle of the barricade…Huge mistake, once Papa Roach hit the stage it was over, I was getting crushed into the barricade by everyone behind me, crowd surfers were flying couldn’t breath it was getting darker, all I could hear were echoes and felt myself drifting off.The bitch who called herself a friend was just watching, she didn’t help or try to get help. At this point I could see colours and doubles as people were fading everything was going black. I was praying to God I would survive yet another fucked up adventure as my short teenage life was flashing before my eyes again. Just before it went completely dark I faintly heard someone asking me if I was okay, I couldn’t even speak and didn’t need to. He immediately started yelling at the crowd to move back, pulling mostly dudes off of me and was joined by the other security guards who did the same. They gave me water and kept my purse on the barricades inside and handed me my camera when I needed it. As I was regaining consciousness a few security guards were always nearby or hovering to keep me safe for the rest of Papa Roach and all of Eminem’s set, until I asked them to pull me out when it ended. Those security guards saved my life and am so thankful to them. When I could finally talk again a few minutes before Mathers and the whole D12 crew hit the stage I turned to my “friend” to tell her I almost passed out and died. She said “I know, I don’t care I’m here to see Eminem, you’re not important.” Fuck I wanted to drop kick the bitch and just as she finished rolling her eyes at me she was kicked in the head a few times in a row by crowd surfers and security did nothing to help her. Karma! Haven’t spoken to that bitch since, who needs enemies when there are “friends” like her. I saw two completely different sides of humanity that day and will always be petrified of extreme crowds.
Mathers continues to find a way to express himself with words, he knows what formulas to use if he wants radio hits but also proves on this record it’s not about that, it doesn’t sound like he’s trying to recreate MMLP more like recapitulate. In many songs on this record and past singles, Mathers states how unaware he was of how fame would be and still has a love hate relationship with it. All you can do is embrace situations as they come the best you can, use your talent to help all those fucked up kids and people who still need a rebel superhero, someone imperfect to be their perfect. It happens to too many entertainers #1: They either evolve into a better version of themselves like Eminem seems to be doing? #2: They end up like Amanda Bynes who cracked out like Lindsey Lohan with a little Courtney Love mucho crazy sprinkled in…Or #3: they end up getting killed or killing themselves by accident or on purpose.
No Eminem album is complete without a few fabulous features from repeats Rihanna on “The Monster” tune, Nate Reuss of Fun on “Headlights”, Skylar Grey on “Asshole” as mentioned above, Sarah Jaffe, Sia and a few more vocalists also make appearances. The only rapper to spit on this record other than Mathers is Kendrick Lamar on the eccentric tune titled “Love Game”. A very hickory blend of samples from “Game Of Love” By: Clint Ballard Jr. and “The Object Of My Affection”. This tune is a comical experience in typical Shady fashion and the style of Lamar’s verse was very fitting to the concept of the tune. I like Lamar’s flow overall, he just added a whole different dimension to his talent on this record, definitely stepping up his game. I can see why he is signed to Aftermath because he has that special quality to his flow.
Eminem is 41 in human years but only really a semi-adult who will never fully grow up because he didn’t have a normal childhood. I call that (MJS) Michael Jackson or (PPS) Peter Pan Syndrome… I feel so sorry for his girls and their future boyfriends, I know first hand how intimidating fathers can be with that area of stuff…You can’t be scary in those moments or they will shut you out. Just be what your parents were not. Be Dad, someone who they can talk to, trust and always rely on. If you show them everyday how much you love them, regardless of your shenanigans they will always love you. My Father raised my siblings and I, he wasn’t perfect but always had our backs until the day he died. Although track three “Rhyme or Reason” on this record is kind of funny with the way he starts on the beat, it’s pretty shitty that Mathers never had his Father in his life. Then again he wouldn’t be who he is today like all of us, if it weren’t for his past, the good and the bad. “(What’s your name?) Shady (Who’s your daddy?) I don’t give a fuck.” The beat for this track samples the 1968 hit song “Time Of The Season” written by: Rod Argent and performed by the Zombies. The music is also sampled by the fantastical Melanie Fiona on her 2008 hit “Give It To Me Right”. Some of my favorite lines of the cut are “Had a fire in my heart, and a dire desire to aspire, to DIE HARD. So, as long as I’m on the clock punching this time card, Hip hop ain’t dying on my watch.” we’ll see…
The continuation record is not as vulgar as the first, all of the songs are well done and he still tears people new ones. “Your ass backwards like motherfucking Bob and Silent Jay.” He still has that maniacal mind frame of an almost serial killer, which he most likely would fully be if he didn’t make it as an Emcee. The only tune that I wasn’t feeling too much is “Berzerk”, the beat is too sick with all of those old school samples but something about how he sounds on the hook made my ears cringe. That single is the only song where I heard severe nasal to the point of skipping. On the track “So Much Better” he talks about what a Hobag Hip Hop is, like a groupie not about an actual female just an analogy. I really liked the tunes “Legacy” and Beautiful Pain off of the deluxe version featuring Sia, it has an interesting little vibe to it. Marshall Mathers and all his voices would be a cool homie to have, you know he’d be loyal and always have your back but not so fun if you somehow ended up on the chopping pad with his silver bullet words aimed at you. Ta da! Surprise, Eminem actually didn’t say boo about Mariah this time around! Another surprise was the follow up to “Cleaning Out My Closet”, I’m glad Mathers has an apology of sorts for his Mom on this album. In “Headlights” Mathers seems to understand now, that yes his childhood was fucked up but his Mother tried. “Did I take it too far? Cleaning out my closet and all them other songs. But regardless I don’t hate you cause ma! You’re still beautiful to me, cause you’re my mom.” seems as though he has finally put those demons to rest. A reason I could relate to his music when I was younger was his Mother and mine share the same name and are equally as crazy…Actually, mine I think wins the Manic Biopolar award because at least his mother kind of stuck around. Some people say this record is his last and others say SSLP2 should or will follow. Who knows what he has planned for the future??
The main reason I even gave Eminem’s music a chance as a lickle youth was because he was a slick wordsmith. I did not like a few of his singles and actually wanted to backhand pimp slap him a few times for being so disrespectful. But, I didn’t take any of the super fucked up shit to heart because like millions of people I understand expression through artistic outlets. “Who the fuck wants a plain Eminem?“. He’s just getting issues off his chest people, it’s like 2000 all over again with attention seekers crying about how misogynistic or homophobic this and that lyrics is. Don’t you see it’s a game to him he’s a character, of course he wants to push buttons he says this himself but is he really homophobic or a Woman hater? No, he’s just a guy and they say and do stupid shit all the time and you all just keep getting played. Back then and today I somewhat understand where the psycho bottled blonde was coming from, as did millions of others. It doesn’t matter how old Marshall and his “Evil Twin” get, people will still be able to relate to the “Rap God” because he is the poster child for ” The Almost American Dream” which is more common and there is a little Slim Shady in all of us. www.EMINEM.com Buy your copy of MMLP2 USA here and Canada here. I give Eminem’s MMLPII Reboot 4 music notes ♪♪♪♪♪ out of 5!
By: Fridae Mattas
Amidst the whirlwind of press for her new album “Secret Sulk”, Nikki of Dolls (You may know her as Nikki Awesome.) had a few minutes to catch up and share some of her life.
Fridae: Hello, Hello! It has been awhile since we hijacked a ballroom, how are you?
DOLLS – Nikki: OMG I almost forgot about ballroom-hijacking. I mean, nowadays they just give themselves up. It’s been a while!
Fridae: What has been going on in Awesome land since we last chatted a few years back?
DOLLS – Nikki: So much. I’ve pretty much left the ‘Nikki Awesome’ thing behind (DOLLS website launching soon, but won’t change my Facebook fan page), relocated to the UK (three grey and glorious years this summer), learned how to produce my own music, have thrown myself about traveling, meet/greeting some of my favourite artists and making ridiculous videos. Basically, I’ve spent the last three years regaining control of my art and having FUN again after leaving the major label game, which has definitely been a good move.
Fridae: How was Dolls created? If you could tell the world and myself a little more background information on the history of Dolls.
DOLLS – Nikki: DOLLS was initially an outlet for me to create music with a darker overall sound which wasn’t really compatible with The Royal Society’s. I always listened to synth-heavy music with a dirty, raw vibe, like Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, and Joy Division/New Order. I also really love some of the pop artists of the 80’s like Tears for Fears, Pet Shop Boys and Men Without Hats, all acts that had depth in their lyricism as well as wicked synth lines. I found that many mainstream artists were not into that style when I was last living in North America. There weren’t many artists making a crossover between ‘alternative’ and ‘synthpop,’ coming from a commercial pop background (though some were crossing over the other way). I’ve always written all my own lyrics and melodies, played guitar and keys, but I felt despite that, I was limited to one style of music by virtue of having had a hit in that genre and lacking the resources to produce music on my own. Even though The Royal Society’s fans were wonderful and the media outlets were amazing in supporting the project, the club scene was feeling a little superficial to me. After losing several years worth of work to a series of heavily political power plays (in case you ever wondered why there wasn’t a Royal Society album), I began learning production in order to make the music I wanted, so as not to have to take direction from people who didn’t get me as an artist. It wasn’t the easiest transition and I probably burned some bridges, but ultimately I feel more empowered and happier doing what I want to do, and if people don’t ‘get it’ I don’t have to answer to anyone.
Fridae: Good for you! It’s seems like every artist comes to learn in their own time, that the only person who can truly relay your vision is you.
Fridae: How did you come up with the new records title?
DOLLS – Nikki: It was little bit of a joke at my own expense. I felt like in writing the material for DOLLS, people saw me as being a bit of a ‘poor little bitch girl,’ biting the hand that had fed me. Because the songs were a lot more angry, less commercially friendly, and openly bitter about things that usually get hushed up. Dolls music is a total contrast to The Royal Society vibe which is all “let’s party, everything’s rad.”. I wrote so many songs over the last three years that chronicled some experiences pretty viciously, and it turned out that after incessant (often unsolicited) input from everyone else I was (un)surprisingly kind of pissed off. Making Secret Sulk the album’s title seemed appropriate in the sense that everything I did musically and the way I did it was otherwise so atypical and ‘inappropriate’.
Fridae: Did you work with someone on the new album or did you create everything yourself?
DOLLS – Nikki: Millions of hours alone in my bedroom. I didn’t have any previous experience with production outside of being in-studio, so it’s been an insanely huge learning curve, which is obviously not yet complete. The new (unreleased) stuff is a lot more refined in terms of sound quality (since I have upgraded my equipment) but it’s still DOLLS: dark cynical synth/wave with pop vocals.
DOLLS – Nikki: It’s no secret that the whole music industry is upside down. Everybody’s looking to sign the prepackaged ‘next big thing,’ so I’d say it’s pretty rare to be invited in to hear the ‘flaws’ and outtakes from the onset, especially from someone who was formerly perceived as being the prepackaged ‘thing’ . DOLLS is the evolution of an artist, not the ‘delivery of a product.’ In my opinion, flaws are what resonate with people and give the audience something real to connect with. The pitch-perfect image airbrushing that has become par for the course is not what I want to buy into or sell anymore. Imperfections have always intrigued me; whether it was hearing a wrong note, a crack in the vocal performance – those kinds of things are so smoothed-out these days that I feel it’s tremendously different to allow fans in on a project’s development. Not just delivering a polished focus group-approved sound or image, which means releasing material that hasn’t been over-refined. Which is unconventional in the current system. I’ve chosen to work outside the model of recent tradition, and I will make mistakes, backtrack, change things around, have opinions that will piss people off. It’s more interesting (to me) to throw down total chaos rather than play a formulaic game, shuffling alongside everyone else, everyone crossing their fingers for a major to pick it up. Getting signed doesn’t always benefit an artist, more often than not it just brings in a bunch of watered-down opinions on how you can best sell your music like it’s a breakfast cereal.
Fridae: Are you planning on hitting the road anytime soon?
DOLLS – Nikki: Definitely, but nothing’s set in stone yet. I’ve had interest in the UK and Europe, but because I don’t have label support it’s a bigger deal to commit to touring, so I’m still working out the bugs and deciding who I want to work with for the live show.
Fridae: If you could work with any artist in the music world today who would you choose?
DOLLS – Nikki: Trent Reznor, David Bowie or David Lynch. I feel like they should come as a package-deal, just so I don’t have to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Fridae: Are there any other projects in the works?
DOLLS – Nikki: At the moment DOLLS is pretty all-consuming and there’s some deadly business waiting in the wings, but it’s all hush-hush, innit! I’m just releasing my first collaboration with a Canadian artist since 2010 (On Your Lips with Toronto electro artist COINS), and have been talking with another UK indie artist (Magpies and Vagabonds) about a new concept project. He also did the Dustcover Mix of NOW NOW. Both tracks are on my Bandcamp and Soundcloud accounts for free download.
Fridae: Whose music are you playing on repeat right now that you could not possibly live without?
DOLLS – Nikki: I really like Miike Snow, Das Racist, HURTS and Paloma Faith. I’m pretty shit at listening to new music, so I go through phases of not knowing about anything new and just snuggling into old faves, followed by frenzied accumulation of Spotify playlists. I feel like not buying physical copies of albums combined with being so obsessive about learning production has changed the way I consume music; it’s like the line in Amadeus, about how sometimes there are just too many notes. When I (n)ever have spare time, I prefer to see plays, go to galleries, read.. Whatevs.
Fridae: Words of wisdom for aspiring artists….?
DOLLS – Nikki: Probably not to take anyone’s advice. Nobody else knows how to develop your art better, and letting them try, almost invariably leaves you disappointed or risking relationships to maintain the integrity of your ideas.
Fridae: Where can people find your music?
DOLLS – Nikki: DOLLS’ Secret Sulk is available for free on my Soundcloud account (http://soundcloud.com/dollsxx/sets/secret_sulk) and if people like it, it would be fantastic if they want to purchase it for whatever they think works; I’m asking for £5.00 on Bandcamp (http://dollsxx.bandcamp.com), which allows me to continue to make music and develop the project.
Fridae: Are there any last words you would like to share with the world?
DOLLS – Nikki: “She probably had it coming.”
Fridae: LOL!! Thank you so much Mizz Nikki Dolls!
By: Fridae Mattas
Recently Bobby Noakes and Mike Diesel of Breached passed by Fridae TV Headquarters for a chat and an acoustic performance. Although Ryan and Neil were unable to make it, they were there in spirit! Breached will be releasing their Acoustic EP March 26th and hitting the stage at the Hideout on March 29th go see them and make sure you grab the new ep when it is available on iTunes www.BREACHEDMUSIC.com. Thank you Bobby and Mike for dropping by and playing along!
Bobby Noakes – Lead Vocals
Mike Diesel – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Ryan Alexander – Bass
Neil Uppal – Drums
Toronto, ON – Bif Naked announces the digital release of her sixth full-length album,
Bif Naked Forever: Acoustic Hits & Other Delights on December 4, 2012 (Reliant Music/Warner Music Canada/Her Royal Majesty’s Records). The concept for the acoustic album came through Bif’s
re-discovery of her extensive catalogue of hits while on tour with her guitarist performing them as they were originally written. The reconnection with John Dexter (Reliant Music) who worked with Bif on her debut album Bif Naked has added the magic of two new studio tracks via Platinum-selling producer/songwriter Ryan Stewart (Carly Rae Jepsen, Victoria Duffield) including the first single, “So Happy I Could Die.” Beginning November 27, CBCMusic.ca will stream the full album with additional live performance content.
“This is such an extraordinary time in my life, and in my art I am drowning in the thrill of creating and performing music that makes me tremble. I am extremely excited to have the original team together who were pivotal on my first album. The inclusion of Ryan Stewart as producer and co-writer has brought a fantastic element to this album,” says Bif Naked. “Music and art give me hope, and this record has been made with warm love and deep feelings that I so enjoy sharing with my beautiful fans.”Highlighting Bif Naked’s 20-year career in music, Bif Naked Forever: Acoustic Hits & Other Delights contains her most infectious and introspective songs including “Lucky,” “Moment of Weakness,”
“I Love Myself Today” and the hit single “Spaceman,” which reached #2 on the Billboard International Singles charts. The Other Delights on the album include the newly recorded “Nobody Knows,” “The Only One” and the lead single “So Happy I Could Die.”
Since Bif Naked’s debut self-titled album released internationally in 1995, she has gone on to release five full-length albums including Platinum-selling I Bificus (HRMR / Atlantic), the certified Gold album Purge (HRMR/Atlantic) followed by Superbeautifulmonster (HRMR/Bodog/RED). In 2009, she released The Promise (HRMR/Universal), which takes a candid look at her triumphant journey through breast cancer.
Currently in the process of penning her autobiography scheduled to be released in the coming year via Harper Collins Publishing, Bif dedicates her time as a public speaker and advocate on women’s empowerment, wellness and animal rights issues. Her credits include painter, cartoonist and actress, having starred in 2000’s Lunch with Charles with Nick Lea and Sean Lau and appeared in The L Word, the Daria television movie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Chris Isaak Show. She has also performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, hosted and appeared on MTV, MuchMusic and multiple shows throughout Europe/UK and North America.
Bif Naked Forever: Acoustic Hits & Other Delights Track Listing:
* Denotes new studio tracks
1. So Happy I Could Die*
2. The Only One*
4. Daddy’s Getting Married
5. My Bike
6. October Song
7. Nobody Knows*
9. Moment of Weakness
11. Tango Shoes
13. I Love Myself Today