Category Archives: Interviews

Interview: Adult Mom

I spoke to Steph Knipe of Adult Mom about the band’s upcoming album, U.S. tour, and playing Rilo Kiley songs on guitar.

Adult Mom’s new album, Soft Spots, comes out on 5/19/2017.

Photo Credit: Bao Ngo

After The Show: So looking ahead to June, you’ll play your first west coast shows ever. What will those shows be like?

Adult Mom: It’ll be full band, and we’ll be touring out with free cake for every creature, which will also be full band. It’s a little daunting – we’ve never been out for that long, so I’m very scared about my health and stuff, but I think it’ll be fun. Hopefully there will be no issues.

Is there a song on Soft Spots that was the most challenging for you to write or record?

I think “Steal The Lake From The Water” was definitely the most intense song on the record, and it was definitely hard to write because I was very angry. And a lot went into recording it – we tried a lot of stuff and we were just experimenting a lot.

What about a song where the writing or the recording just went really smoothly?

I think a lot of the record was like that. But when we recorded “Same” – it wasn’t a full band song – but we were finishing up the record and we were going to add a song, and I had written a solo song and played it for Mike [Dvorscak], and said ‘what if we just put a microphone on the other side of the room, and I just play this nylon string?’ And we put it on the record. I did two takes of it, and we just added a couple harmonies and that was it. It was definitely the breeziest song to record and it was really cool how that worked out.

It’s interesting to listen to a song like “When You Are Happy” as a slower, acoustic song in its earlier form. Is there going to be any chance for people to hear the original incarnations of the new songs at all?

Yeah, definitely. I’m working on putting out a demo tape actually for all the songs on the record. I think it’ll be a show-exclusive tape, so you have to come to a gig to get it. Maybe, we’ll see – we haven’t worked it out yet.

A song like “Paws” is so good and catchy, and it’s also really short. When you’re writing, what makes you decide to end a song (and not add another verse, for example)?

I think it’s just when I feel like I’ve hit a resolve in the lyrics, where I’m happy with where I’ve ended up in writing the words — that’s why I end the song. It’s just one of those feelings where you’re like ‘I’m done with this train of thought.’ And a lot of the shorter ones just end up like that.

I’ve discovered so much new music I really like through your Twitter – bands like Infinity Crush and Crying.

I went to school with the members of Crying and that’s where I met them, that’s where I first heard them. Other bands like Infinity Crush I’ve met mostly through the internet. I used to be heavy, heavy on Tumblr and I met a bunch of those artists just through Tumblr and also being on Twitter. Every band has a Twitter so everyone eventually meets on that website.

I read that you played a lot of Rilo Kiley covers when you were learning guitar…”Pictures of Success” is a great one to play. What were your favorite ones to play?

“Science vs Romance” is definitely a biggie. “Wires and Waves.” Anything off the first two records. I only learned bar chords because I learned “Science vs Romance.” I don’t do Blake’s parts, I do Jenny’s parts (the rhythm guitar) [laughs].

“Survival” has almost a million listens on Spotify – that’s amazing. Do you have any career goals in terms of this next album that you want to share?

My career goal for this album is to try my best to not force wanting it to be successful, if that makes sense. Obviously I want the album to be successful. I want people to listen to it, to buy it, to come to my shows. But I’m trying not to put so much pressure on it, because it’s really scary and if nothing happens with the record, it’s a heartbreaking feeling. So I kind of just want it to exist and for people to like it. That’s all I can ask for really.

Thanks Steph! Check out Adult Mom’s tour dates, and catch the band play at Junior High in LA on 6-12-2017.

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Q&A with Eisley

Sherri DuPree-Bemis of Eisley talked to After The Show about the band’s new album I’m Only Dreaming, her favorite lyrics, and touring with Coldplay.

Catch Eisley play at the Troubadour in Los Angeles (with Civilian and Backwards Dancer) on 3/27.

Photo Credit: Katherine Bliss

After The Show: I love “When You Fall” and “A Song For The Birds.” What songs from the new album are you most connecting with right now?

Sherri: ‘When you fall’ is a big one for me because it’s a love song to my daughters. It’s the first song I’ve ever written about them both, and referenced things about them specifically, so it’s pretty personal and close to my heart!

Did you call the album I’m Only Dreaming to poke fun at your long-term sleep troubles, or did you choose the title for a different reason?

Haha, no but that is actually funny and I should just tell people that! It’s actually a nod to the Beatles song ‘I’m only sleeping’. We’ve always been massive Beatles fans and when that idea was thrown out we just loved it and felt it was the perfect fit!

It’s interesting to listen to the progression from early Eisley songs like “Becoming You” and “Laughing City” (when you were a kid) to a song like “When You Fall,” which you wrote about your own kids. Lyrically, the songs on this album are still whimsical but they seem more rooted in reality and less fanciful. Was that a conscious decision or just a natural byproduct of being older and having your own family now?

I always felt that, if I weren’t a songwriter I would write books and I was heavily influenced by authors like CS Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle and Neil Gaiman as a kid and ever since I fell in love with that style of writing (fanciful is a good word), I have made a conscious effort to put that feel into my lyrics. It’s more fun to sing and I love the feel. But as I’ve gotten older and gained life experience, there’s more meaning behind the words.

After performing with your sisters and brother for so many years, how does it feel to take on more vocal responsibilities and rely on newer band members on this tour?

It’s been a learning experience – but a great experience! Everyone in the band is just so talented and kind and loves touring with us, and you can’t beat that positive energy on the road. Singing everything is exhausting but I love singing so much so it’s been really fun for me to push myself as a vocalist!

What’s one of your favorite lyrics that you’ve ever written?

Well since we’re speaking of ‘When You Fall’ already, one of my favorite lines on the record is in that song is says “Bless the day you came here, One came fast and the other brought snow”. I had both of my daughters at home and my first daughter was born very quickly and easily and the second one, it snowed in Texas as she was being born!

Anything you want to share about how you assembled the order of songs on the album?

I honestly let our producer Will Yip and my cousin/co-writer/bassist Garron come up with the sequence! I’m not skilled in that area.

As a teenager, you accomplished major (perhaps surreal) things, such as opening for Coldplay at The Hollywood Bowl. How do those earlier experiences in Eisley inform your attitude today towards making music, touring, and your long-term goals?

I just feel truly thankful! I got to do tours that other bands would dream of and had such rich and beautiful experiences. Through the years I’ve seen so many friends’ bands struggle and fall apart due to the industry and personal struggles and it’s taught me to continually be thankful for the fact that I’m still getting to play music that I love, every day, with people that I love!

Thanks Sherri! Eisley play next week at the Troubadour in LA.

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Interview: Jone of Imperial Teen

I asked Jone Stebbins of Imperial Teen about the band’s upcoming LA show, cooking for Eddie Vedder, and whether we can expect new songs in the future (spoiler: yes!).

Photo Credit: Pat Chen

After The Show: I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since Feel The Sound came out. What can you share about new Imperial Teen songs?

Jone: We are working on new songs and have a pretty good start. We like to write together, in the same room though so it’s a little slow going as we live so far away from each other….

The pick slide and guitar work you do in “Yoo Hoo” sounds so good! Do you remember how you first came up with that?

I don’t really know how to play “lead” guitar so I just kinda made it up as I went along. I wanted it to sound reckless, crazy and a bit frantic – it’s different every time I play it!

What’s the story behind the long friendship between that dog. and Imperial Teen? I believe that “Birthday Girl” is about Anna Waronker?

Anna is a dear friend and has worked with us as a producer on The Hair The Baby The TV & The Band and also ON. We have recorded in her home studio. Yes, a line or two in “Birthday Girl” were inspired by Anna if I remember correctly!

Besides the standards (“Yoo Hoo,” “Ivanka,” etc), what can the LA audience expect to hear at the April 8 show?

I’m not 100% sure yet. As the opening band our set will be a little shorter and we usually try to do a few songs from each record… all to be determined!

Are there any Imperial Teen songs you haven’t played in a long time but want to? I’d absolutely love to hear “Pig Latin.”

It’s kinda crazy but we have so many songs now after 5 records and a normal set is 13-15 songs so yeah there are lots we don’t play! I will throw “Pig Latin” into the mix for consideration.

What’s the story behind your Eddie Vedder Stew recipe?

Oh geez, that was a long time ago… Jennifer Finch from L7 came to a party we were having (Lynn and I were housemates at the time) and she brought this then unknown guy, Eddie Vedder, with her. I had made a curried stew to serve… they were the first people there and the last to leave so he got a few bowlfuls in. He really liked it. This was about 30 seconds before he became famous… so of course when Pearl Jam blew up we started calling that stew “Eddie Vedder Stew” as a lark. It is really good. It’s in the cookbook called I Like Food, Food Tastes Good by Kara Zuaro.

How have Will, Lynn, and Roddy changed over the years as bandmates and musicians? And how has your attitude towards performing changed over the years?

We all have matured but still can be totally silly when we are together. We all still really respect and adore each other.

I guess it’s not as scary as it once was. We have played a lot of shows but now we don’t play very often so it’s almost like the early days – full of excitement. We really treasure our time together so live shows are even more special than ever.

Thanks for sharing Jone! Check out Imperial Teen open for that dog. at the El Rey in Los Angeles on April 8, 2017.

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Q&A: Dear Lemon Trees

Leslie Stevens of Dear Lemon Trees shares all about her experience singing with the trio and her work as a backup singer. She also talks about providing backup vocals for Father John Misty and performing as part of the annual fundraiser The Merry Minstrel Musical Circus.

The Lemon Trees Interview

After The Show: How do you split vocal duties with Kathleen Grace and Jamie Drake in Dear Lemon Trees?

Leslie: When I sing with Dear Lemon Trees, I sing the melody sometimes and backup on other songs and it’s planned and arranged and rehearsed so that we know what we’re singing before the show or before a recording and we can be pretty precise and controlled with one another.

Singing back-up on a record or live are both a bit different than being in a set band act or show, although singing in a rehearsed band can be one of the best ways to acquire the skills to do back-up live or in the studio.

What differences are there between singing backup live vs singing backup in a studio?

When I sang on Father John Misty’s record Fear Fun, I was not given the songs before the session, so Josh sang the harmony parts to me through the headphones from the studio control room, and then I would sing them back while it was recorded.

So in that situation you are kind of practicing right to the record the first time you sing the line and you are really concentrating and your vocals are under the microscope. Sometimes singing live with someone you can’t hear yourself onstage at all and that is another kind of challenge.

I have had the honor of singing back-up as a part of The Merry Minstrel Musical Circus fundraiser each year since it began and I’ve had the experience of being onstage with artists I admire and respect greatly and even after a great soundcheck something just isn’t quite right during the show despite an amazing sound crew, and it doesn’t go the way it should have.

But I will say, there are also the times that the band will play a song out of nowhere and you get to sing the hell out of the harmonies because you happen to know the artist’s work and that is the greatest feeling to me. That happened once with Jeff Lynne, John Fogerty of CCR and also once with Joe Walsh of The Eagles. Live is live and anything can happen kind of…that’s what makes it so fun.

Is there anything that you think non-musicians would be surprised to learn about backup singers?

You don’t have to even think about hearing yourself in the studio. You have complete control compared to a live scenario. I think non-musicians are surprised to find that recording a voice or any instrument is almost a different skill from playing live. Studio recording of any kind puts you under a microscope and that takes a good amount of precision and technique from the player. In the studio you hear every little detail. Your voice is…naked.

Many singers get into the studio to discover that their vocals aren’t quite where they had hoped.

Has singing backup improved any aspects of your musicianship?

God, yes.

Thank you Leslie! Check out www.DearLemonTrees.com — the trio plays June 10th at Ojai’s Deer Lodge and June 18th at The Hotel Cafe (presented by The Bluegrass Situation).

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Q&A: Morgan Paros On Tour Life

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/mallorymturner/

Photo Credit: Mallory Turner

Morgan Paros is a violinist and singer based in Los Angeles. She talked to us about her experience on the road, giving us an inside look at touring life.

After The Show: Have you encountered any unexpected or surprising things while being on the road?

Morgan Paros: This summer was my first bus tour and we slept on the bus most nights while our driver drove to our next tour stop. We had a full bus and when I boarded most of the beds were already claimed, so I ended up on the top bunk…and I was excited at first. The first week of tour I barely slept however due to the sway of the top bunk! I could literally feel my stomach lurching side to side at night. Yet, somehow by the end of tour I was totally acclimated and slept great at night haha.

Have you ever experienced any traveling or transportation challenges — like a bus or van breaking down? 

Yes, nothing too dramatic…on my summer 2015 tour with Hunter Hunted, we were traveling back to Los Angeles and driving during the daytime. The bus kept overheating through the mountains in Arizona, so we would frequently pull over to let the engine cool down…which added many additional hours of drive time. It was a vicious cycle of having to stop to let the engine cool, but then adding drive time and more overheating.

How do you maintain relationships with family and friends when you work away from home so frequently?

Phonecalls and FaceTime become the best way of checking in with loved ones. On bus tours you get a little more privacy and daytime freedom since you generally wake up in the city you’re performing in. That always helps – then you have more of a routine and can make calls before your afternoon soundcheck. On van tours, there is generally heavy daytime driving which makes it harder to find quiet time to call before shows. Also, about a week into tour, I’m adjusted to my schedule and so is my family…and we are definitely supportive of one another from afar. I update them on every show, the sweetest fans I meet, and cool places I visit.

If I’m lucky, I also get to see old friends and family in cities I perform in. Lastly, my family will always make it to a couple shows on tour to visit me on the road! That’s the real treat too, because they always bring awesome food and goodies to share with the rest of the band and crew!

What about playing the actual shows — is it exhausting to travel night after night?

Yes, it is tiring to play shows nightly. But, there is a rhythm to it…music pun intended. There is an enormous energy and high I get from performing and meeting fans that carries me through any tour and often coming home is bittersweet…until I sleep in my bed again haha!

How do you get enough sleep, eat healthy, and take care of yourself?

On a bus tour, I sleep in my bunk at night during drives to the next city. Sometimes if I had a late night or didn’t sleep well I can catch a quick nap before soundcheck and get geared up for an awesome show. Eating healthy is getting way easier now that healthy whole foods are popular again. I always pack a giant bag of healthy snacks for tour in the event there’s nothing easily accessible. We are also big Whole Foods market fans and will frequently stock the bus fridge with goodies when there’s one nearby! Showering will happen at a “day room” (rented hotel room) or occasionally the concert venue will have nice showers.

Hunter Hunted is also big on working out. No matter the city, we will always find a cool place to run, play basketball, or even hit the batting cages. We actually have a special rating system for hotel gyms. We are known to periscope our workouts too…and I may or may not teach a class called “Hot Bod by Morgan” 🙂 You’ll have to check periscope next tour to find out!

Thanks for sharing Morgan! Keep up with Morgan’s music projects on Instagram and Twitter.

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SonicScoop Interview: Josh Gannet

I interviewed audio engineer Josh Gannet for SonicScoop — check out the Q&A over at SonicScoop!

SonicScoop Josh Gannet

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