Category Archives: Interviews

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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Interview: Jill Hennessy

To celebrate the release of her new album I Do, Jill Hennessy talked to After The Show about the lyrics in her new songs, the music on Crossing Jordan, playing Springsteen songs, and her LA show next week at The Mint.

After The Show Jill Hennessy Interview

After The Show: For the set list for your LA show next Thursday, can you share what you’ll be playing in terms of newer songs vs older songs from Ghost In My Head vs covers ?

Jill Hennessy: Good question – I’m going to be focusing mainly on the newer songs but as far as the older songs, a little bit of “4 Small Hands” probably, maybe “Oh Mother.” You know, some of the bigger songs, possibly “Erin” just because I love the story of “Erin” and I love revisiting those stories.

On your new song “Real,” I like the lyric “Sing and don’t be afraid – angels talk in music anyway.” What does that mean…what was the inspiration for that line?

Okay, first of all I’m really touched that #1 you listened to the lyrics, and #2 that’s a really meaningful song for me because it’s about the tragedy of so many people whose voices were never heard…because of the color of their skin or their gender or their religion or just their circumstances in life, and how sometimes all we have is our voice to make change, to express ourselves, to send our love, and help other people to get out of their difficult circumstances.

“Sing and don’t be afraid” is something I try to follow myself – you can live in fear and be inactive, or you can just let go and create.

I know “Something’s Comin’” is the first single…did you consider filming a music video for any of the songs on I Do?

I’m thinking about it, man. That’ll be the next phase because right now we’re kind of focused on touring and promoting the album. We actually shot some guerrilla-style footage in our red ’66 Cadillac convertible all around the Jersey shore. My nephew (a screenwriter/producer in his 30s) was doing the camera work and my little 7 year old son was hiding in the back with me on the floor of the car.

We drove all over Monmouth County just getting all these iconic landmarks like The Stone Pony…it was an homage to Springsteen land which I find very inspirational. My 7 year old is in the video strumming his little ukulele, but my 12 year old was like “no way.” But it ended up being really cool, so that’ll probably be on the website at some point. Finding time in the schedule is kind of difficult at this point, but probably in 2 months there’ll be some time to breathe, and we’ll look into doing more videos that are story driven.

I think “I Do” is the best, catchiest song you’ve ever written; I really like how you traced a journey about marriage specifically, from meeting to “pretty words and roses” to “pain and joy” to getting married to having kids. I like how that song is a more comprehensive journey/story rather than just a snapshot or moment in time.

Yeah that totally is it, and it’s also about how relationships change or perceptions change – what you perceive “this is what marriage is gonna be” – it’s always evolving and shifting, from the time you’re a kid to when you get older…it ain’t black and white. Those are very specific images in my mind that to me are very tangible and representative. Sonically I tried to write something more uptempo, and it’s got that Buddy Holly influence.

Crossing Jordan was so strong in music: from Wendy and Lisa, to you playing guitar and singing, to the T-Bone soundtrack with your two cover songs, and the original opening credits showed you carrying your guitar. Did you have any input into song selection or was that mostly done in post-production?

It was my suggestion to have her carrying the guitar and the creator, Tim Kring, is a music lover himself…He and I always bonded over artists like Springsteen and Patty Griffin, so we’d talk about music all the time. He had the final call as to what music was put in, but music was very much a character in the show, and that’s how we both felt.

YouTube has some great videos of you singing “Galileo” and the solo verse on “Closer To Fine” with the Indigo Girls at concerts. How did those opportunities come about, because I know you love that band (and on Crossing Jordan, Jordan’s apartment even had an Indigo Girls poster on the wall!)?

[Laughs] yes. I met the Indigo Girls when we did Mountain Stage – that was I guess 4 years ago – and it’s a great festival presentation radio show out in Virginia. They were playing that night and I was playing before them, and at soundcheck I got to meet Amy and Emily and I was just blown away. I was afraid I would be rendered completely speechless. I was very kindly introduced and we just kind of hit it off and luckily I didn’t get down on bended knee and bow before them.

So then they started to tour around New Jersey and New York, and I opened for them a couple times and sang with them. We even cooked them vegetarian pasta, because they’re vegetarians – it was delicious, man. Peas with red sauce.

You’ve covered a bunch of Bruce Springsteen songs like “No Surrender,” “The River,” “Thunder Road,” “Atlantic City,” and “New York City Serenade.” What song of yours do you feel would be best suited for Bruce to cover?

That’s probably the best question that anyone’s ever asked me. Oh my God, girl, that’s a tough one. “I Do” sounds like it could be kind of a Bruce style. “Something’s Comin'” would be cool. “Save Me” would also be really be cool…though I can’t see him singing the line about makeup.

I know you performed the Harmonium cover “Pour Un Instant,” but have you ever considered writing and releasing a song in French (or Italian or Spanish)?

Definitely. On the Canadian release of Ghost In My Head there was a verse in Italian. I actually wrote a song in French for a Canadian TV movie called Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town. It’s scary to write a song period, but it’s even scarier to write a song in another language. There’s always that fear of ‘Maybe I don’t know what the colloquialisms are, or maybe there’s a double meaning I’m not aware of.’ But yeah, I’d love to write a song in either French or Italian.

Thanks for sharing Jill! People in Los Angeles, catch Jill play at The Mint on Thursday 10/22 and watch her website for the latest news.

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