How is creating and building a solo project different than past bands you’ve been in?
Starting a solo project from the ground up has been a great experience. Having complete creative control over the songs that are written for the EP was extremely freeing. Being allowed to write whatever I wanted, how I wanted to write it, was extremely satisfying. Seeing the songs I heard in my head come to life right before my eyes was such an amazing experience.
How is the music different from those bands?
The music I’ve written for Highwind doesn’t just stick to one sound. All of the other bands I’ve played with wanted to stick to one style, and fit in with a specific crowd. I just wanted to write whatever came to mind and work with whatever inspired me. I like to think that there is a little something for everyone on this first EP.
Do you feel more comfortable working as a solo artist, or are there more challenges?
There’s definitely more challenges as a solo artist because now I’m running everything by myself. Responsibilities and costs aren’t being split among multiple members. It’s all on me. But at the same time, it’s nice to know that everything that’s supposed to be getting done is getting done because I’m the only one doing it. So while it might be more expensive and time-consuming, I feel more at ease knowing that everything is getting done the way I want it to be done.
With the release of your debut single, you immediately delivered a powerful narrative. Why was this track chosen as your debut?
“Afterlife,” was the first song I finished for the record. It’s also the song on the record that means the most to me. Adam, the friend I wrote the song about, was someone that meant the world to me and still does to this day. It felt right to release it first because Adam was and still is an encouraging factor as to why I play music. It’s also the song that gave Highwind its jumpstart. It’s like a look into what got this project going, in a sense.
Are the other songs on your debut EP as personal as this one?
I would say so, absolutely. The entire record is some of the most honest I have ever been with my songwriting. Every song is about something I have felt, a situation I have been through, or a mix of the two.
Do you have any plans to tour in the near future?
Absolutely. I have a lot of friends across America that I would love the chance to play with. There are also so many states that I haven’t had to chance to play in, or even visit for that matter, that I would love to venture out and play in.
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MKNLY Drops New EP "When I'm Lonely" - OUT NOW
NORTH CAROLINA, USA | DECEMBER 21ST, 2018 - North Carolina-based alternative rock band MKNLY have released their new 5-track EP, "When I'm Lonely," out on all digital platforms NOW. The EP, containing their most recent single "You Can't Stay," builds on the sound they established on their last two single releases, combining elements of both alternative and pop. Producers Wes Lauterbach and Zane Frye played crucial roles in the creation of the EP, helping MKNLY develop their influences into a moving, yet powerful, body of work. "When I'm Lonely" has depth, while also maintaining mainstream pop-laden hooks and bright, polished guitar riffs. About the EP, the band states:
The EP is about the type of things we find ourselves as humans thinking about in our lowest moments, this time when we feel completely alone. Whether it be reminiscing about lost love, current relationship struggles, or even battling PTSD and depression.
MKNLY is a four-piece alternative/pop rock band from North Carolina consisting of Tristan Briza (guitar), Josh Wicker (guitar), Benjamin Green (vocals), and Anthony Hamilton (drums). The group was originally formed in summer of 2017 directly following their debut EP “ Something To Stand Behind” which launched them onto the scene. It wasn’t long until they found themselves opening for national acts such as Emarosa, and The Spill Canvas. The release gave them a great start but they felt like they didn’t have a solidified sound they wanted. After working with producers Wes Lauterbach and Zane Frye, the group was able to find themselves a great solid and solid songs which would be the basis for their second release. MKNLY then recording their second EP with Chris Piquette of No Boundaries Studios in Rhode Island. With a combination of rhythmic guitar, catchy melodies, and expressive lyrics, MKNLY offers a unique sound that bridges the gap between alternative rock and pop. Singer Benjamin's strong lyricism drawn from personal life struggles, depression, and of course relationships to find a sense of therapeutic release. "When I'm Lonely" is out on all digital platforms NOW.
WATCH: "You Can't Stay" (music video)
STREAM: "WHEN I'M LONELY" EP
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Toad and The Stooligans Drop New Single "Trap Song" With Music Video
Photo: Kayla Chin
PROVIDENCE, RI | DECEMBER 21ST, 2018 - Providence-based alternative pop/hip hop project Toad and The Stooligans have released a new single, titled "Trap Song," out on all digital platforms NOW. Along with the music video, the group continues to explore a multitude of influences in "Trap Song," including elements of rock, funk, and jazz. What's perhaps most intriguing about both the band and "Trap Song" is the seamlessness of their sound; although inspired by a wide range of genres, the Stooligans still sound polished. Their unique mesh of styles is ultimately what defines their brand, and "Trap Song" is the perfect representation of their collective persona. About the single, the band states:
For “Trap Song” we just wanted to take the vibe that hip hop artists put into trap beats and drop it into a live band environment. We wanted it to be rhythmically intricate, hard hitting and powerful. Recording this song wasn’t immediately in the plans; we had just planned on rolling it out as a live song. But the response was so overwhelming from our hometown crowd that we had to get in the studio and lay it down. The video concept was thought up by our vocalist Mike Jencks. He took his love for monster movies and spun it into something original. He handmade all the buildings for the set himself and put countless hours into this project.
Hailing from Providence, RI and growing up in the nearby suburbs, Toad and the Stooligans is far from the typical hip hop group. The band features the lyrical stylings of Mike Jencks (vocals) and Dan Pomfret (vocals / guitar) dressing up the groovy rhythm section of Alex Caimano (bass), Matt O’Brien (drums) and Daniel Hill (keyboards). Formed in early 2015, the high school friends joined together with the common goal of playing a different brand of hip hop. Heavily influenced by funk, jazz and a plethora of other genres, the Stooligans mesh multiple sounds together to create a canvas for their dual-vocal delivery. Since their formation, the Stooligans have played extensively in the Providence area, including winning the Rhode Island College 90.7 WXIN Battle of the Bands in 2017. They have gone on to headlining at venues throughout Providence and venturing to other areas in the Northeast. Their debut album, “Very Handsome”, was recorded in early 2017 with John DelloIacono at Bridge East Studios in East Bridgewater, MA and self-released on September 15, 2017. The release was accompanied by videos for singles “All Things Considered” and “Part Time Lovers”. The band has prided itself on a very strong DIY work ethic since day one, relying heavily on imagination and creativity to push their brand, which is often displayed in their videos. "Trap Song" is available on all digital platforms NOW.
WATCH: "Trap Song" music video (YouTube)
STREAM "TRAP SONG" ON SPOTIFY HERE
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NJ's Highwind Premieres Debut Single/Music Video "Afterlife (How’ve You Been?)"
ASBURY PARK, NJ | DECEMBER 14TH, 2018 - New Jersey-based alternative rock project Highwind has released their debut single, "Afterlife (How've You Been?)," out on all digital platforms NOW. Along with a corresponding music video, the track serves as an open of letter of sorts to vocalist Chris Russo's best friend, who tragically passed in a car crash. The single is filled with raw emotion; combined with modern pop punk influences, Highwind packs a stirring punch in their debut. "Afterlife (How've You Been?)" is comfortable and nostalgic, well-developed and simultaneously haunting. The track is just a small taste of Highwind's upcoming January debut EP, out January 11th. About the single, Highwind creator Chris Russo states:
The majority of Afterlife was written around two years ago, when my one of my best friends passed away in a car crash. The song, as well as the music video, are both in memory of Adam Rarela. Adam left an amazing impact on my life. Afterlife is meant to be a conversation with Adam after his passing. The entire song is full of references to things he did, things he loved, and things we did to celebrate his life after he passed away. Highwind is my first attempt at writing for any kind of solo project.
Highwind is a new alternative-rock project founded by Asbury Park singer/song-writer, Christopher Russo. After playing in multiple bands since the age of sixteen, Chris found it was time for a different approach to writing, recording, and performing. The idea of Highwind was formed after Chris went to producer, CJ Rarela, and recorded a demo on his own in May of 2018. After this demo session, Chris was more determined than ever to write, record, and release music under a new name. It was during this session that Highwind was born. Highwind draws inspiration from bands such as The Dangerous Summer, As It Is, Yellowcard, Anberlin, From First to Last, Selfish Things, among many others. Instead of sticking to one singular genre, Highwind’s sound pulls from multiple influences. Chris uses different stylistic sounds to express each emotion or situation that the song is talking about in its own light. The debut EP, “How’ve You Been?” is set for release on January 11th. Highwind's debut single, "Afterlife (How've You Been?)" is available on all digital platforms NOW.
WATCH: "Afterlife (How've You Been?)" music video (YouTube)
STREAM "AFTERLIFE (HOW'VE YOU BEEN?)" ON SPOTIFY HERE
CONNECT WITH HIGHWIND:
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