Interview: Jeremy Bolm of Touché Amoré

Touche Amore

After the emotional toll 2016’s Stage Four took out of Jeremy Bolm, Lament feels like the Touché Amoré vocalist finally coming up from under the weight of that record for some much needed air. “Stage Four was a mandatory record for my well-being,” explains Bolm. “I wasn’t as focused on doing everything perfect as I was doing it to feel better.” Lament is the band putting in the best work of their decade-plus career – if there’s been one constant about Touché Amoré, it’s that the Los Angeles-based band has always given a shit. From the art direction to the visuals to the actual music, nothing about this band is ever half-assed, so it makes total sense why the quintet would seek out “The Godfather of Nu-Metal” Ross Robinson (a man who’s had his hands on little-known records like Korn’s self-titled album, Iowa, Relationship of Command, Worship & Tribute – just to name a few of the records that completely changed aggressive music) to produce the band’s fifth album. Robinson pushed Touché to their absolute best, resulting in some of the most challenging yet rewarding, genre-pushing music of 2020. “I can comfortably say I’m proud of this album more than any other in our discography,” says Bolm. Below, we discussed working with Robinson, how the Andy Hull collaboration came about, and the genesis behind the best Touché Amoré songs ever.

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Interview: Ali Tabatabaee of Fear No Empire

Fear No Empire

A few days ago I was able to have a conversation with Ali of Fear No Empire, and we chatted about why he decided to form a new, politically-charged rock band after so many years with pop-punk band Zebrahead. Fear No Empire is Ali Tabatabaee – Vocals (Zebrahead,) Ben Ozz – Bass (Zebrahead,) Dan Palmer – Guitar (Zebrahead, Death By Stereo,) and Mike Cambra – Drums (The Adolescents, Death by Stereo and Common War). Their new single, “Revolt” captures their punk rock spirit with some hip-hop elements thrown into the mix. During my conversation with Ali, we discussed the formation of this new band, what makes Fear No Empire unique, and the recording process of their new self-titled EP that will be released this October.

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Interview: Alex Basovskiy of Only Sibling

Only Sibling

A couple weeks ago I was able to chat with Alex Basovskiy (Vocalist/Guitarist) of a new band called Only Sibling. We talked about his band’s new album Get Well Soon, the struggles of promoting a new record during a pandemic, unique memories from the recording process of the LP, and what fans can expect from the band when they’re able to get back on the road. Get Well Soon will be available everywhere music is sold this Friday via Other People Records.

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Interview: Tom Mullen

Tom Mullen

This past week, I was able to have an enlightening conversation with Tom Mullen (of the Washed Up Emo podcast) ahead of him releasing the next Anthology of Emo book. In this interview, Tom and I chatted about what the word “emo” means to him today, the process he goes through for preparing for an interview or podcast, and vivid memories Tom has of experiencing emo culture. As much as I know about emo and punk music, Tom Mullen puts my knowledge to shame with his expansive understanding and first-hand experience of the scene, and I learned a great deal from just a short conversation with him.

The first volume of Anthology of Emo was wildly successful and it sold out its initial run of physical copies. Volume Two features exclusive interviews from his Washed Up Emo podcasts with artists such as Jim Adkins from Jimmy Eat World and Chris Conley from Saves the Day, among many others. Both Volume One (reprinted) and Volume Two are available for pre-order here.

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Interview: Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms

The Lawrence Arms

You never expect your record about the impending apocalypse will actually release when the entire world is on fire but that’s where The Lawrence Arms find themselves. On July 17th, Chicago’s finest return with Skeleton Coast – the trio’s first collection of new material’s since 2014’s impressive Metropole. It’s been a long six years since then and the new record reflects that – as a creeping dread is felt throughout its fourteen tracks (as opener “Quiet Storm” bluntly puts it, “Listen closely: Some horsemen are calling. Lay back, the night sky is falling”). Skeleton Coast is a wild ride featuring the best work of the band’s career. I spoke with bassist/vocalist Brendan Kelly about recording Skeleton Coast in the middle of the Texas desert, being inspired by the Beastie Boys and Outkast, and how this record is the perfect record for this unprecedented times.

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Interview: Mike Henneberger

Mike Henneberger

Recently I was able to have a phone conversation with author Mike Henneberger before he released his new memoir, Rock Bottom at the Renaissance. I previewed this book in the form of a review a few weeks ago, and it was enlightening to hear firsthand Mike’s take on what I had read in his memoir. We discussed other bands that have had an influence on him over the years, everything that went into writing his book, and the creation of his new company called Berger Media. The book is available to purchase everywhere starting today, and more details can be found at his official website.

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Interview: The Ghost Inside

The Ghost Inside

On June 5th, The Ghost Inside will triumphantly return with their self-titled fifth album – an eleven track journey featuring the heaviest and most poignant work of the band’s illustrious career. It’s the Los Angeles band’s first release in nearly six years and it’s a record that almost never existed as the path towards The Ghost Inside was littered with tragedy, pain, and self-doubt. On the morning of November 19, 2015, the band’s tour bus collided head on with a tractor trailer while headed west to Mesa, Arizona on U.S. Highway 180. The drivers of both vehicles, Greg Hoke and Steven Cunningham, lost their lives in the accident, while vocalist Jonathan Vigil, bassist Jim Riley, guitarists Zach Johnson and Chris Davis, and drummer Andrew Tkaczyk suffered life-changing injuries (Tkaczyk lost one of his legs following an initial ten-day coma). After facing a lengthy recovery period, the band took time to get into the right head space to figure out if they wanted to continue as The Ghost Inside. Realizing that this tragedy is the precise moment to put their inspirational lyrics to the test, the quintet returned to a sold-out performance last summer at Los Angeles’ The Shrine, promising new music soon. That moment is now and I was fortunate enough to speak with Andrew about the record, the moving visual for their first single “Aftermath,” and creating the record the band was always meant to make.

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Interview: O’Brother

O'Brother

O’Brother has never been an easy band to pin down. I’ll leave it to them, as they explain it best: they’re a “borderline metal band that’s heavily influenced by Radiohead and Sigur Ros”. Their debut album, 2011’s Garden Window embraced chaos and mystique, featured vocals from Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra) and introduced the band’s experimental nature. O’Brother quickly amassed a loyal following through clever, brilliant music and non-stop touring. Disillusion (2013), their sophomore effort, expanded on the post-metal influence the band only teased beforehand. In 2016, O’Brother released one of the best albums of the year in Endless Light.

Last week, O’Brother put up their new album, You and I on Bandcamp for a pay-what-you-want price. On April 7 2020, first single “Killing Spree” was unveiled to the world, following a few days of teasing online. Where Endless Light touched the surface of using space as an instrument, their fourth album, You and I revels in ambience. Guitarists Jordan McGhin and Johnny Dang go back and forth between classical guitars and staring at the computer. Anton Dang still plays the bass guitar, of course. Michael Martens hardly plays the drums. In the meantime, vocalist Tanner Merritt reaches for the piano. I caught up with O’Brother this week from their respective homes over a surprisingly non-lagging Zoom call. Martens chatted from his living room, McGhin from his bedroom, Anton Dang from his porch, and Johnny Dang and Merritt from their offices/home studios.

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Interview: Derek Zanetti of The Homeless Gospel Choir

The Homeless Gospel Choir

This past week, I was able to connect with Derek Zanetti (aka The Homeless Gospel Choir) and discuss everything that went into making his new album, This Land is Your Landfill. I asked Derek about how he is staying connected to his fans during this pandemic, his take on the current political climate, his cassette collecting passion, and what he is most looking forward to when things return to normal.

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Interview: Paul Marc Rousseau of Silverstein

Silverstein

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to have a great conversation with the lead guitarist of Silverstein, Paul Marc Rousseau. In this interview we chatted a lot about everything that went into making their new album A Beautiful Place to Drown, the collaborative efforts present on the record, the detailed writing process for these sessions, and we even discussed lead vocalist Shane Told’s consistent vocal improvements. A Beautiful Place to Drown is available everywhere music is sold this Friday, March 6th.

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Interview: Caroline of Your Smith

Your Smith

This past month, I was able to sit down with Caroline Smith (of Your Smith) and talk about everything that went into her great new EP, Wild Wild Woman. In this interview we chatted about the lessons she learned from touring with road veterans K. Flay and X Ambassadors, how she typically composes her material, and key artists she has listened to over the years that have been essential in her development as an artist. Caroline is currently wrapping up the final dates of her US headlining tour.

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Interview: Zach Lupetin of Dustbowl Revival

Dustbowl Revival

Recently, I was able to sit down with Zach Lupetin (vocals, guitar) of Dustbowl Revival to discuss the band’s seventh studio album, Is It You, Is It Me, available everywhere this Friday, January 31st. We chatted about the band’s upcoming headlining tour in support of the new record, the stylistic changes that went into the new album, and artists that he admires in today’s music scene. I feel that the band grew a ton on this latest album, and I’d recommend Dustbowl Revival for fans of Lake Street Dive, Galactic, and other American-roots rock bands.

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Interview: Michael Barrios

Michael Barrios

Michael Barrios is in his San Diego bedroom, sitting by the window. His long-time partner, Daisy is beside him. Above her head are polaroid pictures tracing their four-year-long relationship. All of Barrios’ musical equipment is scattered across the floor, including his newest synth pad. There’s a disco ball above the bed. He’s a softly spoken, passionate man, and it’s been two years since his last interview.

It’s been three and a half years since the release of Barrios’ debut album under the No Hope Kids moniker, Our Time Apart. Next year will see the unconventional young artist make his return. With this upcoming release, he’s changing the name – although, he hasn’t gained much hope. Planning this currently unnamed new project (there are some cool album titles in play), returning to being in a long-distance relationship, and juggling full-time jobs with it all hasn’t been easy. But you can count on those experiences popping up throughout the album.

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