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The Big Takeover Issue #93
Interviews
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Interview: Alex Bleeker (Real Estate)

22 February 2024

With a number of projects under his belt, Real Estate co-founder and bassist Alex Bleeker offers up some recommendations from the list of things he’s worked on that people should check out as they prepare to listen to the new Real Estate album, Daniel.

Interview: Danielle Durack

19 February 2024

Danielle Durack gracefully traverses a range of emotions, bravely tackling difficult truths on her fourth album, Escape Artist. Exploring themes of love, loss, and significant life changes, Escape Artist offers Durack a stage for deep introspection into her personal journey and the beginning of resolution.

Interview: Friko

16 February 2024

One of the best-sounding debut albums I’ve heard, Friko’s Where we’ve been, Where we go from here showcases the young Chicago trio’s versatile sound which will undoubtedly remind listeners of stuff they’ve heard without ever sounding like an imitation of any of those artists. Niko Kapetan and Bailey Minzenberger share where they’ve been in terms of how they met and developed the Friko sound as well as where they go from here, which includes touring to support their jaw-dropping debut.

Interview: Tyler Ramsey

14 February 2024

Rooted in folk and Americana traditions, Tyler Ramsey’s introspective style of songwriting provides warmth and intimacy on his latest album, the Phil Ek*-produced New Lost Ages. As humble and gentle in person as he is on record, Ramsey discusses the new album, the world he hopes to leave behind for his kids, and how *Neal Casal’s passing inspired the song “Flare”.

You can't keep a good band down. A chat with Foster C. Johnson on the return of Vegas DeMilo

13 February 2024

Riff-driven power pop outfit Vegas DeMilo have announced the release of Black Sheep Lodge, their shimmering 4th album which one writer described as “The Replacements fronted by Liam Gallagher.” It’s an apt comparison as the expertly produced collection displays its 90s grit while also exhibiting the songwriting finesse of Paul Westerberg and Jeff Tweedy clamoring against the dramatic tension of Oasis anthems.

Interview: Tom McGreevy (Ducks Ltd.)

11 February 2024

Shiny and shimmering jangle pop helps offset the darker subject matter of Ducks Ltd.’s sophomore album, Harm’s Way. Singer/guitarist Tom McGreevy discusses what led to recording in Chicago, how his R.E.M. knowledge didn’t run deep at the start of the band’s career, and how Archers of Loaf provided valuable touring lessons.

Interview: Pylon Reenactment Society

7 February 2024

A member of the influential ’80s new wave punk band Pylon returns, paying homage to the band she lead decades ago with the help of fellow Athens, Georgia musicians from bands like Supercluster and Casper & The Cookies. But, make no mistake, while Pylon Reenactment Society does pay homage to Pylon, singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay is ready to explore new and fresh sounds. Hay and guitarist Jason NeSmith share stories about Athens, discuss the influence Pylon has had, and recall a funny story about meeting Sleater-Kinney.

Interview: TORRES

2 February 2024

With an ever evolving sound, the latest release by TORRES, What an enormous room on Merge Records find singer Mackenzie Scott addressing often dark and complex thoughts and feelings with music grounded in fantasy and experimentation. Scott discusses where this album fits in among their past efforts, talks about the importance of physical and mental fitness, and dives into some of the lyrics.

Interview: Jack Callan and Sam McCann (Sprints)

29 January 2024

Delving fearlessly into themes of mental health and sexuality, Sprints debut album, and first notable album of the year, Letter to Self, serves as a raw and unapologetic exploration of singer Karla Chubb’s difficult life. Bassist Sam McCann and drummer Jack Callan discuss the album’s release, Chubb’s honest songwriting, connecting with fans, and the feeling of playing their first sold-out show.

Interview: Kane Strang (Office Dog)

25 January 2024

Teaming up with friends, and musicians who had backed him during his solo career, Kane Strang’s passion was reignited with the formation of the indie guitar-rock trio Office Dog. Free from expectations, the New Zealand-based band provides the energy that Strang was missing as a solo artist and caught the attention of two highly-respected indie labels who are now sharing Office Dog’s music with the world.

Interview: Folly Group

22 January 2024

The UK’s Folly Group enters 2024 on a strong note with the release of their post-punk debut, Down There!. While the band’s music is anxious, paranoid, and even angry at times, the guys in the band are the complete opposite. In this conversation, they discuss their common love of Gorillaz, where the confidence comes from, the realities of touring, and the band names they’d use if they started a hardcore band.

Sanity, Clarity, and Sonic Excellence: A Chat with Léanie Kaleido and Mark Foster of Karamelien

20 January 2024

UK-based Karamelien is Léanie Kaleido and Mark Foster. After a string of singles, the indie pop duo has released their debut album. It celebrates the rewarding path of learning to live with mental health challenges, accepting them, and feeling the freedom of just ‘going with the flow.

This 9-track offering was co-produced by Ride’s Mark Gardener, Ian Caple (Massive Attack, Tricky, Mansun, Tindersticks, Vanessa Paradis) and Chris Mars (A Flock of Seagulls, Damian Wilson). This album also features bassist Lee Pomeroy (ELO, Rick Wakeman, Yes), Morris ‘Mo’ Pleasure (Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles), and Léanie’s father *Top Topham*(*The Yardbirds8), who recently passed away. Let’s get into it.

Between a Rock and a Psychedelic Place: Getting to Know London's Sabatta

17 January 2024

Revolving around Essex-raised guitarist and songwriter Yinka Oyewole, who is of Nigerian lineage, London alternative-psychedelic rock trio Sabatta has had a busy year with loads of attention for their new 12-track album_How To Get Even_. With support from Clash Magazine, AfroPunk and The Big Takeover, they most recently featured in Rolling Stone France. With their stock riding high, I sat down with Yinka to find out more.

Interview: Erik Kase Romero

16 January 2024

Few artists can juggle their involvement in multiple interesting projects at once and pull it off like a seasoned pro. Erik Kase Romero is a perfect example of such an artist. He splits his time between being an active member of The Front Bottoms, his production/engineering work, where he pours much of his creative juices into his efforts to help up-and-coming bands shine to their fullest on record, putting out music under his own name, and you know, having an actual life outside of music, too.

The Audio-Visual Dream Experience: A deep dive into Art-Rock with Tulipomania

16 January 2024

Philadelphia’s Tulipomania is Cheryl Gelover and Tom Murray, who first met through experimental film and animation classes, so it comes as no surprise that their music and animations should explore outrage, powerlessness – and the sorrow that emerges from those states of mind. The duo has released their fifth album Dreaming of Sleep and a remix of the single “You Had to Be There” by UK music icon Martyn Ware (Heaven 17, The Human League) & Charles Stooke.

Interview: Marika Hackman

12 January 2024

Marika Hackman opens up about the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on her music creation process, providing a glimpse into the challenges and revelations she faced during these unprecedented times. Marika shares the highs, lows, and unexpected inspirations that shaped her latest album, Big Sigh and discusses her introspective lyrics, the thematic choices in her music videos, and the evolving philosophy behind her pursuit of artistic growth.

Interview: Rome

3 January 2024

Rome Ramirez discusses his reasons for leaving Sublime with Rome and what he’s got planned for his future. He also talks about how Sublime with Rome’s music isn’t that far removed from the jam band scene, his move to Nashville, when being on the road turns into a job, and what dream he still has for his career.

Interview: Stewart Copeland

28 December 2023

Stewart Copeland opens up about the influx of Police-related projects in 2023 — including two albums and a book — which he sees as an opportunity to create space for pursuing his other passions in the upcoming year. In this interview with the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer, Copeland delves into his deep affection for composing orchestral pieces, shares the emotions evoked when encountering The Police’s music unexpectedly, and discloses his keen interest in keeping tabs on the current endeavors of both Sting and Andy Summers.

Interview: JACK

28 December 2023

Jack Osborn is an indie-pop virtuoso whose music is a kaleidoscope of smart lyricism and infectious melodies. Crafting witty tunes with irresistible hooks, Sad Songs in C Major, the full-length debut by JACK, is like Vampire Weekend without the Ivy League degree. In this conversation, Osborn discusses the advantages of living in Nebraska, why he create massive amounts of social media content, and the decision behind recording some unexpected covers.

In The Warmth of Winter: An Interview with Projekt Records' Sam Rosenthal

21 December 2023

“It’s honestly weird to realize that I’m now an “oldies” act, and the music is getting discovered by a new generation.” – Sam Rosenthal

Interview: Vinnie Paolizzi

18 December 2023

After co-writing hundreds of songs for other artists, Vinnie Paolizzi has finally released his own full-length album that he says is neither a country nor a folk record but, rather, a Vinnie record. In this conversation, Paolizzi discusses his influences, the draw of Nashville, his admiration of Chris Cornell and more.

Who Are The Laughing Chimes? An Interview With Evan Seurkamp

17 December 2023

“Having our family support our musical endeavors is very, very important to us and we try not to take it for granted because I know a lot of times parents can view music as a waste of time. Especially when music takes up as much time as it does for us. They love a lot of the same music that we do though so maybe that has something to do with it!” – Evan Seurkamp

Interview: Mitch Rowland

11 December 2023

Growing up a fan of Neil Young and The Black Crowes, Mitch Rowland’s musical career was diverted when he joined Harry Styles band as both a co-writer and touring guitarist. Inspired by the downtime the pandemic offered, Rowland wrote and recorded his debut solo album, Come June, which is a minimalistic, ’70s-inspired singer/songwriter collection of Americana-flavored songs. Rowland discusses those songs and more in this conversation.

Interview: Josh Radnor

5 December 2023

Best known as TV’s Ted Mosby (How I Met Your Mother), Josh Radnor was a latecomer to the songwriting game. But, a chance meeting with singer/songwriter Ben Lee opened new doors for the actor who’s gift for telling stories through song shines brightly on his debut album, Eulogy: Volume 1.

Interview: Alex Ellis (Our Man in the Field)

4 December 2023

Recording under the name Our Man in the Field, UK actor-turned-musician Alex Ellis is able to tell stories as an observer rather than delivering a first-person narrative although the songwriter admits many of the songs on his sophomore release, Gold on the Horizon, are, in fact, based on his personal experiences.

Interview: The Dwarves

29 November 2023

The Dwarves Then and Now…

Silver Linings in the Dark: A Chat with Octavian Winters

27 November 2023

As San Francisco’s Octavian Winters gear up to release their new album The Line or The Curve’, I spoke to Randy Gzebb (drums), Ria Aursjoen (vocals, keyboards), and Stephan Salit (guitar) about past, present and future plans.

Interview: Into the Sonic Stratosphere with I Am a Rocketship

26 November 2023

Atlanta indie pop duo I Am a Rocketship has released their new La Cruella album, their sixth major release, comprised of ten tracks that explore uncertainty, fear, and dreams. I Am a Rocketship is made up of American artist Eric Weissinger and Swedish artist L E Kippner.

Surf-spy adventures with Guitarmy of One

25 November 2023

NYC artist Guitarmy of One (aka guitarist Scott Helland, has released his adventurous crowdfunded album The Wave Files mixing dark, ominous guitar riffing with surf guitar swells and foreboding reverb-drenched melodies. His first band Deep Wound, was formed with alt-rock trailblazers J Mascis and Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr). He later played with Outpatients, School of Violence and Darkside NYC before forming the post-punk duo Frenchy and the Punk in 2005.

Orient meets Occident: A short conversation with Malena Cadiz

24 November 2023

Malena Cadiz is a lady of the canyon, waylaid at a suburban strip mall, acutely aware of how romance shines through even in the moments of grit and desolation. There’s something Didion-esque about Cadiz’s storytelling as she crafts deeply personal vignettes that reveal greater narratives about the world we live in. A captivating songwriter with an unmistakable voice.

Interview: A New Jersey moment with CR and the Nones

23 November 2023

New Jersey band CR and The Nones have released their new album The Ghosts Are Coming Home via Montclair-based Magic Door Record Label. The band is led by Chris Gennone, who came of age playing in various projects in suburban New Jersey, including his former band, CR and The Degenerates.

Interview: Tim DeLaughter (The Polyphonic Spree)

17 November 2023

With their first album of original material in a decade, The Polyphonic Spree returns with Salvage Enterprise, an album meant to take listeners back to the old way of listening to music – finding the right environment to play the album from start to finish and let the music wash over you. Tim DeLaughter shares why this album is so important to him and how it’s origins came as a way to battle depression.

Interview: Brian Walsby

9 November 2023

A conversation with artist and musician Brian Walsby about his background in ’80s fanzine culture, how music fuels his art, and his recent series of power pop drawings.

Interview: Dylan LeBlanc

7 November 2023

Dylan LeBlanc’s journey through life, from the gritty streets of Shreveport, Louisiana to the creative haven of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, has been a defining influence on his music. With a passionate commitment to storytelling through his songs, he has crafted a series of critically-acclaimed albums, including his latest work, Coyote, which represents a culmination of his artistic evolution.

Interview: Dirty Honey

3 November 2023

Coming out of the gate fast and furious, modern classic rock torchbearers Dirty Honey have returned with their aptly-titled sophomore album, Can’t Find the Brakes. With a new drummer in tow, Dirty Honey’s stretching their songwriting skills to include some mid-tempo ballads though the rockers still soar with arena-ready vocals and guitar hero riffs. Guitarist John Notto and drummer Jaydon Bean discuss the making of the album, recording in Australia, and what a dream stadium tour lineup would look like.

Interview: John Oates

31 October 2023

With an illustrious five-decade, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career as one half of the Hall and Oates duo coming to an end, John Oates discusses how writing and recording his own material has made music fun again. Oates has a handful of sold-out tour dates to end the year and he shares what fans should expect from these shows, from how he’ll tell stories behind the songs to what might be on the setlist.

Interview: Ditner (Joshua Deitner)

29 October 2023

Joshua Deitner (composer/multi-instrumentalist) is the voice and producer behind Ditner, an experimental/indie recording project based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Figures arrives October 27, 2023 featuring traditional drum set and percussion, monophonic synthesizer and layered guitars underneath the most adventurous lyrical and vocal work to date.

Interview: Sarah Rudy (Hello June)

26 October 2023

Artifacts is a memorable collection of Americana songs conceived in rural parts of West Virginia by a songwriter who has city smarts. Sarah Rudy discusses the making of Hello June’s sophomore album, the reason she covered John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, and the artists she finds comfort in including some heavier stuff that might surprise you.

Interview: Tobey Torres-Doran of Mojave Phone Booth

26 October 2023

Former Snake River Conspiracy singer Tobey Torres discusses her current band, Mojave Phone Booth

Let There Be Lemon Lights: An Interview With Seablite

24 October 2023

“Individual personalities are what make our band what it is. Everyone has a slightly different aesthetic that works so well together, while essentially drawing the inspiration from the same source.” – Galine Tumasyan

“I got a lot of stripe-y mock necks and a great suede jacket, but I’m on the hunt for a black leather blazer a la C86 era Primal Scream. About size 34 if anyone’s got one, lemme know!” – Andy Pastalaniec

“I love that we all come from different backgrounds and have our own personal styles that all blend together as a whole. I think that’s what makes Seablite distinctive and keeps things interesting!” – Jen Mundy

“This was the biggest project to date that I’ve engineered, recording guitars in our practice space and then vocals and other layers in my apartment. I think the hardest part about recording like this, is to know when to put a bow on it.” – Lauren Matsui

Interview: Meltt

23 October 2023

The Vancouver-based Meltt uses lifelong relationships among band members to create a rich and complex collection of tracks that are truly brought to life when listening on a good set of headphones. James Porter and Jamie Turner discuss the luxury of time provided by Covid lockdowns to dedicate to songwriting, the importance of album sequencing, and how the band name reflects how they want listeners to interpret the music they make.

Bard Of The Bay: An Interview With Tony Jay

16 October 2023

“We don’t live in a perfect world. In fact, when it comes to love and or romance, things hardly ever live up to unrealistic expectations. But in one’s head and heart, there are infinite possibilities, each containing an equal possibility for devastation.” – Michael Ramos

Interview: Andy Summers

9 October 2023

One of the most well-respected and talented guitarists the music world has ever known, Andy Summers is currently on tour doing a one-man mixed-media show including music, storytelling and photography. In this interview, Summers talks about how he got into taking photos, how he has no plans to slow down, and discusses some of his post-Police projects.

Interview: The Brook and The Bluff

6 October 2023

The Nashville-by-way-of-Birmingham The Brook and The Bluff is riding their indie-folk-meets-yacht-rock sound to great success on the road. Singer Joseph Settine discusses the band’s journey and answers questions inspired by some of the Bluebeard song titles.

A Long Interview with Yoshiki

5 October 2023

Japanese superstar Yoshiki discusses his October classical world tour, his debut as a film director, the emotional and physical strength he’s shown throughout his life, and his intense desire to help himself – and his beloved fans – with his music

Interview: Jenny Owen Youngs

2 October 2023

Balancing writing her own songs, writing for others, hosting podcasts, and being a new mother, Jenny Owen Youngs doesn’t have a lot of free time. With a new album, Avalanche, out on Yep Roc Records, Youngs’ already busy life is about to get busier as she enters the promotional cycle and plays a few dates to support the album. We were lucky to get a few minutes to catch up with the singer-songwriter recently to talk about new music, podcasting and music around the house.

Interview: Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub)

25 September 2023

Teenage Fanclub’s eleventh album, Nothing Lasts Forever, finds the Glasgow band doing what they do best – delivering delightfully sublime, ’60s Laurel Canyon-influenced, melodic power-pop with a sunny attitude. Singer/guitarist Norman Blake discusses how the band arrived at that sound, releasing an album (Endless Arcade) during the pandemic, and what it’s like being a band that has lasted over three decades.

From Lockdowns to Musical Highs. In Conversation with Maureen Toth

25 September 2023

Chiaroscuro, is the latest EP from Maureen Toth, a collection of songs that live up to the titular idea of artistic use of light and shade. Championed by Women of Substance Radio, the inherent quality in Toth’s forthright material has drawn comparisons to Patty Griffin, Joni Mitchell, and Shelby Lynne.

Interview: Sofia Jensen (Free Range)

17 September 2023

It’s been a dreamlike year for Sofia Jensen, from releasing the debut Free Range album, Practice, to supporting artists like Jeff Tweedy and Ratboys to gracing The Newport Folk Festival stage. A rising talent in the indie folk world, Jensen discusses Free Range’s origins, the songwriting process, covering Gillian Welch’s “Look at Miss Ohio”, and losing their wallet in Ohio.