"If you can't cut it live, and you build a lot of who you are on that promise, that's a bit disingenuous, know what I mean?".- Ben Sunderland
bunderland is the solo project of Ben Sunderland, vocalist of what used to be Chasing Owls. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland and I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting up with him while I was across the pond in the Uk for a session and quick chat.
How has your songwriting changed since going solo?
I think whatever had changed with the writing had already changed before the band came to an end, so it was more of me realizing that change.
It's a lot more self-reflective in terms of content. And I think writing changes with the seasons; I'll be writing in a different headspace today than in the summer. And since I'm writing all the time it's a good measure of me, I suppose? There's constantly a record of where I'm at.
Have you been gigging a lot since you started this project?
I was quite aware of the risk of making it work in the studio, then if it worked live it'd be a bonus. Whereas the way I'd brought myself up in music has always been live first and everything follows thereafter.
[...] It's lovely because most things that come in, I can say Yes to, where previously with a band you're thinking "Well, will drums work in that space? will you be deaf by the end of it?".
What's been your favorite show you've ever played?
[Chasing Owls] played Glastonbury 2013, and that was amazing. It just feels really like a family, with a huge spectrum of ages. And therefor our show was just amazing, so lovely. I would genuinely tell everyone to go, regardless of you are.I'd tell my mum to go!
What would be your favorite kind of place to play?
There's something about art centers: you have a gallery, a cafe, a studio space, a performance space... kind of purpose built for that.
At that building's inception, they're making it for the arts. It's really easy to tap into that ethos when you arrive and you're like,"Ah, this feels like I'm welcome here."
What's the next 6 months looking like?
I want an album. I'm really keen to collaborate [with a producer] in doing that. There's loads of space in my music that I think someone could have a lot of fun with. I'm more excited about that potential than the "fear of letting go".
CONNECT WITH BUNDERLAND
Winter is here and Christmas is coming, so put that fireplace on, make yourself a cup of tea and hit play on bunderland's newest tune below.
Unless of course you're in Los Angeles like I am and it's about 80 degrees outside, in which case, just close your eyes and pretend?
words by Shabnam Ferdowsi
LA artist Kiki Halliday just released her first EP, Love Notes, today.
The production is simple and straightforward, highlighting Kiki's soulful songwriting and emotion. The favorite seems to be the title track, "Love Notes", that got everyone singing along with the catchy chorus at her EP Release Show over the weekend.
My personal favorite though has to be "Beautiful Soul". The harmonies and general arrangement of the song compliment Kiki's emotional vocals and get you swaying along in no time. (I'm all about that sway-ability!)
First releases like this one are always an exciting time for an independent artist, and we can't wait to see what's next!
Take a listen here and let us know what you think!
by Shabnam Ferdowsi
I feel like being witty today, so I'm throwing it back to yesterday when Huxlee released their live studio recording of their newest track, "22". It's an original written by singer Caitlin Notey about life after graduation and I can't stop listening to it.
The song stays true to the Huxlee sound: the soulful vocals, the dreamy synth, and the folk-influenced songwriting. My favorite verse, "I'll start relearning things that I thought I knew" captures those postgrad feels perfectly.
The majority of the band's members recently graduated form USC's Popular Music Program, and things are only going to get bigger from here. (since there are no more midterms and finals to worry about, you know?)
We're excited for more Huxlee and can't wait to see what's next for them!!
CONNECT WITH HUXLEE
by Shabnam Ferdowsi
I'm all about sway-ability these days, and Chase's new album, ONE, hits the spot. It's acoustic pop at it's best with relatable lyrics and crisp vocals. My favorite has to be "Sleep" with its cute, catchy chorus that goes "be the last thing that I see / meet me in my dreams".
"Superhero" is another favorite that I got stuck in my head after our little acoustic session on his rooftop a few weeks ago. This one's got a head-bopping beat, but still keeps the same sweet acoustic feel.
Check out the album here!
by Shabnam Ferdowsi
Remember Kiki Halliday? She played an exclusive Acoustic Session for us a couple weeks ago and she just released her very first single, "One California Day", off her first EP Love Notes coming out in the fall.
The single is the perfect summer jam, with the right blend of a beach-y acoustic guitar, a groovy riff and Kiki's soulful vocals. In Kiki's own words: "This is about my everlasting love and fascination of this wonderful place." It embodies Cali culture to the T, and it leaves us wanting more! Summer can last forever with this song.
Recommended: Go for a drive, get yourself to the coast, roll down the windows and blast this tune. :)
Take a listen, and stay tuned for Kiki's EP coming out in a few months!
"My music is trying to speak to the everyday human being. I need to get out in America, on the road, and play for Joe Somebody. I think those are the people who need to hear it, not just LA."
Genre: Americana, Folk-Rock, Lyrical.
Influences: Paul Simon, James Taylor, Counting Crows, The Band; blues, country, funk.
Dream Collaboration: Van Morrison.
Musical Purpose: "I want to speak to other people the way other people speak to me, and connect. If I can do for one person what "Bridge Over Troubled Water" did for me, then I'll be fine."
What inspires your songwriting?
Writing songs is always interesting for me, I really never know when inspiration will strike. Sometimes I get inspired by an interesting lyric I hear from a song and create a song off how I interpreted that lyric or sometimes right when I’m trying to go to an idea will pop into my head. I remember the first song I wrote was at a super random time, I was in the grocery store with my family and I had an idea for a song so I just started typing it down on my phone. I can never predict when inspiration will find me, but when it does I’ll find an instrument or start writing before the idea escapes me.
How were you able to hone in on your own distinct style?
Somehow my songs always end up having a lot of ‘7’ chords, so I guess I like to incorporate jazz chords as the start of whatever song I’m writing, but I think it’s the music that I listen to that rubs off on me stylistically. Listening to Artists like Andy Grammer, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, and John Mayer has really shaped my sound to what it is. I do think that my recently released EP, High Off of Love, is a little random in terms of what style every song is, but as I’m writing songs for my next release I’m still trying to find my own unique sound that is something new and refreshing. I think that’s something that can take some time for artists to figure out, so for now I’ll stick with this Jazzy-Pop feel I have going on now and see where that takes me.
If you get collaborate with any musician (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
This is always a tough question to answer. I think I’ll have to go with Jason Mraz on this one. He has amazing skill both on instruments and vocally and he also got his start from my hometown of San Diego. It would be quite an experience to collaborate with him and find out how he got to where he is today.
What are you looking forward to in 2014?
I’m looking forward to the unexpected. With the new EP, I finally have something people can listen to, which they like; so now it’s just a matter of what can I do to get me to the next level. Playing shows is something that I always look forward too so be prepared for a lot of those.
Who are you listening to right now?
Young the Giant just came out with a new album so that’s been getting played here and there. I currently rediscovered my liking of Sugar Ray’s music, so that’s been a nice throwback and I’ve also been listening to a lot of Gary Clark Jr. due to a recent discovery of his music…he’s crazy good.
Check out Rare Candy’s most recent music video cover for Kaskade’s “Angel On My Shoulder”! It’s simple, yet visually appealing and en pointe.
Like them on Facebook: