Raised by immigrant parents from Guyana in the Toronto suburb of Oaksville, singer Anjulie has her feet planted firmly in the world of pop, but her music is influenced by the multi-cultural sounds that were favored by her older siblings. At 17 she landed an internship at the Metalworks recording studio in Toronto. It was there she met Jon Levine, the keyboardist from the Philosopher Kings. The pair became songwriting partners, writing tracks for teen pop singer Emma Roberts' debut album, along with the Philosopher Kings' album Castles, both released in 2005. Three years later, Kreesha Turner would have Canadian Top 10 hit with the duo's song "Don't Call Me Baby." In 2009 Anjulie released her own single, "Boom," a teaser for her debut album scheduled for release later that same year. David Jeffries, Rovi
Phillips first began making music when he was 14, thanks largely to his older sister's boyfriend (and now husband), Benjamin Neil. "Ben's an amazing guitarist—he taught me a few chords one day and I just fell in love with it immediately," says Phillips. Since the two lived in separate towns, Phillips kept on studying guitar on his own ("mostly by playing along to the karaoke machine") and soon found himself mastering riffs from classic-rock tracks like Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" and Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train." Several years later, Phillips formed an acoustic band with his sister and brother-in-law and added singing to his repertoire. "I used to always keep my singing to myself and never let anyone hear me, but then my sister and brother-in-law caught me one night and told me I had to start singing in the band," he says. "We played at a church that Sunday and the room was packed and I thought I was going to pass out, but I did it."
After graduating high school, Phillips began studying industrial systems technology at Albany Technical College in Georgia and continued playing music with his brother-in-law. "We got a name for ourselves, playing in college towns and at festivals, sometimes just playing for free or for food," says Phillips. With encouragement from his family and friends, Phillips took a break from working in his family's pawn shop and auditioned for American Idol in summer 2011—and soon found himself tearing through powerful, full-throated performances of songs by artists like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett on the Idol stage. As he readies himself to record his debut release, Phillips aims to channel that soulful spirit into acoustic-driven rock with an earthy, authentic sound. "I'm still so amazed at how this has worked out," says Phillips, who plans to bring his brother-in-law onto the album as a guitarist. "I knew I'd always have music no matter what happens, but I never imagined that it would get to this level. I'm so excited to just get going and have a great time doing it."
Matt Nathanson (born March 28, 1973) is an American singer-songwriter whose work is a blend of folk and rock music. In addition to singing, he plays acoustic (sometimes a 12-string) and electric guitar, and has played both solo and with a full band. His work includes the platinum-selling song "Come On Get Higher".
'Two Suns' was written and recorded around the world, from Big Sur and the Joshua Tree desert in California to the rolling Welsh countryside and the city sprawls of New York and London.
It includes appearances by Brooklyn's finest psychedelic experimentalists Yeasayer, who provide bass and beat programming. The legendary Scott Walker also performs a duet with Natasha for the album closer 'The Big Sleep'.
As with Fur And Gold, Natasha chose to co-produce Two Suns with David Kosten (AKA Faultline).
In between her travels Natasha lives by the sea in England.
Hannah Hooper met Christian Zucconi late one evening on the lower east side of Manhattan. They had both been living in New York for years and had never crossed paths before. But from that night forward the two could hardly be pulled apart. Soon after their connection Hooper was invited to an art residency in Greece on the island of Crete and Hooper insists "without any hesitation" she invited Zucconi to join her on this journey. "Seriously, we had only known one another for a few days but are both so inspired and alive when we are together that going to Greece seemed like a magical and natural thing to do" recalls Zucconi.
On Crete, in a small remote mountain village, Hooper and Zucconi met the members of their future band "GROUPLOVE" a year before it was officially formed. Sean Gadd, a natural songwriter and guitar player, born and bred in London instantly bonded with the two eccentric New Yorkers. Their relationship became apparent through the music they were making day in and day out. Andrew Wessen, a pro surfer and musician from Los Angeles and his childhood friend Ryan Rabin, an accomplished drummer and producer, were also at the residency and quickly joined in with the musical trio. These five musicians make up the members of what we now know as GROUPLOVE.
Like all good things, the summer and the residency came to an end and the five friends scattered back to their homes all over the globe. With Sean in London, Christian and Hannah in Brooklyn and Ryan and Andrew in Los Angeles GROUPLOVE was faced with the challenge of what to do now. "We all understood how rare it is for five strangers to feel as close as family and create passionate music together. We couldn't just return to Brooklyn and let the music we all made fade into a memory of that summer we had in Greece," explains Zucconi. Everyone pulled their funds together and Sean, Christian and Hannah made their way to Ryan Rabin's studio in LA to record their album. "We seriously had the best time of our lives doing that record", says Zucconi. And the result is an incredibly special album where soaring harmonies coupled with sweeping anthems lead you through their powerful journey. Like the members of GROUPLOVE, their music is diverse in influence and style but bonded together by an undeniably creative kinship.
Their experience back together and recording together was so potent that Hooper and Zucconi packed up their lives in Brooklyn and moved to LA to live and play their music.
"We never could have dreamt this up" says Zucconi, "but at the same time we're not at all surprised - GROUPLOVE is meant to be. Our story a testament to fate, and our music is something we are ready to share."
There’s no point in trying to unearth an obvious “single” in Other Lives’ second album, Tamer Animals. Here’s a better idea instead: succumb. Let every last song wash over you like proper long players once did, from the swift strings and pulsating horns—a technique learned from old Philip Glass LPs—of “Dark Horse” to the richly orchestrated denouement of “Heading East,” a cut that could have been cribbed from the early instrumental sessions of Other Lives’ old band Kunek. More...
“The core of that band is still with me,” says frontman Jesse Tabish, who founded Kunek with cellist Jenny Hsu and drummer Colby Owens. “In a lot of ways, it’s still what I gravitate towards, songwriting wise.”
Unlike their self-titled debut—a studio-bound effort that was produced by Beck’s longtime drummer, Joey Waronker—Tamer Animals was tracked in the privacy of the band’s own space in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Waronker eventually mixed the entire affair and sanded down its edges, but it took Other Lives 14 months to get to that point.
We’re not talking about lazy Sunday sessions here, either. More like 11 songs that were carefully sculpted over time, with certain sounds creeping up when the record called for them, and nothing that’s forced or rushed.
“Every sound has a purpose without being too indulgent,” explains Tabish. “There’s nothing like, ‘Hey, let’s rock out on this!’ It’s homemade in a way. For better or for worse, it’s all our sound.”
That sound amounts to one hell of a sweeping listen—an atmosphere, a mood, a state of mind. So while you might find yourself going back to the minor-key melodies of “Dust Bowl III” or the Morricone-caliber arrangements of “Old Statues” more often than not, it’s all part of a greater whole. And since Tabish prefers treating his vocals like an instrument, the lyrics are left open to interpretation.
To be honest, they don’t even matter in the end. What matters is how Tamer Animals makes you feel; how it aims to hit you in the chest…hard, like the Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Rós LPs that made Tabish want to write this kind of music in the first place. (If you can believe it, he played in punk bands as a kid and didn’t resume the piano lessons he started in third grade until he was 18.)
“I’d rather us be an ensemble than a rock band,” he says. “That’s my goal—to get away from those traditional ideas. It’s not a strength in numbers kinda thing, either, where 12 people are on stage and five of them are playing the same melody. When the music calls for that many players, we’ll go there. We’ll destroy the band itself.”
He’s smiling as he says that. And frankly, so are we.
3OH!3 doesn't like to brag. Sean Foreman and Nathaniel 'Nat' Motte say that making their loud, distorted, electronic-pop music is not about the trophies and notoriety. No, forming 3OH!3 (named after the duo's area code in Boulder, Colorado) was always about something larger than themselves. It was and remains about being FUN!
If we go back to the beginning, we can find Sean in his parents basement, clicking incessantly on his mouse for 'friend-requests' on 3OH!3's sparkling new MySpace page. Meanwhile, across town, Nat is working on earth-shattering beats, hunched over his computer, in what he charmingly referred to as his 'dungeon' apartment. There, in a pair of blown-out computer speakers, Nat brought to life what the world currently knows as 3OH!3. Those sounds and songs became the band's 2007 self-released album, which were handed off across the states until they fell through the mail slot at Photo Finish Records and into the hands of label president Matt Galle.
Blown away by Sean and Nat's visionary production and clever lyrics, Galle immediately flew the boys into scenic Beltsville, Maryland, to record with the brilliant producer Matt Squire. Feeling at home in the studio, Sean and Nat worked day and night, piecing together their 2008 success, Want. With the help of their furry little producer friend Benny Blanco, 3OH!3's first single, "Don't Trust Me," crawled slowly up the charts for 15 months to attain a No. 1 spot at pop radio, going double platinum and selling over 2.6 million tracks in the process.
3OH!3 hates to brag, but if they had to they would tell you that they were nominated for "Best New Artist" alongside Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi, and Drake, at the 2009 Video Music Awards. Though they didn't bring home the moon man, Nat and Sean had just as much fun performing "Don't Trust Me" in Radio City's hallowed halls. Nat was actually happy 3OH!3 wasn't announced best new artist as he claims he would have peed his pants, having not been able to find a bathroom all night. "Drinks impair the ol' judgment," he says.
These two guys are no strangers to national television either. Appearing multiple times on late night TV (Jimmy Kimmel Live and Last Call with Carson Daly) and alongside the glittery Ke$ha on American Idol, 3OH!3's learned a few things about working the camera.
I know 3OH!3 would never say this, but they are one of the best live acts in the business. Their dedication to putting on an epic and fun show every night was rewarded by a nomination for the 2009 MTV Woodies' Performance Award alongside artists like Green Day, Animal Collective and Phoenix. These boys sell out shows from the rainy streets of London to the Gold Coast of Australia, where, by no coincidence, their songs have gone gold and platinum and continue to sell by the thousands. It's no wonder that 3OH!3 has been invited to play legendary festivals like Reading and Leads and Warped Tour again and again.
With such a non-stop touring schedule, it must have been a real relief to retreat to their mountain sanctuary in Breckenridge in January to record their next album. In a snowy cabin, far above the world, Sean and Nat went a little crazy, writing as many as two new songs a day for 14 days. "We had all these songs built up over the past couple years," Sean says, "and it was like a mental vomit of all the stuff we had been thinking." This was not gross-tasting vomit, however, this was like roses and gold and everything nice, finally let loose on the world. Before things got weird in the mountains, the boys packed up their gear and headed out to LA to start recording the album that would be known as Streets of Gold.
Back in the studio with the usual suspects Matt Squire and Benny Blanco, 3OH!3 took all they had learned from touring and experience and put it to use. "There are some crazy sounds on this record," Nat says, "It sounds like robots making love." Nothing says love like their first single off the record, "My First Kiss" featuring Ke$ha. "It was like our first kiss with Ke$ha," Nat says, "It was the first time we met her and she definitely used tongue." Within a few hours of being released on iTunes, "My First Kiss" jumped to the no. 2 on the overall song chart.
3OH!3 was very selective when it came to collaborating on Streets of Gold. Having greatly admired his work with Lily Allen and The Bird and the Bee, 3OH!3 sought out producer Greg Kurstin for their own music. "I think Greg has attained a perfect synthesis of electronic and organic music in his work, and he was someone whom I really, really wanted to work with and learn from." Additionally 3OH!3 teamed with Benny Blanco's mentor, hit-smith Dr. Luke on "My First Kiss" and "Streets of Gold" (the title track to the record). With help from those production Titans, it's a safe to say a few more songs off the album might lend "My First Kiss" some company at the top of the charts.
Streets of Gold is the album that 3OH!3 has been struggling to create for their whole musical lives. Showing a wide range of tastes—from the car rattling battle raps of "I Can Do Anything" to the post-apocalyptic love ballad "Love 2012" to the throwback casbah sounds of "I Know How to Say"—3OH!3 has evolved into a super-human machine. With Nat's surgical precision (Nat was destined to be a doctor after all, and has been deferring his acceptance to medical school for a few years) and Sean's one-two punch lines, every song is bound to be permanently engrained in your head. "We try to make music that is fun and comes across live," says Sean. "This album is epic," says Nat, "it has a little piece of everything we like and do. We write and co-produce all our own music, and it was so satisfying to apply all that we learned in the past couple of years."
On the road again, 3OH!3 is testing out the new tracks and making more friends. "We've played some of the new songs without a single fan knowing the lyrics," says Nat, "And people are going fucking BANANAS. It's a great sign!" There are many great signs for 3OH!3 as they take their journey on their own street of gold. Nat, as a writer and producer, has been working with other artists. Sean is keeping busy with his own cowrites—including Ke$ha's platinum selling "Blah Blah Blah"—and as a result was named the #9 Hit Songwriter in the UK by Music Week. The future is looking bright for these two Boulder boys.
Nathaniel Motte and Sean Foreman are two very busy guys. If they aren't filming mini-movies for the deluxe package of Streets of Gold, drawing comic books, or modeling (yes, they are Ford models), they are spending time with their friends or getting outdoors. Sean was crazy enough to sign up for the Chicago Marathon in October, running it to raise money for the American Cancer Society. And Nat is crazy enough to continue his deferral from Medical School at the University of Colorado. What does the future have in store for 3OH!3? "We're going to JAPAN!!!" Nat answers.
Well, that might be true, but I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more from 3OH!3 and then they will have a hell of a lot more to not brag about.