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Interview with Except Elephant

Amsterdam’s Except Elephant’s music is tempting, sensual, and very unique. She will be releasing her first single, Mermaid, from her forthcoming EP on WEATNU Record’s sub-label – Transmission Nova this April. We discuss her music and visual art making process, her inspirations, and Amsterdam’s DIY scene.

How would you describe your music?

Except Elephant: A mixture of indie rock, dream pop, some synths and post punky bass lines?

How long have you been playing and recording?

EE: I started singing, as a hobby, about 13 years ago. I was singing in a band, started with covers just for fun and then we were writing our own songs. There was a big break from that for a while and I started making my own music about 3-4 years ago.

What is your songwriting process and what gear do you use to make it?

EE: Normally I just start writing without anything in mind and see what comes out. I usually get a bass line down first and then the drums. When I have the rest of the parts, I play with the vocal melodies and write my lyrics.

Do you play everything on the record or do you have a band?

EE: It’s just me and the Logic Pro x drummer plugin 🙂

Do you record your own music?

EE: Everything is MIDI, so I do it all on my computer and record my vocals at home too.

Photo by Except Elephant

What is your forthcoming album about?

EE: I am releasing my first single this April, Mermaid, which I believe is a very good introduction to what my forthcoming EP is mainly about. Choosing to make oneself able to see beyond the constructs we’ve been living in and imagine new worlds.

What inspired you to create it?

EE: The meaninglessness that the constructs we’ve been living in have created 🙂 By that I mean several kinds of behavior that lead to or arise from discrimination, oppression, destruction, dichotomy etc. How we treat each other (and even ourselves) and everything else around us as a consequence of the world that we’ve created. This is something I was working through also in my video art work the last few years and what troubles me the most in this life!

I love your artwork for your songs and on Instagram. What is the concept behind it?

EE: I’ve always used the human body (or body parts) in my visual art as a symbol for humanity as a whole. In my artwork for Except Elephant, I use it as a canvas to signify what makes us; a blend of everything around us, the magic of human power and the destruction this same power brings into the world. Sometimes it’s a bit more personal, just reflecting a mood or part of myself.

How do you create/make your art?

EE: I snap some photos of myself, load them into Photoshop, make cut outs and start playing with images, colors and textures. It’s not much different to making a collage.

Is Except Elephant an alter ego and if so who is she?

EE: I wouldn’t say she is an alter ego exactly. More of an exaggerated version of me. She feels like an alien in this place we live in, because she believes that life can be much different and nicer for everyone on earth. And that makes her angry and sad but also caring, almost motherly towards all humanity. She wants to embrace and heal the whole world. Quite ambitious…

What is the music scene like in Amsterdam?

EE: In Amsterdam you can find a little bit of everything, but it is primarily a clubbing/party city. A lot of the most interesting stuff for live music happens within the Alternative/DIY scene. From punk to Experimental Jazz, you can find some gems in the most unexpected places!

Do you play live?

EE: Not yet.

Your voice reminds me of Kate Bush, mystical and stunning. Who has had the most influence on your music?

EE: That’s very flattering as I consider her voice and her whole existence quite whimsical! I would mention Radiohead, Placebo and PJ Harvey, but I feel it’s all kind of like an interpretation of everything I have listened to over the years, with a lot of 90’s alternative and early 2000’s indie elements that have really seeped into my blood.

I’m dying to know what else you have in the works, any new projects coming up?

EE: I had a really nice collaboration recently with indie artist Uncool Paul, where I added a bit of a melodic synth touch to a couple of his songs from his upcoming album. And I’m excited to be working on a video for Mermaid at the moment. This will be a solo venture too, but I’m already planning ideas for my second single release and video which will be made in collaboration with another visual artist.

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – March 2022 – Leslie Keffer

Top photo: Susana Martins https://www.susana-martins.com/
Follow: Except Elephant on Instagram

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Label/Sync – IFMACA Productions

Film-centered music is important

For years we have been building up new tools to help the independent artist. During 2017 there was a time of silence with WEATNU, where new ideas were bubbling under the surface and at a moment of sudden inspiration IFMACAIndependent Film Makers and Composers Association was born. The group began on Facebook that year. Composers and small filmmakers were the intention at the beginning, to collaborate with one another, but after some time, the group shut down and the idea of IFMACA went dormant.

That was until the year 2021, when the name was exhumed, or brought to the light as a new entity for WEATNU. “If composers and filmmakers could not collaborate and make projects together for fun, why not instead create a new subsidiary for WEATNU?” However, even today composers and filmmakers can be involved in collaboration through our discord chatroom. This thought-process started IFMACA Productions.

A part that includes label/sync for the cinematic composer and small film studios, also including music for YouTube creators. The music that is with IFMACA Productions is a continual growing library of highly professional musicians and composers. Some of which are cinematic-driven and may include video game music as well.

As the library grows, sync will eventually happen. It was time to introduce everyone to this next part that has been progressing behind the scenes. IFMACA Productions gives the composer a chance at a career, and it also gives them the ability to be part of a cinematic label. Music is released to all streaming platforms and licensed for use as sync in the future.

Listen to our artists

Artists are taking interest in IFMACA Productions

As a sync company, we are ensuring that the small producer, video game designer, film class, limited budget director, all have one thing in common. They each need music that sets the mood for their projects. The music we produce is full of that sound that others are seeking. Film-centered music is part of our artists work, as we are electronic/avant-garde and beyond. In the future, this may expand to our 2nd label, Transmission Nova (TNR), which is centered on Indie Rock/Shoegaze/Dream pop/Post-punk and Post-rock. These extra genres might work well in unique and dramatic ways from a film perspective. Artists will be showcased in our WEATNU Records – Spotify playlists, so everyone can hear their music.

The Composer and small film studio benefits

The small studio, YouTube Creator, art gallery, etc, could benefit. IFMACA Productions is finding its way onto the film landscape and starting small.

IFMACA Productions releases music for the indie film director who is looking for something a little different. This includes music that is driven by the passion of the artist, in a way only known to the composer. It is the film producer who will find what they are looking for, in a niche market, instead of being directed toward a massive audience, large-sync, ad-sync, HBO, Netflix, etc. Our artists for a competitive and affordable price will sync instead with small production studios. As this part of the WEATNU machine grows, so will the artists and audience we house, thus allowing more opportunities for everyone involved here and in time our website will be created when sync begins. To add to our library, see the links below.

Find us on Twitter: IFMACA Productions

Follow us on Facebook: IFMACA Productions
Find us on SoundCloud: IFMACA Productions

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Transmission Nova – WEATNU [OUR] 24/7 Radio returns

A strange turn of events bring forth interesting results, and things are in a constant state of flux with WEATNU. During 2016 our radio had 6 running stations, one being our main WEATNU [OUR] and another, returning harder than ever, our indie rock/shoegaze/dream pop/alternative and post-punk radio Transmission Nova. Last year in November, a new sub-label with the same name took flight and became an integral member to our movement. Now both label and radio are as one! This means artists who are with Transmission Nova (TNR) or TransNova Records label can also upload direct to our radio Transmission Nova – WEATNU [OUR]
Both artists on and off the label are welcome to upload to our second internet radio. So far, we are playing all the past music sent to us during the year of 2016, but we are eager for even more to add to us. Not only is Transmission Nova – WEATNU [OUR] playing post-punk as a darker edge to the guitar underground but we will have gothic rock, and other heavier guitar-related, grunge, post-grunge in time. The format will find its level, just as our first radio WEATNU [OUR] has with many types of avant-garde and electronic music. Experimental music is what drives us here and our radio hails to the days of college radio during the 90’s and early 2000’s.

To join our radio simply add subject line
Transmission Nova – artist request
https://weatnurecords.com/weatnu-our

Twitter: Follow Transmission Nova – WEATNU [OUR]

Listen live: Transmission Nova – WEATNU [OUR]

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Jason Martin | Starflyer 59 Interview

Since 1994, Frontman Jason Martin – Starflyer 59 has been releasing album after album beginning with Tooth & Nail Records. Now on their 16th LP ‘Vanity’, and spanning from a wide array of styles, starting in petal stomping Shoegaze, dreampop, post-punk, post-rock – lo-fi elements, then mid-range radio pop alternative and middle of the road. SF59 has found merit in the cult circle of the music world. The music hails back from the yesteryear, as Martin says, “He’s always felt like an old soul, and he’s only reached mid-age” Special thanks to Jeff Cloud for allowing this interview over at Velvet Blue Music. Growing up with Starflyer 59 as a teen in the 90’s, was a personal fav of mine, and a real honor to speak with him. – This one is for the ages.

Did you grow up listening to Chet Adkins or surf music playing on the hi-fi during your childhood by chance? Did your parents listen to all kinds of stuff when you were a kid?

Jason Martin: Not really, my dad listened to Frank Sinatra and stuff like that, my mom listened to Christian rock.. Stuff like Larry Norman, Daniel Amos, and Kieth Green. My music pool was not really large until I became a teenager and found bands like the Smiths, New Order and the Pixies…from there I got really into music and started playing drums, guitars etc..

The more I listen to Vanity, the more it grows on me, such as in the past with other albums you’ve done. The synth just melts on ‘Life in Bed’ plus the vocals on this album are very clean, and bring out more of what is hiding on the other albums. Was this an intentional change?

JM: Thanks, glad you like the record. The more upfront vocal sound was a decision by TW Walsh who produced and mixed the record.

What would you say helped form the sound of what SF59 became? Leaving the early noisy sound, to the more sparse clean sounds of Vanity?

JM: Its just been a long time. The shifts in sound through the years was mainly just wanting to do something a little different for each record. Most of the old records were done in my early 20’s, not really sure I could even make music like that any more…but one of these days I would like to try.

The album was lost through time, until brought to light and mastered.

The Morellas Forest record that you played drums on with your brother in 1988, was just recently released to Velvet Blue Music, was that a fun trip of nostalgia for you?

JM: It totally was, I hadn’t heard that record in a long long time. I was 15 when we started recording that record…bittersweet hearing it now after all these years.

I’ve always had an affinity for your 2001 album Leave Here A Stranger, it was a huge transition for me as a listener. How do you feel about it now? What were your influences at that time, and was there a certain sound you were trying to achieve?

JM: Thanks! At the time I wanted something lo fi..it was a hip thing around then listening to records like Pet Sounds and stuff like that, so I thought we would try to make a record in that mode.
I’m not sure how much of it we actually pulled it off, but I do like the record.

How did you end up collaborating with Dave Bazan for the Lo Tom records?

JM: I met Dave in 1998 or something like that. We are old friends, I’ve always dug his voice and we thought, It would be fun to collaborate on some tunes. Tw Walsh and Trey are also old friends , so we all got together and made a couple of records.

Lo Tom – Jason Martin

Jason Martin goes back to his roots of heavier rock-related music with Lo Tom, in much the same way with his 2006 album My Island on Tooth & Nail Records.

Circa 1998

Is there any gear that you always hold on to? A fav guitar or pedal or whatever?

JM: I am always buying and selling old guitars and gear, so a lot of stuff I had way back when I no longer have…wish I did. The only gear I have kept from the early days is a 1993 Fender MIJ Jazzmaster, an orange Boss Distortion Pedal and a baby blue Boss chorus pedal. Those things have pretty much showed up on every record I have made somewhere or another.

Does it feel like a dear friend is leaving when you hear the final song on one of your albums, including Vanity?

JM: Well…it kinda feels more like someone who has stayed too long is finally leaving. The records take a long time to make and it is very hard to hear them clearly for a while after they are done.

What’s next for SF59?

JM: Not sure right now, possibly a new Ep.

As we get older, our tastes change, especially our influences, what has changed in your music influences these days?

JM: I think the older I get I like a lot more music that I didn’t like when I was young..Not saying that is always a good thing, when I was young I knew what chords I liked and so on…Now I like certain lead guitar styles and playing that I thought would have been a bit lame when I was young, what can you do…

I was about 18 when you released ‘Gold’ in 1995, (a friend let me borrow the CD for a year) do you remember how it felt to tour in those days, was it fun? I had the pleasure of once seeing those early bands of Tooth & Nail at The Warehouse in Bartlesville, OK around that year. Do you remember doing that show?

JM: It was fun,..Being a young kid and going on the road playing guitar how could it not be. I do remember playing the Warehouse in Bartlesville, always a cool place to play.

Were you self-taught in both guitar and drums, and you also play the piano, is that right?

JM: Pretty much self taught..My buddy Randy Lamb who was the bass player in Morellas Forest taught me an E minor and a D major chord, I kind of just figured out other stuff from there. I think to this day I don’t do the right finger shapes for some of my chords, but its too late to change:)

Anything in closing?

JM: Thanks for the interview. I appreciate it.

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Feb 2022

Get the new album ‘Vanity’ over at Velvet Blue Music

Vanity by Starflyer 59
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Interview: Leslie Keffer

‘This month: Leslie Keffer, a native to Ohio, spoke with us from her country setting about her music creation, her career in noise-related sound, and moving from small venues to larger festivals, including being an opener for Sonic Youth. – Now she uses the genre ‘microhouse and insectno‘ to explain what she does musically after her 10 year rest from the music scene. With new insight, she is releasing once more. It was an honor to speak to her.

Today I have with me, experimental artist – Leslie Keffer.

Hello Leslie, how are you today?

Leslie Keffer: I’m good. I am just making some AI art on the computer.

It’s interesting what one can do with AI to make art, how is that helping you as an artist?

LK: I really enjoy making AI art. Once you do it enough you know what prompt words do, what styles and you can start to create the images in your head. I will spend hours and days perfecting an image until what is in my mind forms through the AI. I have been making art showing the inside of the body. I am striving to show people how beautiful the inside of the body is. Most people seem to be grossed out or offended by it, which I don’t understand, because inside the body is where the miracle of life happens, the magic and the electricity. I find it so gorgeous and captivating.

How did you get into music first-hand?

LK: My first memory of music is being 3 or 4 and watching MTV for the first time. It was brand new back then and played music all day and night and I was just fascinated by it. I think the music they played on MTV in the 80s really got me into it. I was obsessed with Madonna as long as I can remember!

Many girls were in those days, as I recall, but like yourself, I was just as young during the 80s, and to embrace the 80’s, I had a Michael Jackson zipper jacket at the age of 6.

LK: Hahaha that’s cool!

Yeah imagine a little kid walking around with a Michael Jackson zipper jacket, laughs. Listening now to Inosculation – it moves me, it has a freeness to it, water-like. What influenced you to write this new album?

LK: I would say nature and our woods. I go there and get moved and come back and write. I am also inspired by the body – by how it looks and feels inside and out. Trees inosculate when they grow together. I wrote the song about when humans inosculate psychically and emotionally with each other. I romanticized it in the song.

A story of nature en electronica, much like something the Orb may have done during their beginning. – You’ve been on hiatus for about 10 years, but you’re coming back into the music scene, how does that feel and where do you hope it takes you?

LK: I had to take a much needed break from all of the touring, booking shows, and writing music when I was living in Nashville. I was worn out and not creating to my fullest potential. I moved back to Ohio where I am from to regroup. I did a lot of healing in my body and soul. I learned Kundalini Yoga and delved deep into mediation. Through all this I found my way back to expressing myself creatively and started working on music and art again.

And is the process of making new music, even possibly more melodic music, serving you well?

LK: I’ve always wanted to be able to create structured songs as well. It’s not that I don’t enjoy playing noise anymore. I just found myself naturally writing these microhouse songs, and I didn’t even know what it was until someone told me. I just love making beats. Currently it’s more of a challenge for me to write songs like this so it’s a lot of fun experimenting with something new and growing into something else.

Since we’ve been discussing your music, what started your music journey?

LK: I started playing acoustic guitar when I was in 6th grade in bell choir at church. Then in college I played in bands. Right after college – I just started playing noise music when I lived out in the country and it just became my way of life. I started meeting other people who played it online and I set up a tour through them and hit the road by myself. After that, I became friends with them and played shows with them for the next 15 years.

In small houses and settings?

LK: A lot of them were house or warehouse shows and dive bars. Then I got to play some cool venues, especially when I was playing in Laundry Room Squelchers based out of Miami, FL. I toured with them for over 10 years.

I understand it brought you some media attention, especially through the indie scene with VICE, and Pitchfork.

LK: I knew some folks who wrote for magazines and I got really lucky and they liked what I was doing and wrote about me. I didn’t know all of them so it was really cool when reviews would come out. I always felt so honored!

That must have been pretty amazing then, and you opened for Sonic Youth?

LK: When I was starting out I got an email from Carlos who booked ‘No Fun Fest’ in New York City which at the time was one of the biggest festivals for noise and avant-garde music. He told me Thurston had heard my tapes and wanted to collaborate with me. I thought it was a joke, but it was real and we became friends so I got to open for Sonic Youth a few times and did live shows with both Kim and Thurston.

Would they do another round with you again these days?

LK: Oh I don’t know about that! I always would do it if they wanted to.

Hearing your album: I really like the beat on ‘Internal’ btw

LK: Thanks!

Since we’re on the subject, you’ve just released a new album, the one with the girl on the front cover with earth-like things, fungus and so forth on her body. Would like to talk about it? Its story is fascinating.

Leslie Keffer – Belong to the Earth (album)

LK: Its about a girl who has to go underground and hibernate because she becomes too overwhelmed with energy from other people and American culture. She goes there to recharge and store up inspirational energy. She emerges from the ground and re-enters the world during a global pandemic. She stays in the woods to survive and in the process becomes one with nature.

For your creative process, you’re using an all hardware setup, is that right?

LK: Yes, I use (2) Korg Kaossilator Pros, a Korg Volca Beats, and a Korg micro synth.

That seems just right for this type of music. Especially for the bug-like sounds.

LK: I am obsessed with bug sounds. I probably over do it. I call my music “Insectno” when people ask what genre I am because I literally don’t know what genre I am anymore.

And you should, since it’s who you are. Identity is very important to an artist. It’s good to share this in common with you, each artist doing their own sound, it’s freeing.

LK: Yes your music doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard

Thank you, I appreciate that, musicians can put themselves into a bubble sometimes, but I think personally that’s a good thing.

LK: I definitely go into a bubble. I go into my makeshift studio and will spend hours in there and think it’s been 30 minutes.

Time can really take you away when you’re in the zone, as I call it

LK: I call it catching the Spirit

That’s nice, as I believe in a place called the Cone of Silence, it’s a place, I’ve found, it’s mysterious and like a rabbit hole. This of course deals with music creation. – Is there a lay-down process in DAW, EQ’ing, mixing and so forth after the music is done. Do you sequence in recording?

LK: I play it all live as I record it. Its always just one track. I don’t have the patience to multi-track and overdub. Rat Bastard masters a lot of them.

That’s seriously impressive, considering It’s all well mixed first try. Are you using a mixing board, and record it to DAW?

LK: I use a mixer with the EQs straight up. Then I run it into my computer and record it in Audacity. I just try my best to have the levels correct when I go to record.

What artists, would you say, influence your music creation?

LK: I am really into Kate Bush and a lot of pop music, but the last few years I have been listening to a lot of techno like Tommy Four Seven, Adam X, and Drum Cell. I like creepy industrial sounding music.

Would you say it has fueled the type of music you are making now, or are you taking your own route?

LK: I think my intention every time I make a beat is to make a techno beat, but I can’t figure it out and my beats end up being something else entirely.

How did you find your way back to music scene?

LK: I just was ready to be expressive again. I really want to share myself with the world and connect with people even though I sometimes have to hideout from time to time to regroup.

What do you think about the current music scene, its culture, is it different now, or harder to get your music heard?

LK: It may be a little harder for me because I am not on Facebook. I was off social media for 5 years and just got back on Twitter and Instagram to share my music and art with my friends again. I think the music scene that I know is still thriving if not more so!

It appears to be, now with more platforms, but the music will play through the noise and be heard.

LK: I believe that.

Since you’re a new artist with us, what you do think about #WEATNU in general?

LK: I think it is an awesome label with really unique music I had never heard before and didn’t know about. I love that you can get support from a label and still own your music and release what you want when you want. There seems to be a lot of support between the artists as well.

It appears we are running out of questions, do you have more to add?

LK: ummmmmmmmmmmm

It’s coming, I can feel it! Waiting for the next phrase.

LK: I just messaged my friend and asked him what he would ask me about my music if he could ask one question maybe he’ll come up with a good one.

That’s a good idea, you picked a life-line here on “Who Wants To Be A Musician” …

LK: My friend wrote back and asked 3 of the questions you already asked me! The one you didn’t ask was – ‘What did you think about making music while you weren’t creating, did you find other things to do?’

Ah: so – What did you think about making music while you weren’t creating, did you find other things to do?

LK: I missed making music, yet I didn’t make time for it. It was a reminder of the life I left behind in Nashville and I had to sort myself out and recharge so I couldn’t let feelings of longing for the past in. So I hiked all the time. It was my muse. I just saved up all that inspiration from the forest until now and it just flows free right out of me. I don’t get those negative feelings anymore about creating.

PTSD can do that as well, you just don’t want to make anything, but you find something to make you happy for the time, video games are a great help in this case.

LK: I am actually in music therapy for PTSD and the songs I’ve been releasing are part of the way I work things out in my mind. It’s very therapeutic and healing for me. A lot of my music and art is about my experience with trauma and healing.

WEATNU Records is now going to open its label up to even more music, with the sub-label coming Transmission Nova.

LK: That is the word on the street. I think it’s an awesome opportunity for the Indie Rock/Shoegaze and Post-punk bands, including artists who want to be on a label and still be in control of their music.

Do you think Indie rock artists would benefit from it?

LK: I definitely do. It’s hard getting out there, because there is so much more access to music now. You would think it would be the opposite, but personally I get overwhelmed by all the options and probably miss out on a lot of great music.

Where do you see WEATNU Records going in the future and do you think it has helped artists during its 7 year stay?

LK: I hope WEATNU continues to grow and keeps finding unique artists to put out.

Thank you, we hope it continues to serve the community of artists for years to come, in all its options to them. You’ll be bringing to the New Year, new music on WEATNU Records, is that right?

LK: Yes, the plan is to have something in February or March. I hope to make something new and exciting for myself and everyone else.

Very cool, we hope to hear something new and creative from you soon.

Just one more thing: What movie in your mind sparks a memory that you are most fond of?

LK: “The Sound of Music” It reminds me of growing up and my Grandparents and getting to stay up late and eat popcorn. I love most of the songs. And it’s kind of bizarre that it’s my favorite, because I really don’t like musicals at all. But I do love the Sound of Music.

It’s one of my fav films too, and those songs are very memorable.

Thank you Leslie for doing this interview today – I wish you well with your journey and career in music for all time.

LK: Thank you! It was fun.

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Dec 2021

Follow Leslie Keffer on Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud | Audius

Buy direct: Diaphragm by Leslie Keffer

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Transmission Nova arrives

During the beginning of #WEATNU – from 2015 – 2016, one of six of our radio streams “Transmission Nova“, played shoegaze and indierock, this included many other sounds from the late 70s onward into the 90s and today. Indie artists, many unsigned, were post-punk, noise rock, alt-rock, dream pop and ethereal. WEATNU Records has been releasing this type of music since December of 2014, upon its arrival in the indie scene of the underground.

Now … Transmission Nova will have the same great vision as WEATNU and put the focus on this type of music, just as WEATNU puts the focus on electronic based artists. Bands as well as solo artists are welcome to join. Nothing changes, but we instead expand. Indie Rock has always been a love for me, from the days of growing up during the early 90s when MTV’s the Buzz would blast the greatest and latest bands.

Being a shoegaze aficionado and part of Gen-X, these types of memories never fade. I wanted to give the underground a taste of even more, as now both WEATNU and Transmission Nova will help artists be heard. Guitar-driven noise, eerie washed out vocals, experimental bass lines and visions by Ian Curtis. All these things tied into one place for this music to thrive. Shoegaze coming from the days of Batcave and Goth, and then the 90s grunge-like sounds, with noise-driven indie rock, British alternative, and other gloomy settings. Transmission Nova opens in 2022, and it is my hope to get these artists heard and signed with us. Contact today, as slots are open (for a time)

Shoegaze | Post-punk | Punk | Ethereal | Indie Pop | indie rock | Dream pop, and other psychedelics

To join, please contact us: https://weatnurecords/contact
Follow our Facebook : Instagram
Be sure to follow our Bandcamp: https://transmissionnova.bandcamp.com

#WEATNU Digital Magazine
Almark
November 2021

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Interview with: City Cowboy

This month Swedish artist, City Cowboy spoke to us on his music process, influences and future work he wishes to accomplish, it was a pleasure speaking to him

How are you today, City Cowboy? 

CC: Great, thanks!

Would you mind telling us your story of how you entered music? 

CC: Sure thing! Growing up we had a piano in our home and my older sister took lessons. I used to sit by the piano too (when she wasn’t there) and just play around and gradually found that I could play too – without lessons! It turns out I have a pretty good ear when it comes to identifying notes and chords, but not perfect pitch. As a teen I bought my first synth, a Roland D5. I remember making my first multitimbral tracks with Steinberg pro 12 and 24 on an Atari ST. The excitement of first recording a bassline for instance and then adding strings, then drums and so on was great. Such a creative joy. Then I tried to add some vocals along with the background. The lyrics for my first songs were really pathetic. One early track was a real “bohoohoo-story” called “Turned down again”! My music making “career” had thus begun. Many years later, I started making music with a Yamaha Motif workstation that I still use today and under the name City Cowboy. And here we are!

How long have you been writing music?

CC: Since 1989

What types of music do you write? 

CC: I guess I would call it pop or synth pop. I solely use a workstation synth so I don’t include any other instruments, even though I do play the guitar and bass for instance. I like EDM and sometimes I do more electronic stuff, like the two Kraftwerk covers I have done so far. 

What processes do you use to create music? 

CC: I start with an idea for a song, it could be that I start with a chorus for instance. I play it on a keyboard and try to come up with words too. If I like it enough I try to compose a whole song with verses, bridge etc. When I know how I want the song to be, roughly at least, I do the sequencing on my workstation. I then record it onto my Tascam multitracker. Last, I work on the vocals and mix and master.

How are you involved in the Indie scene? 

CC: I try to make myself heard through diverse channels, my music can be found in various places on the net. I have also done some local “publicity stunts” here in my home town. (Even as a Santa…) As part of WEATNU records, I agree with Almark’s vision that everyone deserves to be heard. If there’s any quality there, it should eventually be discovered, one hopes.

What is happening in the music scene around your area of Sweden? 

CC: Well… I think the best place to be here in Sweden is probably Stockholm, our capital, or another of the major cities. That is not the case for me, I like country living so I try my best from here… Cowboy style…Yeeehaw!

Are you playing live or do you wish to online, perhaps through our label? 

CC: So far, City Cowboy hasn’t done any live performances at all. That would take some practical arrangements so to speak. But who knows in the future?

You just released new music, would you like to talk about that or something you might be working at the moment?

CC: My latest release is called “Down the Aisle” and it’s a bouncy, happy track celebrating love and marriage. As a Christian, I do believe that marriage is the highest form of union between two people. Something to cherish these days. For this Christmas I plan to make my version of the medieval song Veni Immanuel available to my fans. It’s an absolutely delightful song and I chose to do the lyrics all in Latin. So beautiful. I hope folks will appreciate it and that they won’t think my interpretation of it is too modern.

Are you working professionally or for the love of music? 

CC: Well, this “ol’ cowboy” has a regular day job and does his musical cowboying in his freetime! What I would really like is for the whole world to listen to my music. To really have people’s attention! The best thing is when I get a personal message or mail from someone who has been touched by one of my songs. It happens now and then.

You said you began with Atari ST, that’s interesting. 

CC: True. With a built-in midi interface, the ST was launched as more of a professional musician’s computer than the Commodore Amiga I believe. I played my fair share of games on it too of course! But that’s how I started sequencing songs.Delightful stuff.

What kinds of music are you passionate about when you listen in your quiet space? 

CC: If someone really had me in a stranglehold and FORCED me to choose just ONE favourite group, I think it would have to be Pet Shop Boys. Just for the sheer quality of their output through so many years. Their songs are really atmospheric I believe, and they always pay attention to lyrics. There’s often a melancholy touch there. Having said that, I do also give ample credit to Depeche Mode, Erasure, Jarre, Kraftwerk and Jay-jay Johansson for instance. That’s just within the synth genre. I do like other genres too and know quite a lot about classical. Bach is a favourite of course, Mozart too, but also romantic era stuff like Grieg. Early Music is also interesting. I dig jazz as well and hiphop. Some genres don’t interest me very much, including country, blues, soul and R&B.

How does the music begin, in your mind or outside? 

CC: In my mind I would say. Or by playing around on some kind of keyboard. It doesn’t have to be a synth of course, it could be an acoustic piano too. I’m quite a skilled player if I may say so myself! 😉 I never, EVER use any “ready made” beats or grooves or anything, I do everything on my own. If I do stuff that’s hard to play right, I might slow things down while recording of course. This kind of music does take some quantization. Other genres don’t need to be so rhythmically correct. 

Music theory or by ear? 

CC: I play by ear exclusively, although I have an understanding about score and musical theory like intervals, chords, rythm, your dominants and subdominant parallels and stuff…

How did you come up with the name “City Cowboy”?

CC: Well…first off, you need an artist name, right? Although I find that at least here in Sweden, a surprising amount of people actually use their real names as artist names. That definitey doesn’t suit me, as the person behind City Cowboy is very private and secretive… So…the cowboy is one of the most iconic male “figures” in the western world, right? And I thought the contradiction of a cowboy in the city was quite interesting. What does he really do there? He can’t work with his live stock, now can he? He probably wears a hat, but he can’t strap on his gun belt. Does he go to bars and drink? I don’t know, I just liked the name.

This is our 5th year: where do you see weatnu records going for 2020?

CC: In 2020 I think WEATNU Records might be ready to lift itself from the shades of relative obscurity and become an important player, really becoming the voice of smaller, upcoming artists.

How is #WEATNU helping artists from your point of view?

CC: WEATNU helps artists by being a fair label, a radio and now also a Digital Magazine. Great with this threefold power.

Marmite or Nutella? – Trick question.

CC: I never eat Nutella. The other I don’t know what it is! Not sure it’s available in Sweden. Try to eat healthy stuff mostly!

Thank you City Cowboy for doing this interview with us, good luck to you and your music. May your Christmas be well and Happy New Year!

CC: Many thanks for interviewing me!

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Dec 2019

Follow City Cowboy on Twitter: @CityCowboooy



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Interview: Jason M Norwood

‘This month: Jason M Norwood, native to London, ON, Canada and long-time veteran here – was kind enough to give us his words about #WEATNU, his former artist name, Minutes After, and his latest release under the Berlin School music he creates.’

Interview by: Almark

Hello Jason, please tell in your own words what #WEATNU has done for you. Tell us a story of your own?

JN: I like to search for new music a lot, and I can’t remember for the life of me how I discovered her, but I discovered an artist named Adryelle, and reached out via Twitter to mention I was a fan.  Almark and I got talking through Twitter threads, and I discovered that he ran this enterprise called WEATNU.  Running a tiny little label myself, we got talking on that score, and at the same time I was looking for a home for Minutes After, a techno-based solo project of mine that didn’t fit with my label’s aesthetic.  The rest is fairly normal—I sent Almark some music, he liked it and asked about releasing it, and I signed on.  I liked the concept of WEATNU being an artist-helping-artists collective, which is something I’ve always strongly believed in.

It’s funny, because I’ve since devolved my label into an artist collective.  Minutes After is shelved, but for the first time I get to release my 25-year-long solo project (stuff under my own name) with WEATNU—no talk of “I want another Minutes After” album, just support for the broader sense of what I do.

I get to talk to a like-minded label head, I get to support an idea that I agree with, and I get to be a part of a community where I can offer my skills and bounce ideas off of others.  What’s not to like?

How did you first find out about #WEATNU and what were your thoughts initially?

JN: I think I got drawn into #WEATNU because I saw a kindred spirit in this unwieldy thing called the music business.  I’d been running my own thing, Hope Mansion Recordings, for a while, and it was nice to see something in operation that was designed to help artists.  At the same time, I had a rare side project called Minutes After, which was heavily techno-based and didn’t sit right on my own label, so I decided to give it a home I liked and respected, where it would be a little cozier.

I can’t say there was anything specific I wanted out of #WEATNU going into that.  Out of head-to-head conversations between two people trying to do something different in music, the whole conversation seemed to develop naturally.  I also liked the idea of supporting something whose ideals I agreed with.

Fast forward to now, and although Minutes After has ended, we’re talking about releasing the Berlin-school electronic music I release under my own name.  It’ll be the first time in 25 years I’ve put that project out under a different label, which gives you an idea of how I get along with #WEATNU.

What do you feel #WEATNU is doing for the modern indie artist, how is it serving them, because now we have our magazine once again?

JN:  I think the word “flexibility” is the first thing that comes to mind.  In a world where artists can be independent and make good quality albums in the comfort of their own personal studios, sacrificing things like artistic control isn’t really necessary.  Also, technology has led to a lot of possibilities as to how a label can operate.  So, #WEATNU doesn’t look to sign people to take control, I think it’s about asking the artists “What do you need?”  It’s all there, but you have the freedom to operate on a loose alliance or a full signing, and everything in between.

I’ve always felt the most interesting independent labels are the ones where you like one artist, you get curious and start crate-digging through the label roster, and #WEATNU has that in spades, but also it uses what’s there to give artists a platform to talk about what they do—hence, the magazine.  Not only putting out music, but providing the story behind it in a way that fans want more of now than they ever did.

Where do you see #weatnurecords going, now that we are nearing our 5th year?

JN: I think the label will continue to do good things!  I think the fact that its different approach is what gives it prominence—this idea that artists and labels can make the goals a common drive rather than have an employer/employee relationship is healthier, and it will allow the artists on #WEATNU the chance to show what they can do without having to change themselves or their art.

Almark – #WEATNU Digital Magazine – Nov 2019
Proofing: Jason M Norwood

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The Story of #WEATNU

“It takes years for an idea to culminate and become something more than mindless thinking. Every diamond is created due to a great amount of pressure. I’m a musician, I write Electronic / Avant-garde, Left-field music. It is certainly in its own category.”

Coming from the roots of Industrial / Experimental and EBM, Ambient, Dub, and eventually those roots became an urge to write my own music, and I didn’t know what I was doing or how to go about doing it electronically.

I had been writing guitar music prior to that from 1992–1998, then getting into writing Electronic music that summer. Music has been with me since 1983, when my Mother first put on, Wham or Hall & Oats, H2O record, or when I heard the album, The Ghostbusters on tape, and being captivated by The Thompson Twins — In the Name of Love. When the Internet had its start in 1997 for me, I found myself seeking out music that moved me differently than terrestrial radio, as during this time, radio was dying out and becoming something of a mainstream money maker. MTV was still going strong in its post-grunge era.

One night, I started looking on Yahoo for internet radio stations, Realplayer had its share of the obscure, even at its low bitrate quality, but I didn’t care, the music is what moved me. It wasn’t long until I found a website called Radio Free Underground, they shut down in 2000, sadly. They played many genres I’d not heard, other than the experimental stuff I discovered through MTV’s The AMP. Goth being one of them, including PsyTrance, Techno, Electro, Electronica, Industrial, Darkwave, and more. The days when true discovery felt like you found something, and it was yours, it felt personal.

I remember first hearing Industrial from a NIN tape a friend gave me during school in 1992, then he gave me a recording of Ministry’s Psalm 69. By the time 1997 rolled around, I was hooked on darker underground music. After being subjected to the more obscure underground, including the MOD scene of 1995, given to me through floppy discs from friends, AMIGA-like computer music, Trackers, Fasttracker, iPlay, S3M, FT2 and so forth.

From the collection of all this, I started developing a great love for “The Underground”, and noticed from my experimenting with Electronic music, deeply in 2000 that Electronic wasn’t that huge yet, though, radio and modern music was still very pop-driven, and rock based. It wasn’t until 2003 and 2005 where I started really hearing the Electronic influence in artists, such as Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Underworld, The Orb and Orbital.

The Severed Heads years…

I was actually heavily influenced from my early days of electronic music writing from Severed Heads, an Aussie artist, named Tom Ellard. For years after 1998 I didn’t have the Internet, I had to go to local university computer labs to use the Internet, usually every night for months on end. During the time of my depth into making electronic in 2000 through tracker software, Fasttracker II, I found myself looking up Severed Heads, who I was introduced to from a boss at my job Eureka Pizza in Springdale, AR.

I no longer felt like mainstream music was important as it once was, I had a drive to do different things. In that computer lab, I came across a website called groovetech.com, and this was my introduction into DnB, Dub, Experimental, Techno, Sampling, from some of the greatest DJs to ever be broadcast through camera, across the world.

Each night I was engrossed in watching these DJs spin for hours. The music was catchy, bouncy and addictive. Even to this day if you look up those podcasts on YouTube, you hear something special just starting to happen. The beginning of what electronic music was, and why it’s so important today.

Years pass…

My love of electronic music continued, in writing it alone, allowing only my family and at the time, during my marriage, my wife and her friends. Also in 2001 I didn’t have the Internet, but I still continued when I could, go to the local library to use it. By the time I got the Internet again, it was around 2010, and I began to think, “what if I upload this music I’ve been doing all these years, and let others listen?” It was through Soundcloud then Bandcamp, and YouTube, I started doing this. Friends on Facebook would tell me I should let others listen, I was reluctant of course, because it was so personal to me.

From venturing forth into various groups online, uploading music and speaking and promoting on twitter, I came to realize that unknown artists were being ignored, or even unheard. That it took a great deal of effort to even get people to listen. Of course during the early days of SoundCloud, people would listen to you more, due to the lack of algorithms.

The power of Social Media.

From the urge to get my own music heard and having a hard time doing it, it started building up in me by 2012–2013 that something needed to be done, something big, a huge idea, and since social media was just getting popular, I thought, “Why not, I want to make waves and create a storm even if I fail doing so. People on social media are making things happen, so why can’t I?” I thought.

During those days, it was hard to find any kind of help to get your music heard. Net-labels were elite and only allowed a certain type of music in, EDM was so big that people were making 200 grand per night when they played; completely ignoring The Underground scene. I wondered, why The Underground and experimental music was no longer around? What happened to it, was it hidden, did it die out? No… From meeting people on Twitter and other places, SoundCloud, YouTube and forums I found it was very much alive.

Great music is hidden.

There were others doing this, there were people like myself with the drive to be heard. Help groups, and Internet radio started popping up, like Bluetown Electronica on Facebook, Revival Synth, one guy who has been running his group well before #WEATNU started. Tracy Perry (Expansion of Presence) who has helped many indie artists for years and years, and continues to do so. Dr. Bones, an avid lover of The Underground scene from Canada, and so and so on. This was during 2013–2014.

I started thinking, “why is it so hard just to belong to a simple label, one without the rules many other mainstream ones cause to you endure? One that we all needed.” I said in my heart, “I will create an organization that will allow others to go up the ladder with me for free, and all of us will be helped.” I wanted to hold everyone on my shoulders; ALL of the indie scene on my back. I must have been crazy for thinking it. Something was burning deep inside of my soul, something I couldn’t stand any longer. I thought, “what if I create a SoundCloud group like others were doing?”, so one day out of the blue I made one called “We are the New Underground“, after having an in-depth conversation with a friend of mine through Facebook, namely, Nessi Holt who writes for a blog called Carpe Carmina. I remember telling her, “you know what! We are the New Underground“, and she said, “Yes!! We are.” Nessi Holt, did an extensive interview with me in 2015 on #WEATNU, she’s helped countless indie artists for many years, including working with RKC Radio.

The start of a new era…

After making the group, 100s poured in, during the first two weeks, it was so hard to help them all that I had to get others to help filter artists into the group. It was a phenomenon, I was hooked from the rush of helping these artists be heard. Starting to post each one who got in, onto Twitter, with their twitter @names attached so others could find that artist, making sure the legwork had been done. The platform and machine of #WEATNU had begun.

It came to me that we needed more than just a group on SoundCloud and during this time, summer of 2014, We are the New Underground was just a name. Before long, the acronym #WEATNU was born. I noticed that a lot of hash tags brought attention to a brand or groups. December of that year, WEATNU Records was born, where the artists who found us were offered a means to be part of a label, where their music mattered, and where people would appreciate them with good results.

People felt the need to be heard.

Most of all, they would at least be heard. Sometime around Summer of 2014 WEATNU [OUR] Online Underground Radio was born, and a machine was created to help the underground. People started contacting me, wanting to make a difference. Soon DJCJ of RadioCoolio, an Internet radio personality in Canada, who also helps indie artists be heard, contacted my E-mail and Facebook, and wanted to promo and spread the word.

Roofy, another artist, who spent an entire year spreading the word about #WEATNU caused others to find us as well. Including Ivan of AMNIOTIC — By 2015, in the same year, Brian Diamond who at the time was just starting Shadows & Mirrors, and is now a label owner of Electric Dream Records, also came our way to help spread the word, as he and AMNIOTIC both wanted to help the community find our artists. During this era, UK artist Craig Manga, of Manga Bros, who later went on to form (Black Box Recordings) befriended our movement and spoke highly to many of those whom he followed, which helped further our cause. His friend, Mark Forster, was a force unmatched, as he loved the underground and its artists and #WEATNU, by helping them on ArtistSignal, he will be greatly missed as he passed away some years ago.

A publication was created.

Our magazine was helping artists be heard, shows on Mixcloud were uploaded from interviews I conducted with new artists weekly, live radio with artists and new songs, showcasing them weekly as well. Special shows on our Internet radio and many other things would happen to become what #WEATNU was developing into. A driving force, a movement that was needed, that wouldn’t stop. By 2016, over 400 artists from all over the world had graced their presence with us.

A new chapter begins

The rush was intense, and it was exhausting. It was time to stop working so hard, but I still had the drive. Our magazine went away that year, radio shut down in the Summer, but the label continued pumping out new music, but slowly. It wasn’t until 2018 where I had a conversation with a new friend, who joined us that year, and she told me “you get what you put in.” So taking that advice, I ran with it, pushing hard once again but, using what I learned before and pushed the label to become what I had envisioned years ago.

2018 – 2019

Our label started releasing finally to streaming platforms, including our already releasing music through Bandcamp since 2014. WEANTU Records was being noticed, once again, restored and still a great passion of mine, even after all these challenges. The radio also returned in November of 2018. Streaming of course helped greatly, but newer artists by 2018 started finding us, and The Underground was still being served. With a dream, a vision and a little fire, anything can be accomplished. Artists who have been helped and brought to the light from this effort , are as follows, and these are just a handful – AMNIOTIC, Bleepeater, Whettman Chelmets, Adryelle, Lie Craze, Dead Scrimshaw, Amattik, AR89, Belial Pelegrim, Bufinjer, Jazzykat, DigitalSlumberParty, Jessica Grant, Fluffytails, B. Hasemeyer, Bedtime for Robots, Lemonade Kid, Meter Bridge, Nurse Predator, The Aircrash Bureau!, Sound Engraver.

The magazine returns

One night, as I was going through old site snapshots on waybackmachine, I looked up our old magazine, which use to be at weatnu-magazine.com and a flood of nostalgia filled me. Reading the articles, reviews, and interviews that many people had written, including myself, I thought it was time to bring the magazine back. I started working on a new magazine website, the one you are reading now. The artist needed a voice, not just their music to be heard, but why they do what they do. Publications are important to fans as well as artists. I was pleased to have this final part of the #WEATNU machine return, and this time, it would remain, just like its radio. With all parts together once more, Radio, label and magazine, things felt complete and it is my hope they all further the cause of the Independent artist.

The label itself has signed over 100 artists since 2014, many of which are still with us. With the radio returning, WEATNU [OUR] continues to help artists outside the label as well, be heard. With its 24/7 streaming radio, 365 days a year, and free to join. Showcasing many of these types of genres, while encompassing the electronic array.

The dream continues

WEATNU Records has taken in numerous genres and sub-genres over the years, such as Electronic, Electronica, Experimental, Industrial, Indiepop, Indie rock, Electro-pop, Synth-pop, Vaporwave, Trip-hop, Lo-fi, Instrumental Hip-hop, Synthwave, Darkwave, Ambient, Dark Ambient, Alt-rock, post-rock and so on, and we continue to allow The Underground artist to join. With the driving force of the unknown artist, we still have many people who support us behind the scenes. Many of whom are unnamed, but are greatly appreciated for letting others know what we do.

#WEATNU continues to help artists yearly, and that passion never dies. From 2014 and beyond, We are the New Underground is the heart of The Digital Underground, a beacon of hope for the artist who just wants to be noticed, without needing to sacrifice their hopes and dreams. We continue to help them. I hope this story of how we started influences you, and gives you hope that if you dream it, it will happen. We are the New Underground 10.10.2019 (originally published through Medium.com)

Almark – #WEATNU Digital Magazine – November 2019

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