On the odd occasion I'll go in search for some new music using the 'browse' feature on Spotify. Now, I don't always come across new artists or music when doing this, but on this one particular day I did, and I was more than pleased with my new discovery.
Washington based indie, pop, rock band Jukebox The Ghost were the culprits and after listening to their fourth and most recent self titled album, I was remarkably impressed. Becoming at instant fan, I immediately set out to interview the indie, pop-rock trio.
Two days later I found myself emailing questions to the band, those of which vocalist and guitarist Tommy Siegel was kind enough to answer.
Beginning things with an introduction, I informed the band I was from New Zealand, continuing on to ask if any members of the band have ever been to this part of the world, and if they have any plans to tour here in the near future. "We don't have any plans, but we would LOVE TO," Seigel enthusiastically responded. "Jesse Kristin (drums) spent a semester in Australia, but that's about the closest any of us have gotten to New Zealand, sadly."
"Oof. You knocked out any American's top-three cultural references..."Seigel replied when I dutifully asked what the first thing that pops into his head when someone says 'New Zealand' is, cruelly followed by saying, "other than Lorde, 'Lord Of The Rings,' or 'The Hobbit." "I'm gonna go with The Dead C. Because I like them, and I'm fairly certain they're from New Zealand," Seigel added. Which they in-fact are, just incase you were wondering.
Moving on to talk about the early beginnings of the band, Siegel went on to fill me in on how Jukebox The Ghost initially formed and the storybehind their name. "We met in college in 2004 and the band has been the same trio ever since!" he replied. "We went under a different name in college, but once things started to get 'serious' we changed our band name to "Jukebox the Ghost" in a very democratic process where we all submitted a word...I wanted "jukebox",Ben Thornewill (piano) wanted "ghost" and Jesse wanted us to be a "the" band like "the Strokes" (so he didn't really get his wish, but at least there's a "the" in the middle!)," Siegel exclaimed.
"I feel like band years are like dog years -- You multiply by seven. So in that sense, we're 70 years old in band years," Seigel stated when asked what it's like having been in the same band for a remarkable ten years. "We've almost definitely spent more time as a trio in close quarters (vans, hotels, venues) than we have with our own families -- And the fact that we've made it this long and still enjoy each other says a lot, I think," he continued. "It's also really wonderful that our deeper understanding of one another makes it EASIER to make music together rather than harder. Ten years and four records in, it becomes apparent that we can do this for as long as we want to, and nothing is stopping us," he proudly exclaimed.
As one would assume, when a band continues to make music together for as long as Jukebox The Ghosthave, their sound evolves and can sometimes change entirely.
Brining this up in conversation, Siegel went on to tell me how he believes the band have grown since they formed back in 2004. "I think all three of us have become more serious about songcraft," Siegel declared. "In some of our older music, it was sometimes about trying to jam as many ideas as possible into one song. Which is exciting...But exhausting. On our last couple of records, there was a very conscious movement towards trying to write great pop songs that can stand on their own, outside of the context of a record."
"It's certainly our 'biggest-sounding' record," Seigel went on to explain. "A lot of that is due to our willingness to try new instrumentation," he continued. "Bass and synthesizers have never had such a huge role in our music before now -- And I think it has resulted in a record that feels like a 'reset' button for the band, in a good way," he concluded.
"It felt like a new start to us, in a lot of ways," Seigel admit, commenting on why the band decided to self title their fourth studio album. "Our process has never been so open and collaborative. Though most songs on the record were primarily written by one person, all three of us had our fingerprints on every song on the record in a more active way than we have ever written in the past."
With this comment, Seigel went on to explain a bit more of the bands recording process for this album. "We spent a lot more time on this record than any record prior. All in all, there was a solid 9 months of demo-ing before we went into the studio, so by the time we did there were around 50 songs to choose from," he exclaimed. "From there, we whittled down to the 11 you hear on the record, which took a few months to finish in Los Angeles. We did 'Postcard' with Andrew Dawson (fun., Kanye West) but the vast majority was done with Dan Romer (Ingrid Michaelson, A Great Big World) at his home studio in L.A. It was an exhaustingly long process, but at the end it resulted in a record that were all very confident about."
"From Andrew, we took away a sense of letting go of the creative reins and seeing what someone else could do with one of our songs,"Seigel acknowledged. "We kind of let him (Andrew) do his thing to "Postcard" and loved the result -- Which then made us trust Dan Romer on a creative and arrangement level even more than we had in the past. Dan totally floored us with some of his inventive arrangement ideas in the recording process."
Admitting my love for the single 'Sound of A Broken Heart,' which along with the album has a slightly more pop-pier sound than some of the bands' previous works, Siegel promptly informed me that the reason they veered towards this marginally different direction is that,
"It just felt right! That sound was primarily Dan Romer's idea, and we ended up loving it," he gleefully added.
"Who knows!" Siegel replied when asked if this pop-pier sound is something we should get used to hearing from Jukebox The Ghost. "It's hard to say what we'll feel like doing on our next record, but I'll let you know when we get there!" he happily chimed.
With a slightly new direction, sound and recording process under their belt for their latest record, I went on to ask Siegel how the band's songwriting process also changed or developed throughout the early creative stages of the 'Jukebox The Ghost' record. "In the past, either Ben or I generally brought something to the table and acted as the creative leader for arranging it in the practice room, Siegel began. "But nowadays it's a lot more collaborative and it seems to be working well, so we'll probably stick with our newly-discovered enjoyment of co-writing!" he proclaimed.
As well as producing excellent music, I was also very impressed with the visual side to the band, being blown away by their most recent music video for single, 'The Great Unknown.' Including numerous stunning locations, Siegel informed me that it was filmed in Big Sur on a VERY small budget with a remote-controlled drone with a go-pro camera attached to it. "We had a blast filming it...Not a bad location to be forced to spend time in either..." Siegel delightfully admit.
Now that the record is out and the new year has begun, Siegel informed me that the band will be doing a lot of touring throughout 2015. "I imagine we'll be starting work on our fifth record sometime in the near future too," he added. "We've already got an enormous pile of demos to work with, even just from the last six months!" he chimed, leaving us in great anticipation and excitement of what this year will bring for the talented indie, pop, rock trio.
One of our writers sat down with Amy Mansfield, writer of I Didn’t Invite You Hear To Lecture Me, ahead of the Basement shows. Most students throw out their study notes, but not Amy. She has kept hold of them for the past 20 years--vertibiam quotes from her lectures that are too good to ever get rid of. The play was shown throughout the Auckland Fringe Week 2018, and even in some personal living rooms, the vibe is very independent and witty.
It was a cold bleary eyed Saturday night as the clock struck midnight, and counted towards 1am… the time set forth to conjure Richard Shaw, guitarist for legendary UK black metal act Cradle of Filth. We talked ahead of their sold out, first ever performance here in New Zealand.
NZ is about to get OBESSED, with the newest in kiwi music. Local Tauranga sweetheart, Amelia McNabb comes to us fiercely, independently, and with more fire in her lungs than I've heard from any kiwi artist in while. THIS is what we’ve been waiting for.
Elgusto, one part of the innovative electronic/dance music duo, Hermitude, sat down with one of our interviewers this past week; chatting about their loaded schedule, the bands ethos, how they communicate an instrumental show, and their creative collaborations.
Catching up with friends who are musicians at their gigs is always an odd, awkward, rushed affair between sets, pack-down, or a series of inaudible shouts as another band plays. So with the release of the new Seas of Conflict single Monachopsis, I thought it was time I simply scheduled time for a chat, not only once but twice--due to technical issues--with guitarist Declan Storrie.
I recently ventured back to my old festival haunting grounds - or at least the successor thereof. It was a hot Sunday afternoon and after juggling band members between their Festival One main stage duties and their prior commitments off-site, I managed to sit down with the guys and gal from Amanaki - one of the few hardcore-metal acts to perform at the mostly radio-friendly festival.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are gracing our shores on the 28th of November at Galatos. After a 4-year hiatus, they have burst back onto the scene and headed straight for the spot they are most familiar with, number 1 on the Billboard Christian Rock Charts.
Breakups are never easy - whether it's a romantic tryst, a teenage crush, or with a young Mark and his favourite band Dream Theater, that dark moment when founding keyboardist Kevin Moore left the group in 1994.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
Andrew Fagan returns with a satirical take on today’s social media preoccupied society. Being an amateur social anthropologist, it is a topic close to his heart. Listen to new track On Channel Me below, off Fagan’s forthcoming solo album Act Normal, due for release in October on Southbound.
Brisbane’s own indie rock royalty, The Grates, have been invited along for the ride, and will treat their hometown crowd to classics from their extensive and impressive catalogue of tunes including 19-20-20 and Turn Me On.
Pixies, one of the most influential alternative rock bands of all time, have announced a second show for Brisbane fans due to overwhelming demand. Following on from Melbourne’s second show announced on Friday (on sale 12pm today!), Brisbane fans have been just as eager to see catch the influential music pioneers, selling out the Fortitude Music Hall date on March 13. A second show has been added at the same venue on Thursday March 12 as part of their mammoth world tour, Come On Pilgrim… It’s Surfer Rosa.
The Ugly Kings, featuring Devil Electric guitarist, Christos Athanasias, are four powerhouse blues rockers drawing influence from an eclectic and dynamic musical background. They offer a powerful injection of energy and emotion to the modern rock scene, formulating what can only be described as power blues. They have released a new music video for Black Widow, featuring an award winning burlesque dancer Ferri Maya. Plus announced a live show this weekend!
Fame and fortune on the Kiwi music scene are a step closer for the top 10 acts just announced in Smokefreerockquest, New Zealand’s biggest live, nationwide all original music event for high school students.
Pluto’s nascent trajectory has covered the spectrum of the New Zealand musical stratosphere, bursting brightly onto the scene in 2001 just to have their star seemingly burn out just as abruptly in 2009. It would have been a suitably intriguing end to befall one of the finest, most exciting and alluring bands New Zealand has ever produced.
Exhilarating and high energy New Zealand rock band, Written By Wolves, have just released their killer new track, Tell Me What You’re Running From? This is the first single from the band’s upcoming new album, set for release later this year.
Australia’s foremost authority on progressive rock, Caligula’s Horse, are just weeks away from kicking off their Let It Grow tour which will celebrate their cult classic The Tide, The Thief & River's End and breakout progressive masterpiece Bloom by playing them back to back!
Within the four walls of The Fortitude Music Hall, lies The Outpost. Brisbane’s newest 300 capacity multipurpose venue that will feature a diverse program of artists, an impressive drinks menu featuring a cocktail list curated by the talented team at Proof & Company.
After spending the past year pulverizing the world with their stupefying live performances, Tropical Fuck Storm return home to tour their new album Braindrops and put the Antipodean public to the sword! Braindrops, the follow up to 2018's epic odyssey, A Laughing Death In Meatspace, will be released on Flightless Records in August
It’s been 20 years since The Flaming Lips released the one-of-a-kind aural hallucination that is The Soft Bulletin. To celebrate the anniversary of its release, The Flaming Lips will play a special show at Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall.
Backstreet’s back, alright! Get your group together, because the biggest selling Boy Band of all time (100 million albums), the BACKSTREET BOYS are heading back to New Zealand in 2020 for a show at Auckland’s Spark Arena on Saturday, May 16.
Platinum-certified independent singer, songwriter, producer, and pop visionary Lauv has released new single 'fuck, I'm lonely' with Anne-Marie today. The track will be featured on Lauv’s forthcoming debut album titled ~how i'm feeling
Frontier Touring and Roundhouse Entertainment are excited to announce that Norwegian pop icons a-ha are returning to Australia for the first time in 34 years, before heading to New Zealand for the very first time! They’ll be joined by very special guest Rick Astley at all February & March 2020 shows, taking in Sydney, Melbourne, and Christchurch, as well as a day on the green events in Australia and New Zealand.
Hitting a massive nine centres on his regional tour this September, Stan will take the stage to perform songs from his impressive catalogue plus his brand new pop smash single Give (co-written by Matiu Walters of SIX60) for his beloved fans. The Springboard tour will also boast three of NZ’s most up-and-coming new artists – Lepani, Niko Walters and Jordan Gavet.
TEG DAINTY and THE MISSION ESTATE WINERY CONCERT announced today that global superstar Michael Bublé will return in February 2020! Accompanied by a 36-piece orchestra and ready to to thrill his New Zealand fans for one night only; this will be Michael Bublé’s only show in New Zealand.
Elton John will perform a third and final show at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium, to satisfy New Zealand’s insatiable demand. It has also been announced that, due to a scheduling conflict, three of Elton’s sold out New Zealand concerts have been delayed by one week. Rescheduled dates affect the second show at Mission Estate Winery, and the first two Mt Smart Stadium shows in Auckland.
Vocal prodigy RUEL is returning to New Zealand for one show in Auckland at the Bruce Mason Centre in May. Counting Elton John and Khalid among his fans, RUEL is taking the globe by storm, smashing show records, and he’s only 16 years old.
Exactly six years to the day since the release of Vance Joy’s debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing, Liberation Records are pleased to reveal an extremely limited run of the EP have been pressed on vinyl for the first time ever for release on Friday 26 April. Vance Joy has also announced he will bring his Ukuleles For Kids program to Australia in a new partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia. Launched in the USA last year the program delivers ukuleles and how-to video tutorials lead by Vance Joy to children’s hospitals.
LA two-piece Moby Rich have announced two headline shows on their debut Australian tour this May. With their latest single Blink bringing further attention to the duo, this Australian tour is the perfect opportunity to catch two indie stars on the rise. Support on the tour comes from yergurl in Melbourne, whose lo-fi beats and unique pop style made her a Triple J Unearthed favourite. Sydney support will be from Hoodlem, a streaming sensation with her mix of experimental soul and future R&B.
Darren Middleton (POWDERFINGER), Mark Wilson (JET), Davey Lane (YOU AM I) and Kram (SPIDERBAIT) have joined forces to become ARC, one of the most collectively celebrated and successful supergroups in Australia’s rock history will be performing Abbey Road live, commemorating 50 years of existence.
Abbey Road, The Beatles' swansong and their crowning achievement as a recording group - is a stately, majestic, playful yet fiercely rocking masterpiece of pop music, regarded as one of the greatest records of all time.
On the heels of releasing several collaborative hit tracks this year, five-time Grammy Award-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson returns with a brand new single of his own ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ featuring Miley Cyrus.
TEG Dainty and Nice Events are excited to announce that Emmy-nominated television personality, podcaster and hairstylist to the stars, Jonathan Van Ness, will bring his Road to Beijing world tour to New Zealand
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.