On Tour: Thee Phantom

Described as “part b-boy, part Beethoven,” Thee Phantom uniquely combines hip-hop with live orchestration. Read on to get the 411 on his upcoming College Tour that kicks off this week with a SOLD OUT show at the University of Texas, the advice he’d give someone who’s trying to break into the business, and more.

Hey Thee Phantom, thanks for being a part of our series! Introduce yourself – who is Thee Phantom?
Thee Phantom is the combination of all my childhood inspirations. Hip-Hop, Classical Music, Comic Books, Sports & of course my favorite Broadway musical, Phantom of the Opera. I am a Composer/MC/Producer who combines the raw energy and passion of Hip-Hop, with the beautiful melodies of live orchestral accompaniment.

KevinOn Tour: Thee Phantom
read more

Artist You Should Know: Well Well Well

Described as “Easy Listening for Uneasy People,” San Diego-based band Well Well Well just released their debut EP ‘What Do We Have Here?” Read on to meet the duo, get the deets on their debut show on September 29th, and more.

What’s up guys? Before we get into it — can you tell us a little about Well Well Well?
WWW is myself on guitar/vox and Dan Nichols on bass/synth/drums. Dan has this crazy unique ability to play drums one handed and play the bass keyboard and synthesizer with the other hand simultaneously. The music came quite naturally once our band Barbarian went on hiatus.

KevinArtist You Should Know: Well Well Well
read more

Artist You Should Know: Dave Thomas Junior

As a producer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist songwriter, Dave Thomas Junior’s music has been featured on Vampire Diaries, The Muppets, and more. Read on to learn about his new album ‘Pieces’ that just premiered on PureVolume, his collaboration with Don Diablo, and experience with sync placements.

Hey Dave! Who is Dave Thomas Junior?
He’s this dude who makes music all the time.

Give us the breakdown of your new album ‘Pieces.’
Pandora recently added me and they said my music has ‘folk roots, mystical qualities, a subtle use of vocal harmony, acoustic rhythm piano and mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation.’ Which is just about a good description of the new album as I could hope for.

I’m really interested in the technological singularity, so (along with love which I pretty much always write about) a lot of the songs are about the concept of time in some way or another. The idea that things are moving exponentially faster is something that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about – it seems so amazing and exciting and terrifying to me – so that always makes its way into the songs. Except ‘We Belong Together’ which is purely about Drake’s unrequited love for Rihanna. I saw the video for ‘Work’ and pretty much straight away had the idea for that song. It’s such a tragedy, he’s got it all except the one thing he wants more than anything.

KevinArtist You Should Know: Dave Thomas Junior
read more

Artist You Should Know: Gundelach

Norwegian producer and artist Gundelach has been making heads turn since the release of his soul-drenched electronic single “Spiders” late last year, and has been featured by the likes of Pigeons and Planes, NYLON, and The 405. We caught up with him to get the lowdown on the Oslo club scene, the success of “Spiders,” his creative process, and more.

Hey Gundelach, thanks for being part of our series. Before we start, can you tell us about yourself?
Hey! My name is Kai, and I am an artist/producer from Norway.

We read you immersed yourself in Oslo’s club scene at the age of 16. What drew you into that specific scene? What was the Oslo club scene like back then and how has it evolved?
Yeah, that’s true. The music is what drew me into the scene! The club culture in Oslo is great, it was back then and still is. Now all the best clubs in Oslo have great soundsystems which is cool, the bookings are also better than ever.

KevinArtist You Should Know: Gundelach
read more

Artist You Should Know: TRACE

Synth-pop singer/songwriter TRACE has been on everyone’s radar for her warm vocals, electronic sounds, and effortless mix of pop and R&B. The likes of Stereogum, Pigeons and Planes, and Indie Shuffle can’t get enough of her and she just premiered her debut EP ‘Low’ on Spotify. Read on to get to the lowdown on Trace.

Hey TRACE what’s good? Thanks for chatting with us! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
It’s my pleasure. And yes. Let’s see. I’m from Southern California, born and raised. Currently call Los Angeles home and want to kind of live everywhere one day. I enjoy personality tests, really good wine and when the weather is somewhere between gray and really gray. That’s probably a good start.

KevinArtist You Should Know: TRACE
read more

Artist You Should Know: AYER

With a luscious new single with Christofi that’s already hit over 200k listens on Hype Machine and ethereal vocals that we can’t get enough of, we chatted with electro-pop artist AYER about his musical upbringing, current projects, and more.

Hey AYER! Thanks for chatting us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? We can’t help but fall in love with your ethereal vocals. Did you have a professional musical upbringing?
Thank you very much, and yea, I did have a very musical upbringing. Lots of voice lessons, voice-over recording gigs, and throughout my school years and into college, training in classical, choral, music theatre and studio recording. What allowed me to learn the most, though, was dissecting and trying to understand pop songs. For the longest time I couldn’t make sense of how a pop song got from point A to point B, let alone to a bridge or ending – and harmonies, forget about it. The voice has always just kind of been there, but at this point in my life I am so proud of just you know, training myself in how to write pop music, and not losing patience with my curiosity.

KevinArtist You Should Know: AYER
read more

Artist Session: Empathy Test

With a stunning new single dropping on September 9th, we caught up with London electronic pop duo Empathy Test about their sci-fi influences, European tour, and more.

Hey guys thanks for chatting! Who is Empathy Test?
Empathy Test is Isaac Howlett (vocals) and Adam Relf (production). We’ve known each other since we were six and eight respectively and have been friends ever since. We grew up in the South East of England and we both now live in London.

We heard that your name was inspired by the film Blade Runner. Tell us about that and has that movie influenced your style?
We made our first EP (Losing Touch) before thinking of a name. So it was a case of finding something that worked with the music. We’ve had a lot of people compliment on it, so we’re glad we spent some time thinking about it. Isaac decided to re-watch one of our favourite sci-fi movies, Blade Runner, for inspiration. In the movie, they use an ‘empathy test’ to work out if someone is a human or a highly advanced android called a ‘replicant’. The theory is that it’s empathy that distinguishes us from machines. Empathy Test makes music with machines but that music speaks to people on a very human level. The fact that the Blade Runner soundtrack was also an influence on our music, created a neat circle of reference.

KevinArtist Session: Empathy Test
read more

Artist You Should Know: Matt Kivel

Singer/songwriter Matt Kivel just premiered his video for “Permanence,” announced an upcoming double LP due out in October, and consistently gets praised by the likes of Pitchfork, SPIN, and more. We caught up with the LA-based artist to chat about the collaborative recording process of 'Fires on the Plain,’ his evolution as an artist, and more.

Hey Matt, we’re stoked to have you be part of our series! Let’s start off with a quick introduction. Who is Matt Kivel?
Hi! Thanks for having me. I am 30 years old, married to a very intelligent woman named Emily, and I have been writing songs and making records for a long while now. I live in Los Angeles and have lived here, more or less, for the past 27 years. I enjoy reading, playing music, watching movies, and boxing … I feel like I’m on an old timey dating show right now.  

KevinArtist You Should Know: Matt Kivel
read more