Interview with Slumberjack

On Sept. 8, I had the pleasure of interviewing the music group known as Slumberjack.  I was lucky enough to interview both members, Morgan Then and Fletcher Ehlers. They performed at the Observatory North Park along with Troyboi. Here’s the conversation I had with them – topics ranging from the restaurant Tender Greens to DJing at birthday parties.

KCR: What was the song that you listened to when you were a child that made you want to play music?

FE: Oh wow. I think a heard a track called “Ghosts N Stuff,” by Deadmau5, on the radio. I was in the car with my dad and I was just so blown away by how a song can use so many crazy electronic sounds and be so amazingly catchy. That’s what got me into producing electronic music.

MT: It’s so cliche. It’s going to be “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” by Skrillex. It made me want to get into electronic music. It was too cool.

KCR: Slumberjack is also the name of an outdoor camping company. How many times have you been confused for it?

FE: We always get tagged in their sleeping bags sales on Instagram. Apart from that, we get confused for the artist, LUMBERJVCK, more often.

KCR: What can you tell me about Pockets and Squirrel? 

MT: (Laughs) I think I got an old [phone] number from some guy called Pockets. I’m still looking for who he is, but I might have some clues. So, apparently, he is a DJ or a music producer or something because people have been sending me videos of their computers to show [me] their mixes. People would just call me, and I would pick up in the morning, and [they’d] go, “Yo Pockets! Is that you?”, and I’d say no and they’d hang up straight away. So, either he’s really famous or he’s really sketchy. It’s been happening for three weeks now. Ever since we got into the U.S. Every day, I get calls for Pockets.

KCR: Have you been to Tender Greens before? 

FE: We just had lunch there.

KCR: Is it true that Tender Greens inspired one of your songs?

FE: Yeah. Last time we were in Los Angeles, we were working with Alison Wonderland. We took a break and we were stuck on this track we were working on, and we went to Tender Greens for lunch, had some good sustenance and came back into the studio and punched out the whole track.

KCR: Morgan, have anything else to say on this?

MT: Their shrimp is good.

KCR: What made the both of you decide to focus on music after graduating college?

MT: Fletcher and I had this fear of, “If we weren’t making music, what would we be doing?”. Probably waking up at 7 a.m., have your bagel by 7:15, at 7:30, you’re in the subway. It’s all that distilled into one fear, so we decided not to pursue a corporate job. It’s similar to the show, “The Office,” but it’s not funny. All the jokes are just dad jokes.

FE: It’s a deep fantasy.

MT: We can write a whole story on it.

KCR: Morgan, how did you get into rock climbing?

MT: I got into that to impress my girlfriend. We [had] just started dating and I wanted to show her I was into cool stuff. After the climbing session, this one guy who worked at the gym was going to quit. So, he came up to me and he said I was a natural and offered me his spot. I said yes and three years in, I was still climbing and doing competitions. Only when I met Fletcher did I switch my focus from rock climbing to music. We recently picked it up again and we climbed in Tuscon. Fletcher just got into it four months ago and he’s getting really good at it too.

KCR: Fletcher, do you still DJ at birthday parties? 

FE: I do not DJ at birthday parties anymore. I do occasionally still get asked by my parents’ friends, or family friends who message me to see if I can DJ at their daughter’s 15th birthday and if I can bring some lighting, speakers, and DJ. However, I have to politely say that I don’t do that anymore. You got to start learning your tricks on the decks by doing kids parties or any other low pressure situations.

KCR: If you could replace yourself in Slumberjack with a celebrity, who would it be? 

FE: Probably Thor.

MT: Now that we’re with the superhero vibe, I would go with Robert Downey Jr. He’s Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man. I would have him replace me. It would be his honor.

You can find Slumberjack on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Soundcloud. You can listen to their latest EP, “Fracture,” on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal.

An Interview with Joywave

Joywave came into town on Aug. 24 to perform alongside Cold War Kids and Young the Giant. I was able to sit down and interview the band. In this interview, Daniel Armbruster (lead vocals), Joseph Morinelli (guitar), Benjamin Bailey (keyboards) and Paul Brenner (drums) answer questions that you never knew you needed to know until now.

KCR: You have so many hilarious and wildly creative music videos. Are there any concepts for a music video that you wanted to do but haven’t done yet?

DA: Yes.

KCR: For your first album, “How Do You Feel Now?,” there were a lot of samples from Disney movies, such as “Peter Pan,” “Bambi,” and even “Fantasia.” Are there any plans for clearing any more samples to use in future EPs or albums?

DA: No. Sorry (laughs). We may do that, but we did not do that for this record. Disney is the parent company for of our record label (Hollywood Records) so when we signed there, we did so kind of saying, “Maybe they’ll let us dig into the vault there a little bit?”, and we were right. They did let us and it was a fun thing. It’s notoriously difficult to clear Disney samples, so it was really cool that they let us do that for the first record.

KCR: Was the reason you signed with Disney because they gave you so much creative control?

DA: Yes. We made the first record ourselves. We made the second record ourselves too. When we signed there, they were saying, “Who do you want to help make your record?”. We had done everything ourselves up to that point, for the most part, and so we said we wanted to continue doing everything. They said, “sounds good.”

KCR: So we’re going to move to the second segment of this interview and it’s more focused on personal questions about each of you. We’ll start off with Paul. Is it true your dad was a guard on the show, “Legends of the Hidden Temple”?

PB: No.

KCR: Wait… was that just a rumor?

PB: Yeah. How do you know that?

DA: Who started that?

PB: Me in high school. Seriously, how do you know that. Where did you read that?

KCR: I’m interviewing Joywave. I had to know.

PB: Sometimes people would believe me.

KCR: I mean… I believed you.

PB: It’s an age old tale that I’ve been telling for many eons.

KCR: Daniel, what would you say is the best song you ever made and why is it “Thriller 2“?

DA: (Laughs) “Thriller 2” by my old band, Vice Grip, is the best song ever made. “Destruction,” by Joywave, is a close second and beyond that, I think “True Grit” from our 2012 EP, “Koda Vista.” I think that is what I would believe to be the best Joywave song.

KCR: Who would you say are some of the biggest influences for the band?

DA: I think we generally like people who do whatever they want to do, like Kanye West. He’s an exciting person. We are all Kanye West fans, despite him releasing very similar artwork to some of our fall tour art in 2015 (Kanye West’s tour art). Damon Albarn (lead singer of Blur and co-creator of Gorillaz) is a guy who has done whatever he wanted to do throughout his career, so we all find that to be very inspiring.

KCR: Joseph, are you into baseball?

JM: I’m very into baseball.

KCR: What would you say is your favorite team?

JM: My favorite team is the New York Yankees.

DA: You clearly already know this.

JM: You’re setting me up.

DA: If you know about “Thriller 2” then you know that Joey likes the Yankees.

KCR: I know there’s a famous rookie on the Yankees named Aaron Judge. Would you name your future son, Aaron Judge Morinelli?

JM: Yes. I would name my son Aaron Judge Morinelli.

KCR: Last but not least, Ben. When is the next single going to drop for the “Waterboys“(a side project with Joywave bassist, Sean Donnelly)?

BB: (Laughs) Any day now.

KCR: What’s one question you always wished you were asked during an interview?

DA: I don’t know.

BB: I don’t know. I never [think], “Man! I wish they asked this!”

DA: Yeah. I do know what I don’t like to be asked. I don’t like being asked what my favorite color is, what the name of the band is, or what Joywave sounds like. Those are the three questions where if someone asks any of those three questions, the interview is over for me. But, they don’t know it and it keeps going for awhile and I just say things like, “Our band sounds like Pitbull.” [Stuff] like that.

KCR: Well I’m glad we’re interviewing Young the Giant right now. Glad to have you guys.

(everyone laughs)

KCR: If you could replace yourself in the band with a celebrity, who would it be?

JM: I need a minute.

DA: I also need a minute.

PB: Nicolas Cage. But, I would just want him to take my face.

KCR: So it would be like a “Face/Off”  situation?

PB: Exactly.

BB: I still have to think…

DA: Amanda Bynes.

JM: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin because he can give you a hell-of-a-lot better show than I could.

BB: Dude, I don’t know.

DA: He says he’ll pick Trump.

BB: That didn’t come out of my mouth. I didn’t say it.

DA: You were holding the mic when it was said. It was definitely you.

You can find Joywave on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud and Twitter. You can listen to their latest album, “Content,” on SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Music.


Catching Up with the Regrettes at Chula Vista HarborFest

On Aug. 18, the Regrettes came back to San Diego to perform at the Chula Vista HarborFest. The band consists of Lydia Night (lead vocalist and guitarist), Sage Nicole (bass), Genessa Gariano (lead guitar) and, of course, Maxx Morando (drums). I interviewed the group again, (here’s the previous one), this time covering Dunkin’ Donuts, celebrity band replacements and many more fascinating topics.

Warning: Some explicit language below.

KCR: What song made you want to play music when you were young?

LN: “Beat on the Brat,” by the Ramones, was the first song I would sing constantly. So, I guess I would go with that.

MM: Probably “Everlong,” by the Foo Fighters, or “The Rat,” by the Walkmen.

GG: I really loved “Brown Sugar,” by the Rolling Stones.

SN: I really liked “Stay,” by Jackson Browne, because it’s music themed. It’s stupid (laughs).

KCR: On TV, your song, “Hey Now,” is in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial. How crazy is that?

LN: It is pretty crazy! It’s amazing.

KCR: Do you actually go to Dunkin’ Donuts?

LN: We actually have. On tour and – okay, you know what I really like about Dunkin’ Donuts? People will think i’m gross for this, but they have these little hashbrown bites… they’re so good!

KCR: Hopefully you guys get sponsored by them.

LN: Yeah. We’re one step closer now.

KCR: Next question. So, who hasn’t listened to your debut album, “Feel Your Feelings, Fool!”? And, one of my favorite songs on there is “Picture Perfect.” How did that riff of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” become a part of the song?

LN: I love that song. I don’t know. I can’t really remember exactly how it happened. I think I just started singing it as a joke at one point, just playing it, and all of a sudden I was like, “Fuck it. Let’s do it.”

KCR: How do you feel when a fan is always asking you to perform in their city?

LN: We never have an answer. It’s just kind of a bummer because we don’t know.

MM: Brazil is a popular one. All the time, every band gets asked to come to Brazil. It’s kinda like a meme (laughs).

LN: We want to go to all these places but we just haven’t yet.

KCR: If you weren’t playing music, what do you think you would be doing instead?

LN: Probably cook

ing. I really like to cook now, so I would love to learn how to cook really well. I don’t know. Nothing, depressed in my room.

(everyone laughs)

MM: I’d probably do something with movies or directing – just making movies and stuff like that. I’m into film and anything with film.

GG: I would do design. Graphic design or some sort of art, and then work for a non-profit for women. I think that doing those two things together would be ideal.

SN: I really want to have my own lingerie company and brand. So, probably that and being a mother to many animals. I’d be a lonely housewife with a lot of animals (laughs).

KCR: What would be the official drink of the Regrettes?

LN: There’s three. It would be yerba mate, coconut water or juice boxes. Juices boxes though, we kind of moved on from. That was like phase one of the Regrettes.

KCR: The last question to end this interview is, if you could replace yourself in the band with a celebrity, who would it be?

LN: Karen O (lead singer of Yeah Yeah Yeahs).

GG: I’d say St. Vincent. She’s awesome.

LN: Oh my god! Karen O and St. Vincent in a band together!?

GG: Holy shit! Wow. Am I allowed to curse? Holy-moly.

MM: I don’t know who to pick.

SN: I pick Kim Kardashian. Can I pick Kim Kardashian? I’d love that.

MM: I’ll just stay.

You can find the Regrettes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can listen to their latest album, “Feel Your Feelings, Fool!” on Spotify and Apple Music.



An Interview With Chastity Belt

On August 4th, Chastity Belt came to San Diego to perform at the Space Bar. Lydia Lund, the lead guitarist, Gretchen Grimm, the drummer, Annie Truscott, the bassist, and last but not least, Julia Shapiro,  the lead vocalist and guitarist, all sat down for an interview. I talked to them about reality T.V., pet peeves, and the band’s official drink.

KCR: What was the song when you were a kid that made you want to get into music?

LL: I really got into the Strokes in middle school and yeah… those guitar parts were some sick lead lines, made me want to play lead (laughs).

AT: I was pretty into Weezer in middle school.

GG: I thought in high school, the coolest thing ever would be [to be] in a Fleetwood Mac cover band. That was my dream.

JS: Some of the first songs I ever learned on guitar were from Blink-182… very inspiring.

KCR: You’ve released three albums and dropped your latest one, “I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone,” in June.

Chastity Belt makes an explosion noise when they hear the word “dropped.”

KCR: Each album you guys drop, you get more mature with the lyrics and get bigger, popularity-wise, too. I remember when you all first started out and made songs like “Pussy, Weed, and Beer,” and even did a cover of Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em’s “Kiss Me Thru the Phone.” Do you ever miss how casual it was before?

GG: I got this one. Yeah, the “Kiss Me Thru the Phone” cover was actually from an old band called Combo Pack that was before Chastity Belt, and it’s pretty embarrassing so we’re not going to talk about that one too much. But, I will say that we all still have a sense of humor and it still feels casual. Obviously not all the time, like some things we get nervous for, but I can still look at anyone on stage and have a laugh [with them]. It’s not so obvious in every one of our lyrics, but we all still have the same sense of humor so that lightness is still there.

KCR: What’s one of the most memorable shows that you’ve been to?

AT: I would say on my 18th birthday, I saw the Flaming Lips and I got crowd surfed and that was cool. I got to touch Wayne’s (lead singer of the Flaming Lips) bubble – he came out in the crowd in a bubble. That was very memorable (laughs).

GG: I don’t think I have any. [I] can’t think of any. Probably like a Dave Matthews Band concert. That got really crazy.

JS: I saw No Doubt and Blink-182. I’m talking about Blink-182 a lot now, but I saw them when I was 13. That was kinda memorable (laughs).

LL: We went on tour with this band, Wire, and for some reason, I didn’t end up watching them that much. I think I was just hanging out. Anyways, then we saw them in Berlin and that night, we met up with Courtney Barnett and the band, we were all there with Wire. It was two bands we toured with and I was just watching Wire and all of a sudden, their songs were hitting me with this new intensity and it was just so good.

Yeah, I used to really hate the band, The National, but we were playing at Sasquatch Festival with them and I got too high and the visuals were really insane. They had this eye that was glowing and I was watching them and the eye was coming at me and I started crying. Ever since then, they’ve been one of my favorite bands.

KCR: Julia, I know you’re really into reality T.V., so my question is are you guys having any luck getting your songs on the show “Catfish” or doing a live performance on “The Bachelor”?

JS: Apparently, the guy who picks the music for “Catfish” really likes our music, so hopefully we’ll get to be in the next season. I’m also really into the show “Vanderpump Rules,” so maybe we can get on there.

KCR: If you guys weren’t focused on the band, what do you think you would be doing career-wise?

LL: I think I’d be a scientist.

AT: [I’d] maybe [be] a nurse.

GG: [I’d] probably be a math teacher.

JS: Maybe I’d be an art teacher.

KCR: Do you guys have any pet peeves about each other?

AT: I feel like it’s not really pet peeves, but more like we can predict what each of us are going to do. Like when Lydia gets a text message, she’ll giggle but not tell us what she’s laughing at. Julia loses her phone a lot but then finds it in her backpack immediately. Just little things like that.

JS: Gretchen is always spilling things (laughs). It doesn’t really bother me but it’s just like, “Oh, there’s Gretchen with the stain stick again.”

AT: I’m always asking what’s going on because I can’t hear very well.

KCR: What would you guys say is the official drink of Chastity Belt?

JS: Kombucha. We all really like Paloma (tequila with soda and grapefruit), if anyone ever wants to buy us a drink.

KCR: The last question is, what do you think you were in a past life?

LL: I think I was an underwater creature. [I was] probably a whale, a humpback whale.

JS: I think I was a sloth.

GG: [I was a] deer, maybe. For some reason moss came to mind but that’s a little bit weird.

(everyone laughs)

LL: Some moss on a log.

AT: Maybe because I’ve been thinking about therapy a lot, but I was thinking of a therapist. Feels right.

You can find Chastity Belt on Facebook, BandcampTwitter and Instagram. You can listen to their latest album, “I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone,” on Spotify and Apple Music.