EXCLUSIVE Interview with: Yves and the Talent


NEW LEASE MUSIC caught up with frontman of YVES AND THE TALENT Yves Gravel, whose single ‘Montreal’ was named Song of the Week in January by the blog. If you don’t know this Canadian band, I HIGHLY recommend you check out their discography –  these guys sure know how to put the rock and roll into folk music…

NLM: Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC.

YG: All the pleasure is mine. We need more blogs like this!

NLM: So what have you been up to on the music circuit?

YG: In recent months, I had the opportunity to play live on the radio which was a great experience. We had a couple shows here in Calgary which were instrumental in establishing our new sound; A departure from all acoustic to electric (with drums).

NLM: Your single’ Montreal’ was named Song of the Week by NEW LEASE MUSIC. What was the public reception of the single?

YG: It’s certainly one of people’s favourite being that it is very high-energy and backed up by an incredible performance from our fiddler Niki Romeril. I have since introduced a French part to the chorus and working with a rapper to mix things up. Stay tune for the next remix!

NLM: What was your inspiration for writing ‘Montreal’?

YG: It is definitely an ode to Montreal; a source of inspiration which I re-discovered 20 years after leaving the city. It’s falling in love all over again with this muse, leaving the listener wondering if certain lines are about the city or lovers. A mystery I intend to keep alive😉

NLM: So how would you describe your sound to potential fans?

YG:There is certainly some folk influences in the sound but not so much in my writing. It has been described as Edgy-Folk but Indie could also be a label. I’d rather say it’s very “Yves”!

NLM: If you had to collaborate with ONE mainstream artist, who would it be?

As a lifelong Leonard Cohen fan it would have to be him on a personal level. But sound wise I would have to say Arcade Fire because of their broad range of styles including an electronic angle.

NLM: If you had three wishes to change the music industry today, what would they be?

YG: Make tickets more affordable to live events, more emphasis on lyrics (rather than catchy hooks) and open music lover’s mind to more “unknown” artists.

NLM: So what are your plans for this year?

YG: We’re currently shopping for a producer to get into the studios in 2019! And in the immediate future, we will be performing live with the whole band on the University of Calgary radio station this fall while promoting our next show. As for myself, more writing.

NLM: How can potential fans make contact with you?

YG: My website is currently under construction (yvesandthetalent.com) so Instagram @YvesAndTheTalent.

NLM: Finally, if music didn’t exist, what profession would you do?

YG: Novelist or Sommelier. Although those are 2 things that are fun to do simultaneously; Drinking good wine while writing!

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Interview with: Matthew De Ver

MATTHEW DE VER made his entry on the blog and in no time, stole the Song of Month top spot in May with single ‘The Gift and The Wound’. NEW LEASE MUSIC had a little chat with him about the meaning behind the boom bap-inspired single, his plans for the rest of this year – and his thoughts on the music industry today.

NLM: ​Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. How’s life treating you?

MDV: My pleasure. Happy to do it. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of new songwriters that are challenging and inspiring me to go deeper into the craft of songwriting. It’s been super rewarding to flex that muscle after writing on my own for the past chunk of years. Life is good, I’ve been feeling clear and focused lately and I have a brand new music video coming out very soon….

​NLM: ​You released your debut single’ The Gift and The Wound’ plus visuals In February. What was the public reception on both productions?

MDV: It’s been great so far. Slowly finding like-minded listeners and building step by step towards the release of my upcoming album: Surface Tension (a tincture for integrating shadow). I’m learning a lot from all the feedback and taking notes for future releases. My music doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre box so when people get the vibe it’s a great feeling. I spent so long without any social media presence that it’s strange and surreal to be engaging with folks online. The creation of the music and the sharing of the music are very different facets of the work and I want to show up and be present for both. I’m doing my best to let the love in.

​NLM: What was your inspiration for writing the single?

MDV: ‘The Gift & The Wound’ is inspired by growing up in Madison, WI. Specifically, I wanted to capture what it felt like driving around with my friends in high school, partying, getting into trouble & the feelings of first loves. There’s a warmth there with a subtle hint of mystery and grief beneath the surface. It’s a prelude to darker and deeper themes that I explore in the album. Over the course of the album, I explore a period of time after my dad’s death and when my mom was struggling with alcoholism. My aim was to make something beautiful out of an incredibly challenging time in my life.

​NLM: ​How was the filming process for the video?

MDV: Filming the video was a lot of fun. I was going for a lo-fi, nostalgic, home movie vibe so we shot the entire video using only an iPad and natural light. All the locations were spots in Madison, WI where I spent a lot of time growing up and that held resonance and meaning for me. It was cool to revisit them as an adult and see them in the context of healing and moving forward. When it was finished, there was a nice balance of elements (water, fire, earth, air) that I wasn’t consciously expecting when we started filming.

NLM: ​So how would you describe your sound to potential fans?

MDV: That’s a tough question! It’s groove based music with a an emphasis on lyricism & emotional depth. There are elements of jazz, funk, psychedelic pop and hip-hop. I had a powerful insight a few years ago about music being a carrier of intention and meaning. I felt like I had to make a conscious choice about where my music was coming from and what the essence would be. So, for me, it’s healing music, spiritual music, heart music. Hopefully some of that comes through to the listener.

NLM: ​If you had to collaborate with ONE mainstream artist, who would it be?

MDV: I would love to collaborate with Erykah Badu. Aside from being a big fan of her music for many years, I respect how she carries herself and how she’s navigated her career. From the outside, she seems to have a great balance of integrity without taking herself too seriously. It would be an honor to co-write, produce or perform something with her. I think we could geek out on some new-age healing shit too.

NLM: ​If you had three wishes to change the music industry today, what would they be?

MDV: 1) Higher resolution digital audio for streaming and download. The technology is available right now for us to enjoy much higher quality digital audio.

2) Fair streaming royalties for artists. I do think we’re going to get there eventually….

3) I’d like to hear more artists taking the risk to speak authentically through their music. When someone has a clear perspective and a unique take on life it really stands out to me.

NLM: ​So what are your plans for this year?

MDV: I’ve got a nice flow going on right now with releasing music and working on new material. The next step is putting together a live show with all the great musicians who worked on this album. It’s looking like mid July will be when we start gigging. Aside from my own music, I’m producing and co-writing with and for other artists.

NLM: ​How can potential fans make contact with you?

MDV: The best way is through my website & socials:
MatthewDeVerMusic.com
Instagram.com/ MatthewDeverMusic
Facebook.com/MatthewDeVerMusic
Twitter.com/MattDeVerMusic

​NLM: ​Finally, if music didn’t exist, what profession would you do?

MDV: I think I would be doing some form of visual art. When I was younger I did a lot of drawing, painting & metal sculpture, which I really enjoyed. In high school I even thought about going to college for visual art, but life took me in another direction. Like music, it allowed me to enter that meditative state of creation. Whatever else I did would have to include that experience of creating. Being in my body and out of my head.

 

Interview with Gena Perala

Almost three years after being interviewed by NEW LEASE MUSIC, it’s an absolute pleasure to have Canadian singer/songwriter GENA PERALA back in the interview seat to discuss her new musical direction through her latest single, ‘Good Girl’, named Song of the Month in March.

NLM: Hey Gena, welcome back to NEW LEASE MUSIC! How’s life treating you?

GP: Hi! Thank you so much for having me back. Life is busy. I’m still in the studio recording my latest album. I just finished shooting a video for a new single that is about to come out. I have a live studio video I’m about to release and a few live shows coming up as well.

NLM: You released your single ‘Good Girl’ plus visuals in February. What was the
public reception of both productions?

GP: The public reception has been pretty mixed. Both praise and rejection. It is a down-tempo minimal track especially for a first single so I understand, but I do have a longer term plan and I think Good Girl will make more sense in the context of the whole album.

NLM: The video for the single looks great! How was the filming process?

GP: This was the first time I’ve worked with professional dancers so that was really exciting and basically a dream come true. As for the water scenes, they were interesting to shoot. I’m an independent artist so it’s not like I have a budget. Myself and the DOP (Director of Photography) shot in my parent’s carport in December, it was snowing. We filled an industrial sized kiddie pool with lukewarm water, from my parent’s washing machine and shot until we were too cold to shoot any more. I’m really happy with the way it turned out so totally worth it. It’s always extremely satisfying to take visions in my head and make them realities.

NLM: What was your inspiration for writing ‘Good Girl’?

GP: I was inspired by a friend of mine who was stuck in a bad situation.

NLM: ‘Good Girl’ marks the change of your musical style. What’s the reason behind
the change?

GP: I would say it’s less of a change in musical style and more of an expansion. I’ll always play acoustic guitar and piano but it’s nice to incorporate some synth sounds and drum machines. I’m in the process of sorting out my live shows with these additional sounds which I think will really add to the performances but again it’s more of an addition than a change. I’ll still always be a singer songwriter at my core.

NLM: So how would you describe your new-found sound to potential fans?

GP: The Good Girl EP is a downtempo minimal synth sound.

NLM: You will be releasing your EP later this year. What kind of themes/stories can
we expect from this project?

GP: The EP is three songs and moves from powerlessness (Good Girl) to uncertainty in the second song and perseverance in the third song.

NLM: Besides the release of your EP, what are your plans for the rest of 2018?

GP: The EP is part of a larger concept album I’m rolling out so still busy in the studio as well as playing live. I’m working on adding the electronic element to my live shows as well. I’m also interested in working with another female vocalist. Basically, lots of new music.

NLM: Finally, how can potential fans make contact with you?

GP: I love hearing from fans and other musicians and people in general!
You can find or follow me here:

WEBSITE: http://genaperala.com /
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.c om/user/genaperala
FACEBOOK: https://www. facebook.co m/GenaPeralaMusic
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagr am.com/genaperala/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/g enaperala
SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud .com/genaperala
BANDCAMP: https://genaperala.b andcamp.com/
ITUNES: https://itunes.apple. com/ca/artist/gena-perala/ 285037338
SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify. com/artist/49SGUG6CqLLqOSOYeMz unF
GOOGLE PLAY: https://play.google.com/ store/music/artist/Gena_ Perala?id= Asf2yhy4mwmbutvd6oumdl5ka6e

Interview with: Makk Mikkael

If you had your eyes peeled on this blog or its chat show on Instagram recently, then you’ve definitely seen this pretty little face around – MAKK MIKKAEL – thanks to her debut ‘Jungle’. Featured last November, the single found its way to NEW LEASE MUSIC’s Top Ten Songs of 2017 list, ranking at #7 and is currently named Song of the Month by the blog. With a grand entrance to the music scene, I think she deserves a place on the interview hot seat…

NLM: Thank you for agreeing to do an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC.

MM: Thanks so much for reaching out to me, and the constant support you guys have shown me.

NLM:  First up, I have to ask you this question: is Makk Mikkael your real name? If not, how did the name came about?

MM: It is my real name with a swedish twist on it. The correct spelling of my name is Mackenzie Michael but I prefer going by Makk Mikkael.

NLM: You released your debut single‘Jungle’ back in November.What’s the public’s reception beyond this blog?

MM: I’ve been stoked on the feedback I’m getting from listeners. I recently won a contest with “The Deli Toronto” as artist of the month. The fact that I was even included in that is just bizarre. Excited for everything that’s happening and the journey I’m on.

NLM:  How would you describe your sound to potential fans?

MM: Artist wise I would say my music is in the same category as “The Weeknd, Esthero, Alina Baraz, Imogen Heap” to name a few. I really look up to those artists. Toronto has a really cool thing going on sound wise right now so I’m inspired by the scene there. I think my sound would be described as spacey, ambient R&B.

NLM:  What’s your inspiration behind your unique sound?

MM: I experimented with a few different sounds earlier on in my career when I was around 14-15 and released a country album. haha I don’t do country now and could never see myself doing that again… In the last few years I would say my style evolved to my sound now and keeps evolving constantly with artists I’m inspired by and from experiences I have. I love the R&B sound a bunch so I think that’s just what I gravitate towards naturally.

NLM: If you had to collaborate with ONE mainstream artist who would it be?

MM: Just one? That’s brutal. I would without a doubt collaborate with The 1975. I’m constantly inspired by what they do and who they are as human being’s. They produce their own records and co-produce with Amber Bain of “The Japanese House”. The sound they’ve created for themselves is a sound that really speaks to millennials. I think we’d make some great stuff and dive into something unique.

NLM:  If you had three wishes to change the music industry today, what would they be?

MM: I would put all three of my wishes towards making sure all artist’s can make a living doing what they love. Having the financial freedom to create whatever they want whenever. Artist’s are so valuable in our society, if we could focus 100% on our art it I think it would make a difference.

NLM: So what are your plans for 2018?

MM: My goal is to start touring with artists and obviously continue to release music. I’m currently working on my album and more music videos.

NLM:  How can potential fans make contact with you?

MM: I love having fans/artists reach out to me. On my website http://www.makkmikkael.com you can send me a direct email. Or on my instagram: makkmikkael you can leave me a direct message.

NLM: Finally, if music didn’t exist, what would you do?

MM: I think I would be a photographer, screenwriter, author, or director. Anything in the creative field really. I Love the idea of being behind the screen and creating for people. I’m very into directing I think that’s super cool. Sophia Coppola is my favourite movie director, would love to work alongside her on a project in the future.

Interview with: Amani

AMANI made quite an entry on NEW LEASE MUSIC. Her debut EP Perpendicular sits pretty at number one on NEW LEASE MUSIC’s Top Ten Albums of 2017list. Before that, the six-track set was Song of the Month in December. I think this quirky diva deserve a place on the interview hot seat…

NLM: First of all, thank you for agreeing to do an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. You released your debut EP Perpendicular back in November. What’s the public’s reception beyond this blog?

A: I have been invited to tour in china for a month with my band off the back of the EP release & there are talks to support the Wild Beasts at Hammersmith Apollo on the 17th of Feb 2018. The Vice Creators project were a big fan of the song and video for Feathers Falling and premiered the video online, Line of Best fit and Kaltblut Magazine also were keen supporters like yourself at NEW LEASE MUSIC. Point Blank Recordings the label I released the EP through, together we held a sold out EP launch party at the Rye Wax in Peckham which Smirnoff kindly sponsored. The Launch party was a great way to see the fans reactions to the EP, the night was full of love.

NLM: What’s your proudest track on the EP and why?

A: Man In A Mini Dress – because it’s the most outlandish track on the EP. It’s a very different vibe to the rest of the tracks & takes the listener on a very alternative trippy diversion.

NLM: How would you describe your sound to potential fans?

A: Electronic, cinematic, industrial soundscape, raw honest emotive lyrics.

NLM: What’s your inspiration behind your unique sound?

A: I’m heavily influenced by electronic music, and trippy soundscapes. I was fortunate enough to experience a lot of electronic bass heavy raves in my teens and fell in love with everything that was on offer there!

A: lot of my emotion for my songs tends to come from a very raw sincer place, i’m very honest with my lyrics, they come from the core and where my head is at, at the time. It’s also a personality thing, and an environment thing – i’ve always been a bit of a strange child as well as growing up experiencing quite a lot of heavy weight truma my vibes could be seen as unique and a bit far from the norm.

NLM: If you had to collaborate with ONE mainstream artist who would it be?

A: Bjork, loooove Bjork !

NLM: If you had three wishes to change the music industry today, what would they be?

A: More performance art nudity, free venue hire for artists/musicians to put on more shows independently, fewer restrictions on noise pollution, that could be in festivals, clubs and your own home. Levels pls!

NLM: So what are your plans for 2018?

A: I’m going to release another EP Late March before I drop an album & put on events in London / UK in random quirky venues, working with interactive light design technicians, dj’s and other musicians to set up nights for peeps to come and enjoy. I’m also keen to set up my own record store this year!

NLM: How can potential fans make contact with you?

A: You can get me on all social media sites Facebook, Insta, Twitter here’s my website with all my links http://www.amaniofficialmusic.com and my email amani4music@gmail.com – Hey !

NLM: Finally, if music didn’t exist, what would you do?A: I would dedicate my life to endangered Paranas.