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!

EXCLUSIVE Interview with: J.A.S (Just A Star)

Jayd Soliar – aka J.A.S (Just A Star) is in the NEW LEASE MUSIC interview seat this month. His collaborative club filler, ‘Set Me Free’ stole the top spot back in April. So I think it’s about time we get to know this talented rapper/producer/songwriter from South Africa – after you read the full interview, you’ll know him better than you know yourself! Happy reading!

NLM: Hey how you doing? Thanks for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC

J.A.S: Hey, I am great! Thanks for the interview and thanks so much to New Lease Music for always showing love. Will definitely be giving you the exclusives on any new tracks I release.

NLM: So tell us a bit about yourself?

J.A.S: ‘ve been pursuing this music thing for about 15 years now. I started off as a songwriter, writing lyrics in primary school for both myself and others. It was very basic at the time, but it was a start. I began rapping soon after, my friends and I would form cyphers and just rap all day. Hip-Hop was in my blood due to my brother and neighbourhood friends introducing me to the genre at a very young age.

I moved to a new high school and met two guys who were also passionate about Hip-Hop and we formed a rap group. This is the point when I started making beats. I started off using beat making software such as FL Studio, then moved to Acid Pro and Reason. I invested in recording gear and we began to record our first project. We were together for two to three years recording and performing around Durban, South Africa.

After high school, I moved to Johannesburg, South Africa to study music production and this where I was introduced to the music software Logic Pro which I still use today. I began working with the amazing vocalist Nevita, who you will hear on many of my songs; she is the vocalist on my single, ‘The Moment’. We formed a group and produced an album together.

A few years later we met another talented producer/engineer and formed another group called Tiger.X. We began producing electronic music and had great success with it. Overtime I perfected my craft and created my own unique sound.

So jumping to 2015, I decided to pursue a solo career as a producer, engineer and rapper. My debut album, as J.A.S, is the embodiment of this whole journey and thus took at least 10 years to make.

NLM: Your collaborative house track, Set Me Free, went down a treat with the readers on NEW LEASE MUSIC. What was the public’s reception of the track beyond the blog?

J.A.S: Everyone loved the track. I received a lot of messages on my social medias from fans showing love. I’ve received a huge number of streams on various platforms. The House scene is big in South Africa, so Set Me Free took off well. The hard part is maintaining the hype.

NLM: Your discography comprises hip-hop and (of course) house music. Are there any plans to cover other genres in the future?

J.A.S Well I produce and engineer many different genres for other artists, such as, Rock, Blues, Jazz, etc. I produce music from emotion and feeling, so whatever I feel at any point in time I will produce. At the moment, I just completed my Hip-Hop album titled L.I.F.E: The CAUSE, I’m in the process of finishing up my collaborative House album with Mpho and I’m also producing Sy’Defect’s EP, who is the rapper on The Moment.

NLM: What’s your proudest work/track to date and why?

My entire album, L.I.F.E: The CAUSE is my proudest work. It’s a journey through different moments in life. When you listen to the album, all songs lead into one another to create one whole story. It is my life’s journey and everyone will be able to relate to it. It’s too hard to choose a single song that I am most proud of, as I am proud of them all in their own way, but my favourite song on the album is ‘Scattered’, because of the authentic emotion that I managed to capture and portray. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times and it doesn’t depreciate in its emotional value and impact.

NLM: If you were to collaborate with just ONE chart-topping artist of today, who would it be and why?

J.A.S: This is a tough question. If I had to choose any rapper to collaborate with, it would be Eminem. From the newer rappers, I would choose Kendrick Lamar. My dream, however, is just to be in studio with Dr.Dre.

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

J.A.S:• Eradicate the corruption in the industry. Radio plays are being bought, awards are being bought, many other corrupt dealings are transpiring and it really needs to stop.

• A better way to consume music than online distribution and streaming because it has degraded the quality of music and devalued the time and effort that the artists, producers and engineers put in to create the music. I don’t have a solution, but I think there will be one within the next 5 years.

• Lastly, investing in artist development and mentorship is important. If record labels invest in mentoring and developing their artists, the artists would have longer lasting careers, not one-hit-wonders or one-year-wonders. The problem is that labels don’t want this, because to them artists are disposable objects that have a sell by date. They acquire the artist/s for 2 years or less and then dispose of them and move on to the next.

NlM: So what plans do you have for 2017? Any upcoming gigs or album?

J.A.S: I plan to release my album this year, I am just working on the best marketing deals so that when I drop it, it’s an explosion that has a long-lasting effect and not just hype for one week. I’m also working on a few gigs, I think the last quarter of 2017 is going to be good for J.A.S.

NLM: How can potential fans reach you?

Fans can reach me on my social media pages or via email:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jas.justastar/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JAS_JustAStar
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jas_justastar/
Email: jas.justastar@gmail.com

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

J.A.S: I can’t see myself doing anything but music. I’ve always been fascinated by sound, I often record natures sound and produce music out of those sounds. I used to take a rock and throw it against another rock, record that, manipulate it a bit and that would be my kick drum. So basically, I construct different sound elements together to create ‘music’, so if music didn’t exist I would be the person who creates it.

Lol I just curved this question. Ok, if not music, I would be a sound therapist. I studied sound frequencies and brain waves, and sound frequency can be used to alter brainwaves and entrain the brain to follow a certain pattern, therefore, sound frequencies can be used to alter emotions and cure various illnesses.




Chase Kephart, otherwise known as BECALLI BRUH, made his entry on NEW LEASE MUSIC back in November with track, ‘Leanin’. As his offering was a big hit with you guys, I’ve invited the upcoming emcee from Nashville back into the hotseat…so sit back for a few minutes and read all about this new contender who’s ready to take underground hip-hop scene by the balls…

NLM: Hey how you doing? Thanks for agreeing to do an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC

BB: I am doing great thanks for asking, and no problem it’s my pleasure

NLM: First off, I have to ask you: what’s the reason behind the name Becalli Bruh?

BB: Ummm… that’ s a good question! My reason behind the name was to pick a state that best suits my reckless high-spirited personality, and the first thing that came to mind was California or Calli, as I call it. The Be part of the name is just saying be in the moment and be who you are and don’t change for anyone, so I came up with Becalli and it sounded pretty legit so I went with it.

NLM: You released your super slick single ‘Leanin’ last November. What’s the public’s reception since its release?

BB: ‘Leanin’ got some great reception. There were a lot of people who enjoyed the free-spirited lyrics and the uptempo beat.

NLM: You have a pretty dope discography! What’s your favourite track and why?

BB: My favorite track would be ‘Haven’t Had Enough Of It’ because it really tells my story and how I am maturing over the years and how people and music have really brought it all together for me.

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

BB: My sound is definitely unique and kinda has a raspy tone to it and I think can be really awesome with a lot of new and bright tunes

NLM: If you were to collaborate with just ONE chart-topping artist of today, who would it be and why?

No doubt, it would be G-Eazy. That man has inspired me to start doing my own stuff. I have been a fan of his since his early mixtape days. I have seen how he has really grown into the music he makes over the years, and how he really brings his fans together while doing something he loves. He is definitely someone who inspires me to be the best and most creative one out there.

NLM: So what other plans you have for 2017? Any upcoming gigs or album?

BB: I have a couple of new releases coming up around the summertime and will definitely be something different and new that I hope the fans enjoy.

NLM: How can potential fans reach you?

BB: Anyone that needs or wants to reach me can contact me by my instagram which is @becallibruh

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

BB: Well damn I don’t even want to answer this question, but I would probably go with something that involves being creative and unique through a type of art

NLM: Finally, any shout outs?

BB: A shout out to Liveassmemphis, true friend of mine that has a song coming out on soundcloud february 10th, so go check that out!

Listen to Becalli Bruh’s latest track, ‘Misconceptions.’



EXCLUSIVE Interview with: The Optical Illusion

Kieth Cousins from The Optical Illusions

Rock duo THE OPTICAL ILLUSION have made their presence known here on NEW LEASE MUSIC. Their latest single, See You In The Stars, is currently the Song of the Month – and has subsequently stolen the Song of Week hotspot for five consecutive weeks! Frontman Keith Cousin takes the interview seat this month, revealing the band’s near-future plans and the reason behind their latest effort.

NLM: First of all, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC

OI: It’s my pleasure. I think you’re doing great work, and you’ve always been very kind and supportive to The Optical Illusion. We’re big fans.

NLM: Thank you! Your stage name – THE OPTICAL ILLUSION – is really cool! What’s the reason for choosing the name?

OI: Thanks for the compliment! The Optical Illusion came to me in a dream. I always wanted to be a rock n roller, and I woke up one morning and muttered to myself “Optical Illusion, Optical Illusion”. For some reason, it has stuck with me to this day. I placed a “The” at the beginning because so many great bands had it: The Beatles, The Doors, The Who, The Kinks…etc. So, you could consider me a rock and roll traditionalist.

NLM: You’ve released your single See You in the Stars in June. Describe the story behind your latest effort?

OI: David Bowie was a legend. He touched so many lives and, in my opinion, was a musical genius. I’ve been a lifelong fan of his work. When he died, I was in shock for several weeks. I felt I had to do something about it. Since I don’t like to write about a subject without doing some serious research, I committed about a month to watching various documentaries, and interviews (the Heathen interviews in particular) about the man. When I was finally ready, I penned “See You In The Stars”. It was a serious labor of love. I put in over 15 lyrical references about Mr. Bowie. I even sang it the way I felt he would (without the British accent, of course). I wanted OI fans to feel as if David was actually telling the world about his life through me. I hope I’ve done him justice. I’d like to believe he would enjoy the tribute.

NLM: What’s the public’s reception on the single since its release?

OI: The reception has been awesome. I’ve gotten some really positive feedback and I’m very humbled and appreciative for anyone who has listened. These days, there’s so many ways to spend your time, and so many distractions on the Internet. Anytime someone selects “See You In The Stars” to listen to, over a cat video, or the latest Beyonce/Taylor Swift/Cold Play stuff that is most prevalent in the mainstream, I am honored.

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

OI: The Optical Illusion is a power/pop/rock band. We also have some elements of progressive rock. Wayne and I make a great song writing team. I’m usually more of the structured, straight up rocker (influenced by The Beatles, The Cars, The Kinks, Rick Springfield, Joe Jackson), and Wayne is the more progressive force (influenced by RUSH, Spock’s Beard, Porcupine Tree). I never try to have the same type of sound, which can be a blessing and a curse. You can’t listen to one of our songs and immediately know who is singing, because I try to change things up so often.

NLM: If you were to collaborate with just ONE chart-topping artist of today, who would it be?

OI: Dave Grohl is the man! If I could collaborate with any rocker, it would be him. He has a huge respect for the greatness of rock past, and the vision to make new explosive rock in the future. Plus, he seems like a really nice guy; someone I could bounce ideas off of; and he plays every instrument. He’s just a really great, all-around rocker!!

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

OI: Good question.

1. I wish radio stations would have a wider variety of music. Regular radio (air waves, not satellite), has such a narrow rock format. In New York, there’s only one or two stations that play rock at all, and I can only stomach The Rolling Stones so much…I need to hear some new stuff.

2. I’m hoping for a rock resurgence. I think overall, unfortunately, rock music is a dying breed. I think it needs to make a comeback in a big way.

3. Streaming services need to pay artists more than .0001 cents per stream. At this rate, I can retire in the year 2500. Ha!!!

NLM: What are your plans for the rest of 2016? Do you have any upcoming gigs/other projects?

OI: The Optical Illusion is going to do a little more studio work (a couple more singles to be released in the near future). After that, we may have plans to do some stripped down shows. If they go over well, a larger scale project could be in the works. If that happens, you’ll be the first to know.

NLM: How can potential fans reach you?

OI: Fans can always reach us at OIRocks@aol.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheOpticalIllusionBand/. We also have a presence on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/oirocks

I try to answer any fan mail as quickly as possible and I invite anyone to contact us. You can discuss our music, any music, or anything you like.

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

OI: A sports announcer! I’m a huge sports fan (baseball, basketball, football).


EXCLUSIVE Interview with: Lindsay and Isaac

lindsay and Issac

LINDSAY AND ISAAC‘s single Regress was featured on The Lost Songs UK Vol.1, a project which aims to find the hidden unsigned talents in the music industry. Featuring various artists, the 16-track production was named Album of the Month by NEW LEASE MUSIC last month and has subsequently stole the album of the week spot. Let’s find out more about the duo and how they featured their single on this great project.

NLM: First of all, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC

L&I: You’re welcome! It is a great pleasure for us to talk to you! Thank you for the opportunity as well.

NLM: Please introduce yourself? Where are you guys from?

L&I: We are a Brazilian Singer/Songwriter Duo. We live in Florianópolis, which is a beautiful coastal city in southern Brazil.

NLM: Your track Regress was featured on The Lost Songs UK Vol. How did you get your song featured on the album?

L&I: It was a very cool experience. I (Isaac) learned about the project through a post on Facebook.

At that time (October 2015), we were working on Regress demo track and it seemed the song was the best choice for this competition, for several reasons.
The song wasn’t previously released and had one of the most beautiful melodies that we’ve already written, so I thought we could have some chance.

Listen to Lindsay & Isaac’s latest single, She Said, She Said.

NLM: How was your single received since its release from The Lost Songs UK album?

L&I: The reception was quite good among our followers. I think people got surprised in a positive way since we were involved in a Metropolis Studios project.
For us, it was a great joy to be part of the project, but we also see this experience as part of an internationalization process on which we’ve been working for some time now.

NLM: Apart from your own single, what’s your favourite track on the album and why?

L&I: This is a difficult choice … We’re fond of the entire compilation. The team of professionals involved in the production succeeded in giving an incredible unit to this work. It is a very powerful set of songs. But if we had to choose just one, it would be You’ve Got It (by Sweet Revenge). It is simply a perfect pop song! Very catchy and pleasant, like a fine radio hit.

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

L&I: We write songs following a few guidelines based on what pleases us, in general: great melodies, beautiful atmospheres/soundscapes and thought-provoking lyrics.

NLM: If you were to collaborate with just ONE chart-topping artist of today, who would it be?

L&I: Well, looking at the current pop charts, I would say One Republic. They sound quite contemporary and Ryan Tedder (the band leader) is a great
‘anthemic’ songwriter and an artist with multiple skills. It would certainly be a very challenging partnership!

NLM: What are your plans for the rest of 2016? Do you have any upcoming gigs/projects?

L&I: At the moment we are working on the release of a new single. We recently recorded a version of a song by the Beatles in partnership with Vini Galant, a great musician and partner of ours, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Revolver.

We are excited not only because the recording process was a fantastic experience, but we also had the collaboration of the great artist Klaus Voormann (who designed the Revolver cover back in 66) on the cover art.

Regarding live performances: We have two dates on the International Beatle Week in Belo Horizonte (4 and 5 August).

Following these commitments, we will turn our attention to recording a new original single and start preparations for a new EP in 2017.

Our goal is to continue working and seeking partnerships with other great artists around the world, as well as increase the international dissemination of our work, either through the Internet or live performances.

NLM: How can potential fans reach you?

L&I: People can join us and know what we’re up to through social networks (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and hear / see our productions through YouTube and online music channels (Bandcamp, Deezer, Spotify and Soundcloud).

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

L&I: We both have many interests besides music: Environment, Photography, Science and Technology, History, sewing and crafts … These are things and subjects
to which we dedicate much of our time besides music. Although those activities are from different segments, for us they are somehow connected and end up
influencing us artistically.

To read the review and listen to The Lost Songs UK Vol.1, head right here.