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Half an Orange Open Up About New EP ‘Mostly We Grow PT. 2’ In Interview

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Exclusive Interview: Half an Orange Talk New EP ‘Mostly We Grow PT. 2’

Half an Orange return with something fresh! As the EP title suggests, ‘Mostly We Grow’ underlines the difficult maturity stage of life. Besides their usual acoustics and electronic music elements, these artists tell personal stories through lyrics, which give it a special touch to the entire production. In this new interview, they opened up about their ‘Mostly We Grow’ project, and its second part, which steps ahead of its listeners’ expectations.

1 – Your debut EP reached 5 million streams on Spotify. Do you expect to obtain the same results with this new project?

Both parts of ‘Mostly We Grow’ make up one EP. Originally, we planned on releasing ‘Mostly We Grow’ altogether. However, when esport star Ninja reached out to help us release the debut single off the EP, “Old Friends”, we had to change our strategy. Ninja had been playing our music on his channel and wanted to help us promote our new songs by starring in a Half an Orange music video. It was a massive opportunity we didn’t want to pass on. There was only one problem, the full EP wasn’t ready to be released and Ninja’s schedule required the music video be done soon. We decided to release the EP in two parts in order to give us time to finish the second half of the EP while the first half was being released.

It ended up being the right call. The debut single off ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 1’, “Old Friends”, was our most successful song to date. The music video, uploaded to Ninja’s YouTube channel, was viewed over 2 million times. Our socials and streaming numbers all exploded. In fact, our Instagram following quadrupled in a single day. We won numerous film festivals across the country (including markets like LA and New York) for creating arguably the first and biggest music videos to star an esport athlete. It was an absolute blast working with Ninja. This momentum helped promote ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 1’ and continued through ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’.

We expect our numbers to keep growing with ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’. The release of ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’ was our highest stream total for a single day. Spotify has been a huge supporter of ours. Their playlists are constantly helping new people to discover our music. Rocket League is playing one of the singles off ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’, “Mark Twain”, whenever someone turns on the game. The game has such a massive userbase that our song will be heard 5 million times per day inside Rocket League. We’ll be working with Sirius XM and Monstercat to host the weekly radio show “Call of the Wild” on Sirius XM channel 52. Live Nation partnered with us to release the first-ever animated DJ residency which gets music from ‘Mostly We Grow’ in front of venues across the country.

Even more important than numbers, our fans seem to love the EP ‘Mostly We Grow’. We receive daily messages from fans saying how they use the EP to keep them sane and happy whenever they’ve had a tough day. People are even getting tattoos of their favorite song lyrics off the EP. It has been incredibly touching to see the community’s response to our songs and stories.

2 – What are the similarities and differences between ‘Mostly We Grow PT. 1’ and ‘PT. 2’?

The songs on ‘Mostly We Grow’ revolve around the challenges and realities that hit you while growing up. “Old Friends” is about losing loved ones as you get older. “Sunscreen” is about the friends who helped protect you as life throws more troubling times your way. Our song “Blink 182” is us saying we wish we could sit around and listen to Blink 182 songs all day instead of moving on to new phases of our lives. Growing up is scary and often lonely. It’s important to grow and learn as a person but the idea of your life-changing is still terrifying.

half an orange music
Because the EP is about growth, we gave ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 1’ and ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’ different album covers. In ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 1’ we (as our astronauts) are holding a flower that is small and struggling to live. In ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’ the album cover is the same, but the flower is now blooming and fully grown. We wanted the album cover and our songs to always show hope that you’ll be ok despite how much life is changing around you.

3 – Do you have a favorite song from this new release? If so, what makes it special?

One of our favorite songs off ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’ is “Mark Twain”.

“I wrote this song the afternoon I found out my dad had cancer. He and I went to a river near our house to sit down and take in the information he had been given from the doctor. While we were sitting near the water, he told me he felt like he was already dead. When I got home I found a bunch of dark and creepy sounds and began writing a song about how it would feel to already be dead. The song’s title, “Mark Twain”, comes from the author. In his book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, his characters watch and attend their own funeral, seeing what it would be like to be dead.” – Michael from Half an Orange

4 – How do you approach the songwriting process?

We have a rule that at least one of us has to write for one hour a day. Normally we write for a much longer time, but the one-hour rule ensures we never miss a day. Sometimes we write together. Sometimes we write separately. Writing is like therapy for us so normally we write whatever we are feeling. When a close friend passes away, we write about it. When we have had a hard day, we write up it. Writing about what we’re dealing with gives us a sense of calmness and closure.

half an orange duo
Our first stages of the writing process are on piano or guitar. We’re focusing on finding lyrics and composition. We try and keep it as organic as possible by writing the lyrics on paper and avoiding the computer or our phones. Before releasing music as Half an Orange, we wrote folk music together so writing organically is more comfortable to us.

For lyrics, the goal is to be honest and share a story that has happened to us. We want the listener to feel like they’ve been transported somewhere with us. Hopefully, they can relate to the story and emotions in the song.

After getting the composition and lyrics of the song down we both work in our studio to begin production. We record ourselves playing instruments and singing. During the process, we are trying to get the emotion and feel of the song down. We brainstorm different ideas and experiment with all kinds of instruments, melodies, synths, and samples. Most of our songs are acoustic or piano-based, but it’s not uncommon for us to spend more time on the percussion. We try and get the majority of the recording and playing of the song done together in the studio over a couple of days. The whole process from writing, composing, and producing takes about 2 weeks. We then spend another 2-4 weeks polishing the song and crafting the mix.

5 – How long did it take you to produce this new material?

We are heavily involved with every step in our song’s life cycle. It takes about a month for us to create a song. Another 1-3 months is spent on the music video for the song. We animated the music videos for “Buzz Lightyear” and “End of the Moon” ourselves. Both music videos took 2-4 months to make. “Old Friends” with “Ninja” was a 5-6 month project. After the song and music video are made we spend another month working on the release strategy with our label. ‘Mostly We Grow’ (parts 1 and 2) took over a year to put together. It was a fantastic journey that taught us a lot about ourselves.

half an orange mostly we grow ep
6 – What was the hardest moment during the recording process?

“When Andrew and I were in the studio for “Mark Twain” I was singing it in my ‘normal’ voice. He pushed back and said it felt weird having a song about being dead but sounding like I was alive. We experimented with ways for me to sing in a style that let the listener know I wasn’t my normal self. The high creepy vocals were developed that day in the studio and are actually me singing without auto-tune. It took us forever to get the vocals down and singing in that style was really taxing on my vocal cords. The song’s subject matter made singing it over and over again emotionally draining.” – Michael from Half an Orange

7 – Who would you love to see remixing your new tracks?

WRLD remixed our song “Buzz Lightyear” and it was fantastic. The first song we ever released as Half an Orange was remixed by Holmsey. We’d love to have both of them hop on for another remix. Producers like Tokyo Machine, Tails, InukShuk, and Ephixa would also be awesome in re-creating our songs and stories through a remix.

8 – Are you planning to release a music video anytime soon?

There mostly likely won’t be any more music videos for ‘Mostly We Grow’. Please enjoy the current music videos for ‘Mostly We Grow’: “Buzz Lightyear”, “Old Friends”, “Given Up”, and “End of the Moon”. We made really fun visualizers for Blink 182 and Sunscreen. With Live Nation and Monstercat, we are releasing the first-ever animated DJ residency. It’s an hour of fully animated video content using songs from ‘Mostly We Grow’. We premiered an early access version of the show at Live Nation venue Bogart’s in Cincinnati Ohio and are preparing more shows for it.

9 – Last question, will there be a third part of ‘Mostly We Grow’ in 2020?

If fans keep getting tattoos of ‘Mostly We Grow’ Pt 1 and Pt 2 we’ll probably have to.


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Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style.

Interviews

Exclusive Interview: Jenna x On Debut Single “When The Party’s Over..”

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Jenna x - When The Party's Over..
Jenna x
emerges in 2021 with “When The Party’s Over..” which is an incredible debut single that plays equally as well at the party, at the afterparty, or the next morning. Definitely, the best asset is her melodious singing voice. Scroll down and learn more in this exclusive interview.

1 — First of all, how would you describe your sound?

My sound is constantly evolving within Pop, but it’s more cinematic. I envision each of my songs as a scene from a film and try to capture everything that would be there—the temperature of the sunlight, the scent in the air, the city sounds, and the words that are being spoken.

2 — Why did you pick “When The Party’s Over..” as your debut single?

It was the exact type of sound and message that I wanted to release as my debut single. I also think that it’s a good representation of me as an artist because it’s a song that I really tried to be honest with myself about, as well as the other parts of myself that I am revealing, like my inner thoughts, emotions, and philosophies.

3 — Is this song based on a personal experience?

Yes! The party in my song is both literal and figurative—I, like anyone else, have gone to a party or a large gathering just to fill the emptiness I was feeling inside, only to leave with a greater sense of loneliness. I’ve also felt like I have nowhere to go emotionally, which is the figurative part of the song.

4 — What’s your favorite line from it? Why?

The entire chorus is my favorite part, especially the “will there be anyone to watch me die / someone just shows me how to cry” part. I think they really capture the essence of the song and are the parts where I am the most direct with what I want to say. The second half of the chorus is almost like a cry for help you can’t ever let out.

Jenna x
5 — What came first, the melody or the lyrics?

For me, they usually come together but for this song, the lyrics came first. I had a clear idea of what I wanted the song to be about lyrically and then used the melody to fill in the blanks.

6 — Given the situation the world is in at the moment, do you miss partying?

I’m not the type to usually enjoy large parties, but I do really miss gatherings with my closest friends. But who knows—by the time this is all over I might be dying to go to a huge party.

7 — What makes you different from other singers?

I like to think of my music as very visual—I always try to paint a picture with my music and focus on what the music is painting. Each sound is like a color I use to paint the song, and the way they are delivered are the brushstrokes.


8 — Who did you grow up listening to?

I think I had a lot of phases where I was into different types of music and different artists. I grew up listening to singer-songwriters like Stevie Wonder and The Beatles. I was always fascinated with how brilliant and revolutionary their melodies and lyrics were. Later in my teens, I had A Great Big World’s albums on repeat. A part of me is also in love with classical composers, like Elgar and Rachmaninoff. The second movement of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard.

9 — When you’re not at the studio, how do you usually spend your time?

Usually prepping for studio time! But if I’m not working on music, I’ll watch movies or binge a show. Right now I’m on season 4 of Criminal Minds, and it’s been sucking me in. I’ve also been really busy these days with my new release and everything that goes along with it, but I’ll still find time to video chat with my friends and listen to my favorite albums on repeat.

10 — What are your plans for the upcoming months?

Working! I have an EP coming out in February, so I’m prepping for the release and other music that I’ll release during this year. The upcoming EP is part two of the story of loneliness I started telling with “When The Party’s Over..” and the more colorful, visual part of the story, so I’ll be working a lot on perfecting that. I also hope to be wherever I can be with my music, doing whatever I can to express myself through it.


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Dar.Ra Talks Latest Single And Confirms New Album In 2021 — Interview

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new album 2021 interview dar.ra
Following the release of his latest single “Rise Like The Sun” along with its proper EP, Dar.Ra also plans to drop a new album in 2021. ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has been confirmed to be out by the end of January. In this exclusive interview, the British artist talks about the recent single, the most important details on the upcoming album, but also his various side projects, which include his own radio show.

1 – Can you reveal to us the name of your upcoming album?

I have two new projects out, a single called “Rise Like The Sun” with 6 killer remixes. One from Columbia and one from Sri Lanka from a killer Producer called Vidula who did the “Lights” remix from the new kinda normal album.

I did the other mixes which have a tribal House feel and an Ambient 6 am Chill Out mix. All mixes have a Sunshine title, from UK Sunshine mix, Indian Sun mix to Australian, Indonesian, USA, and Columbian mix. It’s all about not being dictated too in your time here and “Rising Like The Sun” every day of your life.

The other project is more of an alias back vibe and is a compilation of slower more Ballad type songs that I have had released over the years. I am doing a radio show called The Kusha Deep Radio show which is going out around the world through various Radio outlets and I did this show which featured some of the laid-back tracks I’ve done and I thought it would make a great album of torchlight songs. The album is 12 tracks long and is titled ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ and is out later this month.

I am also working on a new album of songs for the spring with a new single planned for the first quarter of the year release.

2 – Were there specific things that helped you get creative?

I’m always inspired by life, it’s hard not to be unless you shut off from what’s going on around you. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, I had two singles out “Stand Up For The Heroes”, “Rise Like The Sun” and the ‘Whisky n Honey’ EP plus two remixes out. I also started doing a new project which is now syndicated around the world called The Kusha Deep Radio Show, which started off playing tracks that I had out over the past 25 years.


I also started doing a TV show with a Washington DC-based journalist MJ Godfrey which is a cultural review show looking at things happening in the UK and the USA. I’ve also written the next album to follow up on 2019’s ‘New Kinda Normal’. If you stay open to ideas and let them flow it’s a natural vibe for staying creative.

3 – Are you discovering new sounds on this new record?

I explore different sounds all the time, I’m getting known for merging styles and creating new hybrids like Rock Step a vibe that featured on the ‘New Kinda Normal’ album which mixed the elements of Rock and EDM together which you can feel on tracks like “Nightstepper,” “The Beat” and “Heart Shape Pill.” There’s also a genre called Gothic Soul which you can hear on tracks like “The Lights” and “Whisky n Honey.” I was feeling the Latin vibe on “Rise Like The Sun.”

I wanted something uplifting that holds no allegiance to what’s happening in the charts but has a classic Santana vibe mixed with that Gothic style vocal.

The actual record itself is truly global, the mixes and mastering were done all over the world, the drums recorded in Italy, the Horns in Portugal, the rest in the UK. I love that about the technology vibe that you can work with people everywhere now.




4 – How many tracks will there be on the album?

The album ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has 12 tracks and “Rise Like The Sun” single has 6 mixes on it. The new album will have around 12 tracks on it as well, value for money I say!

5 – What themes will the new album explore?

The new album has some wide themes such as loyalty on a track called “No Time For Tears” which has a cool Rock vibe about it. There’s a track about power struggles with relationships on “Don’t Make Me Beg.” There’s a track about migrants looking for a safe place to call home on “Renegade Serenade.” At the moment, it’s looking very love-oriented in one way or another.

Dar.Ra - Rise Like The Sun - UK Sunshine Mix
6 – Did you collaborate with other artists?

I do work with other artists when the vibe is right. I’m doing a track with a producer called KDX in the UK, a Deep House kinda groove.

7 – What makes your latest single “Rise Like The Sun” special to listeners?

It’s honest, it’s real and it’s played with passion.

8 – What exciting projects can we expect from your label Kusha Deep Records?

All the above and more.

9 – Can you tell us more about your 2021 tour? 


We were supposed to be doing a US tour last year, not sure how things will pan out this year but would be good to get out on the road again for a bit.

10 – The global pandemic forced the music industry to try innovative things. What do you think about private live zoom concerts?

I played Rock the Lockdown back in May and we had a few thousand people all rocking out to the set. I also did a US online tour in the summer which broadcast shows into the venues from my studio. I’ve been doing lots of interviews from Brazil to America, Australia, and the UK online which is ace as you don’t have to drive anywhere. Less hit on the climate and you can hit so many more people with a live stream if it’s set up properly.

Nothing will take the place of a jam in front of people, but I think the live stream is here to say alongside the live gig. I love technology though so it’s all good in my book. Be safe out there and looking forward to partying with you all soon!


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Quickfire Interview With: SOUNDQ

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SOUNDQ Interview

Hailing from Krakow, the cultural capital of Poland, Kuba Kubica aka SOUNDQ carries the flag of innovation when it comes to producing electronic music. The interview below is very clear and gives you a deep insight into his art. Scroll down to read his answers.

1 – You’ve been composing songs since…

Year 2000. The year when computer records got screwed by the two 0s was the year when I started programming a dodgy Korg workstation.

2 – You got involved in the music realm because…

I found it liberating not to have to depict anything. To be able to express what I feel without saying or drawing what it was.

3 – Your sound is…

As incomplete as I am. There’s always at least one element causing some imbalance. You’re never quite sure if it all won’t fall apart.

4 – Your biggest inspiration is…

I am most creative when I’m deadbeat and stressed out. So, in a way, pressure inspires me – or rather makes my creative juices flow faster.

5 – People should listen to your new track “Bad Lot” because…

It offers a glimpse into a complete world – fatalistic, sexy, and dangerous.

6 – If you want to know who SOUNDQ is, listen to the track…

“Bad Lot.” And if you’ve heard it already, give “This Heart” a spin.

7 –Your most memorable career moment so far has been…

Crossing the Ural Mountains in -30 degrees Celsius to play a death metal gig in Jekaterynburg.

8 – Your dream is…

Long forgotten the moment I wake up.

9 – Your next release is called…

“Disco Turista Antifascista.”


10 – Your all-time favourite track is…

That’s a tough one. I’ll go with “My Kingdom” by Future Sound of London.

11 – Your favourite place to write songs is…

I love coming up with ideas when I’m traveling. Not a lot of occasions for that in 2020 though.

12 – If you weren’t an artist, you’d probably be…

An Instagram influencer pretending he’s a XIXth Century French flaneur. All dressed in epoch clothes doing product placement for travel gear and shit.

13 – You’ll only stop making music if…

I don’t think I have it in me to stop.

14 – In a few years, you want to be…

Able to go out without a mask, play gigs, laugh together with large groups of people. Travel to big cities and get lost wandering through them.

15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?

It’s evening already, so I’m going to be busy writing music till late.


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