Meet charismatic Indie-Pop singer, songwriter, and actor Mike1/2Nelson. His latest single, “Strongheart,” is for everyone out there fighting for what’s good and right. It’s about meeting challenges with bravery and courage. This tune is part of his recent EP, ‘All Are Welcome’, available to stream via Spotify. Check out the short and concise interview I had with the Brooklyn-based artist below.
1 – You’ve been composing songs since…
Since I was 6.
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
All the other realms were taken.
3 – Your sound is…
Retrograde and futuristic.
4 – Your biggest inspiration is…
5 – People should listen to your new EP ‘All Are Welcome’ because…
7 –Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
Releasing my debut project during a pandemic.
8 – Your dream is…
10 – Your all-time favourite track is…
“All Through the Night” by Cyndi Lauper.
11 – Your favourite place to write songs is…
12 – If you weren’t an artist, you’d probably be…
A mime or a cowboy.
I get drafted to the NFL.
14 – In a few years, you want to be…
Recording with Rick Rubin in Malibu.
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
Auditioning for the NFL. My tap number needs work.
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Interview | Questions & Answers With Jack Rayner
“Klassy” is a collaboration between Jonte’ Moaning and accomplished songwriter and producer Jack Rayner, whose long list of credits include work done with Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and Avril Lavigne. I got the opportunity to talk with Jack in order to learn more about this super cool song. In my view, lyrics are pretty relatable and empowering to most people, especially in today’s crazy world.
1 – I loved the energy and the creativity behind the music video for “Klassy”. What is this song about?
“Klassy” is about maintaining your dignity even when faced with bigoted, racist, or homophobic behavior. Basically, kill em’ with kindness/how fabulous you are!
2 – How many days did it take you to shoot the whole clip?
1 day. 8 hours. Unbelievably fast IMHO.
3 – Are the visuals somehow inspired by Beyonce?
As inspiring as she is, no. We were inspired by Paris Is Burning and wanted a smokey, film-noir MV that was unlike most of the glossy media attached to Jonté’s projects.
4 – Besides music, do you also have experience in other artistic fields?
I started as a dancer and choreographer at age 14 and did music as well just to make my dance mixes. It was tape-to-tape back then. I self-taught myself music production in my late teens and early 20’s, choreographing and teaching dance in the day and locked in my studio at night.
Because we were both in the dance field, a friend made the introduction when Jonté had just been signed to a Japanese label. He asked me to make him a song so my partner at the time Raistalla and I made “Bitch U Betta” with Jonté.
6 – What is your wish music collab that you want to happen in the near future?
The Weeknd or SZA would be amazing. Honestly, though, anyone that is an artist and has a vibe and flow. The best part of my job is watching an artist’s colors shine in the booth.
7 – What is your favorite lyric line from this song? Why?
“Separated from these fucking lames.” I think that line is relatable to everyone in some regard be it a relationship, job, record label, or a friend(s). Everyone likes to walk away with their head held high!
8 – Don’t you think it will be cool to give “Klassy” the remix treatment?
I would love to hear other producers take on it!
9 – What is the first thing you look forward to doing when the pandemic ends?
Have the biggest pool party with and invite ALL my friends. I miss mixing friend circles and meeting new people.
10 – What’s next for Jack Rayner?
I’m finishing up work on America’s Got Talent for the 15th season then headed down under to open Magic Mike Live Australia! We also have to re-open the London, Berlin, and Las Vegas versions as soon as all this madness is over. Time to get back on stage with dancers, laughs, and of course, music!
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Exclusive Interview: Van Hechter On Catchy Album, ‘Love Elastic’
The catchy album ‘Love Elastic’ by Montreal-based singer Van Hechter is a singable collection of 7 Electro-Pop and Disco gems. It is absurdly underrated to the mainstream media and deserves way more attention. Not to mention, the artist felt inspired by the feeling of love and its amplitude meanings. Learn more about his second record below. Happy reading!
1 — Where did you get the album name ‘Love Elastic’ from?
It came from my own reality and a personal belief that true love is not possessive, and has no ego. When you want someone’s best – you simply can’t get in the way of their life’s dream… So I set a wonderful human free-regardless on my own little sadness. Nothing is broken. Just now we can’t be together; ”Love Elastic”…
2 — Which singers or bands musically inspired you?
My mom was a huge fan of popular culture, especially music. I grew up listening to Disco, Motown, Jazz, Punk… Biggest influences; Giorgio Moroder (Donna Summer’s era especially), Sylver Convention, Bowie, Blondie, Sex Pistols, the Supremes, and Bing Crosby! LOL, mash all that up hahaha!
3 — What themes revolve around this record?
It’s a celebration of love in all its forms; passion, friendship, brotherhood, romance, lust, the love of nature, and our planet, too (”Fuck The Disco” is about the environment).
4 — How was the writing process? Do you have a favorite place to write lyrics?
My associate/business partner/good friend and I worked over text messages. I travel. He has the wife, house, garden, dogs, mostly stays put… So we often just do it like that; ”Hey I have this idea, love is like an elastic — I’d want it to be really repetitive ”I found a love”— think pop with horns”… Then he’ll send a snippet of music and we build from there.
5 — Have you kept writing in lockdown?
It’s been hard. I came up with my next album’s concept. I wrote a few bits but I haven’t been all that productive in terms of creation. I worked out every single day, I tried to keep my spirits up regardless of all the sad news we were fed daily, checked in on my neighbor… I couldn’t bring myself to doing more.
I’d say we’ve gone from Electro-Pop to just Pop! And Pop that one can dance to, too…
7 — What genre of music do you identify with? Why?
Anything linked to Disco even when this is far fetched; I’m your man.
8 — Are you vocally trained? Is this still important in today’s music industry?
I am. I studied opera and hated it. Then I did a 180, joined a punk band. I wanted to train myself to shout, not to modulate! LOL!
I canceled 8 trips to NYC, 2 to Florida, and 30 dates in Europe were dropped. One thing I can tell you; I will be singing at The Stonewall Inn alongside my good friend DJ Chauncey Dandridge on New Year’s Eve if I have to swim there from Montreal! I REFUSE to cancel that one!
10 — What does the future hold for Van Hechter artist wise?
Well, next June I am launching an album of duets with DJ Chauncey Dandridge, all about the Stonewall Inn, the gay liberation movement, where we’re at now (in my perspective of course — I don’t claim to have answers)… This just came about out of friendship. I love this guy. And I find he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, he is one of NYC’s best DJ’s so polyvalent. By now he should have awards lined up on his shelves!
Then in 2022, I will launch a new solo album. I love the title, I love the direction. I think it’s going to be fantastic. I am aiming for an early Spring.
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Interview | Questions & Answers With Now Endeavor
Now Endeavor‘s energetic Indie Pop visuals are very popular on YouTube. I talked with Pete and Thom to know more about their great music project. Recently, the “You Know Me” clip finds them on the road, driving blithely through a world of peril, and staying as optimistic as possible in challenging times. Scroll down and read this interview!
1 –When did you start writing and composing songs together?
Thom: The first song we wrote together was AC’s “Not Working Right”. I had just parted with a band I was in, and I wanted to do a solo project. I wrote a tune, and I always give my tunes prototype names, which happened to be AC’s “Not Working Right” that time! I was having a hard time writing a vocal melody and lyrics, so I brought it to Pete. He said, “Oh this is awesome!” He came back with a vocal melody and lyrics about a date going horribly, and on top of that, the AC is not working right! I thought why don’t we write more songs?
Just Pete: The exact date escapes me, but Thom is right. Our first song together was AC’s “Not Working Right”.
2 – How have you tried to remain active artistically while in quarantine?
Thom: I’ve been trying to write a ton of songs about random things. I once told a bandmate that I could write a song about anything! Even when I’m not feeling it, I’ll write a super simple song. When I have all of those ideas recorded, I find I can reuse them later and mix the old ideas into new ones. If the idea I came up with is trash, it can stay buried!
Just Pete: It’s easier now. More time to myself to create whenever I want. We’re experiencing unprecedented events which makes way for unprecedented art.
3 –Which singers or bands inspire you to create music?
Thom: That really changes from time to time. I can tell you that recently I wrote three different songs that were inspired by Sufjan Stevens, Phil Collins, and James Taylor. I honestly just go down my playlist on Spotify and say “I like what he/she/they did there.” I learn to play a few of an artist’s songs, and then it feels like you absorb their technique and style. Then you can incorporate the pieces of their style you like into your writing. It’s like…when Kirby inhales someone and gets a power haha. Once I send it to Pete, it takes a whole new direction.
Just Pete: I like Donell Jones, Trey Songz, Michael Jackson and a bunch of others that would take too long to mention.
4 – What is the indie music scene like in Detroit?
Thom: I’ve actually been living in California for a few years, so Pete might know a bit more. When I was younger I played at a lot of music venues Downriver. It’s kind of hard to explain what Downriver is if you aren’t from Southeast Michigan, but it’s more or less a region south of Detroit extending toward Ohio. A lot of the places I used to play at are closed now. The Modern Exchange was where I played my first show. It’s not around anymore.
Just Pete: El Club in Detroit and the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor are some hot spots for Indie music. The indie music scene in Detroit has always been strong. Remember House music has strong roots here too.
Thom: We haven’t played a live show in a while, but I’d love to perform at Campus Martius Park in Detroit. One year, Saves The Day performed there, and it was a great experience for me. I went with two friends, but we were running late. All three of us sprinted the entire way there from a parking lot that was like 5 minutes away. I missed a song I think, but I loved the weather and the atmosphere. It would be great to play there.
Just Pete: Anywhere that makes the audience comfortable.
6 – Tell us about your new single, “You Know Me”, is it about positive thinking?
Thom: To me, it’s definitely about positive thinking. You want to let go of the bitterness that you have in things that didn’t work out. That frees you mentally to start new things. That’s easier said than done because we’re emotional creatures that can get hung up on being wronged.
Just Pete: It’s all about positive thinking. It can take you farther than you think.
7 – Is positive thinking delusional?
Thom: Hell yes! But I think you have to be delusional to make it in the music industry. As a musician, you’re thinking, “… The industry changes so quickly… It’s also very saturated because of the internet… It’s so hard to get a following… Even if someone likes one of your songs, they may forget to look it up! Potential fan lost forever!…What if people don’t like the music I spent so hard working on?…” If I sat down and thought about those things all of the time, I’d lose my mind and my nerve. It doesn’t mean those things aren’t potentially true or an issue, but you definitely have to delude yourself a bit or you’d go insane.
Just Pete: Sure, but so is negative thinking.
8 – What do you recommend to increase positive thinking?
Thom: I think visualizing what you want and dreaming about it is the best approach. You can trick your brain into believing in your goals, even if YOU don’t really believe it at first. It sounds kind of silly, but that’s one way I dealt with anxiety in the past. I’d remind myself that I wasn’t in any danger, and then I’d make myself smile. I just had to visualize my safety and happiness. It sounds a little crazy, because I am, but also… it works combined with other techniques.
Just Pete: Just enjoy simple pleasures. Make a list of the things you CAN do and forget about what you think you can’t do.
9 – I’m loving the animated video of “You Know Me”. How much of the creative process were you involved with it?
Thom: I’m not much of an artist when it comes to physical art. I skipped art class in high school and took a music class instead, so I didn’t actually contribute to the design with my own skills. I had an idea for what I wanted and took it to an animator. I wanted the video to be a straight forward, feel-good idea. The animator I worked with did a fantastic job of capturing what I had in my head!
Just Pete: I wrote the song but Thom had all the ideas for the visuals.
10 – Are you already working on your next single?
Thom: I’m always writing! I don’t think I ever write with a single in mind anymore though. We have a few demos written at the moment. You have to see how songs sound after they have been recorded. I’ve written songs that I wasn’t in love with at first that were recorded on my phone as an idea, but after a little production, I was like “That’s it! That’s the song I want to push.” So we will see!
Just Pete: Oh yeah. There’s a bunch of songs to sift through.
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A Household Name In The Making, Get To Know Centineo
Meet the past, present, and future of Centineo in this exclusive interview. There’s no doubt, the multi-faceted brothers Tim and Rob are rising talents in the global dance music scene. It should be highlighted they produce, sing, and write their own upbeat tracks. Top-notch compositions with Pop sensibilities are their specialty. Learn more here.
1 – First of all, what made you decide to form a duo?
It happened very naturally, we’re both very musical and taught ourselves how to play multiple instruments. Rob had been more into rock/punk music and Tim was writing songs/raps early on, but we both got into dance music and the scene around the same time – showing each other songs and artists we discovered, etc. Sharing the same genetics, we both had similar tastes and it just naturally progressed from being listeners to want to learn production and create our own music together.
2 – What does the name Centineo mean?
Centineo (Cent-In-Ayo) is our last name – it’s of Italian origin. We’re told by our relatives that it means “hundreds of beautiful flaws”.
3 – Do you remember the first piece of equipment you bought for this project?
The first purchase we made was a Windows Desktop and the software “Mixcraft”. We’ve upgraded to Ableton and Mac computers since then.
Both of us are musicians and producers but Tim has more of an executive role in terms of musical/creative decisions. He’s an incredible talent with a great ear and sharp musical instincts – he almost always gets it right. Rob prefers to be more behind the scenes but he’s a tech- wizard engineer with degrees in music theory and audio production. When we have different opinions, we both write/present our own ideas and hash out which one we think works best.
5 – What about songwriting? Who is responsible for writing the lyrics?
Tim is our primary songwriter. He writes the lyrics himself and moving forward will be the featured vocalist performing them as well. Rob is the only set of ears/opinions I trust during the writing process. He always gives me critical feedback and helps me bring the song home.
6 – What are the benefits of working together as brothers? Is anyone else in your family musical?
The best part of working with your brother is how honest you can be. If an idea sucks or someone has a strong opinion – there’s no holding back, no judgment and no one’s feelings get hurt. Whether it be making music or business decisions – the degree of trust we have provides a great environment for creating and being comfortable/vulnerable.
Our family is full of creatives in the music & entertainment industry. Our cousin JoJo Centineo is an extremely talented producer and recording engineer, and our cousin Noah Centineo is a Netflix/Movie star. There’s a lot of creative talent in our family.
7 – Where can we stream your latest single? Why should we listen to it?
We’ve released multiple remixes more recently that are available on our Soundcloud, but our last single was ‘Otherside’ released on Revealed Recordings. You can listen to it on any major streaming platform of your choosing (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.)
“Otherside” is an emotionally charged story about conquering fear, mental health, and injustice with love. Something that is critical and very relevant given the state of the world today. It’s also a great introduction and indication of the music we are releasing soon:
BIG and emotional.
8 – Big names in the industry like David Guetta and Hardwell have praised your tracks. What’s the key to reaching success in this competitive industry?
We wish we could be more helpful but there’s no sexy answer/real secret to success.
It’s multi-faceted but simply put: You need to work your ass off relentlessly, never give up and ignore the competition – Focus on yourself. There are a lot of skills necessary to be successful in the industry: technical ability, artistic ability, and last but not least business/administrative ability. All of which require a lot of time, hard work, sacrifice, practice, and failure to develop.
Our advice would be to have patience in the pursuit of developing these skills, trust the process, surround yourself with the right people and believe in yourself delusionally while having the awareness and perspective necessary to make good decisions.
At the moment we don’t (Tim in FL, Rob in NJ) but we have plans to live together in the near future. (Tim) An average day for me consists of working on music all day. Whether it be production, writing, or administrative – I don’t leave my home studio, or as everyone who knows me likes to call it, the “cave”. I lock myself in my studio and take breaks to workout, eat, and occasionally relax on the beach/by the pool with family & friends. I’m also a huge movie buff so I always find a way to sneak a movie in before bed.
(Rob) I spend most of my day in front of a computer – writing, mixing, and drinking coffee (My coffee cup is always full). If I’m not at my desk I’m somewhere in my apartment with a guitar in hand. How I spend my day really depends on where I draw inspiration from. I consider myself forever a student of music. I educate myself and expand my knowledge in as many aspects of music as possible. When I need a break – I love to cook, hit the gym, and dive into new synths and plugins.
Despite this quarantine and global pandemic, our lifestyles haven’t changed much and we’re not sure whether to be concerned or impressed. We’ve been social distancing for years now!
10 – Tell us more about Centineo’s upcoming plans or ideas for the next months.
So, we took a break from releasing music for the entire 2019 calendar year. Despite the fact that our music was being received well and supported – it wasn’t enough. Something was missing.
We felt like we were chasing validation (support and label releases). We realized we would never get to where we wanted to be if we just waited in line with everyone else relying on the gatekeepers/bigger names & labels to make it happen for us. This became glaringly obvious after two separate events: First, we submitted a track to a major label for signing (*which we had already received huge support on) and after weeks of waiting for a response, we were told, “Your hi-hat is too loud, pass.” Second, A great conversation we had with an executive at a major label who told us, “I’ll tell you a secret that no one else will – the labels will only want you when you don’t need them”.
This was as eye-opening as it was invaluable. It became very clear to us that in order to get to where we wanted to be, we needed a new strategy and we needed to do this on our own. Artistry should never be about pandering or compromising your expression, let alone giving someone who could care less about you, power, and influence over your work. Now more than ever, it’s possible to be a successful independent artist – and after those interactions, we spent the next year and a half strategizing, building our brand, developing our voice/product, and becoming self-sufficient.
On top of all that, we want to connect with people in a more meaningful way than just music that they party to. We want to bridge the disconnect of being an “EDM” producer and being considered a true musician/artist in the eyes of the listener. In an industry where the shelf life of a song is a handful of weeks, we also want our music to have longevity, to truly touch and impact people’s lives for years and years to come. Artists like Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello, Alesso, Martin Garrix, and Calvin Harris have been successful in doing just that with their timeless classics and crossover hits. (*See: Don’t You Worry Child, Reload, Calling, In the Name of Love, Sweet Nothing). We’re pretty sure they didn’t wait around giving a f**k about someone’s opinion of their hi-hat! The only way we were going to accomplish our goals would be by taking the time to adjust our trajectory, rethink the music, and incorporate more of ourselves into the listening experience.
In the coming months, we’ll be releasing music ranging from Progressive House all the way to Pop/R&B. All of the songs are produced by us and feature Tim as the vocalist and lyricist with the exception of one. The exception being our first release (in over a year) which is coming out very soon. It features a legendary writer and vocalist that has worked with the biggest names in the industry – it’s a bomb. We’re super proud of it and can’t wait for you to hear it.
We’re so excited to begin and share this new chapter of our journey with the world, and we hope to inspire some of our fellow artists to push themselves and follow in our footsteps. We’re confident that among the new music coming out, there is something here for everyone. Stay tuned!
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Danny Spade Discusses First Original Single “Effort” — Interview
Connecticut-based producer Danny Spade just premiered “Effort”. It took him a couple of years to bring out his first original single. In short, it’s a feel-good Dance-Pop gem charged with positive energy, motivating people to be the best version of themselves. All money that is raised by the cool track will be donated to a local charity. Learn more details below in this exclusive interview with the independent artist.
1 – What has been the inspiration for your first original single, “Effort”?
I have been writing music for a pretty long time, sometimes for other people, sometimes just for fun but this song is dedicated to all the people doing their best to make it work in their relationships and going through all those ups and downs. At its core, the song is about being able to bring your best self to something you love!GRAB YOUR COPY
2 – I’m happy to know it’s actually a charity song, please tell us more about it.
Al’s Angels, an organization that is near and dear to my heart. Something I have participated in over the years with my many friends and family members. This charity provides support to children and families battling cancer, rare blood diseases, natural disasters, and severe financial hardship. I have personally seen how this organization has made an impact. Coupled with my desire to truly do something good in the world, I decided that I would release this as my first single and donate 100% of the proceeds to the organization.
3 – Why did you decide to work with Danyka Nadeau & Vince Is DEAD on vocals?
I was always a fan of Danyka’s contributions to the music community. When I heard her demo, I immediately knew she was the right fit. I first met Chris while I was working as a Sales Representative for Guitar Center. He showed me some of his work and almost like a lightning bolt of destiny, I knew that these two amazing vocalists would create a work of art that was exactly what I had envisioned for the song.
Yes, I do believe it will resonate with many people! Come on, how many times have we all been in a relationship where we didn’t know where it would go or maybe we would get into a fight but in the end, it would all work out for the better. I truly hope that this song reaches someone who needs to hear it and that they feel that they are not alone because hey, we’ve all been there. 🙂
5 – What are some of the themes you would like to express in your upcoming releases?
I know you reading this will probably find it so corny, but, love! Love, unity, and togetherness. All of us are very different from one another and oftentimes we can lose sight of that. What makes us special is our differences. This song isn’t only about just relationships, it is the “Effort” to make yourself the best person you can be so you can give it to the world.
6 – What were some challenges you face in the recording studio?
I gotta be honest, writing music really is not easy. Making little doodles in your Daw is always fun but making something that gets you up and dancing around is what we all live for! I have so many other friends who are constantly in the news about some great accomplishment that they have in the music world. It gets discouraging at times when you see all this success around you, no matter how happy you are for them, and you ask yourself how can I be a part of that? My goal is not to be the next Skrillex or Tiesto but rather, just to be the first me. I am just a regular dude who wanted to make something I really wanted to hear!
4 Years. This took me 4 years from me making this song to finally bringing this to you. Yes, I know you are probably thinking, “wait, this song took you 4 years to make!?” Unfortunately, yes. Technically the song itself only took me a few months but after it was done, I selfishly did not want to share it with anyone. I loved the way it made me feel and the work I had put into it was so very personal. I was afraid if I shared it with the world that people may not like it. Once though COVID-19 came and changed all of our lives, I realized that this song was no longer mine to keep and it belonged to everybody.
8 – I remember in 2016, you did an Electro House remix for KSHMR. Today you surprise us with an Electro-Pop track, why did you decide to delve into this change of sound?
That was a fun one, wasn’t it? I will always have a very special place in my heart for Electro House and Bass Music but my real passion is Pop Music. Most people will never know who actually produced some of their favorite music when it is played out on the radio. The music that you listen to every day on repeat when you are going to work or coming home from school. People will always know the name “Justin Bieber” or “Post Malone” but they may never know “The Audibles” or “Louis Bell”. I hope to one day be an addition to that fine list of creators.
9 – Can you give us more details about the lyric video you will premiere soon?
Of course! It’s going to be an animated music lyric video. Something hopefully everyone can watch and sing along to. The imagery and representation of the video perfectly capture what Danyka and Chris sing about so I am just really hoping people connect with that. I think it is a super awesome video, I hope you enjoy it!
10 – Finally, how do you see Danny Spade in the next 5 years?
I wish to gain some sort of credibility within the music world so that I may become a teacher and pass on what I have learned. Music creation is becoming increasingly more popular and a lot of times people don’t know where to turn in order to get to the finish line. I hope to be that light guiding person to their dream and be able to help in any way I can. At the end of the day, I am just a guy trying to do the right thing and if you got anything from this interview, it’s that we are all here to do something special. I hope to be one of the people who can help you to get there! Peace and love – Danny Spade.
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