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The Big Takeover Issue #93

Chip Midnight

Chip Midnight cut his music journalist teeth as a journalism student at the Ohio State University in the early ’90s where his first interview was a phoner with Joey Ramone. Throughout the decades, Chip has contributed to local and regional publications and websites (The Ohio State Lantern, Columbus Alive, Moo Magazine, Donewaiting.com) and national print publications (Skratch Magazine, Wonka Vision Magazine) as well as running his own sites (Swizzle-Stick.com, AtomicNed.com). Chip joined the Big Takeover staff in 2007 after having been a long-time reader. Check out chipmidnight.com to read interviews Chip has done over the years with the likes of Jason Isbell, Rage Against the Machine, Sparklehorse, Veruca Salt, Gary Numan, Mojave 3, Weezer, Juliana Hatfield and more.

Interview: Danielle Durack

19 February 2024

Danielle Durack gracefully traverses a range of emotions, bravely tackling difficult truths on her fourth album, Escape Artist. Exploring themes of love, loss, and significant life changes, Escape Artist offers Durack a stage for deep introspection into her personal journey and the beginning of resolution.

Interview: Friko

16 February 2024

One of the best-sounding debut albums I’ve heard, Friko’s Where we’ve been, Where we go from here showcases the young Chicago trio’s versatile sound which will undoubtedly remind listeners of stuff they’ve heard without ever sounding like an imitation of any of those artists. Niko Kapetan and Bailey Minzenberger share where they’ve been in terms of how they met and developed the Friko sound as well as where they go from here, which includes touring to support their jaw-dropping debut.

Interview: Tyler Ramsey

14 February 2024

Rooted in folk and Americana traditions, Tyler Ramsey’s introspective style of songwriting provides warmth and intimacy on his latest album, the Phil Ek*-produced New Lost Ages. As humble and gentle in person as he is on record, Ramsey discusses the new album, the world he hopes to leave behind for his kids, and how *Neal Casal’s passing inspired the song “Flare”.

Interview: Tom McGreevy (Ducks Ltd.)

11 February 2024

Shiny and shimmering jangle pop helps offset the darker subject matter of Ducks Ltd.’s sophomore album, Harm’s Way. Singer/guitarist Tom McGreevy discusses what led to recording in Chicago, how his R.E.M. knowledge didn’t run deep at the start of the band’s career, and how Archers of Loaf provided valuable touring lessons.

Interview: Pylon Reenactment Society

7 February 2024

A member of the influential ’80s new wave punk band Pylon returns, paying homage to the band she lead decades ago with the help of fellow Athens, Georgia musicians from bands like Supercluster and Casper & The Cookies. But, make no mistake, while Pylon Reenactment Society does pay homage to Pylon, singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay is ready to explore new and fresh sounds. Hay and guitarist Jason NeSmith share stories about Athens, discuss the influence Pylon has had, and recall a funny story about meeting Sleater-Kinney.

Interview: TORRES

2 February 2024

With an ever evolving sound, the latest release by TORRES, What an enormous room on Merge Records find singer Mackenzie Scott addressing often dark and complex thoughts and feelings with music grounded in fantasy and experimentation. Scott discusses where this album fits in among their past efforts, talks about the importance of physical and mental fitness, and dives into some of the lyrics.

Interview: Jack Callan and Sam McCann (Sprints)

29 January 2024

Delving fearlessly into themes of mental health and sexuality, Sprints debut album, and first notable album of the year, Letter to Self, serves as a raw and unapologetic exploration of singer Karla Chubb’s difficult life. Bassist Sam McCann and drummer Jack Callan discuss the album’s release, Chubb’s honest songwriting, connecting with fans, and the feeling of playing their first sold-out show.

Interview: Kane Strang (Office Dog)

25 January 2024

Teaming up with friends, and musicians who had backed him during his solo career, Kane Strang’s passion was reignited with the formation of the indie guitar-rock trio Office Dog. Free from expectations, the New Zealand-based band provides the energy that Strang was missing as a solo artist and caught the attention of two highly-respected indie labels who are now sharing Office Dog’s music with the world.

Interview: Folly Group

22 January 2024

The UK’s Folly Group enters 2024 on a strong note with the release of their post-punk debut, Down There!. While the band’s music is anxious, paranoid, and even angry at times, the guys in the band are the complete opposite. In this conversation, they discuss their common love of Gorillaz, where the confidence comes from, the realities of touring, and the band names they’d use if they started a hardcore band.

Interview: Marika Hackman

12 January 2024

Marika Hackman opens up about the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on her music creation process, providing a glimpse into the challenges and revelations she faced during these unprecedented times. Marika shares the highs, lows, and unexpected inspirations that shaped her latest album, Big Sigh and discusses her introspective lyrics, the thematic choices in her music videos, and the evolving philosophy behind her pursuit of artistic growth.

Interview: Rome

3 January 2024

Rome Ramirez discusses his reasons for leaving Sublime with Rome and what he’s got planned for his future. He also talks about how Sublime with Rome’s music isn’t that far removed from the jam band scene, his move to Nashville, when being on the road turns into a job, and what dream he still has for his career.

Interview: Stewart Copeland

28 December 2023

Stewart Copeland opens up about the influx of Police-related projects in 2023 — including two albums and a book — which he sees as an opportunity to create space for pursuing his other passions in the upcoming year. In this interview with the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer, Copeland delves into his deep affection for composing orchestral pieces, shares the emotions evoked when encountering The Police’s music unexpectedly, and discloses his keen interest in keeping tabs on the current endeavors of both Sting and Andy Summers.

Interview: JACK

28 December 2023

Jack Osborn is an indie-pop virtuoso whose music is a kaleidoscope of smart lyricism and infectious melodies. Crafting witty tunes with irresistible hooks, Sad Songs in C Major, the full-length debut by JACK, is like Vampire Weekend without the Ivy League degree. In this conversation, Osborn discusses the advantages of living in Nebraska, why he create massive amounts of social media content, and the decision behind recording some unexpected covers.

Interview: Vinnie Paolizzi

18 December 2023

After co-writing hundreds of songs for other artists, Vinnie Paolizzi has finally released his own full-length album that he says is neither a country nor a folk record but, rather, a Vinnie record. In this conversation, Paolizzi discusses his influences, the draw of Nashville, his admiration of Chris Cornell and more.

Interview: Mitch Rowland

11 December 2023

Growing up a fan of Neil Young and The Black Crowes, Mitch Rowland’s musical career was diverted when he joined Harry Styles band as both a co-writer and touring guitarist. Inspired by the downtime the pandemic offered, Rowland wrote and recorded his debut solo album, Come June, which is a minimalistic, ’70s-inspired singer/songwriter collection of Americana-flavored songs. Rowland discusses those songs and more in this conversation.

Interview: Josh Radnor

5 December 2023

Best known as TV’s Ted Mosby (How I Met Your Mother), Josh Radnor was a latecomer to the songwriting game. But, a chance meeting with singer/songwriter Ben Lee opened new doors for the actor who’s gift for telling stories through song shines brightly on his debut album, Eulogy: Volume 1.

Interview: Alex Ellis (Our Man in the Field)

4 December 2023

Recording under the name Our Man in the Field, UK actor-turned-musician Alex Ellis is able to tell stories as an observer rather than delivering a first-person narrative although the songwriter admits many of the songs on his sophomore release, Gold on the Horizon, are, in fact, based on his personal experiences.

Interview: Tim DeLaughter (The Polyphonic Spree)

17 November 2023

With their first album of original material in a decade, The Polyphonic Spree returns with Salvage Enterprise, an album meant to take listeners back to the old way of listening to music – finding the right environment to play the album from start to finish and let the music wash over you. Tim DeLaughter shares why this album is so important to him and how it’s origins came as a way to battle depression.

Interview: Dylan LeBlanc

7 November 2023

Dylan LeBlanc’s journey through life, from the gritty streets of Shreveport, Louisiana to the creative haven of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, has been a defining influence on his music. With a passionate commitment to storytelling through his songs, he has crafted a series of critically-acclaimed albums, including his latest work, Coyote, which represents a culmination of his artistic evolution.

Interview: Dirty Honey

3 November 2023

Coming out of the gate fast and furious, modern classic rock torchbearers Dirty Honey have returned with their aptly-titled sophomore album, Can’t Find the Brakes. With a new drummer in tow, Dirty Honey’s stretching their songwriting skills to include some mid-tempo ballads though the rockers still soar with arena-ready vocals and guitar hero riffs. Guitarist John Notto and drummer Jaydon Bean discuss the making of the album, recording in Australia, and what a dream stadium tour lineup would look like.

Interview: John Oates

31 October 2023

With an illustrious five-decade, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career as one half of the Hall and Oates duo coming to an end, John Oates discusses how writing and recording his own material has made music fun again. Oates has a handful of sold-out tour dates to end the year and he shares what fans should expect from these shows, from how he’ll tell stories behind the songs to what might be on the setlist.

Interview: Sarah Rudy (Hello June)

26 October 2023

Artifacts is a memorable collection of Americana songs conceived in rural parts of West Virginia by a songwriter who has city smarts. Sarah Rudy discusses the making of Hello June’s sophomore album, the reason she covered John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, and the artists she finds comfort in including some heavier stuff that might surprise you.

Interview: Meltt

23 October 2023

The Vancouver-based Meltt uses lifelong relationships among band members to create a rich and complex collection of tracks that are truly brought to life when listening on a good set of headphones. James Porter and Jamie Turner discuss the luxury of time provided by Covid lockdowns to dedicate to songwriting, the importance of album sequencing, and how the band name reflects how they want listeners to interpret the music they make.

Interview: Andy Summers

9 October 2023

One of the most well-respected and talented guitarists the music world has ever known, Andy Summers is currently on tour doing a one-man mixed-media show including music, storytelling and photography. In this interview, Summers talks about how he got into taking photos, how he has no plans to slow down, and discusses some of his post-Police projects.

Interview: The Brook and The Bluff

6 October 2023

The Nashville-by-way-of-Birmingham The Brook and The Bluff is riding their indie-folk-meets-yacht-rock sound to great success on the road. Singer Joseph Settine discusses the band’s journey and answers questions inspired by some of the Bluebeard song titles.

Interview: Jenny Owen Youngs

2 October 2023

Balancing writing her own songs, writing for others, hosting podcasts, and being a new mother, Jenny Owen Youngs doesn’t have a lot of free time. With a new album, Avalanche, out on Yep Roc Records, Youngs’ already busy life is about to get busier as she enters the promotional cycle and plays a few dates to support the album. We were lucky to get a few minutes to catch up with the singer-songwriter recently to talk about new music, podcasting and music around the house.

Interview: Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub)

25 September 2023

Teenage Fanclub’s eleventh album, Nothing Lasts Forever, finds the Glasgow band doing what they do best – delivering delightfully sublime, ’60s Laurel Canyon-influenced, melodic power-pop with a sunny attitude. Singer/guitarist Norman Blake discusses how the band arrived at that sound, releasing an album (Endless Arcade) during the pandemic, and what it’s like being a band that has lasted over three decades.

Interview: Sofia Jensen (Free Range)

17 September 2023

It’s been a dreamlike year for Sofia Jensen, from releasing the debut Free Range album, Practice, to supporting artists like Jeff Tweedy and Ratboys to gracing The Newport Folk Festival stage. A rising talent in the indie folk world, Jensen discusses Free Range’s origins, the songwriting process, covering Gillian Welch’s “Look at Miss Ohio”, and losing their wallet in Ohio.

Interview: PJ Western

16 September 2023

The bright and summery sounds of PJ Western’s debut album Here I Go sound like ’70s AM radio gold. A creation from the mind of JR JR’s Josh Epstein, PJ Western gave the songwriter purpose during Covid lockdown and the ability to try something completely different.

Interview: Becca Mancari

25 August 2023

Becca Mancari unpacks a lot of personal baggage on their third album, Left Hand, through a fantastical lens where the music speaks a rich language. It’s an evolution from their earliest recording days which found Mancari fitting into the Nashville singer-songwriter narrative. Mancari shares how the evolution took place, the themes of the album, and how shedding heavy topics has been a weight off their shoulders.

Interview: Ruarri Joseph (William the Conqueror)

23 August 2023

Following a modestly successful solo career, Ruarri Joseph took on a new challenge by formed the trio William the Conqueror which allowed him to dig into his influences and set a new course for his songwriting. The band’s latest Excuse Me While I Vanish is a warm and intoxicating journey that sounds both familiar and unique.

Interview: Margaret Glaspy

18 August 2023

Margaret Glaspy took a simple approach to writing and recording her third album, Echo The Diamond, with many of the songs being written in 15 minutes and recorded as a trio using a first-take final philosophy. The result is an intimate sounding album that will play live just as it does on record.

Interview: Zak Starkey & Sshh (Mantra of the Cosmos)

16 August 2023

Rock royalty – and Ringo Starr’s son – Zak Starkey (Oasis, The Who) and his wife/band mate Sshh discuss the formation of the “fantastic” group Mantra of the Cosmos featuring members of the Happy Mondays, Ride, and The Fall and how chemistry is what drives creativity.

Interview: Matt Scottoline (Hurry)

14 August 2023

In the tradition of power-pop giants like Teenage Fanclub, The Lemonheads, and Matthew Sweet, the latest by Philly’s Hurry is a hook-filled album with vibrant vocals and catchy choruses. Singer/guitarist Matt Scottoline discusses his consistency with releasing music and shares the bands whose music is in his DNA.

Interview: Activity

4 August 2023

Influences don’t always have to be other artists or bands. Activity’s Travis Johnson discusses some of non-obvious influences that contributed to the recipe of the band’s second album, Spirit in the Room.

Interview: Kevin Rowland (Dexys)

28 July 2023

With a shortened name, the band responsible for the 1982 smash hit “Come On Eileen” has returned with The Feminine Divine, a narrative of sorts from founding member/lead singer Kevin Rowland. On this latest by Dexys, Rowland examines how masculinity shaped his early beliefs and how, as he’s gotten older – and wiser – those beliefs have changed.

Interview: Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule)

13 July 2023

Though Gov’t Mule is most comfortable on the road and playing in front of live audiences, their two most recent studio releases (2021’s Heavy Load Blues, 2023’s Peace … Like a River) are solid entries to the band’s catalog. Warren Haynes discusses how his brothers introduced him to music, how Gov’t Mule got started covering Pink Floyd, and the importance of continuously shaking up the setlist.

Interview: Aaron Dowdy of Fust

11 July 2023

The puzzle pieces have fallen into place for Durham, North Carolina’s Fust. Having recorded in Drop of Sun Studios and signed with Dear Life Records, the band, led by Aaron Dowdy, has released one of the most compelling storytelling albums of 2023 and is getting noticed outside of Dowdy’s bedroom for the first time.

Interview: The Pink Stones

30 June 2023

The new cosmic-country album, You Know Who, by Athens, Georgia’s The Pink Stones is inspired by artists ranging from George Jones to Gram Parsons and features a very George-and-Tammy-style duet with Nikki Lane. Check out the things in Hunter Pinkston’s life that inspired the making of the new album.

Interview: Scott Holiday (Rival Sons)

26 June 2023

With a classic rock sound – and work ethic – in their DNA, Rival Sons has recently released the first of two albums planned for this year. Guitarist Scott Holiday discusses the band’s influence on artists like tour mates Greta Van Fleet and how they made the most out of the downtime caused by the pandemic.

Interview: Royal Thunder

16 June 2023

Coming out of the other side of hell, Royal Thunder returns with a new focus – and a reunion with drummer Evan Diprima – on their fourth album, the aptly titled Rebuilding the Mountain. Singer/bassist Mlny Parsons, never one to dodge difficult subjects, opens up about her addictions and how she’s overcome them to focus on Royal Thunder.

Interview: Chris Dowd (Fishbone)

12 June 2023

Returning to Fishbone for the first time since getting off the tour bus in 1994, keyboardist Chris Dowd discusses what he’s been up to, why it was a good time to return to the band he helped form in 1979, the band’s new self-titled EP and what the future holds.

Interview: Joey Santiago (Pixies)

7 June 2023

Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago checks in to discuss the rhythm of touring, his current favorite Pixies merch, being a nostalgia act and recording far away from temptation.

Interview: Joe Pernice (The Pernice Brothers)

2 June 2023

Big Takeover favorite Joe Pernice discusses the release of 1998’s Overcome by Happiness for the first time ever on vinyl, talks about some overlooked songs, and shares a story about the drunkest he’s ever been.

Interview: Tombstones in Their Eyes

30 May 2023

In constant writing mode, John Treanor says the new Tombstones in Their Eyes album, Sea of Sorrow, contains the cream of the crop from demos he’s been collecting the last few years and that he’s already got another album ready to go. Learn more about band’s unique sound in this conversation.

Interview: The Dirty Nil

26 May 2023

Making each other laugh is the driving force behind The Dirty Nil’s music, though the mix of punk rock and power metal is no joke from the Canadian trio. Singer Luke Bentham discusses the band’s songwriting process, what he likes about playing festivals, and how he was able to scam his way into a front row Buddy Guy ticket.

Interview: Michael Ian Cummings

25 May 2023

After a self-imposed hiatus, Skaters front man Michael Ian Cummings has reemerged with a solo EP proving to himself and others that the passion is still there. Cummings shares some insight into the songs and discusses how the whole process has been cathartic.

Interview: The Ironsides

24 May 2023

The Ironsides have created a ’60s sounding, cinematic soundtrack to a film that doesn’t exist on their debut full-length for Colemine Records. Taking inspiration from a variety of sources, from soul to jazz to classical scores, The Ironsides discuss how the band formed, how their sound has evolved, and play a game with their song titles in this conversation.

Interview: Pony

19 May 2023

Pony’s sophomore release, Velveteen, is one of the brightest, most sugary albums of the year. Sam Bielanski and Matty Morand discuss the freedom of writing songs that aren’t personal, how a Sopranos episode influenced lyrics, and gush over ’90s alt-rock artists like That Dog and Letters to Cleo.

Interview: Savannah Conley

12 May 2023

Savannah Conley’s debut album is an accurate portrayal of the trials and tribulations of a woman in her early 20s and all the emotions that are part of being that age. The Nashville born-and-raised songwriter discusses the album’s themes, working with collaborators, and musical friendships she’s made along the way.