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The Big Takeover Issue #91
Interviews
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'Stay Teenage'—Billy Tibbals Interview

27 January 2023

There’s a whirlwind of rock and roll activity in Los Angeles these days and Billy Tibbals is among a handful of talented young musicians at the heart of the action.

Interview: Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery (R. Ring)

26 January 2023

With their sophomore album – written and recorded before Covid lockdown – finally released to the world, Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery discuss the advantages of delaying the album by a few years and the creative packaging that makes the album special and unique.

Interview: John Schmersal (Brainiac)

24 January 2023

During the pandemic, John Schmersal took stock of all the Brainiac demos and unreleased tracks he had been collecting since the band’s untimely end in 1997. The latest, and perhaps last, batch of songs have recently been released as The Predator Nominate EP. Schmersal discuss the release and the impetus behind upcoming Brainiac live shows.

Ville Valo

Interview: Ville Valo of H.I.M. Goes Solo

21 January 2023

Ville Valo, former H.I.M. frontman, discusses his newly-released debut solo album, Neon Noir

Interview: We Are Scientists

20 January 2023

A silver lining to lockdown was the ability to have access to a studio. We Are Scientists took advantage by recording songs for two albums, 2021’s Huffy and the brand new release, Lobes. Singer/guitarist Keith Murray shares how the downtime gave the band a chance to experiment.

The Bad Ends

Interview: Bill Berry (ex-R.E.M.) & Mike Mantione (Five Eight) of The Bad Ends

20 January 2023

Bill Berry (ex-*R.E.M.* drummer) and Mike Mantione (Five Eight frontman) discuss their new band, The Bad Ends

Monty Munro (Preoccupations)

19 January 2023

In September of 2022, Preoccupations’ Monty Munro spoke with me over Zoom, where we dove deep into the mania behind their latest recording process, the bad luck streak of their 2018 tour, and most importantly: tons and tons of gear.

Interview: Dave Rowntree

18 January 2023

As a child, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree would spin the dial on his longwave radio and listen to exotic music from all corners of the world. On his debut solo album, Rowntree envisioned his songs as the type that someone might find while exploring the radio.

Interview: Allen Epley

5 January 2023

Shiner frontman, and Third Gear Scratch podcast host, Allen Epley discusses his first solo album, Everything, released 30 years into his career as well as the role the pandemic had on his creativity.

Love In Time of Apocalypse: Paris Westburn reveals all

3 January 2023

Having made a more permanent home for himself in France and with a Magnum Opus in the works, it seemed the perfect time to sit down with Paris Westburn and discuss the musical journey that brought him to where he is today, his recent musical creations and what the future holds.

Interview: Micah P. Hinson

2 January 2023

After releasing 10 albums since 2004, Micah P. Hinson found himself at a critical juncture where stepping away from music seemed to be a viable option. With a new champion in his corner, a budding new relationship providing inspiration, and a move from Texas to Spain, Hinson’s now excited for the next chapter in his musical career.

Steve Conte

Interview: Steve Conte

31 December 2022

Steve Conte discusses his remarkable career as a guitarist for New York Dolls and many others, as well as his thriving solo career

The Speedways—Matt Julian Interview

30 December 2022

The Speedways frontman discusses the evolution of the band on their excellent new album ‘Talk Of The Town.’

Photo courtesy of Healees

Guitar Pedals and New Wave: An Interview With Healees

21 December 2022

“Paris is not an easy place to be a band, if only because of the extreme population density – it’s tough to get around with gear, there’s limited space to make loud noise, etc.  Still, there are great things happening thanks to the hard work of some very dedicated people.” – Bryan Quinn

“When I discovered French punk I had to start listening with headphones under my blanket because they were saying bad words…. standard stuff for a middle class kid.” – Renaud Chauré

Interview: The Backseat Lovers

19 December 2022

Life has been a whirlwind for The Backseat Lovers whose members are in their early 20s. Josh Harmon, Jonas Swanson and KJ Ward reflect on the year that saw the band release their sophomore album, play festival stages, and perform on multiple television talk shows.

Interview: JoobieSeaz

17 December 2022

JoobieSeaz, a duo from Lille, France has been self-releasing singles relentlessly the last couple years and are making their mark. You can hear all the singles on a recent collection entitled Pitch Black: [The Singles] dropped earlier this year. Hyponotic, gritty and determined.. JoobieSeaz will dance in your subconscious while you enter their groove and submit to their dark and witchy vibes. We had an opportunity to talk to the band about their history and current and future plans.

Interview: Ari Vais discusses “London Crawling” by the Pelicans

17 December 2022

The Pelicans were a NYC quartet fronted by Ari Vais in the early 2000s. Years later Ari Vais became the frontman for The Campbell Apartment which started in NYC and ended up in the 2010’s in San Francisco. The Pelicans first resurfaced in the digital streaming era with a few tracks on “The Very Best Of Ari Vais and The Campbell Apartment” and soon after plans were made for the Pelicans full discography to be released. We caught up with Ari and asked him about the new collection by this class NYC power pop band.

'A Thin Thread'—Phil Yates Interview

15 December 2022

The Chicago-based singer/songwriter discusses the latest Phil Yates & the Affiliates album, Illinois’ impressive power pop roots, and influences ranging from Elvis Costello to Guided By Voices.

Interview: SUSS

13 December 2022

In this in-depth interview, Bob Holmes, Pat Irwin, and Jonathan Gregg of SUSS share how they developed their ambient country sound and the thinking behind compiling four EPs for a new, self-titled double album.

Interview: La Muerte discuss their newest LP, ‘Sortilegia’

13 December 2022

Formed in the 80’s, LA MUERTE became one of the apologists of Belgium music in the 80’s. Long before Al Jourgensen and Ministry has started sound-experiments, LA MUERTE had already been edgy and aggressive, inventively pushing the boundaries. Over the course of their career, LA MUERTE didn’t lose this quality. The band’s newest LP, ‘Sortilegia’ came out this November via Consouling Sounds. The Big Takeover sat down with Didier Moens aka Dee-J, the founding member and guitarist of LA MUERTE.

Deviation, continuity & keeping it DIY: A conversation with Frenchy and the Punk

12 December 2022

NYC-based postpunk duo Frenchy and the Punk recently released their seventh album Zen Ghost via EA Recordings, their shadowy sound taking an even darker turn towards the pair’s previously unexplored personal planes and interpretations of the insanity of our increasingly tumultuous age. Dark times make for dark songs.

Frenchy and the Punk is vocalist, percussionist and lyricist Samantha Stephenson and guitarist-composer Scott Helland, who was co-founder and bassist of Outpatients and also Deep Wound (along with Dinosaur Jr. founders J Mascis and Lou Barlow). Influenced by The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Blondie, Concrete Blonde and The B52’s, the duo thrive in their trademark blend of post-punk and dark folk music.

Immigration, liberation & collaboration: inside the mind of musical maverick Dmitry Wild

10 December 2022

New York -based garage rock purveyor Dmitry Wild recently released his Electric Souls album, loaded with 11 tracks showcasing his trademark blend of 70’s vintage rock, garage rock and post-punk ethos. Truly passionate about the craft of songwriting, Dmitry Wild used the downtime of the great pandemic to complete the final writing for this solo album and gradually recording this material. Some earlier material is also included, dating back to when he was living in California.

On this album, Wild collaborated with Strange House Media, their main engineer, Byron Frayne mixing most of the songs included here, as well as mastering the full album

Pre-album, Post-Pandemic, new romantic musings with Candy Coffins

10 December 2022

South Carolina -based Candy Coffins recently released their album Once Do It With Feeling, a 10-track collection considered to be their best work to date, as well as the new video for “Tangled Up In Teacups”, a superb single showcasing the third act crescendo of a relationship in a tailspin, produced and directed by The Pierson Collective. With Cure -esque textures and melody, as well as thematic elements and the visceral delivery of The Afghan Whigs, this record showcases solid songwriting, an approach and delivery that is confident and cohesive, as well as emotional and sonic saturation.

Let’s get to know vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Jame Lathren, who formed Candy Coffins in 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Photo by Allison Kromer

Slow Glows: Queen City Shoegazers

9 December 2022

“The music being made in our area has typically been “weird” and often served along with an eagerness to both honor our roots and get out of town.” – Meriel Westermeyer

“We feel we’ve definitely pushed ourselves to become better musicians and songwriters overall over the years in writing these songs…” – Kelli Redding

“I will admit that when I started the band my main concern was choosing inclusive members for the band and mostly sought out female or female identifying folks.” – Rachel Thode

Scratch 'N' Sniff—The Whiffs Interview

7 December 2022

An interview with Rory Cameron and Joey Rubbish about The Whiffs’ impressive sophomore album, ‘Scratch ‘N’ Sniff.’ Plus the exclusive premiere of “Shot Thru,” the second single from the new album.

Interview: Alison Sudol

6 December 2022

Singer/songwriter/actress Alison Sudol’s new album, Still Come the Night, addresses the emotions tied with love and loss and does so in an unflinching manner.

Interview: Amalgaband discuss their “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio Xmas” video

4 December 2022

Formed in Sheffield, UK in the lockdowns, Amalgaband are an “accidental band” that formed as an outlet for the members’ irrepressible creativity. Coming up to the holiday season, they’ve released their holiday song and music video “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio Xmas”.

A musical ablution via ‘Washed in the Sound with Black Nite Crash’: An interview with Jim Biggs

3 December 2022

Seattle-based psychedelic rock outfit Black Nite Crash recently released their album Washed in the Sound with Black Nite Crash via the Neon Sigh label, mixed by longtime collaborator Matt Brown (Trespassers William) and mastered by Adam Straney. Formed twenty years ago, Black Nite Crash has involved more than 30 members over the years, surrounding Jim Biggs, the last remaining original member. The band’s fifth full length in that time, this collection presents the most diverse set of songs the band has ever released, this album combines their trademark fuzzed out guitars with some newer flavours,

The Persian Leaps: back stories and a closer look at Machines for Living

30 November 2022

A name you are likely familiar with (and hopefully you also have the fortune of knowing their music) is The Persian Leaps. Formed by Drew Forsbert in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul in 2012, the band’s members have come and gone with Forsberg keeping the helm. Back with their trademark power pop / indie rock sound, the Leaps’ new Machines for Living EP is a stellar 5-track offering of 90s college rock-inspired compositions, their distinct sound built on a magnetic alternative rock foundation.

A musical journey from Dublin to NYC: Introducing Ronan Conroy

30 November 2022

Get to know Brooklyn-based Dubliner Ronan Conroy, who just released the album The Slow Death of the LoveMyth. In development since 2013, this work reveals Conroy’s post-punk alter-ego, soaked in dark pop and dream wave richness, while drawing on ethereal and goth rock classics.

The Burnt Pines - World Music in the truest sense

26 November 2022

As they work towards their second album via a series of excellent singles, I sat down with The Burnt Pines, a truly international band, to find out about their past, make music when separated by an ocean and what the future holds.

Mike Patton's Top 5 Favorite Christmas Albums

25 November 2022

Mike Patton of the ‘A Christmas Story’-themed band Ralphie’s Red Ryders and the ‘Snow In Southtown’ holiday podcast shares his five favorite Christmas albums.

A Shoreline Dream on new album, Barnum, Ulrich Schnauss and Chapterhouse

21 November 2022

Long-running genre-bending alternative rockers A Shoreline Dream has released their new Loveblind album via Latenight Weeknight Records. This sixth full-length record dives into recollections and past desires while looking forward in a wash of soundwaves pointing towards a blinding future.

Their first release since the Covid pandemic began, here we have 40 minutes of goth-laced progressive soundscapes. Produced by Ryan Policky and recorded over 10 months in the Barnum suburb of Denver, Colorado, this album features immense synth layers, the band’s signature guitar and symphonic vocals.

I had the opportunity to speak to A Shoreline Dream mastermind Ryan Policky.

Karl Wallinger of World Party

Interview: Karl Wallinger of World Party

18 November 2022

World Party frontman Karl Wallinger discusses reissuing early albums – and previews the band’s upcoming release

'Madman in the Rain' by Dot Dash—Terry Banks Interview

18 November 2022

The Washington D.C. trio deftly combines melodic hooks, jangly guitars and angular punk energy on their seventh album.

'The Midnight Society Soundtrack'—Matt Sharp Interview

15 November 2022

A wide-ranging interview with the frontman of The Rentals. He discusses his latest soundtrack project, his collaborations with Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, his timely track “Elon Musk Is Making Me Sad,” and more.

Kid Congo Powers photo

Interview: Kid Congo Powers

12 November 2022

Kid Congo Powers (member of The Cramps, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Gun Club, etc.) discusses releasing his memoir and two new albums

Darren Hayes lead photo

Interview: Darren Hayes

11 November 2022

Former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes discusses his latest solo album, Homosexual

Travis lead photo

Interview with Fran Healy of Travis

9 November 2022

Travis frontman Fran Healy discusses touring, new music on the way – and laundry

Interview: Samira Winter

7 November 2022

Though Samira Winter was just a toddler in the early ’90s, her newest album, What Kind of Blue Are You?, with shimmering guitars and dreamy vocals, sounds like the shoegazing movement led by My Bloody Valentine. Winter talks about her fascination with ’90s music, the impact of moving to L.A., and how producer Joo Joo Ashworth helped bring her vision to life.

Nearly Dead but very much alive and kicking. A catch up with Steven Tobi.

7 November 2022

It’s been a while since I spoke to The Nearly Deads, so with a run of four singles lined up and an album on the horizon, I sat down with Steven Tobi to catch up with everything that had been going on it their world.

Robyn Hitchcock

Interview: Robyn Hitchcock

6 November 2022

Robyn Hitchcock discusses his surreal, witty new album, Shufflemania!

Interview: Glen Phillips

5 November 2022

“I think my job is to make people cry or hold each other or laugh or feel something they were holding in and were afraid to feel,” Glen Phillips says. His new album, There Is So Much Here, accomplishes these goals and more. The on-again, off-again Toad the Wet Sprocket singer talks in-depth about his solo career and how he kept his songwriting sharp during the pandemic.

Tony Pierce's Top 5 Favorite LA Neighborhoods

4 November 2022

‘Hear In LA’ podcast host Tony Pierce shares his five favorite Los Angeles neighborhoods.

A Short Conversation with Teni Rane

4 November 2022

With a run of seasonal singles underway and a new album planned, it felt like the perfect time o sit down with Teni Rane and find out about her music, background and the fascinating journey which has got her to where she is today.

Interview: BRUTUS

30 October 2022

Belgium’s Brutus has returned with Unison Life, an album that incorporates Bjork-like vocals into the kind of post-rock music that often is presented as instrumentals. Drummer/vocalist Stefanie Mannaerts and bassist Peter Mulders discuss the album’s journey, teenage favorites, and the rare mistake on stage.

Eric Beetner's Top 5 Favorite Classic Crime Authors

28 October 2022

Author, musician and TV/film editor Eric Beetner shares his five favorite classic crime authors.

Dazy's 'OUTOFBODY'—James Goodson Interview

25 October 2022

OUTOFBODY’ is a kaleidoscopic combination of sunny ’60s pop hooks and gritty ’90s alternative rock guitars that feels thoroughly modern.

Interview: Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (a-ha)

21 October 2022

a-ha guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savory reflects on the band’s 40-year-career, the overnight success of “Take On Me,” and the band’s newly-released eleventh album, True North.

NJ-based collective Elk City reveals all with 'Above The Water' album release

21 October 2022

Art pop band Elk City presents their new album ‘Above the Water’, opening a new chapter in the Montclair, New Jersey band’s evolutionary story. Vibrant, raw-edged and bold, it showcases a new guitar-rich lineup featuring members of Versus, Luna and the Psychedelic Furs side-project Feed.