INTERVIEW WITH … CRAIG STICKLAND

I chatted with singer, songwriter and guitarist Craig Stickland about music, life on the road and his upcoming album “Starlit Afternoon” which features the current single “Burn It Down“. You can read the interview below and learn more about Craig and his music …

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Coffee or tea?

CRAIG STICKLAND: Coffee.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: So you just dropped your latest single “Burn It Down”. Can you tell me more about the creative and writing process behind it? A bit on the backstory?

CRAIG STICKLAND: In the final stretch of the album making process, Cat Lewis and I were writing and producing a ton of music in search of a few more up tempo songs to round out the mid tempo feel of the rest of the album. “Burn It Down” started as a song about rebellion against governments that try to oppress those who are trying to live a life of freedom. After about a month’s worth of re-writes, it ended up as a song about coming together with your fellow human being, living a life of your choosing, while maintaining a theme that no one should be able to tell you how to live the life you want to live.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Your second album “Starlit Afternoon” is coming out this Summer. Can you talk a little bit about how the recording and writing process has been for it?

CRAIG STICKLAND: Starlit Afternoon is a collection of songs that I’d been writing for the last few years while traveling across North America in a sprinter van that I renovated to be my home away from home, as well as while traveling around the world playing guitar in her band, as well as opening up for Alessia Cara. They’re songs about my relationships and experiences during that time period. After trying to find the right production sound with a variety of different producers, and ultimately ending up liking my home demos more than the fully produced versions I was ending up with, I decided to co-produce the album with a few good friends of mine; Cat Lewis and Gray Hawken. Alessia’s keyboardist Eric Rusinski, Cat and I had just finished converting a guest house garage into a studio in LA, so I parked my van in front, AirBnb’d my apartment, and we got to work over the better part of a year. We were in the studio every day, sometimes making 6 or 7 versions of the same song until we got it right.

TRB: Have you always known you wanted to be a singer-songwriter and guitarist? Who are some guitar heroes of yours?

CS: I knew I wanted to be a singer songwriter when I first picked up the guitar at age 16. When I first saw John Mayer play live, that’s when I knew I wanted to be a singer-songwriter and guitarist, and that I needed to step my guitar playing game up.

TRB: Let’s talk a bit about your music video for “Burn It Down“? What was the inspiration behind it? What was the filming like for you on the music video?

CS: Emma Higgins who directed the video is incredible, and she was the true visionary behind the video. We knew we wanted a live performance element to capture the energy of the recording, and it was Emma’s idea to drive around California and capture total stranger’s initial reaction to hearing the song on 16mm film.

TRB: Is there a lyric that you’ve written that has the most meaning to you or is your favorite?

CS: One of my favorite songs on the album is the album closer “Good Love” which is a very personal song written about how hard it is to find pure love, especially with my career choice. The verses are very personal, and I really like the way they came together.

“Staring at the city and I feel like crying out. The words you used to whisper, I now hear so loud. If I’d known you’d be so precious, I would have been more kind. Tell me now why is good love always so hard to find. Lately I’ve been drinking to escape my state of mind. As I pull up to an empty bar, I read your script inside. It tells me not to be reckless, and that everything will be fine. Tell me now why is good love always so hard to find. Maybe it’s the way I live, different city every night. They say that you get what you give, when you left I felt the plight. Maybe things would be different if I wasn’t working all the time. Tell me now why is good love always so hard to find.”
Craig Stickland // ‘Good Love’

TRB: Are there any current artists that have been “On Repeat” for you as a band lately? What music have you been digging?

CS: Tom Misch has been one of my favorites for a while now. His first two albums, Beat Tape 2 and Geography are on heavy rotation. I’ve also been listening to Gary Clark Jr.’s new album, and Nathanial Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ album Tearing at the Seams. Emily King’s new album is incredible too.

TRB: And what’s next for you, Craig Stickland?

CS: I’m really eager to share this new music. I’ll be releasing new songs from Starlit Afternoon leading up to a mid summer Album release. My Next single “Rolling River” Comes out on March 22nd. I also shot a series called ‘The Van Sessions’, where we filmed and recorded live versions of most songs from the album, fully powered by the solar panels that I mounted on top of my sprinter van. We shot a different song in each of my favorite locations around California like Big Sur, Joshua Tree, Yosemite National park and Alabama Hills, to name a few. And of course, more touring to come!

TRB: Thank you for your time!

Listen To “Burn It DownHERE

New Album “STARLIT AFTERNOON” Due Out This Summer!

Until then,
Brittney x
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INTERVIEW WITH … SAM HALE

So I did my first phone interview with Nashville based Singer-Songwriter Sam Hale. His new EP; Somewhere Between Love & War is out October 12th. We chatted music, Nashville, family and his Iranian heritage …

[The interview has edited for clarity and context]

The Reclusive Blogger: Hi, Sam, How are you today?

Sam Hale: I’m doing great. How about yourself?

TRB: I’m doing fine. So, Sam how did you get started in music?

Sam: The first memory I even have of being alive was like being around music was my parents house parties . They weren’t musicians, my Dad’s an Architect. He kind of has a little like of an artistic being in him. But like basically I grew up in Iran (I moved when I was seven years old). So my family would throw house parties all the time and there were a couple of guys that would always come over and play, one played guitar and one played piano. They would entertain everybody. Instead of like normal kids would do, I was more obsessed with the music being played. I was intrigued and enamored by it. Eventually as I got older at 12 I started taking lessons and at 16 I started writing my own songs. That was when it stuck with me when I could express myself with my own lyrics, melodies and chords. Stuff like that.

TRB: Speaking of Nashville … How has Nashville influenced you as musician and artist? Also how has your prior years in Los Angeles? In what ways can we hear both influences on the new song and EP?

Sam: I came here to just kind of change my mindset and reset myself to be focused in music and just try to see what it’s like to be in an uncomfortable setting where you have to like have to meet people all over again. And you know it was definitely a challenge. So in LA I kind of got more like the pop background you know, cool bars and clubs and music venues that they would always have like awesome synth groups. like you know. When I came to Nashville. It’s a little bit more stripped down out here. It’s like it’s back to the basics with drums, bass and guitars. So being out here I definitely got more influenced by the Americana stuff. A couple artists out here that are awesome are David Ramirez, he’s definitely influenced me. I ended up working with this producer Sam Kassirer. So that was awesome. Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, and Andrew Cohen.

TRB: Since we mentioned your new EP and song. Let’s talk about it. Your current single “Can’t Take It” is off the EP “Somewhere Between Love & War”. What was the recording and writing process like for that?

Sam: Well as far as the title goes on I just kind of felt like you know there’s a lot of emotions on the EP that all kind of just figures in a little area, “Supernatural” was more reminiscent for me as it touches on you know me back when I was in Iran. The first single called “Can’t Take It” is about toxic relationships. The EP basically about a lot of things that I went through in the last couple of years.

TRB: Who are your biggest inspirations and influences as musician and artist? They can go beyond music.

SAM: My Dad. He got us to America when we were younger. And you know, he brought us out here so we would be able to follow our dreams. have a free and easier life and he sacrificed his career he’s a great family, man, he’s been married to my mom for I think, like 45 years now. As far as music, I don’t really follow music so much these days. But I would also say, Chris Martin from Coldplay.

TRB: Who Is Your Dream Tour mate?

SAM: Thom Yorke or Trent Reznor.

TRB: What lyric have you written means the most to you?

SAM: “The Tourist” from my new EP.

“Years bend to minutes through the turns. A new generation’s driving. I’m in the backseat pressed to my seat“

Sam Hale // “The Tourist”

TRB: I usually start out with a quick icebreaker question but this time I’ll end with it… So Coffee or Tea?

Sam: I would say both! I used to be anti coffee because it gave me anxiety, but I drink Coffee in the morning for a boost and Tea (decaf) after dinner.

TRB: Anything else you would like to add?

Sam: Check me out social media and I’m most active Instagram. Check out my website Sam Hale.net and my music!

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Follow ‘Sam Hale’ on Social below:

Stream Sam’s EP “Somewhere Between Love & War” Here.

Sam also has EP release show in Nashville on October 20th at The Bowery Vault!

Thank you for your time Sam!

Until then,

Brittney W.

BASTILLE RELEASES “QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT’ – (LIVE FROM ROYAL ALBERT HALL)” MUSIC VIDEO

Good grief!

The Bastille boys have done it again, my favorite band has a knack for surprising us fans with music out of the blue and in this case beautiful shot soundcheck videos! If you haven’t seen Bad News it’s linked.

So with only a day of warning my favorite South London based band released the amazingly cinematic live performance version of their latest single Quarter Past Midnight. It was filmed during soundcheck at the Royal Albert Hall in London on the bands’ ReORCHESTRATED tour.

The video not only beautifully shot but well edited is interspersed with clips from the actual live show. All which help to not only capture the high energy and freneticism of a Quarter Past Midnight but a Bastille live show as well. It also features a bigger glimpse into the choir and the orchestra that was a major part of the ReORCHESTRATED tour for those who could not be apart. But don’t only take my word for it. Go watch now below …

“QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT” // (LIVE FROM ROYAL ALBERT HALL)”

Until then,

Brittney W.

INTERVIEW WITH … DARK ELECTRONIC DUO LOOM:NGS

loom:ngs

Meet loom:ngs, a unique electronic music duo comprised of Zola Johnson and producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Loumpouridis. With what began as a dorm room project soon became much more, their unique take on dark electronic music with cool synths, pop sensibilities and great melodies. This is a band you don’t want to miss.

Read More...

SUNSET SONS // LOVE LIGHTS – A SONG REVIEW

The guys of ‘Sunset Sons’ are back with a new one!

Hey, guys, I wanted to talk to you about another song from the band ‘Sunset Sons’ and that is ‘Love Lights’. Both tracks are from their upcoming EP, ‘The River’ which you should definitely check out when it’s released (all the info is below). But today I wanted to focus on the aforementioned song ‘Love Lights’. Yes, this is a band I’ve just gotten into after hearing the track ‘Running Man’ A song which had elements of surf rock and early Kings Of Leon. I thought I had their sound. But no, Sunset Sons has managed to do a complete 360° on ‘Love Lights’, creating a fun gem of an Alterna-Pop song. Featuring lots of bouncy rhythms, chanting choruses, even a few R&B nods here and there, plus a lot more electronic influences. But the growling tones in the singers’ vocals is one of the things that stays strong and evident throughout the song. Driving home the songs central theme, Love. It’s distinct and evident. It’s something that makes Sunset Sons not only relatable but stand out and most notably in this song.

➡️ Stream/Listen to ‘Love Lights’ ⬅️

‘The River’ EP is due out this July 27th on LAB Records.

SUNSET SONS SOCIALS: http://sunsetsons.com/ || https://www.facebook.com/SunsetSons/ || https://twitter.com/SunsetSons || https://www.instagram.com/sunsetsons/

Until then,
Brittney W. 🙂 xx