Man Overboard Reveal New Music On The Way And More At Made In America Festival

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(PCM) We recently had the chance to catch up with Man Overboard while out at the recent Made In America Festival in Philadelphia, PA over Labor Day weekend.

The band has deserving earned the title of being one of the biggest bands on the pop punk scene. Forming back in 2008 the band hit the ground running and continue to go strong to this day.

They have been a staple during the Vans Warped Tour over the years, but it was awesome to catch the band performing a festival such as Made In America where they were able to hold their own on a line-up that featured mostly EDM, hip-hop and indie rock artists.

Chatting with the guys backstage at Made In America was a lot of fun and you can check out the full interview where we discuss the ways in which the band has continued to grow, their fan base, and of course some details about the new music which is headed our way soon.

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Steve Aoki Paints A Neon Future At Made In America Philadelphia

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(PCM) Words cannot even begin to express how excited we are for the upcoming new album “Neon Future I” the first installment of a dual release from Steve Aoki on September 30th!

The Vegas born producer/DJ recently performed at both Made In America Philadelphia on Saturday and then at Made In America Los Angeles on Sunday. When this man finds a minute to rest is completely beyond us!  His restless and creative spirit is always on the go and it shows.

His performances are truly a work of art and we adore an artist, especially in the world of EDM, who is not afraid to get up close and personal with their adoring fans, even if that does mean getting showered in both cake and champagne from time to time! Yum!

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It is also not everyday that you have rap icon (and Budweiser Made In America curator) Jay-Z and the infamous two-dollar bill man literally making it rain two-dollar bills during a performance as well…but with a Steve Aoki show, always expect the unexpected.

We got to hear some snippets of new material of the upcoming album which included a new collaboration with Afrojack. “Neon Future I” will also feature collaborations with Aoki and Empire Of The Sun, Fall Out Boy, Waka Flocka Flame and Machine Gun Kelly. We also loved his clever move of blending the opening of Kanye’s “Power” into the Chainsmoker’s “Kanye” as a way to almost welcome Kanye, who was up next, to the stage.

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We had the chance to catch up with Steve Aoki just prior to his incredible Made In America performance. We discussed the new album, the hectic schedule and the many places from which he draws his inspirations. Check out the full interview below:

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I’m Only “Happy” When It Rains…Pharrell And Kings Of Leon Bring Made In America 2014 To An Epic Close

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(PCM) Despite the imminent threat of inclement weather on the way, the Budweiser Made In America Day Two in Philadelphia kicked off with a hot and humid start with some amazing performances from Bleachers, Kongos, Penguin Prison, YG, Man Overboard and Awolnation.

As the day progressed the storm clouds began to roll in and just after Spoon took the stage a nasty thunderstorm began, forcing the band’s performance to come to an abrupt halt and the festival grounds to be evacuated.

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There was some mild protest from some of the more rowdy attendees in the audience, but it appeared that all were evacuated quickly and efficiently until the worst of the storm had passed. About 20 minutes later the gates were re-opened and the curfew was extended for a bit to allow the rest of the show to go on as planned.

Spoon took to the stage once again to finish out their set and I give both them and Girl Talk all the respect in the world for continuing their performances during some absolutely torrential downpours of rain, but hey…that’s rock n’ roll.

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Majority of the heavy rain had passed by the time that Pharrell Williams took to the stage and his performance was just brilliant. There is nothing we don’t love about Pharrell, as his performances are always both entertaining and thoroughly engaging. Opening with “Lose Yourself To Dance” and plowing through a hit filled set that included some throwbacks to tracks that he had produced including “Hot In Herre” and “Hollaback Girl” to name a few.

One of my favorite moments occurred when Pharrell was addressing the crowd and gave a shout-out to all the women in the house, claiming that his wish would be to see more women in positions of power including both government and the entertainment realm.

At the very end of his set Pharrell commented that he had wished that the media/photographers were still out there to capture what 100,000 happy people looked like from his point of view. Well, rest assured P…we were out there, just as happy as could be, dancing our way all over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and loving every moment. (See our past chat with Pharrell Williams and his N.E.R.D. bandmate Shay Haly here)

In our opinion not much could compete with Pharrell’s outstanding Made In America performance, but Kings of Leon certainly gave it their best attempt. I am not sure I always agree with closing out a festival with a slower tempo, however Kings of Leon provided a nice way to close out Made In America festival with a dose of good ol’ rock n’ roll.

The rain unfortunately shortened the band’s performance time by a bit, but they were very gracious to those that stuck it out to the very end and definitely made true on their promise to give it all they had till the very end!

More images from Day Two of the Budweiser Made In America Festival Philadelphia below:

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Concert Review: Uproar Festival 2014 Featuring Godsmack, Seether, Skillet And More!

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(PCM) There are so many summer touring packages that it can often times be hard to make the decision as to which show is worth spending you hard earned cash on a ticket. This year the 2014 edition of the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival provided plenty of bang for your buck with an line-up of epic proportions this year!

The 2014 line-up consisted of Godsmack, Seether, Skillet, Pop Evil, Buckcherry, Escape The Fate, 3 Years Hollow, Within Reason and Sons Of Revelry to name a few.

Godsmack were the perfect choice to headline this year’s festival as they were definitely missed during their hiatus of sorts and it was great to seem them back out on the road, refreshed and ready to rock.

The band has just released a brand-new album title “1000hp” which made its’ debut at #3 on the Billboard charts. As a fan it was fantastic to hear some new material making it’s way into the band’s set and the band appeared to be both excited and invigorated to finally be able to play some of these tracks in the live environment.

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The band even went as far as to open their blazing 90-minute set with “Generation Day”, a track off the new album, as well as, “Something Different” which was another “1000hp” track that was played early in the set.  Of course the crowd went crazy for fan favorites such as “Straight Out Of Line”, “The Enemy”, “Awake” and of course my personal favorite “Voodoo”.

As many times as I have seen Godsmack live I also do not think that I will ever tire of seeing the epic drum battle that takes place between drummer Shannon Larkin and front man Sully Erna, now being dubbed Batalla de los Tambores. It is always just incredibly fun to see!

Prior to Godsmack taking the stage to close out Uproar Festival 2014, we were also privy to some incredible performances from many of the other bands’ on the bill as well. Highlight performances came from Seether, Skillet, Buckcherry, Escape The Fate, and Sons of Revelry throughout the afternoon into the evening.

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Seether released their amazing new album “Isolate and Medicate” earlier this year and while their performance at Uproar sounded amazing, I was surprised that only one track from the new album, “Words As Weapons” made it into the set. They plowed through fan favorites such as “Rise Above This”, “Fake It” and “The Remedy”, and I am chalking it up to set time for the reason some more newer tracks did not make it into the performance.

We had a chance to catch up with Seether’s drummer John Humphrey prior to the band taking the stage. You can view our chat below:

Skillet also put on a phenomenal performance which was absolutely mesmerizing to catch. Skillet are a band that has the ability to take command of the stage and are able to hold the audience at full attention for the start of their performance to the very end.

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I adore the string players and the band just appears to be having a lot of fun while up on the stage. I would almost be willing to say that within the next few years we could possibly see Skillet as the top headlining spot for one of these mainstream rock festivals, if not already, as they have more than earned it!

We had a chance to catch up with Skillet front man John Cooper while out at Uproar. You can view our chat below:

There is truly nothing I don’t love about Buckcherry!  As headliners of Uproar’s second stage, the band put together a rousing performance that featured a perfect blend of both older and newer material.

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The band has just released their brand new EP perfectly title “F**k” and the songs are absolutely f**king brilliant!  We had the opportunity to catch up with Buckcherry front man Josh Todd before the band’s performance. You can listen to the full interview below:

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We were also able to catch up with Escape The Fate, who may have been the odd band out on the bill, but certainly did an incredible job at commanding the audiences full attention. The band is still currently touring behind their phenomenal album “Ungrateful” but have revealed that they have plans to start working on some new material shortly.

You can view our interview with Escape The Fate’s Robert Ortiz below:

 Up and coming band Sons Of Revelry were definitely another highlight from our day at Uproar Festival. We had a chance to speak with the full band…check it out:

We loved the 2014 edition of the Rockstar Energy Uproar Tour and we certainly can’t wait to see what they will have in store for 2015!

All photography credit: Megan C. Brooks Photography

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Kanye West Closes Out Made In America Festival Day One + Attends A Delaware Wedding!

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(PCM) Artist Kanye West closed out day one of the 2014 Made In America Festival Philadelphia and the man is without a doubt an artist in every sense of the word. Every part of his performance was mesmerizing and he definitely holds the audience in the palm of his hand.

Opening with “Black Skinhead”, West plowed through his hits in succession moving into “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and “New Slaves” to get things off to a fantastic start.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Kanye West performance without some kind of diatribe, however this time his criticisms mentioned actually made a lot of sense. He spoke about the importance of not being judged by the things the media will say, not just for himself but for all artists. He went on to speak about his marriage to Kim Kardashian saying “I am in a highly publicized interracial relationship and it deserves to be respected”.

West went on to speak about the fact that “we are all in this together”, meaning artists and fans and he wants to be able to create more to help others. He said “What we as artists do is not a joke…we put our love, our hearts, our souls into what we do”

It was hard not agree with him on all of these points. He then launched into “Blood on the Leaves” which is normally the set closer….and don’t worry…he did play it again at the end of the set as well. Kanye also had some criticism for those “who think Kanye is a bad guy” saying you can’t criticize people like him saying he deals in “beauty, truth, love and helping the next guy out” .

Many thought Made In America curator Jay-Z would grace the stage with Kanye at some point during the performance as he was on site for most of the day, but alas we were disappointed.

Hearing dig back in his catalog was a huge thrill for me and the crowd absolutely erupted during “Jesus Walks” and “Touch The Sky”.

In other news, Kanye had the whole family in tow for Made In America and evening attended a wedding in Delaware with his wife Kim and baby North. No word on how Kanye knew the couple tying the knot, but the family’s appearance certainly created a bit of stir in the state, located right outside Philly.

Please be sure to stay tuned to PCM for more Made In America Festival coverage as well as our exclusive interview with Kanye’s first cousin, The World Famous Tony Williams, who has collaborated on every Kanye album and was performing with him at MIA.

 

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Linkin Park Give Us The Inside Scoop On The Upcoming Carnivores Tour And More!

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(PCM) In just a few short days, The Carnivores Tour featuring Linkin Park, Thirty Seconds To Mars and special guests AFI will kick off in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Words can not even express how excited we were when the news was announced that these bands would be partnering up for the co-headlining tour venture, as each has certainly earned their spot among some of the most highly engaging and entertaining live acts out there on the road today.

We were recently able to catch up with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda to talk about the upcoming tour, their brilliant new album “The Hunting Party” and more.

When speaking about the overwhelming amount of positive feedback the band’s new album has been receiving Chester Bennington tells us “It’s funny because I think probably more so than any other record, maybe other than possibly A Thousand Sons, I feel like critically the record’s been overwhelmingly positive. Like, I have yet to read anything negative about the record on a critical level that has been written, which is pretty amazing, and so for that we’re very grateful.

But at the same time, almost on a daily basis I run into Linkin Park fans and I’ll take pictures or say, “Hi,” whatever, and every single person that I’ve met since we released this record has told me that they love the record. They are super happy that it’s out like it is, that they’ve been waiting for the great rock record.

I’ve heard some other guys in the band that they feel like it is a record that really the genre needed and that they also appreciate the record that we’ve made, that it is progressive and it is something that they want to listen to. And I feel like we have accomplished our goal on this album.

I think not only creatively, but personally for the band, but also for a lot of our fans. Like, they appreciate what we do, but they’ve kind of been waiting for us to rock out for awhile, and I think they appreciate not only that we did rock out, but in the manner in which we did. I think that they can see that it was crafted in the same manner that we craft everything that we do.”

Both Bennington and Mike Shinoda claim that the band’s set list for the upcoming tour will feature a healthy mix of both old and new material. Shinoda says “It’s basically stuff from every record” to which Bennington adds “I think we’re playing Final Masquerade, Rebellion, those are the two that we haven’t played yet. So, there’s a lot of the new record in this upcoming tour, for sure.”

Linkin-Park2Everyone that has listened to “The Hunting Party” will surely agree that it is definitely a harder album for the band. It left us wondering if everyone was on-board with the style in which it was recorded from the beginning. Shinoda reveals “For me, it was a bit of a process. I felt like Chester was on board from the beginning and Chester – I think Chester and Dave and I had talked about it a number of times, but it was still, like, figuring out at that point what we were – well, our conversations were happening mid-tour last album. And so, like, what is a louder record mean? What is bringing energy to the album, even more so than the last album? What does that mean? How do we do that without it sounding throwback or derivative of heavier stuff that we grew up with.

And so, we were trying to find the right – and it really fell to a large degree, at first it fell on me to kind of find the right tone, so that I could take that to, in particular Brad and Rob, and say, “You guys, like, I know this is something that you don’t naturally gravitate towards at this point in your life, but check out these reference points.” And as I’ve said before, Derek, you know bands like Refused and At the Drive-In and Helmet and many, many more, but those bands are a great example of how – when you listen to those albums, I feel like there’s a huge aesthetic separation between those albums and other things that were going on at the time.

And that’s what I was keying into and saying, “It is possible to bring a smart, and maybe alternative in the more pure sense of the word, an alternative to, like, what people expect when they hear metal or heavy music or whatever.”

Linkin Park has been a band on the road for about thirteen to fourteen years now, so obviously they have seen quite a few changes with the way in which they approach touring now rather than in the past. Shinoda comments “I’d say, first and foremost, we have opportunities now that we obviously didn’t have then, and just like being in the studio, you have opportunities with knowing what you’re doing, number one; knowing what’s out there is, like, a possibility of whether you’re talking conceptually or being able to afford production or instruments or whatever. Like, we have so many opportunities and the focus a lot of times is on what’s the selection process, like, what choices do we make that keeps things focused and exciting.

I feel like on this one the production that you’ll see, for example, is, I think it evolves over the course of the show really well. It’s more video-based. The song selection and the technology we used to get the set into the form that it is right now. We’ve just finished the idea that that technology didn’t really exist, even seven, eight years ago. So, what’s funny about it is in our band, technology has actually allowed us to be more of a band, more of an organic free-thinking kind of group, because we are the kind of band that creates a lot of our stuff in the studio in layered forms.

Like, if you think back to when the Beatles made the decision to go off the road more and focus on the studio, one of things that they did was they made music that they physically couldn’t play on stage. There was so many layered vocals and so many layered instruments and things that at that time it would be virtually impossible for them to do any of that on stage. As technology has progressed, all that stuff becomes more and more possible. And for us, we create in the style where things get layered and there’s a lot of different stuff going on in each song oftentimes.

Linkin-Park3And 10 years ago that stuff would be locked into a timeline with our sampler, keyboard, or whatever, and in more modern stuff, we can actually react on the fly and say, “Let’s slow this part down. Let’s speed it up. Let’s pitch it. Let’s up or down. Let’s loop it,” and there’s moments when we can just kind of jam out and enjoy it.

And that, strangely, is, like, this merging of, like, the humanity and the technology and the set that helps allow us to do that.The other thing that I should just mention is, although there is the technology in the set-up of what we’ve got going on on stage, and I feel like it’s very high-tech for music as far as what a music set-up on stage can be.

We also have – I feel like we have a great deal of responsibility to be a live band, so, whereas, we have the opportunity to put certain things in the computer or on a sampler or whatever, we’re very careful about what we do, what we do put in the computer, because we want to be playing everything. We want the crowd to see us in performing the song, and I feel like even in almost every case, if you were to remove that other stuff and just have what’s being in played in front of you, you basically have the same song. So, that’s an important difference or, I guess, specific approach to note.”

Bennington comments “Honestly when you’re young and you’re out there and kind of – you don’t have a family, I mean, yeah, those are important and you’re focusing on the shows, but you’re also kind of focusing on, like, “Am I going to see – where am I going to shower? Do I want to keep this box of clothes this company gave me, because I don’t really like them, but I also don’t have any clean clothes?” Those are the kinds of things you’re thinking about when you’re young and you’re on the road.

Nowadays, it’s, like, we focus on having our families out and, if we can have our families out, we – for me personally, like, all I focus on is preparing for the next show. So, I really don’t think much has changed in terms of our set-ups to get ready for the tour.

I mean, we still kind of practice in the same manner. We rehearse in the same manner. The great thing is our crew knows us so well and has been with u so long, we don’t have to do sound checks anymore, which is pretty awesome, because that frees up a lot of time to stay back with your families during the days and listen to stuff. And so, it really has gotten a lot better now, I think, now that we reached the place that we have in our career. We’ve found a way to balance our personal and touring life a lot better. And so, that’s been really great, I think, all around for everybody.”

We were very curious about “The Hunting Party” being the band’s first self-produced album, as well as, the first to use analog tape recording. Shinoda tells us “I think it’s something that we’ve been curious about for awhile and it had to be the right moment to really dive into it. I’ve had a little bit of experience with tape on previous projects, but not really cutting such large chunks of the song and large performances to tape, and it’s so nice because it forces you to slow down and, like, really consider each performance, each recording of whoever’s playing at the time and whether or not you want it. That’s really, I think, it gives this album at least its sound. Yeah. So, it’s definitely something that’s kind of this point now is within our bag and we get to potentially go back and use it again, if the song asks for it.”

To which Bennington adds “I’ve been recording the drums in this way. It’s really great in that it does give the feel of the song. It’s like a more live feel. For us, I think that, like, one of the things that’s always kind of been surprising to a lot of people that I see when they come to see us for the first time, especially like my musicians’ friends.

They were, like, they didn’t know us but they had never really, like, listened to us very much and haven’t seen us play, and they come see play. There’s like this, like, raw kind of more prompt and in your face attitude about the band when you see us live. Like, even like our mellower songs; there’s an edge to them that you get in a live performance that kind of gets lost in the studio and I think that with this record, like, we’ve kind of captured a lot more of what we’re like live in the sound of the record. And I think that that’s exciting.”

Linkin Park has always been a band that has some amazing fan interaction. Bennington says “Our fans have been the number one most important thing. We’ve done meet and greets with our fans every night, every performance we’ve ever done.

For us, like honestly, like, meeting our fans is pretty mellow, so when we’re out on the street in our daily lives, we meet people all the time, every day who are fans, and us being accessible to a certain degree is really important to us. We’ve been able to thankfully keep our private lives private and share our professional lives with our fans and everybody’s been really respectful of all that. And it’s really cool to be in Linkin Park and kind of be a normal person at the same time. So, I appreciate that from our fans and it makes it that much easier to keep an openness with our fans as much as we possible can.”

The band’s video for their latest single “Final Masquerade” is visually stunning. We were curious as to what the visual aspects of the band’s stage production will look like and what fans should be expecting. Shinoda reveals “One important thing to start with is that the visuals on The Hunting Party were rooted in a handful of drawings, artwork by an incredible painter named James Jean. James, I don’t even know where to start as far as how important this guy is or how incredible he is. You can look him up on your own. So, he – Joe is friends of James. James drew a bunch of stuff for us.

In talking with him, we wanted to do something that has never been done with his artwork before and landed on the idea of converting it into an actual 3D sculpture, each piece into a 3D sculpture. So, although the sculptures live in the computer, they don’t exist physically yet, maybe someday they would, but at this point, we got them rendered in 3D art. Our amazing group at Ghost Town did those renders with James and then those built out the basic foundation of the artwork for the album. And that stuff, you’ll find that on the T-shirts and you’ll find that on the website and you’ll find that in the live visuals as well. And then, it’s not enough to just throw the stuff up there.

I mean, you can, but it’s beautiful, but I think that in the context of a live show, it’s really important to have something that lives and breathes with the show. And to some degree, one of the challenges that I posed on the production team was, based on what we decide to do with the show every night, if we decide to play something differently, if we decide to expand the part or whatever we want to do, I want the artwork to change with the performance. So, it needs to be malleable and that turns into – that’s where the real production challenges start to arise.

Without getting geeky into it, and in fact I’m not really versed in the geeky stuff, I can just tell them, like, “These are the ideas,” and then, luckily, we have an excellent production team that can do that. And the guys at Ghost Town, again, the guys who are involved with rendering the stuff in 3D, they’ve been intimately involved, as has Joe, on creating these tour visuals. I think it’s gotten real great. I’m not going to spoil any surprises as far as how the LED stuff gets – what it’s actually being presented on, or as far as what the stuff actually looks like. You’re going to have to come to the show to see that stuff. But, like I said, it adapts with the show and the show is a work in progress; like, we are changing – we do change things usually steadily from show to show, and then from tour to tour, there might be some broader stroke changes.

But, yeah, we take the live show seriously. It is, in some part of it, it’s as much a piece of art as the music is, so we want it to be compelling and fit with the overall kind of aesthetic of what the band is up to right at this moment.”

When speaking about how the idea for touring with Thirty Seconds To Mars came together. Bennington comments “Our respect comes from a professional between each other and, for me, I know that we’ve been very close to our fan base for a very long asking questions and seeing who they want us to tour with and it’s been really interesting, but every time – and it’s funny to say this because it probably sounds really corporate, but this is what happens when your band becomes as big as Linkin Park. We decide to poll our fans to see who they want us to tour with, and for like, what, five or six times in a row, I think, Thirty Seconds to Mars has either been the most popular band that they want to see us tour with or number two. I’ve never seen them out of the top three.

So, it’s been a long time the fans have wanted to see us tour together. So, for that, I think not only has Thirty Seconds to Mars, like, grown tremendously over the last several years into not only a great studio band, writing great songs, but they’re amazing live. And so, for us, at this point, our fans are really excited to see us play with Thirty Seconds to Mars. And also, if I can say this, they have released their 13th record in November last year, so that’s pretty impressive. I don’t know if you guys are listening to their most recent record, but it’s amazing.

And AFI are another band that are not only are great guys, but they keep making amazing record after amazing record and also known for their live shows. So, that’s kind of a simple kind of no-brainer. Luckily, this is one of those times where we were, like, “Hey, let’s ask 30 Seconds to Mars and AFI if they want to tour with us.” And they both said, “Yes,” at the same time. So, it all worked out really well.”

In the past, Linkin Park has done a lot with the video game industry and say that they would love to continue to do more in the future. Shinoda says “We love gaming. I mean, at this point working and doing what we do, we don’t get as much of a chance to play; for example, a console game. It’s mostly, like, mobile. But given the chance, I would love to have, like, a week off just to play video games. But we have had a lot of really fun experiences, like, doing stuff with games; making our own games.

We’ve got a game, like, currently out up on Facebook right now called, LP Recharge.” In fact, it’s lprecharge.com to find it. And we’ve done apps and stuff like that and we’ve worked with groups, companies like EA, worked with Capitol Glass. We worked as Medal of Honor franchise. So, I think there will be some – yea, there’s probably – hopefully, we’ve had some great relationships with all the folks and I would love to do more in the gaming world. It’s just – it is where our fans are at. It is something we love to do and it’s a really natural fit for our band.”

As many know, Chester Bennington, in addition to being a part of Linkin Park, is also the current frontman for Stone Temple Pilots w/Chester Bennington. We were curious as to how that was working out and if there will be any new material on the way soon.

Bennington said “We started writing some stuff a couple weeks ago, and that was a lot of fun. So, yeah, we’re planning on recording some music as soon as possible and we’ve got a kick start on a bunch of tracks and it’s fun to be around a bunch of people who just thoroughly enjoy making music all the time. It’s, like, I get to be in Linkin Park and play with some of the best musical minds, in my opinion, in music right now, and then I get to come home and go play with some more people who are great. So, it’s pretty awesome. I don’t know when we’re going to get in the studio. We want to do it as soon as possible, so we’ll make that happen with the time that we have when I’m not with Linkin Park.”

Keeping a positive outlook on life can be such a challenge nowadays with so much going on in the daily grind and the ups and downs of our own lives. When speaking about the ways in which he tries to live a positive lifestyle, Bennington tells us “I think piercing your thoughts is important, and I also think that not sweating the small things is really important, using your focus on, like, the big picture, because that’s really the trajectory of where you’re headed is the big picture, and a lot of times when you look at the easiest things happening now can get kind of chaotic and things will be all over the place.

But you’re still moving in the right direction or you’re moving in the wrong direction. For example, if you keep dribbling the ball and it’s coming down, even if things are good right now, you’re still on a downward spiral. So, you have to look at yourself honestly and then kind of figure out where you’re headed in the big picture sense, so you not sweat the small stuff, because that’s usually where all most of my stress comes from things that don’t really matter.”

He then adds “One thing for our group, like, has been so positive is that we have a really good, like, pattern of being direct and honest and respectful with each other. Like, so people have to – to some people, it’s like we never fight, and that’s nice, but that’s not reality. Like, you get six guys in a group like ours, there’s bound to be stuff that we disagree about pretty passionately. And when those things come up, at least historically, the guys have been able to kind of, whether it’s of their own, like, I don’t know, that they feel compelled to just talk to somebody else about it and address it head on, or somebody else kind of has to push you in the direction and say, “Hey, man. You really need to go talk to him about that thing that you’re upset about, because if you don’t, like, it’s going to fester and you guys are going to be a mess later.”

Shinoda concludes with “I don’t think about it. It’s a common thing with people and everybody does – it seems like it happens in every group of people. And at least at this point, I really appreciate the fact that the guys have been so, like, open to, like, hearing criticism and putting themselves – really important, like, putting each other – put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and see it from their angle and listen with, like, respect.

But also, stay confident about what you’re about and stuff, too, and just come to the table and try and find some middle ground. I mean, I always feel like one of the things that makes this, like, the root of a lot of my problems and other people that I know is usually, like, fear and a lot of that is based in, like, unfamiliarity. Like, people are scared of a lot of things that don’t look like something they understand. And being scared of stuff like that, that can manifest itself in so many ways. And whether it’s, like, a personal thing or, like, a decision that we make creatively or whatever, like, all those things, like, we’ve tried to be really cognizant about; not operating by fear.”

Be sure to head out and catch Linkin Park, Thirty Seconds To Mars and AFI on the 25-date Carnivores Tour before it wraps up on September 19th in Concord, California. It is without a doubt one of the most solid touring packages of the summer!

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Live Review And Exclusive Interviews: Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival 2014

DSC_1747(PCM) Every summer we look forward to the brutality and full on metal assault that comes with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and the 2014 line-up brought us just that and a whole lot more.

Sure, there are a ton of summer music festivals that pop up all over the country, but to me, Mayhem Festival is one of very last of the tried and true rock and metal touring packages that give fans a ton of bang for their buck. The festival features over 20 bands performing across multiple stages and I always recommend arriving early to be sure that you can catch everyone you want to see, besides nothing beats a little coffee and metal to get you awake and moving.

Mayhem Festival 2014 was headlined by Avenged Sevenfold and Korn, who were both amazing (more on that in bit), but early afternoon sets from Cannibal Corpse, Mushroomhead, King 810, Texas Hippie Coalition, and Ice T’s Body Count were definite highlights and all put on incredibly energetic and engaging performances.

Sometimes I think there can be a night where a band is just on and this night in Camden, NJ Korn absolutely rocked the house. They sounded incredible!  Korn is a band that I have had the pleasure to see quite a number of times and hands down their Mayhem performance was one of the best that I have seen from them in quite some time.

DSC_1656Front-man Jonathan Davis was in a fantastic mood and the band sounded incredibly tight and well-rehearsed. Their set consisted of a solid mix of both old and new material which created an amazing balance. Hearing songs such as “Shoots and Ladders”, “Freak On A Leash” and “Coming Undone” live is always a fantastic experience. We can’t wait for the band’s upcoming co-headlining run with Slipknot later this year!

Korn band members  guitarist James “Munkey” Shaffer and drummer Ray Luzier spoke to us in an intimate press conference at the show and definitely revealed some interesting tid-bits. When asked about a group that Korn would like to tour with Shaffer revealed that it would be Die Antwoord saying “They’re from another part of the world, and they sound like they’re from another part of the universe. Their look is really cool, and I think they would fit right in with what we do, and I think our fans would get it. [Although] I think it would be completely left field”.

DSC_1485When looking at the generational appeal of Korn and the way that their fan base has continued to grow, Luzier comments ““There’s a lot of people [out there] who the first couple of Korn records got them through high school, and now they’re bringing their kids. And it’s awesome to see that”. Both Luzier and Shaffer find it incredibly flattering to hear so much of Korn’s influence in some of the other band’s playing with them on this year’s Mayhem Festival.

To close out the evening, Avenged Sevenfold pulled no stops with their amazing stage theatrics and pyrotechnics. The crowd absolutely erupted when the began playing songs such as the set opener “Shepherd Of Fire” and other such as “Hail To The King” and their classics “Bat Country” and “A Little Piece Of Heaven”.

DSC_1929Vocalist M.Shadows knows how to take control of the stage and has the audience held captive throughout the band’s entire set. It is always an incredibly touching moment when the band continues to take a moment and reflect upon the tragic loss of their drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan and dedicate a song to his honor. Watching the entire venue light up in a sea of both cellphones and lighters is truly mesmerizing and we still find it hard to believe that it has been nearly five years since his passing.

Overall, I would say that Mayhem Festival 2014 was a success and yet again we find ourselves anxiously awaiting the news about just how much our summer will rock with the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival 2015 announcements.

We were able to catch up with nearly all of the band’s performing on this year’s Mayhem Festival, so please be sure to check out our exclusive interviews with Asking Alexandria, Body Count, Mushroomhead, Erimha, Ill Nino, Suicide Silence, Wretched, Emmure, Islander, Miss May I, Texas Hippie Coalition, Upon A Burning Body, and Veil Of Maya below.

2014 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival Interview Playlist

 More photos from the show below:
All photography credit: Mike Sievila

 

 

 

 

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The Story Behind the Weird Al Word Crimes Video with Designer & Animator Jarrett Heather

Weird Al Yankovic's Word Crimes Designed and Animated by Jarrett Heather

Weird Al Yankovic’s Word Crimes Designed and Animated by Jarrett Heather

(PCM) Jarrett Heather has been a dedicated lifelong “Weird Al” Yankovic fan, but when Al contacted Jarrett in November of 2014, the only back-story Al had on Jarrett was his own admiration of Jarrett’s work.

Jarrett had previously produced a music video in 2010 called Shop-Vac using a form of design called kinetic typography. Al had his own vision for a music video and believed Jarrett was a fit.

Over the course of almost a year the two then collaborated on that music video exclusively for “Weird Al” to be a part of his new album Mandatory Fun.

Unless you’ve been living under a virtual rock, you should be one of the ten million viewers (and still climbing) that has watched Word Crimes, a parody music video of 2013’s summer hit Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.

This interview with Jarrett reveals some great trivia related to the Word Crimes video and of course Jarrett’s experience with “Weird Al”.

(Lars) How did you meet “Weird Al”?

(Jarrett) Al contacted me by email last November (2013). I was just minding my own business, and then “New message from Al Yankovic” was on my screen.

(Lars) Did you doubt it was him at first?

(Jarrett) No, I wasn’t skeptical at all.

(Lars) What was going through your mind? Did you ask him why he sought you out?

(Jarrett) I was very excited. I’ve been a huge fan of Al’s work since I was seven.

(Lars) Did Al approach you because you were a fan of his music or did he know of your artistic background?

Easter Egg - Jarrett throws in a shout out to local Twitter user

Easter Egg – Jarrett throws in a shout out to local Twitter user

(Jarrett) Al had seen a cartoon I made in 2010 called “Shop Vac”. After seeing that music video he decided I was “the best person in the world” at animating typography.

(Lars) What inspired the concept of the video?

(Jarrett) Al’s lyrics were the primary inspiration for the concept. I wanted the art in the video to show a contrast between new media and old media, with the textbooks and encyclopedias representing the “word police”, and the outmoded computer interfaces representing the “word criminals”.

After settling on that concept, I looked very, very closely at the video for Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. Although that video’s Spartan production didn’t give me a lot to latch onto for parody, I still wanted to get a feel for the movement and the energy of the video–the length of the cuts, the staging, and the color grading. The look and feel of Blurred Lines informed a lot of design decisions on Word Crimes.

(Lars) You have a strong understanding of visual media. Where did you learn so much?
(Jarrett) I have no formal training in design or animation, but I’ve been doing graphic design professional (mostly for software interfaces) for over fifteen years. My background is in web publishing and software development.

(Lars) Tell me a little about your first planning session with “Weird Al”?

Easter Egg - Ethan age 7 - Jarrett's Son

Easter Egg – Ethan age 7 – Jarrett’s Son

(Jarrett) Al and I corresponded mostly by email. He brought a lot of specific ideas for visual gags, but he left the design of the movie in my hands.

(Lars) Do any of his gags stand out in the video? Which do you like most?

(Jarrett) The “doing good/well diagram” was Al’s idea. I like that one a lot because it’s a good visual representation of the grammar rule, and it’s a subtle reference to the television show 30 Rock.

(Lars) Are you one of those people that points out grammatical mistakes, lazy numerical shortcuts (i.e. sk8 instead of skate) and others outlined in the video Word Crimes to friends on Facebook or in tweets?

(Jarrett) Although I believe it’s important to express oneself clearly, I’m the last person who will belittle others for making little language mistakes. In fact, I look at the song as more of a send-up of “Grammar Nazis” than an admonishment of sloppy writing. The “Bachelor of Writing Good” visual gag is sort of a clue that this video is meant to amuse more than inform.

(Lars) I think a lot of people will be surprised to read that. Wouldn’t you say the song’s narrative implies shame?

(Jarrett) I’m not the songwriter, so thankfully it’s not for me to say. But as a fan of Al’s previous work, I suspect one should be cautious about assuming he’s planted his feet on one “side” of the joke. Is “Sports Song” an earnest anthem of athletic fandom, or is it making fun of sports fans? That depends entirely on whether the listener likes sports. I look at “Word Crimes” the same way.

(Lars) How many of your life experiences made it into Word Crimes?

(Jarrett) You’ll find a few specific personal references here and there, but I focused on telling the Word Crimes story, which was written by Al.

Weird Al, Jarrett Heather and Son Ethan

Weird Al, Jarrett Heather and Son Ethan

(Lars) How much did the initial plan to final product change during production?

(Jarrett) Surprisingly little, actually. When I look at the animatic, which was designed very, very quickly at the start of the project, I see that 95 percent of the big decisions made it through production. But animation is a very iterative process, so a few of the shots did evolve.

(Lars) Did Al storyboard it and present it to you or did you both work on that too?

(Jarrett) His initial suggestions were just written out. The movie has very few storyboards of any kind, in fact. I found it quicker to just compose shots directly in After Effects.

(Lars) Were you and Weird Al together when he first saw the final product?

(Jarrett) Sadly, no.

(Lars) It must have been an exciting moment for you to unveil that hard work. What was his reaction? Can you give people an idea?

(Jarrett) He has thanked me so many times in so many ways over the last six months; I can hardly recount them all. To say Al has been gracious toward me would be an understatement in the extreme. He has been an absolutely pleasure to work with from the start of the project through the launch of the record.

(Lars) What was the first “Weird Al” song you ever heard?

(Jarrett) I have clear memories of hearing Eat It for the first time at the age of seven. I was a very picky eater myself, so the song had a big impact on me.

(Lars) Al is known to have certain modesty about him. How assertive is he in getting what he wants from a concept?

(Jarrett) No detail of the movie was too small for discussion, and there was certainly some back-and-forth on a few ideas. We both had the same goal: To make the funniest video possible, so we never had much difficulty seeing eye to eye.

(Lars) Would you work with him again? If so, what would you like to try?

(Jarrett) I’d agree to another project in a heartbeat. I’d leave the subject matter up to him. Coming up with funny and interesting ideas for songs is very difficult.

(Lars) How long did it take you to complete the visual?

(Jarrett) I spent 500 hours, working nights and weekends over the course of three months.

(Lars) 500 hours is a long time. How does that compare to real world projects at work?

(Jarrett) In the time it takes to design, compose, animate and render a single shot for Word Crimes I can design and program and launch a complete, working website. This is sort of why I have so few animation projects to show off. The opportunity cost of a music video, from my perspective, is about 60 or 70 website projects.

(Lars) Any points of frustration? Was there a deadline?

(Jarrett) Yes, my contract with RCA/Sony specified a deadline of April 1st. I’m proud that I delivered the final animation on that date, but the audio soundtrack didn’t get mixed until the middle of May. Al tells me it’s the first time a vendor had completed his video before the song was recorded, so I suppose the deadline might have had some flexibility.

(Lars) At what point did you share it with Al?

(Jarrett) When Al first sent me the “demo” recording and timing master track, I told him I’d show him the initial designs within a week or so. After one day of work I’d already had 20 or 30 seconds of the animatic designed, so I sent him a rough render for feedback. We ended up corresponding nearly daily throughout the three-week design process.

Once I shifted gears into final production, I could only produce 10 or 20 seconds of footage a week, so we’d exchange email less often. But Al was intimately involved at every stage of production. I’m thankful for that. The video would not be nearly as good without all his input.

(Lars) You’ve gained a lot of notoriety with this video. Did you have any idea of the amount of views it would get on YouTube before it went up?

Weird Al Word Crimes animator Jarrett Heather leaves and Easter Egg with is own personal Emoticon Icon

Weird Al Word Crimes animator Jarrett Heather leaves and Easter Egg with is own personal Emoticon Icon

(Jarrett) Based on the subject matter I suspected it would spread in a viral way. The performance so far has been in on the higher end of my expectations.

(Lars) Have you had a lot of media contact you in response to the video?

(Jarrett) Yes. Radio, print, television, bloggers, podcasters, you name it. I don’t have a lot of interest in promoting myself, so I’m kind of just rolling with it.

(Lars) What’s that like?

(Jarrett) It’s a little stressful. I’m a shy person and I didn’t take this job because I was looking for a spotlight.

(Lars) This experience obviously benefited you on a number of levels from showcasing your talent to getting to know Al personally. What’s the biggest take-away in this project for you?

(Jarrett) My biggest take-away so far is not to underestimate myself. When you start a project like this, and you’re just looking at a blank canvas that stretches on for two hundred twenty-two seconds… it can be pretty daunting. Success was not guaranteed, and the prospect of disappointing one of my childhood heroes loomed over me in a very real way. Now that I can look back on it all and see just how much I was able to produce in a relatively short time, I’ll probably wield my powers with a little more confidence in the future.

(Lars) Jarrett, thanks for giving people some insight on this video. Will people see more from you? Do you have a YouTube channel or site you’d like to promote?

(Jarrett) Follow @spaceparanoids to get notified about future projects, but don’t expect a steady stream of animation from me.

(Lars) You’re employed already, but if another notable person needed your work, who would be top on your list?

(Jarrett) I’d love to combine more typography with musical comedy. If Tenacious D asked me to direct a video that would probably be a fun time. (Call me, Jack!)

Writers Note: I’ve known Jarrett Heather for 15 years. When I first met Jarrett, he had the rug pulled out from him by an unscrupulous employer but I knew inside a few minutes nothing could keep Jarrett down. We soon after worked together until Jarrett perused greater dreams in design across country in California.

Jarrett has a knack for understanding all things visual. Lessons he left me with were from simple to advanced such as the sixty percent white space rule, to the larger your company the smaller your logo.

Jarrett will never hurt for love in his trade, but should you ever have the opportunity to work with him, you will learn a lot. When he moved from Delaware to California I lost not only a mentor, but also a friend. If you are a creator, follow him on any social media.

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Catching Up With Wild Cub At Firefly Music Festival

Wild-Cub

(PCM) We recently caught up with Nashville-based band Wild Cub while out at the recent Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE last month.

After their amazing performance at Firefly, Wild Cub embarked on their own headlining tour throughout the U.S. that will wrap up on August 7th in San Francisco, CA.

Wild Cub are currently out on the road in support of their debut album “Youth” and their recently released iTunes exclusive EP “Letters Home From Far Away: Cover, Outtakes and Live Recordings”.  The band’s awesome cover of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” can be found on the new EP and well as hit tracks such as “Wishing Well” and “Thunder Clatter”.

You can watch our interview below:

 

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Interview with JOHNNYSWIM At Firefly Music Festival 2014

Johnnyswim1

(PCM) We were able to catch up with amazing husband and wife duo JOHNNYSWIM while out at the Firefly Music Festival, which took place at the Woodlands in Dover, DE last month.

The group have been making a ton of festival appearances this summer, just recently appearing at the Forcastle Festival in Louisville, KY and will also be performing at Lollapalooza this August in Chicago, IL.

The duo were also featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and made a recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

JOHNNYSWIM are currently touring behind their debut full-length album “Diamonds” which was produced by JOHNNYSWIM’s own Abner Ramirez in Nashville, TN.

We absolutely adored the group while out at Firefly and they are without a doubt a band that needs to be on your radar right now!

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