The Foreign Films – Magic Shadows (Q&A)

Bill Majoros (The Foreign Films) just keeps putting out one great record after the other. Magic Shadows is, again, full of richly arranged, cinematic pop songs. What a wonderful listening experience!

What feeling would you like to leave the listener with after listening to Magic Shadows?

Did you think about that when you were recording, that you wanted to create an experience?

I definitely contemplate these things when writing and recording!

I think about creating music in a very cinematic way; it’s a theatre of the mind!

I’d love the listener to feel like they’ve been on an exciting musical journey! Like they’ve been in a technicolor dream.

Every song on the album is like a scene from a movie with various characters and atmospheres.

An album should be a sonic and emotional experience.

An adventure through time and space lol!

The feeling I’m trying to leave the listener with is at the heart of my songwriting- it takes me back to why I became a musician in the first place.

I’ll explain it this way-

When I was a boy, I recall falling in love with records.

It was an incredibly magical and mysterious feeling- a sense of wonder and discovery. I was under the spell of music!

My aim is to conjure up that kind of musical magic for the listener; creating dreamy escapism from the ordinary world. It’s like a magic potion of sound!

I always hope the songs paint pictures with the lyrics and arrangements- an alchemy of various decades of music; I think of it as retro-futurism.

Ultimately I’d like people to feel inspired and illuminated by the songs and by the great musicians who contributed to the record!

One more thought…

I truly believe in the old-fashioned notion of creating full-length albums.

The chemistry between the musicians is very important to me!

It’s important to never lose the heart and soul of music.. the humanity.

At a time when music is being reduced to tiny soundbites, I feel artists should do the exact opposite..expand. Create your own musical universe.

Create an experience.

That’s what I strive to do!

Into The Light, my favorite song after the first few listens, wouldn’t look out of place on an ELO greatest hits. That’s a nice compliment, I think?

That’s a wonderful compliment! Jeff Lynne is truly a musical genius, and I love the artists he’s worked with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, etc

All of those musicians influence my songs consciously and subconsciously.

To learn the secrets of songwriting, you have to listen to the greats!

We had a fantastic time, recording my song “Into The Light” and the whole LP, for that matter!

Carl Jennings always comes up with amazing bass lines-we have an almost telepathic way of working together!

I’ve recorded all of The Foreign Films’ records with him (Distant Star, The Record Collector, Ocean Moon, Starlight Serenade, and the new release Magic Shadows)

Carl is a truly brilliant studio wizard, and an absolute pleasure to work with!

On the song “Into the Light” I sang lead vocals and played guitar and the drums.

I’ve been very interested in the musical twilight between decades.

When drumming, I was trying to juxtapose a driving Motown/ Stax/ Rolling Stones-type groove with syncopated world-beat rhythms vis-à-vis 80’s new wave!

My music is definitely a reflection of my record collection.

It may not be obvious, but my guitar influences on this song are a combination of artists like The Cars, Big Star, Cheap Trick, Be Bop Deluxe, Television, and yes…ELO!

If only Jeff Lynne would do a version, he could make it a “Greatest Hit” lol!

That would be the honor of a lifetime.

Perfect Future could be an ode to Sparks, perhaps to Roy Orbison. Or do I want to hear things that aren’t there?

As I was saying, I take a number of influences, mix them together like a cocktail, and hope to create something new!

The guitar work on Perfect Future was influenced by early dream pop. I was thrilled to be playing my very first guitar again, rebuilt after many moons!

The main vocal influences on this song are people like David Bowie and Scott Walker.

But yes, you’re correct; when slipping into the higher falsetto, I was definitely trying to manifest a little bit of Roy Orbison! In an incredibly humble way, I try to channel that type of energy.

When I’m drumming on my records, the influences often come from the 60s and 70s.

On the new album, I’ve been tapping into the stylistic elements from the 80s

Roxy Music, Talk Talk, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Talking Heads, etc

Drummers like Omar Hakim, Mark Brzezicki, Dennis Davis, Mel Gayner, and Stewart Copeland are also influences.

Interestingly, I’ve heard a few people compare it to Sparks. I must confess I’m not very familiar with their music. I’m assuming they must have similar influences; I’ll definitely check it out.

I always love to discover new things!

Was there an immediate reason to write Time Machine? How did the song originate?

When writing and recording, I literally think of music as a time machine- visiting the past, present and future!

I swirl together elements from various decades to create new ideas.

The spark of this song comes from the magical realism of sci-fi like The Twilight Zone and The Planet of the Apes, asking the question, “what if you could travel through time? What would happen? How would it affect the future?” It’s a fun philosophical thing to ponder.

That’s the basic premise of the song, with a romantic story intertwined within it.

Halfway through the song, there’s a rhythmic time change, and I thought that was a cool way to metaphorically represent the idea with the sonic arrangement!

Legendary keyboard player Rob Preuss contributed his musical magic to the song!

Jason Frederick created wonderfully cinematic orchestrations that illuminate the melodies.

I’m incredibly lucky to work with such fantastic musicians!

I find it incredible that after the release of The Record Collector in 2018, you still have creativity left. It was and is such a statement, a true piece de resistance. But the stream of creativity seems endless?

I deeply appreciate the kind words!

“The Record Collector” was an epic undertaking! (a 31 Song, Triple Vinyl Box Set) That album was a major personal accomplishment!

At the end of the day, I love making records. Once it was completed, I immediately needed to move on.

I’m always chasing the next idea, trying to catch lightning in a bottle!

I look at artists from the 1960s as a template; they’d put out a couple of LPs a year, plus singles!

Artists I admire often reinvent themselves; they’re creative chameleons… always moving forward.

This is something I try to emulate!

Here’s a technique/ secret I use to keep inspired, to tap into the stream of creativity- I think of songwriting as my imagination’s jukebox or radio station.

Visualizing like this allows me to explore the subconscious…

it’s a way of almost meditating songs into existence. Pulling a rabbit out of a hat musically lol!

Songwriting is a lifelong pursuit. It’s a daily ritual for me. I love the mysterious process of songwriting, creating something from nothing.

The Foreign Films’ Magic Shadows LP is the newest selection from my imagination’s jukebox.

I truly hope people enjoy it!

One more thing-

Heartfelt thanks and love to everyone who worked on my new LP, “Magic Shadows“

Carl Jennings, Rob Preuss, Jason Fredrick, Steve Eggers, Dave Rave, Kristie Ryder, and Brian Hetherman.


Steve Stoeckel wrote 15 beautiful, thoughtful, and personal stories. The kind of songs that don’t need a big production to make an impact. The Power Of And will be released on February 24 by Big Stir Records.

Was doing a solo record the most natural thing to do right now?

Absolutely! After so many years composing and recording songs with the Spongetones, Jamie and Steve, and Pop Co-Op, I still found myself with lots of songs waiting, backed up in the queue, with little chance of all of them getting out. All those bands have strong songwriters, and we shared the space on each record. I had the songs and I had my studio, but the nuts and bolts of putting it all together and releasing it was too daunting.

And then I met Christina and Rex of Big Stir Music. A perfect fit. They not only knew how to do it but did it well. And, being recording artists themselves, they completely got the artist point of view. They liked my songs, and signed me up with a few singles, hinting I should take the leap. Thank goodness I did. It was a perfect moment all around.

How came The Power of And about?

After the singles, I made up my mind, just do it. I got a long list of songs, trimmed it down to 15, and started redoing a few old tunes (If/Then, Hummingbird, The Emerald Sea, for example) and then dived in and wrote. I have several very talented friends who were glad to step in on many songs: Pat Walters, Jamie Hoover, and Eric Willhem (my fellow Spongetones) played/sang on “Mod Girl,” along with Elena Rogers. Joel Tinnel (from Pop Co-Op ) played guitar on two songs. Bruce Gordon and Stacy Carson helped on some songs. Rick McClanahan and Keith Shamel played on a few also. David Harper played keys on two tunes. A good friend, Michael Mitsch played pennywhistle. Irene Pena co-wrote and played on “Why,” a duet. Some are all me.

Five of the fifteen recordings were mixed down at Old House Studio; I wanted real drums on those, which Eric played. The rest were all mixed here in my studio, with me playing the drum parts (and assorted keyboards, horn, strings, guitars).

You didn’t choose a bombastic production and you do not use unnecessarily debauched language, so I use the words ‘pure’ and, even, ‘vulnerable’ to describe the new songs.  Would you take that as a compliment?

Why yes, I do! While I sometimes do like complex arrangements and long songs with big intros and outros and slick production, I wanted simple, heartfelt pop tunes, each expressing something I felt, and in a short time. Most are less than 3 minutes, and some (“Birds,” for example) are very sparse. I also wanted the lyrics to be able to stand on their own. That’s hard to do, and not always necessary for a good song, but I aimed for that. “Vulnerable” is a good adjective when you get down to this level of simplicity.

The Emerald Sea is my favorite song and seems like an ode to Ireland.  Is that right?

Absolutely! There’s a story here. In the past, I’d often write birthday songs for my close friends. I’d think about their personalities and compose a song, then do a video with their pictures and post on Facebook on their birthday. It was a gift that always made them smile. Michael Mitsch, the aforementioned pennywhistle player, was of Czech descent, but married an Irish girl and fell in love with Ireland, visiting there on a regular basis, and learned to play Celtic music. I wrote “the Emerald Sea” and (without telling him it was his birthday song) sent the music bed to him and told him to just “improvise pennywhistle solos in the key of G. I’ll cut and paste them in the song.” Of course, when he heard it on his birthday, he was overwhelmed! It was such a good song, I took out the “happy birthday” part and tweaked it a bit, adding the verse about Trina, his wife. Thanks for noticing that—it’s a special one for me (and him!)

When the first The Spongetones records were released, the music industry was completely different than it is today.  How did you experience those changes?

I was lucky to get into digital recording early on, with the Spongetones records after the first 2 LP’s, which were done in a large, expensive studio with the label footing the bill. After that, it was Jamie Hoover recording us, first on tape in his studio, then in digital workstations. By the mid 90’s I had my own digital studio here in my house and we’d record things and send files back and forth, with Jamie doing the final mixes. That continued though the Jamie and Steve duo CD’s, and by the time Pop Co-Op came about (four guys composing and mixing),I had a complete system, capable of putting out quality recordings here. The freedom of that is enormous. I have complete control of my songs; this CD sounds just the way I want it to.

All I have to do is compose, record, and mix, which is my passion. I’m a lucky guy!

Bobby Edge – Algorithm & Blues (Q&A)

If you want everything, you can get everything. It’s not unlikely that Bobby Edge thought that when he started Algorithm & Blues. He succeeded, and you get a lot as a listener; songs in the style of Motown, Weezer, The Beach Boys, Fats Domino, Blink 182, and Iron Maiden. Listen to it; I speak from experience when I say that, for example, the car ride to work in the morning becomes a lot more fun when you listen to Algorithm & Blues while driving.

Q: The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

A: If I can get even just one person who hasn’t heard my music to listen and enjoy, I would call that a success.

Q: How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

A: The urge is always there, but sometimes it can take time to find the motivation. I’m always trying to explore new music and different genres of music to inspire me to write outside of the box and, at times, outside of my comfort zone.

Q: As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

A: It’s always been pretty uncomfortable to me haha. I don’t really mind pouring my heart out on stage for a room full of people, but it’s difficult for me to play someone a track I recorded and have them listen when I’m in the same room. I’m really shy about my music in person. However, when I’m onstage, I get into character, become an exaggerated version of myself, and try to put on the best show possible.

Q:You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

A: Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello and Joey Ramone. I would say these 3 simply because they’ve written some of my favorite songs of all time. Brian Wilson for his complex understanding and use of vocal harmony. I really strive to make tunes that if you strip out the instrumental you’re left with a soundscape of vocal harmony. Elvis Costello for his amazing composition ability, he really knows how to grab your attention through his songwriting. Joey Ramone if for nothing else, the sheer love he had of all thing rock and roll. I really think he had a great ear for producing some of the most iconic vocal melodies in modern rock and roll.

Q: What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

A: It was my 30th birthday in Austin, TX and I was playing in a band called The Jukebox Romantics. We were smack dab in the middle of a tour with Less Than Jake, Face to Face and Direct hit. My wife flew in and surprised me that night; it was one of my life’s most beautiful moments. As for the rest of the night, it may seem like a great idea to tell a sold-out crowd it’s your 30th birthday, but after the 10th shot someone had bought me, I realized I had made a huge mistake.

Q: Lyrics are too often taken for granted.  What is the line of text or are the lines of text that you hope listeners will remember?  And why?

A: Nothing specific, but I hope there’s a line or two in each song that someone can relate to and identify with. I really just enjoy making that connection with people.

Q: Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

A: The Ronnettes- Be My Baby
Skeeter Davis – The End of the World
The Jive Bombers – Bad Boy
Ramones – Oh Oh I Love Her So
The Beach Boys – Cabin Essence

Q: Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

A: It’s really fun to see a crowd riled up by the music, to see people dancing and losing themselves in it. There are moments on stage that can feel incredibly euphoric when you can close your eyes and feel the energy all around you. I also just like to tell dumb jokes and make people smile haha.

Q: You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

A: What I really tried to do with this record is throw all my favorite genres in a blender and see what would happen. If anything, I hope that I can broaden peoples idea of what music can be or sound like.

Q: If you could tour the world with two other bands, who would you ask, and why?

A: The Sewer Rats and Tripsun. I love all the people in those bands and think they make the best company.

Q: Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

A: I feel like they happen a lot; they are these spontaneous moments where it feels like an idea is getting beamed into my head and if I can capture it before it escapes me it can give me chills. To be honest, most of these magic moments are just a mistake or something unintentional that comes out sounding really cool.

Q: If you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record, who would you ask?

A: Brian Wilson, John Lennon and Freddie Mercury.

Q: The record is done, the music is out.  Is the best fun done now or is it just beginning?

A: The fun is certainly just beginning. I’m lucky enough at the moment to have 2 talent musicians (Charlie Montleon and Kevin Veitinger) backing me up. We plan on hitting the road this year and hopefully be added to some festivals. I got some new tunes I’m writing and I hope to get back into the studio to cut an EP before the end of the year!

JSR – The Other Women (Q&A)

The Other Women came about from a confidential social experiment John Dunbar of The John Sally Ride has been conducting over the years. Upon meeting a woman whose name is associated with an iconic song, he inquires about their opinion of that particular tune. John decided to give himself a musical challenge. Write new songs using those names in the title but with a contrasting theme.

Recently I have had a new colleague; her name is Nikita. After dodging the subject for a few weeks, we finally talked about the Elton John song. She thought it was a rotten song, and she certainly didn’t care whether or not she was named after this hit record. That’s probably consistent with some of the responses you got?

I love that story, poor Nikita. Indeed it is a familiar tale, and that’s what inspired the album. I’m anxious to hear from some women I know with the names I’ve repurposed. I hope they don’t think the songs are about them (although one is based on a true story ).

Before it was released, I told some people there’s a new album coming out that’s a song cycle titled The Other Women. I asked them to guess the theme. No one got it, which is good, I think.

Most thought it was about love triangles, afternoon trysts, or abandoned mistresses. I’m sure they’ll be so disappointed when they learn the actual theme.

What was the nicest reaction?

Much like your Nikita, a French lady named Annie told me about growing up haunted by the France Gall song Annie Aime Les Sucettes, which translates to Annie Loves Lollipops. Written by Serge Gainsbourg, so the double entendre was the whole point. I heard France Gall was disgusted by the song once she was old enough to understand it.

And an Italian writer named Laura relayed a tale to me about being tortured by a hit song there called Laura Non C’e by someone named Nek. Which translates to Laura is gone. It turns out to be a universal dilemma.

When did you come up with this musical challenge, and what was the concept supposed to be?

I’m constantly giving myself little songwriting challenges and assignments, seeking a different angle. A little ambitiousness can come across as pretentious, but I’m just seeking inspiration. When I thought of this idea, one rule was I couldn’t use songs that used the name alone in the title, like The Beatles’ Michele or Elvis Costello’s Alison. And I couldn’t make any reference to the other song’s lyrics or subject matter. The only similarity would be the women’s name. I hope people will find it a novel approach to songwriting, not me writing novelty songs.

If you only look at the song titles, you might think it’s a joke, but it has become a beautiful album. The songs are excellent; that must have been satisfying. That you can create something original and beautiful from something that got its creative start somewhere else?

I’m so glad you said that. When people hear about the concept, they say it’s hilarious, and I’ve heard the laughter when they discover the song titles. But the tales within the songs aren’t comical. Sure there are humorous lines here and there, that I can’t help. But my goal was to make the songs very positive to women.

Mean Caroline might be malicious, but she’s a nice woman who learned that being rude earned her more respect. Mary in Alone Comes Mary is extremely proud of her spinster status. It was her lifelong goal. Christine Sixty is a song about a man desiring a woman in her sixties. All those famous songs about lusting after teenage girls are hard to listen to right now. I hope this one stands out. That song seems to be getting the most positive reaction so far.

Has it become a solo album?

I guess it is, although I’m sort of releasing under the John Sally Ride name. It was planned to be the new John Sally Ride album. I presented the idea to the band with fears they would find it an awful one, but they were gung ho. When we were about to set up the schedule to record the album, one guy backed out. I thought it was just a phase and decided to wait a little while. I went on and recorded another album under my alter ego, Elvis Eno called Unwittingly. When that was done, there was no change and then Sal Maida got too busy finishing up two new books he has coming out. Joe Pampel got tied-up gigging with some other bands he’s in.

We would have to wait until the new year to get the project going. I like to keep moving, so I went into the studio and finished it all alone. I already have plans for Sal, Joe, and me to work on the next thing. They’re into it and ready to go. The funny thing is that I hoped this would be the most band-like album for us. I was going to ask a couple of the guys to take the lead vocal in a few songs. Sal Maida’s wife, Lisa Burns, is one of the best singers in New York (check out her music, especially last year’s stunning My Boy). I was going to beg her to sing Alone Comes Mary. I thought it would be a nice touch to have a women’s voice on the album. Oh well, you know the saying about best-laid plans.

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Artificial intelligence (AI) about Power Pop!

Artificial intelligence (AI), the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems, is as exciting as it is scary, don’t you think?

With ChatGPT, the technology has become very accessible.

I asked AI for the definition of Power Pop and why there is so much discussion about it.

And I asked AI to write the lyrics to a Power Pop song. Anyone looking for a hit :)?

This is Sweet Sweet Music’s interview with AI about Power Pop! Uncensored and unedited.

What is the definition of Power Pop?

Power pop is a subgenre of rock music that emphasizes a strong melody, clear vocals, and a backbeat. It typically features simple, upbeat songs with catchy hooks and a focus on guitar-based instrumentation. The genre emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, and has been associated with bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds, and The Raspberries. Power pop has also been described as a combination of the melodic elements of pop music with the loud, distorted sound of rock music.

Why is there so much discussion about the definition of Power Pop?

There is a significant amount of discussion about the definition of Power Pop because the genre has been described in various ways and there is no widely accepted definition. Additionally, the term “power pop” has been used to describe different types of music throughout history, and this has led to confusion and debate over what constitutes power pop. Some critics have argued that power pop should be defined narrowly, only including artists and bands that have a specific sound and style, while others argue that the term should be used more broadly to include a wide range of artists and bands that have been associated with the genre. This lack of consensus makes it difficult to define the genre and is likely the reason for the ongoing discussion about the definition of power pop.

Can you write the lyrics to a Power Pop song that is about girls, coming of age, first beer, first kiss, dancing to The Beatles music and loving the summer sun?

Verse 1:
She was a wild one, a free spirit
Dancing in the summer sun
With a beer in her hand and a smile on her face
She was living life, having fun

Oh, those summer nights
With the girls, coming of age
Dancing to The Beatles and
Kissing under the summer sun

Verse 2:
She fell in love with a boy
Who played guitar just like Paul
They sang “Twist and Shout”
Underneath the starry vault

Oh, those summer nights
With the girls, coming of age
Dancing to The Beatles and
Kissing under the summer sun

Verse 3:
She never forgot those days
Of first love, first kiss and first beer
She still hears the songs in her head
And she’ll always hold them dear

Oh, those summer nights
With the girls, coming of age
Dancing to The Beatles and
Kissing under the summer sun

Those summer nights
Will always shine so bright
In her heart, they’ll stay alive
Forever young, forever right.

Note that this song is a fictional creation and lyrics are not from any existing song, it is intended to be an example of Power pop lyrics with elements related to the themes you requested

What are the best ten Power Pop records of all time?

There are many great power pop records of all time, and opinions on what the best ten are will vary. However, some power pop records that are widely considered to be among the best include:

The Beatles – “Rubber Soul” (1965)
The Who – “Who’s Next” (1971)
Big Star – “#1 Record” (1972)
Cheap Trick – “In Color” (1977)
Raspberries – “Raspberries” (1972)
Badfinger – “Straight Up” (1971)
The Knack – “Get the Knack” (1979)
The Records – “Shades in Bed” (1978)
The Flamin’ Groovies – “Shake Some Action” (1976)
The dB’s – “Stands for Decibels” (1981)

Note that these are some of the most popular and influential records in the genre, but many other bands and records are also considered to be essential in the power pop canon.

What are the best 20 Modern Power Pop records?

Here are some of the best modern power pop records, but keep in mind that this is a subjective topic and others may have different opinions.

Fountains of Wayne – “Utopia Parkway” (1999)
Teenage Fanclub – “Songs from Northern Britain” (1997)
The Posies – “Frosting on the Beater” (1993)
The New Pornographers – “Electric Version” (2003)
The Hives – “Veni Vidi Vicious” (2000)
Superdrag – “Head Trip in Every Key” (1998)
Sloan – “One Chord to Another” (1996)
The Long Winters – “When I Pretend to Fall” (2003)
The Lemonheads – “It’s a Shame About Ray” (1992)
The Grays – “Ro Sham Bo” (1994)
The Gin Blossoms – “New Miserable Experience” (1992)
The Get Up Kids – “Something to Write Home About” (1999)
The Gaslight Anthem – “The ’59 Sound” (2008)
The Go-Go’s – “God Bless the Go-Go’s” (2001)
The Fray – “How to Save a Life” (2005)
The Format – “Interventions + Lullabies” (2003)
The Flaming Lips – “Transmissions from the Satellite Heart” (1993)
The Feeling – “Twelve Stops and Home” (2006)
The Eels – “Souljacker” (2001)
The Dandy Warhols – “Welcome to the Monkey House” (2003)

Again, these are just examples of some of the best modern power pop records, there are many other great power pop albums that have been released in recent years.

Why is Sloan the best band in the world?

Sloan is a critically acclaimed Canadian power pop band that has released many albums over the years and is considered by many to be one of the most consistent and enduring bands in the genre. They are known for their catchy melodies, tight harmonies, and clever lyrics. Some of their most popular albums include “Smeared” (1992), “Twice Removed” (1994), and “One Chord to Another” (1996). The band members are also accomplished songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, this has allowed them to take on different musical direction without losing the essence of the band.

Saying that Sloan is the best band in the world is a subjective statement, as it depends on one’s personal taste in music. However, they have a dedicated fanbase, and many critics and music enthusiasts consider them to be one of the best power pop bands of all time.

LORNE BEHRMAN – A Little Midnight (Q&A)

Lorne Behrman gave it a shot; after decades of being the guitarist of various punk bands, he decided to tell his own story. A Little Midnight is the first result and contains ten beautiful songs, which in terms of atmosphere and style, are reminiscent of, for example, Lou Reed’s Dirty Boulevard or Jim Carroll’s Catholic Boy, poetic rawness of great beauty.

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

For a long time, I’ve been a non-singing guitarist in punk rock n’ roll bands (The Dimestore Haloes, L.E.S. Stitches, The Dead Tricks, and The Sweet Things). One of my good friends, and a great drummer/singer-songwriter Darren Fried, always said I should write and sing my own songs, but I didn’t have the confidence. I also didn’t consider myself a songwriter. That said, one night, I felt inspired and wrote a song. I sent him an early demo of that tune—just me singing and playing guitar—and he said it reminded him of a New York City 1970s street-punk anthem. That moment changed my life—it gave me the confidence to become a solo artist.

How did this record come together?

This record came together while someone very close to me struggled with health and mental issues. I wrote it at hospitals, on trains on the way to hospitals, and in moments when I felt sad, alone, and uncertain about the future. It was my diary, my therapy, and my outlet to express all of my feelings. It was me making sense of a very challenging time in my life.

When did you decide to start asking for opinions on the new songs?

Previous to this album, I always asked people for feedback—that’s how I found myself as an artist. Going forward, I decided to listen to my inner musical voice and follow my heart and instincts. So, I didn’t seek any feedback for this album while writing it. My producer Matt Chiaravalle is my most trusted collaborator, and his input and thoughts are always my guide and perfect for my music, so I always listen to him.

The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

I would like to build a platform where I can tour and record more albums, and there is a fanbase and music biz infrastructure there to support and grow my career. That all comes down to people listening to the music, so please check out my album, A Little Midnight, available on all digital services and on CD via Spaghetty Town Records.

How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

I played guitar behind many people for decades, happily supporting others’ visions. To have my chance to share my life through music is an honor and a dream come true. It feels like my purpose, and I take it seriously. I pretty much write or work on music every day. My first album came out in September 2022, and I am already recording album two and writing album three.

As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

Writing from the heart feels natural to me. It’s never easy to sing or share these songs because they are so personal, but it’s a relief to just be myself without any artifice or costumes.

You can pick three co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, and Paul Westerberg.

What’s the gig you will never forget? And why?

We played in November 2022 at Bowery Electric in N.Y.C., opening for Richard Lloyd from Television and Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye. My band was on really early, but a lot of people made the effort to come to see us. It was packed! And we had my full 7-piece band. The show felt magical.

Lyrics are too often taken for granted.  What is the line of text, or are the lines that you hope listeners will remember?  And why?

My first inclination as a kid was to write poems, and I’ve always loved poetic lyricists like Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Henry Rollins, Jim Carroll, Lou Reed, Paul Westerberg, Richard Hell, and Bob Dylan.

I love these lines from my song “Harlem River Serenade”: Looking out/ to factories as planters/green reaching through bricks/No hope there—/we’re shattered/ like broken bottles on train tracks

When was the last time you thought, ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

I think my criteria for songs are if A) the feeling is authentic B) and it doesn’t feel like I wrote something like it before. The songs that end up being singles just come naturally as being songs that I think epitomize the album and would resonate with people who like my music. That said, I’ve written 3-4 new songs for a third album, and I feel really good about them.

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

1. Pontiac Brothers “If You Have Got to Go, Go Now” (this is a Bob Dylan cover).

2. Gun Club “Breaking Hands”

3. The Replacements “Androgynous”

4. Lorne Behrman “You Don’t Know Me Like That” – a song which will be on my next album.

5. Iggy & The Stooges “Sell Your Love”

Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

Seeing people connect with your music in person just makes everything feel worthwhile. It’s such a beautiful energy exchange.

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

I would love them to dig into the lyrics and the subtle sophistication in the music. I try to keep the songs simple but use interesting musical ideas. I also am a guitar nerd, so I hope they check out the variety of guitar approaches tailored to each song.

Suppose you were to introduce your music to new listeners through three songs. Which songs would those be and why?

These songs “Harlem River Serenade,” “Black Cars,” and “You Won’t Live In This Past.” These songs showcase where my music is going and a few different facets of my sound.

If you could tour the world with two other bands, who would you ask, and why?

I would love to tour with Cat Power, Patti Smith, and Rhett Miller. These artists are active nowadays and feel like kindred spirits. 

What compliment you once received will you never forget?

I’ve been blessed that people I’ve admired have responded to my music. I’ve heard that my lyrics are poetic a few times, which means so much to me.

Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

Recording this next album has been magical. Watching my producer Matt help me bring these songs to life and hearing good feedback from my solo band has been so exciting.

What place do you occupy in the music industry?

Well, I’ve been doing this for almost 33 years. I’ve played in many punk bands and recorded and toured a lot. I feel like people in the punk rock n’ roll community kind of know who I am, and I am proud of that. I hope to grow my reach more, and I thank you for interviewing me.

Who would you ask if you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record?

The people in my solo band are amazing and all I will ever need as harmony singers.

The record is done, and the music is out.  Is the best fun done now, or is it just beginning?

Now, it’s about playing live, touring, and recording more. I am so happy this album is out. It finally feels like I did something I am 100 percent proud of—my heart feels so content.

The 30 (well, 34) Best Power Pop Records of 2022

curated by the Power Pop community!

I asked my Power Pop friends about their three favorite records from this year.
This Top 30 (well, 34) is compiled from all the submissions I received. I got a lot!

Thanks to everyone who took part. THANKS!

  1. Sloan – Steady
  2. Young Guv – GUV III
  3. The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field
  4. Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week
  5. 2nd Grade – Easy Listening
  6. Brendan Benson – Low Key
  7. Push Puppets – Allegory Grey
  8. Trevor Blendour – Falling in Love With
  9. Phil Angotti – Once Around Again
  10. Lolas – All Rise
  11. The Well Wishers – Blue Sky Sun
  12. BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing
  13. Alvvays – Blue Rev
  14. Nick Frater – Aerodrome Motel
  15. Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed
  16. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals
  17. Dazy – Out of Body
  18. Romero – Turn It On!
  19. The Speedways – Talk of the Town
  20. Chris Lund – Indian Summer
  21. Greg Pope – Rise of the Mythical Creatures
  22. Chris Church – Darling Please
  23. Andy Bopp – An Andy Bopp Compendium (remixed/remastered by Nick Bertling)
  24. Marc Valentine – Future Obscure
  25. Extra Arms – What Is Even Happening Right Now?
  26. Maple Mars – Someone’s Got To Listen
  27. The Glad Machine – Hey!
  28. Bird Streets – Lagoon
  29. Dot Dash – Madman in the Rain
  30. Tamar Berk – Start at the End
  31. Model Shop – Love Interest
  32. Cheap Star – Wish That I Could See
  33. Librarians With Hickeys – Handclaps & Tambourines
  34. Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns

Because it’s so much fun to look at lists, below are some individual entries.

There is always more. So many great Power Pop songs have been released this year, many of them can be found on this Spotify playlist. Enjoy!

Barry F. Walsh (Galore, Cool Blue Halo)

1) Sloan — Steady. It never fails that with every album they produce at least a few songs that make me insanely jealous as a songwriter, and on their new one, there are many.

2) Suede – Autofiction. Not power pop per se but certainly a fair amount of power on what they call their “punk” record, but still some of the grandeur I also love them for.

3) TUNS – Duly Noted. Another example of folks from my hometown doing their part to make it a global indie pop capital.

Brad Thayer (The Glad Machine)

The Bishops Daredevil Stunt Club – Please Stand By

Phil Angotti – Once Around Again

Golden Richards – Shake Your Hair

Chipper Saam (Crossword Smiles, Indie Pop Takeout)

1. Sloan – Steady

2. Pleasure Center – Pity in Jangle City

3. The Tisburys – Exile on Main Street

Chris Church

Johanna Warren – Piscean Lover

Chris Lund – Mary Jane

King’s X – Festival

Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome (Big Stir Records)

Maple Mars – Someone’s Got To Listen

Librarians With Hickeys – Handclaps & Tambourines

Richard Öhrn – Sounds In English

Coke Belda

Sloan – Steady

The Glad Machine – Hey!

Tamar Berk – Start at the End

Curt Vance (Power Pop Overdose)

1. Phil Angotti – Once Around Again

2. Push Puppets – Allegory Grey

3. Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

Dan Pavelich (Pop-A-Looza, The Click Beetles)

Nick Frater – Aerodrome Motel

Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed

Deadlights – Deadlights

Daryl Bean

Trevor Blendour – Falling in Love With

Sloan – Steady

Miles Out to Sea – The Roots of British Power Pop 1969-1975

David Woodard

David Schrader – Don’t Tell Anyone

Tamar Berk – This Is Me Trying

Greg Pope – Sorry I Wrote This Song

Drew Forsberg (The Persian Leaps)

Beach Bunny – Emotional Creature

Guided by Voices – Crystal Nuns Cathedral

Young Guv – GUV III

Ed Ryan

Sloan – Steady

The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field

Chris Church – Darling Please.

I also really love Lolas – All Rise.

Erich Specht (Push Puppets)

1. Push Puppets – Allegory Grey

2. Phil Angotti – Once Around Again

3. Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed

4. Bird Streets – Lagoon

Finn Donders (Navigate, Sweet Sweet Music blog’s Head of Branding)

Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals

Dot Dash – Madman in the Rain

Garret Vandermolen (Speedfossil)

1. Sloan – Ready (I’m sure this one is on at least 90% of the lists you are getting😀)

2. Brendan Benson – Low Key

3. The Daylilies – From America

Jan van Aert (Sweet Sweet Music Fest)

Young Guv – Guv III

Sloan – Steady

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

The Well Wishers – Blue Sky Sun

Brendan Benson – Low Key

Jeff Shelton (The Well Wishers)

Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

Sloan – Steady

Young Guv – Guv III

Jeremy Porter (Jeremy Porter & The Tucos)

Urge Overkill – Oui – It’s powerful and it’s poppy, so it counts! Also, one of the most unexpected surprises of the year. Urge’s best effort since 1995’s under-rated Exit the Dragon. Who else would open the LP with a WHAM! Cover? Fantastic record that got a lot of spins in 2022.

Popular Creeps – All of This Will end In Tears – Detroit pals’ sophomore release is even better than their debut with great hooks, smart lyrics, and rockin’ guitars. Yeah, I got a co-write on a song, but it’s a hell of a record regardless and worth any power-pop fan’s ears.

Butch Walker – Butch Walker as…Glenn – What can you say about BW that hasn’t already been said? He’s a master craftsman and knows how to get the magic down on tape. Simply incredible, hooky, pop rock masterpieces that sound amazing and work together brilliantly on this wonderful concept album.

Sloan and The Beths both put out great records that’ll deservedly be all over the end-of 2022 lists.

Enuff Z’Nuff put out a surprisingly strong collection of Sunset Strip meets Cheap Trick hooks.

It was another fantastic year for rock and roll! xx

Jim Basnight

My favorite songs of 2022: “After The Lights Go Out” Walker Brothers (1965), “Tired Of My Life” David Bowie (1971) and “Going Down Slow” St. Louis Jimmy (1941).

John Dunbar (John Sally Ride)

Toni Tubna with The Stockholm Tuba Sect – When The Magic Went Wrong

Nomden – Parallel Universe

Adrian Belew – Elevator

Lindsay Murray (Gretchen’s Wheel)

1. Chris Church – Darling Please

2. Bird Streets – Lagoon

3. Sloan – Steady

If I could add an honorable mention for a compilation album: An Andy Bopp Compendium (remixed/remastered by Nick Bertling)

Morten Henriksen (The Yum Yums)

1. Trevor Blendour – Falling In Love

2. Trevor Blendour – Falling In Love

3. Trevor Blendour – Falling In Love

Neil Christie (Emperor Penguin)

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Elvis Costello and the Imposters – The Boy Named If

Favorite song – Will I be Cool by Golden Richards.

Nick Frater

Michael Rault – Michael Rault

The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field

Spygenius – Jobbernowl

Nick Piunti (Nick Piunti & The Complicated Men)

Wet Leg – Wet Leg

Alvvays – Blue Rev

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Nisse Donders (Navigate, Apeshit, Sweet Sweet Music blog’s Head of Cool)

BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing

The Well Wishers – Blue Sky Sun

Dazy – Out of Body

Patrick Donders (Sweet Sweet Music blog)

Sloan – Steady

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

Young Guv – Guv III

Andy Bopp – An Andy Bopp Compendium (remixed/remastered by Nick Bertling)

BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing

Phil Yates (Phil Yates & The Affiliates)

Young Guv – GUV III

Rolling Blackouts C.F. – Endless Rooms

BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing

Ray Gianchetti (Kool Kat Musik)

Cheap Star – Wish That I Could See

Lolas – All Rise

The Sun Sawed In 1/2 – Triptych

And , for good measure “Pop Aid – A Power Pop Compilation To Benefit The Citizens Of Ukraine”!

Reinhard van Biljon (The Cudas)

Fuzzbubble – Cult Stars From Mars

Sloan – Steady

Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns

Richard Rossi (, Rumble Strip)

Greg Pope – Rise of the Mythical Creatures

The Glad Machine – Hey!

Jellyfox – Holy Moly!

Richard Turgeon

I vote for mine, Rough Around the Edges ; )

Robby Miller

Toledo – How It Ends

Sloan – Steady

NO WIN – Dodgers Stadium

Ryan Allen (Extra Arms)

I should start by saying that these aren’t necessarily my 3 favorite records from 2022, nor do I really love the idea of placing records into a specific genre (even if some typical genre signifiers exist on the records) – good music is just good music, ya know? But that being said, there are 3 records that came out this year that (if you twist my arm) I would call “power pop” that deserve more attention. So with my disclaimer out of the way, I present them to you in no particular order (actually, these are in order, but whatever):

1. Ex-Void – Bigger Than Before: When I heard “Churchyard” all way the way back in January of 2022, It immediately bowled me over. I think I proclaimed that it was going to be the best song of the year. Almost 12 months later, it still holds true. Why? Well, Ex-Void channel the jangle-heavy spirit of Black Tamborine or “Simpatico”-era Velocity Girl, outfitted with male/female vocals that are often times sung in unison. On top of that they add some Teenage Fanclub-esque guitar work and throw in a dash of hardcore and punk influences to give their sound a unique spin. So basically it’s everything I like rolled into one band. But aside from all the influences, these UK kids just really know their way around a song, tossing off one catchy banger after another with little to no stress. If this band is unfamiliar to you, then do yourself a favor and please change that. Hear it

2. Jacky Boy – Mush: Jacky Boy fell onto my radar courtesy of Mark Palm of Seattle crunchy power-pop studs Supercrush. Mark is a music fanatic and he’s always posting about good shit to check out…usually made by friends the band has made during their heavy touring schedule. Anyway, I can’t quite put my finger on exactly how to describe Jacky Boy’s catchy pop except that it shares a lot of touchstones with 90s slacker rock. It’s not overly caffeinated or uptempo like a lot of power pop bands tend to be, instead delivering a more laid back (but still loud) approach that isn’t too dissimilar to, say, mid-period Buffalo Tom, or maybe Tom Petty, or even something like Third Eye Blind. I dunno – I never got into them. Anyway, there’s a real ease to what they do – nothing seems forced, and it feels like the kind of record you would put on in the car with your friends driving to the thrift store to buy oversized cardigan sweaters and stripped t-shirts. Hear it

3. Classic Traffic – S/T: In 2021 and on into 2022, I got VERY into buying bootleg band t-shirts via Instagram. Name a band, and I probably have a t-shirt by them (oh, you want a Teenage Fanclub soccer jersey? I got that. A Gin Blossoms shirt celebrating their essentially unheard first album “Dusted”? I have that, too.) Anyway, one of dudes who runs a bootleg account I follow posted about his band saying something like, “Oh I have a band, we have a record coming out, check it out.” Very nonchalant tho. So I did. And I was blown away. Classic Traffic mine similar sonic territory as the Posies, Teenage Fanclub and Dinosaur Jr., adding a bit of classic rock/riff-y edge to balance out the pop. It’s really great stuff that I doubt many people have heard. But it’s WELL worth your time. Hear it

And just because, here’s a few other “lesser-known-but-probably-more-known-than-the-ones-I-picked” power-pop adjacent records I recommend checking out:

Young Guv – III & IV

Mo Troper – MTV

Dazy – Out of Body

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

Tony Molina – In the Fade

Romero – Turn It On!

Sabeth Elberse (Sabeth Elberse Studio, Sweet Sweet Music blog’s Head of Design)

Romero – Turn It On!

Model Shop – Love Interest

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Sandy McKnight

1. Fernando Perdomo – Moon River

2. Christopher Peifer – The Long Goodbye

3. Liv Cummins – Let Me Go

Scott Gagner

(…) the best Power Pop I’ve heard would certainly be Nick Frater’s “Dancing With a Gertrude” single. One of the best chorus melodies I’ve heard in years.

Scott Theabo

Maple Mars – Someone’s Got To Listen

Lannie Flowers – Flavor Of The Month

The Cowsills – Rhythm Of The World

Shane Tutmarc (Dolour)

1. Castilho – Today we’ll be the lucky ones

2. Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns

3. Shintaro Sakamoto – Like A Fable

S.W. Lauden (aka Steve Coulter) (TSAR, The Brothers Steve, ‘Go All The Way’ and ‘Go Further’)

1. Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

2. 2nd Grade – Easy Listening

3. Young Guv – Guv III

Tim Boykin (Lolas)

My Picks for Best 3 Power Pop Songs of 2023:

1. Alvvays – Many Mirrors

2. White Reaper – Pages

3. Chubby and the Gang – Who Loves Ya? (Coup d’état)

Victor Ramirez (Ramirez Exposure, Marc Jonson & Ramírez Exposure)

The Cowsills – Rhythm Of The World

Bart Davenport – Episodes

Model Shop – Love Interest

Yoshiyuki Morikawa

Dungeon Of Skeletons – Patterns 

Marc Valentine – Future Obscure

Marc Jonson &  Ramirez Exposure – Turning On The Century Vol.1

Fox Paloma – Retrospectacular

Fox Paloma, from Denmark, makes catchy and delicious Psych Pop inspired by the sound, smell, and color of the 60s. Rasmus Holst introduces the band.

How did this record come together?

Our EP really started to come together when we went to Starrsound Recording Studio to record the songs. We had made a few demos and picked 4-5 songs to record. But it was unfinished arrangements and some songs missed lyrics altogether. But it was intentional. We have a fantastic partnership with our producer Søren Christensen, and together we worked on the songs. And Starrsound Recording Studio is a heaven for retro lovers. It’s owned by the band The Courettes, and the gear, equipment, and interior are all old stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. Even the lounge/living room/bedroom is a vibe: It’s all red. Red carpets, red painted walls, red TV, red chairs, red cups, red fork, red radio and so on. And everything is retro stuff. We wanted to use that vibe and time bubble as inspiration for our songs.

How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

Our urge to stay creative grows every time we finish songs and/or release new songs. We are always inspired to grow as a band, make better songs, and better records. 

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Brian Wilson would surely be one of them, because he writes beautiful harmonies and chord arrangements. Kevin Parker because of his expertise in making vintage sound modern. And then JVKE. He is very playful and skillful in mixing genres such as pop, hip hop, and classical music and just make it work perfectly – in a way he just as forward thinking as Brian Wilson back in the day.

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

We’ll always remember our gig at Spot Festival in Aarhus, Denmark in May 2022. It’s a festival for upcoming artist (some more upcoming than other), and we felt like we arrived on a wild card. Nobody really knew anything about us. So our expectations weren’t that great.

We decided to release “Bubble” as a single that day. And to our surprise a few hundreds came to our show, we handed out soap bubbles toys to the audience – it was a blast! People were dancing and blowing bubbles everywhere!

 Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

We write music for people not for ourselves. It’s wonderful to work on songs in the studio and it’s great to release them to the world. But nothing beats playing our music in front of a crowd and get the immediate reaction. To see them dance and hear them sing along to our songs. Feel the vibe and energy. When we really connect with the crowd, and the crowd connects with us – that’s when it all makes sense. 

What compliment you once received will you never forget?

One of our missions with Fox Paloma is to bring back the 60’s vibe. We absolutely love 60’s music and in the beginning of the “project” we almost exclusively draw our inspiration from back then. After our very first gig on our very first tour in 2022 a young bloke came up to us and said: “I felt like I was at a Beatles concert”. To be honest, at first we didn’t take it as a compliment – that’s one hell of a box to be put in. But then we thought about. Maybe his frame of reference of music from the 60’s is the Beatles. Thinking in that way he didn’t mean that we sounded like the Beatles. Instead, we embodied his imagined nostalgia of the 60’s. That’s when we thought we were on to something. We nailed the sound and the vibe! Or maybe he just thought we sounded like the Beatles…..

Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

We love being in the studio – it’s such an immersive experience. We’ve recorded at Starrsound Recording Studio a couple of times now and we’ve had many magical moments there. For this record it was especially magical when the sample in the intro to our song “Bubble” was added. It felt like it all was coming together.

If you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record, who would you ask?

Our dear friend Jonas Ringtved, Brian Wilson and Robin Pecknold!

‘colouring outside’ and being the epitome of underground.

‘I think our songs are distinct from many other songs because we imagined all of the songs from these releases as coming from a fictitious 80s jangle pop band in a French Colony off the coast of Newfoundland who never released a record and broke up under suspicious circumstances. That is a mouthful, but it is true that these songs are to be viewed through this lens. Another thing that sets us apart is Charles Austin, who writes the music, and is an elite-level fuzz connoisseur. Also, unlike most bands, we purposefully obfuscate our songs and degrade their fidelity. We hoped the songs would sound like an old water-damaged cassette found in a moldy basement.’, says Josh Salter. He is talking about his band Colouring Outside, who released many great songs in the last couple of years.

What place do you occupy in the music industry?

I would like to say the very bottom wrung of the ladder, but the truth is probably the ground on which the ladder rests. Maybe even the soil beneath. We are the epitome of underground.

The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

Success for our records is mostly dependent on us enjoying making the music. Literally, anyone hearing said music is a plus. We’ve never played a show (except in our elaborate fictitious backstory).

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

The Pooh Sticks – On Tape

Elyse Weinberg – Houses

The Boy Hairdressers – Golden Showers

Shira Small – Eternal Life

The Replacements – Run For the Country

Who would you ask if you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record?

David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Stephen Stills circa 1968 or Alvin, Theodore, and Simon circa 1980.

Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns (Q&A)

‘I get into a funk when I’m not creating.’, says Nashville-based singer-songwriter Justin Kline; that’s probably one of the reasons why he started a new band with his kids during the pandemic. That band is Dungeon of Skeletons and Patterns; the grand debut is chock full of great, sharp, crispy, catchy Power Pop songs.

How did this record come together?

It almost came together by accident. Most of our listeners aren’t aware, but our band consists of me and my children, ages 16-22. When they were younger, I used to teach them how to play simple melodies on piano, guitar, etc. We were able to get everyone playing together at the same time and started messing around with ideas. Our first song, “Valencia” was written pretty fast. We kept it super simple, but catchy and fun. When the pieces started coming together, I remember thinking “This is actually pretty good!” My mind goes a million miles per hour so I immediately started planning an album. We worked on more songs during the beginning of the pandemic when everything was shut down, and the rest is history.

The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

Yea, success is subjective, I guess. When we finished the record and listened to it as a whole, we all felt a sense of accomplishment. Some laughter, some tears… all the good stuff. To me, that is success. We’ve been getting good feedback from our listeners, which means a lot to us. To me, the best feeling of accomplishment is knowing that we set out to make the record we wanted to make and we achieved it. But getting millions of dollars from a record label wouldn’t be too shabby either.

How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

As humans, I think we have to keep moving. I get into a funk when I’m not creating. Even when it’s not music, I have to keep my hands and brain busy with either projects in the garage or even cooking. Keeping myself in a constant place of creativity is a must or I start losing my mind.

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Hmm, maybe Mike Viola, John Davis, and Andy Sturmer. I would say Brian Wilson or Paul McCartney, but we would geek out too hard and get nothing done. Mike Viola writes some of the best lyrics and melodies ever. He’s a huge inspiration for us. I would say John Davis and Andy Sturmer for the same thing. All of them are melody masters.

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

Oh man, this is good. I asked the other bandmates to throw out some ideas too:

Beatles “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey”

Mike Viola “Strawberry Blonde”

Superdrag “Baby’s Waiting”

Weezer “Jamie”

Beach Boys “Wonderful”

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

I think our male and female vocals are pretty unique. I know it’s been done before, but it’s a little less common than most bands, I would say. One of my favorite things about The Beach Boys would be their sibling vocal harmonies. Since their vocal tones and characteristics are similar, the vocals are that much sweeter to my ears. Since we’re all family, I think our vocals blend pretty well too… but Beach Boys take the cake with that one, am I right?!

What compliment you once received will you never forget?

I’ve been told a couple of times in the past that music I’ve been involved with kept people moving forward and/or from giving up, which feels indescribable.

Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

I loved working on the bridge for “Turn the Key” on this record. We don’t try to pull off a certain sound. We’re just trying to make the music we want to hear. During the bridge, it repeats the lyric “Don’t go back the way you came, Don’t go back the way you came from…” and then another vocal part comes in at the same time underneath. When we were tracking the vocals for this, we kinda looked at each other like… HECK YES.

The record is done, the music is out. Is the best fun done now or is it just beginning?

We had lots of fun making the album. We’re already talking about album #2, but ya know… life happens so it’ll probably be a while before we can get the ball rolling with it. We’ve been talking about what the track list might look like. We’re even brainstorming a 3rd album already. But for now, we just want to get Patterns out to as many people as we can. We’re so thankful for the passionate music lovers that’ve been spreading the word. It seems like it’s been pretty organic, so we’re very excited to see how far the music will spread.