Entertaining Angels

Modern and accessible rock

The Fabulous Hot Finks

Throwback rock with gutsy vocals and tasty hooks

Brent Kinseth

Intimate acoustic folk

Far Beyond Rescue

Hymns that rock

Mustard and the Works

Melodic rock

Friday, August 30, 2013

Interview with Chris Mullen of the Chris Mullen Band

Having known Chris Mullen since his early days with the post hardcore group, Against All Odds, it's been our pleasure to see him continue his journey in the music industry.  Recently, we had the opportunity to ask him about his story.

SPCS Records: What got you interested in music?

CM: Friends, honestly. I mean, I was always interested in music to a degree, but never really got encouraged that way as a kid, and I kind of felt like I wouldn't be any good at it. But, in middle school and high school, I had a lot of friends that we really into punk rock, and I just got hooked on the energy and feeling and expression that came out of music. My friends were also the ones who first pushed me to begin singing, which led to everything else.
SPCS Records: Which artists have most influenced the direction you've chosen with music?

CM: My music influences are based more on content, than on music genre or style alone. I feel a connection to a well written lyric that comes from a place of truth. So, in that way, I continue to be influenced by old punk rock albums that I used to listen to, like Blindside and Dogwood. And I am also influenced by new songwriters like Rocky Votolato, Ben Howard, and David Ramirez. I even really dig good hip hop lryicists like Mike Shinoda, and Eminem. They all influence me in different ways, but they are all there.

SPCS Records: What advice would you offer a musician that is just getting started?

CM: I feel unqualified to answer this question because I still feel like I am starting out—even though I've been at it for a while. I guess just to take time away from music to live life. Don't forget where you come from, but, even more importantly, don't stop being a person with real relationships and real experiences and friends that you relate to apart from your art. Too many artists have created this alternate reality of music and performance-centered exsistence, and they lose a relatable, neccesary part of who they are...in my opinion.

SPCS Records: What type of venue is your favorite to play?

CM: One with people in it, hah! But seriously, if there is no crowd to give that energy back to you, you eventually run out of energy. I love my music, but even I don't want to just play a three hour set to myself. More specifically, I like small venues, but real venues. I have played a lot of restaurants and bars, and, when the venue is food and drink first, music second, you have to fight for a place in the audience's attention. A small venue that is music first, bar and food second, is my favorite type... to play or to listen at.

SPCS Records: Thank you for your time today, Chris.

Chris Mullen's latest endeavors can be seen and heard here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Tip of the Hat to Mashups

During a recent search on YouTube for an innovative cover of Robbie Williams' smash hit single "Feel" from a decade ago, I found a lot of awful, typical YT swill. But I also stumbled upon an extremely prolific indie deejay and producer, Ronald Koenders, aka DJ Magic Baron (MB). Though the video production is not overly compelling, the audio is seamless and well executed.

While mashup covers have become the norm on YT, this one strikes at the heart of SPCS Records. In 2002, DJ Tayza released an album titled, "Homemade Trak Star" on the SPCS label. Included on the disc was a mashup featuring the Chemical Brothers' "Morning Lemon" against Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." Though the Koenders mashup is purely studio work, whereas the DJ Tayza mix was completely live, the spirit of creativity is the same.

I reached out to DJ MB, but received no response*. So, I can't tell you any more than to encourage you to geek out over Koenders' masterful interweaving of Robbie Williams and Adele Adkins.

—A.Hunt, SPCS Records
*UPDATE: Since the writing of this post, DJ MB has contacted SPCS Records and assures us that he is still busy creating tasty mashups of all varieties.

Friday, August 16, 2013

We Love YouTube...and Who vs Who

This week's YouTube selection is strictly about fun ear candy. I first stumbled onto Who vs Who's music during a search for a compelling, rock-infused cover of the smash hit ballad "The A Team," by Ed Sheeran. While their version brings back memories of fun times with groups such as American Hi-Fi and Sum 41, it's their original single that really grabbed my attention.

Sure, Who vs Who quickly draws obvious comparisons to Paramore and even some of the raw, early sounds of No Doubt, but I always enjoy hearing a European interpretation of American Punk. With energetic vocals and a tight rhythm section, it's no wonder that Who vs Who has won several local competitions in the Netherlands.

Their single "Trying" is a fun and youthful track with lots of tasteful touches in its production. Mastered by world-renowned engineer Ted Jensen, there is much to enjoy in this relatively unknown video.

—A.Hunt, SPCS Records

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Interview with Mychal Cohen of Campfire OK

We had the pleasure of seeing Mychal Cohen and his band, Campfire OK on their recent tour with Anberlin. Mychal was gracious enough to field a few questions about his personal journey with music. 

SPCS Records: What first got you interested in music?

MC: I remember being about 12 years old, and having a group of friends that said they were starting a band. For some reason I just decided I was going to be in it. I had loved music up till that point because of my mother, but for some reason never thought about playing. After the 12 year old me decided I was going to join a band, I asked for a guitar, and got a bass. I had no idea what it was. But I just started playing, and listening, and playing, and listening.

SPCS Records: What keeps you interested in music?

MC: Constantly listening to music that I did not think was interesting. I know that sounds strange, but I look at some genres that have huge amounts of listeners and think, "There must be something awesome in there." So, I start listening to music that I don't actually like at first, and learn to find the cool parts in it. Also, playing music with friends, and having listeners who are extremely generous. Having people tell you they care about your music is reason enough to continue doing it, but having friends in your band is like icing on a cake.

SPCS Records: Do you have what you consider to be an indispensable piece of gear? If so,  what is it, and why is it crucial to you?

MC: Yes. I bought a piano when I was 13 at a garage sale for $120 in Arizona, and started playing it on a daily basis when I was 16. It just reminds me of where I came from. It sounds kinda bad, but it sounds like me, so I have a huge affinity for it. It has moved with me in every house I have lived in, and will continue to do so until it breaks.

SPCS Records: In your experience, is private instruction important to musical growth?

MC: I think private musical instruction is extremely important. I think budding musicians need to be able to hear how other musicians think about their instruments, how they feel about playing, learn how to communicate with them, and how to be comfortable not being comfortable in a musical setting. I feel that learning music is just like learning whatever language you speak first. You have to have someone or a group of people show you how to do it, and in what context. I also strongly feel that at a certain point, every musician must travel on their own musical path without instruction. It is the only way they can find their musical personality.

SPCS Records: Is your personal songwriting process more of a solo or a collaborative effort?

MC: My songwriting is much more of a personal process to begin with. I write all of the lyrics, chord progressions, and forms of the songs. But at a certain point I need the rest of my band to come in and develop the sound. Everyone brings an interesting element to the table, and luckily for me, they are both smart and the let me direct their musical path within a song, just like they direct where they see the song going. So in a way, it is both.

SPCS Records: Mychal, thank you for your time today.

MC: Thanks so much!!

Mychal Cohen's latest endeavors can be seen and heard here.