Karen Elson, the British model and musician, has released her second album following a seven year hiatus since the release of “The Ghost Who Walks”. Elson’s “Double Roses” brings to mind the singer-songwriters of Laurel Canyon and the counterculture musicians such as Joni Mitchell and Carole King. The album has numerous highlights, but “Hell and High Water,” “Raven,” and most certainly “Distant Shore” cannot be passed by. This is an album not to be missed.
Lexy Cassell is a singer/songwriter from Long Island, NY. She mixes pop, rock and punk into her music style. Songs she sings reflect her life philosophy which are to break the norms. Her song Original is about being yourself and is currently played in rotation on several radio stations. It won the people’s choice for most votes in Newsday’s Battle of the Bands contest. Lexy has performed at Jones Beach and local events, fairs, concerts and TV shows. She also enjoys skateboarding and is a sponsored skateboarder, team rider and model for sPACYcLOUd and Skate Girls Tribe. She visits high schools as a teen mentor and has spoken at school assemblies for anti-bullying awareness.
HVUM: How do you describe yourself? What are your key strengths, and generally, where might you like to improve personally?
LC: I’d describe myself as a hard working and resilient. I’ve broken 4 bones skateboarding and I don’t give up easily, I love a challenge. I also enjoy being able to entertain people. I’m always working on improving myself and moving forward, whether it’s olling a 4 step on my board or a new song on the piano. If it’s nice outside I can forget the time and skate all day so trying to manage my time can be hard if I have a few things going on in one day.
HVUM How do you view your family in relation to your wanting a career in music?
LC: Without the support from my family this wouldn’t be possible. My parents drive me to events, coordinate my schedule and pay for expenses. They also let the band practice in my basement.
HVUM: Tell us about your background and development in music. When and why did you start playing music? Did you have any formal training?
LC: When I was around 8 I would go into my room and dance around, make music videos and post them on You Tube. When my mother found out I was doing it I thought I might be in trouble but she watched the videos and liked them. She told me she would get me singing lessons if that’s what I wanted to do and she also enrolled me in a local music school.
HVUM: Are there any particular musicians or bands that have influenced you?
LC: Yes, when I was 8 I saw Lady Gaga perform a News Eve show in Miami. I watched her from the hotel balcony and it was that moment I knew I wanted to have a career in music. There are so many artists I enjoy. I love Avril, Britney Alanis, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Evanescence and Paramore just to name a few.
HVUM: Do you think being a female in a rock band is any different than being male? If you think that there are differences, what are they?
LC: I don’t look at it that way. I like to be known as myself. Just like when I skateboard I don’t like people to say I’m a good skateboarder for a girl. I’d like to be known as a good skater period. Most of the contest I skate at I’m usually the only girl so I’m use to competing with the guys.
HVUM: When it comes to building your individual brand as an artist or as a band how do you set your objectives and priorities? What are the toughest objectives to achieve?
LC: Part of building my brand is being true to who I am. So it’s pretty easy. I basically just do random Lexy stuff. I believe it’s me just being me. I enjoy making videos goofing around and letting people just get to know me as a person and see who I am, I do what I like and that’s how I feel I can really connect.
HVUM: Thinking about the key elements for your success how you rank Talent, Team support, Technology, Networks and markets, financial support.
LC: Talent is number one and number two is having committed people supporting you. The rest are all equally important.
HVUM: Given that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…) are so important how do you deal with the demands of networking online? What do you consider to be the pros and cons of social media as a means for driving success?
LC: I love to use social media as a tool to network.. I recently started going LIVE on Face book *Lexy Cassell and Instagram *Lexyy Cassell. I don’t see too many downfalls so far social media has been very helpful for me. I can book shows and share information and make new friends. HVUM: Are you ever concerned about your public image or do you expect people to accept you as you are and forget about changing to meet public approval?
LC: Something that’s important to me is to be who you are. I’m happy with being myself. I’m not perfect and I don’t feel pressure to be that way because I try to keep it real. Part of being a skater means my sneakers are a mess my jean have holes and my hair is all over the place. I feel I’m pretty authentic to who I am and it would be hard to change that. I’d look pretty silly in high heels and a dress on a skateboard.
HVUM: Given that you are young, are you ever concerned that your efforts to build a music career will “disconnect” you from your closest peer group (schoolmates, for example)?
LC: Absolutely not. I get what I have to get done during the week. For example school, lessons and band practice. On the weekends if I’m not performing, I have sleepovers, eat out and go to the mall with my squad. During the summer I spend a few weeks at Woodward which is an extreme sports camp for skateboarders, BMX bikers, and cheer.
HVUM: Do you get nervous before you perform in public or does it just come naturally to you?
LC:When I was younger I did. Not now, it’s just what I do and I look forward to doing it.
HVUM: What is your most memorable moment as a musician? Do you have an experience you’d like to forget? Can you tell us about it?
LC: My most memorable moments are when someone special surprises me and comes to one of my shows.
HVUM: What are your primary social causes or interests?
LC: I’m very involved in Autism Awareness and have spent several Sundays playing at a local Café the employs young adults with developmental disabilities. I support Paws of A Cause and Long Island Domestic Violence Awareness. I also helped raise money for Stony Brook Children’s Hospital here on Long Island.
HVUM: Is there anything you’d like to add to the interview? Anything we’ve missed?
LC: Yes. Recently I’ve started a band called ELISA. It stands for East Long Island Skate Agenda. I have an amazing guitarist Andrew Friedman, cool David Wolfsohn on bass and hitting the drums is Peter Leonardo. We all immediately clicked from our first time we played together I think it’s because we’re all skaters.. We have a great vibe and energy and we’re starting to record our own songs, have booked several shows and a TV interview and just love to hang together and be real.
This month I started a job as a DJ on Radio Buzz 101 Real Alternative. I’m on Sunday from12am-2am and my goal is to bring some attention to the hardworking local bands out there.
Lexy, thanks so much for taking time with us! You’ve got a lot of talent and energy to make things happen. We wish you all the very best of luck and success. Let’s stay in contact going forward. Again, thank you.
Sallie Ford’s second album “Soul Sick” is all about…well…soul sickness or those feelings and emotions that give rise to fear, anxiety and troubles of living in one’s own skin. Ford is certainly not the first to pick up on the themes of the album, but what makes this recording worth the time is her energy and abililty to bring together disparate sounds such as retro Top 40, rock, and psychedelia. Check it out!
Alabama native Allison Crutchfield has released her first solo album “Tourist in This Town”. Produced by Jeff Zeigler, the album makes use of Zeigler’s knowlege of synthesizer music lending space to the recording. As for Crutchfield she artfully captures feelings of that go with breakups (anger and sadness), but the listener won’t feel trapped in the past. It’s clear that Crutchfield has moved forward. While there’s a sense of popishness on the album there’s still plenty of rock influence.
Led by singer/songwriter Lydia Night, The Regrettes have released “Feel Your Feelings Fool!”, delivering a very high energy punk-pop thwack. Despite the sense of urgency one might feel from the fifteen-track album, the band is led by Lydia Night who does know how to write songs that stick. Night formed the Regrettes with guitarist Genessa Gariano, bassist Sage Nicole, and drummer Maxx Morando in 2015.
Emily Jane White
They Moved in Shadow All Together
California indie rock, folk-rock, indie acoustic artist has released her fifth album. The album is hypnotizing and even eerie at times. She addresses social battles and injustices faced by women. In addition to the lead tract, “Frozen Garden”, special recognition goes to “Pallid Eyes” and “Nigtmares on Repeat”.
Punk rock verteran Alice Bag has released her first solo album on the Don Giovanni label. She is a noted musician, author and feminist. The album offers up plenty of rock (”Little Hypocrite”), but there’s also some intelligent pop (”Suburban Home”) and Latin folk-rock (”Incorporeal Life”).
Festival season is upon us! If you live or are planning to travel to Europe this summer, we have compiled a list of exception music events happening this summer! Below are a variety of events that will have groups from around the world performing rock, alternative, metal, folk, and more! You can visit the websites provided for each event to check out the artist roster and purchase tickets.
“You just need to believe in yourself. Anyone can sing. Anyone can play the guitar. It’s not that people can say that “I’m not good at that”. It’s not true. You have to not let fear hold you back.” Heather Boo, Beau
On 1 April, HorizonVU Music’s Phil Cartwright met up in Paris with Beau – Heather Boo and Emma Rose – for an informal conversation about the duo’s background, development and points-of-view toward music and expression. Many thanks to Viviane Bres, Kitsuné Records, for making the meet-up possible.
HVMU: This afternoon we have the opportunity to visit with Emma Rose and Heather Boo – together known as Beau. It’s a real pleasure for HorizonVU Music to have the chance to hear your live performance and meet you for a visit today. We can talk a bit about your background, what’s been going on with Beau and talk a bit about the future.
We’ve done our homework reading your profile and interviews that you have done (The Village Voice and Numéro, for example). We understand that you are from New York City, you met through family connections and you have been friends for a long time. You are basically self-taught as far as your musical background is concerned which is quite incredible. Developing on your own is quite amazing.
Can you tell us a bit of the backstory? We have a following of young female emerging musicians and they like to hear from success stories. Surely, you didn’t decide just to have a band one day and all of a sudden you had a manager, a label and went on tour. Can you tell us how your story evolved?
HB: Well, we were always writing music. We started writing songs. This was after we knew how to play the guitar. This is before I started singing. I thought I was going to be a guitar player. We were writing songs, we got inspired by other musicians who are songwriters and we just knew that is what we wanted to do. We started writing and playing guitar together and that’s when things came full-circle. We realized that we have a lot to say. Not only that, but were not going to be self-conscious and be held back. We were going to write, write, write and produce until we thought we had something we felt good about. We made a lot of music. We recorded music on our iPhone and someone heard it.
I started singing and Emma started playing the guitar heavily. She got really involved. She started when she was twelve years old. She just grew. I started singing and became more confident. There’s a thing about music. You do not need to take lessons. You just need to believe in yourself. Anyone can sing. Anyone can play the guitar. It’s not that people can say that “I’m not good at that”. It’s not true. You have to not let fear hold you back. We are human beings in a society where we have been chanting and singing melodies for years, so that is natural.
So, a friend of a friend heard our music and introduced us to the head of our record label. He popped the question whether or not we had a record label and whether we would like one. We said “yes”.
HVUM: That’s fabulous; a great story. When you look back from where you re today and thinking about people that are starting out, were there any real bumps in the road that you hit and you haven’t forgotten them? How did you get over the bumps?
ER: There are bumps in every road. I don’t think it was one big thing that happened. It was a bunch of little things that happened all the time. That’s where the magic happens, too.
I think the attacks in Paris were really crazy for us. We were on tour in Europe at the time. We were in The Hague at the time. We had the day off the day after the attacks. We started asking ourselves what we should do. That’s one time we questioned whether or not we should take a break. It was scary and it first seemed like musicians were targeted, but of course, it was everyone. That was a big eye-opening event for us in the world. Other than that no real problems.
HVUM: That’s great. So far, so, good. One thing that we’ve noted about your music is that you have a very cool eclectic sound. As we listen to the album we hear rock, folk/rock, a little blues, folk, and some punk and even some jazz. The punk came through more in your live performance last night than it does on the album. The album is beautiful. There is some more “mellow” sounding music. Many musicians have a hard time being eclectic. They hit on a genre and stay with it. They never get outside the borders. How did you pull it off?
ER: We never thought about it. That’s how we pulled it off. When you start thinking about things, nitpicking and judging your music that’s when it all goes wrong.
HB: We are inspired by a lot of people growing up in New York. Every day we wanted to write. I feel like performance-wise making a genre for a band can be a big mistake. Either the band makes the genre or the people make the genre. If the band makes the genre they stick to one thing. If the people make the genre they need to put a label on each song.
Our style and the style of our producer shows through on our Beau album. This gives the album a more specific genre than the live performance, but each song is so different that it should be put under its own genre like “open” or “worldly” or “confusing”. What makes a really good performance is the range a person can give to the audience. You’re expressing yourself. You are expressing the truth of the song, the emotion of the song. You have to be honest with the song and if you are honest each song will be different.
ER: On our set list we also try to put different kinds of songs.
HVUM: You mix it up very well. Can you help us tie together the title, ”That Thing Reality” with the tracks.
HB: Since all of the songs are so different, “That Thing Reality “ is a really good title. For me it felt right. Emma came up with the title and I felt very comfortable with it.
HVUM: What’s the story behind “Animal Kingdom”?
HB: It’s a funny story. Originally we didn’t know what to do with it. It sounded great; great melody, great hook. We weren’t sure if we wanted to talk about the relationship between man and beast or politics…
We had a crazy drummer and we produced a different version of it. It was crazy pop-punk. We all struggled with it. Writing with three people s difficult. We decided to put it on the album. Emma came with final lyrics that were solidified. Emma put it together. It was almost like a book; so detailed. We still didn’t feel comfortable. In the studio it was the last song we worked.
ER: It’s fun to play live.
HVUM: We’ve posted the video and it gets a positive response. Keep it up! Other than music, what do you do for fun?
Photo Credit: Amber Byrne Mahoney Photography
ER: Walk a lot.
HB: We like to walk and write and draw. In New York anything can happen; a naked guy walking down the street and somebody gives him a pair of socks and a shirt.
ER: I like Chinatown.
HB: We never get tired of New York. It’s always changing. No store stays there for more than five years. It still feels like home.
ER: And we have ridiculously creative and talented friends from New York. Sometimes I’ll call one of them. If they’re in a move I’m with them just because they’re so “out there”.
HVUM: Thanks for your time and we hope you’ll keep us up to date. Hopefully you’ll come back to Paris and have a night to yourself so you can play all twelve tracks. It’s been a pleasure talking with you and we wish you all the best!