Latin American reggaeton rapper The Dream X takes the globe by storm with his infectious singles “Tijuana” and “BLA BLA” ft. Monaleo. The Salt Lake City-based artist sits down to chat about growing up as a classically trained opera singer to blending various genres in his recent project. With over 350,000 streams on “Tijuana” and no stopping in sight, fans of Bad Bunny, Jack Harlow, The Weeknd, or MGK will want to pay attention now.
Q&A with The Dream X
POETRY DANS LA RUE: How long have you been releasing music in general, and professionally?
The Dream X: “I started releasing music in 2020, but more so as a hobby, not necessarily as a professional career. Back then, the releases that I put out were mainly opera. Being classically trained in opera helped with melody building and lyrics. Going into music as a profession has always been a dream, so being able to do it now as an artist feels surreal.”
POETRY DANS LA RUE: After listening to your singles “BLA BLA” and “Tijuana,” I love the contrast between the two with the languages and the styles.
The Dream X: “I wanted to do something different with the two. “BLA BLA” is more culturally significant. I wanted to break the language barrier between these two countries to bring my music to different people. Even if people don’t understand everything, it joins English and Spanish together. We made “BLA BLA” with Monaleo, a hip-hop sensation, so we were very excited to have her featured on the song. She’s definitely a lyrical genius.”
The Dream X on Influences & Dream Collabs
PDLR: What genres or artists do you consider your main influences for songwriting?
The Dream X: “I have a lot of artists that I look up to to create the sound that I have. I love Bad Bunny, The Weeknd, and Post Malone; there are a lot of influences that go into it.”
PDLR: Any artists who are under the radar that inspire you?
The Dream X: “There’s an artist I follow who makes these beautiful beats. I listen to his music, and it makes me feel like I want to make something with the same energy. I work with him as well, so it’s great to feed off of that. His name is Michael Piroli.”
PDLR: Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with?
The Dream X: “I have an entire list of people I’d love to work with! My #1 dream collab would have to be Machine Gun Kelly. The second person would be Feid. Others would, of course, be Bad Bunny and Swae Lee…”
“Drama” Coming Soon
PDLR: Can you talk a little about the next single that is coming out?
The Dream X: “I’ve been working on a lot of music. The song that we are planning to release next is called “Drama.” It’s also very different from the previous two; it’s partially in Spanish with more English. I combine four different genres on this track. It’s a mix of pop, moombahton, reggaeton, and rap. It’s set to release this month.”
PDLR: What advice do you have for young indie artists or artists who are just starting their journey?
The Dream X: “Don’t give up because many people will discourage you. People will tell you you’re losing money and pouring money into it, and that it won’t pay off, etc. Which is true, but it’s worth it in the end. Dream big, work hard, and make it happen. If it’s your dream and what you want, go for it. You’ve only got one life. It’s up to you if you’re going to leave a legacy or leave a mark on this world.”
When you don’t have the right atmosphere, sitting down and focusing on your craft or being creative can be challenging. Many musicians, writers, artists, photographers, and content creators flourish in the ideal creative workspace and environment. We aren’t talking about a traditional office space or workplace culture, but rather your in-home space or home studio where you create.
Turn your creative workspace or home studio into the ultimate mood board, and the ideas will jump out in front of you. Here are a few tips on how to make your space perfect for you.
1 // Curate Your Creative Workspace
Fill your space with art, music, and decor that inspires you. This doesn’t have to be expensive to make it motivating. You can use instruments you have, printed photos in black & white, magazines, old albums, vintage tees, antique finds, etc. Include albums or pictures of artists that inspire you (it could be musical artists, writers, poets, artwork, etc.). When you feel stuck, turn to one of those items for ideas.
2 // Start a Collection
A collection of artwork, books, albums, posters, etc., can bring feelings of nostalgia and take you back to when you first discovered it. Sometimes, it’s as simple as reading album notes, lyrics, or a favorite line in a book to spark your creative flow. Collecting also allows you to reflect on the past and see how much you have grown personally or in your career.
3 // Consider What Your Idols/Role Models Would Do
What would Prince do to set the mood and get in the zone of songwriting? How does Taylor Swift craft her most intricate lyrics? What do they surround themselves with? Who do they turn to for support and collaboration?
Picture the image of Prince at Paisley Park or Taylor Swift at Long Pond Studios. If music isn’t your trade, consider these same questions from the viewpoint of your favorite author or creator.
4 // Create A Mood Board
This can be as simple as creating a mood board on Pinterest or Canva and taping it to your wall. You can have a collage of photos around where you do your writing and brainstorming. Change your mood board with the seasons or new projects that take you to different feelings.
5 // Opt for Multiple Sitting Areas
You can have a desk for a laptop and computers, but consider different seating arrangements for reflecting, recording, filming, and relaxing. Your creative workspace doesn’t always mean sitting down and working in the traditional sense; allow yourself to explore your space and have aspects that encourage you to do so (i.e., the collection, photos, magazines, books, etc.).
6 // Invest Time
Invest a little time daily in your creative workspace, even if you explore ideas and recharge. Investing time in your space and craft doesn’t always resemble writing, playing, singing, creating, or editing. It can be researching your favorite artists, gathering new insights and perspectives, journaling, or enjoying coffee.
Investing time in your audience also plays a part in this; you can do a fun Q&A or try a new style of social media post. The more time you invest in your workspace doing creative things outside of your craft, the more the creative juices will flow during crunch time. For example, I listen to music, decorate, organize albums, and play with my son in my workspace, so I already have intentions and spark when it’s time to work.
Whether you’re an emerging artist in the music industry, a social media creator, or launching a small business, these five quick Instagram tips for artists and creators will help you build your brand and reach your audience.
Instagram Tips for Artists // Instagram Tips for Creators //
1 // Use a Business or Creator Account
While there are slight differences between these two types of accounts on Instagram, both allow you to access Instagram Insights. On Instagram Insights, you can track your analytics by posts, reels, and stories. You will have access to data such as accounts reached (followers vs non-followers) and how they came across your post or reel (hashtags, home, explore, other).
A Business Account is often recommended for small businesses, personal brands, and any account where you may be offering a service or product.
A Creator Account is often recommended for artists, social media influencers, content creators, public figures, and photographers, although personal preferences may differ.
2 // Use Instagram Insights
Once you choose a Business or Creator Account, you can access Instagram Insights and a Professional Dashboard. This will allow you to track when your audience is most active, what time of the day is best to post, and what content your audience engages with the most.
3 // Use Niche-Specific Hashtags
Finding your niche on a social media platform is one of the most important things for social media use. Once you find your niche, you will want to use niche-specific hashtags so your audience can easily find your posts. Examples of niche-specific hashtags include #musicblog #musicdiscovery #vinylcommunity #indiepopartist #ukhiphopartist #folksingersongwriter
4 // Engage in Niche Content
You will want to engage in other content from creators and artists within your niche and community. Share other artists’ posts, music, and reels, and like or comment on their content. If you see something trending in your niche, join the conversation or put your spin on it. Keep building relationships within your niche (other artists, creators, bloggers, music industry professionals, small business owners, etc.).
5 // Collaborate Within Your Niche
Continue to form connections with the community within your niche and collaborate with someone who may allow you to expand your audience. The collaborators could be bloggers, media outlets, or other artists (potentially those with a bigger following than you to expose you to a new audience).
Indie folk artist Pete Hobbs of Diving At Dawn finds redemption in releasing a single dating 25 years back. Diving At Dawn’s latest single, “I Can’t Love You Anymore,” brings back a history of turmoil for Hobbs. The London-based singer was the frontman of the band User at the time this song came to life. The three-piece power pop band had the opportunity to record “I Can’t Love You Anymore” with The Stones Roses producer Paul Schroeder. Shortly after, a record deal came to fruition, and Abbey Roads Studios was booked. Unfortunately for User, everything came crashing down in a dramatic stream of events that prevented the band from being signed and recording.
Hobbs went on to find success with The Boy Least Likely To, an English indie pop duo formed in 2002. The group has been supported by BBC Radio and Pitchfork. Their songs were also featured in films and tv shows like Easy A and Grey’s Anatomy.
With his solo project, Diving At Dawn, Hobbs revamped “I Can’t Love You Anymore” from its original power pop state to a more intimate folk ballad. Sometimes, songs have a way of coming full circle, and this one took a little reminder from Pete’s mom to inspire a journey back in time.
“It’s very strange to go back and inhabit something you created 25 years ago; much more emotional than I had anticipated. It’s almost impossible not to look back and wonder what my younger self, who had his whole career ahead of him…would think of how it all unfolded. It’s a beautiful full-circle moment for me.”
“I Can’t Love You Anymore” Song Review
“I Can’t Love You Anymore” encapsulates the backstory of a song that has taken the toll of time. It is a timeless tale of love, rejection, and a broken heart that resonates with those young and old. The song initially captivates with its melodic feel and almost seems to have been in the world this whole time. “I Can’t Love You Anymore” brings familiar feelings of longing for something you missed but couldn’t quite recall what it was. The folk ballad style of the latest version suits Diving At Dawn’s quintessential melancholic soundscapes.
Through the push and pull of the end of a relationship, the song embodies dispair, loneliness, and glimmers of hope. Diving At Dawn brings instant emotional connection with vulnerable vocals and sorrowful lyrics. “And I know I’m never gonna see you again, and the way I’m feeling now I’m better off dead, I know I’m only happy when I’m falling apart…” Hobbs transitions into a much more uplifting chorus of realizing all will be okay and he will prevail.
If you’re a fan of Beck, Van Halen, Wings, or similar artists, be sure to press play on “I Can’t Love You Anymore” from Diving At Dawn. Other recommended tracks include “Playing Your Records,” as previously featured on our blog, and “Lying By Myself.”
Did you find your song of the summer? Do you have a list of your favorite albums of 2023 so far? Maybe you caught onto Del Water Gap if you watched The Summer I Turned Pretty. Or if you followed along with the New Music Friday trends, you probably checked out Olivia Rodrigo, The National, and Morgan Wallen. If you’re still searching for some of the best emerging indie artists of the year, stay tuned for a breakdown of new music discoveries. Our summer 2023 wrap-up will put some new artists on your radar as we head into spooky season.
Amanda Cross’s music blends several genres, from folk to Americana, country, and rock. Her summer single “Desert Rose” has a haunting aspect that undoubtedly captures the atmosphere of the desert. The song comes to a powerful height, demonstrating Amanda’s vocal range and talent. “Desert Rose” sparks a similar feel to “The River” by Daisy Jones & The Six. Amanda Cross followed this single with “Tennesee,” a more stripped-down folk ballad.
ANI is a soul-pop artist whose music is pure, calming, and heartfelt. Her single, “Miss U,” is an easy-listening earworm and a perfect addition to any chill-out playlist. The bassline on this track drives the song but pauses for the listener to focus on the vocals and lyrics. The chorus is memorable and soothing as it echoes in your head. ANI most recently released “Waiting Game,” which features more of her soulful vocals and sultry sound.
Lucius Arthur is a pop-rock/punk artist from the U.K. His summer single, “Bad Trip,” proved to be a success for his audience. “Bad Trip” creeps into your head and instantly has you singing along in an angsty way. The vocals are inviting and unique, calling upon fans of Måneskin or The Struts.
Lucius recently followed “Bad Trip” with “Scarlet Tears,” a 90s-inspired single with a guitar style similar to Radiohead. He shows an array of emotions in his voice and a wide vocal range to keep the atmosphere captivating. After hearing these tracks, fans should be enthralled with the surprises in Lucius Arthur’s music.
Luther Clayton is an emerging singer-songwriter from the U.K. His recent single, “It’s Amazing,” showcases his songwriting talent and acoustic influences. The slow-building progression of this song keeps listeners eager to hear the story unfold. Moreover, the lyrics are eloquently written and delivered by Luther’s unmistakable vocals. You can hear musical inspiration from Luther’s influences, Ben Howard, Bon Iver, and David Gray. “It’s Amazing” is a heartbreaking track with an unexpected yet relatable ending.
Elijah Delgado’s music is for fans of Gary Clark Jr., John Mayer, Young the Giant, or Paulo Nutini. His latest single, “Pipe Dream,” draws listeners in with a minimal introduction focusing on the vocals and lyrics. “Pipe Dream” has many layers that play to Delgado’s depth and ability to blend genres. The structure of this song continues to give as it builds to a culminating high.
Del Water Gap (Samuel Holden Jaffe) is the most recognized artist on this list. His music became more prevalent with the second season of The Summer I Turned Pretty. His infectious singles, “All We Ever Do Is Talk,” “Losing You,” and “Coping On Unemployment” have infinite plays.
As a follow-up to his 2021 debut, Del Water Gap released his sophomore LP I Miss You Already + I Haven’t Left Yet. This album includes indie pop bops that will carry you into the end of the year. Standout tracks apart from the singles include “NFU” and “Glitter & Honey.” Del Water Gap’s second album is certainly gearing up to be a contender for AOTY.
Edgar Everyone is a French artist living in L.A. His most recent single, “Time is a nonlinear joke,” merges electronic, pop, dance, and funk. His style of music would resonate with fans of Tame Impala, Gorillaz, or Thundercat. “Time is a nonlinear joke” is psychedelic, melodic, and particularly transcendent. This track makes a great addition to any festival or concert pump-up playlist.
Cati Landry is a Canadian singer-songwriter who fuses indie, alt, and dream pop sounds. Her latest track, “Mind’s Eye,” is undeniably memorable and melodic. The chorus flawlessly achieves the goal of being catchy within the first few seconds. The combination of romanticism alongside poetic lyrics encourages you to dig deeper. Cati’s vocals seem to float as they carry the atmosphere of this song. “Mind’s Eye” is full of dreamy melodies and longing expressions that will stick in your head.
LiketheAstronaut is a new project from John Glenn of the band Stellar Young. Together with Dave Parker (Weerd Science producer), Josh Eppard (Coheed & Cambria drummer), and Kyle Hatch (Stellar Young guitarist), they released their debut EP. The EP, Moments Before, covers grief, new life, and reflection presented in an organic blend of soundscapes.
“A Part” is the lead single from this project, which holds a scope of deeper emotions masked by upbeat elements. “Slumber Still” is a favorite from the EP that pulls in every direction of life when you explore the lyrics. “Slumber Still” has layers of despair, vulnerability, and hope. The contrast of the ethereal instrumentals and significantly personal lyrics will have you listening repeatedly.
PRIMOVERE is an 8-piece Italian group that combines influences of indie pop, post-rock, new wave, and classical music. Their two most recent singles, “Funeral” and “Dopamine,” both hit with an abundance of emotions.
On “Funeral,” a glimpse of hope shines in the chorus of a mostly subdued and melancholic track. The song starts soft and focused, gradually building to a more amplified sound. The feelings of “Funeral” pierce the audience both musically and lyrically. “Dopamine” follows a similar suit, with flawless vocals and a clearly communicated message. The style of PRIMOVERE echoes the likes of The National with their ability to evoke a goosebump feeling from a ‘never-before-heard’ song.
Other best emerging indie artists of the summer include Holly Humberstone, Babe Rainbow, Shak SYrn, Anthony Ortiz, Nation of Language, and Cannons. All of these artists and more are featured in a selection of playlists below.
For the past two and a half years, Ryan Hommel worked alongside the cast of Daisy Jones & The Six as the guitar/bass coach and Music Director. Yes, that means he taught cast members like Sam Claflin and Riley Keough to play guitar and become a band in the hit series for Amazon Prime Video. Through the ups and downs of the pandemic and the steadfast dedication of the production team and cast, Daisy Jones & The Six came to life in 2023.
Ryan Hommel, a Massachusetts-based guitar player, songwriter, and singer, recently released his first album since 2015. Default To Open is the second full-length album from Ryan, dating back to 2016 when he recorded these songs. The lead singles from this album showcase his raw talent and knack for penning songs that resonate with a wide range of music fans. Gaining insight into the stories behind these songs makes the album all the more intriguing to hear them after eight years.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Ryan Hommel to learn more about this collection of songs. In the past eight years, Ryan welcomed a lot of changes. Of course, the pandemic delayed the filming of Daisy Jones & the Six, but the time spent with the cast solidified his journey as Music Director. After touring with Amos Lee’s band as a guitar and pedal steel player, Ryan welcomed a baby girl earlier this year. Going from uncertainty to fatherhood has led Ryan to new endeavors, beginning with the release of Default To Open.
Ryan Hommel Interview
POETRY DANS LA RUE: You seem to be all over recently with Daisy Jones & The Six, your music, and your family. What’s the backstory to where you are now?
Ryan Hommel: “I’m originally from Massachusetts. My wife and I met here and decided to move to L.A. together. We lived in L.A. for about four years, which included the time during the pandemic, then we moved back to Massachusetts when we found out we were expecting a baby. Now we have a five-month-old daughter.”
PDLR: So I saw your album, Default To Open, was recorded in Nashville. Can you talk about that time in your life?
Ryan Hommel: “We recorded the album almost entirely in Nashville at Blackbird Studio. I used to drive a lot from Massachusetts to Nashville. I wanted to absorb the world of country music that I didn’t grow up in. Being surrounded by that community, I became passionate about playing pedal steel and met many people in the music industry.”
Behind Default To Open
PDLR: You recently released “Bury Me” and “All the Time in the World” as the first two singles. Can you talk about why you led the album with those songs?
Ryan Hommel: “When I listened to the whole record, those songs popped out to me as singable. I love songs that you can immediately sing along to. It makes listeners feel the song is familiar and they’ve known it forever. I’m not saying these songs achieved that necessarily, but most of the record doesn’t come close to doing that. Some other songs are more exploratory, longer, and experimental in songwriting. “Bury Me” and “All the Time in the World” felt like a good way to introduce the record to new ears.”
PDLR: I’ve had more time with the singles, of course, than the other tracks, but I do agree. “Bury Me” has been in my head a lot. It is singable and maybe more melodic, which people can easily pick up on. I also picked out “Wide Open” from the other songs, which was a little longer. It was more in-depth, and I liked the direction it went.
Ryan Hommel: “That’s great to hear because “Wide Open” is the first song I ever wrote. Default To Open is made of songs like that. It was my first experience putting these songs together from different times. Default To Open has been finished for eight years, since 2016. It almost feels like a compilation album, putting pieces of my writing together but only from a decade ago and earlier. The most recently written song on the record is the last track, “Brent Song.” I wrote this as a friend of mine passed away eight years ago. So the album comprises pieces of my life from before until 2016.”
“From an archiving standpoint and gaining a new perspective with my daughter being born, it matters that these songs are out there.”
Ryan Hommel: “I’m glad you responded to “Wide Open.” It feels surreal to me that that song will be in the world. From an archiving standpoint and having a new perspective with my daughter being born, it matters that these songs are out there. It’s also cathartic and rewarding to know that my daughter will be able to find that.
Sitting on these songs and having more time to reflect gave me an extended perspective. I feel more lighthearted about the record and less attached to it as a whole, but it’s a point in time that paints one picture.
I’ve done a lot of touring and come across so many songwriters. I’ve had more time to absorb how artists perform, interact, and adapt. You can interact with your art in many ways, and people will find their meaning once it’s out there. Art and music breathe new life into other people, and they breathe new life back into it.”
PDLR: Do you have a specific song that was the most rewarding to write or that you hit exactly what you were trying to convey?
Ryan Hommel: “I think “Wide Open” came out exactly how that song should be presented. Even if I’m unsure what that means, I’ve never felt that after recording a song. “Wide Open,” “Bury Me,” and “All the Time in the World” were songs that I recorded by setting up a guitar and vocal with a drummer in another booth at Blackbird.
All of the vocals on this record are primarily live, with the main guitar layer and the drums. Filling in the blanks with bass, other guitar parts, pedal steel, and keyboard was rewarding. It was me supplementing the barebones tracks we had from the recordings. I felt proud of “Wide Open” from the initial performance and what it was after we finalized the production.
In the song “Same Side,” the album’s third single, I played everything from top to bottom. “Same Side” occurred at my friend Ryan Ordway’s studio in New Hampshire. I went in with this song and planned to record it in a day. I started with an acoustic guitar and a vocal and added drums, bass, some other guitars, and pedal steel. Going in with a blank canvas like that and sitting back and listening after a day is a satisfying feeling.”
PDLR: Who were some of your musical influences growing up, or who inspires you in your music?
Ryan Hommel: “My dad introduced me to a lot of guitar-based music as a young teenager. He was trying to get me out of my Stevie Ray Vaughan fixation at that age. He bought me a Steely Dan, a Jeff Beck, and a Robben Ford record. The guitar playing was nothing like what I was listening to at the time. My dad tried to show me that while Stevie Ray was excellent, there was another world of guitar players.
Before that, the music in my house was Stevie Wonder, Aretha, and Elvis Presley. Those were my first music memories, along with Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, and Howlin’ Wolf. My favorite current band has been Dawes. They are my gold standard in writing, performing, playing, and overall class and evolution.”
Daisy Jones & The Six
PDLR: How did you come into your role with the Daisy Jones series, and what was it like working with the cast?
Ryan Hommel: “So when my wife and I moved to L.A. at the end of 2019, I got a call from Tony Berg. He is an incredible producer and one of my producer heroes (Andrew Bird, Phoebe Bridgers, boygenius). I met him the year before, and he kept telling me to move to L.A. When we decided to move, he called me and said he had a two-month gig to teach guitar and bass to a handful of actors. The actors would come together and make this fictional band known as Daisy Jones & The Six from the book by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
At the time, Blake Mills and Tony Berg were running Sound City Studios in L.A., where many iconic artists have recorded. The show signed Tony as the Music Consultant for Daisy Jones & The Six and Blake Mills as the Executive Music Producer. Blake Mills wrote or co-wrote and produced all of the music for the soundtrack (alongside collaborators Tony Berg, Phoebe Bridgers, Taylor Goldsmith, Marcus Mumford, and Chris Weisman, among others). A huge bonus was the proximity to and the use of Sound City. The reality of the songwriting process and location mimicked the book’s storyline. So, plugging this fictional band into that time period and space was so surreal.
“The initial call was to have Daisy Jones & The Six be a fully functional band. If you put them on stage, they should be able to play this music flawlessly.”
I was set up across the street with Frankie Pine, the Music Supervisor, and a handful of other music coaches (drums, keyboard, vocal). We were working with the cast across the parking lot from Sound City. I was teaching Riley Keough (Daisy Jones), Will Harrison (Graham Dunne), and Josh Whitehouse (Eddie Roundtree) at the time, which was January 2020. Sam Claflin (Billy Dunne) came in around when everything shifted because of the pandemic.
They kept us remotely working on Zoom to keep the band learning. The cast members needed help learning their instruments and focusing on their characters’ roles, so most of that was done individually. Because I had been doing that, working with them collectively as a band made sense. So that’s how I fell into the role of Music Director for them as a band. Enter Suki Waterhouse (Karen Sirko) and Sebastian Chacon (Warren Rhodes), and we had Daisy Jones & The Six.”
“The initial call was to have them be a fully functional band even though they will be miming to recordings on the set. If you put them on a stage, they should be able to play this music flawlessly. That was a tall order, but everyone did their best and committed to the role.
Before we finally started shooting after the delay, we gathered the band at SIR in Hollywood for a private showcase. The showcase included everyone involved in making the show, like Taylor Jenkins Reid (book author), the Hello Sunshine media crew, Scott & Lauren Neustadter (creator), Reese Witherspoon (executive producer), Amazon, all the music crew, and more. It was particularly humbling to be a part of something that massive.
They absolutely achieved their goal, and they played the songs. They pretty much played the AURORA record front to back. Nabiyah Be (Simone) sang “A Song For You.” It was remarkable to see it pay off after keeping it going for so much longer than expected. They can all play and sing and have a natural chemistry that you can feel in the room.
My role transitioned into being on set with them whenever music was on camera. It was such a thrill to be there and coach them through those scenes. They were driven, motivated, and dedicated to learning to play music together, which certainly shows.”
PDLR: That’s incredible to hear your perspective. When reading a book, you envision how it will look. But then there was the uncertainty of not knowing if the show would happen or when. So when you hear it from you, it’s cool to see they came together as a band and learned it. You can see the realness in the show and the chemistry that you mention.
Looking Ahead For Ryan Hommel
PDLR: What’s next for you after the release of Default To Open?
Ryan Hommel: “The last record I put out was in 2015, and I began writing Default To Open around the same time. Of course, all these years have passed, and life has changed significantly. I’ve taken myself off the road to be with family and raise my daughter with my wife. I want to be present.
Releasing this record is putting me back in the game of how the industry works today. I’ve aided many people or worked on other records as a producer but haven’t put myself out there in a long time. I thank Greg Hall for running the backend of the album release and managing this campaign.
We hope that this album sets me up for future releases. I’ve already started working on the next record, which is more rooted in my life now, becoming a father and what family has come to mean. I enjoy getting the word out there and connecting with people in the music industry.
After releasing this record, I’m starting a new live in-studio video series. It’s something similar to Daytrotter or Audiotree. This project would be about working with new artists that I usually wouldn’t have the chance to, but they are coming through town on tour or local to this area.
The idea is to bring them to Ghost Hit Recording studio in West Springfield, MA, where I often work. The studio was built into this church from 1800, and the live room is the sanctuary with the original pipe organ. It’s just a place where you feel especially compelled to make music. I’d love to bring in artists as a stop on their tour and cut some live footage, very minimally mic’ed. It’s going to be called the 1:1 Sessions. It’ll be a YouTube channel and a website.”
Be sure to check out Default To Open, available on all streaming platforms. Keep up with Ryan’s endeavors on social media and follow the 1:1 Sessions on Instagram and YouTube.
California experimental pop band Gold Record recently released the heartfelt single “Big Eyes.” This melodic track will appear on the band’s upcoming full-length album, Desert Soul, set for release in October. “Big Eyes” is a lyrically thought-provoking ballad penned by songwriter Noah Clark. The track is mixed and produced by Nicolas Vernhes, known for his work with Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, and The War on Drugs. Gold Record creates peaceful yet vibrant soundscapes with this summer single.
Pulling from local inspiration, the band set out to record this project around Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert. “Big Eyes” whispers evocative lyrics like, “You’re talking like you’d run this bar here better. The scent of the ink from old love letters lingers like the scars from times you’d met her…when the chords you borrowed were the only ones she liked.”
Our Review of “Big Eyes” by Gold Record
For fans ofDirty Projectors, Tame Impala, Passion Pit, or LCD Soundsystem
The downtempo style of “Big Eyes” perfectly suits this heartfelt ballad. The atmosphere of the chorus allows the listener to reflect on the story while consuming soul-stirring melodies. Lyrically, the track hits the scope of the emotions that Noah Clark is sharing. “Big Eyes” is a nice contrast to some of Gold Record’s previous singles. Furthermore, this song shows the depth Gold Record has to offer as songwriters, performers, and recording artists.
If you’re looking for some chill-out desert vibe tracks, you will appreciate the laidback style and grooves of Gold Record. Songs like “Big Eyes,” “The Groove Infinite,” and “Azalea Charms” capture the feeling of the desert heat and palm trees waving. Kick back and meditate to these breezy and transcendent tunes for the end of summer.
Check out the “Big Eyes” music video below and be on the lookout for the band’s full-length album, Desert Soul, coming October 2023.
The dynamic pop duo from Leeds, U.K., Lucky Iris, releases maybe i’m too much, the group’s most recent EP. Lucky Iris is Maeve Florsheim and Jasper Exley, forming their group just before the height of the pandemic in 2020. POETRY DANS LA RUE has followed Lucky Iris since the release of “Get Ready With Me,” an addicting pop track that can pair with any Reel or TikTok.
On maybe i’m too much, the group follows a reflective journey with candid lyrics juxtaposed by energetic pop music. Lucky Iris comes into their sound and pushes the limits, especially with tracks like “23” and “blowing kisses.” Recently, the group had their songs featured on BBCR1, Love Island, and BBC Introducing…which mark major career highs for the duo.
We catch up with Lucky Iris to gush over the release of maybe i’m too much and chat about all things behind the scenes.
Interview ft. Lucky Iris
POETRY DANS LA RUE: It’s so wild to reflect on when we first connected in 2020 for the release of “Get Ready With Me.” I love seeing how you guys have evolved in the past few years!
LUCKY IRIS: “We wrote those first tracks just before the pandemic. The lockdown was pretty quick here in the U.K., so it was a lot of calling between the two of us trying to release the songs. It was nice to have people like you pick up on it early. It reassured us that people were enjoying the music.”
‘maybe i’m too much’ EP
PDLR: So, your EP, maybe i’m too much, is out now! I remember listening to “23” when it came out. I noticed the production and was enamored by how it captivates the listener. Then I dove into the lyrics and the meaning of the track. I felt like this one set the bar!
LUCKY IRIS: “Since lockdown, the production has been self-taught by both of us, and we’ve been able to craft and produce our own music for the first time. We’ve had so much more time to sit with the tracks and sounds to make it feel how we want. I’m glad to hear you picked up on it.
When we first started and made “Get Ready With Me,” we wanted to make music that we wanted to listen to. The kind of music and the soundscapes have changed in a couple of years, but we still like that concept. We’ve grown into this sound, and this is the first time we’ve put our spin on all of it.”
PDLR: That’s awesome, and it shows on the tracks! Did you work with anyone else in the making of this EP?
LUCKY IRIS: “So it’s produced by just us, doing everything ourselves. We sent it off for the final production to be mixed by Richard Wilkinson, who has worked with Adele. Then it went to mastering in Denmark by Antony Ryan, who works with Oh Wonder.
We love writing songs, and we love producing, but it’s nice to have more ears to hear it in different spaces. It also helps to raise the sound quality and elevate the tracks. Our aspiration for this EP was to do what we’re doing but take it to the next level.”
“I think “23” will still resonate when I’m turning 53 because it’s the same retrospective idea of where you are at the time.”
PDLR: Can you provide more insight into the writing process of the EP and discuss what you were pulling from for the material?
LUCKY IRIS: “We were in a better headspace after lockdown and getting back into a normal routine. It was exploring the ways that we’ve grown. So with “23,” it was the idea of where we are now after these last couple of years. It feels like we blinked and woke up in 2023.
Now, I’m in my twenties, and I’m trying to be present, but you have all of these pressures. I realized that some of the things I want have changed since 2020. It comes with getting older in general; the ideas of what I want for my life are changing. The song is about that and how it’s not necessarily a good or bad thing.
I think “23” will still resonate when I’m 52, turning 53, because it’s the same retrospective idea of where you are at that time. You’re always reflecting.”
PDLR: I think the idea you explore on “23” is relatable to many different generations. People could be going through significant life changes and reflecting on where they are at any given time.
LUCKY IRIS: “Out of all the tracks, “23” is quite emotional because it perfectly captures the feeling of us coming out of lockdown and feeling a bit lost. Our entire EP is like this growth period, and “maybe i’m too much” is also a special track because it’s one of the first we wrote as a backdrop to the EP.
I think it started as quite a sad track about taking in all the impressions other people have of us. It has since grown as we’ve changed it into a rather joyful track. It’s about realizing those things don’t matter, and you shouldn’t give time to people who want to change you. The lyrics stayed the same, but the meaning was different. It’s saying, well, ‘maybe I’m too much, but maybe that doesn’t matter at all.’
“oh no (i guess i did it again)” worked similarly because it started as a trivial argument in a pub. It ended with this idea that I won’t allow people to tell me where I belong, and their opinion doesn’t matter. I didn’t necessarily write it expecting those feelings, but it’s very cathartic.”
“Having our songs be on the main radio station we listened to growing up was a huge pinch-me moment.”
PDLR: I’ve had “blowing kisses” in my head for the past few weeks; it’s definitely an earworm! I also saw that you recently had both of your latest singles on BBC Radio 1.
LUCKY IRIS: “We were so excited about that. It’s something we always dreamed about. Having our songs be on the main radio station we listened to growing up was a huge pinch-me moment. It was nice to have validation and achieve a longtime goal. After hearing “oh no (i guess i did it again)” and soaking it all in, they played “blowing kisses” the following week. To have that kind of reassurance meant a lot.”
PDLR: That’s exciting to have traction with the EP coming out!
“We like the juxtaposition of the lyrics being more melancholy and the feeling more energetic.”
PDLR: Any specific influences or something you were listening to while you were making maybe i’m too much?
LUCKY IRIS: “We listened to a lot of hyper-pop music because it brought us a lot of joy and put us in the mindset. We fell in love with more and more artists in that niche, and now we’ve kind of created our version of that. So, there may be some more surprises along the lines of that style to come. Some of the artists we had on rotation were Rina Sawayama, Tove Lo, Caroline Polachek, Charli XCX, and Kim Petras. We like the juxtaposition of the lyrics being more melancholy and the feeling more energetic.”
Upcoming Events for Lucky Iris
PDLR: Do you have any special events or shows coming up?
LUCKY IRIS: “We’re doing an intimate record store show on August 11th when the EP comes out. We’ll play the EP in full live and celebrate with friends. Then we’ve got a tour booked TBA soon, touring most of the U.K. We are eager to get the music out there and perform it for everyone.”
Listen to the brand new EP, ‘maybe i’m too much,’ from Lucky Iris below, and follow them on social media to keep up with their latest news.
Seye Adelekan is best known as the bass guitar player with the animated U.K. band Gorillaz. Adelekan, a man of many hats, is also a multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, lyricist, and solo artist. His new single, “A River,” is the first release from his upcoming EP with the same title. Seye’s articulate songwriting, hypnotic vocals, and melancholy lyrics set his music apart from anything he has previously worked on. “A River,” out today, touches the listener immediately with its alluring introduction, emotionally charged vocal performance, and melodic chorus. This incredible song holds an unparalleled spot on our blog, where we chat with Seye Adelekan as he embarks on a remarkable new journey.
Artist Q&A: Seye Adelekan
PDLR: How has performing live with Gorillaz shaped you as a solo artist?
Seye Adelekan: “The best thing I’ve picked up is the importance of collaboration. No great artist is an island or has all the best ideas or abilities. If you surround yourself with great people who help you do what you do best or add something you cannot, then it all just adds up to a better result.”
PDLR: What is one of your most memorable moments from touring with Gorillaz?
Seye Adelekan: “There have been many, but I would say anytime we go to South Africa, it’s always one for the ages.”
PDLR: In “A River,” you describe the need to help someone while also going through your own struggles. Can you provide more details about the backstory of this track?
Seye Adelekan: “The song originated almost as a stream of consciousness. My friend Charlie had the chords, and we just turned on a microphone, and those words and melody came out! It felt like I was speaking to my slightly younger self, reaching out into the past when I was lost.”
PDLR: Did you work with other artists, producers, and collaborators for the making of “A River?”
Seye Adelekan: “My dear friend Charlie Morton is a long-time co-writer and production partner. Our friend Yves Fernández was also there during the writing process in Iceland, where we did the initial sessions for the upcoming EP. Both top lads and help me to be a better me!”
“Slow down, rest your head. They may be gone, but it’s not the end.”
Upcoming EP & Overall Sound
PDLR: What is the overall inspiration/theme for your upcoming EP?
Seye Adelekan: “The themes are hope, sobriety, love, and a bit of loss. Loss of an old self. I was also inspired by the Icelandic landscape. It gives a cooler temperature to the songs, I feel.”
PDLR: What do you want your fans/music fans to know about your musical style as a solo artist?
Seye Adelekan: “My music sounds nothing like the people you would have seen me perform with in the past. I think that’s a good thing, and I hope my fans have an open mind to getting something sometimes melancholy, sometimes sweet, not super upbeat, but always melodic. The tracks bounce instead of bop, haha; if you like Bahamas, John Mayer, Ryan Adams, or Bon Iver, there is probably something in there for you.”
“A River” is out now on all streaming platforms. Check out the music video below, and follow Seye on social media for more upcoming news.
The latest vinyl pressings from Soul Step Records are all about badass women in the independent music scene. The first represses of the month came from fan-favorite The Local Honeys, the Kentucky-based bluegrass duo of Linda Jean Stokley and Montana Hobbs. The 2017 release, Little Girls Actin’ Like Men, often connects with fans of Margo Price, Tyler Childers, and The Highwomen. One of their most popular tracks, “Cigarette Trees,” kicks off the album with a banjo, a fiddle, and some surprising lyrics. “I Love You, Charlene” showcases the epic storytelling ability of this duo.
The Gospel (2019) speaks for itself with titles like “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven,” “First Church of God,” and a brilliant live cover of “Amazing Grace.” Yet, The Gospel is innovative in its own way, blending aspects of rock, gospel, and bluegrass. Picturesque mountains are calling by means of a fiddle, a banjo, and the harmonic voices of these two women.
Indie pop artist, Darity, inspired by the suffix in “soli-Darity,” is the multi-genre project of Linsley Hartenstein. Her introspective and melodic music resonates with fans of Phoebe Bridgers, Kate Bush, or The Japanese House. Her most recent EP, You Choose What Remains, is a must-hear record for indie music fans. “Pretending” is a dreamy introductory track to the EP, combining whimsical lyrics and lush guitar arrangements. Get in your feels with “Stay Home,” as Darity’s soft vocals transport you to a place of solace. The B-side of the vinyl contains four bonus tracks, never before featured on vinyl.
Visit Soul Step Records to purchase any of these records. Subscribe to have first dibs on all new releases. Darity’s You Choose What Remains releases to subscribers this SATURDAY, July 22nd.