Brian Suarez on Allies for Everyone

For a guy who doesn’t like to throw parties, Brian Suarez, musical mastermind behind Allies for Everyone, certainly gets invited to a lot. In addition to his work on TV music production, Suarez performs as a DJ at an average of 2-3 parties and gigs per month upon invitation.

Brian Suarez in Blue

Photo credit to ventsmagazine.com

“I think my favorite part is just playing shows and DJing out,” he shares. “In New York, in terms of gigs and stuff, they usually come up the month of. It’s usually consistently two or three gigs a month. If there are promoters that dig it, they’ll invite me to come back.”

Suarez’s invites aren’t even limited to our fair United States.

“The only time I ever played overseas was also really because someone approached me and was like, ‘We want you to come to Portugal and play here, here and here. We got it all covered. Just come.’”

In addition to Portugal, Suarez’s resume includes shows at Yotel, Slake, and various other Manhattan clubs as well as his personal favorite, a high school student’s New Jersey basement.

“I feel like everything has its own cool factor,” he maintains. “I think the coolest place I’ve ever DJed, maybe 5 years ago, a kid I met who came to one of my parties lived somewhere in New Jersey and invited a friend and I to come DJ there. We rented a minivan to go there. The party had maybe 25 high school students and it was just this dingy, weird, superdark, multi-room dungeon-y basement. I enjoy anything that reminds me of an old Prodigy video.”

Suarez isn’t just a popular DJ, though. His musical project, Allies for Everyone, has a rap sheet dating back to his first EP under that name in 2011. As Allies for Everyone, originally intended as an open opportunity to collaborate with other artists, Suarez has continued to release various EPs and remixes throughout each year and has already released two remixes in 2014. But he’s been at it a lot longer than Allies for Everyone has been around.

“The first actual releases I had were maybe in 2003 on a German label, Dekathlon out of Munich,” Suarez explains. “It was a different project. I made maybe four tracks, sent them to maybe five labels and I met with two, both German, labels in New York. Sort of vibed with one and went with that.”

Brian Suarez Outside

Photo credit to magneticmag.com

Despite his success across the globe and across the musical board (he’s DJed with the likes of Pat Mahoney–LCD Soundsystem!), Suarez is an amazingly mellow, down-to-earth guy.

“There will be days..you can’t force creativity, you can’t force any of it to work,” he admits. “A lot of times the way I write, I make a lot of crap. Not crap, but it just doesn’t work. Then in one like six hour session, everything will come together. I sort of learned you can’t hold your breath on anything, and you can’t pretend that anything you do is like, this is it, this is the one, I’m gonna make it. You just keep doing it. I did that for a bit, and it puts way too much stress on every release.”

Suarez certainly loves his music and loves to make it happen, but there seems to be an understanding that he can only do his thing, observe the effects it has on his audience and see where that takes him.

“It’s like a macro version of DJing,” he explains. “I honestly don’t really have my finger on the pulse of what’s current and what people are listening to. I do what I do, I put it out and sort of look at who’s listening to it.”

Suarez seems to have it down pat, as this method has gotten him from unreleased tracks on German labels to DJ sets in New York City, performances at SXSW and other festivals and a continually building portfolio that doesn’t appear slated to slow down in the near future. After releasing his You & Me EP last November followed by a music video for “Feel Your Love,” Allies for Everyone has kicked off the new year with a bang and has a steady lineup in the works for 2014.

Brian Suarez

Photo credit to alliesforeveryone.com

“In terms of next year, I have a bunch of releases set,” Suarez says. “I do a bunch of remixing too for folks. I have maybe two or three remixes already set for next year. I’m working on some original music with some buddies for a Swiss label.”

Whoever coined the phrase “can’t stop, won’t stop” definitely had Brian Suarez and Allies for Everyone in mind. I’m ok with that, as I find his plethora of production to be quite pleasing. Synthe on, baby.

 

Originally published January 10, 2014 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

Stone Cold Fox Opens Up

Fresh off the graduation boat, Stone Cold Fox members, Ariel, Kevin, Roman, Graham and Justin are living every kid’s dream. Just months after Kevin Olken and Ariel Loh collaborated on their first two songs, the two have compiled a five-piece band and are using the city of New York to show the world what they’ve got. And they’ve got something good.

Having worked together during college, Loh and Olken came together once more as a two-person recording project with a database of two songs. Though they may have gone into the project lightly, they discovered a catchy, cohesive sound that morphed into something much more significant.

Stone Cold Fox

Photo credit to vimeo.com

“Kevin and I worked in the studio so early on–our freshman year. That was the pretext of our relationship,” Loh remembers. “That was a huge learning experience because I didn’t really know what I was doing. They didn’t really know what they were doing. It definitely set a foundation to what we’re doing now. That’s a reason that can contribute to why we do feel comfortable in the studio.”

Another reason for their studio success may be Loh’s passion and dedication to the art of sound engineering.

“I definitely feel really comfortable in the studio and have a lot of fun in the studio,” Loh shares. “It’s just a really cool process to be in the middle of creating something. Contrastly it’s also really fun to be finished with that phase of creating and now you’re delivering it.”

Loh and Olken also agree that the additional tech intelligence of the band’s other members, who also have degrees in production, only assists in the process.

“We just go in and they know what to do,” Olken explains. “They have fun with Pro Tools where I’d be struggling with Garage Band.”

“Technology is definitely a huge part of our song writing process,” Loh agrees.

While he may not be the most technically inclined in the group, Olken makes up for this difference with his passion for performance.

“Generally I like the sound, the finished product a lot more,” he shares. “I love it. I’ll listen to it and I’ll be happy, but I think playing live has always been it for me. I’m sailing afterward. It’s usually embarrassing because I’m usually so high off of it that anytime I talk to someone I’m like ‘oh thank you, thank you’ and they haven’t even said anything.”

Stone Cold Fox - Filter

Photo credit to filtermagazine.com

As a combination of five different musicians with five different sets of skills and musical interests, Stone Cold Fox is destined to have a unique sound. Luckily for this quintet, that’s the coolest part.

“The content of the music and the group of people has been the best part. It’s the best band I think I’ve been in,” Olken speculates. “It’s the first time everything feels 100% right.”

As far as we’re concerned, everything sounds 100% right too.

Originally published November 6, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com 

Black Bird White Sky Rediscovers Music

Music is and always has been an ever-changing form of artistic expression. Musical instruments as well as taste have constantly evolved over time, consistently bringing a new definition to the term “musically talented.” Ronnie Shingelo, front man for Black Bird White Sky, has seen this evolution for himself over his years in New Jersey and New York and has managed to adjust his musical style accordingly to accommodate the fleeting but precious balance between modern music and old school identity.

Black Bird White Sky 2

Photo credit to blackbirdwhitesky.com

From his former place in what can be described as a “dark” and “emotional” rock band, SkinGod, Shingelo has moved his music career closer to his roots in the club scene surrounding the tri-state area. In addition, he has pared down his collection of fellow musicians to a mere two, sometimes three, band members, making their stage presence much more malleable and impressive.

Accompanied by his occasional keyboardist, Jenna Perry and DJ, Luke Wagman, Shingelo has embraced the incorporation of various drum machines and an all new instrument known as the “maschine” in the sound associated with Black Bird White Sky.

“I grew up listening to dance music and working in clubs, so dance music is inherently in me anyway, so it wasn’t a difficult transition from the whole rock scene,” Shingelo explains. “It definitely is cool because it has the feeling of being totally live in a rock band with live instruments. Electronic instruments, like the maschine, now are really considered ‘instruments’ and people all over the world study it.”

In terms of his work with the new technology associated with one of humanity’s oldest known art forms, Shingelo shares nothing but pride and admiration for his youthful bandmate.

“He’s awesome,” Shingelo notes succinctly. “He’s been a real asset to the project. He’s a lot younger than me, so he keeps me on my toes, which is awesome. He’s a great guy, a really talented kid.”

Despite the experimental nature of Black Bird White Sky’s sound, inspiration and motivation are derived from many of the same sources as traditional musicians. As do various other songwriters and composers, Shingelo cites everyday activity as a frequent source of inspiration in his creative process.

“In terms of general inspiration, I definitely sometimes just hear a word someone will say and the way I hear it I’m just like, wow that’s really kinda hitting me in a way that I wanna explore that,” Shingelo explains. “Then I’ll just go in and sort of lyrically explore that word from where I am at that moment. Sometimes I’ll hear a sound and I’ll just build on it.”

Black Bird White Sky

Photo credit to Shanna Gibbs

Shingelo maintains that a beautiful poem, a piece of artwork and even an intelligent conversation can be catalysts for compositions. He also describes spending a dedicated portion of time to his craft before beginning his typical day.

“Other times, a lot of times, I wake up in the morning early and I’ll just sit with my acoustic and I’ll just fool around with the chords and start humming and try to be open,” Shingelo says. “In the morning I feel like I’m the least judgmental and critical of myself, and I’m out of my own way. I always find that when I’m in that place, shit always comes in.”

For Shingelo and Black Bird White Sky, much of the movement behind the music originates and thrives in emotion as well as its effect on each person.

“I do go through phases where I’m completely obsessed with something and I’ll try to absorb all of it and then I’ll just forget about it and it goes into the archive, and when I’m writing it starts to come out through my own interpretation,” Shingelo describes. “You’ve gotta be able to look at the demons. I’ve been in places where if I look too much at what’s there, I get really upset, and it’s not a cool place. That’s pretty much the essence of walking the walk of an artist.”

For Shingelo, emotion not only plays a large part in creation of each Black Bird White Sky track, it also proves a necessary component to delivering a memorable live performance. With regards to his wide vocal range, Shingelo maintains he relies heavily on his emotional state to reach octaves that are not as easily attainable.

“I just kinda found that place through trial and error. I kinda tag it to the emotion,” he notes. “That’s the challenge every night is to try and be in that place. Especially when you’re doing it over and over, it’s easy just to kinda run through the motions. Luckily, I’ve been pretty consistent with it lately. Focusing on the lyrics and the intention behind them. Going to that place is just taking a couple of minutes before the show. I’ll listen to a really moody track, like an Adele track or Radiohead track or a Chopin piece even like for just a minute and now I’m in that place that I can’t even tag to words. Just that connection with music where I can’t even understand where it comes from.”

In addition to the implementation of the modern machine, trim lineup and emotional connection, Black Bird White Sky draws from a wide range of musical influence to create a unique, accessible sound with strong ties to pop, electronica and rock simultaneously. As the band’s front man and songwriter, Shingelo finds guidance in a variety of artists including Chopin, Radiohead, Muse, Ezben and the Witch, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, and at the forefront most recently, Charlie XCX and the everlasting Bob Marley. 

“I’ve always listened to him but I’ve really for some reason been so connected to his early, raw recordings,” Shingelo says of Marley. “The message he was trying to deliver and what he was able to do in terms of humanity is profound. I’ve changed so much because of it. I feel like I’m nicer listening to his music. ‘Everyone should listen to it.  What you just said is exactly what he was trying to do, and it worked, it’s just that the world is a tough place.”

Following months of preparation and studio time, Black Bird White Sky is set to release its newest album, The Fall, on October 16, followed by a combined CD release party and CMJ performance on October 17 at Matchless in Brooklyn.

Aside from this Brooklyn show and CD release, Black Bird White Sky is focusing on expanding to the East Coast and increasing membership on their website (p.s. increased membership leads to free giveaways, just saying!).

A dynamic combination of electronic and rock backgrounds, intimate writing, a constant evolution and experimentation, Black Bird White Sky presents an emerging musical style with potential to make a large-scale impression on today’s music scene.

 

Originally published September 16, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

Kyler England

Kyler England Makes Waves in Electronica

Some people move to New York and instantly feel more at home. Others move to New York and soon discover that they prefer the city as a vacation from a different kind of home. The Rescues’ Kyler England is of the second variety.

A North Carolina native, England moved to Brooklyn’s Park Slope for a few years before moving to the west coast to settle down in Los Angeles. Though she admittedly loves New York and very quickly felt deserving of the term “New Yorker,” England seems to have a strong sense that for her, New York is better in doses.

Kyler England

Photo credit to PureBlissVocals.com

“New York City is like an ex-boyfriend,” she starts. “You know it really well, know all its nooks and crannies, but it doesn’t welcome you back. The face of it changes so fast.”

England’s own face, musically speaking, has undergone some changes as well. In addition to her work with The Rescues, England is moving some focus toward her solo career, slashing across genres as she pleases. Initially a self-proclaimed “organic-based singer/songwriter,” England explored new territory during The Rescues’ recent downtime, collaborating with European DJs and producer Bill Lefler to create her own blend of electronica and singer/songwriter-style pop.

“I find in singing and writing, if I do lots of different things, I’m just more creative all around,” says England. “We all kind of get around creatively. We are definitely musical whores.”

Interestingly enough, though England has released an electronica album, Electric Hum, and is featured on numerous tracks with the likes of UK DJs First State, Cosmic Gate and DJ Shaw among others, she has in fact never met any of these colleagues.

“They sent me tracks. I would listen, write lyrics and a melody, record my voice part and send it back,” she explains. “They finished the song and published it.”

Though England has not had the opportunity to meet her collaborators or perform this new genre in a live setting, she is clear in her expression that this is a definite interest.

“I was inspired by how my voice took on a different color in that world,” England admits. “It’s such a modern world, and I’m hoping soon to get into the live performance of that world.” Aside from a show in Lebanon last year that fell through, England has not scheduled shows overseas, but she is “definitely hoping to get some international dates.”

England’s style in music has developed over a number of years, but in some respect, music has always been a focal point for her.

Kyler England

Photo credit to Paul Schreiber

“My family is very musical. My dad played The Beatles on guitar, and my mom was always playing Joni Mitchell,” England remembers. “I grew up with an ear for harmony. Music has always been a huge part of my life.” England has been singing since she can remember and studied classical piano for three years. During her high school years, in need of a distraction from her Calculus homework, she picked up the guitar and has been writing since, though she claims her work has not always been worthy.

“I’m really grateful that when I was writing my first songs, it was before YouTube and GarageBand,” England admits, “because there is no record of that.”

Originally inspired by the Indigo Girls, England’s writing has matured over the years and evolved into a powerful tool both for expressing herself and connecting to herself.

“I feel like music has saved my life a few times,” she starts. “It’s a way, not even just to express myself, but, for me, in writing songs I get closer to knowing myself, and it opens up a different way to know who I am.”

In short, while her writing allows her a certain cathartic quality, England also finds valuable lessons about herself in many of her compositions. In her song, Battle Cry, which appears on Electric Hum, England describes the struggle she is experiencing with friendships, and in writing the lyrics, “where there is shadow, there is light,” she conveys a self-revelation about the emotions involved in disagreements.

“Even in the darkest moments there is some light,” England explains, “and the reason why you’re fighting with someone and you’re hurting is because you love them. There’s that little bit of love that makes you wanna fight for it, even if you’re upset.” Thus the lyric, “love is in the battle cry.”

Though England is laying low in her solo career due to The Rescues’ return to action, there is no shortage of desire to perform her own music live. Fingers crossed she stops by New York, with or without her band in tow!

Originally published July 24, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

Conveyor Melds Electronica and Harmony for Sweet Sound

Brooklyn based but spreading its delicious sound across America, Conveyor, is more than deserving of the nation’s attention.  Recently returned to the United States following a spot in Toronto’s NXNE (North by Northeast), Conveyor has covered the entire continent with its appearances at Austin’s SXSW as well as Montreal’s Fringe Festival. As icing on their already scrumptious cake, the guys from Conveyor are heading out on their own nationwide tour to support the release of their LP on July 17.

Descriptions of the band’s melodic and harmonious tunes laced with synthesizer beats and quirky vocals form a general consensus:    Conveyor is unique, ingenious and causing quite a justified stir in the music community. With a sound that has been compared to the likes of Animal Collective and Brooklyn’s ARMS, Conveyor creates mellow, but upbeat music that almost posesses a transcending quality. As their self-promoted song, Woolgatherer demonstrates, words aren’t even a prerequisite for their lyrical expressions. The guys from Conveyor have no trouble getting their emotions across with little more than harmonious and often repeated vocal sounds only. When they do include lyrics, they can be quite silly on the surface, like Short Hair‘s, “Mmm you have short hair, but your face is so long.” Likewise, many songs feature more impressive lyrics, “A greater place I’ve never been than homes. And wild are the ones I call my own.”

Conveyor

Photo credit to conveyormusic.com

Another remarkable characteristic of the band’s flavor is the immense range it covers. From synthesizers to acoustic guitars, from soft soulful stanzas to intense screams in Two Davids, Conveyor’s musicians handle various musical styles with ease and effortless transition. In their coming LP, fans can experience a plethora of emotions within the eleven songs the band has chosen to represent their powerhouse collaboration.

The band is celebrating the release of their first album with a show at New York’s Mercury Lounge next Thursday, June 28. Conveyor takes the stage at 10:30, and will debut the first physical copies of the self-titled LP at the show. With the buzz this ensemble has caused, it’s a shindig worth checking out.

Conveyor LP

Photo credit to conveyor.bandcamp.com

Originally published June 20, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

What Doesn’t Kill You Leaves You With Lots of Cool Music

For a certain group of New Yorkers, the past few nights have been very special. Tonight will be the second night we can sleep without fearing that we’ll miss an amazing band at CMJ.

Beginning last week CMJ Music Marathon took over the city’s most popular music venues to bring New Yorkers a plethora of sounds from all genres and styles. From new age metal bands to funky synth pop, this year’s CMJ had a full menu of awesome music.

While, contrary to belief, I’m only human and couldn’t make every show, I certainly tried my damnedest, and more than a few bands made quite an impression. Rather than hold onto all this awesome knowledge until I can draft a masterpiece, here’s a sneak peek of the bands who made my list at CMJ, aside from PushMethod and Kinetics and One Love(we all know their sets were legit).

Manican Party

Photo credit to facebook.com/manicanparty

Manicanparty

The front chick’s fluorescent getup may have drawn the crowd for Manicanparty, but their mesmerizing, other-worldly synth music kept listeners around. Even hardcore rockers couldn’t resist the charm of frontwoman Jessica Corazza as she harmonized to a backdrop of catchy, purpose-driven keyboards and drum beats. Manicanparty put me in my own zone and reminded me what CMJ, and music in general, is all about.

X Ambassadors

X Ambassadors - Lauren

Photo credit to Lauren Keogh Photography

The term “killinit” has become a social media and musically descriptive staple in the vocabularies of many music fans I know. Can’t say I’m not guilty of using it myself, but I don’t think any of us have used it legitimately unless X Ambassadors were the subject of the statement. These guys were one of the hardest rocking bands I had the privilege of seeing last week. A unique mix of intense guitar music and body-moving beats, their style was a refreshing change from the indie superstars at CMJ. If those bands were killinit, X Ambassadors murdered it in cold blood.

Therina Bella

Therina Bella

Photo credit to therinabella.net

Awkward conversation about pianos? Check. Sticky key causing all kinds of trouble? Check. Amazing vocals releasing an array of emotions? Double check. I couldn’t have been happier that I stuck around ZirZamin to see what this girl had to show us. Despite a finicky key and the fact that her songs were composed for guitar, Therina Bella did not cease to impress with her dynamic voice and palpable feelings. Imagine what she can do with the guitar!

Computer Magic

Computer Magic

Photo credit to nme.com

Composed only of the keyboardist/vocalist and drummer, Computer Magic didn’t need more than two people to woo the crowd. Perfectly placed to give week-long CMJers a brief respite before Friday night chaos, members Danz and Egan amped up the dance vibe with catchy, rhythmic funk sounds under a borderline angelic, yet simultaneously sexy line of lyrics. Think 80s, Flock of Seagulls, style, only way cooler. And yes, that IS possible.

Fret not, a more in depth guide to each band who perked my ears is under way. Until then, check out these guys. They deserve it, and quite frankly, so do you.

Originally published October 23, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com