Jejune, ‘Have A Nice Day’

Words By Joey Rochert.

Jejune are back and mighty with new song ‘Have A Nice Day’. The band known for their ‘Boogie Juice’ release are on top form here, proving that good old indie is as alive as ever! Although, could we call this indie? It is in a world of its own this release, there are vibes which could be compared to many genres.

‘Have A Nice Day’, is perfect for the summer! There is a warm quality to it which makes it ideal for those late summer evenings sat in the garden. Although, personally, I could envision this one echoing out of indie halls for a long time to come, even long after the sun has gone down!

You can stream below.

Photo Credit: North Ship

Julia Thomsen, ‘Sweet Aurora’

Words By Emily Kowalczyk.

Julia Thomsen, the composer with the magic piano hands greets us to her new summer offering, ‘Sweet Aurora’. Charming and elegant as you would expect if you are aware of Julia Thomsen, this new track is blossom for the ears, perfect in texture and amazing to witness.

‘Sweet Aurora’ is one of the many releases we have reviewed here by Julia Thomsen and one thing is true about her as a composer, she is constantly innovating. Yes, she does not sound a million miles away from what others are doing in the current neo-classical scene, but she still finds new ways to be creative and she does that once again.

You can take a listen below.

Photo Credit: Julia Thomsen.

Marsha Swanson, ‘Homeward Bound’

Words By Joey Rochert.

Marsha Swanson, the progressive-pop artist with countless stand-out releases now under her belt charms us again with new single ‘Homeward Bound’. As a fan of Marsha’s it has been refreshing to witness her growth as an artist over the last few years and her new album, ‘Near Life Experience’ just keeps on giving.

‘Homeward Bound’ is highly narrative driven as are a lot of Marsha’s songs. This is one of her trademark qualities now as an artist because you know with each one there will be a message within it which has a prevalent factor. Moreover the way she manages to incorporate real-life experiences into her music is inspiring.

You can take a listen below.

Photo Credit: Marsha Swanson.

Ervin Munir, ‘Felixstowe’

Words By Joey Rochert.

Ervin Munir, Norfolk’s very own folk trailblazer welcomes us to his new release, ‘Felixstowe’. Well, Ervin, you have us gripping to this one! Gifted with an ability to tell stories through his music, Ervin’s heartfelt message sends shivers down my spine as he speaks about breakups and the realities of losing a loved one; his storyline really hits me deep!

The music is slightly different to what we have heard before from Ervin. The press release states that this track actually came to life after Ervin was inspired by the chords of ‘Old Man’ by Neil Young. Yes, I can hear that slightly, but this has ended up a very unique piece in its own right. The music here is really really good! In fact, I would be brave enough to say that it may be my favourite song from Ervin Munir.

You can take a listen below.

Photo Credit: Ervin Munir.

North Ship, ‘It Looked Like Rain’

Words By Joey Rochert.

Bold as you like, North Ship from Copenhagen rock up with new album, ‘It Looked Like Rain’. From the first spin, this album proves to be one to keep close. The album starts with the title track, a massive stadium filling overture fills our ears ahead of a catchy verse driven by contagious vocal melodies.

Into ‘Scent’, a single the band had previously released and here we come to realise that this two piece are not giving half measures. They have their talents synergising with a sound which could easily be compared to that of those towering at the top of the charts. ‘Good and Gone’ is a personal favourite of mine. It has a quirky edge to it with syncopated drum strikes and a bold instrumental.

The album wraps up with ‘From the Living’, a track which sums the record up perfectly with its silky-smooth guitar riffs and thought-provoking storyline.

You can stream below.

Photo Credit: North Ship

EMG Group, The Interview Series.

A recent interview with Evan from Experience Music Group.

Hello, Evan. Can you share a pivotal moment or experience that sparked your interest in music and ultimately led you to pursue it as a career?

Have you ever heard of the French phrase ‘coup de foudre?’ It literally means hit by lightning. My ‘coup de foudre’ moment came from my deep love for the fusion of music and film. It struck me like lightning during my teenage years when I first experienced the transformative power of OMD’s ‘If You Leave’ soundtrack in the iconic prom scene of John Hughes’ ‘Pretty In Pink.’ That moment ignited a passion within me for the magic of music in storytelling. It was this fascination with the emotional impact of soundtracked moments that inspired me to establish my own music licensing, artist development, and digital marketing agency. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to work alongside up-and-coming artists, guiding them in shaping their brands and careers, and helping them share their unique voices with the world.

Who is your favorite musician of all time?

My favorite band of all time is the legendary band Queen. Their impact on the music industry is unparalleled, marked by hit singles, electrifying live performances, and a trailblazing originality that continues to inspire generations. What sets Queen apart for me is their ability to leverage the unique personalities of each member to create a sound that transcends genres and defines an era. Their authenticity, emotion, and boundless energy shine through in every song, making them timeless icons. Freddy Mercury’s unbelievable vocal range and Brian May’s unmistakable guitar riffs are just a few reasons why Queen’s music resonates with me so deeply. Their collaborative songwriting approach, with hits penned by different band members, exemplifies their diverse talent and collective genius.

Music has the power to shape cultures and societies. Can you discuss a specific movement in music history that has profoundly influenced you, and why it resonates with you?

Music has always been a profound force in shaping cultures and societies, and for me, one movement in music history stands out: the rise of iconic film scores in the 1980s. Growing up during this era, I was completely entranced by blockbuster movies like Star Wars, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T., which were not only visually stunning but also accompanied by unforgettable musical compositions. Listening to the scores from these films was like a magical journey back to the sense of wonder and excitement that defined my childhood. One particular experience that has stayed with me was attending a live performance by John Williams at The Hollywood Bowl. Seeing him conduct the scores of these beloved films brought the music to life in a way that was incredibly powerful and deeply resonant. It reinforced the transformative power of music and its ability to evoke emotions and memories, leaving an indelible mark on my appreciation for the art form.

What is the best thing about working in the music industry?

The best thing about working in the music industry, for me, is the opportunity to help artists discover their “why” and guide them in shaping their careers. There’s something incredibly fulfilling about being a part of an artist’s journey, witnessing their growth, and helping them share their unique voice with the world. Whether it’s assisting in defining their brand, refining their messaging, or navigating the complexities of the industry, the ability to make a meaningful impact on an artist’s career trajectory is both rewarding and inspiring.

Photo Credit: Evan (EMG).

Ervin Munir, The Interview Series.

Hello, Ervin! What inspired the theme of seizing opportunities and pursuing aspirations in “Chase The Moon,” and how does it resonate with your personal experiences?

This song reflects my music career to date. To make it in the music business you need to take risks artistically and physically (by putting yourself out here) to create a unique impression and to get known. Fear is what has held me back in the past and I feel like I’m finally conquering it. 

Can you walk us through the creative process behind “Chase The Moon,” from its inception to its final production?

The trigger for this song was a thriller series I was watching on Sky TV. The protagonist said “Let’s chase the moon” or something like that. I stopped watching and went immediately to my studio and began writing. 

I hit on a theme of travelling to exotic places as a metaphor for taking risks, and began writing the lyrics. I felt that it needed to be a simply structured song to more easily get the message across. 

I sang a melody in my head for the first line and a chord sequence emerged.

It was one of my quicker songs to write. 

Collaborations often bring fresh perspectives and new dimensions to music. How did working with Aeron Z Jones on lap steel and mandolin accompaniments influence the sound and feel of “Chase The Moon”?

I play this song live a lot, so I was already happy with the acoustic version. But Aeron’s sensitive playing of the mandolin and especially the lap-steel guitar gave the studio version much more depth and interest. He also played a bit of classical guitar on it I think and that little solo is really nice. I really like working with Aeron in the studio. I recommend him.

“Chase The Moon” seems to mark a significant evolution in your musical style. Could you share any intentional artistic choices or explorations you made in this single that differ from your previous releases?

It’s one of those things that I don’t want to investigate in depth because it feels fragile and I might break it. I haven’t done anything consciously to change my musical style. 

That said, these days  I am more willing to explore sounds beyond the acoustic soundscape I usually use. This doesn’t really show itself so much in “Chase the Moon” but is more obvious in some of the other singles, and the album, I’ll be releasing later this year. 

With the release of “Chase The Moon” and the promise of more music to come, what overarching message or journey do you hope to convey to your audience through your upcoming releases, including the anticipated second album?

I think people will see an evolution in style over time, and like both the stuff on “Broken Compass” (2023), and the stuff on the new album. Most people that follow me know I am on a journey and they have been impressed with what they have heard so far. I hope they continue to follow me as I take more risks and chase the moon on this journey. 

Photo Credit: Ervin Munir.

Marsha Swanson, The Interview Series.

Marsha, your album ‘Near Life Experience’ has been celebrated for its emotional depth. Can you share with us the personal journey or experiences that inspired the creation of ‘Love’s Not Late’?

This song was originally written as an ode to my mum for her 70th birthday celebration. I wanted to deliver a timely message of love that could properly capture the key values that I had learned from her. One of these was the value of creativity as an essential life force. The other was the high priority she placed on being a mother. The original first lyric of the song was “You taught me how to be a mother”. Later, when Producer Henry Thomas chose it for inclusion on the album, we agreed to change the lyric in order to broaden its relevance to “you taught me how to love another”. Whilst all love, including romantic love can equip us with the deepest fundamentals needed for approaching life and all its hardships, there is something unique about a mothers love in terms of its unilateral beginnings. It is how we first learn to love when we are dependent and do not know how. This has an extra societal relevance because if we have learned it from our earliest beginnings we have a ready-made blueprint for easier repetition later in life. It’s never too late to learn later of course, it’s just harder than for those lucky enough to have been born into it.

Critics have praised your ability to convey deep emotional themes through your music, particularly in ‘Love’s Not Late.’ Can you walk us through your creative process when tackling such profound subjects?

My process for this song was slightly atypical in that I knew the theme I wanted to write about before sitting at the piano. This is opposed to the majority of songs which start with me discovering the theme via finding the chords that feel emotionally in synch or a good match with how I’m feeling. The process of writing the lyrics is the same for me the majority of the time.  I sing whatever sounds come into my head whilst forming the melody and then I pay close attention to the first words that emerge from free association. I suppose it is the singing equivalent of the psychological mental process that occurs in therapy. The rest of the song normally flows after those first lyrics have crystalized and then I can start to shape it from there.

In ‘Love’s Not Late,’ you explore the theme of love as a healing force in the face of life’s uncertainties. How do you envision your music impacting listeners on a personal level?

I can only extrapolate from the purpose that it served me when writing it. If it helped me to get something universal but complex clearer in my mind, I can hold the possibility that it might do that for someone else. I am always interested to know whether others connected to any aspects of it whether lyrically or musically and I would anticipate that it would be interpreted in a variety of different ways. 

The instrumentation in ‘Love’s Not Late’ is rich and dynamic, with layers of piano, strings, and a spirited guitar solo. Could you elaborate on how you collaborate with your musicians to achieve such a vibrant and cohesive sound?

On a practical level, a lot of this is down to what happens in the pre-production stages. There is a long process of song shaping, honing and structure before introducing other instruments.  The first band rehearsals are primarily dedicated to the rhythm section. The recording stage which follows is where other instruments are introduced into the arrangements such as the guitar and strings. A vocal guide is laid down for the band to mirror the emotional map of intensity and then choices are made over where to bring the instruments in and out. We will be looking at where to build the track and where to create more space according to the narrative. Vocal harmonies are added to enhance particular lyrics and everything is refined further once again at the mixing stage. On top of this process, the performance of the musicians is very much down to their emotional sensibilities as well as the relationships between band members which all goes into the final mix! This particular group of musicians were chosen for their capacity to lend themselves to the key communication and message of the song as much as for their technical abilities.

Photo Credit: Marsha Swanson.

Cloud, ‘Room’

Words By Emily Kowalczyk.

‘Room’ by Cloud beckons us into a transcendental voyage where the boundaries between reality and imagination blur into a kaleidoscope of sound. The opening guitar lures us in like a siren’s call, setting the stage for an adventure into the depths of musical enchantment.

But ‘Room’ is not content to merely captivate; it evolves, it transforms. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Cloud’s vitality infuses every note, guiding the track through a metamorphosis that leaves you spellbound. Each layer of sound is crafted with precision, building upon the last to create a symphony of color and texture that dances in your mind’s eye.

And just when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle, ‘Room’ ascends even higher, reaching a radiant crescendo that defies description.

You can stream below.

Photo Credit: Cloud

Julia Thomsen, ‘Beauty’

Words By Joey Rochert.

In the ethereal expanse of classical composition, where each note is a brushstroke upon the canvas of the soul, Julia Thomsen’s ‘Beauty’ emerges as a serene gem, resonating with the tender essence of spring.

With delicate keystrokes, Thomsen paints a landscape of tranquility, inviting us to wander through the verdant pastures of our imagination. The piano becomes her vessel, carrying emotions as fragile as blossoms in the breeze, each melody a whispered secret shared with the heart.

As the first strains of “Beauty” unfurl, one cannot help but be enveloped by a sense of serenity, as if the very essence of spring has been captured within its melodic embrace. “Beauty” also finds its home amidst the celestial gathering of talents in “Harmonies of WoMen,” a compilation album celebrating the prowess of female pianists from across the globe.

You can take a listen below.

Photo Credit: Julia Thomsen.