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Felony Fame Talks Freestyling, Coors Light Search For The Coldest, and DJ Drama

It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work for North Carolina rapper Felony Fame since he left Newark, N.J. at a young age, but now that struggle is finally paying off. Fame was recently crowned the winner of the Coors Light “Search for the Coldest” Competition by judges DJ Drama and DJ Khaled (joined by host emcee Ice Cube), his versatility and originality overtaking several other competitors in the final round of freestyle battles. Now, the competition title, a DJ Drama-produced track, and a feature on Drama’s mixtape are helping this phenomenon become a sweeping sensation in the world of hip-hop. Felony Fame took a minute with us to talk about life before hip-hop, his alter-ego, and where he’s headed from here.

OS: You’re originally from Newark, N.J., how did you end up settling in North Carolina?

FF: I was really born in Newark, New Jersey. I ended up moving to North Carolina with my grandmother. I was raised by my grandmother, then my mother decided to move to North Carolina from Newark herself. So I was raised in North Carolina.

OS: Who are some other artists who you look up to and draw inspiration from? Did any of those artists influence the start of your career?

FF: Some of the artists I draw inspiration from, for me, definitely The Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie, you know, Notorious B.I.G. He was one of the first big artists I was in to. As a kid I used to want to perform his songs at talent shows, and things like that. Usher too, I did a couple of his songs too, that was in elementary school. Those are some of the artists I came up listening to and made me want to do music.

Continue reading ‘Felony Fame Talks Freestyling, Coors Light Search For The Coldest, and DJ Drama’

Exclusive Q and A: Yellowcard Open Up About ‘Southern Air’ And Being Warped Tour Veterans

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsReleasing three albums in just 18 months sounds like an exhausting endeavor, but you wouldn’t know it from the looks of Yellowcard at their recent Vans Warped Tour dates. The band is as full of energy as they were back during the early 2000s, and are gearing up for the release of their newest studio album Southern Air. We sat down with guitarist Ryan Mendez at their Mansfield, Mass. Warped Tour stop to talk about his early days on the tour, the writing process for the new record, and the album’s one big guest appearance that didn’t make the final cut.

OS: It’s the band’s 5th time on Warped Tour.  What’s different this time around?

RM: Well, I did the tour in ’02 and ’04 with my old band when we were traveling in a van, and it was just the most bottom-of-the-barrel experience of paying your dues on Warped Tour. Now, with us being at the level that we’re at, and me being a part of Yellowcard, it couldn’t be any more different for me. We did about half of the tour in ’07, and that was awesome too, but we were in kind of a tough time as a band then, and we were having issues with our bass player, who ended up leaving the band later in the year. It was just not the right mental page for us to be on, but now everybody’s doing great, we’ve got a new record coming out, and the tour has been awesome. Warped just treats us so well, and we’ve been having a great time.

OS: Yeah, the reception at your show today was awesome

RM: I think it was probably the best show of the tour for us. Before that, I think Chicago was the best show, but this might have taken it’s place!

Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Yellowcard Open Up About ‘Southern Air’ And Being Warped Tour Veterans’

Metal Monday: Interview With Travis Ryan Of Cattle Decapitation and Murder Construct

2012 has proven to be quite a year for extreme metal vocalist Travis Ryan thus far. With the latest Cattle Decapitation album, Monolith of Inhumanity, released back in May and the debut full-length of his side project/pseudo-super group Murder Construct — Results —coming at the end of August, ‘busy’ doesn’t begin to describe Ryan’s year in full. His work (and that of his respective bandmates) on both Monolith of Inhumanity and Results, will likely doubly cement his place on many year-end metal lists, and rightfully so. We had some questions for Travis about how things worked with the two bands, seeking to clear the air of things circulating on the rumor mill, and he was kind enough to give us all of the dirty details.

OS: First off, you must be one busy guy since you have two bands putting out huge releases this year. How is the year working out for you so far?

TR: It’s been a whirlwind of activity but kinda just hit a dead spot because the Shockwave tour Cattle Decapitation was supposed to be on got canned at the last minute. [This] was kind of a blessing in disguise for my personal life because I had proposed to my girlfriend like two days before I was supposed to leave, so we’ve been able to hang out instead of be apart, which is cool. Got to go to Comic Con, party with Dethklok and various Adult Swim TV personalities, and was miraculously able to shoot a Murder Construct and Cattle Decapitation video with director Mitch Massie from Indiana. He came through on tour with Retox so both bands seriously lucked out. With him in Indiana and us in California, it’s a nightmare trying to come up with enough elbow grease to make it work. Last year was a brutally busy point in my life writing both MC and CD full length albums’ worth of lyrics as well as busting my ass off hustling to pay bills and take care of business.

Check out the full interview after the jump

Exclusive Q and A: Josh Thompson Talks Sophomore Album, NRA and Just How He Stays ‘Country’

Josh Thompson is only 34, but he’s looking at life through more mature eyes than he did just a few years ago. As he looks ahead to the release of his sophomore album Change, and reflects on headlining the Jagermeister tour, he talks about how he’s evolved since the release of his 2009 debut album Way Out Here, what music fans can expect next, and just how he stays centered in the ever-changing world of entertainment.

OS: So you’ve been on tour for a while. How is it going?

JT: The tour is going great. We just got back from Michigan and we’ll be back out next week. We are doing about four new songs to give people a sample of what’s coming on the next album, Change. We also do most of the “Way Out Here” record and some covers of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show.

OS: So when can we expect to hear your new album?

JT: I was hoping that it would be out this year, but now I don’t know. We haven’t really discussed the scheduling.

OS: I read that it’s been a tough album for you to make, just logistically with the recording.

JT: It was. I was just trying to get in the studio whenever I was in town. It went on for about four months so it wasn’t one smooth process. It was a lot of little dates here and there.

OS: That has to be tough. How did you stay positive in the face of all of that turmoil?

JT: A lot of it is sitting down and seeing where the songs go and having faith in the musicians you use. The guys I use, I just love. I think if you keep those two things in mind, you’ll be ok. I use a lot of the older studio musicians. A lot of them toured with Waylon and George Jones and others.  Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Josh Thompson Talks Sophomore Album, NRA and Just How He Stays ‘Country’’

Exclusive Q and A: Transit Talk Boston Band Scene & Their First Warped Experience

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsAfter building up a sizable fanbase through several years of steadily touring and releasing numerous albums, Boston-based Transit finally scored a spot on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. It’s rare for first-time bands to play at every stop on the tour, but Transit are no strangers to the road. After Warped is over, they’ll be heading off to Australia, and then casually jaunting over to the U.K. for a string of October dates. We caught up with guitarist Tim Landers at their Mansfield, Mass. Warped Tour stop to chat about the band’s New England roots, influences, and what it was like to grow up as a pop-punk kid in a metalcore world.

OS: It’s the first time on Warped Tour for you guys. How has it been? Have there been particular stops that have stood out so far?

TL: It’s been awesome. Our reception has been better than we could have imagined or hoped for, especially given that we’re doing two sets a day. We get to play as many songs as we really want to. We can do some acoustic, some electric, and change it up. That’s been really cool. All of the shows have been great, but a lot of the California ones have stood out. We just didn’t expect the reactions here to be as good as they were. Playing California’s always a good time, but these were great.

OS: And is there any extra excitement about the Mansfield date, as it’s kind of a hometown show for you guys?

TL: It’s so good to be back. It’s funny, because we don’t even get to go back to our houses or anything, but just being in Massachusetts feels good and it’s great to see friends and family. Where you’re from is the best place to play, obviously. We haven’t played our main set yet today, but our acoustic set was the best of the tour, so I just can’t wait.

OS: Like you guys, OurStage is a Boston-based operation. Could you talk about your experience starting out as a band around here?

TL: I could go on for days. I mean, when I started going to shows it was all metalcore bands. They all sounded like Poison The Well, and stuff like that. There was just so much of it. I remember when I first started playing a decent amount of shows, it was me and our drummer Daniel. We played in a pop-punk band, but when we played a lot of shows around the area we’d always be playing with metalcore bands and hardcore bands, which was cool. It was just what we grew up on. And then I think we all just got really frustrated because every band and every show was exactly the same and they were all trying to do the same thing. The reason why we started Transit was to do something that was different. We all loved bands like Saves The Day and Braid, and we wanted to apply their style to the band that we started. But the music scene in Boston is always changing, and it’s never the same thing. It went through this very hardcore phase, and now there aren’t even many hardcore bands in Boston.  Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Transit Talk Boston Band Scene & Their First Warped Experience’

Exclusive Q and A: Cherri Bomb Separate The Girls From The Boys

Being in an all-girl rock band requires three key things: tough skin, business savvy, and, most importantly, an insane amount of talent. The four young ladies who make up alt-rock group Cherri Bomb have got all three down to a science. For Nia and Rena Lovelis, Miranda Miller, and Julia Pierce, rock stardom is just over the horizon, making it even harder to believe that their average age is just fifteen. Guided by manager Sam Maloney (drummer for Hole, Mötley Crüe, and Eagles of Death Metal) this group of rock prodigies have already shared the stage with some of their idols, like My Chemical Romance and the Foo Fighters, and released a full-length album, This Is The End Of Control. We caught up with Cherri Bomb at the Mansfield, Mass. date of the Vans Warped Tour to learn more about their influences, fashion inspiration, and plans for the rest of the year. Boys, take note…this is how it’s done.

OS: You guys have made history this year. How does it feel to be the youngest all-girl band to play this tour?

JP: It feels really good because we’ve always wanted to play Warped Tour, but we didn’t know when that would ever happen. Not only because we’re young and we’re girls does that make it feel special, but also being with other bands that we look up to, that we can kind of make friends with…that’s also really cool.

OS: Are there any bands on this tour that you really love and grew up listening to?

JP: I like a lot of the bands on the line up. Sleeping With Sirens, Of Mice and Men, Falling In Reverse…

OS: Were you nervous at all to come out on this tour? It’s notorious for being a rough experience, but it can be especially scary being the only young girls on a huge tour filled with rock bands…

MM: We prepared really hard for this. We rehearsed constantly and we put the show together. We knew it was going to be hard and there’s a lot of challenges on Warped Tour, but we were so excited. There’s no room for nervousness.

OS: Tell us about working with your manager, Sam Maloney.

NL: She helps us a lot, she gives us a lot of advice. She leads us away from any potholes. She’s a great manager and she’s also a musician, so she knows a lot about both sides of the business, which is amazing.

OS: Who would you say are your biggest influences? Do all of the band members listen to the same music, or do you have a wide variety of tastes?

NL: Our musical taste is all over the place. I really like Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle… [Julia] likes a lot of hardcore bands. But we kind of all go everywhere, from Regina Spektor to Korn.

Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Cherri Bomb Separate The Girls From The Boys’

Exclusive Q and A: Kip Moore Talks Trucks, Touring and Eric Church

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsKip Moore’s debut title Up All Night, is well named, because the newly minted country star hasn’t had much downtime since the album came out this spring. Not only did his single “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” become a Platinum seller and summertime anthem but his next single “Beer Money,” is headed in the same direction. Always a road warrior, Moore has just signed onto Eric Church’s Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour and is making plenty of high-profile appearances, too. Recently Moore shared some of his precious downtime telling us about the past few month including the one thing he can’t get even though he tries and tries (hint: it’s got four wheels).

OS: So what is the story with the truck? Did you get it?

KM: I finally got a new truck! It’s great. I was driving around in it yesterday before I left and it’s great.

OS: So this is the kind of truck you sang about in “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck?”

KM: No, this is a new one. That was an ’86 that I wanted. I still haven’t found one of those.

OS: “Beer Money” has been doing well on the radio. Congratulations! You wrote that one, didn’t you?

KM: I wrote all the songs on the record and, you know, just growing up in my hometown I just remember feeling that way all that way through college. The whole week was all about savoring what was coming, making just enough money for fun on the weekend. Small town life can be very suppressing for a young person. When you are older and settled down, that life make sense. When you are young, everybody lives for the weekend. It was all about Ramen noodles and we had a case of the cheapest most water downed beer. But it was all great. Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Kip Moore Talks Trucks, Touring and Eric Church’

Exclusive Q and A: Lokixximo Talks About Challenges, Hard Work, And Sebastian Krys

LokixximoSeven years of hard work has taken Latin urban artist Lokixximo to a whole new level of stardom and all over the map—from The Bronx to The Dominican Republic to Los Angeles. After catching his big break in the Tr3s Dame Un Break Competition, OurStage artist Lokixximo has nowhere to go but up. He was awarded the opportunity to record with four-time GRAMMY-winning producer Sebastian Krys, along with professional direction and production of a music video for his club single, “Noches Europea”. We caught up with him after the whole experience to see how things went, and to find out where he’ll be going next.

OS: Your music career started over seven years ago, how would you say you’ve developed as an artist since you first began making music?

L: Well I started when I was 13 years old. You know, doing shows and stuff like that, I think it was 2005. That’s when I really branched out and started doing songs and stuff like that. It takes years, you know, to come up with your own style.

OS: What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face so far in your career?

L: The biggest challenge for me really is just trying to get my music to the fans. If you’re working alone, and you don’t have a label or anything, it’s really hard, trying to work and trying to make money in your career. That’s always been a big challenge. But to tell you the truth that’s really like, the fun part of it—the struggle, the process… It’s a challenge, you know? Not everyone is willing to do that, to spend their money on their own talent… That’s where it really comes. The ones who really believe in themselves are the ones who go far.

Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Lokixximo Talks About Challenges, Hard Work, And Sebastian Krys’

Exclusive Q and A: Man Overboard Talk Philly Pride and Punk Longevity

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsIt wouldn’t be hyperbolic to call New Jersey pop punk act Man Overboard a touring machine. Their schedule for 2012 has so far included dates in the United Kingdom, United States, continental Europe, Russia, and Ukraine. As if that weren’t enough, this summer they played every single date on notoriously brutal The Vans Warped Tour. We caught up with guitarist Justin Collier at their Mansfield, MA Warped Tour stop to talk stage dives, Russian punk shows, and why little girls love New Found Glory.

OS: You guys played a killer set earlier today, even though you had a pretty early time slot.

JC: I think that a lot of bands get really bummed out when they first come on the tour and find out they have to play either really early or really late. They think that if they play first, then nobody’s going to be there, and if they play last, then everybody’s going to be gone already. Even though some kids at our signing today told us that they missed our set because they didn’t get there until 1 p.m, I think a lot of kids do get there early.  Some of the people who arrive early and don’t have anyone to watch will think, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that band.  I’ll check them out.” And that’s half the battle of Warped Tour.  That’s what you’re here for—to get new fans.

OS: But by now, you guys have become a fairly established act on the tour, and it doesn’t seem like you need to try incredibly hard to get a lot of people out to see you.  There were a certainly a lot of people out there this morning.

JC: It’s different in different places, you know? When you play somewhere like Boston and there are 20,000 people out there, it’s a little easier than when you play Kansas and there are only 5,000 people for all of the bands on the tour. Being from a city like Boston or Philly, where I’m from, there are always good shows. There would be bands that I’d see in Philly and I’d think, “Wow, they’re huge,” but I’d see them somewhere else and realize that they weren’t as big as they seemed.

OS: Being from a place with very intense scene loyalty, like the Philly or Jersey area, how do you feel when you tour abroad? You guys have toured in some very distant places recently, like Russia and Ukraine. What effect do those experiences have on the feeling of musical place you get from your hometowns?

JC: It makes me really appreciate being from the city of Philadelphia. I think that I didn’t before, but now I do, because there are things like R5 Productions and other really great companies, people, and collectives that do shows and events and all kinds of cool stuff. I have a very high standard of how punk shows should be run, but then we would go somewhere like Russia and, not to their discredit, they just haven’t been bred the same way that Phildelphians and Bostonians have been bred to run punk shows. I’m used to some pretty cool shit, but other places are just different and you have to get used to it. It’s always an adventure going somewhere else anyway.

Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Man Overboard Talk Philly Pride and Punk Longevity’

Exclusive Q and A: Taking Back Sunday Talk Warped Tour Ten Years After ‘Tell All Your Friends’

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsAny fan of early 2000′s pop punk knows that Taking Back Sunday‘s Tell All Your Friends is the go-to warm weather record. Ten years after the album’s release, TBS is still one of the biggest bands in the modern rock scene, so it’s no surprise that they’ve been drawing the biggest crowds at Warped Tour all summer. We met up with drummer Mark O’Connell and guitarist John Nolan at the Mansfield date to chat about having icon status on Warped, writing new material and the rumored 10th anniversary tour for their classic debut record.

OS: You haven’t been on the Warped Tour for many, many years. What’s it like to be headlining the whole thing this year?

JN: I think the weirdest thing is that this band has a status, I think, at this point, amongst the other bands. The younger bands kind of look at us like something. You know, like we’re these elder statesmen or something like that, which was not the case, obviously, in 2004. But yeah, it’s definitely interesting to be on this tour and to be in this kind of position like that, where bands look at you a certain way, and even the audience, too. But it definitely feels like we’re reintroducing ourselves to a lot of people at the same time, which is cool. I mean it’s been a good thing all around, I think.

OS: You’ve never done Warped Tour with the lineup you have now. What’s it like to have two new people out this time?

MO: Well he is one of the new people. [points at Nolan]

JN: He gets to talk shit about one of the new guys [laughs].

MO: And he’s a new-old guy, the old-new…whatever. But, I can say that it’s definitely more fun with John and Shaun [Cooper]. The original lineup.

JN: I personally think the band is much better with Shaun Cooper and John Nolan in it. I mean just, a completely unbiased position, I mean, it’s just better. Just better. [laughs] Everything is better.

OS: There are a lot of veterans out with you guys this year, like New Found Glory, Bayside, and Senses Fail. Is it nice to have bands that broke out around the same time you did on Warped Tour?

MO: Yeah. You know, we’re always right next to Bayside and New Found Glory, so they’re good dudes, we’ve known them for a long time, so it makes it nice to, you know, be able to wake up and see people that you know. Friendly faces, smiles, good friends. Good times.

Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Taking Back Sunday Talk Warped Tour Ten Years After ‘Tell All Your Friends’’

 


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