Ringing the changes: 21 Taras Interview

21 Taras is a rock band from Littleton, Colorado which having sparked keen attention through previous releases has ventured into new directions in sound and adventure. This evolution is at the heart of their new album, Change. Wanting to now more we recently chatted with the band learning…

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

4 out of the 5 of us went to school together. James and Alec shared some classes and started the band, then shortly after recruited Jimmy. James went up to the first person he saw; who just so happened to be Jimmy; and asked if he played bass. Austin was later introduced to the band in a similar fashion. I (Julian) moved to Colorado in 2014 and met James online on some band finder website. They sent me some songs to throw some vocals on and we played our first show just a couple weeks later.

Have you been or are involved in other bands? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

We all have been playing music for a while now in one way or another, but this is pretty much our first real band. I had a project back when I lived in Alaska with one of my good friends Rio, but it was just the two of us. James and Alec had gone through a few other line-ups under a different band name, but as of late 2014 the line-up has been set and that is when the final name change to 21 Taras ensued.

What inspired the band name?

It comes from Buddhism. They have 21 different forms of Tara, all based around self-empowerment and self-enlightenment. The name stands for how we try to continually grow as not only musicians, but also as people through our music and songwriting.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

We just want to continue evolving. Just about four years in, and we have changed so much already. I don’t think we ever try to plan for where things go; it just sort of happens. We’ve tried to dictate things before but that is a good way for things to end up forced.

Do the same things still drive the band from its first steps or have they evolved over time?

I think now having a full music studio at our disposal has greatly changed everything. It allows us to be more creative as we are working on our time. Our mentor/producer Jim Boyd deserves a lot of credit for our last record. With him opening up his studio to us, it really led to the growth of the songs and the overall freedom the album possesses.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We started out with more of a hard rock and grunge presence, and it has evolved rather quickly to more of a 60s and 70s influenced sound. Things are getting more and more psychedelic influenced as we speak.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both, I think everyone was starting to get a little burnt out and I think we just had a lack of direction. We were kind of floating in one area with no real progression occurring. We all had a big free flowing discussion back in February with the main message being about trying new things. Just taking more outside influences and putting them to use. It really has led to some very diverse songs for us.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

A big one for us is the Beatles. Right around Rubber Soul is when they really started to branch out and grow their sound. I just love how one band can have so many songs from different ends of the spectrum, from Honey Pie to Helter Skelter, they really changed the confines of a particular album mould. Other bands that do this are Queen and the Beach Boys. As a band we all share so many influences with each other. For James he brings a lot of the heavier side such as bands like Earthless and Red Fang, while Alec is more of a classic aficionado with bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Austin and Jimmy probably have the most eclectic tastes, although we all tend to enjoy a bit of everything. It is a good problem to have as it leads to a diverse palette.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting?

Every song is different really, some songs are written by one or two guys while others we all sit and write together. Sometimes one guy will write a section and bring it to the group, while other songs may be more fleshed out by the time it reaches the rehearsal room.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

I write the lyrics and more often than not it is usually dictated by the music itself. There have been times however where I will write the lyrics first and the music will follow.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Our latest release is called Change and the name is to be taken quite literal. It marks several big changes for us as a band, such as our sound but also our songwriting processes and just our overall growth as a group.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

The album starts off rather straight forward musically, and by song two we go to a very new place, for both the listener and the band itself. Gettin’ Hungry (track two) is very jazz influenced number featuring a good friend Mia Klosterman on backing vocals. The song and much of the album takes you through some of the mental hardships I was going through at the time. I tried to have the bridge of the song represent what I was going through internally during a very distressed time in my life being away from a loved one.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

With a studio at our disposal, it allows us to do both simultaneously. The songs are constantly being devolved and modified.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Performing has changed so much for us with the growth of our songs. With the new album containing so much depth and there being just five of us in the band, it creates a fun challenge to reproduce the music. We are always looking at new ways to reinvent the songs and create more of a cohesive show that really tells a story. It really is theatrical in a way.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it?

If the drive is there, it is always possible. We are very driven and determined, but we also genuinely love doing it. So even the smallest of impacts are very satisfying for us. We just have to keep going.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive?

Times and technology change and the only option is to adapt to your surroundings whether you like it or not. Social media is part of our generation and there isn’t really a way around that. There are both negative and positive aspects to that but one really big positive is that it allows for bands to connect directly with their fans and have a whole new reach that would have never been possible before. Of course this leads to over saturation, which is a whole other discussion, but you have to always find the good in a bad situation no matter the circumstances. Speaking of, here’s a shameless plug of our website! https://www.21tarasband.com/

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

We put a lot of time into our new album Change and our goal is to take you on a journey through some of our favorite periods in music. The album focuses heavily on the mid to late 60s, as well as 70s with a bit of early jazz influence as well. You can listen to the band’s new album Change here: https://21tarasband.bandcamp.com/album/change

https://www.facebook.com/21tarasband   https://twitter.com/21TarasBand

Pete RingMaster 07/12/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Leatherjacks – The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll + singles

As the band get to work on its successor, we take a look back at the Leatherjacks debut album as well as subsequent singles as an introduction to their inventive rock ‘n’ roll. From São Paulo, Brazil and formed in 2016, Leatherjacks is the creation of singer, songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist Mauro Cordeiro and it was through his personal introduction that we were guided to the band’s first album, a flavoursome slab of heavy metal infused hard rock which has raised an eager anticipation for its upcoming successor.

With the inspiration of bands such as Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Thin Lizzy, George Benson, and Stray Cats among many others shaping his own musical imagination, The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll was pretty much a solo project for Cordeiro despite attempting to find like-minded musicians to realise his intent. For the second album he has realised his hopes for a full band line-up with the addition of bassist Marcos Brandão and guitarist Rapha Gusto; a drummer still being sought as we write.

The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll opens up with People (We’re Chosen Ones) and instantly had ears keenly attentive with its swinging groove and fiery touch. Riffs and rhythms simultaneously launch an infectious lure, the vocals of Cordeiro adding to the swift captivation. Certainly the song is not over ripe in uniqueness but quickly blossomed with fresh and imaginative enterprise through the open craft of its creator; that blending of classic and heavy metal with rousing hard rock providing a highly flavoured proposition which easily caught the appetite.

Next up Crocodile’s Heart has a more controlled gait and sonic calm though its simmer bubbled rapaciously throughout. An eighties metal spicing brings a catchy hue to the song which though it did not ignite ears as forcibly as its predecessor, left its pleasurable mark especially through Cordeiro’s guitar enterprise before Burning Wire grabbed attention with its web of wiry grooves and rousing rhythms honed into a manipulative slice of heavy rock ‘n’ roll with a deft melodic touch. Cordeiro has a passion for rockabilly among other sounds, a hue definitely behind the track’s tenacious and quickly addictive stomp.

Taking best track honours it is followed by the muscular roar of the track LeatherJacks. Once more heavy metal and imposing hard rock are blended for a proposal which almost preys on ears as it pleasures them; its tone as predacious as it is arousing before Emotions On Sale explores a more tender, ballad like side to the Leatherjacks invention. It still comes with a fire in its belly though; one which inflames its voice and intensity throughout a magnetic presence to forge another high point in the album’s already compelling body.

The Slammer was a song which did not quite hook up with personal tastes yet Cordeiro has a style and touch to his guitar play and songwriting which easily tempts as proven not for the first or last time by Do You Fucking Pay My Bills?, a raucous but defined rock ‘n’ roll assault riff armed and melody inflamed with attitude oozing every note and syllable.

The following instrumental MotoCross is a delicious metal ‘n’ roll incitement, craft and adrenaline fuelling its addictive antics before the album concludes on its title track. The final song was another which did not quite ignite the juices as those before but again bouncing to its contagion and returning to its fire for more was never in doubt.

The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll is a highly enjoyable and accomplished release with really impressive moments which have only been built upon by subsequent singles; tracks hinting of bigger and bolder things to come with its successor. The end of 2017 saw Leatherjacks release I Hate To Fall In Love. A melodic romance with that ever present fire in its heart and lining, the song has a freshness to it which inescapably entices. It is a song written decades earlier but stands the test of time and with its new enterprise firmly pleasures though not as majorly as Persona Non Grata. A track presumably set to appear on the second album, which we believe will be called Songs For The Strangest Ones, it is superb. Immediately it reveals its infectious swagger, guitars and rhythms uniting in a flirtatious canter as vocals melodically share the song’s heart. Again familiarity and fresh endeavour do collude yet a union which invades ears and imagination with eager intent and adventure. The track is accompanied by the song Spells and Zombies Through the Night, an even bolder, more raucous offering which suggests that this new album once realised will eclipse all before.

The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll and those singles are all available via iTunes.

http://www.leatherjacksofficial.com/    https://www.facebook.com/pg/leatherjacksofficial

 Pete RingMaster 12/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dark Stares – Darker Days Are Here To Stay

With a clutch of praise wearing EP’s already under their belt UK outfit Dark Stares have now raised the ante with their debut album. Continuing the open evolution of their sound across those previous encounters, Darker Days Are Here To Stay is a release which maybe smoulders more than roars but like the band’s previous releases, just captivates but with an even greater depth of adventure and seduction.

The St Albans band’s individual alternative rock tempts like a fusion of Muse and Queens Of The Stone Age but equally has drawn references to the likes of Wolfmother, Royal Blood, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles. Formed in 2011, the quartet released their first EP, Tell Your Friends, the following year. Its well-received introduction to the band has been built upon in sound and success across the likes of Octopon and Soul Contract as well as a host an eagerly supported singles. Self-produced, Darker Days Are Here To Stay continues the band’s DIY intent with a raw magnetism and organic radiance which just commands attention.

The album opens up with Liquid Reign and a sonic limbo from which a swagger gaited groove, firm beats, and the tantalising voice of Miles Kristian Howell emerge. The track settles into an infectious swing entwined in heated sonic vines as that initial groove continues to wind around ears and appetite. Crystaline in its melody, crisp in its rhythms, the song is a warm yet invasive seduction as catchy as it is hauntingly provocative.

The following Sweet Rider 5 is also the band’s new single, a track similarly woven to the first but with a fiery lining to its golden glaze and a whiff of latter day Depeche Mode to its air. The guitar of Harry Collins casts another alluring web of sound and heat; tendrils of enterprise which tease rather than entangle the imagination but have it alive all the same as the dark tone of Brett Harland Howell’s bass and the urge of Taylor Howell’s beats tempt the body.  So absorbing it feels much shorter than it really is, the track still ends too quickly but Pedal Pusher soon has all focus on its fuzzy, enticing saunter. An electronic grumble adds inventive shadow to the mesmeric charms of guitar and harmonies and equally a raw edge courting intrigue and dark melancholy to contrast the radiance on offer.

Darker Days is next, its electronic scuzz even deeper and dirtier than in its predecessor to accentuate the candescent sounds wrapping broad and intimate shadows. Richly captivating with its own individually bold sway, the song wears the scent of post punk and neo-psychedelia in its creative sigh; a The Jesus and Mary Chain meets The House of Love kind of wash adding to its rich pull before Animal floats in on a sonic breeze. Its climate is soon a sweltering embrace easily luring ears and imagination to its exotic heart and bluesy drama. It is a track which epitomises the album, making a strong and potent first impression but only glowing brighter with every listen.

Across the likes of the more volatile rock ‘n’ roll of Ordinary Way with its scuzzy touch and unpredictable air and the irresistible Hips Don’t Shake the album just drew us deeper into its grasp. The first of the two did not connect as thickly as other tracks but its successor more than compensated with its addictive twists and infectious almost mischievous character. There is a constant Josh Homme like hue to songs if mostly a mere dash of colour but makes for a compelling ingredient in the album’s best moment.

Cruise Control equally dips into that spicing for its raw harmonic roar, Muse-esque spatial hues fusing with the song’s sonic fuzziness while So Good serenades from within its cavernous heart. The second is a tapestry of imagination, every move unexpected yet instantly embraceable as the lucent croon of the song envelops ears and a by now greedy appetite.

The pair of Their Game and Feels (So Sad) bring the album to a beguiling close with their respective indie rock and hypnotic glow of melancholic yet lustrous beauty. They complete a release which just captivates but with moments that had us drooling. Even so we still have the feeling that Dark Stares has not come close to finding the boundaries of their sound and that makes the anticipation for their next release as strong as the enjoyment found with Darker Days Are Here To Stay.

Darker Days Are Here To Stay is out now through iTunes and other stores.

https://www.darkstares.com/   https://www.facebook.com/DarkStares/   https://twitter.com/dark_stares

Pete RingMaster 22/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Gianluca Magri – Reborn

Reborn is the debut EP from Italian guitarist Gianluca Magri; five tracks of instrumental rock which courts and runs with the imagination. Never showing off but proudly sharing the craft and enterprise of its creator, it is a record which just dances on the ear.

Teaching himself guitar at the age of 17, Magri subsequently studied at Cortina d’Ampezzo music school and at the MMI in San Biagio di Callalta. The years since has seen him as well as teach at the Music Area Academy in Belluno and at the Music and Soul school of Venas di Cadore play live with his solo band and with a couple of covers bands and from 2011 to 2016 play in metal outfit Phaith who released the well-received album Redrumorder. The autumn of 2017 saw Magri record Reborn, uniting since with Red Cat Records Inst Fringe for its recent release.

With its songs inspired by the likes of Gary Moore, Joe Satriani, Leslie West, Led Zeppelin, and Whitesnake, Reborn begins with its title track. Instantly its boisterous gait and infectious invitation had feet tapping and ears attentive, Magri entwining the latter with spicy grooves and tenacious melodies brought with a deft touch on his strings. Across the songs on the release, Magri is joined by bassist Diego Maioni and drummer Raffaele Fiori, their rhythms skilfully grounding the adventure of the guitar and egging on the listener’s physical participation with the growling tone of the bass adding a nice dark contrast to further grip attention. Just as Magri never over indulges his swiftly obvious ability, his songs never dally or linger, the opener just stirring up the senses and appetite, feeding both, and leaving with as enterprising punch.

The following Cloudbreaker brings a calmer climate though soon shows a lining of volatility which never quite erupts but adds drama and colour to the imagination nurturing encounter. Magri again weaves a magnet picture of sound, hips eagerly swaying to his composition as the imagination plays with rhythms adding earthier texture to his lofty and often fiery but always composed enterprise.

Snowballed is next up, the piece a fresh and boisterous affair with mischief in its smile and energy in its stroll while A.D.R. has a thicker body and touch but still one with a spirit warming brightness to its melody and air. Both songs spark ears and thoughts, thoughts easily conjuring alongside the sonic intimations as enjoyment of Reborn only thickened.

The EP closes with acoustic track Atlas Bound, Magri’s fingers gliding over his ‘canvas’ with suggestive craft and firm magnetism. It is a captivating end to a fine debut encounter with the guitarist. It is fair to say that we are quite fussy in our enjoyment of instrumental music and maybe have not yet defined what it is that lights our personal fires. We thoroughly enjoyed Reborn though across its every note and second so maybe the answer lies within; certainly pleasure does.

Reborn is out now via Red Cat Records Inst Fringe and available @ https://gianlucamagri.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/gianlucamagriguitar

Pete RingMaster 29/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Ugly Kings – Promised Land

With their debut album slated for release early next year, Australian rockers The Ugly Kings recently provided a rather flavoursome teaser for it with Promised Land. Offering two tracks cast in the band’s “power blues” sound, the EP weaves a temptation as atmospheric and haunting as it is bold and fiery, both songs rich in a potential suggesting that forthcoming full length just has to be checked out.

Formed in Melbourne in 2011, The Ugly Kings draw on the inspirations of bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Black Keys, Muddy Waters, BB King, Black Sabbath, Dead Weather, and Royal Blood for their sound. It is a mix which brought the band’s mini-album, Of Sons, praise carrying attention in 2015 and now makes a striking invitation within Promised Land.

Though you can quibble whether a two track release is an EP or single, there is no denying Promised Land inescapably grabs ears and appetite with its title track. An opening sultry stroke of guitar courts the imagination though it is the instantly striking tones of vocalist Rusty which really hook attention; his potent presence backed by the imposing drama brooding beats of Andy. As further elements unite, the song raises to yet another level, hitting a majestic stroll which initially is almost predatory before becoming a celebratory fire of energy and suggestion.  Its masterful cycle repeats, increasing its hold on body and imagination second by second; the guitar of Christos creating a web of fiery temptation as the bass of Nick makes a grumbling, almost irritable trespass easy to greedily devour. Imposingly infectious and skilfully manipulative, the track is glorious and reason alone to explore that future album.

Even so, personal tastes just took to companion song, Wash Me Of My Sins, with instinctive lust. Like an aural equivalent of a flickering sepia hued film, the song shimmers with the twang of guitar and those ever compelling vocals. Its slow crawl is a shadow wrapped enticement more rejoice than funereal leading to an energy fuelled, spirit arousing canter which still embraces a reserved intensity in its dark country/psych rock canter. With a harmonic tapestry of voices around the ever compelling presence of Rusty, the song seduces listener involvement and imagination with sublime ease; just stealing best song honours and uniting in suggesting that the next encounter with The Ugly Kings is not to be missed.

Promised Land is out now and available @ https://theuglykings.bandcamp.com/album/promised-land

https://www.facebook.com/TheUglyKings/    https://twitter.com/theuglykings

Pete RingMaster 31/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

NimfoniA – Vicky White

The echo of the experience involving lost love, Vicky White is the new single from Hungarian outfit NimfoniA. It is a song as sultry as it is melancholic; a serenade of beauty and immersive shadows bred of an emotional tempest we have all experienced.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Zozo Debreczy, bassist Gábor Vermes, keyboardist Krisztián Kun, and drummer Zsolt Jánky, NimfoniA draw on the broad inspirations of artists such as The Beatles, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Doors in their multi-flavoured sound. The latter pair most comes to mind as Vicky White seductively crawls through ears with the surf spicing of the guitar also resembling a reflective mix of The Shadows and Thee Oh Sees. It makes for a magnetic affair around a lyrical heart borne from the “sweet nightmare” Debreczy experienced in love with a girl named Vicky.

The track opens with the inviting strum of guitar, its gentle invitation lying within the similarly subdued but enticing mist of keys. Within their lure Debreczy’s dark Nick Cave meets Tom Waits tones unfurl emotional self-reflection, the sturdier gait of rhythms rising alongside to further capture the imagination.

Easily infectious and atmospherically compelling, Vicky White blossoms into a captivating siren of a song fuelled by love and tragedy; a memorable moment with a band you get the feeling we will be hearing a lot more about ahead.

Vicky White is available from September 15th.

http://nimfonia.com/    https://www.facebook.com/NimfoniA    https://twitter.com/nimfonia

Pete RingMaster 12/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Introducing The Duffaloes

Allow us to introduce you to The Duffaloes, a band we suspect you will be hearing a lot more of once their debut EP is released this coming August. Only formed a handful of weeks ago, the British outfit is the creation and union of vocalist/guitarist Lee Duffy and guitarist/bassist Lee Williams, two musicians no strangers to the Liverpool music scene through playing in other bands and in other guises over the years. Recently the pair sent over to us a couple of songs from that forthcoming EP and we have to say you are going to like what they have to offer.

The band’s sound going by these tracks is a feisty mix of alternative and melodic rock with numerous other flavours involved and bred in the inspiration to the pair of bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, U2, Metallica, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. Inviting musicians friends to “jump in” and help out live and in the studio, The Duffaloes have a persistent freshness to their music which colludes with their obvious experience and creative maturity and quickly makes a strong impression across the songs Scars and Outside.

Scars is a fiery encounter with a raw grunge tone to its melodic and emotive heart. Straight away it coaxes and teases attention with an opening riff and inviting bassline speared by lively beats. Duffy’s vocals are just as swiftly alluring ears and attention, his great tones a dusky mix of earnest growl and plaintive expression against the web of melodic enterprise cast by the guitars. Like a mix of Jacksons Warehouse and Stone Temple Pilots, the track tenaciously dances in ears, enticing and challenging with its roar and emotive intensity. At times ridiculously catchy and constantly commanding attention, Scars has lead single written all over it, especially once its emerging Pete Wylie like hooks captivate.

There is similar instinctive angst and imagination of sound within Outside but also an individuality which adds even more intrigue and depth to the band’s sound and songwriting. With more of a pop rock air than the rawer texture of its companion, the track still has an edge of attitude and texture which quickly gets its claws into the imagination, the body as swiftly hooked on its lively gait and infectious Echo and The Bunnymen scented chorus.

There is a familiarity to both tracks but nothing especially definable or diluting the strength and pleasure gained with each. Of course two songs is early days to truly assess a band but it is hard not to breed real anticipation for their future and expectations that a great many of you like us will develop a real appetite for their imagination woven rock ‘n’ roll.

Check out The Duffaloes further @ https://www.facebook.com/TheDuffaloes/  and watch out for their debut EP released August 1st.

Pete RingMaster 14/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright