Brett Dennen: On Tour Now

Fresh Independence caught up with Brett Dennen after a day of skiing in Aspen, Colorado. Currently on Tour: You don’t want to miss this diamond in the rough.

Where did Tour kick off?

We kicked off tour in Phoenix, AZ and stop in Honolulu, HI. I wish I could tour Hawaii all the time. I don’t, but I need to.

You were in Vancouver last February right?

I was , I love Vancouver, I was there last summer as well. 

Brett Dennen 3

The number one thing people say to me when they meet me is, “I didn’t realize you were so tall!” I heard that at least 50 times a day last month on tour. Here I am backstage last night in Madrid, warming up before the show. In Holland, I fit in just fine.

What is your favorite thing about Vancouver?

I just love the scenery, the air, the red wood trees, the breeze, it has that water-ocean-air energy to it that is invigorating and it is just so blue and green. Those are the colors of life- very inspiring. 

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Peter Aristone- Prague, Czech Republic

Peter Aristone spins his cocoon in the upcoming EP Gold. His music is not to be missed and sheds a light in this sometimes dark world.

Home is where your story begins, would you tell us a bit about yours?

Yes. I was born in Bratislava, Slovakia. I bought my first acoustic guitar when I was 14 years old. I started to learn to play and was writing my first songs in English.

In high school I already knew that I wanted to be a musician. My biggest dream was to spread my music all over the world. In 1999 I moved to Prague to study at the Conservatory of Jaroslav Jezek. I’ve went through many different bands and styles. I met many contacts and musical friends so when I finished music school I stayed in Prague and continued to work hard on my career. In 2012 I decided to go solo with the name Peter Aristone. 

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Justin James – Vancouver, B.C. / Cabarete, Dominican Republic

By Kim Laureen 

The best part of what we do is stumbling upon genuine people making real music. Vancouver native Justin James is a refreshing soul taking his one shot at life and making it count. Justin spends half the year touring and the other half finding inspiration in the surf, and creating beautiful music from the majestic view of the Dominican Republic. He has found his missing piece in that paradise he calls home.

1. Home is where your story begins please tell us about where you come from.

Canada! My home and native land. I was born in beautiful Vancouver on the Pacific Ocean and it was an incredible place to grow up. If you have never been to Vancouver it’s a must. One of the most beautiful cities in the world. And no we don’t live in igloos. 

2. How would you best describe your musical style?

My style is based on my island lifestyle. I moved to the tropics at 16 and fell in love with the carefree way of life. I write most of my music sitting on a beach so if I can drift someone away from the hustle and bustle of city life and transport them to an island for a few minutes…then I’ll be a happy camper.

3. We know you love windsurfing… tell us how it feels to you.

Fresh Independence! I fly over water. Any stress just disappears when I hit the ocean. I am very blessed to live in one of the worlds best water-sports destinations. Cabarete D.R. We have world class surfing, kiteboarding and windsurfing and I do them all. I have my gear set up ready to go. Yesterday I actually canceled a meeting when the wind picked up to a solid 25 knots. Priorities! Here is a video of me wind surfing in my back yard!

4. Where do your songs come from? Ideas/Experiences/Emotions Tell us how your creations take form.

The music comes from just playing and playing and letting a groovy chord progression pop up. Then most of the time the first few lyrics just flow and that’s enough to give direction. Inspiration doesn’t last for hours, it’s a flash and then it comes down to sanding the corners and polishing it . Then you need to play it live and sometimes I’m still tweaking it right up to the moment I’m about to record it! 

5. Can you share with us about your encounter with the tiger shark: the event that you say changed your life… what happened on that day and where did that journey take you?

Well to answer this question we would need a novel…but let’s say “everything happens for a reason”. I was a professional windsurfer and music was a hobby and today I’m a professional musician and windsurfing is my hobby. I can’t express how that day changed me. I don’t even think it dawned on me till years later. One thing I know for sure is that life can be cut short. The best way to realize that you better do what you love is to realize how short life is! 250 stitches…lost 1/2 my blood…1 year to walk again. How can I not chase my dream?

a jj surf

 Ana Gabriel Photography

6. How has your music evolved over the last decade?

I think if you work on your craft it just gets better. That is the hope anyway. I used to think I needed some crazy cool chords to impress but really all you need is a great chord progression, a great melody, great lyrics and a great delivery. That’s a lot of greats…but it beats crazy cool any day ;) a jj album cover

Get it here:  J U S T I N   J A M E S   I  S  L  A  N  D  S   

7. Which is your favourite song on your latest album ‘Islands’, and please tell us the meaning behind it.

My new album is “Islands”, which was released on August 13, 2013. One of my favourite songs is “Boy Overboard.” It’s about being overboard in love with all the terms of the song based around sailing and the ocean. “If you and I are ships out on the ocean, I will look for you on my Horizons.” It is not your typical radio song but it is one of my favourites. 

8. What do you like to do on a lazy Sunday?

Is it football season? If not…hit the beach…go surf, bbq, play some music w/ some friends. Nothing crazy.

a custom painted Taylor Guitar

9. While on the road aside from communication, what is the one thing you can not live without?

My guitar.

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Michael Noyce- Madison, WI.

By Megan Nicole

Angelic harmonies, lost in a fast world, youth on side, trembling story yet to be told.

To be known, forgotten, or up and coming. Which is worse?
The story of Michael Noyce is such like the evolution of a modern day musician.
Here today, gone tomorrow.

Hence the rise to the band of yesterday, Bon Iver.  

Just as Nils Lofgren is to Bruce Springsteen or Michael Balzary is to Anthony Kiedis. Michael Noyce is to Justin Vernon.

“Crossed with a feeling // Could not be the only one left wondering: Where had this musician gone?”

Fresh Independence caught up with Mike Noyce. 20 Questions + a stay tuned with good things to come… 

1. Home is where your story begins, can you tell us about yours?

I’m living in Madison, WI and loving it. It’s a beautiful town and I’m happy to be here.

2. How did Music find you?

I didn’t grow up in a family that listened to a lot of music, but my siblings and I each played a stringed instrument growing up. But I’d say music actually found me as a scrawny pubescent, when I picked up the guitar.  It was entirely different as I chose to do it on my own  (vs. the extrinsic motivation of having a parent ask you to play an instrument and practice it)

3. Who were your Musical influences growing up?

Initially a lot of Third Eye Blind, Smashing Pumpkins, and Weezer. Then a few local bands like Amateur Love and Deyarmond Edison. I got exposed to a lot of different music via Justin Vernon— I’ve always felt really grateful for that.

4. To the unfamiliar: How would you describe your musical style?

I did a lot of folk tunes growing up, but now I’m mostly interested in pop music. I think indie music can be afraid to say shit in a direct way, and I guess right  now I’m reacting to that by trying to make some lyrically direct music that might make people uncomfortable.   But it’s hard to find a balance, and it also makes me uncomfortable sometimes. I guess I’m still a noob when it comes to this songwriting thing.

5. When working with Bon Iver, what was your favorite song to perform and vibe behind it?

We did a cover of the Outfield song “your love”. I loved playing that- it’s just a great song. I’ve also always loved playing Bethrest, Bloodbank,and Calgary. I like those songs- they’ve got a real special pop thing going on, and they’re just a fucking release when you play them in the middle of a set, because they aren’t afraid to be big. 

6. What do you take from your days with Bon Iver?

I really took a long time to get my shit together and learn how to not be entirely freaked out or anxiety ridden with all the touring and performing. I feel like the guys were always really understanding of that despite how ridiculous and childish I could be.  It’s like a family out there, and I definitely feel like I was raised by those dudes a little bit. Basically it’s about the people you’re with when you’re touring- and we had good people. That’s what I’ll remember most, although there were undoubtedly some insane performances. 

7. What are you up to now? School, Music, etc.

I took a semester of classes and worked at a farm over the summer, where I kept bees and moved cattle and then played music by myself in the evenings.  Now I’m hoping to take the next six months to finish up an old collaboration called, “Satana” and then start touring some solo songs.

8. What is something fans would be surprised to learn about you?

I dig gardening and cooking and hiking.  I like projects. There have been times where I’ve struggled with my relationship to music, and sometimes having something else to put your energy towards can be a lifesaver, if you can manage it. 

9. Shout-out to your current favorite Band or Artist? 

I’ve been digging Chvrches a lot lately.  Also I’ve always loved Tallest Man on Earth’s guitar playing. Oh and Alt-J.  Love that.    

10. Michael Noyce is hosting a dinner party.

What Album is playing? 

Dido, life for rent

What is on the Menu? 

Some kinda bangin’ braise.  Right now maybe a rabbit wrapped in bacon.  But it’s gonna be behind by an hour and you’re gonna have to wait around. 

Four influential [past or present] people are invited, who is on the Guest List?

Not sure, but definitely Mississippi John HurtIbrahim Ferrer, and I think maybe the Dezurik Sisters.  But then that’s all musicians, so it might be boring.

11. What does the perfect lazy Sunday look like to you?

Cooking food and having some friends over, playing some guitar, maybe all that being out in the country.

12. Where are you writing this in this moment?

Madison Sourdough, one of the best brunch spots in my town. 

13. Where is  a stand-out place that you have travelled?

Capileira, Spain. It wasn’t for music, but our tour manager has worked his whole life to build a small home there, and hosted me.  I’ll never forget that town.

14. What is your opinion on the changes within the Music Industry in the last five years? 

I’ve only been in the music industry for the past five or six years. Honestly, everything seems pretty similar to me.  I do think that people have lost touch with performing a little and the reasons why it’s important to be able to make more than just a recording.   Making music isn’t just about making something new or better, but about being in touch with the people around you and yourself.   

15. What is a quote or piece of advice that will always stay with you?

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first.    

16. What could the world use more of?

Gardens, dinners, bikes, therapy.

17. I will always…

Try to recognize the beauty around me. 

18. I will never…

kill somebody?  Say never? 

19. Do you prefer to work behind the scenes or be on stage? 

A bit of both, but I am shy.

20. What can fans look forward to from Michael Noyce in the New Year?

Hopefully some music with Satana come summertime.

Stay tuned.

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