It’s hard to believe that high energy pop-rock band Tyrannosaurus Grace began with a hand-me-down guitar and a cheap practice amp. Their keyboardist and sound engineer, Justin Foss, is telling me about how he first got interested in playing music.
As grand prize winners of the recent Mobile Recording Studio Contest for the song “Chemistry,” their innovative sound and thought-provoking lyrics made them completely stand out from all other submissions.
Justin chats about what meaning music has to the band. “I think I speak on behalf of all of us when I say it gives us an outlet. I think we’re all naturally anxious people in this band and the ability to channel that tension into something productive is a real gift.”
Justin tells me about the roots of their unique name. “It came from a poem that one of Tim’s friends wrote about being hung over and entering a room like a ‘Tyrannosaurus Grace’” The amusing anecdote fits the exciting, fun, and humorous spirit of the band, which began when founding members Tim Held and Justin Foss began writing music together in 2009. The rest of the band, Lakyn Bury, David Hoffman, and Jeff Gerrer, came together a year later.
“By next year we hope to be continuing to build our fan base throughout Washington state, getting bigger and better bookings and larger pockets of fans in some of the areas that we rarely get a chance to play. Within the next 5 years we are hoping to have a large enough following to where we can do west coast tours and actually come back with some money and possibly tour nationally and only lose a little bit of money,” Justin tells us. “We are currently working on finishing our second full length album and it will hopefully be out around February-March of 2012.”
In terms of advice for other bands, Justin strongly believes in perseverance. “Always be working on something. The only way you get better at anything is do it a lot. If you want your songwriting to get better, write more songs. If you want your band to sound tighter, practice more. If you want your live show to be stronger, play out more. You have to get the bad stuff out before you can get to the good…and you can always get better,” says Justin.
For industry advice, he tells us “Learn all you can and stay in the loop. These days we as musicians are very much empowered to take our careers into our own hands with the ubiquity of the Internet. We can distribute our own music, do a lot of our own promotion, handle our own booking, etc. But because we are all so empowered we need to be very keen on how to utilize all of the tools available to us so we can cut through all of the noise of the innumerable bands out there and gain some attention.
We love that uPlaya is a service that is dedicated to helping artists and helps to further empower us to take our musical careers into our own hands. uPlaya has helped us specifically with their online press kits which we have used a number of times to help us secure bookings at venues who were unfamiliar with us.”
Thanks so much, Justin! A BIG congratulations to you and the rest of Tyrannosaurus Grace! You should feel very proud of yourselves, and of this exciting accomplishment!
Two very talented, yet strikingly different uPlaya artists have been selected as our finalists in the Mobile Recording Studio Contest.
Antione Conley, better known, as “One” is an active rapper, producer, and songwriter from Detroit Michigan. His outstanding use of beats and sampling, combined with his memorable lyrics made his song, Fresh, stand out as one of our top finalists.
Self described as “futuristic catchy pop meets space intelligent hip hop,” Audio Imagery is not your traditional band. While using catchy melodies, their songs hook the listener while captivating the imagination and the senses. These characteristics made their song Karma one our top finalists.
Congratulations to our finalists! We’ll be announcing the grand prize winner very soon!
The Ryan Calder band made their debut at Splashy Fen, a prominent music festival in South Africa, in April of 2007. The band's uniquely positive lyrics are inspiring and are meant to be appreciated by all cultures and age groups.
Ryan's realization of his musical ambitions formed one day in March of 2005. "I had performed in and around my hometown and saved all the money to fly across the country and perform in a different city. I remember walking down the street having just gotten off the plane thinking 'I got here by doing what I love to do.' It was an amazing feeling of freedom," Ryan said.
Collaboratively, they all use their theatre background to keep the audience interested. “Our shows and our music relies heavily on contrast to keep people’s attention. We also like to point out that our keyboardist isn’t hitched yet,” Ryan joked.
For their upcoming live shows they will be using animation and graphics, as an artistic new twist. They also have a new album in the works and a new clothing line, so lots of new excitement is on the way. "We're just getting started," Ryan said.
“And we're just beginning to work with uPlaya, but it looks like a great innovative community with good ideas, “ Ryan said. Thank you Ryan and a big congratulations to you and everyone in the Ryan Calder Band!
We’d like to introduce you to Mahmoud Balanov, a creative new musician who is releasing his first professional mix album, “Bazooka.”
his two mini-albums, “Kick Off” and “Golden California,” his music is maturing and moving in a new direction. This album, while still embracing the House, Tech-House, Trance and Tribal influences of his last two albums, is a product of months of hard work and devotion.
According to Balanov Music, this 24-track album represents “the future of digital music in Egypt” and it aspires to “carry you away with the power of sound's energy."
His music recently came in second place for “Best Unsigned Artist” and “Best New Song” on WeLoveYourSongs (and has since moved the the top of both categories!). Check out this awesome interview he did with our friends over there!
We strongly suggest you check out his full-length album that will be publicly released on the Balanov Music facebook page very soon! We’ll keep you up-to-date as new details emerge!
Remember Anthem of Silence, our Benedetto Contest Winners? Today we are bringing you the conclusion of our highly entertaining interview with them. Learn about what they find inspiring, their favorite gigs, some words of wisdom for their fans, and upcoming projects to keep an eye out for!
uPlaya.com: Tell us about the last song you wrote.
Cameron: “Well, for me, the music always comes first, and I find the sounds themselves are a closer representation of my feelings than words can capture. However, I get a great deal of excitement from discovering phrases that change over time, finding meanings in lyrics I wrote, just thinking ‘Oh, I'll just use it now and change it later’ and finding out later, when it's time to change it, that they're actually good! Or someone else comes to me and says what they mean to them, and it's way deeper than what I had in mind when I wrote them! Adam is a huge help often taking the lead and writing unfinished lyrics, helping carve ideas into the music that he hears.”
Dolce: “We're always writing multiple songs at once, but ‘Fallen Sun’ was a particularly interesting song to write together as a band. It kind of took a life of its own in the recording studio, starting off in a somber, hypnotic voice and then ending in a cacophany of sound. It was a good excuse to just start banging on whatever was lying around.”
uPlaya.com: Describe one of your most recent performances. Where and what did you play? What was theexperience like? Any interesting stories?
Dolce: “We've had a lot of cool shows recently like House of Blues, Viper Room, and El Cid in Los Angeles… but one of the most memorable ones this year was playing at the Indie Music Festival in Las Vegas. It was our first road trip together as a band - it was incredibly hot that day with sweat dripping into our eyes - but we had a ton of fun together, the event was awesome, and we met a lot of people, and of course hit up the lazy river at MGM afterwards.
For me, it was also the first time I experimented playing an electric cello, standing up with a strap so that I could move around. Right before we started playing, a big tatted rock dude came up with his 6-year-old son who asked, ‘Dad, what's that?’ ‘Well that there, son, is a rock cello!" It was great!’
Cameron: “We just played El Cid in Silverlake (LA) and we all agreed it was our best performance and the reason it was so good was a feeling of natural performance, fearlessness. The more work we put into ourselves as artists and friends, the more of an all over "experience" emerges as opposed to just playing songs. I think one of the most interesting things that has been happening is showing up at shows, and seeing lots of people there; people we've never seen before, and they're there to see us! We're like…’Do you know them? No? WTF?’ (laughs) It's great, we love our fans, a lot of them feel really open to talking to us about the way we structure our songs, and write melodies, which makes me feel great because our shows are comfortable. The audience is really LISTENING. I like that.”
uPlaya.com: What words of wisdom do you have for other musicians who are getting started?
Cameron: “As far as sharing creative space with anyone, the most important thing is finding people you can communicate with, who are interested in learning and growing in a similar way. My dad once said ‘a know-it-all attitude is cyanide to the creative process"’and I’ve lived by that vigorously. Remember IT'S ABOUT THE MUSIC, and it really can be the source of inspiration that helps the best in people blossom.”
Dolce: “Work hard, dream big, have fun, listen to others, and chew your food.”
Serge: “Do not give up!!!!”
uPlaya.com: What new project(s) are you working on? What can we expect in the future?
Cameron: “Be looking for three new videos, we've been expanding with some outstanding artists into the visual field and intend to add that to our live shows.”
Dolce: “We are working on a full-length album to finish by the end of 2011. Get ready for the album release party! Oh, and one day we hope to play in Antarctica!”
uPlaya.com: What else would you like to share with fans?
Dolce: “We all have full-time jobs on top of being musicians and do what we can to keep the music alive! We of course love talking to fans old and new. Email us and we'll write back!”
uPlaya.com: What is the best contact email address for you / your band?
uPlaya.com: What is it about uPlaya that you love? How has uPlaya helped you?
Cameron: “uPlaya has been truly outstanding in the areas of personal contact with the bands they work with, a truly music and musician centered group of professionals, something sadly rare in this biz and in this day in age. Love you guys.”
Dolce: “uPlaya Rocks! They provide a lot of opportunities, connections, and resources. It's a great way of getting our music out there, especially as an indie band.”
Serge: “uPlaya really cares about the artist...on a personal level. That is so difficult to find these days. We are so blessed to have uPlaya in our corner.”
uPlaya: Thanks so much Guys!! We’re so glad we can help!
For upcoming shows and band news visit their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/anthemofsilence
We are happy to announce that yesterday we released our own version of online radio, SonicSeeds!
Users may have signed up for it as AL6.co, which was our temporary name. We are still accepting testers to influence our new product and help us make it better. If you're interested, please visit www.sonicseeds.com to sign up and we'll send you an invite as soon as we're ready for you to start exploring.
Here are some of our exciting features:
1) Begin by building a personalized station using unlimited song and artist “seeds” to influence it.
2) Use the like/dislike button to further influence your station
3) Revisit songs or artists you enjoyed in your station history and learn more information about them.
4) Check out our Music Universe discovery tool for a unique perspective on how artists, albums, and genres connect with one another.
Sign up today to join the next generation of Internet radio!
We are so happy for uPlaya regulars, Anthem of Silence, for being selected as our Benedetto Contest grand prize winners, with their super catchy song “Elton Jung.”
Here is part one of the Q&A we had with the band to discuss some of their influences, experiences, and their exciting new full-length album, which will be released later this year. Some new AOS songs are available for download at http://anthemofsilence.bandcamp.com/
uPlaya.com: What are the real names and roles of each band member?
Cameron: “My name's Cameron, I sing, play guitar, a little piano, and write most of the music. Adam is the bassist, the manager and co-founder of the group. Dolce plays cello and guitar. Serge plays drums, and all of us sing.”
uPlaya.com: When and where did you start playing?
Dolce: “Anthem of Silence started playing in Los Angeles in 2009.”
Cameron: “Personally, I grew up in a musical family. My sister, father, and mother are all musicians. My earliest memories are of sitting quietly with my eyes closed imagining songs or replaying the sound of cicadas in my head. I sang in the choir every year (mom was the director) and I enjoyed it, I honestly think I enjoyed it because it came so naturally to me. I didn't have to work hard. Haha! A little lazy-ish.”
Serge: “[For me] that magical moment happened in Belgrade, Serbia in my friend’s living room.”
uPlaya.com: Describe the moment that you knew you would become a musician or form a band.
Cameron: “At around 12 years old I asked for a guitar from my parents (after hearing "smells like teen spirit" I think. Haha!) I had played piano but really wanted a guitar. I think I got one in about 48 hrs. My folks have always been encouraging about my playing. Seemed like everybody in my town was in some kind of band, most of them self-taught. I played guitar for a while in a couple bands but never really liked the songs they wrote. I started writing my own, but then I didn't like the singers, so I started singing. I think I was about 14 by this time, and then started my first band with me as the frontman. It was called ‘chewbacca’. I noticed right away that people enjoyed it. It was fun to listen to and fun for us to play. I knew then that type of interaction with an audience, being creative and having fun doing so, was going to be something I would never stop doing.”
Dolce: “My parents were classical musicians and even named my siblings and I after musical terms. To say the least, music was always around growing up. Being in the classical world gave me the technical training and ear for good musicianship, but it wasn't until I started playing with bands did I start to feel free with my instrument. Anthem of Silence really pushed me to start soloing and creating new sounds with the cello.”
Serge: “I entered my high school friend’s apartment and found him trying to record some simple song on acoustic guitar that he just learned. He would play with knitting needles on the pillow and record that on one tape-recorder. Then he would play that tape and play along another thing on top of it and record that on second tape recorder.... and the cycle continued.... I suggested that I take knitting needles so that he has one less job to do...then we remembered another kid from upstairs that played accordion on school events and holidays and asked him to come down.... in an hour we had the band formed and whole career planned out…we were sure we were gonna rule the world!!!!”
uPlaya.com: How did you come up with your band/performance name? How has it evolved?
Dolce: “We used to be called ‘Kid Gloves,’ but that didn't sound quite right for us. When we started to get more serious, we threw around a bunch of names (ideas from Bright River Racket to Documents and Settings) and landed on Anthem of Silence… silence is where music and expression is derived from, and an anthem is the celebration of it.”
Cameron: “Anthem of Silence is a lyric and also the name of an older song. The meaning of it is pretty simple. An anthem is ‘A rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause.’ In AoS ‘silence’ is the ‘cause.’ Silence is something we all respect deeply and retreat to as the birthplace of our music, so the outcome, music, is our way of paying our respect to the abundance that is silence...wow I guess it's kinda complicated in words, but really simple just to think about.”
uPlaya.com: What would you say your band/performance is best known for?
Dolce: “A deep sound, and fun to watch live.”
Cameron: “I hope that we are known for having an approach to melody that is innovative and yet still feels traditional. I know that we all have a natural sway towards music and sound that is beautiful, stuff that's actually pretty even when it's heavy. We don't hold to it as a rule, but I know I personally just love music that's pretty and often feel as though it's missing in a lot of more popular stuff today… maybe my ears are just different.”
Stay tuned for part two of this exciting interview and in the mean time, check out some of their previous tracks and music videos to cure your Anthem of Silence fix.
For songs, including prize winner, “Elton Jung”: http://anthemofsilence.bandcamp.com/
For videos, visit their Youtube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/anthemofsilence
We've discussed so many different uses for music on this blog, but one we haven't covered yet is its ability to make people laugh out loud. Some of the most memorable comedy moments were delivered in song, from Adam Sandler's Lunchlady and the Hanukkah Song, to Weird Al Yankovic and so many memorable South Park ballads. The recent comedy blockbuster, The Hangover II, features a moment where Ed Helms breaks out into song, just like his character did in the original Hangover.
It got us thinking ... what's the best comedic song ever created? Visit our Facebook page to tell us about yours or post it in the comments section below.
In the meantime, here's a charming a capella tribute to Will Smith from Matt Mulholland:
The We Love Your Songs Competitions for Unsigned Artists are Back - Don’t miss out on your chance to win!
We Love Your Songs is once again offering two competitions for unsigned artists, in the Best New Artist Competition and the Best New Song Competition. It’s free to enter both contests, so submit your music now!
Deadline: June 22, 2011
- Suite of uPlaya Premium Services
- Promotions on the uPlaya Blog, Facebook and Twitter
- Ticket to attend the Future Music Forum in Barcelona in September (value of €250)
- Merchandise form CheckMineOut
How to Win:
- Visit WeLoveYourSongs.com and create an artist profile.
- Upload some of your best music
- Encourage your fans to go vote for you