Whatchu’ Talkin’ Bout, Willis? Daphne Willis, That Is

9 03 2009


Daphne Willis is a mellow 21 year old songstress who calls Chicago home. She is the front woman of the blossoming Daphne Willis and Company. She took some time out of her busy schedule that includes a stop with the Indigo Girls at SXSW at the end of March, to chat with some of her biggest fans, Earbudz. Her music is catchy and comfortable, much like her personality. A talented musician and songwriter, she has been surrounded by some pretty fantastic band mates and most recently world renowned producers. We wish her nothing but success!!!

EB: Your e.p. is totally accessible and fun. When can we expect a full album or is the concept of album waning?
DW:Thank you! The album is almost done. Over the past couple of months I’ve been back and forth from Nashville working on last minute touches and additional overdubs. All that’s left is the mastering. There are a couple different options that are being discussed between my own management and Vanguard ( her record label) as far as a release date goes, but we are currently not confirming anything. I wish I could say more. I went a couple different directions as far as feel and vibe go with several tracks. I’m eager to get the material out, but I’m also a patient person and making sure we have solid plans for the release is crucial right now 🙂

EB: I know you are laid back, was it intimidating working with someone like Gary Paczosa (who has produced the likes of Dolly Parton, the Dixie Chicks, Allison Krause)?
DW: Absolutely. Gary is an amazing person to work with. The tenacity with which he works can be overwhelming, but after you have worked with him a time or two, you can get into a groove. It’s fantastic. Mixing tracks is probably one of the most intense things in terms of recording (for me anyways). I love it though. I can remember a couple days when we were at it for twelve or more hours pretty much non-stop. Gary is a busy guy so when you’ve got his time, you want to utilize it as much as possible. I feel so lucky that he was interested in contributing creatively to this project. He really is the reason that a lot of doors have opened for me in this past year. I’m grateful.

EB: Who are you major influences?
DW: I was raised listening to everything from Stevie Wonder to Elvis Costello to Allison Krauss to Ella Fitzgerald. It’s hard for me to pinpoint my exact influences because there are so many fazes I go through in terms of what I’m listening to when I write certain material. I’ll go a month jammin’ out to Motown tunes and then sit down to write and something with a little more upbeat funk will come out. Or I’ll be listening to something more mellow, like Ray Lamontagne or Norah Jones and my writing will reflect that. I’d have to say though, that my major influences are not the artists that I listen to, they are the people in my life that affect my mood and help to create the experiences that I often reflect upon in my lyrics. Half the time I’m not even thinking about the music, I’m just releasing energy or venting.

EB: You are often compared to jack Johnson. As an artist that is carving out her own niche, how does that make you feel?
DW:It’s flattering. Describing sound is much like describing anything else. Comparison is often the easiest way to describe something so that people can get an idea or gist. Maybe one day someone else will be compared to me.

EB: This is a crucial question 🙂 Who do you have on your favorite playlist right now?
DW: Alice Russell, Jamie Cullum, Lily Allen, Amos Lee, Ben Harper, Stevie Wonder, Mika, Ben Folds… to name a few 🙂 It’s always changing though, next week it’ll be a completely different list.

EB: You seem to tour constantly. Where is your favorite crowd and venue?
DW: As much as I’m out on the road, I love me some Chicago rooms 🙂 I love Schuba’s and I love Martyrs’. As far as out of town rooms go, I would have to say that my favorite town/venue is up in Marquette Michigan. There’s a place called Up Front and Co. and it’s just a fantastic place to play.

EB:Does touring play a role in your songwriting process?
DW:Absolutely. Interacting with people is key for me. I’m a very social person, so meeting new people and going new places keeps my perspective fresh. The more I put myself out there, the more I feel the ability to talk about it with a deeper level of understanding. Thus, I feel more able to connect with people.

EB: What is your dream gig?
DW: I think I would just die if I ever played the Chicago Theatre. I would just die.

Thanks again!!! Show Austin how to rock!!

You can check Daphne Willis out here.

Posted by Cooper


One On One With Hesta Prynn

2 03 2009

hesta-prynnFor those who haven’t heard, Hesta Prynn (of the band Northern State) has just come out with an amazing solo project, Hesta Prynn and Civil Shepherd. Prynn has self-released a 5 song preview EP, and I am here to tell you now that the eventual full length album will be one of your top in 2009. I’m already obsessing over the song, Close To You, in a way that if it were a human being, it’d probably want to consider taking a restraining order out on me. You can hear three of her new songs and pick up the EP at her myspace page, here. I recently had the lucky opportunity for a Q&A with HP – enjoy!

EB: Is Hesta Prynn and Civil Shepherd your first musical project outside of Northern State?
I had a trash-rock band called Lucy a few years ago. We did like 70% of a record. We listened to it recently and it’s pretty awesome actually! We might release it in a year or so, it would just be a studio project most likely.

EB: You’re coming out with a solo project, Spero and Sprout have also just released an EP with their side project, Lucky Bitch; does all of this spell an end for Northern State?
No, Northern State is just taking a break right now while we all pursue other interests. We’ll probably convene sometime later this year and decide what we want to do.

EB: What was the motivation behind going solo?
I really wanted to explore other types of music that I love besides hip-hop. After shows inevitably someone always comes up to us and says “I don’t like rap but I love you guys!” That, mixed with the success of the song Better Already, made me want to do something more accessible – something that those people could love straight away. Also when you’re one third of a band you only get to make one third of the decisions. I wanted to play more keyboards, write more songs and take more chances with my live performance. I just wanted to try something on my own where I didn’t have to compromise and see how it felt. Whatever the success or failures are they are all on me.

EB: What can we expect from Hesta Prynn solo that we haven’t heard from Hesta Prynn of Northern State?
There’s a lot more singing and a lot more musical hooks in these songs as opposed to the NS songs where most of the hooks are vocal. These songs are about moods and feelings as opposed to NS where the lyrics are all quite literal – that’s kind of how it is when you’re rapping, there’s a lot of words and everything is about the words. These songs have a lot more space.

EB: On your myspace, your music is described as Electro/French Pop/Religious. That’s definitely a unique mix, what was your inspiration behind this music?
Those myspace categories are really weird so I just picked religious as kind of a joke but it’s definitely electro-rock based and also very poppy stuff. I love French New Wave film and the whole image and feeling of that period, so I was inspired to start writing these when we were in Paris with Tegan & Sara. Paris and New York are similar in a lot of ways and spending time there sort of renewed my love for New York. I am a New Yorker through and through from a New York family and much of this record is really about New York City and my love for the city. Musically I’m just a huge fan of the sounds of the 90s in every genre across the board so I think you’ll hear influences like Blur and The Pixies in there as well as a lot of Eurythemics which is obv more 80s.

EB: I’m loving the preview of songs that you’ve put out, when do we get the full album?
Thanks! We’re about 80% finished with the album, I’m actually in LA right now where we’re hoping to finish things up, but I’m sure we’ll end up having to do another week in NYC before we’re properly finished. Not sure when it’s coming out yet, I’m just starting to deal with all of the label/biz bs which is another reason why I’m out here. I wanted to release that “Preview EP” on my own so that fans and supporters could have something in hand to enjoy without having to wait for all of the music biz shit to be sorted out.

EB: So far you’re playing Philly, LA, and SXSW, any tour plans beyond that? i.e. – when are you coming to Chicago?
I’m going to start doing some NYC shows in April and not sure what the touring plans are after that. I definitely want to come to Chicago asap tho, that’s a great city that I’ve always loved.

EB: You have a veritable all-star cast working with you on this album in every aspect. How has it been working with Producers Chuck Brody and Jon Siebels, musicians Tim Harrington, Eric Gardner, and Bear Hands (love them), and Sara Quin in an A&R role?
I know it’s totally crazy! Not to sound super cheesy but these people are all so talented and it’s been amazing working with every one of them, and I’m really flattered that they’ve all been so excited about this record. Chuck and Siebels are AMAZING at what they do, seriously I think they are the best in the biz and watching them work together is great. The vibe is so chill and they compliment each other and really enjoy one another so the three of us together has been awesome. They also chill me out because I have a tendency to turn into the bossy big sister at times. Tim Harrington is insane holy shit wait until you hear the song he’s on, it’s epic! I’m saving it for something special. Bear Hands is a Brooklyn band that I am just totally in love with and CB is producing their record later this spring, and we are all friends so of course I really wanted them to be involved. They are great. Eric is the greatest drummer alive I think. I’m actually playing with him in LA on Monday (3/2, Spaceland, 8:00) and it’s going to be a really rare and special treat. What can you say about Sara Quin, too? She’s so fucking talented, her insights are amazing, her suggestions are always dead on and she’s just so talented that every musical thought she has ends up being the best part of the song. We call her “Captain Hook” for this quality. She took the photos that I’ve been using for press. She’s actually a great visual artist and photographer as well,  which I’m not sure many people know. We are all just good friends so it’s been great fun.

EB: If you could perform with any musicians in the world, who would you choose?
Wow I don’t know if I’d want to perform WITH my favorite musicians but I certainly loved watching The Pixies when they reunited. I’d love to go back in time and see a Rolling Stones show circa 1973 and I wish I had seen Biggie perform as well.

EB: What’s currently on Hesta Prynn’s playlist?
Kings of Leon, American Princes, Beastie Boys. I like that Lily Allen cover of Womanizer. I like this NYC band called Tigercity that just did a new record, very Hall & Oates. I like the old Yeah Yeah Yeahs stuff and The Police.

EB: We heard that you have a deep seeded love for Madam Secretary, Hillary Clinton, and while we don’t normally wear pantsuits, we too have big heart for Hillary. How do you feel about the outcome of the election and the future of America with Obama at the helm, Clinton as his right hand woman, and Hesta Prynn taking over the music world?
I am very excited about everything right now. 2009 has been great so far, I think it’s only going to get better from here.

Posted by Garvey

We Believe In Vince P!

20 02 2009

vinceWe recently had the amazing opportunity to interview Chicago hip-hop sensation and SXSW performer, Vince P. Check the interview below and to hear samples of Vince’s kick-ass music, check out his myspace page here.

Earbudz: I love your sound, it’s fun and decidedly different from most of what’s currently getting radio play. How would you describe your sound?

Vince: I call my music the “NEW NEW”. It is the new stuff that comes out after the new stuff. For instance it is 2009 so the new car models will be the 2010 models my music is the “New New” so it is like the 2011 models or even the 2012 models. I try to stay way ahead of the game and times with my sound so when you listen it is like listening to the future.

Earbudz: The music industry is definitely a saturated industry, what sets you apart from everyone else?

Vince: The fact that I am ahead of everyone else I think is what really sets me apart. I also make music all over the board. You might catch me rocking over a Justice track and the next day I am rocking over a Saved By The Bell sample. I am all over the place, but one thing that remains constant is that whatever I make it is dope. There are only a hand full of artist out there that can do that and the one I give the most props for staying consistent and being a star on whatever track it is that she rocks is M.I.A.

Earbudz: Your debut full length album, The Next Big Thing In Pop Culture, is set to drop this summer. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Vince: I am planning on releasing the project as an indie with distribution through Universal, but as of late everything is picking up so much that all types of people are coming to the table hitting me up. I have at least two majors which I have shied away from that I communicate with weekly that are looking to work something out. So for right now I am just going to release the mix tape “Too Cool For School” in April and maybe push back the album. I might do something crazy and try to come out in the 4th Quarter with all the heavy hitters just to see where I fall.

As for the album I have a couple songs already recorded. I am working with a producer from the future like me by the name of Wild Beats / Chris Paden he is currently being considered to be an understudy for Polow Da Don and Akon. I have a record from a guy I helped mentor that just got a placement on the new 50 Cent record – look out for the song it is called Strong Enough 50 Cent, and I am just waiting to be inspired to record the rest of the album.

Earbudz: The Next Big Thing In Pop Culture will be released through your own label, 10thDimension. What was the driving force behind starting your own label to start off with?

Vince: Creative control! I mean although music is highly commercialized it is still art. The bottom line is I do not want some record label executive or A&R telling me I need to fix this or I need to do that. MUSIC IS ART! I guarantee that you would not find someone telling Picasso to repaint Starry Night because it needs some brighter colors or Michelangelo to re paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling because the hand of God is a little off. With me being an indie I have the ability to be a Picasso and a Michelangelo and not just some commercialized artist.

Earbudz: I see pictures of I Believe In Vince P tee shirts floating about your MySpace page (including one of Hugh Laurie lending his autograph to a tee). What’s the background on I Believe In Vince P and where can the earbudz get their own tees?

Vince: The stuff you are seeing on myspace is just the precursor to the full blown “I Believe In Vince P” campaign. The full campaign will be rolled out in 4th quarter 2009. Right now I have little things like Ibelieveinvincep.wordpress.com which is on pace to do 60,000 – 80,000 unique visitors in February. Which is insane because I am an artist! I am not a blogger I just see cool stuff on the net and post it on my blog and people read it. I also did the I Believe In Vince P video which did like 100,000 views on youtube in less than a week.

The response to the initial portions of the I Believe In Vince P campaign has been huge. I am interested to see what happens when the entire plan is rolled out. As for the T-Shirts they will be free! Yes free I have a corporate sponsor that is picking up the tab on that for everyone.

Earbudz: You’re set to play SXSW as well as Coachella parties (Congratulations!). Any tour plans once the album drops so that earbudz readers across the US can see you?

Vince: Right now I am just planning on knocking out March and April and going from there. In March I am starting at the Harvest Of Hope Festival in St Augustine Fl then hitting Atlanta and New Orleans then SXSW. In April I am planning a West Coast tour with a management company out here in Chicago called Yea Man! they represent some pretty dope DJsin Black Holes and a real nice artist Keith Masters. Then I have some things in the works to end up on the “Rock The Bells Tour”, but that is still tentative and you will find me on a U.S Tour in Fall of 2009 (More details to come on that soon).

Thanks Vince!

Posted by Garvey

A Chat With West Coast Hotness Sean Wiggins

23 01 2009


Southern California lady rocker, Sean Wiggins, recently sat down with the budz to give us a glimpse into her musical life and upcoming album…

Earbudz:  Recently you had two songs featured on the soundtrack for LOGO’s Sordid Lives, as well as songs featured on the film, Changing Spots.  How did this come about for you?

Sean: I played Bitsy Mae Harling, one of the characters in the series. I played the role in the national tour of the play, “Sordid Lives”, which toured the year before the series came out. Del Shores, the writer & director, liked my music and used 3 tunes in episodes of the new series. “Changing Spots” is a new full length feature that came out last year. I have to admit that I have friends who starred in, wrote and produced the film. Despite that, they felt certain tunes just were perfect for their film! I am thankful.

Earbudz: I heard a rumor that you’re currently finishing up a new album. Do you have a release date set yet?  What can we expect with this new offering from Sean Wiggins?

Sean: Well, almost finished is a bit exaggerated, but it is on the way! I expect it will be done by summer and it will have a serious variety. It has some more rock type tunes and then it has brought back some of my earlier style. It is very introspective and exposes a lot of emotion.

Earbudz: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? A lot of your songs seem deeply personal.  Is it ever weird to share those with the world?

Sean: Generally I write when I am inspired by shit in my life. I also like to write when I see interesting things around me in the world or if I see other people experiencing wild stuff. Usually I don’t write about happy lovey stuff – just does not inspire me. Wish it did. Is something wrong with me?

Earbudz: No, I’d say you’re a typical artist. 🙂  You have been making music for years. With this new album coming out, can you tell us a little bit about the progression of your music through the years?

Sean: Well, I started out my solo career playing and touring with a harmonica player. I wrote more singer/songwriter type material. Everything was really wordy and kind of deep. Then I put together a band of friends and we have added some more rock and country. Plus, I started to try to write for other artists in mind for my material. Wanted to sell some tunes. Now, I would say, the style is getting rootsy and back to being deep and wordy, but with a band! I am excited!

Earbudz: You play a lot of shows that seem to concentrate mostly along the west coast, but you do make it out to see us in the Midwest every once in a while.

Sean: I play all over Southern California and I also have some fan base in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, St Louis and NY.

Earbudz: What do you like about Chicago that keeps you coming back?

Sean: I love the people. Playing for a Chicago crowd just rocks. The people interact with me and I love it! My shows are always about banter between me & the crowd and interaction between us! It just makes the show that much more fun and makes me pick better songs for the shows. I will change my set completely based on what it seems the crowd will respond to, and Chicago is the best!

Earbudz: You last played the Reeling Film Festival here in Chicago for the second year in a row.  How do you like working with Reeling?

Sean: We played The Festival twice now! Was a blast. The shows were packed both years and we gained a bunch of new fans and Chicago fans come back! Thanks Chicago!!!!!!

***For more info. on Sean Wiggins, go to www.seanwiggins.com***

Posted by Garvey


19 10 2008

Welcome one, welcome all to earbudz!  We are OFFICIALLY launched!  Please feel free to peruse the site at your leisure and comment to your little heart’s desire.  You can find some background on us under the “da budz” tab, and we have also posted some back posts for your reading pleasure.  Also, make sure you check out this week’s Mixtape Showdown for some sweet tunes and then vote for your favorite mix!

Your best friends forever, Garvey and Cooper