Second Stage – Fundamental Sound Co. Returns with Fun Fest ‘22 Aug. 6 in Ypsilanti

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Taylor Greenshields believes things are better the second time around.

The Ypsilanti audio engineer, producer and drummer is expanding this year’s Fun Fest ‘22 to include more activities and vendors along with some new artists. The second annual daylong music festival will take place Saturday, Aug. 6 at Frog Island Park.

“I think the first year of the festival is always the hardest. We got the first year out of the way, so this year we can work out any kinks and now people kind of know what to expect,” said Greenshields, who owns and operates the Ypsilanti-based recording studio, Fundamental Sound Co.

The festival will feature an all-star roster of local artists, including new guests The Macpodz, Stormy Chromer, Ki5 and Estar Cohen along with returning performers Dani Darling, Ma Baker and Al Bettis and a secret set featuring some familiar faces.

“This year’s artist selections were based on artists I worked with regularly in the live sound realm or in the studio. I didn’t want to have a complete repeat from last year’s lineup, but I still wanted to have a few of my favorite artists/friends to be involved,” Greenshields said.

“I am honored to have Dani, Al and the Baker boys back in the lineup this year. Honestly, these are bands I just selfishly love, and I am lucky enough to work with them again this year. I think as their second time playing Fun Fest they will know what to expect and bring the vibes!”

In addition to live music, Fun Fest ’22 will include more than 15 local vendors, ranging from Brennan The Bronze to Normal Coffee Co. to Top Dog, offering art, food and drinks. Beats, Brews and Points of View podcast hosts Emmanuel “E-Man” Bates and Neil Richter also will serve as festival emcees.

“This year, it has grown by having some extra activities, like we’re going to have a bounce house for the kids, have food vendors and other activities available in the soccer field. It’s basically just me putting all this stuff together,” Greenshields said.

Greenshields started Fun Fest last year after wanting to showcase local artists he engineers and records through Fundamental Sound Co. studio and stage projects. He’s currently working with Ma Baker on their first studio album, Na Bonsai on their debut EP and Dani Darling on her new single.

“I have been planning big things for Fundamental Sound Co.’s future. Some are bigger than others, and some are more realistic than others. I am just out here planting seeds and watering these ideas until they eventually start to grow really solid roots,” said Greenshields, who opened his studio in 2018.

“Maybe you’ll start to see them pop out of the ground sooner than later. This festival was one of those ideas years and years ago, and now it’s finally becoming a reality, which is crazy to me.”

Outside of other artists’ projects, Greenshields continues to run live sound for local shows with D.Cipher, a Detroit music mastermind collective, every Wednesday at Dequindre Cut and every Thursday at Detroit City Distillery. He’s also interested in recording his own album soon.

“This year, I have been lucky to be booked and busy all summer long. I have been honored to work with D.Cipher … they are amazing and book some of the dopest artists in the area,” he said.

“As far as personal projects, I have been kicking around the idea of recording a solo record. I love working on other people’s music, but sometimes I can get too far away from who I am as an artist. I think it’s time to make some of my own stuff again.”

Show details:

Fun Fest ‘22

Saturday, Aug. 6| 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Frog Island Park, 699 Rice St. in Ypsilanti

Tickets: $20 (suggested donation)

Chronological Order – The Blueflowers Process Pivotal Life Moments on ‘Time Didn’t Matter’ EP

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The Blueflowers examine past relationships, present circumstances and future possibilities on “Time Didn’t Matter.” Photo – Lisa Folcarelli Jansen

The Blueflowers thoughtfully follow their own timeline.

The Detroit indie-rock sextet of Kate Hinote (vocals, lyrics), Erin Williams (backing vocals, keys, lyrics), Tony Hamera (guitar, synths), David Johnson (guitar), Bryan Talaski (bass) and Jim Faulkner (drums) chronicles pivotal moments of growth, heartbreak and change on their latest cathartic EP, Time Didn’t Matter.

“I certainly hope that people can relate to it and have that feeling,” Hinote said. “Any time you’re making music, you hope that people can react to it in some way, and I am considering that when I’m writing, but I also gotta get stuff out.”

As an emotional outlet, Time Didn’t Matter carefully opens the floodgates of past relationships, present circumstances and future possibilities. Six passionate tracks flow alongside introspective lyrics, fiery goth-rock instrumentation and ethereal shoegaze sensibilities.

“That’s just what kind of comes out … I’ve always written that way and still try to write in a way that can be interpreted,” Hinote said. “It’s a little vague, so that it can be left open to interpretation, and there are certainly some specific relationships that are addressed on this EP.”

Continue reading “Chronological Order – The Blueflowers Process Pivotal Life Moments on ‘Time Didn’t Matter’ EP”

Sonic Epilogue – Cece June Searches for Closure and Certainty on ‘Over’ Single

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Cece June finds newfound strength and confidence on her latest single, “Over.” Photo – Adelaide Wilson

Cece June deeply searches for a sense of closure.

The Barcelona, Spain indie-pop singer-songwriter and guitarist thoughtfully addresses unanswered questions, lingering uncertainties and changing relationships on her latest contemplative single, “Over.”

“It just happened, and it wasn’t really autobiographical because I wasn’t dating anyone at that point,” said June, who’s currently an art history and political science senior at the University of Michigan.

“It’s interesting, with so many of my songs, they just kind of happen, and the ability to write ‘Over’ without having felt it personally … I genuinely don’t know where that came from.”                                                     

Throughout “Over,” a tranquil symphony of pensive electric guitar, hopeful cello, crashing cymbals and thunderous drums infuses June with newfound strength and confidence.

She sings, “I can’t help but to let you know/That this is more than intended/I never meant to let you go/I said I loved you and I meant it/It isn’t over just cause you say it is/I’d like to tell you where my ending begins.”

“With the guitar pattern, I knew that I wanted a message, and I wanted it to be really restated. The verses are structurally the same, but obviously lyrically different,” June said.

“The choruses are different, and as that desperation nears the end, that’s when the music starts building up, and the cello gets stronger, and the drums come in. The drums are almost cacophonic, and I wanted them to be loud … like something’s breaking, and it’s not in your control to mend it.”

To create “Over’s” emotive sound, June collaborated with a talented cast of U-M musicians and students, including producer Ethan Matt, guitarist Matt Stawinski, drummer Casey Cheatham, cellist Micah Huisman and mixer Samuel Uribe-Botero.

“Ethan pushed me to try new things. In the first session, he was giving me auto-tune vocoders that sounded like T-Pain, and I was like, ‘What is this? This is awesome!’ It was such an awesome experience to see it evolve with the mindset of someone who’s really different,” said June, who recorded the track at Ethan Matt’s home studio in mid-February. 

“It’s really just a close-knit community of people who are always willing to help. It’s so incredible because you can be like, ‘Oh, I need a trombone,’ and you have like 70 people available.” 

Continue reading “Sonic Epilogue – Cece June Searches for Closure and Certainty on ‘Over’ Single”

The New Avant-Garde – Nubdug Ensemble and Amanda Chaudhary Share Cerebral Prog-Jazz-Funk Fusion

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Two avant-garde San Francisco musicians boldly push the sonic boundaries of prog, jazz and funk.

Nubdug Ensemble’s Jason Berry and Amanda Chaudhary seamlessly fuse esoteric lyrics with experimental synths and cerebral instrumentation on their latest ingenious albums, Volume 2: Blame and Meow Meow Band, respectively.

“These albums have both really been connecting with a lot of people. They really inspire both of us to keep going … and things have been improving the past couple of months. Hopefully, we’ll be moving in a more positive place,” Berry said.

“With my music, I’m not looking for acclaim or huge financial sales. These things would be wonderful, but I just want to connect with people. If it makes somebody happy … then it’s like, ‘Mission accomplished.’”

Both Nubdug Ensemble and Chaudhary whisk listeners along genre-bending adventures filled with precious metals, mechanical wonders, white wine and public transportation. Each Volume 2: Blame and Meow Meow Band track instantly brings a welcome element of surprise and enthrallment and repeatedly plays inside appreciative minds.

“I wanted to try these individual sounds, and if you listen back to something like The Residents, I thought, ‘How did they make those sounds and what could I do with that?’ It’s very late ‘70s things with different kinds of technology to get that sort of raw thing, and they use different instruments here … or use this process or that process,” said Chaudhary, who also collaborates with Berry in Nubdug Ensemble.

“I thought, ‘What if I work with this drummer and this synthesizer player and see what happens?’ It turned out to be great, and that’s the genesis of some of the things like ‘North Berkeley BART’ and ‘White Wine.’ Once I started working with Calvin Weston in 2020, it was like this perfect vehicle for recording some of this music.”

Continue reading “The New Avant-Garde – Nubdug Ensemble and Amanda Chaudhary Share Cerebral Prog-Jazz-Funk Fusion”

Supper’s Ready – Grooblen Hosts Creepy Dinner Party in New ‘Neuroplasticity’ Video

Grooblen eerily throws impromptu, nightmarish dinner parties.

The San Francisco cabaret psych-punk trio of Ellie Stokes (vocals, guitar, piano, synth), Jack Stancik (bass) and William Stokes (drums) celebrates creepy plastic cuisine, nervous guests and ghoulish mannequin hosts in their new immersive 360 video for “Neuroplasticity.”

“It’s all kind of weird CGI people, and you turn around and someone has a plate of eyeballs,” said Ellie Stokes about the interactive video. “The detail in it is amazing, and one guy sitting down has motor legs, and he keeps moving. You’re forced to look at people and figure out what’s going on in their heads.”

One step inside the “Neuroplasticity” characters’ collective headspace reveals the innovative mindset of Honeymoon Supply Co. Grooblen collaborated with the Los Angeles-based visual artist to direct and create the stunning video.

“I told her to include some stuff, but for the most part, it was just her and how she perceived the song,” said Ellie Stokes. “She was like, ‘Well, what about a dinner party?’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God, that would be so cool, and what if you included some creepy dish that could be misinterpreted?’”

Throughout the David Lynch-esque video, a pair of guests anxiously determines whether to sample eyeball appetizers, bloody cocktails and emerald gelatin molds. Their spooky hosts quietly observe as floors move below and flames erupt overhead.

“She was looking for creative projects, and it took her about a week to put it together,” said Ellie Stokes. “I love that kind of stuff, and I’m excited to put it out there.”

The video also perfectly reflects the spooky, haunting imagery depicted in Grooblen’s “Neuroplasticity” single, which spotlights the human brain and body’s resilience to heal and adapt from past traumas.

“‘Neuroplasticity’ is about how everything can change in a second and how our brains and bodies are so interlinked,” said Ellie Stokes, who was diagnosed with a rare optic nerve condition in 2020, but has since recovered.

“I wrote it from the perspective of the nerve in my brain telling me what was going on. It’s digging deep into this new part of myself that I hadn’t really thought about before.”

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Be Now Media – Max Preissner Helps Artists, Creatives and Entrepreneurs Achieve Success

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Kyla McGrath, Max Preissner, Chris Simpson and Carter Smeader provide marketing, consulting and production services through Be Now Media. Photo – Kyla McGrath

Max Preissner understands the importance of being present and helping others.

The Ann Arbor hip-hop artist, entrepreneur and educator follows this personal mantra as founder and CEO of Be Now Media, a newly rebranded marketing agency, media production company and record label.

“This entire rebrand is based on my strongest core value, which is helping people with my knowledge and experiences. I used to think that was only possible through my own music,” said Preissner, aka Max Price.

“However, I recently realized that through Be Now Media I can increase my positive effect exponentially by helping people who help others.”

After struggling with anxiety and depression in his early 20s, Preissner read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment and learned how to be present.

“I learned that most of my suffering was coming from my thoughts. By focusing my attention on the present moment and my senses, I could calm or stop the thoughts and the suffering,” Preissner said. “I have tested this extensively, and it still holds true to this day.”

To focus on the present, Preissner started meditating and created a personal development plan that was inspired by different programs and teachings. Those efforts resulted in a renewed mindset, which helped him revisit his daily priorities and recalibrate his outlook on life.

“I’ve meditated every day for the past two years, and I decided to make self-management my No. 1 priority,” said Preissner, who holds a Master of Arts in music business from Berklee College of Music and teaches a “Self-Management for Artists” course at Washtenaw Community College.

“I have developed a routine and structure for myself that allows me to live in the most effective, efficient and authentic way possible.”

As a next step, Preissner decided to rebrand his MindState Marketing and Media company as Be Now Media. The rebrand better reflects the skills, values and passions he’s developed in life.

“This has provided me with an ultimate sense of purpose and fulfillment in life, and I want to share that experience with others,” Preissner said.

“It has led me to a place where I have turned my dreams into reality. The idea for the rebrand just came to me, and the name ‘Be Now’ represents everything that I’m about.”

Continue reading “Be Now Media – Max Preissner Helps Artists, Creatives and Entrepreneurs Achieve Success”

Strike a Chord – The Indigo Curve Hits Hard with New ‘But I Wanna Write Love Songs’ Single

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The Indigo Curve seeks inspiration from Arctic Monkeys on their latest single, “But I Wanna Write Love Songs.”

Ish Chowdhury couldn’t get a hypnotic guitar riff out of his head.

The Indigo Curve vocalist repeatedly heard the punchy, terse chord progression of Arctic Monkeys’ 2007 track, “Teddy Picker,” and felt a rush of inspiration.

“I was just listening and thinking, ‘Damn, what a simple thing that is … it hits so fucking hard,’” said Chowdhury, who fronts the Detroit indie-rock quintet.

“I wanna write something like that, so I called our guitarist, Adam Liles, and showed him the riff I came up with. He replied, ‘That’s cool. Now figure it out in bar chords. That’s a good way to kill 45 minutes.’”

Those crucial 45 minutes produced a crunchy electric guitar riff, which Chowdhury also shared with bandmates Niko Kannapell (bass), Mike Liles (organ, keys) and Markus Kennedy (drums).

“I told Markus to go full-out, early Arctic Monkeys mode on it,” said Chowdhury about the band’s first new release since 2021’s “Lucidiscene.” “And Markus fucking did it. That dude is just the best drummer, man. Dude is an artist to the max.”

That maximum overdrive produced The Indigo Curve’s latest propulsive single, “But I Wanna Write Love Songs,” which fuses fiery electric guitar, thunderous drums, smashing cymbals, pulsating bass and smooth organ.

In tandem, Chowdhury sings, “Jekyll & Hyde in the back of the bag/The fact of the matter is a matter of fact/I don’t wanna fall in love/But I wanna write love songs.”

“I’m always in the middle of writing a song as Dr. Jekyll until the Hyde in me takes over … It’s funny because this song has absolutely nothing to do with love, but all the lyrics ended up leading to that,” he said.

“Mike named the song, and that’s how it really came together in the end. He just randomly said, ‘But I wanna write love songs,’ and that’s what we rolled with.”

The band rolled with the track at Royal Oak’s Rustbelt Studios and invited engineer Jake Halkey to help shape it. Also a drummer, Halkey added a larger-than-life drum sound to “But I Wanna Write Love Songs.”

“I think that was the most important part … the song is just meant to feel like driving 120 miles per hour against a marmalade sunset, head-first into a herd of goats crossing the road,” Chowdhury said. “I love goats. No goats were harmed in the making of this song.”

Goats aside, The Indigo Curve also dropped a frantic new video for their latest single. Directed by Andrew Brumfield of Love Streams Films, the kaleidoscopic video accelerates through retro pop-culture images, vintage TV screen shots and recent band studio footage.

“Andrew’s work lined up so well with the track, it was ridiculous. I couldn’t imagine any other music vid for that song,” Chowdhury said.

“Homie styled so hard on that thing. He was in the studio with us. ‘Brummy’ asked if we had any preferences or requests. I just remember saying, ‘Involve as little of us and more zombies,’ and I think he nailed that.”

With a new single and video out now, The Indigo Curve plans to drop additional releases, including singles or an EP, later this year.

“A full-length album is obviously what we want, but we’ll never do that until we know every single song belongs on there,” Chowdhury said. “But our new shit, man, that stuff is miles ahead of anything we’ve just released. You find yourself a little more each day, and we’re chillin’ in that sphere these days.”

Change Agent – Fernando Silverio Solis Chronicles Personal Growth on ‘When the Good Starts to Fade’ EP

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Fernando Silverio Solis processes past relationships on “When the Good Starts to Fade.”

Fernando Silverio Solis instinctively understands the rate of change.

The Flint indie-folk singer-songwriter and guitarist aptly evolves and shifts with changing relationships on his latest introspective EP, When the Good Starts to Fade.

“With this group of songs, there are definitely some huge life changes taking place. You’re arriving at a different point whether it’s literally or figuratively and are unsure where to go from there,” Solis said.

“There’s a big theme around friendships … you have to acknowledge that sometimes you outgrow people or maybe they outgrow you.”

Those keen observations thoughtfully address past connections and anticipate future ones across three astute tracks. For Solis, When the Good Starts to Fade acknowledges the nuances and notions that slowly arise as one chapter ends and another begins.

“A lot of times I compartmentalize these ideas, thoughts and processes into a time when I can finally let it out,” he said. “After the songs are written, it’s almost therapy in a way … you don’t always know that you feel or think a certain way about something until you are given that space to say it freely.”

Continue reading “Change Agent – Fernando Silverio Solis Chronicles Personal Growth on ‘When the Good Starts to Fade’ EP”

Remote Start – Otto’s ‘Still Picture You’ Debut EP Born from Virtual Songwriting Sessions

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Otto’s Nate Dornfried, Chesney Walters, Jonny Walker and Austin Howard create an ’80s-inspired pop sound on “Still Picture You.” (Not pictured: Ryan Freitas) Photo – Brooke Tiller

For Otto, a series of virtual songwriting sessions provided unexpected creativity and camaraderie.

The Detroit indie-pop quintet of Chesney Walters (vocals), Jonny Walker (guitar), Nate Dornfried (keys), Ryan Freitas (bass) and Austin Howard (drums) instantly gelled while penning new tracks over Zoom for their infectious debut EP, Still Picture You.

“In 2019, I was ready to call it quits with music, and then two weeks later, I just changed my mind. Austin and I decided to start doing our own project, and we started writing with no end-game in mind. And I knew Nate from where we grew up, and I ran into him and asked if he wanted to be a part of it,” said Walker, who previously played with Howard in another project.

“The three of us wrote together for a year and a half and auditioned 10 different singers, but couldn’t find anyone we were happy with. I was ready to call it quits (again) because we just couldn’t find anyone, and then Chesney just came out of nowhere. Austin and I also have known Ryan for a while. He ended up playing bass with us for one show, and now he’s here.”

With the right lineup intact, Otto started compiling a new batch of earnest tracks in 2020. Walters met regularly with Walker to write and refine the ‘80s-inspired, synth-pop songs that would become Still Picture You.

“I was living with my family at the time in the suburbs, and I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere except to Jonny’s house to write music,” Walters said. “We would just write and write for months while there was nothing else to do.”

During their writing sessions, Walters and Walker collaborated remotely with other Otto members until the pandemic subsided. It would be another six months before the entire band would meet in person.

“I hadn’t met them for months once we started, and we would all rotate at Jonny’s house and be there at different times,” Walters said. “But the first time we were all together in the same place was when we went to Nashville in March 2021 to record.”

Continue reading “Remote Start – Otto’s ‘Still Picture You’ Debut EP Born from Virtual Songwriting Sessions”