Category Archives: Notable Conversations

Interviews

We Three – Meet the Family Band: Release concert this December 10

As We Three prepares to launch their album, Celebrate the Struggle, Part 1, the siblings have found a non-profit partner to work with. In this interview, learn about their history, the upcoming release show on December 10, and their plans for the next year.

Siblings who have been playing together for a while, We Three create original music, as well as bringing their own style to some of your favorite covers, past and present.  Check out the interview below, and be sure and mark your calendar for a fun and worthwhile event.

PORTLAND NOTES: Tell me about the upcoming release – how did you decide when to “drop”? How will you promote the new music? What’s it called?

WE THREE: As for the release date we basically chose it because we it worked out well for the December 10th concert . We were asked to partner with an organization called Hope On The Hill by putting on a benefit concert for them on the 10th at their Church on the Hill. In doing so we wanted to take advantage of our amazing community of people who would be coming out by releasing our album specifically for that concert. We have an amazing support system in our town. The community of McMinnville loves the arts and LOVES supporting local musicians. We have fans who have seen our shows too many times to count but still make it a priority to come out to every show they can. It means so much to us.

The album is Called “Celebrate The Struggle Part 1”. We’re releasing this album in three parts because we are so eager to release a full album again. In our society we are all about instant gratification and we completely understand that’s it’s important to continue releasing projects for your fans. We didn’t want to keep our amazing group of fans waiting for a whole album which can take a while so we decided to split it up into 3 parts. By doing so we’ll still get to release Part 3 as the final album with all the parts combined. For us it’s going to feel like a completed project because we have so many songs we want to share!

PORTLAND NOTES: How did You Three find each other?

WE THREE: We are siblings, so we met at birth. We started playing together almost 10 years ago. We grew up each taking private lessons all starting on piano and from there shifting to our main instruments. Joshua stuck with piano and added drums. Bethany shifted to bass. Manny shifted to guitar. All of us love singing as well. We learned to sing and play simultaneously.

PORTLAND NOTES: Who are your musical idols, past or present?

WE THREE: Past favorites are Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Tower Of Power, Bela Fleck and Chicago. Presently,: Ed Sheeren, John Mayer, Sara Barielles and Josh Garrels,

PORTLAND NOTES: What is the first band you remember hearing as a child? Who played that album for/with you?

WE THREE: Earth Wind and Fire by dad.

PORTLAND NOTES: Why do you all make music – what message do you want as your legacy?

WE THREE:  It’s our way to connect with people, spread light and love and spread the vision of hope for a better tomorrow. We like to be honest in our songs. As songwriters we’re learning how important and difficult it is to be honest and vulnerable through your music because that’s when you can touch the most people. We hope to encourage and support people right where they’re at in their lives through our music.

PORTLAND NOTES: What are your plans for 2018? What are you looking forward to most in the coming year?

WE THREE: We are looking forward to promoting this album and finishing up part 2 and 3! We’ve had some exciting opportunities and some incredible feedback on the album already, which makes us very excited about this coming year! Our summer concert schedule is already filling up! We’ve learned so much and love the idea of life being all about the journey! We don’t expect to ever get to our destination. We love the journey and pushing ourselves to constantly grow in our music. We’re grateful that we get to do it together as siblings.

You may listen to music by We Three on their website, and engage with them through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We Three doing “Timeless”

Big Brim Birthday Bash – Ettabration! with Arietta Ward!

How about this: a celebration that lasts all month long, a party that is for everyone, and an epic musical and visual event to bring it all together? Arietta Ward celebrates her birthday in style, December 8 at Mission Theater – come as you are, and be prepared to be surrounded by fabulous people in formal frocks and big brimmed toppers!

Arietta Ward is not one to stay in the background! In true artist form, she takes important mileposts in her life, and turns them into shared experiences through song. What might have seemed to be devastating to one person can turn into an encouraging experience for another. In the interview below, you’ll have a chance to walk along with Ward in her musical journey, truly one of discovering her voice.

For a few years now, Ward has included as many people as possible in her all-month-long celebration called “Ettabration.” It’s a good solid month of parties, events, friends, fellowship, love and music, of course. Everyone with or without a birthday is welcome to join in. All over Portland in December, you’ll see groups of people celebrating – keep an eye out for Ward and her troupe of party people! Then, join the fun at the Big Brim Birthday Bash at Mission Theater on Ward’s actual birthday Friday 12/8.

The Bash will be a chance to dress up! Not the average non-committal bedazzled jean shorts and Birkenstock night, but a rare opportunity to put on an evening dress or a suit, shine the shoes, and find THE best hat! Music, drinks, dancing…a party to get the good times rolling!

Ward’s music will be featured, so we’ve given you a little taste here too. We’d love to see your hats ahead of time too- I’ve included my dream hat photo. It’s not a big brim, but it’s inspiration!

 

A conversation between Kelly Jones and Arietta Ward

 

The AM – Breaking New Ground


New press pic by the Parrot Collective edited and directed by Hazel Miller 

I am unabashedly madly in love with this band! I am honored and thrilled to be able to share the reasons why such a strong connection exists between fans and music, presentation, and the group themselves. The AM (formerly Acoustic Minds) have broken new ground by communicating on a very intimate and personal level with fans, writing openly and honestly about their struggles and victories, and by creating a live performance that engages while purposefully and carefully replicating their recorded sound. Intentional steps to recreate the energy the group radiates are intended to involve audiences and create lasting memories. In this article, Jenni and Amanda share the story of The AM over the past few years in their own words, giving great credit to their bandmates and the Portland music community.

Twin sisters, Amanda and Jenni Price,  Aaron Altemose (producer/vocalist/keyboardist and Josh Lorenzen (producer/key bassist) compose The AM. The band’s unique sound blends live electronic dance music with Pop, House, Hip-hop and R&B. With a new album (The AM) , officially released August 26 at a mind-blowing show at the Doug Fir Lounge, alongside Fox and Bones and Moonbeam Kelly with Phoenix Rising, the group introduced stadium worthy elements into their live performance which brought the audience to their feet, singing along and moving on the dance floor. The band is captivating, with soulful harmonic vocals, insightful and revealing lyrics, dancey club beats, spacy synth sounds, and unforgettable visual aspects. With musical influences like Rihanna, Katy B, Imogen Heap, Phaeleh and Zedd, the live electronic, deep bass sound – what the band dubs “Soul/Womp”, was certainly new to me when I first heard them play. Now I tend to compare all live performances to the magic of what The AM was able to create live on stage.

I was immediately drawn to what I can only call the “realness” of the Price sisters. I first met the twins a few years ago at Portland Radio Project, when I saw them setting up for an afternoon interview to discuss their first album, aptly named Electric Sol. The twins were wearing brightly colored tights, and sporting some insanely fashionable ensembles. Personality overflowed from the energetic women, and I was equally impressed by their ability to work with foreign electronic gear in the radio studio. Watching and listening to them prepare for their interview and live studio performance, I was further impressed! I have not stopped following them since. Jenni and Amanda are experts at sharing just enough of their lives and band chatter to keep fans intrigued and engaged. We always want to know, “What is the band up to next?” because they are accessible and genuine to the fans – we watch them grow emotionally and professionally, because they continue to allow us to have insight into the band’s progression.

What struck me most about the new album release show was the absolute honesty the band presented, even to the point of revealing their frustrations and challenges while making music. Amanda emotionally told the audience that she has personally grown dramatically while living and making music in Portland. She sweetly described the city as her best friend and her worst enemy “in the BEST way.” Making music in this very competitive city has created a desire to push the limits of their live performance in every way. The band introduced intense and targeted lighting, modern dancers, and an interactive show that testifies to the visible friendship connection between the band mates. They sneak previewed some new songs at the end of the show, a special treat for the audience, and also showcased Aaron and Josh’s duo group Subco along with Josh’s solo group J La Rae. Sharing the stage with other groups is a joy to The AM, as they humbly and energetically support all local artists.

A conversation is happening on stage – revealing and deeply emotional. One audience member was heard to say, “I don’t usually listen to this type of music, but what they are saying really speaks to my heart”  The AM’s lyrics are strong and empowered, speaking to loss and victory, the beautiful and ugly sides of relationships, pain and struggle…the visuals of the performance carry the same mood throughout, with a constantly driving light show and the very special addition of stage dancers. The AM is an impressive album, and is equally impressive live from stage. The AM is breaking new ground with their sound, lyrics and stage presentation. I cannot wait to see what comes next!

Portland Notes:

You mentioned on stage that the new album reflects a change in your feelings about life. Could you speak to that a little?

The AM:

The summer of 2015 was a very challenging summer, although musically there was an upward swing. We had put out our very first music video, “Kitty Kat”  plus directed and wrote our politically and socially charged music video “Quicksand”, which had released in July (crowd funded by our fans). While developing the video, we had the honor of working with an incredible film team from Philadelphia (Kenny Lewis of Klews Films (now Pyramid)) Personally, much loss and cleaving of family and dear friends left the twins in a dark place…they found themselves challenged to create or feel inspired. It was a very difficult time. Throughout the next 16 months, the loss of three of their best friends to death and three sisters from another Mr. to negative backlash, left them feeling undeserving or not worth what their craft portrayed.

“The thing about Music is it is the one authentic piece of ourselves. We dig deep, we hash up past pain and we put it into the music as therapy for ourselves – but also to hopefully inspire others to keep pushing and striving to be the best and live their most authentic life and selves.” (Jenni) The decision to relocate came after much backlash in the city.  Feeling like it was time for a change, the twins packed up and moved to LA in June of 2016. Closer to their family and swimming in a larger artistic pond, they began to focus on getting their health and minds back in the right space to create happy music.

Portland Notes:

So, the new album, The AM -what messages are you sharing through music?

The AM:

February 2017, The AM was released out into the world with an attitude of empowerment.

This album speaks of love and loss, the raw and sometimes ugliest love, and finding your true inner destroyer and warrior. Each song is crafted by personal experience, four years in the making, The AM is back and ready to share a new layer of their journey.

“We had to burn to ashes into dust to rise as a Phoenix and find our true love (for ourselves, craft and the art we create around it)” (Amanda)

Portland Notes:

What have you been up to? What’s next for you? Where do you go from here? We will miss seeing you at all the shows in Portland – you are great supporters of local music.

The AM:

As of June 2017. We’ve been back in the lab (aka the Oregon Coast), creating the new album, Beach Vibes. The new music touches on a lighter “beach like” feel. R&B, electronic and house influences our present with a sense of ease and love for life. “We want to create something not soooo serious! Filled with love and inspiring lyrics, brushing off the BS, and really expressing the love in our music over the darkness”

The band has just signed a publishing deal with Portland’s Marmoset Music Agency thanks to fellow musician and A&R rep, Farnell Newton, and are working to introduce this original music into film and television.

The big picture promises larger show presentations in festival and amphitheater type venues,  and the band’s hope to play as much as possible in 2018 across the US and in Europe. We have recently discovered a loyal fanbase in Europe,  and are anxious to seek an agent in booking to perform for those fans.

“We want to create something fresh, fun, late and danceable to inspire everyone in such dark times in our world. Beyond excited to share this new music and truly hope everyone loves the album as much as we do!” Jenni

Thank you to The AM for all their local love over the years – truly my favorite people to watch on stage!  You can check out their music on The AM website, ITunes, CD Baby, Spotify and Soundcloud.

Nate Botsford at McMenamins Rock Creek Tavern

Nate Botsford is an emerging artist based in Portland, Oregon with a style that is unique and memorable — straight from the heart, with relatable music and lyrics. After a good bit of chasing, I managed to catch up with Nate last weekend as he played a Saturday night show at McMenamins Rock Creek Tavern.

He is wildly talented and I enjoyed the wide variety of music he was able to deliver even from a basic 3-piece band. Most impressive was the way he worked the crowd, doing special requests for birthdays with music previously unrehearsed. He is a true showman.

Nate has two albums out so far, with a third in the works. I captured “All We Have” from his second album “Hourglass” during his Saturday evening performance.

Avalanche Lily – EP Release May 27 at Valentine’s!

I’ve been introduced to each member of Avalanche Lily separately over the past few years. Not surprising, since each member is also part of at least one other local band that I follow. I was so honored to have Cyndy, Ramune and Drew sit down with me to talk about their combined project and the upcoming EP release this Saturday at Valentine’s. They’ll be playing with Shed Incorporated and Vibrissae at the intimate venue, where the band is at eye level with the audience. In the audio interview, the band talks about show strategy, the visualization of the music, and a completely unique writing/compilation process.

Avalanche Lily is what I would call an intentional band. Cyndy calls herself a “collector of songs”. She’s responsible for bringing songs that she’s heard and loved in her travels. She finds that Avalanche Lily challenges her to take these songs and adapt them for this band, sweeter and softer and with room for all three members to add their vocal textures. Ramune also writes and brings songs to the band, again – knowing that there is a feeling, perhaps even more than a sound, they are looking for. This is sometimes achieved with the addition of unusual instruments or by Drew bringing subtlety, dynamics and variety to the percussion. The band is excited about the depth of the music flowing organically from the members.

The sound of the EP is designed to create a casual and relaxed emotional response. Meant to invite the listener to just relax and enjoy the sound, while feeling comfortable and cozy and leaving the opting to tuck in for a deeper experience if desired. Creating this simplicity and accessibility in the studio was also intentional. It was a choice to keep the sound free of unnecessary layers and modifications. Avalanche Lily will give you the same experience live as in the recording – a feeling of being welcomed and accepted as a friend. I loved Drew’s visual description of the music. He actually sees and projects color as he drums. After listening to the EP only a few times, I could sense that there was indeed a visual element to the way the music comes together.

 A Conversation with Kelly Jones

Check out the interview, listen to a sample of the music, and join us at Valentine’s on May 27 for a change to hear Avalanche Lily play through the EP. Cyndy is creating some exclusive and very limited handmade merchandise that I cannot wait to get my hands on! This band has a vision, and they make their vision accessible to all of us. They describe themselves as “salty and sweet.” I would add “savory and a little bit addictive.” Music is also available on their website and on CDBaby for advance listening.

Avalanche Lily’s “Astronaut”