Local Spotlight: Love Sequence

Local Spotlight: Love Sequence

by Logan Lanphere (First Avenue Marketing Intern)

This week, I sat down with the guys of the Minneapolis pop outfit Love Sequence to talk about their goals as a band, their latest EP, and their upcoming show at 7th St Entry on Monday, July 31. They’ll be supporting Early Eyes (you can check out my conversation with them here).

Love Sequence is Bobby Rethwish (vocals, guitar), Marcus Findley (bass), Nolan Sawyer Watts (lead guitar, keys), and Grant Gabriel (drums). Their musical interests range from Michael Jackson and Prince to Rush and King Crimson. Their unique brand of pop has emerged from this diverse range of influences, but it didn’t start that way. The band went “through a few incarnations before we got to Love Sequence. It kind of started with Grant and I, in a progue band,” says Rethwish. Findley adds, “It was the first time we moved into pop music,” when Love Sequence finally formed about two years ago. Watts joined a year later, branching out from his funk-rock roots. He told me, “It’s still funky, but it’s just a different flavor and it did take some convincing (to join a pop band), that’s a fair word.”

Last November, Love Sequence released their debut EP Look At Me, which was recorded in various studios across Minneapolis. With this first effort, the goal was to put out the best five songs they had. Rethwish explains: “we really loved these songs that we felt represented us at the time, so we thought they deserved the full treatment.” Since then, the band has played consistent gigs, aside from a brief hiatus while Findley recovered from wrist surgery. That down-time gave them a bit of space to write new music, and now they have their next few releases planned for the future. They’ll be playing plenty of that new music at their upcoming shows.

It was apparent during our conversation that these guys have put a lot of effort into understanding the potential power of their music. Every note and word is intentional. Says Gabriel: “When I think of our sound, it’s always been like a dream you can’t quite remember.” This sense of ambiguity is something the band has always aspired to create. Rethwish is intentional in the way he approaches writing music: “Everybody’s got this foot in the door with pop music, so that gives me permission to write more exposing and troubling lyrics. Because if you can relate to the sound of it, then I can give you something more interesting. Like in stand-up comedy you can say the most truly offensive things, but if you can make them laugh or (in their case) dance, you can open them up to your neurosis.”

The band’s gigantic-sounding and easily-digestible pop songs allow them to insert heavy lyrics in each song. In Gabriel’s words, “whatever emotion that song is going to make you feel, it makes you feel it so quickly and thoroughly that you can’t hide it. I want our music to almost demand that reaction.” It’s a tall order to capture emotions and put them into words that have the desired impact, but these four talented musicians have taken extreme care in crafting each song to inspire listeners to evaluate themselves and their own emotions.

Love Sequence has played shows with a unique array of bands that are sometimes very different from them, but they’ve found a way to resonate with all kinds of audiences. Says Watt, “I think that it’s fun to have a scene that we have a hard time calling a scene because you do get so much variation, and you learn to appreciate what everyone’s doing when it’s so different.” That’s what the local music culture is about: celebrating our differences and our artistic endeavors with one another.

Love Sequence is a young dream pop band with large-scale ambitions and a sound meant to move you both physically and spiritually. Rethwisch sums it up best: “If you want to dance you can dance. If you want to be existential and think about spirituality, you can do that. If you want to get turned on, you can do that.” Don’t miss their opening sent for Hardcastle and Early Eyes at 7th St Entry July 31. Snag some tickets here!

Footnote: For fun, I asked the guys what they’ve been listening to lately, and Findley exclaimed, “Pinegrove, They’re so fucking good. I love them so much.” Lucky for us, Pinegrove headlines the Entry this October!

Local Spotlight: Early Eyes

Local Spotlight: Early Eyes

By Logan Lanphere (First Avenue Marketing Intern)

Ahead of their co-headlining show in the Entry, Early Eyes answered a few questions for today’s Local Spotlight feature. The young and talented indie rock band headlines 7th St Entry on July 31 along with Hardcastle and Love Sequence.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Jake Berglove (vocals, guitar), Des Lawrence (bass), and Wyatt Fuller (drums) (guitarist Joe Villano couldn’t make our interview) and talk about the band’s swift rise in popularity in the ten months they’ve been together. The band’s influences range from motown and funk to modern indie rock, with artists like Amy Winehouse, The 1975, and Tears For Fears as featured inspirations. “We’ve never sat down and defined ‘we want to sound like this.’ We all just took our influences into the practice room and jammed,” says Lawrence in regards to this diverse range of music tastes coming together to form one cohesive project. Their sound is reminiscent of indie rock bands like Hippo Campus with added tinges of pop and funk. The group’s uniqueness lies in its unwillingness to adhere to a predetermined genre, instead choosing make the music they want to hear.

The band formed last October when Lawrence booked a show at the University of Minnesota and his musical partner fell ill and was unable to perform. With only a short time before the show, Lawrence had to improvise: “That was right around the time I met these fine fellows. We learned some of Jake’s old songs, wrote a couple songs and threw together a thirty-minute set.” Their quickly-organized project was very well received, and has successfully developed even more fully in the last few months. After a winter of writing and recording, the band released their debut EP, Minutes, in May with a show at the Entry.

For the EP, “we had a pool of nine or ten songs. We tried to pick ones we thought would catch people’s attention,” says Berglove. The result is an energetic and overall happy indie/pop/rock effort recorded mostly in the band members’ dorms. This DIY recording style doesn’t hamper the quality of the record, though, instead adding another layer of texture to the tracks. In terms of their writing process, their approach similarly avoids over-thinking and fussiness: in general, an idea stems from one member followed by a jam session until a song is produced. Berglove notes, “it’s about finding a balance between what means stuff to me, and what means something to everyone else. With our lyrics we’re trying to spread a positive message, and trying to bring people together in a room.” In the process of putting together another EP, the band welcomed a new guitarist, Joe Villano, who has been working on contributing his own flare to the next release, adding to the sense of community and collaboration.

In addition to starting work on their next EP, the band has kept busy playing shows all over Minnesota, with plans to expand beyond their home state. After their show at 7th St Entry, they’re “going on a little bit of a regional tour of reno shows,” explained Fuller. July 31 is a can’t-miss gig as they debut a few new songs before heading out on tour. The last time they played the Entry for their EP release show, “was the most fun I’ve ever had at a show,” exclaims Berglove. Fuller adds, “It felt cool being connected to that many people, and knowing that they’re there for you.” Early Eyes has managed to carve out a little following in the Minneapolis music community, and it’s paid off.

I asked them about the music scene here, to which Berglove replied “I love the local Minneapolis scene. It’s the best scene in the world.” “Literally I think everything we have is due to people spreading the word and helping us out,” Fuller continued. Early Eyes’ success is a good example of how welcoming the local scene can be to newcomers.

“I don’t really know what to tell you about Early Eyes, but you should really check them out,” Berglove joked when I asked them for an elevator pitch of their band. Fuller had a little more to say: “I want people to get a nostalgic feeling of chilling in the summer with their convertible and hair flying all around listening to Early Eyes.” Lawrence’s pitch went in another direction altogether: “I want people to think about sweaty basements and dancing really hard with their friends when they didn’t even know who we were, but still enjoying it.” Either way, the message seems to be that Early Eyes just wants to create a fun, safe space for their friends and fans to dance in and for the band to share their music with their audience. Berglove ended by saying. “I want to be a band that people drive to, music you want to put on in the car.”

Head down to 7th St Entry on Monday, July 31 for the debut of a brand new track from Early Eyes, a band that has quickly risen in popularity while maintaining a humble and gracious attitude. Plus, catch Nashville indie rockers Hardcastle and local pop dreamers Love Sequence. Snag your tickets here!

Interview: Wonder Women DJs

Wonder Women DJ Interviews

by Logan Lanphere (First Avenue Marketing Intern)

Ahead of our dance night commemorating the amazing women of music, Mike 2600, Mina Moore (YSHEYELLIN), and DJ Ms. Brit answered a few questions about what to expect at this Friday’s Wonder Women event. You can read their responses below and get hyped for one of our premiere dance parties of the summer on Friday, July 28 in the Mainroom.

1. What does it mean to you to be a part of this tribute to influential female musicians?

Mike 2600:

Getting to play all of these huge songs from some of the most powerful performers that planet Earth has ever witnessed inside one of the greatest nightclubs planet Earth has ever hosted is nothing short of an honor. For me, this night will be all about nostalgia and playing music that makes people feel good.

Mina Moore:

Being a part of this tribute feels really good. I’ve been given an opportunity to share my love for my “aunties” with my city. Anyone that knows me (or has been at an after party with me) knows how much I love to play dance and soul music. Now I get to take that energy from my living room to the Mainroom. I’m into it.

Ms. Brit:

There are so few spaces that amazing women are celebrated, and even fewer spaces where we can celebrate women that aren’t currently on Billboard. To be playing and celebrating all the women who empowered me to do what I do in the first place is really a treat.

2. Have these women influenced your career in any way? How?

Mike 2600:

I’m from the early MTV era, so growing up watching videos from Madonna, Janet Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, En Vogue, Queen Latifah, and Salt N Pepa was a huge part of my upbringing. Their songs, videos, and personalities were exciting and captivating, and their songs are still just as huge today. As a DJ, it’s important to play big songs that resonate with an audience. The songs of these Wonder Women are so fun to play for an attentive crowd to watch them immediately snap back to their own childhoods.

Mina Moore:

Ha! Hahahaha!

Ms. Brit:

Fun Fact- At 4 years old I made a music video to “I’m Every Woman” (The Whitney Version) and I really believed that ish. Women come in all shapes, sizes, and have different interests, and that’s okay. I’ve never felt like I had to fit into a box and Whitney is a big reason why. Sade taught me about quiet confidence and simplicity. Janet showed me the possibilities of evolution sonically, stylistically, artistically, and sexually. It’s a gift to bear witness to women who are unapologetically themselves.

3. What should we expect for your set? What are you most excited about playing the Mainroom?

Mike 2600:

I’m pulling a ton of songs from a pretty diverse range of artists. Aside from most of the artists listed on the flyer, I’m excited to play big hits from Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Nicks, Cherrelle, Chaka Khan, Grace Jones, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, and even Luscious Jackson.

Mina Moore:

Expect to get turned up in ways you forgot you knew how. Think everything from classic hip hop to Brazilian sambas. Most excited about playing RuPaul. Lots and lots of RuPaul.

Ms. Brit:

I want to set the vibration in the room through some vibey Sade, Jill, and Solange. Then turn up the energy with a little afro-beat, reggaeton, and funk. I want to leave some room for spontaneity but I’ll say this: expect to feel good, expect to groove, expect to dance. It’ll be an amazing night.

After hearing from our DJs, it’s impossible not to be excited for Wonder Women on Friday. Get your tickets now!

Wonder Women: DJs Spill the Beans on Their Sets

Wonder Women: DJs Spill the Beans on Their Sets

By Logan Lanphere (Markerting Intern)

Our summer dance nights are unrivaled in Minneapolis, and our upcoming Wonder Women Dance Party in the Mainroom surely won’t disappoint. On Friday, July 28, First Avenue presents Wonder Women, a night dedicated to celebrating decades of music from the world’s most influential female musicians. Dance the night away to classic hits and deep cuts from Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Selena, and many more. Here’s a preview of what you can expect to hear:

DJ Miss Brit  – expect experimental grooves, house, disco, and early hip hop as well as tracks from R&B queens Solange, Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu. Miss Brit may even throw in some Latin and Afro Beat tunes with Jennifer Lopez and Yemi Alade. 

DJ Mike 2600the 20-year DJ veteran will continue the evening with classics from the 70s through the 90s: think Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks, Donna Summer, Amy Winehouse, and Madonna. Mike tells us he’s got some classic hits as well as some deeper cuts.

Ysheyellin (aka Mina Moore) targets the 80s and 90s, with tracks from Janet Jackson, Toni Braxton, and Brownstone. Plus, get ready for some prominent female MCs of the same era; we’re talking Latifa, The Lady Rage, and MC Lyte.

DJ Bonicswraps up the night and complements with some hits that were missed. The 90s will be a major focus with Expose and others. Then, it’ll be time to step out of the 90s and back to today with some contemporary divas like A9, Kelis, and C3. 

We’ve got a stellar line-up of DJs and an endless list of important female musicians to feature, making Wonder Women a  can’t-miss dance party from beginning to end. Head to First Avenue July 28 for an eclectic night celebrating years of influential female musicians. Get your tickets here!

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