GET TO KNOW: GREEN/BLUE

Ahead of Green/Blue’s performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2019 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Saturday, January 25, we got to ask guitarist Annie Sparrows a few questions. Read what Annie had to say below:

Olivia Riggins: After being involved with other successful projects around the area, how did you decide to meet up and form Green/Blue?

Annie Sparrows: Jim was dropping some art off for me last year when we got to talking and I found out he had been writing and recording a bunch of new songs (playing and singing all the parts himself) at his house. I asked if I could hear some of it, and loved every song. I had some ideas to add here and there and we started playing guitars together in Jim’s basement. Hideo and Jim had been talking about being in a band together for a while too so Hideo came in on bass and Danny, who I’ve been playing with since 2002 was a perfect fit for drums. Those songs that Jim had recorded will come out on the first Green/Blue LP in March, and since then we’ve been writing, recording, and playing shows pretty much nonstop.

OR: How is Green/Blue’s sound different from your previous work?

AS: It’s more melodic and artful than most of the projects we’ve been a part of in the past. The hooks and songwriting take a front seat while still being really danceable and sounding slightly dangerous.

OR: I’ve heard Green/Blue described as “the Belle and Sebastian of psych-rock”—do you feel like that’s accurate, or how would you describe your sound?
AS: That’s something our friend said to us at one of our first shows - he also asked if we had “singing practice” haha - and it was all kind of a joke that we thought was clever.  It’s sort of accurate in that the songs are more than just a sound or “music” - they have a tendency to evoke emotion from the people who hear them more so than a lot of other tunes that would fall under an “alternative” or “garage” banner. I think Belle and Sebastian does that - but I think we are offering something just a little edgier, that’s its own thing.

OR: I’ve read that an album may be in the works. What themes or messages are you interested in exploring in future releases?

AS: The first Green/Blue album comes out on Slovenly Recordings in March - our record release show is in the 7th St Entry (more info TBD) with one of our favorite punk bands from here called I.V., and a new band called Snake Whips that you will surely be hearing a lot about this summer as they start playing live shows.

OR: What’s the next step for Green/Blue as a band?

AS: We have some shows both in and out of town brewing this spring and summer, and we’ll keep working on writing and recording.

OR: What are you looking forward to in 2020?

AS: Seeing how the band will continue to evolve!

Blog by Olivia Riggins (Marketing Intern)

GET TO KNOW: MUUN BATO

Ahead of Muun Bato’s performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2019 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Saturday, January 25, we got to ask guitarist/vocalist Joe Werner a few questions. Read what he had to say below:

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Olivia Riggins: Your first album came out this October—what inspired that album, and what was the experience like releasing your debut?
Joe Werner: The first album was inspired by so many different things. Mostly by bands like Broadcast, Stereolab, Pink Floyd, and Connan Mockasin, to name a few. But mostly I was just trying to write a body of work that you couldn’t just pigeon hole into one category, or sound. I wanted a colorful, and eclectic collection of songs. One criticism that I have of a lot of new “psych-rock”, is that so many bands have only one kind of song, and they repeat that formula ad nauseam on their records, and it makes for a very one-dimensional listening experience.

OR: You all came from various projects/local bands (Driftwood Pyre, First Communion Afterparty, Bridge Club, Flavor Crystals) before beginning Muun Bato. How do your experiences in the local music scene and your experiences in these other bands influence Muun Bato’s sound?
JW: I would say my experience in the local music scene didn’t have much to do with the sound of Muun Bato. I didn’t want it to sound like anything else I had been in before, it has an overall way more mellow sound than a lot of other projects I’ve been in. But I guess a little bleed-through of the past is inevitable. And the other members all bring their own influences, and nuisances with them, which definitely has an obvious outcome on the sound. 

OR: The album art/design and t-shirts for Muun Bato have a fun correlation to the sound you have as a band. Does someone in the band do the design work for Muun Bato?
JW: The person who does all the design work is a really old friend of mine, Sheraton Green of Charles S Anderson Design. We’ve known each other for about 20yrs, and he just gets the aesthetic we’re going for. He has the ability to interpret the sound visually, in the most amazing way. A true master of his craft.

OR: What’s your favorite song to perform live?
JW: “Planet of the Children” is our favorite song to perform I think. It’s the last song on the album, and it’s the last song in our set too. It’s an apocalyptic epic, with operatic highs, and lows, and also seems to be a crowd favorite.

OR: What comes next for you all as a band?
JW: We are playing Off the Record on Radio K on Friday, January 17th, along with a number of local shows TBA soon, and a west coast tour this spring. Also, we’ve begun recording our second album, which I have written about %90 of already. 

OR: What’s your favorite artist/album of the past year?
JW: Vanishing Twin!!! They’re a fantastic band from the UK. Very avant-garde, art-rock stuff. Their newest album “Age of Immunology” is absolutely stellar.

Blog by Olivia Riggins (Marketing Intern)

Get To Know: Briston Maroney


After spending a childhood and adolescence shuffling through Tennessee and Florida, and soaking in the sounds, 21-year-old Briston Maroney has now settled in Nashville developing a style grounded in the scrappy, authentic sounds of the city’s DIY house parties. Having won over Nashville fans and fans across the country, Briston Maroney is ready to win you over on November 18 here in the 7th St Entry. We had the pleasure of speaking with Briston Maroney to get to know him a little before the show! 

Joely: You just released a two-song EP last week, what was your inspiration for these songs?
Briston: The first track was written a year ago and the second was written the day we recorded it! These songs were inspired by the label asking us to record an EP :) they have now become an awesome snapshot of where I was emotionally at that period of time in life!


Joely: You recently toured with Wallows, what’s a favorite memory you have from that tour?
Briston: The first show of that tour was insane! It was our first European show ever, and one of the most full rooms I have ever been able to play in. The show was fantastic and we got to stand by the merch table and sign some kids shoes after the set, it was an honor!


Joely: Do you have a clear or specific memory related to falling in love with music, and knowing that it is something you would want to pursue yourself?
Briston: My earliest memory of falling in love with music was either finding a CD copy of “White Album” in my dad’s cd collection or hearing Ben Folds Five open up for John Mayer on the “Continuum” tour! Both of these experiences pushed me to want to make my own music for me!


Joely: Being from Florida and Tennessee, and now living in Nashville, how has your music been inspired by these different locations?
Briston: All of these places were full of different memories and cast of important people in my life, and those memories and people shape the sounds I hear and songs I write immensely! 


Joely: This is your first time playing at First Avenue, what are you most excited to do or see during your time in Minneapolis?
Briston: I don’t know much about Minneapolis at all, but I know it’s very cold. I hope to run into some arctic wildlife like a polar bear or something. That would be really special for me. 


A special thanks for Briston Maroney for taking the time for this, and make sure to check out the new EP, as well as the show at 7th St Entry this upcoming weekend!

Blog by Joely Kelzer (Marketing Intern)

GET TO KNOW: niiice.

Ahead of niiice.'s performance with 26 BATS!, Infinite Me, and Keep for Cheap in the 7th St Entry on August 14, we got to ask Sage Livergood, Roddie Gadeberg, and Abe Anderson a few questions. Read what they had to say below:

Joely Kelzer: You have collabed with the loveable Gully Boys, what is another niiice. collab you would love to happen? 
niiice.: Stars Hollow, from Iowa, is one of our favorite bands, and we got a big ol tour with them this fall that I’m really stoked about.

JK: Who are your biggest influences as far as your style of music?
niiice.: I’d say bands like Tommy Boys, Prince Daddy & the Hyena, and Nirvana especially. I’ve seen Prince Daddy at the Entry and it was D O P E.

JK: What famous song do you wish you had written?
niiice.: Ricky by Denzel Curry. 100% sick.

JK: Is there a niiice story on how the band met?
niiice.: me (Roddie) and Sage are both from different cities in Montana, and never really knew each other but we happened to go to the same college, and Abe is from Cannon Falls. We all moved to the cities in the same year and met pretty soon after we moved here. Love those guys, they my dawgs for real

JK: What would you describe your vibe in 5 words or less?
niiice.: Goofy, but also dumb.

Blog by Joely Kelzer (Marketing Intern)

Get To Know: Static Panic

Ahead of Static Panic’s performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2018 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday, January 4, we got to ask Ro, Eli, and Keston a few questions. Read what they had to say below:

Sophie Stephens: Your EP Chrome gives an honest look into self-discovery and sexuality. Would you say that this theme is influenced by the political atmosphere of today?
Ro: It’s certainly hard to ignore, the current political climate. However, I think that a lot of my inspiration at the moment comes from an introspective place, as I learn and grow, make mistakes, get messy… it’s all in good fun.
Eli: No, music is a means by which we study and express ourselves as honestly as possible. Our expression of sexuality and self-discovery is simply an honest look at our collective experience. While the current political atmosphere hasn’t prompted this theme, it has made it more relevant.
Keston: We are influenced by our lives. The challenges we face in this world as individuals. We don’t try to strike controversy, we just try to be our true selves. it just so happens that what we embody and what we find to true ourselves, and the communities which we associate ourselves with, are tangled in political strife.

Sophie Stephens: How do you know when a song is finished?
Ro: Never feels like it is, honestly. You chisel away at each song like it’s your Magnum Opus, and you pray that it lands the way it looks in your head; on stage and at home. It’s a good feeling to be excited about our own body of work, and share my emotions with people willing to listen, with a strong backbeat. When I feel I can accomplish that in a four-minute song, it’s done. 
Eli: My natural inclination is to keep adding more to a song and fill as much space as possible. Recently, we’ve been taking a slightly more minimalistic approach and focusing on the use of empty space. Our songs are never truly finished. They’re constantly changing and evolving as we continue to play them.
Keston: If I feel like I’ve said what I needed to say, I’ll stop trying to add and focus more on what I need to “fill” when it comes to instrumentals. However, the life of these songs goes as long as we play them. They will forever be in a flux and change as long as we keep them in the live shows. 

Sophie Stephens: In the past, you have played in the 7th St Entry and the Fine Line. How is the group feeling about hitting the Mainroom stage?
Ro: It’s a powerful feeling. There’s so much energy and history to that room, and the folx at First Ave really know how to put on a show. It’s such a dream, seeing artists you feel connected to, there…being able to say you’ve experienced that stage on both sides of the guardrail is a lifetime achievement.
Eli:  We’re beyond excited to be playing the Mainroom. After years of watching our favorite musicians perform there, following in their footsteps is surreal.
Keston: We’ve played 7th street entry countless times, as a group and as individuals. Mainstage is lit. we gon’ f*** it up.

Sophie Stephens: What do you admire most about the other bands that will be a part of the Best of New Bands showcase?
Ro: I’ve realized recently that each and every one of the bands in the showcase are bands that I heard about from either similar bills, or from friends as local acts to check out. It’s so cool and inspiring to see other groups making moves at a similar pace and trajectory, knowing how much work goes into it, respect for sticking with it. Keep up the hard work, y’all, we got this.
Eli: I admire their dedication. All of these bands have put in really hard work over the last year to get here.
Keston: These bands are the real deal. They well represent a level playing field for the future of music.

Blog by Sophie Stephens (Marketing Intern)

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