Get To Know: Annie Mack

Ahead of Annie Mack’s performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2018 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday, January 4, we got to ask her a few questions. Read what she had to say below:


Kelly Murray: Growing up, what were some strong musical inspirations for you?
Annie Mack:

  • Prince
  • Bettye Davis
  • Bobby Blue Bland
  • Ann Peebles
  • Etta James
  • Taj Mahal

Kelly MurrayWhat are some of your passions outside of music?
Annie Mack:

  • Being a Mom
  • killer shoes
  • oh and being an above average human being
  • hmmm maybe going more intense. Dark..Sensual..More Soul..More collaborations and Strings
  • Oh and apparently I’m passionate about the letter “S” lol

Kelly Murray: Are there any themes that you’re experimenting with for future music?
Annie Mack: 

  • Most Def “Tell it" 
  • We wrote it in the studio.
  • Didnt have time to absorb it really but folks dig it.
  • Was really off the cuff.

Kelly Murray: In March of this year, you released your EP "Tell It Like It Is.” Which song was the most challenging to write/record?
Annie Mack: Jon Herchert is an amazing producer and Human.

Blog by Kelly Murray (Intern)

Get To Know: The Carnegies

Ahead of The Carnegies’ performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2018 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday, January 4, we got to ask them a few questions. Read what they had to say below:

Emily Csuy: This past summer, The Carnegies played at Electric Fetus for the record store’s 50th anniversary. What is one of the most exciting music discoveries you’ve made at a record store?
The Carnegies: One of the most amazing discoveries we’ve made at a record store is realizing how much money we’ve spent and how broke we are. But a find that our manager/friend Jacob found for us at the Fetus was a hard-to-find CD of Keith Richards’s Honeymoon Tapes…there’s no question if you’re buying it when you find something like that. Plus playing the Electric Fetus 50th Anniversary in-store performance was a blast and honor!

EC: What is one of your favorite local places to play and why?
TC: Our favorite local venues would have to be two places, one being the 331 Club. It’s really happening there. The energy from the audience is what we drive off of and there’s always that energy there. The people who run it are awesome which makes all the difference. 7th St Entry is our favorite as well, all the reasons of having great people and the best sound guys there. All the same reasons as the 331. We’re honored to play there every time.

EC: What was one of the most memorable shows you attended in 2018?
TC: One of the most memorable shows we attended in 2018 would be Peter Asher of Peter & Gordon and Jeremy Clyde of Chad & Jeremy together at the Dakota Jazz Club. Their stories were just as great as their music. We got to witness Peter Asher mess up a guitar solo and everyone applauded as he said “f$@:$& hell” and owned it. We got to meet them after too.

EC: Did you learn anything new during the creation of your upcoming music video for “In the Night”?
TC: If we learned anything new during the making of the “In the Night” video, it’s that some of the best things happen when you improvise with your ideas—that applying to both the directors and the subjects. We all went with the next thing that came into someone’s head. Dan and Henry, our directors, were great and they helped feed the energy and gave us suggestions. It was amazing working with them.

EC: Is there anyone you hope to collaborate with in the future?
TC: If there’s anyone we’d love to collaborate with in the future it would be Curtiss A. We already kind of got the chance to do that for the John Lennon Tribute show. We joined him on stage for a song. We’ve attended the John Lennon Tribute at First Ave for about 5 years now and we’re always blown away.

Blog by Emily Csuy (Graphic Design Intern)

Get To Know: Gully Boys

Ahead of Gully Boys’ performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2018 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday, January 4, we got to ask Kathy, Nadirah and Natalie, who make up the three-piece, a few questions. Read what they had to say below:

Sophie Stephens: You seem to have a busy end of fall/winter coming up with lots of shows on the calendar, what do you do to prepare for this?
Gully Boys: We practice twice a week! We dedicate one practice to writing new music and learning covers for practice and dedicate another practice to cleaning up our set! We are crazy busy boys outside of this band so those two practices really help us hone in on our sound and prep us for gigs.

SS: You define yourself as “three scrappy boys writing songs in a basement” how do you feel your band has developed since your basement era to where you are now? 
GB: We STILL practice in a basement but are less scrappy and more intentional. We’ve managed to figure out how to translate our basement tunes into venue bangers. 

SS: The album you released in August, Not So Brave, fuses together several genres. Which artists most heavily influence your themes and sound?
GB: The most prevalent genres that influences us are  Motown, R&B, and early 2000 pop-punk. 
Nat- No doubt baselines   
Kathy- Early Mariah Carey  
Nadi- Spencer Smith of Panic! at the Disco

SS: Where did the band name Gully Boys come from, and what’s the significance behind it?
GB: Kathy loved Fern Gully as a lil kid and we wanted to be like all the boy bands we idolized as teenagers so boom.  

Blog by Sophie Stephens (Marketing Intern)

Get To Know: Yam Haus

Ahead of Yam Haus’ performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2018 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday, January 4, we got to ask Lars Pruitt (Vocals/Guitar), Seth Blum (Electric Guitar), Jake Felstow (Drums), and Zach Beinlich (Bass) a few questions. Read what they had to say below:


Kerry Gay: How did you meet and decide to first form your band? What’s the story behind your awesome name?
Yam Haus: Three of us (Zach, Seth, Lars) met in high school, and we met Jake through various gigs here in the Twin Cities. Our name originated from the house we were all living in together upon forming the band in August of 2017. We had naturally started calling it the Yam House, for multiple reasons. Soon we were trying to find an official name and someone in our camp threw that out as an option, and we sort of just went with it. Yam is an acronym which stands for “You Are Me". We decided to make this our band motto, reminding us to treat people how we’d like to be treated. That’s a simple enough concept when you’re a kid, but it tends to be forgotten as we grow older. We want to fight that, and hold up love in all that we do. 

KG: What bands most heavily influence your sound?
Yam Haus: That’s a tough question. There are MANY. I guess I’d say Coldplay, Maroon 5, and U2 stick out to me a bit on our first album. 

KG: Your artwork is incredibly unique, eye-catching, and fun (particularly your singles “Get Somewhere” and “Groovin”). Do you create the art yourselves? If so, where does the inspiration for your artwork come from?
Yam Haus: Thank you! Our album artwork is created in collaboration with talented friends of ours. People who we trust to help us bring the message of our music to life. The photography on “Get Somewhere” was shot in LA by our friend Michael Becker. That shot we felt right away captured the message of “Get Somewhere”. It shows us all jumping and looking up, striving for something we don’t really understand. The bright colors, the graffiti, all fit with what that song feels like to us. Our friend David Nanda did the editing and graphics for all of our singles. He is a long time high school friend of ours and has done most of our graphic design and editing work to date. He also did the photography for “Groovin’”, which was a totally candid shot taken on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. We jumped in ‘70s clothing and threw a spontaneous public dance party, and he grabbed that shot at peak dance euphoria. It perfectly captures what “Groovin’” is all about to us. 

KG: What particular theme or message are you hoping to convey to listeners on your most recent album Stargazer?
Yam Haus: Perspective. There are so many things in our personal life that can cripple us, but if we step back, zoom way out, and take a look at our lives in relation to this giant universe we are suspended in, it gets beautiful really quickly. In part, it’s an album about healing from what cripples you, and it’s also about exploring your place in the world.

KG: What’s the secret to maintaining your energetic stage presence at shows that keeps your crowds moving?
Yam Haus: I suppose we just don’t see any alternative that would be better. If we’re gonna play a show, we get into it. How could we not? We also want to feel like we’re apart of something with the crowd too, not just animals in a cage being observed or judged, but we’re experiencing something together. We don’t have time for anything else. It’s a privilege to be on stage, we love it, and we mean it. We believe in our music, and we love that we get the chance to perform it with other people in the same room. That’s the best feeling in the world. 

Blog by Kerry Gay (Marketing Intern)

Get to Know: Scrunchies

Ahead of Scrunchies’ performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2018 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday, January 4, we got to ask Laura Larson (Kitten Forever), Bree Meyer (Double Grave) and Danielle Cusack (Bruise Violet, Tony Peachka) a few questions. Read what they had to say below:


Emily Csuy: This year you played your first show together as Scrunchies, debuted your album, released a music video, and embarked on a summer tour. Looking back on 2018, what are some of the biggest highlights?
Danielle Cusack: Honestly just announcing the band and seeing people’s reactions that we had a music video shot & a full ass album recorded already. The Palm show at the Entry was really fun as well. But the biggest highlight was for sure the Fresno date of our tour when it was a 5 band bill of all women/femmes and was one of the most validating nights of playing music I’ve ever had.
Bree Meyer: Our tour was probably the highlight of the year overall for me, but in general it was wild seeing how people supported what we were doing, sight unseen.
Laura Larson: I felt really empowered by this entire year and being so hands-on throughout the entire process of the video, the album, and the tour. Getting my copy of Stunner after we made it really sticks out for me, Landing #2 on Picked To Click was cool, guest hosting The Local Show was cool, playing Sweet JAP’s reunion show was very cool.

Emily: During your summer tour, you played fifteen nights in a row in different cities. What helped you reenergize and stay sane on the road?
Danielle: Honestly, podcasts & a magnesium tablet before bed. Tour exhausts me but I was lucky to be around people who I really admired & were able to keep me grounded during my meltdowns.
Bree: I’ve never toured out west before, and I get a lot of energy from traveling in new places with new friends (like huge cactii and redwoods). I tend to sneak away on walks alone when I can, and usually bring a craft. This time it was weaving!
Laura: I’m a nerd who likes to eat healthy on the road somaking sure I am getting my vegetables (or at least a daily multivitamin) helps me a lot. Also stick me in the ocean at least once and my batteries are charged. I’ve been on a million tours but this was the first with Scrunchies and I felt really energized and thrilled to be touring with friends that I got to know better and have a bunch of cool experiences with. We were met by so much generosity and kindness everywhere we went too so tour ennui was minimal. Also we brought a frisbee!

Emily: What was the creative process like for the “Wichita” music video?
Laura: We had a vision of creating an atmosphere of teenage girls discovering witchcraft in a time before the internet, using intuition and minimal resources to create their own magic. We wanted it to be visually very colorful, kind of weird (like Bree and Danielle drawing all over their own faces), and fun to watch. Gordon Byrd directed and we co-produced it together; our history of growing up playing punk shows in basements together really vibed with the DIY concept and the “live” scenes. There is a lot of references to water in “Wichita” and we had a lot of fun pouring food coloring and half-and-half into glasses of water and making rainbow bubbles in the bathroom sink with glow sticks.

Emily: What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Danielle: Best New Bands!! And honestly a brand new year of unexpected possibilities tbh LOVE A FRESH START.
Bree: Agree with Danielle, new year new you, fresh start energy! I’m excited to see what the year has in store for us.
Laura: I’m excited to start writing new songs, and to see what the next stage of the band feels like. We are going to be playing Best New Bands as a three-piece and I’m excited to work with Bree and Danielle in that capacity. We’re going to play around with more dynamics, and maybe even write some songs that are longer than two minutes and twenty seconds.

Blog by Emily Csuy (Graphic Design Intern)


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