A Conversation with Joe Hertler

By: Kate Fletcher

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This Friday, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers are bringing their electric sounds to Madison all the way from Lansing, Michigan. Known for their fantastic live shows full of energy and positivity, the band has been off and on the road for the past year, touring for their latest album Terra Incognita which came out in the early months of 2015. I was lucky enough to ask Joe a couple questions over the phone as he relaxed in his hometown for a breather between tour dates. It’s been a whirlwind of a year for this uplifting artist, but his passion for his musical creations became clear to me within the first minutes of the conversation.

Trying to describe Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers to someone who is unfamiliar with the band can be quite challenging. Terra Incognita features a very broad variety of different musical styles and truly demonstrates the range of songs that the band can produce while still remaining unique with their own Rainbow Seeker brand. Hertler is well aware of this fact. While describing the writing process, he said, “I jump around a little bit! I just get bored easily, so when I write too many pop songs I’m like, ‘Alright, I gotta bring it down, get a little more sentimental.’ So that generally is the trend that usually goes from like 2-3 songs… like a couple pop songs then a couple live jams then we’ll kind of gear back towards more folky singer-songwriter style.” This mixture of tunes, stemming from a writer drawing from many different angles, makes the album an extremely interesting one to listen to.

No matter what your music taste, there will be at least one song on the album that resonates with you. His personal favorite track is ‘Betelgeuse’, explaining, “It’s definitely like a low-key track on the record and probably catered to some headphone listening… just from the song-writing perspective, it’s probably one of my favorite songs.” However, this free-flowing writing process and melodic diversity does raise some eyebrows on the corporate side of band’s music production. “With our label, I feel like the business people involved at the end of the day are always like, ‘You guys really should think about sticking to a genre’” Hertler described, “but it almost seems more natural to go with what you’re feeling at the time rather than like trying to write to, like, a certain style.” Though their label might find it more convenient for them to settle for a more specific genre, the Rainbow Seekers do not plan on doing this anytime soon. And so far, this strategy has been working, as they receive acclaim and growing crowds for their live performances.

From the back roads of Colorado to the festival circuit in Michigan, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers have seen all different sides of America, refining their live performance all the way along. “I would say we’re a live band,” Hertler explains, “and I kind of preach that mentality to the band… The big idea behind the band is definitely the live show; that’s what we’re most proud of.” Forming relationships with good people from across the country has been one of the best parts about going on the road, Joe recounted. Genuinely friendly crowds, including some fans welcoming enough to open up their homes to the band when hotel rooms hadn’t yet been booked, are what make the shows so special. The concerts “are just a warm environment, and that’s mostly due to just people being nice.” Whether it’s the audience or the band that it emanates from, positive energy fills each venue with the sweet sweeping tunes of Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers as a vessel to spread it throughout.

After the show Friday, and the following day of binge-listening in an attempt to cope with post-concert depression, you will surely wonder, “Will there be another Rainbow Seeker album soon?” The answer isn’t clear but Joe did show his interest in getting back to the studio. “I think we’re all really craving the studio. I know I am just because we’ve been traveling around and touring but…” Hertler explained, trying to figure out how to summarize the tour vs. studio experience, “It’s spastic. Despite all the downtime, its still very one place to the next. You don’t always get a chance to hang out and get to know the area”. After the next 11 gigs coming in the October, perhaps the band will take a well deserved break before beginning the recording process again.

Ultimately, when coming to the show on Friday, leave any expectations you may have for Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers behind. They are known to surprise even seasoned fans with their fun sets and good vibes. “At the end of the day, I think the band is fully realized in a venue, in a live setting” Joe affirmed. The atmosphere in the Sett will surely be different than it has ever been in the past, and it will not be a show to miss.

square-madisonBecome a “sprightly young groove doctor” and experience Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers yourself at the Sett at 9 pm on October 9th, 2015.

Listen to Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers HERE!

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Con Shot First: A Star Wars-Themed Interview With Con Solo

ConBrandeaux

This SaturdayCATCH WRECK affiliates Con Solo and Coby Aships will be performing live beats to round out the second half of a DJ-centric weekend in Union South. Con Solo, for those that know him on Facebook, also goes by the name ‘Brandeaux Calrissian’. Between his spacey sound, an apparent affinity for Star Wars, and an overall mysterious aura, I decided to invite Solo to answer some questions about his music and to get his opinions on arguably the best film series of all time.

Please state your birth name for the record:

Brandon Le Andrew Washington.

Do you identify more closely with Lando Calrissian or Han Solo?

I’d like to think they’re both two aspects of a singular, baller entity.

A Yin and Yang type-thing, or something else?

Like the sun and the moon, occupying the same space, separately. In a state of calm, I lean towards Calrissian in my attempts to always keep a level head. When I perform, more so in favor of Solo. There’s a necessary bravado, and sometimes you have to shoot first.

What is your favorite film of the series so far?

Empire Strikes Back. Its all about that Dagobah force training montage.

Opinion on the prequel trilogy?

While it doesn’t have the nostalgia factor of the original, they made Samuel L. Jackson a Jedi and that’s really all I ever needed.

I’ve always thought Anakin Skywalker acted like a brooding teenager regardless of his age. Which prequel do you think he was the most brooding in?

Probably gotta say Revenge of the Sith, when he starts to turn and has that emo hood on, running around lightsabering kids. It’s especially prominent in the Duel on Mustafar, where he’s all “I HATE YOU DAD” to Obi Wan Kenobi, before the latter ginsu’d his appendages.

Does Jar Jar Binks get the rap he deserves?

Yo, Jar Jar Binks always seemed like a poorly hidden amalgam of black stereotypes.

I wouldn’t disagree with that. He definitely has the distorted version of a Jamaican/Rastafarian accent going on.

Like, come on Lucas. We live in the future, there’s absolutely no reason to have some jabber-jawed minstrel show alien running around getting into sophomoric antics. They should have let me write his character, he’d have been a straight up bad-ass.

COnSOloSHo

Has Star Wars influenced your music in any way?

In a way, it influenced my life at a young age turning me into a lil’ nerd. That eventually took me from sci-fi nerd to space and physics nerd to audio nerd, so hey I guess that works.

As an audio nerd, do you obsess more over the actual quality of the audio you’re producing, or the sonic aesthetic you want to present?

As an artist, no one wants to put out a half-assed product. That being said, I prioritize mood, emotive resonance, and the overall gestalt of each piece before really sitting down to focus on the mixdown. The main goal, always, is to get everyone else to feel what I’m feeling when they hear it.

What is your thought/work process in regards to creating new instrumentals, and how does that differ from your thoughts while performing a live show?

When I’m composing or producing, its more meditative. Zen-like. Alot of time spent in my own worlds, creating. Performing is a different ballgame. Like warring with myself and everyone else for their focus. There’s alot of improvisation that goes into my set, so it all comes down to keeping the crowd (and myself) on their toes and striking the right spots at the right times.

Is there anything special we can expect from the show this Saturday?

I’ve been working on a large amount of new material since I got back from touring and Los Angeles. I’m hoping to bring alot of what I learned along my travels back home for this one. Coby Ashpis and KidA are both very talented artists in their own fields, so I feel like its gonna be generally stellar.

LIGHTNING ROUND

What’s your opinion on the upcoming film?

Looks both so fresh and so clean-clean.

Jedi or Sith?

Jedi, but New Jedi Order era. Not trying to be all Lawful Good all the time.

What color would your lightsaber be?

Green: Jedi Consular. Straight up ass kickin’ diplomat.

Favorite species of the Star Wars universe?

Bad ass Twi’lek ladies.

Favorite line from the series?

Every instance of sexual tension between Han and Leia, and everything Chewbacca says.

Thanks for your time and insight, Brandon.

Ayyyye, anytime. Should be a good one.

An Interview with Low Roar’s Ryan Karazija

Source: bernardinai.lt/

Source: bernardinai.lt/

Last Saturday, we here at WUD Music hosted a special  performance in Memorial Union’s new Play Circle theater, featuring Icelandic singer-songwriter Asgeir and fellow Icelandic band Low Roar. Low Roar’s frontman, Ryan Karazija, was able to take some time during their busy tour schedule to answer some questions and provide insights on their newest music.
Andrew Mackens: So, Ryan, you used to be in a different, California-based band, Audrye Sessions, and then decided to move to Iceland and begin recording as Low Roar. What was the catalyst for this change? Can you tell us what the adjustment process was like?
Ryan Karazija: I moved for a few different reasons, one of those being a girl, and then once I moved I decided to write a record, and this is what came out . I didn’t have a hard time adjusting at all, it felt completely natural to me. Granted the weather is a bit different than California, but still, I had no real problems or issues.
AM: What’s the biggest connection musically between Audrye Sessions and Low Roar for you? Did anyone from the first band transition to the second with you?
RK: There is no connection between the two for me. They are almost like two completely different lives…
AM: How did you link up with Asgeir for the tour? I imagine it was through music in Iceland?
RK: We all live very close to each other and are friends, and when our booking agent saw this pop up, we just submitted for the tour. It has been a lot of fun.
AM: I watched the video for “Breath In”, a song off of your new album 0. Can you tell us about the overall concept of the video and what you were thinking about the roach scene? (It made me think of Tyler, The Creator’s “Yonkers” immediately.)
RK: Well, I actually had no input on this video; someone offered us a video. They wanted an upbeat song, so I sent them the slowest, and it all worked out.
AM: How does “Breath In” fit with the sound for the rest of 0?
RK: I think it fits perfectly, it is the opener on the album…just kinda leads you in….for me it is a very important piece of the album.
You can check out more of Low Roar’s music at lowroarmusic.com.