Brixton Typewriter – Solo Artist Interview

Hailing from Utica, New York, Brixton Typewriter is the do-it-yourself indie musical project by Sean Sisti, who plays all the instruments himself. He recently released his “Cold & Tired EP” in March. Check out the relaxing “Red” here:

Sean’s Brixton Typewriter is a musical outlet where he plays all the instruments himself, a task that is well within the realm of his talents. Sean got into music at a young age, taking piano lessons around age 6, playing cello at age 8, and getting his first guitar at age 10, which he said was the start of his musical journey.

“Music is in my blood–both my parents are musicians,” Sean said. “Numerous other family members and relatives are musicians so it makes sense that I picked up music at a young age.”

Sean wants to one day play in a proper band, a dream that perhaps formed after he saw his dad playing in his band. As early as the 5th grade, right after getting his first guitar, Sean and some of his friends tried starting up a band. Things didn’t quite take off but ever since then, Sean has wanted to perform music in some capacity, even as a hobby. Throughout the years, he has performed in the school orchestra and did a year of Jazz band in high school.

The beginning of Brixton Typewriter began when Sean got his keytar, which was packaged with a copy of Ableton Live 8 Lite.

“I took some time to learn the software, and just started recording,” Sean said. “By the time I had a few demos, I figured I should come up with a name to call the project. The name comes from the first two things I saw at my desk, a copy of ‘Live at Brixton Academy’ by Simon Parkes and a rusted old Remington typewriter. I liked the ambiguity of it–it left me a lot of leg-room. It didn’t suggest a solo artist, a band, a duo, etc. Looking back, I should’ve named it something different but I commit to my mistakes.”

Part of recording new music required getting a hold of new instruments, something that may have turned into an addiction. Sean tries to get a hold of as many instruments as he can whether they’re new or weird, and from anywhere he can, including from out of dumpsters. He has acquired a mandolin, a keytar, an accordion, a reed organ, and the list goes on.

“As for prowess, I never really spent a lot of time with one single instrument, I liked floating from one to the other, but that could also be the reason why I’m mediocre at everything,” Sean said. “Honestly, I’d rather be mediocre at many things than be pigeon-holed into one corner of music.”

Being able to record everything turned out to be easier than he imagined, and soon after Sean started created songs that he self-described as sounding like bits and pieces of other things coming out of a broken AM radio or a cassette player from across the room.

Sean’s approach to recording is to start off in a blank state and find either a sound, sight or feeling that serves as a foundation for building the song. This allows for every song to go in a unique path as experimentation and exploration are used as tools to help develop the final product. This approach can be heard on the first Brixton Typewriter’s debut EP titled “Sunday Night in an Attic” released in February 2016. The EP is a collection of experimental and indie rock tracks that range in an array of musical styles, from the opener’s “Closer to You” whimsical nature to the Western-inspired “Gunslinger’s Funeral.” The EP truly is a glimpse into Sean’s mind as he discovers his own muse.

“There have been very few times where I go in knowing exactly what to record,” Sean said. “If you do go in to record something specifically, nine times out of ten, you’ll come out with something different.”

Once the sight, sound, or feeling, or a combination of the three has been decided upon, Sean likes to draw inspiration from his favorite artists and then try emulating different genres. One song titled “Go In, Mr. Waits” has Sean emulating Tom Waits, a personal hero of his.

“As for the sight part, sometimes I’ll close my eyes and picture something and try to recreate that scene through music,” Sean said. “‘Route 13’ from ‘Cold & Tired’ is a good example of that. I closed my eyes and pictured a dark and winding road carved through a thick forest of pines. I wanted something cold and mysterious to represent that.”

Sean continued, “Feelings are probably the ones I utilize the most. ‘I Don’t Want to Go’ from ‘Human Resources’ is about the feeling of the end of a long journey, and not being ready to say goodbye. It’s a song of bittersweet farewells. It’s a really nice song and I don’t think my first recording of it does it justice.”

Brixton Typewriter’s second release was the album “Human Resources” in May 2016. Whereas the debut EP was an experimentation in recording and writing, the follow-up was built upon that foundation and focused on featuring songs that were fun to listen to with atmosphere to along with it. Sean said he dragged his friends and family to help in some areas, such as playing solos on sax, trumpet, and guitar.

“I loved doing it and I actually have been collaborating with more people recently so I look forward to the future in that respect,” Sean said. “Hopefully someday I can get a proper live-band going on.”

Brixton Typewriter’s third and most recent release “Cold & Tired” is an EP where Sean challenged himself to playing guitar better. He wanted to jump back into recording right after finishing his first album and did so by recording around 50 demos and excerpts over the course of a year. Once the themes of the songs started to form, a story began to emerge.

“’Cold & Tired’ is, at its literal, the story of someone dissatisfied with the world in its current state (‘Red’), hung up on the past (‘Class of 1998’), and who decides to liberate themselves from the corruption of the world and their own history to achieve some level of comfort or inner peace (‘Runaway’),” Sean said. “The mystery and hardships of the world outside their hometown become apparent and they try to escape once again, this time by trying to fall asleep (‘Route 13,’ ‘Insomniac’). Through a dream sequence filled with air-raid sirens and bombs (‘Grey Escadrille’), the protagonist realizes that their hometown is a safe haven, a place of nostalgia, love and memories and they start to make their way back home (‘Dreamer’). One of the hardest parts of writing instrumentals is saying everything you need to say by saying nothing at all.”

When creating the EP, Sean furthered his recording experimentation by trying new things, such as using a VST that had a soundcard for DOS games to get unique sounds out of and using an old clip from a Ronald Regan speech. Clearly, it’s an essential journey for anyone interested in something that’s unique, new, and perhaps even a little bit quirky.

Whether it’s collecting new instruments, trying new sounds, or gathering friends to record parts, Sean enjoys every part of surrounding his musical project. He said he enjoys recording new music because he gets to see his vision realized but also for other reasons.

“I also like the little parts, nailing a difficult riff, or writing a fun bassline, accidentally playing a wrong chord that sounds good or finding the right melody that makes everything perfect,” Sean said. “But, ultimately, it’s the reception I get from people who listen. That’s why I do what I do. My end goal is to make people feel something, feel nostalgia, pain, happiness, sorrow, and so on. I’ve had someone call one of my songs (I think it was the Epilogue from ‘Human Resources’) ‘hauntingly beautiful’ and that, to me, was an amazing feeling.”

Going on age 21, Sean is looking to take Brixton Typewriter to the next level. His plans include getting a group together to have the ability of capturing moments with bandmates that could not otherwise happen when recording and writing everything solo.

“Recording is nice because you have some element of control over the whole thing, but it only really comes together at the end,” Sean said. “When you play with a group, the results are instantaneous. This, I think, makes it a lot more soulful and exciting. Recording is very much a personal and emotional effort for me, and I think it’d be interesting to get a group together and just have fun, see where that goes.”

To stay up to date with Brixton Typewriter, follow the band on Bandcamp.

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Vox Eagle – New Single Release

Aussie-American duo Vox Eagle recently released its new single “Come Over” that will have you dancing to its upbeat electronic charms. Check out the song here:

The electro-psych pop duo consists of Andy Crosby and Luke Hamel, who formed in the summer of 2015 and are ready to release anEP’s worth of synth-driving songs carried by experimental beats. The two met while on tour in a previous band and since then, they have drawn out the best from each other. Hamel said, “I think the reason the songs are turning out to have some flavor and depth is that Andy and I share a core of stuff we both love dearly.”

The EP was recorded across the country from Colorado, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and more locales, all in different locations such as hotels, trains and planes using the band’s mobile recording rig. They took control of the entire recording process and self-produced the record. This approach has given the duo to ability to explore new ideas in different environments, something not readily available for many artists.

“I think the new locations help to keep the music fresh to us and to inspire different ideas while keeping us focused exclusively on the songs and not distracted by our respective lives,” said Hamel.

Their first single “No Sleep” was a pop-friendly, upbeat California-style club hit that put them on the map as a group who could provide catchy rhythms accessible to everyone. Check out the track here:

Their upcoming EP is set for release on May 26. To stay up to date with all things Vox Eagle, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and their official site.

R. Missing – New EP Release

Dark wave duo R. Missing has released its new EP “Unsummering.” Check out the mellow dance single “Kelly Was a Philistine” here:

Drawing comparisons to Chelsea Wolfe, Velvet Underground and Morrissey, New York-based R. Missing presents a synth-heavy electronic venture filled with swatches of soothing vocals and simple beats that wouldn’t be out of place with flickering strobe lights and seducing strangers.

The accompanying music video is trippy with a grainy texture that presents the main theme of the album well: to be detached, isolated, unloved and finding the darkness in the light. If you’re in the mood for staying indoors and finding the opposite of summer, then look no further than “Unsummering.”

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Photo provided by R. Missing

To stay up to date with R. Missing, be sure to follow them on Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and their official website.

Astro Lasso – Band Interview

York-native electronic indie duo Astro Lasso have recently released its debut EP and is now on tour opening for We the Kings in more than 25 cities. Today, Astro Lasso spoke with ETV about the group’s origins, the making of their EP, and their partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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Photo provided by Astro Lasso

Astro Lasso is made up of Jordan Davis and Tristan Martin who have been making music together since they were kids. They were a part of Kingsfoil, a band that released several albums and opened for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Stone Temple Pilots, Goo Goo Dolls, 21 Pilots, Creed and more. With actor Frankie Muniz filling in for drums and Tim Warren playing bass, the four-piece group were making headlines opening for Third Eye Blind.

“Kingsfoil was an amazing experience but we were ready to push the envelope and do something different as a duo,” Jordan said. “Music and songwriting is a part of our DNA – it’s what we love – it almost feels like Astro Lasso formed us. It just happened and we are really happy it did.”

Together they like to make music that contains many elements that they themselves have hard time describing. Although they like the electronic sounds to be incorporated into their songs, they both love playing instruments and said they would never go away from that. Tristan moved from guitar in Kingsfoil to drums in this project while Jordan sings, plays guitar and keyboards.

Their influences tie in from many areas, including Beach Boys, Red Hot Chili peppers, Ed Sheeran, Moonrise Nation, The Beatles, J Cole and Third Eye Blind, which allows them to try new things. They released their debut EP in January titled “Astro Lasso EP,” which features five songs, including the upbeat, dance-pop track “Someday,” which you can watch here:

“The making of this EP was a blast!” Jordan said. “We recorded, produced and engineered the EP in our home studios. It gives you the freedom to experiment with different ideas and takes on the songs without feeling the time pressure of a bigger studio. We have a few lyrical themes on this record. ‘Stay Safe’ touches on the music industry and the balance you have to have to run the business side of things without losing the inspiration and will be to be creative. ‘The Only Part’ is a love song and ‘Conquer’ tackles the idea of putting out love even in the face of hate or negativity.”

Astro Lasso is currently on a big 25-city plus tour opening for We the Kings across the U.S. The first show was in Nashville on Feb. 17.

“We are so grateful to We the Kings for believing in us and inviting us to be a part of their tour,” Jordan said. “To start the tour and to have first show in Nashville was amazing.  At one point, I admitted to the crowd that we were nervous since it was our first performance as Astro Lasso and they reacted by giving us even more love and support.  Months of work came together and we had so much fun, even if we were a bit anxious at first.  It’s going to be a great tour.”

Although no longer serving as drummer, Frankie Muniz is still active with music by serving as the group’s manager.

“Frankie’s a great manager,” Jordan said. “It might surprise some people but Frankie loves being behind the scenes, he’s a details guy and stresses about making every little thing perfect. We’re really fortunate to have someone with his commitment and work ethic managing Astro Lasso – it’s what he enjoyed most when joined us in Kingsfoil. The bonus is getting to experience all of this with a dear friend, not the mention the fact that he logs the most miles behind the wheel, that’s really awesome!”

The tour continues through March 27 ending in Atlanta. See all the tour dates here.

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Photo provided by Astro Lasso

Astro Lasso has also made the big move in partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. They will visit local affiliates along the tour route and perform acoustic sets and mentor through music.

“It’s such an honor to be affiliated with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America,” Jordan said. “We both see the importance of mentoring and want to do our part to help the organization recruit more people to be big brothers and big sisters – there are tens of thousands of kids across the country waiting for an adult match.  Music has been so critical in our lives that we thought it would be cool to encourage mentors to make it a part of their relationship with little brothers and sisters.  Whether it’s attending one of our shows, taking guitar lessons, or singing karaoke, music has the power to bring people together and create memories.”

Astro Lasso encourages everyone to visit www.bbbsa.org to learn more about how to make a positive difference in the life of a kid in your community. Along with the “Mentoring through Music” experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Frankie, Jordan and Tristan are official celebrity ambassadors, otherwise known as “BIG Champions.”  The three new celebrity ambassadors will join fellow “BIG Champions” Pittsburgh Steeler Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneer Laconte David, singer-songwriter LeToya Luckett, singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson and actor Ryan Potter.

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The duo are keeping busy even as they tour with a future that consists of even more shows and more music throughout the year. Astro Lasso are on the rise and ETV looks forward to being with them every step of the way.

“We are so excited to have the project off the ground so we can now focus on creating the best music we could possibly make and keep a steady stream of content coming out the rest of the year!” Jordan said.

To stay up to date with all things Astro Lasso, check them out on their official website, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.