Interview With Quinn XCII

March 3, 2017 was when Seattle welcomed the up and coming
pop artist Quinn XCII into its classic rainy Friday night music scene for his
third show on his first ever headlining tour- The One Day at a Time Tour. We
sat down in the equipment room before his sold-out show at Barboza in the
Capitol Hill area of Seattle and chatted music, tour life, and his take on
entering the music scene. Out of his 18 stops on the tour, this was his third
show and at the time, all of the three were sold out, not a bad start.

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 I began the conversation by asking some local Seattle
questions as this was the Michigan native’s first time in the Emerald City and did
not get a chance to see the classic tourist sights, but he seemed to be a good
fit in the city as he said craft beer and coffee were two of his favorite
things in the world. He said he had plans on enjoying the local beer scene post
show. We also shared a few words on coffee, given that Seattle is famous for
its caffeinated drink and he said he has gained a new respect for it as it is
beneficial in order to make the most of his studio time and the “idea-sparking”
powers coffee has on him when writing.

 With now over 1,000,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and
64,000 followers on SoundCloud, Quinn gives credit to his music inspiration
coming from his parent’s record collection and influences from artists such as
Michael Jackson and the Motown scene surrounding Detroit, his hometown. In high
school Quinn began experimenting with his vocals and music in general as he
began to write raps and rap over beats him and his current day producer that
goes by the name Ayokay, would find on YouTube. From this sparked a musical
relationship between the two as they began “cultivating” their own sound
through these experiments. Quinn says the biggest challenge in creating music
is being able to stray away from the crowd and craft his own sound.

 Quinn spent his college days at Michigan State University
and his sophomore year was when he released his first official project via
SoundCloud, which he gives credit to being a major reason he was able to gain a
following during those first days of creating music. It was soon after that he
began playing live shows and says that after a show on a tour with electronic
artist Louis The Child in Lansing, Michigan, that was the moment he realized he
could do music as a career as he felt a, “powerful reciprocation” from the
crowd he had not felt before.

 We spoke on his hit song, “Straightjacket” that has a line
about a, “Psycho from a Mid-West suburb,” and I was curious whether he wrote
the song about anyone is particular which lead to a discussion about his
writing style and how he writes his music to which he responded by saying, “I
like to step out of the box and speak on a topic that I don’t really pertain to
with what I’ve been through, but I know people can relate to because people
have been through it.”

 A breakthrough artist who has been on two tours with artists
Louis the Child and SoMo and now getting the opportunity to go on his first headlining
tour has loved traveling and seeing new cities all over the United States. Quinn
also stated that his favorite fast food stop while living life on the road has
to be Burger King but that after a night of drinking with the crew the most
visited spot has to be the classic golden arches of McDonalds. And although
tour life has many promising features along with his new life living in Los
Angeles, Quinn says he misses the laid-back lifestyle the Mid-West has as well
as spending time with his friends and family.

Mike is Quinn XCII’s real name, and the first name he used
when he began releasing music was Mike-T. Eventually he decided to switch it up
and go with an acronym that he heard from a college professor at Michigan State,
Quinn, which stands for: Quit Unless your Instincts are Never Neglected. This
acronym to him means, “If you don’t have an instinct saying to stop what you’re
doing, continue what you are pursuing.” Due to copyright reasons, he ended up
throwing in the XCII for the roman numerals that translate to the number 92,
which was the year he was born. Due to the complexity of the name story, Mike
decides to introduce himself as Quinn and simply go by that name in the music
world.

 As an up and coming artist who just recently signed with
Columbia Records, Quinn says that he doesn’t feel famous, or in other words
hasn’t felt that he is “under a microscope” and jokes that he has decided to
just relax and take it “One day at a time,” following that statement by, “No
pun intended with the tour name.” He states that most of all he is very humbled
that people enjoy his music and says it is the, “Best feeling in the world.” Quinn
has a new single that recently dropped called, “Make Time,” and Quinn stated
that a new album is in the works that will be followed by a two month fall tour
in 2017.

 Following the interview, I was able to enjoy the concert
with the sold-out crowd and I danced with the melodic sounds of his music that
he claims is, “Great Summertime music,” and I will have to agree. His voice is
electrifying and his positive energy and genuine smile kept the vibes in the
crowd going as a majority of the crowd sang along song after song. Accompanied
by a live band on the keys and drums, his live act is very entertaining and he
brings a real energy to the show with his interaction with the crowd. I will
most definitely be seeing him on his fall tour!

Keep your eyes peeled for this up and coming talent in the pop
and electronic music scenes who is enjoying his new life in the music scene,
one day at a time.

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-Gustavo O’Connell, RainyDawg DJ

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Album (EP) Review “Mind the Gap” by Raleigh Ritchie

Raleigh (like ballet) Ritchie (like Lionel) took fans by surprise when he announced the release of his new EP last November. The EP, Mind the Gap, was released on December 16th, 2016 and it’s devastatingly good. Raleigh Ritchie (real name Jacob Anderson) is newer to the music scene, having only just released his debut album You’re a Man Now, Boy earlier last year. Yet, he’s not an entirely unfamiliar face, fans of Game of Thrones might recognize him as Grey Worm, the leader of the unsullied. This is where I discovered him, looked him up one day because I thought he was cute and google let me know he had a few songs floating around at the time (thanks google). Gave one of his singles, “Bloodsport ’15”, a listen and I was instantly in love. It was fate. I’ve been a fan ever since and I am personally so stoked about the recent release of Mind the Gap which is what we are here to talk about.


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Start listening while you read: click HERE to go to Mind the Gap on soundcloud!


This EP is an organized clusterfuck of self-deprecation and heartbreak mixed with upbeat instrumental and fast paced lyrics, producing a fantastically odd dichotomy of feelings. The album has a sound that feels derived from R&B but somewhere along the lines it picked up heavy pop influences, with a light peppering of the occasional rap or spoken word. It’s not too much of a departure from his debut album (which I HIGHLY recommend you listen to), there’s a lot of similarities between the two pieces. Raleigh even said himself that he felt the EP was more of a bridge between his debut album and the next, rather than a totally independent piece. I won’t quote him on that because it was in a tweet from a few months back that I won’t even bother to search for. He tweets a lot. (One time, he favorited my tweet – but that’s a story for another time).

Something I love about the sound of this album is the deeper electronic feel with the background vocals. You’re a Man Now, Boy was very flowly and floaty in the background vocals – almost choir-like. Almost fantastical. Whereas Mind the Gap is mostly background vocals that are tuned bytes of Ritchie singing drawn out “ahs” or “ohs” (excuse my inability to quantify music). The subtle electronic qualities are pretty much thrown in your face in the first track off the album Motions, which begins with a brief audio of a Robot fight/break-up. We hear two Siri-esque voices argue about how they feel about each other, resulting in the end of their robot relationship. This persists through the song with brief one liners from either robot voice. It’s pretty rad, if I do say so myself.

Mind the Gap totals 5 songs: “Motions”, “Sicko”, “Liability”, “StraitJacket”, and “Unicron Love” (don’t ask me why its spelled like that – I have no idea). Each song is unique, but they all flow very well together. My favorite example of this is the transition between “Motions” and “Sicko”; “Motions” ends with the Male robot saying “I love you”, only to have the female reply “I know, but you are sick” – and then sicko immediately begins with “Maybe I’m just sick”. Hell yeah. Well, I mean, that’s pretty sad and heartbreaking lyrically, but 10/10 transition. Speaking of lyrics, Ritchie gives the listener a lot to think about as far as sanity and heartbreak go. “Motions” and “Unicron Love” both focus on two different sides of a relationship. Since we know that Motions isn’t the brightest view on love, we can probably guess how “Unicron Love” portrays it.

“Sicko”, “Liability”, and “StraitJacket” all focus more on an introspective view. “Sicko” plays off “Motions” and outlines the chaos of a mind trying to diagnose an internal sickness. There’s a lot of self-doubt and confusion present in the lyrics of this song, ending in the simple conclusion of “Maybe I’m just sick”. Liability is all about feeling bad for yourself. The musical composition of this song is diverse and beautiful, it ranges from flowy and floaty (both technical terms) to harsh and brittle (if that’s a word people use for describing music). The song feels like it’s been written out of a place of anger and defeat, it screams “why me?!”. I’m a sucker for this song, self-pity, now that’s something I can rock to. The song ends with a beautiful, whispered, “oh, fuck off” directly at his own thoughts.

Now, we arrive at “StraitJacket”, my favorite track off the album – this one is just an Ode to Mania, a sweet sweet embrace of the craziness that is our mind. It’s a fast paced, rollercoaster of a song, and there are no seatbelts. Every time you think you’ve reached the climax (not sexual) of the song, you find yourself surprised by even more faced paced energy. At the real, destructive, climax (might be a little sexual) of this song you can practically feel Ritchie screaming in your face. It also showcases one of the best things about Ritchie’s music; his sexy voice and crazy good spoken word influenced rap style. The song ends with a jarringly slow verse of spoken word that asks the listener if any of us (especially Ritchie) are sane; “Fight amongst the foot soldiers, but the war is in my mind”. Not only is the song super fucking cool, there’s a super fucking cool music video that accompanies it. Check it below, it really adds to the song and shows what Ritchie is trying to say with it (basically, that he’s just crazy).

This EP is phenomenal, and you bet I’ll be listening to it pretty much once a day. The title of the EP (Mind the Gap, if you somehow forgot) is really validated by the content of the songs. It’s about watching out for the mental leap in logic from sanity to insanity, it’s fitting for how much attention the tracks give to being not-so-sane.  Raleigh Ritchie is an amazing and talented new artist that deserves a lot more attention than he gets. On the plus side, he’s so unknown that he’ll favorite/retweet your tweets if you tweet at him. But seriously, check him out, between the amazing album art, magically sexy vocals, and make-you-think lyrics there’s nothing not to love. Make sure to check out not only the Mind the Gap EP, but also his debut album You’re a Man Now, Boy! Thanks for reading, I’ll see you back here next week for the rediscovery of Sir Sly

Zach Krieger

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We the Music

Every movement
has its own distinct sound. Music helps capture the time and people of a
movement. It reveals who they are, what they believe in and expresses what’s on
their minds. 

Folk songs and
rock became platforms for anti-war sentiments during the Vietnam war, Hip-Hop
and rap were born from the inner cities of New York City highlighting social
issues over beats to get down to, punk and grunge were generations of young
teens resisting societal norms expressing their fears of a bleak future.

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Today we are in
the middle of yet another time of great change. A new movement born out of the
political and social climate is being created. It is my intent to share and
discuss some of the music that is being made and that is helping to define this
movement’s sound, the people’s sound. 

The first song I
want to highlight is the cover of the folk classic “This Land is Your Land”. It’s
a simple, timeless tune that grade school kids learn when they talk about
inclusiveness. Woody Guthrie wrote the song 77 years ago on February 23rd in 1940
according to this NPR article. It was written in response to “God
Bless America” which was a jukebox favorite in the 40s. As a frequent
hitchhiker, Guthrie developed a unique view on what was going on in the country
and it differed from the America portrayed in “God Bless America” leading him
to write the tune.

Countless
musicians have covered this alternative national anthem but one of the latest
bands to do so I think does one of the best versions. Chicano Batman debuted their cover of “This Land is Your Land” at
the end of January for a Johnnie Walker commercial. The Los Angeles band puts a
slightly psychedelic/rock spin on the classic tune. It’s got a synthesizer
going on giving it an element of funk and with a chorus in the background a
hint of soul. If you didn’t know what you were listening to you might have
thought it was a new hit on the Alternative charts.

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What makes
Chicano Batman’s cover especially important is what it represents. A Latino
band from East L.A. takes a classic American folk tune and puts their own spin
on it. The lyrics are sung in English but they slip into Spanish by the end
singing “Esta tierra es para ti y para mi,” the famous line “this land is made
for you and me.” It’s as much of a statement of resistance as it is about hope.

When our head of
state has declared their intention of creating barriers for people wanting to
make a better life for themselves and their families, this song becomes
undeniably relevant. The members of Chicano Batman come from both L.A. and
countries in Latin America. Without their different backgrounds their sound
wouldn’t be the same. When cultures collide it results in better art, new
perspectives and new ideas.  

Guthrie wrote “This
Land is Your Land” as he witnessed a side of America that was struggling during
the Great Depression, that didn’t have the blessing of God on their side. Today,
we aren’t going through a Great Depression but we are going through a time of
great division. “This Land is Your Land” sung by Chicano Batman reminds us with
the words of Guthrie that all people
of America that they belong too.

Chicano Batman’s new album Freedom is Free is out March 3rd. They play The Crocodile on Thursday the 23rd, tickets available here.

-Grace Madigan

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Jacob Banks heats up Barboza

There was nothing like soul-infused Tuesday night when Jacob Banks hit the stage at Barboza.
Watching flashes his fans a stunning white smile, while shyly saying “Hi, I’m from
London,” we felt nothing but warmth for the soulful artist as he sang a cover
of Corinne Bailey Rae’s infamous “Put
Your Records On.”

Originally from Birmingham, England, the British
singer-songwriter first became active in 2012, when he was the first unsigned
act to ever appear on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge. Influenced by a multitude of soul,
R&B, and hip-hop, Banks first recorded his debut EP The Monologue, released in 2013, with his top hit “Worthy,” a popular
play on various stations. A tall, brooding man with a bright smile, Banks cites Jake Gosling, Bondax, and Knox Brown as some influences and reminds us of a combination of Benjamin
Clementine, Seal,
and Jack Garratt.
Soft smooth vocals always seemingly complemented by melodic piano, Jacob Banks
is crossing genres often acoustic singer-songwriter ballads, like tracks “Homecoming”
and “Hostage” on his EP The Monologue.
Yet, the man has range, both vocally and emotionally, demonstrated in “Something
Beautiful,” also seen on his EP The
Monologue.
On his newest EP The
Paradox
, Banks delves more into
soul and R&B, experimenting with melodies in his vocal range, seen in “Home,”
and “All Mine.”

Playing fan favorites from his newer EP, Banks succeeded at demonstrating
a mix of softer vocals and instrumentals in Unknown,” while demonstrating a
hard, grittier audible aesthetic in “Sink or Swim.” Highlighting the soul aspects
of his set list, the British artist catalyzed a complete feeling of union and
communal love, as the audience swayed in unison to “Home,” a song similar in
feeling to any calmer Stevie Wonder
track

a nice complement to the upbeat and diverse sounding track “Monster.”

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Finally ending his set with new single “Unholy War,” the
audience vibe completely shifted as we all came together and empathized together
with the emotion in Banks’ vocals as he glided on the stage and crooned chorus “Let
love lead you home, oh no/ Let redemption keep you warm.” And just as Banks climaxes
as he reaches as the height at the bridge taper off, the audience in parallel also
drops.

We stop, we sway, we close our eyes, and we dance as the
rest of the chorus plays out.

Jacob Banks has reached a new level of soul, and it’s dipping
into funk—and we’re sort of hoping he continue only to reach new heights with
his artistic creativity.

And if we can’t convince you with our words to fall in love
with Jacob Banks, just let his music persuade you himself.

-Ariana Rivera

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Grrl Power Continues in Seattle at the Benefit for Skate Like a Girl ft. Kimya Dawson

On Saturday night, I set out to see Grammy winner and
creator of the best soundtrack of all time, Kimya Dawson at a benefit for local nonprofit, Skate Like a Girl. When I found out this event was happening, how
could I not go? Local bands, Kimya Dawson, and a cause for empowering young
women? Sign me up.

This was my first time at The Vera Project and my first time seeing a pop up skate park
outside the doors of a concert venue. Inside, the chill skate atmosphere
continued with the first opener, Fine
Prince
. Their sound was diverse and with six members, several instruments
and voices came together. They only have one EP out, but it’s a good
introduction to new, local music. Next up was the opener that left the biggest
impact on me, Acapulco Lips. This
band had the best stage presence of all. They have a beachy, vintage sound that
made me feel like I hadn’t just walked three blocks in the rain, but was in
sunny, Southern California. Definitely check them out when you can. 

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The final
act before Kimya was a third Seattle band, Wimps.
They were the punkiest of the three and incited the first and last mosh pit of
the night. They had a good energy that made it easy to dance to as their songs
ranged from topics such as “being fruuuuuustrated”, “procrastination”, and “being
a caveman… maybe it’s a metaphor, maybe not”. 

Finally, Kimya was up. She
entered like the humble angel she is and sat down, just her and her guitar. She
invited everyone to sit down also, and because the majority of the crowd was
there for her, we did. And we stayed sitting the entire time as she talked and
sang to us like old friends about a variety of topics. She delved into why she
feels so betrayed
that Mariah Carey is opening for her celebrity crush, Lionel
Richie, as well as politics and trauma. Overall, it was an emotional,
extremely intimate set that I feel extremely lucky to have seen.

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The benefit was an amazing experience, although one of the
most unique line ups I’ve ever witnessed. I didn’t expect to be nearly pulled
into the pit and sit cross-legged among the same crowd in one night, but it
happened. I highly recommend getting out there and supporting local music and
Skate Like a Girl if you can.

-Jessica Gloe

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