Can you believe that we’re on our seventh instalment of Keeping It Real? It’s pretty unbelievable to us, but time flies when you’re having fun! This week we take a trip through rock and roll, emo, hip hop and a ton of other things. All these people are, let’s hear it, keeping it real!
BRETT COPELAND – ‘LASSO THE STARS’
Hailing from Los Angeles, California – the coolest place on Earth other than South Africa – Brett Copeland is an unforgettable force in the rock and roll scene. Being a member of the church choir doesn’t necessarily mean you are a good kid. Gravitating toward perpetual trouble, Copeland was the stereotypical ‘problem child’. He veered from the traditional path when he hitchhiked for years across the US with only a guitar and journal for company. Ultimately, this self-taught musician threw aside his outlaw ways moving back to Southern California and using old habits to master a craft. Soon, Copeland found himself working with some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Val Garay (Elton John), Roy Thomas Baker (Queen) and Dave Jerden (The Rolling Stones, Jane’s Addiction). His latest release is ‘Lasso The Stars’.
Written as a tribute to his wife and their relationship, Copeland uses music to talk about staying together and sharing a great life. The track is a heavy rock and roll single with powerful vocals and good harmonies. I can’t say it’s reminiscent of anything because, well, there isn’t anyone like Brett Copeland. Presenting a raw approach to music, ‘Lasso The Stars’ takes hold of rock at its deepest level. Copeland recently finished producing his debut EP Only The Best to be released in Spring 2020.
“I wrote this song for a woman I love very, very much. This song is about sticking together no matter what through the hard times and believing in miracles and having faith that anything is possible because miracles are real and anything is possible.” – Brett Copeland on ‘Lasso The Stars’
SCREAMS FROM THE SUN – ‘DOWN DOWN’
Beginning as a busking project in the streets of London, Screams From The Sun is an alt-rock duo with some emo interjections. After several singles, some instrumental, and an EP in 2019 called 331 m/s, Francis Jupiter and Mimi Out continue sharing their unique sound with fans – even in the lockdown!
While the pandemic has affected the music industry in many ways, there are artists who continue to collaborate on music even if they are in different countries – Screams From The Sun is one of these bands. Composing, recording, producing and releasing ‘Down Down’ is the duo’s method of dealing with anxiety while continuing to make music. A powerful track with rock backings, interesting lyrics and gut-busting vocals, ‘Down Down’ ensures Scream From The Sun a place alongside We Came As Romans, Memphis May Fire and blessthefall.
“You can be your own work enemy, but whenever you’ll feel down and lost in your thoughts try to remember that there’s always a way to face your insecurities.” – Screams from the Sun on ‘Down Down’
WOTTS – ‘IT WON’T ALWAYS BE SUMMER’
Hailing from Ottawa, Canada, Wotts is a duo with some fantastic sounds. Following their EP AIR (released in February 2020), the gents adopted a more hip hop sound contrary to the mostly synth style of AIR. Inspired by Ariel Pink, Childish Gambino and Tame Impala, the new track ‘It Won’t Always Be Summer’ is an indie-hip hop (is that even a genre?) expression of nostalgia.
“This track aims to capture that moment when you think about someone from your past that helped shape who you are today. You may never hear from them again, but you hope they are well, safe and loved” – Wotts on ‘It Won’t Always Be Summer’
D-KEL & LOS BANDIDOS – ‘BANDIDA’
Fusing ska, rap-rock, reggae and punk rock, D-Kel & Los Bandidos is one of the more intriguing to head our way for a little while. Sharing a passion for similar music, the punk rock band has taken a reggae-infused approach to their work. Prominent rock-rap artist D-Kel combines his skills with Ryan Paul-Henry (guitar), Alfie Robert (bass) and Felipe Rojas (drums) to form the energetic quartet that is D-Kel & Los Bandidos.
Known for their funky Spanglish style of music, the South London lads diverge from a more punk rock approach to include typical Latino styles in the new track ‘Bandida’. Undeniably a toe-tapper keeping you dancing, it is D-Kel’s distinctive South London rap that makes the track candy for your ears.
“‘Bandida’ is to show a different side of us, to show we are not just a rock-rap band that makes a lot of noise. That’s a huge part of us and we love rocking out, but we love so many different types of music we want to show that. Also for our frontman D-Kel, he wants to pay homage to the genre of Reggaeton. He also wanted to offer an alternative to the typical Latin urban sound people are used to hearing. It’s also acknowledgement and a show of the beautiful multi-cultural bi-lingual city we live in (London)” – D-Kel & Los Bandidos on ‘Bandida’
FIFTH LUCKY DRAGON – ‘PHOSPHORUS’
In a time where gaining people’s attention is rather difficult, Fifth Lucky Dragon is starting to make a name for themselves. Hailing from Indiana, Louis Imperiale (vocals, piano, keys and trumpet), Nathan Roseboom (bass) and Michael Homan (drums) came together to produce unique cinematic pop music. With a dash of alternative rock, the US boys have a beguiling portfolio with tracks including piano or trumpets. The latest from Fifth Lucky Dragon is ‘Phosphorus’.
The band describe ‘Phosphorus’ as a single with two drastically different sections. The verses are energetic with a rather ethereal quality, whereas the chorus is a stripped-down vocal melody. Lyrically, it explores the issue of heightened connectivity through the internet; however, it shows how connectivity can be both beneficial and toxic. Phosphorus is useful in small quantities, but too much makes it lethal to any organism. If listening to Fifth Lucky Dragon’s ‘Phosphorus’ too much could be harmful, then I’m toast!
“It is infinitely easier to passively consume than it is to actively create. Observation, reflection, and the generation of new thoughts are inherently wrapped in the creative process which faces troubling erosion among current and future generations.” – Fifth Lucky Dragon on ‘Phosphorus’
PIZZA DADDY – ‘TOO MANY BOYFRIENDS’
After spending five years playing with the dream-pop band BOYS, founding members Mike Stothard and Ross Pearce chose to take a break and begin a new music project – Pizza Daddy. Hailing from London, Pearce (vocals and synths) and Stothard (guitar and synths) are releasing music with a sublime dream-pop style more characteristic of them as a duo than their band. Pizza Daddy released their debut single ‘Family Time’ earlier this year, but the latest offering is ‘Too Many Boyfriends’.
As with many of the best songs, ‘Too Many Boyfriends’ was written in a bedroom, recorded at a home studio and mixed by Lewis Whymark at Fluid Mastering. Alright, not all the best songs use Lewis Whymark specifically, but you get the idea. With a heavy focus on synths, ‘Too Many Boyfriends’ has an ethereal quality but looks at relationships in the 21st century.
“The song was written about a friend of ours who was dating a girl he really liked, but he kept mentioning he felt like she was dating other people behind his back and had ‘too many boyfriends’. He was doing exactly the same behind her back so we didn’t understand where he was coming from. In the end, it all worked out fine and they are now officially together.” – Pizza Daddy on ‘Too Many Boyfriends’
DAN CROSS – ‘VAMPYRE BLUES’
Hailing from South London, Dan Cross is a well-known singer/songwriter with a unique way of sharing stories with his voice and guitar. Having performed as the lead guitarist in The Perfect Disaster during the 1990s, Cross is now focusing on a solo project. Constructing songs from the observation of human behaviour, Dan Cross’ new music uses bittersweet lyrics and haunting chords to tell tales. The latest release is his debut album Athiest Anthems with ‘Vampyre Blues’ being one of the prominent tracks.
‘Vampyre Blues’ is a sensually captivating track reminiscent of Eliot Smith, but inspired by Leonard Cohen. All-consuming and slightly eerie, ‘Vampyre Blues’ reminds me of the music from vampire films (not Twilight!). The musical representation of Gothic gloom, this track is something that will haunt your dreams, in the best way possible.
“My music is inspired by films, dreams and cloud watching” – Dan Cross