Who is Live Animals?

Live Animals is a culmination of all of life's experiences, exploring new soundscapes and expanding the consciousness of sound. Between his West-coast hip hop influences and his entanglements in modern bass music, Live Animals creates a sound that transcends boundaries and blends genres, creating his own space on the map of the electronic dance music scene. With a background in percussion and music theory, Asheville native Josh Stone fuses melody and harmony to create pure sonic force. Live Animals has performed alongside Phutureprimitive, Random Rab, Cashmere Cat, Thriftworks, Space Jesus, Russ Liquid and more, performing at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in NY, Masquerade in Atlanta GA, New Mountain Asheville Theater, Asheville Music Hall, SOL Bar, OneStop and beyond.

Recently, Live Animals released his first physical EP // ARRIVAL // which can be purchased on iTunes digitally (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/arrival-ep/id1035356659) or physically on CD Baby (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/liveanimals1).

Connect with Live Animals: Website   Facebook   Bands in Town   Soundcloud

Q&A with love+war

love+war is a Nashville, Tennessee based Electro-Pop duo comprised of writer-producer-guitarist team Coury Palermo and Ron Robinson who just released their debut EP "Hue".  The two began writing together in the fall of 2014 with no other intention but writing material for possible pitches in TV/Film.  In early 2015, the two-piece began working on a collection of covers and an EP of originals simultaneously. 

We linked up with Coury and Ron recently and asked them about their name and how they became a group, whether they're influenced by Country Music, their songwriting process and more. 

Carlton Boyd

I really like the name love+war; what does it mean and how did you guys come together to form a group? Coury: To me (the name) it symbolizes where we are as a society.  We live in a time of such immense hope and chaos - it's the collision of both mind sets.  
We began writing together last fall and realized how effortless the collaboration was.  We kind of stumbled onto "the duo thing" once the songs kept coming.  It is by far the easiest collaborative experience of my career.

Being that you guys are based in Nashville, which is largely known as the "home or center of Country Music", would you say that your music influenced by that genre at all? Coury:  I'm actually based out of East Nashville, which is a more fringe/non-traditional area of Nashville. Think "East Village" rather than "Upper Eastside" - in comparison.  I love Nashville and all of it's rich history - both country and other.  What may surprise people is the varied taste of the city.  I'm not sure I can say I'm influenced by country music, but I am influenced by the city and the people I live my life with.  It is a different pace than a New York or LA, which I appreciate.  I'm not much for the posturing that comes with being a musician, so I enjoy the freedom to be oneself that Nashville provides.

Ron: Nashville has always been known as the center of country music, but in the last decade or so it’s really held up to the name “Music City”. Everything is being recorded here now.  Artists and musicians are not going to LA or New York like they used to, they’re all coming here. 

Who are some of your musical influences? Coury: I grew up on blue-eyed soul, hip-hop and what I like to call "chick-rock".  Annie Lennox, Sade, George Michael - these were the records I cut my teeth on - the artists that made me fall in love with words and melody. They are the same artists I can still put on and get lost in.

Ron: Peter Gabriel, Tom Petty, Tears For Fears, The Cure, The Outfield, basically anything that’s 80’s pop.  That is my favorite era of music hands down. I pretty much like anything with a great track - solid hooks and melodies.

What's the songwriting process like for you guys? Coury: We usually set up some mics in the control room, grab a guitar and begin.  There's no big process.  It usually comes extremely fast. For me - I write a ton while I'm driving, so there's a plethora of ideas to pull from.

Ron: Yeah we’ll set up in the studio - both have headphones on with some effects we love - hit record and start experimenting. Sometimes the tracks (programming wise) start to take shape at that point. 
Its much more inspiring to hear an idea in the vein of a finished product “as” you’re working on it. Much more so than writing/playing “acoustically in the room” if you will.  We find that it really helps enhance the creative process.

The "Hue" EP is an incredible collection of songs to listen to with a quality set of headphones on but I am sure that seeing you guys perform these tracks live is a whole other experience. Will you guys be hitting the road to perform these songs on tour? Coury: Thank you.  Currently we are rehearsing a small set and would love to get out there and start playing.  We have a lot of new songs in the wheel house that we'd love to hash out live as well before recording the full-length album, so yes - touring is on the forefront.  

Ron: Thank you! Yes, I’m looking forward to it as well.  The process of working out the material outside of the studio is always fun.  Will it be more full sounding - like the record, or stripped back?  At this point that's still to be determined.  Either way we are super excited to get out there in front of an audience.

Connect with love+war: Website   Facebook   Bandcamp   Soundcloud

Hue by love+war

What's Good with Skuzi?

Skuzi is a rapper on the come up from Hampton, VA who released an EP entitled "The Musing" earlier this year. We caught up with Skuzi to see what's next for him and to drop his new 'Now I'm Mad' freestyle. 

What's been up with you since you dropped 'The Musing'? S: Since I have dropped The Musing a big focus of mine has been what I need to do next musically and business wise. I will be re-releasing The Musing on iTunes, Spotify, etc. along with some new songs before the end of the year, along with some videos. Additionally, I am working on my next project, and an all Caribbean EP with Unique Nation of Bermuda. So, lots of work coming lol. I am also looking for any and every place to perform, so if anybody needs performers let me know!

How different is your upcoming release from 'The Musing' in terms of the production and would you say that you have grown lyrically since its release? S: I would say after this re release my next project will probably be the Caribbean project. Which will be WAAAAY different because I have to connect more to my original culture more aesthetically and focus more on the feeling of the music as opposed to focusing so heavily on the writing, which gets me out of my comfort zone. Normally I produce all my own work, and all of this production will be handled by another person. Fun fact: this is the same guy who co-produced "Raunchy" on The Musing. However, I do have a lot of singles dropping in the near future that will be full of quality lyrics.

Being that you are from the Hampton, are you influenced by music from Pharrell, Pusha T, his group the Clipse, or any other local artists in the Hampton Roads area? S: I wouldn't say inspiration comes from the artists, but more so the vibe of the area. The 757 is a blend of many different cultures since it's a mostly military area. On top of the fact that it's right in the middle of the South, the DMV, and Northern areas like Jersey and New York. So we get a mix of Go-Go, trap music, Jersey and Baltimore club, the list goes on. So rhythmically that mix and feel gives me a bounce in my aesthetic background and a little more to work with. I will say Pharell is very inspiring as a producer, plus we were both in Marching Band in high school I've actually been to competitions at his alma mater. Pusha T as well is a pivotal figure especially as an emcee.

Will your next release feature any of the artists who appeared on 'The Musing'? S: My next project will definitely include some of the artists that were heard on The Musing. Right now I am trying to grow more as a musician and network with as many people as possible before releasing a whole body, so I'm open and excited to work with any and everybody.

Connect with Skuzi: Twitter   Tumblr   YouTube   ReverbNation

SMS brings the heat with "Malice & Mario Sweet Present SMS" EP

Coming off the popularity and acclaim of their debut project entitled Happy 2 Year, as well as their first full length project, Enjoy:Like:Love, real-life married Seattle duo Malice and Mario Sweet have released an EP, aptly dubbed SMS.

SMS is an R&B Soul Funk trio comprised of real-life married duo, Malice & Mario Sweet, with the addition of vocalist Shelby Poole. 

Influenced by classic Soul/Disco-Funk acts of the early '80s like The Gap Band and Zapp, the production is handled by Tall Black Guy, Vitamin D and Jake One. 

Neo Soul to '90s Hip Hop-Soul/R&B fill the rest of the EP's landscape with sultry grooves about infatuation, feisty conflict, and just letting loose.  Click the cover pic to download this incredible EP. 

Connect with SMS: Website   Twitter   Instagram   Facebook   Soundcloud