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Music Tea w/Simon Thompson of Alvarez Kings

What happens when you mix indie disco vibes, deep, luscious synths and spaced out rhythms with just a touch of shimmer? You get the collective sound of rising UK based, Alvarez Kings, who have packed all of those elements and then some into their stand out album, Somewhere Between, which is giving all of us life just in time for summer. 

In fact, the English Breakfast tea sipping boys are taking the record on the road all season long with stops in Philly (they were just at Coda on Sunday night), as well as Chicago, San Francisco, L.A., Kansas City and Cleveland. So, yeah, they’re going to be mighty busy serving up their whole delicious catalog just for their ever-growing legion of fans all summer long….and we can’t wait. 

But since there’s always time to spill some sun-kissed music tea, Philly Mixtape took a seat with Alvarez Kings guitarist and vocalist Simon Thompson, where he broke mugs about the touring life, the recording of Somewhere Between (go here now to listen..seriously) and what pre-show ritual him and his boys practice before each show…hint..it has something to do with Tawny Kitaen. 

 

Hey, man! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with Philly Mixtape. First up, how’s the tour going so far? We’re actually navigating our way to the last show of the [overseas part of the] tour in Nottingham. It’s going great! We started off in London and that was awesome..it’s always good to play in the capital. They’ve been great shows…the crowds have been good to us, as always. It’s also nice to stand on our own two feet and watch the tickets sales come in. It’s been great tour and we can’t thank everybody enough for this opportunity, especially our fans. 

Have you guys played in the states before? It’s our first headline show in the states, yes. We played Warped Tour twice and last year we played with Melanie Martinez..I think we played the Troc…I remember that being really cool. I also remember they got us Philly cheese steaks before sound check which was awesome. I do remember they were very tasty. 

How about some artistic influences that don’t just run through you, but all of you guys. Where we do begin, right? We’ve all got different influences, but we have similar tastes. We’re really into The Fold, a band called the Macabees who are now split up, which is a shame. It’s just a ton of stuff, really…I think it’s all in there somewhere. 

Now, your record, Somewhere Between, is truly awesome and out-of-this world, man. What was the recording process like for it? It was awesome. We got a chance to go to L.A. for [a few] weeks and record the whole album there. We sort of took in the whole vibes of L.A. We worked with a great producer who definitely brought the best out in all of us while we recorded at an ocean studio in Burbank..it was just really good. 

Just to put you on the spot, shout out two of your all-time favorite records for me…. Wow…only 2! I would say Beatles Abbey Road and Bob Dylan Highway 61. 

How about some words of advice to the young kids out there just starting to find their way in this crazy music business? To the younger generation just getting into music I would say you just have to be patient..really, really patient. And if you don’t succeed, just keep trying..keep grinding away. It gets crazy, and if you think you wrote the perfect song…don’t think that! We [actually] try to better ourselves each time we write a song we do because we’re never satisfied. So, just preserving and you do get a lot of setbacks along the way..it’s a very up and down sort of roller coaster ride. It is tough, but as soon as you get on that stage and play for the fans that come and see you..it’s all been worth it. 

Any pre-show rituals you guys do before a show? We definitely have a couple of beers before we go on. But for the most part we get together in-arms and we sing “Is This Love” by Whitesnake. 

No shit, man. That’s awesome. Still to this day we don’t know why we chose that song it was just something that came out one time and it stuck. 

Any last words for the stateside fans who haven’t seen the show yet?   We can’t wait to see them and just give them as much energy as we can give on stage and give them their money’s worth. We know how much it is to buy a ticket and travel to a show. We’re well aware that we have to give them as much back as we possibly can. We thank everyone that’s bought a ticket so far we’re really excited to hang out and have fun! 

For much, much more with Alvarez Kings. check this out. 

 

 

 

 

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Music Tea w/Protoje

One part reggae revivalist, one part roots influenced and all parts mega, mega talented, Jamaican singer Protoje has certainly been going all the way up ever since he hit the scene in 2010.

First with his well received debut set, The Seven Year Itch, and then with a steady stream of singles and cuts including “Who Knows,” “Rasta Love” and “Kingston Be Wise,” all of which will most likely be featured when Protoje takes the stage spotlight over at Coda later tonight.

But before he owns our-first-night-of-summer live music lives (the timing couldn’t be more perfect), he was gracious enough to stop by Philly Mixtape for a little music tea, where he broke mugs about his humble beginnings, artistic influences and what it really takes to make it in this crazy music business. 

Check it out and then of course…dance. 

First up, how’s everything going these days? How’s the weather in Jamaica right now? Although I’m sure I just answered my own question…   I’m awesome. [It’s] better than where you are, probably!

How did you get your start in music? I started writing music [at an early age], came to Kingston and started on the sound systems and mics and just performed by way into the business through there.

Shout out some of your artistic influences…. Jay Z, Ini Kamoze, Damon Marley

Now, you just mentioned Jay. Any particular albums or tracks by the Hov that you absolutely live for? My favorite Jay album is The Blueprint and then Reasonable Doubt comes second. I love feeling it on Reasonable Doubt and….everything from BluePrint.

Have you been to Philly before? Get a chance to grab a cheesesteak? Yeah, I’ve been there when I was younger and I played there last year. I’m vegetarian, but I have had a Vegan Philly cheese steak before. Which I’m sure isn’t the same but that’s as close as I can get to it! 

Any words of advice for any aspiring performer out there? It’s very hard to make something of yourself and anything you do is going to be a challenge. You have to stay focused in it, even with the hardships.

For much more with Protoje, check this out. 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Groove of the Evening/Demi Lovato/”Cool for the Summer”(Todd Terry Remix)

Since you’ve most likely listened to the original version of Ms. Lovato‘s sun-soaked, synth-ed up banger, “Cool for the Summer,” 785, 432 times today, why not switch things up a bit and take a dip into this delicious deep house rewerk provided by the one-and-only, Mr. Todd Terry…you’ll certainly be glad you did. 

Happy first night of summer, kids! Now, let’s get cool because it’s certainly gearing up to be a hot one out there this year. 

Dance