Table Talk w/Amythyst Kiah

Whether serving up her genuinely dark, soul shattering vocal range, commanding the audience with her incredible stage prowess, or demonstrating true diva leadership next to her eclectic bandmates (banjos all damn day…yes), Chattanooga born folk songstress Amythyst Kiah has certainly proven herself a true force to be reckoned with in the music industry. 

It also doesn’t hurt–well, maybe a little as her raw, real vocals will get you in more ways than one–that the stunning Ms. Amythyst regularly tours the United Kingdom, where’s she performed at the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, Celtic Connections, and the SummerTyne Americana Festival…just to name a few.

Stateside, she has slayed the stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and has also opened for the legendary Indigo Girls…so, now are you paying attention?

You most definitely should as Amythyst‘s star has only just begun to rise and shine bright. However, one place she hasn’t taken over is Philly…and that’s all about to change as she’s just about to take a hold of the stage of The Locks at Sona tomorrow night. 

But before she breaks all of our hearts with her truly unique, pearl clutching sound, Ms. Kiah was kind enough to take a seat at the table where she broke mugs about her artistic influences, spilled words of wisdom to future entertainers, and dished out what her fans can expect from her show in the City of Brotherly Love this weekend. 

Listen up. 

First up on our little spill, break some mugs for everyone on that moment in life where you knew you wanted to be a performer…. Well, it’s hard to pick a moment! I’ve always wanted to play music, but as far when I decided to be a performer, it was when I started playing with the East Tennessee State University Old Time Pride Band. It led to some solo gig opportunities, and through much encouragement from my professors and my father, I decided to pursue studying folk music and performing full time. Now several years after graduating, I’m able to make this a viable career, which is truly a wonderful dream realized!

Who are some of your biggest artistic influences? My biggest influences are Tori Amos, Radiohead, Nina Simone, Big Mama Thornton, and Precious Bryant.

I always say that influence and inspiration are indeed…all around us. What are some special places where you look for inspiration in this crazy world?  Aside from watching live music performances and listening to music, meditation has been playing a huge role in my creative approach and my receptivity to new information and experiences. I am also a fan of reading non-fiction books and films about culture, technology, and philosophy. In the form of fiction, sci-fi is probably my favorite genre.

On to that stage life, what are some things you do to sort of chill out and prep yourself before each show?I usually drink Throat Coat tea with honey, lemon, and ginger if that’s around and spend some quiet time to myself.
Very important to spill about here…..what advice would you give to any young dude or diva out there who just decided right this very sexy second that a career in music is what they wanted to pursue? It’s important to know and love yourself first, have a vision or at least start thinking about one, and have people in your corner that believe in what you’re doing. It takes a village. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Also, be prepared to learn about the business side of music. It’s more than just creating and performing. If you decide to be an independent artist, you have to start thinking like an entrepreneur. You have to take care of yourself, protect your work, and know your worth and the worth of the people around you on your team.
Lastly, what can your fans expect from your show at Locks at Sona this weekend? My fans can expect a set of sad songs and a little bit of dark humor. I am looking forward to my debut in Philly!
For much more with the fabulous Ms. Amythyst, check out her official Spotify page right here, and then grab your tickets to see her on at The Locks at Sona this Saturday night right here


Music Tea w/Jukebox the Ghost

With their bombastic mix of polished vocals, swingin’ piano hooks, killer guitar riffs and shiny, happy melodies, Jukebox the Ghost knows exactly what they’re doing when it comes to pleasing their many, many legions of fans. 

Since linking up at George Washington University in 2003, Ben Thornewill (piano/vocals), Tommy Siegel (vocals/guitar) and Jesse Kristin (vocals/drums) have been working dubiously to make sure they stand out not just in the studio, but on the road as well, having performing over 1,000 shows since their formation. 

Throw in stops along the way on Conan O’Brien and David Letterman and what it all comes down to is……these guys have truly only just begun making their shimmering, one-of-a-kind waves. 

Thanks to their feisty, fiery hot-to-headphones new set, Off to the Races (go here…right now), the fine-tuned Jukebox gentlemen will kick off their biggest headlining tour yet, which will see them taking over stages in Phoenix, Orlando, San Diego and Philly, where it all begins tonight at Union Transfer. Yes. 

So, if you’re looking to truly get down with those grooves as we (finally!!) glide into spring, stream their new set and then go see them reel you in tonight… won’t be disappointed. But as you’re looking to to grab those tickets, one-third of this dynamic trio, Mr. Tommy Siegel, stopped by for a spot of piping hot music tea, where he broke mugs about studio time, life on the road and infinite words of wisdom for all of us tryin’ to make in this crazy entertainment world. 

Spill on below and Jukebox the Ghost will see you on the road this spring!

Hey, Tommy! Thanks for taking the time out of your crazy schedule to chat with Philly Mixtape! Kicking things off, how’s the tour prep going so far leading up to tonight’s big opener?  Going great! This record was a fairly elaborate recording process, so we are still figuring out how to execute the tunes live. For one tune, “Colorful” we only realized we needed a mandolin a week ago. So: we’re ironing out the kinks! But so far the new tunes are sounding great and going over great in a live setting.

How have you guys been feeling now that ‘Off to the Races’ is out for the world to get down to? SO excited to get on the road. We haven’t done a full national tour in a couple of years and we are just over the moon to get to do it again.

Spill for everyone a little bit about the recording process of the new set…. Since we’re independent these days, it was a longer recording process than prior records. Most of it was recorded with some friends in NYC, but some of it was also pieced together from home recordings and some sessions in LA.

What can your Philly fans expect from tonight’s big show at Union Transfer?  It’s the first stop of tour, so it’s gonna be fresh as hell for us! Some song debuts, some oldies…Maybe a surprise cover????

What’s on Jukebox the Ghost’s agenda for the rest of the year? More touring!

Sum up the band’s sound in one word……   Hm… fun? We’re generally fun, except when we aren’t! 

One last sip of tea…..what infinite words of wisdom would you give any aspiring musician right now? Ooh… hm… learn to produce your own music! With less and less money coming from music sales, I think artists are at a huge advantage if they can make music cheaply. Recording your own music is empowering as a songwriter and financially sustainable!

And there you have it, kids. For much more with Jukebox the Ghost, get on down right here. 

Cover photo courtesy of Jukebox the Ghost













Music Tea w/Death by Piano

What happens you wistfully mix up light beats, heavy synths, pulsating production, stunning vocals and one hell of a cover of Ms. Dolly’s “Jolene?” 

You get the ultimate feel and finesse of Brooklyn based duo, Death by Piano, who are no doubt making waves all over the music scene with their dark wave sound, style and sass. 

The collaborative brainchild of the dazzlingly talented pairing of Kalen Lister and Greywolf, Death by Piano–while their name sounds ultimately dark–is a bold and beautiful production that reels you in from the very first beat drop and won’t let go until you’re completely immersed in it all. 

That music hypothesis is firmly evident in their hot-to-headphones new E.P., Countdown, which besides “Jolene,” (keep on readin’) also includes the heartbeat-mimicking title track, as well as the haunting “Caves,” in which PureGrainAudio proclaims that the latter successfully blends “dark wave, downtempo, electronic, indie and trap” and that “the duo are a must-hear.”

Luckily for all of the music fans out there (which is hopefully…everyone), you can hear and thrive in all of what Death by Piano have to offer right here.

But first get to know them around the music tea table, where they were gracious enough to stop by Philly Mixtape to spill about their beginnings, influences, and of course, how “Jolene” came into their worlds. 

……..and for much, much more on the red-hot and rising Death by Piano, go right here and here.…you’ll be glad you did. 

First up, tell everyone how Death by Piano came to be….GW: Kalen and I used to play in another band together. We often joked about starting an “electro side project”. When the band folded we decided to pursue it seriously and here we are now.

What are both of some of your musical influences? K/GW: Portishead, Massive Attack, Tricky, Policia, Phantogram, the XX, Deftones and Nine Inch Nails.

Moving on to your latest E.P, ‘Countdown,’ you have a brilliant take on Ms. Dolly Parton’s legendary song, “Jolene.” How did that all come to be?  K: In a way the song chose us. While writing vocal parts for a new track, I sang “Jolene” on top of it between takes and the rest fell into place. It’s a favorite of mine and I love how the music made me reinterpret it; I connected to the lyric in a deeper way.

Any future plans for the rest of the year you can tell everyone about? K: We’re wrapping up a music video for “Countdown” that’s been a great collaborative process with Robert Lux. We’re going to go back in the studio to work on our next EP and keep volleying our demos back and forth. A DBP writing retreat is a goal of mine. An opening slot on a national tour is a year end goal.

What words of wisdom would you both personally give to any young dude or diva out there who decided right this very second to enter this crazy music and entertainment business? K: Make music if you love making music. That may or may not mean you enter the business side of it.  GW: No matter what you do musically what matters is that you feel something. If you’re feeling it, odds are someone else will.

One last sip…….describe ‘Countdown’ in 1 word…. K: Change.

And there you have it. For more tea with Brooklyn’s very own Death by Piano, peep this…now. 

Cover photo courtesy of Mixtape Media, LLC