Interview with Pigeon John

PigeonJohn_4320 copyPigeon John is a super talented rapper, musician and storyteller. With a home base in Los Angeles and years of experience under his belt, he holds a lot of insight on the music scene in America.

This interview was originally posted as an audio podcast earlier this year, right before Pigeon John’s newest album, Encino Man, was released. Read on to learn more about his views on the exciting genre of American hip hop, its deep connection to blues and rock, and the storytellers who make it all happen.

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This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. This time, we’re featuring a hip hop artist known as Pigeon John, based out of Los Angeles, California. He’s a great character, with a lot of insight on music and life, so it was a real pleasure chatting with him while he was on tour.

[MUSIC: “Oh Yeah” by Pigeon John]

Kayla: Alright, so right now I have Pigeon John on the phone—how’s it all goin’, Pigeon John?

P.J.: It is goin’…very fine and well.

Kayla: Good, good…where are you calling from?

P.J.: I’m calling from Cleveland, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, actually.

Kayla: No way! Oh, that’s so cool!

P.J.: Yeah, yeah we have a show tomorrow in Cleveland and we had a day off today, so everyone—the whole crew—decided to come on down, visit, get inspired, check out some musical inspiration.

Kayla: Cool! Have you seen some cool stuff there today?

P.J.: Yeah, yeah, for sure, a lot, a lot of stuff…and learned a lot, too.

Kayla: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I mean…that place really goes all across the board. All kinds of legends have been honored by them—

P.J.: Oh, yes.

Kayla: So, I would find that very inspiring, too, on tour. I know you just came through Madison, so how much of the tour do you have left to go?

P.J.: Uh, actually we have twenty-five more dates to go on the tour. And uh, so far so good…it’s been a blast.

Kayla: Awesome!

P.J.: It’s been a blast touring with The Grouch & Eligh and Madchild, and then I’m gonna join Eliot Lipp in a couple days, so…it’s been good.

Kayla: Mmhmm. I think The Grouch & Eligh, they’re playing on Saturday the 15th in Milwaukee with Slightly Stoopid, if I’m not mistaken.

P.J.: Yes.

Kayla: Yes!

P.J. Yep, the whole tour’s gonna open up for Slightly Stoopid for like, three dates I believe?

Kayla: Oh!

P.J.: In Chicago, Milwaukee, and I believe Detroit?

Kayla: Oooh! So you’re gonna be in Milwaukee, too?

P.J.: Yeah!

Kayla: Whaaaat!

Continue reading Interview with Pigeon John

Interview with Zoë Keating

Photo credit: Chase Jarvis

Zoë Keating is a renowned cellist who uses technology to loop tracks and enhance her live and recorded music performances. Her songs tell stories without words—and luckily we have this interview to make up for that! Read on to learn more about Zoë, in her own words. :-)

(This interview was perviously recorded as a podcast back in January 2014. You can listen to the audio version here.)

[MUSIC: “Optimist” by Zoë Keating]

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. A few days ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Zoë Keating at her show in Madison. Zoë is a world-famous cellist who’s crafted a bunch of scores, in addition to playing with musicians like Amanda Palmer and DJ Shadow. Zoë creates amazing layered compositions by looping cello tracks with her laptop. Not only was her show incredible, but her personality is great, and she told the audience funny stories between songs. Here’s a recording of the interview we had backstage at the theater.

Kayla: So, I’m at the Majestic in downtown Madison right now with Zoë Keating—thank you so much for talking with me today, Zoë.

Zoë: Oh, you’re welcome.

Kayla: I’m excited for the show, first of all. Um, did you just arrive today in Madison?

Zoë: Yeah, like two hours ago [laughs].

Kayla: Okay—what do you think of the cold? It’s finally over zero.

Zoë: You know, I arrived in Minnesota the day after the polar vortex left, so that was pretty darn cold…and in comparison, it feels pretty warm now.

Kayla: Yes!

Zoë: I think it’s like fifteen degrees outside, and it feels lovely.

Kayla and Zoë: [Laugh]

Kayla: I know! Who would have thought we would appreciate fifteen degrees. But you’re from Canada, is that right?

Continue reading Interview with Zoë Keating

Interview with Thorsten Loesch of iFi (Makers of the iPhono Preamplifier)

Recently, we introduced you to the Pro-Ject Audio RPM 5.1 – the turntable that will be driving Murfie’s (currently-in-beta) vinyl service. Today, I’d like to introduce the iFi iPhono Preamplifier. The iPhono is a versatile phono preamp that is helping us accurately reproduce the audio on your LPs as it was originally intended.

For those who don’t know, when vinyl records are pressed, an equalizer is first applied to the audio in order to compensate for some of the physical qualities of vinyl. For example, pressing un-equalized audio into vinyl with no manipulation to the lower range could cause grooves that are too wide for the stylus. To make up for this, different companies have applied different EQ curves before masters have been created. To get accurate audio reproduction, you must then apply a equalization to the raw signal from the record you are playing.

In the process of doing that, you also have to worry about amplifying the signal to line level without adding noise or distortion. There’s also an added complication in that you have to accommodate the myriad EQ curves used over the years.

The iFi iPhono Preamplifier helps us tackle these issues with a simple and robust setup. I sat down for a chat with Thorsten Loesch (Chief Designer at Abbingdon Music Research and iFi) to discuss iFi, the iPhono, music and more.

John: First of all, thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. Tell me a bit about iFi. On your site, I see that iFi is a company striving to be green. Can you tell me what that means to iFi, and what steps you’ve taken to make audio gear green?

Thorsten: Thank you. First and foremost, being majority-owned by Abbingdon Music Research, a maker of ultra-fi audio products, we are upheld to a high, corporate standard. Here in England, as part of the EU, we have to adhere to the EU regulations, and from 1st Jan 2013, the Standby law meant that all electronic products must consume <0.5W when in standby. We went down the other route, which is to not have a Standby option. So the iFi unit is either on or off!

Even when in use, our products only consume 9v. We also use as few plastics as possible – for obvious reasons. We endeavor to make our product range to offer as much long-term enjoyment as possible, so that the user does not have to change any iFi product, or if they do, then they can pass onto friends or family.

Our packaging is 100% cardboard so it can be recycled. These small initiatives give you a snapshot into how we try our best to be environmentally-friendly while still making really, really great sounding products.

John: You guys seem to have been quite busy lately. You were recently at the Guangzhou Show, and you’re headed to CES in January, correct?

Thorsten: Yes. We are going to showcase the nano iDSD and iCAN series at CES. These are palm-sized products aimed at the broader market for audio on the move, but executed to a very high-quality.

The nano iDSD is a ‘Digital-to-Audio Converter’ so with suitable Computer/Smart Device, one can send the highest quality (lossless as opposed to lossy) files and enjoy them direct on in-ear monitors. The nano iCAN is a Headphone Amplifier that has 10x the power of a normal iPhone to ensure aftermarket headphones perform to their full potential.

John: The piece of equipment we’re excited about here at Murfie is the iPhono preamp. Can you talk about about the design of that device?
Continue reading Interview with Thorsten Loesch of iFi (Makers of the iPhono Preamplifier)

Interview with Paper Bird

Mark Anderson was a really great person to chat with earlier this year on the Murfie Podcast. He plays percussion in Paper Bird, a harmonious seven-piece band that’s gaining more and more national buzz each day. Here’s a transcript of our interview, and another chance to dig in to the interesting world of up-and-coming music.

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast, right from murfie.com: the world’s largest used and new CD store online. So, one band that I’m really diggin’ right now is Paper Bird. They’re a seven-piece indie folk band from Colorado. I had a chat with one of the band members, Mark, right after they released their new album, Rooms.

[MUSIC: “As I Am” by Paper Bird]

Kayla: Alright, so right now I have Mark on the phone, from Paper Bird. Where are you calling from?

Mark: I’m just calling from my apartment in Denver, Colorado.

Kayla: Ok, yes, I saw that you guys are from Colorado, and I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard a lot of great things about that place. So, are a lot of people in the band from Colorado, originally, or did you guys end up there?

Mark: Um, most of us are from here, originally. Some of us were born other places—like Sarah, my sister, and I, were born in Ohio, but moved here when we were really young—and then a couple of members were born in Texas. But all of us say we’re from Colorado—it’s where we grew up.

Kayla: Right—it’s your home, totally! You and Sarah are brother and sister—I did not know that.

Mark: Yeah, yeah. There’s another set of siblings in the band, too: Genny and Esme are sisters.

Kayla: Oh, awesome! That’s fun.

Mark: Yeah.

Kayla: How did you all meet each other?

Mark: Well, we’ve known each other for a long time—it kind of was a culmination of coincidence and then also just like, common interest. Like, we all moved to Denver—um, god, I don’t know, we’ve lived in Denver for a long time. And I think just like, through random acquaintances, and some people through school and things like that, a loose group of us started getting together—and then music is what pulled us in farther, and slowly our friendships culminated into the band, and we’ve been doing it for like, six years now.

Kayla: That’s the best way to get started, you know—the music brings you together, the common interests. And you guys have developed a really unique sound, because basically everybody in the band contributes to writing songs and that sort of thing; so is that how it usually works? Do you guys kind of come to each other and say, “I have an idea for a song,” and then do you work on it together?

Continue reading Interview with Paper Bird

Interview with Amy Ray

One of my favorite Murfie podcasts is the Amy Ray podcast. Not only did I have a great chat with her in the basement of The Frequency, surrounded by walls that are covered in thousands of band stickers, paintings, and initials, but I stuck around for her show—and it was rockin’! We even got her song “Glow” on video!

Here’s a transcript of that podcast from May 2012. Read on!

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. I’m pleased to say that I got to meet Amy Ray when she came to town. You probably know her as part of the Indigo Girls, the award-winning folk-rock duo from Georgia. Now, she has a solo career to go alongside that, and a rockin’ new album called Lung of Love. Here’s a clip from the chat that we had before her show at The Frequency.

[MUSIC: “Glow” by Amy Ray]

Kayla: So I’m talking to Amy Ray right now, at The Frequency in downtown Madison. Welcome to Madison, first of all.

Amy: Thanks, I always love bein’ in Madison—always, always.

Kayla: Awesome. So you’re here debuting your new CD—you’re on tour for that. And for the past ten years, about, you’ve been going solo; so what’s that like after two decades with the Indigo Girls?

Amy: Well actually, I still do both, so it’s like, I started going solo around 2000 and just interspersing it with Indigo Girls stuff. And so, I mean, at first, it was kind of crazy because we Indigos were playing kind of big places and then when I started doing solo, I started just doing small clubs like The Frequency—which I’m still doing. So, it was kind of at first like I adjusted, and just learned how to— We drive ourselves, you know, fix my own amp, fix my guitars, you know, whatever needs to be done. And so, for me it’s like kind of, extremely DIY [laughs], is what it is, and Indigo Girls are extremely the other way. So, it’s like this great sort of thing that I just go back and forth between, and it gives me perspective on both things.

Kayla: Awesome. So, is it different putting out music nowadays, compared to the earlier days when you got started?

Amy: Yeah, ‘cause when we started, it was still, like, ’85. I mean, we started in ’80, but we were putting out music starting in ’85, and we were just out of high school. And we were doing cassettes—like how you made your friend mix tapes, we would make our little cassettes of our songs, and we did like a little vinyl single, and a little vinyl EP, and LP. Yeah, and college radio was a really big deal then, so that’s what you wanted: you wanted to get on college radio—and you still do, but now it’s harder. And um, you just had like a network—like in each city, you sort of had this network: you had the record store, the indie art paper, the college radio station, and the venue, and you tried to get all those things to kind of stick together. And that’s still what you should do, but like the difference now is that we have so many great tools—Facebook and Twitter and all these things—and ways to record music, and ways to get music out there, and everything’s cheaper. It’s either like, a really great thing, or it can be a really bad thing, but I think personally I like to look at it as a really great thing, cause I think it’s like tools that we can use to sort of get music out there, and cross-pollinate more, and share with our friends, and have music take its place as more of a community thing.

Continue reading Interview with Amy Ray

Interview with Eric Hutchinson

Way back in the day (April 2012, actually), we had the pleasure of recording a podcast with Eric Hutchinson. It’s been fun seeing his career really take off over the past year and a half, especially since we caught up with him right as his new album, Moving Up Living Down, was being released. Here’s a write-up of our interview, and another chance to get to know this singer/songwriter that you can’t help but love!

erichutchinson_photo

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. Eric Hutchinson is someone you might know. He’s got a good vibe to his music, and his fans are so devoted. Before he left on his tour, he gave me a call, so that we could all get to know some more about him.

[MUSIC: “Watching You Watch Him” by Eric Hutchinson]

Kayla: So where are you calling from?

Eric: I’m calling from New York City.

Kayla: Alright, and I see that you’re about to head out on a really big tour across the country.

Eric: Yeah—I’m really excited. I’m starting the tour April 17th, the same day the album comes out—my new album. I’ve never done that before, so it’s gonna be fun to, you know, get the fans to learn all the songs, and I expect they’ll want to get the music as soon as possible and learn the songs, so they can come out and sing along with me.

Kayla: Who are you going on tour with?

Continue reading Interview with Eric Hutchinson

Interview with David Mayfield

In March, we recorded a David Mayfield Parade podcast, which was packed with fun chit-chat! Here’s a transcript from that interview for your reading pleasure, and another chance to learn more about a musician that’s surrounded by the best buzz.

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with a brand new Murfie recording, straight from murfie.com: the world’s largest used and new CD store online, with a twist.

I recently had a phone call with David Mayfield of The David Mayfield Parade. And since he has a new album coming out, it’s the perfect time for an interview, and some general chit-chat.

[MUSIC: “Love Will Only Break Your Heart” by The David Mayfield Parade]

Kayla: Right now I have David Mayfield on the phone, of The David Mayfield Parade. Welcome! I’m wondering where you’re calling from, actually.

David: I am in beautiful northeast Ohio—

Kayla: Ohhh!

David: —where the weather is, uh, cold and damp—

Kayla: [Laughs]

David: —but I’ve had plenty of vitamin D, so I’m still smiling.

Kayla: Oh, that’s good, that’s important! You know, seasonal affective disorder is very common—they call it SAD.

David: Exactly.

Kayla: Yeah [laughs]. Well, it’s also cold here in Madison – it’s snowing a lot today, and it’s like all slushy, so, everyone’s got their boots on and stuff; so, we’re pretty tough here, y’know.

David: Yeah. Slushy is a good word.

Kayla: Yeah? [Laughs] So, um, so David, I hear you have a new album—tell me about that.

David: I do. It’s coming out on April 1st, a little April Fool’s Day treat for the kids, and uh, I’m really excited about it. It’s called Good Man Down, and it features me singing words with musical accompaniment.

Kayla: I heard your sister was involved in that—Jessica Lea Mayfield. What’s it like working with her? I mean, some people couldn’t work with their siblings, you know—might be some punching going on. Do you guys get along pretty well?

David: Yeah. Jessica and I can get along beautifully for about fifteen or twenty minutes. And then, you know, we just—we start fighting—

Kayla: [Laughs]

David: —it’s usually pretty violent. But we get pretty creative in those fifteen to twenty minute time spans. And we’ve written a lot of songs together, and I help out on her records and she helps out on my records. No it’s great, you know, I was in her band for years before I started doing my own thing, so we’re real close. We were also home-schooled, and grew up in the family band, so we’re kind of weirdos that can really relate to each other.

Kayla: Well, that’s good! It’s good that you guys support each other’s musical careers. I see you have some really supportive fans, too. What do you like most about your fans? I see that they’ve supported you—you had a kickstarter recently for your album. What kind of fans do you usually find that you have?

Continue reading Interview with David Mayfield