KEVIN INTERDONATO TALKS ‘BAD FRANK’ AND UPCOMING PROJECTS 75

Perhaps best known for playing Dogsy in The Sopranos, Kevin Interdonato has been winning over fans and critics alike thanks to his latest role in the film Bad Frank. Influenced by the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Daniel Day Lewis, Kevin chatted to ThisIsTheLatest about first auditions, his former career in the military and his thoughts on social media.

TITL: As a former soldier, at what point in your life did you start seriously considering as a career path?

Kevin Interdonato: I began studying when I was 20. I bounced around college classes after high school and was a little lost at that time in my life. I joined the Army National Guard when I was a senior in high school, and I enjoyed those years serving. It gave me the freedom to pursue my passion in this business, play with tanks and shoot weapons at the same time. I made many lifelong friends in the military.

TITL: Can you remember your first audition? What advice would you give those about to have theirs?

KI: Yes I actually do. It was for a student film at Montclair University and I think my mom still has that laying around somewhere – I should go blow the dust off it and have a good laugh at myself! My advice is to be yourself, and make the role yours. It’s so intimidating, the audition process – still is. But if you direct 100% of your focus on the reader and audience and NOT worry about yourself, then you’ll always be safe.

TITL: In terms of influences, which actors do you most look up to?

KI: There are too many to list. I respect an actor’s talent, and I also admire the career of others – the choices and how they handle their business. Mark Wahlberg and Sylvester Stallone are machines. Those guys are always working, creating projects and jobs for people, and it’s inspiring. From Sean Penn, Daniel Day Lewis, John Cazale, to Vera Farmiga, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi…my list of influences goes on and on.

TITL: How if at all do your National Guard days impact the roles you take on?

KI: Not much really. I know how to handle myself for a military role more than most, but I find myself not sticking to that aspect of my life because it binds me. I’m not free for anything that comes my way if I think of my time as a soldier. It’s robotic, systematic…and those are aspects of my being that I disregard for my work…unless a role calls for it.

TITL: You’re perhaps best known for playing Dogsy in Season 4 of The Sopranos. What impact did having a role on such a hugely popular show have on your career in terms of auditions/work offers?

KI: Believe it or not, not much. I didn’t have an agent at the time, so I wasn’t being handled as maybe I should have been. It was a great thing that happened, and the novelty of it was wonderful. Who didn’t want to get on that show at the time, you know? I really enjoyed it too. But the career thereafter came from hard work and persistence.

TITL: Who or what ultimately drew you to Bad Frank and what would you say the films’ unique selling point is?

KI: I was approached by the director and producer early on, before the script was finished. When they were telling me about the character and story which wasn’t fully fleshed out yet, I just had a gut feeling about Frank. Something clicked – I felt like I could tap into him, and I was in.

I think the sell of the film is how the film captured the reality of the man, and the extreme lengths he goes to. People like seeing people ‘snap’. But I tried to play Frank as honestly as possible to justify all his behaviors, and let people believe that this could be a reality.

TITL: The film has some pretty big names attached to it including Tom Sizemore and Ray Mancini. What was it like working alongside them and what would you say each brought to the film?

KI: Sizemore is a great guy. He was there long days, rolling around in the mud and rain at 2am, and was all about it! It was inspiring for everyone to watch him perform, and come in like a pro.

Boom – Mancini – is a wonderful man; everybody loves him. He played my father in the film with such conviction and sensitivity, plus we look alike. We were really lucky to have him.

TITL: Bad Frank has won several best film and best actor accolades at events and festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. Does praise like that mean much to you or are you more the kind of actor who is more concerned about taking pride in their work and the roles they choose, despite what critics might say about it?

KI: It’s funny. I’ve heard some great theories about Bad Frank from critics, and gotten the same – sometimes better – insight on the film from regular movie-goers. So I take it all in my stride, the good and bad, and leave it at that. Everyone’s got their right to an opinion, and so be it. Fortunately most of the press and reviews for Bad Frank have been pretty damn good so I’m happy that people are responding well to it.

And yeah, you hit it on the head. It’s all about the movie and the role for me, and I tend to stay focused in that world. The accolades are wonderful and humbling, but my focus stays with moving forward and doing the best I can. It’s always about the movie.

TITL: Can you recall the nicest and worst things a fan or critic has said about your work?

KI: Not really. I lucked out by not getting my ass handed to me, from the ones I’ve seen anyway. It’s nice to hear that reviewers were receptive to my work. But I am open to all, I always want to improve, and welcome feedback.

TITL: The film is one of a growing number of successful indie films in recent years. What do you think it is about independent movies that has suddenly caught everyone’s attention?

KI: Bad Frank blowing up is a combination of a good movie, and smart guerrilla marketing. There was really NO money for either, in comparison to other films. I think those 2 qualities are crucial, if you don’t have the benefit of having stars in your film. People want to see GOOD movies, period, and because of the VOD platforms, little films like Bad Frank can stand up there right next to the big studio films.

TITL: How do you feel about social media, both personally and professionally? Do you think it’s been a positive tool for the industry or have you seen down-sides to it as well?

KI: Well I miss the days of handling boredom by reading a book or throwing on some good tunes. The ability to keep in touch with old friends and family is very important to me, as well as giving fans a direct gateway to say hello – and vice-versa. Keeping up with news, getting good laughs at funny videos – it’s not that big of a deal anymore and I’ve accepted it, but I do find myself weaning off and remembering ‘life’ lately.

For the industry, it’s made its way into entertainment as the tangible source for relativity and popularity per movie or person, and it’s not going anywhere for those reasons alone. I used to view it as a necessary evil… now it’s just necessary.

TITL: What’s next for you? Are there any upcoming projects you can tell me about?

KI: Thanks for asking, yes. Dirty Dead Con Men will be out in this winter. It’s a cool film I also produced and wrote. I think fans are really going to enjoy it. Peter Dobson’s Asbury Park will be filming this October, very lucky to have been cast in this epic alongside Joe Pesci and other greats. This one’s a game-changer for many; I can’t wait for it myself.

TITL: Finally then, what’s your ultimate goal in life, both as an actor and an individual? What would you like to have achieved 5-10 years from now and what would you like your legacy to be?

KI: As an actor; to be the best, and be able to say I always gave my all. To be in movies that stick with people for a long time. Personally…I guess I just want to make my old man proud.

For more information and to keep up-to-date with Kevin Interdonato, follow him on Twitter.

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STOLEN CITY TALK NEW SINGLE “LAST NIGHT” & ARTISTIC INSPIRATIONS 66

With Ireland’s globally successful music history – here’s looking at you, U2 and The Script – you might think that up and coming Dublin trio Stolen City would be feeling the pressure. Instead, the three friends, Sean, Dave and Ian, are paving their own way in the industry. With big plans in the works for the coming year, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with the band to find out more about their musical influences, their thoughts on social media and their dreams of touring the world.

TITL: First of all, please introduce yourselves and tell us a little about your role in the band.

Stolen City: We are Stolen City, we consist of 3 members Sean, Ian (Bailey) and Dave. Sean is the lead singer and rhythm guitar player of the band, Bailey is the drummer of the band and Dave plays rhythm guitar and mandolin.

TITL: How do the three of you know each other/how did you meet?

SC: Sean and Dave met in college in Dublin where they were both studying music, performance and production and formed an instant friendship that they never thought would turn into what it has. They started performing together as a duo early into the year and with continued success decided to form a band. They invited Bailey into the band and have been together since.

TITL: Which bands and artists are you most inspired and influenced by and how do those artists impact the music you make?

SC: We have so many different influences and bring so many different styles into our music. Sean`s influences mainly come from singer-songwriters and solo performers such as Foy Vance, JP Cooper and Gavin James. Dave’s influences are mainly bands such as Mumford & Sons, The 1975 and The XX. Bailey brings a style that mainly comes from his favorite band, Green Day, and he also loves Swing and big band music.

TITL: What would you say is your unique selling point as a band?

SC: Our unique selling point is our music. There`s nothing like it in the market today and it`s something completely unique to us and we are so passionate about it.

TITL: Is there a story behind your latest track “Last Night”? Can you recall where you were when you wrote it?

SC: “Last Night” is a song we wrote in early 2017 to put on our EP but when we recorded it and heard it back it was too special to us to just release it on our EP so we saved it to be released on its own as a single.

TITL: Have you an album in the works and if so, is there anything you can tease us with about it?

SC: We can`t say exactly what we do have in the works but there is something coming towards the end of this year. However we can tell you that we are spending a good amount of time in the recording studio and writing music this year.

TITL: If you could collaborate with any other band or artist, who would you choose and why?

SC: Oh god, that`s a really hard question to answer there`s so many incredible artists out there at the moment. We all have different answers Sean would love to collaborate with Gavin James, Dave would love to collaborate with Mumford & Sons and Bailey would love to collaborate with Green Day.

TITL: Of the shows you’ve played so far in your career, is there one that stands out? If so, which is it and why is/was it so memorable for you?

SC: Dave and Bailey`s favourite show was definitely a festival we played in Co.Mayo Ireland called “Band on The Strand” there was a crowd of over 4,000 people where we played a set of our original songs and got an incredible reaction and had the crowd so interested in the show we put on.

Sean`s favorite show was a more intimate gig we played on the main stage in Whelan`s Dublin. There was a sold out crowd on the night and we were the headline act. We played a full set of our original songs and had the crowd singing them back to us it was amazing and unforgettable.

TITL: For those who haven’t seen you live yet, how would you describe a Stolen City show?

SC: A Stolen City show guarantees to entertain – it`s full of surprises and fun. We are extremely energetic and really know how to get a crowd going. Trust us if you miss a Stolen City show, you are missing something special.

TITL: If you could play one venue, anywhere in the world, with three artists/bands living or dead, where would it be and who would be on the bill?

SC: Oh this one’s easy we would love to play Red Rocks Amphitheatre and on the bill would be Queen, The Beatles, Ourselves and Thin Lizzy.

TITL: Will you be hitting the road again later this year?

SC: We will be hitting the road again this year if all of our plans fall into place but we can’t say dates or venues yet.

TITL: You’re earning yourselves a considerable following on social media, notably Twitter. To what extent has that impacted/boosted your career?

SC: Social media boosts our listeners, fans, friends and also opens up opportunities for us all around the world because it has such a broad spectrum and such a wide reach it really is incredible and drives us to work harder and harder every-day.

TITL: Given the success of Irish bands such as U2 and more recently, The Script, do you ever feel any pressure to ‘have’ to follow in their footsteps and achieve the same levels of popularity and success they’ve earned over the years? Or, are you more a ‘let’s enjoy the ride while it lasts and see where it goes’ kind of band?

SC: We don`t feel any pressure at all to follow in the footsteps of other bands because we`re so different. We really believe that what we do makes a difference not just to us but to others and that’s all we can ask for. We work harder than anyone out there we push our limits and we are not afraid to take risks and we will hopefully make our own pathway to success.

TITL: Finally then, where would you like to yourselves 5 years from now? What’s the long-term objective for the band and what would you have to achieve in order to turn to one another and say ‘We’ve made it.’?

SC: In 5 years’ time we would love to be touring the world and we would love our music to be reaching millions upon millions of people. We are confident in what we do and we know if we push ourselves and if we work hard we will someday get to where we want to be. For us to say “We`ve made it” we would have to play a sold out show to thousands of people who know every word to every song, that`s the dream and that`s what drives us.

Check out the video for Stolen City’s new single “Last Night” below and for more information on the band, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Y.O.U.N.G. OPEN UP ABOUT NEW SINGLE “EXPOSURE” & SOCIAL MEDIA 61

With an array of artistic and musical influences between them, Manchester quintet Y.O.U.N.G. don’t quite fit into any particular genre, but they certainly don’t seem to mind. Having earned themselves a considerable following throughout 2017, largely thanks to their impressive live performances, the band are starting 2018 on a high – one that’s set to continue when the group release their debut album later in the year. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with rapper and keyboardist Ben to find about more exactly to chat about how the band came together and what fans can expect from them in the coming months.

TITL: How do the five of you know each other/how did you meet?

Ben: Jamie and Chez actually worked at a music studio. I met Chez’s dad when at a film festival with my uncle Wiggy, who did choreography for Take That and 911. He invited me down to meet the boys. We connected as mates and gave a few tracks a go. It felt great, but looking back these tracks were awful. Haha! We all agree! Eventually there came a time where we needed a drummer and a bassist, luckily for us we knew the two lemons for the job. Grae has known Chez from primary school, same with tom. We’d all worked for the company teaching kids drums in schools, all of a sudden we we’re all playing in the same building we all trained. It was like some fate shit.  We jammed it felt good, more energetic, so we became, officially a 5.

TITL: What would you say Y.O.U.N.G’s unique selling point is?

B: The combination of musical elements. I don’t hear rap on guitar like I want to hear it nowadays. Every rappers trappin’. Of course guitars and rap isn’t new. But the way in which we do it, I believe is unique. Come watch us I’ll show you!

TITL: How different/similar are your personal music tastes and how have you been able to bring those influences to the table in order to create your sound?

B: We like a lot of the same things, but it’s evolving all the time as we listen to new things. It’s not always what you think. For example, recently Chez has been listening to lots of reggae, whereas I have been jogging to Slipknot. Our sounds are slowly merging over each other over time. For an idea to get into a song we generally just go on the strength of the idea; you can’t turn up to rehearsals and start playing folk and talking about the Norwegian charts….but if the bassline gets me, then I’m in, wherever it came from! We all have to feel it or we don’t do it. It’s actually quite easy to bring our influences to the table, no one’s getting a guitar thrown at them for trying something in practice. We just try bring strong ideas to rehearsals, some things work, some don’t. The songs are coming together nicely at the moment though, I believe they always will.

TITL: If you were to say you sounded similar to any band or artist, which or who would it be?

B: I’ve read Lethal Bizzle vs Twenty One Pilots – I’ll take that, although I prefer to think of myself more rap-wise as a young Method Man with a sprinkle of Will Smith. Just a sprinkle. I can’t act.

TITL: Tell me a little about your latest track “Exposure.” Is there a story behind it?

B: It’s just about outing people who need outing. We all feel it.

TITL: Which song do you wish you’d written and why?

B: I don’t wish I’d written any song, that belongs to someone else. I’m sure we’ll have ours.

TITL: You’ve toured fairly extensively this past year – any favourite shows or highlights?

B: We did a Sofar sounds acoustic gig in a front room somewhere in South London. That was an experience, insence and Jeremy Vine sat cross-legged in the front row. We even got him on an improvised ”oooops there it isssss’, as we decided to do a song which I haven’t even done a rap for yet. Give me time fellas!

TITL: You’re heading back out on the road in February and March. For those who have never seen you before, what can they expect from a Y.O.U.N.G. show?

B: Energy, moments of madness, chaos, the proof of practice, all undercut with some off the cuff light hearted tongue in cheek.

TITL: You’ve also got an album coming out. Is there anything you can tell me about it? Any favourite tracks perhaps?

B: Just that we’re all very proud of it. Happy to be a part of it. Every moment in each of our lives leads us right to our first album release. Deeep! I’ll be weeping like a baby if it does well! My personal favourite track is “What I Gotta Do”, because the rap is easy to shout, and sometimes on Monday mornings, I like to shout.

TITL: What impact has social media had on your career so far? Do you think you’d have the following and support you do without it? How big of a part do you think it’ll play as you move forward?

B: It impacts it greatly. It’s nice to have a platform where people care what you say. But for me, it’s just a pathway to attract people to the music. If I wasn’t in a band, I’d really be trying to cut it out pretty much all together; when you are on there you aren’t here. It’s all about the moment for me, and sometimes social media can help you miss that. I know at least me and Chez wouldn’t mind being born with no phones and no internet. It’s nice on some levels, fans can connect easier, and so maybe it’s easier to feel part of something. However, it’s hard to say if the number of followers would be the different with or without social media. If people were still coming to the gigs I like to think word of mouth would spread. There’s almost too much for fans to look at now, everyone’s someone, everyone’s verified. I wouldn’t mind if it was just like, I won’t update you all what I’ve been doing all week, I’ll see you and 10,000 others on that park at that time and we’ll all talk about it then.

TITL: What’s the ultimate career goal for you guys as a band? Whose career would you most like to emulate and why?

B: We want to have enough money own a zoo together, with big giraffes and lions. Or maybe a coffee shop in Amsterdam if we can’t afford the zoo. Jay-Z and Beyonce. We 4 can be jay z, and Jamie can be Queen B.

TITL: Finally then, with so much new talent around, as we head into 2018, if you had to give music fans one reason to listen to you rather than your many counterparts, what would you say?

B: FREE FOOD FREE FOOD FREE FOOD. Now I have your attention, LISTEN TO YOUNG, the music will do the talking.

Check out the video for “Exposure” below and for more information on Y.O.U.N.G., give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Header photo credit: Carsten Windhorst.