ASTRA THE 22S CHAT ‘PARIS LOVE’ AND FUTURE PLANS 32

Inspired by an eclectic array of bands and artists including The Kills and Michael Jackson, Astra The 22s, led by Kerija Kaleja and Eric Jayk, have, in particular since the release of their EP, Paris Love, been impressing both fans and critics alike, on and off stage. Kerija and Eric spoke to ThisIsTheLatest and told us all about artistic influences, their dream show line up and what the future has in store.

TITL: How did the two of you first meet?

Eric: We met in 2011, when Kerija moved to Brooklyn and went on Craigslist to search for a guitar teacher nearby.

TITL: What would each of you say the other brings to the group?

Kerija: Eric brings his whole being into the writing and producing part – I think he is a genius

E: Kerija keeps me from overthinking, while inspiring me with her one of a kind perspective and lyrical/melodic sensibility; she encourages me to stretch beyond the obvious and conventional approach sonically and to use my imagination.

TITL: Can you recall exactly the moment you knew you wanted to make music your careers?

K: I have always wanted to do something that is connected with performing and I was always singing in front of people whether they wanted to hear me or not hah it is just that thing you have in you and it just makes you want to do this..

E: I remember I got MTV as a child and discovered Aerosmith and Guns ‘n’ Roses. I started playing professionally at age 11.

TITL: Which artists and bands most influenced you growing up and have those influences changed much over the years?

K: I grew up in 90’s Latvia and the country was just rehabilitating from the Soviet Union years, so there was not much to choose from or even know about in terms of what was current in the world at the time. I listened to Ace Of Base, Michael Jackson, Louis Armstrong and very eclectic music…

In recent, years I have really loved The White Stripes, Jack White, The Kills, Prince, David Bowie, Blondie, Aerosmith , Guns n Roses , Def Leppard and many more

E: The first four albums I owned were Michael Jackson ‘Thriller,’ Prince ‘Purple Rain,’ GNR ‘Appetite for Destruction,’ and Motley Crue ‘Dr, Feelgood.’ My mom introduced me to The Rolling Stones, and was a big fan of Rod Stewart and Tina Turner. Later, I went to music school where I studied jazz and classical music and discovered The Cure; punk rock. I then rediscovered my love of rock ‘n roll. It’s always been a love/hate relationship with me and rock music.

TITL: Which band or artist would you say you sound the most similar to?

K: Oh it is so hard to say! Actually I am not sure at all; I feel like currently there are not enough female fronted bands to compare us to so I will say Blondie.

TITL: Kerija, how, if at all, have your Latvian background impacted/influenced the music you create now?

K: Music is universal, so if it is good it is good everywhere, I feel like maybe the song messages have something to do with the Latvian background more because sometimes it can get too serious or sad..hah maybe the minor keys hah

TITL: You’ve won a lot of new fans thanks to your single “Stranger”. Is there a story behind it?

E: Stranger is a powerful, empowering and anthemic call to freedom and individuality. If you find the strength and confidence to be yourself, you will overcome the demands of school, society, pressure from your family or lovers. We are all beautiful, remarkable and brilliant, love yourself and don’t let anyone persuade you into thinking that you are not good enough.

TITL: The track is taken from your EP Paris Love. For those who haven’t heard it, how would you sum it up?

E: Eccentric, beautiful, dark.

TITL: Could you each pick your favourite track from the collection and if so, which is it and why?

K: Oh that’s hard but I would say “Stranger” and or the title track, “Paris Love.”

E: “What U Do 2 Me” because it’s autobiographical.

TITL: Who or what most influences your song-writing and how easy or hard do you find the process of putting a song together?

E: Everything is an inspiration, ones’ mood and state of mind, music, art, friends, people’s lives, and one’s own life as well. Each song is different: some come fast and easy some need a lot of love. In reality, melody and lyrics can come in five minutes, but to make the song real and great can sometimes take months.

TITL: In your opinion, what makes a song truly great?

K: A truly great song is not complicated and has a great hook and a great melody.

E: I only like songs I write – just kidding!

TITL: Which venue would you most like to play and which four bands or artists, who can be living or dead, would you most like to share that stage with?

E: Jack White, David Bowie, Def Leppard, AC/DC -with Brian Johnson – at Castle Donington.

TITL: How has/does social media impact your career and do you think you’d have the support you do without it?

E: Social media is a wonderful tool to reach out to people and fans all around the world and to have one’s message out there in matter of seconds, however; sometimes it can get in the way; all we really want to do is make music or perform.

TITL: Finally then, are there any other plans in the pipeline you can tell me about? What does the coming year have in store for you?

E: We’re going to continue writing new music, play more shows and take over the world.

For more information on Astra The 22s, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Their EP Paris Love is available now.

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RAG N BONE MAN CONFIRMED FOR 2018 BRIT AWARDS 13

We are so pleased to announce the 2017 winner of the BRITs Critics’ Choice and British Breakthrough awards Rag’n’Bone Man will be performing live at this year’s award ceremony on 21 February. He will join an already exceptional line-up which so far includes Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Sam Smith and Stormzy.

In the last year, Rag’n’Bone Man has broken the record for fastest-selling UK male debut of the decade with his 3x Platinum No. 1 album  ‘Human’ which has sold 2.5 million copies worldwide.

Rag’n’Bone Man said: “Jheez! 2017 has flown by super quick. Its pretty mental to think that I bagged two awards at The BRITs last year and now I’m heading back to perform. I’m looking forward to being a part of the celebration with everyone. It’s going to be a good one for sure!”

BRITs Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Sony Music UK & Ireland Jason Iley said: “Rory epitomises how dreams can come true. He has had the most amazing 12 months and I’m so delighted to see him back where it all started.”

The 38th BRIT Awards will be hosted by Jack Whitehall at The O2, London and broadcast live on ITV. We can’t wait for Rag’n’Bone Man to bring his talent to the stage.

The nominations for the 2018 BRIT Awards will be revealed at ‘The BRITs Are Coming’ on Saturday 13 January. The show broadcast live on ITV will be hosted by Emma Willis and includes live performances from Clean Bandit, J Hus, Jorja Smith, Liam Payne and Paloma Faith.

FOO FIGHTERS CONFIRMED FOR BRIT AWARDS 2018 25

We are so delighted to announce that four-time BRIT winners and one of the world’s most successful bands Foo Fighters will perform on The BRITs stage for the first time on 21 February.

The international superstars will deliver one of their legendary live performances alongside performances from Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Stormzy and Dua Lipa.

Foo Fighters have sold more than 25 million records and sold out countless world tours. The band’s acclaimed ninth studio album ‘Concrete and Gold’ was their fourth to hit No.1 in the UK charts on release in September, topping the charts in more than a dozen countries.

BRITs Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Sony Music UK & Ireland Jason Iley said: “Anyone who was lucky enough to witness one of their shows on the recent sold out UK tour, or their set at Glastonbury – which was undoubtedly one of the best performances the festival has ever seen and a night that will be talked about forever – will know why Foo Fighters are the biggest and most exciting rock band in the world. Quite remarkably they have never performed at The BRITs, so I am over the moon to confirm a massive BRITs exclusive to have them grace our stage.”

With four BRIT Awards under their belt winning International Album in 2008 and International Group in 2008, 2012 and 2015 we can’t wait for Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, Pat Smear and Rami Jaffee to bring the incredible Foo Fighters energy to The BRITs stage.

The nominations for the 2018 BRIT Awards will be revealed at ‘The BRITs Are Coming’ on Saturday 13 January. The show broadcast live on ITV will be hosted by Emma Willis and include live performances from Clean Bandit, J Hus, Jorja Smith, Liam Payne and Paloma Faith.