EMILY BECKER TELLS ALL ABOUT HER POP PUNK COLORING BOOKS 38

Music has always been a source of inspiration for millions around the world and for Emily Becker, having discovered alternative music as a teenager, it has helped inspire her to create the Pop Punk Coloring Book, now into its second volume, featuring some of her favourite bands and artists including Blink 182 and All Time Low. ThisIsTheLatest chatted with Emily to find out more about her artistic background, her thoughts on mindfulness and plans for volume 3.

TITL: Please introduce yourself.

Emily Becker: Hi, my name is Emily Becker and I’m the creator and illustrator of the Pop Punk Coloring Book, volumes 1 and 2.

TITL: Where did your idea for BeckerBelieveIt Media come from? 

EB: I think in high school I really wanted to have my own business cards, so I kept creating new companies and printing out business cards at school; fortunately for me, my teachers were incredibly lenient when it came to my business schemes! After realizing how many different areas I wanted to encompass in my life, art, photography, writing, and eventually video, I decided to put them all under one umbrella as BeckerBelieveIt Media.

TITL: You’ve clearly got a passion for art, and studied fine art at NYU, but what ultimately made you decide to use your talents to create these books?

EB: I was honestly a little dissatisfied with the limits of fine arts – I had gotten really into comic books and illustration and was told several times that those weren’t technically “fine arts,” I actually did a portrait of Frank Iero as a final project in an oil painting class just as an act of sheer frustration. I wanted to take the music-related doodles that were never able to make it out of my sketchbook and turn them into something I could share. And my artistic abilities actually improved as I did this – there’s a clear difference in my skill level between the first and second book.

TITL: It has been argued that art, in its many forms, is something that more of the older generations are interested in. To what extent, if any, do you believe that to be true and how would you say artists such as yourself are working at changing such perceptions?

EB: I think that as soon as something can be consumed by the masses, there’s a sense of elitism that begins to take hold of the community. Graphic design, cartoons, these are still artforms, but since they can now be easily accessed by anyone, it’s easy to dismiss it as not being highbrow enough to count as “art.” I think maybe this generation doesn’t realize how much art we actually consume on a daily basis just by going about our day-to-day lives, and this is where we get the idea that “art,” at least in its traditional connotation, isn’t as important as it once was.

TITL: Colouring is a major staple of mindfulness techniques these days. Was that something you had in mind during the creative process or something that just sprung up at the same time?

EB: I hate admitting this, but I am terrible with mindfulness practices. I have an incredibly short attention span so things like meditation and those really gorgeous mandala coloring books aren’t much on my radar. The Pop Punk Coloring Book was more of a way for me to produce something that others could enjoy with the skill set that I already had; I tend to think of it as fun first and psychologically beneficial maybe third or fourth.

TITL: What is it about the alternative music scene that led you to put bands who are a part of it very much at the forefront of what you do? Did you grow up listening to such bands and artists?

EB: I started listening to alternative music when I was around 16 – up until then I hadn’t really paid attention to music because I was a “visual arts kids”. I saw a My Chemical Romance video on MTV one day, and the graphic power and art direction had me so captivated that I fell down a hole of their videos, which turned into an obsession with the songs they were made to represent.

TITL: Your colouring books have been praised by both Rock Sound and Alternative Press, but who/which outlet would you most love to see compliment your work? Have any of the bands and artists you’ve featured said anything about it?

EB: I think Alt Press really was the ultimate for me, because that was the magazine that introduced me to so many of the bands that are featured in the books. Buzzfeed UK mentioned the first book in a listicle about two years ago and I literally walked out of a drawing class so I could call my mother. As far as bands go, Patent Pending have taken notice of the book, and they’re super supportive; Joe’s wife Dana was one of the first people to order a copy of the second book.

TITL: The second edition features the likes of Blink 182, All Time Low and Simple Plan among others. Have you already started thinking about who you might include in a third edition?

EB: I’m actually wondering if I’ll have to rename the book for the next volume! Volume Two included a lot of bands that aren’t traditionally considered pop punk, and I’d like to include some heavier bands like Of Mice & Men and Bring Me The Horizon.

TITL: Finally then, what advice would you give to anyone looking to follow a creative path such as yours? Is there anything you were once told that you still reflect on today?

EB: My high school history teacher once told me that “good enough” is more important than perfect. I look back on some of my old art, whether the coloring book or even portfolio submissions from when I applied to art school, and I think, “what was I doing, how did I think that was good?” But they weren’t meant to be perfect pieces of art, they were just supposed to be good enough to make people happy and teach me how to do better next time. I think if I had been striving for objective perfection the first book wouldn’t even be out yet – I’d rather create multiple works that people can enjoy over the span of my career than have one perfect work of art when I retire.

You can find out more about Emily and BeckerBelieveIt Media by visiting her website, liking her page on Facebook or following her on Twitter. The Pop Punk Coloring Book Volume 2 is available now in both physical and digital editions.

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EXCLUSIVE: KATHY ZIMMER PREMIERES HER NEW EP ‘WHITE NOISE’ 33

Inspired by and surrounded by music from an early age, Nebraska-born, classically trained folk artist Kathy Zimmer has already been praised by the likes of Obscure Sound, and declared to be “the latter-day Joan Baez” by Rock n’ Reel. With a growing social media following and ever-supportive fan-base, Kathy’s kicking off this new year with a bang of her own, by today releasing her brand new EP titled ‘White Noise’ and ThisIsTheLatest are delighted to have the exclusive first stream which you can listen to below.

Asked about the creative process behind the EP, including the inspiration for the songs featured on it, Kathy says:

“White Noise is the product of developing these songs over time with my band, and then adding the finishing touches of light synth sounds in the recording studio. My inspiration for writing the songs covered a lot of ground, from addiction to world affairs to a lopsided romance… but you should take away from the EP your own interpretation!” 

Check out ‘White Noise’ below and if you like what you hear, be sure to purchase your copy now on iTunes. For more information on Kathy Zimmer, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

PETER KLEINHANS PREMIERES HIS NEW TRACK “TURN THE TIDE” 52

Having moved away from his previous – and up until recently – lifelong career as a racehorse trainer, announcer and broadcaster, Peter Kleinhans is now starting to make his mark on the music world and has reignited his passion for song-writing, guitar and piano playing. With his debut album Something’s Not Right due for release early next year, ThisIsTheLatest are delighted to premiere his latest single “Turn The Tide.”

Asked about the creative process and story behind the song, Peter says:

“”Turn the Tide” is a song that began as an exercise and turned into something with an actual direction. The main arpeggios off of which the song is built started out as a guitar exercise written by Matt Detro, and the lyrics used the names of two of my favorite racehorses, Turn The Tide and Trim The Tree, who were arch rivals as well as sharing three-word alliterative names.

But the song took shape when I combined it with one of my favorite photographs taken by my father, of a distant couple in Central Park in fall. Between the music, lyrics, and visual, I let my imagination conjure a gentle world in which two people face the passage of time with dignity and grace. I think of it as one of the more optimistic of my songs because it suggests that the whole of a life shared with someone can indeed exceed the sum of those live’s individual parts.”

Check out “Turn The Tide” below and for more information on Peter Kleinhans, visit his website or give his page a like on Facebook.