ANDREW W.K. TALKS ‘YOU’RE NOT ALONE’ AND HIS UPCOMING UK TOUR 98

After first introducing himself to the world with the rock anthem that is “Party Hard” in 2001, Andrew W.K. has been a considerable staple of the music industry ever since, amassing himself a loyal following of fans on both sides of the Atlantic. Not content with just being a song-writer and performer, over the years he’d also tried his hand at TV and radio work, among other things, but he always comes back to the music. Currently preparing to release his new album You’re Not Alone next month, and tour the UK in April, Andrew spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about THAT song, what fans can expect from the upcoming shows and his as-yet unfulfilled dreams.

TITL: Hi Andrew, thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, it’s much appreciated.

Andrew W.K.: My pleasure. Thank you for connecting and being willing to help share the party message!

TITL: First of all, for those who are unfamiliar with you and your music, who exactly is Andrew W.K? What would you say are your worst and best traits?

AWK: I’m a singer and performer who answers to the party gods – sometimes alone, but mostly with others. I can be defeatist at times, like most people, and angry, self-centered, occasionally pessimistic…but I’m also very passionate about what I do – and a believer in sharing that passion with others. To some, that might not be much of a trait, but to me, I think self-belief is key, and if you have belief in yourself, then you can also give that belief or help others find that belief in themselves.

TITL: That’s a great trait to have. And you know, sometimes one good trait can overrule several bad ones…

AWK: Maybe not all bad traits, but yeah; it’s good to have a balance, even if it is slightly off kilter!

TITL: How does it feel to know your career is still going strong when so many of your artistic counterparts have fallen into obscurity?

AWK: I would say I’m probably as obscure today as I’ve ever been, but I also don’t think that’s a bad thing. Careers like many things come and go and I consider myself to be very fortunate to still be doing this – what I love – and sharing my passion and art with people who share many of the same values as I do, believe in my music as I do and enjoy living life each and every day with a party attitude.

TITL: Your debut single “Party Hard” remains a rock fan favourite, even 15 plus years after its release. What would you say it is about that song that makes it so popular with fans? Did you ever imagine it’d get the reaction it is, even now, when you first released it?

AWK: I felt very strongly about it from the beginning. You have to believe in what you’re doing and believe that it will be that powerful in order to do the work that’s required to make it and get it out there to people. Even then though, it’s still quite shocking to see it connect with people and to have anyone at all care about it. For all the people that do believe it, who do connect with it, need it be that song, “Party Hard” or something else I’ve written, there are literally billions of people who couldn’t care less. I’m very thankful that there has been enough of a connection with the song to allow me to continue doing this, and as to the why or how it’s made such a connection with people – if I knew that, I’d have written a thousand more songs like that. It’s a mysterious thing – I don’t know if anyone really has that answer.

TITL: What, to you, makes a great song, and with that in mind, which would you say is the greatest ever written and why?

AWK: I think the greatest song ever written hasn’t been written yet, and hopefully never will be, and that’s why people will, or at least I hope they will, continue to write songs in the hope of achieving that accolade, or whatever name you want to give it. Every song I write is another chance to give someone the greatest feeling that’s ever been made, the greatest sound that’s ever been heard, and the greatest musical experience that is out there and waiting for someone to tap into. To me, the greatest song, as and when it’s written will have a combination of great melody and rhythm, and words – but of course there is a lot of powerful music out there already that has no words to it. Sometimes music without lyrics can say even more than music that has them. Music exists on its own terms and seems to connect with the most primal and fundamental aspects of the human experience. It’s the sound of what being alive feels like; it’s the life force made audible. Music is endless, and so I don’t think it’s even possible to pick one defining musical moment or song and label it the greatest ever.

TITL: How does your new album You’re Not Alone which is out on March 2nd, differ from your past releases? How would you say it charts your artistic evolution as a songwriter and artist?

AWK: I don’t necessarily try to evolve, I just try to get better; better at making the feeling and meaning come through the songs. For me, this new album is a continuation of the same effort I’ve been putting into what I do since I started. It began with the first album and has progressed through everything I’ve done or tried to do since then. Some attempts have been more successful than others, but each one in any area of showbiz or entertainment I’ve tried my hand at, whether it’s music, performing, doing TV or radio, or writing…all of it is one big effort to try and generate that empowering, uplifting enthusiasm that makes the feeling of being alive better. This album is, hopefully, an improvement on that same effort.

TITL: Could you pick your favourite track, or two tracks from the album and if so, which are they and why?

AWK: I don’t know if I have any feeling of ‘pride’ about any of them. I don’t know what that feeling even means. I’m impressed by certain things that people I care about do, but does that mean I’m proud of them? I was always told that pride is a sin, right – that it’s one of the seven deadly sins. I have a strong feeling of achievement and fulfilment about the songs on the album and I’m glad it’s done and is ready to be put out there.

TITL: You’re heading out on a UK tour in April. For those who have never seen you before, what can people expect from an Andrew W.K. show?

AWK: I’m with my full rock and roll band – three guitar players, bass player, keyboard player, drummer and I’ll also be playing keyboards and of course singing. Some of the people in the band have been with me since 2000, since the very start and we also have newer band members as well. With all due respect to everyone who has ever been in my band, I must say that we, as we are right now, are the best we’ve ever been as a band, and that’s largely because of the people who are in it and because of our focus and the time we’ve put into what we do – the experience we have under our belts. I feel what we can bring to the stage now is the best we’ve ever had to offer those who come to the shows. We’re the best we’ve ever been at generating that powerful, electric feeling in a room. We’ll give everything we have and I have no doubt that everyone who comes to see us, who stands in those venues with us, will give everything they have too; not to us per se, but to the party gods who we’ll be worshipping together in that shared space.

TITL: Of all the shows you’ve played throughout your career, is there one that stands out?

AWK: No, and this is no dig at the question or any others like it, but those sort of definitive, absolute, singular experiences I find to be quite elusive. The best concert, the best place to play, the one moment in your life that changed everything…I think most people would have a hard time summing up or isolating or pin-pointing such singular moments in their life, because then everything else becomes secondary. I don’t want there to be one best show – I want tons of best shows; tons of memorable shows, tons of favourite songs. Thinking about it any other way I feel is sort of disrespectful to the whole phenomenon of getting to be alive. It can be quite satisfying to, somewhere in your mind, sometimes have a hierarchy of experiences from best to worst and sometimes it’s necessary to do that and at others it’s unavoidable, but when it comes to art and culture, experiences are meant to liberate us from that need to order and make perfect sense of everything.

There’s not one concert that stands out and I’m thankful for that – they’ve all been incredible in different ways – even the ‘worst’ concerts, which are often a result of technical problems or other challenges. At shows like that, People in the crowd might say to us afterwards that the gig was awful, but our guitar player Dave Pino will usually respond with something along the lines of: “Dude that was the best one yet!” There are so many different outlooks and perspectives as to what makes a show good or bad, and so trying to define a great show can be and is very difficult, and so I personally try to appreciate the good and bad, and just be grateful for getting to do what I do every time I step out on stage.

TITL: You’re a frequent tweeter, but how, in general, do you feel about social media? Do you think there are any downsides to the power it has in terms of how it can and does impact an artists’ career and ability to reach an audience?

AWK: I can’t think of any downsides in that regard. I think it’s an incredibly powerful tool and it’s just another amazing method of communication. It’s not the same, but certainly similar to how television, even film and moving images, were huge breakthroughs and created new ways to express information and receive it. At the same time, you can be sceptical and somewhat cynical about it – it all depends on how you use it. The computer is a tool; an instrument, just like a screwdriver which you can use to either build incredible things or stab someone in the eye and make them go blind. Be careful how you use it.

TITL: Finally then, given how much you’ve achieved so far in your career, what advice would you give to aspiring, up and coming bands and artists who are looking to make their own mark on the music world? More personally, there any objectives and dreams you have left to fulfil?

AWK: Play as much music as you possibly can. Never allow the frustrations or even the rewards of the surrounding activities to take away from your love of simply playing music, because that you can always have. No matter what else happens to me, for example, as long as I can play piano, I know that I’ll have a true, reliable happiness in my life – the rest is just icing on the cake.

As for the things I still want to fulfil, I have no doubt there are many, but I guess I’ll find out what they are, if, as and when they happen. I try to let these opportunities present themselves, almost like assignments from destiny, and then do my best to fulfil them, or make the most of them, in honour of them. There’s not much that I can consciously plan out in terms of ‘I’m first going to do this….then I’ll do that.’ I have aspirations and dreams and things that I’d like to do for the sake of the experience, but only by the grace of the party gods – I leave it up to them.

For more information on Andrew W.K., including a list of his tour dates and ticket information, visit his website, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Twitter. His new album You’re Not Alone is available for pre-order now.

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BEAR WITH ME TALKS “AFTER ME”, UPCOMING PERFORMANCES & FUTURE PLANS 37

Having started out as part of the Danish Aarhus underground scene, vocalist, keyboard and bass player Thorbjørn Kaas AKA Bear With Me has just released his debut single and has plenty of ideas about where he’d like his music to take him in the future. He spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about where in the world he’d most like to play and what his ultimate goal as an artist is.

TITL: For anyone who hasn’t heard of you or your music, how would you sum up Bear With Me?

Bear With Me: It is about having fun, experimenting and see where the moment will take you. I’d like to think of it as very personal, current music with an analogue feel or just danceable melancholia.

TITL: Which few bands or artists would you say you’re most influenced by and how do those influences come across in the music you make?

BWM: I find a lot of comfort listening to various dream-pop and shoegaze bands, such as Beach House, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine to name a few. I seek that swirly vibe but in a more upbeat manner. Hopefully people will enjoy listening to the music on the dance-floor, but also under more chilled circumstances, too.

TITL: Is there one band or artist you most commonly find yourself being compared to, and if so, do you mind such comparisons?

BWM: Since ”After Me” is the first single there hasn’t been that many comparisons yet. But Röyksopp, Tame Impala and Air have been mentioned. I think they sum up the vibe in good way, and even though their approaches to music are different Bear With Me could easily be described as a mix of those three.

TITL: Tell me about your debut single “After Me”. Is there a story behind the song and what do you want listeners to take from it when they hear it?

BWM: It’s about losing someone who were once close to you. Even though it is hard to say goodbye and let go you can always hope that the person can stay in your thoughts and still be a part of your life. I would describe the song as both melancholic and hopeful. It’s an homage to any kind of close relation between people, but also an acknowledgement of how delicate and changeful such bonds can be.

TITL: Have you started thinking about what your next single might be and are there plans for an EP/album in the works?

BWM: There’s a recording session planned in August with some great guys. It’s not decided whether it’s gonna be an album or an EP yet.

TITL: Do you have any tour/performance plans lined up, and if so, for those who haven’t seen you live before, what can you tell them to expect?

BWM: We are playing with our friends in Moon Loves Honey on the 27th April at Radar in Aarhus. It’ll be the second time we’ve played the music outside the rehearsal room, so I guess people can expect something unheard.

TITL: If you could perform with any three bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would you choose and where would you play?

BWM: 1. I would love to play with a big jazz glitterati at the time where things went down. For example Thelonious Monk at Village Vanguard or something. 2. I guess a lot of people would want to be any of the performing artist at Woodstock festival 69’. In that case I would prefer to play the tambourine. – it’s not so demanding. 3. I have a feeling that I would enjoy to play the bass in Mac Demarco’s band.  I’ve always wanted to play at Orange Scene at Roskilde Festival – the largest scene on the largest festival in Denmark – so I think that would be a fitting location.

TITL: Are there any other plans or projects in the pipeline for the coming months you can tell me about?

BWM: I’m arranging a one-day festival the 16th of June. Besides Bear With Me, the greatest acts of Aarhus will be present.

TITL: Finally then, where would you like to see yourself five years from now and what’s the ultimate goal?

BWM: I’d like to see myself, and my band, a long way from Aarhus, in a bus, touring all kinds of places. The ultimate goal is to make an album however we want, whenever we want and to perform wherever we want. We want success and hopefully, freedom is a by-product of that.

Give “After Me” a listen below and for more information on Bear With Me, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Instagram.

 

 

LISA LINKE TALKS CURRENT PROJECTS, DREAM ROLES & FUTURE PLANS 32

With roles in Modern Family and This Is Us among others already under her belt, as well as her regular appearances on the webseries Successful People, Lisa Linke has earned herself praise from fans and critics alike in recent years, and earned every positive word that’s been spoken or written about her. While her career shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Lisa to chat first auditions, dream roles and her advice for aspiring actors.

TITL: When did you first realize that you wanted to make performing a career? Was there any particular show or film you watched that made you think: “That’s who I want to be…that’s what I want to do?”

Lisa Linke: I think I realized I wanted to make it a career after I was already living in Chicago, studying improvisation and seeing people perform on stages and actually make a living doing it. I don’t have any artist role models in my family – everyone is business or education (or both) and so the idea of being an artist was really scary and challenging. So, until I saw people doing it and doing work that I found fun and engaging, then I could allow myself to really entertain that as a possibility. I don’t think it was as much as a particular show or film, but more being surrounded with people that I knew and liked and saw them doing this awesome thing.

TITL: Whose careers are you most inspired and influenced by? How do their careers impact your own?

LL: I’m always inspired by people who create their own content. They really take ahold of their own path and just start making art that demonstrates their style and voice. I like doing that. I think whenever anyone makes a successful series that is specific and authentic, it gives permission for everyone else to try and do that, too. And when it’s successful, it shows studios and networks that people are craving that kind of content, so they go looking for it to buy.

TITL: Can you recall your first audition?

LL: Ever? Nope. I always did plays in school growing up. I can remember my audition to join the improv group in grad school, which made me fall in love with improv. I knew nothing about improv, but I’d seen a show in Atlanta before I moved back to Illinois to go to grad school, and I absolutely loved it and wanted to learn how to do it! We did this warm up game and I was so excited, I physically pushed the person next to me, and the woman leading the exercise jumped in and was like “don’t do that”. But in a nice way, because she hadn’t said we couldn’t, and I was legit so excited.

TITL: Which of your auditions are you most proud of and why?

LL: I’m most proud of auditions where I did what I wanted to do in the room. It’s really easy to get thrown off throughout the day, traffic sucks or you can’t find parking, people are rude or it’s hot or you didn’t get the material as early as you wanted or whatever happens – life happens – but your job is to get in the room and deliver. The job is booking the job, and when I do a good job, and get good feedback in the room, or get a pin or check avail or a booking then I feel really good about what I did. I can feel good about what I did in the room even if I get zero feedback, too. I know what I did in the room and what I wanted to do.

TITL: Prior to auditioning for a part, how much research/background do you do in terms of the broadcast company/the show itself/other members of the cast, and do you find that such research helps?

LL: Oh, it helps immensely! You have to know your stuff. You have to know what show you’re going in for – what network it is on, what tone the show has and what the writer has written before. All that stuff just makes your audition more accurate. I didn’t know any of this before I started studying out here in LA, but I am a real research geek now the minute I get an audition.

TITL: You’ve starred in hit shows including This Is Us, Modern Family and the Netflix series LOVE. Of all the roles and characters you’ve played so far, do you have any particular favourites and do you have any fun memories you can share from time on the sets?

LL: Well, Modern Family was really amazing because it was a special day on set. They were on location, and Chris Martin was on set that day. All the crew was kind of twitterpated with him and it was easy to see why – he is literally the nicest person on earth. He was so cool to talk to in the hair/makeup trailer, and then so kind and funny on set. He entertained everyone in between takes with his guitar. Everyone was having a great time! For me, being on This Is Us was amazing because they moved so fast and it was being directed by Ken Olin and I’ve always been a fan of his, from way back in thirtysomething days. So, to see him direct was just fantastic. LOVE was incredible because Nisha Ganatra, the director, loved to improvise and I got to improvise a ton on set. That was wonderful, and to work with Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Ed Beagley, Jr. and Kathy Baker was a total dream! I love working, period. Everything else on top of that is gravy.

TITL: What’s your dream role and which TV show would you most like to star/guest star in? Are there any actors or actresses you really want to work with?

LL: I do comedy and love it, but I watch a ton of drama! I think I’d love to be on something super tense like The Americans or Homeland. I get so hooked watching it and the acting on those shows is amazing. I love working with everyone because I like learning from everyone – but to work with someone who has made their own content, like Melissa McCarthy, Issa Rae, or Amy Schumer would be amazing.

TITL: What made you want to be a part of the web series Successful People, and do you think there will be many other such series being made in the coming years, due to the boom in and power of technology and the internet?

LL: Yes! There are so many series being made right now, it’s so easy to create content on a small scale.  I did the first season because Artie & Theresa – the creators & stars – asked me to, and then when they invited me back with a series regular role for the second season, I was thrilled! That character is seriously the most obnoxious in the world. I loved playing her!

TITL: You’ve won a number of awards including Lead Actress at LAWebfest and overall web series winner at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. How much do accolades like that mean to you, and would you say you’re more of an individual who cares more strongly about what your fans/followers think and that you can and do take on projects you feel passionate about?

LL: Thank you! It’s always nice to take a piece of work you’ve created and have it be recognized. Festivals are a great part of online content life. I like making content I’m proud of and want to do. It’s a lot of work to do – so usually I have to be really interested in the project and want to make it and get it out there in the world, or be asked to work with people that I adore and have a blast working with.

TITL: The entertainment business is cut-throat and competitive. With that in mind, and given your impressive resume, what advice would you give to those just starting out? What three traits would you say people need in order to survive in this fickle industry?

LL: Ah! You’re very kind. I’ve been told that you need two of the following three: luck, talent and perseverance. You can’t work on luck, but you can work on the other two. I say get your butt in a class and stay there! And create your own content.

TITL: Finally then, are there any projects or plans in the pipeline you can tell me about? What’s next for you and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?

LL: Yes! I just released Dog Therapist with my friend Gwen, and it’s a super short web series – all episodes are under a minute! We had a blast and I hope we do some more like it. I have a guest star on a Disney show coming out sometime this spring/summer, so I can’t wait for that to be announced! And of course, I’m creating more content. Do you sense a theme!?

For more information on Lisa Linke, visit her website or you can follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Birdie Thompson.