MATT DOBKIN CHATS ‘SIX SONGS OF PROTEST’ & HIS VIEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA 0 188

Music has always been an outlet for artists keen to share their views – personal, political and everything in between – and for Matt Dobkin, thanks to his new, upcoming EP Six Songs Of Protest, it’s allowed him to express himself in exactly the way he wishes to be heard. Frustrated and shocked by the outcome of the 2016 US election and all that has occurred and impacted both the States and the world since, his new collection addresses issues such as police brutality, the environment and White House corruption. Having just released the first single from the EP, “They Warned Us”, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Matt to delve a little deeper into his political views, the impact of social media on his career and how happy he is to see more of his artistic counterparts speaking out about issues that matter.

TITL: Hi Matt. Sum yourself up in a few words for me please.

Matt Dobkin: Right now? In 2019? Pissed off.

TITL: What would you say is your unique selling point as an artist? What makes you stand out? 

MD: My aim as an artist right now is to express my frustration, distress, and anger with the current state of the world. And I think – or at least hope! – that that’s a selling point, because I’m certainly not alone. I would like to think that my voice, lyrics, and political point of view might, to some small degree in today’s landscape, help me stand out.

TITL: Growing up, which bands and artists were you most inspired by and how do those inspirations influence the music you make now? 

MD: How much space do you have? As a very little kid, I would listen to whatever was on pop radio and sing along; whether that was Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, or Eagles. I was a total 80s pop obsessive: Prince, Michael, post-Barracuda pop Heart, Yaz, U2, and George Michael. In high school, I got the retro jazz/soul bug and I became fixated on Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. I discovered Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, and I “came home” to the 60s/70s soul space that would become – and remain – my main inspiration. But, I also had a classical-music background and I’m sure that all these various influences have informed what I do now. It’s a big ol’ mash-up, as it is for most musicians.

TITL: Who or what is your biggest inspiration when it comes to music and song-writing? With that in mind, which song would you say is the greatest ever written and why?

MD: Greatest song ever written? Impossible to answer. Different songs evoke different feelings and mean different things to different people. Not to be a killjoy, but I’m not really into pitting one song against another. In terms of my personal inspirations, I have two different lists, the “singing” list and the “songwriting” list. As a singer, Aretha Franklin tops the list, followed closely by Al Green and Sam Cooke. As a songwriter, Prince and Joni Mitchell, which I realize sounds absurd as I’m barely fit to sweep their floors. Marvin Gaye manages to straddle both lists.

TITL: Tell me a little about your latest single “They Warned Us.” What’s the story behind it?

MD: “They Warned Us” is the first single off my forthcoming EP, Six Songs of Protest. But the song that really launched the project for me is called “Organize.” It’s inspired by Gloria Steinem and really set the tone for the whole release. Once I had committed to the idea of an all-protest-song project, I started listening to A LOT of old classic songs of resistance. Much like Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddamn”, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On”, and many more. I started to realize that all the issues I wanted to address in these songs had already been dealt with by these great artists, not to mention Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, etc. So the idea behind “They Warned Us” was very simple, all the problems we’re facing now, we also faced years ago. And all this stuff I want to address now was addressed decades ago. Marvin, Nina, and Dylan warned us years ago about the scenarios we find ourselves dealing with today. Nothing has changed.

TITL: As you mentioned, you’ve got an EP, Six Songs of Protest coming out soon. Without giving too much away in terms of its content, what can fans expect from the collection?

MD: In addition to “They Warned Us” and “Organize”, which is a very pointed critique of the American president. Featuring a circa-1972 sample from Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to throw her hat into the ring for U.S. president. There’s a song about the environment – “Earthquake and Hurricanes”-, a gay rights song – “The Ramble” -, a song criticizing the epidemic of police murders of black Americans – “Paid Administrative Leave” – and a cover of the great Phil Ochs’s “Power and the Glory.” You know, just fun, light, frothy entertainment.

TITL: Which of the songs on the EP might you say you’re most proud of/connected to and why?

MD: I’m really happy with how “Organize” turned out. The groove, the lyrics, and not to mention the background vocals of Teresa Stanley. She’s a killer female gospel/soul vocalist always adds authority to a song.

TITL: Your music is “overtly” political – not that that’s a bad thing in this day and age – but do you wish other artists would share such powerful and important messages through their work, or are you happy to be one of the few leading the charge?

MD: Thank you, but I wouldn’t say I’m “leading the charge.” I’m hardly alone in trying to get these messages across. I think we’re in a moment where a lot of artists – whether musicians, writers, visual artists, whatever – are addressing the kinds of political and social problems we’re all assaulted by every time we open the newspaper or a web browser. I’m genuinely excited by the fact that so many different creative people, across genres and disciplines, are finding ways to resist.

TITL: What is your tour/performance schedule for the months ahead looking like? Which one venue would you most like to play and why?

MD: I like small, intimate shows, where it’s easy to connect directly with your audience. So, I’m angling for Joe’s Pub here in New York City. But if Madison Square Garden or the O2 Centre came calling, I wouldn’t be averse…

TITL: It could be argued that social media is all but taking over the world – and certainly industries like the music business. How do you personally feel about society’s connection and obsession with the likes of Twitter? How has and does it impact your ability to reach an audience?

MD: I have friends who refuse to be on social media, and I really admire their ability to steer clear and not get sucked in. But, it’s impossible to get your music out and your message across without Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It’s incredibly helpful in reaching people, so I can’t complain.

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

MD: I am completely focused on Six Songs of Protest at the moment and whatever small ways I can help prevent a re-election.

TITL: Finally then, with seemingly no end in sight to the political turmoil the world finds itself dealing with, where do you see your music going in future? Are there any other causes or views you’re maybe looking to support through future releases, and with that in mind, many years from now, what one thing would you most like people to say about you/remember you for in terms of your career and artistic legacy?

MD: When I first started singing and writing songs, I had no ambition to get into this political realm, but it’s feeling like a pretty good fit. I’m sure that, even when our idiot president has been expelled from office, I’ll find some other situation to be outraged by and respond to in music. Or maybe I’ll just want to sing cheesy love songs. We’ll just have to see!

Check out “They Warned Us” below and for more information on Matt Dobkin, visit his website, follow him on Instagram or give his page a like on Facebook.

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THE BAND GOOCH TALK ‘MODERN HIGH’, FAVOURITE ARTISTS & ULTIMATE COMPLIMENTS 0 23

They say siblings share most things. For the majority, that means clothes and other day to day items, but for Jared and Jordan, aka The Band Gooch, the one key thing they share and bond over is their love of music. Inspired first and foremost by Green Day, the two brothers have just dropped their new album ‘Modern High’, and are currently working on putting together some tour dates. They spoke to ThisIsTheLatest and spilled the beans on the two venues they’d love to play, their views on social media and how they’d like to start a revolution with and through their music.

TITL: What sets The Band Gooch apart from all the other acts out there today?

TBG: I think there are a couple things that set us apart from other acts out there today. First, we are not making music simply to get rich and famous. That is not our goal and never has been. Our band to us is more than just a rock band, it’s a lifestyle, a culture. To us it’s a symbol of freedom and liberty, meant to inspire people to do and be more. To us it’s a community of people brought together by music, living their best lives, being completely free. The other thing that would set us apart would be our musical taste. There are a lot of acts out there who are into a little more electronic type music. We write music with the idea that, it needs to be able to truly be played live, and sound just as good if not better live. No BS. You don’t see that anymore. 

TITL: As siblings, do you find or have you found that your musical tastes are very similar or different and how have those tastes and influences filtered through into the music you make?

Jared: For the most part our music tastes are very similar. We are both very into classic rock, punk rock, a lot of 80s and 90s stuff. That’s the foundation of what we do. We differ in other things. For example I’m into Enya, I love Brad Paisley and things like that. Jordan is way into Lord Huron, Young The Giant and other acts like that. Having a foundation of similarity with different flares really makes creating music fun and interesting for us. We go the same direction, but keep it interesting. 

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

Jared: We each bring personality I think. I bring passion I think, sometimes probably a little too much for the band! I can get a little OCD with things, but that’s okay. I do a lot of the melody work, a lot of guitar and bass, foundation work and lyrics. Jordan brings the flash and style. He is really good at spicing up bass lines, adding good guitar solos or spicing things up a bit. He also brings a lot of passion in his own way. He is more relaxed and easy going which is good to have, it keeps it loose and we all have fun. 

TITL: Family relationships are hard at the best of times, so how do the two of you deal with any personal or artistic differences that might cause tensions within the band? 

TBG: We are super close in age and we are extremely close but also have always had differences growing up. We prefer it this way. We can have a huge fight and disagree on everything, which has happened multiple times, but at the end of the day, we are still brothers so things get resolved easy. Anyone else is not so easy, people get pissed, bands break up and that’s that. 

TITL: Which three bands, collectively, would you say TBG is most influenced by? 

TBG: First and foremost Green Day. We love their music, and their live presence is second to none. Second would be Metallica, for the same reasons. Third would probably be a general collection of 80’s rock mixed with artists ranging from Enya to Metallica new or old. 

TITL: What can you tell me about your new album Modern High?

TBG: Modern High is a rock album about Modern Society. It talks about the good the bad and the ugly about life in the modern age. We have more luxuries than ever, yet people seem to be more stressed out and anxious than ever. People seem to care more than ever what other people think about them, they have distractions everywhere they look, expectations to manage, and life is just chaotic all the time. Modern High is an album of anthems preaching liberty. Fuck the modern age, what other people think, it doesn’t matter. What matters is doing what you love, being your best, and being happy. Too many people spend time living for someone else. Fuck that. It’s your life, live it your way. Start the business, make the album, marry that girl, do whatever you want. Just don’t spend your life trying to please everyone and stop measuring your life by likes and follows. Modern High is a classic punk album preaching liberty.  

TITL: Could you pick a favourite track from the collection? What is it about those songs that mean and matter so much to you?

Jared: Mine would probably be “Rebel Inside”. That is one of the more personal songs I wrote. It’s about my wife, and finding perfection in her imperfections. 

TITL: Are there any summer/fall tour plans lined up to promote the album? 

TBG: We are working on that now! We are going to be booking some shows around the west coast later this year and/or next.

TITL: Which venue anywhere in the world would you most like to play and who would you choose to support you?

TBG: Probably the Emirates Stadium or Old Trafford, both in England. We’d of course want to play with Green Day but I think they are a little too big to support us, so we’d support them! If we had to choose a supporting act, I don’t know; I think we’d find someone we like who puts on a good show and bring them along. 

TITL: You’ve already been praised by the likes of Ghost Cult Magazine and PunkNews.org, but what’s the biggest thing anyone has or could write/say about you? What is or would be the ultimate compliment? 

TBG: The best thing is when someone who has never been to a show before, or hears our music for the first time reaches out or comes up after a show and says; “I just found this song, it is AMAZING!” OR “You guys are way better than I expected – I had no idea you guys were this good. I thought you’d be okay but you guys are an actual band rock band!” Or: “You guys sound way better live than you do on your album!”Or: “You guys put on an actual rock show, that was amazing, I feel bad I haven’t come yet! I did not expect this at all!” These are all real quotes from people, and these are the best compliments. When someone listens to our music, or comes to a show and has a great time. 

TITL: To what extent has and does social media impact your ability to reach an audience? How much of your following might you say has come as a result of you posting/sharing your music on the likes of Twitter and Facebook? 

TBG: Twitter zero. I think we have one but we are never on it. We do most our marketing on Facebook and Instagram. The thing with social media is it’s an amazing tool for reaching people all over the world. We can share our brand and our story and connect with fans and that is really fun. We love talking to people that find and like our music. The problem is, everyone is always getting crap thrown in their face and it is distracting, so the market is super saturated. Also on a personal note, we hate social media because it is addicting and we think at this point it’s more of a problem and a distraction to society than a solution. So it sucks. I am not sure how much of a following comes from it, probably a pretty good amount. But we really don’t spend as much time on social media as we “should”. 

TITL: Looking further down the line, where to you want TBG to be five, ten years from now? When they write the history book of music, what would you like to see written about the two of you and the music you left/shared with the world?

The Band Gooch: Good question. At the end of the day, we aren’t doing this for money and fame. If we wanted that we’d do pretty much anything else, there is almost no money and no fame in this business. We do this because it is WHO we are. This is our life’s work, and whether or not it works out for us tomorrow, next year, five years or after we are dead it doesn’t matter. This is WHO we are and it is what we do. We are doing it because we want to show people you CAN do what you love, and you SHOULD do what you love. That there is more to life than money, likes and follows. The world needs a revolution, it needs to get back to its roots and that is why we exist. We just so happen to make awesome rock music, so what better way to start a revolution? 

For more information on The Band Gooch, visit their website or give their page a like on Facebook. Their album Modern High is available now.

CEO FIELDS UNVEILS HIS BRAND NEW SINGLE “YOURS” 0 34

It’s amazing what an idea can do. After dropping out of college and moving to LA, following managing a big pet boutique for a while, CEO Fields had the idea to launch his own fitness company for dogs. With business going well, Fields went on to invest his profits wisely and made his first million in two years.

This rags to riches story was personified and showcased for all to see and hear on Fields’ debut single “25/8” , which highlighted just how far perseverance and dedication to what you do can get you and now, with his business established, his position in the music world set on a solid foundation and his following on the rise, he’s sharing his latest work in the form of new single “Yours”, which ThisIsTheLatest are delighted to premiere.

Asked about the new release, Fields says:

“Yours is my version of a love song for the Boss Woman out there that has my heart and all of my attention. After ’25/8′ I wanted to speak to the women so that they know I have something for them too. It’s a fun song, both empowering and raunchy.”

Give “Yours” a listen below and for more information on CEO Fields, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.