RACHAEL CAIN CHATS “I AM HOUSE”, CAREER HIGHLIGHTS & FUTURE PLANS 0 32

In part somewhat responsible for bringing house music to both sides of the Atlantic in the 80’s and 90’s, Rachael Cain, AKA, Screamin’ Rachael has spent more than two decades of her life as an integral part of the music industry. Having just released her new single, “I Am House”, she spoke to ThisIsTheLatest to share her career highlights, her advice for music industry newcomers and her thoughts on where she sees the music business going in the future.

TITL: For those unfamiliar with the name, or your moniker, who is Rachael Cain, aka Screamin’ Rachael? 

Rachael Cain: I’m called Screamin’ Rachael because though I’m petite I make a big impact. When I enter a room I don’t even have to say a word but I’m SCREAMIN’!

TITL: Signed to the independent label Trax Records, you played quite a big part in bringing what is now known as House music to the masses in both the US and UK in the 80’s and 90’s. How big of a deal was and is that to you, both personally and professionally? 

RC: I started out signed as an artist to Trax Records, but these days I am President. I was mentored by Sylvia Robinson, the woman behind the legendary Sugar Hill label. When you think about entertainers who run labels these days, they are all men like Master P, Kanye and Jay Z. But back in the day, there was Sylvia…and today, there is me! What I did along with a small group of friends in the 80’s and 90’s only set the stage for the amazing things happening today. I am truly living out my vision for my career and the label. I’m proud to say that though I faced a lot of adversity, we are right where we belong today.

TITL: Looking at the music scene now, did you ever think House would remain as popular, albeit maybe in smaller circles, as it is today?

RC: These days, House music is bigger than it has ever been! Just look around, it’s everywhere. It seems all the huge EDM DJ’s are now calling themselves HOUSE! We were just sampled by Kanye West. In fact, he and Drake had a major beef over our beat that made it into Rolling Stone Magazine! I always knew that House Music was very special, and I always believed that someday the world would appreciate its importance.

TITL: You released your new single “I Am House” yesterday. What’s the story behind it and why did you decide that now was the right time to release such a track?

RC: The project was done with Joe Smooth, and the idea between us simply flowed. Joe came up with the title and a banging track. We decided to tell our story about the house lifestyle that we live. We‘re truly blessed. Beyond that, our mission is to bring people together and that’s what the spirit of House Music is all about. At the same time it’s tongue-in-cheek and fun! That’s why I live for and love House Music!

TITL: Are there plans for a new EP or album in the works? 

RC: Yes. Three years ago, I released a complete body of my work, “The Queen Of House” album. I’ve been putting together some great new work for the last year and a half, which includes collaborations with artists from the home of House in Chicago and some of my favorite artists from around the world. I am aiming for a spring release.

TITL: Any performances lined up you can tell me about? 

RC: There will be pop up shows everywhere for “I am House,” including a Holiday fundraiser at Vaunt in Chicago’s Water Tower Place. We will keep you posted via our website. It’s always been a dream of mine to get into the movie business. So at the moment we are rapping up our fourth film in NYC with director Eric Rivas. I’m acting as well as putting together the soundtrack. You can catch our first three movies, The Vamp Bikers Trilogy, on most digital platforms right now, distributed through Sony Orchard, the largest distributor of independent films. After we wrap up the fourth film, Japanese Borsch, I’ll finish up my album. Then you can catch me performing at Midem, the international music festival this spring in Cannes, France to launch it!

TITL: Having been a part of the industry now for more than two decades, do you think it’s improved, gotten worse or are things the same? 

RC: Change is always good. The minute we stop changing we are dead! The most important ability a human has is the ability to change and grow.

TITL: Could you pick the top three highlights of your career so far? 

RC: There are way too many wonderful highlights, so I’m going to pick the top 3 that come to mind.

1. Performing at The Fauna Primavera Festival in Chile with Marshall Jefferson. And Robert Owens on the Trax Stage.

2. Recording “Our House is Funkdified” in the studio with the George Clinton, producing and directing the vocals. 3.

3. Singing “Give Peace a Chance” in Central Park with Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Bob Geldolf, Jackson Brown, Afrika Bambaataa and a host of others.

It all seems like one great big dream!

TITL: Would you agree that social media is having a vast impact on artists and their careers today and do you think that needing to be so socially connected is a good or a bad thing? How do you personally feel about the likes of Twitter and Facebook? 

RC: Social media is both good and bad, yin and yang. I’m not great at it, I don’t have enough time for it, and frankly I’d personally rather be creating! But it really works well to break in for some people. I’m just glad I had history and credibility before it took over. Today people are judged more by their social media numbers than their talent. However, I really respect the rare breed that can be really talented and successful at social media at the same time.

TITL: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their way in the music world? What three traits would you say they need to have in order to just get their foot in the door of this cut-throat industry?

RC: Here are the 3 traits I consider most important to get into this industry:

1. Be strong and true to your soul.

2. Decide that nothing can stop you.

3. Believe with all your heart.

If you have any doubts, don’t pick this life.

Never do it for the money because there are lots of easier ways to make that.

If fame is the only thing that drives you, no matter where it gets you, you will be very disappointed in the end.

TITL: Given how much people’s tastes in music change, what kinds of music do you foresee people listening to – and how – and seeing live five, ten years from now, and do you think artists can and will keep up with the constant evolution that occurs in the business? 

RC: Great music will always stand out. No matter what, a great piece of music will never lose its magic. How we will be listening and watching music is something no one can truly foresee, however I hope there’s a chance that we might go back to something more organic and live. However 3D holographic experiences are already part of the gaming aspect so who knows? I just hope we just don’t have things implanted in our bodies…

TITL: Finally then, having already seen numerous changes in the past two decades, where do you see the music industry going in the future and many years down the line, what would you want people to say about you when asked about your music and its place in history? 

RC: The music industry is growing and changing every day, and I’m glad that I’ve never been afraid to grow with it and accept its changes. One day I hope people will be inspired by my life and say Screamin’ Rachael was really an amazing woman! I love listening to her sound and I really respect the fact that she helped to shape a genre that changed the world of music…her story gave me courage to believe in my dreams and myself.

Check out “I Am House” below and to keep up to date with Rachael Cain, visit her website or follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Billy Hess.

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FOX & BONES CHAT ‘BETTER LAND’ AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2019 0 24

Described by the duo themselves in their Twitter bio as “The Bonnie and Clyde of folk pop”, Fox and Bones, AKA Sarah and Scott, have had a busy time of things lately, culminating in the release of their album Better Land. But, with still a month to go before we all bid the year goodbye, the pair aren’t resting on their laurels and spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about their favourite tracks on their album, how they’re rounding out the year and what 2019 has in store.

TITL: Exactly who are Fox and Bones?

Fox and Bones: Fox and Bones are fictional characters we created so that we could be more imaginative with our songwriting. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to only writing about our own experiences, instead, we wanted some breathing room and the option to use our imaginations a little bit. That said, the adventures of the characters Fox and Bones closely mirror our own lives, and we use their story as a canvas on which to paint the picture of the life we want to live.

TITL: Given the success of duos such as The Civil Wars over the years, what makes Fox and Bones different? What’s your unique selling point?

F&B: I think we are a lot more lighthearted than many of the indie folk bands like the Civil Wars. Someone once told us at a show, “You guys sound just like The Civil Wars, except that listening to you doesn’t make me depressed.” We don’t write about love and heartbreak in the traditional sense, we write stories about traveling, unconventional modern love and what that really looks like, rather than just the intense puppy love of pop music or the depressing breakup vibes of indie folk. And we write about the world as we see it, and what we want to see come into the world. Our songwriting feels a lot more versatile, and the music is generally heartwarming and uplifting. If The Civil Wars represented the brokenness of a human being, Fox and Bones represents the cure.

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

F&B: Lately we’ve been influenced by the new retro and neo-soul movements, like Nathaniel Rateliff, Lake Street Dive, the California Honeydrops, Mingo Fishtrap, and Paolo Nutini as well as artists who are true storytellers and have compelling lyrics like Brett Dennen and John Craigie. We also love older stuff, Scott was very influenced by the Beatles, The Band, and Dylan, and I’ve always loved Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Janis Joplin and CCR.

TITL: Which band or artist might you say you sound most similar, or are you most compared to? Do you mind such comparisons or do you take them as compliments?

F&B: We hear The Civil Wars a lot, I think mainly because they are one of the most famous male/female duos out there. But we also get Johnnyswim, Of Monsters and Men, and Johnny and June, which we definitely consider a compliment. And of course, everyone thinks Scott sounds just like Cat Stevens.

TITL: You released your album Better Land recently. How have you found the reaction to it to be so far?

F&B: I think we both feel it’s the best musical work either of us have ever put out and the sentiment from fans definitely reflects that. We’ve had a solid reaction from press as well. We knew when we were making it that we had something special, and it’s so nice to discover that we aren’t the only ones who feel that way.

TITL: Is there a song on the album you’re most proud of and if so, which is it and why?

F&B: I think we’d have different answers.

Sarah: Mine is “Roots.” I’d been on a songwriting dry spell for a while, and that song came to me just before we went into the studio to record. We put a gospel choir on that one and something about that song still gives me the shivers even though I’ve heard it and played it a million times by now.

Scott: Mine is “Better Land.” It is the song that I’ve been trying to shake out of me for a few years and finally, after staying up all night, it tumbled out in one sitting. We tried to keep the recording as true to the original demo as possible and I just love how it all came together.

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

Sarah: For me, it’s a hard choice, because I have so many. But I’m going to have to go with “A Case of You” by Joni Mitchell. The first time I ever heard that song I had all over goosebumps – the songwriting is so deep and so interesting, I don’t know what some of it even means but the way Joni puts words together is genius, and the melody of that song gets me too. She has these amazing high notes that she hits, and it’s just so real and vulnerable. Brett Dennen’s “Sydney” is also a brilliant song, and it always puts a smile on my face.

TITL: You’ve been championed by and featured in/on the likes of Glide Magazine and Pop Matters. How big of an impact are you finding coverage like that has on your career?

F&B: It seems vital these days to have major outlets backing up your music, it kind of legitimizes you in a way. Someone at that level telling people your music is good goes a lot further than the artist themselves going on about how their music is good. It’s just an extra layer of legitimacy.

TITL: As a modern day duo, to what extent are you finding social media to be a vital tool in getting your name and music out to people? Is it fair to say you might not have the fan base and support you do without it?

F&B: Social media is such an amazing tool if you learn how to use it! We’ve been growing our socials quite a bit over the last year and I don’t know how musicians ever promoted themselves without it. It’s amazing to have direct contact with our fans and I think they enjoy seeing what we are up to, especially when we are on tour. Plus, as a creative, I love coming up with fun content to post.

TITL: With the year coming to a close, do you have any performances coming up people can look forward to?

F&B: We have a bunch! We are spending the few days left in November and half of December on tour all over California – we’ve got 25 dates on that tour. Then we come home to Portland and have a number of shows in the area to close out the year. We like to stay busy.

TITL: Aside from your album release, what’s been your highlight of the year?

F&B: We just finished an incredibly successful, two month long European tour booked by ROLA music. We’ve been there three times now but this time blew the others out of the water. We are seeing a real following developing over there, and it’s really exciting.

Finally then, what does 2019 have in store for you? What can fans expect from the two of you in the coming year?

F&B: We plan on spending the majority of the year on the road. We embark on a US tour in February that will last through June, stay in Portland in July, then head back to Europe mid-August for festival season. We also hope to get back to songwriting and crafting our next record, although it’ll be a nice to ride the tails of Better Land for a while before we start that process again.

We are also hosting the 2019 Portland’s Folk Festival on Feb. 1st and 2nd, an event that Scott and I created and curate each year. We have 20 acts over two evenings at McMinamen’s Mission theater and are partnered with Breedlove Guitars, Iheart Radio, Jim Beam, Vortex Music Magazine, ROLA music and Royale Brewing.

For more information on Fox & Bones, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Their album ‘Better Land’ is available now. Header photo: Amandala Photography.

LIVE: JESS GLYNNE & GUESTS – MANCHESTER ARENA 17/11/18 0 25

Having exploded onto the music scene back in 2016 thanks to his cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “These Walls”, and with a new EP due out next week, Moss Kena took to the stage a little after 7 to warm up the many who had arrived in time to see him. His set, which opened with “Square One”, was short and was greatly impacted by the backing track/instrumentation being considerably louder than he was at times, while a mass hand-clap started by the keys player fell flat with only a few people at the very front joining in. The highlight was easily his Kendrick cover, which allowed Moss the chance to how off his impressive range,but unfortunately, his then leaving the stage a good half a minute or so before the the music to his final track played out meant he left the growing crowd somewhat nonplussed.

Not3s was next up and quickly had the vastly growing crowd moving along to the music and, certainly in terms of the first few rows, had them following his every instruction, including shouting back “Oi! Oi! Oi!” when he yelled “Oggy, Oggy, Oggy!” during “Hasta la Vista.” Although he showed off some rather dodgy dance moves, his energy and strong vocal ability meant he closed out his time on stage with a fair few more fans.

Easily established now as one of the best and biggest names in British music, as the lights dimmed once more, the volume in the arena increased considerably as the thousands in attendance prepared for the main event that was to be Jess Glynne.

Appearing from the back of the stage, set out with a huge false iceberg, and accompanied by some impressive dancers and backing vocalists, the chart-topping, flame-haired star kicked off her set with the chart-topping bopper that is “Hold My Hand.” Dressed in white cargo pants and some sunglasses which only a few can and could really pull off, she thundered her way through the set, showcasing her incredible vocal ability via performances of material such as new album track “No One”, although she was, on more than one occasion, somewhat drowned out by her backing singers.

Opening up about her own struggles with self-acceptance, stating her belief that “Your naked self is your best self,” she then performed the beautiful “Thursday”, the venue suddenly awash – for the first, but not last, time in the evening – with lights from mobiles held aloft. While the passion she performs with on stage remains high, she does switch things up at times, and the Children In Need single “Take Me Home” is perhaps the one moment of the night that truly evokes heartfelt emotion from everyone present – Jess herself included.

Fan favourites “Rather Be” and latest single “All I Am” had everyone on the floor and those in the seats singing and dancing along, while the encore consisted of two tracks, “Right Here”, complete with an explosion of pink confetti, and “I’ll Be There.” As the final notes played out and the cheers and applause once again reverberated from every corner of the arena, Glynne bid Manchester goodnight, the audible delight of the masses she’d just played to only fading away a few minutes after she’d disappeared from view.

With a run of dates of this tour still to go, and recently announced as support for the Spice Girls next year, Jess Glynne tonight proved just why she’s so popular with both fans and fellow artists alike, and her star can only – and will surely – rise higher in the months ahead.