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It’s my secret agenda in every interview to befriend my subject. And Langhorne Slim certainly made the list. His real name is Sean Scolnick, and he might be the most normal, down-to-earth guy I’ve ever interviewed. In doing my research for his new record, The Way We Move, I realized that we have a lot in common, which is a data-point that will surely help in our future friendship. We’re both Jewish, and we both exited five-year relationships that were subject to long distances apart. Because I’m egocentric, I made sure to ask about these commonalities, along with questions about his joyful, dance-worthy style of music that I’ve fallen in love with. Read below.
Do you refer to yourself as Langhorne, or do your friends call you Sean?
It’s different. Some call me Sean, some call me Langhorne, some call me Seany Boy, some call me Slim. I’ve got lots of names. It just depends on who’s talking to me.
Is it true you wrote this album while mourning a breakup?
I wrote a few of the songs after my wonderful ex and I broke up, but a lot of the songs were [previously] written. [When] we went into the studio to record the record, we had already broken up.
Is it difficult to record in such an emotional place?
It was a difficult period, but it was amazing to have that kind of release, and to feel it in such a raw, immediate way. Instead of leaping off a cliff, I had this creative outlet.
I assume “Someday” is directly about the breakup, right?
The funny thing is . . . we were still together. Maybe you’re breaking-up before you realize it.
Do you ever get a call from an ex who is combing through your songs and wants to know if it’s about her?
They know that it is. I’m a man that hasn’t been with very many women. The last fifteen years of my life I’ve been in relationships. My ex knows exactly what songs are about her, because she heard me writing them.
Is it hard to sing songs that remind you of the time when you wrote them?
When I listen to [this record], it takes me very much back to that time and place, and I think that it always will. But it’s freeing. Even if you’re singing about pain, it’s a blessing to be able to create something that gets me through it. I don’t feel the heartbreak, I feel the release.
You raised the money for this album through PledgeMusic, which requires you to fulfill some very random promises to fans you’ve never met. I know you’re Jewish, and if I told my over-protective Jewish mother about the promises I’d have to fulfill, she’d kill me. Was your mother concerned?
I’m ten years into [my career], and my mother embraces it. [But] I remember the first time we ever got booked in Europe, she said, “Okay, wait a second. You’re going to Italy to play for some random people? How do you know they’re not going to kill you?” [laughs]. Now [my family] gets it. They knew I wasn’t cut out for a conventional job. Thankfully, they supported [me]. [They’re] still neurotic though.
You’ve toured with some heavy-hitters. Before you go on tour, do you think about whether you’ll get along on a personal level?
At this point it’s a little different. We’re in a position of picking who we tour with. [But] when we were going out with other bands, it wasn’t random. It already comes with a bit of a connection. There’s already a respect.
What about in your own band? Is it tough to be in close quarters for an extended period of time?
You learn each other’s eccentricities. It’s very much like a romantic relationship, but the romance is creative and musical.
How do you sustain a romantic relationship when you tour for 8 months out of the year?
I don’t know. People have told me it’s not feasible. But I did it the entire time I was a touring musician. It’s difficult to connect on a day-to-day basis, but I believe in it still. I’m a big, sappy believer in love. I feel like it’s just as difficult in different ways to have a 9to5 job and come home to each other every day. It’s a different set of challenges.
Do you have a favorite song on your new record?
The song that’s really meaningful to me is “A Song for Sid.” I wrote it for my grandfather. I’m very happy with it. You were asking if I’m brought back to the heartbreak or pain of a song that I wrote, and I am brought back [with that song], but in a beautiful way. It’s a tribute to him that he would probably feel proud of me for writing.
Watch below to see the video for Langhorne Slim & The Law’s single, “The Way We Move.” And thanks to Sean for proving that you can be talented and normal at the same time.
There’s no formula for what makes a performer uniquely great, but I sure do know it when I see it. And I see it in Josh Jove. He fronts a blues band in Los Angeles, and if my prediction is correct, they’re on their way to massive success. He started playing guitar at age 11, and he’s self-taught. If you see him perform live, you’ll understand just how impressive that last detail is. According to Jove, he practices an “embarrassing amount of hours per day,” which isn’t surprising. He’s damn good. Plus, he’s one of the nicest, most humble guys I know. Have I also mentioned he’s easy on the eyes? Listen below to hear a demo of his blues band cover JJ Cale’s “The Woman That Got Away.” The demo was recorded at Brick & Mortar Recording in Los Angeles.
The Lumineers did not come across The Dishmaster’s desk by accident. I’m on a constant hunt for new music, which includes an overloaded news feed flooded with music blogs and magazines. But with all that research, I rarely find anything worth listening to. You can therefore imagine my shock and happiness when I found The Lumineers. I discovered them through Paste Magazine, who voted them one of “The 20 Best New Bands of 2011.” I immediately listened to their EP, followed by playing their Daytrotter session on repeat. When I reached out to their team for an interview, I was elated when they invited me to their “Ho Hey” video shoot, which was filmed at a broken-down, old hospital that is also the home of some familiar movies, including Saw and Pearl Harbor. Though I was briefly afraid that ghosts might attack me, my nerves were immediately calmed when I met the band. They had been shooting all day and somehow still managed to sustain their fun, laid-back energy. I’m told by their manager that they revved up their dedicated, suspender-wearing extras with a live performance prior to the shoot, and it’s no surprise that everyone loved it. These guys are good. Our interview took place a few days later. They answered all my questions with the right amount of humility and honesty. In fact, after forty minutes I said, “I’ll let you off the hook. I’ve kept you way too long.” The band then said, “No, ask us anything. Keep going if you have more questions.” I took their bait and held them hostage even longer. Their self-titled debut album hits stores April 3rd. Enjoy the interview, and watch their “Ho Hey” video below.
As the daughter of a dentist, I’m intrigued by your name. How did you come up with it?
Wesley Schultz (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Piano): We stole it. We were playing at a place in Jersey City and they accidentally called us the name of a band performing the following week.
Why the move from New York to Denver?
Wesley: We wanted to move to the middle of nowhere and write songs. It was pretty random. We wanted to go somewhere new and cheap. It’s an absurd proposition to tour and live in New York. We wanted a low overhead. But we didn’t expect to find the really great music scene [in Denver]. There was a huge community of musicians.
How did Neyla join the band?
Neyla Peckarek (Cello, Piano): I just finished school and I had nothing on my plate and didn’t know what was next. I got a teaching degree and they don’t hire a lot of teachers in [December]. I checked the musicians page of [a Craigslist ad]. They sent me a couple of tracks and it was a pretty natural fit right away. I wasn’t looking to be in a band at all. It forged naturally. They wanted to go on tour, and I said yes.
This band blew me away. I was rudely mid-conversation when they took the stage, and their music shut me up immediately. “Who are these guys?” I said to my friend. “Why aren’t they hugely famous? Why aren’t they selling out venues?” The group is called Monsters Calling Home, and it has six members, including Alex Hwang (lead vocals, guitar), Daniel Chae (Guitar, Violin, Bass, Keys), John Chong (Drums), Jennifer Rim (Violin), Sally Kang (Keys, Guitar), and Joe Chun (Bass, Guitar ). After doing some research, I found that they are “inspired by stories of immigrant families and the wildly appropriate 90s children TV show Aahh!!! Real Monsters.” The members met at their church and began playing local venues before performing together at the Kollaboration entertainment competition at the Nokia Theater, a competition that promotes Asian Pacific American talent. Considering their incredible stage presence, I was shocked to discover that they have only been together for six months. I’m told by their frontman Alex Hwang that before they release their first EP, they want to “get comfortable on stage, play the songs that we have to their best potential, create as much content for people to look for online and be good to our fans.” When he said that I scratched my head for a moment and thought, “you’re out of your mind if you think your stage presence needs to be more developed. You guys are ready. Get on it.” But his attitude is likely the reason they will be successful. Self-criticism can be very valuable. Watch their video for “Growing Up” below.