The Fontaines | SPOTLIGHT Series No.4 | ‘Two Bodies’ Exclusive Interview

In February 2017, Los Angeles-based Iconic Band ‘The Fontaines’ dropped their single ‘Evaporate’ on iTunes and are once again waking up the Music Industry demonstrating their incredible talent and consistently accelerating career toward the next level of fabulous. In fact, this is a band whose notoriety has been duly noted by the ‘who’s who’ in the industry such as Famous Radio Hosts Rodney Bingenheimer (KROQ – Rodney on the Roq in Los Angeles) and Mike Rogers (WhatTheFunday Inter FM Radio in Japan). The Fontaines had their (unreleased yet – we are waiting!) upcoming new single ‘Mercury’ spun on Bingenheimers’ last show ever on June 5th alongside the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Bangles, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Moon Kids (another SMC fave), Elvis Costello, Van Halen, and Blondie. Bingenheimer is the legend responsible for discovering and spinning many of these bands (including Bowie!) in the early stages of their careers so THAT’S our indication of just how cool these cats are. See why we call them Iconic?

Today, the band has released their newest single ‘Two Bodies’ to iTunes following the succession of their single ‘Vacant’ (April 2017, reviewed on The Chronicles here) just in time for summer. The song is yet another result of this bands’ ability to create something we all want to hear 365 days of the year and can be summed up in one word: Extraordinary. Let’s break that down to the effervescent sexy, seductive, and lilting vocals of Charlotte Fontaine who carries off lyrics that are equally as suggestive and powerful ‘Two bodies in motion…’. This wickedly talented frontwoman of the band has a style that has engraved The Fontaines’ sound into music history and into the hands of iconic radio and media platforms worldwide. In fact, the bands’ website goes by the address THATFONTAINESSOUND.com, a truly unique sound created with the epic guitar riffs of Hank Fontaine and Daniel Zuker (Bassist) complete with a beat that makes you move your feet by Drummer Chrystian Kaplan.

We are always awaiting the release of new music, and it looks like the wait will be not much longer – their upcoming single ‘Mercury’ will launch by the end of summer 2017. Following the successful launch of last Junes ‘ii’ EP and with the hint of a new full-length album on the horizon, we can’t wait! Even if your first listen of this iconic band is today, prepare yourself for something one of a kind and completely addictive also known as: The Fontaines.

We took a moment to chat with Charlotte Fontaine in an exclusive interview below:

SMC SPOTLIGHT! Exclusive Interview | The Fontaines ‘Two Bodies’ June 6th, 2017

SMC – Here we are again with another Numbered Series on our SMC SPOTLIGHT platform. This is number four for The Fontaines! Can you tell us what your connection to SMC and your experience to date with our media platform?

Charlotte – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again-Candice’s support of our music has been incredible and so encouraging. It’s because of people like Candice that I continue making music.

SMC – We were so thrilled to see you on the roster for the great Rodney Bingenheimer’s last show on KROQ (Los Angeles). So many legends have been on his show – can you tell us how you met with Rodney and what your thoughts are on ‘The Mayor of the Sunset Strip’?

Charlotte – Rodney’s a legend! I can’t believe he played us twice on his final KROQ show. What an absolute honor.

SMC – If you could give a shout-out to Rodney here, what would you like to say?

Charlotte – Thank you for playing us and for the sugar free cookies.

SMC – When can we expect to see your single ‘Mercury’ (as played on Rodney Bingeheimers last show on KROQ) hit iTunes? I am already wanting it on my playlist! (laughs)

Charlotte – Mercury’s gonna be released by the end of the summer!

SMC – Now let’s get into some discussion on your single ‘Two Bodies’ released today: I see that there seems to be a trend with the releases and I recall the last time we spoke, that another album was imminent…will ‘Vacant’, ‘Evaporate’, and now ‘Two Bodies’ be on the album?

Charlotte – We actually will be putting out two EP’s that were recorded a while ago that do not include any of these new singles.

SMC – One thing I have learned about The Fontaines is that you are never predictable. Can you tell us what kind of feedback you have received from industry peers in terms of your individuality as a band?

Charlotte – Thank you! I think that unpredictability is a sign of growing, which is all I ever want to be doing as a musician and as a person.

SMC – That was so nice to see you had included Rodney in your ‘Two Bodies’ video! Speaking of the video (and all your videos for that matter), can you tell us what the inspiration is behind this video?

Charlotte – The biggest inspiration for our “Two Bodies” video was a lack of budget! We shot it in a warehouse that’s being converted to our friend Zach’s new recording studio (Big Bad Sound LA), and on Hank’s iPhone. I love how dramatic the video turned out.

SMC – I have also noticed a trend on your YouTube channel: the ‘Trashy Version’ of your upcoming releases. I had a chuckle when I saw that. Can you tell us what the trend is there in giving these videos that title?

Charlotte – We decided to shoot some acoustic type performances one day but our camera guy bailed last minute. So, I took out my iPhone and started shooting us selfie-style. Thus began the “trashy” series.

SMC – I have mentioned before that I feel your music and brand speaks for itself. Some of the greatest Musicians really don’t have to sell themselves short or be aggressive and pushy with their Music. What are your thoughts on that?

Charlotte – Living in LA gives you the opportunity to perform any night of the week, for entirely different groups of people. Plus, you can go to Canter’s deli and meet Rodney Bingenheimer.

SMC – What are your thoughts on the kind of music that comes from the east coast – is there a bit of a different vibe that westerners create in their music as opposed to what is produced in the east?

Charlotte – I honestly haven’t experienced their music scene half as much as the one here on the west coast, so I can’t quite say.

SMC – Since we last spoke, ‘Evaporate’ was the topic for discussion. You have also released ‘Vacant’, a brilliant song! Can you tell me what was the inspiration behind this song? Was it a personal experience?

Charlotte – “Vacant” is about creepy guys at the bar who you can tell a million times “I’m not interested” or “I have a boyfriend” or “I’m married to my cat” and they’ll still keep pursuing you.

SMC – The video for ‘Vacant’ was pretty on point. (laughs) On a serious note: whose idea was it for the theme?

Charlotte – The girl featured in the video, our friend Fiona, actually directed it and came up with the entire concept. I think her work is brilliant and so unique.

SMC – When it comes to the creation of your music, do you find that you all have that ‘ah-ha’ moment when you begin to produce and record it?

Charlotte – With every song there’s either an “a-ha” moment or a “this is awful! we gotta drop this!” moment. Funny thing is when two different people experience different ones with the same song…

SMC – We are looking at doing a Social Media takeover for SMC in the near future. You are SMC Royalty in our opinion and want to have you hosted on our Social Media for a full day. Tell us of the kind of creative things you would like to do if we are able to facilitate this?

Charlotte – Royalty! I can’t wait to tell our mom we’re royalty. We’d love to take over the social media for starlight for a day!

SMC – Can you tell us what other cool gigs you have coming up for the summer months?

Charlotte – We’re playing a festival in August called “Musikfest” in Bethlehem, PA, and we’re booking some east coast shows around that!

SMC – You also released another video to your YouTube channel last week ‘F Buddy Holly (Voice Memo)’ which is soooo pleasing to the ears. Can you tell us if this song will also be included on the new album?

Charlotte – ‘F Buddy Holly’ was just a voice memo we recorded onto my phone one random day last year with our friend Scott from the band Street Joy, so we just put it up on YouTube for fun.

SMC – Can you tell me a little bit about the title of the song and what it means ‘F Buddy Holly’?

Charlotte – “F Buddy Holly” was just us censoring ourselves. It’s just a pun. I recall listening to a lot of Buddy Holly that day. But that’s me every day…

SMC –Ha ha! I thought as much. I really like that you have registered your social media and website as ‘That Fontaine’s Sound’, yet another unique little nuance we have come to know and love. What do you think are some of the most important things a band can do for themselves in terms of brand awareness and marketing their sound?

Charlotte – Biggest advice I have is to come up with a band name and spell it in the most unusual way possible… the amount of trouble we and friends of ours have gone through with other people under the same name…

SMC – Can you tell us who your go-to is in terms of Media platforms and collaborations in getting your new music out?

Charlotte – Right now I’m on a YouTube kick. I’m posting vlogs of our everyday life on their once a week as well as releasing new songs or “trashy versions” of songs on there.

SMC – Where do you think the music world is headed in terms of Radio? Many are saying that Spotify playlists are the way of the future. You have been listed on our Playlists ‘SMC SPOTLIGHT ARTISTS’ and ‘SMC EDITORS FAVORITES’. I also see that you have close to 18,000 monthly listeners! What do you think the benefits are for being placed in Spotify playlists?

Charlotte – Spotify has been incredible for us. At one point when “Evaporate” first came out we had 37,000 monthly listeners… Their playlists are just a convenient way for people to hear new music, all of my friends go there for new tunes.

SMC – How long have you been on Spotify?

Charlotte- Probably about a year?

SMC – We are really beginning to push our Spotify playlists for the Artists that we support and are quite happy with the response we have gotten from industry peers. We are even thinking of compiling a Christmas playlist as well in the month of November. What do you feel the public wants in terms of a great playlist?

Charlotte – The public probably wants what I want from a playlist-high energy, then maybe some slow jams, and a build back up to some fun hits at the end!

SMC – Finish this sentence: If I were not a part of The Fontaines, I would be ______________.

Charlotte – If I weren’t part of The Fontaines I would…still be going to Fontaines shows (winks).

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Band Members

Charlotte Fontaine (Vocalist)

Hank Fontaine (Backup Vocalist, Guitarist)

Daniel Zuker (Bassist)

Chrystian Kaplan (Drummer)

Biography

The Fontaines are a brother-sister duo based in Los Angeles, California.  Charlotte Fontaine (vocals) and Hank Fontaine (guitar) began writing new-wave influenced rock songs after growing up all over the world as kids.  The siblings are backed by Chrystian Kaplan (drums) and Daniel Zuker (bass) live and in the studio.

In 2016 The Fontaines performed at music festivals including Savannah Stopover, Canadian Music Week, Broke LA, and Make Music Pasadena.  In June, the band released their new EP, “ii,” which has gotten airplay on KROQ in Los Angeles.  The band is currently finishing up their debut full-length album, set for release in 2017.

The Fontaines Social Media Links (click to view)

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Spotify

iTunes

YouTube

Bandcamp

THE MOON KIDS | SPOTLIGHT Series No.1

If you are itching for summer to hurry up, you might want to upload Dunfermline, Scotland band The Moon Kids two brand new singles ‘Forever Blue’ and ‘Something Spectacular’ right now. The band has launched the singles today, March 31st, and the tunes are the brilliant, effervescent, feel-good magic that only ‘The Moon Kids’ know how to create and are perfect for getting you in the mood for sunny days, flip flops, and music festival season! We had the opportunity to speak with the band prior to their single releases to get a more in-depth discussion on the new music, their upcoming projects for 2017, and the intense media support they have been receiving on some of the worlds most notorious radio platforms in Japan and Los Angeles. Here is what they had to say:

Interview | March 6th, 2017

By Candice Anne Marshall

*The band is comprised of: David Barr (vocals), Connor Whyte (guitar), and Rory Buchanan(drums)

SMC – The Moon Kids! This is our first official numbered series feature for you on our Spotlight. (previously the band was published in our first issue of Starlight Music Chronicles Magazine in October 2015). Can you catch us up to speed with some of the key things that have been happening for the band since then?

TMK – Gigs, single releases, recording, recording and more recording! And maybe a little soul searching!

SMC- I am going to get right into the topic of your new singles today. Before I mention the song titles, can you tell me what was the reason behind launching two singles on the same day? We have seen this with Ed Sheeran’s return in January but it’s not often that Artists these days launch two singles on the same day – this is exciting!

TMK – There wasn’t really a specific reason to putting out two tracks at the same time other than we have so much unheard material. We are constantly in the studio working on new music and always have been ever since we started. Because we have had a couple of line up changes we haven’t really been able to be as active as we would have liked… But during these periods I make a point of staying busy in the studio so that we keep moving forward. So, we’ve built up quite a large catalogue of material which I think our fans deserve to hear.

SMC – Who did you produce the album with?

TMK – We still work with Michael Brennan Jnr (snow patrol, Super Furry Animals, Primal Scream) but recently we have also spent time in the studio with Tony Doogan (Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai, Young Knives) Rafe McKenna but also a young Edinburgh based producer Mark Morrow who we recorded the next single ‘Forever Blue’ with.

SMC – So let’s get into the songs: ’Something Spectacular’ I have had the chance to sample on your SoundCloud and I am already playing it on repeat! What is the time frame from the last single to this one coming up in terms of new music?

TMK – Our last single ‘Ice Cream’ was released late in 2015 so there has been a full year gap since the last single. So definitely time for people to hear what we’ve been up to behind the scenes.

SMC – ‘Something Spectacular’ – can you tell us what brought on the inspiration for this song? Has it been something you have had waiting in your back pocket for a while or was it written very recently?

TMK – This was actually one of the very first songs I ever wrote when I was still a young teenager. It has changed and developed a lot since I first penned the track but the sentiment of the song remains the same. The other guys in the band had heard the old demo I recorded years ago and everyone just really wanted to work on it. It’s a ‘feel good’ track and the chorus is super catchy. It’s got strange groove to it… This is because years ago I used to have a little Zoom 8 -Track at home which had a built-in drum machine. So, I wrote the chord progression around a looped beat rather than writing on an acoustic first. It worked really well.

SMC – You second single ‘Forever Blue’ still encompasses that great Moon Kids sound but is a different…is this a precursor/sampling to an upcoming album?

TMK – Well… This is an odd one… This song we used play live and it was super fast. Almost quite rocky sounding. I spent some time in LA last year and really loved the chilled-out vibe… Especially Venice Beach. It’s a completely different environment to what I’m used to back home in Scotland. I felt really relaxed there. A busker gave me a shot of his guitar one night and I just started playing an acoustic version of the track. Really slow and chilled. Was just how I was feeling at the time. I just liked it and set up a few hours in the studio when I got home to record a stripped back version. And what you hear on record is how it turned out. It’s full band but it’s a lot more organic and raw compared to some of our previous releases. But personally, I love that about it.

SMC – You have been getting some great traction for your music with the media in the UK. Are there any particular platforms you would like to give a shout out to?

TMK – Yeah, I’ve been really blown away with just how many amazing reviews we’ve had and totally blown away with the amount of Spotify streams etc. We’re still very much a DIY band. We don’t have a manger or anything… So, the fact that so many people are finding and connecting to the music is really amazing. Big shout out to everyone who has listened, written about or played us really… There has been so many platforms and radio show supporting us that I’d hate to name any and forget to name others.

SMC- In terms of radio play, I know you boys have appeared on Rodney on the ROQ KROQ FM radio in Los Angeles and WhatTheFunday Inter FM Radio in Japan. Are there any other radio stations in other countries who have picked up your music?

TMK – Yeah, Rodney has been a huge support to us and that’s a great honour for us. The guy has a good hear for talent which his track record proves so it’s really great that he digs our music. It means a lot. Similarly, with WhatTheFunday… It’s really special knowing that a track you wrote in your bedroom on a rainy afternoon in Scotland is getting heard all the way out in Japan. We can’t thank these people enough.

At home Amazing Radio, BBC 6, BBC Scotland have all regularly played our music as well as a lot of other stations in Germany, New Zealand, Canada… It’s really amazing. For us being a Scottish band it is an achievement on its own just to get played in England. So, I feel really blessed to have the support we have had.

SMC – When can we expect the videos for the new singles to release?

TMK – 31rst of March… The video for Forever Blue is released. Big shout out Kansas Bowling who shot the video. She’s a super cool film-maker destined for big things I’m sure. It was great to work with her.

SMC – How do you think that Musicians in the UK differ from Musicians in North America in terms of production, branding, promotion, of their music?

TMK – I’m not sure to be honest. The UK is tiny compared to North America and we’ve been based here the whole time so it’s hard to make a comparison. I think its equally as challenging wherever you are. Especially for guitar bands in recent years. But I think that’s all going to change soon.

SMC – Which social media platforms are you most active on?

TMK – We are equally active on… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube

SMC- Which social media platforms are the best at promoting yourselves as Artists?

TMK – I’m going to be brutally honest here… They are all equal in getting yourself out there… But Facebook charges bands to post. In order to be effective with posts you have to pay to sponsor it otherwise it gets diluted in the feed. So as much as I love Facebook as a promotional tool I do feel this is slightly exploiting bands. Especially considering bands make so little money these days from streaming etc. I think it has to change.

SMC – I really appreciated the treasures you all sent over last spring (CD’s, T-shirts, Buttons). I have to publicly thank you again for that. I think that lends a real personal touch to the connection between the Artist and Media. Most Artists will send all of their content and expect that an immediate connection has to happen and a write-up but I feel that the best way to get the most out of a well written piece is to know the band/Artist. What are your thoughts on that?

TMK – Yeah… I do believe in developing relationships with the people who support you. It’s really important. I want us to be one of those bands that people feel a connection with. So, we have to show our gratitude.

SMC –  What do you feel makes the magic in a band? What is it that makes a band stick together through thick and thin?

TMK – Well… A spot of luck goes a long way. I’m not sure either though… To me its about grit and determination… Bands are notoriously difficult it’s why inevitably we all split up eventually. People hear the music and think must be a great laugh being in a band… And it is, but its like anything the trials and tribulations are there. The music industry is tough and for a band trying to breakthrough it can be very gruelling. There is no way around it. One minute you’re the next big thing the next minute you can’t get arrested. It’s only really the bands at the very top who earn any money. So, you have to be prepared to ride the wave and be persistent. If being in a band is what you are passionate about then I think you should always remember just how lucky you are to be doing what you dreamed about as a kid.

SMC – I have never asked this until today but referencing the previous question, do you think that the long-term success of a band is different when they are family or friends?

TMK – Yeah, I think there might be some truth to this. Family obviously will stick together through thick and thin as will good friends. There is a closer bond I suppose. I think it’s down to the band though. If the individuals in the band are motivated, enthusiastic, passionate and determined then anything is possible.

SMC – I really have always loved the logo for The Moon Kids. Who came up with the concept?

TMK – That was myself way back when we first started. We were playing our debut show in Dunfermline and needed a logo for the kit. I think the skin got printed on the day of the gig so it wasn’t really thought about too much. It was more of a spur of the moment kind of a thing. But it’s like a tattoo. You’re stuck with it. So, I’m glad you like it.

SMC – I know that a lot of your music sounds light but the lyrics are often very deep. How do you achieve that balance when it comes to the songwriting process?

TMK – That’s really great that you have picked up on that because no-one else has. And to me this is one of the things that sets us apart. No one ever mentions our lyrics. I’ve always wanted that contrast. I love early Beatles and early pop music. The hooks, melodies and chord progressions are timeless so I always wanted our music to have this quality. To be catchy and good on the ear. But I think lyrics are so important so I didn’t want them to ever be throwaway. “Oh baby baby” and all that kind of thing. In fact, our first song ‘Rollercoaster People” is a good example I sang “Sha la la” normally a happy feel good chant over the top of quite an emotive chord progression. I love the contrast. Taking things out of perspective. Getting away with saying some quite dark stuff over the top of some nice major chords can really deceive the listener in a good way though. I love playing with that concept.

SMC – What kinds of challenges have the band face and how were they overcome?

TMK – Most bands face the same challenges, we’ve been kept on our toes I’m not going to lie about that. It hasn’t been an easy ride but then again, I didn’t expect it would be. Having very little money, working day jobs, band members leaving the day before a big gig etc. all make life a little difficult. You just have to persevere and that’s what we have always done. I’m a big believer in turning a negative into a positive. If you’re thrown into a situation that is out of your hands accept it and figure out how to flip it to your advantage.

SMC – Which would be the one country you love to all travel to in terms of live performance and getting your name out?

TMK – Definitely North America…

SMC – Okay, final question: Can you tell us what your thoughts are on the music that is being produced today and who you were most sad to see leave (pass away) the industry in 2016 and why?

TMK – Some amazing music is being made today in all different genres as always, a lot of what is played in the mainstream charts is throwaway garbage but that’ll always be the case. Scratch the surface though and there are some amazing groups and artists writing unbelievable music. Big shout out to Dutch Uncles who are my favourite band just now.

I’m sad to see anyone pass away and 2016 was just relentless. Bowie and Prince though both of their deaths really shook the musical world. Real icons so you don’t associate them with any form of weakness. It was really sad. For a song-writer when you come up against it… The right answer is always “what would Bowie have done?” He is one of a kind and brought so much joy to so many people through his art and passion for life. Really, he is a great example of what a pop-star should be.

SMC – Thank you boys!

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The Moon Kinds Social Media Links (Click to View)

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Spotify

iTunes

YouTube

Something Spectaular