Monday, April 27, 2009

The Exclusive Interview with Gym Class Heroes' Guitarist

Assistant A&E Editor

Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Photo by Abby Sanford

Zach Fraser: For a UT student who hasn’t heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo: Um, I think I’d just say it’s rooted in hip hop but influenced by everything, that’s about the best description I can give you ‘cause it’s all over the place.

ZF: Very few bands can say they’ve toured with such a wide variety of genres. You’ve toured with The Academy Is… and Fall Out Boy and on the last tour with Lil’ Wayne and T-Pain, is there a genre you prefer to tour with?

DL-K: No, I mean, not necessarily. I would say I really enjoy touring with the Academy and Fall Out Boy because we know those guys so it’s kind of like going out with old friends. But I think every tour we go on is a new experience, we can take something away from each of those.

ZF: How has the crowd been reacting to the new album, “The Quilt?”

DL-K : Good. It’s been a really good reaction I think, especially on this last tour. We have done, like you said, arena tours before. We did that with the All American Rejects and Fall Out Boy but Lil’ Wayne was the first hip-hop arena tour we ever did and it was really cool to see the fans react really well, cause’ on tours like that there are a lot of people who don’t know Gym Class Heroes or maybe they’ve only heard “Cupid’s Chokehold,” so it feels good to win over new fans every time.

ZF: Is there a favorite song of yours of the new album?

DL-K: Um, I have a couple. I like “Live a Little” and “No Place to Run.” I really like “Live Forever,” it’s a really meaningful one too. But I think that answer changes everyday

ZF: On your Last album, “As Cruel as School Children” you had appearances from William Beckett of The Academy Is… On this new album you have appearances from The Dream and Busta Rymes, is that a testament to the direction the band is going in?

DL-K: I wouldn’t say necessarily, I think that those appearances we felt would work well for those songs so we got a hold of those people. Actually Busta Ryhmes heard the song we were working on while we were in the studio and Travis was in the studio and then he was like, “I gotta get on this, I gotta get on this,” so I think in that case even he wanted to be on the song and pursue that. I think people only make guest appearances on any song that we have, I think its more important to us that the song fits the person who’s playing with us rather than getting someone for the sake of getting a name with us.

ZF: I noticed a few college shows after tonight, maybe a handful, but not too much after that, do you know what the future entails for the band?

DL-K: I think we’re going to be writing for most of the summer and yeah, that’s the only plan right now which is kind of cool because I haven’t had a summer in like five years, so it’s kind of sweet.

ZF: You know the whole thing is going on with the music industry, how it’s changing, with online piracy and everything. As an artist, how does that affect your band and how do you view it?

DL-K: Well, financially speaking it takes away from the band because, you know not that bands really get that much off of record sales, but the record labels do. When the record labels lose money, then they start holding back on the money they allocate [to the band] but, in terms of people hearing the music I mean it’s really good actually because it allows more people to get access to our music so I think it’s kind of just changing the way that music works, which happens you know, every so often, you had tapes and CD’s and then CD’s with burning and after that came the whole digital revolution so I think it’s just a natural evolution of music. I think it’s good to find ways to evolve with it, which I’m sure will happen, but it’s a new thing so it’s a real transitional period for the music industry. But I’m still for what it holds in the future, because I think that people are going to start taking music into their own hands more and they’re relying less on labels which could be a good thing so we’ll see.

ZF: What bands have influenced you and the band as a whole?

DL-K: As a whole I’d say probably the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, the very very early Black Eyed Peas stuff, as far as me personally a lot of music has influenced me. When I was first getting into guitar I’d say bands like Green Day, Nirvana, the alternative music. And I think later in college underground hip-hop and hip-hop in general and at this point it’s whatever I think sounds cool, I listen to, I’m really into Muse, I think they’re amazing.

ZF: I know you’re on the record label Decadyance which is part of Fueled By Ramen which is in Tampa so is anyone going to be here from the record label tonight?

DL-K: Probably (laughs). I don’t know actually. But there was one of our friends I knew was gonna be here, but she can’t because she has to do some teaching stuff.

ZF: Has there been any differences in the college shows compared to a normal crowd that would buy tickets as is, have you noticed any differences in the crowd?

DL-K: Yeah, the transition between the Lil’ Wayne tour and this. It’s hard to tell differences in the crowd, but in terms of the overall show, these shows are a lot more intimate because we’ve been playing arenas. It’s kind of a little bit harder to connect with the individual people because there’s so many, but these shows are cool. They’re a lot more laid back and people kind of come to these shows I think like chill out and have a party mentality which is just really cool.

ZF: And finally, what do you expect from the UT audience tonight?

DL-K: Debauchery (laughs), madness, just a good time I hope. It’s cool ‘cause we’ve been playing a couple outdoor shows and spring is finally here so we’re coming out of the east coast where it still might be snowing, so it’s good to get out.

To hear the interview, make sure to tune into WUTT 1080 AM, or campus cable channel 95.

The Minaret Online Article

Uwire Link

UTunes: Plant Park Heroes Rock Campus

Zach Fraser

Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The second annual concert in the park continued in the footsteps of last year’s event, making the Gym Class Heroes show one of UT’s most memorable moments of the year.
The concert, which was funded and provided by student government and Student Productions, turned out to be entertainment for everyone.

Julissa Veloz, UT student and recent American Idol contestant, opened up the concert with a quick song backed up by two choreographed dancers.

Veloz’s quick performance lead into the true opening band of the night, Quietdrive.
The alternative-rock band from Minneapolis was well rehearsed and polished on stage as they entertained the growing audience of UT students. Quietdrive rolled through roughly a 5-6 song set list, ending with their fan favorite rendition of Cindi Lauper’s, "Time After Time."

After Quietdrive exited and an intermission, the unique sound of Chester French took the stage. Whether you loved or hated this band, they were quite entertaining. The eclectic range of sounds and over-the-top antics provided for great eye candy.
Chester French entered the concert with a bang asking UT students the question, "Are you guys ready to f***?"

This brought laughter and chuckles from UT students and was foreshadowing of what was to come from these Harvard alumni.

The band played roughly eight songs, a few of which were off their free album, "Jacques James Vol. 1: Endurance." Make sure to go to to download your free album, which features appearances from artists such as Lady Gaga, Diddy, Pharell and many more.

It’s safe to say that the UT crowd was beginning to become anxious with nearly 40 minutes of waiting time between Chester French and Gym Class Heroes sets, but as the sun set and more students flooded into Plant Park, Gym Class Heroes finally took the stage and the adrenaline kicked back in.

UT students began to go wild as the lights dimmed and the band entered playing, "Peace Sign/Index Down."

"Forget every f****** thing your teachers have taught you," shouted lead singer Travis McCoy as he took the stage.

At this point, if you were to look to the back of Plant Park it would seem as UT students were being evacuated out of the dormitories and into the concert as tons of students swamped the venue.

Gym Class Heroes continued to entertain as they rolled through a few more songs and into their breakout single, "Cupid’s Chokehold."

Once again the band humored and won students over as they preached, "scream like there’s a new president in this m*****f****!"

Gym Class Heroes had everyone in Plant Park on their feet as they continued to play crowd favorites "Taxi Driver" and "Clothes Off!"

Without a doubt, the best moment of the night was when GCH played their hit single, "Cookie Jar." As the intro to the song sounded, the light show illuminated a portrait of hands raised and fans cheering along to what seemed to be the UT audience’s favorite song.

"I like girls, they like me, they look so good, in they Seven jeans," the chorus goes. "Want you to be the one and my only, I want to be faithful, but I can’t keep my hands out the cookie jar."

As the band concluded their nearly 75 minute set list and left the stage, most UT students proved that they had never been to a concert.

Nearly half the crowd exited thinking the show was over to find the band come back on stage to play an encore.

Dumbfounded and embarrassed, the fans that had left sprinted back to catch the final act of the night to find the lead singer not present on stage.

Before you knew it, the crowd erupted and revealed McCoy in the middle of the crowd. A rock star amongst UT students proved to be all it needed for most girls as they mauled the lead singer as he exited the crowd and show for good.

I found myself several times throughout the show being absolutely blown away by Gym Class Heroes stage presence. They were truly sensational live, and, above all else, seemed to be having a great time playing to our campus.

While a lot of UT students may have never heard of Gym Class Heroes before last week’s concert, it is safe to say that the band is probably currently being played on many students’ iTunes. I know they’re on mine right now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Narrative

What a sigh of relief it is to find a band like The Narrative.

A band that blends the intimacy of singer/songwriter lyrics with the smooth sounds of alternative music is really a rare, but great find now-a-days. These New Yorkers are stirring up quite a bit of commotion lately after being featured on

What's their catch?

They're unsigned.

Jump on board and fall in love with this band before they get signed, I have a feeling a record company is right around the corner from signing them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This Providence Breaks The Mold With New Album

Zach Fraser

Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Record label Fueled By Ramen is home to some of the biggest names in music today, but still manages to house one of the industry’s most under-appreciated acts, This Providence.

The Seattle natives are looking to finally gain the notary they deserve and make a name for themselves on a label that is home to bands such as: Paramore, Panic at the Disco and Gym Class Heroes.

The third studio album from This Providence, “Who Are You Now,” is a collection of 13 songs that feature lightly-distorted guitars, falsetto choruses and longing-for-love, yet redeeming lyrics.

“Nothing Matters, I’m just chasing the wind,” hums lead singer Daniel Young. “If I can’t have you, darling.”

“Who Are You Now?” doesn’t break musical boundaries by any means, but serves strictly as ear candy, making it as contagious and entertaining as it is simple.

“Sure As Hell,” opens up the album with echoing and almost even eerie guitars as the band pronounces, “And as long as there’s a God in Heaven, I will want you.”
While the opening track fades away, the next song and single from the album, “Letdown,” jolts into your system and sets the pace for the next half of the album.
“My Beautiful Rescue (Renovated)” as the name explains, is ultimately a renovation of This Providence’s most famous song from their self-titled sophomore release.

To many fans surprise, the song fits in perfectly to the album and even gives the original a run for its money. More upbeat and lively than the mostly acoustic first version, “My Beautiful Rescue (Renovated)” is one of the highest moments on, “Who Are You Now?”

As the album begins to wind down, tracks such as “Sand In Your Shoes” change the pace of the LP and really showcase lead singer Daniel Young’s vocal range and abilities.
“Falling in love is easy to do with the wind in your hair and the sand in your shoes” Young sings. “And though it may hurt to have your heart broken in two, that didn’t stop me from falling for you.”

This Providence always seems to be the unsung heroes of the powerhouse record label that they are on. The fame and fortune of the other artists makes it very easy for smaller bands like This Providence to be lost in their shadows.

Only time will tell if This Providence and their third release “Who Are You Now?” will be the album that propels them into the limelight and gives them the credit they deserve.

Although the songs may not press the means of musical progression, the band has surely provided its audience with one of the best albums of 2009, containing songs that just sound great and are fun to listen to.

-The Minaret

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Coldplay - Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends

As of tomorrow I will be checking into a rehabilitation facility, my diagnosis: addiction to the familiar drug/band Coldplay.

That being said, I've been listening to a ton of Coldplay lately, not just early, "Yellow" or "In My Place" Coldplay, but their whole catalog in its entirety.

They say addiction to some things acts as a gateway drug, well I'm glad to say my addiction lead my to stumble upon the most recent and yet most overlooked album from the British rock act, Coldplay.

"Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends," the fourth album from the band has so much more to offer than meets the eye.

I will hands down agree with most critics and fans alike that say the album didn't produce that hit track or emotionally connecting song, but at the same time it offered musicianship, art and storytelling.

I didn't know, "Life in Technicolor," a song without lyrics, could make such a lasting impression and great start to an album in this day and age.

Songs like, "42," "Loves In Japan" and "Death and All his friends" have for the most part have been overlooked by many and I strongly encourage you to take another listen.

The rhythm changes and array of instruments on "Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends" are an eclectic mix, this we know, but they end up working out extremely well.

Some bands best works can be found in the cracks and seems of an artist's music catalog.

"Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends" may be a collection of "Deep Cuts," but true beauty lies beneath, so give this album another try, I promise it won't disappoint.

42 Live:

Life In Technicolor ii live: