Immortal Girlfriend mark a new chapter with their ‘Ride’ EP

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All December, Radio Milwaukee is paying tribute to our favorite Milwaukee releases of 2020 and speaking with the musicians who made them. This is Milwaukee Music’s 20 of 2020, presented by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

When I first met the brothers Kevin and Will of Immortal Girlfriend it was at their studio 30 minutes outside of Milwaukee inside a design studio. Filled with synths and production gear, the brothers began to share some of the music they were working on in their studio, and right then I notice something extraordinary about the duo. They had a passion for the sound known as synthwave, a subgenre of electronic music that is inspired by science-fiction and video game soundtracks. But Immortal Girlfriend put their own soulful spin on the sound which made me an instant fan. And their latest project “Ride” is the perfect soundtrack for a future where anything is possible.

Released in April of 2020, “Ride” was inspired by the brothers’ experiences traveling on the road when they were taking part in the Backline program. And that explains why the EP feels and sounds like a journey in self-reflection to me. According to Will and Kevin, “Ride” is their first project as truly a duo compared to 2017’s “Daybreak,” where it was more like a solo project for Will and Kevin was a contributor.

Immortal Girlfriend | Photo credit: Weston Rich

I chatted with the brothers to learn more about the project, the story behind the track “Daisy Ridley” and including when they spent some time in a screamo band. Find the complete audio and excerpted portions of the interview below.

Immortal Girlfriend interview

Tarik: Let’s talk about that album. What was the inspiration behind it?

Will Bush: When we were making that, it was kind of over the course of like a year. So we kind of did some traveling throughout that time. So during that time we were kind of riding, it was a lot of time spent on the road. We’re also at our studio at the time and we were just recording and just being inspired by like life at the time.

Tarik: What about life was inspiring for this record?

Will Bush: A big part of it was we went through the Backline program, so we were traveling out in L.A. and around New York. It was inspirational just to kind of get out of the city, but also just where we were at the time and just creatively with the studio, you know, we were kind of producing for other artists at the time. So a lot of those influences I think kind of seeped into what we were trying to create when we made that.

Tarik: So how does this differ from your first EP, which came out in 2017, “Daybreak?” How do you feel you’ve grown musically?

Will Bush: With “Daybreak,” there were no expectations when we put it out, so it was heavily like synthwave inspired, just like for whoever we were listening to at that moment, so for me it was a lot of synthwave and vaporwave and stuff online that kind of had this underground fan base to it. That was the stuff that was inspiring me. But this time around, I feel like more like the production changed and it was a little bit more collaborative. I’d say that was good.

Tarik: What do you mean by collaborative? Like with your brother or with other people?

Kevin Bush: With each other. I feel like we made songs more together and like intentionally, I guess.

Tarik: You’re siblings, so what is it like working on an album? Do you get in fights or arguments? What is the chemistry like working as siblings? 

Kevin Bush: Well, I feel like we’ve been making music together our whole life. Our family is very musical. Like our parents play instruments or uncles on both sides, play instruments. So I feel like the earlier you can get started, the better you can figure out how that relationship works. Because it is a different relationship for sure. As opposed to just me being his brother it’s like musically being his brother is almost a thing you got to learn. 

Will Bush: Yeah. Like we, so we played in different bands throughout the years together, and we also just jammed for like forever, you know, in our parents’ basement. So I think a lot of that kind of carries over so we can kind of know where we’re going to go or kind of feel an idea together just from playing together for like a few years before the project.

So I think it makes this process a little bit more streamlined, although it’s not 100% perfect. I mean, we have our disagreements on stuff, but I think at the end of the day, we’re both united on just trying to create good music, you know what I mean? So it’s kind of finding our own place, finding our footing. It’s been fun. We never really had any idea of what this would be, and that helps a lot. We’re kind of making it up as we go, but the more creative we get, the more we just throw together our influences — like his influences, my influences — the more we kind of mesh them together, the better off our songs end up being usually.

Milwaukee Music’s 20 of 2020 is presented by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

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414 (not so) Live: Immortal Girlfriend

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Brothers Will and Kevin Bush, who create electronic pop under the moniker Immortal Girlfriend, ended 2019 strong. They opened for Thievery Corporation at the Pabst Theater, won a Backline artist grant. and performed at the 2019 Radio Milwaukee Music Awards. 

Learn more about the duo’s about banner year, where they started and what keeps them going. Plus, tune in for a broadcast of an Immortal Girlfriend performance this Thursday, June 4 at 5:30 p.m.! 

Immortal Girlfriend | Photo by Ariel Kassulke

414 Live is sponsored by Sparrow Collective and Weather Tight Corporation. Check out the upcoming lineup for 414 (not so) Live below!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You Should Know Immortal Girlfriend

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Brothers Will and Kevin Bush, who create electronic pop under the moniker Immortal Girlfriend, are ending the year strong, recently opening for Thievery Corporation at the Pabst Theater after winning a Backline artist grant. The duo will be performing the Backline showcase at the Radio Milwaukee Music Awards this Saturday, Dec. 14. We had chatted with the duo about their banner year, where they started and what keeps them going.

The basics

Where they’re from: Milwaukee, Wis.
Songs you’ve heard on 88Nine: “Daybreak,” “Overcome the Night”
RIYL: Driving at night, synth-pop, robot overlords

Five questions with Immortal Girlfriend

1. How did you get into music?

Kevin Bush: Our family was always musical, on both sides. My musical journey started when I was 11. I wanted to play drums, out of the blue. My grandfather bought me a guitar and I learned that. My dad plays bass, my mom plays guitar — so you just start picking up a little bit of everything.

Will Bush: I got into the music game kind of late. I was the art school dropout. I’m like, “I’m not going to make visual art anymore, but I’m an artist. What do I do?” I went to MIAD for a year and a half and didn’t want to draw nude bodies anymore. I started playing guitar around that time; 18, 19. Soon after that I started messing with electronic music. I just got a laptop from a friend with FL Studio 4, like way back. That’s how I started; delving more into the electronic side while also learning guitar. Kevin and I slowly started collaborating back then, jamming in the basement.

Kevin: Before that we played in a screamo band… ’07 or ’08?

Where can we find that??

Kevin: Myspace.com slash Starwind and Hawking 777. Because 2007.

Will: That was our first time playing out, playing in front of people. Getting used to what it was like being in a band. When that ended we started collaborating on electronic music ourselves around 2010. Blending different genres and around that time I was influenced by bands like Naked & Famous, M83…

Will: It was a nice electronic alternative artist kind of time. After that we started experimenting making music in that vein. We moved into the studio around 2016/2017 and that’s when the Immortal Girlfriend project came around. I wanted to make something super electronic; all synthy, all electronic. That’s kind of where we’re at now.

2. As brothers, do you have a more telepathic vibe while writing than you do collaborating with other artists you aren’t related to?

Will: We know what we like, a lot of the time it’s on the same page but sometimes it’s not. We got to a point where we’re able to put that aside. It was always for the betterment of the song. We’d come back to what makes the song better. It took ego out of it. We’re pretty chill as brothers as it is, we get along. It made sense the most to just be a duo and we take care of all that. We’re not worried about a bunch of different influences and resources; which is a positive and a negative. Our workflow started from the early 2010 era until now, it kind of flowed. It’s been almost 10 years making electronic music.

Immortal Girlfriend | Photo by Ariel Kassulke

3. When you came into the Milwaukee scene, what was that like for you?

Will: It was really cool to be introduced to it. We were really introduced via Tarik Moody and Jay Anderson. They played a really big part in introducing us to the scene, shouts out to them, for real.

Did you grow up near Lannon, Wis.?

Kevin: No, that was just where the studio was. We lived around Milwaukee, like the North Side.

You didn’t get into the music scene then?

Will: No, it was kind of cool because we knew about a lot of people; WebsterX, Lex Allen. We knew a lot about the Milwaukee scene. It was cool to make that transition to hanging out with these people, seeing these people at shows. The scene was really supportive. There are always waves of classes of people like “the class of… this time.” We got to be a part of a wave of a lot of people. There are so many dope artists in this city and being able to have a studio and work with a lot of those artists by word of mouth… it was really eye opening to us. We were a part of it, but also observing it. To be a part of it felt a little surreal in a way. Music can be very uniting.

4. How’s the Backline experience been for you?

Will: So far, so good. We’re looking to expand what we’ve built upon and put out new music early next year with some visuals and more vibes. More of the Immortal Girlfriend universe will be birthed into this plane of existence.

Kevin: There’s Backline Vision, their mental health program, which I’m taking a lot more from that than I thought I would, initially. We’re working toward being successful, whatever that means to us. What’s that really mean if you’re not happy when you get there? I really appreciate it.

Will: It’s necessary. As artists, it’s easy to be misunderstood. Going after your dreams isn’t easy, for anyone. Any kind of encouragement in that regard definitely helps. Overall well-being; mental, physical, spiritual… you gotta be up on that. Be in touch. Present and aware. We can’t all make music and art out of pain. It can’t all be pain. There has to be joy sometimes.

5. What keeps you making music?

Will: Ideas keep coming to me. Until they stop, I’m going to keep going with it. Beyond that, I think music has a uniting power, but it has a healing power too. I think that’s important, especially for the world as divided as people are or as sick as people are. Myself, included. Music can really elevate and lift the spirit. We need more of that in the world. We need more creators, more of that put back into the world. It’s still fun. It’s never not fun. If it ever stops being fun, maybe I’ll find something else.

Will, when you mentioned music being elevating in times of sickness, did you want to expand on that in your experience?

Will: For me, going through my cancer situation and still dealing with some of the stuff, currently, it can elevate you and take you out of your circumstance. It can either put you in a nostalgic mind frame, put you in the past, or put you in a heavenly state of being — depending on what you’re listening to. Soundwaves and frequencies… the more we look into the effect on the body and endorphins, it all has a major effect on people. There’s a reason why people still go to shows and still listen to music, even in the streaming age where you can listen to a song over and over. There’s an energy with it live and you’re getting something that might get lost in streaming.

It can even go beyond us sometimes. We’ll come up with a song and sometimes it feels we’re just channeling it.

Kevin: … like it already existed. We’re just bringing it earth bound.

Will: When people are feeling it, we’re like “Hey, we’re feeling it, too.” And it’s beyond us. That’s the special thing about music.

Listen to “Daybreak” EP by Immortal Girlfriend:

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

WebsterX, Immortal Girlfriend and Bravo are Backline’s fall 2019 artists

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Backline has announced the third group of Milwaukee musicians selected for its intensive 12-week accelerator program. R&B and pop singer Bravo, the electro-pop duo Immortal Girlfriend and rapper WebsterX were chosen by a national panel of judges from more than 300 applications.

A collaboration between 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and gener8tor, Backline takes a startup accelerator approach to the Milwaukee music scene, providing selected artists with $20,000 grants as part of an intensive mentorship program tailored to each artist’s needs. The artists have already begun that 12-week program.

“This cohort is very special,” Backline Program Director Mag Rodriguez said in a statement. “These artists represent what makes Milwaukee such a rich and diverse music city. Just in the last month of starting the program, we have accomplished so much, and we expect a big year for all of them in 2020.”

Learn more about these artists below.

WebsterX

WebsterX | Photo credit: Nick Edmonds 

One of the leading figures in Milwaukee’s current hip-hop renaissance, WebsterX garnered national attention for his 2015 single “Doomsday,” and has remained a favorite of rap blogs and local festivals ever since. A founding member of the city’s New Age Narcissism collective, he’s opened for acts like Earl Sweatshirt, D.R.A.M. and Lupe Fiasco, and has been a champion of all-ages spaces in the city as a co-founder of the youth organization Freespace and a board member of the music venue The New State. Last year he followed up his 2017 album “Daymares” with a series of new singles.

Immortal Girlfriend

Immortal Girlfriend | Photo credit: Ariel Kassulke 

Brothers William and Kevin Bush made their debut as the electronic duo Immortal Girlfriend with their retro-tinged 2017 “Daybreak” EP, and in the two years since the two have become one of the city’s most active live acts, performing at Flannel Fest, the Bay View Bash, Chill on the Hill, 414 Live and club stages all over the city. 88Nine has played their songs “Summer Dream,” “Happy Idiot” and “Daybreak.”

Bravo

Bravo | Photo credit: Ashley Wendt

“A lifelong singer with a voice and personality that cuts through the clutter of music being released each day, Bravo’s plan is to bring flavor, soul and purpose to popular music,” according to his Backline bio. You can find him on Facebook.

See them live at the Radio Milwaukee Music Awards

Backline’s fall artists will perform along with the program’s spring artists — REYNA, Klassik and Kaylee Crossfire — at the 12th annual Radio Milwaukee Music Awards at Turner Hall Ballroom Dec. 14. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. (doors at 5:30 p.m.). Online voting for the music awards begins Nov. 6 at radiomilwaukee.wpengine.com.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Valerie Lighthart is enchanting in her debut with Immortal Girlfriend

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Ahead of her three-track EP, Valerie Lighthart worked with brother duo Immortal Girlfriend to release “I’ll Be Damned,” giving us a peek into what to expect from the “new” artist.

Valerie Lighthart

Lighthart has been playing for two years, usually alone and equipped with either her acoustic guitar or ukulele. However, for her first official release she decided to work with friends and contrasting artists to produce a unique, genre-blending composition. Together with the electronic duo, they transformed a raw demo into this larger sound that blends her enchanting vocals and their enticing, upbeat production.

Listen to the track below.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Immortal Girlfriend’s first music video is here

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Immortal Girlfriend says this video is about “self discovery, identity and empowerment.”

Beginning with dudes searching a site called “Bindor,” for “real women that you can mold to fit your personality,” the story explores toxic dating habits, female agency and freedom.

Immortal Girlfriend – “Daybreak”

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s Immortal Girlfriend drops a spectacular cover of Cardi B’s ‘Bodak Yellow’

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Listen to new music from Spillage Village, Jorja Smith, Jonsi, Orgone and more

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In this week’s episode of Rhythm Lab Radio, we featured new music from Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Sa-Roc, Quantic, Spillage Village, Roisin Murphy, Machinedrum, Jonsi, Ane Brun, Orgone, Irish rapper Denise Chaila and Ali Shaheed Muhammad + Adrian Younge + Azymuth, and more.

Spillage Village | photo credit: Alex “Grizz” Loucas*

Playlist

HOUR 1

Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Adrian Younge & Azymuth – “Ao Redor do Samba”
Kassa Overall – “My Friend” feat. Arto Lindsay
Gabriel Garzon-Montano – “Moonless”
Ane Brun – “Honey”
ThE DiAboLIcaL LibERTieS – “High Protection” feat. Emma-Jean Thackray
Orgone – “Delightful” feat. Masauko Chipembre
Sa-Ra Creative Partners – “Rosebuds”
ZuluZuluu – “Fades”
FELIVAND – “Trajectory”
Denise Chaila – “All That” feat. Outsider YP
Black Challenger – “Vigilance”
Spillage Village, JID & Earthgang – “Baptize” feat. Ant Clemons
Pieces Of a Man – “Nothing to Lose (Zed Bias Remix)”

HOUR 2

Sa-Roc – “The Black Renaissance” feat. Black Thought
Gabriel Garzon-Montano – “Muneca”
Pusha T – “Nosetalgia” feat. Kendrick Lamar
Spillage Village, Earthgang & JID – “End of Daze” feat. Jurdan Bryant, Mereba & Hollywood JB
Roisin Murphy – “Incapable”
Smoove & Turrell – “Fade Away (Fouk Remix)”
Moodymann – “Do Wrong”
Quantic – “Theme From Selva”
Jorja Smith – “Come Over” feat. Popcaan
Machinedrum – “Spin Block” feat. Father
Kali Uchis & Jhay Cortez – “La Luz”
Immortal Girlfriend – “Friday Night”
Jonsi – “Cannibal” feat. Liz Fraser
Massive Attack – “Protection”

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Watch our second episode of 414 Live Variety Hour

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We are excited to share our second episode of the 414 Live Variety Hour, our program that is an answer to a late night TV show here in Milwaukee.

We talk about the city, our community, advocacy, and — of course — the music. Each episode contains never-before-seen performances, music video premieres and creative talents from top Milwaukee artists.

Ayisha chats with Best of Both Worlds (Kia Rap Princess and Kaylee Crossfire).

This month we had an incredible group of musicians including Paper Holland, Best of Both Worlds (Kia Rap Princess and Kaylee Crossfire), Klassik and Amanda Huff.

In this episode, we discussed the many ways artists have been adapting in these times with some positive takeaways. Each of the artists also shared how they have used their art to ignite social change in Milwaukee.

Not only did we talk about these wild times, but we also got to see the wild side of many of these musicians with creative, new music videos, artists’ facing their fears through a mukbang, improvisational skills, and exclusive premieres.

If you missed the episode, you can watch it in full above, plus tune in every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to hear interviews and performances from this 414 Live Variety Hour throughout August. And while you’re at it, check out episode one with Lex Allen, Luxi, Orlando Peña and Immortal Girlfriend.

Be sure to join us for the next episode on August 27, live on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.

Klassik performs on 414 Live Variety Hour.
88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Desi blends soul and beats on her sumptuous new track, ‘Don’t Trip’

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Every week, 88Nine brings you a fresh track from a Milwaukee artist. They send it to us. We post it here. You hear it before everyone else.

For this week’s premiere, we’re excited to share the latest from experimental R&B savant Desi and her upcoming EP “Space in Between,” ahead of her livestream performance at the Cactus Club with NilexNile on Aug. 22. Her new track “Don’t Trip” is two minutes of blissful, vaporous soul that packs a lot of ideas into a very small package. Even though it’s just 120 seconds long, it’s the kind of song that so efficiently alters your headspace it can make you lose track of time.

Stream the track and read about it below.

Desi | Photo credit: Olivia Kinneston (Esoteric Lens)
Desi – “Don’t Trip”

Artist’s statement

“Don’t Trip” was produced by Latrell Barnett aka Pixxr, who has worked with local favorites like Lorde Fredd33 and DAD. His mentor was Mike Regal another popular producer who makes mostly rap music.

Which is what’s funny about working with Pixxr, because he saw me perform at an open mic where I was playing this like pseudo folk punk music with my electric guitar and a distortion pedal, and after the show he sent me a bunch of different beats he made previously that were meant for rappers. He’s the first person to ever send me beats, I’d only ever made music before with a live neo-soul band. I am grateful to him for encouraging me to discover my voice in this way.

My entire EP “Space In Between” was recorded and mixed by Kevin Bush of Immortal Girlfriend. I’m super sensitive (in general lol) to who I work with and what kind of environment we’re in, and Kevin was especially accommodating. I didn’t record in a booth or with a condenser mic. I had Kevin play the music at me and recorded on a performance mic so I could sit on the floor or pace back and forth or dance while I recorded to really get into my feelings — which is important to me because I made this project out of needing to help process a lot of challenging experiences so it’s always about the process to me both in how I feel and what I’m discovering when doing it.

P.S. my childhood smelled like “pink hair lotion” and Elizabeth Taylor’s “white diamonds” perfume (my grandma’s favorite).

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

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