You Should Know Nickel & Rose

You Should Know Nickel & Rose

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Nickel & Rose by Amanda Mills

The basics

Where they’re from: Milwaukee, WI
Songs you’ve heard on 88Nine: “Americana”
RIYL: folk, protest music, roots music

Where to see them live:

December 22 at Anodyne Coffee Roasters on Bruce St. with Sista Strings.

Five questions with Nickel & Rose

1. What were your early influences?

Johanna: Growing up, my dad always had Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Merle Haggard, Ernest Tubb, Lead Belly, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams and other country/ folk/ blues playing throughout the house.  At the same time my uncles on my mother’s side were playing Summerfest and local clubs with their ’80s rock bands. In high school I started going to punk shows. Now I probably listen to more of what my dad was playing, but I like a lot of different music.

Carl: as long as I’ve been playing music I have been exploring and enjoying just about every kind of music I could find. Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell made me want to write songs and Jason Becker made me want to practice guitar.

2. How do you describe Milwaukee to out-of-towners?

Carl: We tell people that there’s great music coming from Milwaukee but we don’t gloss over the negative parts of the city, or life in America. We make a point to talk about the good things but since we both grew up here, we understand that the city has some serious problems.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You Should Know Mic Kellogg

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Mic Kellogg by Kali N Richardson

The basics

Where they’re from: Milwaukee, WI
Songs you’ve heard on 88Nine: “Keep Lovin’,” “Hideout,” “Boathouse”
RIYL: hip hop, going “up nort,” good vibes

Where to see them live:

See Mic Kellogg live at High Noon Saloon in Madison on Friday, December 7. Get more info here.

Five questions with Mic Kellogg

1. How did you get started in music?

I always had a love for music. How I got started on a more serious level, was right at the end of high school. I went to high school in Madison and I had this class called Hip-Hop Studies my senior year. It was the first hour of every single day. We would walk in and make beats, write music or just learn about hip-hop. It was pretty crazy. Our final was to put on a hip-hop show. Everyone produced their own songs. That’s when I got introduced to the production side of things. Pretty much every song I have out right now is also produced by me. I spend a lot more time on production that a lot of people know, actually. That’s one of my main loves, producing. I play the background part for a lot of different artists. That’s how I grew my own sound; I started making beats for all my friends that were around me. Slowly I started to shape what I wanted my beats to sound like.

I was doing hip-hop shows back then, but I wasn’t that serious about it. I didn’t have any music online. I shaped my producing craft for two or three years after high school. I moved out to Colorado right away and I was just a ski bum out in Breckenridge, CO. Working on music a bunch, but still not putting anything out. Finally, my friend Damien [Blue] lived with WebsterX in 2014. I knew Webster was about to put out a project and we didn’t really know each other, but I decided to move back to Milwaukee and pursue music more seriously. I lived with WebsterX for a year and Damien and we created and created. That kind of started everything for my first project, “Breakfast.”

2. Do you have a day job?

I do right now, I wait tables. It’s very flexible, I can take off when I need to and go in the studio or do shows. I’ve also done that my whole life, I grew up in a restaurant. My aunt has a restaurant in Madison.

So, “Breakfast” isn’t too far off 

No, it’s not too far off. Plus, my last name is Kellogg, so it’s always been a staple in my life. My dad has a big collection of vintage and antique Tony the Tiger things of that nature. I’m in my studio right now and I have a Tony the Tiger clock… it’s fun to get something with your name on it.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You Should Know LUXI

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The basics

Where they’re from: Milwaukee, WI
Songs you’ve heard on 88Nine: “Stranger Things,” “Yaaa Glitch”
RIYL: video games, Massive Attack, dreamy electronic pop

Where to see them live:

Album release show with Dashcam and Immortal Girlfriend on November 1 at 9 p.m. at Cactus Club

Five questions with LUXI

1. When did you start making music and when did you get into electronic production?

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact time I started making music…I was very young when I started. My mother was a folk singer and guitarist, which was probably my first exposure to making music. I know I wrote my first sheet music around five years old because my mom (my grandma who raised me) recently found it in one of her cookbooks.

In high school, when I wanted to record my songs to be able to send them to friends, I started experimenting with different free programs on the computer. It eventually evolved into getting the next best program every couple of years. The next tool I used was GarageBand, then I found Logic and started using that, until finally landing on Ableton Live, which I’ve been using since 2011. Since then it’s been a long evolution of just trying to get better and reach my full potential.

2. Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.

I’m sure there’s a lot, [laughs] but probably the biggest thing is that I was raised by my grandparents who I call mom and dad. I think it definitely shaped who I am as a person now and it helped teach me to be a more compassionate person. It’s probably why I have the intense need to create and express myself.

3. Do you have a day job?

Currently I’m pursuing my art and music full time. Recently I opened a small online boutique and still haul my art out to the fairs during the summer. I also do small mixing projects for artists who find me online, so I’ve been able to piece together an income through multiple sources.

It took a long time to get there, my last place of employment was a sign company that I was doing design work for. I also used to work at a place doing vinyl decals on cars. I also previously worked at a video store and a roller skate rink.

When I was working full-time I worked 16 hour days or more. I’d work for eight hours at a job then come home and work for eight hours more on my own business and projects…for at least two years. It was intense. There were many days I’d go to bed completely depleted and wake up crying having to go to jobs that I didn’t like. It was very unhealthy, but the work I put in has been worth it and I’m glad I did it. I’m very grateful to be where I am now and to be able to pursue my passions full-time.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You Should Know Klassik

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The basics

Where they’re from: Milwaukee, WI
Songs you’ve heard on 88Nine: “Seasons,” “Boogie,” “Never Belong”
RIYL: hip-hop, R&B, Sylvan Esso

Where to see them live:

October 23 at Cactus Club with Oxymorrons (NYC) and Bonelang (CHI)

5 Questions with Klassik

1. How did you get into music?

Through my dad, he was the artist. He bought me my first saxophone. I played jazz all the way through high school. I was 11 when I started playing sax. My background is heavy in jazz, which I’m trying to get back into. I use it aesthetically and vibe-wise it always has that feel, but it definitely formed much of my sound and career.

You went to High School of the Arts, right? That place seems so cool…

Yeah, everyone asks, “Is it like ‘Fame’?” Kind of, actually… yeah. People were playing music in the hallway; dancers were dancing; artists were painting, rehearsing, singing in the cafeteria.

2. As an artist you work across disciplines – is that something you carry with you from that experience?

Absolutely. It’s a big reason why I try to be involved in as many youth programs and anything that has that kind of cross-pollination and exposure, because those opportunities I had when I was in school don’t even exist or are greatly diminished from what they were.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You Should Know Amanda Huff

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Amanda Huff by Noah Witt

The basics

Where they’re from: Milwaukee, WI
Songs you’ve heard on 88Nine: “Gravetalking,” “Only in Dreams”
RIYL: Kate Bush, Strehlow, Angel Olsen

Where to see them live:

September 22, at 8 p.m. as part of the AlleyWayz Concert Series held in Black Cat Alley 2122 N. Prospect Ave.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You Should Know Dermot Kennedy

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The basics

Where they’re from: Dublin, Ireland
Songs you’ve heard on 88Nine: “Moments Passed”
RIYL: Bon Iver, James Blake, Glen Hansard

Where to see them live:

Tune in to hear an exclusive Studio Milwaukee session at 12:30 p.m. this Thursday, August 2.
You can see a live performance tomorrow in Madison at the Majestic on Wednesday, August 1.

5 Questions with Dermot Kennedy

1. Some of our listeners have referred to you as the “Irish Justin Vernon”…

Stop that. That’s the dream.

… and we recently went to his music festival Eaux Claires here in Wisconsin. I feel like the Dublin music community is similar, you have Glen Hansard who is lifting artists there and helping. What has the Dublin music community like for you?

Yeah, there is a really, really strong history and heritage when it comes to songwriters. Glen Hansard has been really good to me, especially in the last three years. He’s like a legend. I feel like he’s similar to what it’s like with Justin Vernon in Wisconsin; this kind of legend of music. And with Glen, he’s been around for so long he’s like the father of Irish music to me. So yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s much different. It’s cool how it all comes together and people do what they want to do. It’s such a massive industry so to speak, so from that sense, all that happens is that people only care about their music, so it has a really cool vibe to it.

2. I read about Glen bringing you on stage and introducing you to a larger audience, but before that, were you collaborating with a lot of people?

No, not at all. Before that, I did all my own gigs, but it was never more than a 200 people kind of thing. Then, he invited me to play with him and his band and he was the most accommodating person ever. He basically was like, “It’ll be your 10 minutes at my gig and you can use the band or not. It’s totally your platform to do whatever you want to do.” I think there were like 1,500 people there.

It was just really, really, really cool and he just couldn’t have been nicer about the whole thing. Funny though, it actually just clicked in my head right now that I’m doing two sold-out nights in that same place this year, so that’s kind of crazy.

Wow. How do you deal with that mentally? I can’t imagine the difference of performing for 200 to to 1,500. How did you even prepare for that? Has the way you write changed to the way you’re thinking of an audience?

No. That’s a good question and I think about that sometimes too myself. I used to play in the streets and I used to bus in Dublin and one of the main obstacles you have when you’re doing that is to try and be heard over the street and over all the people, and you end up shouting so much. I think a lot of my songs are actually quite challenging, vocally, just because that’s the sort of headspace I was in, in terms of trying to be loud, essentially, to be heard.

If anything, I’m trying to take a step back from that in realizing it doesn’t have to be heavy all the time. But yeah, I mean, to be playing the bigger crowds, it’s just fun. It doesn’t really change anything. I think the most people I’ve played to in a venue is when we supported Lana Del Rey and that was 5,000. At that point I could see the first three rows and the rest was just, like, darkness.

It must be nice to have an audience that’s there to hear it.

Oh for sure. That’s a big part of it, yeah. I’ve played so, so many gigs where it’s almost as if you’re trying to convince people of what you’re doing. So now to be doing gigs where people are there and they bought a ticket and they want to be there and you’re the person they’re there to listen to, yeah, mentally and in terms of your confidence, it is a huge help.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You Should Know KT Tunstall

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kt tunstall

KT Tunstall

Coming (back) to Milwaukee

When: Friday, June 22 2018
Where: The Riverside Theater (w/Barenaked Ladies, Better Than Ezra)
Tickets: pabsttheater.org/event/bnl2018

You may have heard the music of Scottish singer and guitarist KT Tunstall in one of dozens of movies and TV shows, but her live performance is where she really connects with the audience and finds her true passion. We spoke recently about just that, as well as being labeled the “looping girl,” and how she sets herself apart in a sea of female singer-songwriters to live out her dream as a full-time musician and songwriter.

We spoke with the artist in January of 2017.

Read the abbreviated interview or listen to the full audio below:

The basics

Where they’re from: Los Angeles by way of Edinburgh, Scotland
Song you may have heard: “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” “Suddenly I See”
RIYL: alternative rock, Chryssie Hynde, pop-folk

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You Should Know Devil Met Contention

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Devil Met Contention frontman Ehson Rad has a distinctive mournful croon that is powerful, but also aches for something more. The band’s new single, “Take a Chance,” expands the Ennio Morricone leanings of its previous efforts with more texture and layers and leans more on studio effects and synths than their Americana tools of accordion and violin. You’ll still find the roots rock influences of Springsteen, but with the help of producer Daniel Holter, the sound is cast in a more modern light. Which, according to Rad, is closer to what he’s always envisioned for the group. While you may have recognized the group from their matching suits that suggested a throwback sound, they’ve cast them aside in favor of embracing the future.

Ehson Rad of Devil Met Contention by Kelly Bolter

The basics

Where they’re from: Milwaukee, WI
Songs you’ve heard on 88Nine: “Take a Chance,” “Used to Be”
RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, pop-rock, David Bowie

Performing in Milwaukee:

You can see Devil Met Contention perform at Cactus Club on June 19 and at Summer Soulstice Music Festival on June 23.

5 Questions with Devil Met Contention

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You Should Know Platinum Boys

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Platinum Boys (“Joey Bon Joey” second from left)

The basics

Where they’re from: Milwaukee, WI
Song you’ve heard on 88Nine: “New Kind of Love,” “Downtown”
RIYL: power pop, Thin Lizzy, keggers

Performing in Milwaukee:

You can see Platinum Boys perform alongside Juiceboxxx at Cactus Club on Tuesday, March 20 at 9PM

5 Questions with Platinum Boys

1. How did you get started in music?

It was kind of by default, actually. Two of my best friends growing up both played music. One played guitar, the other played drums. I wasn’t going to just sit and watch them, so my mother was kind enough to purchase a bass guitar for me. I just taught myself and that’s how it started… the beginning of the end. We were doing covers, the standard three chord punk songs. Maybe within a half a year, we started writing our own songs. They weren’t great.

Did you grow up in Milwaukee, how has the scene been for you?

I grew up in the Fox Valley and moved here in 2006. I was 18 when I came here and immediately I was excited. There is a lot more going on here than there was at home. I started going to shows at The Vault. I met Eric Schultz there and he gave me the run down on how stuff works, the ethics of it all. It’s great, I love it. I’ve met so many cool people in so many good bands living in Milwaukee. It’s been enjoyable.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You should know Anna Burch

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The basics

Where they’re from: Detroit, MI
Song you’ve heard on 88Nine: “Tea-Soaked Letter”
RIYL: Frontier Ruckus, Waxahatchee, 60’s girl groups

Five Questions with Anna Burch

1. You’ve been involved in a few different projects, is this the first release as a solo artist under your own name?

88Nine Radio Milwaukee