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Nicholas Young

Perspectives on family, disability, technology, and media.

Inside the Machine

Your guide to the world of independent music. Nicholas Young gets the raw stories behind today’s rising stars.

Episodes

#82: In Memoriam

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Is this the “end of an era”, a moment to be lamented, or the fade in to something bigger? Over the last 81 episodes, Inside the Machine has featured some of the finest musicians on the planet, but all good things must come to a close. In this final…

#81: Josh Berman / Rob Funderburk

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Rob Funderburk is a graphic artist. Josh Berman is a free-jazz cornetist. Together, they formed a unique duo for the 2015 installment of Homeroom Chicago’s Ten x Ten . What is Ten x Ten? If you’re asking, don’t feel alone: we’ll break it down…

#80: Mark Helm

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It was the summer of 2007 when I moved to Nashville. Shortly thereafter, I encountered Mark Helm , who is an artist in the truest fashion. His debut solo effort, Everything’s Ok , has influenced my musical tastes and playlists — both on the air…

#79: The Golden Rule

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It’s one hit after another! In this episode of Inside the Machine, Nicholas visits with Mel from Chicago-funk-rock outfit The Golden Rule . In just over an hour, Mel dishes on everything from his early years in bands, how to find reliable bandmates…

#78: Strawberry Jacuzzi

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We’re keeping it local with one of Chicago’s most-lauded acts, Strawberry Jacuzzi . Founded by Nikita Word and Shannon Candy, both who have worked in a number of Windy City bands (Summer Girlfriends, The Peekaboos), they’re out to — above all else…

#77: Wave & Rome

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It’s time to go in-depth with one of Nashville’s most innovative acts. The brainchild of songwriter Sam Tinnesz, Wave & Rome represents a new group of talent emerging from the Music City’s ever-expanding independent music scene. On his debut EP…

#76: Young Brother

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From his home base of Nashville, Tennessee, Dalton Diehl is launching an all-out assault on EDM culture. If you think modern dance music has a certain undeniable vibe, prepare to experience fresh beats, honest songwriting, and grit — the likes of…

#75: Greta Morgan

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Known for her contributions to The Hush Sound , as a founding member of sunny rock act Gold Motel , and most recently as the songwriter behind Springtime Carnivore , Greta Morgan is a friendly but powerful force in the independent scene. I first…

#74: Inner Outlaws

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Several months ago, Mereology , a friend of The Machine, introduced yours truly to a vintage rock band from Brooklyn, known as Inner Outlaws . Today, my musical lexicon has been vastly expanded by this group of multi-talented groovemasters. And now…

#73: Chas Castell

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The life of musician and businessman Chas Castell is an excellent study in persistence, honesty, and how to choose the right priorities. Born in the Wickham Bishops, United Kingdom, Chas wanted nothing more than to visit, and hopefully live in the…

#72: Joel Walter

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It would be simple to label Joel Walter as yet another folk songwriter, riding the wave of the genre’s increasing popularity. You would be wrong. Joel pens songs with emotional depth unmatched by only but a few of his peers. Today on Inside the…

#71: Avvenir / Safety Records

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Joel Ebner won’t compare himself to Brian Eno, but we will. As a friend, artist, and visionary, Ebner’s work easily measures up to that of his idols. Thanks to his prolific and determined spirit, he is also among the first guests who have returned…

#70: Archie Powell & The Exports

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Known for his rambunctious on stage antics and rock ‘n’ roll ethics, Archie Powell is quite a character. But everything isn’t drinking, cigarettes, and debauchery: off stage, his personality is a bit more mellow. This Chicago showman shares a…

#69: The Trolls

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Drive down any Chicago street late at night, and you’ll probably hear music coming from nearby alleyways. This is one of our city’s many “garage” bands, practicing their riffs and preparing for bigger, better stages. Connoisseurs of this raw…

#68: Karmacoda

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“My teeth are made of motion picture film… okay. I open up my mouth, my thoughts are on display.” So begins Karmacoda ’s debut album, Reco mended , a broody affair that, little did the trio know, would kick off fifteen years of musical innovation…

#67: Randi Russo

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It doesn’t matter when you begin, only that you start. For some of our guests, their musical journey began during their pre-teen years. Others came to music as an artform well into adulthood. This week’s guest, Randi Russo , is somewhere in between…

#66: Evie Archer

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It may have taken a few years, but once Evie Archer decided to pursue her dream as an artist, things changed forever. This North Jersey native has already released — in just over a one year span — her debut album, including a single that…

#65: Voodoo Boogaloo

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Of all the band biographies we’ve read, the one written about today’s guest stands out. “If I had a time machine and went back 2000 years to give Mary and Joseph 20 hits of acid, they would have become this act.” That should be enough of an…

#64: Colin Morris

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Whether we’re discussing design, music, or photography… it can be difficult and time consuming to produce simple work. On today’s episode of Inside the Machine, Nicholas is joined by Midwest rocker Colin Morris to discuss his debut EP, Could Be…

#63: Lili K.

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With so many genres lighting Chicago on fire, it’s easy to forget the city’s musical roots. As a close neighbor to Detroit, soul and jazz are integral parts of the Windy City’s cultural dictionary, and today we speak with an artist who’s working to…

#62: Heroine Complex

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What began as a side project has, over the last year, slowly morphed into one of Chicago’s finest and most innovative rock acts. Ashly Dalene, known well to many in our diverse music community, is the powerful woman behind it. Meet Heroine Complex…

#61: Kyshona Armstrong

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Our guest today is a strong voice for positive change. Kyshona Armstrong makes music that aims to improve the lives of her listeners, and ultimately, the world. Born in South Carolina, forged in the art capital of Athens, Georgia, and now living in…

#60: Dial In

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Put away your party-driven, late-night EDM: we’re about to show you something different. In a world where electronic music is defined by who attracts the largest crowd of drunken revelers, the depth of a bass drop, or some other, vapid statistic…

#59: Seryn

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Barely over five years ago, Seryn was merely a dream. Starting an impromptu jam session, through a collection of serendipitous events, a band was born. Their first record, This Is Where We Are was highly acclaimed by Paste Magazine and other…

#58: Heather Bond

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Heather Bond has often been hailed as “Nashville’s piano-pop starlet,” but her work encompasses a vast array of musical styles — and cannot possibly be contained by a single definitive sentence. As an influential voice and contributor to several…

#57: Liza Anne

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Nashville’s underground music scene is exploding, pushing several acts at it’s forefront into the international spotlight. One of those talented artists is our new friend Liza Anne . Once you hear her work, you’ll fall in love (as we have) with her…

#56: Medicine Bear and The Herbal Remedies

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Rooted in Haitian folk and carefully crafted in Chicago, their melodies seem to have rejuvenating powers. They restore what peace once existed, and provide additional comfort to supplement it. Today on Inside the Machine, you’ll meet Medicine Bear…

#55: Carbon Leaf

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Sometimes, the best music happens by chance. Gather some of the finest musical improvisors, plant seeds of disenchantment with their boring day jobs, and sprinkle in a touch of ambition. This is the recipe for Carbon Leaf . What began as an…

#54: TALSounds

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When a classically trained choral singer creates ambient music, what is the result? Today, we introduce Natalie Chami, the talented creator behind TALSounds . In just a few short years, Natalie has gained a reputation for creating music with…

#53: The Remedy

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Four brothers, though not all of them are related by blood, form Chicago’s freshest a-cappella group, The Remedy . Their name is more than a moniker, it’s a mission statement. Our city is broken, and needs healing. Music, they believe, is the…

#52: Greatest Hits: Year One

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It’s difficult to believe, but one year ago, I sat down in front of a microphone, mixer, and computer to interview my friend Aaron Zimmer . Shortly thereafter, I spoke with Anji Bee , hostess of the Chillcast (and all-star vocalist behind…

#51: Gramps The Vamp

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Gramps The Vamp began as several college buddies rehearsing groovy funk lines for a one-time Halloween party. The festivities kicked off, and their electrifying performance hooked the audience and members themselves. Now several years in, the band…

#50: Marbin

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For just a moment, let’s be frank: most bands in the “fusion” genre sound rough at best. Country is infused with hip-hop, as is rock, while others attempt to mash jazz with different, often incompatible genres. Only select, extremely talented…

#49: Tall Walker

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Today on Inside the Machine, Nicholas presents the dynamic rock trio, Tall Walker . Nick, Chris, and Ben all met in church, and soon, began playing together. It all started with one question, as Chris says, “hey, do you play music?” Fast forward…

#48: Canasta

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Today on Inside the Machine, Nicholas is joined by Canasta , Chicago’s hardest working pop act. They’re crafting unique, hook-laden records that elevate your attitude and soul. Hailed as “a stalwart of orchestral pop” (Thomas Conner, Chicago Sun…

#47: Jacob Thomas Jr.

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In the church by day and bars by night, Jacob Thomas Jr. knows what it’s like to live a double life. One is lived out by your true self, and the other, as he would soon realize, is a lie. Raised in an Assemblies of God congregation, there was a…

#46: Coppice

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Removing (or replacing) reeds in a pipe organ might seem like blasphemy to some, but for Coppice , it’s a daily task that forwards their career. Born in 2009, this Chicago duo is pressing forward, and creating sounds that capture the raw emotional…

#45: Coppertunes

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The best works of art often take years to complete. First, you work on the initial concept — and many revisions, missteps, and reconsiderations later, the project is finished. Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying “real artists ship,” but releasing…

#44: The Paver

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Turn it up. Today on the program, it’s a solid hour of “baroque-core”, courtesy of Chicago’s The Paver . Just like their namesake - a loud, rattling, heavy machine - their music is forceful, and at times, angry. It’s beautiful too. The wall of sound…

#43: Mereology

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Will Farina specializes in improvised, live electronic music. With his array of analog synthesizers, many cables, and portable recorder, he’s taught us many important auditory lessons. The importance of field recording and dynamic range are regularly…

#42: Spaces of Disappearance

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Here in Chicago, our local music scene is anything but normal. It welcomes those who are bent on reckless experimentation; some aiming for greatness, and others for the total deconstruction of their art form. Today, though, I bring you a band from…

#41: Lore City

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Strictly adhering to convention is boring. Without wandering, inspiration is difficult to find: it remains an elusive foe, escaping you at every turn. If you’re out to discover wonderful, perspective-altering pieces of art, you must step off the…

#40: Volutes

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Plug in your headphones and press play. Today, we’re going where few radio programs dare to go. Inspired by the basics of life, and tempered by the loss of her mother, Volutes ’ latest release, Elegant Grey, is a departure from the normal roads of…

#39: The Wild Finish

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Turn it up! This week, Nicholas hosts Chicago alt-rock band The Wild Finish , in a hard-edged episode brimming with loud music, constructive criticism of the Chicago music scene, and many, many expletives. The band began, like most projects, as an…

#38: Savage Sister

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As the original home of House, Chicago is no stranger to musical innovation. It’s fostered many dance revolutions — drum and bass, and modern electronica all find homes in America’s heartland — but certain genres are still struggling for…

#37: Axons

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At the intersection of punk and electronic music, sits Axons . Calmly thumbing through the history of both genres — and examining the baggage associated with it — creator Adele Nicholas carefully grabs inspirational pieces from each genre. This…

#36: Bode Radio

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Genres can only reach so far. Hip-hop, rock, pop, and electronica all have their boundaries, and in today’s world, most critics know where they are. A few months ago, Bode Radio entered our ears, and as a result, redefined what I consider music…

#35: Brash Flair

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It took over a decade to assemble Brash Flair . Performers Kristen Johnston and Joshua Wentz met in high school, and remained friends through college. However, both were quickly occupied with their solo careers, and their unique paths didn’t…

#34: Jars of Clay: Inlandia

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They’ve been active since 1993, so this band knows how the music business works. They recently became independent and released their first remix EP, Inlandia . Today, I’m very excited to speak with Charlie Lowell of Jars of Clay , about the process…

#33: City States

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Six years ago, Joel Ebner exited his previous band and started a totally different project. His former act, The Modern Temper, were purveyors of explosive indie rock, and experienced a nice wave of local success. Eventually, they did as all bands do…

#32: Lykanthea

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A few weeks ago, I received a refreshing email. Lakshmi Ramgopal’s debut solo record, “Sundrowned” had dropped days prior, and she shared it with me. She didn’t pester me for an interview. She didn’t toss press quotes in my face. Instead, she began a…

#31: He Who Never

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It began with the need to hide. To steal away from academia, and relax in a safe space. In college, Aaron Rosell would book a practice room and perform for himself alone. His home was a musical place, but he never considered the place songwriting had…

#30: Cinchel

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Old speakers, tape recorders, and unique synthesizers each have a place in Cinchel ’s musical history. His work, that started as sketches on a simple four-track recorder in the early 2000’s, has evolved: improving with each passing year. Today, he’s…

#29: Project Film

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The story begins in 2009 with two friends and a stack of experimental music. Almost five years later, this Chicago duo is still going strong and aiming for their second release. In this hour, Nicholas visits with Megan Frestedt and Sam McAllister, co…

#28: XYZR_KX

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Visit your favorite CD store, and look at the labeled genres. Rock and pop will surely be listed, but nowhere will you find tracks like those belonging to XYZR_KX . Jon Monteverde, Chicago’s electro-pop wunderguy, is the musician and songwriter…

#27: Derek Nicoletto

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In 2011, I had a unique opportunity to speak with several talented artists: Derek Nicoletto was one of them. As the former frontman for indie-rock powerhouse Telling on Trixie, Derek knows how the music business works (or doesn’t). Recorded in the…

#26: Rachel Solomon

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One year ago, Rachel Solomon released her debut solo effort, “Love Ourselves”. The album is a collection of tracks begging the listener to embrace who they are, without exceptions. But the record isn’t encouragement only for fans: Rachel has found…

#25: Emily Hearn

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For Emily Hearn , what started as an experiment, is now her career. Growing up in rural Georgia, Emily busied herself by learning guitar (though without a teacher). It began with country and rock standards, but this passionate songwriter was soon…

#24: The Grooveblaster

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Press play on your favorite album. Is the opening track what hooks you, or is it several tracks in? We all have our favorite moments — the riff beckoning us to listen closer, or a beat instructing our feet to move. But put on almost any track from…

#23: The Kickback

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Once again, we shine the spotlight on another local act with tight melodies and infectious hooks: The Kickback . Formed by Billy and Danny Yost in 2006, the band is still enjoying a steady rise towards the top. They tapped a fair amount of local…

#22: The Speedbumps

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“It’s a super rewarding feeling, making records that people listen to, and it affects them… Even if it drives an emotion that they don’t like, at least it’s driving an emotion,” a bold statement from Eric Urycki, leader of The Speedbumps . Hailing…

#21: Modern Science

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Las Vegas, Nevada: home to media prospectors, the party life, and one of my favorite bands, Modern Science. Since 2009, they’ve been kicking out funk jams from their private studio in The Entertainment Capital of the World. Kane Churko and Mike…

#20: The Noise FM

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Known for their bold-faced rock ‘n’ roll attitude and explosive sound, Kansas natives The Noise FM already made an irreversible mark on the Windy City. Transplanted into their new home just several years ago, they quickly garnered a fan base…

#19: Rex Paul

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Let’s begin with a list of guitar greats: Eric Johnson, Phil Keaggy, Dann Huff, and Rex Paul . Rex’s name might be unknown to most, but he certainly belongs on the list, ranking alongside any six-string virtuoso of our age. A master producer and mix…

#18: Joshua Wentz

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If asked to compile a list of intriguing people in my life, Joshua Wentz would be near the top. He’s a producer, screen printing genius, musician, and founder of Sidedown Audio , a boutique record label for home recording artists. His albums…

#17: Geoff Smith

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These days, internet celebrities are commonplace. Often, they achieve this status through meritless tasks, and disappoint when you meet them in person. This isn’t the case with Geoff Smith . As a musician, producer, and founder of iPhone ringtone…

#16: The Hawk In Paris

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The music industry at large is confused. In a world of formulaic pop, we need a hero: a symbol of power and clarity. We need a Hawk. I’ve waited to release this interview for what seems like forever, although I know it was only a few weeks. This week…

#15: Eddie Logix

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If you’ve heard Progress Report, Doc Waffles, Laura Finlay, or almost any artist from Detroit in recent years, chances are that you’ve heard Eddie Logix too. His work entered my radar after his collaboration with D. Allie on The Cooperative , and…

#14: Breakerbox

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In another episode from our archive, Nicholas speaks with Christina DeNee and Scott Calandra of the Buffalo, New York duo Breakerbox . This interview was recorded during a unique time of their career, immediately following the release of their debut…

#13: No More Kings

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“I heard the devil whisper in my hear. He made his message clear: sweep the leg, Johnny, sweep the leg.” Geek-rock heroes No More Kings rose to prominence with their runaway hit single Sweep the Leg , a clever retelling of The Karate Kid’s final…

#12: Evan McHugh

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Evan McHugh is a writer of infectious pop melodies that stick in your head, spreading joy and beautiful sunlight. His new record, “Let’s Be Young” just dropped, and I’m excited to share a few tracks with you. Of course, we also spin a couple of…

#11: Munk Duane

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My guest this week is singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and Berkley College of Music alumnus Munk Duane . Over the last decade, he’s built a reputation as a resilient, determined independent artist, by leveraging a diverse set of talents…

#10: Dewveall

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From Nashville, Tennessee, we’re joined today by Dewveall , a husband-and-wife duo who’ve been producing honest, compelling roots rock. My first taste of their music came in the form of a live concert recording, and while those usually aren’t the…

#9: Dustin Edge

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Roughly a year ago, I had a unique opportunity. Dustin Edge was touring though Chicago, and wasn’t sure when he would return. The Machine wasn’t ready to launch, but we both knew he should be part of this network’s programming. On a Friday…

#8: Matt Wertz

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Matt Wertz creates hook-laden indie pop that should be on your radar. If it isn’t, you’re missing out. He maintains a radio-ready confidence, yet retains an endearing authenticity. Matt’s career is a instructional story on creating without limits…

#7: Phylum Sinter

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This week, our guest is Detroit-based electronic musician Phylum Sinter , a passionate artist whose free-flowing compositions feed energy, calm, and drive into the ears of fans everywhere. I first learned of him during a promotional push for his…

#6: Kevin Reeves

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I think of Kevin Reeves, and a few phrases instantly come to mind. He’s a trailblazer, master keyboardist, and an excellent producer. For me, he’s also a friend. We both lived in Nashville for several years, and both struggled to make our impact. We…

#5: D. Allie

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I’ve known David Allie for several years, but this is our first conversation about his life and career. His lyrics are soaked in Detroit culture, and transform complex, important political statements into a listenable rhyme. A political science…

#4: Holley Maher

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My guest for this episode is Holley Maher , a multidisciplinary creator from Nashville, Tennessee. She has seen success in her music career with three successful releases, and placement in many different films. Her design business, H. Maher…

#3: Bobby Horton

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Bobby Horton is probably the most prolific artist we’ve hosted here. His career spans over 40 years, 12 albums, and countless projects. He is the undisputed authority on music from the American Civil War, and a creative cohort to a diverse group of…

#2: Anji Bee

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Whether you’re a chill-out music aficionado, casual radio listener, or champion of podcasting, you likely know Anji Bee . Her show, The Chillcast is one of the longest running podcasts, serving up a weekly dose of the best electronica. In addition…

#1: Aaron Zimmer

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This week, we talk to NYC rocker Aaron Zimmer . Aaron has a rich past, full of experiences that shaped him into who he is today. Listen, and you might learn a few things to help your career. His story begins with high-school bar gigs, and a band…