Switchfoot surfs through Columbia

Switchfoot surfs through Columbia

The popular Christian rock band will stop by The Blue Note on Thursday.

By Megan Suddarth

Published April 20, 2012

Avid surfers, the Christian rock band Switchfoot got its name from a surfing technique: “Switchfoot” is when you change your feet on the board and place your left foot forward instead of your right. But instead of hanging 10, the San Diego, Calif. band hangs five with Jon and Tim Foreman, Chad Butler, Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley. Only two of them are actual brothers, but in Drew’s eyes, they all are.

“It’s a band that’s kind of rare,” Shirley says. “(It) started with brothers, but we really do kind of have this feel of kind of being brothers in a band. It’s kind of like a family band in a way because we all feel like brothers.”

Switchfoot is in the process of filming a documentary, and people will get to see behind the scenes of the band’s tours and even a few surfing tips from the California natives. While on tour, the five members will be writing the music to go along with it, and it will be released as their next CD, the soundtrack to the movie.

“We’re visiting a whole bunch of surf destinations around the world,” Shirley says. “It’s kind of a dream come true to make a surf film. It’s going to be a documentary, as well about the history of the band, what it’s like on tour, behind the scenes, how we write music, how we record music and all that.”

Switchfoot brings more than just music to a stage. They also bring a message.

“Our faith is a part of who we are,” Shirley says. “It affects the way we see the world, of course, because it’s who we are. When we play shows, we’re musicians and we’re expressing songs about what we think. So, what we hope comes across is honesty.”

Shirley feels that as a band, honesty is what grabs the audience the most and is the key ingredient to a great song.

“The best songs are the most honest songs, I believe,” Shirley says. “The way Jon writes songs connected to what he believes is very unique and very transparent. And so, we hope that people just catch a glimpse of the vision of the song and the honesty in the song and whatever it’s talking about.”

“Dark Horses” is one Shirley’s favorite songs to perform for audiences. Written about the homeless youth of San Diego, Shirley connects with this song because he sometimes feels like a dark horse himself in that he may not be as good as those around him. He feels that the song is easily relatable for many in the world.

“It’s a song about the underdog,” Shirley says. “When we’re playing that song, we’re helping the audiences feeling hope. We’re bringing hope to the hopeless.”

Switchfoot is impacting people throughout the world. Recently, the band met a soldier about to deploy to Afghanistan, and they decided to sit and talk and play some songs for the young soldier as a sendoff and thank you.

“We were walking to our bus and he asked to play us an acoustic song,” Shirley says. “So, we all just sat there and heard his story, and then Jon played a couple of acoustic songs out on the street right in front of our bus for him as a sort of sendoff.”

Switchfoot plays at The Blue Note with The Rocket Summer opening at 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $22.

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Blacking out with Breathe Carolina

The Denver electronic band will play Wednesday at The Blue Note with The Ready Set.

Courtesy of MEENO

By Megan Suddarth

Published March 16, 2012

From shattering exit signs to launching champagne glasses off of hotel balconies, the guys in Breathe Carolina personify their lyrics completely. With three albums released and a new single, “Blackout,” that’s taking the pop charts by storm, Kyle Even and David Schmitt of Breathe Carolina are on tour rocking crowds with neon lights and smoke-filled stages.

The band’s sound is one that encourages getting up and dancing and losing yourself. “Blackout” does this to crowds all across the nation.

“It’s like a rave and a rock show,” Even says. “In that element it’s sort of dance-y, but it has that rock background, it’s where we come from. It’s got like this pop-electronic fusion with it.”

The name for the band came from a very unconventional source: a dream.

“It was kind of premeditated from when (David) was in ninth grade,” Even says. “He had this dream about this lady named Carolina. So when it was time for us to name our project he was like, ‘I’ve always wanted to name something Breathe Carolina,’ and that was kind of how it worked out.”

The music combines party melodies with abrupt screaming. The screaming talent on their tracks comes from Even, and success with something so straining doesn’t come quickly.

“It’s just trial and error,” Even says. “I’ve been doing it for about 10 years. After that long you just kind of figure out how to push it without straining.”

Touring is constant and spending so much time with the same group of people can be stressful on relationships, but not for this band.

“There’s so many of us, we tour with 12 people, so there’s a lot of things to do,” Even says. “We laugh a lot, we have a lot of fun. We’re gonna be on Warped Tour all summer on the main stage. It should be absolutely ridiculous.”

Breathe Carolina’s songs are heavily centered on parties and living life in the most crazy ways. Lyrical inspiration isn’t always autobiographical for artists – but for this group, it most certainly is. Even and Schmitt take their songs to a whole new level of real-life destruction.

Even recalls a time in which they were kicked out of a hotel room.

“We were just out in Palm Springs,” Even says. “We were getting all rowdy and we brought a bunch of people that were at the show up to our hotel room. For some reason, I grabbed this champagne glass and I looked at one of the kids that came up and I’m like, ‘Yo, you trying to throw this off this balcony or what?’ And I just hawked it. Right after that, D walked in the room, he didn’t even see me do it, and he goes up to this lamp and just shoves it into the wall. So (security) came up and they kicked us out of the room.”

His explanation?

“We hadn’t been in a hotel room in a while, so we felt destructive,” Even says. “It just happens sometimes.”

Not only do they break lamps, but they destroy signs, too. These guys are a dream come true for the classic rebel.

“I was running around this hotel with my buddy Danny Cooper from Drop Dead Gorgeous and we were just running and jumping and just punching the exit signs,” Even says. “Finally, we’d broke them completely off so we went in the stairwell and we were trying to see how far we could drop them from the stairs. It was fun.”

A word of advice for amateurs:

“Only be destructive if you’re not gonna get caught,” Even says with a chuckle.

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Music of My Life

The current project I chose for J2150 centers around The Blue Note in downtown Columbia. I’m incredibly excited about this project because music consumes a large part of my life. I love all kinds of music ranging from 80’s to Christian contemporary. So, let’s get started.

When I was young, I remember riding with my dad in his truck while he listened to bands like Metallica and Van Halen. I loved those times I spent with my dad just driving around and listening to cool music. Being older now, those times influenced my taste in music. Listening to those types of bands brings back good memories accompanied with well, cool music.

Lately, the majority of my listening preferences have included everything on K-LOVE. This radio station is so incredibly uplifting and positive and I can’t help but have a great day when I listen to them. I love David Crowder Band, Casting Crowns, Sanctus Real, Kutless and Matt Hammitt. Everything about these artists and their songs puts a smile on my face that stays for the remainder of the day.

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Tech N9ne visits Columbia, ready for strange therapy

Kansas City rapper, Aaron Yates AKA Tech N9ne, finds time on a cold Monday afternoon to joke around about vampires, talk about his love for psychiatry and plan his future.

In between freestyle raps and jokes, Tech N9ne opens up about his past, his future and what’s going on in his life right now. He has a personality that matches his music perfectly, which makes for interesting conversation, to say the least.

“What, they didn’t tell you I’m abnormal?” Tech N9ne said. “I’m a vampire, I vant to suck your blood.”

Just coming off tour, Tech N9ne finds time to unwind and relax.

“I’m kicking it like a donkey, you know?” Tech N9ne said. “I’m at the Strange Music headquarters right now and I’m in the room where we eat. Everybody’s working and I didn’t want to mess everybody up with my laugh because I know I laugh really loud.”

He mimics a loud, signature Tech N9ne laugh.

With so many hits and a new album out, Tech N9ne is about to shoot a video for another hit song off of his album All 6’s and 7’s called “Am I A Psycho?”

“I’m about to leave now,” Tech N9ne said. “We’re going to Atlanta, Georgia. I do the video on Wednesday, then I fly back Thursday afternoon and I have to drive all the way down from KCI Airport straight down to Columbia and do my meet-and-greet and then it’s on.”

His fast beats and catchy lyrics have been popular for a while now and his fan base is expanding to both the younger and much older crowd as well.

“I just turned 40 and they keep getting younger and younger!” Tech N9ne said. “My whole front row is 10 years old! It’s changing, I’m starting to see 80-year-olds, too.”

Tech N9ne is ready to come back to The Blue Note and its enduring fans.

“I come there all the time,” Tech N9ne said. “I love The Blue Note. We sell it out within hours. It’s going to be massive. The last couple of shows I did there, it was all women. I thought I was like Justin Bieber or something.”

Though music consumes his life, psychiatry is something that Tech N9ne has always been interested in. His music conveys his desire to understand the human brain quite clearly.

“I wanted to major in psychiatry,” Tech N9ne said. “I was always interested in why people do what they do and think what they think. Now that I chose rap and hip/hop, I noticed that a lot of people come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for the music, it really got me through.’ It’s very therapeutic, it’s like I’m my fans’ psychiatrist.”

Though he loves making music and adores his fans, the future approaches and Tech N9ne has an idea of where he wants to be in the next couple years.

“In five years, I’m going to own an island somewhere and I’m going to be on it with my children,” Tech N9ne said. “Eating and drinking coconut stuff. Maybe 151, Malibu rum and pineapple juice.”