Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Maury’

Label profile: Hit City USA (Los Angeles, US)

For this week’s installment of our new label profile feature, we’re heading across the pond to sunny Los Angeles to chat to a great new-ish independent label called Hit City USA.

Since 2008, they’ve been releasing some very exciting new indie music from local artists on vinyl (as well as digitally), including Superhumanoids, who toured the UK a couple of years back, and Princeton, a fantastic four piece whose latest album, “Remembrance Of Things To Come”, was produced by the talented Andrew Maury. They’ve also recently put out the debut 5-track EP from the rather promising duo PAPA. We’re sensing a recurring theme throughout all their releases to date – they all sound vital, fresh, have a great pop sensibility and ooze a laid back, California cool.

If you’re not yet familiar with these guys, we hope the following piece will change that. We caught up with one of the label’s founders, Cameron Parkins, to find out more:

LFC: When did Hit City U.S.A. start?

HCU: We put out our first release in 2008 – The Franks’ Un EP.

LFC: What were your inspirations and motivations for doing it?

HCU: Part of it was the appeal of running our own label – curating releases, being actively involved in the music scene around us – and part of it was necessity – we had our own project, The Franks, and wanted a platform to distribute music on. So we founded the label, loosely initially, to do so.

LFC: Are you genre specific, or is it a case of you sign something that excites you?

HCU: Not genre specific – we put out music that makes us feel alive and excited and passionate.

LFC: How do you find bands to work with?

HCU: All different ways – we hear about them, someone tells us about them, they are our friends, we go to a show etc. Up until now we’ve worked with LA artists only, something we are looking to branch out on.

LFC: Do you focus on US talent, or would you sign an international band and introduce them to the local market?

HCU: We would love to work with an international band – until recently, we haven’t been equipped to do so, but we have the infrastructure in place now that a release from an international group could be executed well. It’s all about timing and making sure that if we commit to something, we can commit to it fully.

LFC: Where can people buy Hit City USA releases?

HCU: They can buy our releases directly from us at the Hit City online store (hitcityusa.com), from all major digital download services (iTunes, Amazon, etc.), or from select neighborhood record stores. If your neighborhood record store does not carry Hit City U.S.A. releases, call and request that they do.

LFC: What have you found to be the biggest challenges in running a vinyl-centric label?

HCU: It’s twofold: The cost in manufacturing and promoting vinyl is high, so each release is a major investment. Beyond that, in making sure that we produce the best quality product we can there are a lot of moving pieces and often you won’t actually know how something will look until it’s already been manufactured.

LFC: What have been your most successful releases to date?

HCU: Each of our releases are sacred and successful for many reasons. We have various ways of measuring success, choosing one project above all others would not do justice to our work and that of our artists.

LFC: What can we expect from Hit City USA in the future?

HCU: A lot, we hope. We know better than to make any promises here and now but projects are in motion. Expect more good music and more of that California cool you know and love.

Like Hit City USA on Facebook here, and follow them on Twitter at @hitcityusa.

New Static Jacks – “Young Guns”


Photo by Adam Kaye

Since the US release of their debut album “If You’re Young” last August, The Static Jacks have been a busy bunch. Two tours of the States and two of Europe / the UK have happened, with the band sharing stages with the likes of Howler, The Cribs and The Wombats along the way (famously appearing at Brixton Academy in February with the latter).

They’re currently showing no signs of slowing down, either – the band are back on the road in the US this week, again lending support to The Wombats on a 13 date tour (23 April – 9 May) – which includes notable appearances at Webster Hall in NYC and the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.

Also, rather like Arctic Monkeys did after their debut LP, the band have just announced a new standalone 4-track EP, “Spray Tan” (a reference to the orange looking lady on the “Into The Sun” single, we wonder?), will be released next month to bridge the gap between first and second albums.

Recorded with producer Andrew Maury (also the producer of debut EP “Laces”) in five fast days last summer, we’re told, the opening track “Young Guns” displays a rough and ready grit we’ve come to associate with their live shows, and is as hard hitting and memorable as anything on their debut album. Pick it up for free below, and if you’re heading out to any of current dates, expect to hear it in the set alongside the other newbies.

MP3: The Static Jacks – Young Guns

Q&A with Andrew Maury of RAC

Andrew Maury is a New York City based producer, live sound engineer and remixer, who’s come to prominence in the indie-rock world over the last few years due to his work with some great and exciting new artists within the genre.

Alongside working front-of-house for bands like Ra Ra Riot and Givers, Andrew produces bands and also remixes tracks under the RAC (Remix Artist Collective) banner.

Our paths have crossed over the last twelve months due to his involvement with three of the four bands currently signed to our singles label – The Collectable Few, Channel Cairo and The Static Jacks.

All bands have had the “RAC Maury Mix” treatment, with Andrew’s interpretation of The Collectable Few’s “Headstrong” being officially released by us this past January (he also mixed the original version, which was the lead track). Andrew is credited on production duties for The Static Jacks’ 2009 EP, “Laces”, and continues to work with The Collectable Few on their latest recordings. His most recent remix is of The Static Jacks’ “Into The Sun”, which premiered on Rolling Stone’s web-site on 29 September. The original version will see the light of day in the UK through us next month (click here for full details on that).

With all this in common (and seemingly seeing eye-to-eye about up and coming guitar bands) we thought we ought to find out a bit more about the man and his modus operandi…

LFC: How did you first get into live sound, music production and remixing?

Andrew: Each of those paths started at different points, but are all certainly related. I grew up playing guitar in bands through middle school and high school. I was the guy who had the PA system and kind of “ran” the band events. I even directed my high school talent show! Music, sound, and stage have always been in my blood. Things took shape during college when I became friends with Ra Ra Riot and their manager, Josh Roth. I went to Syracuse University, which is where Ra Ra Riot formed and were playing house parties during their senior year. They graduated in 2006 and started touring and making a name for themselves.

Around the same time, I was still in college and had just discovered RAC. After some net surfing, I deduced that a guy named André Anjos was behind it. He was remixing in a style I had never heard or imagined… his arrangements were so original and inventive, using the original tracks of the song in new contexts which were so exciting and concise. I decided to take a stab at remixing a Ra Ra Riot song (given that I was friends with them and had easy access to their studio tracking). I cold emailed André the first draft of my remix and we kind of hit it off. I dug up a few other remix gigs for myself, and within about 3 months André asked me if I wanted to join RAC and team up with him. Since then, the platform for which I procure remixes has been entirely fueled by my association with RAC and the reputation we’ve been building over the years.

By the time I graduated college in 2008, Ra Ra Riot had just put out their first album, and they gave me a shot at doing live sound for their headlining tour. It was trial by fire at first, but I’ve been with them for just over 3 years now and I’ve learned the ropes pretty quickly. New challenges still present themselves as we continue to play larger and larger venues. I’ve been fortunate to have met dozens of bands on the road – some leading to other opportunities to mix front of house. In addition to Ra Ra Riot, I tour pretty consistently with GIVERS and have done a few one-off shows for Surfer Blood in NYC where I live.

Producing, recording, and mixing records is yet another tangent. Given all the experience remixing and doing live sound, it was becoming obvious to me that I also wanted to make records with bands. I had some experience dabbling in self-recording during college, and had taken a few courses related to audio recording. I even had a brief internship at a Brooklyn recording studio called Headgear before I started touring. But it all really started in 2009 off the heels of a tour with Ra Ra Riot when we were opening for Death Cab For Cutie. I became friends with DCFC guitarist Chris Walla, who is also a highly esteemed engineer and producer. After talking shop the whole tour, Chris asked me to come to LA for 2 weeks and be the Logic operator for Tegan & Sara’s Sainthood. It was kind of the the coolest thing that ever happened to me… here I was at the world famous Sound City Studios with Chris, Tegan and Sara, their guitarist Ted Gowans, and Jason McGerr who was drumming on the record. Seeing and hearing a REAL record being made. I was running the computer while Chris and Howard Redekopp were producing and engineering the session. I learned so much so fast. It got my lexicon and studio etiquette up to speed.

That summer, I bought a 16 channel recording interface, some monitors, some microphones, and hit the ground running. Pulling from the network I had built remixing and touring, I ended up recorded and mixing the Laces EP for The Static Jacks, mixing The House Floor’s Warship, and mixing Kisses’ The Heart of the Nightlife. Later in the year, I went into the studio with Ra Ra Riot to engineer and co-produce their sophomore album, The Orchard.

For the past two years I’ve had a pretty exciting, steady stream of work touring, remixing, mixing, and recording!

LFC: What projects are you working on right now?

Andrew: This summer has been a lot of touring with GIVERS and Ra Ra Riot, but I’ve recently been wrapping up the mixing for the forthcoming Princeton record, which I recorded with them last summer. Its totally, totally unbelievable and I couldn’t be more proud of it. I’ve also been mixing some early recordings for The Collectable Few. I can’t get enough of them… they hit the nail on the head for so many of my influences and favorite music. I’m really hoping to continue to work with them in the future. They are special. I finished up a bunch of remixes for various artists recently too.

LFC: To the uninitiated, what exactly is RAC and what do they do?

Andrew: RAC is a team of three people who create music: André Anjos, Karl Kling, and myself. Our platform for work has largely been remixing for the last 4 years. We pride our remixes on a sonic brand we’ve developed. I think its safe to say that you know an RAC remix when you hear one. Much to our surprise and excitement, the RAC reputation has grown fast. We tend to remix indie/rock artists… like Tokyo Police Club, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Shins, Surfer Blood, Phoenix, etc. Early on we did a lot of remixes for smaller unsigned bands, but have been moving into doing larger acts. RAC also has a touring DJ component, which André and Karl do together. They have been DJing some huge shows recently! We are also looking to start producing records at a certain point. The future is bright for RAC.

LFC: What do you try to achieve in a remix?

Andrew: If its a band that’s hired me to remix a song, I often listen to the original once or twice before I start the remix to refresh myself with the melodies and highlights. Then I’ll drop all the multi-track files into Logic and just go. I’m always attempting to reinvent the song while still paying homage to the original. The magic in remixing comes from striking a balance between using the original multi-track and recording my own newly composed tracks. It gets to a point where I’m interacting with the song, and it actually feels as though it starts to write itself. I sometimes will listen back to the original song days after I’ve been immersed in my remix, and I’ll be shocked how strangely different the original feels. If anything, I try to invent a whole new world for the song.

LFC: Do you have a favourite RAC Maury Mix?

Andrew: I don’t think I could pick one, but my top 5 are:

Lenka – Trouble Is A Friend
Lacrymosa – Good At Heart
Surfer Blood – Take It Easy
Phoenix – 1901
aaaaaaand… a remix that releases october 24 for a rather huge artist which I’m VERY excited about!

LFC: What are the ups and downs of a career in sound engineering?

Andrew: Ups: incredible fun. The work is so rewarding. For me, the career is doing what I can’t get enough of anyway. You meet hundreds of cool people every year. Some of the people you meet are rather famous, and may even be people you grew up inspired by.

Downs: its extremely competitive and difficult work. Self-imposed neurosis levels can be pretty intense. When you are mixing a live show in front of 1200 people, or recording a band with a large reputation, or mixing a record which will be the thing that the artist and public will hear forever, the stakes can feel really high.

LFC: What advice would you offer to someone looking to get into your field?

Andrew: Get in tune with your opinions on music. Get inspired by records and sounds you love. Learn to separate what’s amateur and what’s pro. Go to shows. Meet as many people as you can. Be the nicest person you can be. Email young bands who you believe in. Impress people with your work. Take pride in your work. Take risks!

LFC: Who are the bands or artists most exciting you at the moment?

Andrew: I recently got into Dutch Uncles’ new album Cadenza and Little Dragon’s Machine Dream. I’ve also been on an extended kick loving Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca and My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. Working with bands is probably the most exciting though… feeling like you have a hand in creating something that others will learn about and discover. The Collectable Few tracks and this Princeton record I’m wrapping up fall in that category.

The Collectable Few – Headstrong (RAC Maury Mix) by RAC

Channel Cairo – Twenty (RAC Maury Mix) by RAC

The Static Jacks – Into The Sun (RAC Maury Mix) by RAC

MP3: The Collectable Few – Headstrong (RAC Maury Mix)
MP3: Channel Cairo – Twenty (RAC Maury Mix)
MP3: The Static Jacks – Into The Sun (RAC Maury Mix)

Introducing: The Static Jacks

We’re not sure why New Jersey garage-rock quartet The Static Jacks have to date not featured on these pages. In any case, there’s no time like the present, and with the fresh-faced, all-American four piece set to release their debut long player “If You’re Young” on 30 August in the States (through Fearless), this is probably as good a time as any to shout about them.

If you like your indie rock uncomplicated, impassioned and hook filled, you’ll most likely enjoy TSJ. Think The Clash, The Libertines, The Paddingtons and The Cribs with an American twist, or early Strokes. Vocalist Ian Devaney’s sing-it-like-you-mean-it, up-and-at-’em growl lures the listener in from the outset, before the water-tight musicianship and hooks bowl you over and leave you wanting more after the songs clock in at around three minutes (if that).

The band have been making waves on their native East Coast for a little while now, playing all the right shows: support slots with the likes of Titus Andronicus, Tokyo Police Club, The Futureheads and Young The Giant, as well as appearances at SXSW and the CMJ Music Marathon in 2010. A self-released, Andrew Maury produced EP in early 2010 contained a sure fire hit in ‘My Parents Lied’, no doubt keeping them on the radar of many an Internet tastemaker.

One suspects they’re building up a solid grass roots following at their side of the pond, before taking the show over to the UK and Europe later on this year (we’ll be keeping an eye out for any such news). In the meantime, check out ‘Girl Parts’, a free download they’ve just dished up, which features Ceci Gomez of Brooklyn punk outfit Beast Make Bomb on guest vocals, and is also a first taste of what to expect from their aforementioned debut album.

Girl Parts by thestaticjacks

MP3: The Static Jacks – Girl Parts
MP3: The Static Jacks – Into The Sun (demo)

LFC 4th Birthday Band #5: The Collectable Few

West London’s The Collectable Few have been toiling away for a little while now, patiently honing and developing their sound into what it is today – a mixture of blissed out and powerful, anthemic indie with dark undertones and danceable beats. Think along the lines of The Maccabees, White Lies, Bombay Bicycle Club and harking a bit further back, The Cure.

You might have seen them on bills across the capital in recent times with the likes of Anna Calvi, We Have Band and The Whigs. Their self-released 4-track debut EP ‘Half The Night’ set out their stall last summer, something they’re following up with their debut single ‘Headstrong’, which comes out via LFC Records this Monday 24th.

The single is perhaps their most ambitious piece to date, with a hook designed for large theatres and arenas of this world, rather than the Dog And Duck on a Tuesday night. Music Week said it reminded them of VHS or Beta, which we’ll take as a glowing compliment.

If all goes to plan, 2k11 should be an exciting year for this lot. It all starts at The Macbeth on 27 January, where copies of “Headstrong” will also be available to buy on 7″.


Location: London, UK
Lineup: Tarek Al Shammaa (Vocals, Keys), Nat Cantor (Guitar), Tom Christensen (Bass), Alex Hammond (Drums)
Label: Laissez Faire Club Records (“Headstrong” release)
Previous LFC appearances: 8
Blog love: “A perfect example of the next chunk of beautiful indie goodness to grace our earlobes” (The Whiteboard Project)
LFC 4th Birthday show details: The Macbeth, 27 Jan, on-stage 9.30pm RSVP TICKETS

Who are you?

The Collectable Few from West London. We’re influenced by warmer climates than our own, 80s pop records, low-fi guitar bands, global beats and discos.

What were your highlights of 2010?

Releasing our first EP was definitely a highlight and working with Andrew Maury (Ra Ra Riot, Kisses, RAC) towards the end of the year and into 2011 has given us a chance to push our sound a long way in a short time.

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

We’re looking forward to a big year for live shows in London, some festivals, playing around the UK and further afield.

Do you have anything available to buy right now?

Our EP ‘Half The Night’ is out now and available to buy. And on January 24th we’re releasing our debut single ‘Headstrong’.

What’s been your best gig(s) to date?

We’ve had some fantastic crowds recently who may not have heard us before but really got into it. Playing with The Whigs at The Borderline around Christmas was a lot of fun and playing with Anna Calvi earlier in the year was also great.

And finally, why should people attend your gig?

We’ll give people a chance to shed some Christmas pounds through the medium of jumping and arm flailing.

The Collectable Few – Headstrong by Laissez Faire Club

MP3: The Collectable Few – Glamour

LFC002: The Collectable Few – ‘Headstrong’

We are delighted to announce the signing of The Collectable Few to Laissez Faire Club Records. They’ll join Ice Black Birds on our roster, something we hope to expand considerably in the new year.

Their debut single, ‘Headstrong’, will be released through LFC on Monday 24 January. It’ll be available on limited edition 7″ vinyl (300 copies) from all the usual stockists, and you’ll also be able to download it from iTunes and other reputable digital outlets. Produced and recorded in London and mixed in NYC by Andrew Maury (Ra Ra Riot, Kisses, The Static Jacks), it’ll be backed by an RAC Maury remix of the same track.

We’ve worked with the band on several occasions in the past, and always felt their modern, catchy take on the best post punk / new wave bands of the 1980s deserved a much wider audience. We’re convinced this single, which is a follow up to their self-released debut EP Half The Night and contains quite possibly their biggest chorus to date, will open the door to much bigger things in 2011.

Whilst we’re busy getting everything in place for the release, have a listen to ‘Promises’ from the debut EP:

The Collectable Few – Promises by Laissez Faire Club

Past LFC performance

MUMFORD AND SONS // OLD BLUE LAST // 24 OCT 2007