We’ve already expounded the virtues of one Jon Rogers, aka Maggz, in the pages of (614). But we only briefly mentioned Moonlight, his then-unreleased album in collaboration with local diva Renee Dion. Dion has spent years in Chicago and New York establishing herself as a neo-soul chanteuse in the vein of Erykah Badu and Jill [...]
We’ve already expounded the virtues of one Jon Rogers, aka Maggz, in the pages of (614). But we only briefly mentioned Moonlight, his then-unreleased album in collaboration with local diva Renee Dion. Dion has spent years in Chicago and New York establishing herself as a neo-soul chanteuse in the vein of Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, before she eventually found herself on hiatus, back in Columbus, and in the arms of domestic bliss. When a chance encounter connected Rogers and Dion, the singer was in the process of reinventing herself as an artist and found the perfect foil in Rogers’ polyglot of kraut-indebted synths and midnight rhythms. As a producer who works with colors more than he does musical notes and structures, Moonlight showcases the hues of the cosmos – deep space, dying stars, black holes and motley comets, all coalesced around Dion’s illuminating tenor. To add to that analogy, the planets align in the downtown down-tempo sci-fi of “Plus, Minus,” or the ultra-chill and jazzy atmospherics of “Circles.” These are songs that go beyond the neo-soul constraints and propel the duo into a realm of trip-hop and digital soul.
While Rogers has suggested that Moonlight is a one-off collaboration, the success of the album and a few unexpected live showings might convince the duo to do it again and take it even farther into the abstract. Should that happen, might we suggest they re-emerge, with saxophonist Edie Bayard (who appears on the album’s “Talk Less”) in the mix, as Lodestar?
Folk, alt-country, or indie rock—however you choose to categorize
her sound, Angela Perley remains a pillar of the Columbus
music community—and highly in-demand as a national touring
act, to boot.
(614) caught up with Perley to discuss her new album, life on the
road, and what it takes to make it as a musician in the Capital City.
(614): YOUR NEW RELEASE, 4:30, IS YOUR FIRST AS A SOLO ACT.
WHAT LED TO THIS CHANGE?
AP: Since 2009 until last year, I had the Howlin’ Moons. It’s always
been myself, Chris Connor on lead guitar, and then we had bassist Billy
Zehnal in the band up until last year. We’ve had a rotating extended
family of drummers. Billy’s not in the band anymore, and we were also
on Vital Companies, which is a studio/label in Columbus that did our
So this one—it’s a solo one, it’s my first independent release. There’s no label involved, I own the masters to the songs. It’s hard to keep a band together, so Chris, who’s been in the band since the beginning, and I, we’re kind of the only members, and we have an extended family of really great and talented people who have other projects they’re in. It just works a lot better with what I want to do.
YOU USED KICKSTARTER TO HELP FUND THE ALBUM. WHAT WAS
THE CROWDFUNDING EXPERIENCE LIKE?
Before, with Vital, they had a studio and video production, and they took care of all of our recording in-house. We didn’t realize how expensive everything was. We had paid for studio time [for 4:30] through show money, but to look at all of the other expenses of making a record happen and trying to get it out there, it’s pretty intense! There have been a lot of independent artists that we know that will do Kickstarters, and I’ve never done anything like it before, so I was really nervous doing it. But it was a success, and I actually just finished sending out all of the preorder vinyl that people ordered.
YOUR SOUND IS OFTEN DESCRIBED AS ANYTHING FROM
AMERICANA, TO ALT-COUNTRY, TO PSYCHEDELIC ROCK. WHAT’S
IT LIKE WORKING WITHIN THOSE TRADITIONS IN 2019?
You kind of have to make your own path, because although there is
a resurgence of rock ‘n’ roll, everything’s been done before. It has those
roots, but we’re not breaking the mold or anything. You just have to be
true to yourself and to the music, and just go from there. Everyone’s voice
is important as an artist, so that’s important to remember.
YOU’RE ON THE ROAD TOURING QUITE A BIT. DO YOU STILL KEEP
TRACK OF WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE COLUMBUS MUSIC SCENE?
Columbus is definitely growing, and moving toward doing things independently. I’ve seen a lot of bands touring, which is good. It’s an affordable place to tour out of, and there’s a community here for sure. Whenever I have a chance, we go out to the shows. We love The Cordial Sins, and we’re having them as our special guests for our album release. The High Definitions, Souther—there are just so many good bands.
When I go to other cities and I realize that there’s not really much
of a scene going on, it is kind of cool to see that in Columbus, people are
very aware and supportive of musicians. Even the businesses around
here, everyone’s trying to work with musicians in some way. There are so
many gigs, be it at breweries, at restaurants, or little festivals that pop up.
There’s work for musicians here. And some other cities, there’s really not.
IN THE PAST, YOU’VE PLAYED SOMETHING LIKE 150 SHOWS A
YEAR. ARE YOU KEEPING UP THE SAME PACE THESE DAYS?
I’m glad that we played that many shows at that time. We were playing anywhere and everywhere, and a lot of that was pressure financially. If that’s the way you’re making a living, you’ve got to take every gig. We’ve spread out the shows since, especially since we have been doing it for this long. We’re kind of gearing more towards quality shows. I will say, playing that many shows—I needed that. We needed the experience, and just the repetition. Every venue is different, every environment, every crowd. You cut your teeth and it makes you stronger.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO LOCAL ARTISTS HOPING TO
MAKE A CAREER IN MUSIC?
It’s tough, because for each person it’s so different. Getting out there and working hard, playing as many shows as possible—that's all really great experience. But also focus on the music itself. If you’re going to make a music video or a recording, take your time—don’t half-ass it. Wait until you know what you’re doing. Although, you kind of have to learn from your mistakes, too.
Catch Angela Perley with special guests The Cordial Sins on
September 6 at Skully’s Music-Diner for the release show of her
new album, titled 4:30.
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/doc-robinson/1116027164 ——— Producer: Mike Thomas Videographers: Adam Fakult, Mitch Hooper, Mike Thomas Audio Mixing/Mastering: Jared Huntley Video Editing: Mike Thomas Contact: [email protected] Website: 614now.com
The Turbos’ high-octane heroics have earned the group a fierce following in the Columbus rock scene and beyond. Combining shredding guitar virtuosity with soaring, anthemic vocals, co-frontmen Alex D. and Lucas Esterline lead the group in a sound that combines the best of the old and the new. Rounded out by the multi-talented Cameron Reck on bass and mononymous local music veteran Jahrie behind the kit, the Turbos are leading the charge for a new generation of rockers.
For the first of what we hope will be many in a new music series we're calling The (614) Sessions, The Turbos joined us in our offices for a stripped-down acoustic set. Despite leaving the electrics at home, the power of their performance was still enough to garner multiple noise complaints (sorry, neighbors).
For show dates and more, be sure to follow The Turbos on Facebook. Big thanks to the group for sharing their music as our first-ever guests in this new endeavor!
Producer: Mike Thomas Videographers: Mike Thomas, Adam Fakult, Mitch Hooper Audio Mixing/Mastering: Jared Huntley Video Editing: Mitch Hooper Contact: [email protected]