(L to R): David Amezcua, Kenny Carkeet, Hayden Scott, Aaron Bruno, Drew Stewart of AWOLNATION. (Photo: Catie Laffoon)
After performing to a crowd of thousands, which included stage diving by frontman Aaron Bruno and a surprise visit from Macy Gray, who added her vocal luster to "Sail," AWOLNATION (signed to Red Bull Records) was ready to unwind. We found the band walking around the festival grounds and checking out the ferris wheel. We grabbed the guys for a quick chat before they rushed off to meet up with Red Bull Records Marketing Rep Chip Dorsch to catch the second half of Noel Gallagher's set
Billboard.biz: What's the best thing about being on Red Bull Records aside from the free energy drinks?
Aaron Bruno: The best thing about Red Bull Records is we don't talk about Red Bull Records. It's like Fight Club. The best thing is that they agreed to let me do this wild thing called AWOLNATION and not get in the way. And I think that Greg Hammer (Managing Director Red Bull Records) believed in me more than I did. We had a very serious phone call and he said, "I see this as a movement, as people getting into it bla bla bla." I said, "You're an idiot man. Let's do it, fine." So the best thing is that they let us do what we want.
(L to R): Dragonette's Martina Sorbara, Dan Kurtz, and Joel Stouffer; Ayisha Jaffer (Dragonette manager). (Photo: Catie Laffoon)
We ran into Ayisha Jaffer, Dragonette's manager who was setting up the press with clients, Dragonette. After taking a quick photo of her with the band, we picked her brain on what's coming up for Dragonette, as well as touched on her background at the Windish Agency.
Billboard.biz: How long have you been working with Dragonette?
Ayisha Jaffer: I've been working with Dragonette for 2/12 years. I was actually at the Windish Agency before that. I worked as an intern coordinator in-house tour manager associate whatever multi-tasker extraordinaire. Before that, I was at Universal in Chicago as an Artist Development Representative.
What are some of the artists you worked with in the past?
QTip, Kanye, Common, Jimmy Eat World, At Windish we did Justice, Free Energy, which is another band that we work with and Cut Copy, which is another band that we work with, and Architecture Helsinki and so many.
Tell us about Punkdafunk, where you are now:
I left Windish from permission with Mr. Tom Windish to come over to New York (Punkdafunk is in Jersey City) from Chicago and help start doing management because I was just more interested in that. It's a team of 3 of us and we take care of every single need: press, tour managing, and everything underneath the sun from like a breakup to babysitting, to getting them fed, to gifting - all the fun stuff and everything in between.
And which bands are your personal priority?
It's Dragonette, Free Energy, Cut Copy, Architecture Helsinki, are our bands.
What's coming up for Dragonette?
We're gonna release a video in a couple of weeks for "Let it Go" and then hopefully release the album and then just start touring and we hope this one takes us to the next level. It's got a lot of great responses and I'm really excited and we're focusing on them and Free Energy right now because they also have a new album coming out and they're just doing a good job.
Is there an ETA on the new Dragonette album?
Sometime this summer. So we're getting close!
(L to R): Kelly McWilliam - Manager Media & Artist Relations - Atlantic Records, Martin Solveig, Jonathan Llewellyn - Get in PR, handles global publicity for Martin Solveig, Celine Aron - So Blonde Management - handles Martin's international booking. (Photo: Catie Laffoon)
We ran into Kelly McWilliams - Manager Media & Artist Relations for Atlantic Records in the VIP beer garden. She introduced us to French electronic producer/DJ Martin Solveig who had just finished his set minutes before. Martin told us he had just gotten into town but is looking forward to hanging out with all his friends tomorrow. "It's so great to have all the electronic guys in the same place. We are all really close and are going to definitely get together tomorrow. It's great for the type of music that we make to be around each other," he said. Martin also hinted that Skrillex, although not performing (unless he jumps on stage with someone) would most likely be at the festival Sunday and that he plans to hang out with him.
Martin's global publicity manager, Jonathan Llewellyn, chatted with us about his current business affairs:
"The priority right now is The Night Out EP which features Martin's own vocals from the Smash album. It might be the last single from the album. So there was "Hello," "Ready to Go," "Big in Japan," and now "The Night Out" featuring Madeon on remix, A-Trak, a whole bunch of others and that's on Big Beat/Atlantic Records. That just came out last week and it's doing really really well. It's a big record. And that's not just PR shit. That's what really happened. He's touring. He's doing 20 dates with Madonna over the summer. His first main stage at Ultra, Coachella, etc."
Keep Shelly in Athens
(L to R): RPR, Sarah P, David Kluger - Keep Shelly in Athens' Tour Manager. (Photo: Catie Laffoon)
Following their set, up and coming indie-electronic Greek band, Keep Shelly in Athens, stopped to talk to us about their reputation for being mysterious. In an effort to keep the focus on the music, the duo never reveals their names to the public; they go by " Sarah P and RPR." "RPR" hid his face in our photo in order to maintain the band's mission for secrecy.
Keep Shelly in Athens tour manager, David Kluger, said he's excited about the hype the band has been receiving, especially since they haven't even released an album yet. The band catalyzed back in 2010 when RPR uploaded 3 tracks to his My Space page, which were picked up by American bloggers. "He listed the project as a duo, but it was really only him at the time. He had the plan the whole time to add a female vocalist," explains Sarah P who joined forces with RPR shortly after. Following only a handful of live shows, Keep Shelly in Athens began appearing on "Bands to watch" lists, including Hype Machine's Top 10 Most Blogged About Artists. "This was our first Coachella. We are so excited to be here," explained RPR.
Kluger says the band is in the midst of a 2-month tour in which they will head to Europe before heading home to hopefully work on a debut album. Sarah P told us that she plans to be collecting information and experiences on the road to hopefully inspire their new material. RPR told us that there are so many good bands emerging from Greece, but the challenge is for them to "expand past the borders." "The Internet has really helped us with that. We've been lucky and hope that others will have the same opportunity as well."
Grouplove was passing through Coachella after a full day of concert seeing. We overheard them buzzing about how bad they wanted to check out Radiohead and Kasabian. They posed for a quick and goofy photo for us and went swiftly on their way (Photo: Catie Laffoon)
Danny Masterson is a known music junkie, often spotted at a variety of shows around Los Angeles. We discovered him in the VIP area talking to a group of friends about having recently attended a Steve Aoki show back in LA. We asked him about his Coachella experience and what bands he was excited to check out. "The Black Keys were amazing. I'm excited tonight for the Buzzcocks and Mike Snow, Feist, obviously Radiohead. Kasabian I really like so I'm excited to see them today." (Photo: Catie Laffoon)
We saw Jared Leto leaving the backstage area and heading out to see Kaiser Chiefs and stopped to snap a quick photo. He was glad to stop and say a quick "Hey" but seemed excited to get to the show. (Photo: Catie Laffoon)