A Heart II Heart with Steed Lord
Icelandic trio Steed Lord are back with their 2nd full-length studio album "Heart II Heart". The album is a taste of their new sound and direction after having moved their headquarters from Iceland to Los Angeles and having become a three-piece band with producers M.E.G.A and Demo and vocal diva Kali.
IMX caught up with the trio.
You're all living in LA! When did you move there and why?
Yeah the three of us moved there a little over a year ago to work on music. We have always spent a lot of time in the US since we were kids and Kali used to live in L.A. so moving there was very natural for us. We also have a great fan base in North America so we wanted to explore that with more touring and being based in L.A. Many of our friends live there as well as our manager and we know the city very well so it all kinda came together.
LA seems to polarise folk. How have you personally found life out there? What are the ups and downs?
Life in LA is great. We love it there. We like the mellow vibe and of course the weather is a great bonus. Steed Lord has never been so active since we moved to LA. I guess when we finally did make the big move we just kicked everything into fifth gear. Los Angeles is totally different from Iceland but we kinda like the fact that it is. The ups for us is the fact that we can actually work in music and make a living by doing so and the downside is that our family is far away... but Skype helps a little with that. I think any city can polarise you but just don't let the bullshit get to you and your all good.
Does it help that you're musicians / creative types do you think?
For us it was a good thing to move to LA because we already had fans in the US after touring a lot and being featured in magazines, blogs, supported by DJs in America and our music has also been featured on TV shows and stuff, so it's good for us to be located in L.A.
What kind of touring / gigs have you been doing out there?
We have done three big tours across North America for the past 3 years and also supported some of our favorite artists like Chromeo and Peaches for their West Coast US tours so yeah, we are always doing shows in the US.
Have you introduced anyone to rotten shark yet?
No, but we are always trying to get American people to eat Icelandic candy and they hate our salty black liquorice that we love!
What changes has Steed Lord undergone since you've been there in terms of personnel, musical vision etc.?
We are a three piece band now, with Kali on the vocals and Demo and M.E.G.A producing the music. We all write the songs together and the three of us are a very strong unit today. We are putting a lot of energy into our songwriting and it's important to us to always release music that we can be proud of and music that we are connected to emotionally. If a tear drops then the songs is ready.
What kinds of differences do you feel your new line up / environment has made to the new album?
The new line up doesn't really change a lot of things musically except that the songs are now more vocal driven and our chemistry on stage is more intimate. Being in a new environment is always good for our inspiration and the funny thing about that is, we live in L.A. which is always sunny but we are always writing songs that are very melancholy.
Is there a concept to the record?
Not really but we wanted to make a party record that showcased our emotions through soulful dance tracks with beautiful melodies. But at the end of the day we just want people to dance to this record and feel good.... and blue.
What did you want to achieve when you stepped into the studio this time around?
We wanted to put out a new sound and let people hear that Steed Lord is evolving, like always, and that we are here to stay. It was also important to make this record sound really good and have it bass heavy and thumping but yet very crisp and bright with Kali´s powerful vocals driving the songs. So a lot of time went into mixing and mastering by M.E.G.A to perfect the vocal sound and the production mix.
Did you record at Grand Royal studios again?
Yes we recorded about half of the album in the old Beastie Boys vocal booth in Atwater. That room and building has so much musical history that is so important to our youth. Beastie Boys had a major influence on us when we were younger and the funny thing is that we didn't know it until we started reading the tags on the walls and carvings by Beastie Boys, RUN DMC, Method Man and other legends. But as always we also recorded at home in L.A., in our bedroom and also some stuff in our rehearsal space at rehearsals!
Anyone else involved in the record?
We recorded, produced, mixed and mastered the album ourselves. M.E.G.A is the mix maestro and has a good ear for the mixing and mastering and takes care of that, then we discuss the mixes and tweak together. We are very hands on and like to do things ourselves. But we would love to work with a producer and engineer who's not in the band in the future. That could be fun and also bring something new to the table and take us out of our comfort zone. So we will most likely do that maybe even for the next album, which we have already started working on.
What format do your live shows take these days?
We just do our thing onstage. We have a very hardcore live show, it's very heavy metal in your face electronic dance music with soulful melodies and sometimes a little touch of hip hop and r&b but onstage we just get into our songs and perform them for the crowds. We always like to have the live versions of the songs a little bit different and be spontant on stage and be experimental and try new things. Demo plays all the keyboard parts live and does percussion and vocoder in between the key parts while M.E.G.A handles the live mix and plays with our stems and samples and twists knobs while Kali is the vocal diva extraordinaire that owns the stage with her big voice and vocal skills and incredible stage presence. She has amazing costumes and she loves to give people a real show. We also have some crazy visuals that we put together ourselves and which M.E.G.A controls with midi controllers.
You already released some singles from the new album - how have they been going down?
We have released three singles to our upcoming "Heart II Heart" album. "Bed Of Needles" was the first single that we released in march 2010 and then we released "Vanguardian" in May, and now "123, If You Want Me" b/w "One Good Reason" in August.
All of the singles have great remixes and are available on Beatport, iTunes and all other major digital stores now. We got a very good response to "Bed Of Needles" and when we put it out we actually didn't know how people and fans would take it because it's kinda melancholy and sad even though it's a driving dance track. It was a very great moment when "Bed Of Needles" got played at EDC in LA this summer. which is the biggest electronic festival in the US by DJ Laidback Luke who closed his set and played the AKS & Syndaesia Remix of "Bed Of Needles" in front of over 125,000 dancing people and the crowd went totally bananas. It was thrilling for us and a huge honour. Check it out here - it´s pretty mental.
What else you been doing out there besides the album?
A bunch of stuff. We are always working on something everyday whether it's music, photography, videos or designs. We just released our first official music video to the song "One Good Reason" which we made ourselves this summer in LA that you can view here. And we will be making videos to almost every song on the Heart II Heart album. We are making most of the videos ourselves but we also have an exciting collaboration in the works for a video that we have been planning for years. We are also making limited edition Steed Lord dresses for girls that we are gonna be selling along with our merch online in a few days on www.steedlord.bigcartel.com. And there are also some exciting projects coming up for Steed Lord in the future that we can´t talk about yet but are big fun and pretty crazy.
What do you miss most about Iceland?
Our family and friends, our 2 persian cats, the swimming pools, the candy, the food, water and the clean air.
What are your post-album release plans?
Heart II Heart is out on September 7th exclusively on Beatport (worldwide) and on iTunes, Amazon, Gogoyoko and other stores on September 28th. We are also making a limited edition CD of the album with some crazy remixes and edits and selling it on www.steedlord.com soon. But as of today you can pre-listen to our whole album here in 128k streaming quality. We are currently starting a European tour right now with our new live show and hitting up Copenhagen, Stockholm, Malmö, Paris, Hamburg, Ulm, Barcelona and Zurich so we are pumped and excited to play our new album to these cities soon and we hope people will like our album.
You can listen to Steed Lord's music and view their videos & photos @ www.steedlord.com.
Source: Iceland Music Export (IMX)