Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Artist interview with Travis Szendrei, aka MK Ultra

MY Indie Music Blog is very proud and excited to give to you, my faithful followers and lovers of all things indie, our first ever artist interview.

I was give the opportunity to ask a few questions of Grey, Maine native Travis Szendrei, aka MK Ultra, and to also help spread the word about his new music video for the song Let's Go, from his upcoming album Documentation, which will be available on September 17th from Visionary Management and Substance Co.

Travis Szendrei (MK Ultra) is a multi-instrumentalist who writes and records his material. He recently teamed up with producer Aaron Bagley, Tommy Walter (Abandoned Pools/Eels), and Gavin Lurssen (Grammy Award winning engineer) to work on his album Documentation. Drawing upon his own experiences with prescription drug addiction, MK Ultra has turned his life into an open book and is carving a niche for himself in the music world with his unique blend of catchy, melodic pop/electronica.

For those who don't know you, tell us who MK Ultra is.

MK Ultra is myself, Travis Szendrei. Hi. It’s me creating music on my own then connecting with my co-producer Aaron Bagley. There are no other members in the band. It’s a solo project.

When I play live, I have revolving members. I am doing shows in the US now. I’m doing east coast dates and I have some west coast stuff that I will be announcing soon. Close to the debut album release of, “Documentation” to be released September 17th.

By the way my backing band now is awesome. I am really happy with them.

Why the name MK Ultra?

The reason why I picked the name MK Ultra is because I went through several car accidents. Accidents that nearly killed me in more ways than one. A lot of the lyrics deal with coping with this situation, and the aftermath. 

How would you describe your sound?

I don’t feel like I fit into any genre. Many people have told me that as well and I think that’s a great thing. Big compliment.

I understand that you've recently gone through a lot in your personal life. How has that influenced you as an artist?

I choose to be a complete open book with my music. It was a very tough time for me going through car accidents and being in constant pain. I am still trying to figure it out. All that goes right into the music and lyrics. Not bluntly but it comes from things like that. I’m an emotionally charged artist.

How personal are the lyrics for your song Let's Go?

That is actually the fun song on the record. I didn’t want my first single to be too heavy lyrically. That’s how personnel the record is. A lot of people think it’s very personnel. All I can say is wait till you hear the record (laughs). Let’s Go is light-hearted to me. It’s a song making fun of cliché musician behavior and some personnel experiences. I have seen it a lot. A lot of drug references as I see it slowing talented people down and they go no where. I make fun of the FCC and censorship in Let’s Go. I also touch on leaders being like many “rock stars” just being in it for the wrong reasons. Power, control, money etc.

I like the video for Let's Go. How much fun was filming it?

It was great. My concept was to be a nightmare and I think I pulled it off. Great director and everyone was really loose.

Who do you draw strength/inspiration from?

It’s all my personnel experiences. Songs come to me very quick. It’s never forced. 5 minutes I have a song to record because it’s while I am actually experiencing what I write about.

Who are your musical influences?

I am a fan of many artists but I don’t draw from them. When I was younger I did. That’s how you learn. I guess that’s why I hear that it sounds original so much. Huge fan of music, some of my favorites are Abandoned Pools, Lana Del Rey, and a new artist called Lorde is great. I think they put everything into it.

You have a debut album set to drop this September. What can we expect to hear?

It’s a very moody record musically and lyrically. There is a lot more than just the car accidents and pain in there. There are subjects like control, depression, and wanting to end my life. I’m getting past the depression and thoughts of suicide. This record helped with that. I woke up one day and said I want to live.
Musically, there is a good variety. All songs have an electronic feel but are all structured as arranged songs. I write on acoustic guitar or piano first. I take my songwriting very seriously.

What do you hope to accomplish thru your music?

Well, I was in a really dark place. I felt like an experiment while going to the doctors. I had toxic people in my life and I had to change that. I had some awful reactions to medications and the process was hard and still is. There is no magic formula for chronic back pain. I know I’m not the only one. So, I want to just be real and help people that are going through unfortunate situations. It does get better and for me music is the most powerful voice there is.

I like artists who are accessible to their fans. Let us know how we can connect with you thru social networking sites.

Of Course, my Facebook ( is best and I always reply to messages. The goal for me is not to get women and have sex for a night or be famous. Again, that’s the BS that is in the song Let’s Go. I just hope people appreciate what I do and look at it as honest art.

You're currently on tour, correct? Tell us about the tour so far. What shows do you have left and what are you looking forward to the most.

I am on tour and it feels great. One thing I do take seriously is being a great entertainer. That is what they are paying for. Providence and Albany, I just played and sold a good number of records and met some amazing people.
I am really looking forward to my show in Portland, ME as that is where I grew up and I will know a lot of people there. Some of my best friends will be in attendance. That show will be very special for me personally.

Download Let's Go free on SoundCloud

MK Ultra is currently on tour on the East Coast and will be performing at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn, NY on August 9, then in Portland, ME at The Big Easy on August 10, The Dover Brickhouse on August 17, and Mainly Brews in Waterville, ME on August 24. Then, he'll head back to California to finish off his tour at Cheetahs on September 21 and at The Joint on September 22 for the Artists In Music Awards St Jude Charity & Red Carpet Event to cap off MKU's three month tour.

I'd like to thank Travis Szendrei, aka MK Ultra, for taking time out from his busy schedule to answer these questions for my blog. I hope you've enjoyed getting inside the mind of this incredible talent and I hope I've helped him make a few new fans along the way!

Support unsigned artists... give indie music a chance.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When Particles Collide EGO (Official Video) is here!

Who is ready to have their earholes rocked tonight? I thought so!

It is my pleasure to help spread the word that the new single and video from When Particles Collide, EGO, is officially here. Now!!!

I was extremely fortunate to have been given an advance listen to EGO by Sasha and Chris about a week ago. You have no idea how hard it was for me to NOT post this blog as soon as I heard it! For those of you who are new to my blog and to the music of When Particles Collide, you're in for one helluva treat. So buckle up, crank the volume and enjoy the rocking sounds of the two loudest kids the indie world has ever produced!

As an added bonus, WPC has made EGO a free download (just click on the download button) on their SoundCloud page for a limited time!

When Particles Collide on SoundCloud

Check out the WPC Summer 2013 tour schedule. They've been racking up the miles on their tour bus already this summer... and it's only just begun! If you happen to be in any of the cities they haven't already played in, I highly suggest you make it a point to catch a show. Again, I stake my reputation as a indie music fan/blogger that WPC is one show you do not want to miss!

And keep checking back in with me here frequently as I will update you on all things happening with When Particles Collide when they happen, especially this September when their new EP drops!

When Particles Collide official website

Like When Particles Collide on Facebook

Follow When Particles Collide on Twitter

Subscribe to the When Particles Collide YouTube channel

Support unsigned artists... give indie music a chance.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Suzi Oravec

I am of the firm belief that there are not enough credible female voices in music today. Period. Sure, you've got your handful of mainstream powerhouse's, but when it comes to every other female singer, whether it be an individual or female fronted band, there's a severe drop-off. Tonight, we're going to help right this wrong by introducing you to one of the purest voices I've had the pleasure of having grace my iPod in quite some time.

Allow me to introduce you, my faithful readers and fellow lovers of all things indie, to Cleveland, Ohio's very own Suzi Oravec!

Several weeks back, I downloaded Suzi's 2011 debut album Love and Lies and was hooked about 10 seconds into the first song, Let Our Love Burn. Love and Lies is a fresh upgrade for a tired formula that's replayed countless times on today's mainstream radio. 

But wait, there's more...

Just when I though Ms. Oravec was all about pop music, out comes her latest EP...

And all of a sudden, there's this country music songstress delighting my earholes!

Somewhere between pop, rock, folk and country music, Suzi Oravec has found this happy musical medium that has been bringing sheer delight into my house for a few weeks. My two pre-teen daughters can't get enough of her, and my wife has even jumped on the bandwagon (never saw THAT coming!).

Raw emotion, hauntingly melodic voice, intelligent lyrics and looks that kill, Suzi Oravec is the complete package!

Official Suzi Oravec website

Follow Suzi Oravec on Twitter

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Suzi Oravec on ReverbNation

Subscribe to the Suzi Oravec YouTube channel

Download Love and Lies on iTunes

Support unsigned artists... give indie music a chance.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

12 Years Driven returns to MY Indie Music Blog

It is with great pleasure that I bring back to you, my faithful followers of all things indie, 12 Years Driven back to MY Indie Music Blog!

I first introduced you to 12 Years Driven back in February of this year ( I have personally been jonesing for more from the Houston, TX, USA based metal heads since then. The guys were overly generous and sent me a copy of their new self-titled EP and let me tell you... THIS HAS BEEN WORTH THE WAIT. HOLY FUCK!!!

I like to consider myself a wordsmith of sorts (some of you may disagree), but in this instance, it really is best to let the guys take over from here and let the music speak for itself!

I've had this quick hitting 5 song EP on repeat all evening. So far, my ears haven't actually started to bleed yet, but I will welcome that when it happens!

Metal heads rejoice yet again and get your eargasm on. And just when you thought you've had enough, get yourself some more!!!

12 Years Driven official website 

Follow 12 Years Driven on Twitter 

Like 12 Years Driven on Facebook 

12 Years Driven on Reverbnation

Subscribe to the 12 Years Driven YouTube channel

Support unsigned artists... give indie music a chance.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

MY Top 10 All-Time, All-Genre Album list

Okay, this post is about MY personal top 10 albums of all-time for all genres of music. Before I even begin and before anyone decides that this list is missing this album or that one or that I'm crazy for including indie artists or even for the rank that I give each one, let me put it to you this way: IT'S MY LIST. PERIOD. Lol!

I was presented with this challenge by my favorite Aussie, @clindbeck from Twitter. She challenged me to name my top 10 albums of all time for all genres. I had to actually look at the challenge a few times before the scope of what she presented to me really set in. I consider myself to be a huge fan of music, but when I started to think about this list, I realized that my idea of music and what is considered a top 10 list varies quite differently from what the likes of the "experts" would put together. That being said, I'm glad that this is MY list and I'm completely satisfied with what I've ended up with after mulling it over for a few days.

So let's get a move on and see what Los came up with for his Top 10 albums of all time, shall we?

10. David Geftakys The Games We Play, released December 7, 2012

L.A. based indie singer/songwriter David Geftakys kicks off my list of top 10 albums of all time with his debut album, The Games We Play. Games, to me, is one of the finest examples of the end result of one insanely talented artist putting his heart and soul into his craft. The main reason that I started this blog was because of my dislike for the state of today's mainstream radio. Along comes Mr. Geftakys with his brand of alternative/folk/rock to restore my faith in music.

Download The Games We Play on iTunes

9. Van Halen 5150, released May 24, 1986

The age old discussion about what version of Van Halen is the best will probably never die. As long as music is still around at least! The original (and subsequent 3rd and 6th versions) line-up with David Lee Roth has a very rabid fan base, and no one can really argue with the commercial success that the band reached with 1984's 1984, but for my money, Sammy Hagar always has been and always will be the greatest vocalist in the history of rock n roll. 5150 is packed full of rock anthems, love songs and power ballads, with arguably one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, of all-time, Love Walks In. It should also be noted that 5150 was also their 1st number one album, something that they had not previously achieved with David Lee Roth (yes, that was a dig!).

8. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison (Live), released May, 1968

At Folsom Prison was Johnny Cash's 27th album release and a self-proclaimed revitalization of his career. At the time, Cash had been dealing with his personal demons, and drugs and alcohol had already started to take an effect on his career. It wasn't until he suffered thru that lull that he started to get his life back in order. Folsom Prison Blues was one of Cash's biggest hits (originally released in 1955) and he was regularly requested thru inmate fan mail from Folsom to perform a concert there (his first actual prison concert was at Hunstville State Prison in 1957). Recorded over the course of two separate shows at the prison, Folsom, some say, was sung with so much feeling that one might have believed that Cash was singing of personal experiences.

7. Pearl Jam 10, released August 27, 1991

 Ah yes, the grunge movement of the 90's is rearing its ugly head. I can hear the collective shudder of die-hard rock n rollers the world over as I type this! But you can not deny the impact that the genre and Pearl Jam themselves have had on music. Without the grunge movement, we would have no alternative rock. Sometimes, it's not all about the screaming guitars and falsettos that "glam rock" was throwing at us in the late 80's. 10 is the thinking man's rock. Lyrics with meaning backed by huge, stadium worthy guitar riffs and pounding drums ushered in a new era of rock n roll. 

6. Marvin Gaye What's Going On, released March 21, 1971

Marvin Gaye's biggest success came out of his beginnings on the Mowtown label in the 60's. The 70's were a different time as the Vietnam War brought a changing social climate to America. Gaye capitalized on this with arguably his biggest critical success. What's Going On was Gaye's interpretation of that climate after witnessing police brutality on anti-war protestors in Berkley, California while he was on tour with Mowtown label mates, The Four Tops.

"In 1969 or 1970, I began to re-evaluate my whole concept of what I wanted my music to say... I was very much affected by letters my brother was sending me from Vietnam, as well as the social situation here at home. I realized that I had to put my own fantasies behind me if I wanted to write songs that would reach the souls of people. I wanted them to take a look at what was happening in the world." -Marvin Gaye"

5. (Tie) In Air (as Nobody Get Killed) Just a Seed, released January 8, 2011

When I began my journey of indie music discovery, In Air (originally known as Nobody Gets Killed) quickly became one of my all-time favorite bands. Their debut album, Just a Seed, solidified my decision to give indie music a chance. What's missing more than anything in today's mainstream market is music that truly moves you. I want to feel the music and know that the artist believes in the song they're singing. Seed accomplishes this and so much more. From the opening radio dial tuning of Shortwave to the hauntingly melodic closer Willow, this is alternative indie rock at its absolute best.

Download Just a Seed on iTunes 

5. (Tie) David Gielan The Imperfect Tense, released September 22. 2009

My actual love for indie music began in the early part of 2010 when I was introduced to the music of David Gielan. I had already started to look for an alternative to the mainstream and The Imperfect Tense fit better than any proverbial glove I had or have found. A triple threat as a singer/songwriter/producer, David writes, records and produces all of his material at his production company in L.A., Melody Maker Productions. Produced on what I refer to as an "indie budget", The Imperfect Tense easily outshines any offering by any mainstream act today. David Gielan is one of those artists that comes along once in a great while. His passion for his art is felt in ever lyric that he sings. To this day, All the Way, to me, is still the greatest vocal ever recorded.

Download The Imperfect Tense on iTunes

4. George Strait Strait Country, released September 4, 1981

There's a reason why George Strait became known as the "King of Country Music". Over the course of his career, he has never wavered from his country-western roots, and his debut album, Strait Country helped country music pave the way for its current mainstream appeal. Nearly 32 years and 60 #1 country songs (the most #1 songs of any recording artist in any genre) later, you can always count on King George to deliver straight forward country music the way it's intended to be.

3. Prince Purple Rain (soundtrack), released June 9, 1984

From the moment that I heard Prince's 1981 release Controversy, I was hooked. Fast forward to the soundtrack to his movie Purple Rain. Prince runs the musical gambit from rock to soul to funk to pop and hits everything in between. I've always wondered why he's never held in higher regard than he is when the topic of greatest guitarists of all time is brought up. Push play and listen to When Doves Cry for some guitar shredding that would make any metal head take notice. Or how about arguably the greatest guitar solo in rock history on the title track, Purple Rain? For all of his eccentricities, you can not deny that Prince Rogers Nelson is one of the greatest musicians of all-time.

2. Elvis Presley The Sun Session, released March 22, 1976

The Sun Sessions is a compilation of Elvis Presley songs recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee between July 1954 and July 1955. While it wasn't a huge commercial success (peaking at #76 on the pop charts and #2 on the country charts), everything about the significance of this album has been best summed up by Rolling Stone magazine: "In a tiny Memphis studio, in 1954 and 1955, Sam Phillips and Elvis Presley created rock & roll." I subscribe to the same belief of many others that rock n roll was created on July 5, 1954... the day Elvis recorded That's Alright, Mama.

1. Lit on the Flash Revolution Time, released September 1, 2011

From the first time that I saw Lit on the Flash live, my thinking on what makes a great rock band truly great was forever changed. Here was this little 3-piece band from southern Maine blowing the roof off of a dive bar in Portland, Maine in front of probably 30 people, playing with more heart and soul than any band that I had ever seen play in front of 20,000 people. Over the course of the year that followed, I lost count of the miles I put on my truck following this band all over Maine and New Hampshire. Their debut album, Revolution Time, is a cut out of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On mold in that it deals with the ever changing social issues in America. Lead singer and songwriter Jake Roche put pen to paper and drummer Kerry Ryan added a drum track for the ages to Jake's views on the ever present war climate and corporate America. For me, Lit on the Flash is the greatest rock n roll band ever. Period.

Download Revolution Time on iTunes